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.

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

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Louise’s Oatmeal Drop Cookies

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My dad has lots of memories of eating cookies growing up.  We’ve already shared hermit cookies, ice box cookies and shortbread cookies.  But, since Grandma Dora’s recipe boxes are overflowing with cookie recipes, I decided to try another one.  I found several different oatmeal cookie recipes.  When I was trying to decide which one to use, I found one that had the word “good” written in the corner.  That seemed like a good sign, so I pulled it from the box.

My mom must have taken the idea of rating recipes in the upper right corner because she has the word “good” or “really good”, etc. written on many of her recipe cards.  My favorite is a recipe I found in her recipe box on which she wrote, “okay, not great.”  She must have tried the recipe, thought it was only okay, so wrote it on there, and then put it back into her recipe box.  Funny.

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Oatmeal Drop Cookie Recipe

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Oatmeal Drop Cookie Recipe

My grandma must have enjoyed swapping recipes because she had them from many different people.  This one says Louise up in the corner.  The recipe is as follows:

Oatmeal Drop Cookies

  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup and 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups oatmeal
  • 1 cup nut meats (optional)
  • 1 cup raisins (optional)

Cream shortening and sugar thoroughly.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Sift together flour, baking powder, spices and salt.  Add to creamed mixture alternately with milk.  Stir in vanilla.  Add raisins and oatmeal.  Drop from teaspoon on greased cookie sheet.  Bake in medium hot oven (375 degrees) for 15 minutes.  Makes 4 dozen.

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I creamed the shortening and sugar first.

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I then added the eggs one at a time.  It made a beautiful, creamy mixture.

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I then mixed together the dry ingredients (except the oatmeal) and the added them alternately with the milk.

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After that, I added the vanilla.  The recipe just called for nutmeat and raisins (no amounts).  I decided on a cup of each, but I’m sure they would be fine without them for those who don’t like those tastes.  I added the oatmeal, raisins and nutmeats and had a nice dough.

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I put the dough out on the cookie sheets.

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I baked them in the oven for about 13-15 minutes.  At first I thought this would be too long, but it turned out just right.

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The cookies were delicious.  They have a distinct, old fashioned taste that you’re sure to enjoy.  I hope you give them a try.

Happy Baking!

Amy

 

Granola – A Bonus Recipe

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Granola – I ate this bowl of granola for my breakfast right after I took the picture. It was delicious!

Since it is “back to school” time for a lot of families, I was thinking about how breakfast sometimes has to be done in a hurry.  When I was eating my favorite quick breakfast the other day, I thought about how I should share this great recipe with all of you.  This one, like the zucchini bread and the raspberry pie, is a bonus recipe because it does not come from my grandmother’s recipe box.  My good friend Linda gave me this recipe last summer.  She got it from her sister, also my good friend, Laurel.  I have made a lot of different granola recipes, but once I was given this one, I don’t deviate from it very often.  In fact, I often double it because it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or in the freezer for even longer.  And, as soon as it is gone, it is not long before I am stirring up another batch.

The recipe is as follows:

Granola

  • 4 1/2 cups oats
  • 1/2 cup each raw walnuts, almonds and cashews
  • 1/2 cup each raw sunflower and pumpkin seeds
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup canola or veg oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately  Mix wet into dry and then spread out on a jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes, stirring after 30 minutes and then every 7-8 minutes until beginning to brown. Cool on counter and then place in fridge for 2-3 weeks. This is also delicious with dried cherries, cranberries or raisins.
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Granola cooling in the pan.

One of the nice things about this recipe is how you can change it to suit your tastes or what you have on hand.  I usually use 1/2 cup of flax seed meal and 1/2 cup of wheat germ in place of the sunflower and pumpkin seeds because that is what I have.  I also lower the maple syrup to 1/4 cup so I am eating less sugar and it still tastes great.  I also use whatever nuts I have on hand at the time.  It is so simple to put together.  I usually top it with yogurt and fresh fruit.
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Childhood birthday part with Linda, Laurel and Beth and our friends Sarah and Michael.

Linda, Laurel and their sister Beth were some of my sisters, brother and my best childhood friends.  In fact, they are more than childhood friends – they are our forever friends because we love them still and feel like we are with family whenever we are with them.  Thank you for the great recipe girls!
Happy Baking!
Amy

Mrs. Magary’s Spice Cake

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Grandma Dora and Grandpa in front of their log cabin home as newlyweds.

When my grandparents were first married, they lived in a small log cabin on the top of a hill, looking over a pond.  They had nothing, but they were happy.  They were married for many years, where they worked hard and raised a family.  My dad said he doesn’t remember them celebrating their anniversary.  Perhaps he never noticed because there was never spare money to do anything fancy, but I’m sure they celebrated in their own simple way.

