Monday, May 30, 2011

Burnt Sugar Cake

My daughter, Cynthia, likes burnt sugar cake for her birthdays. So we have made a few. My husband always made the burnt sugar for me and I would make the cake and frosting. When he passed on, I had to learn to do it. So this is part of my learning more patience.As I make this about once a year, I have to remember how I did the previous year. I make it the old fashion way of cooking it in a cast iron skillet, and added the water to the burnt sugar a little at a time and slowly. There are many videos of how to make burnt sugar, I would suggest viewing one of those.
Here is the recipe I use adapted from an old Betty Crocker cookbook.
Burnt Sugar Cake
Slowly melt one cup sugar in a cast iron skillet. When melted and turned slightly brown add 1 cup water, very slowly. This splatters and will burn you if not careful. Stir slowly until sugar is melted into water and is liquid.  Pour this into a glass measuring cup.
This does make about 1 cup, I just forgot to take a picture fast enough, and used 1/2 of in the cake recipe. I saved this for the frosting.

I judge about how much this liquid makes and divide into 2 glass containers, one for the cake recipe and one for the frosting recipe.
Add enough water to the one of the containers to make 1 cup liquid, burnt sugar. Set aside.
Cream together until fluffy: 1/2 cup vegetable shortening and 1 1/3 cups sugar.
Beat in thoroughly: 3 eggs, one at a time to incorporate well.
Sift together and add: 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Add the flour alternately with the liquid sugar mixture and beat well until light and fluffy.
Divide this batter between 2 prepared (greased and floured) 9" round cake pans.

Bake in pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Test with a toothpick, insert and comes out clean. Cool in pans for 5 minutes, turn out and cool completely. Frost with Burnt Sugar Frosting, below.

Burnt Sugar Frosting
 To one pound of powered sugar, mix in 6 tablespoons softened butter and slowly add from the 1/2 cup of burnt sugar liquid. If you need to add more liquid, what I did was add about 1/4 cup water into the measuring cup from which I had the burnt sugar liquid and added a tablespoon at a time to make the frosting just right. I did get mine a little too creamy, as you can tell from the picture. Needs to be a little more stiff.
Now frost your cake and enjoy!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Blackberry Syrup

Finally the library got in "Sugar Baby" by Gesine Bullock-Prada!!
It's a cookbook just for sugar. I have heard so much about it through her blog and from people who follow her on facebook, I just couldn't wait for the library to get it in. At first they said it wasn't available to order because of budget cuts, and then when I was in the other day, a librarian said the book was in! As I have been reading it, I was thinking and thinking on which recipe to start with. I really want to accomplish the 'Parisian Macarons', but just need to get some time to do so. This is a great book to add to your collection.
Today I knew that I wanted to make some waffles with blackberry syrup, so that gave me the idea to make 'Simple Syrup' page 21 in her book.
Simple Syrup is really just sugar water, cook until the sugar is dissolved. There are many things you can do with. I know my friends who decorate cakes, use it to crumb their cakes. With flavorings you can use it in drinks. I liked how she makes lemonade from this. Read Gesine's book for her recipe.  I like to make fruit syrups for pancakes and waffles or ice cream toppings.

Here is my Blackberry Syrup recipe, that I have made ever since high school days:
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
12 ounce container of blackberries (about 2 cups)
Sugar and water

Start heating up and boil the sugar and water. Boil for 5 minutes.

Add the blackberries.

Let this boil for 4 minutes. I do add 2 tablespoons of corn syrup so it won't crystallized. You can add it if  you want, it depends how fast you use the syrup up.
After 4 minutes, take it off the stove and cool.  You can use it warm or refrigerate it for ice cream.
The foam on top doesn't stay after it is cooled.
This is the basic recipe, you could make this with strawberries, a mix of berries, apples, peaches, whatever fruit you  want. I wouldn't suggest bananas though.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Cranberry Walnut Oatmeal Cookies

Kroger company makes a pretty good cookie dough, that you pull apart and bake. Well, knowing me, I just had to make it home-made or from scratch. Well as I was making something else that needed Crisco, I read the back of the sticks and low and behold there was a recipe for the same thing. And I only changed one ingredient.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat baking sheets with no-stick cooking spray.
3/4 cup shortening (I used 1/2 cup shortening and 1/4 cup butter)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cups rolled oats
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chopped walnuts
Beat shortening, sugar and brown sugar in large bowl at medium speed of electric mixer until creamy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in small bowl. Beat into shortening mixture until blended. Stir in oats, dried cranberries and walnuts. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light brown. Cool on baking sheets 2 minutes. Place on cooling rack to cool completely.
These were great, even the next day!! Soft and chewy.

