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.

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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

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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!

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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.

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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

Biscuits

My parents have a cherry table stored in their basement.  It belonged to my Grandpa and Grandma Dora.  It’s a beautiful, solid table, with lots of carved wood and intricate patterns. It has numerous leaves that fit into it, making it enormous in length.  I’ve always admired it and said that someday I hoped it would be mine.  My dad has told stories that during harvest time he can remember that cherry table, with all of the leaves in it, stretched out in their house with a large group of farm hands eating around it.  Farmers in the area would go together, farm to farm, helping neighbors bring in their crops, living by the adage, “Many hands make light work.”  When they would come to my grandparents farm, Grandma Dora, her mother Edith and the wives of the men in the fields would spend hours cooking and baking, trying their best to fill the men up with a hearty meal before sending them back out to the fields.

Grandpa on Hay Wagon

Grandpa on his hay wagon that was used during harvest time.

I found Grandma Dora’s recipe for homemade biscuits in her recipe box.  I’m sure she included them with the filling meals for the farm hands.  I had never made biscuits from scratch before.  Normally when I see a recipe that requires a rolling pin, I usually lose interest pretty fast.  But I had a recipe in my own recipe box for Creamed Chicken Over Biscuits that I had never made, but always intended to, so this was my chance.  I would whip this up for dinner!

Biscuit RecipeBiscuits

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • About 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 4 Tablespoons lard (or shortening)

Combine all dry ingredients in mixing bowl.  Add buttermilk and shortening.  Mix until soft dough is formed.  On a floured surface, knead a few times and roll out until dough is about 1/2 inch in thickness.  Cut with a floured biscuit cutter.  Place on ungreased baking sheet.  Bake at 450 for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Biscuits dry ingI added all of the dry ingredients into my mixing bowl.

Biscuitswet combinedNext, I added the buttermilk and shortening.  (If you don’t have buttermilk and would like to make your own, we explain how in the recipe for Mrs. Magary’s Spice Cake.)

Biscuits DoughUsing the dough hook attachment on my Kitchenaid (though just a regular mixer attachment would be fine), I mixed the ingredients until a soft dough formed.

Biscuits Dough BallAfter flouring the counter, I kneaded the dough a few times until it felt like a good consistency for rolling out.

Biscuits Rolled OutI rolled out the dough until it was about 1/2 inch thick.  If you’d like a thicker biscuit, than don’t roll it quite as thin.

Biscuits CutSince I don’t have a biscuit cutter, I floured the mouth of a glass jar and used that to cut the dough.  I then placed them on an ungreased baking sheet and popped them into my preheated oven.

Biscuits BakedI baked them for about 12 minutes and pulled them out as they were starting to brown and open around the middles.

Biscuits Piled2They were beautiful!  Soft and flakey, splitting in the middle.  They even smelled delicious!

Biscuits Piled3I couldn’t wait to try them with dinner.  I covered them to keep them warm and made the Creamed Chicken, which is basically like the inside of chicken pot pie.

Biscuits ServedThe biscuits were delicious!  They were cut open and covered with heaping ladles of steaming Creamed Chicken.  It was a warm, hearty meal, one that reminded me of something that Grandma Dora must have prepared for the farm hands all those years ago.

Happy Baking!

Wendy

Aunt Dorothy’s Butter Cream Frosting

We went to Shipshewana this week.  I hadn’t been there in many years and I thought it would be fun to check out the shops and the Amish stores.  The Amish life is appealing to me for two reasons.  I like the simplicity and the sense of community the people share.

This frosting recipe has the name “Dorothy” written in the corner.  Dorothy was my father’s aunt, his dad’s sister.  She was one of the children that got split up when their mother died that I wrote about when I made Edna’s Butterscotch Cake.  I remember going to visit her home one time when we were on a family vacation.  She could have been Amish with her old fashioned clothes and furniture.  She and her husband owned a store that was connected to the side of their home.  The store itself was very anitiquated.  I remember it as similar to a “modern day” antique store.  Everything was very simple there.  I can imagine how she might have put together this simple “from scratch” frosting in her unadorned kitchen.

