Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

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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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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Sugar Cookies #2

I’ve made several kinds of sugar cookies for Plenty Sweet Life, and these Sugar Cookies #2 are just one more in the long line of them. You can find the recipes here for Sugar Cookies, Brown Sugar Cookies, White Cookies, Orange Sugar Cookies, Rolled Butter Cookies That Never Stick, No-Roll Sugar Cookies, and Aunt Julie’s Summer Cookies. This list includes both the cut-out kind of sugar cookies and the kind that start by being rolled in a ball. Let me just say that I think you should try them ALL! All of them are really good and melt in your mouth. This is another recipe from the tiny book I found at my sister’s house. I’m so glad we found that book – it has been full of really good recipes.

These cookies hold their shape well.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Sugar Cookies #2

Cream together:

1 cup shortening – part butter (I used all butter)

1 1/2 cup sugar

Add in order:

2 eggs

3 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup milk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Roll out on floured surface and cut out shapes with cookie cutter.

Sprinkle with colored sugar or bake plain and frost with icing.

Bake at 425 degrees for 5-9 minutes.

It’s a little hard to see here, but the dough was very soft. It didn’t say in the recipe to put it in the refrigerator to chill, but I did wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in there. Actually, full disclosure, I was interrupted and had to leave the dough in there for a few days. It seemed just fine.

I usually have to roll out cookies on my kitchen table, which inevitably ends up with flour getting through the crack in the middle of the table and ending up on the floor. Oh well, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do!

These cookies hold their shape very well when cut. On this batch, I used sanding sugar because they weren’t necessarily for a holiday – just for fun.

Grandma never liked her cookies to get too brown, but I happen to like the flavor of them just a little brown on the edges.

This is a really good recipe. The cookies are not really soft, they’re more like a sweet cracker – firm instead of soft. I may try this recipe at Christmastime when I make my cut-outs. These Sugar Cookies #2 are delicious – you’re going to love them!

 

 

 

 

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4th of July Soda Cracker Bars

I wanted to try to use a recipe I posted a couple of years ago to make some festive 4th of July Soda Cracker Bars. Grandma’s recipe for Soda Cracker Bars is so incredibly delicious and addictive – I thought, why not try to make them red, white, and blue? Well, this was a mistake. Not a total mistake as much as that I made a mistake. I just assumed I could make the same bars, but use white chocolate chips instead of regular chocolate chips. Nope. I’ll elaborate as we go along.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Soda Cracker Bars

Butter a jelly roll pan and layer on:

soda crackers (about 1 1/2 sleeves of crackers)

Cut or break crackers to fill pan.

Combine in saucepan:

3/4 cup butter

1 cup brown sugar

Boil 2 minutes.

Spread hot caramel over soda crackers.

Bake in 325 degree oven for 5 minutes or until bubbly.

Put on top of hot caramel:

2 cup white chocolate chips, melted in microwave according to instructions on package

Carefully spread the white chocolate on top of the caramel.

Top with sprinkles.

Cut while warm.

Put in refrigerator to cool and firm up.

I used a sharp knife to cut through the soda crackers and make them fit the whole pan.

Here is the caramel on top of the crackers, and the white chocolate chips sprinkled on top of that.

So far, so good, right? No. DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT do it this way. I guess when there’s a specific way to melt the white chocolate chips on the package, you should take it seriously. You can see that the chips are shiny, which means they’re melting when you use regular chocolate chips. Not so with the white ones. They never did melt enough to spread.

In fact, I could actually scrape them off the caramel. Which I did after trying to put the pan back into the oven in case the pan had cooled off too much for some reason, and wasn’t hot enough to melt the white chocolate chips. That wasn’t it, either.

All that did was ruin the caramel, too. I scraped off the white chocolate chips, but we kept the caramel-coated soda crackers to snack on anyway. They’re still tasty, just not very festive.

Ok – let’s just start over. Here we are at the point where the caramel is on top of the soda crackers. After baking for 5 minutes, it does get bubbly.

