Tag Archives: Sugar


Welcome to the mother of all blog tours.

3) THIS TOUR STARTS: Monday, June 13, at Midnight (Arizona Time)
THIS TOUR ENDS: Monday, June 20, at Midnight (Arizona Time)
Winners will be drawn and posted June 21st! ***

As a participating author, my theme is Summer in the Big House, Old Southern Plantation Recipes~

A gracious welcome to my stately plantation home. Please have a seat in the wicker chairs on the veranda and relax in the shade of the towering live oaks.    Listen to the warbler singing high overhead in the moss-draped boughs and savor the sweetness of jasmine while I serve refreshing mint juleps and peach upside-down cake prepared with old Southern recipes from Charleston Receipts.

This cookbook ‘was first published in 1950 and the oldest Junior League cookbook still in print. It contains 750 recipes, Gullah verses, and sketches by Charleston artists. Inducted into the McIlhenny Hall of Fame, an award given for book sales that exceed 100,000 copies.’

My copy is actually my mother’s book which she purchased in the early 1960’s while our family was on vacation in Charleston South Carolina.  I kind of borrowed it from her and still have it. 🙂


For each cold goblet use:

Several mint leaves, sugar syrup (2-3 teaspoons), Crushed, dry ice, 2 ounces bourbon, 1 sprig mint

Crush leaves and let stand in syrup. Put this into a cold silver julep cup or glass and add ice which has been crushed and rolled in a towel to dry.  Pour in the whiskey.  Stir, not touching the glass, and add a sprig of mint. Serve immediately.~

Peach Upside-Down Cake:

1/3 cup shortening, 2/3 cup sugar, 2/3 cup milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 2 eggs, 2 teaspoons baking powder,  1  and 2/3 cups flour, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon almond flavoring

Cream shortening and sugar.  Add remaining ingredients and beat well.  Pour over peach mixture. Serves six.

Peach Mixture: 1/3 cup butter, 1 cup light brown sugar, 1 1/2 cups sliced peaches

Place butter and sugar in a sheet cake pan and heat slowly, stirring constantly until well browned.  Add peaches.  Cover with cake batter, bake 3/4 hour at 350.  Turn out peach side up.   Serve hot or cold with whipped cream.  Other fruits may be substituted for peaches.  ~

For my blog hop prize, I’m giving away an ebook of my Revolutionary War romance novel, Enemy of the King, and Native American historical romance novel Through the Fire.


1780, South Carolina: While Loyalist Meriwether Steele recovers from illness in the stately home of her beloved guardian, Jeremiah Jordan, she senses the haunting presence of his late wife. When she learns that Jeremiah is a Patriot spy and shoots Captain Vaughan, the British officer sent to arrest him, she is caught up on a wild ride into Carolina back country, pursued both by the impassioned captain and the vindictive ghost. Will she remain loyal to her king and Tory twin brother or risk a traitor’s death fighting for Jeremiah? If Captain Vaughan snatches her away, he won’t give her a choice.~


At the height of the French and Indian War, a young English widow ventures into the colonial frontier in search of a fresh start. She never expects to find it in the arms of the half-Shawnee, half-French warrior who makes her his prisoner in the raging battle to possess a continent––or to be aided by a mysterious white wolf and a holy man.~

Thanks for visiting me. Leave me a question or a comment here at my blog below. Please also leave your email address so I can notify you in case you are a winner!

THE NEXT STOP ON OUR FUN BLOG HOP IS AUTHOR RACHEL VAN DYKEN SO POP ON OVER TO : http://deliciousromancebyrachel.blogspot.com/2011/06/party-til-your-heels-fly-off-author.html

More On My Valley Roots & Old Time Mennonite Molasses Cookies

This delicious recipe is from the Mennonite Community Cookbook by Mary Emma Showalter.  My husband gave me this cookbook eons ago and it’s stained from many uses over the years and is a family favorite.  I noted that Amazon is selling this book new for $599.99 which boggles the mind.  They do, however, have other options that run as low as $6.99.  That’s probably what mine is worth.

Also of interest, my hubby is related to the author on his mama’s side.  When I married him, I married into the Mennonite community and church.  We attend a New Order Mennonite Church, but he’s related to all sorts of ‘Orders’ including Old Order Mennonites who drive horse and buggies (similar to the Amish).  Many of our neighbors are ‘Old Orders’ and it’s common to see buggies pass our farm at most any time of the week, but particularly on Sunday morning when a stream of horses pulling buggies briskly trot past us on their way to church.  The Old Order Churches have hitching rails out front.  Very quaint.

