Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Frosted Ginger Creams

The recipe for today is Frosted Ginger Creams and comes from one of Grandma’s old church cookbooks. It’s sounds like it’s supposed to be a bar, but this batch got higher, like cake. Regardless, the smell of these bars/cake baking will get you in the Christmas spirit – the scent of the spices and molasses – heaven!

If you’ve noticed the lack of posts again, I had another bout of pancreatitis and hospital stay the week  before Thanksgiving. Yes – I was actually on a feeding tube for Thanksgiving. My family stepped up and took on the meal duties while I seriously tried very hard not to curl up in the fetal position in a corner somewhere. That was a rough one.  Hopefully I’m finally on the road to recovery. This is taking waaaaay too long in my opinion, but Ebenezer (that’s what we’ve named my carmudgeon-ly pancreas – he does get better in the end) is really trying very hard to get better and stop giving me pain.

Anyhoo – back to posting. I realized that I haven’t shared an old photo in a while, so here’s one from my first Christmas. This was spent at Grandma and Grandpa’s farm where we were living at the time because my dad was stationed in Turkey in the Army.

I love how they thought I wouldn’t leave the tree alone, so it was put up on a table. Obviously they forgot to put the presents up and out-of-the-way!

This is another of my new favorites! You can see the “Good” connotation again here!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Frosted Ginger Creams

Cream together:

1 cup butter

1 cup sugar

Add:

2 eggs

Beat.

Add:

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 cup molasses

Mix well.

Mix together:

1 cup hot coffee

1 teaspoon baking soda

Add coffee/soda to first mixture alternately with:

2 cups flour

Stir in:

1 cup chopped raisins or dates

Pour into 9″ x 13″ cake pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

The batter is pretty straightforward for this one, as is the frosting.

Make sure that if you’re going to make them pretty with sprinkles, you need to put them on right away or the frosting will be too dry and they won’t stick.

Perfect with a cup of coffee!!

So festive, so pretty, so fragrant, so good!! This was another great recipe from one of those old church cookbooks! They just don’t get any better. Try these Frosted Ginger Creams, let the spices and molasses waft through your house during the baking process, and get in the Christmas spirit!

 

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White Chocolate Dipped Pumpkin Spice Cookies

This recipe for White Chocolate Dipped Pumpkin Spice Cookies really is no recipe at all. I saw the cookies in the store and had an idea for an incredibly easy Thanksgiving treat. I have to keep things simple after my surgery – the strength and stamina are NOT coming back the way I’d like them to – so this one is perfect. It’s a no brainer that’s just right for sending to college students (or my nieces), great for an unusual hostess gift, or just for snacking on while the turkey cooks away in the oven.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

White Chocolate Dipped Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Melt according to the manufacturers instructions:

1 package of white chocolate chips or 1 package of white almond bark (I used almond bark for these)

Dip the pumpkin spice cookies (there are several brands making them now) into melted chocolate.

Lay cookies on baking sheet covered with parchment paper.

Sprinkle on fall colored sprinkles of your choice before the chocolate dries.

Let dry.

Done.

I melted the almond bark in an old mixing bowl from my mom’s old mixer. It’s the perfect shape for dipping and I have used it for dipping my Christmas candies for years. It’s glass, but it’s old and the glass gets warm and keeps the chocolate melted – it doesn’t cool down too fast. I love it.

There really isn’t anything to say – these are just too simple to make!

I love the non-perils in these fall colors – so cute! These are adorable and delicious and festive as all get-out. Make up a batch (or two or three) of these White Chocolate Dipped Pumpkin Spice Cookies so you’ll have plenty for all your holiday needs!

 

 

 

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My 4 Favorite Thanksgiving Desserts

Today’s post is about My 4 Favorite Thanksgiving Desserts. My last post was about my favorite pies, and since we don’t ALWAYS have to have pie for Thanksgiving, I thought I should also show you my favorite desserts appropriate for Thanksgiving. Again – I hope you can find one perfect for your Thanksgiving dessert table.

Apple Cake with Butter Sauce

Pumpkin Pie Dessert

Autumn Gold Pumpkin Cake

Pumpkin Crunch Dessert

 

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Apple Galette

Today’s recipe is for Apple Galette. I had to try this so-called simple dessert that you see all over the internet, Pinterest, and Instagram right now. What I found was that it IS easy, fast, and absolutely delicious. It’s fancy enough for company and casual enough for a weeknight dessert. You could even whip one up for your Saturday afternoon coffee. The smell of the apples and cinnamon baking fill the house with – you know – that smell – so warm and homey and comforting. You HAVE to try this. Grandma would have LOVED this – even though she was a stickler for a good pie crust. This uses a pie crust, just not in the usual formal way.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Apple Galette

Crust:

Make a single pie crust and roll it out into a circle as big as you can make it.

Put crust onto baking sheet.

