Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies on plate

I do school at home with my boys. They’re actually in an online public school, so it’s like homeschooling with certified teachers being the ones who give assignments, do the grading, Live Lessons on the computer and a whole lot more. It’s very structured, with deadlines and testing, just like the brick and mortar classrooms, but with the flexibility of being at home. It takes a lot of time, but I’m glad to do it. It’s been fun to watch the boys learn and listen to them read or talk about science facts knowing that I played a big part of their success. Because of this, I don’t have a lot of time during the day to bake “extras.” I always figure if I can get dinner on the table around 6:00pm, (Or honestly, even know what I’m cooking for dinner by then!) I’m doing pretty good! But it was Friday night. School was done for the week so I felt like I could take the time to bake something fun!  Plus, my mother-in-law was staying with us for awhile, so I thought she might appreciate a sweet treat after dinner that night.

Chocolate Chip Bags Cropped

Chocolate chip cookie bags, a modern one from my pantry and an old package found folded up in Grandma Dora’s recipe box.

Who doesn’t love chocolate chip cookies?  Chocked full of ooey-gooey goodness, when they’re warm and melting in your mouth!  They’re possibly the most common cookie because of their deliciousness and Nestle’s Toll House is probably the most common recipe.  (Though I’m not sure that I had ever made them before!) I was so excited when I found this old bag folded up inside my Grandma Dora’s recipe box.  She had obviously saved it for the recipe that was on the back.  It was so adorable and petite.  I grabbed a bag out of my own pantry to compare them.  I debated on making these cookies for the blog because of how common they are, but because I did find a few differences in the recipes, I decided to give them a try.  It is interesting to see the differences between the two bags, now and then.  Probably the most noticeable was the size.  My Grandma’s bag was only 6 oz while mine was 12 oz.  I figured the recipes were exactly the same, but surprisingly there were a few things that had changed over time.

Chocolate chip Cookie Recipe

Chocolate chip cookie recipe on the back of Grandma Dora’s bag.

Original Toll House Cookie Recipe  (The “original” original!)

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 6 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon soda
  • 1 1/8 cups sifted flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Few drops hot water
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 6 oz bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Cream butter and sugars.  Beat in egg.  Add soda, flour and salt.  Mix together.  Add a few drops of hot water.  Mix until well blended.  Add chopped nuts, chocolate chips and vanilla.  Drop by the half teaspoonfuls.  Bake at 375 degrees for 6 minutes.  Makes 50 cookies.

Chocolate Chip Cookies-Water

I started by creaming the butter and both sugars.  Then I beat in an egg and added the flour, soda and salt.  The next, small step in the recipe was the part that was a little different from the “modern” bag in my pantry.  I was to add a “few” drops of hot water.  I did just that.  It did make the dough more creamy or sticky.

Chocolate Chip Cookies adding ChipsNext I poured in my bag of chocolate chips. (I buy mini chips because I think they’re more fun! Plus they turned out to be the perfect chips for these tiny cookies!) I added vanilla, but skipped the nuts this time.   I had doubled the recipe, so I added my whole12 oz whole bag of chips.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

The dough looked beautiful.  Next came the fun part, putting them on the trays!

Chocolate Chip Cookies Dough Trays

Here was the other difference that I had found between the new and old recipes.  This recipe said to drop the dough in 1/2 teaspoonfuls….What?!  Have you looked at how small a 1/2 teaspoon is?!  I had to consult with Amy on this.  I just wasn’t 100%!  After discussing it, I decided to go with it.  After all, it was written on the recipe.  I used my measuring spoons to measure out the small amount of dough.  I couldn’t believe how tiny the balls of dough looked compared to what I usually make when I bake other cookies.

Chocolate chip Cookies BakedOn the bag, it said to bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes.  I thought that sounded WAY too long for the size of the balls of dough.  I was imagining that they’d come out like little hockey pucks if I left them for that long!  I timed them for a few minutes at a time and decided that 6 minutes was the perfect time, much less than what the recipe called for.  I pulled them out, let them sit for a minute on the tray and then transferred them onto cooling racks.  They were so cute!  I never would have thought to make cookies so tiny.  I was really happy that I had decided to go with what the old recipe said rather than making them big like the “modern” recipe said to do.

Chocolate Chip Cookies Stacked
They were delicious, too!  They were soft, but with crisp edges.  My oldest son told me that they tasted like they were professionally made!  Maybe the secret was in those few drops of hot water and the petite size.  I think my Grandma Dora was on to something, keeping that package stashed in her recipe box all those years.

My mother-in-law did enjoy the bite size cookies after dinner that night and lunch the next day too!  I’d see her “sneaking” them after other meals as well!  I was happy I had decided to make them so she could enjoy them during her stay with us.

Happy Baking!

