Double-Crust Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble

2 Cups brown sugar
1 ½ cups rolled oats
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup butter
2 T cinnamon
1 T ground ginger
1 T nutmeg
8 cups fresh rhubarb cut into 1” pieces
2 cups sliced, fresh strawberries
2 cups granulated sugar
¼ cup corn starch
3 T minute tapioca
2 cups water
2 T vanilla
Pinch of salt

Melt butter and combine with brown sugar, then oats and flour. Add cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Mix well. Press half the crumb mixture into the bottom of a glass 9×13” pan. Cover the bottom crust with rhubarb, then strawberries. Set aside.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 F. Then, in a saucepan, combine granulated sugar, corn starch, and tapioca. Mix this first, then add water. Cook over medium heat until sauce becomes clear and thick. Add vanilla and a pinch of salt and remove from heat to cool 10 minutes.

Pour sauce over strawberries and rhubarb. Top with remaining crumble mixture. Bake 1 hour. Let cool and serve with vanilla ice cream.

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Amish Sugar Cookies

blonde cookie
A delicate, crispy shortbread-like cookie.

1 c. granulated sugar
1 c. powdered sugar
1 c. butter
3/4 c. oil
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
4 ½ cups flour
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda

Cream together the sugars and butter. Then add oil, eggs, vanilla and mix again. Add flour, cream of tartar, and baking soda. Mix until combined.

Using a teaspoon, drop dough on cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Pour additional sugar (plain or colored) in a small bowl. Dip the moistened bottom of a glass in sugar and gently press each dropped cookie to flatten. Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

Bake 10-12 minutes at 375 degrees F. or until edges begin to turn golden.

HALF RECIPE:
½ c. granulated sugar and ½ c. powdered sugar
½ c. butter
1/3 c. oil, 1 egg, and ½ tsp. vanilla
2 ¼ c. flour, ½ tsp cream of tartar, and ½ tsp. baking soda

Grandma’s Banana Nut Bread

banana bread on a plate
Easy, moist, and just like Grandma used to make.

Simple, easy, fast, and fun; cannot be improved upon.

1 cup ripe smashed banana
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
12 cup water
12 cup vegetable oil
1 12 cups brown sugar
34 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 34 cups flour
1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Adjust oven rack to middle position and Pre-heat to 350°F. Grease 1 large loaf pan.

Mix wet ingredients-do not over mix. Add dry ingredients to combine-do not over mix.

Bake large loaf 60-70 minutes. Until firm and golden brown. Let stand for a few minutes before removing from pans. Cool completely. Freezes well.

Carrot-Pineapple Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

carrot cake slice on a plate
Carrot-Pineapple Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

1 c. crushed pineapple, drained
2 c. carrots, shredded
4 eggs
1 c. cane sugar
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. canola oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
¾ c. walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9 x 13-inch pan. For a more festive presentation, use a well-greased, large tube pan with wax paper or parchment in the bottom. Another option: two 9-inch round pans ( also lined with parchment). Stack and frost to make a 2-layer cake.

This recipe makes 6 cups batter. In our house, with only 2 people, we freeze 3 cups batter (up to 2 months) and bake only 1, 9-inch round cake at a time. The same goes for the frosting: we use half, and refrigerate the rest until we thaw batter and bake the 2nd cake.

To make the cake, drain a can of crushed pineapple, keeping 1 cup for this cake. (Reserve the juice and any remaining pineapple for another use.)

In a mixing bowl, beat the pineapple, carrots, eggs, sugars and oil. In another bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Gradually beat the flour mixture into the wet mixture. Mix in walnuts, and bake for 30-35 minutes. Done when toothpick comes out clean. Cool before frosting.

FROSTING:
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
¼ cup butter, room temperature
2 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Drizzle of milk or water

To make the frosting, cream together the cream cheese and butter. Add the vanilla. Mix in confectioner’s sugar gradually. Use drizzle of milk or water only if needed for consistency. Makes about 2 ¾ cups frosting.

Cranberry Rhubarb Pie

double crust pie
Put a cookie sheet or foil under this while baking.

