Sooo.. I haven’t been posting (obvi, as the kids say). I have a very good reason (excuse, whatever) for this. Within the first few weeks of starting this blog I gained five pounds. That’s right. FIVE. Fan-freaking-tastic. Now I’m not saying this is all because of the bloggy-blog goodness. Mostly it’s just because I have a total addiction to sugar and have a hard time knowing when to say no. Adding delicious baked goods to my over eating repertoire just hasn’t helped the situation. I still love the idea behind this and am going to try to keep up with it. However, I think I may need to try a different approach.

That is where this post comes in. While this recipe may not be vintage (I have no idea, I found it on AllRecipes.com), it’s still a great fall recipe that can easily be made “healthy”. I’ve made these cookies twice in the last few weeks. They are awesome. I substituted Apple Sauce for oil and, in the second batch, added craisins for some added dimension. According to the recipe calorie calculator thing I use these have 162 calories and 4 grams of fat each.. which isn’t great but it’s not as bad as the 200 calories they are each if you use oil. Cut the calories and fat even more by reducing the chocolate chips to 1 cup and increasing to 1 cup craisins. This recipe is an excellent base to play around with. I think next time I’ll throw in some chopped walnuts. Mmm…

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies (original found on here, love AllRecipes.com)

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli %60 cocoa dark chocolate chips- delicious and HUGE)
  • 1/2 cup craisins (If you’re more of a chocolate fan and don’t mind the extra calories leave these out and increase chocolate chips to 2 cups)
  1. Combine pumpkin, sugar, applesauce and egg. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt.
  2. Dissolve the baking soda with the milk and stir in.
  3. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix well.
  4. Add vanilla, chocolate chips and nuts.
  5. Drop by spoonful on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F  for approximately 10 minutes (mine took 12) or until lightly brown and firm.

Apple Cake Pie

I adore fall. Summer is nice, spring is pleasant and winter is tolerable but fall.. fall is perfection. Crisp air, an amazing color palette, the crunch of fallen leaves, the first hints of woodsmoke curling up from chimneys.. it just makes me want to snuggle under a blanket with a hot cup of tea and a good book (which, by the way, is one of my all time favorite activities).  In honor of the start of the fall season we went apple picking at a  local orchard. It turned out to be just the right time to go. The Cortland and Macintosh apple trees were loaded with ripe apples and there was plenty of low hanging fruit for my kids to pick all by themselves. We came away with a pretty large bag, therefore it was my duty to find a recipe that would do this particularly delicious fall fruit justice.

I found the following recipe on www.twisted-candy.com. This is a fun site where one woman has recorded her own vintage recipe collection. She types the recipes out exactly as she finds them so some can be a little cryptic. I actually chose this one specifically because it wasn’t as clear and concise as some of the others but I could still follow it.  You really get the sense that a woman who made this a thousand times took a few moments to write it out for a friend. That and the title, Apple Cake Pie, indicated complete awesomeness. As I said, the recipe took a little bit of interpretation, but in the end it came out great. This is sort of like a cakey version of apple crisp. The batter you pour over the top of the apples makes a sugary, buttery crust that has crisp edges and a cake-like texture. Like apple crisp or apple pie  the majority of the dish consists of sliced apples in a cinnamon sugar mixture. It’s a nice twist on the traditional pie or crisp. It also happens to be really pretty.  I would love to make it again and try adding some cranberries. The balance of tart and sweet along with the added color would make for a pretty spectacular fall desert.

It didn't last long.

Apple Cake Pie (recipe exactly as it was transcribed with my notes in italics)

Note on Starla’s Vintage Recipe Collection: “This originally came from Miss Eva Bull, circa 1950 something.”

Grease 2 pie pans.  Peel and slice thin, 4 cups of apples.  Place in pans and mix 1/2 cup of sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.  Sprinkle in pans and mix 1/2 cup of sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. (this is just an accidentally repeated step I think- 1/2 cup sugar with 1tsp cinnamon is plenty for both pies)  Sprinkle over apples and let stand while you sift together 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon of baking powder and a dash of salt, all in a 2 quart bowl.

Mix in another bowl: 1 beaten egg, 1/2 cup of milk, 3 tablespoons of water, 1/2 cup of melted butter or margarine.  Add all at once to flour mixture.  Stir until smooth.  Pour over apples and bake in 325 degree oven, until well browned (I found this took 50-60 minutes).  Bake below center of oven.

Chocolate Banana Brownies

I swear I wasn’t going to bake another thing this week after the double blueberry cake debacle. Oh, and did I forget to mention we then went to my husband’s grandparents’ house on Sunday with said blueberry cake? What did I see when we walked into the kitchen? That’s right. My husband’s grandmother had also felt the pull of the berry. There, on the counter, sat yet another blueberry cake. Awesome. Of course I HAD to try it (multiple times) to taste test against my own. After that it’s not surprising that I decided I would take a few days off from the baked goods.

Good plan.. until yesterday morning. I went to move a bunch of bananas and the entire big stem thing that holds them all together just sort of came off in my hand. I was left with five open ended bananas. I quickly gave each of my kids one.. so that left three. What’s a girl to do with three bananas that are going to go brown within a day? This girl heads straight to Google.  I checked through my current vintage sources and found nothing that tickled my fancy. The idea of another fruit bread or cake was completely unappealing. The cake was delicious, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve been eating it for THREE FREAKING DAYS.

I was about to throw in the towel and make banana muffins when I came across this. Banana chocolate brownies you say? YES PLEASE. Interwebs don’t fail me now.

I didn’t get a good picture of these. I wasn’t really planning to post about them because they don’t fit with the whole vintage theme. However, they are yummy and a great alternative for using up bananas on the edge of over ripe-ness so I felt I should share. They’re dense, fudgey and moist.. everything you want in a brownie. The hint of banana flavor ads a nice little bonus to what is already a great brownie recipe.  Plus, there’s no oil in these so they’re almost healthy!

Chocolate Banana Brownies ( from nofearentertaining.blogspot.com)

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark for some intense chocolatey flavor)
1/2 cup mashed bananas
2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup flour
2 eggs
Sliced bananas for topping (If you’re going to top with banana slices I recommend doing it half way through the cooking time. Mine were pretty over-done.. but maybe that’s just because my oven is possessed)

Preheat oven to 350°F degrees.

Mix banana with 3/4 cup of cocoa powder. Then add 2 cup of sugar, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 2/3 cup flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix to combine.

Grease a 9X9 baking pan and bake for 35-40 minutes.

Remove from oven.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes and gently remove from pan to cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before cutting and serving.

As this is a brand new little blog I feel I need to begin this post by explaining a couple of key points.

1. I am a baking novice. I really enjoy making stuff and LOVE to eat but in no way consider myself an expert or even on the outskirts of the suburbs of being an expert. I don’t own any fancy equipment. Actually, half the time I don’t even own the most basic equipment called for. This is a fun learning experience for me.  Any tips or general advice are more than welcome.

2. I am a total spaz. I screw up often- forget ingredients, read things wrong, skip steps. It’s kind of how I roll and I’m ok with that. If I screw up I’ll let you know. You can totally laugh at me disdainfully. I won’t be offended.

3. I am a wife, a mother of two and I work full time. Also, I just managed to get back to my happy weight/size. To protect my waist line as well as my sanity I’m sticking to posting once a week.

There. True confessions are over.. for now. Glad I got that off my chest.

This week’s baking gem is from Cooking Downeast, a cookbook by Marjorie Standish published in 1969. In 1948 Standish began a long run as a columnist for the Maine Sunday Telegram. This cookbook and it’s follow up, Keep Cooking the Maine Way, are compilations of her favorite recipes received from readers through the years.  In short they are fantastic references for the collection I’m attempting to build.

I’ve found so many interesting recipes in the last couple of weeks  it’s been tough to choose what to make first. When I saw a recipe for Melt In Your Mouth Blueberry Cake I was like, uh, duh. The name says MELT IN YOUR MOUTH.

I mentioned I’m a total spaz, right? So, I actually ended up making this cake twice. The first time through it looked nice, smelled awesome and tasted.. good. Good in sort of a yummy, made from scratch cake way, but not Melt In Your Mouth amazing. I, of course, had to eat half the cake to figure out that I FORGOT TO MEASURE THE BLUEBERRIES. I used frozen, so I had set a bowl of them aside to thaw (no, I didn’t measure them first, that would involve THINKING and being PRACTICAL). When it was time to add them I just dumped to bowl of berries into the mix without checking to see if it was the right amount. End result: a lovely dense cake with random patches of blueberry goodness few and far between.

I thought about just letting it go.. posting pics and writing about how sure I am that this cake would be scrumptious if one were to actually follow the recipe. But, dude, I wanted delicious melt-in-your-mouth blueberry cake. So, I tried again, this time adding so many blueberries that the batter I poured into the cake pan was literally blue.

What do you know? Actually measuring the ingredients when baking makes a difference. This cake is GOOD. Not just good. GOOD. Ms. Standish was not lying. It’s like a blueberry muffin met a coffee cake and said, “You’re delicious, I’m delicious. Let’s get together and make a mouthwatering baby.”

The beauty of it is in the simplicity of flavors. In typical Maine fashion it forgoes the frilly spices and fancy toppings and gets straight to the point: showcasing the blueberry.  Not that I would be adverse to dressing this up with a streusel topping or mixed berries. I would totally go there. But it definitely holds its own as is. It’s the perfect compliment to any brunch.

Melt In Your Mouth Blueberry Cake (from Cooking DownEast by Marjorie Standish)

2 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 t. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sifted flour
1 t. baking powder
1/3 cup milk
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries (I used frozen Maine blueberries)

Beat egg whites until stiff. Add about 1/4 cup sugar to keep them stiff.

Cream shortening, add salt and vanilla to this. Add remaining sugar gradually. Add unbeaten egg yolks and beat until light and creamy. Add sifted dry ingredients alternately with the milk. Fold in beaten whites. Fold in the fresh blueberries. (Take a bit of the flour called for in recipe and gently shake blueberries in it so they won’t settle).

Turn into a greased 8 X 8 inch pan. Sprinkly top with granulated or powdered sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.

The Whoopie Pie adventure I had a couple of weeks ago has inspired me to start tracking down and baking vintage recipes. I figure I like baking, I like old stuff (my husband can attest to that.. I kid, I kid!) why not bake some old stuff? And by that I do not mean baking with old ingredients.. I just mean old instructions.. and now I am officially rambling. Anyway, I love the fact that certain recipes are passed down generation to generation because they are not only delicious, but comforting and sentimental. I’ve made it my mission to compile a collection of recipes that reflect the lives and times of the women who made them. Also, I just want an excuse to bake yummy stuff.

My first official Bake to The Future adventure brought me back to the 1960’s- a decade of free love and bralessness. Also, apparently, the decade in which housewives liberated themselves from their kitchens by concocting insanely simple recipes that are still filled with that homemade-baked-from-scratch goodness. Behold, the birth of the Impossible Pie. There are an infinite number of variations of these pies. In theory, one could live on nothing but Impossible Pie from breakfast through desert. Basically it’s a base of baking mix (I used Bisquick- they capitalized on the Impossible Pie phenomenon by publishing the recipes on their boxes in the ’80’s), milk and eggs. You then add anything from bacon and cheese to sugar and coconut, depending on what type of dish you’re looking for. I chose to make the Impossible Coconut Pie due to a mysterious over-abundance of shredded coconut in my cupboard.

The instructions for this recipe are so ridiculously easy you’ll feel like it doesn’t even really count as baking. You literally throw all of the ingredients into one bowl, blend them together, then pour them in a greased pie plate. Every version of this I’ve seen requires a blender. I, being the domestic goddess that I am, do not own a blender. I just beat the Hell out of it with an electric mixer. At first I was afraid that this method may have  somehow magically cursed the recipe, that I had somehow destroyed the easiest pie on the planet to make. I say this because the substance I ended up pouring into my pie plate so closely resembled vomit. I know, I know, not something you want to envision while thinking about food, but I’m just giving it to you straight. If you decide to attempt this pie you will see and you will say “Ah, yes.. vomit.”

Moving on.. As you may or may not have inferred from my previous description, this is a very liquidy mixture. I made the mistake of placing my pie plate on a cookie sheet in an attempt to get it from counter to oven without slopping it all over the place. The plan worked fine until the cookie sheet did this funky bendy warpy thing in the oven. The result: Massive spillage. My husband and I had to do some quick recon. Luckily we’re faster at stopping spills than BP (poor taste?). He held up the pie plate while I grabbed the custard-filled cookie sheet. Crisis averted. From there the baking process was uneventful. At 50 minutes the pie was a lovely golden brown and smelled like heaven.

It ain't pretty but it's damn good.

And the final product? Delicious. The baking mix forms a sort of crust while the coconut and butter rise to the top to create a macaroon like layer over the custardy filling.  Good stuff.  As you can tell from the pics, it’s not the prettiest or most impressive baked good. However, it does have a fantastic flavor and is just as yummy cold as it is warm.  If you are a custard and coconut fan I highly recommend it.

Please excuse the poor picture quality.. my camera batteries died so these were taken with a cell phone. You get the point, though.

Impossible Coconut Pie

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup baking mix (I used Bisquick)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup white sugar (I ran out of white sugar and ended up using 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/4 cup brown)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flaked or shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350′ F. Lightly grease 9 X 1 1/4 inch pie plate. Place all ingredients in blender container. Cover and blend on high speed 15 seconds. Pour into pie plate. Bake until golden brown and knife inserted in center comes out clean, 50-55 minutes. Serve warm and refrigerate any remaining pie.

%d bloggers like this: