Grandma Bessie’s Simple and Savory Cheese Puffs Recipe Styled-up for Party Time!

Rich and buttery and way-cheesy with a snappy little crunch, this delightful all-American retro cheese puff makes a come-back as a charming little crisp. Punched up just a tad with a bright and savory kick, you can forget the dip ’cause these classic darlings are flavorful enough to go it solo at your next wine and cocktails event. They also look cute saddled right up alongside a nice homemade bowl of soup. And, did I say simple to make with endless variations? Indeed!

Basket of homemade vintage cheese puff crackers bake this bread recipe
Rich and buttery and way-cheesy with a snappy little crunch, this delightful all-American retro cheese puff makes a come-back as a charming little crisp. Punched up just a tad with a bright and savory kick, you can forget the dip ’cause these classic darlings are flavorful enough to go it solo at your next wine and cocktails event. They also look cute saddled right up alongside a nice homemade bowl of soup. And, did I say simple to make with endless variations? Indeed!

Wine and Cheese Puffs Party Bake This BreadThe perfect homemade nosh! Retro cheese balls, vintage cheese puffs, old-fashioned cheese straws. They all have one thing in common. Well, two things, actually. Cheese and butter. Lots of both. In fact, there’s hardly much else in this recipe. Close cousin to Fannie Farmer’s turn-of-the-Century cheese straws (made with puff pastry), this little darlin’ is a little more country and a lot less fussy.

Vintage Carved Toothpicks photo by Leslie Macchiarella
Vintage Toothpicks

The basis of this recipe comes from my dear Grandma Bess’s own recipe card collection, although I see just about the same simple recipe over scads of decades. It is the simplest of recipes –using just cheese (a pound of it, which is a big block), butter (a lot of it) and a little flour. I added a touch of fresh parsley and some kick-up spices that you won’t actually taste as spicy but they add a little zest. We tried adding bunches of other things, like baking powder and other leaveners to puff it up but the goodness seems to be in the baked cheese and the little snap of crunch. Try the recipe with and without baking powder and test it for yourself.

Easy peazy cheesy crackers for your next hor’s d’oeuvre event comin up!

Grandma Geary's cheese puffs recipe collection bake this bread
Grandma Geary’s cheese puffs recipe collection

Tools Needed for Homemade Vintage Cheese Puffs Crackers (just a few):
Baking Spray to coat the baking pans
1 or 2 sheet pans or cookie pans or pizza pans (depending on what you have handy and how many you wish to bake at one time)
Large Mixing Bowl
Wooden spoon
Your hands for rolling, or a rolling-pin and knife for easy roll and cut
Optional: Counter space with a dusting of flour (if you use the rolling and cutting tip)

Homemade cheese puffs recipe baking on a pizza pan Bake This Bread

Ingredients for Homemade Vintage Cheese Puffs Crackers Recipe:
1 pound (about 4 cups) of grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup (2 cubes) softened unsalted butter
2 Tablespoon fresh parsley, fine chopped
2 cups all-purpose flour
optional (but I can’t tell the difference with it): 2 teaspoons baking powder (for very slightly puffier cheese puffs)
1/8 teaspoon paprika, fine quality
1/8 teaspoon dried mustard powder, fine ground
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh super-fine lemon zest if using a micro zester, otherwise, super-fine chopping is required – or it will taste too lemony

Okay, let’s rock ‘n roll vintage style!

Step 1: Grate a whole bunch of extra sharp cheddar cheese:

Grate and set aside
1 pound (about 4 cups) of sharp cheddar cheese

1 pound Grated Cheese for Cheese Crackers recipe Bake This Bread

2. Warm butter to soft (but not melted):

Bring to room temperature and set aside:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

1 cup butter for Cheese Puff Crackers recipe Bake This Bread
3. Chop some fresh parsley:

Chop a handful of parsley in order to achieve:
2 Tablespoons fine-chopped Italian parsley

Chopped Parsley for Cheese Puff Crackers recipe Bake This Bread

4. Measure and mix your dry ingredients:

In a large bowl, stir with a whisk:
2 cups all-purpose flour
optional: 2 teaspoons baking powder (for very slightly puffier cheese puffs, although I tried with and without and could not see the difference)
1/8 teaspoon paprika, fine quality
1/8 teaspoon dried mustard powder, fine ground
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
optional: 1/2 teaspoon fresh super-fine lemon zest if using a micro zester, otherwise, super-fine chopping is required – or it will taste too lemony

Flour and Spices for Cheese Puff Crackers Recipe Bake this Bread
5. Mix everything together with a wooden spoon:

Using a wooden spoon, stir until thoroughly combined:
the mixed dry ingredients
the grated cheese
the softened butter

Mixing Cheese Butter and Flour for Vintage Cheese Puffs Crackers Bake This Bread

6. Option Roll and shape:

Golf balls are the starter size and shape if you’re going to make specialty shapes…

Shaping a cheese puff ball recipe bakethisbread

Place your crafted creations a few inches apart on sheet pans sprayed with cooking spray.

Making different cheese puff shapes bake this bread

Option Roll out and Cut (the easy way):

Sprinkle a little flour and roll the dough out about a half an inch thick and shape it with your hands to form a rectangle.

A good shape for the final cookie is about a finger-length long (about 3″) and about a digit wide (about 1″), so shape the rectangle to be about 6 inches wide so that when it’s cut down the middle you will get 3″ long shapes.

Rolling out cheese dough for vintage cheese puff cracker recipe bake this bread

Cut the dough right down the middle if you’ve got dough 2-fingers wide.

Easy Cheese Puff Crackers Dough Tip Bake This Bread

Place the cut shapes onto a sheet pan prepared with cooking spray (this is my pizza pan baker). 🙂

Sliced cheese puff dough ready to bake bake this bread

Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes until lightly golden and lightly crisp.

Cool for 5 minutes on the pan before removing to wire rack for cooling, or heck, just straight into the hands of your party guests or to a parchment-lined basket covered with a cloth to hold for serving. You may store these in an air tight plastic container after they are completely cooled.

Round Cheese Balls and Long Cheese Puff Crackers Bake This Bread recipe
Here’s a close look at the disc shaped puffs.

Round Cheese Puff Close Up BakeThisBread
And a close-up look at the long shapes (I like these best)…

Close up of top of vintage cheese puff cracker bake this bread
The underside of each little puff should be basically the same color as the top, not over dark or overly brown.

Golden Bottom of Vintage Cheese Puff Cracker recipe BakeThisBread
I brought a basket of these to the soups and stews gathering with my friends in the Los Angeles Food Bloggers and I came home with none, so hoping that means they liked them. 🙂 You can find all the recipes for all the soups and stews from our awesome members by visiting the Shockingly Delicious blog.

Food Bloggers Los Angeles FBLA Soups Stews Meeting Bake This Bread
Thank you for dropping in to check out this fun little kitchen DIY baking project. Join our cake party on Facebook and hang out on Instagram and Pinterest with me in the evenings and on the week-ends. Happy baking and let me know if you decide to bake this bread. 🙂

Leslie being interviewed at home photo by J Macchiarella



Vintage Black Banana Bread Recipe – One to Keep and One to Gift

Get out your best wooden spoon ’cause this is an old-fashioned black banana bread loaded with flavor and perfect for gift giving!

Vintage Banana Nut Bread Recipe Baked by Bake This BreadI can’t think of anything more loving than a homemade food gift from the kitchen! So I’ve scoured all the history books and checked on Grandma’s recipes and baked up some old-fashioned Black Banana Nut Bread (the black bananas make all the difference!). This is such an easy wooden spoon recipe that anyone (even the kids) can craft a vintage gift of love from your own special kitchen just in time for holiday gift giving.

Sliced Vintage Banana Bread on a white dish BakeThisBread

Wrap it up real perrty and pack it good.

Banana Nut Bread Wrapped for Gift Giving Bake This Bread

Then it’s off to the post office with your homemade gift basket. OR if you’re like me, with kids away at college, you know the mailing ropes…Don’t leave home! Your mail carrier can pick up your shipment free during regular mail delivery if you’re using an expedited service like Priority Mail®, Express Mail®, Global Express Guaranteed®, or Merchandise Return services. whoo hoo!

Package for Mail Pickup Bake This Bread

Yesterday’s Banana Bread versus Today’s Tea Cake Style Bread: Today’s version of banana bread (at least the last 90 years of it) is more of a sweet tea cake than the banana bread of yesteryear (which resembled yeast bread made with dried plaintain flour (though I see banana flour back in the news as a gluten-free flour of the future). Go bananas! 🙂