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Dorothy’s Butter Cream Frosting

  • 1 cup milk
  • 5 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar (granulated) or 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Cook milk and flour until very thick.  Cool.  Add to creamed sugar and shortening.  Beat until very fluffy and add 1 teaspoon vanilla.

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I combined the milk and flour in a pan and began to cook them over medium heat.

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I have never made frosting this way, so I was curious to see what would happen.  In a short time, the milk and flour got very thick, like the recipe said it would.

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While the milk and flour mixture was cooling, I creamed the sugar and shortening together (I decided to use half shortening and half butter.).  I used the powdered sugar, but I am curious to know how the granulated sugar would turn out since the recipe says you can use either one.

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I then added the milk and flour mixture into the creamed sugar and shortening mixture and beat until it was very fluffy.  I then added a teaspoon of vanilla.

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The frosting turned out very fluffy and spread easily on the cake.  It is different than other frosting.  My brother-in-law described it as similar to the filling in a twinkie.  My sister-in-law thought it reminded her of a frosting that has cool whip in it.  I thought it was similar to doughnut filling.

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I hope you have a chance to give Aunt Dorothy’s Butter Cream Frosting and the cake recipe a try.  I think you will find it a simple delight.

Happy Baking!

Amy

Cake

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Every year at Christmas, we make a birthday cake for Baby Jesus.  I thought it would be fun to find a recipe from Grandma Dora’s recipe box to use for the cake this year.  We have already tried several cakes from the recipe box (brown sugar loaf cake, brown sugar cake, Edna’s butterscotch cake, koffee kuchen, Mrs. Magary’s spice cake, Mrs. Tucker’s short cake and date and nut cake).  When I came across this recipe, it was simply titled “cake.”

Grandma Binger and Dad

Grandma Dora’s mother, Edith, with my Dad.

I noticed that this recipe was copied in the box on two different recipe cards.  As we continue to look through the boxes, we are beginning to wonder if one of them originally belonged to Grandma Dora’s mother, Edith and the other one was Grandma Dora’s own.  Since I found this recipe twice I wonder if both Grandma Dora and Great Grandma Edith had it in their boxes.  So, it must be a good one!  The recipe is very simple to put together – really not much more work than a box cake mix.  I like that about it.

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Cake

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs, unbeaten

Sift dry ingredients together.  Add shortening and 3/4 cup of the milk.  Beat 2 minutes, then add rest of the milk, vanilla and eggs.  Beat 2 minutes.

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I mixed the dry ingredients together.  I then added the shortening and 3/4 cups of milk.  I beat these together for two minutes.

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I then added the rest of the milk, the vanilla and the eggs.  I beat this for 2 more minutes and I had cake batter!

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I poured the cake batter into a 9×13 pan, but you could also use two round pans or even make cupcakes.

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There were no baking instructions on the recipe.  I decided to bake it at 350 degrees for about 30-35 minutes.  It turned out very nice and golden.

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I was pleased with the way this cake turned out.  It was simple to make and free of all of the preservatives you would find in a “box cake mix.”  I used another recipe, Dorothy’s Butter Cream Frosting to frost the cake.  I will share that with you in my next post.

Happy Baking!

Amy

Mexican Layered Dip – A Bonus Recipe

It’s New Year’s Eve!  Time to party like it’s 2015!  And what else do we do when we celebrate?  We get together with friends and EAT!!  Just part of packing on the holiday poundage, I guess.  Hey, we need to have something to make a New Year’s resolution about, right?!

I found this recipe in a magazine years ago.  It is my ultimate favorite dip.  It eats more like a meal than a snack.  In fact, upon the rare occasion that there is some left after I’ve taken this to a party, I eat it for lunch the next day, with tortilla chips.  Yummo!

