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 (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


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


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.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Hilario Greenly
    Feb 09, 2011 @ 19:35:17

    I simply want to tell you that I am beginner to blogging and truly loved this web-site. Probably I’m planning to bookmark your blog post . You really have wonderful well written articles. Bless you for revealing your website.


  2. kimberly
    Feb 20, 2011 @ 03:33:41

    your good


  3. kathy
    Mar 03, 2011 @ 07:07:17

    yeah nice


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