Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Oatmeal Carmelites

I LOVE to read.

I have always loved to read.

reading letter from daddy

This picture says I was “reading a letter from Daddy” (he was still in the Army stationed in Turkey).

I think I was about 2 years old in this picture – maybe even a little younger.

I’m sure I wasn’t actually reading it but I do remember being in grandma’s kitchen and my dad having me read the sports page when I was 4.

I won a certificate in 3rd grade for reading the most books that year.

I still have it.

It wasn’t long before I was reading recipes! Ha!

The recipe for today is unbelievably good.

There are a couple like this in Grandma’s recipe file so we may be doing another recipe close to this at a later date.

Oatmeal Carmelites

Oatmeal Carmelites 2

Of course, there is no baking temperature again – we’re supposed to know this!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Oatmeal Carmelites

Mix for crust:

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour

1 1/4 cup quick cooking oats

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter, melted

Put half of mixture in bottom of 9″ x 9″ pan (Grandma had written that maybe using an 8″ x 11″ or so pan would be best and that’s what I used).

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Put on top of bottom crust:

1 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

and then the rest of the crust.

Add 3/4 cup (1 jar) of caramel ice cream topping (mixed with 3 Tablespoons all purpose flour) last – drizzle on top of crust (I only used 1/2 of a jar – a whole jar seemed like a lot of caramel).

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes more until golden brown.


I used a fork to press down the crust in the bottom of the pan.

I put the top crust on by sprinkling it on by hand.


This is only half of a jar of the caramel topping – a whole jar did seem like a lot.


After baked, the caramel melted into the top crust.


Another quick and very easy recipe that is SO good.


These bars seemed more like candy when they were done so I’m glad I used a bigger pan and that made them thinner.

They were . . .

Plenty sweet.


Dry Roasted Peanut Bars

My family couldn’t stop eating these bars.

I’ve had this recipe from Grandma for at least 25 years and I don’t think I’ve ever made it until now.

She must have made Dry Roasted Peanut Bars at some point and I must have tried them because otherwise I wouldn’t have the recipe.

This is another VERY EASY recipe and they are so good!

Dry Roasted Peanut Bars

Did I mention that we couldn’t stop eating these?

Here is the recipe as I made them:

Dry Roasted Peanut Bars

Cover the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ pan with whole graham crackers.

On top of crackers, spread a 12 ounce bag of chocolate chips or caramel chips or a combination of both.

On top of chips, spread a 12 ounce jar of dry roasted peanuts.

Bring to a boil:

1 cup of brown sugar (I used dark brown sugar)

1 cup butter

2 Tablespoons white or dark Karo syrup

Boil for 3 minutes and then pour over top of peanuts.

Refrigerate 1 hour and then they can be cut.


It doesn’t sound like a lot of ingredients, but the cake pan was full.


The caramel is bubbling away.


When she says boil 3 minutes – she means it – no more than 3 minutes!


The caramel hardens fast – I didn’t really need to put it in the refrigerator.


OMG – these are sooooo good!

The sweet and salty thing – definite red light food.

Did I happen to mention the little thing about not being able to stop eating these?

You’ve been warned.

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Easy Bars

Today’s recipe is simply Bars.

I’ve renamed them Easy Bars for practical purposes.

I made these when I was just starting the blog so please forgive the bad pictures – I hope I’ve gotten better at photography since then!


This recipe is fast and easy and uses the ready made ingredients that busy farm wife Grandma and her friends were probably looking for.

It’s so fast and easy that when you look at this recipe, it doesn’t even look like it will work.

Trust me – it will work.


There’s nothing to it – there’s not a lot to say about these.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Easy Bars

Melt 1/2 cup butter in bottom of a 9 x 13″ cake pan.

Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs over top of butter.

Drizzle 1 15 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk over the top of all.

Sprinkle 1 cup milk chocolate chips and 1 cup peanut butter chips over top of everything.

Press firmly.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.


They do get a bit flat – not a lot of rise to these bars.


So much chewy-ness.


So simple.

So fast.

So good.


Raisin Caramel Bars with Caramel Frosting

This recipe for Raisin Caramel Bars seemes a bit old fashioned.

Who makes anything with raisins anymore?

It might have been a recipe from around the time that this picture was taken.

Gma Johnson, Goldie, Lajla, Ardis, MJ

These are the women in grandma’s family – her mother and sisters.

Grandma’s the taller one on the right.

She told so many stories of her growing up years.

Growing up on a farm, they had a lot of chores to do.

