Friday, January 23, 2009

Hobnail Frostings and More Prunes

One of these three photos is not vintage. The Oreo cake on the stand is actually from the February 2009 Family Circle. I like this magazine a lot, as it has articles about teens that are respectful both to that age group and their parents. One advice question was a parent concerned that her 14 year old made a 4 ft. Death Star out of Legos. She said her living room is all Legos. Perhaps I should write in and discuss my 41 year old husband who makes similar items. I'd be thrilled if the Legos were confined to my living room. Now I should mention that there are currently cookbooks in 4 rooms of the house, and maybe a few closets, but that's a more normal hobby, right?

When I saw the cover of FC I said - wow, a hobnail frosting design on top. I mentioned this to some folks, including the same Lego loving husband, who looked at me like I was crazy. I said - you know, hobnail, it's a frosting technique. So here is the Betty Crocker Cake and Frosting Book cover from 1966, along with the best picture I could scan of 6/9 of their frosting techniques. One not pictured is the hobnail, since you have the FC cover shot now anyway. In the shot I scanned, though, are the following techniques: Carnival, Allegretti, Jelly Swirl, Shadow, Chocolate Swirl, and Dahlia Dream Cake (sculpture with frosting). None of these are easy, and no photos of my attempts will be shown here. For example, the Carnival requires that you divide the cake into 8 equal sections, then sprinkle confetti over alternate panels. Please. If I can limit the sprinkles to the plate instead of my entire kitchen I'm having a good cake day. This book then goes on to describe 4 more pages of decorating techniques, and charts on cutting cakes that look like they include vectors.

This book, like most Betty Crocker, does have many excellent cake recipes still good today. Then of course, it has a few weird ones:

Prune Mallow Topping

'Serve over warm Honey Spice cake squares.' (or not)

3/4 cup uncooked prunes

16 marshmallows (1/4 pound)

1 cup whipping cream, whipped (as opposed to?)

1/3 cup chopped nuts (Any kind of nuts? Pistachios? Cashews? Beer nuts?)

Cook prunes until tender. Use enough water to make at least 1/2 cup juice. When cool, pit and cut prunes to make 1/2 cup. (Gross - so you start with 3/4 cup and end up with 1/2 cup.) In saucepan, stir 1/2 cup prune juice and marshmallows over direct heat just until marshmallows melt. (1. What would this look like? 2. What would this smell like? I certainly don't want to find out.) Remove from heat. Cool; chill just until partially set. Fold in whipped cream, prunes and nuts. Chill thoroughly or pour into freezer trays and freeze until firm. (Um, this one really mystifies me, and I read these things all the time. So you'd have Prune Mallow ice cubes? What would you do then?) Makes 3 cups.

I should mention that the Family Circle has a recipe for Chocolate Marshmallow sandwiches, using Fluff. Readers here know my favorite food in the world is s'mores, but I have to say I'm a bit shy on that one, although it would be cool to see if I could figure out an entire meal of s'mores variations. That would be a great Top Chef exercise. Many other good recipes in FC, though, including a Tilapia I want to try.

I'm reading 3 Willows by Ann Brashares to review on a tight deadline. It's good.

Has any reader here cooked with prunes?

On another note, I've been sprucing up other 2.0 things also. My Facebook is attracting all kinds of folks I grew up with. One wrote that she remembered playing Strawberry Shortcake Dolls with me. Those said dolls are currently in my closet, in their boxes. Likely that will be my retirement fund. Did anyone buy the Malia and Sasha dolls? I might need some of those.


Head Bitch in Charge said...

I also have this book! Wish I liked to bake!

If you have your books up on Flickr I'd love to see them!

Amy said...

Now that is a good idea. I should get organized to put both my authored books and my cookbooks up there. Thank you - but give me a little time...