March 9, 2010

Home Made Marshmallows


Marshmallows in the mid 1800s used to contain the extract of the marshmallow plant. But by the later part of that century and into the 20th they took on more of the form as we know them today. Most recipes before 1900 use gum arabic instead of gelatine. The The Mendelssohn Club cook book of 1909 uses Knox Gelatine, which can still be found in stores today. Here is the recipe we used to make our homemade marshmallows.

4 cups sugar
4 packets Knox unflavored gelatine
1 3/4th cup water - divided
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cornstarch

In a bowl combine the 4 packs of gelatine with 3/4th cup water. Let this set between 10 and 30 mins so it may "bloom". In one pot pour in 4 cups sugar and 1 cup of water. Next bring to boil the sugar and water with medium heat, stirring constantly. Once it comes to a boil stop stirring and boil until a candy thermometer reaches 244 degrees - the firm ball stage. Once that stage is reached slowly pour syrup into gelatine, beating {at high speed if you have an electric mixer}. Add in vanilla and continue to beat until basically it fluffs up. This takes between 15 and 30 minutes worth of beating time total.
Now combine cornstarch and powdered sugar together and sift into a jelly roll pan,cookie sheet or casserole dish. Pour marshmallow mixture into your pan and let it rest overnight. Next day slice marshmallows into squares. They are excellent, esp in hot chocolate.

Notes: You can make this with any flavoring. I am going to try a cinnamon flavored batch one day. Also you probably could coat these with chocolate for a marshmallow candy.

February 17, 2010

Blackberry Syrup


While I was intending to make a seedless blackberry jam with the wild bramble fruits here, my efforts went another direction when the smell of the boiling syrup made my other half prompt me to stop where I was at. So even though all the jelly jars and lids had been boiled and waiting for jam, they instead received syrup. I also used a Gold Peak Tea bottle to pour our "in use" syrup. Here is how I ended up making it.

I first boiled a one gallon bag of blackberries, which were this past summers harvest. The berries were frozen and I did add a little water here and there to the berries until they began providing liquid on their own. I boiled and mashed them with a fork for couple of hours. Once they had produced a lot of liquid and the berries had broken down really well I then strained the berry pulp through the cheesecloth and collected the juice. Now I needed to measure the juice to find out how much sugar to use. The juice to sugar ratio is about 1 to 1. So if you have say 2 cups of juice then add two cups sugar. Next I brought the sugar and blackberry juice to a boil. If I were making a thin syrup I would boil for about two minutes at a rapid boil. However, I let mine boil down longer than that, but not too long or else I would end up with jam. My hubby would test the syrup several times by putting it in the freezer to check how it was thickening. When we decided it was thick enough we took it off the heat and poured it into sterlized jars.

Everyone loves the blackberry syrup. We even add some to our sweet tea or have it over pancakes. It's really delicious. I've even been thinking of a way to make blackberry bon bons with the syrup - but haven't tried it yet.

Then to not be very wasteful we took the pulp, added a can of whole cranberry sauce {would have used fresh cranberry sauce if I had any}, some sugar and cinnamon mixed it together and made double pie crust. When it came out of the oven I had a glaze of sugar, milk and a little vanilla which I poured over it. It was good but our wild blackberries are extremely seedy - which is why I was making seedless jam to begin with. So the pie was indeed very seedy - however my 6yr didn't even mind the seeds. So it was worth the extra effort.

February 5, 2010

Lemon Icebox Pie


2 cans sweetened condensed milk
4 lemons, juiced
2/3rd cup sugar, divided
6 eggs, separated
1 box vanilla wafers
1/4th cup butter, melted

Preheat Oven 350 degrees.
To prepare the crust crush up about 1/2 box of vanilla wafers. Mix the melted butter with the crushed crumbs in a bowl. Halve this mixture and add to two pie plates. Use a fork and spread evenly. Place whole cookies around the whole pie pan. Set aside. For the filling mix sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks and 1/3rd cup sugar. Next add the juice of the lemons. Mix well. Pour half of this mixture into each pie plate with prepared crust. Now whisk egg whites in a bowl until frothy, then add about 1/3rd cup sugar to egg whites. Continue to whip egg whites until stiff peaks form. Then spread meringue over each pie. Bake pies for about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool before placing in fridge for several hours.

Originally posted March 22, 2007

February 2, 2010

Taffy or Vinegar Candy

Finished Taffy Candy wrapped in wax paper.