Needless to say, I am rather unusual in this conservative area being a historical romance author, but people are quite tolerant and do not shun me.   Bear in mind that I wasn’t raised in this community but came from the English/Scots-Irish Presbyterians who settled nearby Augusta County several hundred years ago.  We always referred to ourselves as the ‘Scotch Irish’ but have since been told this isn’t the politically correct term.  I remember my grandmother saying she was ‘too Scotch’ for this or that, meaning too cheap, and so on.

My husband is of German/Swiss descent.  His ancestors settled in nearby Rockingham County about the same time mine did in Augusta.  For generations, the German Mennonites and Scots-Irish Presbyterians did not mix. Both groups were clannish and regarded the other as highly suspect.  Even though we’re all Christians, Mennonites thought Presbyterians were practically heathen, and Presbyterians frowned on their pacifistic neighbors.  Relations between these very different people have improved over time.  I doubt many marriages were made between them before ours, but we’ve been happily wed for many years.  However, my husband is what they call a militant Mennonite and not a true pacifist.   I’ve probably been a bad influence, though I suspect it’s his nature.    🙂

One of my favorite cookies is this old time molasses variety.

1 cup shortening, 4 cups flour, 1 tsp. salt, 1 cup dark molasses, 1 cup sugar, 1 egg, 1/4 cup hot water, 1 1/4 tsp. soda

Sift flour and salt together and cut in shortening as for pastry. In another bowl, combine molasses and sugar. Add egg and beat well.  Dissolve soda in hot water and add to molasses mixture.  Combine crumb and molasses mixtures and stir until well blended. Chill dough for several hours in refrigerator.  Turn out on a lightly floured board.  Roll to 1/4 inch thickness.  Place 1 inch apart on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 until a deep rich brown. After baking these cookies will be cracked on top.  Makes 4 dozen cookies.

*Old Order Mennonites and Amish do not like to have their pictures taken so the only photos we have are shot from a distance or angled so that you do not clearly see their faces.   The long line of wash is from an Old Order farm near us.  These pics are by my mom and husband and taken where we live in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

*Please note, I included a recipe for soft ginger cookies from the Mennonite Cookbook in the comments to this post.

Old Southern Recipe for Spicy Raisin Cookies~Lady Baltimore

This recipe is from my old cookbook Charleston Receipts.

Lady Baltimore Cookies:

Cream together: 1 cup shortening, 11/2 cups sugar, 3 eggs

*Those of you who butcher your own pigs might want to substitute lard.  Those of you interested in a more healthful substitute are out of luck. 🙂  If you try a healthful oil let me know how it works out.

Dissolve 1/2 tsp. soda in 2 tsps. water and add to creamed ingredients. Mix and sift together: 3 cups flour, 11/2 tsps. salt, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp. allspice, 1 tsp. cloves, 1 tsp. nutmeg and blend into wet mixture. Add 11/2 cup raisins and 1/2 cup nut meats and mix well.  Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased sheet.  Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.  Makes about 70 cookies and they are quite good.  Perfect accompaniment to a hot cup of Earl Grey.

How to make Peppermint Schnapps and Fruit Cordials

Contributed by my friend Pamela Roller~
For a lovely homemade gift, consider giving a liqueur or cordial. Below is the promised schnapps recipe as well as recipes for various cordials, At the end I’ve listed hints for packaging ideas. Next month I’ll give recipes for liqueurs–in time for Christmas gift-giving if you like to plan ahead.
The basics:
—sugar syrup: boil 1 cup sugar with ½ cup water for 3 minutes. Cool before using. Makes 1 cup of sugar syrup.
For medium-sweet liqueurs, add 1 cup sugar syrup to a 3-cup liqueur base. For crème-type liqueurs, add 2 cups sugar syrup.
—If you use honey, clover is best.
—Brown sugar adds a distinct molasses flavor.
Glycerin is used to increase body. Use 1 teaspoon per quart of finished liqueur.
Glass bottles with lids are available at craft stores. Be sure the bottle has a tight lid or cork as air can spoil the cordial.
Cheesecloth makes for a good filter. Just be sure that no pulp from the fruit is left after straining as this will cloud the cordial.

Peppermint Schnapps (makes 24 ounces)
1 C clear Karo Syrup
1 C sugar
1 pt vodka
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp peppermint extract

Mix all. Ready to serve.

