Chocolate Peanut Clusters

Grandpa Grandma Dad

Grandma Dora, Grandpa and my Dad in the yard on their farm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Grandpa was quite a bit older than my Grandma Dora, about ten years her senior. He had probably decided he was going to be a bachelor for life before he met and fell in love with Grandma. They had grown up so differently. She, an only child, raised in town, not having to worry about where the next meal would come from. Grandpa, one of the five children, who had to be “farmed out” to family and friends to be raised after his mother died because his father couldn’t do it on his own. Their backgrounds didn’t matter though. What they had, was faithful love for each other, with God at the center of their relationship. What a wonderful example they set.

They chose the difficult life of dairy farming and while they didn’t have much, they did what they could to make holidays special. Purchasing a few things as they could, but making many things homemade. I’m sure Grandma Dora made this recipe for Chocolate Peanut Clusters for Grandpa for Valentine’s Day. I can picture her candies in a simple metal tin with a red, cloth ribbon around it.

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Chocolate Peanut Clusters

  • 1 – 3 oz package chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup salted peanuts
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine first four ingredients in heavy pan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil.  Lower heat and cook slowly for three minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and quickly stir in peanuts and vanilla.  Beat until candy thickens and begins to lose its gloss.  Drop from teaspoon onto waxed paper, forming into clusters.

Candy1I began by combining the pudding mix, sugar and butter into my saucepan.

Candy2Then I added the evaporated milk.

Candy3I whisked everything together on a medium heat and brought it to a boil.  Then lowered the heat and continued to stir it for three minutes.

Candy4After the timer went off, I pulled it off of the heat and added the vanilla and salted peanuts.

Candy5It was looking delicious!  I stirred it until it started to thicken.

Candy7I dropped it by teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper (I sprayed it with cooking spray, just incase.) that I had spread out before I began.

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I let them cool on the wax paper for a couple of hours.  As they cooled, they harded and I was able to peel them off of the waxed paper.

Chocolate Peanut Clusters are an easy homemade candy to make.  It tastes like fudge!  I hope you’ll enjoy making them for your loved ones, as much as I know Grandma Dora enjoyed making them for my Grandpa.

Happy Cooking and Happy Valentine’s Day!

Wendy

Sugar Cookies – A Bonus Recipe

Cookies 073 Wendy and I realized something the other day.  We never made “Christmas cookies” over Christmas.  We made lots of cookies, but for some reason (maybe it had to with family members taking turns being sick through most of the season and therefore never having time), we never made the traditional roll out, cut into shapes and frost kind of Christmas cookies.  So, we decided we definitely needed to make Valentine cookies this year.  One day when she and my nephews were over, we pulled up our sleeves and started in on some fun. Cookies 072 I always like to pull this recipe out for roll out sugar cookies.  I actually got it in junior high or high school in a home economics class.  I remember very little about those classes, but I have always kept this recipe.  I remember one time when our neighbor who had moved away came back for a visit.  I was always making these cookies when I first got this recipe and so I made them for her.  She took one bite and said, “These are just like cookies from a bakery!”  I’ve never forgotten she said that and I always think fondly of her (and her comment) when I make this recipe. Cookies 066 Sugar Cookies

  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 4 teaspoons milk
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Thoroughly cream shortening, sugar and vanilla.  Add egg;  beat until light and fluffy.  Stir in milk.  Sift together dry ingredients.  Blend into creamed mixture.  Divide dough in half.  Chill 1 hour.  On lightly floured surface, roll to 1/8 inch thickness.  Cut in desired shapes with cutters.  Bake on greased cookie sheet at 375 degrees about 6-8 minutes.  Cool slightly;  remove from pan.  Makes 2 dozen. Cookies 001 To begin, I put the shortening, sugar and vanilla in the KitchenAid. Cookies 002 I creamed the three ingredients. Cookies 003 I then added the egg (I actually doubled the recipe, so I had two). Cookies 004 I beat the ingredients until they were light and fluffy.  I then stirred in the milk. Cookies 005 Next I combined the dry ingredients and blended them into the creamed mixture.  I chilled the dough for an hour or more. Cookies 008 Then, with the help of my nephews and sister, we rolled out the dough and began cutting shapes. Cookies 011 We baked the cookies at 375 degrees for 6-8 minutes.  They always smell so good when they are baking. Cookies 076 Next came the fun of frosting and decorating.  My sister had brought her collection of sprinkles, so we all had fun putting our own finishing touches on our cookies.

