Often, it’s the simple things in life that are the best. Pound cake is one of those things.
This particular recipe showcases pound cake at its finest. It came from my sister-in-law Lisa’s Aunt Carole in Little Rock, Arkansas. The ingredients are unassuming, the process is uncomplicated, but the cake is pretty magical. It’s great with whipped cream and berries, or chocolate syrup, or just by itself. Also, the recipe makes a lot of cake – a full bundt cake and a loaf pan. Two for one, and plenty to share.
We brought the cake over to our friends Erica and Justin’s tonight. They invited us over for some real comfort food: mini meat loaves, mac & cheese, and fresh veggies from the farmer’s market. As you can imagine, we’re feeling quite content after a feast like that.
Until We Eat Again,
Two Happy Cooks
Carole’s Sour Cream Pound Cake
3 sticks butter, salted
3 cups flour
3 cups sugar
¼ tsp baking soda
1 8-oz carton sour cream
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time. Add dry ingredients alternately with sour cream. Then vanilla. Pour into a greased and floured bundt pan, and pour the excess into a greased and floured loaf pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour and 15 min. for the large cake, and 55 min. for the small cake.
I am powerless against a good bowl of ice cream. I blame my family for this weakness.
My 94-year-old Grandpa Phil ate a heaping bowl of ice cream every night for the majority of his adult life, claiming his car would automatically turn into the Braum’s parking lot without his consent. In my house growing up, we ended dinner most nights with Edy’s slathered in Hershey’s syrup. My dad and brother are both former ice cream industry employees, having both worked on the inside at ice cream shops during high school.
Here in the Twin Cities, Mike and I love everything from Sebastian Joe’s to Culvers. But recently, I’ve wanted to try my hand at making my own ice cream. We got a Cuisinart ice cream maker for our wedding and took it for its maiden voyage yesterday. My takeaway from this experience: if you can push a button, you can make really good ice cream.
The key is to make sure your bowl is good and cold – Cuisinart recommends leaving it in the freezer for 24 hours before you start.
We used this great mix from Williams Sonoma – all you have to do is add half and half and heavy cream. You pour it into the machine, flip it on and let it do its thing. Happily, the machine only has one button that says “on” and “off” – it’s fool proof!
You can add your choice of mix-ins about 15 minutes into the process – we dropped in Oreos to make cookies and cream. Five more minutes of mixing, and voila – you’ve got ice cream.
We also got this reusable pint-sized storage container. While it’s adorable, it’s not as functional as I had hoped because it’s difficult to open if you have small hands like me. We see as a pretty major flaw – easy access to the ice cream is critical.
Until We Eat Again,
Two Happy Cooks
This year, we are lucky to have numerous opportunities to enjoy the traditional Thanksgiving meal. Since Thanksgiving is our collective favorite holiday, this makes us two very happy cooks. The first of these feasts was last night with Mike’s parents Tom and Leanne, brother Jim and brother’s brand new fiancé Katie.
Leanne made the famous Hearne sausage stuffing and homemade mashed potatoes. She managed to cook it all one-handed since she broke her arm a few weeks ago – she never ceases to amaze! The turkey was compliments of Byerly’s. It was all very delicious and satisfying on a Sunday night.
Katie decided to enjoy her Thanksgiving fixings in the form of a southern Minnesotan delicacy, The Turkey Commercial. Here’s how it works: make a turkey sandwich, pile it high with mashed potatoes, and smother the whole thing in gravy. I had never heard of such a concept. Curious, I consulted Google. While I didn’t find anything on the Turkey Commercial, I did find “Beef, Bread, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy,” a blog devoted entirely to the subject of the Beef Commercial.
I brought dessert – Betty Crocker’s Pumpkin Cookies with Browned Butter Frosting. These cookies are nothing short of fabulous. The cookie is a soft, cinnamon-laden pillow that serves as a vehicle for the browned butter frosting, otherwise known as crack. I’m fairly certain the ladies of the Betty Crocker Kitchens were inspired by this version from D’Amico and Sons inside our headquarters. To say the least, these cookies create a sensation every year.
Our first Thanksgiving of 2012 was wonderful, and I can’t wait for more!
Mike’s been talking smack for weeks about the Apple Pie-Off, a rivalry between coworkers for Total Dessert Domination. Apparently, it is a Really Big Deal.
This is a competitive bunch. They battle weekly to see who can name the Top 10 in a variety of categories (Can you name the 10 largest land mammals? Or the 10 countries that order the most takeout? How about the top 10 body parts most often bitten by a shark?). On top of that, they work at a food company. Add to that the pressure of a definitional American recipe like apple pie, and it becomes clear that the stakes are high in this seemingly harmless diversion.
Our first task was recipe selection. We chose 2:
1. Apple Pie by Grandma Ople – How could 4800+ people be wrong that this is a 5-star recipe?
2. Apple Pie from the Hearne Family Cookbook. (Yes – the Hearnes have their own cookbook, which will undoubtedly be the subject of future posts.)
Next, we peeled (and peeled and peeled). We chopped. We mixed and stirred. In the process of making the pies, I not only learned what “lattice work” is, but I successfully executed it thanks to this video.
Finally, we awaited the results from the judging committee. Drum-roll please….
The Hearne family recipe took 2nd place! Not bad considering the winning pie came from a stay at home mom and was covered in pounds of cinnamon sugar. We also won the “Best Filling” category.
Apple Pie from the Hearne Family Cookbook
1 Pillsbury pie crust
¾ cup Sugar
¼ cup All-purpose flour
¼ t Ground nutmeg
¼ t ground cinnamon
6 cups thinly sliced pared tart apples (about 6 medium)
2 T butter
Milk, half & half, or cream
Heat oven to 425 F.
Line pie plate with pie crust.
Mix sugar, flour, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Stir in apples.
Pour mixture into pastry-lined pie plate. Dot with butter. Cover with top crust that has slits cut in it; seal and flute. Brush top with milk, and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake until crust is brown and juice begins to bubble through slits in crust, 40 to 50 minutes. During the last 15 minutes of baking, cover the pastry edges with 2” to 3” of aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning.