Top 100 Cake Blog

Top 100 Cake Blog

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Ruth Hamilton Cookies

If you yearn for a crisp coconut brown sugar cookie, then these are your ticket to happiness. I didn't love them (I like chewier cookies) yet found them very, very addicting.

You can feed this habit with ease -- Ruth Hamilton (whoever she was/is) created a recipe that can be put together quickly and simply.  You just need the simple ingredients, a wooden spoon and a saucepan.

I found this vintage recipe in a large binder filled with family recipes dating back to about 1920. As you can see at the end of the post, a younger generation family member carefully copied the original recipe, and may others. (Somehow this family treasure trove ended up on eBay. So much for tradition.)

These cookies are a dream to make. Butter is melted, sugar is added, and the rest of the ingredients are simply added to the saucepan.

Adding the eggs and vanilla smooths this out.

After the liquid mixture cools, the dry ingredients are introduced.

Mix it all together very well.

You can drop these cookies from a teaspoon or, as I did, scoop them with a small cookie scoop (or roll the dough in your hands).

Bake and watch them disappear.

Here's the original recipe, and below that, the recipe copied over by a daughter or granddaughter.

Production notes: I followed this recipe exactly, but used half light brown and half dark brown sugar (mostly because that's what I had on hand). Using light brown sugar will make the cookies lighter in color. I used old-fashioned oats, and Angel Flake coconut. And butter, of course, instead of shortening.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Pizza for Dessert!

This recipe is a pure fun -- and delicious -- trompe l'oiel of a dessert. Wish I'd made it for April Fool's Day, but didn't want to wait 11 months to post this. It's that good.  It is also very, very easy and would be a delightful baking project with children. The vintage recipe is from a collection I purchased on eBay last year.

Start by making the crust, which is much easier than pie (or pizza pie) crust.  Melted butter is simply stirred into some flour and confectioner's sugar.

Blend the mixture until it holds together.

Then simply pat it into a greased baking pan. I used a springform pan so it would be uniform and easily removable, but I think free form would work fine. And maybe look a bit more authentic.

Bake until the edges are slightly brown. Cool.

Next make the "cheese" topping by mixing softened cream cheese with sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice.

It's best to use a hand mixer for this task. I spread the mixture on the crust and refrigerated it for 30 minutes to firm it up, as I feared the strawberry mixture would bleed into the soft "cheese."

You can start the strawberries at any time. I bought a bag of whole frozen strawberries (I think it was either 12 or 15 ounces) and put them in a saucepan to cook down. I then added the cornstarch -- big mistake. I learned the hard way that adding dry cornstarch to hot liquid results in small white balls of starch, which need to be picked out one-by-one.  The way to do this is to make a slurry -- dissolve the cornstarch in a small amount of liquid -- and then add it.

Cornstarch slurry added to the strawberries, below.  I used a potato masher to break down the berries so the mixture would more closely resemble tomato sauce.

Place the "cheese" on the crust, top with the "sauce" and add some dollops of  "cheese" on top. Dot with fresh mint leaves and enjoy.

Enjoy a slice! And share the rest.

 Production notes: I followed this recipe exactly, and used a 9 inch springform pan.  Next time, I might try to simply pat the crust on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and go free form.  Make sure the cream cheese is at room temperature, and make a slurry before adding the cornstarch to the strawberries.