Hey! It’s Cookie Time!

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It really should be a holiday unto itself. Cookie Time. That day or days before Christmas that bakers devote to concocting a plethora of sweet bites to feed or gift to family and friends.

When I was growing up, DotMom would spend days in the kitchen, mixing up all of our family favorites, many of which can be found in her “Mixing & Musing Cookbook.” There would be trays of cookies, candies and bars to deliver around the neighborhood and farther afield.

Today I’m going to share my personal top two cookies, but first, I’d like to encourage you readers to share your own favorite Christmas treats. What’s the one cookie that is a must-bake during these last few weeks leading up to Christmas? I’d love for you to share your memories and your recipes. Please email me at bnamanny@gmail.com, or share them through the comment section on this blog.

So here are mine:

This first recipe — No-Roll Sugar Cookies — was DotMom’s go-to sugar cookie recipe, and she didn’t just make it at Christmas time. She had an assortment of small cookie cutters for various seasons, which she would use to imprint a design in the top of these melt-in-your-mouth cookies. They were, without a doubt, DadDon’s favorite, and he would raid the cookie jar nightly in search of his cookie fix.

This is also the cookie that DotMom made most often with her granddaughters when they were young, as it was easy for them to press out the balls of dough, create the design and sprinkle with colored sugars. It’s much less messy and time-intensive than traditional cutout cookies.

The second recipe — Forgotten Kisses — is at the top of my own must-make list. I love the crispy meringue and the bite of mint. During the holiday season, I make them with either the candy-cane striped mint chips that are available at this time or year, or there is one company — Guittard, I think — that makes a chip that is a pretty shade of mint green.

I was both annoyed and fascinated with these cookies when I was young. It was annoying to have to wait until the next morning to eat them (Mom always put a “Do Not Open” sign with  threat of consequences on the oven door handle) but it was quite fascinating to see how they turned from the soft pillows of fluff into crunchy meringue cookies overnight.

These days, I also love their simplicity. My stand mixer makes quick work of beating the meringue into hard peaks, then I just have to fold in the chips, drop them onto the cookie sheets, put them in the oven and forget them (hence the name!).

No-Roll Sugar Cookies

1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
4 cups plus 4 heaping tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream sugars, butter and oil until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs. Add dry ingredients, then vanilla. Mix well.

Roll dough into small balls and press down with a glass dipped in sugar. Use a small cookie cutter to make an imprint in the top of the cookie, if desired, then decorate with seasonally appropriate colored sugars.

Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, until delicately browned.

Forgotten Kisses

2 egg whites
⅔ cup sugar
6 ounces mint chocolate chips (or more — I like them chock full of chips!)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Beat egg white until frothy. Gradually add sugar, a little at a time. Continue to beat until very stiff, about 15 minutes total.

Fold in the chips. Drop by teaspoonsful onto greased cookie sheet (or use parchment paper or silicone baking mats).

Put in oven, shut door, turn off the heat and DON’T PEEK for at least 5 hours or overnight.

 

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Meatball mania

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Making these meatballs brought me to tears.

No, I didn’t cut myself, although that’s a likely scenario when I’m cooking.

I made the mistake of cutting up onion with my glasses on instead of my contacts. The fumes from the onions built up behind the lenses, and soon my eyes were burning and the tears were flowing. I know better, but it was early in the day, and the fog hadn’t quite cleared from my brain.

But I possibly could have also cried tears of joy — due to  the versatility of this recipe. It’s one I used to make a lot, but just hadn’t gotten around to for a while, and I’d forgotten just how good it is.

This big batch will go into the freezer and made enough so I can tote a slow cooker full to a holiday gathering in coming weeks, plus provide the basis for a couple of different meals at our abode. They can be used in meatball subs, spaghetti and meatballs, on pizza and even Swedish-style in a white sauce over egg noodles or rice.

The original recipe was clipped from a magazine many years ago.

The original recipe says it yields about 150 1-inch meatballs, but I’ve never come close to that amount, as I make mine a bit larger, using the largest of my cookie scoops for uniform size.

