Beer and Cheese Muffins


I first made these muffins in 1998.  I had bought a muffin cookbook to send to my daughter-in-law in St. Louis, but first copied recipes that appealed to me.  These muffins are very good, just a tiny bit of sweetness and the flavor of cheddar cheese along with raisins and crunchy nuts.  I consider two of these small muffins as a good serving for a breakfast treat.  They are also nice to serve along with summer salads.

I have a note in my binder:  “January 23, 1998 – This is one of David’s (my husband) favorites.  Very good.”


1/2 cup beer
1/2 cup raisins
1 egg
2 Tblsp. oil
1/3 cup granulated sugar
¾ tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Dash salt
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2.5 oz shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
Grease 12 muffin cups or insert paper or silicone liners

In small pan heat beer to boiling.  Remove from heat, add raisins and let cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, oil and sugar.  Whisk in the soda, nutmeg and salt.

Stir in the beer/raisin mixture and flour.  Stir in the cheese and chopped nuts.

BeerCheese-mixedDivide the batter between 12 muffin cups and bake in preheated 375 degree F oven for 15 minutes.  Muffins should be golden brown on top and a tester inserted in the center of one muffin should come out clean.

Allow muffins to cool in the pan for 7-10 minutes.

Remove muffins from pan or silicone liners and allow to continue cooling on a wire rack.


Yield:  12 small muffins 


These muffins are delicious warm from the oven and can be warmed a few seconds in the microwave if necessary.

Tag;  cook,cooking,recipe,recipes,baking,quick bread,muffins,beer,cheese,cheddar,nuts,raisins,breakfast,lunch

Date-Nut Chicken Potato Salad

This is a salad that is a very satisfying meal – chicken, potatoes, fruit and nuts – all made more delicious by a bleu cheese dressing.  The dates add a very special flavor.  I cook the potatoes early in the morning so they have a chance to cool.  Then, it’s a snap to put together the rest of the salad for lunch.  My daughters and I really enjoy this hearty salad.


  • 10 small potatoes (red or Yukon gold – 4 cups cooked and quartered)
  • 1 large tart apple, peeled and chopped (1 cup)
  • ½ cup toasted walnuts, chopped
  • ¼ cup dates, chopped
  • 1 cup cooked chicken breast, cubed
  • Several gratings of black pepper
  • 1 cup bleu cheese salad dressing (your favorite bottled dressing)

Place potatoes in a large pan, cover with cold water and cook until tender (25-30 minutes).  Drain and let cool.

Peel potatoes if desired, quarter and place in a large bowl.  Add chopped apple, chopped nuts and cubed chicken.

Add pepper and toss with a large spoon to mix.  Add bleu cheese dressing and mix to coat.

Cover and refrigerate for at least ½ hour.

6 servings 

Orange Flavor Extract Cookies–A 1940s Recipe

One of my Christmas gifts this year was a small 4-½ x 6 inch leather bound book engraved “Cooking Recipes”, purchased at an antique mall in Sugar Creek, Ohio.  The pages are edged in gold and there are 10 index tabs for food categories.  

The real gold in this book, though, is the collection of handwritten recipes.  There aren’t a lot of recipes – just 25, 22 of which are desserts.  The book itself could have been from the 1930s, but I believe the recipes are from the 1945-1950 era.  This is based on a lot of recipes calling for shortening, for using the word “oleo” rather than margarine in most recipes and the attention given to oven temperatures.  I believe it’s post-World War II because of all of the sugar-laden desserts.  

The handwriting is clear and ingredients are listed correctly, although most of the recipes give no idea of how the item is to be prepared, what kind of pan to use or how long to bake.  That’s why I’ve decided to make each of the recipes, using the products specified, and adding my own instructions.  I like to think that the woman from the 1940s kitchen (who would have been about my mother’s age) would enjoy having someone fuss around with these recipes again and turn out some delicious food for the family.

This cookie is very typical of the 1940s – a big, fat cookie that is crisp on the outside and somewhat cake-like on the inside with a light orange flavor.  At the writer’s suggestion, I added chocolate chips to the dough and on some of the batches, pressed raisins or a pecan half in each cookie before baking.  They are all good and very satisfying.

