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

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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

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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.

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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

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

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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Molasses Cookies

My Grandma Dora loved to bake.  At least everyone assumed she loved to bake because she was always baking.  I think what she really loved was making her family happy by baking.

G and G's house '72 or '73

The back yard at the “brown house.” If you look carefully, you can see the clotheslines on the other side of the garden.

She had many chores to do and each task took much longer than it does for us nowadays.  Take the laundry for instance.  My dad said that she did her laundry with a ringer washer.  My grandpa would heat the water on the wood stove in the kitchen and put it into a galvanized tub that went with the washer.  My grandma would put the clothes and soap in the tub.  There was an agitator that would move the clothes around.  When it was done washing, she would run each piece of clothing one at a time between two ringers that would squeeze the water out of the clothes.  They then went into a clean tub of water to rinse them.  Then, they would have to go through the ringer again to get the rinse water out.  In the winter, she would either hang them up on lines hung across the dining room or outside.  When she hung them outside, they would freeze and get stiff like boards.  My dad said she did the wash, every Monday morning.

Between all of the chores however, she always managed to find time to keep the cookies coming.  One of the cookies my dad often lists off from his mother’s baking list is molasses cookies.

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Her recipe was typed out simply.  I’m sure she knew all of the steps to make the cookies and she figured out the amount of flour just by watching the consistency of the dough, so she didn’t need to write it down on her recipe card.

Molasses Cookies

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons soda
  • 1 cup lard;  fill the cup within 1/2 inch of the top and then fill it up with cold water
  • 1 tablespoon ginger
  • salt to taste
  • 4 cups flour

Cream together lard (or shortening) and sugar.  Add eggs and molasses and mix well.  Combine flour, soda, ginger and salt.  Add into the wet ingredients until dough is formed.  Roll into balls and bake in 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.  If desired, dough can be rolled in powdered sugar before baking.

I didn’t have much to go on with this recipe, but I decided to start and I would figure out the details as I went.  I didn’t have any lard, so I replaced it with shortening.

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I combined the shortening with the sugar and creamed them together in the Kitchenaid.

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I then added the eggs and molasses.

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Next, I combined the dry ingredients and then added them to the wet.  I wasn’t sure how much flour to put in, so I started with three cups.  The batter looked more like brownie batter than cookie dough, so I added another cup of flour.  Then, it seemed just right.

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I rolled the cookies into balls.  Some of them I left plain and some I rolled in powdered sugar just for fun.  Later on, after the cookies were all made, my dad said my grandma usually rolled this dough out with a rolling pin and then used a round cookie cutter to make them into large, round cookies.  They turned out fine as drop cookies too, so either way would work.

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After I put the dough on the trays, I was ready to put them in the oven.  The recipe didn’t have an oven temperature or a time to bake.

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I decided on 350 degrees and I found that 10-12 minutes seemed to be just the right time.

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My dad said they tasted just like he remembered.  I was glad to hear that.  So, if you’re looking for some old fashioned flavor this Christmas season, I recommend you give these molasses cookies a try.

Molasses Cookies

Happy Baking!

Amy