Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Three-Layer Chocolate Dessert

This recipe for Three-Layer Chocolate Dessert came from my mom (the chocoholic), who got it from someone she knew, who got it from one of those old church cookbooks from the look of it. There’s nothing better than those old cookbooks. If you follow this blog at all, you know how I feel about those old church cookbooks. They’re just the best, and I love them. August always seems to be hot and humid here in Minnesota, so what better to cool us off than a frozen dessert? And it’s not even ice cream!

Technically, this is a four-layer dessert – they left off the fact that you add an extra layer of Cool Whip on top of everything!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Three-Layer Chocolate Dessert

First Layer:

Mix like pastry:

1 cup flour

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup nuts, chopped (I used toasted, sliced almonds)

Press in 9″ x 13″ pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Cool.

Second Layer:

Beat well:

8 ounces cream cheese

1 cup powdered sugar

Fold in:

8 ounce container Cool Whip

Spread on the baked and cooled crust.

Third Layer:

Mix together:

2 packages instant chocolate pudding

1 3/4 cup milk

Spread over second layer.

Top with:

8 ounces Cool Whip

Sprinkle with:

1/2 cup nuts, chopped (I used toasted, sliced almonds for this also)

Freeze.

The first layer is the only time you have to turn on your oven for this one.

The second layer goes on pretty easily.

The third layer was thin, but if the second layer shows through, who’s gonna know?

This freezes pretty hard, and my daughter suggested running the knife under warm water first. Genius.

This is technically a four-layer dessert, so don’t forget to buy two 8 ounce containers of Cool Whip (or one 16 ounce size) for this one. Trust me, if you have to wait a day to get the second one, it’s going to turn out ok. Not that I know anything about that. Maybe. I was also thinking that this might be good with chopped Snickers or Heath bars on the top instead of chopped nuts. Hmm. I might have to try this again. Make this Three-Layer Chocolate Dessert and help your friends and family stay cool for the rest of the summer – not that this dessert will last that long!

 

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Dessert #6

Today’s recipe for Dessert #6 (there seems to be a LOT of dessert recipes in Grandma’s file – at least 6 just simple named “dessert”!) comes from Grandma’s youngest sister who got it from her daughter-in-law’s mother. I love that. That’s how these great recipes just keep getting passed around – because they’re GREAT! Actually, I have three different copies of this recipe: this one that’s Grandma’s, one that’s from another sister (who was exactly 2 years older than her), and one that’s from the above mentioned youngest sister. I guess they all liked it! The sisters definitely shared those recipes that were “V Good”, and that’s what this one is – V Good!

Note the “V Good” connotation again on this one!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Dessert #6

Mix together:

80 Ritz Crackers, crushed

1/2 cup melted margarine or butter (I used butter)

Save 3/4 cup for topping.

Put rest in bottom of 9″ x 13″ pan.

Mix together:

2 packages Butter Pecan Instant Pudding (I couldn’t find this – maybe they don’t make it anymore –  and Grandma’s recipe was the only one with this ingredient – I just used Vanilla Instant Pudding (that’s what the other 2 recipes called for) and added 1/4 cup toasted pecans)

2 1/2 cups milk

Stir in:

1 quart vanilla ice cream, softened

Pour on top of crust.

At this point I put the pan into the refrigerator for about 20 minutes to let the pudding/ice cream mixture firm up a bit.

Top with:

1-8 ounce container of Cool Whip

Reserved 3/4 cup Ritz Cracker mixture

Nuts or cherries can be added (I don’t know if she means in the pudding/ice cream mixture or on top).

I like how this recipe says the exact number of crackers to crush. Sometimes it’s hard to know how much of things to use when they keep changing the size of products so often.

It’s a simple crust – crackers and melted butter. Don’t forget to keep out the 3/4 cup for the topping!

Soften the ice cream and it will be easier to stir it into the pudding. I used a whisk at first, but then changed to a spatula once the ice cream started to melt in. It might be interesting to play around with different pudding flavors in this!

I had a few lumps of ice cream that just wouldn’t stir smooth, but in the end it didn’t seem to make much difference. It was smooth once it was chilled.

It was easier to spread the Cool Whip over the top after making dollops with a spoon and then spreading it. Be gentle – the pudding layer isn’t totally firmed up yet. Sprinkle the crumbs on top!

The recipe says you can add nuts and cherries, so I added a strawberry. That makes it a healthy dessert, right? This dessert is delicious just the way it is, and if you like it of a more soft consistency, serve it right away. I made this during a very hot week, and I put it into the freezer – it was nice and firm and nice and cold! It’s a great dessert to keep in your freezer for unexpected guests! If Grandma and her sisters say it’s “V Good” – it’s “V Good” – and you’ll love this Dessert #6, too!

