Delicious Date Cake


This recipe is from a favorite cookbook I received as a gift in 1982 – Seasoned with Sunshine, a collection of recipes from Florida.  This is a thin, delicious, moist cake that is easy to make.  It makes a nice luncheon or supper dessert.


  • ½ cup dates, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. soda
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Preheat oven @ 350 degrees F.  Grease an 8×8 inch pan.

In a small bowl, mix dates, soda and boiling water; set aside to cool.


By hand or in an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar, add egg.  Sift flour and salt together and add to creamed mixture.  Blend in cooled date mixture with liquid.  Pour into well-greased 8×8 pan.  Sprinkle on Pecan Topping* ingredients, beginning with brown sugar, then pecans and then the chocolate chips.

*Pecan Topping:

  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • ½ cup chocolate chips


Bake @ 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

6 servings.  Delicious plain ….


… or with ice cream, whipped cream or whipped topping.


Mince-Nut Tarts au Chocolat


I had a package of mincemeat left over from the holidays and remembered this recipe that I had developed in 1986 for a magazine contest.  It didn’t win, but it’s a delicious little tart.

I used a portion of mincemeat that I made from this condensed package (mixed with water) that makes 1-¾ cups.  I used one cup for this recipe.

Mincemeat made from his package is comparable in taste and consistency to the prepared mincemeat in jars.


  • 3 Tblsp.condensed milk
  • ¼ cup + 2 Tblsp. chocolate chips
  • 1 cup prepared mincemeat
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 6 pastry tart shells (3-½ in. diameter (across top) x ¾ in. deep

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

In small saucepan combine condensed milk and chocolate chips.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until chips are melted.


Spread chocolate mixture over bottom surface of tart shells (about 2 Tblsp. per pan).
Divide mincemeat among pans and spread over chocolate mixture.

Sprinkle the top of each tart with chopped pecans.

Bake at 375 degrees F approximately 20 minutes until crust and walnuts are golden brown.

Let cool in pans on a wire rack.


6 servings


Orange Flavor Extract Cookies–A 1940s Recipe

One of my Christmas gifts this year was a small 4-½ x 6 inch leather bound book engraved “Cooking Recipes”, purchased at an antique mall in Sugar Creek, Ohio.  The pages are edged in gold and there are 10 index tabs for food categories.  

The real gold in this book, though, is the collection of handwritten recipes.  There aren’t a lot of recipes – just 25, 22 of which are desserts.  The book itself could have been from the 1930s, but I believe the recipes are from the 1945-1950 era.  This is based on a lot of recipes calling for shortening, for using the word “oleo” rather than margarine in most recipes and the attention given to oven temperatures.  I believe it’s post-World War II because of all of the sugar-laden desserts.  

The handwriting is clear and ingredients are listed correctly, although most of the recipes give no idea of how the item is to be prepared, what kind of pan to use or how long to bake.  That’s why I’ve decided to make each of the recipes, using the products specified, and adding my own instructions.  I like to think that the woman from the 1940s kitchen (who would have been about my mother’s age) would enjoy having someone fuss around with these recipes again and turn out some delicious food for the family.

This cookie is very typical of the 1940s – a big, fat cookie that is crisp on the outside and somewhat cake-like on the inside with a light orange flavor.  At the writer’s suggestion, I added chocolate chips to the dough and on some of the batches, pressed raisins or a pecan half in each cookie before baking.  They are all good and very satisfying.

I love this McCoy cookie jar I inherited from my mother


  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup shortening
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 tsp. orange extract
  • 1 tsp.soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Lightly grease cookie sheets

In large mixer bowl, cream light brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs and shortening.  Mix in milk and orange extract.

In separate bowl, whisk together the soda, salt, baking powder, and flour.  Add to creamed mixture, mixing well.

Drop by rounded measuring tablespoon on greased cookie sheet, two inches apart.

Bake for approximately 8-10 minutes @ 350 degrees F until cookies are golden brown.  Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Makes 48 cookies – 2-½ inch diameter 

Also delicious with raisins….

…and with nuts.

Apple and Pecan Pancakes with Brie

This is a breakfast or brunch dish to celebrate something – a birthday, an anniversary, the fact that it’s Saturday…..

I was watching Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives featuring a restaurant which included a breakfast plate like this on its menu.  My oldest daughter, who lives with me, began imagining how great it would be, so I picked up a package of brie on my next trip to the grocery.

I had everything else on hand and this is what I whipped up for our Saturday morning breakfast:


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 Tblsp. (1-1/2 tsp.) baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 Tblsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 medium tart apple, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 2 Tblsp. chopped pecans
  • 1 Tblsp. butter
  • 6 slices of brie, about 1 inch square x 1/4 inch thick (like a pat of butter)

  • Syrup of choice

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In a 2 cup measure, pour the milk and oil.

Add to the dry ingredients, mixing just until blended.  Stir in apples and pecans.

Preheat a skillet on medium-high heat, lightly grease with butter and place three rounded 1/4-cup measures of batter onto the skillet.  Allow to brown until bubbles form on top…

…then flip and allow to cook until brown on the other side.

Remove pancakes to a plate and place a slice of brie on each.  Complete with a generous drizzle of syrup.  My daughter likes maple syrup and I favor Lyle’s Golden Syrup.


A Picnic at Cincinnati’s Coney Island

For generations, Cincinnati families have been going to Coney Island on the Ohio River for picnics, rides and swimming.  Until the mid-1940s, there was a beautiful boat which made the trip, bringing people from the public landing in downtown Cincinnati to this lovely spot just outside Coney’s old riverside entrance.

Then, up the hill and through the stone entrance to a day of fun.

Everyone enters  Coney Island these days by car, coming in the main front gate, but it’s still a fun way to spend a few summer hours.  I came along with my youngest daughter and her two children to see Lake Como….

….try out the ferris wheel….

…and bounce up and down on The Frog.

The best feature of this old park is the abundance of big, leafy trees and lots of shade.  We picked a shady spot to eat the picnic lunch I had prepared – chicken sandwiches on foccacia bread, brownies and our favorite Broccoli Salad.  Here’s the recipe for the broccoli salad which is a little lower in fat than the original:


  • 3/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tblsp. red wine vinegar
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 3 strips bacon, fried and crumbled
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped
  • 1/4 cup raisins

Blend mayonnaise, granulated sugar and vinegar and refrigerate until ready to mix with vegetables.

Blanch broccoli by steaming for just a few minutes – just until the broccoli turns bright green.  Place broccoli, bacon, cheese, onion, pecans and raisins in a large bowl and refrigerate until ready to mix.

AT LEAST ONE HOUR BEFORE SERVING, mix mayo dressing with salad and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Yield:  4-6 servings.

A Taste of Autumn – Cranberry Pecan Scones


Now that fresh cranberries are back in the markets, it’s time to make one of my family’s favorite breakfast quick breads.  Cranberry Pecan Scones are crisp, full of good tart cranberries and crunchy pecans.  They are not difficult to make but the preparation takes about 20 minutes plus 30 minutes baking time, so start an hour ahead of serving and have these delicious scones warm from the oven.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine (1/2 stick)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 2/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In large bowl mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda.  Cut in the butter/margarine.   Stir in cranberries and pecans.

In separate small bowl, mix the orange juice and beaten egg.  Stir this mixture into the dry ingredients, mixing until just moistened.

Dough will be quite sticky.  Use hands dampened with water to form dough into 6-1/2″ circle on buttered cookie sheet.  Cut into 6 wedges but do not separate the wedges.  Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes. 

Best when served warm from the oven.  Can be frozen and reheated.