12/23/14

Rudolph Noses

The story of Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer has delighted children at Christmas time since 1939. When I attended an elementary school Christmas musical recently, I realized children are just as fascinated with Rudolph now as ever, and I hope they will continue to be for years to come.

To help be sure Rudolph remains the most famous reindeer of all, I've made Rudolph Noses for the children at my house to enjoy. These take practically no time to make, but you may want to make several batches because they disappear quickly too.



Rudolph Noses

What you need:
Bag of tiny pretzel twists
Bag of Hershey's kisses (or you can use Rolo's)
Bag of red and green M & M's (you'll only use the red ones)

Preheat oven to 170 degrees F. Prepare a sheet pan by lining with parchment paper. Lay pretzels out in a single layer on the parchment paper. Place one Hershey's kiss on each pretzel; bake for 4 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately top each with an M & M, pressing down gently. Allow to cool until firm. Place the pan in freezer for a few minutes to speed up cooling, if desired.



Rudolph noses are little salty, a little sweet, and a lot cute!

12/19/14

A Favorite Magazine

The January/February issue of Christian Woman Magazine has included my article "A Mother's Self-fulfilling Prophecy."




I'm super excited to have a favorite magazine like this one publish my article. Another article of mine was previously published by Christian Woman in their September/October issue.



A subscription to this magazine would make a great last minute gift if you're looking for something meaningful and inspiring for someone.




12/13/14

Baked Whole Apples

When you want to make your kitchen smell like apple pie without all the fuss, try making baked apples. These Baked Whole Apples are sweet little individual desserts that will please almost anyone. I used Granny Smith apples for mine, but any baking apple will do. The ingredients in the filling can be adjusted to suit your taste. Some like to add raisins to the filling, and ice cream or caramel sauce are optional after baking.





Print Recipe

Baked Whole Apples

4 baking apples
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup apple juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Core the apples, but don't cut all the way through. Leave the bottom of the apple intact. Trim away some of the peeling from the top of the apple. Place the apples upright in a small baking dish. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, cinnamon, and walnuts. Carefully spoon mixture into center of apples. Drizzle the melted butter over the brown sugar mixture, dividing the butter among the apples. Pour apple juice in baking dish around the apples. Bake for 35 minutes or until apples are tender. Serve with ice cream or caramel sauce, if desired.



Baked Whole Apples before baking




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12/8/14

Sweet Sourdough Bread

This sourdough bread is the first I have baked from my newly made Sweet Sourdough Starter. No special talent is required to make bread like this, just the patience to care for a starter and the ability to follow a recipe. Sourdough starter can be used for a variety of baked goods, but probably the most popular is the basic white sourdough bread recipe. I love baking all kinds of bread, not just because home-baked is more delicious, but also because the smell of bread baking equals home and contentment to me.









Basic Sweet Sourdough Bread

1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 cup fed sweet sourdough starter
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups all-purpose flour + some additional

In a large bowl, combine sugar, water, and yeast; stir together. Set aside until the yeast bubbles, then add starter, oil, and salt. Stir in flour 1 cup at a time. Turn dough out onto floured surface and fold dough over gently several times, working in additional flour a little at a time as needed until dough is no longer sticky. Place dough in a large greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled. Punch down dough and shape into two loaves. Place in greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pans and let rise again. Bake at 325 degrees F for 35 minutes or until golden brown. Brush tops of loaves with melted butter.







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12/7/14

Sweet Sourdough Starter

Sourdough bread is one of the best foods ever to come out of an oven. I have baked sourdough for quite some time, but I recently made a new starter for my baking. I was inspired to make this kind of starter after I had some bakery sourdough. That bread was some of the best ever, and I wanted my own sweet sourdough starter. This starter has been around for years, and it is commonly known as the "Herman" starter. It can be used to make sweet sourdough bread, biscuits, pancakes, coffeecake, and lots more. It takes longer to make this starter than any previous starter I have tried, so patience is necessary, but it will be worth the wait. I started this batch way back before Thanksgiving, and finally got to bake my first bread with it today. Yum - o. I've heard sourdough gets better the longer you keep the starter, but I don't know how it can get any better.




Print Recipe

Sweet Sourdough Starter

1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 cup milk, lukewarm
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar

In a two quart glass or ceramic container (do not use metal), combine yeast, milk, flour, and sugar; stir well. Cover with cheesecloth or other loose covering. Let set in a warm place (about 80 degrees F) for 4 days to ferment. Starter should expand and be bubbly. It will develop a slightly sour, yeasty smell.

