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Saturday, July 22, 2017

"Peanutty Pops"

Years and years, and years, ago, I cut a recipe off the back of a package of Knox Unflavored Gelatine (sic), pasted it to an index card, and have had it as a key recipe ever since. This has always been a favorite of any kids who wander into the house, tasting a lot like the commercially available fudgsicles--do I need to do a copyright symbol for that?

I have updated the recipe and method only slightly, but overall, I share this pretty much as it was shown on the package. Thanks, Knox, for a family heritage recipe!

(Site note: I have been trying for several years to never post an entry without photos to attach. However, this is a special request that I haven't prepared myself today, so here it is for now. Will have to make some just to get some photos I guess!)

Peanutty Pops

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/3 c sugar
1 c water
1 c peanut butter
1 c chocolate milk--see NOTE

1. Stir the gelatin, sugar, and water together in a 1 quart measuring cup or similar LARGE bowl, making sure it is well mixed. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes.
2. Microwave on high until the mixture begins to boil and is clear. Be watchful--it will boil up and spill over very quickly! Remove from the microwave and allow to cool slightly.
3. Beat in the peanut butter and then gradually add the chocolate milk. When completely blended, pour into popsicle molds, insert sticks, and freeze.

NOTE:  Mix Nesquik or a similar powder into a cup of milk, as directed on the package. You can also use a package or two of hot cocoa mix prepared with water or, for extra richness, milk.

If you don't have popsicle molds, other small glasses (or bathroom size disposable cups) may be used. If you don't have molds, freeze the mixture until just slushy before inserting popsicle sticks so they remain as upright as possible.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Sour Cherry Cake

Many years ago, I became part of an extended family that celebrated almost every birthday, anniversary, new baby, etc, within the large, geographically close-knit clan. That meant at least monthly get togethers, usually in the evening after the many farmers in the group wer through with their chores. There were sometimes sandwiches but most of the time these were dessert events, and kitchen tables would be covered with rows of 9 X 13 pans full of cakes, tortes, and kuchens.

Many kinds of chocolate desserts were year round favorites and every cook was known for at least one special favorite. As the seasons changed, so did the offerings, with lots of fruit based choices throughout the summer.

Here in the upper Midwest, we can't grow sweet cherries in the backyard, but "sour cherries" or "pie cherries" were often found in country yards and orchards, and the German heritage of this family meant lots of cherry recipes could be found.

One of these is labeled "Grace's Cherry Cake" in Great Grandma's recipe box. However, over the years, because Grandma herself often made the cake when she found out how well liked it was, it began to be called "Grandma's Cherry Cake." That is the name I will be including in the recipe below.

In many parts of the country, fresh "sour" cherries are never available, and even here where the trees still grace many back yards, they are hard to find even at farmers' markets. If you aren't able to go out and pick your own, you can substitute a 15 oz. can of pitted cherries (NOT cherry pie filling!), draining the fruit before stirring into the batter.
For those of us blessed with our own (or family or friends') cherry trees, however, this is a wonderfully easy and inexpensive salute to summer. And, since it only uses a cup of cherries, even a small harvest on your tree will make a nice-sized cake.

NOTE: Two changes to the original recipe:
  • This initially called for 4 T sour milk, but plain yogurt works well and is something I always have on hand. If you want to go with  sour milk, measure just under a quarter cup of milk and then stir in about 1 t vinegar or lemon juice. Allow the milk and acid to sit briefly before adding to the batter.
  • The original also called for cake flour, but all-purpose flour works perfectly well instead.

Grandma's Cherry Cake

1 c sugar
1/2 c butter
3 eggs
1/4 c plain yogurt
1 1/2 c flour
1 t soda
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t cloves
1 c pitted sour cherries--if fresh, include juice; if using canned, drain before adding

1.  Combine the butter, sugar, and eggs and beat with a mixer until very thick and creamy. Add yogurt and mix well.
2.  Sift together (or stir in a large bowl) the flour, soda, cinnamon, and cloves. Gradually add to the liquid batter and beat just until well blended.
3.  Fold in the cherries.
4.  Pour the batter into a very well-oiled 9 X 12 pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.

If using a glass or disposable foil pan, bake at 325 degrees.

 5.  Cool and frost with a powdered sugar icing topped with coconut (our family favorite) or nuts.