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postheadericon Tomato Soup Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

This retro recipe has been around for decades. Campbell’s published it in a cookbook for the first time in 1940, but it was in existence well before then. The recipe found its way into my Mom’s hand-written recipe file and, as a child, I was convinced my mother was a magician and genius.  After all, who but MY Mom could put a can of tomato soup into a cake and make it taste so good??  (Turns out, LOTS of grandmas and moms did, but I prefer to keep  my Mom on the pedestal I built for her…)

A nice, thick layer of frosting on this is a requirement in my mind. It can be made as a layer cake, but I always use a 13″ x 9″ pan so that the cream cheese frosting (or “icing” in my coal region/Dutchie home) is not spread out between the multiple surfaces of layers.  Raisins are option, but use ’em if you like ’em, they add another touch of yum to this spice cake.  I sometimes sprinkle finely chopped toasted walnuts or pecans over the surface of the frosting. (I like the flavor, the look of the garnish, and they help keep that fussy plastic wrap from sticking to the frosting for storage.)

Tomato Soup Cake & Cream Cheese Frosting

Tomato Soup Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 (10 3/4 oz) can condensed tomato soup
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (use unsalted butter - the salt in the soup and the sodium in the baking soda and baking powder is sufficient)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts or pecans (OPTIONAL)
  • Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 to 3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional but recommended)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon and cloves. Add the soup, butter, eggs, and water and, using an electric mixer, beat until smooth. Fold in the raisins, if using.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake the cake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 30-35 minutes. Let the cake cool completely.
  5. To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese until smooth and light. Add the butter and beat into the cream cheese. Add 2 cups of the confectioners’ sugar and beat until combined. Continue to add confectioners’ sugar until you have your desired consistency. Beat in the cinnamon.
  6. Spread the frosting on top of the cooled cake.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/09/25/tomato-soup-spice-cake-with-cream-cheese-frosting/

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postheadericon Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake with Penuche Frosting

This recipe bakes in a 9″ square pan making it a great choice for a smaller family or one or two people. You can use any frosting you wish; chocolate, vanilla buttercream, or peanut butter are good choices, but my favorite pairing with this cake is Penuche frosting. Penuche is a sort of fudge with a caramel flavor made with brown sugar, butter and milk – this frosting is all that in spreadable form. There no eggs or oil listed for this recipe because the mayonnaise provides them. NOTE: Use only full fat mayonnaise in this recipe,  not low fat or fat free to obtain the correct results.

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake with Penuche Frosting

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Vinegar
  • 1 cup Mayonnaise (Use only full fat mayonnaise, not low fat or fat free)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 cup Cold Water
  • 4 tbsp Cocoa powder
  • PENUCHE FROSTING:
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half cream
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar (or as need to make desired consistency)

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the water, mayonnaise, vinegar and vanilla until well blended. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa and baking soda; gradually beat into mayonnaise mixture until blended.
  2. Pour into greased 9-in. square or 11x7-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely.
  3. FROSTING:
  4. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and continue to simmer for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  5. Stir in half-and-half cream and salt and return to a boil, continuing to stir. Remove the caramel from the heat and allow to cool to lukewarm, then add vanilla.
  6. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar with an electric mixer until smooth, being careful not to over-beat. If the frosting becomes too thick, hot water can be added to thin it out.
  7. Spread over a cooled cake. Allow the frosting to set before serving, about 15 minutes.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/09/25/chocolate-mayonnaise-cake-with-penuche-frosting/

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postheadericon Shoo Fly Cake

Shoo Fly Cake gives you the delicious flavors of the Pa Dutch favorite Shoo Fly pie, but in cake form. It is also more portable than the pie version and pieces wrap up nicely for picnics and lunches. The recipe calls for “molasses” and I always use “table syrup” (Turkey brand, Golden Barrel, or King’s Syrup). It is milder in flavor than unsulphured baking molasses (Brer Rabbit, Grandma’s) which I find far too strong and harsh to use alone in this recipe or any shoo fly pie. You may like the bold flavor of unsulphured molasses and choose to use that. If you want milder flavor and cannot get table syrup, mix 1/4 cup unsulphured molasses with 3/4 cup light or dark corn syrup. Use what suits YOUR taste!

Shoo Fly Cake

Shoo Fly Cake

Ingredients

  • Crumbs
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, preferably unsalted, room temperature
  • Cake
  • Crumbs from above
  • 1 cup molasses (table syrup or unsulphured, your choice)
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
  • Dash of salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a 13" x 9" inch pan.
  2. For the crumbs, combine the flour, sugar and butter. Mix with hands to form crumbs. Measure out 1-1/4 cups for topping. Set aside.
  3. For the cake, add the molasses and 1 cup of hot water to the remaining crumbs. Beat well. Add the remaining 1 cup of water and beat again. Dissolve the baking soda in the 1 tablespoon of warm water. Add to batter with a dash of salt. Mix well.
  4. Pour into prepared cake pan. Sprinkle the top with reserved crumbs. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a rack before cutting and serving.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/09/24/shoo-fly-cake/

King Table Syrup

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postheadericon Pa. Dutch Ham Loaf with Pineapple Glaze

In the Coal Region and in Pa Dutch country, it is not unusual to have left over ham from a family holiday dinner or event. It is also easy to find meaty ham ends in grocery stores and butcher shops meaning there is a supply of good quality ham at our fingertips. Ham loaf is a PA thing – and is prolific in some areas across the state where you can find already mixed ground ham and pork for you to use. Many stores and shops even sell ready mixed  ham loaf — just take home and bake!

This ham meatloaf is one of my favorite ways to use leftover ham.  Ham loaf does require ground ham, but meat grinders are not a staple in every kitchen. I have a grinder attachment for my Kitchen Aid stand mixer and love it. For those without that indulgence in their arsenal, a food processor will do, but a food processor will be chopping the meat instead of grinding it, so the loaf may have a coarser texture than one made with ground ham. Some butcher shops stock ground ham, and others will grind some for you on request.   Leftover ham loaf makes a yummy sandwich (Ham loaf on rye with yellow mustard comes to mind…) giving left over regular meatloaf a run for its  money. The glaze for the ham loaf is the crowning glory. Some are basic brown sugar based, but my favorite is one that includes pineapple which you will find in this recipe. Unbaked ham loaf freezes well.  Glaze when it is time to bake. I like more ham than pork in my loaf, but equal parts works just as well. COOK’S NOTE: For this recipe you want a fully cooked ham, NOT cured “country ham”.

Pa Dutch Ham Loaf with Pineapple Glaze

Pa. Dutch Ham Loaf

Ingredients

  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup finely crushed saltines
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground fully cooked ham
  • 1 pound ground fresh pork
  • SAUCE:
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple in its own juice, undrained

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, beat the eggs; add milk, crackers and pepper. Add the ham and pork; mix well.
  2. Shape into a 9x4-in. loaf and place in a shallow baking dish.
  3. In a small bowl, combine sauce ingredients; pour over loaf.
  4. Bake at 350° until instant read thermometer registers 170°, about 80 to 90 minutes, basting with the sauce frequently. Do not overcook.
  5. Let rest for 10 - 15 minutes, slice and serve.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/09/24/pa-dutch-ham-loaf-with-pineapple-glaze/

This kind of Ham

Use Fully Cooked Ham

NOT this kind

Do not use Country Ham

 

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postheadericon Coal Region Boilo

Boilo is an alcoholic beverage consisting of a blend of fruits, sweeteners, spices, and whiskey. It is traditionally served during the winter holiday season  and it is most definitely a Schuylkill County Coal Region thing. EVERY boilo maker has THEIR recipe and EVERY boilo maker is positive THEIRS IS THE BEST. The recipe basics are pretty much the same, but just about every person’s prized version differs slightly in amounts of ingredients and perhaps a “secret” ingredient here or there.

For someone wanting to try their hand at making boilo, or for someone who has never had it – or never heard of it, this recipe is a STARTING POINT. Feel free to alter to your own personal taste.

The invention of Lithuanian immigrants, boilo shares ingredients with krupnikas, a traditional spiced honey liquor that has been consumed in Lithuania and Poland (where it is called krupnik) for centuries. The beverage also appears to be related to viryta, a drink popular with the Lithuanian-American community of Baltimore. “Viryta” is derived from the Lithuanian word for “boil” or “cook.”  In years gone by, boilo was made with moonshine, but today’s boilo makers often use Four Queens, an inexpensive blended whiskey distilled in New Jersey. In fact, Schuylkill County buys so much Four Queens (Pa. Liquor Control Board statistics) that the distiller says they (us Skooks) alone are responsible for the product’s continued existence. A 1954 feature in Allentown’s (Pa.) The Morning Call states, “Only one drink is recommended, but a second is permissible. A third is usually denied because of boilo’s potency.”

Coal Region Boilo

Coal Region Boilo

Ingredients

  • Boilo - Traditional Yuletide drink of the Coal Region
  • 1 bottle whiskey (any relatively cheap, blended whiskey will do - Four Queens is very popular)
  • 4 plus oranges (you can adjust to your tastes.)
  • Same amount of lemons as your choice of oranges
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups of honey
  • 2 cinnamon sticks

Instructions

  1. Peel the oranges and lemons and cut into quarters. Squeeze the fruit into a pot, then toss in the remaining fruit pulp. Add some water (or ginger ale). Add the remaining ingredients EXCEPT the whiskey.
  2. Cook everything at a slow simmer, stirring constantly, about 15-20 minutes. If necessary, add orange juice and a bit more water. The color should be a yellow-orange. Don't overcook -- you don't want to actually boil the boilo! Then slowly stir in the whiskey being careful not to splash out onto the heat source. Add whiskey to taste - up to the entire bottle. Simmer a few more minutes once the whiskey is added.
  3. Strain and serve hot in shot glasses (a regular glass may crack). Sip and enjoy the champagne of the Coal Region! Individual servings can re-warmed in a microwave.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/09/23/coal-region-boilo/

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postheadericon Pa. Dutch Potato Filling

This recipe for potato filling has been a staple in my repertoire for as long as I can remember. Although some people in some regions would call this “stuffing”, this is always “filling” to me whether it is a potato based one like this or a bread based one.

I make this several times throughout the year to accompany many meals. I also make it in large batches, portion it into foil pans, tightly wrap it, and freeze for future use. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and simply place foil pan right in the oven to bake when desired.

You can use it to stuff a bird, but I always bake it in a separate well-buttered dish on its own. This potato filling makes a delicious substitute for other potato dishes. This recipe is forgiving and you can alter amounts of ingredients to your taste, but this is the basic “start”. You can brown the top and bottom, or cook it just until heated through. Personally, I love some bottom browned “crust”!

Pa. Dutch Potato Filling

Yield: About 1-1/2 quarts

Ingredients

  • 5 - 6 medium potatoes
  • 1/4 cup milk (or more as needed to adjust the final consistency to your liking)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
  • 1 cup onion, chopped into small dice
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped into small dice (I also use a generous amount of leaves, too)
  • 4 - 5 cups cubed home-style white bread (I often buy day old store bakery bread for this)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 tablespoons butter, cut into bits

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Generously butter a 1-1/2 quart baking dish. Set aside.
  2. Cook potatoes in water until soft enough to mash. Drain, mash and beat in milk, salt and pepper. Transfer to large bowl.
  3. Melt the 8 tablespoons of butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and celery; cook until soft, about 10 minutes or so. I like my onions and celery cooked well and very slightly browned to bring out the flavors . Add to potatoes, using slotted spoon.
  4. Sauté bread cubes in same skillet until brown and crispy, adding more butter if needed. Transfer bread to potatoes.
  5. Add the eggs, parsley, salt and pepper to potato mixture. Mix thoroughly; transfer to baking dish. Dot the casserole with butter bits. Bake in oven until hot, about 35 - 40 minutes. Cover with foil if top browns too much. I like my filling to get a browned crust along the bottom of the pan, so I bake it a little longer, - up to an hour - just making sure it does not dry out.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/09/23/pa-dutch-potato-filling/

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postheadericon Custard Pie

My Mom was a great pie maker.  She had a large repertoire of recipes, but one of my favorites was, and still is, a custard pie. Top of the list was peach custard made from sweet, local PA peaches, but the sweet cherry or blueberry was right up there, too.  You can easily turn this into a coconut custard pie by adding an inch of sweetened shredded coconut in the bottom and skip the fruit.  This very versatile basic custard is highly adaptable to your tastes. You can use your favorite pie crust or make things really simple and use a refrigerated or frozen crust.