Filling:

Peel, core, and slice 4 baking apples.

Pile slices in middle of pie crust.

Sprinkle on:

1/4-1/2 cup sugar, depending on how sweet your apples are

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 Tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

Fold edges of pie crust up over edge of apple slices.

Brush crust with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until the apples are tender and the crust is brown.

Due to technical difficulties (I’m not back to speed yet on all of this after the surgery!), these photos were taken with my phone.

You can see how golden brown the crust gets when you use the egg wash. You can use a sprinkling of regular sugar, but I used a sanding sugar, which is a little coarser.

Oh wow. This smelled so good when it was baking, and it’s so beautiful. Add a little whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream – heaven! This could almost replace an apple pie on your Thanksgiving dessert table! It’s so easy to do, and it’s so delicious! Try this Apple Galette – you and your guests will LOVE it!

 

 

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Lucy’s Caramel Bars

Today’s recipe is for Lucy’s Caramel Bars – perfect for fall. This is Grandma’s recipe, written for one of her sisters, but came from the recipes of a different sister. Doesn’t surprise me a bit. Grandma and her sisters shared and exchanged recipes all the time. I have several recipes where I have the same recipe written by each sister – in her own handwriting! It’s so much fun to have them. Apparently they all had similar food likes. I wonder if Lucy was someone they knew, or just the name of the recipe. I guess we’ll never know. These bars are caramely and nutty and absolutely delicious!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Lucy’s Caramel Bars

Mix together:

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 cups oatmeal

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter

Save 1 cup mixture for topping.

Spread rest in 9″ x 13″ pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Heat in sauce pan until melted:

1 14 ounce package of Kraft Caramels (they come in 11 ounce packages now, so I bought two and used my scale to measure out 14 ounces)

9 Tablespoons cream (grandma noted that she used half-n-half, but I used 2% milk and it was fine)

Let it cool a bit.

Add:

1 cup nuts, chopped (I used pecans)

1 teaspoon vanilla

Spread over top of baked crust.

Sprinkle on reserved 1 cup of crust crumbs.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes more or until browned.

After you have the crust in the pan and baked, it’s time for the luscious caramel sauce. Pour it on!

Top the caramel with the topping mixture and into the oven it goes.

I love caramel anything, and these bars are a great way to get your caramel fix.

Try these delicious, caramely, nutty bars. They’re great for afternoon coffee, snack time, or to bring to your next fall gathering. Everyone is going to love these Lucy’s Caramel Bars!

 

 

 

 

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Halloween Bundt Cake

Today’s post is for a Halloween Bundt Cake as I continue my quest to make a year of Bundt Cake using the same recipe and changing it up for each holiday. If you follow this blog with any regularity, you might have noticed that I’ve been MIA for the last 6 weeks. Well, I ended up in the ER one night at 2:00 am and after spending a week in the hospital with a bit of complication from pancreatitis and gall stones, had gall bladder removal surgery. Recovery has been long and tough (in my opinion), but I’m on the mend and hope to be back to posting with some regularity again soon. About a week ago I realized that Halloween was coming up and that I had to get a Bundt Cake done to continue the year. It was a challenge, to say the least. She wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, but I did the best I could under the circumstances. This post will be a bit brief (because this is still exhausting to me right now), but I still think it’s a good idea.

 

I just love this recipe.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Halloween Bundt Cake

Mix all together:

4 eggs

1 cake mix (I used Devil’s Food for this one – it IS Halloween, after all!)

1 small box instant pudding (I used chocolate for this one)

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup oil (I used canola)

Put batter into well buttered bundt pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

Cool in pan 25 minutes.

Turn cake out onto rack to cool completely.

Vanilla Glaze:

2 cups powdered sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

3 Tablespoons milk, or more to get the consistency you want

Spoon or pipe over top of cake.

Top with sprinkles or colored sugar before glaze dries.

I drizzled this cake with a Vanilla Glaze, and I colored half of it with green, the other half I left white. Full disclosure – I had to make the glaze thinner than I usually do because I was too weak to mix it when it was thicker. Ugh. This surgery has really put a damper on things for the holiday season. I sure hope I can get some stamina and strength back before long. Next, I put sprinkles on top, and that in itself was a beautiful cake. It would have been festive if I left it just like that.

What I had in mind was more like the malts or shakes that you see all over the internet now, where it’s totally loaded with all kinds of goodies. So I put treats on top. Lots of treats. I stuck toothpicks into the bottom of the candies and poked them right into the top of the cake. There were a few suckers that I stuck right in there.

There is a fine line between putting the treats on and putting TOO MANY treats on. Too many and they start to tip over – the cake is only so dense. It looks very festive and would be fun to do for a Halloween party, or to send to a college student, or just to celebrate the holiday. Have a Happy Halloween, everybody, and try this recipe for Halloween Bundt Cake – see how much fun you can have decorating it for Halloween and each and every special occasion!

