Thank you Martha S. for the sweet treat inspiration and no-bake revival. I made a few tweaks just to be different and use up some items in the pantry. These no bake cookies are delicious and probably a touch better for you from a macrolevel but so good you will want to eat more than a responsible portion…. Enjoy!
Apricot Chocolate No Bake Treats
1 cup almond butter (smooth or crunchy)1/3 cup honey (more or less depending on how sweet you are)
1 stick unsalted butter (less if your almond butter has lots of oil or is more liquidy)
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats, uncooked
½ cup toasted almond slivers or chopped bits, reserve a tablespoon for topping
1 heaping cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Generous ¾ cup chopped dried apricots, figs, strawberries, cranberries or other favorite dried fruit; reserve some to sprinkle on top
½ tsp coarse sea salt
Ingredients are flexible as this isn’t a precision recipe. Experiment!
Toast the almonds. I use slivers, put them in the large saucepan you will eventually use for recipe, turn up the heat and stirred around until aromatic and lightly browned. Pour almonds into a bowl and set aside. You can also toast in the oven.
Prepare your pans, if making bars. Line bottom and sides of a 7 x 11 or 8 x 8 pan with large sheet of parchment paper. You could also make these as drop cookies. Still use a piece of parchment paper on cookie sheet so that the treats are easy to move once cool.
Melt honey and almond butter over medium heat. Stir often.
Turn down the heat and begin adding handfuls of chocolate chips to the mix, stirring to melt.
Start to add butter in tablespoon increments. Stop when it seems fluid enough to mix in salt, oats, almonds and apricots. You can add remaining as you go if it feels to thick.
Pour or scoop mixture into prepared pan and press out evenly or drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheets. Top with reserved almonds and apricots. Chill for at least an hour.
Definitely the favorite of my two rhubarb desserts this year, next I might try something savory, but for now I present to you my recipe for Rhubarb Apple Fig Cake with Sour Cream White Chocolate Frosting. Based off of the general recipe I devised for carrot cake. This recipe is pretty forgiving in terms of volume of rhubarb, apples and figs that you add, so do not stress out. It will turn out oh so moist and delicious. The cake was cut up and served pretty quickly with the remaining delivered to neighbors. The recipe works great as cupcakes (makes ~ 24), layer cake, sheet or Bundt cake – pick your pan!
Rhubarb Apple Fig Cake with White Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground clove
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups sugar
1 ¼ cup canola oil
4 large eggs (room temp is best)
2 cups thin sliced rhubarb
2 cups grated apples (I did 1 cup grated and cup more “chunky”)
1 cup diced dried figs or golden raisins (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Decide which kind of pan you are going to use. If making a layer cake, prepare two 9 inch round cake pans by greasing (use shortening) and flouring the bottom and sides. Then trace the bottom of the pan and cut out two circles a touch smaller than the pan. Grease and flour one side of the paper and place floured side up in the pan. Be sure to tap out any extra flour in the pans. For a sheet cake, generously grease and flour bottom and sides of a 13 x 9 pan.
Make the batter: In a medium bowl, prepare the dry ingredients by whisking the flour, baking soda, cinnamon/nutmeg/clove and salt. No need to sift. In a larger bowl, mix the sugar and oil until well blended. Using a whisk, add the eggs one at time, mixing well each time. Add the chopped figs, and vanilla extract. Mix well and let them sit. This step is helpful if your figs or raisins are more dry, it will macerate them a bit. I bet you could soak them in rum or Cointreau too… hmmmm.
Grate the apple, no need to peel, and slice up rhubarb. I have done by hand and with food processor, pick your poison: arm work out or dishes.
If adding walnuts or pecans, you can optionally toast them whole in the oven for just a 5-10 minutes at 350 to really enhance flavor, then roughly chop. Roasting is in no way necessary, in fact you don’t even need nuts.
Starting mixing the dry ingredients into the batter bowl. Mixing well. Add in the rhubarb, apple and nuts (optional) and mix until combined and there is no more dry flour.
Pour into the prepared pans or lined cupcake pans.
Bake at 350 F for 40 minutes. Use the toothpick test to be sure it done. Toothpick should come out clean when inserted in the middle of the pan.
For layer cakes: Let the cake(s) cool in the pan for 10 minutes then run a knife around the edge and invert onto drying rack, allowing the cakes to cool completely before even thinking about frosting. Otherwise let cake cool in 13 x 9 before frosting.
Frost in your favorite way. Because cake is quite most I still did a crumb coat on the sheet cake. To do a crumb coat, scoop out about a cup of frosting into a separate bowl and then thinly frost the cake. This helps you keep the crumbs out of the final frosting. Wipe off you spatula or knife and then frost the rest of the cake. You will have frosting left over. Store any extra in the fridge and just try to not devour it.
Store the cake or cupcakes in the fridge or cool place before serving as the frosting might melt.
Cream together with electric mixer, the butter and sour cream. It will be lumpy but don’t worry. It will smooth out. Add in the melted (so still warm but not hot) white chocolate chips, mix again on high. Should be getting smoother. Add the powdered sugar, ½ cup at a time until the frosting is sweet enough for you. Mix until it is whipped up nice and smooth. I usually use about 1 ½ cups of powdered sugar.
For a simple sheet cake, I think you could easily be fine making a half batch of this frosting….
No, not all in the same cookie. Sheesh! This post is all about two classic cookie recipes, perfect for holiday gifting and eating. Both take a few extra steps but the results are so worth it. For the bonbons – the rustic uniqueness of each bon is adds to the flavor and sentiment. The bonbon recipe is my Grandma’s, and is the perfect marriage of peanut butter with a hit of chocolate, with a surprise crunch. The best part? No tempering required!
The Jam Thumbprints are the perfect way to showcase you homemade jams full of summer splendor or use up all those near empty jars hanging around in your fridge. This following recipe originally came from my childhood neighbor, Doreen, and is one of my mother’s favorite cookie. Dainty and pretty on a plate!
Makes about 3 dozen
2/3 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 egg yolks (save the whites)
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp salt
1 ½ cup sifted flour
2 slightly beaten egg white (see I told you)
¾ cup finely chopped walnuts (I have also seen coconut used in addition too, or instead of nuts)
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Cream butter and sugar till fluffy. Add egg yolks, vanilla and salt. Beat well.
Gradually add flour, mixing well.
Shape into small ¾ inch balls, dip each into egg whites, then roll in the nuts. I like to place the chopped nuts on a plate to make it easier to coat.
Place 1 inch apart on a greased cookie sheet. Don’t skip the greasing or use parchment paper. Trust me.
Press a dent in the cent with your thumb or finger (hence the name). Don’t forget this or you will have a walnut rolled shortbread ball. Again, trust me.
Bake in heated over for 15-17 minutes.
Let cool. Fill centers with jam just before serving, ideally. I did some of mine ahead of time and kept in refrigerator and results are ok.
Feel free to use different kinds o nuts. Think about almonds with cherry jelly! Pecans would be great too, or a “medley” if you want to use a bunch up. I use several kinds of jam in this batch including pear, blackberry, chokeberry and blueberry rhubarb.
Peanut Butter BonBons
Makes a crap ton, 96?
Note: these do take some time, so despite what other say, you don’t just “whip up” a batch. There is chilling, rolling, chilling, dipping and chilling involved. But still sooo worth it. You can top with sprinkles if you want or double dip in melted peanut butter chips after chocolate. I don’t always have cooking paraffin (not the manicure or canning stuff) handy, and it turns out just fine if omitted.
For BonBon filling or “ganache”
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, preferable unsalted, a little bit softened but not too much (easier to mix)
2 cups peanut butter, crunchy or smooth or a little bit of both
3 cups confectioners’ (powdered) sugar (taste and if you want the filling sweeter, add more sugar in ½ cup increments)
3 cups crispy rice (RK) cereal
For chocolate coating/shell:
1/2 block paraffin wax (which is about 2 ounces, be sure it is the baking kind)
12 ounce package chocolate chips, depending how good you are at shaking off the excess (or if you want thicker) you might need more chocolate. Plan on it.
About 1 tablespoon shortening to thin out the chocolate
Assorted sprinkles and candy decorations for topping, if desired. Not at all nervous
Mix the soft butter, peanut butter and powdered sugar together well. I highlight recommend using a stand mixer, it is an arm work out.
Add the cereal in three parts and mix by hand, to avoid crushing the lil crispies.
Put the mixture in the fridge for a bit to cool down so that it will be easier to roll
Roll into bite size balls, about 1 inch in diameter. Set on a cookie sheet or pan lined with wax paper or parchment. Put these back into the fridge to cool.
Prepare the chocolate coating by melting the chocolate chips in a double boiler. Add the shortening if the mixture still seems to thick. This is the step to add the paraffin. If ysing the paraffin don’t use the shortening.
Using a fork to hold the ball and a tooth pick to help move it onto wax paper and other “maneuvers” , dip the chilled peanut butter balls, roll them around to get them covered (all while on the fork) and then move it back right to left to “shake” off the excess chocolate. Then using the toothpick push the covered ball onto the lined pan. When the pan is full, let the chocolate harden and chill in fridge. If you want to add sprinkles, add them before the chocolate hardens.
