Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Ginger Cookies #4

Ginger Cookies #4? Yes! That’s how many different recipes for Ginger Cookies I have on the blog! You can check them all out: Ginger Cookies, Ginger Cookies #2, and Ginger Cookies #3. We liked ginger cookies in our family, in fact we liked cookies of any kind. My dad was a huge outdoors guy and a hunter, and every fall he needed food and snacks to go out hunting. We would make cookies, bars, cakes, sandwiches, snacks, and anything else we could think of to send with him so he wouldn’t be hungry. You can’t be distracted by a growling stomach when you’re hunting! That just wouldn’t be right – you might scare the away the ducks or geese or deer or whatever you’re hunting for that particular weekend. You need plenty of food with you to keep you fueled up and ready to hunt. If he stayed overnight, say for deer hunting with a couple of good friends, there were always pictures of the food they made. Is that a dude thing? Is it because they just didn’t cook enough at home back then? I don’t know, but I always thought that was so funny. We’d be ready to look at the hunting photos and there would be a nice picture of their breakfast cooking away on the camp stove, perfectly arranged bacon and eggs with a nice pot of steaming hot coffee alongside (so we knew they could, indeed, do it). Ah – the smell of bacon, eggs, and coffee in the outdoor air. Maybe that’s why they took the pics of the food – it’s not only a great visual, it’s a great memory of those delicious breakfasts spent in the outdoors with friends, enjoying the breakfast, nature’s beautiful fall leaves and scenery, and each other’s company. Ok. I get it now.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Ginger Cookies

Mix in order given:

1 cup shortening (I used butter)

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

6 Tablespoons molasses

3 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cloves

Roll in balls and press out with a spoon dipped in water.

Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

I really don’t understand this “press out with a spoon dipped in water” thing, so I decided to try a few different options. When you make peanut butter cookies, you use a fork and criss cross the marks on the cookie, so I tried that. Next I seriously tried the spoon dipped in water. For the third try, I rolled the ball of dough and rolled it in sugar like I always do when I make Gingersnaps.

Here’s what happened after baking. I went with the usual – roll the dough into a ball and then roll the ball in sugar. I like that. It looks more traditional.

I used my trusty scoop to make these balls.

See how pretty?!!!

Like most spice cookies, these were better the next day. There’s something about those spices melding and letting the flavor go all the way through that dough. It’s HARD, I know, but just wait a day – they really are better! It might be fun to have a taste test and try all of the Ginger Cookies that I’ve shared on the blog, but especially try these Ginger Cookies #4 – they’re delicious!

 

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Sour Cream Drop Cookies

Today’s recipe for Sour Cream Drop Cookies comes from one of Grandma’s old church cookbooks, and you know how I feel about those cookbooks. I love them. You KNOW those recipes are all great. They’re the best of the best. This recipe has two check marks on it, so I don’t know if that means she had tried it already, or if it was checked so she’d remember to try it one day. I don’t care. It’s another good one – perfect for an after-school snack or afternoon coffee.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Sour Cream Drop Cookies

Cream until fluffy:

1/2 cup soft butter

1 cup brown sugar

Add:

1 egg

Beat well.

Add:

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup sour cream (I used light sour cream – you know, to make them healthier – ha!)

Sift together:

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Stir into the first mixture.

Add:

1 cup uncooked rolled oats

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

1/2 cup raisins

Drop onto baking sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

See? These cookies are so good for you! Look at all the healthy goodies that are in them!

The recipe says it makes 2 1/2 dozen. This has to be a first – I got more than the recipe says. I used my trusty scoop and got 3 dozen plus 1 cookie.

The cookies are tender and delicious. Did I mention that they’re good for you? With all the healthy goodies inside? Maybe I did.

I know I said that they’re perfect for an after-school snack or afternoon coffee, but did I mention that they’re healthy? I think I did.

Now, because these cookies are so chock full of oats and nuts and raisins, I think we can clearly conclude that they are, indeed, good for you. Really. How can they not be? Look at all the healthy ingredients! They’re soft and tender and a really great cookie. Not to mention delicious. And healthy. Ok, ok, I’ll let it go. But try these Sour Cream Drop Cookies and see if you don’t agree that they’re a pretty healthy cookie!

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Sugar Cookies #4 and Patriotic Ice Cream Sandwiches

Today’s recipe for Sugar Cookies #4 is going to serve two purposes (yes – this is the 4th recipe for plain sugar cookies I’ve done on this blog). One – they’re just downright delicious as a cookie. Two – we’re going to make ice cream sandwiches out of them! Yes! You heard me. Even better – since the holiday is coming up – we’re going to make them festive for the 4th of July!