Wendy

 

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Golden Apple Bars – A Bonus Recipe

One Apple It is one of my favorite times of year, apple season.  Last Saturday we made our first visit of the season to the apple orchard.  We have a quaint orchard that we like to go.  We like it because it hasn’t “gone commercial.”  The farm is owned by a man who we refer to as “Grandpa” and his son, who has taken over most of the business as years have passed by.  When you arrive, you drive back to the apple orchard and check in at the old wooden stand to find out what kind of apples are ready.  You follow the signs to the neatly marked rows of beautifully groomed fruit trees.  As of Saturday, Honeycrisp, Gala and McIntosh were ripe.  Others still need “a week or so longer to sweeten up.”  The apples looked so beautiful hanging from the trees.  We picked more than we needed and plan to go back for other varieties.  Our family had fun picking and of course eating them!  While we were picking, Wendy and I were dreaming up different apple desserts that we could bake.  Fresh apples make the best recipes!

Apples One of the recipes that came to mind was a delicious recipe I received from one of my good friends – Golden Apple Bars.  She made this when I was at her house one autumn evening.  I liked it so much she sent me home with a plate full of them!  I had to ask her for the recipe.  I wanted to share it with you, so you can whip up this easy dessert after you make your visit to the apple orchard!

graham bread 007

Golden Apple Bars

Golden Apple Bars

  • 2/3 cup butter or shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup peeled and chopped apples

Cream butter, eggs and sugar.  Add dry ingredients, vanilla and apples.  Bake in a greased 9 in. x 13 in. pan at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Once bars have cooled to warm rather than hot, mix powdered sugar and milk to form a thick frosting.  Drizzle on top!

Apple Cake Slice

Golden Apple Bars

Golden Apple Bars are moist and delicious!  The touch of frosting drizzled on the top adds an extra hint of sweetness.  Enjoy them this fall, with a good friend and a mug of warm apple cider!

Happy Baking!

Amy

Edna’s Butterscotch Cake

Butterscotch Cake

The second Michigan State football game of the season was on TV a couple of weeks ago.  Wendy’s husband is a die hard fan.  He’s also a die hard griller.  He decided to have a family football party and grill up some fresh veggie and steak kabobs on his new skewers that he’d purchased at the end of the summer clearance sales.  There was no way he was waiting until next summer to try them out.

Kebobs

My brother-in-law’s kabobs – stay tuned to future blog entries for this recipe and other great recipes from him.

I’d been wanting to try one of my Grandma Dora’s many cake recipes and I thought this would be a festive occasion to which I could bring a cake.  Besides, what’s a football party without cake anyway?!

I knew all of Grandma Dora’s cake recipes called for cake flour.  I had finally bought some at the Amish store when we were up north (the same time I bought the whole wheat pastry flour for the graham bread).  I pulled out a delicious sounding recipe, Butterscotch Cake.

Butterscotch Cake Recipe1

Butterscotch Cake Recipe2Butterscotch Cake (Layer or Loaf)

  • 2 cups sifted softassilk cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons double action baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar packed in cup
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 2/3 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat for 2 minutes.  Add:

  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 medium eggs

Beat 2 more minutes.  Bake 30 to 35 minutes at 350 degrees.

Frosting

  • powdered sugar
  • oleo
  • vanilla
  • 2/3 teaspoon instant coffee, dissolved in hot water
  • chopped nuts

In the corner of the recipe, there was the name, Edna.  As always, I was curious about Edna – who she was and how my grandmother knew her.  I think she may have had a friend name Edna, but I’m wondering if this Edna was my grandfather’s stepmother’s sister.

Wichterman Kids - Cropped

My grandfather with 3 of his 4 siblings (Roy, Paul, Dorothy and Ray) – Alfred was probably not born yet.

When my grandfather, my Grandma Dora’s husband, was a little boy, his mother died.  His father was a carpenter, but wasn’t able to care for my grandfather or his 3 brothers and sister.  There weren’t day cares all over the place back then, so if you didn’t have someone who could move in and help you, you ended up “farming” your children out to relatives.  That is what my great-grandfather ended up doing.

Dorothy and Paul

My grandfather’s sister Dorothy and brother Paul.

The oldest boys were twins Ray and Roy.  Ray was my grandfather and he was sent to live with an uncle who was a farmer.  This uncle mistreated him and he did not have a good childhood.  Roy, his twin went to live with another family member.  He had a better upbringing and trained to be a dentist while he was in the army.  Next was Paul.  He was also sent to live with relatives and had a good upbringing.  He became an aeronautical technical writer.  Dorothy, the only sister was next.  None of the children were placed together, so she grew up with another family.  She became a teacher.  Lastly, there was Alfred.  He became a farmer like my grandfather and then later in life became a carpenter.

