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Amy AlessioWelcome to my page, where the Vintage Cookbooks blog has lived for over 9 years! Sign up for my newsletter to receive a copy of TREASURES, the first story in my Amazon bestselling Alana O’Neill short mystery series with vintage recipes. My newsletter will send bonus recipes as well as news of my upcoming shows and books right to your email box. Treasures
In TREASURES, Alana, a young mother, discovers an unlikely secret after a fire in an antiques mall in this short mystery with recipes. This is the first in the Alana O’Neill mysteries and includes vintage recipes for: Congo Squares, Kolackys, Chiffon Cake, Pound Cake and Dark Chocolate Cake. Alana’s adventures continue in the separate stories: MISSING ANDY, FELLED BY FRUITCAKE and BLAST FROM THE PAST.
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Two Delicious Desserts

I’m so excited to announce the publication of A Delicious Dessert, a romance anthology with recipes. It was put together in honor of author Mary Welk, an author friend of mine (who posted on here!) who passed away late 2015. I have a story “Flirting with Fondue,” under my Julia Curtin pen name. All proceeds go to the American Heart Association. Here is the link to purchase eleven novellas with recipes for $2.99, while helping a great organization!

Enjoy this recipe for Apple Squares today too, from my handwritten recipe collection:

Crust

2 cups sifted flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking powder

3/4 cup shortening (margarine)

2 egg yolks, beaten

1 tsp. lemon juice

1/2 cup cold water

Sift together dry ingredients. Cut in shortening as for pie dough. Combine egg yolks, lemon juice and water and add to flour mixture. Mix thoroughly. Dough will be very moist. Do not add more flour. Divide in 2 parts. Roll out on WELL FLOURED (as on card) board and line bottom and sides of a 15 x 10 inch pan.

Apple Filling: Pare and slice 8 large apples thinly. Using hands, coat thoroughly with mixture of 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt, 2 tablespoons flour, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and dash of nutmeg.

Arrange in crust lined pan and cover with top crust. Seal edges. Make decorative slits. Bake in 375F oven 1 hour. While warm ice with mixture of 1 cup conf. sugar, 1 tablespoon milk, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. For easy serving, cool before cutting into squares.

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Molly MacRae Monday: Loose-Leaf Comfort Food

Molly MacRae kicks off a fun February on this blog with her post on some comfort food. Perfect thing for a February Monday!-Amy

One of my favorite cookbooks is the paperback copy of Joy of Cooking my husband had in college. It’s the 1973 edition and it cost $3.95. As you can see from the picture, we’ve loved it into a loose-leaf format. It has no spine anymore, but all the pages are there and intact. Some of the recipes we’ll never make (Peccary, beaver, or bear? No.) But a few we make quite often. One of those is scalloped potatoes. But just as the cookbook is now loose-leaf, our adherence to the recipe is pretty loose, too. We add sharp cheddar cheese in place of butter. We put vegetable bouillon in the milk. We use three potatoes and don’t bother to measure how many cups that comes to. And sometimes we use the 10-inch by 10-inch dish and other times a deeper one that’s more like 6-inch by 6-inch. And oven temperature? Sometimes we rev it up to 375º F. to get supper on the table a little sooner. However you make them, though, these scalloped potatoes are good comfort food for cold February days.

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Molly MacRae Monday: A Bit of Bite for the New Year

Happy New Year! Some fun changes coming for this blog. To kick off 2017, here’s a recipe from Molly MacRae, who is busy writing her next mystery.  Have you read Plaid and Plagiarism yet?  It’s terrific! -Amy

Happy New Year! It’s that biting time of year—biting cold, biting wind, and for the past few weeks there’s been a lot of biting humor going around and just plain snarling. All of that made me think it was a good time to make something with a bit of bite for supper, so we had chili cheese scones and soup. The recipe is one of those you can play around with. Add more or less seasoning, according your taste and tolerance for zing and zip. Vary the kind of cheese you use. Tonight I only had one egg so I added a bit more milk and the scones turned out just fine. You can also vary the kind of soup you have with them. Tonight we had black bean with a nice fresh orange and ancho pepper salsa.

