Peanut Butter No-Bakes – A Bonus Recipe

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Christmas time is coming!  With that comes cookie baking.  We’ve already made quite a few cookie recipes from our grandmother’s recipe box:  Mrs. Eisenhower’s sugar cookies, drop nut cookies, chocolate chip cookies, Louise’s oatmeal drop cookies, Lucille’s shortbread cookies, ice box cookies, and hermit cookies.  But, since it is Christmas time, you can’t have too many cookie recipes, so here’s another one – peanut butter no bake cookies!  This is the first cookie recipe we have put on that is a bonus recipe, not from our grandmother’s recipe box.  A friend gave this recipe to us and I just have to share it because it is so simple to make and so good to eat!

Peanut Butter No-Bakes

  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (do not use natural)
  • up to 3 cups quick oats

In a saucepan heat brown sugar, butter and milk.  Stir every so often.  Let come to a boil.  Boil without stirring for 3 minutes exactly.  Remove from heat and add peanut butter and oats (You may not need all of the oats.  Stir the last cup in slowly so it doesn’t get too dry.).  Spoon onto wax paper.  Let cool.

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The recipe has very few ingredients and very few steps – what’s not to like about that?  First, I put the brown sugar, butter and milk in a pan and let it cook, stirring on occasion until it boiled.  Once it boiled, I set the timer for three minutes and let it go without stirring until the timer went off.

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Then, I took the pan off of the burner and put in the peanut butter that I had measured ahead of time.  I stirred it around a little until it melted and then added the quick oats.

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I ended up using all three cups, but a little less would have been okay too.

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I then spooned the batter out onto wax paper and let it cool – and there they were, done and ready to enjoy!  After they were cooled all the way, I stuck them in the freezer so I can pull them out when friends and family are visiting.

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So, if you’re short on time, but want a cookie that tastes like you spent a lot of time, I think these are the ones you should try.  You won’t be disappointed!

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Happy Cookie Making!

Amy

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Lemon Meringue Pie

106 Meal and Grandpa and Grandma Wichterman's

A family meal at our grandparents’ – it may have been Thanksgiving, but Wendy seems to be the only person who is getting any food!

Thanksgiving is tomorrow.  A lot of people are making pies today.  Pie making can be a lot of fun, but it can also be a lot of work.  I have a friend named Miss Ginny.  She is a wonderful person and she can also make the most wonderful lemon meringue pies.  I am impressed by her skills, but I have never attempted to replicate her creations . . . until I found this recipe of my grandmother’s.  I needed to make a pie for the Thanksgiving and Pie Night service at church.  I found this recipe and realized I had all of the ingredients.  I’ve always been a little intimidated by lemon meringue, but I decided I would step up and give it a try.

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Lemon Meringue Pie

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • 6 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 8 inch baked pastry shell

Meringue

  • 3 egg whites
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Combine sugar, water and butter;  heat until sugar dissolves.  Add cornstarch blended with cold water:  cook slowly until clear, about 8 minutes.  Add lemon juice and peel;  cook 2 minutes.  Slowly add egg yolks beaten with milk;  bring to boiling.  Cool. 

Meringue:  Beat egg whites stiff, but not dry:  add sugar gradually;  add lemon juice at the last.  Brown in moderate oven (350 degrees) 13 to 15 minutes.

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First I made an 8 inch pie crust.  (Well, actually, I first made a 9 inch pie crust, then realized this recipe needs and 8 inch, so I had to make another one.  At least it is a quick and easy recipe!)  I used the easy pat-in crust that Wendy used for her chocolate pudding pie.

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While that was cooling, I combined the sugar, water and butter and heated until the sugar dissolved.  Not too hard so far!

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I then mixed the cold water and cornstarch together.  I have a cup with a lid, so I put the cornstarch and water in the cup, put the lid on and shook them up.  A whisk would have worked as well.  I added the cornstarch, water mixture to the sugar, water and butter mixture and set the timer for 8 minutes.  After 8 minutes I thought it looked pretty clear – so far, so good.

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I then added the lemon juice.  I didn’t have any lemon peel on hand, so I used about a quarter teaspoon of lemon extract instead.  I cooked all of this for 2 minutes.  I was starting to think I could do this!

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Then, came the trickier part.  I separated the egg yolks from the whites and mixed the egg yolks with the milk.

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When I slowly added the egg yolks and milk to the mixture, I think I may have added a little too slowly (or stirred a little too slowly or something) because the mixture got a little lumpy.  I whisked wildly trying to get the lumps out, but some of the smaller ones remained.  Oh well.  I reminded myself I was a novice with lemon meringue pies and kept going.

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The lemon filling – please say you don’t see any lumps!

I brought the mixture to a boil and then set it aside to cool.  It did look a nice yellow color.  I tried not to notice the tiny lumps.

