What the Heck is Bok Choy?

Sometimes I get bored of the same old vegetables. Don’t get me wrong, I love peas and green beans and celery and asparagus and all the other likely veggie suspects. But how many times can I roast cauliflower or steam broccoli or green beans before I run out of ways to dress them, sauce them over or fricassee them and not feel like I’m rewind mode? That’s the moment I start looking for the fun veggies that make my family sit up and take notice and say, “what the heck is this stuff?” One of my absolute favorite, guess what this is vegetables, is bok choy.

          Bok choy is a dark leafy green cabbage family generally associated with oriental recipes often found in soups, stir fries and as a steamed side dish. Bok choy is chock full of vitamins A and C and calcium and delicious. Hummm, remind me again why I don’t use it as often as I could or should.  

Bok choy is pretty much available year around.  You should look for firm stalks and pass up any with brown spots. When you’re getting ready to use it cut off most of the base of the stalks before washing it so that the dirt that collects between the stalks can be thoroughly washed away. Some people like to separate the stalks from the leaves before they cook it because the thicker stalks have a longer cooking time than the leaves. If the stalk isn’t cooked whole, bok choy is typically shredded because it’s quicker to cook if cut into smaller pieces. Whichever cooking method you choose, be sure not to overcook the bok choy, the stalks should cooked to be just tender and the leaves should be just wilted.
         Bok choy pares well most oriental flavors and is especially tasty with soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce and sesame oil. With its subtle flavor and crispy texture, bok choy can be used as a substitute for cabbage in most dishes. It’s equally delicious raw, steamed or stir fried and its inexpensive so that it’s a perfect fit for every budget.



1/3 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons apple cider or rice wine vinegar

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper

6 cups bok choy, shredded

2 cups red cabbage, shredded

1 red onion, sliced thin

2 10 oz cans mandarin oranges, drained

2 avocados slice and chopped

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1 to 2 packages Ramen noodles, crushed (discard the seasoning packets or save for later)

In a bowl combine the oil, vinegar, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine and set aside. In a bowl combine the bok choy, cabbage, onion, oranges and avocado.  Toss to combine. Pour the dressing over salad and toss to combine. Top with the almonds and ramen noodles. Toss to combine. Serves 6

Submitted by Allison Garrison Chicago IL


4 skinless boneless chicken breasts, grilled, cut into bite sized pieces (or leftover chicken)

1/3 cup green onions, sliced

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/2 lb pea pods, cut in half diagonally, blanched

1 lb bok choy, thinly sliced

1 cucumber, peeled, cut in half, seeded and sliced thin

2 cups shredded red cabbage

1 red pepper, diced

1/2 cup garbanzo beans

3 1/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 1/2 tablespoons oil

2 tablespoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

2 tablespoons peanut butter

1 cup rice noodles or chow mien noodles

 In a large bowl combine the chicken, parsley, cabbage, green onions, peas pods bok choy, cucumber, red pepper and garbanzo beans. Mix to combine. In another bowl combine the vinegar, oils, ginger and peanut butter. Whisk to combine and season with salt and pepper. If the dressing is too thick add a little more vinegar. Add dressing to salad; toss to coat. Top with the rice noodles. Serves 4 to 6.


1 pound  steak

1 pound bok choy (3 cups sliced)

10 green onions, sliced

2 teaspoons sesame oil

1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic

Dash or two of hot sauce

1 tablespoon minced ginger, divided

2 cups red bell peppers, sliced

Crispy Noodle Cake

Vegetable-oil cooking spray

3/4 pound angel-hair pasta or thin noodles

2 teaspoons oil


1 cup chicken stock

1/2 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 to 2 teaspoons hot sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Crispy Noodle Cake: Preheat boiler. Line a baking tray with foil and spray with vegetable-oil cooking spray. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles. As soon as water returns to a boil, drain noodles and rinse under cold water. Shake dry and spread out evenly on the baking tray. Sprinkle oil over noodles and spray with vegetable-oil cooking spray. Place noodles on the middle rack of the oven. Keep an eye on them as you prepare the beef. When noodles are crisp, after about 10 minutes, remove and flip onto other side. Spray with oil again and return to broiler for another 5 minutes. To serve, cut noodles into 4 portions with sharp scissors or a knife and transfer to individual plates. Cut each cake into 2-inch squares. Spoon beef, vegetables and sauce on top.

Helpful Hint: The noodles will need to be turned. The easiest way to do this is to loosen them on the tray all around the edges, cut into 4 sections and, with a spatula, flip each section.

For sauce: Mix all ingredients together.

For beef and bok choy: Remove fat from beef. Slice into 1/2-inch-wide strips 2 to 3 inches long. Wash and dry bok choy. Slice on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces. Slice scallions on the diagonal.

Heat wok and add oil. Add half the garlic and half the ginger and fry until golden, about 30 seconds. Add the bok choy, green onions and peppers and stir-fry until wilted but still crunchy, about 2 minutes. Remove to a warm serving plate. Add remaining garlic and ginger to wok and stir-fry until golden, about 30 seconds. Add beef and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Remove to plate with vegetables. Add the sauce and hot sauce to wok and stir to prevent lumping. Heat until sauce bubbles. Add vegetables and beef to sauce and toss several times. Remove wok from heat. Spoon over noodles and serve immediately.

Modified from Dinner in Minutes by Linda Gassenheimer


1 cup vegetable or pareve chicken broth

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/2 lb. linguini noodles, cooked according to the package instructions, drained

2 tablespoons sesame oil

2 cups sliced bok choy

1 1/2 lb mock crab

1 cup chopped broccoli

1 cup red bell pepper, diced

1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms

1/2 cup sliced green onion

1 can sliced water chestnuts

2 teaspoons garlic, minced

1 tablespoon black sesame seeds

In small bowl combine the broth, soy sauce, and cornstarch; set aside. Heat the oil in a wok and add the broccoli, and red bell pepper and cook stirring constantly for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the mock crab, bok choy, mushrooms, green onions, water chestnuts and garlic. Cook, stirring constantly for 3 or minutes or until the mock crab is hot but the vegetables are still crisp tender. Stir soy sauce mixture into the vegetable mixing to coat. Cooking, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens. Add the cooked noodles and toss to coat. Serves 4

Modified from about.com



2 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons cider vinegar

3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

2 teaspoons peanut butter

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper


1 (3-ounce) package ramen noodles

1/4 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts

3 cups thinly sliced bok choy

1 cup very thin red bell pepper strips

1/2 cup shredded carrot

1/4 cup diagonally cut green onions

To prepare dressing, combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk.

