Friday, January 15, 2010

Sweet Memories

Hmmm, a story to share about food... I guess it would have to be about how I fell in love with sugar and baking, and grew up to be affectionately called a "sugar spinner". When I was a young girl, I went with my girl scout troop to a local company who had a commercial kitchen. Two women there taught us some of the basic 'how tos' for making cookies. I can still remember how pretty the golden yellow eggs looked cracked into their own bowl and what a pretty soft yellow they became as they were mixed together with the white sugar and the butter.

During junior high school, I took home economics (boy does that date me), and had an assignment to make brownies from scratch. I had made brownies 'out of the box' many times, but never from scratch. What a revelation that was, to know the ingredients to make brownies were in my mother's kitchen all the time! Oh how my sweet tooth craved chocolate mixed in with the sugar, and adding nuts just made it that much better. Nuts count as protein right?

One of my favorite recipes to make in high school was an April Fools Cake that had 12 ozs of bakers chocolate in it. Sadly, this recipe has been lost and I can no longer make this decadent, moist chocolate cake, with the secret ingredient of sauerkraut, which tasted like coconut baked into the cake. Oh that was such a great cake! I also became a big fan of making zucchini bread with walnuts. Who knew vegetables could taste so good.

When I was away from home for college, my mom would make me cookies and mail them to me to get me through finals. When I graduated from college my mom and I carried on this tradition for my cousins. Some years we would make 20 plus different kinds of cookies to send out or give to friends and family at the holidays.

When I moved away from home, my new friends quickly learned that I liked to bake and they started calling me the sugar spinner. It didn't matter if we were gathering for brunch or dinner I was to bring something homemade and sweet.

Many years have passed since I was a young girl scout, but my fascination with sugar and baking has not left me. I look forward to the change of seasons; fresh strawberries to make pie, or fresh blueberries to make a sour cream coffee cake, fall apples for applesauce cake, or pecans to make chocolate pecan bars. And of course the holiday favorites … molasses cakes for Christmas morning, and chocolate toffee, or tea breads to share with friends and family. Yummy!

Leesa W.

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