I remember that one of her least favorite chores was picking bugs off of the potato plants in the garden.

They carried a can of kerosene to put the bugs in.

Then they would come inside for 3:00 coffee and a snack.

Raisin Caramel Bars

Note that this recipe has the “Good” connotation.

I know I’ve said this a lot, but this may be my favorite recipe so far.

I also hate it when people overuse the word “amazing”, but that was the first word that came to mind when tasting these bars – amazing.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Raisin Caramel Bars

Boil for 10 minutes:

1 cup raisins

2 cups water


1/2 cup butter

Cool and add:

1 cup white sugar

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Frost with a caramel frosting.

This recipe for Caramel Frosting was another one that was in Grandma’s recipe file.

Caramel Frosting

Caramel Frosting 2

This recipe also has the “Good” connotation.

I think they both could have had the “Very Good” connotation.

That’s just my personal opinion. Ha.

Caramel Frosting

Melt 1/2 cup butter in a large pan.

Blend in 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook on low heat for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add 1/4 cup milk and continue stirring until mixture comes to a boil.

Remove from heat and gradually blend in 2 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar.

Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and mix well.

Thin with a small amount of cream if necessary.

Frosts an 8″ or 9″ layer cake.


This is the batter before and after baking.

These bars smell heavenly when baking – just a warning!


You could almost use this frosting as a fudge – it’s that good.


The frosting really takes these bars to a different level.


Another recipe just right for 3:00 coffee.


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Almond Bark Bars

Here is a holiday recipe that I haven’t seen before.

The Almond Bark Bars recipe uses a product called “Clackers” and I had to look it up online to find out what it was.

Turns out it’s a type of graham cereal from the 70’s and it’s not made anymore.

I had to find a suitable substitution.

Almond Bark Bars'

Also note that sometimes Grandma wrote the quantity in terms of how much the package she used costs.

A 39 cent sized bag of peanuts? When did she get this recipe  – where you could get a package of peanuts for 39 cents???

It is a quick and easy recipe that you can whip up in no time if you have the ingredients on hand.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Almond Bark Bars

Melt 1/2 of a large 2 pound package of almond bark.

Add 2 cups of Rice Krispies and 2 cups of Honey Nut Chex (this was my Clackers substitution – I had it on hand so I tried this but I would use Golden Grahams or use 4 cups of Rice Krispies next time), 1 cup of peanuts and 1 cup of miniature marshmallows.

Mix well.

I put this in a 7 x 11″ pan sprayed with non-stick spray.

Sprinkle with festive holiday décor.

Let cool and harden.


Next time I would use Golden Grahams.

The Honey Nut Chex was too fragile and made these a bit crumbly when I cut them into bars.


Christmas-y jimmies were my décor of choice on top.


Quick and easy for the holidays!


A great start to my holiday cookie making!

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Everybody likes Brownies!

I remember making a batch of brownies when I was pretty small.

I was so small that I couldn’t hold the bowl and the whole thing fell off the counter upside down on the floor and the bowl broke into pieces on top of the puddle of brownie batter.

I can still remember the mosaic that the glass from the pyrex bowl made on top of the brownie batter on the floor.

I was horrified – not that the bowl broke, but that the batter couldn’t be saved!

This may be the recipe I used because it looks like my mom’s writing on the baking instructions.

The original recipe on this card made a smaller batch because someone wrote the doubling numbers up the side of the original.

I’m assuming this would make a 9″ x 9″ square pan – I used a 9″ x 13″ cake pan and it was fine when doubled.


There’s something about brownies . . .

Here is the recipe as I made it:


Melt 1 cup butter and 4 squares of unsweetened chocolate.


Mix together:

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

4 eggs, beaten

2 cups sugar

Add dry mixture to cooled chocolate mixture.

Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 cup nuts if desired (I don’t put nuts in because we have someone in our family who doesn’t like them.).

Put batter in lightly greased 9″ x 13″ cake pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes.


I let the eggs get to room temperature.


Half of the batter was covered with peanut butter chips.


We have a peanut butter lover in the family so we experimented.


The plain half of the brownies was sprinkled with powdered sugar – no need for frosting!

These are good.


3 Layer Bars

We’re starting to think about the holidays with today’s recipe.

I could see these treats used as a holiday hostess gift or a holiday gift for someone with a sweet tooth.

This recipe is really good.

It’s easy, it’s tasty and it’s pretty.