To prepare the salad, crumble noodles; discard seasoning packet. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add peanuts; saute for 4 minutes or until browned. Remove from heat. Combine crumbled noodles, peanuts, bok choy, and the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle dressing over salad; toss gently to coat. Serve immediately. Serves 8 to 10.

Cooking Light, AUGUST 2001


1 cup quoina

2 cups of chicken broth

2 portabella mushrooms, chopped

2 tablespoons oil

1/3 to 1/2 lb turkey pastrami, chopped

2 cups sliced bok choy

1 small red onion, finely chopped

2 teaspoons minced garlic

Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

Cook the quinoa in the chicken stock according to the directions on the package and cool slightly. Place it in a large bowl. In a skillet cook garlic and red onion together in the oil until the onion is soft. Add the bok choy and cook 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and turkey pastrami and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the mixture to the quinoa.  Mix to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 4 as a side dish or 2 as a main dish. Serve hot or cold.

Submitted by Claire Louise Smart Bloomington IN

Recipes Using (wait for it) Girl Scout Cookies!!

            There is a mystique to Girl Scout Cookies. Partly because you can only buy them once a year but mostly because just about everyone I know has devoured an entire box of their favorite flavor in less than 10 minutes.

            Depending on where you live the same cookie you find in say, New York, could be called something else in Albuquerque. No, there are not two warring factions of green clad girls pounding the pavement to ambush the unsuspecting cookie buyer. The answer is that Girl Scout Cookies are baked in two different bakeries, ABC/Interbake Foods and Little Brownie Bakers. There are regional differences but rest assured you will be able to find Thin Mints, Do-Si-Dos and Trefoil when the door bell rings and the multi color coded order sheet is thrust into your face.

            There typically aren’t often leftovers after Girl Scout cookie season is over. HOWEVER, since cooks (and parents) in the know OCCASIONALLY hide a box or six in the freezer it’s possible to utilize them for something other than just munching on. I discovered that using Girl Scout Cookies as an ingredient can make a so so dessert spectacular. Several of the recipes I use were actually created by chefs who not only love these cookies as much as we do but have been know to actually serve these desserts in their eating establishments.

            All kidding aside, Girl Scout Cookies are the primary fund raiser for the organization and if behooves us all to buy early and buy often.   


1 pkg. Trefoils
5  3 oz. chocolate covered vanilla ice cream bars
4 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar

Line 9×9 pan with foil. Place Trefoils on top. Place ice cream bars on top. Cover with another layer of cookies. Place in freezer. Preheat oven to 500°. In large bowl, beat egg whites, cream of tarter, vanilla and salt until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar (one tablespoon at a time) and beat on high with electric beater. Make sure meringue is very stiff. Remove pan from freezer and transfer everything (including foil) to a cookie sheet. Fold out side of foil and quickly cover with meringue all around. Bake for 2 to 3 min. or until meringue is light brown. Quickly return to freezer for no more than 5 hrs. Serves 6 to 8


6 individual souffle dishes, buttered and lined with wax paper on all sides
8 oz. semi-sweet or milk chocolate
4 tbsp. butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 boxes Tagalong cookies
2 1/2 cups whipping cream
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
chocolate shavings for garnish

Melt chocolate with 2 tablespoons butter in top of double boiler. While chocolate in melting, prepare crust for parfait.

CRUST: Finely grind 1 1/2 boxes of Tagalong cookies. Divide mixture evenly between six prepared molds. Gently pat down cookie mixture to form bottom crust of parfait.

Whip 1 cup whipping cream with 1/4 cup sugar and vanilla just until slightly thickened. Add cream mixture to melted chocolate and fold together. Divide chocolate mixture evenly between six molds and tap down lightly.

Whip 1 1/2 cups whipping cream with confectioner’s sugar until soft peaks form. Mix peanut butter with 2 tablespoon butter until very smooth and creamy. Fold the 2 mixtures together and divide evenly between the six molds. Smooth tops and tap lightly. Refrigerate at least 4 hours. Remove from refrigerator at least 30 min. before serving. Place parfait on plate and remove mold. Gently peel away wax paper. Garnish with remaining cookies that have been coarsely chopped and shaved chocolate. Serves 6.


1 cup evaporated milk
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon butter
3 cups Thin Mint cookies crushed into crumbs
1/2 cup nuts (chopped)

In a large microwaveable bowl combine the milk, marshmallows, chocolate chips, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil in microwave. Stir well and cook in microwave an additional 2 minutes. Remove the bowl from the microwave. Add butter, vanilla, and chopped nuts and mix well.  Add the Thin Mint cookies crumbs to mixture. Pack the mixture into a 9 in square pan. Refrigerate to harden. Cut into squares. Serves 8 to 10


1 chocolate 2-layer cake mix

3/4 cup butter, melted

1/3 cup evaporated milk

1 cup milk chocolate chips

1 1/4 cups caramel sauce

One 7-ounce box Samoas crushed, divided

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease 9 x 13 pan. In a bowl combine the cake mix, butter and evaporated milk. Mix well and  pour half of the mixture in the pan. Bake for 6 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the milk chocolate chips over warm cake. Drizzle 3/4 cup caramel over chips. Next add 1/2 cookie crumbs. Top with the rest of the cake batter. Bake for 10 more minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and drizzle the cake with 1/2 cup caramel sauce. Sprinkle the rest of the cookie crumbs on top. Let cool and then cut. Serves 8 to 10.