 

 

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5 Frosty Desserts for Hot Summer Days

We need 5 Frosty Desserts for Hot Summer Days because we’re in it now – those glorious summer days of sunshine and heat. What’s better than a nice, frosty dessert when you’ve been at the beach all day, you’re visiting someone’s cabin, or you have a family gathering to go to? Here are 5 desserts that will keep you cool this summer!

Frozen Lemon Pie

Homemade Ice Cream and Root Beer Floats

Frozen Salad or Dessert

Dessert #2

Heath Bar Crunch Ice Cream

 

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Rhubarb Dessert

Today’s recipe for Rhubarb Dessert came from my mother-in-law. She got it out of one of HER old church cookbooks, and by the date on the recipe, she just tried this one a couple of years ago. That would just make her 91 years old and still trying new recipes (she’s 93 now)!

This photo is of my in-laws with the wonderful baby who would grow up to marry me!

My mother-in-law sure looks great so soon after having a baby – they were still in the hospital here.

She made a copy of the rhubarb recipe, gave it to my husband when he was down there visiting her one weekend, and told him to give it to me because it was so good! She had made this dessert and then brought some to a neighbor. Well, this is another one that I HAVE to try! Those little ladies who make the church cookbooks really know what they’re doing. It’s amazing how they keep on finding these recipes with a few simple ingredients that are absolutely delicious!

I have to say it – here’s another one of my new favorites!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Rhubarb Dessert

Spread in an 8″ x 12″ pan:

2 cup rhubarb, chopped (I would use 3-4 cups)

Mix together and spread over rhubarb:

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 heaping Tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix:

6 Tablespoons shortening or butter (I used butter)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup flour

Sprinkle mixture over rhubarb.

Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

I added an extra cup or so of rhubarb and I would put even more in next time. But then, I love rhubarb, and I don’t think you can ever have enough.

Use a gentle hand when spreading the second layer and it will cover it all.

I used my hands to bring the third layer together and then sprinkled it on top of everything.

This smells so amazing while baking – enjoy that.

This is another easy, simple to make, and ridiculously delicious recipe. Take advantage of the rhubarb (if you still have some) and make this tasty dessert that’s even more delicious with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream. You and your family are going to love this Rhubarb Dessert.

 

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Rhubarb Torte #2

I found this recipe for Rhubarb Torte on the back of another of Grandma’s recipes! Lucky I found it or we might have missed it! Of course, I had to rename it Rhubarb Torte #2 because there has already been a recipe for Rhubarb Torte on this blog. They are similar, but not quite the same. Rhubarb Torte made a 9″ x 13″ pan, and this one makes an 8″ x 8″ pan, and the ingredients are a little bit different. I have to say – and I know I say this A LOT, but this time I really mean it (again) – this is one of my new favorites. This dessert almost makes me forget how good it was when we were kids, to pick a stalk of rhubarb with the big “pop” that would almost make you fall backwards, and then to dip the rhubarb stalks into a cup of sugar and bite that tart and tangy rhubarb even though it was all about getting to lick and/or eat the sugar. I think I love this dessert even more than that. Yep. I’m pretty sure I do. This. Is. So. Good. It’s. Crazy.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Rhubarb Torte #2

For crust:

Mix:

1 cup flour

2 Tablespoons sugar

a pinch of salt

1/2 cup butter, softened

Pat into 8″ x 8″ pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

For filling:

Beat:

3 egg yolks, whites reserved, until thick and lemon colored

Add:

1 1/4 cup sugar

2 Tablespoons flour

1/3 cup cream (I used Half-n-Half)

Mix in:

3 cups chopped rhubarb

Pour onto baked crust.

Bake at 350 degrees another 40-50 minutes.

For meringue:

Whip to stiff peaks:

3 egg whites

Add:

6 Tablespoons sugar

Reduce heat to 300 degrees and bake for another 20 minutes.

I started out using a fork to bring the crust together, but then I dropped it and just got in there with my hands. Then I pressed it into the pan also using my hands, patted it down, and into the oven.

These are again, like almost all of Grandma’s recipes, simple ingredients that make an incredibly delicious dessert.

The filling is also ridiculously easy to make and put on top of the baked crust.

Out it comes from the oven . . .

and on goes the meringue.

I just love this dessert so much.

One of my favorite parts is the pretty little drops of goodness on top of the meringue. The crust browns and almost caramelizes, the filling is sweet but tart from all that rhubarb, and the meringue is fluffy with its pretty little droplets on top. Heaven. I just know you’re going to love how easy and delicious this Rhubarb Torte #2 is.