I’m not going to lie: Forming all those meatballs and cooking them off in the oven can be a time-consuming, but the result is so much better than those frozen meatballs you can buy at the grocery store that it is well worth the time investment.

Oh, and by the way, this recipe is so easy to adapt to other amounts of meat. Basically, for each pound of meat you add 1 egg, ¼ cup onion and ½ cup bread crumbs, so go ahead and make more or less to suit your own needs.

Versatile Make-Ahead Meatballs

4 pounds lean ground beef (or a mixture of pork and beef)
4 eggs
2 cups Italian-style dried bread crumbs
1 cup finely chopped onion (or less if you don’t like onion as well as we do)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon dried basil

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients (hands are the best tools for this).

Using your hands or a cookie scoop, lightly form mixture into balls. Place on single layers on ungreased baking pans. (I line with parchment paper for ease of cleanup.) Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes, turning once to ensure even browning. Cool.

Package in freezer bags, 30 to a bag. Can be frozen for up to 4 months.

 

Here’s the sauce I use for making the meatballs as appetizers

Sweet and Spicy Meatball Sauce

½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup cherry cola
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (from a can), finely chopped

In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients, bring to a light boil and continue to cook until thickened, 7 to 10 minutes. Add meatballs and continue to cook until heated through, or pour over meatballs in a slow cooker.

A cranberry query

A couple weeks ago, sister Margaret sent me this text message:

“Didn’t mom make a cranberry cake with a rum or vanilla sauce? But it isn’t in the cookbook?”

Hmmmm. Back in the deep recesses of my mind, I had a vague recollection of such a dessert, but had no idea where Margaret would find such a recipe if it wasn’t in the IMG_7444 (1)“Mixing & Musing Cookbook.” I’m sure DotMom published it in her column and likely made it for a holiday bridge gathering when I was a young girl or teen, but back in those days cranberries weren’t on my approved eating list. (Yes, I was a bit pickier in my younger years!)

But as soon as Margaret conjured up an image of that cake now, I started to imagine how it would taste. So when she found a cranberry cake recipe that she was sure was THE ONE, I insisted that she send me the recipe. Margaret not only did that, but she sent photos of the finished product, along with rave reviews from the guest to whom she had served it.

Those reviews were so good, in fact, that she is whipping up another one for a Thanksgiving gathering tomorrow. It might be too late to make for your Thanksgiving get-together, but this is a dessert appropriate for the entire upcoming holiday season. It will certainly be on our table at some point, as I am salivating just looking at Margaret’s pictures.

Cranberry Cake with Butter-Rum Sauce

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons butter, melted

For the sauce:
½ cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
¾ cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon rum flavoring

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray; set aside

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the cranberries, milk and melted butter; mix well. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan; add the sugar and cream. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the rum flavoring.

To serve, cut cake into squares and spoon the warm sauce over the top.

Makes 9 servings.

 

The feast is on

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Thanksgiving is just a week away, so once again it’s time for my annual campaign to simplify the Big Feast by sharing my two favorite Thanksgiving recipes: Slow Cooker Stuffing and Refrigerator Mashed Potatoes. In the course of this long-running effort, I have convinced a number of you to give these a try with positive results. But my job will not be done until many more of you have seen the light.

The beauty of both of these dishes is that they can be made in advance. I always mix up the stuffing the day before, put in the slow cooker crock and stash it in the refrigerator. The potatoes can be made several days in advance and just need to be heated up on the big day.

The stuffing frees up oven space since it’s made in the slow cooker (and for that matter, the potatoes could also be heated up in one). And it’s much safer to NOT stuff the turkey with the bread mixture. Food safety experts have warned against stuffing the bird for years, as it can harbor harmful bacteria if not brought up to a proper temperature.

And finally, the final product is superior in both cases. The stuffing doesn’t dry out like it might if cooked in the oven, and the potatoes retain their heat much longer than traditional mashed ones.