1 cup sweet flaked coconut
1 box yellow cake mix
3 eggs
2 sticks butter, melted
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons Kentucky bourbon
2 boxes Samoa cookies, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 350. Spread coconut out on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so. Coconut should be tan, not dark brown. Set aside. Grease a 9”x13” baking dish. In a bowl combine the  cake mix, 1 egg, and 1/2 of the melted butter. Mix by hand. Pat this mixture into the greased dish and top with toasted coconut. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the  cream cheese and remaining eggs and beat until smooth. Gradually mix in the powdered sugar and then the butter. Mix until smooth. Stir in bourbon and chopped Samoas. Pour cookie mixture over coconut. Bake for about 30 minutes, until edges are brown. The middle will still be a little jiggly; allow cake to sit for at least 30 minutes. Serves 8 to 10.

Submitted by Carolyn Rivers Evanston IL


2 boxes Trefoil cookies
1 1/2 cup strong espresso coffee
3 tablespoon Coffee liqueur (optional)
2 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream (optional)
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cup Mascarpone cheese
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoon powdered sugar
Grated chocolate for garnish

Blend coffee and liqueurs in small bowl and set aside. Place egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla in bowl and place over simmering water. Whisk constantly until custard-like. Do not overcook. Whip mascarpone cheese and slowly add egg mixture, beat until smooth. Place trefoils in the bottom of a 9” x 13” pan and pour coffee mixture over the cookies until very little liquid remains. Place cheese mixture over the cookies and refrig­erate for 2 hours. Whip cream with vanilla and sugar to thick consistency. Pour over cookie mix­ture. Chill overnight. Garnish with grated chocolate. Serves 10 to 12

Recipe by Amy Berry, Pastry Chef, Baxter Station Bar & Grill


1 4.4-ounce package instant white chocolate pudding mix
2 ea 1/2 pints fresh raspberries
1 pack of Thin Mint cookies
11/4 cups chilled whipping cream

Prepare pudding mix according to package instructions. Place in freezer until cold, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Line bottom of 8-inch-diameter glass bowl that is 4 to 5 inches deep (about 15-cup capacity) with layer of cookies. Pour half of custard mix over top of cookies. Sprinkle fresh raspberries on custard and crush some of the cookies enough to cover custard. Top with remaining custard and cover; chill 2 hours. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.)

Beat cream in large bowl until stiff peaks form. Spoon cream onto edge of the trifle. Garnish remaining raspberries in center and cut 6 Thin Mints in half and place along edge of trifle, sticking up out of the whipped cream.

Cook notes: frozen raspberries can be used, but make sure to drain well and serve same day since frozen raspberries tend to become runny and can take away from presentation.

1 box Samoas
1/3 cup butter, softened
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons almond extract
2 teaspoons orange juice
1 1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
14 oz. package flaked coconut (5 cups)

In the bowl of an electric mixer cream butter, cream cheese and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add egg yolk, almond extract, and orange juice; beat well. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in 3 cups of the coconut. Cover tightly and chill for 2 hours or until firm enough to handle.   Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Divide chilled dough into 14 sections. Each section will enclose one cookie. Completely wrap each 1 of 14 Samoas with chilled cookie dough; roll in remaining coconut. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes 14 large cookies

Recipe by Jenna Miller, Café Metro/Uptown Café, Louisville, KY 


1/2 box Trefoils
1 cup Butter
1 cup Brown Sugar
12 oz. Chocolate Chips
1 1/2 cup Chopped Nuts

Line a 9 x13″  baking dish with aluminum foil and grease with butter or margarine.  Place a single layer of whole trefoils across the bottom of the prepared dish. In a saucepan, combine the butter and brown sugar and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring.  Continue to boil for 3 minutes.  Slowly pour the syrup over the trefoils and spread gently to coat completely.  Bake at 350 for 7 minutes or until bubbly. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips. When the chips have melted, spread the chocolate evenly over the top. Sprinkle with nuts. Refrigerate until complete cool and set, then break into pieces.

Recipe by Jennifer Laszlo, Pastry Chef, Ohana Keauhou Beach Resort

Pancakes & Waffles Anytime You Want Them

There is definitely a time to make pancakes. If my nephew is to be believed, it’s anytime he come to my house because, according to him, his mom only buys the ready made frozen ones. Not to knock my sibling but frozen pancakes, really, come on, frozen ones?? How hard is it to make the real ones?  All ya gotta do is mix a bunch of dry ingredients together (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt) and then a bunch of wet ingredients (milk or buttermilk or sour cream, eggs, melted butter), and then you add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Voila pancakes or waffles. Ok, so sometimes it’s a tad more complicated and I add a mystery ingredient, like chocolate chips or bananas and pecans or wait for it…… blueberries. According to my nephew, I’m a culinary genius.

Waffles are almost as easy as pancakes. To my nephew waffles are kind of a mix between pancakes and cookies because they’re crunchy and sweet and he can eat them with his hands (ok, don’t anybody tell my sister I let him do that).
He loves the grids and pokes his fingers through them. Yes, I know, I’d never let my  21 and 24 year old sons do it but hey, this is my 9 year old nephew and I get to send him home after he’s done eating.

The following recipes are a great mix of easy and a little bit more complicated. Some call for buttermilk. Use it if you can. It gives a wonderful rich flavor to the pancake or waffle. You can, of course substitute milk or 1/2 and 1/2 but the flavor will be different. You can use almost any pancake batter for waffles, just reduce the liquid by about 1/4 to 1/3 cup. Some of these recipes use ready made baking mixes and others are from scratch. Don’t worry, they’re all delicious and kid friendly, even if the kid eating them is your 56 year old husband who’s wresting his 9 year old nephew for the last one on the plate.

NOTE: please do not write, email, text or otherwise let me know that the frozen pancakes and waffles have a place in this world. I do know they serve a purpose for those whose schedules are jam packed so just ignore that part of the column and just skip to the recipes.



2 cup Bisquick baking mix

1 egg

1 1/2 cup milk

2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 (29 oz.) can sliced peaches, drained

3/4 cup whipping cream, whipped (you can use the stuff from the can)

In a bowl combine the baking mix, egg, milk, brown sugar and cinnamon. Whisk to combine. Pour by scant 1/4 cupfuls onto hot griddle (grease griddle if necessary). Cook until pancakes are dry around edges. Turn; cook until golden brown. Top with peaches and whipped cream.