The 4th of July was always a big deal for my family. Grandma and Grandpa’s church always had a “Homecoming” on the 4th of July, where people who had grown up in that small town (technically my mom’s hometown) would come home for a good old-fashioned small town 4th celebration. There would be a big lunch at the church and park in town, where the church would furnish the fried chicken or some other delicious main dish along with the rest of the meal, and the church ladies would all bring their Ost Kaka and pies for dessert. Then in the afternoon there would be a program of some kind: singing, bands, or readings. My mom, dad, sister and I lived on a lake when I was growing up and in the small town not far from our lake (technically where my dad grew up) there was a parade every 4th of July. We would either go to my mom’s small hometown or go to my dad’s small hometown near us for the first part of the day and then in the afternoon, we would have friends and family to our house to eat until we couldn’t eat anymore, swim until our ears were so full of water we couldn’t hear anymore, canoe until we would just swamp the canoe so we wouldn’t have to paddle anymore, boat until we ran out of gas and the motor wouldn’t go anymore, water ski until our legs were shaking and we couldn’t stand up on the skis anymore, and shoot off fireworks of some kind until we couldn’t stand the mosquitos anymore. It was so much fun and I have a lot of great memories from both kinds of celebrations from those years.

This is another recipe from the tiny book I found at my sister’s house.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Sugar Cookies #4

Mix in order given:

1 cup sugar

1 cup shortening, half butter (I used all butter)

4 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla (I put the vanilla in here with the more liquid ingredients, and I used 2 teaspoons to give it more vanilla flavor)

2 teaspoons baking powder

Flour to make a soft dough

Roll on floured board.

Bake in hot oven (I baked them at 375 degrees for 10-13 minutes).

The dough for this recipe rolls out nicely – and no need to chill it! I love that!

I decided to make them VERY festive. You can never be TOO festive. Right?

They’re a tender cookie after baking, and they’re delicious!

I used store-bought (gasp!) ice cream, but you can certainly make your own homemade ice cream if you want to.

I made all of these ice cream sandwiches, wrapped them, and put them right into the freezer to pull out on the 4th of July for a tasty treat.

These cookies are so easy to make, since there’s no dough chilling involved. You can just roll them right out and get it done. Make them as festive as you want to. Maybe try just sugar on top of them and fill them with strawberry ice cream, or chocolate ice cream, or mint ice cream. All of those would be right up my alley. I may have to make another batch of these Sugar Cookies #4 and try them all!

 

 

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Sugar Cookies #3

Today’s recipe is for Sugar Cookies #3. Yes – I have already made two different kinds of sugar cookies on this blog, and this is the 3rd. I have also made several different kinds of sugar cookies. This recipe is from the recipe book our family made for my sister years ago, and it came from my other grandma. Originally it came from a family friend who was a great cook and baker. My other grandma was also a great baker, and she loved baking for her family. This photo is of her parents – my great-grandparents. I think they were living in town at the time this photo was taken, but it looks like my great-grandpa kept his bib overalls on – even if it wasn’t on the farm!

They’re so cute! I love my great-grandma’s apron!

This recipe made 2 cookies short of 5 dozen (I used my scoop for this batch).

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Sugar Cookies #3

Cream together:

1 cup margarine or butter (I used butter)

1 cup vegetable oil

1 cup sugar

1 cup powdered sugar

Add:

2 eggs

1 Tablespoon vanilla

Mix together and add to first mixture:

4 cups plus 4 Tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Chill (I chilled this dough about 1 hour).

Roll in balls (I used my scoop because the dough seemed a little dry and didn’t hold together as well as I thought it would).

Bake at 325 degrees until edges are lightly browned (in my oven this took about 20 minutes).

The ingredients for these cookies are pretty simple and straightforward. It’s one of those recipe where you probably have all the ingredients in our kitchen at any given time. My scoop is for days when I’m feeling particularly lazy and just want to get the cookies done faster. Feel free to roll the dough into balls by hand if you want to.

I love how they look when using the scoop – almost like little roses.

Time for coffee?

These cookies are so tender and melt in your mouth! They’re absolutely delicious. I think you should try them with a scoop of Homemade Ice Cream, a glass of ice-cold Lemonade, or Curried Fruit Compote. However you decide to enjoy them, you’re gonna love these Sugar Cookies #3!

 

 

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Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies #2

Look at this recipe for Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies #2. I can’t believe it happened again! I’ve made this recipe before! Ugh! This makes two in a row! It was so exciting to find a recipe written in Grandma’s oldest sister’s handwriting – we don’t have a lot of them. After what happened in my last post where I made the same coffee cake twice, I thought I’d better check and see if I had made these before. It happened again!!! I DID make these before, but they were in another sister’s handwriting! Grandma and her sisters definitely shared recipes on a regular (if not daily) basis. Oh well, I had already made the cookies, so I’m putting the recipe on here again anyway. The last time I posted the recipe for Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies was 3 years ago.

