Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Grandma's Pineapple Upside Down Cake

I hadn't been married too long, maybe five or six months, when I called grandma and asked her if she had a recipe for pineapple upside down cake. Whenever I was looking for a recipe I would call her up and she'd give me a recipe out of her collection.
The recipe she gave me was for a layer cake, but I like to make my upside down cake in a 13"x9" pan, so I double the ingredients of the original recipe.
I can remember grandma making pineapple upside down cake a few times. I make it several times a year as it is Lisa and Bob's favorite cake. Lisa usually requests this cake for her birthday and I oblige.
This is a deliciously rich cake easily made from a store-bought cake mix.

Grandma's Pineapple Upside Down Cake

1 (18 1/4 oz) yellow cake mix*
2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 can (16 oz) pineapple slices, drained*
Maraschino cherries (optional)
1/2 cup nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Make cake mix according to directions on cake box. (You can use drained real pineapple juice in place of water in mix, if desired.)
Melt butter in a 13"x9" pan in oven. Add brown sugar and stir well to mix. Sprinkle on nuts, if used. Arrange pineapple slices over nuts. Place cherries in strategic places around pineapple. Pour cake over all. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, or till cake tests done. Remove from oven and allow to cool about 10 minutes. Invert onto a plate, then flip onto a serving plate so pineapple is on top; let cool.
*To make this heart healthy, either make your own cake from scratch or my Lori's Yellow Cake (search on here for recipe), or make sure you use virgin olive oil in place of the vegetable oil called for in the cake mix directions.
*You may want to open a second can as they are usually 2 pineapple rings short for a full sheet pan.

Grandma Made Beer Biscuits

I don't know where grandma got the recipe for these easy biscuits, but I do know she liked them and would make them quite often. She had found the recipe sometime in the mid 1970's, most likely in an ad for Bisquick, and she would sometimes make a batch of these to have with supper, though grandpa wouldn't touch them. He just plain wouldn't eat biscuits as they were "poor people" food to him. Growing up, he and his family didn't always have enough to eat, and there were times when they had honey and biscuits for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Grandpa equated biscuits with being food that poor people ate. He ate dinner rolls, but not biscuits of any kind.
I liked them okay and I would eat at least one. Grandma found them rather tasty and she would have one or two, slathered with butter, with a steaming cup of coffee.
You can't get any easier than this!

Beer Biscuits

4 cups Bisquick*
1 can (12 ounces) beer
2 tsps. sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine ingredients; mix well. drop by Tbls. onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until nicely browned.
*To make this heart healthy, make your own copycat Bisquick mix, but make it with unbleached flour and real lard. Also, make sure that the baking powder you use does not contain aluminum.

Grandma's Rum Balls

I remember grandma making these cookies a few weeks before Christmas and storing them in tins. Aunt Effie loved these cookies, and grandma always made sure there was at least one batch of these made for Christmas so the adults could enjoy them. I thought they tasted awful, still do! But I do have those fond memories of grandma measuring out the rum, rolling the cookies into balls and then into powdered sugar, and then storing the cookies in tins in the living room closet. The rum would have kept these fresh and good for months, though they never lasted that long!

Grandma's Rum Balls

3 cups vanilla wafer cookies, crushed*
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup ground walnuts
1 1/2 tsp. cocoa
3 Tbls. corn syrup (non-GMO, if possible, look at health food store)
3 jiggles rum or whiskey
extra powdered sugar

Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Roll into 1" balls, then roll into powdered sugar. Store in airtight container. Makes 40 balls.
*If you can't find a tore-bough vanilla wafer cookie that is made with wholesome ingredients, then think about making your own from scratch.

Grandma's Peanut Butter Cookies

Uncle Ed loves peanut butter cookies, and who can resist these? This was another one of grandma's signature sweets that she would make for the holidays as she knew that everyone would scarf these down as we all loved them~especially uncle Ed!
We kids were always on a sugar high as there was always something good that grandma had baked just for us to enjoy. And we were happy as larks to eat what she'd made.
This recipe is not so big so feel free to double it if you need a larger batch.
I make these at Christmas and my kids now love and enjoy them.

Grandma's Peanut Butter Cookies

1/2 cup peanut butter*
1/2 cup shortening*
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 tsp. baking powder*

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
cream together the peanut butter, shortening, and sugars. Add egg and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Roll into balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheets, 2" apart. Criss-cross with a fork dipped in flour. Bake at 375 degrees for 7-9 minutes. Do not over bake! Makes 40 cookies.
*To make these more heart healthy use lard or palm oil shortening in place of the regular shortening. Buy the natural  peanut butter by Jif or Skippy, or use Krema. Use aluminim-free baking powder.

Carolyn's M&M Cookies

Remember these??? I think these were most of our favorites as we used to all look for the cookies that had the best colors and the most M&M's in them. I can remember watching grandma making these the day before a big holiday as she'd let me have a few M&M's out of the bag. Back in those days M&M's came in a 16 ounce bag for around $1.39. Today, you get less than 12 ounces and on sale they are 2 for $5.00! Ridiculous price, but we all love these candies!
These cookies should take you back in time and make you remember all those happy days we spent at grandma and grandpa's house~especially for the holidays.

M&M Cookies

1 cup shortening*
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsps. vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups unbleached flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 bag M&M's (make sure you get enough to snack on while making cookies!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream shortening with sugars; beat in vanilla and eggs. Stir in dry ingredients. Drop by tsps. onto a lightly greased cookie tin. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Decorate with M&M's as soon as you take them from the oven.
*To make this more heart healthy replace the shortening with lard of palm oil shortening.

Grandma's No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

I have made a lot of No Bakes as I have my own recipe that I received in school from my Home-Ec class as we were taught to make the ones that the lunch ladies made for the school lunches, and though they are very good, they are not as good as these cookies are that grandma made for us kids when we were young. These are awesome!
I love the coconut in these cookies as it makes them so distinctive. I have never seen any other recipe that calls for coconut, and when I talk to other people they have never heard of using coconut in these cookies. Truly delicious.
Grandma used to make these the day before any holiday such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and even The 4th of July....She knew we loved these cookies.
Aunt Cathy has often made these for me, and I have made her the banana bread~a nice trade for the both of us! I don't make these very often because I will eat them!

Grandma's No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 cup milk
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup peanut butter
3 Tbls. cocoa
1/2 cup coconut (optional)
1 stick butter
3 cups oatmeal
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix sugar, milk, butter, and cocoa. Bring to a rolling boil, and boil one minute. Remove from heat. Add peanut butter, oats, vanilla, and coconut. Drop by Tbls. onto waxed paper. Cool one hour to set.

Grandma's Brownies

Grandma always had a variety of snacks for all of us to pig out on when we were kids growing up. She'd make pies, cookies, fudge, and brownies. This is the recipe she always used for her brownies. I like my brownies more chocolaty and intense, but as a kid, who didn't love these? These are cake-like, not too chocolaty, and easily thrown together. A pan of these brownies disappeared in no time flat at grandma's.

Grandma's Brownies

1 cup butter
2 squares unsweetened chocolate*
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 tsp. baking powder*
2 tsps. vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt chocolate and butter over low heat. In a bowl, beat together the sugar and eggs; add the chocolate mixture and beat well. Add the flour, baking powder, and vanilla, blend well. Fold in nuts. Bake in a greased 13"x9" pan for 40 minutes at 350degrees. Do not over bake.

The following is my take and changes:
*For a more chocolaty taste add 4 squares chocolate instead of just two. If you want a more traditional brownie that is not cake-like, omit the baking powder.