2 cups flour

6 tablespoons (packed) brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 2/3 cups buttermilk

3/4 cup canned solid pack pumpkin

3 large eggs

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted

4 tablespoons (about) butter

maple syrup

Preheat oven to 250. In a bowl combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cloves and salt. In another bowl whisk together the buttermilk, pumpkin, eggs and melted butter until well blended. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, drop batter by 1/4 cupfuls into skillet. Cook pancakes until bubbles form on top and bottoms are golden brown, about 2 1/2 minutes. Turn pancakes over. Cook until bottoms are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer to baking sheet; place in oven to keep warm up to 20 minutes. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more butter to skillet as necessary for each batch. Serve pancakes hot with maple syrup. Serves 4.


1 large Granny Smith apple
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Lemon juice
Confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 450 and place rack in center of oven. Peel, core and slice apple. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, flour and vanilla until smooth. Melt butter in a 10-inch cast iron or other ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Spread apples in pan and cook for 4 minutes. Turn apples and continue cooking 3 minutes. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon over apples and cook another minute or until sugar begins to melt. Remove pan from heat, stir apples lightly to coat with sugar, and then top with batter. Bake 15 minutes or until mixture puffs up and turns golden brown around edges. Remove from oven and cut into four wedges. Sprinkle with lemon juice and serve with a sprinkling of confectioners’ sugar. Serves 4.


1-1/2 cups flour

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup Hershey’s Cocoa

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups buttermilk

2 eggs, beaten

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons oil

your choice of sliced strawberries, sliced almonds, mandarin orange segments, sliced kiwi fruit, pineapple chunks, and maraschino cherry halves

Frozen whipped topping, thawed
In a bowl stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda. In another bowl combine buttermilk, eggs and oil and whisk to combine. Add the liquid mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened. Pour about 1 tablespoon batter onto preheated, lightly greased griddle or non-stick skillet. Cook over medium heat until bubbly surface on top; turn and cook just until set.  Serve each pancake topped with heaping teaspoonful whipped topping, topped with selection of fruits. About 40 small pancakes or 10 large ones.

Modified from the Hershey’s web site


These pancakes are more nutritious than your typical pancakes.

2/3 cup quick cooking rolled oats

1 1/4 cup buttermilk

2 large eggs, separated

3/4 cup flour

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 large apple, peeled and grated

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1/4 cup pecans (optional), chopped

In a large bowl, mix together the oats and buttermilk. Let stand for 10 minutes. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk together the egg yolks, brown sugar, and melted butter. Add this to the oats and buttermilk. Stir in the grated apple. Slowly add in the dry ingredients until just incorporated. Stir in the pecans. Whip the egg whites until soft peaks are formed. Fold the egg whites into the pancake batter. Heat up a large fry pan or griddle over medium high heat. Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil to the pan. Ladle the pancake batter into the hot oil. Cook each side until browned (about 3 minutes). Serve with maple syrup. Serves 4 to 5


1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups milk
1/4 cup oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1 rounded cup semisweet mini chocolate chips

Whisk together all ingredients except chips until just combined. Heat a griddle over medium heat until hot and lightly brush with additional oil. Working in batches, pour a scant 1/4 cup batter per pancake onto griddle and sprinkle each pancake with about 1 1/2 teaspoons chips. Cook until bubbles appear on surface and undersides are golden-brown, about 1 minute. Flip with a spatula and cook other side, about 1 minute more. (Lightly oil griddle between batches.) Makes 4


For the honey-cinnamon butter
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the sweet-potato pancakes
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk, plus more if necessary
2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup store-bought pancake mix
1 small pinch ground nutmeg
1 small sweet potato, boiled, peeled, and mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)

Beat together the butter, honey, and cinnamon until smooth. Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and oil. Stir in the pancake mix and nutmeg until just combined. Fold in the sweet potato. If the batter seems too thick, add more buttermilk until it reaches the desired consistency (it should be thick but still pourable). Place a large, greased griddle or pan over medium-high heat. Working in batches, spoon the batter onto it and cook until the surface of the pancake is covered with bubbles, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook the other side until golden, 1 to 2 minutes more. Serve, topped with the honey-cinnamon butter and a little maple syrup. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Tip: As a time-saver, substitute 3 ounces of sweet-potato baby food for the cooked sweet potato (try the organic sweet-potato blend from Plum Organics, available at most Whole Foods stores). And if you don’t have time to make the honey-cinnamon butter, serve the pancakes with plain unsalted butter and dust them lightly with confectioners’ sugar.

From epicurious.com


1 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Sliced strawberries (about 1 cup)

In a bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl combine the eggs, sour cream, water, and vanilla and whisk to combine. Whisk in the melted butter. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir until moistened. Fold in sliced strawberries. Preheat griddle skillet over medium heat; grease lightly. Pour about 1/4 cup butter onto hot griddle for each pancake. Cook until tops of pancakes are bubbly; turn and cook until browned. Serves 4 to 6.


1 egg

1 cup milk

1 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon melted butter or margarine

2 cup Bisquick baking mix

6 cooked and crumbled bacon strips

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat waffle iron. In a medium bowl, beat together 1 egg, milk, sour cream, melted butter or margarine. Stir in the Bisquick and mix well. Fold in the crumbled bacon and cheese. Mix to combine. Spoon the batter onto a hot, greased waffle iron and cook until golden brown. Serve with maple syrup. Serves 4.

Submitted by Archie Davis age 10 Detroit


1 cup flour

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg — separated (beat egg white until stiff)

1 cup sour cream

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup butter, melted

1 banana, mashed

Preheat waffle iron. In a bowl mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In separate bowl whisk together egg yolk, sour cream, milk, butter and banana. Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients, stirring just until blended. Fold in beaten egg white. Pour batter from cup or ladle onto center of hot waffle iron. Bake about 5 minutes or until steaming stops. Remove waffle carefully. Makes 4.