Sent this off to Sweet As Sugar Cookies #17:

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Heavenly Lemon Meringue Pie

Found this recipe on google search for Heavenly Lemon Meringue Pie! There were two but I decided to try this because of the pictures, it reminded me most of the pie we had when I worked at Bullock's, link here:
The link to Tina's recipe that I use is here: 
Check out here page as her recipe and pictures are there. She has much better pictures than I do.
Anyway, I enjoyed the flavor as it did remind me of the pie at Bullocks. I think I need to practice mixing a little longer on the egg whites, as the sugar didn't seem to dissolve and make a better meringue. Also I guess with the egg yolks you are making a lemon curd without butter. I just watch a video clip on this and now I know what I should have done to make it better. So yes, I will be trying this recipe again and hopefully have more patience on mixing egg whites and the yolks a little longer.
I don't know about you but I love bringing back some of the good old memories.
I will call this Bullock's Heavenly Lemon Meringue Pie, because that is how I will remember it.

4 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice (I didn't put this in, as we didn't at Bullocks, so your choice)

For crust: Beat eggs whites until stiff, 3-4 minutes. Gradually add sugar, beating until stiff, but not dry. Blend in juice (if you use it). Coat 9 inch pie pan with non-stick spray. Spoon in meringue and with a tablespoon, push up mixture around edges (so you are making a ring for the edge). Bake at 200 degrees F, for 2 hours. Cool.

As you can see, I needed to push the meringue out from the center a little more, as it was too puffy.
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 large lemon, juiced and zested
2 cups whipped cream (this needs to be whipped, not liquid)
1 tablespoon powered sugar
Before doing the filling I would suggest looking at the video of how to make lemon curd. (
In a metal bowl, that is going to fit over a pan of boiling water, or the top of a double boiler: beat egg yolks with sugar, lemon juice and zest until light in color and slightly thickened. Cook stirring, in top of double boiler or the bowl, (if that is what you are using) but not touching the simmering water. Cook until thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool thoroughly. Fold in half of whipped cream. Turn into meringue crust and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Meringue with the filling.
Take the other half of the whip cream and fold in the powered sugar and spread over chilled pie.

As you can see, mine is not as stiff as I would like, so will be trying this again, another day.
The kiddos and I loved this pie, so will be making again to perfect it. I also think I will add more juice and lemon zest, as I would like more of the lemon flavor to the curd.
I am sorry if you have to copy and paste the web sites, as I need to figure out how to put the links in to where you can just click on them.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Junior Year 1967-68

 How to start is always the hard part, and once you get into it, things go easier. I have had the pictures and different ideas going through my head for about 2 weeks and just can't get started.
So here goes -  my Junior year at Azusa High!

Good friends, Robert and Larry.
Will start with football pictures, as that is how we started every school. A big thing at Azusa was going to all the football games. From the yearbook: "Opening the season in grand style, Azusa white-washed Gladstone 21-0, to earn the Rotary Club trophy. The Aztecs gained revenge for last year's 42-14 loss as they trounced the hapless Glendora Tartans 27-0 and earned the coveted Herald-Press trophy,
 Steve Murray sparked the Azusa offense and the defensive unit chalked up its second shoutout. In their first league game the Aztecs polished off highly-touted Baldwin Park 32-2. Against Charter Oak, Azusa exploded for 25 first half points and went on to record a shutout, 31-0. John Polak's three touchdowns led the Aztecs overcame a record passing performance by Joe Gomez of Nogales.
Homecoming was celebrated with a 20-13 victory over Northview. Nick Jara scored twice for Azusa.
The Homecoming court. Donna Rogers was elected queen.
 Riding high on a six game winning streak, Azuda was stunned by Rowland 27-21. With 39 seconds remaining, the Raiders scored to put the game on ice.
In a complete reversal of their previous play, the Aztecs finished the season on a disappointing note by losing to South Hills 21-0 and Covina 25-14." Wow! Just typing this was bringing back so many memories. Watching my brother and so many friends on that football team, makes me wonder where some of them are. Here the football team in a split of two pictures.

My brother, #65.  
 One more picture with my brother:
See my brother? #65, that's Kent!
I enjoyed watching the games with my friends and sometimes with the family. Yep, my parents, younger brother and sister went to the games also. My dad was good about taking me and my friends to all the games.
Will continue on this memory a little later...........

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

My little garden update!

At the end of March, I started a little 4'x4' garden. Planted some different types of lettuce, tomatoes, and beans. After a couple of weeks, I really missed my grandmother's mint, so I went back to the old house and the new owners let me find and pull some. There wasn't hardly any left and so dry. But I planted the little I had and it is taking off! We are eating the lettuce and hope it well keep growing for another month.

Tomato seed are sprouting!

Only one bean came up, so planted more.
Romaine and simpson

Arugula and simpson


First Quilt is Done!

It has taken me years to want to make a quilt and so a year ago, I started. As I was working on it, I wasn't catching on the how to's very well. So I stopped and still went to our little group and finally got busy. I finished the top and then the hand sewing took me forever! But I was determined to finish. Last week I did so and I like how it looks.  It was made from scraps of material my mom sent me years ago, I sure enjoyed learning how to put it together. I am calling it the 'Traveling Quilt', as I hope to let my children will pass it back and forth. If they wish to add little decorations to the quilt, it will mean more to them. Now I am working on a small wall quilt.