Banana Nut Bread in Wooden Baker close up BakeThisBread
Vintage Recipe Mixing: This recipe is based loosely on the “Banana Nut Bread” recipe found in the ever cool metal-cased 1933 Pillsbury “Balanced Recipes” cookbook. We left out the wheat bran and sour cream, switched up butter for shortening, etc.– and we added tidbits from other vintage recipes –with some Grandma Tips thrown in (like mixing the eggs with the mashed bananas before adding them to the dry ingredients). ha! And the black bananas are a must! ‘Cause that’s the country way. Because we’re using really ripe black bananas (there’s less acid in really ripe bananas), both baking powder and baking soda are needed to add extra leavening power. Aye yie yie! This banana bread thing is more like an art-science-intuition thing. 🙂

Retro Cook Book Banana Nut Bread Bake This Bread

So let’s have a go at this wooden spoon recipe. You KNOW there’s no electric beaters required — so please check your electric mixers at the door. 🙂

Vintage Black Banana Nut Bread Recipe

Tools Needed:
Cooking spray (or butter) and parchment (unless you’re using the
Wood Bakers
already lined with parchment)
Bread/Loaf pan(s) 1 large (9″x5″x2-1/2″ or 8″x4″x2″) or 2 smaller Wood Bakers (7″x4″x2-1/2″)
Cookie Sheet Pan (if you’re using Wood Bakers)
Large Bowl (for batter)
Dinner-sized plate (for mashing bananas)
Mashing Tool (fork, potato masher, ricer, etc)
Whisk (or fork for mixing drying ingredients)
Small strainer (for de-seeding lemon juice, optional)
Small bowl or cup (for fork beating eggs)
Medium (soup-sized) bowl (for secret tip of mixing banana puree with eggs)
Wooden Spoon (gotta make it wood, right?) 🙂
Measuring cups and spoons
Pastry brush (or any brush for brushing top of bread with butter, optional – fingers are okay too!)
Temperature Tool (optional but handy)

Two Small Loaves of Vintage Black Banana Bread Bake This Bread

Ingredients for Banana Nut Bread:
1-1/2 cups mashed bananas from dark-skinned ripe bananas (about 4 to 5 large)
1/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon dried cultured buttermilk (optional)
1/2 cup fine-chopped walnuts (substitute pecans or favorite nuts)
2 eggs, fork beaten
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)
1/3 cup milk (2% is fine)
1 to 2 Tablespoons room temperature butter for basting the top of the bread

Ten Steps to Making a Fabulous Vintage Black Banana Bread:

1. Defrost the Bananas (if yours are stored frozen):
Haul out your best 4 or 5 large black bananas from the deep freeze. if you’re like me, you’ll have a regular stash hidden behind the frozen peas. 🙂 We defrosted our frozen bananas on the counter in about 30 minutes, easily peeled them and they were nice and dark and sweet.
Tip: Black ripe bananas make the best banana bread because they make the cake sweet and golden-dark brown-crusted with those nice dark speckles. (Remember, for our Banana Layer Cake recipe, we used only lightly ripened yellow bananas.)

Frozen Black Bananas for Homemade Banana Nut Bread Recipe Bake This Bread

2. Prep the Oven and Baking Pans:

Set the oven rack to center position and pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 1 large or 2 small loaf pans by spraying with cooking spray or rubbing them with a little butter. We used King Arthur Flour’s (our sponsor) darling Bake and Give Wood Bakers that don’t require prepping ’cause they are lined with parchment papers.

3. Bring Eggs to Room Temperature:

Place into a small bowl (or cup) of warm water for about 10 minutes to bring to room temperature:
2 large eggs

Warming Whole Eggs in Water Jar Bake this Bread

4. Prep the Nanners:

Using a flat plate, use your favorite mashing tool (mine is a potato masher) to puree:
4 to 5 large very ripe bananas for 1-1/2 cups banana puree
Tip: Give the bananas a thorough mashing as all banana bits will show in the finished sweet bread but don’t go food processor on me here…leave a few bits showing for an extra taste punch. 🙂

Mashing Bananas with a Potato Masher for Vintage Banana Bread Recipe Bake This Bread

Measure out the banana puree and notice how nice and rich the banana puree has become when using extra dark bananas.

Mashed and Measured Banana Puree for Banana Bread Bake This Bread

5. Prep the Butter:

Microwave for a few seconds and stir to ensure fluffy room temperature consistency: 1/3 cup unsalted butter

Softened Butter for Banana Bread Recipe Bake This Bread

6. Prep the Dry Ingredients:

Measure out into a large bowl:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon dried cultured buttermilk (optional)

Whisk dry ingredients thoroughly (the lazy sifter’s way) 🙂

Mixing Dry Ingredients for Banana Bread Recipe Collage Bake This Cake

Fine chop by hand or in a mini food processor:
1/2 cup walnuts

Whisk the fine-chopped nuts into the dry ingredients.