Gotta Love Valentine’s Day

Check out my Valentines Article in the Journal Gazette


Passionate Pineapple

There is always the problem of what to bring as a hostess gift when you’ve been invited to share a meal with friends. A Waterford vase with flowers is obviously too over the top and book, while nice is problematic in that my taste (murder mystery eclectic and veering towards who lopped off Colonel  Mustards head in the library)  is probably not what’s on your must read list. A bottle of good wine is better but in my mind I always want to bring something just a little bit different so I bring wine AND fruit. My favorite fruit of choice is the pineapple. In fact, in tropical climates pineapples are a symbol of home hospitality and are often given as housewarming gifts, holiday gifts, get well gifts, or just about any other special occasion where a gift would be appropriate.

There are three basic types of pineapple available to us consumers: the smooth cayenne (the most popular and readily available), the red Spanish, and the sugar loaf. All are loaded with fiber vitamin C, potassium, and manganese. Pineapples are also full of omega-3 fatty acids, beta carotene. You should look for large fruits and let them sit at room temperature for a few days before using them. This isn’t to ripen them (they don’t ripen any further after they are picked) but rather to allow it to soften and become juicer. Don’t let them sit too long, however, as they can start to ferment and rot rather quickly. Color doesn’t matter; the bestest of the best pineapples are firm, plump and have a sweet obvious pineapple aroma. The one test I like best is to pick up the pineapple and smell the bottom of it. If it smells like fresh pineapple its ready, if it has no smell, it’s not ripe yet, pass on it; and if it smells like wine or has a slightly overblown odor, it’s over ripe and may have already started to ferment and spoil.

While some may opt for getting a pre cut pineapple from the store the best way to enjoy your pineapple is to cut it just before you want to use it. There are two schools of thought regarding the peeling of a pineapple, you can peel it then cut it or cut it then peel it. In my opinion, neither is better it is truly a matter of personal choice. Regardless of which way you choose to peel it you need to cut off the leafy crown (unless you’re planning on using the shell with the crown as a decoration). Know that there will be some waste as the skin is difficult to remove without cutting away some of the fruit.


Basic pineapple cutting

1. Chop off the crown of the pineapple about a 1/2 inch below the crown.

2. Cut off about 1/2 inch off the bottom.

3. Flip the pineapple over in a bowl and let it sit for about 10 minutes to let the juices flow through the fruit before cutting

4 Cut the pineapple into quarters

5. Cut out the center core of each quarter (I like to eat the core but most people toss it)

6. Cut away skin of pineapple

7. Slice the quarters into chunks or slices.

The pineapple is so versatile that the fruit can be eaten as is or topped with yogurt, or broiled and topped with brown sugar and nuts, used as an ingredient in a salad dressing, a marinade, a main course or even in a dessert like the classic pineapple upside-down cake. Whatever your pineapple motis oporandi is the following recipes will make your “gift” one that’s never returned.

 NOTE: If fresh pineapple is too expensive or not readily available you can use the canned in its own juice kind for the following recipes.


2 seedless cucumbers coarsely chopped

1 onion red, diced fine

1 bunch parsley, chopped

1/4 cup lemon juice 

2 tablespoons soy sauce 

1 tablespoon sugar 

1/4 teaspoon chili sauce style

2 tablespoons mint fresh, chopped (optional)

Cut cucumber lengthwise in quarters. Slice each quarter into 1/4 inch slices. Peel pineapple and cut into quarters. Remove core. Cut each quarter in half and slice into 1/2 inch slices.

Combine cucumber, pineapple, onion and parsley leaves in a bowl. In another bowl, combine lemon juice, soy sauce, sugar and chili sauce. Pour over salad and toss together. Serve on a platter. Serves 6 to 8.

Submitted by Randi Percelle St. Louis MO


2 to 3 cups bite size pineapple chunks

2 to 3 cups bite size cantaloupe chunks

1 to 2 cups seedless grapes

2 cups strawberries sliced

1 cup blackberries or blueberries or raspberries

Honey Dressing

1/2 cup sugar 

1 teaspoon prepared dry mustard

1 teaspoon paprika 

1/4 teaspoon salt 

1/2 cup honey 

1 tablespoon lemon juice 

1/4 cup rice wine or apple cider vinegar 

1 cup oil

1 teaspoon onion, grated

1 teaspoon celery seeds

1 tablespoon poppy seeds 

In a large bowl combine the fruit toss gently. Cover and refrigerate. In a blender combine the sugar mustard, paprika, salt, hone, lemon juice and vinegar. Blend until combine and then slowly add the oil while the blender is on. Pour the dressing into a bowl and add the onion, celery seed and poppy seeds. Mix to combine, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. To serves spoon the dressing over the fruit and toss to combine. Serves 6 to 8

You can serve this over salad greens


1   fresh pineapple

6 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons water

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed (from 17.3-oz. pkg.)


1 teaspoon butter

2 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon mint, finely chopped

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced

1 cup mango, dice

1 cup pineapple chunks (reserved from whole pineapple)

1 carton (14 fl. oz.) Haagen-Dazs® Pineapple Coconut Ice Cream

 Cut whole pineapple into 1-inch slices. Core centers from each slice to create rings. Set aside four whole rings, cut up remaining rings into small 1/4-inch chunks. Measure 1 cup of chunks for relish garnish, set aside. (Any remaining pineapple may be used as desired.)

Heat oven to 425. In 10-inch skillet melt butter; add brown sugar and water. Bring to a boil; add pineapple rings and chunks. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until pineapple is light golden brown. Remove from heat. In 13×9-inch pan, place pineapple rings allowing space between each ring. Pour brown sugar mixture over top of pineapple.

Unfold pastry, cut into four equal squares (pastry cutter may be used to create decorative edge). Pierce pastry all over with fork. Place pastry squares over each ring in pan. Bake at 425. for 20 to 25 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. Cool 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in small saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add remaining relish ingredients; gently stir until sugar is melted and fruit is just warmed. Remove from heat.

