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Share: Recipes of Love (cake, pie & cookies)

In honor of Valentine's Day (which my husband and I don't celebrate ... but that's a blog post for another V-Day), I decided to share a different kind of love in the form of my favorite recipes. Those who know me won't be surprised to see that these are all desserts and baked goods: lovin' from the oven!

Great Grandma Zapf's Angel Food Cake
The way my grandma told the story for a community cookbook, her mother baked Angel Food and "sold cakes for 75 cents to friends and neighbors." Before suffering a massive stroke a few years ago, Grandma taught me the recipe off the top of her head. I took notes as she went through each step: "Continue mixing until stiff, (tip bowl). ADD SUGAR." For almost ten years now, I have successfully baked angel food cakes for my daughters' birthdays, and I hope to teach the next generation the art of Angel Food.

Grandma K's Chocolate Chip Cookies
When I was growing up, this cookie jar Cookie jarsat on my grandma's kitchen counter. There were always chocolate chip cookies inside. Always. By the time I was ten or twelve, I had mastered the art of removing the cookie jar's lid without making the slightest sound. To this day, I compare every chocolate chip cookie to Grandma's and not many meet my expectations.

Mom's Pie Pastry
According to my notes, Mom got this recipe from one of the Grand Diplome Cooking Course books. It's the only pie pastry recipe I have used in more than a dozen years of baking pies. My grandma's specialty was always apple pie; I use Betty Crocker's recipe for apple pie filling. Every Christmas, I bake cherry pie using this recipe for cherry pie filling. (It's called "Best Cherry Pie," and it really is The Best!)

Grandma K's Wheat Bread
To be honest, this is a recipe I have yet to bake for myself. For years, I have told myself, "This is the year I will bake Grandma's bread." I haven't ... yet. But let me tell you about this bread: It's dense and sweet and delicious when it's been lightly toasted and slathered with butter and a thick layer of homemade raspberry jam. (Note to self: Get Grandma's raspberry jam recipe!) Pure, sweet, heavy heaven.   

Joel's Aunt Olga's Sugar Cookies
Another recipe I haven't yet baked myself, these sugar cookies are my favorite. They're thick and buttery and scrumptious. (I'm sure they are packed with fat.) For Joel's side of the family, Aunt Olga is the queen of baked goods. Olga is in charge of the complete spread of cookies and sweets that satisfy my sweet tooth each Christmas.

Food has a way of preserving memories and transporting us back in time. With the feel of the smooth pastry dough, the sound of the ceramic cookie jar lid, the melt-in-my-mouth taste of a cookie or the smell of that heavenly bread, it's 1980 and I'm in Grandma's kitchen, watching her work, learning from her as she learned from her mother and back and back.

In passing on these recipes, I honor the work and the art my loved ones have, for generations, poured into their baked-from-scratch bites of love. Happy Valentines Day, everyone.


What foods bring you back in time? Share your recipes here or via twitter.