Not so Famous Brownies

Famous BrowniesAbout a year ago, Tupelo Honey came to town and set up shop at Warehouse Row. Any restaurant that serves biscuits with honey and jam before every meal will certainly last in the South.

Part of the wallpaper on the outside of the restaurant is a blown-up photo of a brownie recipe. Cool! It is hand-written on an index card just like my great grandmother’s. So I did what probably others have done – I took a photo of it and tried my hand at making them at home.

I think I made several mistakes.

I used semi-sweet chocolate and gluten-free flour. And even though I baked them close to an hour, they still did not get done. When I tried to get them out of the pan, they basically fell apart. And sadly, the gluten-free flour made them taste…..not so good.

I plan to re-do them with dark chocolate and regular flour – and a hotter oven. I’ll just have to risk getting a migraine.

Here you go if you want to try them.

Famous Brownies recipe outside Tupelo Honey's restaurant at Warehouse Row, Chattanooga, Tenn.
Famous Brownies recipe outside Tupelo Honey’s restaurant at Warehouse Row, Chattanooga, Tenn.

Famous Brownies

Chocolate Whole-Wheat Biscuit Cake

A chocolate, biscuit cookie cake with dried cherries and walnuts.
A chocolate, biscuit cookie cake with dried cherries and walnuts.

 

I decided to take a break from my great grandmother’s recipes and try one I’ve wanted to make since the late 90s. This is a Martha Stewart dessert I got from one of her magazines years ago. I probably never made it before now because I did not have a spring-form pan. Ironically, I did not end up using our spring-form pan because it was too big for this recipe. So I used a regular cake pan lined with parchment paper instead. It worked just fine.

This is by far the best dessert I’ve ever eaten. And trust me, I’ve eaten my share of sugar. I probably did not crush up the English biscuits enough, but it does not matter. It is so incredibly good, I will definitely make it again and try to perfect it.

I used Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate and Biscoff English Cookies with Coffee instead of what the recipe calls for. I don’t have the time or the money to go to specialty shops for certain items. I bought both of these at Wal-Mart. I chose these cookies because they were the only ones that said they were English – close enough for me. Turns out, they’re really good. Also, I substituted vanilla extract for the rum.

Even though this recipe is online, I don’t feel comfortable printing it here. I’ll include Martha Stewart’s link for it here. It’s really easy to make. If it’s summer, though, you’ll need to keep it in the refrigerator or the chocolate tends to melt.

Chocolate squares for Chocolate Whole-Wheat Biscuit Cake
Chocolate squares for Chocolate Whole-Wheat Biscuit Cake
A chocolate, biscuit cookie cake with dried cherries and walnuts.
A chocolate, biscuit cookie cake with dried cherries and walnuts.

 

Date Ice Box Cookies – (Aunt Lucy)

DateIceBoxCookiesAboveTonedReadI love dates. So any recipe that contains them gets my attention pretty quickly.

I have no idea who Aunt Lucy is, but that is how it was printed in the newspaper article that my great grandmother cut out for her collection. Unfortunately there is no date (no pun intended) on the clipping. But Mama died in 1976, so it was way before then.

These are pretty good. Not too sweet. I think they will make a good compliment to coffee. They are pretty easy to do and they make a ton.

Date Ice Box Cookies 

Filling:
1 pound chopped dates
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water

Cook mixture together until thick. (In a medium-sized pot on a low heat. I stirred frequently.)

Cookie dough:
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup butter
2 eggs
3 1/2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream together sugars and butter. Add eggs one at a time, beating well. Sift dry ingredients together and add to mixture. (You may need a little bit more flour) – I definitely did need to add some.    Add vanilla.

Divide the dough into three equal parts. Roll dough about 1/4-inch thick. Spread filling onto dough and roll tightly into tight, oblong stick. Put cookies in refrigerator until well-chilled or store in freezer. Slice and bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

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Larchmont Muffins

LarchmontMuffinWithMamaReadyThis is a photo of my great grandmother. One of her cookbooks that I am using for this photo project, “Rumford Complete Cookbook,” has a recipe that apparently was her very favorite muffin recipe. Larchmont Muffins.

Inside the cookbook was a hand-written note saying that they were the best muffins she ever ate. They must be good, then. . . if you make them correctly.

We’ll see.

Larchmont Muffins

1 1/2 cups flour (I used all purpose)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons Rumford Baking Powder (I used Clabber Girl – sorry Rumford)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 eggs (separated)
ABOUT 1 1/2 cups milk (“About”) That kills me. I did not use quite that much, but I think I poured too much. Might want to start with 1 cup.

Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder; add the sugar, then the beaten yolks of eggs, milk and melted butter. Beat thoroughly and fold gently the stiffly-beaten whites of eggs. Half fill greased pans (muffin tins) and bake twenty minutes in a moderately hot oven. (I set it to 350 degrees)

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Butterscotch Brownies

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Butterscotch Brownies

1 1/3 sticks butter
2 cups light brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup flour (I used all purpose)
1 cup pecans (I chopped them just a little bit)
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

Melt butter and mix well with sugar. Stir in other ingredients and pour into a square cake pan. (I used an 8×8 glass dish). Bake in a very slow oven – 250 degrees — for 1 ½ hours. Let cool slightly, cut into squares and roll in sifted powdered sugar. (I did not roll them in the powdered sugar. I did not have time. I just dusted the tops with it.)

Ok. This recipe was pasted right next to the Branbury Tarts recipe in my great grandmother’s recipe book.

No wonder. This one is pretty good, too.

My oven is really slow, so it took a lot longer than 1 1/2 hours to bake. In fact, I had taken them out and decided they needed a little longer to finish. I’m still not sure if I cooked them long enough because they sort of fell apart when I was trying to get them out of the pan. So you may have to adjust the temperature a bit if you have somewhere to be.

Oh, and I burned my arm on the oven rack. For 250 degrees, it sure did smart.

Anyway, these are super-easy to make and extremely delicious.

Enjoy!

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Pearl Cookies

PearlCookies MainToned ReadyPearl cookies!

The name evokes images of beauty and ultimate taste. At least it did for me when I first saw the recipe.

They’re ok. I think their name built them up too much for me. And Joe’s reaction was, “That’s a cookie.”

Sometimes it takes a day or two for cookies to taste their best. We’ll see how they do today.

The most unusual thing about them is how you cut them out. You mix the dough, roll it out very thin and bake on a cookie sheet. Only after they are done, and you take them out of the oven, do you cut them with a cookie cutter. . . which heats up, by the way. I had to keep stopping to wait for the cookie cutter to cool off. I guess I should have waited a bit longer to cut them, but I was afraid they would cool off too soon.

My only criticism of this method is there seems to be a lot of waste of dough after the cookies are cut out.

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Pearl Cookies

1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 pound butter (2 sticks)
1 egg yolk
1 egg white
2 teaspoons vanilla

Cream butter, add sugar and cream well. Add sifted flour, egg yolk and vanilla.

(I was out of all purpose flour, so I used my gluten-free all purpose flour. Oh, shoot. I forgot the xanthan gum. I just realized that. Hmmm. And, I did not have quite 2 cups, so I added a couple of tablespoons of self-rising flour. It was either that or whole wheat flour. I don’t think they rose too much due to my substitution. I think I’m beginning to realize why the pearl cookies did not wow us. I may have to try again. DARN!)

Mix thoroughly. Divide dough and spread very thinly on greased cookie sheets. (I used parchment paper) Paint top of dough with unbeaten egg white, sprinkle with nuts.

Nuts? This is the first time they are mentioned in the recipe. Typical.

I used chopped walnuts.

Bake at 375 degrees until light brown. (about 10 minutes) Cut while hot, but do not remove from cookie sheet until cold. But like I said, be careful holding the cookie cutter. It gets hot.

These came from my great grandmother’s cookbook, “Southern Cooking,” by Mrs. S.R. Dull. An Atlanta native.

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Three Tries, One Pie

M Pie Toned Ready

 

I don’t recall ever making a pie from scratch. I may have made a pumpkin pie as a kid, but I’m sure the crust was already made, and the pumpkin came from a can. The reason is probably because I don’t really like pie. . . unless it’s pumpkin. I’m more of a cake, brownie, cookie kind of person.