Wichterman Siblings

My grandfather and his sister and brothers (Alfred, Paul, Dorothy, Ray and Roy).

When the five children were older, my great-grandfather married again.  Her name was Alma and she had a sister named Edna.  My guess is that this is the Edna of the butterscotch cake.  I could be wrong, but it makes a better story than just saying that Edna was a random neighbor.

WIchterman Adults

Grandma Dora, Dorothy (my grandpa’s sister), unknown lady, Edna, Albert (my great-grandfather), Alma

Alma and my great-grandfather, Albert lived in southeastern Ohio.  Edna was not married and lived with them.  When my dad was about 9 or 10 years old, he also lived in southeastern Ohio.  He remembers going over to his grandparent’s house on summer nights and sitting on their porch.  (My dad said he remembers that on the front steps of that porch he tried cinnamon graham crackers for the first time.  They had just come out.  They must have made a big impression on him because he still likes to eat them to this day!)  Perhaps the ladies talked over recipes as they sat on the porch and maybe they even shared butterscotch cake as they visited together.

Butterscotch Cake2

Butterscotch Cake ready to eat

I have not made a cake from scratch many times, but putting this recipe together was quite simple. The cake had a bit of a crumbly texture, but I think that is pretty common with cakes made from scratch.  I did not end up making the frosting that was recorded with the cake as I am not a coffee fan.  If you like coffee, though, I imagine it would compliment the cake nicely.

Butterscotch cake slice

Butterscotch Cake – ready for eating

The cake ended up being a hit with all of the football fans that evening.  Michigan State may not have won the game that day, but we knew we had found a winning recipe!

Happy Baking!

Amy

Blueberry Peach Bread – A Bonus Recipe

Peach Blueberry Bread

Blueberry Peach Bread

About a month ago, it came to that spot in the summer when the peaches and blueberries are ripe at the same time.  I love that time.  First, my parents, my sister, my nephews and I went blueberry picking.  One of my nephews loves blueberries – I mean he LOVES blueberries.  When we were picking he said, “Auntie is it still afternoon?”  “Yeah,” I said, “it’s still afternoon.”  “Oh good!”  he said, “That means we still have more time to keep picking!”  He really is a good little worker in the blueberry patch too.  He knows he’ll be enjoying those blueberries for breakfast all winter long.  My mom and I went a second time and picked more because I love to have them in the freezer too, ready for baking into recipes.

Then, my other sister called to say her farm market had peaches ready.  We always buy our peaches from her farm market because they have the best deal.  So, we had a bushel of peaches and lots of blueberries and I decided I needed a recipe that would use both.  I looked through my grandma’s recipe boxes, but I couldn’t find anything with peaches and blueberries.  So, I looked elsewhere, found this recipe, and changed it up a little to make it the way I wanted it.
Blueberry Peach Bread
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup diced peaches, peeled (about 3 peaches)
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt

Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. 
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each egg is added. Add in the vanilla. Mix well. 
Add in the yogurt and mix until well combined. 
Add in the dry ingredients and mix well. 
Gently fold in the blueberries and peaches. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned.

Peach Blueberry Bread2

Blueberry Peach Bread

It turned out to be a great recipe.  The combination of the two fruits complimented both the appearance and the taste.  I made a couple of loaves and was able to take one to my parents’ anniversary luncheon at Wendy’s house (the luncheon she talked about when she shared Mrs. Magary’s spice cake).  It was a pretty bread for a special occasion.

I hope you can give this recipe a try.  If you do, let me know what you think.  Frozen blueberries should work just fine and I would think canned or frozen peaches would be okay too.
Happy Baking!
Amy

Zucchini Bread – A Bonus Recipe

zucchini bread 001

Zucchini from my garden.

 At the beginning of the summer, my garden looked quite nice.  A little fence all around and everything neatly planted.  But, as summer went on, and mosquitoes drove me out, weeds started setting in.  Plus, a large pumpkin vine that came up on it’s own is now trying to take over.  If that isn’t enough, a large woodchuck has somehow found his way under the fence and is making my garden his home.  Unfortunately he has decided that he especially likes green beans and zucchini.  Before he made his entrance, however, I had quite a few zucchinis.  I posted this recipe earlier in combination with the scalloped corn recipe.  I decided to separate it now and give it it’s own post.  This recipe is not from my grandmother’s recipe box, but from my mother’s.  This is a recipe my family has enjoyed for years and I hope you will too.  I like to make many loaves when the zucchini is fresh and freeze them.  Then, when I am going somewhere and need something to share, I can just pull it out of the freezer and take it along.  I am always asked for the recipe.

Zucchini Bread

Beat all together:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups grated zucchini

Add:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Pour into greased two loaf pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes.

zucchini bread 002

zucchini bread ready to eat

Happy Baking!

