Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

White Cookies

I’m not sure why the funny name for these cookies – why they called them White Cookies. Maybe it’s because this recipe comes from the tiny book at my sister’s house and there were at least 4 other sugar cookie recipes in there. Maybe they needed a different name for some of them. Who cares what the name is – these cookies are tremendously goo-ood. This recipe makes a smaller batch of beautiful, tasty, roll-out sugar cookies. This batch of went to some friends, and I couldn’t resist using my chicken cookie cutter! Something about chickens just makes me smile, and I hope they made my friends smile, too! I did roll these a bit thick, and I got 37 chickens out of them. I think you could count on getting anywhere from 3-4 dozen cookies from this batch, depending on how thick or thin you roll the dough.

It’s a very simple but very tasty recipe!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

White Cookies

Cream together:

1 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg

4 Tablespoons milk

Sift dry ingredients together:

2 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Roll out the dough, cut cookies, and bake.

Note that there are no time or temperature again.

I baked the cookies at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

It doesn’t say to chill the dough, so that may be why the cookies spread out a little bit.

First mix the wet (ish) ingredients, and then add the dry ingredients that have been sifted together.

Because the dough isn’t chilled, it is a bit of a soft dough. It does cut beautifully.

Here are the cut out chickens. You can put any colored sugar on these (or frost them, of course), but in this case, I liked the sparkle – and bit of a crunch – of plain sanding sugar.

You can see how they spread a little bit, but that sure doesn’t hurt the flavor.

Here are the beautiful little chickens!

These absolutely delicious, and are perfect with your afternoon coffee. Or evening coffee. Or weekend coffee. Or any coffee. Make a batch of these tasty White Cookies!

 

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Easter Bundt Cake

As promised – here is the Bundt Cake for Easter – or – the Easter Bundt Cake. On my quest this year to show how the Bundt Cake recipe can be so easily switched up for holidays (or personal preference), I’ve made one that’s perfect for an Easter dessert.

First, here is a typical Easter photo from when I was about 3 years old. You can see the brand new dress, white patent leather shoes with white anklets, and my purse. My dad used to tease me relentlessly about always having to have a “purse”. But it is essential to every girl’s Easter outfit – every little OR big girl. I was standing on the little wall that was between my other grandma and gramp’s house and the house where we lived in the upstairs apartment.

Obviously, we had beautiful weather on Easter Sunday that year, because I didn’t have on a sweater, jacket, or coat.

Ok – on to the Easter Bundt Cake. I do love that this is such an easy recipe and you can make it last-minute. Kids would love to help make this because decorating it is so much fun. You can – and MUST – make it very colorful and festive. Well, you don’t HAVE to. You CAN keep it simple. But where’s the fun in that?!!

I’m telling you – this recipe is so easily adaptable for each and every holiday or special occasion!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Bundt Cake

Mix together:

1 cake mix (I used lemon here)

1 instant pudding (I used lemon here)

4 eggs

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup oil (I used canola)

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

Let cool in pan 25 minutes.

Turn out onto cooling rack to cool completely.

Glaze:

Mix together:

2 cups powdered sugar

2 Tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Juice of half of a lemon, or enough to make glaze the consistency you want

Spoon or pipe glaze onto top of cake.

Decorate with sprinkles and/or colored sugar (do this before the glaze dries – it happens fast).

This particular bundt cake was made with a lemon cake mix and lemon instant pudding. I think a white cake mix with a vanilla or coconut instant pudding and 1/2 to 1 cup of coconut would also be tasty for this time of year.

I get all my decorations ready ahead of time and then make the glaze. The glaze dries quickly, so if you have everything ready, put on the glaze and then immediately decorate. You can use a spoon to drizzle on the glaze, but I used a disposable piping bag for drizzling.

I went with white glaze and pastel colored sprinkles for this one. The lemony glaze goes so well with the lemon cake and the lemon pudding in the cake.

Here’s the overhead view – can you tell what I put on top?

You got it! Bunnies! They’re so cute!

I put the bunnies on toothpicks and then stuck them into the top of the cake. If I had used a cake plate or pedestal, I might have had room to stick the bunnies into the glaze around the outside of the cake, but this cake is going with my husband to work, so it’s just on a paper plate and that doesn’t leave a lot of room on the outside. It makes more sense to put it on something that doesn’t have to get back home with my husband. All he has to bring back with him is the big container he’s taking the whole cake in.