To serve; remove each pastry from pan, inverting onto serving plates. Place spoonful of relish on top each tart and top with 1 large scoop (1/2 cup) ice cream. Serve slightly warm. Serves 4

Modified from Haagen-Dazs web site


1 orange peeled and sectioned

1 cup chopped fresh pineapple

1 banana

1 1/2 cup of orange juice

1 cup of ice

In a blender combine the ice and juice and blend until slushy. Add the banana, orange and pineapple. Blend until smooth and serve. Makes 2 servings


2 lbs, cooked chicken (you can use turkey) (I use leftovers)

1 to 2 cups diced pineapple

3 or 4 stalks celery, sliced

1 red pepper, diced

1 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons milk

1/2 teaspoon celery salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 cup toasted pecans

In a large bowl combine the chicken, pineapple and celery and mix to combine. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, milk, celery salt and pepper. Add the mayonnaise mixture to the chicken and toss to combine. Chill for at least 30 minutes. Sprinkle the pecans over top just before serving. Serves 6

Submitted by Charlotte Janovski Chicago IL


1 pineapple cut into chunks, drained, save the juice (you won’t need to use all the pineapple)

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Cupcake Batter:

1 cup flour

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 cup butter, room temperature

1/2 cup reserved pineapple juice or milk or water

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 egg

Preheat the oven to 350. Spray a nonstick muffin pan with vegetable spray. Place the pineapple chunks paper towels to drain it completely.

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and melted butter. Divide the mixture evenly among the muffin pan cups. Arrange the pineapple chunks decoratively on top of the sugar mixture but only just cover the bottom; don’t put too much pineapple in each one. Set the pan aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer blend together the butter, sugar and pineapple juice, beating for 2 minutes until smooth. Beat in the egg until combine and then add the flour and baking powder, Mix to combine. Spoon the batter over the fruit in the muffin pan, filling each cup three-quarters full. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cupcake comes out clean. Cool the pan for 5 minutes, then place a wire rack on top of the muffin pan and invert. Let the pan stay on top of the cupcakes for about 15 seconds to make sure that they release from the pan. Remove the pan and let cool completely on the rack. Makes 12.

Modified from bigoven.com

Make Mine Mango (Kosher)

When it comes time to make a fruit salad I, of course, get strawberries and melons and grapes and all the other assorted “eat them all the time” kind of fruits. However, when I want to make a pardon the expression “kick butt” fruit salad I always use mango.

While readily available in the United States the mangos one of the most popular and consumed fruit in the rest of the world. A ripe mango is sweet fibrous fruit, with a unique taste and texture that varies from variety to variety.  In fact, an average sized mango can contain up to 40% of your daily fiber requirements is an excellent source of Vitamins A and C, as well as a good source of potassium and contain beta carotene. When ripe, mangoes are soft and very juicy( it has been said that the best place to eat it is the bathtub). I always say a cold ripe mango tastes like a cross between strawberries, kiwi and peach. A fabulous and luscious flavor that works well with both savory and sweet dishes  Overripe mangos, on the other hand taste like turpentine so take care when selecting them.

Selecting the best of the best mangos to eat is a matter of smelling and/or squeezing. A ripe mango will have a full, fruity aroma (try sniffing the stem end). Mangos can be considered ready to eat when they are slightly soft to the touch (not mushy) and yield to gentle pressure, like a ripe peach. The most flavor ful fruit have a yellow tinge when ripe; however, color may be streaked with red, yellow, green, orange or any combination. When stored properly a mango should last  1 to 2 weeks. The best ways to ripen a mango is at room temperature, on the kitchen counter or if you’re in a hurry, in a paper bag overnight with an apple.

In India the mango is a symbol of love, and believed by some to be able to grant wishes. My mango wish for you is to enjoy all the recipes in this week’s column. First some practical advice for the mango impaired.



1. With a sharp thin-bladed knife cut off both ends of the fruit.  Place fruit on flat end and cut away peel from top to bottom along curvature of the fruit. Cut fruit into slices by carving lengthwise along the pit.

2. Start with the Mango “cheek”; Fillet off its pit lengthwise. Cut 1/2″ squares by scoring mango with a sharp knife. Do not cut through skin.  Turn mango half “inside out,” separating cubes. Slice off squares with a knife.


1/2 cup orange juice

1 1/2 cups cubed mango

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 teaspoon chopped cilantro or parsley

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup green onion, chopped

1/4 cup vinegar

2 tablespoons lime juice

3 tablespoons Tabasco sauce

3 tablespoon soy sauce

6 boneless chicken breasts cut in bite size pieces

Marinate chicken in soy sauce. Then saute it in the olive oil until done and then set it aside. In a sauce pan combine the sugar, green onion, vinegar, lime juice and a few drops of Tabasco sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. Mix in orange juice. Add the mango, garlic and cilantro, stirring gently and cook for about 3 minutes.  Pour the hot mixture over the cooked chicken. Serve immediately. Serves 6

COLESLAW WITH MANGO (dairy or pareve)

3 cups shredded cabbage

2 carrot, shredded

1 to 2 mango, diced

3 tablespoons finely chopped onion

2 tablespoons finely chopped red pepper

8 oz. lemon or mango flavored yogurt or pareve sour cream

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

2 tablespoon cider vinegar

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

1/8 teaspoon salt

pepper to taste

In a bowl combine all ingredients EXCEPT the cabbage and carrot and mix to combine. Stir in the cabbage and carrot. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes Serves 4 to 6. This recipe can be doubled or tripled


2 medium red bell peppers

2 medium red onions

1 ripe mango

1/3 cup chopped cilantro

2 teaspoon olive oil

juice of half a lime

salt and pepper

3 to 4 cups spring greens

On a grill, char the skins of the peppers until completely black on all sides. While hot put the pepper in a brown paper bag and close tightly. After about 10 minutes, peel off skin, remove seeds and slice the peppers into eighths. Peel the onions and slice into 1/4″ thick rounds. Grill the onions until crispy. Peel the mango and cut into thick slices.  In a bowl combine the red peppers, grilled onions and the mango slices. Add the cilantro. Add the olive oil, lime juice, a pinch of salt and pepper and mix lightly. Serve the mixture over a bed of greens. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.