So if you’re looking for a way to simplify your Thanksgiving effort in a delicious fashion, I urge you to give these recipes serious consideration.

Slow Cooker Stuffing

In 1 cup butter, saute 1 cup chopped onion and 2 cups chopped celery. Remove mixture from stove and stir in 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning and 2 teaspoons dried sage.

In a large bowl, combine 12 cups dried bread pieces with the butter-vegetable mixture.
Beat 2 eggs and combine with 3 to 4 cups chicken broth; pour over bread and stir well to combine.

Place mixture in slow cooker and cook on low for 4 hours. (I turn it up to high for about 1 hour in order to get the crispy stuff around the edges.)

Refrigerator Mashed Potatoes

Peel 5 pounds (10 large) potatoes and cook in boiling salted water until tender; drain. Mash until smooth (no lumps).

Add 6 ounces cream cheese (or lower fat Neufchatel), 1 cup dairy sour cream (I prefer the light version or Greek yogurt), 2 teaspoons onion salt, 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Beat until light and fluffy. Cool. Cover and place in refrigerator.

May be used anytime within 10 days. Place desired amount in a greased casserole, dot with butter and bake in 350 degree oven until heated through, 30 to 60 minutes, depending on size of dish.

 

Food, fellowship, friendship

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When I arrived home from work yesterday, a box waited on the front porch.

“What could it be?” I thought, quickly considering any mail-order purchases made recently, but my mind turned up a blank.

Then I saw the label on the box, and a grin spread across my face. It was our annual supply of pecans, courtesy of our amazing friends, Annette and Erwin “Junior” Rath of Cuero, Texas. Annette and I were on our town’s respective Turkey Race teams for the Great Gobbler Gallop 19 years ago — the start of an amazing friendship that we cherish (and not because of the pecans, although that is a side benefit).

The Raths own and operate several businesses in Cuero, which is our city of Worthington’s rival for the title of Turkey Capital of the World. The outcome of the aforementioned turkey race determines who gets to make that claim for the coming year. If you were unaware such a contest exists, visit www.turkeyfest.org or www.kingturkeyday.net for more information.

But back to the pecans.

One of Annette and Jr.’s businesses is the Cuero Pecan House, which not only markets Texas’ favorite nut, but also a plethora of specialty food items. So along with the basic pecans, there were some other goodies, and then, beneath the pecans — A COOKBOOK!

I had known about this book, a compilation of favorite recipes compiled to recognize Turkeyfest’s 45th anniversary, because Annette had contacted me about it earlier this year as she sought recipe contributions. But once I’d sent off my own submissions, I promptly forgot about it. Now it’s in my hands, and I couldn’t be more delighted. I’ve been perusing it every since.

I’ve been told the book will be available in the coming days at the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce. In the meantime, I wanted to provide a sample of what “Cooking with Ruby: Celebrating 45 Years of Cuero Turkeyfest” has to offer. Many recipes caught my eye as possibilities for sharing here,  but one in particular seemed to capture the essence of what the relationships forged through this Turkey Town rivalry mean to so many who have been involved in the cities’ celebrations.

Chili is an iconic dish in Texas, and it’s definitely different than what we Minnesotans are used to consuming. First and foremost, it doesn’t have beans! — definitely a selling point for me, and it’s probably a bit spicier than Minnesota versions. But then, this particular chili was the first place winner at Worthington’s 2017 Winterfest Chili Cook Off. How did that come to be? Here’s the blurb on the recipe.

“January 2017 — Jimmy and Brenda Martin drove 1,200 miles for the Winterfest Deep Freeze Dip and participated in the Winterfest Chili Cook Off in Worthington MN. Their “Texas Chili” took first place with a price of two $100 local grocer gift cards. After receiving their prize, Brenda and Jimmy donated the gift cards back to a family in Worthington who lost their home in a fire on Christmas Eve.”

So here it is, Jimmy and Brenda’s prize-winning chili recipe that resulted in a wonderful gesture that illustrates the bond of friendship between the two towns.

