Sunday, December 31, 2017

Peanut Whirligigs

From the second Grand National Pillsbury Bake Off 1950 Peanut Whirligigs by senior winner Mrs. May Kendrick, Akron, Ohio.

"Fresh roasted peanuts and cream cheese flavor this cooky dough.  It's spread with melted chocolate, rolled like a jelly roll, and sliced to make pinwheel cookies."

For some reason I made all these cookies in the order of how they appeared in the gift box (see below), from left to right.  After making the first cookie, Cherry Winks, and then the multi stepped brownies I started to rethink making all 6 cookies.  I decided to revise my plan into just making three or at most four of the options.  This was getting to be too much.  Since I didn't think I was going to be making the Whirligigs, I used all of my chocolate on the tops of the brownies.  I went on to make the spirtz cookies because normally these are pretty quick and easy.  Then I said "Done."  I couldn't help thinking about how the set was not complete though.  I had wanted so much to take on the challenge and bake the whole box of "satisfaction".  I had to complete the set! So I pushed forward with the Mad Hatters but the Peanut Whirligigs had some improvising because I was out of chocolate. And there was no way I has going to any grocery store on Christmas eve.  I don't do crowds and I knew all that would be left on the shelf would be the fancy Ghirardelli expensive stuff, which is not happening.  What else did I have in my pantry?  Nutella! These cookies were a pain to make because of doing the jelly roll thing and then "tying them off" with string trying to get the pinwheel look to show clearly on each one and hold a circular shape.  I think the only thing going for them is the nutella and I would not make these again...But if you are a completest as I am here is the recipe:   

Recipe Peanut Whirligigs:

So just one last look at how amazing the cookies looked all together with the packaging.  

The fam loved them and oohed and ahhhed! I was really proud of how they turned out.  Even though the Cameo Tea Cookies and the Whirligigs were bland at least they weren't fruitcake!
{These cookies are Grand National Pillsbury Bake Off winners that I baked for Christmas gifts as shown in this Good Housekeeping magazine ad from December 1951.}

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Mad Hatter Tea Cookies

Mad Hatter Cookies from the second Grand National Pillsbury Bake Off 1950 by Junior winner Frances Chunko, Washington, Pennsylvania.

"These cookies really look like hats.  You can decorate them as you choose-with gumdrops, nuts, and confectioner's sugar frosting."

  I decided to decorate them in a Christmas theme rather than the spring bonnet deal they originally had going on (see photo on the very bottom of post).  I made a mini batch of cream cheese icing (cream cheese left over from making the Peanut Whirligig Cookies) and decorated them in holiday sprinkles.

Mad Hatter Tea Cookies Recipe:

These are one of my favorites in the box.  They should have won a big cash prize.  I would definitely make them again but will have to come up with a more fun hat design.   These are just too Easter bonnet for me. Mr. Husband Sir thought they kinda looked like UFOs so maybe I can work with that.

{These cookies are one of six Grand National Pillsbury Bake Off winners that I baked for Christmas gifts as shown in this Good Housekeeping magazine ad from December 1951.}

Friday, December 29, 2017

Cameo Tea Cookies

Cameo Tea Cookies from the second Grand National Pillsbury Bake Off 1950 by Miss Ester Potenburg, Pasadena, California.

"Tender white cookies with a pretty cameo of chocolate on top.  And you mix only one batch of dough."

These cookies have a fun look to them and in theory should be easy to make.  They are just Spritz Cookies but I had a hard time getting the small chocolate designs onto the white cookies to make the 5 dozen it promised, which certainly did not happen. It's also hard to see if the chocolate cookie design (my cookie apparatus has several designs on one disk) is centered well over the white cookie and working on a cookie sheet with an edge adds an additional strain. I only was able to get maybe 3 cookies to look halfway decent and at some point gave up and marbleized the chocolate and white dough together and made mini cookies instead.
I have a couple of other spritz cookie apparatuses that do single designs which may be easier to see around but their design is much larger...I doubt if I would try this one again.  Also the flavor is bland.  And I am not buying a special edge-less cookie way.

They do look really neat if you can get it to work right.  Here's a couple of fun ideas I just pulled from my brain: a red background cookie with a green spritz tree on top or a white background with a blue snowflake on top.  Or make a batch using the odd camel pattern on the top in any colors.  What was that one even intended for?!  I guess camels were a popular animal during the mid-century.  Two of my three spritz contraptions have a camel cookie setting.

{These cookies are one of six Grand National Pillsbury Bake Off winners that I baked for Christmas gifts as shown in this Good Housekeeping magazine ad from December 1951.}

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Starlight Mint Surprise Cookies

The second place prize winner of $10,000, Starlight Mint Surprise Cookies from the first Grand National Pillsbury Bake Off 1949 
 by Miss Laura Rott of Naperville, Illinois

"The idea for this cooky came to Miss Rott when she was given a package of chocolate mints.  A solid chocolate candy wafer flavored with mint is baked right in the cooky itself.  The cookie dough is wrapped around the wafer, and a big walnut is pressed into the top.  Looks just like a plain cooky-but what a luscious surprise when you take a bite!"

