Desserts from the Growler Family

DessertJAFrom our families to yours—here are five hallowed dessert recipes, straight from the tattered recipe cards and familial histories of The Growler’s editorial team.

Mary Morris’ Whiskey Cake
John Garland

“This is a staple cake in my family. To me, nothing tastes so good after a holiday meal than a tall mug of strong coffee (with a little dose of amaretto) and a slice of this cake. The syrup gives it a thin, crackly sweet exterior, and the pudding mix keeps it moist and rich inside. I also love that this recipe is decidedly retro. If your foodie predilections won’t allow you to stoop to good old Duncan Hines, I’m sure you could assemble the cake mix from scratch and figure a workaround for the instant pudding. But I’m no professional baker. I’m sticking to a tried-and-true formula that my family has been devouring for decades.” – John Garland

Whiskey Cake
1 box golden cake mix
1 box (1 oz) instant vanilla pudding
4 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
7/8 cup milk

1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 ounces, plus 1/4 cup bourbon.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Beat the first five ingredients with 2 ounces of bourbon for 5 minutes in an electric mixer. Toss pecans in the flour, shake off excess, and add them to the batter. Pour the batter into a bundt pan that’s been well greased with shortening. Bake for 50 minutes.

Melt together the butter and sugar, and mix in the remaining ¼ cup bourbon off the heat. With a skewer, punch holes in the warm cake and pour the bourbon-butter syrup all over. Allow the cake two hours to cool at room temperature before unmolding. Serve with vanilla bean ice cream.

New Fudge Cake, from “Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book” (© 1950) 
Ellen Burkhardt

“My Norwegian grandma wrote “Very Good” next to it, which is saying something.” – Ellen Burkhardt

New Fudge Cake
1-7/8 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup soft shortening
1-1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted
1 cup walnuts, chopped

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add shortening, ¾ cup milk, vanilla, eggs and beat together for 2 minutes. Add remaining milk and melted chocolate and beat for 2 more minutes. Stir in walnuts.

Grease and flour two 9″ layer pans or one 13×9″ oblong pan. Pour batter into prepared pan(s). Batter will be thin. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 min (layer pans) or 35-45 min (oblong pan) until cake tests done. Cool. Finish with fudge frosting.

Dutch Apple Pie
Keith Grauman

“Never has a pie that’s this easy to make been this delicious. The crumb topping instead of a top crust adds great texture and flavor.” – Keith Grauman

Dutch Apple Pie
6 cups apples, sliced (tart apples are best)
1 cup sugar, divided in half
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 prepared pie crust
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup butter

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Mix apples with ½ cup sugar and cinnamon and place in prepared pie crust. Mix ½ cup sugar and flour, and cut in butter until crumbly. Pat the butter mixture on top of the apples and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 40 minutes. If the topping starts to burn, cover loosely with tin foil.

Black Bottom Cookies
Brian Kaufenberg

Black Bottom Cookies
3/4 cup cold mashed potatoes (plain, no butter, milk, etc.)
4 cups powdered sugar
4 cups coconut, finely chopped
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dark chocolate chips, semi-sweet if you prefer

Mix first five ingredients and roll into balls an inch or so in diameter. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour. Melt the chocolate and dip each ball to cover about the bottom third of the ball. Set on a tray lined with wax paper and chill again until ready to eat, if you can wait that long.

Chocolate Cream Pie
Joseph Alton

“My grandmother always said her mother-in-law was a pain in the ass, but she respected her chocolate pie recipe enough to pass it down through the generations.” – Joseph Alton

Chocolate Pie
2 ounces chocolate, melted
3-1/2 tablespoons flour
1 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 whole egg plus 2 egg yolks
2 cups cream (or half-and-half)
1 teaspoon vanilla
prepared pie crust

Mix flour, sugar, and salt together. Beat egg and extra yolks together lightly and add to sugar mix. Scald the cream and temper the sugar mix by stirring in small amounts of the warmed cream so the egg doesn’t cook. Once tempered, stir the whole mix into the cream, stirring constantly until it begins to thicken (an electric mixer is best). Add chocolate and stir until thick before adding the vanilla. Let mixture cool slightly and pour into a baked pie crust. Let it set in the fridge before serving.


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