Truth be told, I still love going to my parents’ house at least one day on the weekend if I can. Especially when my sisters are over, too. I just find it so comfortable and comforting to be there hanging out with everyone. This weekend, my older sister dropped off my niece and nephew with our parents so she and her husband could go to a wedding. Phillip and I brought Nolan over and spent the majority of the day there, as well. My mom wanted to make an apple pie to use up her orchard apples; my dad had his sights set on Molasses Cookies, and I had brought with me can of pumpkin and a canister of chocolate chips. As one does.
So with three opposing baking goals, who won out? Stupid question. We all did.
As I mentioned in a recent post, I have become somewhat of a cookbook collector. My wishlist abounds with cookbooks, despite the fact that my bookshelf is already overflowing with them. But for my mother, there is only one cookbook you ever need: Betty Crocker’s Cookbook, the “new and revised” edition. Where “new” here means “1978.” I haven’t asked, but it feasibly could have been a wedding gift, considering my parents got hitched in ’79.
The book is bright red and ring-bound, like a binder. Separating the various sections are yellow dividers. The pages are glossy, although many in this particular copy are wavy and dulled from being touched with wet hands. My mother has handwritten notes on some of the recipes. On this one, she has written “ZUCCHINI BREAD” and the appropriate substitutions with a green marker to the right of the pumpkin bread recipe. But I didn’t need those notes this time; I was after the original. And although Betty knows a thing or two, I gave her a helping hand by making some adjustments to the spices and throwing in chocolate chips instead of nuts and raisins.
As the pumpkin bread was cooling, my mom set to work on her pie (also using the recipe from the Betty Crocker cookbook). She has an apple corer/peeler/slicer, and we amused ourselves by having my nephew turn the crank to prepare the apples. Toddlers get really excited about chores; it’s adorable. My mom mounded the child-labor apples into her (ahem) store-bought pie crust and patted a French crumb topping over them before shoving the pie in the oven. Phillip and I told my nephew we were making “Motorcycle Pie,” because he’s into motorcycles right now.
I asked my dad about his cookies, and he said he didn’t feel like making them anymore since it was so late. But I know better, and since they are his favorite, I quickly mixed them up. Once again, I enlisted the help of my nephew, this time to roll the dough balls in sugar. When all the dough was gone, he insisted on doing “another one,” even after I explained to him multiple times that we were already finished. He then satisfied himself by throwing handfuls of the remaining sugar at the cookie dough balls. Molasses cookies are incredibly resilient, though, so they still came out looking and tasting perfect. My dad ate six of them immediately.
My nephew was rewarded for his hard work with small slice of this pumpkin bread before bed. And since I always used to leave the kitchen a mess when I lived at home, I even cleaned all of the dishes before we left.
- Cake Magic
- 3⅓ cups (400 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ⅔ cup (130 grams) shortening
- 2⅔ cup (530 grams) granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- ⅔ cup water
- 1⅔ cup (450 grams) pumpkin puree
- 1 cup (170 grams) semisweet chocolate chips
- Brush the bottoms and sides of two 9x5-inch loaf pans with Cake Magic. (Alternatively, grease and flour the pans.) Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine shortening and sugar and beat until combined, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, pumpkin puree, and water, and beat until smooth.
- Gradually add dry ingredients to the wet, and beat until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips with a rubber spatula. Distribute the batter evenly between the two loaf pans.
- Bake for 70-75 minutes, unti a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center of the loaves comes out almost clean, with just a few crumbs sticking. Cool in pans on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then turn the loaves out to finish cooling directly on the wire rack.