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Kitchen Mailbox: Readers contribute timely holiday treats

Thursday, December 02, 1999

By Arlene Burnett, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

During the holiday season, we cook and bake, bake and cook. Cookies in all shapes and sizes will be placed on festive dishes along with steaming platters of food. Today and for the next three weeks, Kitchen Mailbox will share holiday recipes from our readers for delicious cookies, cakes, appetizers and even punch.

Our first recipe today, Pumpkin Pound Cake, fits the bill for someone who can't spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Pumpkin Pound Cake takes about 5 minutes to prepare. The ingredients (only 4) are basic, which means no running from store to store hunting for exotic ingredients. This pound cake turned out very moist and dense. Topping off this cake with a sprinkling of confectioners' sugar makes it an impressive sight.

Our next recipe, Chocolate Drop Cookies, will make even the I-don't-like-chocolate people grab for another cookie. These cookies are rich in chocolate flavor, and while the walnuts add to the great taste it's the chocolate frosting that completes this cookie.

Sofia Prodonovich of Germantown, Tenn., thought our readers would enjoy this super-easy recipe.

Pumpkin Pound Cake

1 box pound cake mix
2 beaten eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 cup canned pumpkin, see note

Combine all ingredients, beat on medium speed for three minutes -- pour into lightly greased bundt pan or angel food cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Cool cake completely; sprinkle with powdered sugar. We added a dollop of whipped cream.

Note: The recipe didn't specify plain canned pumpkin or pumpkin pie filling, so we used the former. If we were to make this recipe again, we'd use pumpkin pie filling for the added spices.

Here's a chocolate cookie recipe sent in by Diane Tagliaferro of Bethel Park.

Chocolate Drop Cookies

1 beaten egg
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup shortening
2 (1-ounce) squares unsweet- ened chocolate, melted
1 2/3 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sweet or sour milk, see note
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

In mixing bowl, beat egg until light, add brown sugar and mix well. Add vanilla.

Melt chocolate, then add shortening and stir until shortening is melted. Combine with egg and sugar and mix well.

Sift flour with salt and soda and add alternately with milk. Add nuts. Drop small portions (we used a heaping teaspoon) on greased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake in 350-degree oven for 10-12 minutes. While still warm, frost with Butter Cocoa Frosting (recipe below).

Yield: About 2 1/2 to 3 dozen cookies.

Note : Sweet milk is regular milk -- sour milk is buttermilk. You can make your own sour milk by adding 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to 1/2 cup regular milk.

Butter Cocoa Frosting

1/3 cup melted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

Blend all ingredients, adding sufficient confectioners' sugar to make a spreading consistency (we used all 1 1/2 cups of confectioners' sugar).


Russell N. Schmidt of Mt. Lebanon would like a recipe for mushroom and crab meat stuffing.

Everyone remembers Rhea's Bakery, right? Prudence A. Carney of New Kensington remembers not only the bakery but its cheesecake and how "light and fluffy" it was. If anyone has this or a similar recipe, Prudence would be grateful.

Linda Corbett of Brookline would like a recipe for thumbprint cookies with icing in the middle.

Barb Kraus of Carrick would like a recipe for raisin pie similar to her mother's recipe. The only recipes she can find call for only 1 cup raisins. Her mother's recipe called for 3 cups of raisins. Can anyone help?

Elvira Pollock of Mt. Lebanon would like the recipe for Eadie's German potato soup and chicken salad.

Lynn Ireland of Aliquippa would like a recipe for deep-fried wonton with cheese filling.

If you want to answer a recipe request from a reader or are looking for a recipe yourself, please write to Kitchen Mailbox, c/o Arlene Burnett, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222, or e-mail to aburnett@post-gazette.com. Please include a name, neighborhood and a daytime phone number on all correspondence. All recipes are kitchen-tested by the Post-Gazette.

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