Favorite Treats From Times Past

Hi everyone, Thanksgiving is two days away and my thoughts are on food…well actually desserts. Maybe I’m being sentimental or maybe I’m just hungry. Ha, probably both!

As I’ve often talked about, times were extremely hard when me and my baby sister Jan were growing up. My parents barely made enough to keep the wolf from the door and in a few instances he slipped in anyway.

Also, as most know, Jan and I have a huge sweet tooth. We learned to be very creative and make things that called for only a few ingredients. Our treats were simple, but satisfying.

Mama made us cookies from pie dough. She’d make up the dough like normal, roll it out and cut into designs, then sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top and bake. They were yummy. In England, they called these tea cakes. We didn’t know we were being fancy.

Rice Krispy Treats were easy and quick with cereal, butter, and marshmallow cream.

But our favorite of all was Chocolate Oatmeal No Bake Cookies. Oh man, we ate a bunch of those at our house.

Here is the list of ingredients:

½ cup of butter

1 ½ cups of white sugar

½ cup packed brown sugar

½ cup of plain milk

4 Tbs cocoa

1 pinch of salt

2 teas vanilla

3 cups dry quick-cooking oats

Put the first 6 ingredients into a medium-sized sauce pan, bring to a rolling boil and once it reaches the boil keep it cooking for one minute. Add the vanilla and stir and then add the dry oats. Drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper and cool. That’s it.

I learned to make Applesauce Cake and that was easy as well. It didn’t take any eggs, oil or milk so that made it affordable. All it had was applesauce, butter, flour, sugar, baking soda, and cinnamon. If we had walnuts, we’d throw them in but we usually didn’t. You’ve never eaten such a moist cake. Here’s the link if you’d like to make it: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/7380/applesauce-cake-i/

Mama and Daddy like to make homemade taffy as well, but that when we were too young to help and it was really hot to work with. I still remember watching them stand face to face a few feet apart and pull that taffy back and forth.

I didn’t make this back then but I sure do now—Chocolate-Cherry Cake. Oh my dear Lord, it’s good. Just mix together a dry chocolate cake mix, 3 eggs, and a large can of cherry pie filling. Bake and enjoy.

Back in the 1800s they didn’t have many ingredients to work with either. They made a lot more pies then they did cakes for the simple fact that it cost less.

What were or still are your favorite treats? I’m giving away this beautiful Christmas ornament to someone who leaves a comment.





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Here in the Texas Panhandle, we do love our cowboys. There's just something about a man in a Stetson and jeans that makes my heart beat faster. I'm not much of a cook but I love to do genealogy and I'm a bit of a rock hound. I'm also a NY Times & USA Today bestselling author of historical western romance. You can contact me through my website and I'd love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more. HAPPY READING!

58 thoughts on “Favorite Treats From Times Past”

  1. wow grew up with 2 grandmothers and a mom that loved to bake – had all the goodies!! Thanks for a great blog!

    • Good morning, Teresa. I love seeing your name pop up. With so many good cooks I can only imagine what treats they made. My mom started baking the week before Thanksgiving and Christmas making pies, cakes, cookies, and rolls. I was in pure heaven even if my dentist wasn’t. LOL 🙂 Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

      • Oh boy now I’m hungry lol. My step mom is to make these every Christmas it was a pie but it had pecan filling in it and was bite size. I have asked her a number of times and she cant and dont remember the recipe. Another teear.ahe use to make when my dad had is for the weekend was a box of chocolate pudding and you add white chunky or smooth peanut butter to it put it in a 9×13 pan and freeze ahe called.theae fudge bites. The other day I found at the store Philadelphia ready to use chocolate hazelnut cheesecake. It came.in a tub.you just put it in to a Graham cracker crust and you are good to go. So I decided to make it and man you could just eat the filling right out of the tub. Lol I had to taste it and said to my self this is a good idea . Happy Thanksgiving to you

        • Hi Elaine, I’m happy to see you. Those fudge bites and chocolate hazelnut cheesecake sound so good! I’m going to have to try them. They sure would be easy to make and that gets my vote. Happy Thanksgiving, dear lady!