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Next I made the meringue.  Could I do this part?  I wasn’t sure, but I was going to give it my best shot.  I put the egg whites in the Kitchenaid and started whisking them.

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I wasn’t too sure what stiff, but not dry meant, but when I thought I was to that point, I added the sugar and then lastly the lemon juice.  The meringue looked beautiful.  “Okay, that part went well.”  I told myself.

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I put the lemon filling in the bottom of the 8 inch crust.

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Then, I put the meringue on top.  I thought that in the end, it probably could have used a 9 inch crust (I should have just stuck with my original crust – oh well!), so I noted that for next time.

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I then baked it in the oven for 15 minutes and, guess what?  It looked like a lemon meringue pie when it came out!  How did I do that (Don’t think about the tiny lumps!  Don’t think about the tiny lumps!)?

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When I cut a piece I couldn’t see any lumps!  It was beautiful!  I impressed myself!

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It definitely has a subtle lemon flavor.  If you like it more lemony, you would want to add more lemon peel.  My dad thought it was great and I liked it too (my mom thought it needed more lemon!).

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So, even though I had a few moments where I thought all was lost, in the end I actually made a lemon meringue pie!  I think my grandmother would have been happy with my work (and I know Miss Ginny would enjoy hearing about it too – maybe I’ll have to call her and tell her about it sometime).

Happy Baking and Happy Thanksgiving!

Amy

 

Chocolate Pudding Pie Filling – A Bonus Recipe

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We will have snow for Thanksgiving again this year!  Last year was the same way.  We traveled up north to my oldest sister Rebekah’s house.  As usual, she had even more snow then we did as she lives near the shores of Lake Michigan.  Our whole family was having a giant sleepover.  Fun times were ahead!

The snow glittered off of the trees as we drove.  We’d packed all of our winter gear.  A massive snowball fight, including teams and forts, was in the plans for the afternoon.  Of course it ended up being boys against girls!  But I don’t think that the cousins (or my husband!) would have had it any other way!  The sun was out, and warmed us as we packed snowballs and created our team hideouts.  The boys were ruthless and nailed us with snowballs when they attacked.  They of course were rewarded by their devious acts as we girls screamed and ran…..mission accomplished!   We did however hit them with our snowballs as we darted away!  The boys declared a win that day, but we girls knew better than to ever admit defeat!

It was time to warm up and to make a truce, so we headed inside for some pie.  Chocolate Pudding Pie from scratch is my absolute favorite.  I had brought that to share.  We pulled out all of the pie varieties and started serving up everyone’s favorites.

This week I again made my favorite Chocolate Pudding Pie with a delicious and effortless Pat In Crust that I shared in our last post.

Chocolate Pudding Pie Filling

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 2 tbl corn starch
  • 2 tbl flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs slightly beaten
  • 2 tbl butter/margarine
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Stir together sugar, cocoa, corn starch, flour and salt.  Blend in milk and eggs.  Cook over medium heat until it begins to boil, stirring constantly.  Boil and stir for one minute.  Remove from heat .  Stir in butter and vanilla.  Pour into baked pie crust.  Press plastic wrap directly onto filling surface.  Cool and refrigerate.  Place in freezer approximately 2 hours before serving to ensure beautiful slices.  Top with Cool Whip if desired.

Pie Pudding PowderI started by measuring the sugar, cocoa, corn starch, flour and salt right into my saucepan and whisking them together.

Pie Pudding MixtureThen I blended in the milk and eggs.  I stirred continually until it began to boil and then timed it for one minute.

Pie Pudding after last two ingredientsAfter it had boiled and thickened, I pulled it off the heat and whisked in the butter and vanilla.  The pudding turned glossy as the butter melted.

Pie Pudding ThickenedIt was thick and oh so chocolatey!  It was also ready to be poured into the pie shell!

Pudding pie pouringI poured the smooth pudding into the pie shell.  I had actually doubled it because I have a deep 9 inch pie plate and always like the filling to go right up to the edge of the crust.

Pudding Pie Ready to be chilledI covered my pie with plastic wrap, letting the plastic touch down and stick onto the pudding.  The plastic ensures that the pudding doesn’t form a “skin” layer on the top.  Then it went into the refrigerator to set.

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After it was completely chilled I took it out of the refrigerator and put it in the freezer for about two hours.  When I pulled it out, It was nice and firm and it sliced easily.  You can also put it into the freezer and let it harden completely, but you’d need to take it out a few hours before you planned to serve it to make sure it was thawed enough to slice.

Pudding Pie Piece2As always, I topped it with a generous amount of Cool Whip!

Pudding Pie Piece4The crust was perfect and crumbly.  The Chocolate Pudding Pie Filling was thick and rich! It’s so much better than pudding from a box.  You really can’t even compare the two.

