You ask, we answer but it may take time


March 22, 1995|By Ellen Hawks | Ellen Hawks,Sun Staff Writer

From time to time we get letters or calls from readers anxious to know why the answer to their recipe request has not yet been published. It's not that we've forgotten, it's just that the process from request to publication can be lengthy.

For any one request we receive anywhere from one to 100 recipes. If only one or two recipes come in at first, we may wait and give readers around the country -- who sometimes don't see this column until a week or two later -- time to send their recipes in. And there is the occasional request that simply draws no answers. When we have good samples to work with, we send them to Chef Gilles Syglowski at the Baltimore International Culinary Institute where they are tested by his staff and a favorite is chosen.

Usually we run the recipes soon after testing, but occasionally we'll hold a recipe to run at a later date if the dish is not seasonal or if we've just run something very similar.

The recipe for Chocolate Mud Cake was chosen by the chef after testing many recipes. The Mississippi Chocolate Mud Cake recipe is from Glenna M. Smith, of Baltimore, who responded to a request from May Russell, also of Baltimore.

Smith's Mississippi Chocolate Mud Cake

1 1/4 cups strong brewed coffee

1/4 cup bourbon

5 ounces unsweetened chocolate

1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces.

2 cups sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 eggs lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat coffee and bourbon in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Add chocolate and butter. Cook stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes. Pour into mixing bowl. On low speed, beat the flour, baking soda and salt, divided into 4 parts, into the chocolate mixture. on low speed. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth.

Heat oven to 275 degrees. Butter a 9-inch tube pan and dust bottom and sides with cocoa. Bake about 1 1/2 hours or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool completely on a wire rack before removing from mold. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.


Nancy Davie of Elkridge remembers "living in Rochester, N.Y., and my father [making] Dutch candy that was hard like toffee and he called it Sugarspec. My family cannot come up with the recipe."

Doris Houseman of Cockeysville sent in the chef's choice for the candy which she calls Babbelaars (Dutch Hard Candy).

Houseman's Babbelaars

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

2 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup vinegar

1/3 cup water

Mix ingredients in saucepan and bring to a boil and continue boiling without stirring until a spoonful dropped into cold water becomes crisp. Pour into buttered pan and when cool enough to handle, butter the hands and pull into long strips. Cut into small square pieces with buttered scissors.

In a similar recipe, Marie Clark of Owensboro, Ky., combines 2 pounds of brown sugar, 4 tablespoons each water and vinegar and 3 tablespoons butter and cooks in the same manner as above. She notes the candy will keep indefinitely in the refrigerator and that powdered sugar may be sprinkled on to prevent stickiness.

Recipe requests

* G. E. Sharp of Baltimore wants to find the recipe for a "sock-it-to-me-cake."

* E. Martin of Spring Lake, N.C., has been looking for a recipe for grape-pulp pie made from white or dark grapes.

* Cathy A. Whitt of Baltimore writes that an elderly friend asked her to make some garlic soup for him. "He said his mother made it and it was very tasty. He also said it had a potato base. I've searched every cookbook to no avail. Would appreciate help," she wrote.

If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request for long-gone recipe, maybe we can help. Write to Ellen Hawks, Recipe Finder, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.

If you send in more than one recipe, put each on a separate sheet of paper with your name, address and phone number. Please note the number of servings which each recipe makes. We will test the first 12 recipes sent to us.

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