250 Cookbooks: Pastries and Desserts

Cookbook #218: Pastries and Desserts, California Home Economics Association, Press of Clyde Browne, Los Angeles, Cal., 1921.

Pastries and Desserts cookbookThis might have belonged to my maternal grandmother. There is very little handwriting in it, but what there is looks like hers. Or it might have come from Ruth Vandenhoudt, since it is from the same cookbook series as Salads, Vegetables and the Market Basket. There are a few food and age stains, but it is actually in pretty good condition for being 96 years old! I have two copies, and one is missing the cover.

I like the design of the cover and the introductory pages. Here is a scan of the cover, since it gives more detail than my photo:

Pastries and Desserts

The title page:

PastDesstitlepage

This page is opposite the title page (above) and lists books in the series. I like this: “Price: Fifty Cents. Postage: Four Cents.”

PastDessopptitlepageThe entire content has a pleasing typeface and layout, no typos, is well-organized with cross-references, and has a very useful index at the end. The content is by the California Home Economics Association, Southern Section, but who is responsible for the printing of this 1921 cookbook? I find “Press of Clyde Browne” and “Cover Design by Stanley Edwards” on the back cover:

pressofClydeBrownClyde Browne, was a self-identified printer, according to a 2014 article in KCETLink. From the KCETLink web site: “. . . Southern California bohemians, whose ideals and aesthetics were inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement, valuing craftsmanship, beauty, nature, and community. Settling along the Arroyo Seco, between Pasadena and Highland Park, these inhabitants created what Kevin Starr calls the ‘Arroyoan ideal: the spiritualization of daily life through an aestheticism tied to crafts and local materials,’ that is ‘expressed primarily through the home.'” Clyde Browne also has a Wikipedia entry.

Sounds like Clyde was a Bohemian, a beatnik, a hippie, a New Age person. Someone who would be right at home in Boulder, Colorado.

I continue paging through Pastries and Desserts. Here is the foreword:

PastriesDessertsforewordThis foreword tells us that the California Home Economics Association promoted these recipe booklets as “useful gifts for many occasions”. Furthermore, it tells us about the role of women in society in the early twentieth century: “The desserts have been classified in such a way that she who hopes to plan her meals wisely will find the dessert problem a little easier”. (Dessert problem, right.)

The first recipe in the booklet is for pie crust, below. These directions represent the style of writing throughout the booklet. I’ll let you read it and judge for yourself. (This is from the era before mixers, food processors, or even pastry cutters.) Note the directions for oven temperatures: “bake in a very hot oven for about 3 minutes, and then lower the heat decidedly”. Here is how to intrepret older oven temperature descriptions to degrees Fahrenheit.

pastrypastryNote that besides the instruction “hot oven for 3 minutes”, no time is given for baking the crust. This is true throughout this 1921 cookbook. The baking recipes just say “cook until done”. Some of the recipes for steamed puddings have a designated cooking time, but the desserts cooked on the stove top do not.

Pie recipes include: lemon chiffon, berry, southern tomato, rhubarb, raisin, custard, mock mincemeat, cottage cheese, banana cream, and more. Tarts can be adapted from any of the pie recipes.

Puddings are thickened with cornstarch, tapioca, and flour. Cereal desserts are made from rice, cornmeal, bread and cracker crumbs. There are custards, fruits (raw and stewed and baked), and rose apples using red clove candies. Fruits include cranberries, oranges, apples, bananas, berries, grapes, figs, melons, pineapple, peaches, prunes. Gelatine desserts are based on plain gelatin (not jello). Baked puddings include dumplings, cobblers, and roly poly. Steamed puddings include carrot, cherry cup, chocolate, fruit, gingerbread, Hazzard Delicious (butter, sugar, nuts, flour, baking powder, milk, eggs), persimmon, plum, and suet. There are rosettes, timbales and fritters. Frozen desserts include fruit ices: ice cream from milk, cream, sugar and eggs, simply frozen, not churned, with variations including chocolate, orange, pinneapple, caramel, coffee, fig, tutti frutti, grape nut, maple, peppermint, and ginger. Mousses (a standard recipe with suggestions for flavoring) and parfaits (frozen desserts made with eggs, syrup) are included. The last section is sauces for puddings (cooked without eggs, cooked with eggs, uncooked with eggs), and sauces for ice cream.

Very few recipes in this booklet include chocolate!

I decide to make Tapioca Cream for this blog. Our grandson will join us for dinner and I think this is a fairly nutritous dessert because it includes milk and eggs, is relatively low in sugar, and has no added fat.

Tapioca is a starch made from cassava root. In the US, it is mainly used as a thickener, but in triopical areas of Africa and Asia, cassava is a staple food. Cassava is low in nutrition: it has no protein or fiber, is low in calories (important in areas of the world where food energy is a plus), and has insignificant amounts of viatmins and minerals. In the US, tapioca is sold as “minute tapioca” (and has been sold that way since at least 1921). I’ve also tried pearl tapioca – big round lumps of tapioca.

Here is the Tapioca Cream recipe from page 26:

Tapioca Cream recipe

As you see, the mixing and cooking instructions are not given in the Tapioca Cream recipe. It says: “mix same as for cornstarch pudding”. Those instructions are six pages previous – page 19:

tapioca pudding instructions

I learned that you do not have to scald milk from my book Kitchen Science. Therefore, I will simply mix together the tapioca, sugar, salt, and milk. Shall I use a double boilier to heat this mixture? I suspect that in 1921, you needed to cook in a double boiler to control the stove top temperature – note that the recipe says “remove from fire”. “Fire” sounds harder to control than today’s stove top burners! So I won’t use that step, but simply cook it in a saucepan on the stove top. Also, I will beat the egg whites with 3 tablespoons sugar, according to the instructions on my current package of minute tapioca. The modern recipe calls for 2 tablespoons less sugar and leaves out the nuts.

