Several people have asked me lately about “that little girl who used to cook with you.”  That girl, my granddaughter Maggie, isn’t so little anymore; she is taller than I am!  She turned fourteen on Saturday.

Maggie lives in Newburgh, Indiana, and recently started her freshman year of high school.  She plays clarinet in the marching band, so a lot of her summer was spent at band camp.  Also in 4-H, Maggie completed several projects this year, one of which involved genealogy.  She loves to read and do crafts.  And whenever she has a chance to do so, cooking with Grammie is still high on her priority list!

Although I love it when I get the chance to have one of my grandchildren work with me in the kitchen, it doesn’t happen very often since none of them live nearby.  Usually, it is one or more of the girls who wants to help – Maggie, Vivian, and Melody all enjoy cooking.  Liam and Lincoln seem to get distracted easily, and Colton is still a bit young.  Of the boys, Elijah is the one who takes more of an interest in being a kitchen helper.  However, all of them like to sample our finished products, and they don’t complain when there is enough left to take home for later.

The recipes I chose for this week have something in common – they both yield “twins.”  One to share and one to keep.  Or one to eat now and another one to freeze for later.  Or two to give away.  Cherry Blossom Coffee Cake is an old favorite, and Twin Carrot Loaves is a recipe I tried last week.  I baked them one afternoon for a pitch-in dinner later that evening.  Then I read the final direction, which said that the flavor was better if the loaves were wrapped and stored for 24 hours before serving.  The carrot loaf I took was enjoyed by those who ate it, including me, and I didn’t notice much difference when I ate some the next day.  It was just as delicious right after being baked as it was a day later.


Cherry Blossom Coffee Cake

1/2 cup milk, scalded

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup butter

2 teaspoons salt

1 package dry yeast (2-1/4 teaspoons)

1/4 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)

2 eggs

4 cups all-purpose flour (may use bread flour)

1/4 cup softened butter, divided

1 (21-ounce) can cherry pie filling, divided

3/4 cup sugar

Combine hot milk, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup butter, and salt; stir until butter melts.  Cool to 105 to 115 degrees.

Combine yeast and water; let stand 5 minutes.  Stir in milk mixture, eggs, and flour; beat until mixture is smooth and leaves sides of bowl.

Turn dough out onto floured surface; knead until dough is smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes).  Place dough in a greased bowl, turning to grease top.  Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 2 to 2-1/2 hours or until doubled in bulk.

Punch down dough, and divide in half.  Cover with towel and let rest 10 minutes.  Roll out half the dough into a 24-by-6-inch rectangle.  Spread 2 tablespoons softened butter down center of dough, leaving a 2-1/2-inch margin on each side.  Spoon half of cherry pie filling over butter, leaving a 1-inch margin at both ends; sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar over cherries. Fold one long side of dough over filling; fold opposite side of dough to overlap; seal edges.

Place one end of pastry, seam side down, in the center of a well-greased 9-inch round baking pan.  Wrap pastry to form a coil.  Flatten dough slightly with your hand.

Starting at the center of coil, make deep slashes 1 inch apart along top of dough.  Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar over dough.  Repeat process with remaining half dough.  Cover and let rise in a warm place (85˚) 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown.  Let cool 15 to 20 minutes before removing from pan.  Yield: 2 (9-inch coffee) cakes.

For bread machine:

Increase milk to 3/4 cup; omit water.  Add milk, sugar, 1/3 cup butter, salt, yeast, eggs, and flour to bread machine in order recommended by manufacturer.  Place on dough only setting.  When cycle is complete, follow recipe directions beginning with “punch down dough.”


Twin Carrot Loaves

2-1/2 cups flour

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

4 large eggs, separated

1-1/4 cups canola oil

2-1/2 cups sugar

1/3 cup hot water

1-1/2 cups grated carrots

1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice


3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup grated carrots

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans.

Sift together first five ingredients.  Set aside.

Separate eggs.  In large bowl, beat oil, sugar, water, and egg yolks with electric mixer until creamy.  While beating, add carrots alternately with dry ingredients.  Stir in nuts.

Beat egg whites with fresh lemon juice until stiff peaks are formed.  Fold half the whites into batter, mixing thoroughly.  Fold in remaining whites gently until no lumps of white are showing.  Divide mixture between prepared pans.  Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until firm when pressed in the center.  Remove from oven; let rest in pans for 15 minutes.  Turn out onto rack to cool slightly before glazing.

For glaze, mix together all ingredients; beat until smooth.  Drizzle over loaves while still warm.

For best flavor, wrap in foil and store at least 24 hours at room temperature before serving.