Sunday, January 25, 2015

Martha Washington Candy

My mother-in-law made these when Farm Boy was a child. Unfortunately for him, as that time he refused to try anything with coconut, so he missed out.  If I had known him then, I would have gladly volunteered to take his share!

MIL's recipe calls these Chocolate Candy Balls, but I have mostly seen them called Martha Washington Candies.  With the two names, I feel like I should call them Washington's Balls.  Mostly because I want to say that while my brother-in-law is eating one.  He gets really discombobulated when someone uses the word balls.  Obviously there are a lot of conversations about balls when we get together.

I didn't have any paraffin on hand and didn't feel like driving to get any, so I took my chances with straight chocolate chips.  The paraffin would have made the coating smoother, so I rolled some of the less-smooth ones in unsweetened shredded coconut to cover up some of the lumps.  It never hurts to have more coconut.

Martha Washington Candy aka Washington's Balls (Printable recipe)

4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
2 cups chopped pecans
1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 pound semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cakes paraffin wax

unsweeted coconut for decoration (optional)

In a large bowl,  combine the powdered sugar, butter, coconut, pecans and sweetened condensed milk.  Stir with a wooden spoon until well-combined. Refrigerate until firm.  Roll into balls and place on waxed paper.  Refrigerate again until firm.

Melt the chocolate and the paraffin wax in a double boiler.  Using a toothpick, dip each ball in the chocolate.  Roll in unsweetened coconut, if desired.  Place on waxed paper.  Keep refrigerated.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Flourless Almond Cake

Technically this isn't from one of my cookbooks, but I hope that won't make me lose too much cred.  'Cause I really don't have any to spare.  Or maybe not any at all!

I found this recipe over at Pati's Mexican Table.  I haven't watched the show since our satellite receiver moved on to the great electronics heap in the sky (errr, attic.  Computer parts never go away; they just move upstairs.), but I really enjoyed it.  She always came across as a real person who loved food and she made things that most people would make and eat. I became a lifelong fan when I emailed her about one of her recipes and she emailed me back within the hour and included a phone number in case I ran into any problems. 

The recipe calls for port wine in the cake and a glaze of apricot marmalade and lime juice.  I didn't have any of those, so I omitted the wine altogether and used a little Lyle's Golden Syrup on top of the cake, just to give it a little added sweetness.  I think honey or thinned marmalade would be great on top, as would a little splash of rum in the cake. 

Because of all the eggs and the lack of flour, the cake has a custard-like texture and an almond paste-like flavor (at least without the port).  It was a big hit at afternoon coffee and I will definitely make it again.

If you'd like the recipe, you can find it here:

If you make it, let me know how you like it!

Friday, January 9, 2015

And we're back for 2015!

Between Christmas, catching a cold after Christmas and experimenting with eliminating gluten, things haven't been very bakey around here.  Which makes me sad because baking is what I like to do.  And blast it all, going gluten-free seems to have helped my chronic sore throat and some other problems I have been experiencing, so it looks like it works. 

Obviously I will have to find new ways to bake.

In the meantime, I thought I would share my most recent acquisitions.  A couple of vintage cookbooks and a wacky Mid-Century chair.

On the left is The Bride of Pittsburgh (1951), which includes a combination of tips for brides-to-be and new brides, recipes and advertisements for various sponsors of the book (electric ranges, Irish Brand pork products, Creamettes pasta, etc.). It also appears to be mostly from Minnesota, so I'm not sure how Pittsburgh fits into the name.

 The book on the right, Generation to Generation Czech foods customs & traditions, Texas Style! (1980) by the Czech Club Historical Society of Dallas, Texas, was so battered and torn that I assumed it had to be a good cookbook.  It is missing the back cover and has many loose recipes stuffed in between the pages.  I'm hoping to find a good Czech kolache recipe in there (and I'm even willing to risk the gluten for it!).

And finally, the chair.

Lily and Serafina approve!

This oddly-shaped chair was hanging out in the garage of the estate sale.  The back of the seat is really wide, with the front of the seat ending in a dull point. It is surprisingly comfortable and oozes 1950s charm, so when the guy running the sale said it was ten bucks, I couldn't resist!