Tapioca Cream Pudding
serves 3-6

  • 1/4 cup minute tapioca
  • 6 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • dash of salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine the tapioca, sugar, and salt in a cool pan, then add the milk and egg yolk. Let stand 5 minutes.

Heat the mixture to a full boil on medium heat, stirring constantly, then remove from heat. Let stand 20 minutes to cool.

Beat the egg white on high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in 3 tablespoons sugar until stiff peaks form.

Fold the egg white mixture into the tapioca-milk mixture. Fold in the vanilla.

You can divide the pudding into single servings or not; you can serve warm or chilled.

tapioca puddingI made only three custard cups, and it served three people! It was so good – I hadn’t made it in years and it’s a comfort food to me. I put some sliced strawberries on top and served it with cookies. My grandson liked to dip those cookies in the pudding!

Note: I used 3 tablespoons tapioca, as it stated on the package. But I would have liked it a little thicker, so I’d suggest the 4 tablespoons tapioca as written in Pastries and Desserts.

250 Cookbooks: Encyclopedia of Cookery, Volume 11

Cookbook #217: Encyclopedia of Cookery, Vol. 11, Sou-Ton, Woman’s Day, Fawcett Publications, NY, 1966.

Encyclopedia of Cookery Vol. 11

I have a set of twelve Encyclopedia of Cookery volumes and this is the eleventh of that set – I covered the first ten in previous posts. This volume covers curious and helpful information about foods from (sou)fles to (ton)gue.

Souffles. We do like my Cheese Souffle, and I always follow the recipe in my Joy of Cooking. I usually add ham to it too. I have been making this souffle for decades. The trick is to have everyone ready to eat as soon as it comes out of the oven – because souffles always fall quickly. And this fact is reiterated in the Encyclopedia of Cookery:

“When the cooked souffle is taken from the oven, it should be taken to the table and served at once. It is a rule of the kitchen that a souffle should be served immediately. If there is any waiting to be done, let it be by the guests.”

I love that: “a rule of the kitchen”! This volume of the Encyclopedia of Cookery has a lenghty and good explanation of how to make a basic entree souffle, suggesting many variations. And, it includes a recipe for Liqueur Souffle with suggested variations.

The Soup Cookbook is 8 big pages long. The last entry is a soup garnish called “Twist Toast”.
Twish ToastSour Cream in its simplest form is “unpasteurized heavy sweet cream that has been allowed to stand in a warm place until it has become sour”. Commercial sour cream is made from “sweet cream chemically treated with lactic-acid bacteria to produce a thick cream with a mild tangy flavor”. The South American Cook Book begins with an interesting essay by Jean Gormaz on the widely varied cooking of this continent of many climates. Vatapa, a fish stew from Brazil, illustrates the variety of ingredients in South American cookery.

VatapaVatapaCook books called Southeast Asian Cookery, Southern Cookery, and Southwest Cookery follow each other with no short entries between. (This volume of the Encyclopedia of Cookery sure has a lot of cook books in it.) The Southwestern cook book  includes few dishes familiar to me, except chili sauce, tacos, and sopapillas. Carne Adobada is an example of a recipe I have never heard of before, and it takes days to make.

Carne Adobada

Finally, I come to a short, non-cookbook entry: Soybeans. “The soybean is one of the world’s oldest plants. It has been cultivated in China for over 4,000 years.” “Bean curds” are mentioned, but are not called tofu. Most of the recipes in this section include soy sauce as the “soybean” ingredient.

Spaghetti, Spanish Cookery, spare rib, spearmint, spice. The spice section is rather short, recipe-wise. It has a two-page illustrated chart, but only includes 12 spices. “Spices – Nature’s Flavor Magic” is an essay on the importance of spices in history.

A sprat is a small herring, often sold canned or smoked. A squab is a young pigeon that is not allowed to fly before it is eaten. Squirrels are found in the US and “occasionally eaten as food, particularly in some rural sections. The flesh of sqirrel is light red or pink in color and has a pleasing flavor.”

The section on steaks includes a charcoal broiled cookbook. It’s writtten by Philip S. Brown, and I like it. He comments in the first person throughout the recipes. I’d like to try his “Teriyaki”, made from marinated round steak strips woven back and forth on skewers and grilled.

Sterilize, stew, stir (entered as “stir, to”), stock. Stollen is a sweet, fruit-filled yeast bread baked in the form of a folded-over roll. That sounds like a recipe up my alley.

Strawberries are native to both the old and new world. The Encyclopedia of Cookery claims wild strawberries are the best – I’ve never had a wild strawberry! I have had small-farm grown fresh cultivated strawberries, though. I grew up in Southern California, where strawberry fields were abundant. Strawberry shortcake was an oft-made dessert at our home.

Strudel, stuffing, sturgeon, sucker (a fish), suet (hard fat from around the kidneys), sugar, sundae. A cookbook on Swedish Cookery. Sweetbread is “The thymus glands of lamb, veal, or young beef (under 1 year; the thymus disappears in mature beef). Sweetbreads consist of two parts: the heart sweetbread and the throat sweetbread.” According to the entry, sweetbreads are widely available year round fresh and frozen. I’ve never seen them in stores. Then again, I’ve never looked.

