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Sunday, February 27, 2011



With the cold weather we've been having lately, everyone's reaching for hot drinks.  What goes better with coffee or tea than Biscotti? 

Growing up, I remember visiting Grandma & Grandpa Carbone a lot.  Being a typical Italian Grandma, you couldn't visit without eating something and you usually headed out the door after your visit with a bag of biscotti and sometimes a miniature loaf of homemade bread too!  Grandma has many recipes for biscotti in her recipe boxes (and also multiple recipes for Scalili & Ginetti, amongst others), this particular one is clearly well-used and is noted "my revised version". 


8 C Flour - or more            3 tsp Baking Powder
7 Eggs                                 3 TBS Anise Seed
1 3/4 C Sugar                     Anise Oil - a few drops
1/2 C Melted Butter
1/2 C Oil

Beat eggs real well - add sugar, gradually add oil & butter, then dry ingredients.  Knead until dough is nice & smooth.  From into loaves & put in the refrigerator for a couple of hrs. (you don't have to do this but I find they come out better.)  Bake in 375 degree oven until brown - around 15 min.  Take out, slice diagonally & put back on cookie sheets to toast.

Chris' Notes:  One of the variations I noticed amongst the Biscotti recipes was the use of melted butter vs. softened butter.  I've always used softened, but I'm definitely going to try them with melted butter since it's often very difficult to get butter to soften in my house in the winter.  You don't need to worry about spacing the biscotti apart on the cookie sheet for the toasting step - they won't spread so pile them on.  You'll love the smell of these as they bake!  By the way, they are great with a glass of wine too. ;)

Felice cucinare!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies (Regina)

Grandpa (Albert) Carbone's favorite cookies were Peanut Butter.  I remember my cousin, Amy, making giant peanut butter cookies (a whole cookie sheet worth) for special occasions and he always seemed tickled (who wouldn't?).  Grandma received this recipe from her friend, Regina.  There are lots of Regina's recipes amongst Grandma's collection and most of them include the notation "V.G." or "Very Good" - this one included.

Peanut Butter Cookies happen to be one of my favorites too - especially if they're chewy and they're one of the few cookies of this type (drop) that I enjoy without adding nuts (although I do often use chunky PB).

If there is a PB Cookie recipe unique to our family, I'd love someone to share it - or maybe Amy would share the one she always made for Grandpa?

Old Fashioned P. Butter Cookies     (Regina)
2 1/2 C Flour                    1 C Sugar
1 tsp. Baking Powder       1 C Brown Sugar
1 tsp. Baking Soda            2 Eggs
1/4 C Margerine                2 tsp. Vanilla
1 C Peanut Butter

Mix at medium speed margerine & P. Butter until smooth.  Add sugars, eggs & vanilla.  Add dry ingredients.  Chill dough.  Shape in 1" balls.  Bake at 350 degrees in ungreased pan.  (Very Good):

I hope you enjoy these.  Until next time - happy baking!

Update January 4, 2012:  I can't believe it's been almost a full year since I posted this recipe - one of the first on this blog!  Last week, I finally baked a batch of these cookies.  I have started selling my baked goods at the resort where I work and wanted a traditional peanut butter cookie to include in the offerings. 

I thought the amount of fat was pretty skimpy - usually you have equal parts fat and peanut butter and sure enough, I had a really tough time getting the dough to hold together - it was pretty dry. I ended up making a whole new batch from my old tried and true recipe and putting the cookies from this recipe in our own cookie jar to eat at home.  BUT, and this is an big BUT, they were so amazingly delicious!  Arynn & I both really love peanut butter cookies and these did not dissappoint, in fact, they were simply addictive!  They were nice and crisp on the outside but chewy and dense on the inside and the peanut butter flavor really came through.  I will definitely make these again and I'll switch to this recipe for my cookies to sell from here on out.  It's far more important to have a delicious cookie that delivers the flavor and texture you expect than it is to have an attractive cookie.  Chalk this one up to a lesson learned!  Hope you make these soon and enjoy them as much as we did - I may have to make another batch tomorrow...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Italian Cabbage Casserole

There are no notes of source on the recipe card for this one, but I'm certain it's not one of Grandma's own since there are notes as to how she preferred to make it.  As usual, I'll enter it just as written on the recipe card.  I seem to remember my mom being a fan of this dish.  Grandma says "Delicious!!"

Italian Cabbage Casserole

1 med Cabbage                     
1 lb Ground Beef (or less)
1/4 C rice ("I use 1/2")         
1 C chopped Onion
1 pk. spaghetti sauce mix} ("I use my own")
1 - 8 oz. spaghetti sauce}
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano

Cut cabbage into 2" wedges.  Place in oiled casserole.  Sprinkle ground beef & rice over cabbage - cover with onion.  Mix salt, oregano & tomato sauce together.  Pour over cabbage.  Cover & bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours or until done.  Serves 4-6.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

One More Chocolatey Thought...

I don't think I remember Grandma Carbone ever making chocolate covered biscotti, but they would certainly be a lovely treat for Valentine's day.  Simply make your favorite biscotti (an orange & hazelnut biscotti would be especially good with chocolate), then melt chocolate chips over a double boiler (or in the microwave) with a bit of shortening.  Dip biscotti tops only, then set on a rack, bottom side down to dry.  Biscotti package up nicely for sharing too (much easier to spread around as gifts to multiple "sweethearts", don't you think?)!

Felice cucinare!

Chocolate Fudge Cake

So, my final, chocolatey entry for Valentine's Day is Chocolate Fudge Cake.  Grandma's notes say it's an "Old Time recipe" and that it's "V. Good".  Our oven is in need of repair, so sadly, I won't be testing it this week, but you can be sure I'll try it out in the near future.

Chocolate Fudge Cake
2 1/2 C Flour                            2/3 C Shortening
1 tsp. Soda                                1 C Sugar
1/2 tsp. Salt                               3 Eggs
4 oz. Choc. or 1/2 C Cocoa      1 tsp. Vanilla
1 1/2 C Milk
3/4 C Brown Sugar

Sift flour, soda & salt.  Heat chocolate & milk & add Brown Sugar and heat until smooth - add 1 tsp. Vanilla.  Cream shortening and sugar & add eggs, then add dry ingredients alternately. 
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Note:  use either squares of baking chocolate or unsweetened cocoa powder.  There is no mention of cake pan size, nor did I find a frosting recipe.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Whacky Cake

This is a recipe I remember Grandma making often.  In fact, I'm told she made these almost daily to satisfy the sweet-tooth of the 5 boys & Grandpa!  This cake has always reminded me of brownies.  It goes together very quickly and I don't know why I don't make it more often.  Grandma had several copies of this recipe and it's notated "V.G." - very good. 

Whacky Cake

1 1/2 C Flour                    
1 tsp. Baking Soda           
1/2 tsp. Salt                       
3 tbls. Cocoa                    
1 C Sugar

Sift all ingredients in an ungreased pan.  Add 1tbls. vinegar, 1 tsp. vanilla, & 6 tbls. oil.  Add 1 cup cold water, stir well.  Bake 30-35 min. at 325 degrees.

For those who like icing on their cake (I prefer this cake without - just the way I like my brownies), you're in luck, one of the recipe cards I found included the following icing recipe on the back.


1/2 C White Sugar
1 3/4 tbls. Corn Starch

Mix together & add 1/2 C warm water & 1 square or 1 tbls. chocolate or cocoa.  Cook until thick - add 1 tsp. vanilla & a little butter or margerine.

In both recipes, Grandma is referring to unsweetened cocoa powder - like Hershey's & unsweetened baking chocolate - like Baker's.

I hope you enjoy this recipe.  Buon notte!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Rich Cocoa Fudge

I know most of you probably only make fudge for Christmas, but why not make it for your sweetie for Valentine's Day?  After all - what's Valentine's Day with out chocolate?  Grandma notes that this is her favorite fudge recipe she says "This is an old recipe.  It makes a good & creamy fudge."

Rich Cocoa Fudge

3 C Sugar                                1/4 C Butter or Margerine
2/3 C Hershey's Cocoa            1 tsp. Vanilla
1/8 tsp. Salt                              1 1/2 C Milk (Grandma says she uses canned)

Butter an 8 or 9 inch square pan.  In heavy 4 qt. pan combine sugar, cocoa, salt & milk.  Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil.  Then boil without stirring until when dripped in cold water, it forms a small ball.  Add butter & vanilla, do not stir.  Let stand until lukewarm.  Then with wooden spoon beat until it thickens & fudge loses it's gloss.

The recipe card for this fudge, it getting very faded & difficult to read as many of them are - a good reason to start getting them copied to another format.

I hope you enjoy this recipe!