Put Sydney’s Frozen Custard on your Travel Agenda

Fantastically creamy custard in vanilla and chocolate. If your only eating custard, get the double scoop.

Sydney’s Frozen Custard dish of chocolate on left and dish of vanilla on right.Sydney’s Frozen Custard

14 S. Broadway Ave., Grand Marais, MN

Be sure to put Sydney’s Frozen Custard on your travel agenda next time your on the Minnesota North Shore. You’ll be soooo glad you did!

Sydney’s Frozen Custard outdoor seating with back of pizza oven and part of the eatery building in background.Venue:  Quaint eatery offering Great Lake Superior views and tasty vittles. Indoor and outdoor seating available as well as rooftop, outdoor seating.

Atmosphere:  Very casual. You’ll often see owners accompanied by their dogs.

Food Fare:  Fantastically creamy custard in vanilla and chocolate. Pete prefers the vanilla and I prefer the chocolate. A chalkboard menu board.They also offer a variety of custard concoctions and food selections along with wood-fired pizza.A chalkboard menu board.

Recommendations:  Go when you are hungry and enjoy both a pizza and custard. There is an outdoor fireplace to enjoy if there is a bit of a chill. If your only eating custard, get the double scoop.

Sydney’s Frozen Custard storefront.Service:  Walk up to the order window to place your order and pay. Pick your food up at the pick up window unless you get a wood-fired pizza. That you pick up at the pizza prep and bake area.

Return Rating:   Most definitely!

Rhubarb Bread Pudding

We were really pleased with how this Rhubarb Bread Pudding turned out. If you happen to have leftovers, I think it would be great eaten cold.

Rhuarb stalks in a large stainless steel bowl in background with knife on cutting board in foreground.It’s rhubarb time again!

This tart seasonal stalk will tickle your taste buds with a unique flavor. Rhubarb can be used to make cobblers, cakes, and jam. Why not bread pudding?

We decided to make bread pudding for our Sunday night church meal and to use rhubarb as we had an abundance of it. An abundance of rhubarb in front of a house with the big rhubarb leaves very prominent.Here is our crock pot recipe for Rhubarb Bread Pudding:

  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 1  1/2 c cream
  • 1/2 tsp (each) cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg
  • Add more of the spices as desired
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 3 tiny spoons Pure Stevia
  • 2 c rhubarb pieces
  • 5  1/2 c cubed dried bread

Cut pieces of rhubarb in a large stainless steel bowl.Add the ingredients, one at a time, to a large bowl. Stir thoroughly after adding each ingredient. Note that you can use fresh bread torn in pieces, but dried bread soaks up more of the liquids. Fresh bread already has some moisture in it.

Cook the bread pudding in the crock pot on high until done. Check it periodically to see how it is cooking. Turn to the low setting if you think it is cooking too fast. We kept ours on high as we needed the pudding to cook within an afternoon. Signs of doneness can be when the pudding pulls slightly away from the side of the crock pot and when a knife inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean. This is a moist dessert but you want it done. If all else fails, scoop out a sample to check it.

Recipe Notes:

  1. The Pure Stevia product  comes with a tiny spoon that is a preset measure.
  2. It is easy to make bread crumbs, but you need to plan ahead. Set out slices of bread on cooling racks or plates until they are dry and brittle. Cut or break up the dried bread into cubes or pieces.

We were really pleased with how this Rhubarb Bread Pudding turned out. It was a hit at dinner too! Rhubarb Bread Pudding in white crock pot dish about 2/3 empty with a spoon.There wasn’t a whole lot left when I remembered to take a picture so I could share it with you. You can enjoy this warm straight out of the crock pot, with whipped cream on top, or ice cream on the side! If you happen to have leftovers, I think it would be great eaten cold from the fridge.

Chess Pie Bars Almost Like Pecan Pie But Easier

These bars would be great for a summer picnic or reunion, a quick fix dessert, or a “just because I feel like baking day.” They are delicious but very sweet!

Chess Pie Bars in pan cut in 1 x 1" squares.Chess Pie Bars

As promised, I am sharing this Chess Pie Bar recipe with you.