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Butterscotch Cookies

The recipe for today is for Butter Scotch Cookies and comes from one of Grandma’s sisters. This is a nice recipe that you can have ready in your freezer, and whenever you need a little treat or company stops by, all you have to do is cut the frozen cookies and bake! I love that! This is a photo is of Grandma and Grandpa (on the left) with this particular sister and her husband. They might not be married at this point – they might have still been dating. I can see the sisters using a recipe like this when visiting back and forth – which they did a lot both back then and throughout their lives.

They look awfully young in this photo, and pretty dressed up. Maybe this was on a Sunday afternoon and the boys had come to call. I bet they were offered some kind of sweet treat with afternoon coffee to let them know that these girls could BAKE! These boys knew what they were doing – they knew these girls were “keepers”!

This is a great make-ahead recipe!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Butter Scotch Cookies

Mix all together:

1 scant cup butter (I used a whole cup)

2 cups brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 cups flour

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)

Form in roll and bake the next morning (I formed two rolls so I could put one into the freezer for another time).

There wasn’t a time and temperature on this one, so I baked the cookies at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

I love that I can use my mixer. The sisters didn’t have this to use back in the day.

I tried to make two even rolls.

I wrapped each roll in parchment paper and then wrapped them in plastic wrap. Into the refrigerator overnight.

It’s very easy to cut the cookies. I tried to keep them sliced evenly – about 1/4″ thick. The other roll of dough went into the freezer for another day.

You can see before and after baking – easy peasy! I did add a little sparkle by sprinkling some coarse sanding sugar on top of the cookies.

They’re so pretty, and just in time for afternoon coffee.

This recipe is right up Grandma’s alley – easy and delicious! While they WERE delicious, we didn’t necessarily get a butterscotch flavor from them, other than being made with just brown sugar. Being able to make them ahead and have them ready to go in the freezer is always a good thing. It’s just so handy! Have a few batches of these easy to bake Butter Scotch Cookies ready to go for your fall entertaining and your guests will be glad you did!

 

 

 

 

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The Easiest S’mores Pie Ever!

The other day I was thinking about how “s’mores crazy” everyone is these days, and I came up with this recipe for The Easiest S’mores Pie Ever! This recipe would be right up Grandma’s alley – if she liked s’mores – and I have no doubt that she would. It is seriously, ridiculously easy! I’m sure that someone has thought of this already, but I really like how easy this is. This is the last weekend (not technically, but school starts here on Tuesday) of summer, and we should really just keep on acting like it still IS summer until the leaves are falling off the trees. We get cold weather soon enough here in Minnesota, and we like to enjoy summer for as long as we possibly can. I say we make this last weekend a doozy and go crazy with this S’mores Pie! It’s so easy, you still have time to make this before and/or during the weekend.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

S’mores Pie

Mix together:

1 box of instant chocolate pudding

1 1/2 cups milk

Spread pudding on:

1 store-bought (gasp!) graham cracker pie crust – yes, you can use a store-bought crust only because it’s easier, but you can make your own and here is a great recipe for one!

Top with:

mini-marshmallows – as many as you can fit on top of the pie in a single layer

Put pie under broiler to brown marshmallows, or use a torch to do it.

Serve when the marshmallows are warm – you can wait, but the marshmallows cut easier while they’re warm.

Done.

I had graham crackers in the house so I just made one using this recipe instead of running to the store to buy one. I said this was the easiest, so just do whichever is easiest for you.

Next, in goes the pudding. So easy. You can also make the pudding from scratch, if you feel so inclined. This is a great recipe. It makes double what you need for a pie, so cut the recipe in half and use only 1 1/2 cups of milk to make the pudding.

Now put on the layer of marshmallows. Incredibly easy. Technically, you could also make these from scratch using this recipe. That would be delicious, but more time consuming and not as easy.

Into the oven and the broiler to brown the tops of the marshmallows. Ridiculously easy. If you have one of those fancy, schmancy kitchen torches, you could use that, but I think the oven is easier.

There you have it. Wow – this pie is so easy and SO GOOD!!! That bite of browned marshmallow with the chocolate and graham cracker – oh my – it is just too much! I think that if you have a store-bought crust, the total time to make this pie would be approximately 10 minutes. It took me a bit longer since I made the crust from scratch, I feel that a homemade graham cracker crust is just as easy and so much tastier. I think this is a delicious way to extend summer just a little bit longer. Make The Easiest S’mores Pie Ever and have a doozy of a weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

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Baked Alaska

Today’s recipe for Baked Alaska is very impressive, very easy to do, and VERY delicious! There are many thoughts on where it started, but most people agree that it was first made to commemorate the new state of Alaska. I first tried this in high school, and couldn’t believe how easy and fun it was to do. I had a group of friends who didn’t go to prom our senior year – I had them all over for dinner and made them a roast chicken with Baked Alaska for dessert instead.

