250 Cookbooks: Land O Lakes Cookie Collection

Cookbook #165: Land O Lakes Cookie Collection, Favorite Recipes™ Magazine, Publications International, 1990.

Land O Lakes Cookie Collection cookbook

Cookies, more cookies! Do I really need another cookie recipe? Well no, but just can’t resist.

This cookbook-magazine was published in December 1990. I am sure I was planning my Christmas cookie selection for that year, standing in the grocery line and looking for something to read, and it caught my eye and my interest. Only $2.50! So I put it in my cart and took it home.

Favorite Recipes™ magazine published recipes for various brand names: Best Foods and Karo Syrup are two examples revealed by a google search. Land O Lakes is currently a co-op for milk products and eggs. This little 1990 cookbook, though, is all about butter – butter in each and every recipe. I used to use margarine in cookies, thinking it prevented them from spreading out too much on baking. These days, I much prefer natural butter, and am adapting my current margarine recipes to butter instead. So, Land O Lakes Cookie Collection is of more interest to me in 2016 than it was in 1990.

Today I can buy this booklet online for $1.49! Guess I could have saved myself a little money by waiting.

I don’t think I ever tried any of these recipes. None of the recipes look familiar, and there are no markings, no food stains. There are about 100 recipes in this book, and most of them look pretty good. Drop cookies, bars, fancy cookies, they are all here. I’d love to eat them all, but that old friend/enemy, calories, lurks in every recipe.

I decide to try “Coconut Snowdrops” for this blog. These are simple drop cookies with lots of butter and coconut.

Coconut Snowdrops Recipe

The recipe says you can put everything in a mixer bowl in one step. I am in the habit of mixing the butter and sugar, beating in the eggs, and then adding the flour last, so that’s how I made these.

Coconut Snowdrops
makes about 3 dozen

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • powdered sugar for sprinkling

Beat the butter with the sugar, then add the egg, milk, and vanilla and beat again. Slowly mix in the flour and coconut until incorporated.

Drop by rounded teaspoons onto a cookie sheet. (I rolled the dough between my hands to form round balls, but that is optional.) Bake at 350˚ for about 15 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are golden brown. Cool, then sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Coconut SnowdropsThese are excellent cookies! Soft and rich, but not too sweet. We all liked them, and they disappeared in a hurry!

I will keep this little cookbook and try another recipe someday. I do like the butter-y-ness of these cookies. And it might help me convert some margarine-based recipes to butter instead.

250 Cookbooks: Recipes from Donna’s Board

Cookbook #164: Recipes from Donna’s Board, Sierra Cahuenga District #15, 1980-1981.

Recipes from Donna's Board cookbookThis little community cookbook was compiled by Lorraine Moore, the vice president of the Sierra Cahuenga District Women’s Club Board in 1980-81. Donna Smith – “Donna’s Board” – was the president at the time. My mother was a member of the Sun Valley Women’s Club, one of the clubs in the Sierra Cahuenga District. I remember her talking about going to those meetings for years, and I think she served for a time as secretary – she was an excellent typist and great at organizing. The California Federation of Women’s Clubs is still an active service organization, although the Sun Valley chapter no longer exists.

What jumps out at me the most when I open the pages of Recipes from Donna’s Board is THAT IT IS IN ALL CAPS! Since it was written in 1980, I know it must have been prepared on a typewriter. Someone sure liked the ‘caps lock’ key.

The recipes are interesting. Lura Lovick, a friend of my mother’s, contributed Date Nut Bread. I’d like to make the Green Chile Cornbread and the Poppy Seed Strudel. The Fresh Apple Cake with Good Frosting sounds good too, although I’d leave off the frosting.  Over half of the book is desserts! “Mom’s Applesauce Cake” sounds like a recipe that I used to make, but lost. Sun Valley Woman’s Club contributed Yum Yum Cake and Chicken Florentine. “No Name Dessert” is made from butter, soda crackers, chocolate chips, coconut, and sweetened condensed milk – sounds weird to me. Baked Chicken Sandwiches sound particularly yucky: you mix mushroom soup with chicken, put between crustless white bread slices, dip in egg, then roll in crushed potato chips before baking. The casserole recipes abound with canned soups. Several molded salads are included, food favorites of the 60s and 70s. The Beef Stroganoff has cream cheese in it as well as sour cream. I’d like to try the Tostada Quiche.