Sweet potatoes are the root of a perennial vine of the morning glory family. Sweet potatoes are not yams – yams are a completely different botanical species. Sweet potatoes are native to America. Many recipes are in the Sweet Potato Cook Book. Sweetsop refers to both a small tropical American tree and its sweet pulpy fruit, also called the sugar apple. Swiss Cookery is a collection of recipes authored by James A. Beard.

Syrup is a sweet, thick, sticky liiquid. It is made from a concentrated solution of sugar and water, and can be flavored with chocolate or the juice of a plant, for example, corn syrup, or from the concentrated juice of plants like sugar cane or maple trees. (It does not mention 100% maple syrup.) The taffy entry has a recipe for homemade taffy.

This entry is for my daughter:

tamara

A tangelo is a hybrid of the tangerine and garpefruit. Tangerines are named after Tangiers, but originated in China. Tapioca is made by heating the starch of the manioc tuber. I find that manioc is also known as cassava and yuca. Tarts are filled pastries, often sweet, but also savory. Here is a recipe for Frankfurter custard tarts.

Frankfurter Custard TartsI would never make these, they do not sound tasty to me. And “taste” is an entry: “one of the senses of man”. Tea is honored with an essay by James Beard on “the pleasures of tea drinking”, and I like his era “B. T.” – before tea:

teaTetrazzini is a dish I discussed in All-Time Favorite Casserole Recipes. Thanksgiving includes an essay and many traditional recipes.

Toast again! Toast was really popular in the 1960s. The “Toast Cook Book” is 5 pages long. A tomato is a fruit native to South America, and the Tomato Cookbook gives lots of recipes for its use.

Tongue is the last entry. It is a “nourishing and appetizing food, good hot or cold”. I don’t think I’ve ever cooked or eaten it. But according to the Encyclopedia of Cookery, it is an “old favorite”. “Tongue Twisters” is a collection of recipes by Iris Brooks: “No, nothing to do with P. Piper and his produce, but new twists on that old favorite, tongue. Have it pickled or corned, smoked or fresh; canned or in jars, plain or in vinegar; beef, calf, pork, or lamb; but by all means, have it. Whether hot or cold, whole on the platter or in even pink slices, tongue is always a delight to the eye and a joy to the palate.”

Well. On that note, I end volume 11 of the Encyclopedia of Cookery.

Now, what to make for this blog? I decide on “Strawberry Shortcake”.

Strawberry Shortcake recipeWhy did I choose this recipe? I have been making strawberry shortcake for years. But I have always started with my mother’s basic biscuit recipe, and just added “a bit” of sugar. This is an actual “shortcake” recipe. Plus, I like the way the dough is rolled out into a big circle and baked in a cake pan. Saves a step in cutting out the biscuits. And finally, I had some strawberries in the refrigerator looking to be used!

I made a one-third recipe for the two of us and had enough for dessert for two nights.

Strawberry Shortcake
serves 4

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/6 cup vegetable shortening (2 2/3 tablespoons or 32 grams)
  • 1/2 egg (whisk one egg, put in a measuring cup, and use half)
  • 1/4 cup milk, about
  • strawberries
  • whipped cream

Stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Cut in the shortening. Mix the half egg and milk, then add to the flour mixture slowly, mixing with a fork, just until it makes a soft dough.

On a floured board, knead the dough lightly for about 20 turns. Roll or press into a 9-inch circle. Place in a lightly greased 9-inch cake pan.

Bake at 450˚ for about 15 minutes, until golden brown.

shortbreadMeanwhile, slice the strawberries and add a tablespoon or so of sugar. Stir and allow to macerate until you serve the shortcake.

To serve, split the baked shortcake into two layers. For us two, I first cut the shortcake into two half circles, then quarter circles. I took two quarter circles and split each quarter into two layers.

Layer one shortbread, half the berries, another shortbread layer, the rest of the berries, and then put whipped cream (real or fake) on top.

Strawberry ShortcakeThis was excellent! I like the egg in the dough, and I like rolling it into one circle instead of biscuits. My dining partner said “yum, but not enough!” I take that as a thumbs up.

250 Cookbooks: General Foods Cook Book

Cookbook #180: General Foods Cook Book, General Foods Corporation, NY, NY, 1932.

General Foods Cook Book

Mother would have celebrated her 100th birthday this week. She loved celebrations! In her honor, I choose her vintage General Foods Cook Book to cover for this blog.

General Foods Cook Book was one of Mother’s textbooks when she attended Woodbury’s Business College from 1934-36. She would have been 18-20 years old at the time. On the inside cover are several notes about due dates for assignments, oven temperature notes, and some calculations. I remember from family history that she had attended this business school, perhaps more of a “secretarial” school. Obviously, since she had this General Foods Cook Book as a text book, she took a course in “home economics”. The culture of the time and place encouraged young women to stay at home and run their household, as their vocation, sort of like a business. I tell you, my mother, a traditional stay-at-home mom, would have been an excellent business woman! Our household ran smoothly, and she was a fast typist and great at keeping books and records.

Woodbury’s Business College, founded in Los Angeles in 1884, was one of the first institutions of higher learning in Los Angeles, and also one of the first colleges in the West to admit women. At its beginning, Woodbury’s offered bookkeeping, commercial law, and telegraphy studies, it eventually expanded to fashion and inerior design and business administration, and by 1969 offered an MBA. In 1974, the school name changed to Woodbury University.

My mother would have attended Woodbury’s while it was located in downtown Los Angeles. She wasn’t married to my father yet, so that means she had to travel about 30 miles from Covina to attend classes. I have no idea how she made the trip, by car? train? bus? What was it like in the mid-1930s in the LA area? Wish I had a time machine.

By the time I was born, our young family was living in Burbank. In 1985, Woodbury’s re-located to Burbank, on the old Catholic school campus known as Villa Cabrini. So many times as a child or teen I passed the Villa Cabrini school – and now it is the home of the college my mother attended, so long ago.

As you can tell, this cookbook has a lot of meaning for me. I definitely will keep it, if just for the memories!

General Foods Cook Book teaches young women how to run their household like a business, promotes General Foods products, and has a lot of recipes. The best way to tell you about this cook book is to let you read a few pages.

page 1

page 2page 3

The first sixth of this cookbook is a cross-refernce called a “Subject Index”. This index is an ingenious way for an organized cook to plan the requisite “three meals a day” using what they have on hand and the situation or the meal they are planning. Here is a sample page from this section:

gfcbpage15

After the Subject Index is a chapter entitled “General Foods Corporation”:

“Most of you know General Foods Corporation. At least, you know its products; for many of them are old friends, kept regularly on the pantry shelf, and used nearly every day – Jell-O, Minute Tapioca, Swans Down Cake Flour, Maxwell House Coffee, Baker’s Chocolate, Baker’s Coconut, Calumet Baking Powder, Grape-Nuts, Postum, Certo, and many others.”

“These foods were not always in one family, of course. The building of this company, operating some forty-five plants, and distributing over seventy different products, is one of the romances of modern business.”

General Fooods was established by Charles Post in 1985 in Battle Creek, Michigan. His poor health led him to experiment with food products, and out of his research Postum Cereal was developed, then Grape Nuts and Posts Bran Flakes. (Wikipedia has more information on the history of General Foods.) At the time of General Foods Cook Book’s publication, 1932, the company’s products included: Maxwell House Coffee and Tea, Sanka, Postum Cereal, Baker’s Cocoa, Post Toasties, Grape-nuts, Swan’s Down Cake Flour, Calumet Baking Powder, Jell-O, Minute Tapioca, Baker’s Unsweetened Chocolate, Baker’s Coconut, Certo (pectin), Log Cabin Syrup, and Diamond Crystal Shaker Salt. The energy value of each of these foods is discussed, as well as the proper way to store them. Later sections in this book discuss “how to provide an adequate diet” using General Foods products.

Page 89 caught my eye. I smile at Mother’s note to herself: “read”.

page 89

The rest of the book is recipes. I took a long time turning the pages and reading the old recipes, reading my mother’s notes. I spent two weeks on this cookbook – instead of the usual one week – for this blog. Some things cannot be rushed.

I decide to buy a box of Grape-Nuts and make two recipes for this blog. First, Grape-Nuts Orange Muffins. Note my mother’s writing on the left hand side: “every girl makes muffins”.

page 130I’ll also make “Grape-Nuts Brown Betty”:

page 242

Each recipe will require a few changes for successful baking in my own “modern” kitchen. But I am confident in my cooking skills and I know I will do the proper adjustments.  I learned both how to cook and to love cooking from my mother.

I am thankful to her every day of my life. Happy 100th, Mother. Wish you were here to enjoy these with us, your ever enlarging family.

Grape-Nuts Orange Muffins
makes 11 big or 12 smallish muffins

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup orange juice (or, the juice from one orange plus enough milk to make 3/4 cup)
  • grated rind of one orange
  • 1 cup Grape-Nuts cereal

Stir together the flour and baking powder, set aside.

Use a mixer to beat the butter, then add the sugar and eggs and beat well. Mix in the orange juice and rind. Add the flour mixture and mix only until just combined.

Fill 12 (or 11, if you like them bigger) muffin cups and bake at 400˚ for 18-20 minutes, until they are lightly brown and test clean with a toothpick.

Grape-Nuts Orange MuffinsGrape-Nuts Brown Betty
serves 4-6

  • 4 largish apples (I used granny smiths)
  • 1/4 cup granulated (white) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (I used more because I love cinnamon)
  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup Grape-Nuts

Peel and slice the apples. Place in an 8×8-inch baking pan. Mix the 1/4 cup white sugar with the cinnamon and pour over the apples. Mix in with your hands, then let stand about a half hour to macerate the apples.

Beat 4 tablespoons of the butter with a mixer, then add the brown sugar and cream well. Add the flour and the Grape-Nuts and mix well (the mixture will be crumbly).

Dot the macerated apples with the 1 tablespoon butter. Spread the Grape-Nut mixture over the top. Cover with foil and bake at 350˚ for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake another 15 minutes.

Serve warm with ice cream.

Apple Brown BettyBoth recipes were delicious!

250 Cookbooks: Golden Treasury of Cooking

Cookbook #166: Golden Treasury of Cooking, Better Homes and Gardens, Meredith Corporation, USA, 1973.

The Golden Treasury of Cooking cookbook

“With one foot planted in the past and one in the future, Americans are propelling themselves forward into the ’70s. In all areas of life there is a paradoxical blending of past and future – especially in food. Homemakers are performing a modern juggling act. On one hand, they are using foods that are quick, easy, and convenient. While, on the other hand, they are going back to many of the old, time-tested cooking techniques that their grandmothers used. Out of all this comes such diverse ideas as microwave cooking, making your own breads, computerized meal planning, and organic gardening. What lies in the future? Whatever it is, it’s sure to be the best of both worlds – the nostalgic old one of the past and the bright new one of the future.”