Chopped Walnuts for Banana Bread Bake This Bread

7. Squeeze Some Lemon Juice:

De-seed and squeeze to produce (and set aside for a moment):

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice (using 1 large lemon)
Tip: My favorite lemon wedge squeezer is shaped like a little bird (and it also seems to catch the seeds). Mine’s inherited and way-old but they seem to have a new version here (we get a lot of requests for where to find one). 🙂
Squeezing Lemon Juice using Bird Press Bake This Bread8. Work with the Eggs and Nanners and Lemon Juice:

Crack the prepared room temperature eggs into a small bowl or cup and, using a fork, beat them until they are thoroughly mixed.

Mixing Eggs in a Jar for Banana Bread Bake This Bread

Stir the fork-beaten eggs into the banana puree and then stir in:
the prepared lemon juice

{{This is Grandma’s secret tip!}}

Mixing Eggs with Banana Bread Batter Bake This Bread

9. Stir That Puppy with a Wooden Spoon!

Stir the banana-egg-lemon mixture into the dry ingredients.

Stir in the prepared room temperature butter.

Pour in and stir until thoroughly incorporated (about 30 strokes):
1/3 cup milk (2% works well)

The final batter lightens up in color and has a lovely aroma even at this stage.

Stirring Banana Bread Batter with a Wooden spoon Bake This Bread

10. Fill ‘er Up and Bake this Puppy!

I like to use an old-fashioned ice cream scooper to deliver the batter to the pans. It seems to help keep the drips at bay. 🙂

Pouring Batter with Ice Cream Scooper Bake This Bread

I filled the Wood Baker pans about half full for tea cake style cakes.

You can pour all the batter into one pan if you are using just one large loaf pan (the batter should reach to about 2/3 full if it’s all going into one pan).

Baking Vintage Banana Bread Recipe Bake This Bread

Bake at 350 degrees. For the smaller pans, bake for about 65 minutes. For the larger bread pan bake for about 75 minutes. Since oven differences can impact the baking time, check on your cakes beforehand. The banana bread will be done when it is somewhat cracked on top, the sides pull away slightly from the edges, a toothpick tests shows clean, the bread springs back a bit when gently pressed at the top center point and the internal temperature reaches about 210 degrees.

Cool the bread for 10 minutes in the pan before brushing the top of the bread with: 1 to 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
Tip: Spreading a little butter on top of the warm bread loaf will help soften the top crust. The initial shine will fade as the cake cools.

Serve this bread warm from the oven or some folks prefer it with a one-day (or more) counter sitting time.

Sliced Vintage Banana Bread Collage Bake This Bread

Do you take yours hot with butter? Cooled with softened cream cheese? My auntie likes her banana bread with cream cheese and orange marmalade.

Serving Banana Bread with Cream Cheese Bake This Bread

Such a homey kitchen craft. Heck, next time I’m going to double the recipe like Grandma used to do — since it seems to go in a flash. 🙂

If you make 2 small loaves, you’ll have the advantage of being able to sample one and give the other as your special kitchen gift. 🙂

Okay, time to keep one and pack one for a friend. We tucked our homemade kitchen gift into a darling clear cellophane Treat Bag purchased from our good friends at (the gift bags come in a set of 3 with lovely ribbon ties and round cards for inscriptions that loop through the ribbon). In this goodie box I packed up a sampling of fruit teas, chocolates and coffee with the banana bread. All these things travel well in winter (chocolates, cold weather, get me?).

Bread Gift Basket Chocolates Tea Coffee Cake Bake This Bread

Thank you for joining me on this vintage baking adventure. I hope you’ll hang with us on Facebook (where you’ll get a sneak peek of our testing vintage cake and bread recipes relating to our sister site Bake This Cake!) — and where you’ll find me asking for advice from our baker friends as we make our way through historic recipe quandaries. You might even want to check your grandma’s recipe cards and tip us on what you think might be fun to bake up next. 🙂

If you bake this bread, shoot me a photo at and I’ll post it. 🙂

Happy vintage bread baking!


Leslie Macchiarella photo by Julie Macchiarella

Downtown LA Red Collage photos by Leslie Macchiarella
Downtown LA Red Collage by Leslie Macchiarella

Country Roasted Pumpkin Bread #Recipe — Cooking at the River House

Nothing says homemade scratch cookin’ better than a warm slice of homemade pumpkin bread made from home-roasted pumpkins or a bit of organic canned pumpkin puree.

Baked and Butter Pumpkin Bread by the River Bake This BreadIt’s the time of year for cooking fresh and homemade. Company’s a comin! And you KNOW that starting off from scratch is the real deal. And NOTHING says LOVE more than a kitchen-crafted loaf of soft country bread. Like, what could be nicer when the weather’s cold than a warm slice of homemade pumpkin bread.This bread is glorious! Its made from a simple country white bread recipe with an added dollop of home-roasted pumpkin puree (or even a scoop of organic canned pumpkin puree).

Less than half of a mini cantelope-sized pumpkin’ll do ya for this bread if you’ll be cooking it up the slow food method. But it’s okay to use canned organic pumpkin puree (no sugar added) cause that also works well.

So if you’re making pumpkin pie (like my sister did) using fresh pumpkin for the holidays, save a little for this awesome little bread recipe and you’ll be amazed how delighted your guests will be. This bread doesn’t have a pumpkin pie flavor (because pumpkin recipes usually have cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg — this doesn’t). So the result is just bright and moist and countrified. Oh, and the orange color is pretty dang cute, did I mention that?

Thanksgiving dessert table at the river house photo by Leslie Macchiarella

We left the city for the river house to join with family and friends — and to count our blessings.

Country Table Setting at the River House BakeThisBread

 The Merced River this time of year is cold. The salmon are starting to spawn and there’ll be no fishing on the river soon as the river closes down for the winter to let the salmon run.

Riiver House Merced River in winter  photo by Leslie Macchiarella

We’re gathered around the fireplace, reading good books, chatting and cooking up some fun food events for the fam. Since we prep the food on the bar in front of the fire, the whole house grabs a bar stool to watch the action – and maybe to snatch a taste or two of the food action. Won’t you join us for a nice slice or two of this incredible easy-to-prepare homemade pumpkin bread? I think you’re going to love it, I really do.

Sliced Pumpkin Bread Loaf LifeforcePhotos for Bake This Bread

Click HERE to check out our easy instructions on how to roast a mini pumpkin for pumpkin puree. Basically, just clean a mini pumpkin and throw it in the oven at 350 until it becomes fork tender (like a baked potato), then scrape out the pumpkin and puree it in a food processor or blender until it becomes a thick paste.

Pumpkin Bread Loaf by the river photo by LifeForcePhotos for Bake This Bread

3 cups bread flour
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2-1/2 teaspoons yeast (we used bread machine yeast in a jar)
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup organic pumpkin puree (or fresh roasted room temperature pumpkin puree)

How to made homemade pumpkin bread:

1.) Mix all ingredients in a large bowl with a wooden spoon until it holds together.

Pumpkin Bread Dough Bake This Bread

2.) Sprinkle it with a little flour and work with your hands until the tacky or sticky feeling disappears. When the tacky feeling disappears, move it to the countertop.

Pumpkin Bread Dough on Bar with fish spoon Bake This Bread

3.) Set a timer and knead the dough, pressing firmly with the heels of your hands, for 10 minutes.

Pumpkin Bread Dough Disc Shape Bake This Bread

4.) Shape the dough into smooth disc and place it in large buttered bowl and cover with plastic wrap.

Pumpkin Bread Dough First RestBake This Bread

5.) Let the covered dough rise for 1 hour in a warm spot (like the oven with just a light on inside).

Here’s what it looks like when it has risen for 1 hour…

Pumpkin Bread Dough at end of First Rise Bake This Bread

6.) Remove the dough from the rising bowl and knead it for 1 minute and shape it for final baking shape. Place the shaped dough into a buttered bread pan.

Pumpkin Bread Dough Second Rise in Bread Pan Bake This Bread

7.) Let the dough rise uncovered for 1 hour or until the bread just starts to rise over the top of the bread pan. I like to spray it with a light spray of water a few times to keep it moist.

8.) Bake it in pre-heated 350 oven for about 30 minutes until golden brown (internal temperature shoud be about 185 degrees).

Now you’ve got yourself a country soft servin bread, whoo hoo!

Leslie cutting Pumpkin Bread BakeThisBread photo by LifeForcePhotos

Serve it warm with honey butter. yum! Store the bread wrapped in wax paper or in a brown paper bag or wrapped in parchment.Sliced Fresh Pumpkin Bread cropped homemade Bake This Bread

Thank you for joining me on this homemade bread making journey! Check out our vintage cake recipes at Bake This Cake! and we’ll have some history fun in the kitchen together.

Let me know how it goes if you choose this bread recipe for your holiday table (and remember I love photos)! 😀


Leslie Macchiarella sq photo by Julie Macchiarella