I intended to share it sooner but life gets in the way. The backstory to these bars began when I made a Chess Pie from Colonel Sanders recipe booklet, and we tripped across a lady selling Chess Pie Bars at a gas station. The pie is a fabulous and tasty comfort food and the bars were delicious. I decided to find a Chess Pie Bar recipe and figured it would take awhile. However, when I checked my *Farm Journal’s Homemade Pies, Cookies, & Bread cookbook, it had the recipe! I just needed to find an occasion to make them so I could share with you.Picture of cookbook: Farm Journal's Homemade Pies, Cookies & Bread By the Food Editors of Farm Journal.

With an upcoming potluck, this was a perfect time to try out this recipe. As you know, I mostly follow the recipe and make changes as I want to. My changes for Chess Pie Bars were: using Einkorn Flour instead of white flour, coconut sugar (the 1/2 cup for the filling) instead of white sugar, and 1 cup of pecans instead of 1/2 cup.Picture of Chess Pie Bars from cookbook.

These bars were easy to make and can be done without any electric kitchen tools. I made sure my butter was up to room temperature, and it was easy to use my hand pastry blender to make the crust.Pastry Blender in a bowl with flour, butter and brown sugar. I did have to use a knife to scrap goop off the pastry blender during the mixing process. Also, I ended the mixing with a fork to finely blend the ingredients. Crust mixture in a bowl with a fork for the fine blending of ingredients.When pressing the dough into your 13 x 9 x 2″ pan, note that is spreads real thin but bakes up nicely.Baked crust for Chess Pie Bars in 9 x 13" pan

As I noted in my recipe changes, I doubled the pecans. It just seemed to me that this would make a better bar, and I like lot of nuts. If you do this, I recommend you cut the nuts small so it is easier to cut the finished bars. The batter was easy to stir by hand. I would recommend using a fork to break up any hard sugar lumps before adding liquid to the sugars. I used my crust mixing bowl for the batter as no new ingredients were introduced to the bowl that would cause cross contamination with flavors. To the melted butter I added the sugars, milk, flour, and eggs. I then mixed this by hand removed any hard sugar lumps by squishing them between my fingers (thus my recommendation for you to do this before). Last, I stirred in the pecans. Chess Pie Bar filling mixture in a bowl with a mixing fork.

Watch your bars closely when baking for the golden brown. You don’t want to overbake. I cooled my bars down but chose to cut while still warm. Of course, we had to sample them and they were good! When mixing the batter, I had tasted it and it was real sweet. The crust helps mitigate the sweetness but this is a very sweet bar. Pouring of Chess Pie Bar batter onto crust in 9 x 13" baking pan with a spatula.Almost like pecan pie but in a very thin bar. Deciding to cut these bars into about 1″ x 1″ squares netted 48 bars. They are delicious but very sweet! They are also sticky, so line your storage container with waxed paper and also put it between bar layers.

Cut Chess Pie Bars on purple plate.These bars would be great for a summer picnic or reunion, a quick fix dessert, or a “just because I feel like baking day.” (#feellikebaking) I hope you’ll give them a try, share them, and enjoy them. Is there a favorite pie you love that you make in a bar version? I’d love to hear what you enjoy.Baked Chess Pie Bars in 9 x 13 cake pan.

*Farm Journal’s Homemade Pies, Cookies, & Bread, By the Food Editors of FARM JOURNAL, Greenwich House, Distributed by Crown Publishers, Inc., New York, 1983 edition.Open cookbook in background with flour, brown sugar and butter in mixing bowl with pastry blender on outside of bowl.



P.S. Did you notice the waffles to the side of the baking pan in the batter pouring picture? Be sure to check out the Raspberry Sausage Waffles post.


Lime Cheesecake Bars

Next time, I would like to put in lime juice for extra flavor and forgo the crumble topping. A great summer, Fourth of July, or family reunion dessert.

9 x 13 cake pan with baked Lime Cheesecake Bars and cookbook on tableThis Cheese Pie-Bar Cookie was turned into a Lime Cheesecake Bar with a few tweaks to the recipe.

Coming from one of my staple cookbooks, Farm Journal’s Homemade Pies, Cookies & Bread by the Food Editors of Farm Journal.