My parent’s just celebrated their 44th wedding anniversary.  We had a small luncheon at our house with a few of their friends.  It was potluck style.  Everyone brought salads to share.  I decided to make the dessert, the anniversary celebration cake.  I flipped through Grandma Dora’s recipe box and found Mrs. Magary’s Spice Cake.  It looked like a simple, but yet elegant cake, with it’s Ground Raisin Glaze.

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Spice Cake Recipe2

Mrs. Magary’s Spice Cake

  • Yolks of 3 eggs, white of 1 (other 2 whites for glaze)
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sour milk or buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • A little cloves or nutmeg (I put in 1/8 teaspoon cloves.)
  • 2 cups flour

Cream eggs yolks, 1 egg white, butter and sugar.  Combine dry ingredients.  Alternate adding the dry ingredients and buttermilk a little at a time until batter is formed.  Generously grease and flour a bundt pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 36-40 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Ground Raisin Glaze

  • Whites of 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup ground raisins

Beat egg whites.  Boil sugar and water to make a syrup.  Pour syrup over beaten egg whites.  Mix in ground raisins.  Serve warm, drizzled over cake.

(A half recipe of the Ground Raisin Glaze would be plenty.  Though you could freeze the extra for another time.)

Spice Cake IngredientsI gathered my ingredients and got started.

Spice Cake Sugar Eggs Butter I started by creaming together the eggs, 1 egg white, brown sugar and butter.

Spice Cake Dry Ingredients

Then I mixed all of the dry ingredients together and set the bowl aside.

Spice Cake Alternating

If you don’t have buttermilk or sour milk, you can make buttermilk.  Measure 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice and pour it into the bottom of a 1 cup measuring cup. Then fill the rest of it up with milk.  I did this and began the process of mixing the batter together.

Spice Cake Batter

I slowly alternated adding the buttermilk and then the dry ingredients mixture, little by little, into the creamed ingredients in the Kitchenaid, until the batter was smooth.

Spice Cake in Bundt Pan

I greased (and later learned that I should have greased it MORE and floured it too) my bundt pan and added my ingredients.  I popped it into my oven, at 350 degrees, and started the timer.  There was no temperature or time on the recipe, so I guessed, slowly adding time as needed while it baked.

Spice Cake Baked

While it was baking, I  kept commenting how it smelled like Christmas in our house.  I think it was the cloves, which I don’t use very often.  After 38 minutes in my oven, the toothpick came out clean.  It was done.  I pulled the golden-brown beauty out of my oven.

I left the cake to cool for about 20 minutes before inverting onto a cake plate.  This is where I ran in to trouble.  After the 20 minutes was up, my bundt cake wouldn’t budge!  How could something so beautiful be so stubborn?!  (Sounds like what my husband says about me. Ha!) I began doing some research, and found a bunch of tips, which I will share.

Loosen the sides of your bundt cake with a rubber spatula, not a knife, as the knife will scratch the insides of your pan.  (Mistake number one.  Oops!  Way to ruin your new bundt pan, Wendy!  You know, the one that you bought to color coordinate with your kitchen!  Ugh!)  Before you begin, GENEROUSLY grease your bundt pan.  I thought I had, but apparently I wasn’t generous enough.  You can also flour it, too.  Specifically for chocolate cakes, but you can flour other kinds too if you wish.  (I WISHED I had read that before I put in the batter!)  So I was in a dilemma.  You can’t go back after it’s baked!  I read on a website that you can steam your bundt cake out, so I thought I’d try that.  I boiled water in a tea kettle, placed a kitchen towel in the bottom of the sink and poured boiling water over it, just enough to wet it, not so it was dripping.  Then I laid the towel over the bottom of the bundt pan while it was inverted on the cake dish.  It popped right out!  Whew!  It was a MIRACLE!  Crisis averted!!

Deep breath…….Now it was time to make the Ground Raisin Glaze.  What were ground raisins?  Do you buy them ground or grind them yourself or what?  I’d never heard of them, so I went back to the computer and did some more research.

Raisins have tendency to clump up in baking recipes, so they are ground to avoid this. To make ground raisins, you boil them in water for five minutes, let them cool, and then put them in a food processor, chopper or blender.  They look almost pureed when you are finished.

Spice Cake Raisins

The recipe calls for 1 cup of ground raisins.  I knew that I’d need more than a cup of whole raisins to end up with a cup of them ground.  I measured in 1 cup and then threw in extras with my hand.  Probably about a half cup.  I boiled them for five minutes, drained the water and left them to cool.  Once cool, I threw them in my chopper.  I ended up with one cup ground raisins, which I set aside.

Spice Cake Egg Whites

I beat the egg whites by hand in a bowl.

Spice Cake Cooking Sugar

Next I brought the sugar and water to a boil.

Spice Cake Raisins in Frosting

Then I poured the boiling syrup over the eggs whites, which seemed to cook them just a little.  I added the ground raisins and whisked them all together.  The Ground Raisin Glaze was completed.

Spice CakeI served Mrs. Magary’s Spice Cake by slicing a piece and drizzling Ground Raisin Glaze on each plate.  You could put it on the whole cake, but I was afraid that any leftover might have gotten soggy.

Our friends at my parent’s anniversary party thought it was a very good cake, totally different from typical, box cake mixes.  It had the consistency of a quick bread, like our first entry, Date and Nut Cake.  They suggested that if someone didn’t like raisins, they could still make the cake, but use other glazes or frostings.  Raspberry was mentioned.  I thought cream cheese frosting would be really good on top too.  A simple powdered sugar glaze, drizzled and hardened on top would be not only easy, but elegant.

My parent’s enjoyed their anniversary luncheon.  I hope that Mrs. Magary’s Spice Cake helped to make it a little more special.  It really was a beautiful, celebration cake!

Happy Baking!

Wendy

Hermit Cookies

 

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Hermit cookies

I am planning a trip to my older sister’s house.  Her twin boys are turning 9 years old.  Most of the cousins will be there for the party.  I’m sure we will have cake in the evening, but I decided to dig through the recipe boxes for a kid friendly recipe that the cousins (and everyone else) might enjoy.  I have heard my dad talk about Hermits and I remember my mom making them a few times when we were little.  So, when I came upon that recipe, I decided it might be just the thing.

Grandma Dora's typewriter.

Grandma Dora’s typewriter.

My grandmother was a secretary to a lawyer before she got married and became a farmer’s wife. She never learned how to drive, so she walked a mile to work each day, a mile home for lunch, a mile back after lunch and then a mile home at the end of the day.  She had an old typewriter, maybe from her days in the office.  The recipe for hermits is typed, but very brief. It was probably typed on that typewriter.  It says:

Hermits

  • 1/12 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons sweet milk
  • 1 cup chopped raisins
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • cinnamon (under this in pencil is written 1 teaspoon)
  • cloves (under this in pencil is written 1/2 teaspoon)
  • flour

There are no more directions than that.

Hermits Typed

For one week after my mom first married my dad, my parents lived “up the road” from the farm house in the “brown house” that my grandmother’s parents had built.  It was empty because my great grandmother had moved into the farm house with my grandparents after my great grandfather died.  So every morning that first week of my mom’s married life, she would walk up the road to the farm house while my dad went to work.  She would spend time visiting my grandmother and great grandmother and copy down recipes that my grandmother would tell her.  So, I decided to look in my mother’s recipe box and sure enough, I found the same recipe for Hermits, but this one was written in my mother’s handwriting and had a few more details.  The new recipe was as follows:

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Hermits2

Hermits

  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup chopped raisins
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • Enough flour so isn’t sticky (use as little as possible) – in pencil above this is written 3 or 4 cups
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 4 tablespoons sweet milk
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • Roll mixture out – 1/4 inch thick.  Cut with cookie cutter and sugar top.

In pencil on the front, she had later added “375 degrees.”  There was still no mention of cook time.

Organic non-hydrogenated shortening

Organic non-hydrogenated shortening

Before I started making this recipe, I noticed that many of the recipes in our grandmother’s recipe boxes call for shortening.  I don’t usually cook with shortening, so it is not something I have on hand.  A couple of years ago I had attended a pie baking class and learned about an organic shortening that is non-hydrogenated.  I decided to buy this to use in my grandmother’s recipes.  I wasn’t sure exactly what sweet milk was referring to, but after a little research, I found that it is another name for whole milk.

I put the ingredients together and mixed them up in my Kitchenaid (all the while imagining the work it would have taken to stir all of this by hand).  I started out putting in 3 cups of flour, but found that it was too sticky and used a total of 4 cups in the end.

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Rolled out cookie dough

My Grandma Dora’s rolling pin that she used all the time only had a handle on one end.  She said she just liked it that way, but she really didn’t want to spend money on a new one.  My mother has an old jar, that she remembered my grandmother using the lid of to cut out the cookies.  I found the jar and used the lid for my batch.

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Putting sugar on top.

I then sprinkled them with sugar and baked them in the oven that had been preheated to 375 degrees.  I found that 9-10 minutes worked well to have the cookies come out of the oven nice and puffy.

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Hermit cookies on the cooling rack.

So, here is the recipe, one more time, in its completed form.

Hermits

  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup chopped raisins
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 3 to 4 cups of flour until dough is no longer sticky (use as little as possible)
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 4 tablespoons sweet milk (or whole milk)
  • 1 teaspoon soda

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Roll mixture out to a 1/4 inch thickness.  Cut with a cookie cutter and sprinkle sugar over the tops of the cookies.  Transfer to ungreased cookie sheets and bake for 9 to 10 minutes until cookies puff up and begin to brown slightly.

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Hermit cookies on Grandma Dora’s china plate.

I sampled one and found it to be delicious.  I think my nieces and nephews will enjoy this party treat.  I hope you make a batch yourself and enjoy the old time flavor of Hermit cookies.

Happy Baking!

Amy