I think during the 19th century this particular kind of Taffy was known as Vinegar Candy. The old cookbooks keep pointing to that. For example, my old cookbook, Queen of the Household, has this recipe: Vinegar Candy - One quart sugar, I pint water, 4 tablespoons vinegar, butter size of an egg, I teaspoon vanilla. Boil 20 minutes and pull it. If you halve this recipe it brings me very close to what I used to make our Taffy. One 1870's cookbook has the same exact ingredient list except they add cream of tarter to it.

The steps, followed by the recipe:

Stirring the syrup to dissolve sugar.

Poured finished syrup onto well buttered marble slab.

Worked candy into mound.

Candy on the left has been pulled longer than that on the right. You can see the color and transparency differences beginning to emerge.

Twisting two ropes of pulled candy together to form finished product.

Here is the recipe I used:

2 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup vinegar
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoon butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

First combine sugar, water, vinegar and butter in saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved. Cover and continue to cook 2 or 3 minutes to wash down crystals. Now uncover and cook without stirring until mixture reaches soft crack stage which is 270 degrees. When it reaches that stage remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Now pour syrup onto well buttered 15 x 10 x 1 inch jellyroll pan or marble slab. Cool slightly. Work candy into mound using buttered spatula, cut in half. With buttered hands pull, fold, and twist each portion until candy is opaque and begins to stiffen. Pull each section then into a rope and twist the two ropes together. Cut in pieces and wrap with waxed paper.

January 11, 2010

Victorian Lemon Cake


I converted a recipe for a lemon cake taken from "The improved housewife, or, Book of receipts: with engravings for marketing" published in 1844. To me this is a pleasant cake that would do well with a lemon frosting, if for dessert. I, however, chose a lemony glaze to keep it a breakfast cake.

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs, separated {I'll have to try two eggs next time}
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup milk
Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
2 cups sifted flour

Cream butter, add sugar gradually. Add in egg yolks 1 at a time, mixing well after each. In a bowl or cup dissolve soda into milk. Stir milk into creamed mixture. Add rind and juice of lemon. Stir well. Now gradually add in flour. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Now fold egg whites into cake batter. Pour batter into greased and floured cake pan. This makes {1} 9 inch round cake. Recipe can be doubled for a double layer cake.

Lemon Glazing
Juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup granulated sugar

Blend lemon juice and sugar until well dissolved. Pour over cake after it has cooled a little but is still warm. I poked the cake with a fork to let some of the glazing soak into the cake to give it some tangy bursts.

Here is the orginal recipe, Lemon Cake - Take one teacup of butter, and three of powdered loaf sugar; rub them to a cream; stir into them the yolks of five eggs well beaten; dissolve a teaspoonful of salaeratus {soda} in a teacup of milk, and add the milk; add the juice and grated peel of one lemon, and the whites of the five eggs; and sift in, as light as possible, four teacups of flour. Bake in two long tins about half an hour. Much improved by icing.

January 7, 2010

Shrimp Stuffed Bell Peppers


I became inspired when I ran across a recipe in the "New Southern Cook Book" of 1906 called Crabs or Shrimp Baked in Bell Pepper. However, the set of seasonings just isn't what would go well for our family. Plus stuffed peppers just have to have rice! So I put a little this and that and came up with the following recipe:

5 bell peppers, whole
1 bell pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 small stalks celery, diced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 2/3 cups rice, cooked
1/4th cup +2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon Parmesan Cheese
1 lb shrimp, cleaned
2 tablespoons chicken broth
about 3 tablespoons butter
Creole Seasoning
Italian Seasoning
Salt & Pepper

Take 5 bell peppers and cut the tops off and remove seeds from inside. Place in casserole dish and set aside. In about 1 or 2 tablespoons butter saute bell pepper, onions, celery, and garlic until tender. Remove veggies from skillet and into a large bowl. Now add shrimp to skillet with about 1 tablespoon butter and sprinkle a dash of creole seasoning and Tabasco sauce. Saute until just done. Cut shrimp into smaller pieces. Now add shrimp and remaining butter, if any, into bowl with veggies. To this add 5 tablespoons of breadcrumbs, all of the rice, Parmesan cheese, creole seasoning {about 1/2 - 1 teaspoon for mild}, a couple dashes of Italian Seasoning and salt and pepper to taste. Next, add about two tablespoons of chicken broth to the mixture. Mix well. Then stuff the five peppers. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon breadcrumbs over the top. In addition you could also sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese if desired. Cook in oven at 350 for about 20 - 25 minutes, or until bell peppers are tender to your liking.

Note: I cooked mine for 35 minutes and they still came out a little firm for my tastes, so I think next time I will set them in salted boiling water for about 10 minutes before stuffing them and placing them in the oven. I also think crab would have been a nice addition if I had had any.

Here is the original recipe if your interested - Crabs or Shrimp Baked in Bell Pepper - Use one dozen bell peppers, one quart of picked shrimps, one teacupful of grated breadcrumbs, two tablespoonfuls of butter, one teaspoonful of mixed mustard, one-fourth teaspoonful of pepper, one-eighth teaspoonful of celery seed, one egg, salt, grating of nutmeg. Cut the stem end from the peppers; cut out the seed and veins; soak the peppers half hour in cold water. Cream the butter; add the egg and seasonings; next add the crumbs. Mix these ingredients well and add to the shrimps. Drain the peppers, stuff with the mixture, arrange in a pan open side up. Cook twenty minutes in a hot oven. Crabs may be prepared the same way. Serve as a fish course at dinner.--Miss Parloa

December 31, 2009

The Old South Bread Pudding


I recently learned from an old source, dating in the 1880s, that in the South if you asked for bread you could be handed biscuits, corn bread, or some other sort of "bread". In the North you would have only received what we today consider bread. But the old southern ways started dying off after the civil war. The reason I mention this is my bread pudding I awhile back uses biscuits instead of "bread'. I used the idea of a recipe for leftover biscuits and cheese. The texture was a perfect bread pudding so I decided to try it out in a bread pudding.

Here is my recipe for The Old South Bread Pudding:

1 dozen small biscuits
3 tablespoons butter, sliced and cut into triangles.
2 cups milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/4th cup pecans
1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
couple pinches of nutmeg
golden raisins
Sugar in the Raw

Slice the biscuits in half. If using a non-stick cake pan then you don't need to grease, otherwise I would grease your pan. Now line the biscuit halves on the bottom of the pan, the insides of the cut biscuits should be what you see. Lay the triangles of butter into areas where there are "holes". If you need more butter that is fine. Next sprinkle half your pecans, some raisins, and some sugar in the raw. Lay the remaining biscuits out, where the tops {not insides} of biscuits are showing. Sprinkle the remaining pecans, some more golden raisins and some sugar in the raw crystals. Now beat your two eggs. Then add milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and sugar and stir well. Pour egg and milk mixture over biscuits. Throw in a "moderate" oven aka 350. I let it cook for about an hour.

Note: I used 1 cup evaporated milk - diluting it by 1/2 cup water 1/2 cup evap milk. The other 1 cup was regular milk.

December 14, 2009

Cinnamon Roll Biscuits


2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, divided
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
5 teaspoons milk
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Cut in 4 tablespoons of the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in milk just until moistened. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead gently 8 to 10 times. Roll into an 11-in. x 8-in. rectangle about 1/2 in. thick. Melt remaining butter; brush 1 tablespoon over dough. Combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over butter. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with long edge. Cut into 12 equal slices. Place with cut side down in a greased 8-in. square baking pan. Brush with remaining butter. Bake at 450 degrees F for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes. Combine glaze ingredients; spread over warm biscuits. Serve immediately.

Some references to Cinnamon Roll biscuits in old cookbooks.

CINNAMON ROLLS Make a nice light biscuit dough either as for raised biscuit or as baking powder or cream biscuit Roll the crust quite thin spread with a little melted butter scatter over powdered sugar dredge over powdered cinnamon cut into cakes or biscuits roll over and if made of yeast let them raise a while and then bake

BAKING POWDER BISCUIT Mrs Newton Marsh Sift one quart of flour mix into it thoroughly one tablespoonful of baking powder and a little salt then mix into these three tablespoonfuls of lard put in cold water enough to mix them up soft roll and cut out quite thick and bake in a very quick oven

The Home Cook Book 1876

Cinnamon Rolls - Mix a rich baking powder biscuit dough to which has been added one-half cup of sugar and one-half teaspoon of cinnamon to each pint of flour. Roll out as nearly square as possible, spread lightly with softened butter, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon mixed. Beginning at one end, roll closely and carefully. With a sharp knife cut off half-inch sections and lay them in greased baking pans about two inches apart. Bake quickly.

1908 Good housekeeping

CINNAMON ROLLS. - Make a rich biscuit dough, using baking powder and sweet milk. Roll out into a sheet one-fourth inch thick and cut into strips two and one-half inches wide. Rub two cupfuls of brown sugar and one-half cupful butter to a cream, add to it enough ground cinnamon to give the desired flavor, rub well together and spread upon the strips of dough. Cut in sections, sprinkle with raisins or currants, roll up, place in pans and bake in a rather hot oven. When partly baked, brush with sugar and butter.

BAKING POWDER BISCUIT. - One pint of flour, sifted twice, one tablespoonful of butter, one tablespoonful of lard, three-quarters teaspoonful of salt, two teaspoonfuls of baking powder, about three-quarters cupful sweet milk. Do not roll heavily. Simply press it out a little with the hand. Do not handle it any more than necessary. Cut into biscuit shape. Let stand a few minutes, and then bake 18 minutes in a rather quick oven.

1903 Just for two: a collection of recipes designed for two persons

CINNAMON ROLLS. - Rub two tablespoons butter into pint flour. Beat one egg and add to it two-thirds of a cup of milk, teaspoon baking powder, one-half teaspoon salt. Mix all together and roll into a thin sheet. Spread lightly with butter, dust over four tablespoons sugar and little cinnamon. Cut into biscuits and bake thirty minutes. Serve warm. Mrs. F.

1896 Three Rivers cook book: with supplement

Cinnamon Biscuits. - Rub four ounces of butter into one pound of flour. Add half a pound of pounded loaf-sugar, one ounce of ground cinnamon, and half an ounce of volatile. Moisten with water into a soft dough ; roll out pretty thin, and cut to taste with fancy cutters. Glaze on the top with coarse melted sugar.

1862 The practice of cookery and pastry

Cinnamon Biscuit.--Grind in a clean mortar a quarter of a pound of sweet almonds, blanched; to which add, gradually, the whites of three eggs, and then three-quarters of a pound of the best pulverized loaf sugar, and two ounces of ground cinnamon ; form into a paste, which should be laid out on greased tins, in diamond or other shapes; ice with cold water, to produce a gloss, and bak4s, and bake.

1844 The complete confectioner, pastry-cook, and baker: plain and practical

December 4, 2009

Banana Cream Pudding


1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 cups milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
4 bananas, sliced
1 {12oz} box vanilla wafers
1 or 2 cups whipped cream

Mix the sugar with cornstarch in a double boiler. Next, stir in milk - mixing well. Now add the eggs and blend well. Cook in the double boiler, stirring constantly with a spoon, until the pudding becomes thick and can coat the spoon. When it's finished add in the vanilla. Set aside to cool to room temperature. When it's cooled down proceed with putting your banana pudding together.

Line a large bowl or dish with about 1/2 of the vanilla wafers. Next add 1/2 of the banana slices and arrange on the 1st layer of vanilla wafers. Spoon over 1/2 the pudding on top of the bananas. Add 1/3rd of your whipped cream {I used the can variety for a shortcut}. Now repeat your vanilla wafer, banana slices, pudding and whipped cream layers. I had a few cookies left over so I added them to the top. I also sprinkled the crumbs of the cookies on top as a finishing touch.

Cover and set in fridge to cool several hours before eating.


June 27, 2009

Molten Milk Chocolate Mini Cakes

These rich mini's can satisfy your chocolate cravings in the best of ways.

No flour needed!

Molten Milk Chocolate Mini Cakes
4 {1oz} squares semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 cup butter
3/4th cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3 eggs, beaten
milk chocolate chips

Milk Chocolate Icing
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 300. Now grease one 12 count muffin tin with butter, nonstick spray or vegetable oil . Next dust your greased cups with cocoa powder. Using microwave or double boiler melt the butter and semi-sweet chocolate. Once fully melted add in the suagr, cocoa powder, eggs, and vanilla. Pour equally into muffin cups. Sprinkle some of the milk chocolate chips in the center of each cake. Bake for about 30 minutes and then remove from oven and let cool in pan for about 10 minutes. After that remove them from the tin to complete cooling.

While the cakes were cooking you could melt on low heat the chocolate chips and cream. Do this until chips are completely dissolved. Then put the icing in the fridge. Keep in fridge about 30 - 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Once cakes have been cooled and the icing cool and thick, dip each cake into the bowl of icing. Store the cakes in the fridge until ready to be eaten. When ready to be served, warm each mini cake for about 20 or 30 seconds in the microwave. {Yes I know, totally not old fashioned - but totally scrumptious lol!}

Note: I used only 1/4th cup butter by accident and it came out just as good. I'm sure it would have made a little more batter had I used the whole half a cup. These do have a slight brownie like taste, but we still love'em! Basic recipe from

Out of the oven and before they were dipped in the icing

Enjoy the old fashioned way of things? Interested in the Victorian era? If so have a browse around our other site A Victorian Passage. Updated Regularly!

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