This is a recipe from my great grandmother’s cookbook, “Southern Cooking,” by Mrs. S. R. Dull, copyright, 1928. She must have been my great grandmother’s favorite cook because I found lots of cutout newspaper articles on Mrs. Dull folded inside of the book. Anyway, I took on the challenge of making my first pie from scratch. I make quiche all of the time with no problem. Martha Stewart’s “Perfect Pie Crust” recipe is really easy to make, and extremely tasty. How hard could this be? No problem.

Yeah, right.

It took me 3 attempts on the pastry before I got it right – and that’s only after I gave up and went back to Martha’s. It was getting late, and I was getting tired, so I caved. I think my problem was I refused to use the shortening it called for. I kept using butter in its place. Martha’s calls for mostly butter, but she does add a bit of shortening, so that must have been my mistake. I will include the recipe I attempted. Martha’s in online if you’re interested. I’d include it, too, but I don’t want to get sued.

One more thing – I surprised myself. The pie actually turned out very good. Who would have guessed that after all of the trouble.

Georgia Deep Peach Pie

4 cups ripe peaches
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup boiling water
1 thick slice lemon from the end, rind and all

Plain Pastry

1 1/4 cup sifted flour
4 tablespoons shortening
3 tablespoons ice-cold water
1/2 teaspoon salt

Sift salt with flour. Chop shortening with a spoon until broken into small pieces. (I used a pastry cutter). Add water in several places in order not to get any part too wet. Mix with a spoon into a ball, having it very dry. With the hands press together, place on a floured board and roll out until as thin as desired.

This is where Martha would tell you to place in the refrigerator for at least an hour; but like I said, it was late and I ceased to care anymore.

Back to the pie recipe: Using half of the pastry dough, line sides of well-greased deep baking pan. (I wasn’t sure what that meant. Just the sides??? After much thought, I just placed the pastry inside the entire dish.) Place in peeled and sliced peaches. Mix dry flour with sugar, butter, lemon and water in saucepan. Bring to a boil and pour over peaches. Roll balance of pastry 1/4 inch thick, cut with a large biscuit cutter (I used a small one to be different – radical, I know), slit each piece in center and cover top, overlapping edges but leaving spaces for steam to escape. (I left some of the full circles because I was running out of dough). Bake in moderate oven (I put it on 350 degrees) for 40 minutes until fruit is juicy and pastry brown. (It took close to an hour in my slow oven).

Martha Stewart, I’m not. But thanks to her, I was able to finish this pie.

PiePan On RailingToned Ready Peaches And Pie Toned Ready

Butterscotch Walnut Cookies

ButterscotchWalnuts MainTonedReadyMy great grandmother wrote this recipe on an index card – which usually means the directions are limited and the handwriting is barely legible. Here it is verbatim; then what I ended up doing.

Butterscotch Walnut Cookies

1 stick butter melted
1 cup brown sugar
1 3/4 cup sifted flour
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup broken walnut meats

Pour melted butter over sugar. Add egg and flour which has cream of tartar, soda and salt added. Knead in walnuts. Roll, wrap in wax paper and refrigerate overnight. Bake in greased tins.

The only thing I did differently was use gluten-free flour, plus 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum per cup of flour. I also used the mixer to combine the butter with the sugar first; then I added the flour, baking soda and salt mixture.

I did refrigerate overnight even though I was tempted to bake them after a few hours. I woke up at 3:30 with a migraine, so what better time to bake cookies? After I got rid of my headache, of course.

I rolled them out on a floured board and cut out with a small cookie cutter while my dogs laid on the floor, confused as to why we were all up so early.

I placed them on parchment paper instead of greasing the cookie sheet. That cuts down on calories and cleanup. And since I had no time or temperature to work with, I decided to go with the standard, 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Turns out, they needed about 3 minutes more.

They taste pretty good.

StackOfCookiesTonedReady
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Breaking the Canines

RolledupdoughwithKnifeB TonedWell, strike two. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. Instead of a cinnamon roll type dessert, I created……….

………..doorstops.

I thought it might be my using Almond Milk instead of regular cow’s milk; but the internet tells me it should not make a difference. And it knows everything!

I supposed I could try again with regular milk just to see.

