Now that flour is flying through the air in my kitchen and butter is getting seriously creamed, I am in full holiday baking mode.
You know from my blog and other social media accounts, most of what I post are entrees, side dishes and everyday food (Instagram @collardgreenscaviar).
Desserts are not my mainstay, but I have to admit I have a repertoire of confectionery offerings that I’ve mastered.
During Christmas is when I roll them out and bask in baker’s joy.
Yes, I can be a bit of a baker. It’s part of my Southern roots. I’ve had years of experience, nearly 40 to be honest.
When I was a young woman who was high on energy and low on cash, I baked all of my Christmas gifts for my family. I’d packed the baked goodies in decorated hat boxes because back then Broadway Department Store (now known as Macy’s) would give them away for free. And free fit my budget just fine.
What were some of the desserts that where piled into those coveted hat boxes? An array of my favorites: Lemon 7up Pound Cake, Mini Morsel Pound Cake, Almond Cookies with powdered sugar, Pecan Tart (thanks to Martha Stewart pie of the month calendar I got as gift in 1980), Deep Dish Sweet Potato Pie, Hello Dolly Bars, and sometimes Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies dipped in dark chocolate.
When I finally got a real job that afforded me some “disposable income,” I flipped my skirt tail with joy. Now I could finally afford to buy my family proper Christmas gifts. But oh no, they wouldn’t have it. All they wanted was that hat box of goodies.
So to this very day, the tradition continues. Oh I’ve upped my game a bit. No longer do I pack the annual delights in a hat box. I don’t think they exist anymore. Instead each year I buy a series of various dinner plates (which is part of the gift) and pile the goodies onto them. I wrap them in cellophane and finish with a holiday bow.
One of my favorite recipes in the box or on the plate is the Mini Morsel Toll House Pound Cake. Back in the day, the recipe was featured on the back of the Mini Toll House Chocolate Chips bag. Today, it’s no longer there. In fact, it’s not even on their website anymore.
Why do I love this cake so much? It’s moist, rich and not airy or fluffy. It is a substantial cake, one that is perfect with your morning cup of coffee, and the ying to your yang when you top it with ice cream (I prefer butter pecan).
Sometimes I dust it with powdered sugar, and sometimes I don’t. But no matter how I finish it, it’s always a treat that makes me smack my lips.
I want to wish you all a beautiful holiday season, and also encourage you to think about adding this classic old school recipe to your holiday baking list. Now, get baking!
*Cook’s note: Know your oven. I have had to make adjustments in the temperature and baking times over the years based on my oven. For the past 15 years, I have had two electric ovens. I’ve learned that when using my oven, the baking time is the same, but the temperature was adjusted down to 325 degrees Fahrenheit for the older oven. Now it is adjusted to 300 degrees Fahrenheit for the new oven I purchased two years ago. I would suggest if you have a gas oven, that you set it at 325 degrees Fahrenheit and bake it for 70 minutes, then insert a tooth pick to see if comes clean (I use a wooden skewer) and adjust cooking time from there. This will help prevent over browning.
Mini Morsel Toll House Pound Cake
This moist and delicious pound cake will be a must have at your next holiday gathering.
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
3⁄4 cup evaporated milk
1 bag of mini morsel chocolate chips
confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
- Preheat oven to *350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Grease and flour a 10 inch tube/Bundt pan (I use a non-stick flour cooking spray).
- In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. set aside.
- In a separate bowl beat the sugar and butter with mixer (I used an electric hand mixer) until creamy, then add the vanilla.
- Beat in eggs, one at a time, until each one is incorporated.
- Gradually mix in the flour mixture, alternating with milk. Then mix batter (about 1 minute) with mixer.
- Stir in the chocolate chips.
- Pour batter into grease and floured pan. (Note: the batter will be thick)
- Bake 70-80 minute or until toothpick, when inserted, comes out clean.
- Cool 10 minutes, loosen sides and invert onto cake plate, cover with lid until cake is room temperature.
(this will make for a moist cake). When there is no more moisture on top of cake, dust it with the confectioner sugar.