Saturday, 9 February 2013

2005 - Where Did December Go?

Ah, here it is Jan. 1, so I had better add a postscript to 2005's Christmas baking. Christmas always comes faster than you expect and I was too busy baking and wrapping and shopping to make any more diary entries.

My brother, Michael, went out to Mom's house and made Whoopie PiesBuckeyes and Nestle's Chocolate Chip Cookies. He's becoming quite the baker!

Lisa made Poor Man's CakeSnickerdoodlesMagic Cookie Bars and Pillsbury Sugar Cookies (ready-to-bake rolls). Poor Man's Cake has been in our family's recipe box for years.  It's a chocolate quick-bread, studded with raisins, that is traditionally made in a tube (or Bundt) pan. My great-grandmother used to make it, back in the 1940s, when sugar, butter and eggs were rationed. It was a "poor man's" fruit cake that was served at Christmas time. She once accidentally made it with cayenne pepper and the family teased her for years! The recipe itself dates back to the late 1800s.

I've written the recipe down, even though I don't usually make it because Lisa and Aunt Catherine do. The recipe is strange because it's the one Great-Grandma Berghaus used (so I copied it just as she had it). So it doesn't read like a contemporary recipe at all. Still, the results are satisfying.

Mom made loads of cookies and Pumpkin Bread. She and I both love the new Coconut Cream-Filled Macaroons we found in Martha Stewart's Cookies magazine. 

I don't think I'm going to make the Snickerdoodle Pinwheels again. I love making them and they look great — but they're just not cinnamon-y enough for me. I say that about all the Snicks I make. One day, I'll find one that's perfect.

I can't believe I didn't make Sugar Cookies this year. I'll have to get going just as early next year so I can be sure to make them. They need to be made first thing, though, because they take so much time and effort. But they are certainly worth it; and kids love them!

Poor Man's Cake

4 c water
1/2 c oil
1 box raisins (12 oz)

Cook until the raisins are soft.

Sift together:
4 c flour
2 c sugar
3 1/2 tsp spices (ginger, cinnamon, all-spice and cloves)
4 tsp baking powder
1/3 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 c cocoa

Mix the raisins and the water/oil mixture into the dry ingredients.

Bake at 350 for 1 hour. 

Obviously, some steps aren't described as well as they could be. For instance, boil the raisins, oil and water for about 3 minutes and let cool completely before adding to the dry ingredients. The measurements for the spices aren't  precise. I should think 1 tsp each of the first three; and 1/2 tsp of the cloves. You should grease and flour (or spray) the cake pan generously. Watch the cake when it's in the oven; it could be done in as little as 30 to 50 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

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