18 July 2015

Heavenly Hash Cake

My grandmother was my best friend.  This isn't typical, especially for a twenty-something to say her grandmother is her best friend.  I never went more than a few days without talking to her on the phone until she was put into a nursing home because of dementia.  She very quickly, practically overnight as a matter of fact, lost the ability to carry on a conversation.  She also lost most of herself over the course of those few days.  Looking back on it now, it was really like losing her twice -- once when she was taken over by dementia and again when she actually died.
My grandmother and I couldn't have been more different.  Her favorite color was pink.  She favored pearls or small pieces of gold as her jewelry of choice.  She woke up quite early every morning and sat at her dressing table, carefully setting her hair and doing her makeup.  She always had her fingernails painted.  She always wore lipstick and perfume.  She almost never cursed (at least until the dementia took hold).  Her "expletive" of choice was "Oh shoot-a-boot!".  I share none of these traits with her.  I don't wear makeup.  My hair is much too short to style or set in any real way.  The only gold and pearls I own were hers.  I can't remember the last time I put on makeup of any kind.  I only wake up early when forced.  I curse much more than I care to admit.  I can't keep fingernail polish on because my job is much to hands-on.
Nevertheless, she was my best friend.  I could tell her anything and we could talk for hours about the most mundane things.  She gave me lots of things over the years -- a great appreciation for family; consistent politeness and courtesy for others; a love of good and simple food; the pricelessness of sitting next to a quiet lake and enjoying the peace; the value of laughs, hugs, and smiles from those you care about; the luxury of sleeping on a satin pillowcase every now and again; and the glamour of some really, really fabulous costume jewelry.

In addition to her manila folder of loose recipes, she passed on this completely amazing little folder of recipes.  I'm not sure where it came from, but it is truly, truly, truly amazing (cue the Jem theme song).  That amazing little black folder is where the recipe for this Heavenly Hash Cake comes from.  I need to give fair warning -- this cake is dangerously sweet.  Seriously, tooth-achingly, mind-numbingly sweet.  It's also amazing.  Cake may not be right for this cake.  It's more like a brownie.  It's like a brownie covered with marshmallows and chocolate frosting.  You should run to the kitchen and make it immediately.  I did find out that the cooking time was not nearly long enough.  You keep it in the oven for 35 minutes or so, rather than the 20 to 25 in the recipe.

Heavenly Hash Cake
makes one 9"x13" cake

Print me, Please!!!

for the cake:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
4 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup chopped nuts

miniature marshmallows

for the icing:
4 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 box powdered sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
5 Tbsp evaporated milk

Preheat the oven to 350°; grease a 9x13" baking pan and set aside.

Beat together the butter, cocoa, powder and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Stir in the flour and nuts until just combined.  Spread the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until the middle is just barely set.

Spread mini marshmallows over the top of the cake and return the pan to the oven.  Bake about 5 minutes longer, or until the marshmallows are melted and a just barely toasted.

While the cake is baking, prepare the icing.  Mix all the icing ingredients well,  Pour the icing over the marshmallows and warm cake.  Allow the cake to cool to room temperature before slicing.

06 July 2015

Ruby's Pineapple Pie

I know I said once a week.... I got a little sidetracked, but for a very good reason, though.  Last weekend the boys and I went on a little mini vacation to Tulsa, Oklahoma.  We spent 3 days with my best friend, Traci, and her daughter, Annie.  Annie is six months older than my youngest, Isaac, and is best friends with both of the boys.  We had an absolute blast going to the hotel pool, a gigantic neighborhood park, eating delicious food, getting to see my friends David and Kris, and going to the OKAquarium.  The aquarium in Tulsa has some of the largest bull sharks in captivity.  It is totally amazing.  Sam wants to study sharks when he grows up, so we could almost say the trip was necessary for educational purposes.  It was definitely needed for my own sanity.

Today is also my 10th wedding anniversary.  I am grateful almost everyday that my husband is willing to put up with my surliness, near complete lack of conversation, and incessant watching of crime/mystery shows on television.  Hopefully he feels the same way about my tolerating his quirks most days, too.  I love him dearly and am so glad to have him in my life.

I also needed to make sure that I got this one right.  This is the first of my Neenaw's recipes and has always been the one I wanted to tackle first.  This had to be the first one because it's got a typed date on it.  The typed date is the year I was born.  Maybe she made it to celebrate when I was born, or more likely when I came home from the hospital, since I was in NICU for a week.  It would be a great pie for celebrating.  It's delicious.  Granted, I'm biased, since I am a total nut job when it comes to anything pineapple. 

Here's one thing to know about me.  I can't make a proper pie crust.  I just don't have "the touch".  I have made them before.  I have made good ones before, but it's not consistent.  Because I can't get them right all the time, I use store bought crusts.  I'm pretty sure my Neenaw would be okay with that, though, because she did, too.  It's probably because all the flour on the countertops was just too darn messy.  If she didn't have a mess to clean up, then all the better.

There's also a name next to the title of the recipe on this card, but I'm a little unsure who it is.  My grandmother's first name was Rubye, so similar, but not the same.  She liked to trade recipes with the other ladies that worked at the Department of Education with her, so maybe it's from one of them.  She also never, ever went by her first name, but by her middle name instead.  I'm not sure why she preferred Oleta, but she did.

Pineapple Pie

makes 1 pie
1 unbaked pie crust
1 stick butter, melted
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
4 T all purpose flour
1 small can crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
Preheat the oven to 350°.  Put the pie crust into an ungreased pie plate.  Set in the refrigerator to rest while you prepare the filling (This will keep it from shrinking when you bake the pie).  Combine the butter and sugar and stir for a minute until well combined.  Add the eggs, flour, pineapple, and pecans; stir until well combined.  Pour the filing into the prepared crust.  Bake 30-45 minutes, or until the filling is set and the crust is golden brown.  Let cool to room temperature before slicing.



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