As long as we’re talking about a recipe from Grandma’s oldest sister, I just had to share this photo of her with one of their aunts. Grandma’s sister is the baby.

She’s such a cutie! I love all of the white fabric and lace. I remember Grandma saying their mother made all of their clothes, so I’m sure she made this beautiful dress for her first-born daughter.

On to the recipe.

I’m glad I made these twice – they’re so delicious!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies #2

Cream together:

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup lard (I used all butter here)

Add:

2 cups sugar

Add one at a time:

2 eggs

Beat well after each is added.

Add:

3 squares melted chocolate

2 teaspoon vanilla

Blend.

Sift together:

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

Add to mixture.

Mix in:

3 cups oatmeal

1 cup nuts, chopped (I used walnuts)

Drop by spoonful on greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

I used my trusty scoop to make these and I got just over 4 dozen cookies out of this batch.

They’re so evenly sized and pretty!

I’m not sorry I made these a second time. They’re full of oats and chocolate and they’re delicious. This is another cookie perfect with afternoon coffee. Or tea. Or hot chocolate. Your family will love it when you try these very chocolatey Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies.

 

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Soft Oatmeal Cookies

The recipe for Soft Oatmeal Cookies that I’m sharing today comes from the tiny book I found at my sister’s house a couple of years ago. It’s a bit different from my usual oatmeal cookie recipe in that it has strong coffee as one of the ingredients. That’s so weird, but I love that. I’m thinking that some of these farm wives that Grandma knew would have coffee leftover after they had their friends over for afternoon coffee, and they would NOT want to just throw it away. They’d find a way to use it up. This was the generation that came through the Great Depression and we all know that they would use EVERYTHING and NEVER throw anything away, even coffee.

These really are delicious cookies!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Soft Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup shortening (I used butter)

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup strong coffee

2 cups flour

2 cups oatmeal

1 1/2 cup chopped dates or raisins (or some of each)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon baking soda

I did use my trusty scoop to get the cookies all the same size. Full disclosure – I was already halfway through the recipe when I went to get the regular oatmeal and there was only 1/2 cup left in the container. Ugh! That always happens to me! Well – I this was my first baking since feeling better, so I didn’t quite feel like a run to the store. I substituted the rest of the oatmeal needed with quick oatmeal and added an extra 1/2 cup of flour. They didn’t spread like regular oatmeal cookies, but I don’t think they would have even if I had the right amount of regular oatmeal.

The batter is a bit soft, but the scoop worked just fine. They did stay in more of a ball shape and they were delicious.

These cookies are soft, moist, spicy, and delicious!

Try these tasty cookies with the weird ingredient. Even though they have coffee in the dough, they were perfect as an afternoon snack with a cup of Russian Tea. Make a batch of these Soft Oatmeal Cookies and enjoy an afternoon coffee with your friends!

 

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Meringues

I found this recipe for Brown Sugar Meringues just this year in an old Christmas cookbook called Cooking For Christmas. I was looking for some treats to make that I could have (since I am STILL dealing with pancreatitis) that didn’t have much fat. I was looking through this cookbook and found this one that was just egg whites and sugar. No fat. These were amazing! They’re delicious and pretty and I thought, hey, why can’t I make these all year round? You can decorate them according to the season, and add all kinds of other goodies like dried fruit or nuts. So I sprinkled on some red sugar and a few pearl sugar balls and there you go – a special treat for Valentine’s Day!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Brown Sugar Meringues

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Put into a medium bowl:

4 egg whites

Beat until soft peaks form.

Gradually beat in:

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

Beat until stiff and glossy.

Spoon mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip.

Pipe onto lined baking sheets (you can also just use a spoon to form mounds of the mixture).

Bake at 250 degrees for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until meringues are firm and dry.

Carefully peel off paper and store at room temperature up to 2 weeks.

(The recipe above has the added goodness of making a sandwich of the cookies with whipped cream – I didn’t do that here, but you would need to serve immediately if wanting to serve them this way.)

I have shared a lot of photos in this post, but I wanted to sort of show the progression of the egg whites. The first one is just getting started. The second one is my interpretation of the soft peaks.

Next the sugar is added a little at a time. Last is my interpretation of stiff and glossy. These maybe could have been a bit stiffer.

My piping bags are on the small side, so I had to add more of the mixture 3 times. You can also just use a spoon to make mounds of the mixture.

Now is the time to decorate, if you want to.