Who knew that this little 3-year-old would grow up and teach herself things like how to make this fantastic dessert?!! I love my little shoes in this picture – always with the white anklets.

This photo was taken at Grandma and Grandpa’s farm, and until looking closer at it, I never knew that they had such beautiful wallpaper back then! Love it!

It’s hard to believe, but this incredibly impressive dessert is so incredibly easy to do. You can even make most of it ahead of time, even though it is a dessert that needs to be made at the last minute. Let’s get started and you’ll see. I know you’re going to want to try this!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Baked Alaska

You will need:

1 layer of a layer cake (I used one that was left from another recipe)

1 half-gallon of ice cream (I know they’re not quite a full half-gallon anymore – just use as much as you want)

6-8 egg whites

1/2-1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Use a cake mix and bake using layer cake pans (you can also use a layer cake sized brownie for the bottom layer, or bake your cake layers from scratch).

Cool the cake so it’s ready to go, or you can freeze the cake layers for later use.

Find a bowl about the size of your cake layer and line it with plastic wrap.

Soften ice cream for 10 minutes or so and spoon the softened ice cream into the bowl lined with plastic wrap and smooth the top so it’s level (I used a regular (half gallon) sized container of ice cream – you can use more if you want to, but then add a couple of egg whites so you have enough to cover the whole thing).

Cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap.

Put it back into the freezer.

When you’re ready to serve, make the meringue and then the rest is just all about assembly:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Thaw the cake layer (if frozen) or just put the cake layer onto an oven safe plate.

Make your meringue:

Beat until frothy:

6-8 egg whites

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Add gradually:

1/2-1 cup sugar (I used 1 cup and it was “plenty sweet”)

1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat until stiff peaks form.

Set aside.

Put bowl of hardened ice cream upside down on top of cake layer, putting a warm cloth on top of bowl if necessary to unmold.

Pull plastic wrap off of top of ice cream.

Now frost the top of ice cream AND cake with the meringue, making sure to cover everything and touch the meringue to the plate so that all the cake is covered (that’s how it stays insulated and the ice cream doesn’t melt).

Use your spatula to make peaks all over the “igloo”.

Put plate in oven for 3-5 minutes, watching closely so the peaks don’t get too dark.

Serve immediately, or let sit 10 minutes so the ice cream can soften slightly.

Here is the ice cream all ready to go back into the freezer.

It’s a good idea to have your egg whites at room temperature before whipping – they get fluffier.

When it’s time to assemble, put the cake onto an oven proof plate. Next – on goes the ice cream dome. Peel off the plastic wrap and don’t forget to center the ice cream on the cake. It doesn’t matter what the ice cream looks like because it’s going to be covered in the beautiful, billowy meringue.

Now it’s time to put on the meringue. Make sure you make pretty peaks all over the “igloo” before putting it into the oven.

Oh. My. Goodness. My family felt like it was a special occasion – and it wasn’t – just a Sunday night dinner (special enough for us parents!). Just look how beautiful it is!

I wish I would have warmed the knife in a glass of warm water before cutting so it would have been a smoother cut, but really, who cares? This IS a special cake for a special occasion. Just don’t tell anyone how easy it is to do! The cake is the perfect platform for the cold ice cream topped with the amazing, creamy, warm meringue. While this dessert incorporated white cake with caramel swirl ice cream, the possibilities are endless for the cake/ice cream combinations to try: chocolate cake with mint chocolate chip ice cream, white cake with strawberry ice cream, white cake with strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla ice cream, or even holiday combinations! It’s fun to see the different layers. Try Baked Alaska – it’s really so easy to do, and your friends and family will be VERY impressed!

 

 

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Lem-O-Nut Bars

Lem-O-Nut Bars is a weird name, I know, and this recipe looks like one of the really old ones as you can see by the fountain pen used to write it out. This one comes from one of Grandma’s sisters, and it’s so delicious, I could hardly believe it. It has all the usual and simple ingredients, but they come out so good and chewy, you can really taste the bit of lemon and lemon rind in them.

lem-o-nut-bars

lem-o-nut-bars-2

These are so good!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Lem-O-Nut Bars

Mix:

2 cups flour, sifted

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

Press into bottom of a greased 9″ x 13″ cake pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Mix:

3 eggs, beaten

2 cups packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

Stir in:

1 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

Spread over crust.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Top will be lightly browned.

Cut into bars when cool.

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The bottom crust partially bakes first.

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Then on goes the topping.

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It doesn’t look like much when it’s done, but man are these good!

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These are thin, but packed with flavor.

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Here is another treat just perfect for afternoon coffee or tea. Lem-O-Nut Bars are tasty and very quick and easy to make. Yes. Just perfect.

 

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