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This pie is different than traditional apple or pumpkin that are usually at Thanksgiving dinner. There’s nothing wrong with tradition, but if you want to change things up a bit, try making a Chocolate Pudding Pie to share and enjoy at your Thanksgiving table this year!

Happy Cooking!

Wendy

Pat In Pie Crust – A Bonus Recipe

It’s THAT time of year again.  Grocery shopping with a list a mile long, cleaning the house from top to bottom and scouring through recipes trying to pick out the perfect dish.  I love Thanksgiving!

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Our family enjoying Thanksgiving dinner together. — Please excuse us, everyone looked liked that in the 80s!

Growing up, it was always my favorite holiday.  We rarely got together with extended family, so it was always a quieter day at home as a family of six.  Our mom would get up early and work hard to get the turkey roasting.  We rotated each year, taking turns assisting her to ensure that we learned how to make a turkey dinner.  We loved “helping” her as she made the stuffing from scratch.  The best part was pulling out and eating croutons that had soaked up warm butter before she added anything else to the bowl!

Pies were always on the agenda, though I believe that my mom made them the day before.  I always remember her making apple and pumpkin pies, but I think when I was young, I was more interested in the Cool Whip that went on top!  As we got older, we made other kinds, our favorites of course.  She had no problem having us take over the pie baking responsibilities!

My mom has the most simple pie crust recipe, one that requires no rolling out!  She’s used it for years and taught us to make it.  I still use it.  It’s a great recipe because there is no shortening in it and it’s really fast to make….and did I mention that you don’t have to roll it out?!

Pat In Pie Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil
  • 2 tblsp. milk

Measure all ingredients into pie plate.  Combine with fork.  Press into pie plate with fingers.  Prick with fork many times.  Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Pie Crust IngredientsI started out by measuring all of the ingredients into my pie plate.  It’s so nice to not use other dishes or especially, THE ROLLING PIN!!  The mess stays contained!

Pie Crust doughNext, with a fork, I combined all of the ingredients until they came together as a dough.

Pie Crust PattingUsing my fingers, I pressed the dough down flat and up the edges to form the crust.  Once it was shaped the way I liked it, I crimped the sides along the top, though you wouldn’t have to do that.

Pie Crust ForkI pricked the bottom of the crust in several places with my fork.  This is done so that the crust won’t bubble up and look uneven when it’s baked.

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I popped it into my preheated oven and baked it for 10 minutes.  The edges turned golden brown.  It only took about 20 minutes total and I had a beautiful pie crust that looked like I’d spent hours on!

I went on to make a Chocolate Pudding Pie Filling from scratch to fill this pie shell.  (I’ll explain how I did that in our next post.)  If chocolate doesn’t suit your fancy though (which really, how couldn’t it?!) you can fill this crust with any filling.  If you want to make a fruit pie, don’t pre-bake the crust before you add the fruit filling.  Add a crumble topping crust to the top for a great match with this Pat In crust bottom.

So before you start panicking about the homemade pie you are supposed to be bringing to your Thanksgiving meal, but don’t know when you’ll ever get the time to make, take a deep breath and start patting out this quick easy crust.  It will look great and taste even better.  Plus, the best part is that they’ll think you spent HOURS making it!

Happy Baking!

Wendy

Pancakes

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My dad lived on a dairy farm when he grew up, so I imagine my grandmother made a lot of big hearty breakfasts for after the morning milking.  I’ve always liked making big breakfasts too.  When my niece and nephews come stay overnight at my house, before they go to bed they usually say, “Auntie, what are you going to make for breakfast?”  Pancakes is one of their usual requests so when I saw this recipe in my grandmother’s recipe box, I decided to give it a try.

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Pancakes

  • 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cups white flour
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sour milk
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons melted shortening

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I started by souring the milk.  I put 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice (vinegar can also be used) in the bottom of a 2 cup liquid measuring cup.  I then filled the measuring cup up to the 1 1/2 cups mark with milk.  I let that sit while I put the other ingredients together.

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I combined all of the dry ingredients and stirred them with my whisk.  In another bowl I combined the now soured milk, eggs and melted shortening (I actually just used canola oil because it was easier.).

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I then added the wet ingredients into the dry and stirred them all together.

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I heated up the griddle and made pancakes!

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These were simple to put together.  I wasn’t sure how the whole wheat flour would affect the taste, but they had a good, wholesome flavor.  These pancakes are great for a Saturday morning family breakfast.  I hope you give them a try.

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Happy Baking!

Amy

Fluffy Icing

Grandma Wichtermans with Dad

The heritage of Grandma Dora’s cooking and baking skills.  Grandma Dora (standing on right), with her Mother (standing on left), her Grandmother (sitting) and my Dad (sitting on her lap).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My grandmother was always baking up desserts.  And, she made it look like the simplest thing to do.  My mom said she would watch her roll out a pie crust so quickly and perfectly, it was amazing.  So, I’m sure this fluffy icing was something she did quickly and with perfection.

On the back of the brown sugar loaf cake recipe there was the recipe for fluffy icing.  I decided my grandma must have thought this was the right icing for this cake since she put them together.  So, I decided I would try putting them together too.  I’m glad I did because it turned out to be just the right thing for the library bake sale.

Fluffy Icing

  • 2 unbeaten egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4  cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Combine in top of double boiler.  Place over rapidly boiling water and beat with rotary egg beater until mixture is light, fluffy and holds in peaks – about 7 minutes.  Remove from heat and add 1 teaspoon vanilla.  Beat until stiff.

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This frosting was tricky for me to make because I didn’t have a double boiler.  I put some water in one pan and set another pan inside it to improvise.

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Once the water began to boil, I combined the ingredients and began beating them with my rotary egg beater (I actually have one of these – my nephews like to use it as a toy.  I think, though that it would have been easier to just put a hand mixer in the pan and let it go.).  I think because I didn’t have a real double boiler, I had trouble getting it to hold in peaks.

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But, eventually I removed it from the heat, added the vanilla, put it in the Kitchenaid with the whisk attachment and beat it until stiff.

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It was important to frost the cupcakes right away before the frosting cooled.  Once it cooled it got a little harder to frost.

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The frosting turned out great for transporting because once it was cooled it hardened enough so that it didn’t stick to the bags when I packaged them up for the bake sale.  Even though it didn’t stick, it was still a soft and fluffy frosting.  It was such a beautiful white color too.

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This frosting was definitely worth the effort!  I hope my friends at the library enjoyed the cupcakes as much as I did!  I hope you’ll give them a try and let me know what you think!

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Happy Baking!

Amy

 

Brown Sugar Loaf Cake

I love our library!  We go to a tiny little library where I never have to use my library card because the librarians know my name (and library card number) automatically when I walk in the door.  They still use a stamper to stamp the date a book is due in the back of the book.  One of the librarians told me she can’t stand to give it up because she just loves the satisfying sound of the stamper clicking down on the page.  When we check out books, we always chat with the librarians and they remember everything about the people in the small town they service.

Well, it was time for the annual library bake sale.  I almost always participate (except last year when I had strep throat – I didn’t think anyone would want to buy the germs I would have been baking into my baked goods if I had even had the strength to bake!).  I thought it would be nice to try out one of Grandma Dora’s recipes for the bake sale.  When I came across this recipe for Brown Sugar Loaf Cake, I decided to give it a try.

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Crisco’s Brown Sugar Loaf Cake

Measure into bowl.  All measurements level.

  • 2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 2/3 cups brown sugar firmly packed
  • 2/3 cups Crisco
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 cup milk

Mix vigorously for 2 minutes by hand (or mixer, medium speed)

Add:

  • 3 1/2 teaspoons double acting baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix vigorously by hand or mixer for 2 minutes.  Pour into loaf pan 9x13x2.  Bake in 375 degree oven 40 minutes.  Cool cake on rack 15 minutes.

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This recipe was very simple to put together. I just measured the first set of ingredients into the mixer bowl.

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Then I mixed the ingredients for 2 minutes.

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Next, I added the rest of the ingredients and mixed for two more minutes.  Because the name of the recipe is loaf cake, I was imagining it would go into a bread pan size dish.  After I had stirred all of the ingredients together, I greased a bread loaf pan and started to pour the batter in.  It didn’t even come close to fitting in there!  I looked at the recipe again and noticed that the loaf pan was 9x13x2.  Oh!  They were talking about a 9×13 dish.  Well, that made more sense.  I decided I didn’t want to send my 9×13 pan to the bake sale, so I decided to make the batter into cupcakes.  That would be much easier to package for selling.

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The cupcakes turned out beautifully.  Wendy had recently made a brown sugar cake from the recipe box.  This one was similar, but had it’s own delicious flavor.  I considered using the brown sugar frosting Wendy had made with her cake.  On the back of this recipe, though, there was a recipe for fluffy icing.  I decided to try that instead and I’m glad I did (I will share that recipe with you next week).

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Wendy and I have noticed that a lot of brown sugar is used in these old fashioned recipes.  Maybe that is what gives them such a distinct (and delightful) old fashioned taste.  I hope you give this simple recipe a try.  It doesn’t take much more work than a box cake mix and it is free of all of the preservatives you would find in a box mix.  If you do try it out, let me know what you think!  I think you’ll be glad you did!

The cupcakes all packaged up for the bake sale.

The cupcakes all packaged up for the bake sale.

Happy Baking!

Amy