Here they are, out of the oven after 1 1/2 hours. I had the Christmas ones in the oven for 2 hours, but I don’t think it was necessary. You’ll have to see how your oven works and if they’re dry and ready the way you want them, go ahead and take them out.

They are so pretty!

These would make a special treat for any time of year. How about these for a nice hostess gift? You could even add a little drizzle of chocolate for an even more special gift for your valentine. These are definitely NOT hard to make and they’re delicious! Try these Brown Sugar Meringues next time you need a special treat!

 

 

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Ginger Cookies #3

It’s a cold and snowy day here in Minnesota, which means it’s a perfect day to make Ginger Cookies #3. This is another recipe from the tiny book I found at my sister’s house, and #3 in the line of ginger cookies made for Plenty Sweet Life. There’s nothing better than coming in from playing in the snow (no matter what your age), having the scent of those spices hit your nose as you come into the warm and cozy house from the cold outdoors, and having a lovely ginger cookie with your cup of hot chocolate. There is something very comforting about that. Growing up in this state of snow and ice, you learn to love all outdoor activities available in the winter: skating, skiing, sledding, snowshoeing, and many others. My sister and I could never get enough of that cold weather fun when we were kids. It’s time to bring that back and start enjoying the cold weather fun again!

Note that there isn’t any baking temperature or time for these.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Ginger Cookies #3

Combine:

3/4 cup Crisco (I used butter)

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup molasses

1 egg

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons each of cinnamon, ginger, and cloves

Chill one hour.

Roll into balls, roll in sugar and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes (this is what worked for my oven).

I used my trusty scoop to make these (even though chilling the dough for an hour made the dough hard to scoop), roll them into balls, and into a bowl of sugar.

That sugar gives them a sugary crust after baking.

This is a very spicy cookie with great flavor – perfect for your afternoon coffee.

These cookies stayed the shape of a nice little tea cookie, they didn’t get a good crackle like some of the other ginger cookies have, but they are delicious without the crackle. Make a batch of these and then head out to play in the snow! You’ll have these beautiful little Ginger Cookies #3 waiting for you when you come back into your warm and cozy house.

 

 

 

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German Lebkuchen

This is a fairly new recipe for my family. Even though I am German on my other grandma’s side, I just started making this a few years ago. These German Lebkuchen have become one of my family’s favorites. They’re so amazingly spicy and delicious! The recipe comes from the old series of cookbooks that my mom has had for years called, Better Homes and Gardens Creative Cooking Library, and the book is “Birthdays and Family Celebrations”. As you can see by the notes I put on the recipe, we liked it!

german-lebkuchen

This is one of those recipes you can do early in the season because the cookies are tastier the longer they sit!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

German Lebkuchen

Beat:

1 egg

Add:

3/4 cup brown sugar

Beat until fluffy.

Stir in:

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup molasses

Sift together:

3 cups flour

1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon

1 1/4 teaspoons nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1/2 teaspoons allspice

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Add to creamed mixture and mix well.

Stir in:

1/2 cup mixed candied fruits and peels, diced (some of my family aren’t fond of the peels, so I just used red and green cherries this time)

1/2 cup slivered blanched almonds

Chill several hours or overnight.

Roll 1/4″ thick on floured surface.

Cut into 3 1/2″ x 2″ rectangles.

Bake on greased baking sheet at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes.

Cool slightly before removing from pan.

While warm, spread with lemon glaze.

Cool before storing.

Lemon Glaze:

Combine:

1 slightly beaten egg white

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar

Dash of salt

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This isn’t a very difficult recipe, it’s just hard to mix up because it’s such a stiff dough.

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Mix the sticky mixture into the dry mixture – it’s easier to mix and not so sticky. If you try to do it the other way around, the sticky part really sticks to the bowl and it’s VERY hard to mix. I figured out to put the sticky into the dry and it made all the difference – it’s so much easier to do it that way.

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I mixed the fruit and nuts into it at the same time as you mix the sticky and dry ingredients together. The dough is so stiff, it really gets hard to stir.

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I bring the dough together and then wrap it in plastic wrap to chill.

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I found it easiest to roll out the dough, cut it into rectangles with a pizza cutter, and then lift the cookies off of my counter with a spatula to get them onto the baking sheet.

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Put the glaze on when the cookies are still warm.

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I put the cookies onto the cooling rack and then spooned on the lemon glaze.

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There it is – the german part of our Christmas celebration!

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These cookies are so spicy and delicious with the lemon glaze on them, that I feel they are almost the quintessential Christmas cookie. Start early so they have time for the flavors to meld. They make the house smell so good – you’ll know it’s time for Christmas. Make these German Lebkuchen and get ready for the holiday!

 

 

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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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