Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Canadian Bars

Why did they name these delicious bars Canadian Bars? I had no idea until I looked online for more Canadian Bars recipes and found the same recipe called Nanaimo Bars, named for the city in British Columbia. It’s practically the exact same recipe. Who knew? They are just one more no-bake treat to try before the summer is over. This has been a hot one, and we all know August and even September can also be hot. Summer’s not over yet, and there are still reasons to need a delicious no-bake treat. Because summer’s not over yet, I wanted to share this photo of some of Grandma’s family. Her mother and aunt and oldest sister are in the middle, along with various other family members. They look like they are truly enjoying the beautiful summer day. I love this photo so much, with the ladies wearing their high collared blouses and long skirts.

I’m sure they wouldn’t have minded having some no-bake recipes back then – those wood fired stoves that they had to use must have made the kitchen and house incredibly hot! Turning on the oven in our houses NOW can make the kitchen and house incredibly hot. So I’m glad I found just one more no-bake (it actually says unbaked) recipe from another of Grandma’s old church cookbooks to end the summer!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Canadian Bars

Mix together:

5 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

1/2 cup butter, softened

5 Tablespoons sugar

1 egg

Beat over boiling water until butter melts.

Add:

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

3/4 cup coconut

1/2 cup nuts, chopped (I used walnuts)

Pour mixture into 9″ x 13″ pan.

Cover with the following mixture:

1/4 cup butter

3 Tablespoons milk

2 Tablespoons Jello Instant Vanilla Pudding mix

2 cups powdered sugar

Let stand 15 minutes to firm up.

Spread with:

4 squares semi-sweet chocolate (you can use 1 package chocolate chips – I did)

1 Tablespoon butter, melted

This recipe has ingredients that you probably have in your cupboard.

The bottom layer is full of goodies!

The second layer barely covered the bottom crust. I’m beginning to think that even though the recipe calls for a 9″ x 13″ pan, I maybe should have used an 8″ x 8″ pan instead.

The top layer of chocolate did cover the second layer.

See how thin the bars are? When I looked up the other recipes and found the Nanaimo Bars, they were thicker.

While not a thick bar, these are definitely delicious and are a great no-bake option for a hot summer day. I might try using the smaller pan next time, to see how that goes. I have no doubt that before submitting the recipe for the old church cookbook, someone decided that they could get more bars and make them go further if they used a larger pan. Either way, they’re easy to make and really delicious. Try something new before this hot summer’s over – these no-bake Canadian Bars!

 

 

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Black and White Bars

As you can see, my mom first made these Black and White Bars in April of 1970! I love that! I love that she and Grandma started the tradition of writing on the recipe the date that they first made that recipe. I do it now and so do my daughters. It’s a fun way to remember just how long we’ve all been making these great recipes. Speaking of long ago, this photo is of me jumping into the water at the lake when I was about 3 years old. I think they used one of those new-fangled cameras called a Polaroid – you know, the kind where you take the photo and peel off the back and then wait for it to develop right before your eyes!

This is a total summer pic – I must say, it sure looks like I was enjoying myself! If water was involved – I KNOW I was! This is why we need really easy, really delicious recipes in the summertime. This is why I designated this the “Nothing But Easy Summer”, so we could get out and enjoy those things we love to do without suffering with bland and yukky food. This is why I’ve been sharing quick to make, easy to do, tasty recipes. I love summer!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Black and White Bars

Cream:

1 cup shortening (I used butter)

2 cups sugar

Add:

4 eggs, unbeaten

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups nuts, chopped

Pour 3/4 of batter into 9″ x 13″ pan.

Add to remaining batter:

2 squares unsweetened baking chocolate, melted

Spoon dollops of chocolate batter onto top of batter in pan as in marble cake.

Swirl.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

The recipe also says you can leave out the baking chocolate, add chocolate chips, and make them as blonde brownies.

Here are the two kinds of batter before the swirl.

I just used a spoon to dollop the chocolate batter on top of the vanilla batter.

The batter – both kinds – was so thick, I didn’t think that maybe this would work. I tried to swirl the batter with a toothpick, but that didn’t work. Then I tried a wooden skewer – the pointed end – and THAT didn’t work. Next I flipped the skewer over and used the flat, cut end, and finally that worked. Sort of. I wasn’t so sure about this.

It worked! Look how pretty they are!

I will totally be making these over and over and over.

This recipe totally fits with the “easy” theme for this summer. They’re so easy to make and they’re so good – I know why my mom’s been making these since 1970! Make a batch or two of these Black and White Bars – maybe put one in the freezer – and get outside and enjoy the summer before we look up and another summer is already gone!