The starter is now ready to "feed." This is the beginning of the 10 day cycle for the starter.

To feed:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar

Mix flour, milk, and sugar together. Stir mixture into starter, cover loosely, and place in the refrigerator. Stir daily. (If you forget a day, it will do no harm.)

After 5 days, feed again and refrigerate. Continue to stir daily.

After 5 more days (this is the 10th day of the cycle) feed the starter again and let set at room temperature for at least a couple of hours or more. The starter is now ready for baking.

After removing desired amount of starter for baking, cover and refrigerate the remainder.




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The starter will be all bubbly and will expand after being fed. Be sure not to seal the container tightly.
Also, keep in mind - starter is a living thing and it grows when fed. On baking day before you feed the starter, remove a cup of the unfed starter to use in another recipe, give away to a friend, or discard. By removing a cup each time, the feeding will be in proportion to the amount of starter. That will also prevent -- yikes! -- a mess in the refrigerator from overflowing starter.



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12/1/14

Cranberry Sauce

Today was a great Christmas shopping day for me. It was windy and cold here, but I was cozy and warm shopping on the couch. I do love cyber Monday. Not only is it time to get the shopping done with Christmas only weeks away, it's also time to begin planning the food for the next round of feasting. I barely have all the Thanksgiving leftovers emptied out of the refrigerator, and I'm hurrying on to the next holiday.

Even with all the hurry, I always enjoy preparing a holiday meal. Putting the Thanksgiving meal together was more fun this year because my son Daniel was here to help me with the cooking. He helped out by making Spinach Maria and a Sweet Potato/Carrot slow cooker dish. He also convinced me that we should try making our own cranberry sauce this year. I usually make a blueberry salad the family likes in lieu of cranberry sauce, but I decided to give homemade cranberry sauce a whirl.

The recipe we used was super simple and quick to make, plus it was very tasty. We made it ahead to allow it time to refrigerate in the mold overnight. I love any dish that can be prepared ahead. The original recipe came from Alton Brown.





Print Recipe

Cranberry Sauce

1 pound fresh cranberries (about 4 cups)
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup 100% cranberry juice (not cranberry juice cocktail)
1 cup honey

Prepare a 3-cup mold with cooking spray. Wash and sort the cranberries, discarding any that are soft. Set aside to drain in a colander. In a medium saucepan, combine orange juice, cranberry juice, and honey. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Add the cranberries and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries burst and the mixture thickens. Do not cook for more than 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes. Spoon the mixture into prepared mold. Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight. Invert the mold onto a serving dish to remove the cranberry sauce. Garnish with whipped cream, if desired. Slice and serve.



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11/29/14

Carrot Cake

The Thanksgiving pies and pumpkin roll are gone, but we won't be without dessert too long at our house. My husband's birthday is a great reason for the next round of baking. Those bygone holiday desserts are being replaced by a Carrot Cake for the occasion.






Carrot Cake is one of his favorite cakes (and possibly one of mine). The cream cheese frosting is luscious, and the recipe makes a big 3-layer cake, enough for a birthday party with lots of friends. The complete directions and recipe can be found here.



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11/24/14

Pumpkin Roll

I know this is pumpkin season, but I have to admit I'm not a huge fan of the traditional pumpkin pie. I do, however, love a good pumpkin roll. If you're planning to make a pumpkin roll for the holidays, THIS is it. This recipe was inspired from Trisha Yearwood's pumpkin roll, but it has been adapted a bit. The recipe was already great, but my sister thought of adding freshly ground nutmeg and walnuts, and now it is super. But don't take my word for it, I'll let the pumpkin roll speak for itself.








Pumpkin Roll

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 17 1/2 x 12 1/2 jellyroll pan with cooking spray, then line with parchment paper. Spray the top of the parchment paper with cooking spray.
With an electric mixer, beat the eggs, sugar, pumpkin, and lemon juice until smooth. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix until combined. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Sprinkle the batter with the chopped walnuts. Bake in preheated oven for 14 minutes. Let cake cool in pan for 5 minutes, then invert cake onto a wire rack. Spread a large tea towel out flat and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Carefully transfer the cake to the towel, folding in the sides of the towel over cake. Beginning on one of the short sides of the cake, roll the cake up in the towel and cool in the refrigerator for about 45 minutes.

Using an electric mixer, beat powdered sugar together with cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until smooth. Carefully unroll the cake and spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the cake. Gently re-roll the cake and refrigerate. Dust with powdered sugar just before slicing and serving.