Smooth Orange Cordial (Make this six weeks before giving it)
12 Tbs. orange peel
2 C brandy
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp each allspice and nutmeg
2 whole cloves
2 C each sugar and water 

Place peel, spices, vodka and brandy in a quart-sized jar. Cover and let cure in a cool, dark place for two weeks. Shake the bottle twice a week to mix contents. Strain and discard the orange peel. Make a syrup of the sugar and water (boil, then simmer on low heat till syrupy). Cool. Stir the syrup into the liqueur, pour into a glass bottle and cover. Cure for four weeks.

Blueberry Cordial (Make this six weeks before giving it)
4 C blueberries
3 C vodka or gin
¼ C lemon juice
1½ C water
4 whole cloves
½ tsp coriander seeds
3 C sugar

Wash and drain berries. Crush them in a blender and add lemon juice, water, cloves and coriander. Heat (do not boil) the mixture, then scrape all into a two-quart jar. Add the vodka or gin and stir gently. Cover and store in a dark place for ten days, shaking every other day. Strain twice through cheesecloth, discarding the pulp. Add the sugar to the juice, stir, and pour into a glass bottle. Cap and cure for four weeks in a dark place. When ready, cordial should be a clear blue. Use within one year.

Plum Cordial (Make this about six months before giving it) This concoction was apparently used as an aphrodisiac by ancient physicians.

3 pounds ripe plums
2 C sugar
1 quart vodka divided into two equal parts

Pit plums and slice them. Place in a pan with the sugar and half the vodka. Place the pan on low heat, stirring, until the plums are bruised. Transfer to a quart jar, stir again to bruise plums, add the rest of the vodka and cover. Let cure for two weeks. Strain; discard plums. If taste is not sweet enough, add ¾ cup sugar syrup. Pour juice into a bottle, cap, and store for six months or until mixture is clear. The longer it is stored, the richer the flavor. Use within 1 year after opening. Makes 43 ounces.

Pear Cordial (Make this three months before giving it)
½ C water
1 C sugar
4 firm, ripe pears
4 whole cloves
1 tsp each allspice and nutmeg
4 C vodka
Bring the sugar and water to a boil, then reduce heat and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Slice unpeeled pears and place them into a 2-quart glass jar. Add cloves and spices and stir in the sugar-water and vodka. Cover and store in a dark place for ten weeks, turning the jar upside down once a week to mix. Strain and discard pulp. Pour liquid into a glass bottle, cap, and cure for two more weeks in a cool, dark place. Makes 36 ounces.

Packaging ideas:
· glasses—open-sided for the aromatic liqueurs, brandy snifter for mild and delicate liqueurs
· Packaging depends on the type of liqueur. For chocolate, place chocolate kisses or other candy in liqueur glasses. Carefully arrange with the liqueur in a basket or flat box surrounded by color-coordinated tissue or other filler. Blue and silver packaging works well with blueberry cordial, as does gold with orange cordial. If you add food to the package, macaroons work well. Tiny flowers such as dried baby’s breath complete the ensemble.

©Pamela Roller

Old Time Mennonite Pumpkin Pie Recipe

I found this recipe eons ago in the Mennonite Community Cookbook by Mary Emma Showalter.   This vintage collection is fun to read simply for the colorful descriptions of rural life, back in the day,  and the quaint illustrations.  It’s also a treasure of old-fashioned recipes and useful ‘how tos.’  The by gone age this book hearkens back to is reminiscent of Laura Ingalls Wilder, though some Old Order Mennonites and Amish still live that way.  Maybe back-to-earth homesteaders do as well, although I suspect many of them have computers.  As  for the rest of us, the Mennonite Community Cookbook is entertaining and has many excellent recipes.  However, they weren’t created for the modern time conscious cook.  This is the ‘make it from scratch’ book.

Regarding  pumpkins, my youngest daughter Elise is an avid fan  so every May/June we set out our cherished seedlings and every July/August we fight a mostly losing battle to keep them alive.  But there was a time when every insect in the world didn’t attack our vines and we had enough pumpkins to make our own pie filling.  Wow, what a feeling.  Maybe someday.  Next summer we shall triumph in the garden!  We say that every year.  And we actually believe it.  Hope truly does spring eternal for gardeners.  Either that or we’re incredibly gullible.  I think the wonders of spring lure us to giddy heights.

