Fiction Writing and Other Oddities

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Desperate for a Holiday Gift Suggestion?

Holiday Gift Suggestion
It's that time of year when desperation increases to a fever pitch as you struggle to complete your collection of gifts. I recently spent several hours--which turned into several days--searching the web for ideas.

So I humbly offer up this as a possible alternative: a cookbook. Or perhaps a cookbook along with some cooking utensils such as a muffin tin or cookie sheet. And there are always new items in the kitchen section. I know I recently became fascinated by all the silicone items for baking.

And since the holidays are a time of year devoted to friends, family, and nostalgia, what could be better than an old fashioned cookbook? The Rowley Cookbook is a collection of recipes dating from 1916 through 1960 and includes many old favorites that most adults will remember fondly.

I transcribed the recipes for the book from my grandmother's old ledger that she used as a cookbook after she got married. Much of it was, unfortunately, written in washable ink that had faded or disappeared altogether. However, thanks to new technology I was able to scan, enlarge, and see the actual indentations in the page left by the pen strokes and thereby recreate even those recipes that appeared to be gone forever.

Just reading through the table of contents brings back warm memories of all the delicious treats grandma made for us. During the holidays, she baked boxes and boxes of cookies and candies, and throughout the season, the house was filled with the aroma of vanilla, cinnamon and chocolate.

Some recipes are intended for the holidays, such as the Jule Kaga recipe collected by my grandmother from her Swedish and Norwegian friends in Wisconsin.  The list of holiday recipes in the book includes: Jule Kaga; Holiday Fruit Cake; Christmas Dixies; three varied recipes for Christmas Cookies; Sand Bakkels (2 versions); Spritz Bakkels; Kolacky and Rosettes.

Below is a recipe for sugar-coated muffins that was always a favorite of mine. It is particularly wonderful to wake up on Christmas morning to find the kitchen filled with the scent of cinnamon and these warm muffins on the counter. It was almost better than the gifts under the tree.

So if your desperation is reaching monumental proportions, how about a muffin tin and a cookbook?
Or better yet, a muffin tin, a paper bag full of sugar-coated muffins, and the cookbook that contains the recipe?

And just to wet your appetite, here is the recipe for Sugar-coated Muffins:


2 c. flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
2-½ tsp. baking powder

(Sift the 3 preceding ingredients together)

3/4 tsp. salt
1 egg
3/4 c. milk
1/3 c. shortening

Mix together and bake at 350° for approximately20 minutes.

1 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ c. butter

Mix sugar and cinnamon in a sack or plastic bag. Melt butter and drop muffins in melted butter and then shake in the sack of sugar & cinnamon.

Happy holidays and best wishes!
I'm going to do some baking now.  I've made myself hungry...


EilisFlynn said...

Thank goodness for modern technology!

Anonymous said...

I've been looking all over for this!


Amy said...

I'm so sorry! I should have said that it is available through