Friday, November 7, 2008

Hand-Me-Down Recipes—Rickety Uncles with Warm Nutella™ and Flaked Hazelnuts

Rickety Uncles with Warm Nutella™ and Flaked HazelnutsWhen I was visiting my parents this past summer, my mom gave me some hand-written recipes from my grandmother to keep. For me, "hand-me-down" recipes are the best kind of gift to receive. They have been carefully written down, marked up with notes, splattered with butter, and are torn and brown at the edges. It makes me wonder what hand-me-down recipes I'll be leaving my kids since most of my recipes will be typed up in a blog. Does it have the same personality? Should it?

This is one of the handwritten recipes I found in the pile: Rickety Uncles. It was one of my favorite treats growing up. When visiting my aunt as a child, I would often hope that she had these on the table for our traditional gather-around-the-table-and eat-and-catch-up time after our two-hour car ride to her house.

Rickety Uncles. It's such an unusal name. I found another similar recipe in my grandmother's notebook, but it's called Oatmeal Squares, which doesn't have the same charm. After a bit of digging, one source said it was published in the Milwaukee Journal in Wisconsin around the mid 1950's. I'm not sure this is true. I always thought they were named after my cousin "Rick"!

Although I love these bars plain, I thought I'd improve them slightly by icing the bars with some warm Nutella and flaked hazelnuts. Wow!


Makes 1 8x8 pan

Ingredients for Rickety UnclesRickety Uncles:
2 cups rolled oats
½ cup margarine (I used unsalted butter), melted
¾ cup brown sugar
Pinch of salt
½ teaspoon vanilla

4 tablespoons chocolate, hazelnut spread such as Nutella
¼ cup flaked hazelnuts

For the Rickety Uncles: Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Melt the margarine or butter either on top of the stove or in a microwave. Stir in rolled oats, brown sugar, salt, and vanilla. Press into an ungreased 8x8 pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool.

For the frosting: Heat the Nutella either on top of the stove or in a microwave and spread on the bars. Sprinkle with flaked hazelnuts.

Rickety Uncles
From my mom (a scan of a photocopy)

Oatmeal Squares Recipe
From my grandmother
Have you heard of Rickety Uncles before?
Do you know how it got its name?
Do you have a hand-me-down recipe you could share?


Shelby said...

These are a treasure to have. I have handwritten recipes from my Nanny. The bars look delish!

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the handwriting of the elder around the world are the same, since my mom's looks like your grandmother.

Will try one day. Thanks for sharing.

The Food Librarian said...

Love this! I love, love the handwritten recipes too. I worry that with all this technology, we'll be handing down URLs instead of index cards!

Jessica said...

I've often wondered what future generations will think of our blogs. I hoping they will feel a greater connection because so much more of our daily lives are written (typed?) down.

Makes me wish I had paid more attention to my German Grandmother making her holiday coleslaw.

shanna said...

The best thing my grandma left me, aside from her ability to tell a good story (she says modestly), is a few tins of handwritten recipes. And I agree with sefa: my grandma's handwriting looks strangely like that of yours!

Irene said...

You had me at Nutella.

Oh, how I wish my grandmother wrote down recipes (or even shared them!). I love these handwritten recipes. I've printed out my favorites and put them in a binder, just in case (of what? I don't know).

Anonymous said...

Yum, so sound delicious! Anything with nutella is awesome. I've never heard of rickety uncles.

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I've been looking for this recipe to tart up with dried fruit and nuts and things for ages.

Sandy Smith said...

I just love this name! Almost as much as I love Nutella. These look like a little bit of heaven - thanks for sharing the recipe!

My own grandmother didn't write any of her recipes down (a real loss), but I did inherit my husband's grandmother's recipe box - classics, I tell you!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Old hand written recipes are the best! And warm nutella never killed anyone!

Katie said...

Yum! What a tasty treat.

I think the hand-me-down recipes that are most well-known in my family are my Aunt Patty's peanut butter fudge and my Grandma's meatloaf.

Jerry said...


Steph said...

Thanks for sharing this recipe! I've been searching for bar recipes to make and this looks like one that is quick to make and dirty few dishes, which is always a plus!

Manggy said...

Gosh, a recovered recipe! Looks fantastic-- I love oatmeal bars with anything chocolate. I hope to see some more of these treasures!

Anne said...

The recipe looks wonderful and I love the source- so neat!

Joie de vivre said...

How wonderful. I love recipes like this.

Anonymous said...

I'm so intrigued- These sound delicious, and were originally vegan! :)

Anonymous said...

Hello If it passes to find to me I have a gift for you! Soon Lorenz

Amy of Sing For Your Supper said...

I agree - its so wonderful to be able to cook/bake using the very same recipe that your grandmother used - there's just something about it that makes the dish taste that much better! I purposefully hand-write all of the recipes I find/use for that very reason - someday, I want my grandchildren to be able to treasure the recipes I once treasured! These look great, by the way - I love the addition of the Nutella and hazelnuts!!


My Sweet & Saucy said...

Oh my...this looks sooo good! I love the look of the recipe!

AmyRuth said...