 

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S’mores Bars

Everybody loves s’mores, and while I have made The Easiest S’mores Pie Ever and S’mores Snack Mix, the recipe for S’mores Bars today is a ridiculously easy one that I came up with one Sunday for a family lunch. As I’ve said almost every post so far this summer, this is the “Nothing But Easy Summer”, and I refuse to be in the house any longer than absolutely necessary. You’re going to love this recipe, too, for how easy and how yummy these bars are. I recommend you bake them just before you serve them for maximum melty gooeyness.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

S’mores Bars

Mix up:

1 recipe of cookie dough (pan bar version) from the back of a bag of your favorite chocolate chips – just don’t add the chocolate chips yet! I would think you could also use any of your favorite chocolate chip cookie dough recipes.

Spread cookie dough in 9″ x 13″ jelly roll pan.

Instead of mixing the chocolate chips into the dough (I used about half of a bag of chocolate chips), I sprinkled them on top of the dough.

Next I sprinkled on about half of a bag of mini marshmallows.

Bake according to the directions for the recipe on the bag of chocolate chips.

The chocolate chips get melty and the marshmallows turn crusty brown on top and gooey on the inside.

I only suggested baking these right before serving because of the deliciousness of the warm cookie, melty chocolate, and gooey marshmallow. However, I brought these to a Sunday lunch at my daughter’s place, and we had a picnic outside. After the bars sat in the sun while we ate lunch, they were just as warm, melty, and gooey as they were right out of the oven! I just covered them with a piece of foil to transport, left it on while the bars sat in the sun, and enjoyed them after lunch. These S’mores Bars are so easy and so delicious – you’ll want to keep them in mind for your next picnic!

 

 

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Easy Unbaked Bars

Today’s recipe for Easy Unbaked Bars came from one of my sisters-in-law. She brought these to her mother’s 94th birthday celebration last spring, and I had to have the recipe. The name says it all – easy – unbaked – bars. Check, check, and check. That’s the way we like ’em! They’re perfect for this “Nothing But Easy Summer”! I’m not doing anything this summer that isn’t easy. That leaves all possible time during the day to enjoy the summer while it lasts. We’ve had a very cool spring here in Minnesota, and once summer hits – we’ll outside, enjoying every minute before the flakes fly again next fall. Have I mentioned that I’m not doing anything this summer that’s not easy. Right – I’m keeping is easy – nothing but easy.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Easy Unbaked Bars

Melt in microwave 1 1/2 minutes:

1 10 oz. package of peanut butter chips

1 stick butter

Add:

1/2 to 3/4 bag of miniature marshmallows

In 9″ x 13″ greased pan, put half of a jar of roasted peanuts.

Spread first mixture on top of peanuts.

Top with other half of jar of peanuts.

That’s it – easy!

Go ahead and get the first layer of peanuts ready before starting on the middle layer.

There really aren’t a lot of ingredients for these. It’s amazing how that makes for such an addictive treat.

Melt the chips and butter and stir until smooth.

Stir in the mini marshmallows – they’ll get a bit melty, yet still hold their shape.

You might want to spoon on the middle layer so you can cover the bottom layer of peanuts while keeping the peanuts in place.

Once the top layer of peanuts is on, I recommend you put the whole pan into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

Did I mention that these are addictive? Oh my.

It’s a good thing that these bars are easy to make, cuz I think we’re all going to be making a lot or pans of these over the course of the summer. Yep – nothing but easy – and ridiculously, deliciously addictive, I might add. Watch out for these! Don’t say I didn’t warn you! You and everyone you know will get hooked on these Easy Unbaked Bars!

 

 

 

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Rhubarb Crisp

I’m not sure where this recipe for Rhubarb Crisp came from, but I found it in my mom’s recipe box. It looks old, so I’d guess it came from Grandma originally, but it’s possible mom got it from someone she worked with years ago. I had to share this photo of my grandma and grandpa with my mom and my uncle because I think there might be some rhubarb growing right behind them. Actually, I’m not too sure that this photo was taken on the farm, but even if it wasn’t, there was probably some rhubarb growing there no matter who’s house it was. Grandma and family were not too into taking family photos that weren’t formal. That’s why this photo is so awesome! It’s just a nice casual photo of a beautiful summer day.

I just love this one!

Grandma grew (and used) as much rhubarb as possible. She had a LOT of rhubarb recipes. Rhubarb was one thing that was ALWAYS in everyone’s garden back in the day. It grows almost like a weed, keeps coming back every year, and it’s absolutely delicious in everything you could possibly bake with it: cakes, pies, desserts, jam, bread or muffins. You could grow it beside your garage, in your garden, or right in the middle of your backyard. The season is short (my mom always says you should only use it until it starts to get “woody”, which is through the end of June, at most) so you have to make the most of it and bake all of your favorite rhubarb recipes while you can.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Rhubarb Crisp

Cut up and put into a 9″ x 13″ pan:

3 cups rhubarb (I used 4 cups)

Beat and pour over to top of the rhubarb:

1 cup sugar

2 eggs, beaten

3 Tablespoons quick tapioca

Crumbs for topping – mix together and sprinkle on top of all:

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup flour

1/3 cup butter, slightly softened

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

I mixed up the crumb topping first so it was ready to go. You could use a fork, two knives, or a pastry blender, but I just used my fingertips to make it crumbly.

The eggs don’t really need to be beaten before mixing the batter together.

It all mixes up pretty well.

I used 4 cups of rhubarb instead of 3 cups, just because that’s how much I got when I cut up all the stalks that I had picked. I think it could have used even more rhubarb. The batter looks like it will hardly cover all the rhubarb. I used a small spoon and tried to spread it on as evenly as possible.

Over the top of everything goes the crumb topping. Sprinkle it ALL on there!

After baking it really doesn’t look like much.

Oh boy – this is good!

My family decided that this is a keeper. It’s one of the most delicious rhubarb recipes I have ever tried. It really is that good. It got a bit flat, and like I said above, it doesn’t look like much, but boy oh boy, is it good. Seriously, it was almost like candy. Sweet yet tart, crunchy on top yet almost creamy underneath. Mmmmm. You could serve this with whipped cream, but I happened to have some vanilla ice cream – and if you’re going to serve it with ice cream, I highly recommend you serve it warm. Not hot – just warm – and let the ice cream melt and immerse the crisp in all that vanilla, creamy goodness. I know you can find some rhubarb growing somewhere. If you don’t have your own rhubarb plants, get to know your neighbors and see if you could pick just enough from their rhubarb plants to make this delicious Rhubarb Crisp!

 

 

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Sesame-Orange Scones

Today I’m sharing a recipe for Sesame-Orange Scones that comes from a magazine article that I ripped out of a magazine years ago. This magazine article had both the Chocolate Chip Scones and Maple Pecan Scones recipes in it, and as I’ve said before, I’m working my way through trying all of those scone recipes because they’ve all been so good. I can’t remember what magazine I ripped them out of (although I THINK it might have been Country Living Magazine) but this ripped out article (which is 9 pages long) has been around here for years. These Sesame-Orange Scones would be great for your Easter breakfast with that delicious sesame and orange flavor.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Sesame-Orange Scones

In a large bowl, combine:

3 cups flour

1/2 cup sesame seeds (set aside 1 Tablespoon)

3 Tablespoons grated orange rind (set aside 1 Tablespoon)

3 Tablespoons brown sugar

1 Tablespoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

With a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in until mixture resembles coarse crumbs:

2 Tablespoons vegetable shortening (I used butter)

Add to dry ingredients:

1 cup orange juice (set aside 1 Tablespoon)

Mix lightly with a fork until mixture clings together and forms a soft dough.

Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead gently 5 or 6 times.

With a lightly floured rolling-pin, roll dough into a 7-inch round (I just used my hands to make the dough into a 7-inch round).

Cut into 4 wedges.

Place scones 1-inch apart on greased baking sheet.

Pierce tops of scones with a fork.

Put in a small saucepan:

reserved 1 Tablespoon orange juice

3 Tablespoons sugar

Heat to boiling and then stir in:

reserved 1 Tablespoon orange rind

Brush over tops of scones.

Sprinkle with:

reserved 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds

Bake at 425 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.

Brush again with orange glaze.

Serve warm.

Sesame seeds seem to be an unusual ingredient for scones, but they do add a nice, crunch along with a nutty flavor.

I used my pastry blender to mix in the butter.

Ready for the orange juice.

This was how much I mixed it with a fork before turning it out to knead.

I wanted to make the recipe just as it was, but next time I would definitely cut the 7-inch round into more than 4 pieces. 6 or even 8 scones seems more logical.

The scones were huge in the end, and a bit doughy inside – not quite baked through. Cutting them into smaller scones would help that not happen next time.

Even though they weren’t quite done in the middle, these scones were amazingly delicious. They’d be another great treat for Easter morning. That crunch of the sesame seeds and the delicious and somewhat sticky orange glaze make these melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Your family would love it if you made these Sesame-Orange Scones for their Easter morning breakfast!