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My nephews wanted to decorate the snowflake cookies.

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They were very generous with the sprinkles!

Cookies 075 This is a recipe I highly recommend.  You just can’t go wrong with these.  So, pull your family together and have some festive Valentine’s Day fun together! Cookies 074 Happy Baking! Amy Cookies 053 Cookies 054 Cookies 055 Cookies 052 Cookies 034 Cookies 044 Cookies 048 Cookies 043

Ham and Cheese Whirls – A Bonus Recipe

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The Superbowl is coming and it is snack food time!  Our family always has a little party featuring our favorite snacks.  Wendy usually makes my favorite, Mexican Layered Dip.  And, her husband, who is a great cook, makes a variety of good snacks.  I usually add some dishes of my own and it is a lot of fun.

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Last Saturday, after going on another hike in the snowy woods, we came back hungry and decided to make Ham and Cheese Whirls.  We were talking about what a great Superbowl snack they would be.  The recipe is actually, from our older sister, Rebekah.  Everyone worked together, and we had these delicious treats on the table in no time.

Ham and Cheese Whirls

Biscuit: (or substitute 1 loaf frozen bread dough, thawed)

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup milk

Filling:

  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup finely chopped cooked ham
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise

To make biscuit:  Mix dry ingredients.  Then add milk slowly.

For filling:  Mix cheese, ham, celery and mayonnaise.

Roll out biscuit into a rectangular shape.  Spread on filling.  Roll up and cut into rolls on greased pan.

Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

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First we put the dry ingredients into the Kitchenaid. (You could also use frozen bread dough, or make up some bread dough in your bread machine.)

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Next we added the milk slowly and mixed until it formed a soft dough.

Ham and Cheese Whirls 011We put the dough out on the floured counter top.

Ham and Cheese Whirls 012We rolled out the dough into a rectangular shape (We doubled the dough since there were a lot of us eating, so it was bigger than one batch would look.).

Ham and Cheese Whirls 013While some of us were making the dough, others were shredding the cheese,

Ham and Cheese Whirls 002cutting up the celery,

Ham and Cheese Whirls 009and dicing the ham.

Ham and Cheese Whirls 014We mixed those three ingredients together along with the mayonnaise to create the filling.

Ham and Cheese Whirls 015Next, we spread the filling all over the rolled out dough.

Ham and Cheese Whirls 016Then it was time to carefully roll the dough up like you would cinnamon rolls.

Ham and Cheese Whirls 017Once it was all rolled, it was time to cut it into rolls.

Ham and Cheese Whirls 019We used a piece of floss to cut the rolls.

Ham and Cheese Whirls 020The floss keeps the dough from getting smashed like it might if using a knife.

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When the rolls were cut, they were placed on a cookie sheet.  We put them in the oven for about 15 minutes at 375 degrees.  My nephew thought they looked so good that he wanted to try one before we cooked it!

Ham and Cheese Whirls 032I think the cooking was worth his wait because they came out of the oven golden and bubbly.

Ham and Cheese Whirls 042I’m glad we made a double batch because we all liked them!

Ham and Cheese Whirls 044Ham and cheese whirls are a dish I definitely recommend for your Superbowl Party.  Give them a try and let us know what you think!

Happy Baking!

Amy

Blueberry Banana Bread – A Bonus Recipe

blueberry banana bread 011

Did you go blueberry picking last summer?  We did.  It is one of our favorite summer outings.  We love to be out in the sunny field with the blueberry bushes all around us.  My nephews are good pickers (although they like to spend some of their time trying to pelt us with unripe blueberries – they learned this game from their dad and uncle) and so between all of the adults and kids we usually pick a large amount of berries.  I love bringing them home, pouring them into zip lock bags and packing them safely away in the freezer for winter days like today.

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Today just seemed like a good day to bake with blueberries.  So, I found this recipe, compliments of one of the blueberry farms we sometimes visit, and got to work.