I love this McCoy cookie jar I inherited from my mother


  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup shortening
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 tsp. orange extract
  • 1 tsp.soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Lightly grease cookie sheets

In large mixer bowl, cream light brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs and shortening.  Mix in milk and orange extract.

In separate bowl, whisk together the soda, salt, baking powder, and flour.  Add to creamed mixture, mixing well.

Drop by rounded measuring tablespoon on greased cookie sheet, two inches apart.

Bake for approximately 8-10 minutes @ 350 degrees F until cookies are golden brown.  Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Makes 48 cookies – 2-½ inch diameter 

Also delicious with raisins….

…and with nuts.

Toffee Nut Bars

My daughter-in-law grew up in Merrillville, Indiana, and for my birthday in 1989, she sent me a copy of her church’s cookbook, SS. Peter & Paul Treasure Chest of Recipes.  There are so many good recipes in this book and these bars are a favorite – all of the family loved them.


Crust Base:

  • 2 Tblsp. margarine
  • 2 Tblsp. Crisco
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Have an ungreased 8 inch x 8 inch pan ready

Mix together margarine, Crisco and brown sugar.  Stir in flour.  Press and flatten with hand to cover bottom of ungreased 8×8″ pan.  Bake 10 minutes @ 350 degrees F.

While crust is baking, make topping:

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 Tblsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 4 oz. (about 3/4 cup) Heath Chocolate Toffee Bits*
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts

*Or chop chocolate toffee candy coarsely to make 3/4 cup

Beat egg, stir in sugar and vanilla.

Mix flour, baking powder and salt together and add to egg mixture.  Mix in toffee bits and nuts.  Spread over baked crust base.  Dampening palms with water will help to spread the topping.  Bake for 20 minutes @ 350 degrees F until topping is golden brown.

Cool for 5 minutes on a wire rack, then loosen side edges and cut into bars.  Keep in pan to cool on wire rack.

Makes 9 rich and delicious bars. 

Ice Cream Sandwich Dessert

This recipe is adapted from one on and makes a quick, delicious dessert using store-bought ice-cream sandwiches.


  • 3/4 cup chocolate syrup
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 5-10 ice cream sandwiches*
  • 1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1/2 cup salted nuts (I used cashews)

*I used 10 mini ice cream sandwiches (1-1/2 x 3 inches) but any size could be used and easily cut to fit the pan.

One 9-inch loaf pan

Pour the chocolate syrup into a 2-cup glass measure and microwave approximately 2 minutes until very hot but not boiling.  Stir in the peanut butter until melted and smooth.  Set aside to cool.

In a 9-inch loaf pan, place a layer of ice-cream sandwiches.  Sandwiches can be cut to fit.

Spread a half-cup of whipped topping over the sandwiches.  Pour half of the chocolate/peanut butter mixture over the topping.  Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of nuts.

Repeat layers.

Cover and freeze for at least 2 hours.  Cut into squares to serve.  This dessert can be served directly from the freezer.

Servings:  6

Chinese Fried Walnuts


About 25 years ago, a co-worker brought these Chinese Fried Walnuts to a company Christmas party and everyone loved them.  She gave me the recipe and I’ve been making them every year since then.  They are quick and easy to make and always popular.


  • Servings: Makes about 4 cups of walnuts
  • Print

  • 6 cups water in large pan

  • 4 cups English walnut halves

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • Peanut oil for frying

  • Salt

Heat the water to boiling, add the walnuts, bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute.  Drain the nuts, rinse under running hot water and drain again.

Gently stir the warm nuts with the sugar.  Let stand for 5 minutes.

Heat 1″ of oil to 350 degrees F in a large skillet.  Add about half of the nuts to the oil and fry for about 2-1/2 minutes until golden brown.


Place the nuts in a coarse sieve over a bowl to drain.


Transfer to a cookie sheet to cool – sprinkle with salt.

Repeat with the remaining nuts.

Yield:  About 4 cups 

A portion of these walnuts in a vintage mug makes a nice extra gift for my oldest son, who loves this snack.