Golden Treasury of Cooking, page 261

One foot in the past, and one in the future. My cooking philosophy for sure. And the present? That’s where I am, thinking about what to learn, to discover, and to cook today.

This week, I decided to take the Golden Treasury of Cooking off the shelf. I’ve been putting this one off because I know it will take some time. This is a special book, a super-collection of nostalgic recipes, and handsomely illustrated and presented. But more than that, it was given to my mother from my father for Christmas 1973.

inscription in Golden Treasury of Cooking

The Golden Treasury of Cooking a gorgeous book. Although now faded, the cover is golden, and a little puffy-soft. I am sure it was meant to be a coffee table book. This book compiles Better Homes and Gardens magazine’s recipes from 1930 to the early 1970s. It’s sectioned into decades: the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s. Each section begins with a bit of history – good Americana. A full page photo of a sample magazine cover graces each historical review, and then a fold-out photo collage of memorabilia from the age. Each decade’s recipes are sectioned into representative featured recipes (recipes from restaurants or famous people, or popular trends such as home canning, barbecues, convenience cooking, or natural foods) and then a good collection of recipes from Better Homes and Gardens magazines of the decade.

I spend quite a few hours this week reading this book. I especially enjoy reading each decade’s introduction, each along the lines of the quote, above. I think of my grandmother in the 30s, my mom in the 40s and 50s, and me in the kitchen in the 60s and 70s. The 70s is especially fun, with its predictions of the future:

Golden Treasury of Cooking excerpt

My mother’s notes are throughout this book. It’s fun to page through the recipes! Some of the recipes that interest me: Daffodil Cake (an angel food and sponge cake all in one), Orange Biscuits, Meatballs Stroganoff, Banana Apricot Bread, Puffy Tortilla Bake (includes crepes), Dilly Bread (a yeast bread with cottage cheese in it), Blueberry Dumplings (stove top blueberries with dumplings), Strawberry Shortcake (a good biscuit recipe), and Pfeffernuesse (old-fashioned anise flavored cookies), Stuffed Date Drops (Mother marked “Delicious!!”), Skillet Enchiladas, and the original Toll House Cookies recipe. I also found a recipe for “Bun-steads”. I think these are the baked tuna sandwiches that Mother used to make. They sound weird today, but I used to like them: a tuna and egg salad mixture baked with cheese inside a frankfurter bun.

The Golden Treasury of Cooking is reviewed by The Iowa Housewife. She included some photos and recipes from the book that you might find interesting.

For this blog I decide to make Pineapple Upside Down Cake, from the 40s section. I currently have a recipe in my documents that I cobbled together, but I’d like to try this one.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake recipe

The only change I plan is to keep the pineapple rings whole, and put a maraschino cherry inside each ring.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake
makes one 8 x 8-inch cake

  • 1 8 1/4-ounce can pineapple slices
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • maraschino cherries
  • milk
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Drain the pineapple, reserving the syrup. Melt the butter in an 8 x 8 x 2-inch baking pan; stir in the brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of the reserved pineapple syrup. Arrange the pineapple rings in the pan – you might have to cut a few in half to cover the bottom of the pan. Put maraschino cherries into the center of each pineapple ring. Set the pan aside.

Add milk to the remaining pineapple syrup to make 1/2 cup liquid. Cream together the white sugar, shortening, and vanilla. Add egg; beat well. Stir together the dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture alternately with liquid, beating after each addition.

Spread the dough carefully over the pineapple-brown sugar mixture in the pan. Bake at 350˚ for 35-40 minutes, until the cake is turning brown around the edges. Cool 5 minutes and then invert carefully onto a plate. Serve warm with whipped cream.

Pineapply Upside Down CakeOh yes, this was good! It has always been one of my husband’s favorite desserts. It was rich and sweet and very pineapple-y. Will I make it again, and do I recommend it? Yes to both. But next time I make this cake, I will compare and contrast the above recipe with my cobbled-together recipe. It’s almost too sweet, even for my taste!

250 Cookbooks: The Fannie Farmer Cookbook

Cookbook #148: The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, Wilma Lord Perkins, Little, Brown and Company,Boston, Toronto, 1965.

The Fannie Farmer Cookbook

I think I found The Fannie Farmer Cookbook in an old house that we lived in from 1975-76. The house, known as “Walnetto” in our group of friends, was on Walnut Street in Boulder, at about 21st. The backyard of the house stretched back to a creek. We had a big garden. Chickens. Volleyball games. Parties. We could walk to downtown bars. I rarely drove my old VW bug because I could walk up to the university where I was a grad student. Once the house a couple doors down was on fire, and my boyfriend-now-husband pulled an elderly woman to safety.

Of course those times are gone and the land is now covered with apartments and condos. But we have our memories.

So what is The Fannie Farmer Cookbook? It’s important enough in American cooking history to have its own Wikipedia entry. I learn that Fannie Farmer, born in 1857, was raised in a family that valued education, but could not attend school because of a crippling illness as a teen. So she started cooking at a boarding house at her parents home. Her interest in cooking took her to the Boston Cooking School, where she excelled as a student and eventually became school principal.

Fannie’s food interests covered nutrition, diets for the sick, sanitation and cleanliness in the kitchen, the chemical analysis of food, techniques of cooking and baking, and managing the kitchen and household. These “domestic science” topics were part of a movement in the US around 1890, and Fannie was there at the right time with the right interests and intelligence and the right – spunk! In 1896 she wrote her first book: The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book. (I have a copy of the 1906 edition of that book on my bookshelves – still to be covered in this blog.)

(The practice of “domestic science” – nutritious foods and clean kitchens and efficient homes – improves the lives of families and individuals on a daily basis. It got a bad rep in the hippy/women’s lib movements as being yet another gender-defiining ploy: “let the girls stay in the kitchen”. Women in my generation knew domestic science as “home economics”, or “home ec”. Most girls – me included – took home ec in junior high.}

Fannie Farmer left the Boston Cooking School in 1902 to continue her teaching at Miss Farmer’s School of Cookery. She lectured on diets and nutrition for the sick at Harvard Medical School. “To many chefs and good home cooks in America, her name remains synonymous today with precision, organization, and good food” reads the current Wikipedia entry.

My 1965, eleventh edition of The Fannie Farmer Cookbook has been revised many times:

FFCB copyright page

Note that Fannie’s last edition was the 1914 one; Cora D. Perkins revised from the editions from 1915-1929 and Wilma Lord Perkins 1930-1965. After 1965, a few other editions were published; Marion Cunningham is listed as the author from 1979 on. I think the last issue was the 1996 Anniversary Hardcover edition.

This is the first time I have really read my copy of The Fannie Farmer Cookbook. The writing style is friendly and clear and to the point. (One of my favorite American-standby cookbooks, The Joy of Cooking, tends to be a bit bossy.) It’s well organized and the index is almost 100 pages!

I am impressed with how the recipes still stand today as cookable. The clam chowder, with fresh shucked clams and salt pork, is a recipe I’d like to try. Roast guinea hen with a slice of bacon inside and more laid across the top also sounds interesting. Classics of American cooking like Boston Baked Beans. Alligator pears? Avocados! Recipes for leftover chicken and turkey. Sauerbraten and potato dumplings and Alfredo’s noodles. Cinnamon apples.

My favorite sections of The Fannie Farmer Cookbook are dessert recipes. I learn that “cottage pudding” is a classic American cake that can be frosted and/or filled. Fruit desserts include grunts and dowdies and dutch apple cake, cobblers and upside down cake. All of the recipes are made from scratch. I do like this book!

I am going to make Apple Dumplings. At first I thought that the “dumpling” would be boiled but no, these are kind of like a baked apple wrapped in shortcake-biscuit dough and doused with sauce.

Apple Dumplings Recipe

It’s up to me to decide the type of dough and the type of sauce. I choose a shortcake dough (p. 384) and the hard sauce (p. 402). Oh – I caught a mistake! The shortcake dough is on p. 484.

Shortcake Recipe

As these were baking, my daughter said these would be best with ice cream. So I didn’t make the following hard sauce, which is simply a frosting made from butter and powdered sugar.

Hard Sauce Recipe

I found that the shortcake recipe made just the right amount of dough for 5 small granny smith apples. You can adjust the amount of dough for the number of apples (e.g., servings) you desire, or you can use leftover dough to cook as biscuits.

Apple Dumplings
makes 5; best if you serve one per person!

Apples

  • 5 small tart apples
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I used white sugar; brown would be good too)
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • freshly grated nutmeg to taste
  • butter

Pare and core 5 small tart apples. Mix the sugar and spices.

apple preparation

Shortcake

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • a few gratings of nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup butter (unsalted)
  • milk: about 3/4 cup

Stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and nutmeg. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or your fingers, or use a few pulses in a food processor.

Stir in the milk, little by little, until the dough holds together but is still soft. Turn out on a floured board (fold over a few times if necessary) and roll to 1/4-inch thickness.

Divide the dough into 5 equal pieces and roll each to a size that will wrap up and around one of the apples. My rolled dough wasn’t really a square, it was more free form.

apple dumpling preparation

Place an apple on a piece of dough and fill the apple with some of the sugar-spice mix. Dot the inside with a little butter. Fold the dough up from four opposing sides and pinch together over the top of the apple. Continue until you finish all the apples and dough.

Place the apples in a baking pan so they are not touching. I sprinkled some of the remaining sugar-spice mix on top of the dough and highly recommend this step.

Bake at 375˚ for about 45 minutes, until the dough is golden brown. Serve warm with ice cream.

Apple Dumplings

Great great great! These are delicious. So fun and different. We had never had anything like it before!

It will be interesting to compare The Fannie Farmer Cookbook with my 1906 edition of Farmer’s The Boston Cooking-School Cookbook. How much of the friendly style is Fannie’s or the revision author? What were the original recipes? A post to look forward to.

250 Cookbooks: Ryzon Baking Book

Cookbook #138: Ryzon Baking Book, Marion Harris Neil, General Chemical Company, 1917.

Ryzon Baking Book cookbook1917! This was my grandmother’s cookbook. She turned the pages when my mother was only one year old. On one page there are crayon marks: Could they have been made by Mother? On another page my grandmother wrote some math calculations. She was good at math.

The book is a bit water-wrinkled with a few sugar stains (and crayon marks) but otherwise in pretty good shape. It’s hard-covered, unusual for an advertising booklet. “Price $1.00” translates into $20.24 in today’s inflated dollars. Another blogger wrote about this cookbook too: The History of Food and Drink Collection, What’s Cookin’ @Special Collections.

“Ryzon”, what’s that? Ryzon was a brand of baking powder sold for a few years in the early twentieth century.

What is baking powder? It is a chemical mixture that makes breads and cakes “rise” in the oven. It is called a “leavening agent”. Before baking powder, yeast was used to leaven breads and cakes. In a mixture of flour and water, yeast ferments, and on baking, the mixture releases carbon dioxide, putting little bubbles in the mixture and the bread rises. Yeast-risen breads and cakes tend to have a distinctive yeasty flavor.