 

 

 

 

 

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Cherry Cha Cha

Todays recipe for Cherry Cha Cha comes from my other grandma. I think this was another one of her tasty, but quick to make bowling night desserts, a lot like her Layered Pudding Delight that I’ve posted before. I used to love being at Grandma and Gramp’s house on Thursday nights when Gramp went bowling. The ladies would stay at the house of whoever was hosting to gossip and knit or crochet projects to be used for later Christmas gifts or given to lucky grandchildren to wear. When Grandma and Gramp were hosting, Grandma made sure that I always had some needles and a bit of yarn to work on, too. It made me feel like I was a part of the group and I’d sit and listen to the ladies talk and work on my project while they worked on theirs. When the men were done bowling, they’d hurry back to the house for coffee and a tasty dessert made by the hostess, where there would be the roar of laughter and even more talking around the dining room table or in the living room. When I think of it now, it seems like those must have been late nights for those still working. The laughing and the coffee and the desserts seemed to go on all night.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Cherry Cha Cha

Combine:

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup margarine, melted (I used butter)

3 Tablespoons powdered sugar

Reserve 2 Tablespoons for topping.

Press rest of mixture into an 8″ x 8″ pan (Grandma wrote to put it into an 8″ x 13″ pan, but after putting the crumbs into it, it seemed way too big – I think she meant 8″ x 8″).

Chill.

Whip:

1/2 pint heavy whipping cream

Add:

4 cups miniature marshmallows

Carefully out half of this mixture on top of the chilled crust (I used a large spoon to put dollops on top and the spread it very gently over the top).

Put on top of this:

1 can cherry pie filling

Put on top of this:

the rest of the whipped cream mixture

Carefully spread it over the top of the cherry pie filling.

Top with rest of the graham cracker crumb mixture.

Refrigerate overnight.

Don’t forget to keep out a bit for the topping!

The miniature marshmallows go in looking like marshmallows, but after sitting overnight, they seem to meld into the whipped cream and make those layers firm up.

I used a small offset spatula to spread the layers. You really do have to be careful or you’ll dig into the layer underneath.

This has to be the right size pan – a bigger one would have made the dessert pretty thin.

It’s a pretty rich dessert, which means it’s perfect with a cup of coffee.

While it’s rich and full of whipped cream and pie filling, it still seems like a nice, light dessert. It’s delicious and is such an easy recipe with relatively few ingredients. Call up your group: sports team, friends, family, co-workers and have them over for a nice dessert and a cup of coffee. They’re sure to appreciate your offer of this Cherry Cha Cha with a chance to laugh, talk and gossip!

 

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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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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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Dessert #5

This recipe for Dessert #5 is just another in a long line of incredibly easy and incredibly delicious recipes that I found in Grandma’s file. This is such a classic “Grandma recipe”, that I was remembering her while making this, and had to share an old photo. This is so typical of the kinds of photos Grandma and Grandpa used to take. The photos were always sort of formal, but this particular one is a bit on the casual side – maybe because they’re standing next to the Snowball Bush that was in the middle of the yard. I love that the shed is in the background. That’s where Grandpa kept all of his equipment – tractors, farm vehicles, and his workbench area where you could find anything you needed for fix-it jobs without having to go to town! On the back corner of the shed was where the black raspberry bush was. Wow – were those fresh-picked berries good on a bowl of vanilla ice cream in the summertime!

We always had ice cream in the evenings when we stayed at the farm in the summer. That’s why I felt in the mood to make this dessert. We had such hot weather here in Minnesota, I decided to try this so we could cool off with a tasty treat.

This is just ridiculously easy to make.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Dessert #5

For the crust:

Crush:

2 rolls (about 60 crackers) Ritz Crackers

Add:

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup sugar

Blend and pat into 9″ x 13″ cake pan.

Keep out 3/4 cup for topping.

For the filling:

Mix together:

16 ounce Cool Whip

1 can sweetened condensed milk

6 ounces frozen orange juice concentrate (I just used a larger can of o.j. concentrate, let it thaw, and measured out 6 ounces)

1 large can pineapple tidbits or crushed pineapple, drained

1 large can mandarin oranges, drained

Spread on top of crust.

Top with the remaining crust crumbs.

Refrigerate (she says on the recipe that this also freezes well).

I didn’t want to crush the crackers in the food processor because I thought it would turn them to mush, so I used the old “rolling-pin and a zip top bag” system to keep the crumbs a bit larger.

This is essentially a graham cracker crust, only you’re using Ritz Crackers instead.

Using sweetened condensed milk in this makes it “plenty sweet”. Next time I think I’ll try tomake without it and see if it makes that much of a difference.

Grandma used to keep the juice when she drained canned fruit. You could drink it (I don’t know if they had fruit in its own juice yet back then, or if it all had the syrup!) or use it in iced tea or find some other use for it (I was thinking of using it for a cocktail). Grandma and her family survived the Great Depression, and you weren’t allowed to waste it.

Yes – this makes a full cake pan. It’s a big batch – enough for a party!

I kept 3/4 of a cup of crumbs to put on top – I think that was about right.

It seems a bit soft when you put this into the refrigerator, but it does set up nice. Leaving it in overnight helps it firm up better. I did put a piece into the freezer to see if would be alright, and it was. It was better just in the refrigerator, in my opinion. This is a delicious dessert that’s nice on a hot summer day. It would be nice on any day – or maybe a party day. You’re family and friends are going to love this Dessert #5!

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