Amy

Louise’s Oatmeal Drop Cookies

Oatmeal Drop Cookies 029

My dad has lots of memories of eating cookies growing up.  We’ve already shared hermit cookies, ice box cookies and shortbread cookies.  But, since Grandma Dora’s recipe boxes are overflowing with cookie recipes, I decided to try another one.  I found several different oatmeal cookie recipes.  When I was trying to decide which one to use, I found one that had the word “good” written in the corner.  That seemed like a good sign, so I pulled it from the box.

My mom must have taken the idea of rating recipes in the upper right corner because she has the word “good” or “really good”, etc. written on many of her recipe cards.  My favorite is a recipe I found in her recipe box on which she wrote, “okay, not great.”  She must have tried the recipe, thought it was only okay, so wrote it on there, and then put it back into her recipe box.  Funny.

Oatmeal Drop Cookies 014

Oatmeal Drop Cookie Recipe

Oatmeal Drop Cookies 015

Oatmeal Drop Cookie Recipe

My grandma must have enjoyed swapping recipes because she had them from many different people.  This one says Louise up in the corner.  The recipe is as follows:

Oatmeal Drop Cookies

  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup and 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups oatmeal
  • 1 cup nut meats (optional)
  • 1 cup raisins (optional)

Cream shortening and sugar thoroughly.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Sift together flour, baking powder, spices and salt.  Add to creamed mixture alternately with milk.  Stir in vanilla.  Add raisins and oatmeal.  Drop from teaspoon on greased cookie sheet.  Bake in medium hot oven (375 degrees) for 15 minutes.  Makes 4 dozen.

Oatmeal Drop Cookies 001

I creamed the shortening and sugar first.

Oatmeal Drop Cookies 003

I then added the eggs one at a time.  It made a beautiful, creamy mixture.

Oatmeal Drop Cookies 004

I then mixed together the dry ingredients (except the oatmeal) and the added them alternately with the milk.

Oatmeal Drop Cookies 005

After that, I added the vanilla.  The recipe just called for nutmeat and raisins (no amounts).  I decided on a cup of each, but I’m sure they would be fine without them for those who don’t like those tastes.  I added the oatmeal, raisins and nutmeats and had a nice dough.

Oatmeal Drop Cookies 006

I put the dough out on the cookie sheets.

Oatmeal Drop Cookies 016

I baked them in the oven for about 13-15 minutes.  At first I thought this would be too long, but it turned out just right.

Oatmeal Drop Cookies 024

The cookies were delicious.  They have a distinct, old fashioned taste that you’re sure to enjoy.  I hope you give them a try.

Happy Baking!

Amy

 

Granola – A Bonus Recipe

Summer 2014 168

Granola – I ate this bowl of granola for my breakfast right after I took the picture. It was delicious!

Since it is “back to school” time for a lot of families, I was thinking about how breakfast sometimes has to be done in a hurry.  When I was eating my favorite quick breakfast the other day, I thought about how I should share this great recipe with all of you.  This one, like the zucchini bread and the raspberry pie, is a bonus recipe because it does not come from my grandmother’s recipe box.  My good friend Linda gave me this recipe last summer.  She got it from her sister, also my good friend, Laurel.  I have made a lot of different granola recipes, but once I was given this one, I don’t deviate from it very often.  In fact, I often double it because it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or in the freezer for even longer.  And, as soon as it is gone, it is not long before I am stirring up another batch.

The recipe is as follows:

Granola

  • 4 1/2 cups oats
  • 1/2 cup each raw walnuts, almonds and cashews
  • 1/2 cup each raw sunflower and pumpkin seeds
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup canola or veg oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately  Mix wet into dry and then spread out on a jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes, stirring after 30 minutes and then every 7-8 minutes until beginning to brown. Cool on counter and then place in fridge for 2-3 weeks. This is also delicious with dried cherries, cranberries or raisins.
Orange Ice 001

Granola cooling in the pan.

One of the nice things about this recipe is how you can change it to suit your tastes or what you have on hand.  I usually use 1/2 cup of flax seed meal and 1/2 cup of wheat germ in place of the sunflower and pumpkin seeds because that is what I have.  I also lower the maple syrup to 1/4 cup so I am eating less sugar and it still tastes great.  I also use whatever nuts I have on hand at the time.  It is so simple to put together.  I usually top it with yogurt and fresh fruit.
1 Birthday

Childhood birthday part with Linda, Laurel and Beth and our friends Sarah and Michael.

Linda, Laurel and their sister Beth were some of my sisters, brother and my best childhood friends.  In fact, they are more than childhood friends – they are our forever friends because we love them still and feel like we are with family whenever we are with them.  Thank you for the great recipe girls!
Happy Baking!
Amy