COOK’S HINT: When ready to fill, place your pie pan with your crust and fruit onto a baking sheet. Place the sheet on the oven rack, pour in the custard, then bake. It is so much easier than trying to pick up just the pie pan filled with very runny filling and place it onto the oven rack.

Custard Pie

Custard Pie

Ingredients

  • 2 cups pitted, fresh or frozen fruit of your choice (diced peaches, bing or sour cherries, blueberries, mixed berries OR 1 inch layer sweetened shredded coconut))
  • 1 unbaked pie shell
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 T. all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Instructions

  1. Drain if using frozen or canned fruit. Place in the bottom of the unbaked pie shell.
  2. Beat the eggs thoroughly in a mixing bowl, beat in the milk.
  3. Mix the flour and sugar together in a separate small bowl.
  4. Add the flour/sugar mixture to the milk/egg mixture and beat well. Stir in the vanilla.
  5. Pour the mixture into the unbaked pie shell over the coconut or fruit of your choice.
  6. Bake in a preheated oven at 400º for 35 to 40 minutes or until the custard is set in center. (A knife inserted in the center comes out clean.)
  7. May be eaten slightly warm or chilled.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/09/22/custard-pie/

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postheadericon Homemade Irish Cream

Note: This beverage contains alcohol. Please drink responsibly.

Creamy, luscious, and a treat for any occasion, this homemade Irish Cream makes lovely gifts for the holidays or to treat yourself! Super easy, so plan to whipping up some batches to give family and friends for the holiday season.

Homemade Irish Cream

Homemade Irish Cream

Yield: 1 quart

Ingredients

  • Ingredients
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
  • 1-1/4 tablespoon Hershey's chocolate syrup
  • 1 cup cream or half and half
  • 1 cup whiskey of your choice
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • For Mint Flavor if desired: 1 to 3 tablespoons white Creme de Menthe

Instructions

  1. Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend on high for at least one minute. Chill. Keeps in the refrigerator 4 - 5 months.
  2. Cook's Note: If you have concerns using the raw eggs in this recipe, you can , substitute with pasteurized eggs or egg product.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/09/22/homemade-irish-cream/

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postheadericon Stuffed Pepper Soup

Everything you love about stuffed peppers, but in the form of an easy and satisfying soup. Quick to whip up, this soup also freezes nicely. As the cooler weather settles in on the Coal Region, I like to have soups available for speedy meals as often as possible. This one is a favorite of mine and on frequent rotation on my schedule because it comes together quickly, is budget friendly, and does not require hours of simmering.

Stuffed Pepper Soup

Stuffed Pepper Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 can (28 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 cups chopped green peppers
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons beef bouillon granules
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups cooked long grain rice
  • Chopped fresh parsley, optional

Instructions

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, cook and stir beef until no longer pink; drain off excess fat.
  2. Stir in next eight ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, until peppers are tender, about 30 minutes.
  3. Add cooked rice; simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes longer. If desired, sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/09/20/stuffed-pepper-soup/

 

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postheadericon Colcannon

The Coal Region is home to many with deep Irish roots. The discovery of Anthracite and the plentiful work for miners led many Irish laborers, escaping oppression and the infamous potato famine, to the Coal Region. Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish consisting of cabbage (or kale) and onion (or leeks) fried until tender then folded into creamy mashed potatoes. Bacon may be added if desired. Every family has “their” recipe and each will be a little bit different than the others. Colcannon makes a terrific side dish with ham or corned beef, but it can be a meal in itself. Simple, down-to-earth comfort food that’s easy on the budget and sure to please your taste buds. HINT: Form refrigerated leftovers into patties and fry in a pan in some melted butter until browned on both sides.

Colcannon

Colcannon

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1/2 small head cabbage, chopped (or substitute with kale)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

Instructions

  1. Place potatoes in a saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender.
  2. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, reserving drippings, crumble and set aside. In the reserved drippings, saute the cabbage and onion until soft and translucent.
  3. Drain the cooked potatoes, mash with milk and season with salt and pepper. Fold in the bacon, cabbage, and onions, then transfer the mixture to a large serving bowl. Make a well in the center, and pour in the melted butter. Serve immediately.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/09/20/colcannon/

 

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