Baking soda is another leavening agent. It is sodium bicarbonate, a weak base that can be found in natural deposits. When baking soda is mixed with water, flour, and a small amount of an acidic ingredient like sour milk or vinegar, it too releases carbon dioxide on heating and causes breads and cakes to rise. Baking soda was used by the ancient Egyptians for paints; by the mid-eighteenth century it was used for baking. Baking soda breads tend to have a distinctive flavor of their own because one ingredient must be sour.

Baking powder was introduced to the cooking public in the mid-nineteenth century. It is a dry mixture of baking soda and a weak solid acid. This acid can be one of several phosphate or sulfate compounds:

  • monocalcium phosphate
  • sodium aluminium slufate
  • potassium bitartrate (potassium hydrogen tartrate, or cream of tartar)
  • monosodium phosphate
  • sodium acid pyrophosphate

Cornstarch is added to the weak base-weak acid mixture to keep the two from combining (and reacting) on storage. The cornstarch also keeps the baking powder from clumping. Percentages: baking soda 30%, weak acid 5-25%, rest is cornstarch.

Baking powder gives virtually no flavor to baked goods (although some may argure this point, see the next paragraph) and bakers don’t have to include an acidic ingredient in the batter. It is simple to use because you don’t have to wait for a dough to rise. That’s why breads leavened with baking powder/baking soda are called “quick breads”.

Cooks are often picky when it comes to their choice of the weak acid used in the baking powder product they use. Some don’t like aluminum-acid containing baking powders because the aluminum lends baked goods a metallic taste; some believe aluminum is not be good for your health.

Some baking powders are “double acting”, meaning they contain two different weak acids, one that starts acting as soon as water is added and one that doesn’t act until it is heated in the oven.

Ryzone was a single-acting baking powder: it used only monosodium phosphate. The Ryzon Baking Powder cookbook claims that phosphate baking powders are the most desirable. One section raves about the purity of their monosodium phosphate and the cleanliness of their factory and workers.

What kind of baking powder do I use? I generally use whatever brand my local supermarket sells. Currently I have an open can of Clabber Girl Double Acting baking powder in my cabinet. The acids in this brand are sodium aluminum sulfate and monocalcium phosphate. I also have a new can of Bakewell Cream (purchased from King Arthur Flour) that includes only the weak acid sodium acid pyrophosphate (although they claim it is double acting).

All this might be boring to you, but for me – as a chemist and as a cook – I liked reviewing a baking process I use all the time.

Here are some take-home lessons to help our quick bread baking:

  • When using baking powder or baking soda, you always need to get the batter in the oven as soon as possible so the little bubbles don’t escape before your bread or cake is baked. (You probably have 10-15 minutes.)
  • Baking soda is the choice when you use sour milk (buttermilk) or yogurt in the batter.
  • Recipes often call for a combination of baking soda and baking powder. This is because double acting baking powder gives an extra “umpf” when the batter is heated.
  • Baking powder is a less-concentrated leavening agent than baking soda because it has a filler (cornstarch). It is 30% baking soda, while baking soda is 100%.
  • Be careful not to use too much baking powder, because if it is not all used in the baking process, it might lend a metallic taste to your baked good.
  • If you are out of baking powder but have cream of tartar, you can substitute: mix two parts cream of tartar with one part baking soda.
  • Rule of thumb: use one teaspoon of baking powder per cup of flour in a recipe that does not have an acidic ingredient.
  • Rule of thumb: use 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda per cup of flour and cup of buttermilk.

I decide to make Ryzon Gingerbread for this blog (and for us!).

Ryzon Gingerbread RecipeNote the bit of history in the above clip: “Gingerbread is probably one of the oldest forms of cake known. It has certainly been known since the fourteenth centure, when it was made and sold in Paris.”

I have always liked gingerbread, but I don’t make it a lot. In fact, I don’t even have a “go to” recipe for plain old gingerbread (I do make a great Apple Gingerbread Cobbler). This Ryzon recipe has lots of molasses in it, which is considered a healthy-ish sweetener. (I am surprised at how many of the recipes in this Ryzon cookbook are called “health breads” and have whole wheat flour in them.) And it has nutritious raisins and nuts. The recipe calls for “a shallow pan” – I chose a 9-inch square pan and it worked fine. A “moderate” oven is 350-375˚ – I chose 375˚. Below is my version.

Hearty Gingerbread

  • 1 cup molasses (340 g)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup nuts
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 eggs

Combine the molasses, butter, sugar, and water in a pan and heat gently (with stirring) on the stove until the butter melts. Remove from heat and let cool.

Butter and flour a 9-inch baking pan (or a 7×11-inch pan). Heat the oven to 375˚.

Combine the nuts and raisins on a cutting surface and chop roughly. (You can, of course, chop them in any way you like.) Add the nut/raisin mixture to the molasses mixture. Stir together the baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and flour and then add it to the nut/raisin/molasses mixture. Beat the eggs and add them too.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 375˚ for 40-50 minutes, until it is nicely browned and pulls away from the sides of the pan.

GingerbreadI really enjoyed this gingerbread. Gingery and molassesy. And dense with nuts and raisins. We had it for dessert with cool whip. It’s also good for snacking during the day, and for breakfast!

Note: after writing this post, a friend alerted me to posts on the Serious Eats blog on baking powder and baking soda. Excellent discussions.

I liked the way the book lay open on the counter:

open Ryzon cookbookI also like the page that describes how to measure a level teaspoon and the two inside-cover pages from the back of the book that talk about the General Chemical Company factory.

RyzonRyzonRyzon

250 Cookbooks: Hershey’s Chocolate Recipe Collection

Cookbook #85: Hershey’s Chocolate Recipe Collection, Hershey Foods Corporation, USA, 1989.

Hershey's Chocolate Recipe CollectionThis is a pamphlet with 96 chocolate recipes, each on a “card” that can be torn out of the book along the perforations. The booklet doesn’t have an introduction; the last page gives some tips for handling chocolate. This was one of my Mother’s cookbooklets. She didn’t mark any recipe, nor did she tear one out.

That’s it, short and simple.

I love chocolate and though I have decided to recycle this cookbooklet, some of the recipes do tempt me. But not the ones that rely on cake or muffin mixes or purchased pie shells, just the from-scratch recipes. I note a couple recipes that incorporate ideas I came up with on my own over the years, like putting chocolate chips in muffins and quick breads. Yum, this one sounds good: Mini Chips Blueberry Bread. Chocolate Cherry Upside-down Cake would be lovely. Marble Cheesecake, a delicious combination of chocolate and cheesecake. And Chocolate Mousse Pie (with rum cream topping). And the chocolate waffles.

Sigh. If calories were not an issue . . .

Ah, but I have a solution! Lately I have started baking mini-desserts for the two of us. That way, no leftovers! Serendipity brought me to this innovation. First, the Lyons flood in September 2013. I became involved with Lyons recovery efforts, including shopping support at our local businesses, and I discovered Lyons Buttonrock Bakery. I took to buying one of their small fancy desserts – tiramisu, tarts, flourless chocolate cake, eclairs – to split with my husband for Saturday night desserts. One of our favorites is their cheesecake. Ever the cook, I then wanted to make my own two-person cheesecakes.

I found a couple small springform pans in a local store and went in search of a recipe. Online I found a recipe for a 4.5-inch cheesecake on this great site: Dessert For Two. Her Cheesecake with Honey-ed Peaches is fantastic!

So I decide to make Marble Cheesecake from the Hershey’s Chocolate Recipe Collection, downsizing the recipe to 4.5-inch pans to make “dessert for two”. I’ll need to modify both the batter amount and the baking time – I’ll use the Cheesecake with Honey-ed Peaches recipe as a guideline.

Marble Cheesecake RecipeBelow is my modified version. I have two 4.5-inch springform pans, so I plan make two small cheesecakes, one for Saturday and one for Sunday.

Marble Cheesecakes in Mini-pans
this recipe makes enough dessert for two people for two nights

  • Chocolate Crumb Crust (recipe follows)
  • 12 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil

Chocolate Crumb Crust

  • 1/2 cup crushed vanilla wafers (about 15 cookies)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted (1 ounce)

First, make the crust, since it needs to bake and cool before you fill it. Heat the oven to 450˚. Crush the vanilla wafers and combine with the sugar, cocoa, and butter. Press the mixture firmly onto the bottom and a little up the sides of 2 (or 3, see my notes below) of 4.5-inch springform pans. Bake for 8 minutes and then let them cool.

Lower the oven to 300˚.

In a mixer, combine the cream cheese, 3/8 cup sugar, sour cream, and 1 teaspoon vanilla, beat until smooth. Add the flour and eggs and beat well, but don’t go crazy and overbeat it because that can cause the cheesecake to crack when it bakes.

Remove about 3/4 cup of the batter to a small bowl. Mix the 2 tablespoons cocoa with 2 tablespoons sugar, then add to the batter in the small bowl along with the oil and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla.

Spoon dollops of the plain and chocolate batters alternately into the pie crusts, ending with the chocolate batter. Swirl gently with a knife to marble the batters. Swirl enough to get any bubbles out of the batter, but do not overswirl or it will not be marbled.

Place the cheesecake pans on a baking sheet and bake at 300˚ for 40 minutes, until the center is “slightly jiggly but not wet when you lightly touch it.” Leave the cheesecake in the oven after the 40 minute baking period, but turn the oven off and prop open the door. After 30 minutes, move the cheesecake to a wire rack on the countertop and let cool another 30 minutes. Then, run a knife around the edges of the pans, loosen and remove the outside rings of the pans, cover the cheesecakes with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 5 hours.

Comments

Here are my crust ingredients. The melted butter is in the red bowl. I used real Hershey’s cocoa, although I usually keep a fancier version in my pantry as well.

ingredients for the chocolate crustThe next photo is a few steps later, after the crust is baked and the filling loaded into the springform pans. The two pans already look too full, in my judgement, and I still have more batter left. I put the extra batter in a small ramekin and baked it along with the filled springform pans. From my calculations, it shouldn’t have been too much batter, but it was.

cheesecakes before bakingI was not at all surprised to find that the cheesecakes had cracked when I peeked at them after the 40 minute baking period. At first they were really tall; by the time they had cooled, they had fallen a bit. But you can still see the cracks clearly in the photo below.

baked marble cheesecakeIn spite of the cracks, these taste delicious! Yum and yum again! Half of one of these left me wanting more – more! I dripped a small amount of chocolate sauce and put a couple halved-raspberries on each to dress them up a bit. My husband’s comment: “These could have come from Buttonrock!”

I definitely will make these again. To keep them from cracking, I will try a couple things next time. Obviously – despite my calculations – there was too much batter to fit into two small pans. Next time I will use three 4.5-inch pans. Also, I forgot to put the springform pans on a baking sheet in the oven. Maybe that will help. I look forward to experimenting again with Marble Cheesecakes in Mini-pans.