Quick Coffee Cake

Quick Coffee Cake RecipeMy kids swoon over the coffee cake at one of those chains that sells coffee. You know the one on every street corner. The price and the scary nutrition info keeps me from indulging them more than once every couple of years. I like coffee cake too. Not that one especially, but most any coffee cake can woo me–particularly one warm out of the oven.

This one has a great advantage over the usual coffee cake recipe–almost no mess possible and truly a QUICK coffee cake–quicker than making a run for the coffee shop, standing in line for your drink and pastry order and getting home. The other advantage…if you bought one too many loaves of bread or have made one too many–you can give it a fresh taste for breakfast.

Quick Coffee Cake

1 loaf unsliced bread
Melted butter or margarine
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

Remove crusts from bread; (save for bread pudding or put out with your feeder for the birds) cut loaf in 1/2 lengthwise. Brush tops and sides with butter or margarine. Combine flour, sugar, 1/4 tsp of cinnamon. Add 1/3 cup butter and margarine; mix until crumbly. Sprinkle crumbs on bread. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon. Bake at 400 for 15 min.

Recipe originally from The Pocket Cookbook, Elizabeth Woody, 1942

Fruit Nut Bread

Fruit Nut Bread RecipeThe weather here has hit decidedly chilly. I don’t know about you, but chilly weather makes me want to bake. In fact, baking and the slow cooker both seem to be the harbingers of cold weather here. (even though I often use the slow cooker in summer just because I don’t want to heat up the kitchen!)

This fruit nut bread from The Pocket Cookbook edited by Elizabeth Woody in 1942 has the perfect recipe for those chilly days. It also makes a great Thanksgiving bread or holiday gift.

Fruit Nut Bread

1/2 cup dried apricots
1 large orange
1/2 cup seeded raisins (awww they felt the need to specify-I love cookbooks this age)0
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup sugar (I cut the sugar a bit to 3/4 cup)
1/4 tsp
1/2 cup chopped nut meats (I skip these)
1 egg
2 tbs melted shortening or salad oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

Cover apricots with cold water; let stand 1/2 hour; drain. (I don’t do this, modern apricots seem much moister but if you use particularly dry ones, then do.) Squeeze juice from orange, reserving peel; add enough boiling water to juice to make 1 cup. Using medium blade, put apricots, orange peel and raisins through food chopper. Sift together flour, baking powder, soda, sugar and salt. Add fruit mixture and nut meats. Add orange juice. Beat egg; add with melted shortening or oil and vanilla extract. Pour into greased loaf pan. Bake at 3500 for 50 min. Remove from pan; cool on wire rack.

Corn Meal Shortcakes

Corn Meal ShortcakesLast night, out of nowhere, or maybe not — I wasn’t on the other side of the room — my youngest asked “What are corn cakes?” I think she got a half shrug and “ask your mother” from Denise. So, she did.

I answered with “What do you mean by corn cakes? Jonnycakes?  Corn pone? Corn pancakes? Corn cakes like a regular cake? A griddled corn bread?” I may have rattled off a few more.

Youngest said to Denise: “How does she know all these things?” Denise replied with “She’s a foodie.” Not really, but we’ll go with that. I then produced The Cornbread Gospels from the cookbook shelf and youngest had even bigger eyes than usual.

When I flipped the pages of “Learn to Bake–You’ll Love It (1947, General Foods) this morning, yet another type of corn cake jumped out at me: Corn Meal Short Cakes. These rock with Chicken Ala King, Curried Eggs, creamed chipped beef, or even just cream gravy/sausage gravy on top.

Corn Meal Shortcakes

2 cups sifted flour
2 1/2 teaspoons Calumet Baking Powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup yellow corn meal
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup milk (about)

Sift flour once, measure, add baking powder, salt, and sugar, and sift into bowl. Add corn meal.

Cut in shortening. Add milk and stir until soft dough is formed.

Turn out on lightly floured board and knead 30 seconds to shape. Roll 1/2 inch thick and cut with floured 3-inch cutter. (Ok, I generally grab a glass from the cupboard)

Bake on ungreased baking sheet in hot oven (425 F.) 15 minutes, or until done. Split hot shortcakes and place creamed meat, fish or eggs, between halves and on top. Makes 8 shortcakes.

Maryland Beaten Biscuits

My childhood best friend, Beth Carey, had a grandmother from the Eastern Shore of Maryland. I spent a lot of time with her after Beth’s mother died of breast cancer, just before Beth and I entered 6th grade. Her grandmother spent a good bit of time caring for Beth and her brothers and painting a fabulous mural on the wall of their living room. I spent a lot of time at Beth’s house and it mostly was a fend for yourself affair. Every so often beaten biscuits made by Beth’s grandmother appeared. Beth-always delighted. Me? Not so much. I preferred the fluffy southern biscuits of my mother’s southern heritage. A drop biscuit even. These hard overgrown crackers? Not so much.

Of course, the thing about growing up is realizing why these were special to Beth and more why so many people love them. I have to admit, every so often I get a craving for beaten biscuits and wish Beth’s grandmother was around to make some.

This recipe is not quite the same of course. Grandmothers add love and magic to foods-and this is just a recipe from “My Favorite Maryland Recipes”, 1964. They work though. Of course, you do have to beat the love into them and it is more than a good workout to make them.

Maryland Beaten Biscuits

2 pounds flour
6 ozs lard
scant teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 cup cold water
pinch baking soda, size of pea (no larger)

Work all ingredients together well, have dough stiff. Beat 20 minutes with iron mallet. To shape biscuits, squeeze dough through hole made by thumb and forefinger, pinch off and pat down a little. Place on baking sheet and prick three times with fork. Bake in oven about 400 for 25 minutes.

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