Tag Archives: Grandma’s recipe

Lemon Bars

I like you, a shop here in Minneapolis that sells handmade goods from local and regional artists had copies of this print in their shop recently:


Image from Etsy

I’ve always loved this print because it’s so true – there’s nothing that a lemon bar can’t fix.  That and because my absolute favorite VVG recipe from Grandma has always been lemon bars.  Life hasn’t been giving me many lemons to speak of lately, but that didn’t stop me from making three batches of these to celebrate the end of the spring semester.  I brought them in for one my classes this semester and promised my students that I would post the recipe.  It’s a little late in coming to them, and to you, but I hope you’ll all enjoy some lemon bars soon!

Lemon Bars
1 c. butter
2 c. sifted flour
1/2 c. sifted powdered sugar
4 eggs
2 c. sugar (you can reduce this by half and still be adequately sugared up, I promise)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. grated lemon rind
1/2 c. lemon juice
1/4 c. sifted flour
1 tsp. baking powder

Preheat oven to 350˚.  Cream butter.  Add flour and powdered sugar and mix.  Press into the bottom of an ungreased 9″ x 13″ pan.  Bake for 20 minutes.

Combine well beaten eggs, sugar, salt and lemon juice.  Mix together baking powder and flour and add to egg mixture and mix well.  Spread on the hot crust layer.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Cool completely. Cut into squares and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

lemon bars


Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

You know what’s VVG?  My grandma’s Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies.  I haven’t made one of Grandma’s recipes in quite a while so I decided it was time to break out my little recipe box and dig out a gem.  And dig one out I did!  I forgot about how wonderful these are!

I like to think that in addition to being a tried and true Grandma VVG* recipe, these cookies also turned out well because I made the peanut butter myself.  That’s right – I made peanut butter!  No, I did not shuck the peanuts and roast them myself, nor did I manually grind them into a fine butter, but I did go through the painstaking process of pouring a bag of roasted nuts in my food processor and turning it on to watch the magic of electricity and sharp blades work it’s magic.  That counts for something, right?

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
1 c. shortening or butter
1 c. white sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 c. peanut butter
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 c. oatmeal

Mix ingredients together. Drop dough on an ungreased cookies sheet.  Bake at 375º for 10 minutes or until golden brown.

A note from Grandma:
I bake all drop cookies at 375º. Depends on your oven.  Since Grandpa replaced a spring in my oven door, it doesn’t close tight – so it’s baking by guess and by gosh!

I wish I had a picture of Grandma baking by “guess and by gosh” to share with you.  She was pretty cute perched on her stool watching the progress in her oven!!

Jar of Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies










*All of Grandma’s recipes are tagged VVG (and a few of Aunt Pat’s).  You can just type in VVG in the search field at the top of the screen and you can see them all!

Apple Kuchen

Last week Friday marked the last day of the spring semester.  To celebrate, I usually bake up some treats for my international students in part to share a little American culinary culture with them and in part to prove to them that I really do know how to make my own food.  Each semester, without fail, my students at some point ask me what I usually eat and then express great amazement and surprise when I tell them that, no, I don’t eat burgers and pizza every day and that yes, I do cook for myself.

In any case, last Thursday night as I was in the midst of grading final essays, I remembered that I need to make said end-of-semester treat.  I consulted my trusted recipe box and found a number of gems – Grandma’s Ginger Snaps, Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, Velvet Lunch Cake – but none seemed to fit the bill for my 10 am class.  But then, there it was – Apple Kuchen.  Perfect!

I hadn’t had Apple Kuchen in ages.  For a while, Grandma used to make it for us every Sunday and bring it over when she and Grandpa came over to help milk in the morning.  We were supposed to wait until after church to eat it, but I’m not so sure that always happened.  I’m pretty sure some after chores / pre-church taste-testing went on.  But see, I think that’s why Grandma often brought over two pans of the stuff – one for after milking and one for after church.  I’m sure Dad would argue that one was for him and one was for the rest of us, but I think we all know the real aims of Grandma’s generosity.

After sharing this treat with my students, I think it’s reasonable to say that Grandma’s legacy has extended beyond the Ruesch family and has a certain amount of international appeal.  This recipe certainly does justice to my students’ perceptions that American food is extremely sweet.  I’m sure some of them thought this was a little too sweet, but probably the same number of them would gobble up another piece if given the opportunity.

Apple Kuchen
2 c. flour
1/3 c. sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. shortening
1 egg, beaten
1 c. milk
apples (I used 3 small apples)
1 c. sugar

Sift flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together.  Cut shortening into dry ingredients until mix is dry and crumbly.  Blend egg and milk together.  Add to dry ingredients and mix well.  Spread dough in a greased 9 x 13 pan.

Peel and cut apples into slices.  Place apples on top and press slightly into top of dough.  Sprinkle 1 c. sugar over apples.

4 Tbsp flour
6 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Mix topping ingredients until crumbly.  Sprinkle over sugar and apples.  Bake at 375º for 30 mins or until apples are done.

May be served with whipped cream (very good without)*

*This last line of the recipe is an important one.  I’m not sure if it’s because we ate the kuchen before Grandma had time to whip the cream, but I don’t recall ever eating apple kuchen with whipped cream.  I’m sure it’s good, but Grandma knows best – it’s very good without.

Apple Kuchen