People ask me all the time if we actually eat ALL the things I make for this blog. Oh yes – we do eat our fair share, but I do also try to share some of it with family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Everyone has to do their part and take some of it. Funny – nobody has seemed to mind too much. Yet. Get your kids involved and make an Easter Bundt Cake for your family or friends this year – it’ll be a lot of fun and they’ll love it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Orange Sugar Cookies

Spring is here. At least I think it is. The calendar says so. Ok – I’m going to go ahead and demand that spring is here, so it’s time to make another springtime recipe. The recipe for these Orange Sugar Cookies is perfect for spring. Speaking of spring, I had to share this photo of Grandma and my mom. It looks like my mom is about 1 year old (since her birthday is in the middle of March), and it looks like spring, because the snow is pretty slushy. They always took pictures outside before there was a reliable flash system on the cameras, and I think it’s funny that they took the photo right next to the gas tank. Ha!

My mom has the cutest little coat and hat on – maybe it was Easter Sunday. I love Grandma’s lovely hat, boots, and fur trimmed coat. Very stylish!

The recipe for today is for Orange Sugar Cookies, and comes from one of Grandma’s old church cookbooks. This isn’t a book from Grandma’s church, but it is a good one that she wrote notes in. I’ve said this many times, but I think these old church cookbooks are just the best for great recipes. They’re ALL good ones!

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These are the perfect little tea cookie.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Orange Sugar Cookies

Cream thoroughly:

3/4 cup shortening (I used butter)

3/4 cup sugar

Add:

1 egg

Sift together:

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Add to creamed mixture.

Add:

1 teaspoon vanilla

Grated rind of 1 large orange

Chill dough (I chilled it for about an hour).

Roll dough into small balls.

Roll balls in sugar.

Do not press down.

Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until golden.

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I absolutely LOVE old church cookbooks.

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It didn’t look like a lot of dough, but because you make them smaller, you still get a lot of cookies out of this batch.

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I didn’t use my scoop for these because they would have been too big.

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You can see the orange rind in there! You know they’re gonna be good!

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I thought they might spread out like regular sugar cookies or ginger snaps, but they stayed in these beautiful little round cookies.

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Oh my – they’re gorgeous!

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It’s amazing how much flavor is in that orange rind. These are delicious cookies, and I know I say this a lot, but these are one of my new favorites. They’re perfect for your afternoon coffee or tea, they’re perfect for spring or Easter or any occasion! You HAVE to try these Orange Sugar Cookies – you’ll love ’em!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Special Birthday Cake with Raspberry Buttercream

My middle child turns 30 in April. In lieu of big 30th birthday bashes, she and her circle of friends, most of whom turned 30 this year, all traveled to Costa Rica to celebrate their birthdays. Since her birthday was to be celebrated with us at home before she left on her trip, she requested a certain home cookin’ birthday dinner instead of going out for dinner, and when it came to what kind of cake she wanted? “Surprise me,” was all she said. Well, she should know better. I decided to make A Special Birthday Cake with Raspberry Buttercream because I know she likes lemon, and I know she likes raspberry. I made a white cake from a mix (yes – I know – she was also appalled that the cake was from a mix and not homemade, but it didn’t really matter in this case), used the recipe for Lemon Meringue Pie #2 for the filling, and then for the frosting I made a Raspberry Buttercream, which is a basic buttercream made with raspberry jam. It’s easy to do and it’s amazingly delicious.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Raspberry Buttercream

(I doubled this recipe because it didn’t seem to make a lot.)

Mix together:

1 cup butter, softened

3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 Tablespoon milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix until well combined.

Add:

1/3 cup raspberry jam

Mix well.

I used 9 inch cake pans for the layers, and I thought they got a bit thin, so I used 2 cake mixes and made 4 layers  – using 3 of them for this cake (saving one layer for a treat at another time). You can see the lemon filling, where I used the filling for Lemon Meringue Pie #2. Another plus – the lemon filling was made in the microwave. Easy. You can barely see it, but at the very top of the cake, I put a wooden skewer through from top to bottom to hold it together. I then put it in the refrigerator overnight. It chilled nicely and was good and solid to frost it the next day.

I put on a crumb coat of frosting first, filling in the sides of the layers where there were some gaps. Next – a nice layer of frosting covering everything. The skewer stayed in until I was ready for the final frosting coat, then I took it out.

My intention was to make this a Rose Cake, but this was a double batch of the frosting and I didn’t have quite enough to put roses on the whole cake. Instead of making ANOTHER batch of frosting,  I just put roses on the top.

