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Grandma’s Best Desserts

From classic cakes and homemade pies to old-fashioned cookies and candy, memories of grandma's kitchen make these dessert recipes that much sweeter.

Cherry Spice Cake

At least four generations of women in my family have been baking this Cherry Spice Cake. It's always my mom's pick for her birthday. I like to use cream cheese frosting, but when my mother was growing up, my grandma frosted the cake with butter cream.—Laurie Sanders, Manchester, Michigan

Apple Pie

I remember coming home sullen one day because we'd lost a softball game. Grandma, in her wisdom, suggested, "Maybe a slice of my homemade apple pie will make you feel better." One bite…and Grandma was right. This is the best apple pie recipe. If you want to learn how to make homemade apple pie, this is really the only recipe you need. —Maggie Greene, Granite Falls, Washington

Zucchini Cupcakes

I asked my grandmother for this recipe after trying these irresistible spice cupcakes at her home. I love their creamy caramel frosting. They're such a scrumptious dessert you actually forget you're eating your vegetables, too! —Virginia Lapierre, Greensboro Bend, Vermont

Fudge Nut Brownies

There's no brownie recipe or mix I've ever tried that's better than this! And it's so easy—you can mix it in one bowl in just a few minutes. My husband's grandmother passed the recipe on; now our son makes these brownies for after-school snacks. —Becky Albright, Norwalk, Ohio

Old-Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies

My mother insisted that my grandmother write down one recipe for her when she got married in 1942. That was a real effort because Grandma was a traditional pioneer-type cook who used "a little of this or that 'til it feels right." This treasured recipe is the only one she ever wrote down! —Janet Hall, Clinton, Wisconsin

Grandma's Divinity

Every Christmas my grandmother and I made divinity, just the two of us. I still make it every year. —Anne Clayborne, Walland, Tennessee

Moist Chocolate Cake

The cake reminds me of my grandmother, because it was one of her specialties. I bake it often for family parties, and it always brings back fond memories. The cake is light and airy with a delicious chocolate taste. This recipe is a keeper! —Patricia Kreitz, Richland, Pennsylvania

Shoofly Cupcakes

These moist old-fashioned molasses cupcakes were my grandmother's specialty. To keep them from disappearing too quickly, she used to store them out of sight. Somehow, we always figured out her hiding places! —Beth Adams, Jacksonville, Florida

Banana Bread Pudding

When I visited my grandmother in summer, I always looked forward to the comforting pudding she'd make. With its crusty golden top, custard-like inside and smooth vanilla sauce, this bread pudding is a real homespun dessert. Now I make it for my grandchildren. —Mary Detweiler, West Farmington, Ohio

Cookie Jar Gingersnaps

My grandma kept two cookie jars in her pantry. One of the jars, which I now have, always had these crisp and chewy gingersnaps in it. They're still my favorite cookie recipe. My daughter, Becky, used this recipe for a 4-H fair and won a blue ribbon. —Deb Handy, Pomona, Kansas

Contest-Winning Rhubarb Meringue Pie

My husband’s grandmother was a great cook and didn’t always share her secrets, so we are fortunate to have her recipe for rhubarb cream pie. I added one of my favorite crusts and a never-fail meringue. —Elaine Sampson, Colesburg, Iowa

Maple Carrot Cupcakes

I come from a line of family cooks and have liked to cook and bake since I was young. Mother and Grandmom were always in the kitchen cooking up something delicious. These carrot cupcakes were Grandmom's specialty, and we always have them at family gatherings. —Lisa Ann Panzino DiNunzio, Vineland, New Jersey

Grandma's Tandy Kake

My grandmother made this for all our family gatherings. Everyone loves it now I make it for every party we attend or host. —John Morgan III, Lebanon, Pennsylvania

Sugar Cream Pie

I absolutely love creamy sugar pie; especially the one that my grandma made for me. Here in Indiana, we serve it warm or chilled. —Laura Kipper, Westfield, Indiana

Caramel Pecan Shortbread

My grandchildren look for Grandma's "candy bar cookies" every Christmas. I recommend doubling the recipe for these sweet treats because they go so fast. —Dorothy Buiter, Worth, Illinois

Pumpkin Bars with Browned Butter Frosting

It wouldn't be fall without pumpkin bars, and I think everyone has a favorite version. I based this recipe on one of my grandmother's, so sweet memories are baked into every batch. —Mary Wilhelm, Sparta, Wisconsin

Buttermilk Pecan Pie

This is the treasured "Golden Oldie" that my grandmother made so often whenever we'd come to visit. Grandma grew her own pecans, and we never tried of cracking them and picking out the meat when we knew we'd be treated to her special pie! —Mildred Sherrer, Fort Worth, Texas

Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies

Back in the '30s, my grandmother found this recipe on a cereal box. For moist, flavorful oatmeal cookies, these can't be beat! They make a tasty snack that's convenient to take along on family outings. —Diane Maughan, Cedar City, Utah

Pudding-Filled Devil's Food Cake

My grandmother gave me the recipe for her famous homemade chocolate cake. I remember she often had it when we came over. The creamy chocolate filling makes it so good, and a fluffy white frosting just puts it over the top. —Bonnie Capper-Eckstein, Maple Grove, Minnesota

Strawberry Shortcake Cups

Back when store-bought shortcake was an unheard-of thing, my grandmother passed this recipe down to my mother. Mother later shared it with me, and I've since given it to my daughter. —Althea Heers, Jewell, Iowa