Given that St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner, it was appropriate to substitute the lemon peel for lime peel and to add green food coloring to the filling (2 drops). Instead of all white flour, I used part whole wheat and part Einkorn. The whole wheat gives a full body flavor to the crust. Baking with Einkorn can change the texture of baked goods but I haven’t found this significant. Einkorn is an unhybridized, ancient wheat. It has more of a nutty flavor compared to other flours.

Blended crust in mixing bowl with hand pastry blender in bowl. Flour canister, bowl and other utensils in background.

I doubled the recipe and put the crust in a 9 x 13 inch pan. My crust turned out thicker than if I used two 9 x 9 inch pans. Crust of cheesecake bars in pan on table with other bowl, measuring cup, and a plate with spatula, spoon and measuring cup on itI also used 8 oz. of cream cheese instead of the doubled quantity of 6 oz. because I like cream cheese and wanted to use the whole brick.

Green lime cheesecake filling in a mixing bowl These bars turned out fine. The filling formed up nicely after the bars cooled and were refrigerated. A nice thick crust is a good base to hold the filling for finger food. Next time, I would like to put in lime juice for extra flavor and forgo the crumble topping.Picture of recipe

This treat would make a great summer, Fourth of July, or family reunion dessert.

Picture of recipe book: Farm Journal’s Homemade Pies, Cookies & Bread by the Food Editors of Farm Journal

Published by Greenwich House, Distributed by Crown Publishers, Inc., New York.

Special Holiday Go To Dessert

This is a rich yet easy to make dessert that will become a regular for your special occasions.

Have you ever had a potluck or gathering for which you wanted “just the right” recipe?

A bourbon cake dessert served by a dear friend met my recipe need. An email reply later I had the recipe and was gearing up to make “Julia’s Date Pudding.” Be sure to continue reading – this desert is worth it! While it is billed as a pudding, it is more like a very moist bar.

Julia’s Date Pudding recipe

I have two warnings about this recipe. One: read the whole recipe through. It is easy to make but it takes time to let the dessert cool in the oven. Two: the recipe serves more than 12. This is a very rich dessert, and a 2 x 2” piece will satisfy the most ravenous sweet tooth. They can always have seconds, but you won’t want to waste any of this dessert.

Baked cake in pan on stovetopThis is a picture of the cake after we poured the sauce on it and you can see the “gloss” look it has. The sauce has soaked in quite a bit in the second picture.Baked cake in pan on stovetop

Modifications we made include: substituting apricots for dates. We used a 12 ounce package. Using Fireball Whiskey instead of Bourbon. Note: one and a half ounces equals one jigger. We ended up using four ounces of Fireball. We used a total of 1 1/4 pecans but next time plan to use 1 1/2 cups total.

Christmas, New Year’s, or Fourth of July would be occasions to serve this treat. You’ll have to decide whether you like it best hot or cold. Feel free to share your thoughts through the comments posting.

A special thank you goes out to Marilyn, a true Kentucky Southern hostess, for sharing this dessert with me at her table and in writing.

Need other holiday recipe ideas? Check out these posts:

Easy Deviled Egg Directions with Tips and Secrets for Success.

Quick ‘n Easy Pickled Deviled Eggs

Shoo Fly Pie Bars — A Twist on a Traditional Recipe

Turning a traditional Shoo Fly Pie into bars, this recipe has 3 parts. Tasting Shoo Fly pie with “mile high” crumb topping was my inspiration to first learn to make this dessert.

Shoo Fly Pie Bars with vodka bottle, pastry blender, serving utensil, and cutting board in backgroundWhat do you do when you promised to make your friend a pie and can’t find your rolling pin? You improvise.  My husband came to the rescue with the blue vodka bottle you see in this picture with the Shoo Fly Pie bars.

Taking a traditional Shoo Fly Pie recipe, I turned it into bars by putting my homemade pie crust in a square pan.  The blue vodka bottle worked great as a rolling pin and of course I washed it off before using it.

The green handled wire tool next to the bottle is a pastry blender.  I highly recommend this tool if you want to make your own pie crust.  It also comes in handy when mixing the crumb topping for this recipe.  If you don’t have this tool, you can use a knife and fork to achieve the same results.  You just keep pulling the knife back and forth through the fork in your crumb topping mixture until it is mixed to the desired fine crumb texture.  You will need to unclump the mixture as it sticks to the knife and fork during this process so you can keep cutting the butter into the flour and sugar.

There are 3 parts to this recipe.  The crust, the filling, and the crumbs.  You will want to make the filling first so it can cool down before adding the beaten egg, but I’ll explain later.

  • Filling–Combine 3/4 cup dark molasses, 3/4 cup boiling water, and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.  Stir until the molasses is dissolved in the water.  Set aside to cool.
  • Flour crust of your choice–You can make it or buy it.  Grease your 9 x 9 baking pan (or use a round pie pan) and put your crust in the pan.  Set aside for now.
  • Crumb Topping–1 1/2 cups flour, 1/4 cup butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed.  Note:  make 2 batches of this crumb topping.  One batch goes in the pie when you assemble it and the other goes on the pie once it has baked for 15 minutes.  Blend ingredients together until they are a fine crumb mixture.

Assembling your Shoo Fly Pie/Bars:

  • First, add one beaten egg to the cooled molasses mixture.  Stir in well.
  • Next, pour 1/3 of liquid into shell and sprinkle 1/3 of batch 1 crumbs on top.  Repeat 2 more times ending with crumbs on top.
  • Bake at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes.  After 15 minutes has passed, remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle on batch 2 of the crumbs.  It will be piled high.  Return to the oven and bake for the remainder of the time.
  • Near the end of the baking time, be sure to check with your nose and eyes if it is done a bit early.  You don’t want it too brown on top or the start of a burned smell in your kitchen.  Check that it is done with a toothpick inserted into the middle — should come out clean.  Also, the sides of the bars should be slightly pulling away from the pan.
  • Let cool to allow the pie/bars to set.  Adding the egg gives a “wet bottom” Shoo Fly Pie/Bar.

Shoo Fly Pie Bar piece

Shoo Fly Pie Bars have a historic base in the Pennsylvania Dutch Amish Community.  I still remember enjoying a piece of Shoo Fly pie with “mile high” crumb topping in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  It was my inspiration to learn to make this pie.  What has inspired you to learn to bake a dessert?

Shoo Fly Bars in Pan

Easy Rhubarb Cake Everyone Loves

Easy to make rhubarb cake and topping that will become a repeat favorite of yours.

Picture of cookbook, "Thank Heaven for Homemade Cooks"

Sharing this recipe brings back lots of memories.  Memories of friends enjoying this dessert. Special memories of how I came across this recipe.

My Grandma Novella just had to have the new Saline County (Illinois) Homemakers Extension Association cookbook. Cover Page of cookbook, "Thank Heaven for Homemade Cooks," compiled by Saline County Extension Homemakers Association Granny was so excited about this cookbook that both my sister and I purchased one while visiting.  I have found many good recipes in this cookbook and find it is a go to resource when looking for a recipe to try.  For historical reference, I have included a picture listing the association board members.  Saline County Homemakers Extension Association Board members







This page also gives you an idea where Saline County is located in beautiful Southern Illinois.

As promised in a previous post, I am sharing this recipe. It is super easy to make and rather than an icing has a topping.   I hope you and yours will enjoy this as much as we have, and that this becomes a repeat favorite of yours. Folks who typically don’t like rhubarb will like this!

Rhubarb Cake recipe by Joan Levy

It is always a good idea to read a new recipe through all the way before making it.  Follow the directions by mixing the starred ingredients first.  For the buttermilk, I always make my own with 1 tablespoon lemon juice per cup of milk and let stirred mixture set 5 minutes.  Note:  this recipe calls for 2 cups of buttermilk.  I also want to point out that this is a large recipe–use a large mixing bowl.  Rather than using an 8×8 and 9×13 pan, I have used a large roasting pan to make one cake.  You could choose to make whatever sizes of cakes you have pans for.  While the cake is baking, I like to mix the topping so it is ready when I need it.  Butter is not a listed ingredient, but you would have caught that when you read the recipe before making it.  When you pull the cake from the oven and find it is done, gently and slowly rub the stick of butter across the top of the cake.  Then, add your already prepared topping.  This rhubarb cake is great warm or cold!

I had planned to make this cake and take a picture to show you, but I’m waiting for my rhubarb to grow back.  We shared our rhubarb with my mother-in-law to make her rhubarb freezer jam.  What is your favorite recipe using rhubarb?