Category Archives: Bakery Miscellaneous

Mama’s Rock Cookies

If you are a person who really appreciates a good nibbling cookie (one that doesn’t fall apart or get all crumbly as you munch along), then do yourself a favor and bake up a batch of Rock Cookies this weekend after the Thanksgiving fussing is over! Store them airtight in a cool place, away from heat, and bring them out at Christmas. After a month of mellowing, these cookies will delight your every sense!  Rock Cookies, quite simply, rock!  This wonderful recipe came from a friend of mama’s, Katie Hinks, but I always think of them as mama’s cookies only as they were always a regular around our house at Christmas time in Marble Hill.

I know the above is true because mama always made her Rocks right after Thanksgiving.  Warned NOT to get into them (if we could find them!) it was all I  could do to not hunt those cookies down and open every container just to breathe the heavenly scent of the spices and black walnuts! This year, I made Rocks even earlier for a get-together this weekend and I still have been opening the container lids at least once a day.  A good whiff of Rock Cookies enhances any, and every day!  And don’t let their name fool you, a month of mellowing gives them a soft chewy texture with just a hint of crispness around the edges.

Be sure that your butter is sufficiently softened (and don’t be microwaving it trying to rush things along) so that it creams well with the sugar and eggs when you begin making the cookie dough.  The batter becomes stiff once the flour is added and even stiffer with the addition of the dates and the nuts so be prepared to fold well at that point using a rubber spatula or a flat-edged wooden spoon.  Fold well so the dates and nuts are evenly distributed in the dough. Using parchment lined cookies sheets makes for easy clean up as well as even browning on the bottom of the cookies.

This is one of my oldest family recipes, and it is definitely one of my cookie favorites.  The cutting of the dates is time-consuming so feel free to buy the dates already chopped. If you want them in smaller pieces still, get out your cutting board and have at it.  As the cookies mellow, the dates soften and infuse each morsel with date chewiness;  combine this texture with the crunch of flavorful black walnuts and you have a definite winner, sure to please everyone around your table.  Now IS the time: get your Rocks made for Christmas, folks!  I know you’ll thank me and you’re most welcome!

Mama’s Rock Cookies


2 sticks butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs, beaten
2-3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda, dissolved in 1 T. boiling water
1 lb. dates, chopped fine
1-1/2 cups black walnuts

Directions Preheat oven to 325. In large mixing bowl, combine butter, sugar, and eggs, beating with electric mixer until creamed well. In separate bowl, combine flour, allspice, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder. Stir well with a fork to sift and add to egg mixture, folding well. Add the baking soda mixture and fold all again. Add the dates and nuts folding gently. Drop dough by spoonfuls onto parchment-lined cookie sheets; bake for 8-10 minutes. Do not over bake. After cookies have cooled slightly place in airtight containers and allow flavors to mellow for a month or at least hide them well to give them a chance at mellowing!

Pumpkin Pecan Cobbler

You will love this dish for several reasons, the first being that you likely have everything you need to prepare it already sitting on your pantry shelves. NO extra trip out to the store means you can think it and bake it within an hour’s time! The results are huge, so do get started soon.

The spices in the cobbler whisper October’s name: cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves. You know how good this will be just thinking about that combo, right? Finding yourself smack in the middle of Fall usually means one thing in the kitchen, and that is pumpkin! There’s enough pumpkin purée in the dish to provide that special autumnal flavor and the spices are a nod themselves to our cooler temperatures.

I was a little leery of the recipe’s instructions for pouring hot water over the topping before baking but was totally delighted with the results. As the water incorporates into the batter while baking, a rich creamy caramel sauce results, perfect for spooning over each serving.  That saucy caramel is one of the best things about the dish.

The second reason I love this recipe (and many thanks to friend Micki Welsh for finding it and knowing that I would enjoy it!) is that it is a snap to make. You will need three bowls for the dry, wet, and topping ingredients but there is no need even for your hand mixer. Simply combine wet with dry ingredients then sprinkle over the topping; add the hot water, and into the oven it goes.

Do try this one when cooler weather rolls around. If you are a pumpkin person (and I know many), you will be delighted by this cobbler. You will also find that a scoop of rich country-style vanilla ice cream is the only accompaniment you’ll want. Add friends and family and it’s Pumpkin Heaven, y’all!

Pumpkin Pecan Cobbler


1 cup plus 3 T. flour
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. ground cloves
1/2 cup pumpkin purée
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1-1/2 t. vanilla

Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and spices in a large bowl and stir to combine. In a smaller bowl, combine pumpkin, milk, butter, and vanilla. Combine wet ingredients with dry and stir to blend all thoroughly, forming a thick batter. Scrape into an 8” baking dish with high sides.

Topping Ingredients

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1-1/2 cups very hot water

Directions. In small bowl, combine the sugars and the pecans. Sprinkle on top of the batter in the baking dish. Slowly add the hot water, do not stir. Bake for 40 minutes or until the middle of cake is set. Cool 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with vanilla ice cream and additional pecans, chopped coarsely.



Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake

Yesterday’s abundance of sour cream and several cups of frozen summer blueberries in the fridge and the freezer led me to this great recipe on the “allrecipes” web site. The cake did an on-point job in meeting my needs: enough to serve eight after eating two pieces after supper and saving a 3-slice hunk of it for breakfast the next day. I knew when I sliced the cake tonight that it would be even better the next day, after the streusel mixture set. Normally I don’t have any luck with streusel toppings but it helped that this streusel swirls into the middle and the top layers of batter. An overnight rest made for a fabulously chewable streusel cake with coffee yesterday

I used my stand mixture up to the point of folding in the berries. My berries were flash-frozen from the summer so I sprinkled them with a T. of flour before adding to the batter to prevent dreaded ‘purple stain batter’ syndrome! Other than that, make strictly as is. Don’t over bake; an hour and 2 minutes was perfect. I covered it lightly with a dish towel and inverted it onto my serving plate after 45 minutes.  The only thing to really watch, other than having everything in place before you begin, is to allow your butter to soften to just the right texture before beginning.  As soon as the cold is off of it is just right.

The powdered sugar goes on in a fine mist. Combined with the snowflakes on the serving plate and the powdered sugar, it almost felt winterish in the kitchen on blueberry streusel day. It’s definitely worth a trip to your freezer to see if you have summer berries lurking there!

Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake


1 cup butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1-5/8 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Powdered sugar for dusting

Directions Preheat the oven to 350. Grease and flour a 9-inch Bundt pan.

In a large bowl, cream together the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the sour cream and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into the batter just until blended. Fold in blueberries.

Spoon half of the batter into the prepared pan. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans. Sprinkle half of this mixture over the batter in the pan. Spoon remaining batter over the top, and then sprinkle the remaining pecan mixture over. Use a knife or thin spatula to swirl the streusel layers into the cake.

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a knife inserted into the crown of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. Invert onto a serving plate, and tap firmly to remove from the pan. Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.

Apple Crisp

Oh, geeze, is it really almost October?  Somehow, yes, indeed, ‘Truly Autumn’ is upon us and there is no better time to begin baking up Apple Everything!  Our cooler nights and mornings are perfectly suited to warm Apple Crisp tonight and then cold Apple Crisp the next morning so  gather your apples while you may and get started! Apples of every stripe will be everywhere soon and apples do so definitely deserve their own season! Apples & Autumn are the best of partners!

Today I used Granny Smith apples and a recipe from my sister’s “Deli & Delights” cookbook.  I love the texture of the crust on this one, it is more pie crust than sweet cobbler topping, and, pairing it with the just-tender apples has you thinking apple pie and ice cream in no time! There are no oats in this crisp topping; the butter provides the flakier crust. A simple filling is all you need: tart apples, sugar, and a whiff of cinnamon is just right.  Add a T. of lemon juice if using sweeter apples. Prep time is minimal: prepare the apples and blend with the filling.  Place into baking dish, make your crust topping and sprinkle it over the fruit, then drizzle the crumbs with melted butter, and you’re all pau and done!  Now just allow it to cool, if you can.

Vanilla ice cream is my favorite accompaniment for any warm fruit crisp and this one is wonderful as well for breakfast, served cold, with just 2 T. of sweet cream poured over.  Make up a larger version if you’re counting on it for breakfast!  We are definitely talking Apple Autumn Delight here, folks!

Apple Crisp


6 cups apples, peeled, cored, sliced
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon


1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 egg
1/2 stick butter, melted

Directions Preheat oven to 350. Combine apples, sugar, and cinnamon in medium bowl; stir. Place in a lightly sprayed 9×9” baking dish. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder in medium bowl.  Add the egg; stir and press egg into dry ingredients, forming crumbs.  Sprinkle this mixture over apples in baking dish.  Drizzle the melted butter over the crumbs and bake 45 minutes or until browned and apples are tender.  Cool slightly and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Peach Cobbler

After finding the sweetest, largest, and juiciest of peaches from Eckert’s Nursery last week at Schnuck’s Market, it was a no-brainer that a peach cobbler soon appear in my kitchen as quickly as possible. Mine and mama’s favorite cobbler (with blackberry cobbler being an equal favorite if that’s possible), peaches are never better than when baked up cobbler style and topped with the sweet crunchy crust in this recipe.

There’s nothing hard at all about making cobbler. Peel the fruit, slice it, and toss with a minimum of sugar (ripe fruit doesn’t need a huge amount of sugar) and flour to thicken the juices then stir up your topping, add it over your fruit, and IN the oven it goes! I sometimes use cinnamon for spice, sometimes nutmeg, but use either sparingly; you want just the barest whiff to enhance the fruit.

Vanilla ice cream is, of course, the perfect accompaniment to a fruit cobbler. You absolutely cannot go wrong combining the two. It is only right. And right on! Use the recipe below from my “Missouri to Maui” cookbook to create the very best of summer deliciousness!

Peach Cobbler


For the fruit
1 cup sugar
2 T. flour, heaping
1/4 tsp. nutmeg or cinnamon
4 cups fresh peaches, peeled and sliced

For the topping
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1. tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/3 cup cold butter or margarine, diced
1 egg, beaten


Preheat oven to 375. Place fruit in large mixing bowl and combine sugar and flour and pour over fruit; stir to coat. Sprinkle with nutmeg or cinnamon and pour into a lightly-greased 11x7x2 (2 qt.) baking dish. Prepare topping by stirring the dry ingredients together in mixing bowl then cutting in the cold butter until the dough is crumbly. Add the beaten egg, stir to combine, and drop by spoonfuls on top of the fruit or just sprinkle it evenly over fruit. Bake at 375 for 35-40 minutes until brown and bubbly. Cool before serving; top with vanilla ice cream.