These are the high dollar cookies in the box and they really are good, especially warm from the oven!  The original recipe called for Rockwood Milk Chocolate Mint Wafers, which are not around anymore.  The Pillsbury site suggests using Andes mints.  I decided to use mini York Peppermint patties.  They are small, round, and cheaper (a bag of 20 for 1 buck at dollar tree).  I have an ad promoting this "cooky" from Family Circle December 1950 which shows the package of Rockwood Mints: 

The recipe in the magazine suggests using either a walnut or pecan, so I went with pecans!  They are a little bit cheaper than walnuts and I needed pecans for the Mad Hatter cookies also!  I am a thrifty multi-tasking kinda gal!

Starlight Mint Surprise Cookies Recipe
These are one of my favorites in the set.  Possibly my favorite because they were the easiest to make and are quite yummy as well.  The "hardest" part was having to make the dough in advance and refrigerating it.  The only thing I don't care for is the cookie becomes a little bit too firm for my liking a couple of days after baking. I guess the best thing to do is eat them up in the first 12 hours!

{These cookies are one of six Grand National Pillsbury Bake Off winners that I baked for Christmas gifts as shown in this Good Housekeeping magazine ad from December 1951.}

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Missouri Waltz Brownies

Best of Class Senior $1,000 winner Missouri Waltz Brownies from the second Grand National Pillsbury Bake Off 1950.
By Mrs. Natalie Townes of Kirksville, Missouri

"These brownies were favorites of Mrs. Townes when she was a child.  The double frosting of creamy peppermint and melted chocolate make them as rich and good as candy.  Children love them!"

Of all the treats in the box, these are the ones I took the most detours on with the recipe.  As I was realizing the work I had taken on with making 6 different treats I started to think what could I shortcut.  The brownies were the easy volunteer to be made from a mix...but I did use a Pillsbury one!  I made the icing in the middle as directed, almost.  Instead of using peppermint flavoring and green food coloring, I added pulverized candy canes and let it be pink.  I did do the whole candy thermometer thing though with the icing which was a first for me. The other alteration to the recipe I did was putting crushed candy canes on the top, which was an improvement, both with flavor and from a visual aspect.

Missouri Waltz Brownies Recipe

Of all the treats in the box I have gotten the most compliments over the brownies.  They are one of my favorites in the set also.  I am a bit bummed I wasn't able to get the side slice look with the separate layers like the photo on the top.  My icing was a thinner layer and kinda collapsed under the heft of the chocolate on top.  Luckily the crushed candy cane prettied it up!
{These cookies are one of six Grand National Pillsbury Bake Off winners that I baked for Christmas gifts as shown in this Good Housekeeping magazine ad from December 1951.}

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Bake A Gift For Christmas

While reading through my copy of Good Housekeeping December 1951 during the Thanksgiving break I came across this ad suggesting to "Bake a Gift for Christmas" using 6 different winners from the first (1949) and second (1950) Pillsbury Grand National Bake Off.  Since I entered the 48th Bake Off this year it seamed to be destiny that I was to make this boxed cookie buffet.

"There's warm satisfaction in giving a gift that you made with your own hands.  There's satisfaction in receiving such a gift.  This year, wouldn't you like to bake these prize-winning holiday cookies and take this very personal way of saying "Merry Christmas" to the ones you love!"

Yeah, sure, why not. Satisfaction all around.  Baking 6 different cookies sounds like the kind of over the top challenge that I normally take on.   

I also wasn't going to miss a chance to display them as suggested!  Complete with candy cane emblazoned green wrapping paper and red cellophane lining!

From left to right:
1. Cherry Winks 1950 by Mrs. Ruth Derousseau, Rice Lake, Wisconsin. 5,000 winner.
2. Missouri Waltz Brownies1950 by Mrs. Natalie Townes, Kirksville, Missouri. $1,000 winner.
3.  Starlight Mint Surprise Cookies 1949 by Miss Laura Rott, Naperville, Illinois. $10,000 winner.
4.  Cameo Tea Cookies 1950 by Miss Esther Potenberg, Pasadena, California.
5.  Mad Hatter Cookies 1950 by Frances Chunko, Washington, Pennsylvania.
6.  Peanut Whirligigs 1950 by Mrs. May Kendrick, Akron, Ohio.

Three of the cookies are high prize winners totaling $16,000!!!  That's definitely something worth mentioning to the recipient.
I made 3 sets of these for family members and then packaged up some in smaller boxes for friends.

For the large sets for family I decorated the boxes as seen below with a copy of the ad included for viewing pleasure.  Pretty snazzy if I do say so myself!
For the next 5 posts I will be presenting each cookie and it's recipe along with any alterations/tips/ opinions of mine.  (The first cookie, Cherry Winks, is covered in a past post.)

"Bake a Gift for Christmas" next year yourself!
I always suspected that Satisfaction was a cookie!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Santa Yule Log from Blamo!

What rolls down stairs,  alone or in pairs, and over your neighbor's dog?
What's great for a snack?  And fits on your back?

It's Log, Log, Log!

It's Log! It's Log!
It's big, it's heavy, it's wood!
It's Log! It's Log!
It's better than's good!

Everybody wants a Log!
You're gonna love it, Log!
Come on and get your Log!
Everyone needs a Log!

You'll definitely want this log....It's CAKE!  
I decided to try out making a traditional holiday dessert, the Yule Log, since it works so perfectly with our Ren and Stimpy Crock O' Christmas theme this year!

 Here is LOG! naked and X rated!

 Now he is all ready to deliver sticks and twigs to all the mediocre little children of the world!
It's Santa LOG!  I made his attire out of craft foam.

I had read that making these kind of jelly roll cakes are alot of work, which it was, but fun though!  I used this recipe.  My tips and hints: For the bark I dipped a fork in chocolate syrup and dragged it through the icing for a more barkish look.  I did not add the nutella (as the recipe directs) to the filling because I wanted the tree rings to really stand out against the chocolate cake spiral. The top of my cake which is suppose to be the coolest looking part with it's tree rings didn't work out for me.  I apparently went skimpy on the filling at some points because my log didn't get that fun rolly swirly look.  I would recommend after filling the cake to trim the top end right before standing it up which would help to exposed the rings better.  To pretty up the top of my cake I covered it with some of the leftover filling (left over from being too skimpy!), then forked in some of the tan icing for contrast.  Lastly, I drizzled a spiral of chocolate syrup around the top.

I couldn't resist making LOG! act out a traditional Yule Log Cake scene complete with little gnomes noodling around with their pet pig!

Friday, December 22, 2017

West Pole Wreath

This year's Christmas tree theme, Ren and Stimpy's Crock o' Christmas, continued to the front door.  We decided to not include the traditional items of prechewed gum or meat by products... this time.
Instead, it has mini LOG!s and bags of Gritty Kitty Litter.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Crock o' Christmas

Deck the halls with cabbage husks, meat rinds, and dirty diapers!

 I asked PB to help with the Christmas tree theme and ornaments this year.  He came up with A Ren and Stimpy Crock o' Christmas!  So go put on a hat made of garbage and enjoy!

We made hairy chest wigs, sacks of Gritty Kitty Litter, LOG! and....

Magic Nose Goblins!  

We also considered decorating with rubber nipples, cat hair balls, and socks filled with sausages but the store was fresh out.  They were apparently on all the cool kids wish list this year.

We went to a Comic Con earlier in the year and PB got Bob Camp's autograph!

I hope Stinky Wizzleteats fills all of your boots with cole slaw this season!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

A Creature Christmas Encore

 It's a Creature Christmas again this year!  He was the very first theme that PB picked out when he was just a small tot back in 2006.  We kept that same theme for 2007 and 2008 because we loved it so much.   I still have all of the ornaments and we placed them on the small aluminum tree that resides in the dining room this year.   We revisited this theme because earlier in the year we attended a Comic Con where we got to meet Ricou Browning, the underwater creature in all 3 films!!!   He is the only living Universal Monster still with us.  

We got his autograph and placed it under the tree.  Meeting him was truly a highlight of my life.  I love the creature but another reason Ricou Browning is so amazing is his huge involvement with the water stunts and promoting national interest in the Florida Springs (Silver Springs, Weeki Wachee Springs, and several other neighboring ones) during the mid-century.  We love visiting these older vacation destinations and have been working on hitting up most of the Springs over the last couple of years.

At the Con we also attended a panel talk with Ricou Browning.  He told us that he makes more money doing these conventions than he ever did playing the role of the creature!

A few past posts from the depths of the Black Lagoon:

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Hall Decking 2017

 Every flat space in my home whether it's horizontal or vertical is covered in some kind of holiday cheer.  Brought to you by flocked reindeer, aluminum trees,  plastic snowmen, or even Santa many various forms.

 One branch of Santa's clone factory.

 The bubble lights are a'bubbling and Santa is all a'lit!

Shelves are chocked full of glad tidings in the form of discarded holiday detritus!

The "new" little ghetto neighborhood featuring crack houses and a plenitude of squatter slums.

After all that decorating it's time to relax with the cryptozoology crew in the candy cane hot tub.

Previous hall decking posts of past: