Thank you Mrs. Hill

The other week I found myself busily searching my closets and drawers for a gift – any gift – for the office Yankee Swap. I eventually found a little something, but in the meantime I came across a box full of antique cookbooks.

I used to be quite the collector. I have about fifty or more dating from the 1950s all the way back to the late 1800s. I will admit that I have rarely even cracked them open let alone cracked an egg as per their instruction. But, since procrastination seems to be my middle name these days, I perused the pages of Cakes, Pastry and Desert Dishes by Janet M. Hill, published in 1916. The thought of what was happening in the world in 1916 could send me down a whole road of astonished amazement. The thought of who bought this book in 1916, what they cooked from it and who they cooked it for is another avenue of dizzy daydreaming I will not go into. We’ll just say that my interest was peaked and I decided to try Mrs. Hill’s tuition on.

There are some funny little things one has to get used to like the all-so-clear “mix in usual manner” or informative “bake in moderate oven until a pal amber shade”, Mrs. Hill and I have been getting along quite well. I even used her recipes for fudge cake and marshmallow frosting for a friend’s birthday lunch. Below is my adjusted and adapted recipe for the frosting, be aware it is a little involved but you’ll be pleased with the results which are amazingly yummy.

Chocolate Mocha Marshmallow Frosting

1/4 lb. marshmallows

1/4 c. butter

1/3 c. chocolate chips

4 T. strong coffee (I used 4 T. hot water to 1 T. instant coffee)

1 t. vanilla

3 c. confectioners sugar

3 T. heavy cream

1. In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan over medium heat, melt the marshmallows, butter, chips, coffee and vanilla.

2. When melted, remove from heat and bean in (with electric mixer) the sugar a 1/2 c. at a time, adding cream when the mixture gets too stiff. (Add cream 1 T. at a time)

3. Apply to cake while the frosting is still warm. As it cools, it will take on a stiff, truffle-like consistency that would be nearly impossible to spread.


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