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

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Caramel Corn – A Bonus Recipe

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It is time for our annual Christmas Vacation Party!  This party tradition started many years ago when my brother and I would watch Garfield’s Christmas together to celebrate the start of vacation from school for Christmas.  It’s changed over the years – some years we added playing the Andy Griffith Show board game (we are the masters of this game – don’t even try to compete with my family’s knowledge of Andy Griffith Show trivia!), decorating Christmas cookies, wearing our pajamas to the party (my sister-in-law thought of this idea a few years ago) and I almost always make caramel corn to go with the other party food.  I thought you might enjoy trying this recipe for your own Christmas get togethers, but let me warn you, this stuff if addicting!
Caramel Corn
  • 8 quarts plain popped popcorn
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter
  • 1 pound (2 cups) brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Karo Syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda OR 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1 teaspoon vanilla
    Pop the popcorn and put it in the oven at 250 degrees to keep warm. Melt butter in saucepan and add other ingredients.  Boil 5 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon baking soda, OR 1/2 teaspoon soda and 1 teaspoon vanilla.  When it begins to foam up, pour it over the popcorn and mix well.  Divide evenly between to pans and place back in the oven. Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour.  Stir every 15 minutes. Spread on cookie sheets to cool.  Store in a sealed container.
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    First, I popped the popcorn and placed it in two pans.
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    I added two cups of peanuts to the popcorn, because I like peanuts in caramel corn.  I then put it in the 250 degree oven to keep warm (keeping the popcorn warm helps the caramel to spread better).
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    Next, I melted the butter in a saucepan.
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    After the butter was melted, I added the brown sugar, Karo syrup and salt.
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    I brought the ingredients to a boil and let them boil for 5 minutes.
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    I then added a tablespoon of baking soda and it foamed up nicely.
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    I poured the caramel mixture over the two pans of popcorn.
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    I stirred until it was evenly coated.
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    I baked it in the oven for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  I then put it out on cookie sheets to cool.
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    The results were delicious as you can see!
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    I know my family will enjoy this crunchy caramel corn with its sweet and salty taste at our Christmas Vacation Party!  I hope you will make up a batch and enjoy it as well!
    Happy Baking!  Amy

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

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

 

Drop Nut Cookies

My oldest sister came with her family for the weekend.  Today we spent the day all together at my parent’s house.  The cousins all played and were SO excited to go trick-or-treating in the evening.  My sister Amy had put lasagna in the crockpot so dinner would be done early and we could eat quickly, get the kids dressed up and get outside before it got dark.  Nancy Drew, Luke Skywalker, a pirate, Sherlock Holmes and a knight were all anxious for the evenings events to unfold!

Since dinner was already made, I decided to try a new cookie recipe for dessert.  Though, with all of the candy that was about to enter the house, it probably wasn’t necessary.  In all honesty though, are cookies ever “necessary?!”  I knew with all of the family together, it would be a good time to make them, so I wouldn’t end up eating them all myself!

Drop Nut Cookies Recipe

Drop Nut Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 2/3 cups pastry flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped nuts

Cream brown sugar, butter and eggs.  Add cream and vanilla, mix well.  Blend in flour and baking powder.  Chop and mix in nuts.  Bake at 375 degrees for 12-13 minutes.

Drop Nut Cookies Dough No NutsI began by creaming the brown sugar, butter and eggs.  Rather than cream, which I didn’t have, I added in 2% milk and the vanilla.  Next I added pastry flour and baking powder.  The dough seemed a little too sticky, so I added another half cup of flour.

Drop Nut cookies Crushed Nuts

I chopped up 1/2 cup of walnuts, but I think that pecans would also be really good in this recipe!

Drop Nut Cookies - Finished DoughI poured the chopped walnuts into the dough and mixed them in.

Drop Nut Cookies Dough BallsThe dough balls were a little sticky, but still easy to work with.  I got them ready on the trays and put them into my preheated oven.

Drop Nut Cookies on TrayThe cookies came out beautifully!  They had a light maple scent.  I couldn’t wait to try one!

Drop Nut Cookies on Cooling RackAfter setting on the tray for a few minutes, I transferred them to a cooling rack.

Drop Nut Cookies StackedThey were delicious!  One of the comments about them were that they “tasted like an old-fashioned sugar cookie.”  Which is weird, but it was true.  How can something taste old-fashioned?  I think we’ve changed the way we cook and bake and there are so many great old recipes and flavors that we are missing out on!

Drop Nut CookieThe cookies and the evening were both a success!  We all loved the cookies and as usual, the kids made happy memories raking in a huge haul of candy in the freezing cold temperatures of a Michigan Halloween!

Happy Baking!

Wendy

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Koffee Kuchen

My brother-in-law, loves coffee cake.  There are several recipes for coffee cake in Grandma Dora’s recipe boxes and he keeps suggesting we try one.  One afternoon I was at Wendy’s house.  She had dinner in the crock pot, so I decided to make muffins to go with it.  Then, I remembered the coffee cake recipes and decided to try one of those instead.  The Koffee Kuchen looked a bit different than the others, so I thought I would try it out.

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Koffee Kuchen

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 beaten egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 stiff beaten egg whites

Cream shortening and sugar;  add egg yolks.  Add flour sifted with salt and baking powder alternately with milk.  Fold in egg whites.  Pour into waxed paper lined 8 inch square pan.  Blend 6 tablespoons flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons butter and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder.  Sprinkle over cake.  Bake in moderate oven (350 degrees) 40 to 50 minutes.  Cut in squares.

I started out by separating the eggs and beating the egg whites until they were stiff.

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I then removed the egg whites to another bowl and creamed the shortening and sugar.

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I added the egg yolks. Then, I combined the dry ingredients and added them to the creamed mixture alternately with the milk.  After that I folded in the egg whites and poured the batter into an 8 inch square pan (I did not line it with waxed paper although it is probably a good idea.).

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Then I blended the topping ingredients.  This was an interesting, a topping with baking soda in it.  I’d never made one like this before and was curious to see what it was like after it baked.

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I sprinkled it on the cake and put it in the oven.

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I baked it in the oven at 350 and after about 40 minutes it came out smelling and looking delicious.

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It tasted different that a traditional coffee cake – there is no cinnamon.  It has it’s own distinct flavor.  Even though it was my brother-in-law’s request, my dad is the one who ended up devouring it!  Give it a try and serve it with coffee or just by itself.  I think you will be glad you did.

Happy Baking!

Amy