Yesterday, my grandmother (called "Mimi Pie" by my grandfather) passed away after a short and tough battle with leukemia at the age of 84. While the sadness that my family is experiencing is terrible, many beautiful things come from such a challenge. One such result from missing my grandma is a desire to put together memories in order to remember her in every way possible.
Thus, today is baking day! I am whipping up two of her best recipes and our family favorites. It's high time I learn, so I can pass them on to the little ones some day!
#1 - Amish Sugar Cakes (adapted from several family sources and developed to perfection over the years!)
5 cups flour (measure 5 unsifted cups and then sift)
2 cups granulated sugar
1 scant tbs. baking soda
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup shortening (butter is fine)
1 cup "thick milk" (buttermilk)
Combine flour, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt; work in the shortening as for pie dough. Then make a hollow in the center and put in the sugar, the milk which has the baking soda mixed in, and the eggs slightly beaten.
Mix together thoroughly, but do not beat. (Mix only until dry ingredients are absorbed; dough will be sticky moist.)
Add more flour if needed.
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Sprinkle surface with flour and work dough into small balls, then place each one onto a greased and lightly floured cookie sheet and "smush" with your hand to create a little pancake shape. Sprinkle sugar over the surface of each cookie / "cake".
Place 6-8 total on a cookie sheet and bake for 8-9 minutes at 400 degrees. Remove from pan within 2 minutes and place into a bag once completely cooled.
#2 - "Bunny Breads" (can also be easily changed into "Reindeer Breads", depending on the season!)
1 package dry yeast (+ 1/4 cup warm water to activate)
1 cup milk - scalded and then cooled to luke warm
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup softened butter
4 1/2 - 5 cups sifted flour
2 tsp grated lemon peel
1 cup golden raisins
baking cherries for Rudolf's noses or Bunny tails
1. Soften active dry yeast in warm water. Combine milk, sugar, salt and butter and cool until luke warm. Stir in 2 cups of flour, add eggs and mix well. Stir in softened yeast. Add lemon peel, raisins, and remaining flour, to make a soft ball of dough. Let rest for 10 minutes.
2. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic.
3. Place in lightly greased bowl and allow to rise in warm, draft free place for 1.5 hours until doubled.
4. Punch down and allow to rise again for about 1 hour until doubled again.
5. Divide into small balls and roll into 14" strips - then form into bunny shape (infiniti shape with ears...)
6. Add a small lump of dough to create "tail" of bunny.
7. Place on greased cookie sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees.
Glaze: (add after bunnies are cooled)
Mix together 2 cups of sifted 10x sugar, 1/4 cups hot water, 1 tsp butter - brush onto dough once cooled after baking.
Stay tuned for photos of the bunnies in a couple of hours! <3 M