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Blueberry Banana Bread

  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup butter or margarine
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cups mashed, ripe bananas

Wash and thoroughly drain blueberries;  toss berries with 2 tablespoons flour.  Sift together remaining flour, baking powder, soda and salt.  Cream butter or margarine;  gradually beat in sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Add flour mixture and bananas alternately, in three parts.  Stir in blueberries.  Spoon into greased loaf pan (9x5x3 inches).  Bake in 350 degree oven about 50 minutes or until done.  Makes 1 loaf.

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I pulled the blueberries out of the freezer and washed them thoroughly.

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I then tossed them in 2 tablespoons of flour and set them aside.

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Next, I stirred together the dry ingredients with a whisk.

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I then creamed the butter and then gradually added the sugar.

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Next came the eggs and the batter became very light, almost foamy.

blueberry banana bread 005

When bananas are starting to get too ripe, I like to peel them and stick them in a ziploc bag in the freezer.  I can then pull them out for baking.  So, I pulled a couple of bananas out of the freezer, thawed them a little and then mashed them a bit (I know, it does not look appetizing!).

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I added the flour mixture to the batter alternately with the bananas.

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I then stirred in the blueberries.

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Then, it all went in the bread pan and into the oven at 350 degrees for about 50-60 minutes.

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It came out looking and smelling delicious!  This blueberry banana bread is a special treat from a special summer memory!

Happy Baking!

Amy

Butterscotch Cookies

Grandpa and Grandpa Wichterman and Kado

My grandparents and their dog on a walk.

My dad told me a story about a summer day when he was about 7 or 8 years old.  He wanted his mom to go for a walk with him over to the 80 acres of land they owned (this land was separate from their farm – down the road, so he couldn’t go there by himself).  She was swamped with kitchen and garden work that day (as she often was).  He kept begging her to go for a walk and she kept resisting as she knew she had so much to get done.  But finally, she agreed to go.  They walked for about an hour down the lane and past the pond.  They picked flowers and spent the time together.  My dad still remembers this as an example of how kind and caring his mom was.  She gave him the gift of her time when it cost her to give it.

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I found this recipe for butterscotch cookies in Grandma Dora’s recipe box.  It appears to have been cut out from a newspaper.  My grandma also sacrificed her time by making all kinds of sweets for her family when she had other work to get done.  My dad and uncle probably ate many of these along with the other treats their mom continually made them.

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Butterscotch Cookies

  • 4 cups sifted enriched flour
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped nuts

Sift together flour, soda, cream of tartar and salt.  Cream together butter or margarine and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla extract.  Beat well.  Add flour mixture to creamed mixture.  Add nuts and mix well.  Shape into rolls and wrap in wax paper or press into cookie molds.  Chill until very firm.  Slice thin and bake on ungreased baking sheets in moderately hot oven (400 degrees F) 8 to 10 minutes.  Yield:  about 6 dozen 2-inch cookies.

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These cookies were pretty simple to make.  First, I stirred the flour, soda, cream of tartar and salt together with a whisk.

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Then I creamed the butter and sugar together.

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Next, I add the eggs and vanilla.

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The flour mixture was put in next and then the nuts (I used walnuts).

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I took the dough and made it into a roll (I made half a recipe, so I only made one roll.  If you make the whole recipe, you would probably want to make two rolls.).

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I then wrapped it in wax paper and refrigerated it for a couple of hours.

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I cut them, and put them on ungreased baking sheets.

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I baked them in a 400 degree oven.  The recipe said to bake them for 8-10 minutes.  I found that 6-7 minutes was long enough.

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These cookies turned out delicate, crisp and delicious!  Everyone who ate them raved about them!  I was very happy with how they turned out!  I hope you give them a try!

Happy Baking!  Amy

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies – A Bonus Recipe

Grandma and Becky

Grandma Dora pulling my sister in a wagon on a snowy day. Maybe she couldn’t resist being out in the snow either.

The snow is perfect right now.  It has been for days and I can’t seem to keep myself from going outside.  I know I have work to do inside, but when I look out at the snow sparkling in the sunlight, I just can’t resist.  I’ve been cross country skiing or sledding with my friends and family (and even by myself when no one else was available to go) almost every day this week.