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11/23/14

Decorating Cookies Party

My weekend was so much fun. I visited my sister in Texas, shopped, and met a much admired cookbook author. On Saturday my sister and I attended Bridget Edwards' Decorating Cookies Party and book signing for her new cookie book of the same name.



I have long been in awe of Bridget because of her talent and skill at decorating beautiful cookies. She has hundreds of cookie designs posted on her blog Bake at 350.



Decorating Cookies Party is not her first cookie book. She previously published another great cookie design cookbook called Decorating Cookies, and if you're interested in cookie decorating, I think you'll want them both.



At the cookie party, each participant had a chance to try decorating a cookie from Bridget's new book.



This is my attempt from the party at decorating the Happy Birthday Cake Slice cookie. I have a lot to learn, but Bridget's book has tips on every aspect of cookie decorating. Decorating Cookies Party has 50 cookie designs under 10 different party themes.




It was a long trip to The Woodlands, Texas, for the cookie party, but it was well worth the time. I'm inspired to bake and decorate holiday cookies for my family now. I so admire Bridget's ability, and I discovered at the cookie party that she is just as sweet and kind as I had always imagined her to be. I think it takes a really nice person to bake as many beautiful cookies as Bridget Edwards has baked for other people. Keep decorating those awesome cookies, Bridget, and I'll be there for your next book signing.



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11/16/14

Roast Chicken

Roast chicken is not only delicious, it is versatile and convenient. With only a few minutes prep, roast chicken can be popped into the oven and forgotten until the timer beeps. A roast chicken goes a long way for feeding a family. You can serve it sliced with vegetables or make some comforting chicken soup. Make a chicken pot pie or a chicken salad sandwich. Add it to a salad or shred it for chicken enchiladas, and the list goes on and on.





Print Recipe

Roast Chicken

2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (4 - 5 pound) whole chicken
1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare a roasting pan by lightly greasing the wire rack. In a small dish, stir together salt and pepper. Remove giblets from chicken; pat chicken dry with paper towels. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon salt mixture inside cavity of chicken. Rub olive oil into skin of chicken. Sprinkle with remaining salt mixture, rubbing into skin. Place chicken, with the breast side up, on the prepared rack in the roasting pan. Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until done. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.


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11/4/14

10 Thanksgiving Desserts

With Thanksgiving only weeks away, it's time to get my lists made. I don't know how others feel about dessert, but it goes at the top of my list. I usually make my desserts first so I have that step of cooking out of the way when the major avalanche of turkey and dressing and casseroles and bread making begins.

I try to take into consideration that not everyone likes the same dessert, and I need to have choices for them, however, I'm not quite as accommodating as my mother was when she was alive and did the cooking for a crowd. She always tried to make a pie to suit everyone's taste, even if it meant multiple, and I do mean multiple, kinds. I hope I can please everyone, but I'm afraid I'll never try as hard as she did to accomplish it. I haven't decided what desserts to make yet, but it's time to make my choices and get my grocery shopping done. Here are some of the top dessert contenders for Thanksgiving this year. If you're coming to my house for your turkey day meal and don't see anything you like on this list, you'd better get your request in ASAP.





11/3/14

English Tea Muffins

These muffins are not the kind that jump up and shout, 'notice me.' Perhaps because they are made from an English tea, they have a more reserved presence. The flavors are subtle and mild, a quiet blend, but still making themselves known. Don't misunderstand, these English tea muffins may be understated and simple, but they are far from Plain Jane.




English Tea Muffins

1 1/4 cups milk
4 tea bags (English Breakfast tea)
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
1/2 teaspoon orange extract

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare a muffin pan with cooking spray or use paper liners. In a saucepan, combine milk and tea bags. Heat and stir over medium - low heat until milk is hot, but not boiling. Set aside and allow to cool (about 15 minutes). In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and ginger; whisk together. Add butter and use a pastry cutter to combine butter and flour mixture; mix until crumbly. Remove tea bags from milk, squeezing the tea bags to remove all liquid. Add milk mixture and orange extract to flour mixture, mixing just until the flour is moistened. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove muffins from pan to cool on wire rack. Makes 12 muffins. Serve with butter or jam, if desired.




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10/27/14

It's How I Roll

Probably only another person who enjoys baking could understand my fondness for rolling pins. I have a modest collection by any standard, but I can see how my penchant for these rolling pins could easily cross the line to a collecting obsession.


Rolling pins come in so many different materials and sizes. My collection doesn't even begin to be a representation of the antique and new pins available, but I especially like the ones I have.






Two wooden pins are a part of my collection. The larger of these is circa 1948 and belonged to my mother. She used this same rolling pin from the first of her marriage until her death earlier this year. The smaller pin is from 1968 and was the one given to me as a new bride. Both these pins are the roller type of pin with the handles turning independently of the roller.






