Monday 27 February 2012

Schwartzies Hash Browns

Ah, the caker potluck. Is there anything more rewarding than getting invited to someone’s house for dinner and having to provide the food? Consider yourself lucky if your caker host even washes your dish at the end of the night. (Most of us just give a half-hearted rinse before sending you on your way.)

I have no clue who or what a “Schwartzie” is, but these hash browns have been a fixture at caker potlucks since the invention of the can opener. (True story – when I told my mom I was making them, she asked, “Are you going to someone’s house for dinner?”)

Be warned: this is comfort food at its finest. You may want to keep it for yourself.

2 pounds frozen hash browns (see note 1)
¼ cup sour cream
2 cups cream of mushroom soup (see note 2)
Salt and pepper
½ cup melted butter or margarine
1 diced onion
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 350°. Thaw potatoes slightly for easier mixing. Mix all ingredients, except Parmesan cheese, in a 9"x13” dish. Sprinkle Parmesan on top. Bake for 1-1 ½ hours.

Note 1: The bag I bought at the grocery store was just over two pounds.

Note 2: I just threw both cans in.

Source: St. Mary’s C.W.L. Grafton Cookbook

Saturday 25 February 2012


If you were reading Caker Cooking in the summer, you might remember an unfortunate period where I dabbled in "Vintage Caker Cooking." In other words, crap made with gelatin. It was a dark period in my life and, after some intensive therapy, I can honestly say those nightmares where I'm being chased by a salmon with a raisin eye have stopped.

Some of my fellow bloggers recently took on a gelatin challenge of their own: to make the grossest stuff possible with gelatin.

If you're feeling adventurous, check out what Mimi, Ruth, Emily and Lexi concocted. But be warned. This is NOT for the faint of heart.

Monday 20 February 2012

Hello Dollies

When you think of epic romances, a number of couples come to mind: Romeo and Juliet, Liz and Dick, Kim Kardashian and Kim Kardashian. But no duo comes close to the red hot flame shared between cakers and Hello Dollies squares.

Give us some graham cracker crumbs, a bag of chocolate chips, a handful of shredded coconut and a 9”x13” pan, and you’ll see passion that makes Paula Deen’s love for taters seem like small potatoes.

A commenter recently asked if I had a good Hello Dollies recipe. I have several, including the one featured below. Grab your walnuts and melted margarine, dim the lights and put on the Kenny G. It’s time to make some caker lovin'.

1 cup graham crumbs
1/4 cup melted margarine
Mix and put in a 9”x13” pan (see note)

1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup coconut
1 cup walnuts or peanuts
1 cup cherries (optional)

Pour 1 can Eagle Brand milk over all. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes until lightly browned.

Note: I like ‘em thick, so I made mine in a 8”x8” pan and baked for about 5 minutes longer. I also put the pan under the broiler for a few minutes to get the top nice and golden. Oh, yeah.

Source: From the Lakeshore Ladies Kitchens

Monday 13 February 2012

Paper Bag Apple Pie

Some aunts bake brownies. But other aunts, like my Aunt Marion, bake brownies and add a caramel ribbon in the centre. In other words, she was a woman after my own heart.

Aunt Marion was a baker extraordinaire. She was the one who first introduced me to Rice Krispies Golf Balls and a host of other desserts, squares and sweets.

I remember visiting once and she made Paper Bag Apple Pie. Naturally, I was mystified. How was it that the bag didn’t burn? And what was the point of the bag? (Truthfully, I'm not sure there is a point. Cakers just like doing weird things with their food.)

Aunt Marion passed away recently. To salute her and all the other caramel ribbon aunts, I’m posting this recipe. Here’s hoping there’s a big bake table waiting for them – and us – on the other side.

3 or 4 large baking apples
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon nutmeg (see note)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup sugar
½ cup flour
½ cup butter

Heat over to 425°. Prepare apples by paring, coring and slicing. Combine ½ cup sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and nutmeg and sprinkle over apples. Toss to coat well and spoon into a pastry shell. Drizzle with lemon juice. Combine ½ cup sugar and ½ cup flour for topping in small bowl and cut in the butter. Sprinkle this topping over the apples to cover the top. Slide the pie into a heavy paper bag, large enough to cover pie loosely. Fold the open end over twice and fasten with paper clips. Place on a large cookie sheet for easy handling. Bake for 1 hour. Split bag open and remove the pie. Cool on wire rack.

Note: I found the pie a little nutmeggy for my taste. If you prefer cinnamon, use that instead.

Source: Favorites of My Family, Charlotte H. Hansen

Monday 6 February 2012

Cranberry Chicken

Sometimes, when I scan the ingredients for a caker recipe, it feels like I'm looking at the people of the world.

“There’s no way," I think to myself, "Simply no way all these differing tastes and colours and textures will ever come together into a harmonious blend of flavour.”

But then I go on a wing and a prayer and the next thing I know, I'm eating something that tastes (sorta) delicious. And it makes me wonder if, some day, we'll all come together and reside in the world's biggest casserole dish.

Until that time comes, there’s this. And Cranberry Chicken.

1 whole chicken or 4 breasts
1 can whole cranberry sauce
½ cup French salad dressing
½ cup water
1 Knorr vegetable soup mix (see note)

Heat oven to 350°. Mix cranberry sauce, dressing and water. Line chicken in casserole dish. Pour sauce over chicken. Sprinkle with soup mix. Bake covered for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for additional 10 minutes.

Note: I couldn’t find Knorr soup mix. Only Knox. And I couldn’t find vegetable, so I used another cake staple: onion. It worked out OK. I think.

Source: The Best of Enbridge