Oh Wow! All these prior comments inspire me to write by hand as well, for my kids. All this time I was thinking I was leaving a proper legacy on the computer/web. Go figure. Do we have it all backwards?
Maybe one day they will giggle when they have a chance to remember eating next to the computer. ha ha
Love the sentiments associated with the sharing of this old family recipe. They do sound so comforting. its oatmeal and brown sugar. Thats an awesome combo.

Thip said...

I wish I have this kind of recipe "hand-me-down" from my family too.

grace said...

tried-and-true recipes passed from generation to generation are the very best kind. i love the name of these bars, the history behind them, and the ingredients. it's definitely a keeper. :)

Anonymous said...

i love that you post pictures of the recipe too. i feel like i can see a bit of your history! :) lovely looking little sweets and i just adore the name. x

Jacque said...

Oooh, I love those old hand-written recipe cards. I sometimes think it's a shame they aren't shared much anymore.

Your Rickety Uncles (chuckle) look yummy!

Anonymous said...

Yes! I have the Nutella on hand! Can't wait to try these.

NKP said...

I haven't heard of Rickety Uncles either. All I remember of my grandmother's food that I liked was that ambrosia salad. With the two layers of jello over the pineappley, marshmallowy salad layer. I wish I had that recipe, just to try it again as an adult.
The bars sound like a lot of fun - I love the nutella addition.

Anonymous said...

That recipe looks very good! Kinda healthy too!

Anonymous said...

This is an adorable, post! First off, I also love hand me down recipes, they're definitely worth treasuring more than most heirlooms. Second, the name of these sweet treats is so fun! They look and sound super tasty! :D

Melanie said...

Thanks for the great recipe.

Shari said...

honeyb - Isn't it great to have these handwritten recipes?

sefa - It's interesting that the handwriting is similar! I know my handwriting isn't as nice as my grandmother's!

the food librarian - I worry too.

jessica - You're right, that we're sharing more than just a list of ingredients. I like that.

shannalee - What a treasure! Have you tried any of the recipes?

irene - Nutella is so good with lots of things!

pinkstripes - I'm so curious about the origins of this recipe, but didn't have much luck finding anything online.

anonymous - Dried fruit and nuts in this would make it just like a granola bar! Great idea!

sandy smith - Glad you have one-half of your relative's recipes!

clumbsy cookie - They are!

katie - I like the sound of that peanut butter fudge! Have you blogged about it?

jerry - Sure is!

steph - It is SO simple!

manggy - Thanks so much for sharing that link. I will definitely check it out and add a link. Are you going to add more since I know you have more butter-splattered vintage recipes at your house?!

anne - Thanks!

joie de vivre - They are vintage and special!

hannah - I have to add a vegan tag to my recipes! Thanks for inspiring me.

bravo_cook - You're so sweet. Thanks for the award!

amy - I'm in awe of you writing them down for your grandchildren. Way to go!

my sweet & saucy - Thanks! It's simple and delicious too.

amyruth - Me too! But we are adding value with the stories and thoughts too.

thip - At least we can share!

grace - I like these recipes too. But I wonder if they mean as much to someone else as they do to me. I guess that's expecting a lot from a list of ingredients, but they seem special in their way.

diva - It's nice to see the browned and splattered paper.

jacque - I love the name too!

candy - I'm running low on Nutella now!

natashya - I've had that ambrosia salad. I'll see if I have the recipe somewhere.

strawberriesinparis - It's kinda healthy (without the Nutella)!

sophie - It's a fun recipe name to say! Memorable.

melanie - I'm so glad you tried the recipe and liked it!

Thanks so much for dropping by and leaving a note! I hope to see more "hand-me-down" recipes from all of you too!

Anonymous said...

that is so cool. i always wish my grandmom wrote her recipes down, but we're italian and italians don't usually use recipes. these look heavenly.

Shari said...

we are never full - Thanks for dropping by. I bet your Italian recipes are worth writing down!

Anonymous said...

I used to make Rickety Uncles when I was a teenager. I'm 43 now. Anyway my mom had a cookie cookbook with about a hundred recipes and there was the Rickety Uncle recipe. Heaven knows what happened to the cookbook, it has been lost for years. Today I was remembering Rickety Uncles and wanting to make them for my kids. I got the great idea of looking on the web and joy oh joy here you had it. There are some others but the ingredients aren't right. These are just as I remember: oats, brown sugar, and butter. I seem to remember that the ones I made had baking soda, but I may be wrong and I can't imagine that they would need it. So thank you so much for this recipe and I will try to post one or two from my family.

Anonymous said...

I just pulled my first batch of Rickety Uncles out of the oven. The wonderful smell is driving me insane (in a good way)! I'm drooling all over the kitchen, waiting for it to cool down enough!

Unknown said...

Ah...childhood memories, or wait I made these a month ago. I decide to google Rickety Uncle, because I was discussing them with a friend on a drive home today. I wanted to know if anyone else had heard of them before (because she had no idea what I as talking about..and is your post! did you ever find out how or why they were called that? I actually grew up calling them Rickety Ole (old?) Uncle. Mmm you know...I think I will go make some right now.

Janets Planet said...

Used to make them all the time growing up (southeast Wis). Pretty much they are granola bars. I like the idea of frosting with nutella.