  2. I remember these no bake cookies!! We used to make them, too. My favorite cookies, though, are sugar cookies. My Mom is 95, and when she was a little girl, she got the pre-cursor to the baking ovens. Her family loved the cookies, and Mom and my Grandmother (mostly Grandma) experimented with the recipe until it made “regular” size batch but tasted like the other cookies. We still use that recipe today, and it makes a LOT of cookies!! Now, we also make chocolate-covered peanut butter balls, totally covered in chocolate!! It’s the family favorite. We won’t be making them for Thanksgiving, but will be making them to give away after Thanksgiving, and probably make more for the family for Christmas.

    • Hi Trudy….Thanks for coming. I’m glad to see you. I really love sugar cookies and they’re so versatile. You can do anything with them and they turn out great. YUM for the chocolate covered peanutbutter balls! They’re so good. My mom used to make what she called Martha Washington balls which were cream cheese, coconut, and pecans covered with chocolate. They sure hit the spot. Happy Thanksgiving, Trudy. Enjoy whatever you do.

  3. My thoughts are on the bad weather we will get today, Thursday and Friday. UNL Huskers have a sold out football game on Friday the roads are suppose to be real slick. Snow, Snow and freezing rain. Not a great Thanksgiving week for those out on the roads.

    • Hi Kim….You’re right about not a time for getting out on the roads. It’s gonna be a lot of bad weather. Even here in Texas we have snow and ice in the forecast. Enjoy your Thanksgiving. Stay in and watch football in the warmth and eat. Happy Thanksgiving.

  4. Thanks for sharing your recipes. We love the No-Bske cookies also and I also make an easy candy for Christmas. Butterscotch Peanut Candy has melted butterscotch morsels, peanut butter, and chopped peanuts and it is so good! Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Hi Connie….I’m so happy you stopped by with your sweet treats. I’ve made those Butterscotch Peanut Candy. YUMMY! And it’s so easy. Anything easy is on my radar. Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. Happy Thanksgiving Linda- wow now you have me so hungry. My mom makes applesauce cake and you are so right, it’s moist moist. My favorite pies has and will always be pecan, but since I’ve been sober I’ve found I Love Apple pie, too.
    My Granny, rest her soul, would make the best peanut brittle, I sure wish I was getting some from her this year. Growing up I would help her make homemade chocolate pudding all throughout the year and before she passed away she gave me her pudding recipe written in her own handwriting. I have it on my old kitchen cabinet with my antiques so I can look at it as I walk by all the time. I just may have to make up some chocolate pudding for me and Rob tonight.
    You be safe traveling down to Lubbock and have a great time with your family and give your great grandson a hug and kiss for me

    • Hi Miss Tonya……You know, maybe your mom will make one of those applesauce cakes if you say pretty please. They are the best cakes. And that homemade chocolate pudding would be excellent with your supper. My mom used to make that too and me and Jan would put it on hot biscuits and it was pretty close to hot chocolate pie. Those memories remain as some of my most fond. I’ll be safe going to Lubbock tomorrow. You and Rob be careful too when you drive down to Guymon. Happy Thanksgiving, sister friend!

  6. Oh Linda thanks for the trip down memory lane. One of my daddy’s sister and my favorite one would make us the no bake oatmeal cookies I just may have to go make a batch

    • Hi Miss Glenda…..I’m so happy you came by. Thrills my heart. Yes, you might have to make some of these cookies. Just wait until that grandson gets big enough. You’ll be making him all kinds of goodies. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family. Love you dearly.

  7. I love pumpkin roll. My cousin’s wife made it when I was young but she was very sweet and shared the recipe with me. I have made it every year for the last 10 years, in fact I am making it today….wonder if there will be any left when everyone gets home. LOL

    • Hi Vicki……Bless you for mentioning that pumpkin roll. My mom used to make one every Thanksgiving and it was something I looked forward to each year. Those are delicious. Bet you can make really good ones since you’ve had ten years of practice. You know, you might need to make two just in case. 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving!

  8. I remember my mom actually making Pumpkin Pies from scratch.. She cut up the pumpkin, cut and cooked . She always dried and roasted the pumpkin seeds. I have to admit the pumpkin pie was amazing, she always added several spices ( just right) the taste as wonderful!!!! I never followed in her footsteps,I can’t cook like she did .. I just pickup a frozen piano to bake , my version of homemade!!

    • Hi Miss Rose Ann! It’s wonderful to see you. Yes, I know what you mean. I never could cook as good as my mom either. Nothing ever tastes the same. Bet that pumpkin pie from scratch was to die for! I can almost taste it. I hear you on picking up a frozen pie and thawing it. That would be me too. Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Hi Jess! Thank you for coming and thank you for the Christmas book. I can’t wait to start it. Tonya just loved the story. To get an autographed copy is awesome! My 15 year old grandson loves gingerbread cookies and has ever since he was seven or eight years old. Those are the only treats he’ll eat. I love them too and look forward to getting my daughters each year. Happy Thanksgiving!

  9. Oh my Linda that Chocolate cherry cake sounds so good and easy! I’ll have to give it a try someday. I love no-bake cookies. The peanut butter only version is good too. When I was young pecan pie was my favorite but now it’s just too sweet for me. I think my MS pill, Aubagio, raises my blood sugar just enough that a lot of super sweet desserts nauseated me now. I prefer rich over super sweet if that makes sense. Pumpkin is my favorite Thanksgiving pie now. It’s funny but pecan and pumpkin pies we only do at holiday time usually so I have to enjoy them while they’re around. I hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving! Be safe traveling!

    • Hi Stepahnie……I’m so glad you came. Pecan pie is one I still gravitate to whenever one is near. I love it. It’s my son’s favorite too. Pumpkin is right up there alongside it. Yes, I’ll be safe traveling. We’re supposed to get snow and ice so glad I won’t be driving. You be safe going to your parents house. Have a very Happy Thanksgiving with family! Love you dearly.

  10. My grandmother was an expert baker. Everything was delectable and special and way back then made from scratch. We especially looked forward to her yummy treats greatly. Our favorite was a chocolate filled pastry.

    • Hi Ellie……I’m so glad you came. You must really miss your grandmother and her delectable sweet treats. That chocolate filled pastry makes my mouth water. Yummy! Have a happy Thanksgiving!

  11. My great aunt was a wonderful, warm and special woman who could create anything from so little. Her lemon mille feuille were light, tart and memorable.

    • Hi Sharon…..I don’t exactly know what a lemon mille feuille is but it sound delicious. The dictionary says it’s a French dessert. I’m sure you miss your great aunt very much, especially around the holidays. Thanks goodness for memories! Happy Thanksgiving!

  12. A Norwegian dessert called Fattigmann was made every year when mom was still living. She also made Divinity, Boston Creme Fudge, chocolate fudge, sugar cookies, Spritz butter cookies, peanut brittle, need I go on. I do carry forward a few of these traditions today. So love the memories you shared Linda. When my dad was young, one Christmas he received a jar of milk and an orange for Christmas. I would hope I would be satisfied with milk and an orange. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your Linda. Thank you for sharing today. Love you.

    • Hi Kathy…..Thanks for coming to share your memories. Your mom sounded like an excellent cook. That Fattigmann sounds interesting. Bet it’s delicious. I’m sure your dad was happy to get a jar of milk and an orange. Those were such hard times. I watch the Walton’s first Christmas movie when the kids were little every year and always get tears in my eyes of how thankful John Boy was to get a Big Chief tablet and a pencil for Christmas so he could write his stories. I love the simpleness of those times and how grateful kids were for anything. You and Ron have a blessed Thanksgiving!

    • Hi Charlene…..I’m so happy to see you. Thanks for sharing the chocolate pudding pie. That sounds so good. I love that pudding and putting it in a crust just makes it more yummy! Happy Thanksgiving!

  13. My mom used to always make an applesauce cake for me when I was younger… unfortunately she lost the recipe… and has not made it since… but have had plenty of other delicious goodies… Happy Holidays! 🙂

    • Hi Colleen…..Bless you for coming. I love seeing you. Maybe you could surprise your mom by making the applesauce cake. There are lots of recipes online. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

  14. We love no-bakes here at our house. I grew up with my mom making them all the time! I just made my daughter get out the ingredients you gave and when I’m done typing we will be making your recipe!

    • Hi Susan! I’m happy to share the recipe and I hope they turned out great. I would love to have some but I haven’t for many years. Maybe I’ll get my grandson to help me. Have a very blessed and joyous Thanksgiving!

  15. I love your post! I love those chocolate no bake cookies but have had to make adjustments with food in my later years. I have found that where there is a will there is a way so the next best things to those is this….I make a small bowl of oatmeal, add a tablespoon or two of peanut butter, and then..a package of sugar free hot chocolate mix. Stir and enjoy!

  16. No bake biscuits are wonderful and easy. Years ago I made lovely no bake lemon biscuits which everyone loved and I have not made them in years but should try once again.

  17. HI Linda. Welcome today. My mom used to make the same cookies. There were five children and like you purse strings were tight. But her grandma gave her a cake recipe. On our birthdays we could ask for a specific dinner and desert. Well mine was always stroganoff. And Cherry Carnival Cake from moms grandmother. There were cherries baked into the cake and the sauce was heated and poured on top. This became my birthday dinner until I got married. then my husband picked up this tradition. I love this man for so many reason. And when the kids came along, they helped dad in the kitchen. I did the same for them and it is funny, they picked a specific dinner and desert and both of them wanted the same thing yearly. Happy Thanksgiving. May you and yours have a blessed time together.

    • Hi Lori, that Cherry Carnival Cake sounds delicious! How nice that your husband picked up your birthday tradition and carried it on! I love that. Thanks for popping in to share.

  18. Hello Linda! You can’t go wrong with chocolate! My grandmother used to make divinity years ago.

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  19. I have made your no bake cookies many times before. They are handy to do with scout troops – easy to make and the kids love them.
    My mother made a cake roll at Christmas that we loved. It was just a thin layer of white cake batter on a jellyroll pan with maraschino cherries, dates, and walnut halves spaced evenly in rows. She would bake it then roll it up (no filling) and sprinkle with powdered sugar. It was great, but she died when she was 47 (I was 25) and I never got the recipe. Several aunts have given me what they said was the recipe, but it has never worked. It was a nice dessert, not too sweet or filling. Mincemeat pie was another thing I love only made during the holidays.
    When you don’t have much, you often don’t realize just how little you have. We usually got only 2 gifts at Christmas, but with 8 people, it was still full under the tree. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

    • Hi Patricia B., your mother’s cake roll sounds so unusual and very delicious. How sad that you never got the recipe and can’t carry on the tradition. It sounds like we grew up in similar situations. We never got much of anything either but we were always so happy with whatever my parents could afford. Love you so much, lady!

  20. I made a lot of no-bake cookies when my son was in college and would take them to him. I tried to make them a while back and I over cooked them and they flopped. I think my favorite treat is home-made candies.

  21. My favorite treats were my Momma’s applesauce cake heavy with spices and black walnuts and her fruitcake cookies, neither of which I can wear anymore due to allergies.
    I have a new simple favorite I make a lot as it is low fat, and if you use a sugar free mix it’s low sugar too.

    Mix one box spice cake mix, or carrot cake if you can’t find spice, with one 14oz can of pumpkin. That’s it! Stir those 2 ingredients together and bake as a cake or as muffins. All the pumpkin pie flavor without all fat and heavy carbs. It gets moister as it sits so, I like to bake a day ahead when I can. I’ve also used this in a yellow cake mix and added my own spice and in a chocolate cake mix too.

    • Hi Deborah, I love your easy recipe with the cake mix and can of pumpkin. Wow, I may have to try that. It sounds so good. My mom used to make a fabulous fruit cake using only pineapple, nuts, cherries, and a small amount of white raisins. I sure miss that now that she’s gone. I’m very happy you dropped by.

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