Thursday, February 11, 2010

Valentine's Day: Recipes from 1938

Nobody has ever measured, even poets, how much a heart can hold. ~Zelda Fitzgerald

I have a Watkins Cookbook from 1938, which has some really wonderful recipes in it, though many of the products have been discontinued. I've used Watkins vanilla for years now, and love it. I thought I'd share a few dessert and cake recipes from the cookbook with adjustments.

Strawberry Tarts

6 individual pie shells, baked *see note
1 1/2 cups ripe strawberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
4 tbsp. red currant jelly
1 tbsp. cornstarch

Boil sugar and water for 3 minutes. Add jelly and the cornstarch which as been dissolved in a little cold water. Stir constantly until boiling point. Cook over boiling water until it thickens. Cool. Fill pastry shells 2/3 full of sweetened ripe berries, or cook berries in the hot syrup until tender then remove berries and cool. Cover the berries with cold syrup and chill.

Notes: I would suggest buying tart shells that you can prebake then use for this recipe. OR you can cover the bottom of inverted muffin tins with circles of pie crust, prick the crust several times with a fork, and bake at 400 degrees F. for ten minutes or so til lightly browned. Cool. I also think frozen berries would work fine for this recipe. It's asking for sweetened strawberries. Taste them, if they are too tart add a little sugar.

Cinnamon Pudding Sauce

1/3 cup butter
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
3/4 tsp. cinnamon

Cream the butter, slowly beat in the sugar and cinnamon, which have been blended together ahead of time, adding a little of the corn syrup at a time while beating in the sugar mixture. Beat well and chill before serving.

Notes: Drizzle this over waffles, cake, pound cake, or ice cream.

Cocoa Cake with Sour Cream

3 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tbsp. cocoa
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cup thick sour cream
1 tsp. soda
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla

Beat eggs well. Sift cocoa, salt and sugar. Add to eggs. Dissolve the soda in a little hot water, cool slightly and add to wet ingredients. Sift flour 3 times. Add to the mixture alternatively with the sour cream. Add vanilla. Mix thoroughly and bake at 350 degrees F. Bake 30 plus minutes, testing with toothpick or cake tester.

Notes: It doesn't list pans, but the other cake recipes say layer, sheet or loaf pan. I'm sure a 9x13 pan would also work. I use that most of the time. Thick sour cream- don't use lowfat or fat free. They don't seem as thick to me. I would also spray the pans with cooking spray and flour lightly before adding the batter to the pan. Any frosting will work, but here is a simple recipe:

Uncooked Frosting

2 cups powdered sugar
8 tablespoons cocoa
1 tablespoon butter
Enough coffee to blend
1 tsp. vanilla

Dissolve the cocoa in a small amount of hot coffee. Mix all ingredients to a smooth paste. Spread on cake layers.

For more Valentine's Day or entertaining recipes visit OFL:



  1. I love the old cookbooks, especially the small free cookbooks produced by name brand companies. I've got a stack at least 20" tall!

    The Cinnamon Pudding Sauce sounds wonderful!

  2. Love that uncooked frosting! Thank you for sharing.


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