2 (store-bought or homemade) 9-inch pastry pie crusts
1-2/3 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tbsp. minute tapioca
1-1/2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
4 cups rhubarb cut into 1-inch pieces (fresh or frozen)
2 cups cranberry-orange sauce (see note below)
1-1/2 tbsp. butter or margarine, cut into pieces

Have you ever had a big bowl of cranberry orange sauce in the refrigerator after Thanksgiving? Not the kind from a can, but the fresh, uncooked kind you can make yourself or buy at a deli. No idea what to do with it? This recipe will solve that problem—and it will likely become the new, favorite pie in your house.

Combine sugar, cinnamon tapioca, flour and salt. Add chopped rhubarb and toss to coat. Add cranberry sauce and stir.

Pre-heat oven to 450° F. Allow pie crusts to come to room temperature and insert one into a 9.5-inch deep-dish pie pan and pre-bake for about 5 minutes until it is about half done. This will make for a flakier bottom crust (I do this with homemade crust because it is usually thicker). Do NOT prick the crust, as juice might later run underneath, but it is a good idea to weight it when you bake it as you would with any pre-baked crust. Mound filling high in the pie pan and dot with butter. Note: If you pre-bake the bottom crust, you will not be able to seal the edges of the top crust to it. That’s okay, just cut top into wedges and arrange them over the top.

Sprinkle top crust with a teaspoon of sugar and a sprinkling of cinnamon. Bake at 450° F for 10 minutes. Then reduce heat to 350° F and bake for another 50 minutes or until done. Use a pie crust shield or tent with foil for about 25-30 minutes of baking time to help prevent the edges from burning. Pie is done when the pastry crust has become golden brown, and the pie juices have been bubbling out of the top crust vents.

Note: if using frozen rhubarb, prepare the same as for fresh and put pie together while the rhubarb is still frozen. Don’t pre-bake crust. Bake about 20 minutes longer to adjust for the frozen filling.

Serve warm or cooled, plain, or with a dollop of whipped cream.

Note: If you don’t have leftover cranberry sauce, you can make some quickly: Remove the zest of 1 orange (place in food processor) then remove the white, pith part and discard it. Break apart the orange and put in processor. Add 1 bag (10 or 12 oz.) of fresh or frozen cranberries and ¼ c sugar. Pulse until roughly chopped. Measure 2 cups for use in the above pie.

Health-ier Monster Cookies

cookies with M&Ms on top
Health-ier Monster Cookies

1 c. creamy peanut butter
½ c. brown sugar
¾ c. rolled oats (the kind that cooks in 5-minutes, not instant)
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. vanilla
1 egg, large
1/3 c. chocolate chips
1/3 c. M&Ms

Makes 9 monster cookies. Recipe can be doubled.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease one large cookie sheet.

Using a mixer, blend the peanut butter and brown sugar until creamed. Mix in salt, baking soda, vanilla, oats, and egg. Stir in chocolate chips.

Using your hands, scoop up dough, squeeze, and shape into balls about the size of golf balls and place on cookie sheet. Press down with your palm to flatten slightly. Cookies can be about 2-inches apart. They don’t spread out much when baked. Gently press about 6-8 M&Ms into the top of each cookie.

Bake for 10-13 minutes, or until bottoms just start to turn brown ever so slightly. Remove from oven even if cookies don’t look done. Let cool completely. I like to wrap them individually in plastic wrap.

Options: replace a tablespoon or two of the rolled oats with ground flax seeds. Dried cherries, cranberries and golden raisins can replace the chocolate chips and you will still have a great cookie. Nuts? Sure!

Dark Chocolate Walnut Loaf Cake

chocolate cake
Dark Chocolate Walnut Cake

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter and lightly flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan, or spray it with a butter-flour spray. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat well, then the buttermilk and vanilla. Don’t worry if the batter looks a little uneven. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt together right into your wet ingredients. Stir together with a spoon until well-blended but do not overmix. Scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes. Do not test this cake with a skewer, simply press gently with finger in center of top. If it resists, cake is done. Cool in pan on a rack for about 30 minutes, at which point you can cool it the rest of the way out of the pan. Slice and serve with whipped cream or even in a bowl with cream.