Chili Cheese Scones

2 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup yellow cornmeal

1 Tbs baking powder

1 to 2 tsps hot red pepper flakes

½ tsp ground cumin

¼ cup butter

1 tsp salt if butter is unsalted

¼ pound cheddar cheese, shredded

2 large eggs

½ cup milk

  1. Mix flour, cornmeal, baking powder, red pepper flakes, cumin, and salt in a large bowl. Cut butter in using a pastry blender. Stir in shredded cheese.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat eggs and milk. Add to flour mixture and mix with a fork just until combined.
  3. Knead dough on a floured board about six times. Divide dough in half. Pat each half a ¾-inch round. Set rounds well apart on an oiled baking pan. Cut each round, not quite through, into six wedges.
  4. Bake in 400º oven until golden brown – 15 to 18 minutes. Serve hot or warm, breaking along scores.
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Molly MacRae Monday: A Celebratory Swig

We have a very happy holiday message from Molly MacRae today, on the eve of her new book, Plaid and Plagiarism! I can’t wait to read it! -AA

The holidays are here and I’m launching a new mystery series, so I feel like celebrating. Plaid and Plagiarism, book #1 in the Highland Bookshop Mysteries comes out tomorrow. The stories take place in Scotland, a place I dearly love, in a West Coast Highland town called Inversgail (which doesn’t exist except in my head and in the books). What better way to celebrate the season and the book, then, than with a traditional Highland drink—Atholl Brose.

According According to F. Marian McNeill in her 1929 book, The Scots Kitchen, “Atholl Brose emerges from the Highland mists in the year 1475, but may well be much older. It is mentioned by Scott in The Heart of Midlothian, and by Robert Louis Stevenson in Kidnapped.”

There are various recipes for Atholl Brose. All of them call for oatmeal, honey, and whisky, with the addition of cream for festive occasions. This is kind of a festive occasion, so I’ll share my favorite recipe from McNeill’s book—it’s one she got from Williamina Macrae.

Beat one and a half teacupfuls of double cream to a froth; stir in one teacupful of very lightly toasted oatmeal; add half a cup of dripped heather honey and, just before serving, two wine-glasses of whisky. Mix thoroughly and serve in shallow glasses.

Good health to you! Slainte mhath!

(Having a larger celebration? Click here for a recipe that serves 1,100.)

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Cake Mix O’Love

Molly MacRae talks birthdays and cake this month. Yum! And next month the first book in her new series comes out: Plaid and Plagiarism: The Highland Bookshop Mystery Series. -AA

“Most people who make cakes for people they love regularly employ mixes.”  From The Food Timeline

My husband has been employing a cake mix regularly, once a year for the past twenty or twenty five years when he makes a birthday cake for me. It’s very brave and good of him, because he doesn’t like to cook. The first time I made it easy for him and bought the mix and a can of frosting for him. He got the boys to help him and when they were done it was THE WORLD’S BEST BIRTHDAY CAKE. The only surprise was when he told me how much frosting was left in the can after he frosted the cake and what a good snack that leftover frosting made spread on graham crackers. Let me just say, very quietly, that the next year, and every year since then, all the frosting has gone on the cake where it belonged.

To tie this in with Amy’s love for all things vintage, notice that Mike is mixing the batter in our harvest gold Pyrex bowl with our harvest gold General Electric mixer. We received both of them for wedding presents in 1978 and still use them.

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Witches’ Cake?

I was delighted to be interviewed for this article by Judy Buchenot on an upcoming talk I’m giving. I got to discuss some of the favorites from my collection. Kyle took some photos of me in a vintage dress for the photo.

I included the honey ketchup onions I made a few Thanksgivings ago. My family loves them – I just don’t tell them what is in them!


But moving on to a fun Halloween recipe. I’m not sure what makes this “Witches’ Cake,” perhaps the chocolate? It’s from a cookbook from the Home Bureau Women of Jersey County. It was first published in 1939, with this printing from 1959.

1 3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup shortening

2 eggs

1/2 cup sour milk

1 tsp. vanilla

4 tblsp. melted chocolate

2 cups sifted flour

1 level teasp. baking powder

1/2 teasp. baking soda

1/2 cup boiling water

Sift flour with baking powder and soda. Cream shortening, add sugar gradually, egg yolks, melted chocolate and vanilla. Add dry ingredients alternately with sour milk and water. Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites. Bake in two large or 3 small layers, about 25 minutes at 350F. Put layers together with chocolate filling.

Chocolate Filling: 6 teasp. flour, 6 teasp. sugar, 2 teasp. cocoa: Mix with thick cream and heat.

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“Monster Cookies”

My mind is on Halloween now, between planning for the third grade party and all the themed things in the stores. But I am also thinking about winter. My writer’s group, the Windy City RWA, hosts a writers’ retreat every couple years. Next year it will be 3/3 – 3/4, and I am helping coordinate it. Have you every wanted to get away and get inspired to work on those books you started but never finished? Take the time for yourself. The early bird rate covers meals, a workshop with Barbara Samuel, and a lot more.

But back to now. Enjoy another recipe from the 1983 church cookbook I keep finding treasures in: Monster Cookies.

2 C. sugar

2 C. packed brown sugar

1 C. shortening or butter

6 eggs

3 C. peanut butter

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

9 C. oatmeal

1/2 lb. M&Ms (plain)

4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 C. chocolate chips

1/2 C nuts (optional)

325F  12 – 15 minutes

Mix all ingredients together by hand. Drop on greased cookie sheets and bake.

“Serves an army! Very nutritious!” I’m not kidding. It says those things. :)

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Popcorn Cake

It feels like fall around here, and we took the boys out to a local pumpkin farm last week. What are your fall rituals?

I think this recipe would be fun for a Halloween party. It’s from the same 1983 church cookbook I’ve been blogging from recently.

Popcorn Cake

1/4 C. oil

3/4 C. butter

1 lb. marshmallows

(also popped corn)

Melt first three ingredients in double boiler. When melted, pour over 4 quarts popped corn placed in buttered bowl. Stir well to coat evenly. Place into greased tube pan or any size pan desired. (May add mixed nuts, gumdrops or M&Ms).

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Easy Pumpkin Cake

My son Owen’s dream  for the last couple of years has been to grow a pumpkin. Last year’s crop didn’t make it past July. This year, one hardy pumpkin is holding on. You can see we put chicken wire over it to keep the eager possums and squirrels away.

This cake recipe is much easier than growing a pumpkin. It’s another from the 1983 Faith Evangelical Church cookbook I’ve been perusing lately. I love this as it’s a cake mix recipe.

1 large can pumpkin

1  13 oz. can evaporated milk

4 tsp. pumpkin spice or 2 tsp. cinnamon & 1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1 C. sugar

3 eggs

2 tsp. salt

Yellow cake mix

3/4 C. butter or margarine

9×13″ cake pan   350F   50 minutes

Mix and pour first 7 ingredients into (ungreased) pan. Pour yellow cake mix over that. Melt butter and pour on top of cake mix. Bake.

Be sure butter or margarine covers all the dry cake mix.

 

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Molly MacRae’s Chocolate Oatrage Cake

Molly MacRae returns with an amazing and interesting cake in between book deadlines. Her next book, Plaid and Plagiarism is coming December 6. Can’t wait! Oh, and Molly? I’d rather have bear than prunes! -AA

Chocolate Oatrage Cake

Last month I turned in the manuscript for a book, my ninth, and celebrated by ignoring other commitments, like sending a post to Amy for this blog. I hope this recipe makes up for it. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of the finished product because by the time I remembered to take one, we’d eaten the cake. How was it? Delish.

Chocolate Oatrage is an old standby. It’s quick and easy and requires no special ingredients. It’s my family’s version of a recipe for Oatmeal Cake found in the 1976 edition of the More-with-Less Cookbook: suggestions by Mennonites on how to eat better and consume less of the world’s limited food resources, by Doris Janzen Longacre. As you can see by the notes, subtractions and additions, at this point it’s almost a handwritten recipe. You don’t even see the part of the recipe for making a topping because we’ve never topped the cake with anything.

You might ask why, if I’m referring to the cake as Chocolate Oatrage, does the recipe say Chocolate Stoatrage? There’s a perfectly sensible answer. My children liked to edit recipes and food packages so that it appeared we ate more adventurously. Fat became bat (and low fat became low bat). Black beans became black bears. Oats became stoats. Mmm. Nothing like a steaming bowl of stoatmeal for breakfast or a spicy black bear burger for supper.

Here’s the recipe (as we make it). I hope you like it as much as we do.

Chocolate Stoatrage Cake

Serves 16-18

350º

30 minutes

Preheat oven to 350º.

Combine and let stand 20 minutes.

1 ½ c. quick oatmeal

1 ½ c. boiling water

Cream together until fluffy.

½ c. shortening

1 c. dark brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

Add oatmeal mixture. Beat well.

Mix together.

1 c. flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt (if using unsalted butter for the shortening)

1 ½ c. chocolate chips

Add to creamed mixture and beat well. Pour into greased and floured 9×13” cake pan. Bake 30 minutes or until tests done.

Cut when cool.

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