Sunday, February 26, 2012

Guest Post: Mom's Cinnamon Buns

A few weeks ago I asked my Mom to do a guest post about the cinnamon rolls she used to make when I was growing up. She agreed, and her recipe is below.

Thanks Mom!

It's funny how your mind plays memory tricks on you though. I could have sworn her rolls were made of biscuit dough, but apparently not. That just might explain why mine never turn out like hers... Ya think?

Cinnamon Buns  
One of the things I enjoyed doing in the 1970's was, making homemade yeast cinnamon buns.

In order to bake something that took hours to make, involved a strategy on my part.

1. There would have to be enough uninterrupted hours
2. The laundry would have to be caught up
3. The antique kitchen hutch would have to be ready for bread making.

Editorial Note: Here's a picture of a hutch that looks a lot like the one we had:

I used to sit at the hutch with an old mechanical adding machine and pretend I was a secratary. Très glamorous!

I’m sure this list will seem strange (to the average baker) but, alas, as a working mother & wife (who also worked Saturday mornings). This is how I figured that... Sunday was The Day.

I think any yeast bread recipe would do for cinnamon buns; I just needed to make a sweeter dough, by adding 3 tablespoons additional sugar with the other ingredients. ( I used the recipe for bread from the Betty Crocker Cookbook.)

Here’s a tip for using the yeast. One package of yeast is dissolved in ½ cup of warm water 110-115 degrees; let this wait for about five minutes before proceeding.

After all the ingredients were mixed together, it was time to manually knead the dough for 10 to 15 minutes. Then, I shaped the dough into a ball, and place in greased bowl, covered by a hot, wet, clean dish towel. I needed a nice warm spot, for the dough to rise, so I placed it on the floor next to the floor furnace. Depending on how warm the spot was, the dough would rise enough between an hour to an hour and a half.

After the dough had risen to about double in size, it was time to punch it down. Then I rolled the dough into a large rectangle, about 24 inches long and 16 inches wide. Next I buttered the dough throughly with softened butter and sprinkled a mixture of brown sugar (about 1/2 cup) and cinnamon (about 2 tablespoons,) and raisins (about one cup) over the top (this is the time to add chopped nuts, if you like, although I never used any nuts.) I then rolled up the rectangle, starting with one long side and working toward the other long side. I pinched the edge, and the ends of the rectangle to keep the filling from falling out.

Now it is time to cut this dough into the cinnamon buns. I found that a long thin bread knife, makes a nice clean cut. I made the cuts about one inch wide, placing the cut side down touching each other on a large cookie sheet. The buns are now ready to rise for another hour, so I covered them with a hot wet cloth, as before, and then down next to the furnace to rise for the last time.

When the rolls had risen for an hour, I lightly touched a roll to check to make sure it does not dent in when touched. Time to bake. 425 for 20-25 minutes.

As the buns baked, the smell in the house and outside the house was so wonderful; voices were often heard asking, "Are they done yet?"

Time to eat cinnamon buns!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

There's No Place Like Home

I've been traveling, with no time for posts. Or not enough discipline for posts. Not sure which.

It was a good trip, with much that was accomplished. But it is so very good to be home.

Big news! My Mom sent me her cinnamon roll recipe, which I'll be posting shortly. YAY!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

In Honor of National Plum Pudding Day: Jell-O Plum Pudding!

I picked up this little cookbook just in time for today! National Plum Pudding Day!

While it doesn't contain a publication date, I'm guessing it came out in the early 1970s. Maybe late 1960s.

As luck would have it, I came across a plum pudding recipe in it. Who woulda thunk it?

Not me. It would never occur to me to put plum pudding and Jell-O together. But turns out it's been a thing for a century.

First, here's the recipe in my booklet:

Jello-O Plum Pudding
A make-ahead holiday dessert that's simple to prepare.

1 package (3 oz.) Jell-O Lemon or Orange Gelatin
Dash of salt
1 cup boiling water
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1cup cold water
3/4 cup finely cut raisins
3/4 cup finely cut cooked prunes
1/4 cup finely cut citron
3/4 cup finely chopped nuts
3/4 cup Post Grape-Nuts Cereal

Dissolve Jell-O Gelatin and salt in boiling water. Add spices and cold water. Chill until very thick. Fold in fruits, nuts, and cereal. Spoon into a 1-quart mold. Chill until firm. Un-mold. Serve with a custard or hard sauce, if desired. Makes bout 4 cups, or 8 to 10 servings.

NOTE: If desired, 1/34 cups cooked dried figs may be substituted for the raisins, prunes, and citron, and 3/4 cup crushed vanilla wafers or graham crackers for the cereal.

I found an ad from the early 1900s which highlights Jell-O plum pudding, apparently for children's parties:

And here's one from the 1940s, starring Kate Smith:

Apparently it's her grandmother's recipe. Cool, no?

She uses raspberry Jell-O, which is something I saw in other recipes around the interweb. These versions claim that it makes the pudding a lovely shade of pinkish.

So there you have it. Jell-O Plum Pudding. I only wish I'd had one more day lead time so that you could have made it for today.

What better way to celebrate National Plum Pudding Day? There's always room for Jell-O. Especially when it contains prunes and Grape-Nuts.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sack O' Sauce in a Can O' Meat

All due thanks to the Cathy Peters and the Gallery of Regrettable Foods for this image:

Just wow.

Of course I had to find more examples for your culinary(?) enjoyment.