If planning on double dipping into peanut butter. Repeat when the chocolate is cool, then using a clean double boiler, melt the peanut butter chips and proceed. You could also melt and then drizzle the melted peanut butter (or whatever, white chocolate?) over the top of the chilled bonbons while still on the parchment paper.
These bonbons are also known as buckeye balls, but that just doesn’t frankly sound very festive or tasty. They also aren’t totally surrounded in chocolate, in order to look like eyes? None the less popular though. For a double boiler I like to use one of my Glass Pyrex bowls on top of a sauce pan full of water. Works great for me!
Tis my favorite season! Seattle fall foliage put on a great show this past weekend, hence inspiring me to bake this easy, pumpkin cookie recipe. The original recipe was made by the amiable University of Montana Knowles Hall Secretary Renate H. for her darling staff of young resident assistants, moi included. I have modified it a little bit but the pumpkin and maple essence ring true.
Pumpkin Cookies with Maple Frosting
1 cup shortening
2 cups of sugar
2 cups of pumpkin (note there might only be 1 1/2 cups in a can [Libbey conspiracy theory], I added ½ cup grated carrot, but I think you could use apple too)
2 tsp vanilla
4 cups all purpose flour
2/3 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon (and some nutmeg if feeling adventurous)
Scoop onto cookie sheets and bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Cool before frosting. Enjoy!
Prepare the frosting by creaming:
½ stick soften butter
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons maple syrup (or 1 tsp maple extract, but you might need a little more milk then)
½ cup half and half or milk (or evaporated milk)
If you don’t like maple, do vanilla instead. Feel free to add raisins or nuts to the cookies too. I might top this batch with some orange zest once they cool a bit more.
Many of you have heard my rant before about Asian desserts and also know that I love old school cookbooks and recipes. Madame Wong’s Long-Life Chinese Cookbook (1977) is a more recent edition to my cookshelf and happens to have one of the shortest dessert chapters ever. Featured alongside recipes for Almond Delight (extract flavored gelatin), Eight Precious Pudding (good luck for sure), Peking Wall (dried fruit and nuts stacked like a wall) and Red-in-Snow Mousse (sounds communist and involves crab apples) is Steamed Pears.
Unassuming, of Peking Tradition, two ingredients, no gelatin and a serving of Chinese wisdom. This turned out tasty, perfect fall but does need (like so many things) whipping cream or vanilla ice cream dolloped alongside.
Pears are a popular Chinese dessert. They are good for colds and coughs and are soothing to the throat. This fruit is said to stop aging and keep you young. It is advisable for those with high blood pressure to eat pears often.
6 tablespoons honey
Cut 1-2 inches from the top of each pear. Reserve tops for lids. Core each pear but do not make a hole in the bottom. I used my trusty melon baller. Then fill the pears with honey. I also sprinkled just a pinch of cinnamon on the top of the pear before replacing the lid. Place pears upright on a plate. Place the plate on a rack in a bottom or steamer. Steam covered for 30 minutes. Serve hot. Could prepare up to the point of steaming in advance.
These were quite tasty. For pears, since I canned up all my Asian pears (and they would probably be too watery and crisp for this), I used Bosc and a random Velveteen pear.
Wondering what the heck the other desserts are? Me too. I haven’t made them yet (or maybe ever) but happily share the recipes below. If you make them let me know.
Almond Delight –You must be serene when you cook Chinese.
Eight Precious Pudding – This is a famous traditional banquet dessert. Usually it contains eight kinds of dried candied fruits that represent eight precious stones. The combination of sweet rice and bean paste gives it an exquisite taste. [beans are not dessert]
Red Bean Paste Recipe
Peking Wall – This wall is a thing of beauty, not only to see but to taste, as well. [I think it might actually be fun to build and you would learn a cool new skill to make threads with chopsticks].
Red-in-Snow Mousse – This is a Western dessert, turned Chinese with crab apple sauce by the proprietor of Sun Ya restaurant in Shanghai 50 years ago. Red is the color that gladdens the heart of ant Oriental, it has become a most popular dessert. [as mentioned, sounds a wee bit communist and likely the represents two of the few crab apple recipes out there.] Involves a Jell-O mold so you now its legit.
Red Bean Paste
So who is Madame Wong? If alive today, she be 108 years old. (she was in her 70s when her book was published). Earned legend status teaching at UCLA in Extension classes. Her mantra was “Be optimistic, ignore bad things, love people, think of others more, and of course, eat well-balanced meals.” Favorite foods: Bean curd and bok choy. Was friends with Barbara Streisand. Madame Wong passed away in 2008 (age 103), and truly lived a long life.