 

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Easter Blonde Brownies

Today’s recipe for Easter Blonde Brownies is the recipe for Chocolate Chip Blonde Brownies that I’ve made on the blog before – I just made it into a holiday treat! I mean, this recipe was from before the name for this type of  bars was Blondies. These bars are so different from brownies. My mom always made brownies when we were growing up, mainly because she has a chocolate problem, but these are more of almost a caramel flavor from the brown sugar. Oh my. This recipe is really, really, really good. I mean it. These are ANOTHER total red light food for me. I. Can’t. Stop. They. Are. So. Good.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Easter Blonde Brownies

Sift together:

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Add:

1/2 cup nuts, chopped (I didn’t use nuts for this batch)

Mix well and set aside.

Melt:

1/3 cup butter

Add:

1 cup packed brown sugar

Cool.

Add:

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

Add flour mixture to the egg mixture a little at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Pour into 9″ x 9″ pan.

Sprinkle on Easter chocolate candies and sprinkles (or chocolate chips as in the recipe for Chocolate Chip Blonde Brownies).

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Cool in pan.

This is a very easy recipe with minimal ingredients.

It does make a thick batter.

I used a little offset spatula to spread the batter in the pan.

I think this would be another fun one to try to put all kinds of candies on top of the bars: jelly beans, peanut butter cups, Peeps, etc.

What a festive and pretty holiday treat! I love making something ordinary into something more extraordinary by using holiday candies and sprinkles – it’s just so fun! Go crazy and try your own variation of these delicious – and very festive – Easter Blonde Brownies!

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Blueberry Breakfast Bread

This recipe for Blueberry Breakfast Bread is so ridiculously easy, it’s amazing. It came from the same cookbook that I use for the Hopping Bunny Rolls that I’ve made every year since I was a teenager. The recipe is so short and sweet – it’s almost laughable. In fact, when I was looking through that cookbook recently, I laughed out loud when I saw it. I’ve never noticed this particular recipe before, and I just don’t know why. It’s a great quick and easy recipe, perfect for Easter morning. Speaking of Easter morning, I just had to share this photo of my other grandma (she’s the oldest in the back) and her younger sister and one of her two younger brothers. I don’t know if it was Easter or not when this photo was taken, but by the looks of it they were dressed in their Sunday best. I can’t stand it! This is just the cutest!

They really are dressed up! My grandma looks like she was about 7 or 8 years old in this one, so that would have made it about 1918 or 1919 or so. I just love the dresses and how they have their hair done and the fact that both girls are wearing pearls. And just look at her little brother’s little black shoes! So sweet.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Prepare according to package directions (it says to prepare according to package instructions for coffee cake or loaf cake, but the package I used didn’t have any instructions for those, and the product website didn’t either, so I just made the muffin mix the regular way):

1 package of blueberry muffin mix

Pour into a greased 8 1/2 inch round baking dish (I used a 9″ square pan).

Mix:

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

Cut in with a pastry blender until crumbly:

2 Tablespoons butter

Sprinkle over batter.

Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until done.

The muffin mix that I used called for 1/2 cup of either water or milk. I used milk. Maybe next time I’d try a different kind of muffin – I think any flavor of muffin mix would be delicious.

This breakfast bread would be pretty in a round pan, but I used a square one for this. It seems like a lot of topping for the muffin batter, but put it all on – it’s delicious!

The topping bakes up crispy and sweet – plenty sweet!

The recipe says to serve warm with butter, but I really don’t think it needs butter. It’s so good just plain.

I can’t believe how good this bread is (I actually think of it as more of a coffee cake), and how quick and easy it is to make. It’s perfect for Easter morning when you have enough to do – you don’t want to add extra work when it’s not necessary. I think this would be a great breakfast bread to bring with you if you’re heading to someone else’s home to celebrate Easter, too. The blueberry was good, but try other flavors, too, and see how that goes. This Blueberry Breakfast Bread is absolutely delicious – you’re gonna love it!

 

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Danish Sugar Cookies

We’re making another sugar cookie today – Danish Sugar Cookies! I have made so many different kinds of sugar cookies here on Plenty Sweet Life, maybe they should have their own category! Because the name of these cookies is Danish Sugar Cookies, it makes me think about Grandpa and his dad, who was Danish. I had to share this photo of Grandpa when he was about 2 years old. I can’t tell you how much I love this one! Just look at him! That little jacket and those boots!! This kid looks like trouble with a capital “T”!!! He had that twinkle in his eye his whole life, and he used it to his advantage! Ha!