Rolling pins are manufactured in an assortment of materials. This blue and white pin is a roller type ceramic pin. The smaller gray pin is marble. The marble pin is an example of a rod type pin; the handles do not turn. For those who might consider using a rolling pin as a weapon, this marble one would be deadly. It may be small, but it is extremely heavy.




Similar to a pin made in the 1950's, this 20-inch long roller type pin is made of stainless steel. This pin is designed to be chilled in the refrigerator before use.





This glass rolling pin is an old one, and I understand it was designed to be filled with ice water before using. Because mine is not used for practical purposes I have filled it with jelly beans.





This is an example of a French rolling pin, or a rod pin. I am currently using this one in my kitchen. With so many types of rolling pins available, it might seem confusing as to which one to choose for daily use. I think that depends. First of all, the pin needs to be one you feel comfortable handling. Before you purchase a pin, pick it up and see how it feels. Consider the weight and the length. Something else to think about is how the pin needs to be cleaned and cared for. There are going to be some great points and trade offs with each type. Probably the best idea when it comes to rolling pins is to have more than one!


10/18/14

A Message From the Principal

Sometimes I get busy with what's going on in my house and in my head and totally miss things around me that signal change. For example, I'm so disappointed when I miss the awesome sight of my neighbor's ginkgo tree on the day it drops its lovely leaves. I'm also sad when I look up and realize I took no notice when the hummingbirds stopped coming to the feeder and flew away to the south.

Some signs of change make themselves known more abruptly, though. Yesterday I opened my email and read the weekly update from the school principal. He said starting Monday students can no longer wear shorts to school; long pants are required until spring. Really? Is it fall already? Obviously the answer is yes, because when I opened the front door to make the search for my morning newspaper, a gust of cold air hit me smack in the face. I hustled to the end of the driveway to retrieve the paper, and I'm sure my lips must have already been beginning to turn blue before I could get back inside. Checking the weather online, I found that today's low temperature is only 44 degrees. The principal was right -- kids, wear your long pants on Monday.

Well, now I've seen the signs, and I know what they mean. The beginning of cooler weather means making chili at our house. Chili comes in many different forms, and sometimes folks vehemently disagree on how a great pot of chili should be made. We have our own personal preferences, and I'd like to share a few of my favorite recipes today to kick off our cooler weather. If the weather is changing where you live, perhaps one of these could become your favorite too.




Playoff Chili (recipe here)







Savage Chili (recipe here)








Beef and Black Bean Chili (recipe here)



10/15/14

Gingerbread Loaf (Starbucks copy)

Trying to make something that tastes just like a favorite food at a restaurant or coffee shop can be daunting. Cooks have tried to duplicate everything from Kentucky Fried Chicken to Krispy Kreme Doughnuts at home, some with more success than others. The recipe I made today is one of those attempts to copy an original. There are different versions of this Starbucks copycat recipe in circulation, but I have tweaked until I have my own version. Getting it just like the authentic coffee shop cake is pretty hard to do, but this one might come close. Even copycat cake can be a delectable treat.






Print Recipe

Gingerbread Loaf (Starbucks copy)

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon orange oil (or substitute 1 teaspoon orange extract)
1 egg
1 cup natural applesauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 7 x 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar. Add orange extract and egg; mix well. Alternately add the applesauce with the flour mixture to the butter mixture; beat until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for about 45 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes before removing from pan to continue cooling on wire rack.

Frosting

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon orange oil (or substitute 1/2 teaspoon orange extract)
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
Candied ginger, chopped (Optional)

In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla extract and orange oil. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until smooth. Frost top of cooled cake and sprinkle with candied ginger. Store leftover cake and frosting covered in refrigerator.






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Recipe shared at:
Full Plate Thursday

9/9/14

Yellow Pound Cake

This recipe for Yellow Pound Cake is one of those that makes use of a boxed cake mix along with additional ingredients for a richer taste. The recipe dates itself because the size of the cake mix (18.25 ounces) is a thing of the past. Cake mixes are smaller now, so allowances have to be made in recipes such as this one. I recently wrote about my solution for dealing with these downsized mixes. This example from my older recipe collection is one that must be adjusted to bring the shrunken cake mix back to its original size.