I had to make a special little banner for the special birthday. To make the banner, I just cut out flags from pretty paper, used stickers to spell the words, put a spot of hot glue on the back and laid the string right on top of the glue. Then I just tied the string onto two wooden skewers.

When the birthday girl said, “surprise me”? I had to put on an extra little surprise of a baby picture – and she’s wearing a party hat! So cute! The baby picture was cut out, I glued on the party hat and embellishments, hot glued the whole photo onto a wooden toothpick, and that’s it!

Oh my. The lemon filling went perfectly with the raspberry in the frosting.

This was a special birthday cake for a special birthday and wow – was it tasty! Sometimes it works to mix and match recipes – depending on the occasion. Give this a try. This Special Birthday Cake with Raspberry Buttercream was easy to make and it was amazingly delicious. Happy Birthday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Carrot Bars

This recipe for Carrot Bars is another one that Grandma cut out of the newspaper, and like I’ve said before – it has to be a good one because she didn’t do that too often. These bars are very similar in flavor to Carrot Cake, and are going under the heading of Retro Oddities, if only because of the use of baby food carrots. I have to go on a bit of a rant here, and at the risk of sounding like an old fogey, let me just say that I don’t like the fact that all baby food is now packaged in plastic. I would rather still see the glass jars with a lid – which is WAAAAY easier to open than these foil tops you have to peel off. It took longer to get the top off of the baby food than it took to mix up the bars!! I digress. Using carrots sounds like a treat just right for springtime. Let’s try these slightly strange bars and see what happens.

Note the V Good connotation again on this one! I may have to try the Lemon Bars at a later date – it was cut off here but I do have the rest of that recipe!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Carrot Bars

Combine all ingredients:

1 1/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup oil (I used canola)

2 (4 1/2 oz.) jars strained carrot baby food (now the containers are 4 oz.)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)

Pour into greased 9″ x 13″ pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Frosting:

1 1/2 cup powdered sugar

3 oz. cream cheese (they used to have small packages of cream cheese this size, but now I just use the measurements on the side of the 8 oz. cream cheese to measure this out)

1/4 cup butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix together and spread on bars.

You can see in the above paragraph that I’m not a big fan of this kind of baby food container. It’s just silly. Ok. I’m done. Also – these come in 4 oz. containers now, not 4 1/2 oz., but it didn’t seem to make much difference.

You can just mix everything up together, but I did do the liquids together first and then added the sifted dry ingredients.

This recipe is so easy to do and is beautiful before AND after baking.

How can you go wrong with cream cheese frosting? Delicious.

The frosting looked like a pretty small batch, but it did cover the whole pan.

The smell of these bars baking really made me think of Grandma. It’s funny that it’s the smell of things that makes me the most nostalgic. Baking can bring me back to specific people and places in a heartbeat.

They are calling these “bars”, but they really taste like carrot cake, and while I do make Carrot Cake, bars are much more portable and easy to eat. These Carrot Bars are so mouth-watering and quick to make and delicious – perfect for springtime – or anytime!

 

 

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Cherry Chocolate Cake

This recipe is one I remember from when I was growing up in the 1970’s. I think we made this Cherry Chocolate Cake quite often and it was one of my favorites. The recipe was one that, like so many of these recipes that I’ve found, I thought was lost and gone forever. It’s been found in some recipes from one of Grandma’s sisters, and I’m so glad! Luckily, I found this recipe in time to make it for my mom’s birthday cake last week.

By the way – here is a photo of my mom the birthday girl when she was just a little “squirt” – as Grandpa used to say. She was such a cutie!

I just want to know how Grandma ever got those shoes on her! Look at those buckles!

Ok – on to the birthday cake!

After having a piece of this cake, I remember why it was one of my favorites.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Cherry Chocolate Cake

Mix together:

1 chocolate cake mix

1 can cherry pie filling

4 eggs

1/3 cup oil (I used canola oil)

Put into 9″ x 13″ pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Frosting:

1 package instant chocolate pudding

1 1/2 cup milk

Let sit a few minutes before spreading.

Refrigerate.

I used a different chocolate frosting recipe this time, because it was a birthday cake for my chocolate loving mom.

There are very few ingredients in this ridiculously easy recipe, but it sure is good!

You can see all the cherries from the pie filling in the batter.

Adding this more chocolatey frosting just adds more decadence to this cake.

You can see how moist this cake is – it’s just amazing because there are so few ingredients. You wouldn’t think the pie filling would make that much of a difference, but I guess it does. I’m glad this recipe was found – no matter how easy it is, it’s so good with all that cherry goodness in there! This makes a great birthday cake, but it makes a great cake for any occasion.