I was remembering when I wasn’t very old, maybe 4-5 years or so, and Grandpa fell from the lay loft in the barn through the opening where you would come up into the loft (I think that was how it happened). Just a mis-step and down he went. He didn’t get seriously hurt, but was laid up for a while with sore ribs. We visited him and I remember tip-toeing past the door of their bedroom so I wouldn’t disturb him – he was kind of cranky because he had to lay around in bed. I have to say it was kind of scary seeing him laying in the darkened bedroom and being so quiet. He was always teasing, laughing, and playing games with me. Grandpa was always on the go, and he didn’t handle lying around too well! It wasn’t too long and he was back to his old self, puttering around and working on things and finding something to do. I’m sure he did take it easy for a couple of weeks, until he couldn’t stand it anymore and had to get moving. Boy, I sure do miss him.

Anyway, I’m not sure why these sugar cookies are called Danish, but I’m willing to try them and see. I have to get all my ancestry in here and make recipes representing ALL of the countries of my ancestors. This recipe came from one of Grandma’s sisters who got it from a friend of hers – it isn’t a recipe from Grandpa’s dad or even his mother (I wish I did have some of hers – she was Norwegian)!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Danish Sugar Cookies

Cream well:

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup Crisco (I used all butter)

1/2 cup butter

1 egg

Add:

2 cups sifted flour

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

Chill.

Form into balls.

Roll in sugar.

Flatten with a glass.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, or until light brown.

The recipe says that she rolls the dough into logs after chilling and put them into freezer for use another time.

Slice into 1/4″ slices, roll in sugar, and bake.

I love that this is another recipe that you can freeze and use again another time when you feel the need for cookies – or need to take some to a gathering – or you need a hostess gift.

Mix the dough, chill it, and start rolling the dough balls. Roll the balls in sugar and flatten them. I find that it helps to use my greasy hands (from rolling the dough balls) to coat the bottom of the glass so it doesn’t stick to the dough.

I think they used part shortening in this recipe to make the cookies more melt-in-your-mouth, but I still found these to be melt-in-your-mouth even though I used all butter.

I did use my trusty scoop and it did help to make the cookies all one size, although, as usual, I’m sure they’re bigger than they should have been. I guess we just like them bigger these days.

These cookies are absolutely delicious and mouth-watering. I don’t think the Danish name has anything to do with it, and then there’s the awesome benefit of the freezer part. These are another great cookie to have with your afternoon coffee – or ANYTIME! Call some friends to come on over for coffee, make a batch of these delicious Danish Sugar Cookies (don’t forget to put half of the dough in the freezer for another time), and enjoy each other’s company!

 

 

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Swedish Pancakes

Today we’re going to make Swedish Pancakes! Guess what?!! We’re getting 5-10 more inches of snow this weekend here where I live in Minnesota, so what better time to try a new recipe? This is an especially delicious and cozy recipe, and even though Grandma was the one who submitted this for her church’s cookbook, the original recipe came from my sister (whose family is VERY big on pancakes of all kinds, especially my nephew). Grandma loved these, I’m sure, initially because they’re Swedish, but then I’m sure she saw how amazingly good they are! Plus, Grandma was a big one for the breakfast for dinner thing – especially on Sunday nights. She knew what she was doing there – I love that, too!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Swedish Pancakes

Mix:

1 1/2 cups flour

3 Tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

Beat until very thick and light:

3 eggs

Beat in:

2 cups milk

2 Tablespoons butter, melted

Combine wet and dry ingredients.

Heat griddle (or pan) over low heat.

Brush with butter.

Cook over medium heat.

These ingredients are so simple and basic, you probably have everything in your kitchen that you’d need to make these pancakes this weekend!

After adding the wet ingredients to the dry, I used a whisk to make the batter nice and smooth.

I used my big cast iron pan, and that maybe wasn’t a great idea. It’s too heavy to pick up and swirl the batter around. My sister does this with a smaller pan and makes these more like crepes. Yeah – these aren’t nice and thick and fluffy like Sweet Milk Griddle Cakes. I started by using a 1/4 cup measure to pour the batter into the pan – that was too thick. Then I used a ladle to pour the batter into the pan and then used the ladle to swirl around the batter and that made it thinner – that was a bit better. I got the hang of it by the time I was frying the last two pancakes. I’d use a smaller pan next time.

I mean, how pretty are these?!!! You can serve them with fruit and whipped cream or the obligatory maple syrup – or even lingonberry syrup, as long as we’re being Swedish.

I am not even kidding – these are so delicious, you’re gonna love them! Serve them with sausage or bacon, and you have an amazingly delicious breakfast or breakfast for dinner. Seriously, if you live in Minnesota, you won’t have anything else to do this weekend – make a batch of these Swedish Pancakes and just don’t even look outside! 🙂

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