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Macaroon Cake

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

I’ve always loved coconut (and macaroons), so I figured this was a no-brainier choice for a cake.  I know some people aren’t the biggest fan of coconut, like my wife.  But she loved it!  Here I was hoping I would get to eat it all on my own, but apparently not.  Oh well.  This recipe comes from one of the closest friends of my grandmother, Bobbie Heinen.

This recipe, because of the egg whites, cooks at a lower temperature than usual cakes and cooks for much longer.  If the egg whites aren’t fluffy enough, this will be a really dense (and probably no good) cake.  A trick with egg whites is keep them cold, if you can, put your mixing bowl and wisk in the freezer or fridge for a bit to get them as cold as possible too.  Once you start to beat the whites, put it on medium until small bubbles start to form.  Once they do, turn it on high and let it go.  Remember, it is possible to over-beat the whites.  They will start looking grainy and not as shiny.  Its a common mistake in the high-powered stand mixers.  We’ve all heard and talked about the various “peaks” of egg whites, but here is a cheat sheet:

Soft Peaks-has turned to a shiny white foam; when the beater is pulled out upside down, there will be a brief peak, then fold over on itself.

Stiff Peaks-the glossy white foam will have body in the bowl; when the beat is pulled out upside down, the peaks will be stiff and not move.

Macaroon Cake
By: Bobbie Heinen
Yield:  1 cake

6 eggs, separated
1 cup shortening
½ cup butter
3 cups sugar
3 cups flour
½ tsp salt
3 cups milk
1 ½ tsp almond extract
3 cups coconut flakes


  1. Preheat oven to 300 deg F
  2. Cream together butter, shortening, and sugar.  Add in egg yolk once fluffy.
  3. Add flour and salt.  Then add in milk, extract, and coconut flakes.
  4. Grease tube/bunt pan
  5. Beat egg whites till stiff peaks form.
  6. Mix in about a third of the egg whites.  Then gently fold in the remainder.
  7. Pour into greased tube/bunt pan.
  8. Bake at 300 deg F for 2 hours, until toothpick comes out clean.

Variation:  bake in round or square pan and glaze with chocolate ganache, sprinkled with coconut flakes to finish. 

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Categories : Cake, Dessert, Recipes

Country Bicuits

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

I have always loved biscuits (especially smothered in a good country gravy).  But for whatever reason, I seldom ever make biscuits.  I usually have excuses about making a mess and having to clean it up.  But I realized something:  like most recipes that can be store-bought or buying pre-made mixes, I can appreciate the simple things more when making them from scratch.

I challenge you to take a recipe you’ve put off.  Maybe you have been thinking it would take to long, or you don’t want to clean up after it, but it will be worth it.  That simple satisfaction of accomplishing something that has been put off for so long can be gratifying.

I took a recipe from my grandma’s (her mother’s recipe) and gave it a try.  What I realized was these biscuits were a lot simpler than I thought.  It also didn’t make nearly as big of a mess either.

Grandma (Effie) Klopp
Yield:  1 dozen biscuits


2 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
4 Tbl shortening
¾ cup milk (or buttermilk)


  1. Preheat oven to 475deg F
  2. Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Add in the shortening and work in with fingers until crumbly.
  4. Cut in the milk until it starts to come together.
  5. Roll out on a floured surface until about 1/2-inch thick.  Cut with 2-inch cutter.  Place into a pan, with each biscuits almost touching.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until just starting to turn golden.


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Fudge Bar (a.k.a. Brownies)

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Going through Grandma’s old recipe note cards, I came across a recipe called a Fudge Bar.  As a typical smudged, smeared, and hard to read recipe card, I figured I’d just go ahead and try it.

My wife and I were both thinking it would be more like a block of fudge, but really, it is just a really good, really easy brownie.  Grandma wrote in to add coconut, nuts, or raisins to the mixture.  Sounded good at first, but I’m not so sure; maybe next time.

Fudge Bar
Yield:  9×9 pan

½ cup butter or shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
2 ea eggs
2 Tbl cocoa powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ cup coconut, nuts, or raisins


  1. Preheat oven to 375F.  Prepare 9”x9” pan with grease & flour.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Add eggs.
  3. In separate bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa, and baking soda.  Then add into the butter mixture until just combined, scraping the bowl along the way.
  4. Add in the coconut or nuts until just mixed in.
  5. Bake at 375F for 30 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.


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Categories : Dessert, Recipes

Baked Potato (and corn flakes)

Friday, October 12th, 2012

I’m not sure I was thinking (or my what my wife thought) when I told her I wanted to try a baked potato recipe.  She looked at me like why did I send you to culinary school if you need a recipe for a potato you throw into the oven for awhile and wait.

This super simple, but slight variation on a totally traditional recipe, was worth trying.  It added just a bit of a crunch and a change from the norm.

