Blissfully Uninspired

shelled and unshelled pecans

shelled and unshelled pecans (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am a bit uninspired this week for my “It is Saturday, So It Must Be Recipe Day” so I am going to propose that we have an interactive post today. You are always great at this, so I know we are going to have fun and maybe learn a few things in the process. (Well, that sounds boring, but wait….)

My sister gave me the following recipe when I told her that I had volunteered to take the dessert to a potluck. First of all: WHAT WAS I THINKING? I usually volunteer to bring the salad, or a side dish, or bread (which is what I am bringing to a dinner tonight). But no, I got a little brave, and was buoyed by Robert Allen’s somewhat goading but inspiring quote: “Everything you want is just outside of your comfort zone.”

Yay, dump cake! :)

dump cake!  (Photo credit: Ameel Khan)

So I volunteered to make dessert. Then I panicked. Of course I make desserts for my family on occasion, and have been known to make a mean birthday cake decorated with all manner of candies, but baking for people outside my family is definitely not something even close to my comfort zone. So I asked my sister Peggy for a suggestion, and she emailed me this recipe, saying it was easy and really tasted good.

It has a rather indelicate name, and should I ever actually make it I may rename it Nutty Super Wonderful Cherry and Pineapple Cake, but for today, I will stick with the name that came with the recipe:

DUMP CAKE

1 – 20 oz. can crushed pineapple with juice, undrained

1 can (21 oz.) cherry pie filling

1 pkg. classic yellow cake mix

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

½ cup (I stick) of butter or margarine

i} Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 13 x 9 inch pan

ii} Dump pineapple with juice into pan. Spread evenly.  Dump in pie filling. Sprinkle cake mix evenly over cherry layer. Sprinkle pecans or walnuts over cake mix. Dot with butter.

iii} Bake 50 minutes or until top is lightly browned. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 12 – 16

Now, if you did not get the subtlety of this recipe—the word to take note of is “dump”—do not pour the ingredients into the pan, because then it would be called “Pour Cake” and that just has no personality.

No, I did not end up making this cake, but I think that I will for my husband’s birthday on March 21st as he loves cherries. The night of the potluck, I went out and bought a fancy dancey fudge chocolate bar cake decorated with chocolate curls. It was good—but I really wish I had made the dump cake.

Now here is the interactive part: this recipe probably has other renditions—if you know one, provide it for all of us interested in expanding our repertoires.

Are you familiar with this recipe or one that is blissfully similar?

Christmas Cookies from Mom’s Recipe Box or It Must Be Saturday ‘Cause I Am Giving You Another Recipe

A cone and holly.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fifty-six years. That is how long it took me to bake my favourite Christmas cookies.  It is a simple recipe {with just a few more than my usual five ingredients}, or I would not have even attempted them. I am now wondering what took me so long. Was it my fear of flour, my impatience, or my lack of confidence in my baking skills? Most likely all three.

Actually making the cookies was quite a breakthrough for me. My fear of flour was conquered. Being able to follow a recipe to its fruition, then eating the fruits of my labour was truly satisfying.

Of course, this is no ordinary cookie—it is a recipe I remember my mom making Christmas after Christmas. She would sometimes make them during the year but never with the seedless raspberry jam dropped oh-so-elegantly into a little indentation in the middle of the cookie.  That was saved for the special occasion of Christmas alone.

During the year they were known as Ice Box Cookies and had chopped up walnuts in them, but at Christmas they became Thumbprint cookies with a bright dab of jam. I can, and do eat these by the handful with a glass of cold milk.

Cookies!

Christmas Cookies! (Photo credit: .imelda)

For years, my younger sister, who does not share my aversion to baking, brought me  big tins of these cookies at Christmas because she knew how much I love them. And while I would share some of them with my family, I always hid away a little cache of them {if you lived at my house you would understand: cookies get inhaled whole}.

One day, my youngest son asked me why we did not make them. I did not have a really good answer, other than the fact that I probably did not have the ingredients. Well, he wasn’t buying it. So, I found the recipe, which I had copied from my mom years ago and kept safely in a little recipe book that I rarely used.

It turned out that there were no strange or unknown ingredients in the cookies, and that in fact the only thing I really had to make a special trip to the store for was the seedless raspberry jam. These cookies did not even need baking powder, but are content to rise with baking soda, which I always have on hand.