This one may be my favorite. Apparently wieners in a can were just the thing to have on hand in case the doorbell rings when you least expect it. It even comes with recipe suggestions, such as "Barbecue wieners stuffed with dressing".


This picture has slightly better image quality so that you can really see the juicy meaty chunks:

Plus check out the little egg shaped guy holding a huge wiener in the lower right corner.

What do you suppose his story is?

The ghost of sack o' sauce past?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Chocolate Fluffernutter Cake

DiDi asked me to make a cake yesterday. She'd bought a Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge cake mix and a container of Betty Crocker Whipped Fluffy White Frosting.


Being a self-sacrificing sort, I complied.

I'd feel like a poser if I made a cake from a box without kicking things up a notch, so I substituted sour cream for the oil in the recipe and threw in 1/4 bag of mini chocolate chips.

She'd asked for coconut in the icing. Unfortunately I didn't have any, which is a mystery, because the last I knew there were two bags in the cabinet. Is shredded coconut like socks in the laundry, disappearing without a trace?

I wouldn't think so. But I can't explain it.

After accepting my apologies graciously, DiDi's second request was that I melt some peanut butter flavored chocolate chips and spread it around on top.

(I don't suppose I should call them chocolate chips when they aren't chocolate. But "baking chips" sounds a bit snooty, and this way you all know what I mean.)

Turns out the Whipped Fluffy White frosting is rather marshmallowy, and reminds me of Fluff.

I melted the chips with a bit of oil to help with consistency, and poured it in stripes atop the frosted cake, then pulled a spatula through in an attempt to make it look fancy. The peanut butter goo was a bit thick to cooperate fully, but the marbling wasn't bad. And the flavor combo is an absolute winner!

Yum! DiDi's suggestion was brilliant!  It was like a fluffernutter sandwich with chocolate cake as the bread!

Next time I might just mix peanut butter with confectioners sugar and milk to make a softer consistency... the chip goo hardened back up so that the prettiness factor is disrupted in the cutting. But other than that, the combination is fabulous.

Luckily we had guests last night so we aren't forced to eat the whole thing ourselves. Because that would be sad.

Wouldn't it?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Two Super Bowl Menus. One Lesson Learned.

I was told that since I am now a resident of New England, I am required to be a fan of the Sox, the Pats, and the Celtics.


Given that the Patriots are playing in the Super Bowl this weekend, I figured I should develop a menu which proves my allegiance. Thought it should have an appropriate color scheme and use signature New England ingredients like cranberries, maple syrup, clams, and blueberries.

Here's what I came up with.
Patriotic Chips and North Shore Clam Dip
Red, White and Blue Nachos

Cranberry Glazed Bacon Jalapeno Bites
Mini Ballpark Dogs

Blueberry, Blackberry, and Strawberry Skewers with MapleNilla Sauce
Nantucket Cranberry Pie

Believe it or not, I even considered forcing in some baked beans and brown bread, in the form of a finger sandwich.

And then I realized: No. Just No.

Issues of this great an import need to be left to the experts.

So this is what I'll be serving on Sunday:
  • Buffalo Chicken Wings
  • Helluva Good French Onion Dip with wavy potato chips
  • Some sort of frozen bread pocket appetizer thingy that's supposed to taste like potato skins
  • Red, White, and Blue Nachos (These are apparently standard enough to stay on the list.)
  • Mini hot dogs in grape jelly and barbecue sauce
  • Veggies and dip (as a nod to actual nutrition)
I think even Tebow would approve of the change. Hopefully he prayed for me.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Happy Groundhog Day, Country Style!

Hope you planned ahead, because this little guy needs to a cure for a few days before cooking.

Country Style Groundhog
1 groundhog
1/2 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. soda
1/4 c. cooking oil
1/2 tsp. sugar

NOTE: Clean and skin as soon as possible. Remove all scent glands. Cut off head, feet and tail. Cure in cool place by suspending from hook approximately 4 days. When ready to cook, lard according to recipe.

Dress groundhog as for rabbit, removing the small sacs in the back and under the forearm. Soak groundhog overnight in salted water to remove wild flavor. Combine flour, salt, pepper and soda; rub into groundhog pieces. Brown groundhog in hot oil in skillet; sprinkle with sugar. Reduce heat; add 1/2 cup water. Cover; simmer for about 30 minutes or until tender. Remove cover; cook for 10 minutes longer.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Valentine Luncheon Menus: Veal Croquettes, Sunshine Sauce, and Gay Garnishes!

Planning lunch for your honey on Valentine's Day? Here are a few menus suggested in Meals Tested Tasted and Approved, published by the Good Housekeeping Institute in 1933.

..... 1 .....

Tomato Bouillon
Jellied Crab Meat Salad
Clover Biscuits
Steamed Chocolate Pudding
Sunshine Sauce (Recipe at the bottom of this post)

..... 2 .....

Fruit Cocktail
Veal Croquettes with Tomato Sauce
Baking Powder Biscuits
Celery stuffed with Cheese
Strawberry Ice Cream in Heart Molds

..... 3 .....

Chicken Bouillon
Creamed Scallops and Mushrooms on Toast
Pimiento Sandwiches
Radish Roses
Celery Hearts
Tangerine Tapioca
Sponge Drops
Candy Hearts

..... 4 .....

Cream of Celery Soup
Croutons cut in Heart Shapes
Chicken Mousse
Green Peas
Potato Chips
Raspberry Ice Cream

Sunshine Sauce
2 egg yolks
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup heavy cream

Beat the egg yolks, add sugar and vanilla and beat together. Just before serving add the cream which has been whipped until stiff.