My Favorite Cookies – well, not mine…

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Cherry and almond cookies out of my great grandmother's collection

Cherry and almond cookies out of my great grandmother’s collection.

I’m not sure the real name of these cookie bars. That is the name they were given when they were sent in to our local newspaper – YEARS ago. I just call them, Cherry Almond Cookies.

They may not be MY favorite cookies, but they could be. They are really good. The only substitution this time were almonds in place of the pecans. I just didn’t have any. I could have used walnuts, but I thought almonds would work better.

My Favorite Cookies

1/3 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon milk (I used almond milk)

Mix all ingredients and spread 1/4 inch thick in shallow 10×15 inch pan. (I used a smaller one since that’s all I have). Cover with following meringue and bake about 20 minutes at 325 degrees. (It took my oven a LOT longer than that. You’ll just have to keep checking it.) Cut into bars.

Meringue

1 egg white
1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons chopped maraschino cherries
3/4 cup ground pecans (I used sliced almonds)
3/4 cup coconut (Optional)

Beat egg white until stiff; add sugar, beat constantly. Add extract and fold in cherries, nuts and coconut.

Stacked Cherry Almond CookiesFavorite Cherry Almond Cookies

Cherry Upside-down Cake – Twice

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Cherry Upside-down CakeThis is my second attempt at this recipe. I tend to be in a rush whenever I do – well….anything. When I made the first cake, I used a can of cherry pie filling instead of just a can of cherries. Duh. It was in the baking aisle and I wasn’t paying attention.

So, back to the store I went. However, I could not find a 1 pound can of cherries, as the recipe calls for. I was only able to find 15 ounce cans of cherries. So, I bought two cans with the plan of doing the math later.

And yes, I forgot to do the math later. I used BOTH cans instead of 1 and a half. Of course, I did not figure that out until AFTER I placed the batter on top of ALL of the cherries. (Read here of another bone-head-recipe-misread here.)

Argh! The batter was flush with the edge of the cake pan. It had overflow written all over it. So I scooped out most of the batter, spooned out some of the cherries and then poured the batter back on top. I was sure it was ruined and that the cherries would be mixed in with the cake. But I was pleasantly surprised when I turned it upside down.

I do think I flipped it too soon, though. The recipe calls for waiting 5 minutes after taking it out of the oven, but perhaps you should wait a little longer so the cherry juice won’t slide over the sides. But, maybe it’s supposed to do that.

At any rate, it is really good. I’m guessing the better quality the cherries, the better the cake. Mine are from Wal-Mart, but still pretty good.

Cherry Upside-down Cake

Cherry mixture:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup sugar
1 pound can red sour pitted cherries
Several drops of red food coloring
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Melt butter in 9x9x2 pan (I used a round cake pan). Place cornstarch and sugar in a saucepan and mix well. Drain cherries – keeping juice. Stir 3/4 cup of cherry juice into sugar mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches boiling point. Reduce heat to very low and cook for 5 minutes – still stirring. Stir in food coloring, drained cherries and almond extract. Pour mixture over butter in baking pan and stir to blend.

Cake mixture:
2/3 stick butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg – room temperature if possible
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/3 cups sifted cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk – and again, room temperature if possible. This helps make the cake more moist or fluffy. Something like that. I just read about that trick)

Cream butter; and then add sugar and cream until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat well. Sift flour and baking powder together and add to creamed mixture alternately with milk – beginning and ending with flour. Spoon batter over cherry mixture in pan.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes. Cool 5 minutes (I’d wait a little longer if I were you). Place a platter over cake pan and flip upside down. Serve warm or cold with whipped cream or ice-cream.

Cherry Upside-down Cake with vintage recipeAbove is the original cake I made with cherry pie filling accidentally, as well as my great grandmother’s recipe. I think she was trying to be funny by writing the name of the recipe upside down. I can only assume she cut off the name of the recipe and needed to remind herself what it actually was. I love the fact she wrote it upside down. It always makes me smile whenever I see it.

Cherry Upside-down Cake
Cherry Upside-down Cake

Lemon (Cup) Cake

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Lemon Cupcake

I used a Lemon Cake recipe from my great grandmother’s cookbook, “Rumford Complete Cookbook,” but I made cupcakes instead. I haven’t made cupcakes in….. about 40 years. I made a mess. I over-filled most of the cups, and they spilled over and baked to the top of the muffin tins.

The second batch came out a little better. I had a lot of fun at any rate. And they taste really good.

Lemon Cake

2 scant cups sugar
1/2 cup butter
3 eggs
1 cup milk
2 rounding teaspoons baking powder
Grated rind of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour

Beat the butter with half of the sugar; add gradually the remainder of the sugar together with the well-beaten eggs. Next, put in the grated lemon, then the milk, and then lastly the flour sifted with the salt and baking powder. Bake about 40 minutes in a moderate oven, (350 degrees) and cover with lemon frosting. (See below)

Lemon Frosting

Juice of 2 lemons
About 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Strain the juice of the lemons into a bowl and add the sugar, finely sifted, until thick enough to spread. The exact quantity of sugar will depend on the size of the lemons. Pour over the top of the cake, and spread smooth with a thin-bladed knife that has been dipped in water.

Yeah, forget that.

It did not work. That is the second time I’ve tried to make frosting from this cookbook.  The cake is very good, but the frosting was just a thick paste that did not taste good at all. And forget trying to spread it. And to top it all off, there wasn’t enough to cover a cake, or all of the cupcakes, anyway.

So! I went to the internet in search for what ingredient might be missing, and I found it – BUTTER. I added 1 stick of butter and a small amount of almond milk and a little bit more powdered sugar to thicken it back up – and it turned out perfectly. Oh, and I decided to get wild and add yellow food coloring since it was supposed to be lemon frosting.

After I iced the cupcakes, I sprinkled them with shaved coconut I bought at the Fresh Market. They look good, but I think the cupcakes would be better without the coconut. . . and I like coconut. It was just too much texture for those moist cakes.

Lemons for cupcakes

Lemon Cupcake

Lemon Cupcakes with FlagsLemon CupcakeLemon Cupcakes with Flags

Not so Famous Brownies

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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

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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)

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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.

DateIceBoxCookiesTagTonedReady

Larchmont Muffins

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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)

LarchmontMuffinsReady

Butterscotch Brownies

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ButterscotchBrownieAloneReady

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!

BrowniesWithLakeWinnieReady

 

Pearl Cookies

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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.

Pearl Cookies On PanTonedReady

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.

CookieAlone TonedReady

 

 

Three Tries, One Pie

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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