texas kolaches

How To Make Texas-Czech KolachesWhere Old Meets New

In the golden days of past my Mom “Betty” subscribed to Southern Living magazine and to this day, so do I. 

In SL’s most recent September 2020 issue they gave claim to the seven “Cooks of the Year” for their culinary innovations. I, too, love innovators for without them we’d be eating the same thing day after day… (fancy some porridge and toast?). But I will continue the foodie fight to honor those in the rear view mirror – the ones who fed our bellies when we were kids. Our Mothers, Grandmothers, and best of all – the ones likely before we can remember. These are the true culinary geniuses who made mealtime a favorite time without the aid of modern kitchen contraptions like microwaves, silicon utensils, immersion blenders, air fryers, and bluetooth ovens (I’m guilty of owning all these items)!

The Missing Piece

With more than 200 recipes here at BettysCookNook.com, the Southern Living kolache recipe fills a missing puzzle piece in my Mom’s culinary legacy; Mom’s kolache filling recipes (below) had been in her cookbook without their much needed pastry crust recipe until now! And since kolaches hold a near and dear place in the heart of Texans right up there with queso, big hair, and cowboy boots you have plenty of recipe ideas thanks to my Mom’s 3 filling recipes below – apricot, prune, and cottage cheese. In addition, there’s a streusel recipe to top things off!

Thanks to Southern Living Magazine I’m gratefully able to connect the past with the present. I hope you try and enjoy this recipe! Thank you, Lydia Faust, for sharing a slice of the great days with the rest of us! #HatsOff

While I usually veer off the I-35 interstate in the city of West, Texas for some of the world famous savory Czech Stop kolaches (bless you, jalapeño, sausage and cheese) let’s not forget their sweet kolache friends! I didn’t make all 3 fillings but the apricot filling was my first pick and it was dy-no-mite! I’d suggest starting with that one first.

This is a recipe for those with a little kitchen grit. I found kolaches much easier to make than homemade tamales (which had me sore for 2 days) or puffy tacos (Joe does most of that work) and you’ll have plenty of leftovers to share with friends and family. I’ll never bat an eye at how much these cost as I found hand making these to be a labor of pure love.

Foodie Tips

❤  This kolache recipe made 53 of the yeasty delights and ironically Mom’s apricot filling recipe filled them all to the last scoop!

❤  It’s customary for the kolaches to touch while baking; they often come out of the oven square-ish. I had giant stainless baking sheet pans so my kolaches came out round. Despite the tweaked shape they tasted the same!

❤  To form the hole we wrapped a spice jar with saran wrap to prevent the dough from sticking and pressed away (shown).

❤  I remember growing-up my Mom’s friend “Miss Joyce” called some savory pigs in a blankey “koblasniky.” Turns out she wasn’t kidding – the sweet treats are kolaches and the savory friends koblasniky. I was happy to confirm in this article. My Moravian ancestors would be proud I stand corrected! Here in Texas folks just refer to anything wrapped in the billowy dough kolaches and we all know what’s involved.

How To Make Kolaches

i. Time

Total prep: Your entire morning. (includes 60 minutes for baking)

ii. Ingredients

for the kolache pastry:
1 ½ tablespoons  active dry yeast
½ cup  warm water (105°F115°F)
¼ cup  unsalted butter (my Grandmother “Nanny” insisted on Falfurrias)
¼ cup  vegetable shortening (Crisco)
1 ½ cups  lukewarm whole milk (100°F105°F)
6 cups  all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for the prep surface
¾ cup  evaporated milk
⅓ cup  granulated sugar
1 tablespoon  kosher salt
2 large  cage free eggs
1 large  cage free egg yolk
5 tablespoons (or more)  unsalted butter, melted

for the apricot filling:
1 pound  dried apricots
¾ cup  granulated sugar
3 tablespoons  unsalted butter

for the streusel:
½ cup   granulated sugar
½ cup   flour
½ cup   butter, melted

iii. What To Do

1.
Sprinkle the yeast over warm water and stir to combine. Set aside. Place the butter and shortening in a large microwavable bowl, and microwave on high until melted, about 1 minute. Stir well to combine. Whisk in the lukewarm whole milk and yeast mixture.

2. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Sift 3 cups of the flour over mixture. Add the evaporated milk, sugar, salt, eggs, and egg yolk. Beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Remove the whisk attachment and replace it with a dough hook. Gradually add the remaining 3 cups flour; beat on medium speed until dough is smooth, about 2 minutes. Let the dough sit at room temperature for 5 minutes; then beat it on medium-high speed until the dough is elastic and very smooth, about 10 minutes.

Kolache Dough Rising3. Brush the top of dough with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour. Punch the dough down and cover it again and let the dough rise until doubled, about 30 more minutes.

Making Kolaches

4. Generously flour a work surface. Gently roll dough out to a 1-inch-thick rectangle (about 18 x 14 inches). Using a 2-inch round cutter, cut out circles, and place them 1 inch apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Brush the tops with 2 tablespoons of the melted butter. Let rise in a warm place until almost doubled in bulk, about 20 minutes.

How To Make A Kolache

Texas Kolache
Apricot Kolache Filling5. While the dough rises, let’s make the apricot kolache filling. Prepare the apricots according to the package directions (I boiled mine in water for about 10 minutes then drained the water). Add the sugar and butter. I used an immersion blender to get things soft but I was careful not to over process it; you still want it a bit thick (not like apple sauce) and a few chunks here and there are OK. Set the filling aside.

6. Let’s continue on by making the posypka (streusel topping): Use a pastry cutter (suggested) or your fingers to combine the sugar, flour, and butter to form a crumbly texture. Store this in the refrigerator until ready to use.

7. Back to the kolaches! Make one small indentation in the center of each dough circle (see tip above or you can use your fingers), and fill each with about 1 tablespoon of the filling. Sprinkle each kolache with 1 to 2 teaspoons of the posypka. Let the kolaches rise until they’ve doubled in size, 20 to 30 minutes.
Kolache with Apricot Filling
8. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Position racks in top third and lower third of oven. Bake the kolaches until golden brown, about 20 minutes, rotating baking sheets between top and bottom racks halfway through the baking time. Remove from oven. Brush the kolaches with the remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter and transfer them to wire racks. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Apricot Kolaches

You may be tired by this point so sit back and enjoy a few bites of the sweet life!

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Apricot Filling Recipe For Kolaches

A Scan Of Mom’s Original Apricot Kolache Filling Recipe

Prune Filling Recipe For Kolaches

A Scan Of Mom’s Prune Kolache Filling Recipe

Cottage Cheese Filling Recipe For Kolaches

A Scan Of Mom’s Cottage Cheese Kolache Filling Recipe

Streusel Topping Recipe

A Scan Of Mom’s Streusel Topping Recipe


playboy chili

Playboy Chili with FritosPlayboy Magazine: I Read It For The Recipes

In a bygone era when I was far too young to know what Playboy Magazine was, someone in the family scored this chili recipe. Mom hand wrote the original recipe (the scan is below) so the magazine owner must have dictated it to her. I nominate my Dad or my older brother Tim.

So after returning home after a long September Saturday of shopping for new Halloween graveyard additions, Joe and I decided that despite it being 90 degrees there was no better way to kick-off fall in Texas than with a bowl of chili. So into Mom’s cookbook my fingers strolled until they landed on this ol’ recipe. There’s no telling when this chili was last made but I can tell from the yellowed, stained paper that this recipe was used more than a few times.

While this Playboy Chili recipe isn’t my tried, true and award-winning Kiker’s Kicker Pot Licker Chili, it packed a lotta punch.

Foodie Tips

❤  Some people just see a chili recipe. I see a recipe that’s a glorious gateway to the belly! You can put chili on more than just a spoon – try it on nachos, chili baked potatoes or what’s better than chili and eggs? Not much! I can picture my Dad enjoying chili and eggs right this very minute with eyes as wide as dinner plates and a smile bigger than Texas.

If you decide to make chili baked potatoes (I wildly recommend), don’t just microwave the potato – that’s far too easy. Take a delicious tip from this blue cheese bacon potato recipe – slather the potatoes with shortening, wrap ’em in foil, and bake ’em in the oven for about an hour. The end result? The softest, most delicious baked potato you’re likely to encounter! After all a baked potato is just that – otherwise we should call them nuked potatoes!

Playboy Chili Potato

Over The Lips… Past The Gums… Watch Out Belly Here It Comes!

❤  Important Lesson: Not since I learned why bagged grated cheese is inferior to freshly grated cheese (goodbye, wood pulp) have I realized that when making chili, plain ol’ ground beef is inferior to coarse ground beef. Why? I find that the typical ground beef often breaks down into more of a grainy mush than a hearty, bold consistency which is a chunky must when beef is the featured ingredient like when in a bowl of chili. Sadly my local grocery stores were out of coarse ground chili beef, so I resorted to the mundane. Note: You can ask your butcher to prepare it fresh for you.

❤  The typical sidekicks for the Kiker family bowl of chili include shredded cheddar cheese, Nabisco saltine crackers, corn bread, Fritos, sour cream and chopped green onions (to name a few).

Playboy Chili Spices

Let’s Spice Things Up

i. Time

Total prep: About 90 minutes.

ii. Ingredients

2 pounds  coarse ground chili beef
½ cup (or less)  olive oil
1 cup  white onion, minced (Mom would likely chop or dice)
1 tablespoon  fresh garlic, minced (I used 5 cloves)
1 large  green bell pepper, minced (or chopped/diced)
1 large  bay leaf (I used 2)
1 teaspoon  oregano
3 tablespoons  chili powder
1 teaspoon  cumin
¼ teaspoon  cayenne
½ teaspoon  fresh cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon (or to taste)  kosher salt
1 tablespoon  paprika
½ teaspoon  red pepper flakes (aka crushed red pepper)
3 tablespoons  flour
1 ½ quart  beef stock
2 teaspoons  sugar
¼ cup (about 10)  cracker crumbs
1 cup  pinto beans, drained
to serve  your favorite sidekicks (see suggested ideas above)

Play Chili Spices and Bay Leaves

My Favorite Part… The Bay Leaves


iii. What To Do

1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, sauté the meat in the olive oil.

2. Add the onions, garlic, green pepper, bay leaves, oregano, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, pepper, kosher salt, paprika, and red pepper flakes. Whew!

3. Stir things well and sauté, covered, about 5 minutes.

4. Stir in the flour; blend well. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour.

Note: I noticed at this stage the chili was a little too oily for my liking which is why I think you can totally dial back on the olive oil (noted above).

5. Stir in the sugar, cracker crumbs and the drained beans. Simmer 10 minutes longer.

6. Serve with your favorite sides/toppings.

Leftovers store well in the fridge or they may be frozen for impromptu meals when that cold front blows in and you’re in a flurry for some chili.

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Playboy Chili Recipe

A Scan Of Mom’s Playboy Chili Recipe

Ever since watching the 1989 hit When Harry Met Sally I can’t see the word “paprika” without thinking of the funny paprikash scene. “Paprikash” is a popular Hungarian paprika chicken dish. Enjoy the clip!

Chili Potato Recipe

Another View Of Le Chili Potato


mrs. copple’s banana bread

Mrs. Copples Banana Bread RecipeBreadwinners

Back in 2012 I posted this banana nut loaf cake recipe (which is really just banana bread, disguised with the “loaf” part). It has remained a family favorite to this day and I look forward to making muffins out of my Aunt’s recipe on our next go.

My friend Suzanne will be delighted to hear that Mrs. Copple’s banana bread recipe doesn’t call for nuts (shorthand for pecans, here in Texas). She and I continuously arm wrestle over whether banana bread should or should not have nuts and since I’m the fingers behind this post we know that “with nuts” wins. Yay me! But I will admit – this banana bread packs a great taste. Even if the nuts were forgotten! 🤠

Regardless of nuts and butter (or no nuts and margarine), I think we can agree we’re “breadwinners” when we enjoy a baked banana slice of home sweet home.

Foodie Tips

❤  You won’t see a bread picture in this post. Why? We decided to gift some of this sweetness to neighbors and thought muffins would be more portable than slices of bread. This recipe yielded 6 large (jumbo) muffins and 12 mini muffins (yielding 18 in total). For the large muffins you’ll cook about 25 minutes at 350°F; the minis were ready in 15 minutes.

❤  In addition to arm wrestling over nuts or no nuts, you can add butter vs. margarine to the list! We used butter in this recipe vs. margarine. Sorry, Mrs. Copple! During the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown all we stock is unsalted butter so that’s what we used. There are some culinary differences between butter and margarine that you might want to read more about in this post.

❤  I thought it interesting lemon juice was called for to prevent turning the bananas brown (the bananas wouldn’t be sitting out for a long period of time). But I’m not willing to risk a brown banana bread so in the lemon juice went!

❤  To serve, my favorite way to enjoy a bread or muffin is “toasty warm” with a smear of plain Philadelphia Whipped Cream Cheese on top! There’s nothing better!

banana bread mini muffins

i. Time

Total prep: About 40-75 minutes (depending on whether you make mini muffins or bread)

ii. Ingredients

1 stick  |  margarine or unsalted butter (my Grandmother “Nanny” always insisted on Falfurrias brand butter)
1 cup  |  sugar
|  cage free eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon  |  baking soda
1 teaspoon  |  baking powder
1 teaspoon  |  salt
2 cups  |  flour, sifted
|  bananas
a tad  |  fresh lemon juice

the best banana bread muffins

iii. What To Do

1. In a mixing bowl cream the margarine (or butter) and sugar together.

2. Add the room temperature eggs and beat well.

3. In a separate bowl add the baking soda, baking powder, and salt to the flour.

4. Mash the bananas and sprinkle them lightly with a squeeze or two of fresh lemon juice to keep them from turning brown.

5. Mix together the flour mixture and the creamed butter/sugar mixture.

6. With a spatula hand mix-in the bananas and your banana batter is ready!

7. Decide whether or not you’re making bread or muffins. Prepare your chosen baking pan (we used nonstick spray) and fill ¾ full.

8. Bake for 50-60 minutes for the bread; about 25 minutes for jumbo-sized muffins; or 15 minutes for the mini muffins… all until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

A Scan Of My Mom “Betty’s” Coveted Banana Bread Recipe (in her handwriting)


spinach crepes with ham sauce

Spinach Crepes with Ham SauceCrepes Of Great

Whether they’re sweet or savory, crepes have always intrigued and intimidated me.

I’m always afraid I can’t keep them in tact (no crepe skills) which is likely why only recently I found the encouragement to make them later in life. Thanks to this recipe my partner Joe showed me firsthand that crepes are actually doable without a fancy crepe pan or cooking classes!

Crepes originate from Western France and they are celebrated every February 2nd during e jour des crêpes or “the day of the crepe.”

Growing up I don’t remember eating these crepes with ham sauce but I do remember dreaming about every kid’s treasured hammy story “Green Eggs and Ham.” You can enjoy a video short of that below.

This recipe hails from my Cousin Julie’s kitchen and I’m pegging it at circa 1970s or 80s. Julie wrote the recipe on her special stationery to my Mom “Betty,” and I’ve included a scan of the original below!

Foodie Tips

❤  If you’re fast-tracking this recipe while the crepe batter is chilling in the fridge you can continue on to prepare the filling and ham sauce. Or you can enjoy a mimosa and some conversation with your friends and family while the party crescendoes.

❤  Depending on the size of your pour you may have some leftover crepes. You can refrigerate them to enjoy a day or two later or… we froze a few of ours by placing a sheet of waxed paper between each crepe then placing the stack in an air tight, freezer-safe bag.

i. Time

Total prep: About 90-120 minutes (including 1 hour for the crepe batter to chill)

ii. Ingredients

for the crepes:
1 cup  |  flour, sifted
½ teaspoon  |  baking powder
¼ – ½ teaspoon  |  salt
|  cage free eggs
1 cup  |  milk
¼ teaspoon  |  nutmeg

for the filling:
1 cup  |  onion, chopped
2 tablespoons  |  unsalted butter (give Falfurrias brand a try per my Grandmother “Nanny”)
10 ounce package  |  frozen spinach, thawed
1 cup  |  swiss cheese, diced
2 teaspoons  |  dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon  |  salt
¼ teaspoon  |  nutmeg

for the ham sauce:
2 tablespoons  |  Mmmmmore unsalted butter
2 tablespoons  |  flour
¼ teaspoon  |  salt
1 cup  |  milk
½ cup  |  half and half
2 teaspoons  |  dijon mustard
1 ½ cups (about ½ pound)  |  ham, cooked and diced
to garnish  |  green onions, chopped (optional)

iii. What To Do

Prepare The Crepes: 1) Combine by hand the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium-sized bowl and set aside. 2) In a separate bowl beat the eggs and milk together then add to the flour mixture. 3) Refrigerate 1 hour or overnight, if you’re preparing this ahead of time. 4) Over medium-low heat (we used gas) melt some butter in a flat pan or crepe pan. 5) Pour 3 tablespoons of the batter all at once into the heated pan and let it sit a few seconds. Carefully rotate, flip and cool a bit more on the second side. Transfer the crepe onto a plate until ready to use. Continue cooking and stacking until you’ll all out of batter, making about 12 crepes. If you’re lucky the crepes will turn out something like this:

Prepare The Filling: 1) In a larger pan over medium-high heat, sauté the onion in butter. 2) Add the spinach and cook until the moisture evaporates. 3) Stir in the swiss cheese, mustard, salt and nutmeg. 4) Preheat your oven to 350°F. 5) Fill the crepes using ¼ cup of the filling for each, roll ’em up, and arrange them in a lightly buttered casserole dish. You can place them in a chafing dish if you’re serving right away.

spinach and ham crepes from bettys cook nook

Prepare The Ham Sauce: 1) In your crepe pan, melt butter and stir in the flour and salt. 2) Add the milk, half and half and the mustard. 3) Cook, stirring constantly until thickened. 4) Fold in the diced ham and heat until warm. 5) Pour the ham sauce over the crepes and “warm up the whole business at once in the oven” as Julie wrote below, about 10-15 minutes or heat in the chafing dish (per above).

We sprinkled some chopped green onions on top to serve (optional).

Enjoy!

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook
spinach crepes and ham sauce

Julie's Spinach Crepes with Ham Sauce Recipe

Who is “Julie Mueller”

Julie is more than my 1st Cousin; she has been like my 2nd Mom. Julie had a heart bigger than Texas and I can still hear her signature “infectious” laugh which would instantly brighten any room.

Julie was known for having the impeccable skill of a master entertainer and with that the tastiest of foods were always to be enjoyed by all! I always thought of Julie as my very own Martha Stewart as she was crafty well beyond the kitchen across mediums like needlepoint, painting, furniture restoration and being a wonderful decorator and story teller. Whether by design or accident, Julie taught me to never underestimate the loving power and influence of a Cousin!

You’ll find several of Julie’s recipes, photos, and stories here at Betty’s Cook Nook. Her memory lives on in those who knew her and I’m happy to share some of her favorite foods with you.


sour cream apple pie

Sour Cream Apple Pie Recipe

The Apple Pie Of My Eye

Hubba! Hubba! One bite into this apple pie sent me back on a flavor adventure into my childhood – a time when apple rocked my world.

My fondest apple memories weren’t necessarily of the fruit itself, but its fruit-inspired kissin’ Cousin – Jolly Rancher Apple Candy. Awe shucks – my eyes would grow wide with these little suckers and my fingers could barely fumble fast enough to frantically tear off the plastic wrapper so I could get down to business.

Jolly Rancher Apple Stix Vintage Print Ad

It Doesn’t Appear That Jolly Rancher Made Any Apple-Inspired Print Ads Back In The Day…
So I Modified A Fire Stix Ad To Represent!

Several years ago my tongue stumbled upon my first Caramel Apple Pop and these have since become my go-to candy for Halloween trick-or-treaters. These taste like a green apple Jolly Rancher that’s been dipped in rich, lux caramel. Boy howdy! These are way easier to enjoy and I don’t have to be reminded that when it comes to my ability to handmake a caramel apple on a stick I ought to just phone a friend for help (you can read all about that hilarious foodie fail here)!

Back To Pie Basics

This recipe – like others – unassumingly sat tucked away in my Mom’s cookbook. Then this October fall rushed in. This is when Texas temperatures drop into the 90s and we reach for blankets and sweaters to keep us alive. October is a time of year when the eyes and the appetite often turn to the wonderfully warm and woodsy flavors of fall. And sitting right in the middle of it all is the fall apple.

Enjoy the mash-up of apple graced with the south’s favorite sidekick – good ol’ sour cream! Topped with a cinnamon-sugar crumb topping, the remarkable taste is probably one of the earliest sweet ‘n sour ‘n tarty foods I can remember.

Sour cream apple pie – you’re welcome in my stomach any time!

Foodie Tips

❤  I may not be an apple connoisseur but I do recognize all apples are not created equal when it’s time to bake them. Avoid the ones that get “mushy” – nobody wants those in their pie! I got lucky and picked a granny smith apple which proved to be the perfect pucker-upper for the sour cream pairing! Here’s some southern wisdom about selecting baking apples.

❤  I have a gas oven and it browned my pie a little more than I would have preferred. I used a silicon pie crust shield which will help prevent the edges of your crust from burning.

i. Time

Total prep: About 75 minutes

ii. Ingredients

for the pie:
|  pie crust
2 tablespoons  |  flour
⅛ teaspoon  |  salt
¾ cup  |  sugar
cage free egg
1 cup  |  sour cream
1 teaspoon  |  vanilla
¼ teaspoon  |  nutmeg
2 cups  |  apples, diced (I enjoyed this with the peel on)

for the crumb topping:
⅓ cup  |  sugar
⅓ cup  |  flour
1 teaspoon  |  cinnamon
¼ cup  |  unsalted butter, melted (tip: my Grandmother “Nanny” insisted on Falfurrias brand butter)

iii. What to do

0. Preheat your oven to 400°F. Meanwhile…

1. Line a 9-inch pie pan with the pastry.

2. In a medium-sized bowl sift together the flour, salt, and sugar.

3. Add the egg, sour cream, vanilla, and nutmeg to the flour mixture. Beat everything into a smooth, thin batter.

4. Stir in the diced apples and coat well.

Sour Cream Apple Pie Going Into The Oven

5. Pour your apple batter into the pastry-lined pie pan.

6. Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes then lower temperature to 350°F and bake for 30 minutes – be careful not to over-bake!

7. Remove the pie from the oven and let it rest while we make our crumb topping.

8. Coarsely mix the four topping ingredients together in a small bowl and sprinkle them over the top of the pie. Lumpy crumbs are good here – there’s no need to pulverize the topping.

Apple Pie Crumb Topping

9. Raise the oven to 400°F and return the pie to bake 10 minutes to brown.

10. Remove the pie and let it rest. Warm or cold this pie is delicious!

Sour Cream Apple Pie Guard

Yield: 8-12 slices of tasty pie

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Sour Cream Apple Pie Recipe

A Scan Of My Mom “Betty’s” Original Sour Cream Apple Pie Recipe


pumpkin bread

Pumpking Bread

Fall Is In The Air

It’s hard to image Halloween without enjoying the time-tested taste of pumpkin.

Nowadays the season is ushered in with the arrival of anything pumpkin spice. Back in my younger days, however, pumpkin was simple, usually in the form of pie, flan, or bread.

Before we break into this bread recipe let’s have a look and some laughs at some vintage family Halloween pics from the good ol’ years! And before we watch the Hallo-slideshow, please click and listen to The Great Pumpkin Waltz by Vince Guaraldi. It sets the mood for pumpkin bread perfectly!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Foodie Tips

❤  I often get stumped on the material differences between baking powder and baking soda. This Bon Appetit article explores the yin and yang of these two essential baking ingredients.

❤  Fancy pumpkin? Take your tastebuds on a spin with my Mom’s other pumpkin bread that’s a kissing Cousin to this recipe… it includes raisins and pecans!

i. Time

Total prep: About 75 minutes

A Pumpkin Bread Recipe From Betty's Cook Nookii. Ingredients

4 | cage free eggs, beaten
3 cups | sugar
1 cup | salad oil
20-ounce can (2 ½ cups) | pumpkin
3 ½ cups | all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon | baking powder
2 teaspoons | baking soda
2 teaspoons | salt
½ teaspoon | ground cloves
1 teaspoon | ground allspice
1 teaspoon | ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon | ground nutmeg
⅔ cup | water
handful | pecans, chopped (optional)

iii. What to do

0. Preheat your oven to 350°F.

1. In a large bowl mix together well the eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin.

2. In a separate medium-sized bowl combine the 8 dry ingredients and add to the pumpkin mixture. Add the water and mix well.

A Pumpkin Bread Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

3. Pour the batter into 3 greased 8-inch loaf pans. You may have noticed that I snuck in some nuts (a.k.a Texas pecans) on top of two of the loaves. Just to keep me an honest Texan.

A Pumpkin Bread Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

4. Place the loaf pans in the oven and bake at 350°F for 45-50 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

A Pumpkin Bread Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Yield: 3 loaves. Each loaf will yield about 8-10 slices each!

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Vintage Witch And Moon BeistleFancy Retro Halloween Decorations?

You’re not alone! Revisiting some of my old family photos has me wishing we still had our old decorations! You can still find some online at Vintage Beistle. Great stuff!


prune cake

Prune Cake Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Thanks To Prunes, The Wait Is Over

If you’ve made it this far into the recipe then you’re obviously open to prunes. I mean hey, they have a bad rap for being associated with senior folks… and for giving the gift of, ahem, “regularity.”

Regardless of prunes’ affiliation with the trots at least 4 generations of my family have loved knocks at bathroom humor even before it was vogue. So I’m not sure why it took me 8 years after recovering Mom’s cookbook to dive into this recipe just because of the word “prune;” I should have been drawn to it!

So in 2000 even though the FDA changed the name of prunes to “dried plums” which boosted sales I say bring on the prunes! They taste great no matter what they’re called and who doesn’t like a little regularity? Plus, it seems that California may have returned to their prune-y roots, making me want to just call this “prune-plumb cake” just to ensure I have all “loose ends” covered (pun intended).

A Prune By Any Other Name…

I smiled when I saw this came from the Fredericksburg cookbook of our family friend “Lela.” Fredericksburg, Texas holds a special place in the hearts of Texans and it’s where Texas-German charm and heritage runs as thick as our state’s love for silky queso. I had a gut instinct this cake had historical origins to our European roots and I was right! Whether it goes by spice cake, election cake or muster cake, this is a delightfully decadent and dense cake that tastes like a warm slice of sweet Christmas drizzled with butter.

What’s different about this cake is the twist of incorporating Texas pecans and vanilla, and commingling them with the fruity smash-up taste of prunes in both the cake and the icing! I think you’ll agree this cake will disappear in a jiffy!

I saw in a recent McCormick video (below): “It’s the recipes we pass on to the next generation that are the reason there’s really no flavor like home.” And I hope this recipe becomes a, ahem, “regular favorite” that hails from Fredericksburg, to Lela, to my Mom, to me, and now to you!

Foodie Tips

❤  You can enjoy prune cake tabletop warm or cold from the fridge… but my favorite is when it’s just a bit warmed from the toaster oven or the microwave.

❤  9″ x 13″ loaf pan? This threw me because I thought loaf pans were almost as tall as they were wide. A 9″ x 13″ pan is what I call a sheet cake pan. I’m wondering if I could make a couple of 5″ x 9″ loaf pan cakes out of this!

❤  Prunes’ super power? Fiber, sorbitol, and polyphenols. They act as antioxidants and help keep a clean house.

i. Time

Total prep: 1-2 hours (includes cooling the cake)

Prune Cake Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

ii. Ingredients

for the cake:
3 | cage free eggs, well beaten
1 ½ cups | sugar
1 cup | salad oil
1 teaspoon | soda
1 cup | buttermilk
1 teaspoon | cinnamon
1 teaspoon | ground cloves
1 teaspoon | allspice
1 teaspoon | nutmeg
1 cup | mashed prunes, cooked
1 cup | pecans, chopped
2 cups | flour
1 teaspoon | baking power

for the icing:
2 tablespoons | butter (my Grandmother insisted on “Falfurrias” brand butter)
1 cup | sugar
2 | cage free eggs
½ cup | sour cream
1 cup | chopped prunes
1 cup | more chopped pecans
1 teaspoon | vanilla
a pinch | salt

iii. What to do

1. In a medium bowl beat the eggs and add the sugar. Beat everything together.

Prune Cake Recipe

Now Forming: A Blowout

2. In a measuring cup add the soda into the buttermilk, making sure to leave plenty of room as the soda will cause carbon dioxide bubbles to form, so use a larger measuring cup to prevent a “blowout,” (shown).

3. Add the salad oil, the buttermilk mixture and the the rest of the cake ingredients and mix well.

4. Bake everything in your choice of a greased 9″ x 13″ cake pan or three greased 8-inch cake pans at 350°F for about 25 minutes. When done remove the cake from the oven and let it cool on a cooling rack, if you have one.

Prune Cake Icing

5. After the cake has cooled a bit you can jumpstart your icing! Cream the butter and sugar and add the eggs. Mix with the remaining icing ingredients, transfer into a medium pan and cook over medium-low or medium heat until thick. Spread on cooled cake.

Serves: About 20 (sheet cake style)

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

A Scan Of Mom's Prune Cake Recipe

A Scan Of Mom’s Prune Cake Recipe

 

Who is Lela?

When I was growing up Lela Swinny lived at 3006 Northridge in San Antonio just 2 doors around the corner from my family’s home at 2927 Trailend.

The Swinny family was a delightful bunch of folks and my family spent almost as much time at their house as our own so naturally “fooding” was a part of the times our two families shared.

American Revolution Bicentennial LogoMom’s dear friend “Lela” taught me many things ~ the joy of laughing, how to swim in their awesome pool, and how to cook a memorable breakfast treat called “Egg In A Nest,” which is also posted here at Betty’s Cook Nook.

True family fact: Back in the 1970s Lela was throwing out an old desk that caught my Mom’s eye. A coat of red paint later and it was a cornerstone in my brother Tim’s red white and blue bedroom (it was around the time of our Country’s Bicentennial celebration so red white and blue was hot). In the 1990s I painted the desk black and it’s the desk where I author this blog to this day, proving that Lela is still with us, heart and soul!

You’ll find a picture of Lela and me in the “old family photos” tab and you can search for her by name to connect with more of her spirited recipes.

Cheers to two great friends – Mom and Lela!



pumpkin bread

Pumpkin Bread Recipe From Betty's Cook NookThe Best Of Fall

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – when wearing flannel and smelling like patchouli is top of mind. Also top of mind? PUMPKINS!  🎃 There’s no better way to ring in fall’s greatness other than watching the fall favorite It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

The Peanuts gang were probably my best friends growing up. In a time before you could record TV I never missed a show. I remember sketching Snoopy on top of his doghouse… and funny, I never thought it was odd that Snoopy slept *on top* of his doghouse rather than in it. Childhood innocence.

While your pumpkin bread is baking, come back and watch the movie below – share it with your family and friends and celebrate the way we were… and the way we are with the best of fall!