Onto the recipe.  It assumes you, of course, grew your own pumpkins, but you can substitute canned.  If you do want to grow your own, seed catalogues specify which varieties are best.  These are the medium/small kinds with names like ‘Small sugar,’ not the ones grown for size.  The larger pumpkins produce a watery filling and are grown only for show.   Elise and I are ever in search of good organic methods to thwart vine borers and other pumpkin pests so if you have any tried and true suggestions, please share them.  We found planting radishes in the pumpkin hills and letting these go to seed seemed to help deter insects, as did planting pumpkins in random places where we’ve never grown them before, such as in with the native clematis vine taking over the backyard that we call ‘the beast.’  ‘The Beast cradled our last surviving pumpkin and hid the orange globe from evil doers.

Pumpkin Pie:

1 1/2 cups cooked pumpkin

1 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cups scalded milk

3 eggs, separated

1/2 tsp. salt

1 Tab. cornstarch

1/4 tsp. ginger

1/4 tsp cloves

1 tsp cloves

Pastry for one 9 inch pie crust.


Cook pumpkin and rub through a sieve.

Add beaten egg yolks, sugar, salt, cornstarch, and mix well.

Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites.

Pour mixture into unbaked crust.

Bake at 425 for 10 minutes then reduce heat to 350 and continue baking for 30 minutes.

*I reduced the milk by 1/2 cup.

*I use good sized eggs

*Elise and her prize pumpkin saved by The Beast.

*Three of the best pumpkins for pie making are heirloom varieties: Small Sugar, Connecticut Field and the Cinderella Pumpkin (Rouge Vif D`etampes). This last one is the most beautiful deep orange ribbed pumpkin pictured above.  The smaller ones in the pic are small sugar.

Easy Liqueurs for Gift Giving

Contributed by Pamela Roller

For a lovely homemade gift, consider giving a liqueur or cordial. Below are recipes for various liqueurs. Click here for cordial recipes. At the end I’ve listed hints for packaging ideas.

To sterilize glass bottles, wash in warm soapy water and then dip in water mixed with a little bleach. Rinse thoroughly.
Scotch Liqueur (Make one to two weeks ahead)
2 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 tsp. anise extract
1 pt. Scotch

Heat water and syrup to boiling in medium heavy saucepan. Reduce heat and cook until mixture becomes syrupy. Remove from heat and let cool.
Pour syrup into a sterilized quart-sized bottle. Add anise and Scotch. Swirl gently and place a tight fitting lid on it. Allow mixture to age in a cool, dark place for one to two weeks. Makes 32 ounces.

Galliano Liqueur (Make two weeks ahead)
2 cup sugar 1 cup water
¼ cup anise extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 drops yellow food coloring
1 fifth vodka

Heat water and syrup to boiling in medium heavy saucepan. Reduce heat and cook until mixture becomes syrupy. Remove from heat and let cool.
Pour syrup into a sterilized quart-sized bottle. Add anise extract, vanilla and food coloring. Swirl gently and then add the vodka. Allow mixture to age for two weeks. Makes 32 ounces.

Crème de Menthe (Make ten days ahead)
4 tbs. fresh mint leaves
1 fifth vodka
4 cup sugar
2 cup water
10 drops peppermint oil
2-3 drops green food coloring (optional)

Crush mint leaves in a mortar and pestle. Place in a glass jar and pour vodka over them. Cover and let sit for ten days. Strain, discard mint. Heat the water and sugar mixture on low heat in medium heavy saucepan until the sugar is dissolved. Let the mixture cool. Add syrup to the mint-flavored vodka; add peppermint oil and food coloring; stir. If liqueur is not clear, filter a second time. Keeps for one year. Makes 48 ounces.

Chocolate Liqueur (From Busy Cooks at About.com)
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 tsp. chocolate extract
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup vodka
Combine sugar and water in medium heavy saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Lower heat and simmer five minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Stir in chocolate extract, vanilla and vodka. Pour into a sterilized glass bottle with tight fitting lid and store in a cool, dry place. This can be used as a substitute for Crème De Cacao. Makes 1 pint.

Packaging ideas: Include liqueur glasses in the gift package.· Packaging depends on the color and type of liqueur. Carefully arrange glasses with the bottle in a basket or flat box surrounded by fresh fruit and color-coordinated tissue or other filler. Tie with ribbon. Green and gold packaging works well with Crème de Menthe, as does either silver or gold with the chocolate liqueur. Tiny flowers such as dried baby’s breath complete the ensemble.

©Pamela Roller http://www.pamelaroller.com/