Print Recipe

Yellow Pound Cake

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract
2/3 cup water
1 (8 ounce) carton sour cream
1 (18.25 ounce) box yellow cake mix (substitute 16.5 ounce box cake mix + 1/3 cup extra cake mix)
1 cup all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare a 10-inch Bundt pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add 1 egg at a time and beat well after each. Stir in vanilla and lemon extracts, then add water and sour cream. Beat in cake mix and flour. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for about 60 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Dust cooled cake with powdered sugar, if desired.




This cake pairs well with fruit. For a different look, the cake could be drizzled with a simple glaze instead of the powdered sugar.

9/7/14

Decorator Frosting

This Decorator Frosting recipe was given to me many years ago when a friend taught an informal cake decorating class in her home. I have used it for countless birthday cakes, and it was my go-to recipe for ages. This frosting spreads smoothly on cakes and pipes easily from a decorating tip, so it is perfect for a beginning decorator or even one with lots of experience.






There are a couple of MUSTS I recommend for best results with this type of frosting --

  1. You MUST sift the powdered sugar. 
  2. You MUST use a stand mixer. 

Sifting takes a little extra time, but it is well worth the few minutes because it will get all the lumps out of the powdered sugar, and the decorator tips will not be obstructed. A stand mixer is important because this is a heavy, thick frosting to mix, and it would probably cause a hand mixer to overheat and go kaput in an untimely fashion.

If you refrigerate this frosting before you plan to use it, you will need to bring it back to room temperature so it will spread easily. Also, be sure to use clear vanilla extract to prevent the white frosting from being discolored.





Print Recipe

Decorator Frosting

1 1/2 cups Crisco shortening
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon butter (or almond) flavoring
2 pounds powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 cup water

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine shortening, salt, vanilla extract, and butter flavoring. Mix at medium speed until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the powdered sugar a little at a time, mixing at low - medium speed until sugar is incorporated. When the frosting starts to become thick, begin to add the water a small amount at a time, alternating with the remainder of the powdered sugar. After all ingredients have been blended smoothly, beat the frosting for 5 additional minutes at medium - high speed. Frosts and decorates two 9-inch layers or one 9 x 13-inch cake. Keep frosted cake refrigerated.




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9/5/14

Don't Miss This Magazine

I hope my friends won't miss the September/October 2014 issue of Christian Woman magazine.




If you subscribe to the magazine, you already know there's always something uplifting and motivational to read in this publication. In this issue you'll even get a bonus - they have included one of my articles!



My article Five Ways to Love Your Mother-in-Law is featured in the September/October issue. I wrote on this topic because I feel the mother-in-law role is often disrespected. Older women have much to offer the younger generation, and the relationship can be strengthened when a mother-in-law feels loved by her child's spouse.

Please let me know your thoughts on the article.






9/4/14

The Boxed Cake Mix Dilemma

As other home cooks know,  package sizes often seem to shrink before our eyes in the grocery store. Coffee was once commonly sold in 1 pound bags, but now those bags may only hold 11.5 ounces. Few grocery items are exempt from this shrinkage. In most cases this kind of downsizing just causes us to sigh and shake our heads, but in others it can be downright annoying, especially when it comes to items that can affect the outcome of recipes.



One of those items the food industry has seen fit to downsize is boxed cake mix. The brand of cake mix I currently buy is typically sold in a 16.5 ounce box. This new size is no problem for someone who will strictly follow the directions on the package. Big problem, though, for the person who will use the mix as an ingredient in a recipe that specifically lists an older 18.25 ounce box of cake mix. That much change in the size of any ingredient can negatively alter the outcome of the recipe.

I have a number of recipes that make use of a packaged cake mix, and they can be very convenient on days when I need a quicker version of a good dessert. I do prefer to bake from scratch, but I'm no food snob; I do take short cuts. A person would have to live under a rock to have not been exposed to some great sweet creation that had its beginnings in a box of cake mix. Most of the recipes in my files were written in the day when cake mixes were bigger, so my recipes are no longer accurate. My solution to this issue is to keep a box of cake mix in the freezer to make up the difference when I need to boost the size of these shrunken cake mixes.

Every "new" 16.5 ounce cake mix needs 1.75 ounce from the extra box of cake mix to equal the "old" size. If it sounds like too much trouble to weigh out 1.75 ounces of cake mix to add those supplemental ounces when needed, don't worry. You really don't have to drag out the scales every time, just measure out 1/3 cup of cake mix to approximate the missing 1.75 ounces.

1.75 ounces dry cake mix = approximately 1/3 cup

This addition can prevent changes in the outcome of a recipe and in a worst case scenario, can keep a recipe from being ruined. 

I'm sure there are plenty of other products out there that fall into a similar category where downsized products have caused problems with recipes. Does anyone have one you are willing to share?