Old-fashioned treats in updated recipes Chew on this: Homey desserts like pudding cake, oatmeal-raisin cookies and banana cupcakes take on fresh interest with a few changes.

March 17, 1996|By SEATTLE TIMES

There's nothing new under the sun, somebody once said.

Maybe not. But changes make life interesting, and new twists on old recipes add to the fun of cooking and eating.

Make a few of these concoctions, and you'll start some new "old-fashioned" dessert traditions in your household.

Oatmeal-raisin cookies

Makes about 24 cookies

1 cup sifted all-purpose whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter

1/2 cup smooth or chunky peanut butter

1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar

3/4 cup All-Bran cereal

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups raisins (15-ounce box)

2 cups old-fashioned (not instant) oatmeal

1. Adjust two racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with baking parchment or with aluminum foil, shiny side up, and set aside.

2. Sift together the flour, soda and salt. (Any flour that is too coarse to go through the sifter should be stirred back into the sifted ingredients.) Set aside.

3. In a heavy saucepan with about a 4-to-6-cup capacity, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the peanut butter and sugar and stir for a few minutes over the heat to partially melt the sugar. Remove from the heat and stir in the All-Bran. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and let stand.

4. In a small bowl beat the eggs and vanilla just to mix. Add to the butter mixture and stir to mix thoroughly. Stir in the raisins. Stir in the oatmeal and sifted dry ingredients.

5. Using a 1/4 -cup measuring cup, scoop out the dough and drop about 2 1/2 inches apart on the lined sheet. (Do not put more than 7 cookies on each sheet.) Press down the tops of each cookie with the back of a fork that has been dipped in water.

6. Bake two sheets at a time for about 15 minutes, reversing the sheets top to bottom and front to back once during baking. Let the cookies cool on the sheets for a few minutes before transferring to cooling racks with a wide spatula.

Per cookie: calories, 243; protein, 4 grams; fat, 12 grams; carbohydrates, 33 grams; sodium, 91 milligrams; saturated fat, 6 grams; monounsaturated fat, 4 grams; polyunsaturated fat, 2 grams; cholesterol, 39 grams

H

(From "Maida Heatter's Brand New Book of Great Cookies")

Double chocolate pudding

Makes 6 servings

2 1/4 cups milk

1/2 cup sugar

pinch salt

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted

1 large egg

2 large egg yolks

5 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon sweetened whipped cream per serving

1. Place 2 cups milk, 1/4 cup sugar and the salt in a heavy nonreactive saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat.

2. Mix together the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, the cocoa and cornstarch in a bowl. Whisk in the remaining 1/4 cup cold milk until smooth and free of lumps.

3. Slowly whisk the hot milk mixture into the bowl; return the mixture to the saucepan. Slowly bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Boil gently, stirring constantly, until the mixture is fairly thick, about 2 minutes.

4. In a small bowl, whisk the egg and yolks together. Slowly whisk in 1 cup of the hot cocoa mixture, then whisk back into the remaining hot cocoa mixture. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture becomes slightly thicker, 3 to 5 minutes. Do not allow the mixture to boil or overcook. Transfer the pudding to a clean bowl and lay a sheet of wax paper or plastic wrap directly on the surface. Cool slightly on a rack.

5. Melt the semisweet chocolate with the butter in a small saucepan. Stir until smooth, and cool slightly. Whisk the chocolate into the thickened pudding mixture; stir in the vanilla. Pour the pudding into a bowl and refrigerate until cold and set. (Serve with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream on top.)

Per serving: calories, 351; protein, 7 grams; fat, 19 grams; carbohydrates, 41 grams; sodium, 73 milligrams; saturated fat, 11 grams; monounsaturated fat, 6...; polyunsaturated fat, 1...; cholesterol, 135 milligrams.

=1 (From "Classic Home Desserts" by Richard Sax)

Banana-chocolate-cherry cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes

CUPCAKES:

vegetable cooking spray

3 ripe bananas

1 stick unsalted butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup sour cream

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup dried cherries

1/3 cup chocolate chips (semisweet or white chocolate)

GLAZE:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

3/4 cup chocolate chips (semisweet or white chocolate)

1. To prepare the cupcakes: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12-cup standard muffin tin with vegetable cooking spray, or line with cupcake liners.

Peel the bananas and mash with the back of a fork.

2. In a large heavy saucepan set over medium heat, melt the butter. Remove from the heat.

3. Add the sugar, vanilla and bananas and mix together. Stir in the sour cream and eggs.

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