Words of Wisdom from Madame Wong – No medicine can cure stupidity.
Even though I blog recipes and read blogs about recipes. Nothing beats a cook book. I find vintage cook books, especially those from churches or guilds, particularly entertaining. A current favorite featured today is Seafair Cookbook 1951
Such culinary treasures contained within the yellowed pages: Different recipes, many long lost, others with ingredients not oft in modern kitchens (hard fat, gelatin, corn syrup), names that make a socially conscious cook or really any HUMAN uncomfortable/angry and while curious/do your reasearch, are just straight up racist names for recipes (I removed reference) and plenty of recipes that make you go hmmmmm (Norwegian Fish Mold, Pot Roasted Ptarmigan, Chicken la Strange).
Unfortunately, I’m going to let you down after the build-up. I am going to just bake up an interesting cookie recipe since I have some loitering oranges and a husband willing to go to the store to get carrots. Enjoy!
Sunshine Cookies – p 171
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons grated orange rind
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup raisins
1 cup grated raw carrot
½ cup broken nuts
¼ cup milk
½ cup shortening
2 tablespoons water
Sift flour and measure and add baking powder, salt and sift together. Fold into flour mixture: raisins and nuts. Add shortening, grated orange rind, sugar, unbeaten egg, grated carrots, milk and water. Bake 10 minutes at 375 F.
Submitted by Mrs. R.O. Daniel – Amethyst Chapter #138 Order of Eastern Star
For the water I did squeezed orange juice, since I had the orange right there. I also made up a simple orange glaze using approximately:
1 cup powdered sugar, grated orange zest and at least 2 T freshly squeezed orange juice (just keep adding until it is the right consistency for you
So, what exactly are Norwegian Fish Mold, Pot Roasted Ptarmigan and Chicken la Strange? Below is word for word what was submitted, including some pointed food quotes, and of course, a small dose of my ad libs. I think I might actually try a few recipes, once you see the ingredients they lose some mystery, other than the Fish Mold…still mysterious but probably not to different from Asian fish balls.
Norwegian Fish Mold – 2 quart mold
2 pounds fresh halibut or Ling Cod
Nutmeg to taste
2/3 tablespoon cornstarch
1 ½ cups milk
2/3 tablespoon salt
1 ½ cups cream
Grind raw fish very fine. Add cornstarch, salt and nutmeg and beat for 10 minutes with an electric mixer. (Authentically, the mixture should be beaten in a wooden bowl with an old-fashioned wooden potato masher, for an extra fine fluffy texture. A slightly courser version results with an electric mixer). Combine milk and cream and add to fish, on table spoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until the consistency of heavy whipped cream. Pack lightly into buttered mold; cover with waxed paper; set in pan of hot water; bake in a slow over (325 F) for 30 minutes or until firm.
Boil together fishbones, skins, celery leaves, small onion, salt, 3 cups water. Strain, add 1 cup rich milk and make a medium thick white sauce. Add very finely sliced celery, chives and ¼ cup sherry, shrimps, and crabmeat in the amounts you wish. Serve on fish mold.
Mrs. Maimon Samuels – St. Mark’s Cathedral, p. 301
O&H: Here is a blog with a tute and photos. Maybe just add some truffles?
Pot Roasted Ptarmigan
1 large onion
Salt and pepper
1 clove garlic
1 bay leaf
Cut ptarmigan into pieces for serving. Shake a few pieces of meat at a time in a paper bag in which you have a mixture of flour, salt, pepper and thyme. Place in a hot flat dutch over or heavy frying pan. A little butter adds a better flavor. While browning, add 1 large onion and a clove of garlic. After each piece is thoroughly browned, add enough boiling water to cover and a bay leaf. Simmer for 1 ½ to 2 hours. Thicken gravy if desired.
Mrs. W F Baldwin – Church of the Nazarene, Nome, Alaska p. 367
O&H: Ptarmigans are small chicken-like birds which live in the arctic lands, and are found most commonly on tundra hiding in rocks or bushes.
Chicken La Strange
Bone boiled chicken. Butter a baking dish and put a layer of the chicken then a layer of sliced boiled eggs and a layer of mushrooms. Season and repeat until the dish is full as desired. About 3 eggs required. Take one cup of cream and 1 cup of the chicken broth with 1 tablespoon flour. Pour over chicken and bake.
Mrs. Sol G Levy – Temple de Hirsch, 46
But it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. Rev 10:9
O&H: Internets are oddly void of references to La Strange. Sounds like an ancestor to canned cream of mushroom soup recipe hacking.
Do you have some favorite vintage recipes to share?