I decide to try Donna’s Carrot Cake for this blog. Carrot cake is a standby of many American cooks – at least those of us who grew up in the second half of the twentieth century. The basic recipe has lots of eggs, sugar, oil and carrots. Sweet and delicious, especially with cream cheese frosting! Some versions of carrot cake include pineapple, as in Donna’s recipe (below), but I have never made that type before. I like Donna’s version because it also includes coconut (love it) and walnuts (a bit of nutrition).

Donna's Carrot Cake recipe

I decide to make half of this as “muffins” to qualify this treat as breakfast food. The other half of the batter will go into one 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan. I research cooking times using a favorite online reference. I skip the “buttermilk syrup” topping. Since the muffins cooked better than the loaf, I’ve written this recipe as “muffins”.

Carrot Cake Muffins
makes 24 (but yes, make a half recipe and 12 muffins if you wish)

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple
  • 2 cups finely grated carrots
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 cup flaked coconut

Stir together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

Beat the eggs with the oil and sugar until fairly light. Add the buttermilk and vanilla and mix again. Add the flour mixture and mix just until all the flour is incorporated. Stir in the pineapple, carrots, nuts, and coconut.

Spoon the batter into 24 muffins cups. Bake at 350˚ for 30 minutes, or until they test done with a toothpick.

Donna's Carrot Cake Muffins

Well, these were absolutely delicious! They have enough sugar in them to make me want “more, more, more!” But hey, they are dense with carrots and nuts and pineapple in them too, good healthy foods . . . I only had one for breakfast even though they called to me for awhile.

This batter is really dense, which is probably why the loaf that I cooked was a little un-done in the center, even after careful toothpick-testing. If you prefer loaves, cook the batter as two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaves at 350˚ for at least 55-60 minutes.

250 Cookbooks: M’sieur Crêpe Electric Crepemaker

Cookbook #163: M’sieur Crêpe Electric Crepemaker, Sunbeam Appliance Company, 1976.

M'sieur Crepe Crepemaker cookbook

This cookbook came from my mother’s collection. Someone must have given her a M’sieur Crêpe Electric Crepemaker back in the late 1970s. I was already on my own and living in Colorado by that time, and I don’t remember her ever talking about making crepes. She didn’t mark any of the recipes, but she stuffed a lot of crepe recipe clippings into this little instruction/recipe cookbook!

The M’sieur Crêpe Electric Crepemaker was a “dip and cook” type of crepemaker. It came with a hot plate, a pan that fit over it, and a large flat dish to hold the batter. To use this set up, first, you pre-heat the pan – inverted – on the hot plate. Then, take it off the hot plane dip the bottom (the outside) of the pan into the batter and hold it there for a few seconds. Finally, put the pan, again inverted, on the hot plate. In about a minute, the crepe bakes on the top of the underside of the pan. (Details at about.com.)

Below is a photo of the M’sieur Crepemaker that I pulled from the web. Unfortunately, I don’t have my mother’s crepemaker in my possession. It would be fun to try!

MSieur Crepemaker

You can no longer buy this Sunbeam M’sieur Crêpemaker, although I saw a few vintage ones for sale on a couple sites accessed June 2016. The Day, a New London, Connecticut paper, includes this crepemaker in a July 28 1976 article entitled “Versatile French crepes are latest food fad everywhere“. It cost $29.95. Dip-and-Cook crepemakers are available new: for instance, the CucinaPro cordless crepemaker for $35.99.

I am a big fan of crepes and have already posted several crepe-dish recipes on this blog. Last fall, we travelled to Paris and thoroughly enjoyed street crepes.

Crepe batters are made from eggs, flour, and milk or water, and often a little butter or oil. Some batters include sour cream, baking powder, cornmeal, whole wheat flour, sugar, and even chocolate. The exact ratios of these ingredients vary; French crepes are thin, some of the American ones I make are thick. I have a little 7-inch crepe pan that I use for everyday crepes. I have also made French-style crepes (a recipe from Cooks Illustrated) In a 12-inch skillet.

For this blog, I decide to try one of the recipes that my mother tucked into this booklet: Ham and Sour Cream Crepes.

Ham and Cheese CrepesHam and Cheese CrepesHam and Cheese Crepes

Ham and Sour Cream Crepes
serves 2

  • crepes (recipe follows)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 12 ounces chopped ham
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted

Mix the sour cream, green onions, and mustard. Sprinkle the cheese on the crepes. Top with ham, then spread a heaping tablespoon of the sour cream mixture on top of the ham. Roll the crepes and place in a baking dish.

Mix the bread crumbs and the melted butter and sprinkle this mixture on the crepes. Bake at 350˚ about 12 minutes, until golden brown.

Crepes
makes 6-8

  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix in a blender and let stand an hour or so. Use about 3 tablespoons batter to cook each crepe on a hot skillet or crepe pan. (More crepe-cooking instructions are here.)

These were indeed “very good”! I will definitely make them again. A good way to use leftover ham.

Ham and Sour Cream CrepesNote: Later in the week, I made chocolate crepes following a recipe in M’sieur Crêpe Electric Crepemaker. Filled with fresh strawberries and whipped cream and drizzled with chocolate sauce, they too were delicious!

250 Cookbooks: Fagor Pressure Cookers

Cookbook #162: Fagor Pressure Cookers, More than 50 Recipes, Fagor America, Inc., Lyndhurst, NJ., publication date not given.

Fagor Pressure Cookers cookbook

Fagor Pressure Cookers, More than 50 Recipes is the instruction/recipe booklet that came with the stove-top pressure cooker that I bought sometime in the 2000s. This cooker has one pressure lid that covers two sizes of nice, heavy pots. I bought it as a replacement for my old broken pressure cooker. Somehow I quickly broke this pressure cooker too! I ruined the gasket and/or pressure regulator, and the replacements I ordered did not fit. (Unusable as a pressure cooker, the pots as still usable as cooking pots.) A couple years ago, I bought an electric pressure cooker that works great. So, I can still use the recipes in this booklet, I’ll just have to adapt them to my new electric cooker.

Shall I keep this cookbook? It has “More than 50 recipes”. Let’s see if this booklet has enough good recipes to warrant saving.

The first recipe is for tomato sauce for pasta, with carrots, celery, garlic, 3 cups canned tomatoes, herbs, and wine. Hey, this is pretty much how I make stove-top sauce! But in a pressure cooker it only takes 10 minutes, not an an hour or two stove-top simmer. Maybe I’ll try that next time. I like the “German Potato Salad” with just 2 minutes cooking time! “Country Style Potatoes”, with mushrooms and onions, take only 3 minutes. This recipe for potatoes would go well with the grilled meat I have planned for dinner. “Everyone’s Favorite Meatball Stew” sounds good to me – given my love of meatballs in general. I have a Cornish hen in the freezer, so I might try the “Oriental-Style Cornish Hen” or “Cornish Hens Braised in White Wine”. “Mom’s Rice Pudding” would be a homey dessert.

But that’s it. I decide to make the Country Style Potatoes for dinner, scan copies of the other recipes, and recycle this booklet. It has served it’s purpose!

Country Style PotatoesThe “suggested time” in the above recipe is indicated by a little chart below each recipe. I perused the instruction pages of the booklet and figured out that I should set my current pressure cooker to “high”.

Country Style Potatoes
serves 2
this recipe is written for an electric pressure cooker

  • scant tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 cups potatoes cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste

Saute the mushrooms and onions in the pressure cooker (my cooker has a “saute” setting). Add the potatotes, water, parsley, and salt and pepper.

Close the lid and set to “high pressure” and set the timer for “3 minutes”. When the timer beeps, quick-release the pressure.

Voila!

Country Style PotatoesThese were very good! And so fast and simple. I have to remember that it’s often worth the effort to carry the pressure cooker up from the basement. It really is time-saving, and clean-up is easy. I will make these again!