4 Serrano chilies, seeded.
3 garlic cloves, peeled.
2 large shallots, peeled.
2 cups of chopped peeled mango.
1/3 cups of cider vinegar.
1/4 cup of fresh orange juice.
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon of dried thyme.
2 teaspoons of olive oil.
1/4 teaspoon of salt.
4 six-ounce tilapia fillets.
Cooking spray.

In a food processor, combine the chilies, garlic and shallots, and process until minced. Add the mango, cider vinegar, orange juice, thyme, olive oil and salt; then process until smooth. Place mango mixture and tilapia fillets in a zip-top plastic bag; seal and allow to marinate in your refrigerator for 20 minutes.
Remove the fillets from the bag, reserving the marinade. Pour the reserved marinade into a small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Prepare grill or broiler. Place the tilapia fillets on a grill rack or broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Cook for 4 minutes on each side or until it flakes easily when tested with a fork. Serve with mango sauce. Serves 4.


1 1/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 cup softened butter or margarine, divided

1 large ripe mango, peeled, pitted and chopped

1/2 cup macadamia nuts, chopped

1 loaf frozen bread dough, thawed
Stir together brown sugar, cinnamon and allspice in a small bowl. Place 1 cup mixture in a medium saucepan with 6 tablespoons butter. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in mango and cook for a few minutes more until brown sugar is dissolved. Spread in the bottom of a 13 X 9-inch baking pan and sprinkle with nuts; set aside. Roll thawed dough into a 12 X 12-inch square on a lightly floured board and spread with remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Spread remaining brown sugar mixture over butter and press into dough. Roll up tightly and pinch seams to seal. Cut dough into 1-inch slices. Place in prepared baking dish; cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Bake in preheated 350 oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes, then invert onto a serving platter.
Make ahead tip: Cover uncooked rolls and place in the refrigerator overnight. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before baking.

Submitted by Kara Hinton Palm Beach FL


1/2 tablespoon sesame oil

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped into small pieces

3 tablespoon soy sauce

2 1/2 tablespoon rice vinegar

2 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1/2 tablespoon minced fresh lemongrass

1 large ripe mango, peeled, pitted and chopped; divided

12 small bib lettuce leaves

1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper

2 tablespoon sliced green onion tops

2 tablespoon freshly chopped cilantro
Heat sesame oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned. Stir in soy sauce, vinegar, honey, ginger and lemongrass. Finely chop half the mango and add to the skillet. Cook for 5 minutes or until sauce is very thick; let cool. Spoon chicken into lettuce leaves and top each with remaining mango, bell pepper, green onion and cilantro. Serves 4


1 large ripe mango, peeled, pitted and sliced

3 tablespoon fresh lime juice

2 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoon sugar

pinch or dash red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon each: chopped fresh cilantro, basil, mint

1 mock crab, flaked

1/2 cup coconut milk

2 tablespoon flaked coconut
Thinly slice the mango, slicing from the 2 wider sides of the fruit, to make 8 thin slices. Cut 8 circles using a 3-inch round cookie cutter and finely dice remaining mango; set aside. Stir together lime juice, soy sauce and sugar in a small bowl; stir to dissolve sugar. Add red pepper flakes, onion and herbs. Gently stir in the diced mango, mock crabmeat, coconut milk and coconut. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. To arrange salad mound the salad between 2 slices of mango. Serves 4


1 pound shredded cabbage or coleslaw blend

1 to 2 mangos, peeled, pitted and chopped

1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper

1/3 cup sliced green onion

1/3 cup mayonnaise

3 tablespoon honey

3 tablespoon cider vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste
Place cabbage, mango, bell pepper and green onion in a large bowl. In another bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, honey, vinegar and salt and pepper. Add to the vegetables and toss well to coat. Serves 6 to 8. Best served within 2 hours of making

MANGO RUM CAKE (dairy or pareve)

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 3/4 cup sugar

3 eggs

1 large, ripe mango, peeled, pitted, and pureed (slightly over 1/2 cup)

1/4 cup dark rum

2 teaspoon pineapple extract

2 cup flour

2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup coconut


1/2 cup butter or margarine

2/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup cream or non dairy substitute

1/4 cup rum

1 cup chopped mango

Preheat oven to 325. Grease and flour a 9-inch spring form pan. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, mango puree, rum and extract, beating until well mixed. Add flour, baking powder and salt; beat just until dry ingredients are incorporated. Stir in coconut. Spread in prepared pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean, tenting with foil if top browns too quickly. Let cool before removing from pan. Cut into wedges and top with a spoonful of Mango Rum Topping.

To prepare Mango Rum Topping, In a saucepan melt the butter. Add the brown sugar, cream and rum. Cook and stir for 5 minutes over low heat; stir in the mango. Cool slightly and serve with cake.

HELP, Find My Lost Recipe

Every couple of weeks or so I get a recipe 911. These emergency emails, phone calls, letters and I kid you not, knocking on my front door consist of pleas to help recover a lost recipe, fix a broken one or coax a recipe out of a reluctant chef or restaurant. While, for the most part, I’m successful at fixing broken recipes and finding lost ones (except for the restaurant ones, the chefs tend to be a tad stingy about sharing the secrets of their success) I usually have to resort to some good old detective research in old cookbooks, internet sluthing and a little begging and pleading from my foodie friends for their input.

            The one recipe I’m most proud of finding is the Marshall Field’s Maple Hermit recipe. This was a personal quest. When I tell you I have been searching for this recipe for over 10 years I am not exaggerating. It was, and is, just about my favorite cookie of all time. My taste buds were bereft when the bakeries closed. The sense of sheer pleasure I had the first time I made this recipe (and ate the entire batch myself thank you very much) is ALMOST indescribable. Needless to say, I get requests all the time from readers saddened that their favorite bakery or restaurant is no longer around to serve up their comfort food or that they’ve lost an old family recipe and could I please please please help them figure out a way to recreate them.