Buoyed  by my son’s enthusiasm I bought the jam and set about to make the cookies. The recipe makes a large batch, which is great for a newly minted baker of cookies. I had to email my sister to ask a couple of pertinent questions, like temperature, length of time to bake the cookies, and should I put the jam in the thumbprints before or after baking. The answers came back: 350 degrees, 8-10 minutes, and put the jam in before baking.

The cookies came out just perfect! I prefer a soft cookie and they are wonderfully soft. And the raspberry jam adds just the right festive note. They also bring back all the lovely childhood memories I have of Christmas—munching on these wonderful cookies while reading a new book left by Santa.

So, if you are someone who is not fearless in the kitchen, or have a strange fear of flour as I did, this is the recipe for you:

Ice Box Cookies:  FROM THE RECIPE BOX OF LOUANN’S MOM

Bake in 350 degree oven for 8 – 10 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup butter

2 cups brown sugar

2 eggs

3 ½ cups flour

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1 cup chopped nuts

Seedless raspberry jam or jam of your choice.

Mix ingredients (except for jam) and roll into two rolls; wrap in wax paper. Chill, slice and bake.

OR

Roll into balls, make dent, and put in small amount of jam. I never use the walnuts–but you get to make that call.

Because this is a generous cookie recipe I have made all the cookies at once using the second method; but have also made just some of the cookies and rolled up one roll of cookies and put them away to make another day.

So, have you set your fears aside and made a special recipe for Christmas?

 

Day 16 ~ 200 Words

English: Peanut butter cookie with a chocolate...

English: Peanut butter cookie with a chocolate chip smiley face (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When my brother sent me the obituary for the Pillsbury Doughboy, (Day 5) I wept, as he was my hero. He helped me through so many trying times.  When in the depths of despair that there was no dessert for lunches I would discover a package of his chocolate chip cookies hidden in the crisper. I had to hide the dough because my sons would find it and eat it raw before I got a chance to turn it into cookies.

On occasion, I do bake from scratch, and today I am going to share one of my favourite recipes for cookies. It has three ingredients, but because I like to get fancy, I add a fourth. I found it on the back of a Kraft peanut butter jar. It is my go to when the Pillsbury Doughboy dough gets eaten before I have a chance to turn it into a culinary pleasure.

pillsbury doughboy

pillsbury doughboy (Photo credit: johnnyvintage)

You need one cup of Kraft peanut butter, one egg and ½ cup of sugar. You mix these together along with my magic ingredient: chocolate chips, roll them into balls and flatten them with a fork. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees and voilà: homemade cookies that will amaze your family! (Or, at least my family.)

Just Being Silly

English: A Hostess CupCake, shown whole.

English: A Hostess CupCake, shown whole. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This was an exercise  written for my writers’ group–the prompt was the first sentence. As you will see, I was just being silly:

There is a wickedness and wildness in the depths of my heart. I am convinced of this because I hide my cache of cupcakes from my family in the freezer. These are no ordinary cupcakes— they are the answer to my heart’ s  desire. I do not just buy a package of the cupcakes (you know the ones – they sport a squiggly white line on top of the fudgy icing and have a “hidden” cream filling) and hide them at the back of the freezer as this deception has unfortunately been discovered. I now save the cardboard boxes that the family pack of hamburgers comes in, and squirrel them away under the yellow cover of  this no name product box.

Sometimes, when I do not have a deceptive box to hide my delectables, I will take them out of their original container, and scatter them willy nilly among the other freezer food.  One twin package of the lovelies is tossed into a corner under the frozen chicken, another is tucked in by the peas—so that even if someone is determined to find them, they will probably not find them all.

Granted, it is sometimes difficult finding the little guys when they are sprinkled and strewn, disseminated, distributed and dotted throughout the freezer—but once one is found, the reward, with a tall glass of cold milk is worth it.

Such evil in my soul—but it is satisfied by that first bite of the ice cold cake. It is important that the bite include the icing, spongy cake, and frozen white stuff in the middle (which, in scientific studies I ignore, has been linked  directly to heart failure). This  must be followed with a gulp of cold, cold milk. My fiendish self is then no longer either wicked or wild, but sated by this chocolate fudgy delight.

Published in: on May 31, 2012 at 2:56 pm  Comments (37)  
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