Minnesota-Winning Texas Chili

3 pounds coarse ground chili meat

1 pound pan sausage

1 large yellow sweet onion, chopped

One 28-ounce can Rotel tomatoes with chiles, drained

Two 8-ounce cans tomato sauce

2 cups chicken broth

¼ cup ketchup

2 jalapeno peppers, halved and seeded

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons pepper

2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon cumin

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

6 to 8 tablespoons chili powder

Brown meat in large pot with onion and dry ingredients, then drain. Add chicken broth, tomato sauce, Rotel, ketchup and jalapenos. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour. Stir frequently.

Best served with shredded cheese and cornbread.

 

Deep. Dark. Decadent. Delicious.

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A thick coating of ganache covers the dense chocolate goodness of this brownie-cake mashup.

Every time I make a bundt cake, I think of a scene from “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” If you’ve seen the movie, you know the one, in which Toula’s very Greek parents and Ian’s very non-Greek parents meet for the first time.

Ian’s mother, Harriet, has brought a cake to this boisterous Greek family get-together. She presents the food offering to Toula’s mother, Maria, who is puzzled by the odd-looking dessert.

“It’s a bundt,” says Harriet.

“A boooont?” replies Maria.

And the two women go back and forth about the cake’s name for a while, with neither understanding the other’s confusion. Eventually, Maria sticks some flowers in the hole on the middle of the cake, and it gets passed around by the Greeks as a culinary oddity.

So invariably, as I make a bundt, I say “boooont” a few times and laugh to myself.

But the cake pictured here is no laughing matter. It is downright decadent, a densely rich chocolate creation that is seriously sinful. I’ve made it twice now, and it’s been quickly gobbled down.

The cake itself — the melding of two mixes — is a cross between a brownie and a cake. No, it is not light, but it is moist, and it comes out of the pan with a beautiful outer texture.

And then there’s the frosting. Oh, ganache, where have you been all my life? I never knew it was so simple to make a frosting that was so creamy and — here’s that word again — decadent. I don’t know how else to describe it.

Dark Chocolate Brownie  “Boooont” Cake

1 box chocolate fudge cake mix
1 box dark chocolate fudge brownie mix
4 eggs
1¼ cups water
1 cup oil

For the ganache:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
12-ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

½ teaspoon vanilla

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare bundt pan by spraying with cooking spray, then dusting it with a combination of cocoa powder and flour. Set aside.

In a large bowl combine the cake mix, brownie, mix, eggs, water and oil. Stir until all the lumps are gone.

Pour batter into the bundt pan and bake for 50-55 minutes. Do not overbake, but make sure it is set. Allow cake to cool in pan for five minutes. Turn out onto cake platter and cool for 30 minutes more.

Pour heavy whipping cream into a medium microwave-safe bowl and heat for about 2 minutes, just until boiling. Carefully pour the chocolate chips into the cream, making sure they are all submerged in the liquid. Let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk the chocolate-cream mixture until it is shiny and smooth. Stir in the vanilla.

Pour ganache over the cooled cake. Let set a few minutes before serving.

 

Something old, something new …

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Something old, something new, something borrowed — but not something blue!

Maybe that phrase came to mind this evening because my niece got engaged this week, and we were talking possible wedding plans.

But the reality is it’s fitting for today’s recipes. With apple season still in full swing (I was at the orchard today and was told they would be open until Nov. 11) — and the threat of that four-letter word — SNOW! — on the horizon yet this week, I dug into the files for another oldie-but-goodie from DotMom and an apple dessert that I haven’t shared before. The first comes from one of my favorite former Worthington High School home ec teachers, Jan Perry, who now lives in Moorhead. The caramel and apple combination is a classic.

The second one, I must admit I haven’t tried, but it is from another reputable source, a compilation of hometown recipes of which my mom was also a part. It’s a new take on apple pie that I “borrowed” to share with you. Since I can’t think of anything blue that will work with apples, that will have to do.

Jan’s Apple Caramel Dessert

2 cups granulated sugar

½ cup butter

2 eggs

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup chopped nuts
3 cups finely chopped raw apples

For sauce:

¼ cup butter

1¼ cups brown sugar

1 cup white syrup

1 cup heavy cream

½ teaspoon vanilla

Cream granulated sugar and ½ cup butter. Mix in eggs, flour,soda, salt, spices and nuts. Last fold in the apples. Bake in a 9- by 13-inch pan at 300 degrees for 1 hour.

For sauce, combine the ¼ cup butter, brown sugar and syrup. Boil 5 minutes. Add cream and return to a boil. Add vanilla. Pour sauce over each piece just before serving and top with a dab of whipped cream.

Upside Down Pecan Apple Pie

½ stick butter, softened

1 cup pecan halves

⅔ cup brown sugar, packed

One two-count box refrigerated pie crusts

6 cups apples, sliced

½ cup granulated sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Smooth the butter around the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan. Stick pecan halves into the butter and then press the brown sugar evenly over top of pecans. Top with one of the pie crusts, extending about 1 inch beyond the edge of the pan.

Mix the granulated sugar with the cinnamon and nutmeg and sprinkle over top of the apples. Put apple mixture on top of the first pie crust, then top with the second. Flute the edges of the two crusts together. Prick top with a fork.

Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes, until golden brown. Flip upside down to serve.

 

Clean and crisp (apple crisp, that is)

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A self-cleaning house needs to be a thing.

I’ve come to that conclusion having resolved to dedicate a good chunk of this long MEA weekend to getting our house in order. So far today that has involved scrubbing floors in the kitchen and both bathrooms as well as a number of smaller jobs that were part of the “snowball effect” of house cleaning.

For instance, I spent a good half hour just pulling the hair off the brushes in the battery-operated sweeper necessary to prepare the floors for the scrubbing. And then there were another 45 minutes or so sitting on the floor of the bathroom, applying a toothbrush to the scum deposits that accumulate around the bottom of the shower — spied during the floor-cleaning process. One job always turns into 20 more.

A thorough vacuuming and dusting is still on the agenda, and who knows what that will lead to.

But I also intend to fit in a trip to the apple orchard for another big bag of succulent fruit. And I am grateful that at least one person responded to my request for some “best” apple recipes. I am indebted to Barb Atchison for her quick posting of this recipe.

“Yes, I have a favorite apple crisp recipe,” writes Barb. “Found it years ago. My wrinkled and butter-stained copy shows I found it in 2004. Best Apple Crisp recipe ever! The link ios still on the Internet. Recipe was submitted by former governor of West Virginia, Governor Gaston Caperton. Enjoy!”

With apple season still in full swing, I would encourage you other readers to follow Barb’s lead and share your favorite apple specialties from your personal recipe files. You can email me at bnamanny@gmail.com or comment on this blog.

Gov. Gaston Caperton’s Apple Crisp

4 cups apples, sliced

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/3 cup flour

½ cup brown sugar

1 cup oatmeal

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¼  cup melted margarine or butter

Put apples in shallow 8-inch pan. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Combine all dry ingredients with butter and mix until crumbly. Sprinkle all this over apples and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

Love affair with food

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Yesterday was my parents’ 70th wedding anniversary, they having tied the knot on Oct. 11, 1947. Of course, they weren’t around to celebrate it, DadDon having departed this earth 21 years ago, and DotMom 12 years ago.

But still, the occasion of their platinum anniversary has conjured up some memories of their life together. The photo here was taken many years before I came along — I would guess at some point during their courtship, and likely at my grandparents’ (Dad’s parents, Harry and Alice) summer home at Lake Okoboji, judging by their somewhat-scandalous-for-the-time swimwear apparel.

Since this blog is largely focused on food, I will contain my remarks to Dot and Don’s culinary  relationship. They both had a passion for food, and the relationship was symbiotic.

Mom cooked.

Dad ate.

Dad never met a meal he didn’t like and was a more-than-willing guinea pig for Mom’s culinary experiments for her Daily Globe food column. She dubbed him Sir Lunch-a-Lot for those writings, and the nickname was appropriate. Dad devoured whatever she put in front of him. If he balked, we knew the dish in question was really, really bad.

But that was an anomaly. It was more frequent that one of their pickier-eater children turned up our noses at what was put in front of us. And if such was the case, Dad was waiting to swoop in and finish up whatever was left on our plates. “Watch Daddy Eat Time” was a real daily ritual at our house. We would sit and watch as our father licked clean whatever leftovers lingered at the end of the meal.

And that was before dessert. There was, more often than not, dessert, too.

Yes, that’s a segue into what was supposed to be the topic for this week’s blog. It’s apple season, so apple desserts are the topic du jour. I’m hoping that some of you readers might be inclined to share your favorite apple recipes.

What’s the very best apple pie recipe?

Did your mom make an apple cake that your dad just loved?

Or is there another apple dessert that you have to make each year at this time?

Please share by emailing bnamanny@gmail.com!

That go-to apple dessert for my parents was Apple Cuplets. Mom just had a way with this simply decadent dessert. In her “Mixing & Musing Cookbook,” Mom declared that “This is No. 1 at apple time at the Rickers abode.”

No. 1 Apple Cuplets

¼ cup sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

6 baking apples

 

⅔ cup flour

⅔ cup sugar

¼ teaspoon baking powder

⅛ teaspoon salt

1 slightly beaten egg

3 tablespoons butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine the ¼ cup sugar and ½ teaspoon cinnamon. Peel and core the apples. Roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Put apples in buttered custard cups, spooning the remaining cinnamon in centers of apples.

Combine flour, ⅔ cup sugar, baking powder and salt. Combine beaten egg, melted butter and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients. Beat well. Place about 2 tablespoonfuls of batter over each apple.

Bake at 375 degrees about 40 minutes. Serve warm (important) with lots of cream (doubly important).

 

Recipe requests welcomed

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Since I’ve used up all the seasonal recipes I wanted to get in before harvest season ends, it’s time to fulfill a recipe request. (By the way, the photo here is of the hops plant in my garden. It’s a bit past its prime now, but I figured many people might not know what hops look like.)

As I mentioned previously, I am currently working as a paraprofessional for first-graders at Worthington’s Prairie Elementary School. As I took my kiddos through the lunch line recently, one of the school’s “lunch ladies,” Carolyn Landberg, caught my attention and requested a reprint of an overnight caramel roll recipe I had shared in my previous culinary writings for the Daily Globe. “I lost my copy of the recipe,” lamented Carolyn.

I was happy to oblige her request, as I knew just where the recipe was in my file and it’s one of my favorites, something I’ve often toted to breakfast potluck events or made when we’ve had overnight guests.

If there’s any recipe you readers would like to see printed in this blog — perhaps something from my mother’s “Mixing & Musing” column or cookbook, or something using a particular ingredients — I would love to try to help you out.

So here’s that recipe Carolyn. Now I think you owe me a recipe from your file!

Night Before Caramel Rolls

½ cup butter, melted

2 tablespoons milk

2 teaspoons cinnamon (divided use)

¼ cup granulated sugar

One 3.5-ounce box cook-and-serve (not instant) vanilla pudding mix

One 3.5-ounce box cook-and-serve (not instant) butterscotch pudding mix

1 cup brown sugar

2 loaves frozen bread dough, thawed.

1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

In a shallow bowl, combine 1 teaspoon cinnamon with the ¼ cup sugar; set aside.

Combine the melted butter, milk, remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon, pudding mixes and brown sugar.

Butter a 9- by 13-inch pan. (I use a disposable foil pan for ease of cleanup.) If using nuts, sprinkle evenly in the bottom of the pan.

Cut 1 loaf of the bread dough into chunks and roll in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place in bottom of the pan. Pour two-thirds of the pudding-caramel mixture over top. Cut second loaf of dough into chunks and put on top of the caramel. Cover with remaining pudding mixture.

Cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until rolls are golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately invert onto serving tray covered with foil.