Top 100 Cake Blog

Top 100 Cake Blog

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Luella Walters Everyday Cookies

Luella Walters is right -- these cookies could be eaten every day, as they are truly delicious and worth every calorie.  Other than that, I have no idea why Ms. Walters bequeathed them such a name. They have rice krispies and coconut, two ingredients I don't consider "every day" ones. They are also unusual in that they call for both butter AND oil -- and plenty of both.  And, typical of vintage recipes, these aren't overly sweet. but still rather addicting. In fact, this is one of the few things I've baked that I, ahem, overindulged in. 

These cookies are very easy to make. The recipe, on two cards, is little more than a list of ingredients. Perhaps the third card got lost? In any event, I've written my method at the end of the post. This recipe makes a lot of cookies.

Start by combining the sugars and butter.

Add the eggs.

Add the oil and beat well, until the batter is smooth.

If you're like me, you'll be gathering ingredients as you go (not recommended; it's better to assemble everything before starting the recipe). But while the oil blended in, I combines the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and added to the mixture.  As that is combining, prepare the add-ins -- coconut, rice krispies and chopped nuts.  Add them to the batter.

At this point, I popped the dough into the fridge for a couple of hours to run some errands.  This will firm up the dough so it's easier to work with, but not necessary if you're in a rush for the cookies.  With a small cookie scoop, or your hands, form small balls and place them on a parchment-covered baking sheet. Reuse the parchment for all of the batches.

Pull from the oven after about 15 minutes or so, depending on your oven temperature. The bottoms should be lightly browned, and the tops will appear somewhat loose.

After a few minutes, transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Ms. Walter's recipe below, and below that, the method I used.

Luella Walters Everyday Cookies

Preheat oven to 350 F (if you're baking immediately; or 20 minutes before baking)

1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter (two sticks, softened)
2 eggs
1 cup Wesson or Crisco oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/8 cup rolled oats
1 cup rice krispies
1 cup sweetened coconut
1 cup chopped nuts (pecans are good)

Blend sugars and butter until well combined.
Add eggs and blend.
Add oil and beat well, so mixture doesn’t separate.
Add vanilla.
Combine flour, baking soda, salt and cream of tartar in a separate bowl, and add to mixture.
Add the oats, rice krispies, coconut and nuts.
Blend well.
You can refrigerate dough
Form golf-ball sized balls of dough and place on parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake 12 to 16 minutes, depending on your oven.
Let cool a few minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to wire racks.
These will keep a long time (but they’ll be long gone before then).

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Fresh Corn Fritters

Do you have fear of frying? I overcame mine a few years ago with some -- as it turned out, unnecessary -- reassurance from a nearby fire extinguisher. And a whole new world opened. Frying is easy, quick and adds so much flavor and texture to ordinary ingredients.  And by ordinary, I mean things you probably already have in your pantry or refrigerator like eggs and flour. It's a good way to incorporate fruits and vegetables into one's diet! I recently discovered two ears of corn lurking in my fridge from an overly ambitious farmer's market trip at the same time I found a vintage recipe for corn fritters. Kismet!

This recipe is from Grace Johnson, a Park Slope, Brooklyn, resident, whose wonderful 1940s handwritten book of recipes I purchased from a stoop sale a few years ago.  You can read her story here.

These are light, fluffy and savory fritters. Really, really good. (And you can whip them up in a jiffy when a friend unexpectedly rings your doorbell on Sunday night -- see end of post.)

Begin by organizing your ingredients.  Beat the egg, mix in the milk and other ingredients.

It will seem like there's not enough liquid, but there will be.  Add the corn in last.

Drop the batter by teaspoon...

...into the hot oil. Fry until golden on one side.

Then flip the fritters over using a slotted spoon, or even a fork.

I've included the original recipe, and then thoughtfully wrote it out (you're welcome).

Corn Fritters

1 egg
1 cup milk (divided)
1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups whole kernel corn (about two ears)
1 tablespoon liquid shortening (melted butter)
Oil for frying (depending on the size of your frying pan*)

In a bowl, beat the egg.
Stir in ½ cup milk.
Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Add to egg-milk mixture.
Add remaining ½ cup milk.
Add the melted butter and corn.
Mix well.

Heat the oil in a frying pan. When very hot (you can take its temperature or just drop a bit of batter in to test).
Drop the batter by tablespoons into the hot oil.
When golden brown on one side, flip over to continue cooking. (Use a fork or slotted spoon).
Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.

*Grace recommends starting with three tablespoons of oil, and replacing when necessary. I think it’s better to do this once – add oil so it rises an inch or more from the bottom of the pan. This way, you need not keep waiting for the new oil to reach temperature. You can always strain the used oil through a cheesecloth to reuse.

Our friend Alec, below, with a plate of corn fritters. He bicycled over on his hand-built bamboo bike just in time for dinner! Hmmmm.....