Cooking with Mamaw

Cooking with Mamaw

Some of my great holiday memories are going to my Mamaw's house Thanksgiving & Christmas mornings to help her with the holiday meal.  I once asked her to share her recipes for some of her "signature" dishes, but she didn't use recipes.  She added a little of this and a pinch of that.  So, I decided to bring paper and pen in the kitchen and write down what she was doing as she was cooking.  That is how I learned how to make this recipe that she called Applesauce Cake.

Now, this isn't a traditional cake.  It is more like a quick bread (think banana nut bread or zucchini bread). This cake is great with coffee.   I love the smell of the spices in this cake.

Applesauce Cake Recipe

Here is what you will need:

1 stick butter (room temp)
1 cup sugar
1 cup unsweetened apple sauce (natural apple sauce)
1 tsp. baking soda
2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped pecans

My Mamaw made hers in a cast iron skillet but I use either a loaf pan or mini loaf pan. The mini loaves are great for give aways.  Be sure to grease and flour your pans.  I use a baking spray like Baker's Joy.

In one bowl, cream the sugar & butter.  Mix in the applesauce.  Don't freak out if it looks curdled.  This is how it looks at this stage when I make it:

In a separate bowl, add the flour, baking soda, salt and spices.  Mix the flour-spice combo with a whisk or fork.  Add the raisins and pecans to the flour mix.  Add the 2 mixtures together and stir to combine.  It will be a thick batter. A VERY thick batter:

Pour into a greased and floured bread pan (or mini loaf pan) and bake at 350 until toothpick comes out clean.  If you use a cast iron skillet or bread pan, it will take about 50-60 minutes to bake.  The mini loaf pan will take less time.


Holiday Treats

Holiday Treats

It's been quite a while since I have written anything for the baking blog :(   I started a new job in the summer and although I am grateful to have a job, this one is both a time and energy drainer.  But - I did have time to make some holiday treats this weekend.


Cookies - I took refrigerated sugar cookie dough and set it out so it would warm up a bit.  Then I rolled it out into a rectangle and sprinkled green and red sugar on it.  I attempted to roll it up jelly-roll style.  It was a little difficult to handle because it was so "melty".  Then, I wrapped it in plastic and placed it in the freezer to harden.  Once hard, I used a knife to slice and place on parchment-lined sheet pans.

On the left, the sliced cookie dough.  On the right, the baked cookies

They did not turn out as jelly-roll looking as I would have liked, but they're ok.

Christmas Mice

These are pretty easy to make.  You will need:

dark chocolate candy melts (or chocolate chips)
maraschino cherries with stems
Hershey's kisses
thinly sliced almonds
red icing (optional)

Take the cherries and place on paper towel to dry.  It will look much nicer and work better if the cherries have been drained well on a paper towel.

Melt the candy melts in microwave safe bowl.  Be very careful when melting chocolate or candy melts in the microwave as it is easy to over heat.  You should still see some solid in the bowl and as you stir, the chocolate will continue to melt.  I suggest you use a container deep enough for you to easily dip the cherries in.

Dip the cherries in the chocolate and sit on wax paper to dry.  Once they are dry enough to handle, use a little of the melted chocolate to glue the almonds to the end of the cherry that is opposite the stem.  The almonds are the mouse ears.  Then glue on a Hershey's kiss for the face.  If you like, you can add eyes with red icing.  I just used a toothpick to add eyes to these.

Tiger Butter

The last item on my holiday treat list was Tiger Butter.  This is s super easy chocolate-peanut butter treat that tastes sort-of like a Snickers.  You will need:

1-lb. white chocolate
12 oz. crunchy peanut butter
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Melt the white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl.  Do not overheat.  Add the peanut butter and place in microwave for about another minute.  Stir until smooth.  Spread this mixture out in a wax-paper lined 9x13 pan.  Then, melt the semi-sweet chocolate chips and pour on top of the peanut butter mixture.  Take a knife and swirl through.  Place in the refrigerator just until set.  Take it out before it gets too hard to score.  If you wait until it gets real hard, it will be very difficult to cut.  I then put it back in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.  Pull out by the wax paper and cut.   Here is a picture of what it looks like before I scored it.  The cherries are in the background waiting for their "faces and ears".

Try one of these easy treats this year.