Foodie Tips

  I halved this recipe and made 2 medium-sized loaves. If you’re gift-giving or a lover of loaves, go all the way!

  One small can pumpkin? I presumed it was a 15 ounce can.

  The recipe didn’t note it but I greased my loaf pans before adding the batter.

  This bread is most great served sliced and toasted with a schmear of Phildelphia Whipped Cream Cheese.

i. Time

Total prep: About 75 minutes (minus resting)

ii. Ingredients

3-⅓ cups | flour
3 cups | sugar
1 teaspoon | cinnamon
2 teaspoons | nutmeg
2 teaspoons | baking soda
1 teaspoon | salt
| cage free eggs, beaten
1 cup | oil
⅔ cup | water
15 ounces | canned pumpkin
¾ cup (2 small boxes) | raisins
¾ cup | chopped nuts (a.k.a. “pecans,” here in Texas)
to top | more pecans (optional)

Pumpkin Bread In The Works

iii. What to do

1. Measure the dry ingredients into a large bowl.

2. Add the eggs, oil, water, and pumpkin. Mix everything well.

3. Fold in the raisins and the pecans.

4. Pour the batter into two large or four small loaf pans and bake at 325°F until the bread tests done.

ENJOY

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Pumpkin Bread Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Peanuts Cook Book Circa 1970One of my most cherished childhood items is this Peanuts cookbook. Originally printed in 1970 it still remains in my kitchen today, almost 50 years later!

This cookbook was not mine, originally… but at the magical age of 10 I was such a fanatic about The Peanuts Gang I was able to smooth talk this cookbook out of my neighborhood friend’s kitchen and into mine!

Pumpkin Bread

A Scan Of Mom’s Pumpkin Bread Recipe

Sous Chef Note: While acquainting myself with this recipe I noticed a credit to “Barbara Harris” and took to the internet to see if I could find out who she was. Turns out Barbara was a San Antonio restauranteur who ran some popular food establishments in San Antonio and Dallas.

I found reference to Barbara’s Pecan Pie Muffins in Karen Haram’s 50 Favorite “Good Taste” Recipes – these muffins are surely a culinary cousin to the Pumpkin Bread recipe above. Karen was a food author for the San Antonio Express-News for more than 30 years so you know these recipes have gotta be tasty… I have Karen’s Good Taste cookbook printed out for my culinary archives and you can score a digital copy of her fifty favorites here > Karen Haram’s 50 Favorite Recipes.


shrimp victoria

Shrimp Victoria Recipe From Bettys Cook NookTales From The Sea

I found this recipe folded in my Mom “Betty’s” index card holder. I recognized her handwriting immediately.

There’s no doubting Mom’s love for seafood as this recipe is one of several shrimp recipes I’ve discovered in her cookbook (surf the shrimp recipe archive).

While I tell a few funny stories on this food blog about my dislike for most types of seafood, this recipe is delicious, proving once again that my distaste for seafood is waning. Mom would be proud.

The Write Stuff

I look closer at the paper containing the recipe and notice the phone number “CA6-4141”. I was time-warped back to an era when phone numbers began with exchange names. Exchanges were phased out in the 1960s and 70s, so this would date the origin of this recipe back about 50 years ago. The number CA6-4141? “CA” stood for “Capitol” which translated to “22” so the full phone number would have been 226-4141. Confusing short-code, huh? Today San Antonio has 10-digit dialing like most large cities. The city’s newest area code 726 went into effect in 2017 and made me smile because 726 is my birthdate, July 26th.

Also on the paper recipe (below) I see The Clegg Company. A quick Google and this San Antonio Business Journal article popped-up in sight. I was surprised to learn that the then 104-year-old retailer was purchased by Herman Miller – the maker of the iconic Herman Miller Aeron chair. This very chair was one I sat on during my days working for a large internet consultancy that went belly up after the dot-com bust. That’s another long twisty, turbulent story for another day!

While stories like these likely don’t mean much to folks outside my family I include them here as an example of the amazing ways we are connected to the past if we’re open to it. All this from a Shrimp Victoria recipe scribbled on a notepad… and tucked away for more than 50 years!

Foodie Tips

  The rice was good but believe it or not I’m trying buttered toast on the next go (we were out of bread)!

  Not sure how to clean and devein your shrimp? I’ve included a couple of YouTube videos below that will show you how easy it is!

  I thought I was being fancy by letting my shrimp marinate overnight in the fridge. Turns out that it’s not really necessary! My online sleuthing showed that a 30-minute marinade should be fine but with an acid-based marinade (this recipe has lemon juice) the shrimp can turn “mushy” as the acid can start to break down the shrimp. I didn’t experience this with my dish, however!

  While stores may not be consistent in how they classify shrimp, when you’re at the seafood counter there’s a method to the madness for how many shrimp typically come per pound (this is indicative of their size). Resources that will be helpful include the Certi-Fresh Shrimp Sizing Guide you can print, and keep with your cookbooks (score!)… and the Farm to Table guide that provides some detail on larger-sized shrimp. Now you’ll be able to decipher shrimp-like code like PUD, P&D, U/15, and 61/70!

i. Time

Total prep: About 30 minutes.

ii. Ingredients

½ cup | unsalted butter (my grandmother “Nanny” insisted on Falfurrias)
1 ½ pounds | cleaned, raw shrimp
½ cup | onion, chopped
1 cup | fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons | lemon juice
1 tablespoon | worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons | flour
1 ½ teaspoons | seasoned salt
dash | fresh cracked black pepper
1 ½ cups | sour cream
1 tablespoon | fresh parsley, chopped
to serve | rice or buttered toast (optional)

Shrimp Victoria On The Stove

iii. What to do

1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat melt the butter. Cook shrimp and onion, stirring until the shrimp is almost tender, about 5 minutes.