So, I honestly haven’t taken a lot of time to bake this week, but when I did bake, I decided to go with my all time favorite.  I’ve made a lot of cookies in my day.  In fact, I’ve made a lot of chocolate chip cookies.  But, this is the one cookie recipe that I always come back to.  It is simply the best.  How could you go wrong with the combination of chocolate, peanut butter and oatmeal?  Well, I’ll tell you – you can’t go wrong.  Just like the snow that’s on the ground right now, it’s perfect.

pb chocolate chip cookies 119

My sister and my nephews are coming over today while my brother-in-law goes with some of his friends to the car show in Detroit.  I decided I would make them some chocolate chip cookies for a treat when they came.  But, not just any chocolate chip cookies – peanut butter chocolate chip cookies!

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars;  beat in peanut butter, egg and vanilla.  Combine flour, oats, baking soda and salt;  stir into the creamed mixture.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool 1 minute before removing to a wire rack.  Yield:  2 dozen.

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First I creamed the butter and sugar together.

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Then I beat in the peanut butter, egg and vanilla.

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Next, I combined the flour, oatmeal, baking soda and salt.  (My sister likes to blend up the oatmeal before she adds it.  It changes the texture and is very good too.)

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I stirred the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until I had a nice cookie dough.

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Next came the chocolate chips.  Doesn’t it look good enough to eat?

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After that I rolled it into balls and put it on the cookie sheets.

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I baked them at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  They turned a lovely golden brown.  I cooled them for a minute, then moved them onto a wire rack.  They smelled delicious!

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I’m sure that when my sister and nephews get here, I’ll try to coax them outside to play in the snow.  And, maybe when we come inside all wet and cold and happy, we’ll have a snack of milk and peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.  You just can’t go wrong with these cookies.  They are simply the best of the best!  You really have to try them!

Happy Baking!

Amy

White Nut Bread

On Sunday afternoons, after church, we often go over to my parent’s house for lunch.  I always try to bring something to share, to help with the meal.  I found a recipe in my Grandma Dora’s recipe box for White Nut Bread.  I decided to make it because it seemed like a simple, easy recipe and something we could all enjoy with lunch.  When we got to my parent’s house on Sunday, I set the bread on the kitchen counter and began to help get the meal going and on the table.  As my dad looked at the loaf of bread I had set down, he said, “I remember that my mom used to make a nut and raisin bread that kind of looked like that.  She made it a lot and I always liked it.”  He didn’t know that I had actually found and made her recipe.  I said, “This IS your mom’s recipe!  I got it from her recipe box!  This is her recipe for White Nut Bread!”  I was so pleased that what I had made looked like and reminded him of Grandma Dora’s!  He said it was really good and tasted the way he remembered it!

NB - Recipe2
White Nut Bread

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup nuts (or more as desired)

Mix together all dry ingredients.  Add nut meats and raisins.  Mix in milk and the beaten egg.  Put batter into a greased loaf pan.  Let rise 1/2 hour.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

NB - Dry IngredientsI began by mixing together the dry ingredients.

NB - Nuts and Raisins

Then, after chopping up the nuts (I used walnuts) I added them to the dry ingredients with the raisins.  I actually used a full cup of chopped walnuts.

NB - Wet Ingredients AddedOnce the nuts and raisins were mixed in, I added and blended in the milk and beaten egg.

NB - In loaf panI poured the batter, which was very thick, into a greased loaf pan.  I covered it and let it rise for 30 minutes before putting it into my preheated oven.

NB Baked
I baked the White Nut bread for about 50 minutes.  It was a beautiful golden brown loaf.  This recipe has very little sugar in it, only a half cup, so because I didn’t think the bread itself would be very sweet, I decided to add some frosting!!

NB - Frosted1I made a thick glaze of powdered sugar and milk and put it on the loaf while it was still slightly warm.

NB - Frosted and Sliced

Nothing makes a loaf of bread better than thick frosting!

NB - Frosted and Sliced3The bread had a nice, chewy outside and a delicious, soft inside!  The sweet raisins and frosting were a nice compliment to the nutty flavor of the walnuts.

NB - Fosted and Sliced2My family really enjoyed the White Nut Bread along with our Sunday lunch.  I was glad I had made it and that it turned out to be such a delicious recipe, one that reminded my dad of his childhood!

Happy Baking!

Wendy