This is a photo of my great grandmother, Louise Putnam Wilcox. It’s actually a pin with her photo on it, and I’ve always thought I favored her when looking at it. She is the only other family member – that I know of – who is small like I am. She lived with us when we were kids, and I loved her very much. She taught me how to play solitaire and poker, and I remember sitting in her lap in her rocking chair eating candied orange slices. Funny what you remember from so long ago.
Anyway, I really remember she was a great cook. Her angel biscuits were what I remember the most. Hot out of the oven, slathered with melted butter and honey. I always ate them at the end of the meal because I considered them the best part and I wanted to savor them.
I went through her recipes recently and have decided to pay homage to Mama for a little while. I’m going to attempt to make some of the recipes she found to be worth cutting out of the newspaper or writing down on her index cards to kind of keep her with me again for a while.
My first attempt did not turn out so hot. Oatmeal Cake Squares. How can a person undercook AND burn something all at the same time? Well, I’m not sure, but I did accomplish it. Part of the problem was there was little explanation in the directions. And our oven cooks too slow, so when it said to cook the cake for 15 minutes, it actually should have been 25 to 30. I did cook it 7 minutes longer, but it still was not enough. It was still liquid in the middle. To my defense, I thought cooking it 10 minutes more after the topping was put on there was going to cook it the rest of the way. No. Still soggy in the middle after the additional 10 minutes. So back in the oven for a couple of minutes……when I thought to myself, “What’s that burning smell?” The coconut topping burned a bit – but, in the end – the cake was really good – the done parts, that is.
Anyway, my great grandmother died in 1976 when she was 92. I hope you enjoy her recipes and the stories, I’m sure, I’ll have to tell in trying to prepare them. I will always include the recipes for those who are interested in trying them yourselves.
1 1/4 cup boiling water
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1 stick butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup (packed) brown sugar
2 whole eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/3 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pour boiling water over oats and let stand for 20 minutes. Cream together butter, white and brown sugars. Add unbeaten eggs, cinnamon and vanilla. Mix well; add oats and combined flour and soda mixture. Pour batter in greased 8″x16″ pan or two 8″x8″ pans and bake in preheated 350-degree F oven for 15 minutes. (Just make sure the cake is actually done in the middle, so it may take your oven a little longer)
Then spread with topping:
3 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 can coconut (Ok. Here is another problem. What size can? I happened to have some shredded coconut, so I just used 2 cups of it. It seemed to work)
1 cup chopped nuts
3 or 4 tablespoons cream ( I used Half and Half because that’s all I had)
2 egg yolks
Mix well and spread over hot cake. Return to oven and bake for about 10 minutes. Let cool and cut into squares.