Breads, Uncategorized

Banana Bread

LaVerne and I baked this Banana Tea Bread recipe from the good old Good Housekeeping Cookbook on one of the last days at her house when we were spending lots of time looking and cooking through her recipes. I couldn’t find the one she had shared with us years before, but she chose this as the one to use.

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The recipe she gave my husband when he left home is still my favorite banana bread ever, and when I compared them after I got home, I found that they are identical.

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I’m posting this with many thanks to my friend Selena for her donation to my Walk to End Alzheimer’s this past fall.

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Mom’s Banana Bread

Ingredients:

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup soft shortening

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs, unbeaten

1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 or 3)

Nuts (optional)

Instructions:

Start heating oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 9”x 5” loaf pan. Sift together flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. Cream shortening with sugar. Then add eggs and continue to beat until very light and fluffy – about 4 minutes altogether.

Blend in flour mixture at low speed alternately with bananas just until smooth; turn into pan.

Bake one hour or until done. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove and cool on rack.

Notes:

There are many variations included in this cookbook recipe which we’ve never tried.

We peel and freeze ripe bananas. When it’s time to thaw them for bread, they’re already halfway there. It always takes one more banana than I think to make up the 1 cup of mashed fruit.

A toothpick inserted into the center of quick bread comes out clean when it is cooked through.

Both the cookbook and Mom’s recipe say to cool overnight before slicing, but we all know that will never happen.

Traditionally, the Steins put pecans into this banana bread (1/4-1/2 cups chopped) when nuts are desired.

Do you have a favorite quick bread recipe?

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Desserts, Uncategorized

Granny’s Ginger Cakes (familiarly known as Granny Cakes)

Ask any member of the Stein family what recipe they remember best about Christmas holiday gatherings and chances are they’ll say, “Granny Cakes.”2015-08-25-12-13-21

The boys’ Grandma Marie made these, but LaVerne always attested that the recipe actually originated with her, and her own grandchildren certainly associate their existence with Grandma LaVerne. The real story may be lost to the mists of time unless the Stein brothers remember the truth…

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This dough was used to make gingerbread people at Christmas when our kids were small, customized for each visiting grandchild. The dough was most often rolled out and sliced into odd-shaped slabs, though. LaVerne always got a twinkle in her eye after they’d been around a couple of days because, as she said, “They’re better when they have a chance to get a little bit tough. Especially with a hot cup of coffee.” That’s still my favorite way to eat them.

Granny’s Ginger Cakes (also known as Granny Cakes)

1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons soda
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 cups flour (+3/4 if needed to roll easier)

Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add molasses, ginger, cinnamon and salt to creamed mixture and blend well. Stir soda into buttermilk and stir into molasses mixture (mixture will appear curdled). Gradually add flour and beat until smooth after each addition. Chill dough several hours or overnight. Working with a small amount at a time, pat dough out on floured surface with floured hands to a thickness of half-inch. With sharp floured knife cut into pieces about 3 in. square. Bake on greased baking sheet 375°F for 15 minutes. Do not overbake!

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Notes:

Take your time with this dough. Chill it plenty and work with small portions, or rolling out can be a horrible sticky mess. I use lightly floured parchment paper to help me now.

We have used both fresh and powdered buttermilk with success in this recipe.

In addition to making wonderful fat gingerbread men, this is lovely dough for Valentine’s hearts or birthday dinosaurs or what have you, but it puffs up a fair amount in the baking, so simple shapes are best.

 

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Desserts, Uncategorized

Nestle Toll House Cookies (Stein Style)

Especially toward the end of her time with us, LaVerne would begin to worry about what to serve as soon as she knew folks were coming to visit, but she could relax as soon as I told her we’d either bake these cookies before a visit, or pull some out of the freezer. Many batches of cookies have passed through Stein ovens, but this is probably the recipe that has been baked most.

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Many thanks to Barbara for supporting my fundraising effort in The Walk to End Alzheimer’s. You can support my walk here.

Original Nestlé Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened. The Stein family recipe replaces with shortening, as in the original Nestlé recipe
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
One 12 oz. package Nestlé Toll House semi sweet chocolate morsels (2 cups)
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Directions
Preheat oven to 375°F. In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. In large bowl, combine butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract; beat until creamy. Beat in eggs. Gradually add flour mixture. Stir in chocolate morsels and nuts. Drop by spoonfuls onto on greased cookie sheets. Bake: at 375°F 9 to 11 minutes. Makes: about five dozen 2 1/4 inch cookies.
Pan cookie variation: prepared though as directed. Spread into greased 15.5 x 10.5 by 1 inch baking pan. Bake: at 375°F. 20 to 25 minutes. Cool; cut into 35 2 inch squares.

Notes

I put a note about shortening into the actual recipe above because the Steins are so opinionated about that difference, and we wouldn’t want you to get your butter ready in vain.

Our recipe card is simply the recipe from a bag of chocolate chips taped to an index card and family lore says that there is a very old card made the same way showing the shortening as an ingredient, but I am unable to provide photo evidence.

The Steins use pecans when they feel like using nuts as there is walnut allergy in the family.

What is your favorite cookie?

PS I hope this isn’t a repeat post! My records show that I have recorded the recipe but had not yet shared it with you. My apologies if I have – but you know, it’s always good to make a good cookie time and time again.

Do you have a  favorite cookie?

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Desserts

Millionaire Cookies

I haven’t gotten any input from the boys, so I’ll ask here if anyone can clear up a memory: was this Grandma Marie’s recipe, which is what I remember, of was your Mom the first to make these? They were a part of Stein family gatherings, Christmas in particular, for years, I do know that much.

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Millionaire Cookies

1 cup white sugar
2 cups brown sugar
3 eggs
1-1/3 cup butter
1 teaspoon soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
4-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup nuts
Mix together and form into 2 long round logs.
Let stand overnight or freeze.
Slice thin and bake in 375° oven.
Brown and white sugar amounts may be interchanged.
Makes 13 dozen 2 inch cookies

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** Notes
This is a HUGE recipe. Making a half recipe seemed more trouble than it was worth, though, so we went for the whole thing. We made the dough into two logs, reserving one in the refrigerator to bake the next day as instructed, and the other in the freezer to bake on my next visit. What a brilliant move. I’m going to try preparing more cookie dough of various kinds to bake at a moment’s notice this way. Mom enjoyed helping when we needed something to do of an afternoon.
We made about 12 1/2 dozen cookies total, and the frozen cookies were only slightly drier than the ones we made first.

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Do you have a favorite family cookie recipe? Please share!

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