Grandma Brubaker's Orange Cookies

At least two generations of my family have enjoyed the recipe for these light, delicate, orange-flavored cookies. —Sheri DeBolt, Huntington, Indiana

Gingerbread

My grandmother first used this recipe for gingerbread over 100 years ago. It was inexpensive, and the ingredients were always on hand. I remember that the kitchen smelled like heaven when Grandmother baked her gingerbread. The only thing better was when she took it out of the oven and served it with a generous topping of fresh whipped cream! —Ellouise Halstead, Union Grove, Wisconsin

Apple Roly-Poly

Apple Roly-Poly isn't very fancy, but it's genuine Down East fare. It came from my grandmother. With 13 children plus the men at Grandpa's sawmill, she had to do lots of cooking each day! —Megan Newcombe, Cookstown, Ontario

Icebox Honey Cookies

My Grandma Wruble always had a batch of these cookies in the cookie jar and another roll in the refrigerator ready to slice and bake. Their honey and lemon flavor is delicious! —Kristi Gleason, Flower Mound, Texas

Mocha Nut Fudge

I was lucky enough to inherit my grandmother's cookbook collection along with all of her recipe notations. This fudgy candy earned high marks. —Brandy LaFountain, Marion, Michigan

Old-Fashioned Poppy Seed Torte

I got this recipe from my grandmother; it's an old fashioned recipe, but well worth it. My dad requests this cake every year for his birthday. I make it for church events and charity auctions, too. Everyone loves it! —Brenda Patterson, Pullman, Washington

Family-Favorite Peanut Butter Cake

My grandmother and aunts made this for family gatherings to go along with fresh homemade ice cream. I now share it with my family and friends during special gatherings. —Keith Gable, Goddard, Kansas

German Black Forest Cake

As far as I know, this cake recipe can be traced back to my German great-grandma. When I got married, my mother gave me a copy and I hope to someday pass it down to my children. —Stephanie Travis, Fallon, Nevada

Nanny's Fruitcake Cookies

My grandmother always made a holiday fruitcake. I turned her recipe into cookies that are perfect any time, especially with a cup of tea. —Amanda Digges, South Windsor, Connecticut

Caramel-Apple Skillet Buckle

My grandma used to make a version of this for me when I was a little girl. She would make it using fresh apples from her tree in the back yard. I've adapted her recipe because I love the combination of apple, pecans, and caramel. —Emily Hobbs, Springfield, Missouri

Chocolate-Cherry Brownie Cake

My grandmother taught me the tricks to making this cake, and I've added my own special touches. The melted chocolate keeps the icing from being too dry and gives it a texture similar to chocolate ice cream. I have more requests for the icing than I do anything else! —Susan Hayes, Massapequa, New York

Grandma Krauses' Coconut Cookies

When my two daughters were young, their great-grandma made them cookies with oats and coconut. Thankfully, she shared the recipe. —Debra Dorn, Homosassa, Florida

Lebkuchen

It's tradition for my family to get together around the holidays to bake these spice-filled treats. The recipe came from my great-grandmother. —Esther Kempker, Jefferson City, Missouri

Old-Fashioned Peppermint Taffy

This taffy brings back many memories of my grandmother. I used to help her every Christmas Eve pull this taffy. This recipe is a family favorite.—Suzette Jury, Keene, California

Granny's Spice Cookies

Granny always had a batch of these delicious, crispy cookies waiting for us at her house. When I miss her more than usual, I make these cookies and let the aroma fill my house and heart. —Valerie Hudson, Mason City, Iowa

Best-Ever Sweet Potato Pie

My grandmother handed down this recipe and it’s amazing! The flavor, with a hint of maple and great spices, totally lives up to its name. —Erin Gibbons, Downingtown, Pennsylvania

Lemony Daffodil Cake

The lemony yellow color of a daffodil reminds us of springtime and new beginnings. My grandma used to make this cake around Easter every year. In our family, we like to serve this cake cold, right out of the refrigerator. —Lori Kampstra, Franklin, Wisconsin

Cherry Coconut Treats

My great-grandmother created this recipe more than 100 years ago, so it's made many appearances at family parties. Make the treats even more fun for the holidays by using both red and green maraschino cherries. —Anne Mullen, Windsor, Ontario

Gingerbread Meringue Bars

The best of both worlds, I combined my grandmother's gingerbread recipe with my aunt's special brown sugar meringue to make these lovable bars. —Eden Dranger, Los Angeles, California

Red Velvet Marble Cake

I watched my grandma prepare her red velvet showstopper many times for family get-togethers. The fluffy butter frosting perfectly complements the flavor of this gorgeous cake.—Jodi Anderson, Overbrook, Kansas

Buttery Orange Sugar Cookies

My husband's grandmother made a variety of cookies every year for her grandkids at Christmastime. She would box them up and give each child his or her own box. This crisp, orange flavored cookie is one of my favorites from her collection.—Heather McKillip, Aurora, Illinois

Minty Chocolate Cream Cheese Bars

I always looked forward to my grandma's gooey bars when I was growing up. This chocolate version includes mint, which is one of my favorite flavor add-ins. —Jill Lutz, Baldwin, Wisconsin

Six-Layer Coconut Cake with Lemon Filling

I found this recipe when going through my grandmother's old files. It was originally made with an orange filling, but using lemon pudding in the filling makes it easier to prepare. It is simply the best. —Angela Leinenbach, Mechanicsvlle, Virginia

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