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St. Patrick’s Day Bundt Cake

I have decided to make this Bundt Cake for every holiday throughout this year – just to show you how easy it is to switch it up and make this cake holiday appropriate. Today we’re going to make a St. Patrick’s Day Bundt Cake. Because it’s so quick and easy, you can decorate to your heart’s content – depending on the holiday or special occasion.

bundt-cake

This is just so ridiculously easy.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Bundt Cake

Mix all together:

4 eggs

1 cake mix (I used a white cake mix for this one)

1 instant pudding (I used pistachio for this one)

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup oil (I used canola)

Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes.

Pour into buttered bundt pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

Cool in pan on a rack for 25 minutes.

Turn out onto cooling rack unto cool.

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Using a white cake mix and pistachio pudding makes this a pretty green color. Perfect for St. Patrick’s Day!

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Now this – is a thing of beauty.

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I think I’ve finally found the perfect way to bake and remove a bundt cake from the pan. Cooling 25 minutes in the pan after baking – perfect. I do have a non-stick pan, but I turned it over and it popped right out – no sticking!

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Now for the fun part – the decorating! I used the same Powdered Sugar Glaze with a disposable piping bag like the one I used on the Valentine’s Day Bundt Cake. If you don’t have disposable piping bags, you can use a zip top bag with a corner cut off. I use gel food coloring to tint the frosting and get a nice bright color. Remember to get the sprinkles on quick – the frosting dries fast!

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So pretty! Another festive and holiday appropriate treat!

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This is the perfect last-minute dessert for St. Patrick’s Day!

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This cake is delicious and so easy to make. Let’s see . . . what’s the next holiday? Check in a few weeks back for an Easter Bundt Cake!!

 

 

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Leprechaun Bark

Today we’re going to make another one of those recipes that can be tweaked for any holiday or anyone’s favorites. Leprechaun Bark is a fast and easy way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day or any other holiday. I’ve made Easter Bark and Halloween Bark, and I decided it’s time to celebrate spring with this green and very delightful treat. Why not celebrate absolutely EVERY holiday?!! There really isn’t too much of a recipe for this, you just melt chocolate or almond bark or candy melts and decorate like crazy. I think kids would really have fun with this, even though you may end up with sprinkles or candies all over your kitchen. Well, that can happen even when there aren’t any kids helping you make this.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Leprechaun Bark

Put a sheet of parchment paper onto the tray you want to use for making your bark.

Top the tray with pretzels, if desired.

Melt:

1 package dark chocolate chips

Pour over top of pretzels, or just onto the parchment paper.

Drizzle on:

1/2 package of white chocolate chips, melted

Sprinkle on:

Appropriate colored candies

Sprinkles

Chopped cookie bits (I used Oreo Mint Thins for this batch)

Nuts (I didn’t use any nuts on this batch)

Let cool (I put the pan into the refrigerator for about 10 minutes).

Break into pieces.

I like a bit of the sweet and salty thing, so I always add pretzels when I make bark. I’m not sure if you can tell what I did wrong here. I broke the number one rule of making bark. I forgot to put a sheet of parchment paper under the pretzels. In this case, I used a baking sheet that is almost non-stick, so it worked out all right, but please – DON’T FORGET TO USE PARCHMENT PAPER!! I had to put the baking sheet into the freezer so it got really hard and came off the sheet just fine. Whew.

I like a bit of mint, but not a lot, so I used thin mint cookies, green candies, green sugar, white jimmies, and crystal sugar (for some sparkle).

Before cooling the chocolate is glossy.  You can see a bit of a difference once it’s cooled.

So festive!

You can cut this into pieces if you want to, but when you use pretzels for the bottom, it breaks apart very easily.

Here it is – the perfect St. Patty’s snack.

Try making this very festive holiday treat! It’s so easy to do and fun to make. You’ll be hooked. I’m telling ya. You’ll want to make this for every holiday!

 

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Lemon Sherbet

We’re still doing lemon recipes with the lemons my daughter brought from California. Let’s just continue to let the sun shine in until spring actually comes. Well, maybe not that long, but at least for one more week.

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I was looking through some of Grandma’s old church cookbooks recently, and found recipes where she had written notes on them. There were some she had made: some good ones and some she marked as not so good. There were even some with check marks where she had written “try this one”. Some of them even had the year she made them. I love that we have her remarks on those recipes. It’s almost like still having her here to chat about them and tell us which ones to try and which ones to let well enough alone. Which ones to change or tweak just a bit, and maybe how to make them a bit better. It makes me not miss her quite so much.