3 Layer Bars aren’t really bars. To me they seem much more like a candy.

3 Layer Bars

3 Layer Bars 2

This recipe comes from Grandma’s niece and since the card was still in the box, we know it’s a good one.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

3 Layer Bars

Mix together in medium saucepan:

2/3 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 cup crushed graham crackers

1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

Bring to a boil – boil no more than 5 minutes.

Grease 9″ x 13″ cake pan.

Line pan with saltine crackers (about 1 sleeve total).

Pour the cooked mixture over top.

Then add another layer of saltines.

Melt together:

2/3 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup butterscotch chips

Put frosting on top of crackers.


The saltines fit pretty well.


Butterscotch chips don’t seem to melt as well as chocolate chips so just keep stirring.


They cut easily and I would cut them small.


They really are more like a candy.

Caramel-y, chocolate-y, crispy, gooey.

Friends and family would LOVE to get these for a gift at holiday time or anytime!

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Apple Pie Bars

Grandma and Grandpa had an apple tree in their yard – when they moved from the farm to town – that had one branch grafted on to it that bore fruit every other year. So one year the whole tree had apples and the branch didn’t and the next year, the branch had apples and the whole tree didn’t. So smart on the part of whoever originally planted that tree. At least they weren’t inundated with huge amounts of fruit EVERY year. I remember when it was “all hands on deck” to help get the apples ready to freeze.  Everyone had to help with the peeling, slicing, and bagging of the apples. Grandma would make applesauce, apple crisp, and apple pie all winter with those apples.

Apple Pie Bars is one of those recipes that sounded great but looks a bit tricky to do.

It wasn’t.

I’ll explain as we go along.

Apple Pie Bars

Apple Pie Bars 2

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Apple Pie Bars

2 1/2 cups flour

1 cup shortening (I don’t usually like to use it, but I did for this one)

1 egg yolk

2/3 cup water

1 teaspoon salt

Mix as for pie crust.

Roll half of dough out to fit jelly roll pan. (Grandma has a note on the recipe that she used a 9 x 13″ cake pan and that it was ok. I would use that size pan next time.)

Sprinkle a couple of handfuls of corn flakes over bottom layer of dough.


1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

8-10 apples, sliced

Put on bottom layer of dough.

Put other half of dough (rolled out) on top of apples.

Pinch sides together.

Beat 1 egg white until stiff and spread over top crust. (I used just the plain egg white and that worked fine.)

Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes.

Drizzle powdered sugar frosting over top while warm.

For frosting I used about 2 cups of powdered sugar and 1/4 cup of milk.


These are the corn flakes (which I crushed a bit).


It looks like more apples than you need but they do cook down.


The tricky part is that you need to use half of the dough for the bottom crust and half for the top crust. I didn’t have enough to do the bottom crust so I had to patch a bit. Then when it came to doing the top crust, I ran short but just put the top on and hoped for the best (there wasn’t enough dough to pinch together). This is why Grandma’s note to use a 9 x 13″ cake pan is helpful – the dough would fit better in that size of pan. Here you can see how the dough for the top crust didn’t quite reach the edge. It worked out just fine.


The bars are like apple pie that you can eat with your hand.

This is my favorite recipe so far!


Chocolate Revel Bars

Today I’m honoring my other Grandma on her birthday. She would have been 102 years old today.

This is a picture of her at age 17.

Grandma D pic

So pretty! Love those finger waves!!

She was also a very good and prolific cook, as you can tell from this picture of her favorite cookbook.

It was very well used!

Grandma D cookbook

Today’s recipe is called Emma’s Chocolate Revel Bars. I do remember this grandma making these bars in the 70’s. This was another recipe I thought was lost and when I asked my mom if she had it – she surprised me and said she did! Yay!

Emma bars _3

Emma bars _4

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Emma’s Chocolate Revel Bars

Cream together:

1 cup butter

2 cups brown sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

Then add:

2 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups oatmeal

Set aside.

Melt together:

12 oz. bag of chocolate chips

15 oz. sweetened condensed milk

3 Tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon salt (it says 1/2 T. on the recipe but that seemed like a lot)

Add to this mixture:

1 cup nuts (I used walnuts)

2 teaspoons vanilla

Spread 2/3 of the first mixture (dry) in a 15 x 10″ pan (I used a 9 x 13″ cake pan).

Cover with the second mixture (chocolate).

Top with the remaining first mixture (dry).

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.


This is how it looks with the bottom layer in the pan. I patted it out with my hands  – it’s thick and hard to “spread”.


This has the chocolate layer and top layer sprinkled on.


Right out of the oven.


They do firm up if left to cool completely.



Happy Birthday, Grandma!


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