Thursday, August 29, 2013

Old School Pastry

Our new home for Old School Pastry! Come join the fun - or

Renee Shelton, Creator of
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Monday, August 12, 2013

Original Girl Scout S'more Recipe from 1927: Some More

Girl Scouts live at our house. Therefore, we know all about s'mores. What are s'mores? A melted chocolatey-marshmallowey confection housed between two layers of graham crackers. That's how we serve them, anyway. But is that the 'original' way to make and serve s'mores? The first published recipe was from a 1927 Girl Scout guide Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts, published by Girl Scouts, Incorporated.

"Some More"
  • 8 Sticks
  • 16 graham crackers
  • 8 bars plain chocolate (any of the good plain brands broken in two)
  • 16 marshmallows
Toast the marsmallows over the coals to a crisp gooey state and then put them inside a graham cracker and chocolate bar sandwich. The heat of the marshmallow between the halves of the chocolate bar will melt the chocolate a bit. Though it tastes like "some more" one is really enough.

And yes, just one of these is enough for me, although the kids could stuff themselves with these treats.


Renee Shelton, Creator of
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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Fudge Four o'Clocks: Fudge Cookie Bar Recipe


Fun little recipe from a 10 cent find: Fudge Four O'Clocks from The Cookie Book. It uses unsweetened chocolate squares and bakes up similar to brownies. Top with a fluffy vanilla frosting and lightly toasted mammoth pecan halves for full retro effect.

Fudge Four O'Clocks


  • 2 squares (2 ounces) unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup chopped pecans


  1. Melt chocolate and shortening together in a bain marie over low heat.
  2. Beat eggs until thick, and add in sugar gradually. Continue beating eggs until light.
  3. Add in chocolate mixture and mix until well combined.
  4. Sift the dry ingredients together and add to the egg mixture alternately with the milk.
  5. Stir in the chopped pecans.
  6. Spread in two 8x8 baking pans that have been well greased.
  7. Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven until the batter tests done, about 20 minutes.
  8. Cut into bars when cool.

Renee Shelton, Creator of
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Friday, May 31, 2013

Foodie Friday: How to Prepare Whale Steaks (Recipe from 1927)

Apparently in 1927, whale was still eaten because in Recipes for Fish and Seafood by the United States Fisheries Association (recipes 'approved by Good Housekeeping Institute) there are recipes for whale. This unusual recipe for Foodie Fried is below, a simmered whale steak dish. I loved this little book, and there are many recipes for the normal fish and seafood we'd commonly find at the market, along with whale, frogs, conchs, abalone, skate or ray, and turtle or terrapin. Interesting collection of recipes.

Here is how to prepare basic whale, as people did it in the 1920s. Apparently, whale meat was incredible tough as the recipe calls for simmering the whale meat for 2 hours or until tender.

Whale - Whale meat is coming more and more into favor as people are realizing its qualities. It is generally in the market as steaks. These can be prepared as given below or the cooked meat can be minced and used in all fish or sea-food recipes.

[Whale] Steak

3 or 4 pounds of whale
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup oil
2 onions
1 bay leaf
1 pint of boiling water
Salt and pepper

Cut garlic, rub meat with one, sticking the rest into the meat, season. Heat oil and sear meat on all sides. Add onions, bay leaf, boiling water and cover tightly. Simmer until meat is tender (about two hours). Thicken gravy and serve. Serves six.

Book Info:
  • Recipes for Fish and Seafood: Covering the Entire Industry; by the Cooking Department at the USFA.
  • United States Fisheries Association; 1927
  • Hardcover, 98 pages

Disclosure: This book came from my library of cookbooks at home.

Renee Shelton, Creator of
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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Checking Sugar Stages Using The Cold Water Test Chart

Kitchen thermometers are about as common as skewers and are now in just about any supermarket's kitchen supplies aisle. But what if you were making candy say 80 years ago and they weren't so common, or more expensive than your budget allowed? Well, you'd still make candy; you'd just use the The Cold Water Test.

The Cold Water Test is a way to test the stages of sugar, which is indicated by the harness of the sugar when dropped into a cup of cold water. A very long time ago, I used the same test in the kitchen, not because I didn't have a candy thermometer available, but I didn't have enough of the them. When you are making several things all at once, or when you are staging several batches of whatever needs hard sugar, knowing what the sugar syrups look and feel like at their respective stages is very important.

The Cold Water Test Chart

Begin with a boiled sugar syrup. Gather a 2 cup clear glass liquid measure (such as Pyrex) and fill it half way with cold water. Not iced water, just cold water. Pour a teaspoon of the hot syrup into the cup of water and pick up the resulting sugar ball in the water. The table below tells you the approximate temperature reached by the look of the ball. You will notice as the sugar boils, it produces a thicker product with a darker color, too, as it cooks and continues to cook.
  • Soft Ball Stage - 236°F - 238°F
    You'll get a soft ball that you can lift from the water.
  • Medium Soft Ball Stage - 238°F - 240°F
    You'll get a soft ball that you can actually hold its shape for about a half a minute before losing it.
  • Firm Ball Stage - 242°F - 245°F
    You'll get an actual firm ball of sugar that will hold it's shape for several minutes.
  • Hard Ball Stage - 245°F - 254°F
    You'll get a hard, stiff ball that can be pressed and molded with your fingers.
  • Light Crack - 264°F - 270°F
    You'll get a ball or clump of sugar that is hard enough to clink on the rim.
  • Medium Crack - 270°F - 280°F
    When the sugar is dropped from a spoon into the cold water will actually thread in the water, and is very hard and strong.
  • Hard Crack - 282°F - 290°F
    This produces the hardest sugar clump in the water, but it is also the most brittle. 

Image above of a candy thermometer in sugar syrup is credited to Lindsay Hickman via Wikimedia Commons through a Creative Commons License.

Renee Shelton, Creator of
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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

How to Make Coffee: Large Recipe Using Muslin Filter

How to Make Coffee for 40 the Old-Fashioned Way

This recipe is from the '30s. It's a great way to try out that old muslin coffee filter you spotted at the swap meet.

Things You'll Need:
  • 1 pound desired ground coffee
  • 1 muslin bag or filter that will hold twice the amount of coffee
  • 2 gallons of filtered water
  • Large pot to hold everything
  1. Fill the large pot with 2 gallons of the filtered water. Bring to a boil.
  2. Place the ground coffee in the muslin bag or filter and drop into the boiling water.
  3. Cover pot, and reduce heat to a very low simmer.
  4. Let stand about 6 to 10 minutes. Remove the bag and serve the hot coffee to your guests.
This recipe is adapted from My New Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, 25th printing 1938.

Renee Shelton, Creator of
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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Ida Bailey Allen's Modern Cookbook Cookies

These recipes are from Ida Bailey Allen's Modern Cook Book (or Mrs. Allen on Cooking, Menus Service) from the early 1920s. Those not familiar with Mrs. Allen, she was to America then what Martha Stewart is to America now. She was the first homemaking giant. She hosted her own radio show, was an editor for Good Housekeeping, had written over a dozen publishd cookbooks, lectured during WWII, and according to the Antique Trader, she was the first female food host with her show "Mrs. Allen and the Chef".

The book I have of hers contains 1,000 pages of recipes, tips, and household planning ideas. The last 25 or so pages contains nothing but advertising, but she clerverly stuffs the adverts with recipes, too.

Try three recipes from this book, on the new Old School Pastry blog.


Photo of Ida Bailey Allen from the book, Modern Cook Book.

"Collecting classic cookbooks: Repasts from the past." Patricia Edwards. Antique Trader. August 29, 2009. Article retrieved February 28, 2013.

Renee Shelton, Creator of
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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Puddings: Thanksgiving Pudding

Here is an old pudding to share. The recipe is for a baked pudding rather than the traditional, moist steamed puddings often served during the holidays, called Thanksgiving Pudding.

It's from Practical Cooking and Serving from 1902. It was written by Janet McKenzie Hill.

Thanksgiving Pudding
1 1/2 cups of cracker-crumbs
1 cup of sugar
1/2 a cup of molasses
1/2 a teaspoonful of salt
1/2 a teaspoonful of mace
1/2 a teaspoonful of cinnamon
1 pound of raisins
6 eggs
5 cups of milk
1/4 a cup of butter
Scald the milk and pour over the cracker-crumbs and butter; let stand a few moments, then ad the molasses and spices, the eggs beaten with the sugar, and the raisins stoned. Bake in a moderate oven about four hours. Stir several times during the first hour, to keep the raisins from settling to the bottom of the dish.

Renee Shelton, Creator of
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