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)


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 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


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!

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.