Remove Coarse Strings from Fresh Cooked Pumpkin


Remove coarse strings from fresh cooked pumpkin by beating it with an electric mixer. The strings will adhere to the fast twirling beaters and leave your pumpkin smooth and string-free.

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German Apple Cake

German-apple-cakeGerman Apple Cake is a vintage recipe that fully deserves the spotlight as Recipe of the Month. A longtime friend, April Poirier, gave me the recipe back in the early 70s. I still have the original recipe, handwritten on a plain recipe card in April’s noticeably neat script.

We’ve both transformed this rich, traditional beauty into cupcakes, mini-cupcakes, layer cakes and sheet cakes for weddings, baby showers, book signings and numerous other gatherings throughout the years. We’ve frosted it with cream cheese frosting, added chocolate chips and drizzled it with a simple glaze; any way you slice it, it’s enjoyed by all. German Apple Cake is a moist and versatile, old-fashioned favorite that celebrates the arrival of autumn and apples.

German Apple Cake

2 large eggs
1-cup salad oil
2-cups granulated white sugar
2-cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1-teaspoon vanilla extract
1-teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups cooking apples, pared and diced
1/2 to 1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
1-12 ounce jar ice cream caramel (optional)

German-apple-cake-powdered-sugarPreheat oven to 350°F. Beat eggs and salad oil until foamy; add sugar, flour, cinnamon, vanilla, soda and salt and mix well. Stir in apples and nuts; stir until well coated. Pour into greased and floured 9″x13″ baking pan. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Serve it plain to apple purists or dress it up with whipped cream, ice cream or caramel sauce (as pictured above).  Below it’s shown simply dusted with powdered sugar.

Yield: 15 delicious servings

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Ask Cynthia a Question – September 30, 2014

Note: This is a repeat question with some modifications from September 2013 because this is the number one question I’m asked about cooking and baking and certainly about apples. Choosing an apple for cooking shouldn’t be scary, look at it as nothing ventured, nothing gained…

cynthia-briggs-2Janet asked:  Some cookbooks simply call for “cooking” apples; they don’t specify what kind of apple should be used in a recipe. How can I determine which apple is best for what I’m making?

My answer:  In my book, Pork Chops & Applesauce, I learned my lesson about not specifying which apple to use for a recipe because people started saying, “I didn’t make the apple dumplings (applesauce, apple cake, etc.) in your book because it didn’t say which type of apple to use.” When I wrote Sweet Apple Temptations I specified in each recipe which apple would work best. Stating the variety of apple to use in a recipe can, however, present problems because there are approximately 2,500 varieties grown in the United States alone and 7,500 varieties grown worldwide. Additionally, what’s available in markets in New York City, Seattle, Los Angeles, Dallas, etc. is vastly different.

My absolute favorite apple for snacking is Ambrosia and for cooking and baking, I like Fuji or Braeburn. I usually purchase Red Delicious or Golden Delicious for salads or snacking. If I have them on hand when I’m making applesauce, I add one or two Delicious varieties in the applesauce along with the hardier apples as a natural sweetener.


The Old Farmer’s Almanac has an informative chart, which states that other than Red and Golden Delicious, nearly all apples can be used for cooking and baking. If you want to make a pie using the Red or Golden Delicious varieties, use a pie recipe specifically calling for Red Delicious apples. My aunt shared her vintage recipe for a cake that specifies Red or Golden Delicious apples. It’s quite delicious, if you’d like a copy, send your request to with “Vintage Apple Cake” in the subject line.

Probably my favorite all-around choice for “cooking apples” is Fuji, Braeburn, Pink Lady, and Honey Crisp, which are good for snacking and/or cooking.  Price is a consideration when buying apples for cooking or baking. Some, like Ambrosia or Honey Crisp, stay high throughout the year, but if you choose, they are suitable for cooking or baking. You can’t miss with this apple chart, it’ll help you choose apples for your cooking or baking project. has an article “All About Apples” that’s quite good. About mid-way through the article is an excellent chart (with big pictures) for finding the apples specific to your locale. Thanks for your question, Janet, and Happy Autumn.

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Easy Apple Slices

apple-slicesCut four “cheeks” off side of apple; cheeks will lie flat on cutting board for easy slicing or dicing.

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Apples of Uncommon Character

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Ball FreshTECH Automatic Jam & Jelly Maker


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Best Oatmeal Cookies

best-oatmeal-cookiesBest Oatmeal Cookies

1-cup brown sugar
1-cup granulated sugar
1 cup shortening
2-well beaten eggs
1-teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-teaspoon salt
1-teaspoon baking soda
3 cups quick cooking oatmeal
1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped

Thoroughly cream shortening and sugars; add eggs and vanilla. Beat well. Add sifted dry ingredients and then stir in oatmeal and walnuts; mix well. Shape into a roll; wrap in waxed paper and chill thoroughly or over night.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Slice chilled cookie rolls into 1/4″ thick slices. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 10 minutes.

Yield: 5 dozen cookies

Recipe comes from the kitchen of Susan Garrison, Mesa, California, which is a vintage recipe originally perfected by her mother.

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