I found the recipe for today in one of those old books, and even though it wasn’t in a cookbook from her church, it’s one of those great recipes you always find in those old church cookbooks. I still say everybody put their best recipes in there, so they’re always just the best ones! This recipe for Lemon Sherbet is no exception. Wow.

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Sherbet? Naw – this is more of an ice cream.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Lemon Sherbet

Beat until lemon colored:

2 eggs

Add gradually:

1/2 cup sugar

Beat until thick.

Add:

1/2 cup corn syrup

1 teaspoon lemon rind

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 cups top milk (I would say this is cream, or you could also use half-n-half or whole milk)

Mix well.

The recipe says to pour into a shallow refrigerator pan. When soft in the center only, beat quickly, and refreeze. I used our ice cream maker and it took about 30 minutes to freeze.

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Because this recipe uses raw eggs, I recommend using the freshest eggs you can find, or use pasteurized eggs. We didn’t have a problem with the raw eggs.

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Make sure you beat the eggs until lemon-colored.

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Add the sugar, and then squeeze those beautiful, bright lemons for the lemon juice. Don’t forget to take the rind off FIRST.

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Mix in the top milk. Haha! Now we know that this is a very old recipe. I used cream, but I’m sure you could use half-n-half or even whole milk.

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I put the mixture into our ice cream maker, and then I put the frozen mixture into a chilled container before putting into the freezer. Because this recipe includes corn syrup and eggs, it stayed easy to scoop, even after freezing for a few days. It didn’t get icy or crystallized at all.

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I wouldn’t call this sherbet. It really is ice cream. It’s so lemony and so creamy and so good and so EASY to make. You’re not going to believe this amazingly delicious ice cream. I recommend you make this right away. Now. You won’t be sorry!

 

 

 

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Lemon Dessert #2

The recipe for today is one of the most delicious recipes I’ve done to date. I’m so grateful to my daughter for hauling home the lemons and for her college roommate for letting her pick the lemons off of the tree in her backyard. Those lemons have definitely brightened up our winter.

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Today’s recipe for Lemon Dessert #2 is very similar to another Lemon Dessert I posted about a couple of years ago. But this one is better! I just have to say up front – that this dessert is the most delicious thing I’ve eaten in years! I’m not even kidding. I wouldn’t kid you about a thing like this. It is – and I don’t use this word often – AMAZING.  My family decided it was like eating baby angels. So ridiculously “melt in your mouth” good. This dessert is a lot like a Pavlova, only it’s in a cake pan instead of on a baking sheet.

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Here is the recipe as I made it:

Lemon Dessert #2

Beat for 15 minutes:

8 egg whites

2 cups sugar

1/2 Tablespoon vinegar (I used white vinegar)

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Put into a 9″ x 13″ pan and bake at 275 degrees for 1 hour.

Turn oven off and let stand in oven for 20 minutes.

For filling:

Cook in a double boiler until thick:

8 egg yolks, beaten a little

1 cup sugar

Grated rind of 2 lemons (Grandma noted that she didn’t use this, but I did)

6 Tablespoons lemon juice

Cool both crust and filling.

Whip:

1 pint whipping cream (it doesn’t say to add any sugar to the whipped cream, but I added about 2 Tablespoons – it seemed weird to me to not have it sweetened just a bit)

Put about half of the whipped cream on top of the crust, then the lemon filling, then the rest of the whipped cream.

Sprinkle coconut on top of everything and refrigerate overnight.

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This is my double boiler – a glass bowl sitting on top of a pan of simmering water. Does anyone use double boilers anymore? This works just fine.

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Here are more of those beautiful lemons!

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There was so much meringue for the crust that it almost overflowed in the oven! I pushed it down a bit around the edges so I could get the other goodies on top.

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The filling doesn’t seem to get thick when you’re mixing it in the double boiler. I cooked this for about 20 minutes and finally just decided to take it off the heat. It did firm up and got thick as it cooled a bit.

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So beautiful – layer by layer.

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Not everyone in my family loves coconut. I do. Love it.

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Here it is – like eating baby angels. I’m not even kidding.

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You’re going to want to try this dessert. It takes some time to make, but it’s very easy to do. You’re going to have to trust me on this one and just do it. You’ll be glad you did and you’ll love having this recipe in your arsenal. It’s a very elegant and very delicious dessert – just ask the baby angels.

 

 

 

 

 

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