Again, following the recipe precisely, I did not have “dough” to roll out. I had liquid. And this is a different recipe, so it must be me. Adding enough flour to make it dough made it too tough to eat. Even my dog, Murray, had trouble getting these down – and he eats tin cans.

Oh well. My main objective in this project are the photographs – but with food you, want them to at least LOOK like they taste good. These fall short of that goal, I’m afraid.

I also used regular all purpose flour this time, vs. the gluten-free flour I have been using. Still screwed it up.

RollAloneWithShadowToned CloseupofCARDToned

Rollemups

2 cups flour
1/3 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons butter
1 egg
1 cup milk (I bet that’s too much)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Sift together flour, salt and baking powder. Cut in butter and then add sugar and mix until soft.

(Maybe I should have beaten this with the kitchen aid mixer. Hmmm. I just cut in the butter and stirred in the sugar)

Add milk and egg. Roll 1/2 inch thick on floured board or wax paper. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. (Extra brown sugar??? The card does not specify. . . so I did.)

Roll into a long roll, press edges tightly together and cut into 3/4 inch slices. Lay slices cut side down on greased pan. (I used parchment paper)

Bake about 20 minutes in a “quick oven.”

I did finally look up what, “Cook in a quick oven vs. slow oven,” means.

Here’s Wikipedia’s chart on oven temperatures:

Cool oven – 200F / 90C
Very slow oven – 250F / 120C
Slow oven – 300-325F / 150-160C
Moderately slow oven – 325-350F / 160-180C
Moderate oven – 350-375F / 180-190C
Moderately hot oven – 375-400 / 190-200C
Hot oven – 400-450F / 200-230C
Very hot oven – 450-500F / 230-260C
Fast oven – 450-500F / 230-260C

Anyway, I know it’s possible to do. My great grandmother wrote this one out on an index card – so I KNOW she used this recipe.

The challenge is on to figure out what I’m doing wrong.

MurrayToned

Dough, Grease and Powdered Sugar

GermanCrullers w_powderSugarTThis is my second attempt with my great grandmother’s cookbook, “Rumford Complete Cookbook.” Whose name I find ironic since they seem to leave a whole lot of information out of each recipe. But perhaps things that are “understood” at the time don’t get passed down with the generations. No times; no temperatures. “Fast,” “Moderate,” and “Slow” ovens is all I have to go on with these recipes.

Be that as it may, these are German Crullers. Or are supposed to be. I think I made several mistakes. The first one being, I chose the recipe in the first place. I had never heard of crullers, and decided to just wing it and go by the recipe alone. And that should be enough, but apparently it is not.

I think they are fancy doughnuts. And they are supposed to be light and flaky. I read and re-read the recipe. I did everything it said to do. It just didn’t work out.

Maybe there was a typo, but I had to alter this recipe to get the dough thick enough to roll out. After mixing everything together, the “dough” was the consistency of a milkshake. There was no “rolling out” of that. But I probably added too much flour. They are really dense, but tasty anyway.

German Crullers

2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or nutmeg
1/3 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons Rumford Baking Powder

Beat the eggs till light and mix them with the milk and butter. Sift together the flour, salt, spice and baking powder; add the sugar and blend the two mixtures. Roll out, cut into rings and fry in hot fat till golden brown. Drain well and dust with sugar.

I had to add flour / by 3 cups to get the dough thick enough to roll out. I also added another cup of sugar, as well as another teaspoon of cinnamon. I must have not beat the eggs long enough to make them “light.”

I also did not fry them in fat, which I’m sure meant Crisco. I used canola oil. Oh! And the best part – I do not have a ring cutter, so I used an upside down glass for the main cut; and then used a knife to cut a hole in the center of each one.

I burned the first batch; got grease and dough all over the kitchen, and stunk up the house with a 1970’s fried food smell. I think I’ll stick with baking deserts from now on. Joe and I are trying to cut down on cholesterol.

German Crullers Recipe TonedFlour board with bookTOnedRumford Baking PowderToned

Side note: We actually do have Rumford Baking Powder in town. Huh. I’ve just never noticed it. Arm & Hammer, Clabber Girl and Calumet are the only ones I’ve ever heard of. I found this at Wal-Mart. Is it just me, or does $3.97 seem high for baking powder?

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