Here’s the trick – melt the white chocolate chips in the microwave or double boiler and THEN pour it on top of the bubbly caramel on the soda crackers. I melted them in the microwave while the crackers were in the oven to get the caramel bubbly. Then I let them sit in the warm bowl for a few minutes after the pan came out of the oven. There are people on Pinterest making these bars and not having a problem with the chips melting. I had a problem, so I decided to melt the chips separately. I hope this all makes sense at this point. It really is a very easy recipe!

Spread the melted white chocolate chips over top and then sprinkle with jimmies, sprinkles, or colored sugar. You could also use red, white, and blue M&Ms or other candies – anything that would be yummy and festive.

I did cut some of them while they were still warm, and it was easier to break them apart in squares. I didn’t cut the other half – I just left them as is and broke them apart after cooling. Some of it still broke into squares and some of it broke like almond bark would break.

I think that in the end, after making these twice, they turned out to be VERY festive and colorful. They’re cute – and very addictive. It’s that sweet and salty thing. Just don’t forget that white chocolate chips don’t melt as easily as regular chocolate chips, and you’ll be fine. Make a batch (or two) of these 4th of July Soda Cracker Bars and you’ll have your guests totally addicted!

 

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Coconut Cookies

The recipe for Coconut Cookies is from one of Grandma’s old church cookbooks. I was perusing those old books one day, and this one struck me. I must have been in the mood for coconut. And cookies. These cookies fit the bill, even if they are a bit decadent. They’re crunchy, they’re crispy, they’re full of coconut, and we know that since the recipe came from an old church cookbook – it’s a GOOD ONE!! Give this recipe a try and just see if I’m wrong. I don’t think so.

For some reason, I felt like sharing a goofy photo today. This one is REALLY goofy. I know that when Gramp got a new camera, he took a lot of practice pics, and this is one of them. Just little ole’ me. Standing on the ottoman. Holding a doll. In front of my face. Ha. He must have been desperate for practice shots.

Again with the bangs cut up to the top of my head! Why?!!! Ha! So funny! Love my shoes, by the way.

Ok – back to the cookies.

I really like these cookies – but then, I really like coconut.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Coconut Cookies

Mix all together:

1 cup butter

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

4 cups oatmeal

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

Roll in small balls and flatten with hand.

Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

I’m grateful for my mixer every time I make something, especially when recipes like this just have you mix everything together!

I used my scoop to make the balls, and at first I tried flattening them with my hands like the recipe suggested, but in the end I used a glass to flatten the balls. It was seemed to work better, and then you also get a little sugary crust on top of the cookie.

Oh wow – golden and crispy and delicious!

As my husband is so fond of saying, “a handful of these and a big glass of milk” – heaven!

This cookie is something a little different because it’s full of coconut instead of the usual chocolate chips or raisins. Another recipe that’s very easy and very delicious! They’re another great treat to have for a snack, or your afternoon coffee or tea (they go GREAT with coffee)! I think you’ll like these Coconut Cookies – they’re “plenty sweet”!

 

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Sugar Cookies

This recipe for Sugar Cookies comes from another one of Grandma’s old church cookbooks. You remember those old church cookbooks – where all the church ladies send in their very best and favorite recipe?!! Well, this is the kind of recipe that this one is – someone’s very best and favorite! I have made several kinds of sugar cookies here on Plenty Sweet Life: Brown Sugar Cookies, White Cookies, Orange Sugar Cookies, and No Roll Sugar Cookies. They’ve all been just a little bit different, but all have been heavenly. Sugar Cookies appeal to everyone, and this recipe is particularly melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

Another perk – this recipe is incredibly easy!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Sugar Cookies

Mix in order given:

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

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Roll in balls and press with glass dipped in sugar.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

This batch of cookies was for a friend, so I made them a cheery pink and green.

I rolled the dough into balls and then rolled the balls into the colored sugar. The first sheet of cookies was just baked as is – I forgot to flatten them. The second sheet of cookies were flattened with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar (I used my greasy hand to rub the bottom of the glass so the sugar sticks to it better).

You can see the difference here. The cookies on the left were flattened with the glass, and the cookies on the right were just baked as a ball. You can do it either way.

I ended up with these beautiful, delicious, and same-sized cookies. These really melt in your mouth – they are absolutely delightful! You have to try this great recipe for Sugar Cookies – maybe even share them with a friend!

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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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