Baked Potato
4 small russet potatoes
4 T butter
1 cup cornflake crumbs


  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Melt the butter and place crumbs and butter in separate dishes.
  3. Cover the potatoes in the butter than cover in the flakes.
  4. Place on a baking sheep and bake at 350F for 45 minutes.


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Categories : Recipes, Starch

Buttermilk Pie

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Growing up, buttermilk was one of those “gross” things that would be in our fridge from time to time but usually reserved only for pancakes and the occasional biscuits. I have since found that I don’t use it much for anything besides breakfast food. That is until I was flipping through grandma’s recipe cards looking for a pie to make.  Even my wife didn’t want me to try this recipe saying it sound gross.  And she ended up loving it.

Lately I have been on a pie kick and I thought this recipe was a perfect deviation from traditional. I called my dad (yet again about one of Grandma’s recipes) to find out what he remembered about it. All I got was that it was like a custard and when he was young, he didn’t remember being much of a fan.

I have also realized that with the way Grandma wrote most of her recipe cards, she would group ingredients together with one or two word directions, an oven temperature, if I’m lucky, and that’s about it. Lets just say following these “directions” it didn’t turn out quite right the first time. However, the flavor was surprisingly good. Therefore I had to give it a second try and it was great. It was just sweet enough and was just light enough to enjoy after dinner.

Buttermilk Pie
Yield:  1-9” pie

4 eggs
3 T butter
¼ cup flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 ½ cup sugar
1 lemon, juiced


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Mix together the sugar and flour together
  3. Separately, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and lemon juice.  Add in the sugar & flour mixture and stir to combine.   Then stir in the melted butter
  4. Pour into a prepared (unbaked) pie shell.
  5. Bake at 3500F for 10 minutes.  The reduce oven temperature to 3000F and bake for an additional 45 minutes.

Prep note:  use a shallow pie pan & finish with whipped cream.

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Categories : Dessert, Pie, Recipes

When Life Gives You Lemons… Make Two Pies.

Monday, August 13th, 2012

Going through a handful of Grandma’s recipe cards in the section labeled “pie” I found four different lemon pie recipes.  I figured it being a hot summer day, a tangy lemon pie, sounded nice and refreshing.  I like pie just as much as the next one, but for some reason, I really wanted to make these two pies at the same time, convincing myself it would make it easier to compare the two side-by-side.   The first one was more like a lemon meringue while the second, called a lemon pie-cake, did not turn out at all.  And that is how it goes.  Some are great, others are total flops but it is all about the process and giving it a try.

For this lemon pie recipe, you will cook most of the ingredients over the stove.  Then you will add in egg yolks.  The technical term for this is tempering but in reality is it doing whatever necessary not to scramble the eggs (if you do, you will know right away).  Often common in desserts with separated eggs, tempering is easy as long as you are not rushing.  First, have you eggs separated and already stirred together.  Take several spoonfuls of you hot mix, one at a time, and begin to stir it into the yolks. This will gradually increase the temperature of the yolks.   Adding a bit more, it is now ready to be added back to the original hot mixture.  Slowly, stream the yolk mixture in, stirring constantly and you should be ready to go.

Lemon Pie

1 cup, plus 2 Tbl sugar
3 Tbl corn starch
3 Tbl flour
2 cups water
2 eggs, separated
1 lemon, juiced & half the zest
1 tsp butter
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix 1 cup sugar, corn starch, and flour together.  Whisk in 2 cups water and boil 3-5 minutes.  Remove from heat.
  3. As mixture begins to cool, temper in the egg yolks (add some of the hot water into the yolks, then add all the yolks into the hot water.
  4. Add in the lemon juice and zest, butter, and salt.
  5. Pour all mixture into a baked pie crust and let it begin to cool.
  6. For topping, beat egg whites with remaining sugar and vanilla, spreading on top.
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until browned.
Lemon "the flop" cake-pie

Lemon “the flop” cake-pie

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Categories : Dessert, Pie, Recipes

Strawberry Pie

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

I have been wanting to try this recipe for awhile so when my wife said she wanted to take a dessert to work, I figured it was as good a time as any to try it. With strawberries in season, timing couldn’t be any better.

At first look, this recipe is simple and straight forward.  However, I quickly realized this is one of those where Grandma changed something, but never made a change to the recipe card (of some of these she has written down in so many places, I’m just not looking at the right one).

For this recipe, it calls for 1 1/2 cups of strawberries, but it really only gave a taste of fruit per bite.  I think this needs almost double the original amount.  Give it a try either way and you can make a decision for yourself.

Strawberry Pie
1 can sweet & condensed milk
Juice of 2 lemons
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
2 lbs strawberries, sliced
1/2 pint heavy cream, whipped
1 9-inch graham cracker pie crust


  1. Mix first four ingredients.  Then add in the strawberries.
  2. Add in 1/3 of the whipped cream, and stir.  Finally, gently fold in the remaining heavy cream.
  3. Pour into the pie crust (the will probably be leftovers) and chill.
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