Shrimp Victoria Recipe With Mushrooms

Shrimp Victoria With Sour Cream

A Mound Of Sour Cream? Texans “Yee Haw” About This!

2. Add the mushrooms, lemon juice and the Worcestershire sauce. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat.

3. Stir in the flour, seasoned salt and black pepper. Then the sour cream. Return the skillet to the heat and cook over low heat stirring until hot, but not boiling.

Shrimp Victoria Recipe

4. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve at once over rice or buttered toast.

Yields 6 servings

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Shrimp Victoria Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

A Scan Of Mom’s Shrimp Victoria Recipe ~ Note The Suggested Pairings
For The Perfect Meal (see bottom of recipe)


jim’s canadian cheese soup

Canadian Cheese Soup Recipe From Betty's Cook NookAn Ol’ Time Family Favorite

The very first “Jim’s” opened back in 1963 at the corner of Broadway and Loop 410 in San Antonio. This location was my Dad’s absolute favorite to meet up for a standing breakfast with a large group of colleagues. When it was a lucky weekend day Dad would let me tag along. Here the staff knew him like the best of family.

Jim's No 1 Restaurant Broadway at Loop 410 Circa 1963

Circa 1963 ~ Jim’s Restaurant (No. 1)

My friend Dan said his Dad created this cheese soup for Jim’s Restaurants, which I remember being a favored thing right up there with the pet rock and the skateboard. This soup was a pre-appetizer staple that I liked more than the greener alternative – the salad. Um, no. When I asked my friend why his Dad named it “Canadian Cheese Soup” he said it was because “the name sounded good.”

Flash forward several decades to today and the recipe is still on Jim’s menu so it’s quite exciting to be able to enjoy it at home now that I’m not within walking distance of my childhood Jim’s.

My research for this recipe helped teach me the difference between a mirepoix, a roux, and the foodie “holy trinity” (deets below) so hats off to this silky, delicious, cheesy soup!

Foodie Tips

  I’ve adjusted the recipe ingredients below based on my friend’s inside scoop – cutting back on the milk, adding Tobasco, and using Velveeta instead of the triple play of cheeses I found in another copycat recipe which was: Cheese Whiz (16 ounces), Swiss (2 ounces), and cheddar cheeses (2 ounces).

  You can adjust the flour and milk as you see fit to arrive at your preferred consistency.

  I wasn’t sure what “chicken base” was, thinking it might be chicken stock or chicken broth. Turns out there is such a thing as chicken base – I found this “Better Than Bouillon” at my local market and it sure was flavorful, living up to its name.
Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base

  Refrigerate leftovers for an impromptu treat for when you’re in a hurry – you may find that adding a bit more milk will help return the silky, smooth consistency.

i. Time

Veggie prep: About 10 minutes.
Total prep: About 45 minutes.

ii. Ingredients

6 cups | water
5 stalks | celery, finely diced
¼ medium | onion, finely diced
3 medium | carrots, finely diced
4 tablespoons | low salt chicken base
2 sticks | butter (my grandmother insisted on Falfurrias)
1 cup | flour
20 ounces | Velveeta, cubed
2 ½ cups | milk
tiny bit | Tobasco
to garnish | oyster crackers (optional)

iii. What to do

1. In a stockpot over high heat bring the water to a boil.

Canadian Cheese Soup Ingredients
2. Let’s make “mirepoix!” To the water add celery, onion, carrots, and chicken base. Reduce heat and simmer about 30 minutes, or until the celery is tender but firm. Note: About 15 minutes into the simmering start Step 3 (if you like the quick route)!

3. Next up? The roux: In a heavy skillet, melt the butter over low heat. Add the flour and mix constantly with a whisk until things are smooth and free of lumps. Cook your roux 8-10 minutes, whisking constantly to prevent scorching.

4. Reduce heat under the soup (not the roux) to medium-low, add the prepared roux and continue to whisk until everything is smooth and thick, 4-5 minutes.

How to make Jim's Canadian Cheese Soup

5. Add the Velveeta and continue cooking until the cheese is melted, making sure to whisk occasionally.

6. Heat the milk in the microwave (or double boiler). Slowly add the milk to the soup mixture, whisking all the way. You can add a little more – or less – milk to reach your desired consistency.

To Serve: Spoon into bowls and top with a few shakes of Tabasco. After enjoying my first bowl I added a few oyster crackers for crunch and 5-7 fresh pinched oregano leaves to add a pop of herby flavor.

Yields 12-16 servings!Jim's Restaurant Logo

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Relevant, Additional Foodie Info: 

Is Velveeta Cheese Actually Cheese?

The History of Cheez Whiz

My Own “Cheesy Love Affair” With Velveeta

Kitchen Tip: Mirepoix vs. The Holy Trinity

More Vintage Jim’s Pics

More About Mirepoix: