March 2009 Baker's Recipe Stash
How do you take your March break? Straight up or with a little nostalgia? As March ambles in with its variable weather (talk about ambivalent; March makes it an art form) you can stay consistently cozy in your default baker’s temperate zone where it is always a balmy 350 F with sunny skies and a cinnamon sunset.
Speaking of nostalgia, do you remember your mom’s recipes and the recipe box? That recipe box? Sometimes it almost pays to be a boomer because in lieu of computers and recipe programs, many of us grew up instead, with recipes on recipe cards, (yes, real paper) kept in recipe box tins. Now, it’s so retro, it’s charming. State-of-the-art moms used loose leaf folders with plastic covered recipes but to me, nothing beats the jaunty recipe tin, with the crisp index cards lined up inside, replete with grease stains, vanilla spills and penciled in comments, attesting to a recipe’s popularity (‘Kids love this’) or lack thereof (‘This recipe is good but a lot of work. Special occasions only’). In fact, that very distinct look and shape of a tabbed index card still says ‘recipe’ – even when you see it online, in a digital version.
I have my mom’s two recipes boxes, as well as her massive white recipe book called Look and Cook, that has my mother’s name engraved on it – no doubt a unique cookbook offer specimen she sent away for. Although it’s called Look and Cook there is very little ‘look’ – there are almost no photos in the book! But what’s neat about the recipe boxes I now am guardian of is that despite their hominess my mother was hardly traditional. Family lore has that it was she who convinced Betty Freidan to dump domestic life and start a whole movement. Suffice to say, my mom is not run-of-the mill. But oddly, in conjunction with being a feminist ahead of her time, my mother did know both basic and advanced techniques in cooking and baking, had an ability to make exotic or glamorous dishes, and still, to this day, has a good palate and sense of culinary aesthetics.
Alas, her moments in the kitchen were erratic (ceramics, figure skating, peace marches, and world travel called) and I took over the home fires when I hit high school.
Nonetheless, in these treasured two recipe tins, (the one in this photo is the actual recipe box), there are tons of cards, in meticulous handwriting (and some are typed) of recipes my mother thought exceptional. No slouch herself, she was able to give a compliment to another cook. The recipes must have been memorable for my mom to both request them and record them neither email nor text messaging in those days). Of course, she also made them so often that they became part of her tried and truest. Consequently my brothers and I grew up with amazing oatmeal cookies, a plum tart, a wonderful cherry cheesecake, and date squares. By 14 years old, I started adding my own inventions to the repertoire but I still remember the homey goodness of my mom’s favorite things. Oh yes, while she doesn’t bake lately, my mom is definitely a force of nature as she ever was. She credits me warmly, concerning my cookbooks but maintains there is no cherry cheesecake quite as good as hers. Try the recipe – it’s in this issue and let me know.
For your March break, I offer you some recipes I grew up with and that helped shape my baker’s path, some Purim delights (yes! It’s hamantashen time) or you can join me in welcoming St. Pat’s (all month!) with some other extraordinary delights. I know a ton of you will head for the Irish Whisky Apple Cake or the Bailey’s Irish Apple Pie but the Guinness Braised Corned Beef is about the best thing this side of the Atlantic.
And guess what? I am working on revised editions of my first two cookbooks. It is a special surprise but it’s looking like this fall you will see both A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking and The Best of BetterBaking.com back on the shelves – in new editions, featuring added fresh, new, recipes and photos. In April, a photography crew will descend on the BB kitchens for a week long photo shoot of my favorite recipe picks. This all means that the BB Test Kitchen, my test kitchen manager Ellen Fuss, and our testing team is busier that ever. We were hard at work on A Passion for Cooking and have just switched gears to get these cookbooks ready for the ball again. Stay tuned. If you hear a shrill scream from New York State, it is Ellen, cursing me for ladling quadruple copies (I tweak, edit, and change things - what can I tell you), of a cookie or a cake I wanted tested yet again or yet another version of something I emailed twice before. What you need to know about Ellen is not only is she exacting but she has a dietician’s degree and sensibility. For her to oversee testing of the lavish desserts I create and not quite faint in disbelief is a feat in itself. She’s too good.
I am also reviewing/reading a neat book on not dieting which you might want to take a look at. It is by Beyond Word Publishers and it is The Gabriel Method
Recipe Box Specialties!
Mom's Cherry Cheesecake !! Free !!
This is the cake my mother made for all our special events and wonderful parties we had. In the morning, after such a party, very little of this cake was left but just seeing the cheesecake pan, with remnants of cherry cheesecake, now a memory, sticking to it – was proof a great time was had and a deluxe cake was there, holding court.
Mom's Famous Plum and Custard Cream Tart !! FREE !!
A bouquet of tart-sweet plums, held in place by a vanilla and lightly spiced tinged egg and cream custard. Warm up some apricot jam and brush it on as a glaze for a pastry shop finale. My mother actually made this with canned plums - which would be fine. This is spectacular in flavour and just a nice change from chocolate or cinnamon things. As I look at this recipe now, it occurs to me it is really a spin on Clafouti, the rustic French custard and fruit pie, often made with cherries. I don't recall that this pie (or tart) ever lasted more than an evening at our house. You can use the tart dough here or a ready made pie dough crust (if you are in a hurry); either is fine.
Sweet Cheese Kreplach !! FREE!!
Hamantashen are the traditional Purim treat that is a cookie or pastry with a hidden inner filling of fruit. But sweet cheese kreplach are another sort of Purim pastry that is just as welcome.
If you haven't had one - make them. These are tiny pastries in a triangular form. Made with a very special (but easy) dough and filled with any one of these fillings, you will make friends, family and office colleagues very happy if you bring a batch of these around.
Because man does not live by hamantashen alone.
Guinness Corned Beef
This is this issue's most treasured recipe. Not - it's just one of my new favourite recipes.
Irish Whisky Apple Cake
Apples tumbled through a vanilla whisky batter. No need to be lucky when you have this cake going for you.
Irish Cream Apple Pie
A sour cream flaky dough cradles an apple, Irish cream and brown sugar coated apple filling.
One of my best of one of my favorites things (discounting caramel corn)
Unique, and full of flair, savory, crunchy sticks for anytime munching.
Texas Deep Chocolate Chunk Cookies
These are about the size of Texas – big bold, sprawling puddings of pure chocolate. You could make them small or medium sized. The only thing you could do wrong here is to not make them. This recipe makes those perfect textured cookies – dense, chewy centers, crisp edges – perfect.
Previous Monthly Essays from A Note From Marcy:
Essays to tickle your funny bone, wake up your inner baker, twinge on your heartstrings, or make you smile and say, ‘I’ve know the feeling; I know the place”. If you missed an essay, or a season in baking or inner sensibility, we invite you to stroll through our archived Notes From Marcy.
- January 2018 A Note From Marcy - January 2018
- December 2017 A Note from Marcy - December 2017
- November 2017 A Note from Marcy - November 2017
- October 2017 A Note from Marcy - October 2017
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- Betterbaking.com 2017 All Recipes Listing - January 2017
- January 2017 A Note from Marcy - January 2017
- December 2016 A Note from Marcy - December 2016
- Winter 2016 BB Best Gifts Round-Up - December 2016
- November 2016 A Note from Marcy - November 2016
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- 2003-2007 PAST ISSUES Note from Marcy & Recipes - February 2010
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- March 2009 Baker's Stash Baking With Mom, Feminist in the Kitchen and some Retro - March 2009
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- November 2008 A Note From Marcy - November 2008
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- A note from Marcy - December 2007
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- A Note from Marcy - December 2006 - Shortbread and Other Favorite Things
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- A Note from Marcy - October 2006 - A Salute to Chocolate Chip Cookies
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- A Note from Marcy March 2006 Passion - Gettin' Some - March 2006 - Havana A Heat Wave, Baking with A Latin Beat and The Passion Play
- A Note from Marcy - February 2006 - Memoirs of A Geisha Baking, Valentineâ€™s Sweets
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- A Note from Marcy - December 2005 - Bake It Forward, Gift Baking Issue
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- A Note from Marcy - October 2005 - It All Happens for a Reason or Sometimes Bread Just Doesn't Rise.....
- A Note from Marcy - September 2005 - Baking By the Code
- A Note from Marcy - August 2005 - The Tao of Pie
- A Note from Marcy - July 2005 - The Journey of the Journal plus Twix Bars!
- A Note from Marcy - June 2005 - A Pastry Chefs Trial by Cheesecakes
- A Note from Marcy - May 2005 - The Frontier Baking Issue/Living Big in a Small Venue
- A Note from Marcy - April 2005 - When Harry Met Salad
- A Note from Marcy - March 2005 - Baking with an Irish Broque; A Romance in the Dairy Queen One Fine March
- A Note from Marcy - February 2005 - She Just Doesnâ€™t Get Him, Valentineâ€™s Day Rebuttal and Cupcakes Galore
- A Note from Marcy - January 2005 - The Art of Changing and Making Space in a New Year
- A Note from Marcy - December 2004 - The Shall We Dance or Shall We Bake, Holiday Baking Issue and an Ode to Dance
- A Note from Marcy - November 2004 - The Bread and Soup Issue and How A Canadian Became Americanized (sort of)
- A Note from Marcy - October 2004 - The Field of Dreams Issue, Baseball and the Baker
- A Note from Marcy - September 2004 - The Catcher of the Rye Issue, What Falls Away, the Sweet Taste of Forgiveness and Letting Go
- A Note from Marcy - August 2004 - Itâ€™s All Greek To Me Issue and The Evils of Multi-Tasking
- A Note from Marcy - July 2004 - The Gone Fishinâ€™ Issue/Summer in the River City, A Bakerâ€™s Musical
- A Note from Marcy - June 2004 - The All That Jazz Issue, How To Scat and Improvise in Wheat
- A Note from Marcy - May 2004 - The Bread and Roses Issue, Goddess, Feminist or Feminineâ€¦and Fudge
- A Note from Marcy - April 2004 - Waiting for Happy, or If I Won the Lotto
- A Note from Marcy - March 2004 - Meet You in the Bookstore, My Love Affair with Books
- A Note from Marcy - February 2004 - Sweets for the Sweet, a Valentine From the Baker
- A Note from Marcy - January 2004 - How To Eat Right or Resolution 2004 â€“ How Not To Diet
- A Note From Marcy - December 2003 - The Sugar and Spice Issue
- A Note from Marcy - November 2003 - How To Weather the Weather, or Keeping Cozy in Late Fall
- A Note from Marcy - October 2003 (Part 2) - They Laughed When I Got Up To Bake, Hotel School Trials
- A Note from Marcy - October 2003 (Part 1) - How I Got Into Baking, A Bakerâ€™s Beginnings Part 1
- A Note from Marcy - September 2003 - Welcome To Wheatland, a bakerâ€™s fantasy or Camelot in Flour
- A Note from Marcy - August 2003 - Notes on Homemade Krispie Kreme Doughnuts
- A Note From Marcy - July 2003 - Memories of Summer Music Camp or Baking to Birdland
- A Note From Marcy - June 2003 - How to Play Hooky in Summer, An Urban Adventure
- 2003-2009 Note from Marcy Archives
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- Karine Joncas Cosmetics
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