My Mother’s Kitchen: Quickies Square Recipe

Time is often at a premium when raising a family, so it’s nice to have several recipes that are quick, easy to make and taste great. Such is today’s recipe for “Quickies”, simple-to-prepare, no-bake squares.

I remember mom making these squares when she needed something sweet for our lunches or a school bake sale, or when she realized at the last minute that there was nothing in the cupboard to satisfy her family’s sweet-tooth. It’s a wonder that mom ever had time to bake cakes or squares or desserts—four children and a husband meant there were not many extra hours in a day for a homemaker in the 50s and 60s. In fact, I don’t know how mom managed to do what needed to be done, every single week, to look after a family of six.

For example, our family of six meant a LOT of washing every week—mom’s motto seemed to be “even though we don’t have much money, we will be clean and will wear clean clothes”. Mom washed our clothes using a wringer-washer and hung them outside to dry on a clothesline in the sun. We had no indoor dryer to speed the process along; when rainy weather prevented her from hanging the laundry outdoors she hung the wet clothes close to the stove in the kitchen, or near a floor vent to catch the heat rising from the furnace.

Mom stripped and washed all our beds each week, and always made sure we had clean clothes for school. After school we changed into our ‘play clothes’ before heading outside to join our cousins and friends who also had changed into their ‘play clothes’. Everyone had play clothes, school clothes and Sunday School/Church clothes, and most of the time we knew better than to wear church clothes to school or school clothes to play or play clothes to church or…well, you get the idea. We knew that mud puddles and grass stains were okay for play clothes, not okay for going-to-school clothes, and a definite no-no for Sunday clothes.

“Tadpoles in the ditch?” Great as long as we were in our after-school, play clothes. “Climb the maple tree to sit in the seats high in the branches?” Wonderful—let me just go and change my clothes first….be right back. “Swing as high as you can and then jump to see how far away you land?” Okay—but not in these clothes…mom will kill me…

As long as we tried our best to follow the unwritten ‘dress code’ of the day, we would be pretty much absolved of any clothing infraction. The occasional mud splatter or grass stain was almost expected as a side effect of childhood.

One thing was certain, no matter what clothes we wore outside to play, no matter in what condition we came back to the house for supper, we were rarely deprived of dessert. Even on very busy days mom managed to prepare something sweet for us to accompany our meat loaf or roast chicken or pot roast. Sometimes these sweet treats were brownies or cookies or chocolate cake with boiled icing; other times they were simple desserts such as “Quickies”.  We enjoyed them all, as, I’m sure, will you.

Do you have memories to share? Drop me a line or add your thoughts to the ‘comments’ section. Thanks.


½ cup shortening
½ cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. cocoa
1 egg
1 Tbsp. vanilla

Mix ingredients together. Boil 1 minute stirring constantly. Add 30 graham wafers broken into bits smaller than a dime. Press into greased 8” square pan. Ice with chocolate or mint chocolate icing. These squares are a cinch to make.


4 thoughts on “My Mother’s Kitchen: Quickies Square Recipe

  1. Hi Sylvia….I am thoroughly enjoying your blog….so many of the recipes and stories bring back fond memories. Love these “Quickies”….in fact I made both these and the “Jam Cookies” in the last week. I think one of my all-time favorites are the “Speckled Squares”. Keep up the good work. I know your Mom would be so proud to read this and my Mom would love it too. Hope they are watching!

    1. Thanks Barb–I really appreciate hearing this from you. Writing these posts certainly makes me think about the past too and recall great memories. And it’s fun to find pictures to go along with some of the stories. Don’t be surprised to come across a couple of pictures of youself here in the near future….

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