            The following recipes are one’s I’ve been asked to find or lost myself. Some weren’t really lost, merely hidden from view of the seeker and unearthed by me.  My job, and pleasure, was to bring the recipes to the light of day and share them with everyone. If anyone out there is still searching for a recipe that recreates their great grandma Ethel’s pot roast or a Window’s on the World dessert just send me an email and I’ll see what I can do.


Recipe courtesy Gale Gand and Jacquelyn Smola. This was one of the cakes entered in the Whirlpool Unique Cake Contest. I had it several years ago and LOVED it, lost the recipe and just rediscovered it.

1 cup butter

2 cups granulated sugar

3 cups cake flour

1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 1/2 teaspoons water

4 eggs

1 tablespoon root beer extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup milk

Vanilla Frosting:

7 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

2 1/2 cups butter

3 to 5 tablespoons heavy cream

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

Equipment: 12 elbow straws and colored streamers

Make the Cake: Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour 2 (9-inch) cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter; then add the sugar and continue mixing until light and fluffy. Meanwhile, sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the water and eggs to the butter mixture until blended. Mix in the root beer extract and vanilla. Alternately add the flour mixture and milk to form a smooth batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake until just set, about 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool in pans for 5 minutes, and then invert onto cooling racks to cool completely before frosting.

Make the Frosting: In a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the confectioners’ sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended; then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes. Add the cream and vanilla and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed to reach spreading consistency.

To decorate the cake: Place 1 cooled cake layer on a cake stand, frost the top surface, and chill for 15 minutes (or freeze 5 minutes). Place the second cake layer on top, inverting it to create a flat top, and push down on it slightly. Frost the sides and top with a thin layer of frosting to hold in any crumbs (called a crumb layer), and chill 30 minutes or freeze 15 minutes. Apply a second layer of frosting to finish off the cake, swirling the frosting a bit. Place 12 elbow straws in the cake around the top, and place colored streamers around the edge of the cake flowing down to the base.


A signature cookie/mini cake from Marshall Field’s bakery. This hermit recipe was a favorite until the stores closed

1 teaspoon baking soda

3 tablespoons buttermilk

2 sticks (1 cup) butter

1 and 1/3 cups granulated sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup molasses

4 cups cake flour

1 teaspoon each: nutmeg, cinnamon, salt

1/2teaspoon ground cloves

1 cup nuts, chopped

1/2 cup each: currants, raisins

Mocha icing:

5 tablespoons butter

3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

2 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa

1/8 teaspoon salt

5 tablespoons hot coffee

Heat oven to 375. Dissolve soda in buttermilk in a small bowl; set aside. In another bowl cream together the butter and sugar together. Add eggs and vanilla to sugar mixture; beat well. Add molasses and buttermilk mixture; beat well.

Sift together flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and cloves. Mix dry ingredients to wet mixture. Mix in nuts, currants and raisins. Drop dough by heaping tablespoon onto greased cookie sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes per batch. Cool on wire rack. Makes 2 to 3 dozen depending on size

For frosting, cream butter, gradually adding confectioners’ sugar, cocoa and salt. Add hot coffee. Beat until creamy. Spread thin coating of mocha icing on hermits.

Modified slightly from lostrecipesfound.com (a terrific site)


Reader Tammy Conderly asked me to find this recipe. Seems her grandmother used to make one just like it. Be warned this cake needs to be made the day before you want to serve it. The filling needs to soften the cake layers.

2 cups apple butter (do not use apple sauce)

6 cups flour  

1 tablespoon baking powder  

1 teaspoon baking soda  

1/4 teaspoon Salt  

1/2 cup buttermilk  

2 large eggs  

1 teaspoon vanilla  

16 tablespoons unsalted butter , softened 

2 cups granulated sugar  

 Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350. Coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray. In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla and set it aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter and granulated sugar and beat until light and fluffy (2 to 3 minutes. Add one-third of flour mixture and beat on medium-low speed until just incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add half of buttermilk mixture and beat on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl as necessary and repeat with half of remaining flour mixture, remaining buttermilk mixture, and remaining flour mixture. Give bowl a final scrape. (Dough will be thick.)

Divide dough into 8 equal portions. Working with 2 portions at a time, roll each out into 10-inch circle about 1/4 inch thick. Using 9-inch cake pan as template, trim away excess dough to form two perfectly round 9-inch disks. Transfer disks to prepared baking sheets and bake until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating and switching baking sheets halfway through baking time. Transfer disks to rack and cool completely, at least 1 hour. Repeat with remaining dough. (Layers can be wrapped tightly in plastic and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.)

Place 1 layer on serving plate and spread with 1 cup filling. Repeat 6 times. Top with final layer, wrap tightly in plastic, and refrigerate until layers soften, at least 24 hours or up to 2 days. Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before you serve. Serves 10 to 12.

Modified from cookscountry.com


1 cup sugar

1/2 cup corn syrup

1/4 cup honey

1 1/2 cups peanut butter

4 cups Cocoa Puffs cereal

In a sauce pan combine the sugar, corn syrup and honey. Boil the mixture until the sugar is almost melted. Remove the mixture from the heat and then stir in the peanut butter. Mix until it melts and the add the Coco Puffs. Gently mix to combine. Drop large spoonfuls of the mixture onto to wax paper and let cool. Makes 24 to 30 depending on the size. Best if stored in an air-tight container.


1 cup flour

1 cup corn meal

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg, beaten

1 cup sour cream (can use non-fat)

1/3 cup milk

1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened

Preheat oven 400. Grease a 8X8 pan. In a bowl, combine the flour, corn meal, sugar, baking powder and salt . In another bowl, combine the egg, sour cream, milk, and butter. Stir the wet mixture into the dry ingredients. Don’t over mix. The dry ingredient should just come together. Pour the batter into greased pan. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm. Serves 6

Modified from cdkitchen.com


I grew up drinking this and made if for my kids as an after school treat. Be warned it does contain raw egg whites.

1 cup orange juice

1 cup water

2 egg whites

3/4 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup powdered sugar

6 or 7 ice cubes

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender. Frappe for 20 to 30

seconds until everything is combined and frothy . Serves 2.

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