Mexican Layered Dip

  • 1 pkg. (8oz) cream cheese, softened (I use the 1/3 less fat.)
  • 1 Tbsp taco seasoning mix
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 cup drained canned black beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce
  • 2 Tbsp. sliced black olives

Beat cream cheese and taco seasoning with mixer until creamy.  Spread onto the bottom of a 9 inch plate.  Layer remaining ingredients, in order, over cream cheese.  Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.  Serve with tortilla chips.

Dip1I started by adding one 8oz block of 1/3 less fat cream cheese to my mixing bowl.  I measured in 1 tablespoon of taco seasoning.

Dip 2I turned the mixer onto medium speed until the taco seasoning was nicely incorporated into the cream cheese.

Dip CroppedThen I spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over my serving plate and began the layering process of the other ingredients.

Dip salsa

I measured and poured on the salsa.

Dip 4Next, I added the rinsed black beans.  Rather than only using 1 cup of black beans, I always use the whole can.  I know that if I put the rest of them in the fridge, they will eventually get thrown out because I won’t use them.  Two bonuses here, they are good for you and you won’t waste them!

Dip 5My favorite flavor comes next, the green onions.  And if I’m perfectly honest, I don’t actually measure them.  I just cut up what looks about right and sprinkle them on.

Dip 6Cheddar cheese comes next and you might notice a pattern here, but I don’t measure this either.  This is a very forgiving recipe.  Just layer on what looks right to you!

Dip 7I added the shredded lettuce next and, you guessed it, I just eyeball the amount.

Dip 8I always go overboard on the black olives and put on way more than 2 tablespoons.   Knowing the way my son loves them, he’ll eat 2 tablespoons right off the top before it’s even served!

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Make sure to let the dip sit in the fridge for at least an hour before it’s served.  During that time, the flavors blend together.

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So there you have it!  Served with tortilla chips, it’s a delicious, colorful, healthy layered dip that you can take to your New Year’s Eve Party tonight!

Happy Layering and Happy New Year!

Wendy

Almond Crescents

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My family was talking about going Christmas caroling, so I decided to make some cookies that we could pass out to the people we caroled to.  When I first found this recipe in Grandma Dora’s recipe box, it stuck out because it was written on a piece of stationary rather than an index card and it was written with beautiful handwriting.  When I looked at the recipe, I noticed it was made with just a few simple ingredients.

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Almond Crescents

Mix together thoroughly . . .

  • 1 cup soft shortening (or 1/2 butter)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup ground blanched almonds (or mixed nuts)

Sift together and work in. . .

  • 1 2/3 cups sifted flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Chill dough.  Roll with hands pencil thick.  Cut in 2 1/2 inch lengths.  Form into crescents on ungreased baking sheet. Bake until set. . . not brown in a 325 degree oven for 14-16 minutes.  Cool on pan.  While slightly warm, carefully dip in 1 cup confectioners sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon mixed.  Makes about 5 dozen 2 1/2 inch cookies.

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To begin with, I ground up the almonds.

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I then put the ground up almonds in the kitchen aid with the sugar, shortening and butter.

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I mixed these ingredients thoroughly.

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I then worked in the flour and salt.  After they were well combined into the dough, I set the dough in the refrigerator to chill.

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Next I rolled the dough until it was pencil thick and cut it into 2 1/2 inch lengths.  This was a little tricky to get the hang of, but by the end I had it down to a system.

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I then formed the 2 1/2 inch lengths into crescent shapes and placed them on ungreased baking sheets.  I baked them for about 16 minutes at 325 degrees.

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I let them cool slightly on the pan and then carefully (and carefully was the key word because they were very delicate and broke easily) dipped them in confectioner’s sugar and cinnamon.

In the end, my brother-in-law and I both ended up getting sick and the Christmas caroling never happened.  So, we had to keep the cookies for ourselves. (-:  (I did take another batch I was making for caroling to some of our neighbors.)

I really like how these cookies taste.  They have a very sophisticated look and flavor.  I think if I made them again, I might bypass the crescent shape and just make them in balls.  This would really make the whole process very simple.  But, whichever way you make them, they are definitely a nice addition to your Christmas celebration!

Happy Baking!  Amy

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