Monthly Archives: March 2009

Kitchen Magic


The magician had a book

And the book was titled

The Service Cookbook


Ida Bailey Allen”

And I knew that this book

Contained all the secrets

Of the Kitchen Magic.

I held my breath,

As I opened the pages

Many of them stained

And darkened and shredded

From use,

But I knew

It contained the Magician’s Secrets;


+baking powder+ salt+raisins+milk=

Old Fashioned Raisin Cookies


Sugar+milk+baking soda+additional sugar+





Molasses+ sugar+butter+salt=

Indian Pudding

Although I was a very young child,

I studied the Magician’s book, determined to

Learn all its secrets,

And when the opportunity presented itself

I stole the book of

Kitchen Magic.

Now it was mine

And I could perform

All the magical things

That happen only in

The kitchen.

And I did.

–Sandra Lee Smith

March 18, 2009

True story except for stealing the book-it was my

mother’s & she actually gave it to me. But the rest

is true and it was the first cookbook I learned to

cook from.


Favorite chocolate chip cookies

First let me preface this by telling you my favorite chocolate chip cookie story. Picture this: I was living in Florida. My next door neighbor, Lyn, was an RN nurse in critical care. Wonderful nurse, not so wonderful cook. I tried to share some knowledge with her.

One day she came over and said “MY chocolate chip cookies don’t turn out like yours.

Mine always burn on the bottom”. I said “Lyn! That’s the recipe on the bag of Nestle Toll House semi-sweet morsels…it’s foolproof” but she maintained they always burned so I went over to her house to watch her bake a batch. Well, what she was doing was cramming two cookie sheets side by side on the same rack. The heat couldn’t circulate and consequently, the bottoms burned. So now I tell anyone I am sharing my cookie recipes with – not to crowd the cookie sheets; if you are baking two cookie sheets at the same time, then I like to transfer the cookie sheets – top to bottom, bottom to top, and turn them around – about halfway through so they will bake evenly. And always use a timer so they don’t overbake. And we like a lot of chips in the batter so I always dump in a lot of extra chocolate chips. (My sons don’t like their chocolate chip cookies to have “ingredients” so whenever I am baking for them – all the batter contains is chips. No nuts, raisins or other ingredients. Personally I like a lot of ingredients, especially pecans.)

Original Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 ¼ cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

¾ cup granulated sugar

¾ cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 large eggs

2 cups (12 oz) Nestle Toll House semi-sweet chocolate morsels

1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven 375 degrees

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts.

Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake 9-11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

*Ok, I bake them at 350 degrees about 10 minutes and don’t add nuts. And I use parchment paper on my cookie sheets all the time.

Sandy’s fudgy wudgy brownies

This is really easy. Also known as saucepan brownies.

You will need:

4 squares of unsweetened chocolate

1 cup butter

2 cups granulated sugar

3 eggs, beaten

2 tsp vanilla

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Mix butter and chocolate in pan and melt. Remove from heat and let

cool. Add sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract. Mix. Add flour.

Pour into greased & floured 9″ square baking pan.

Bake 50 minutes  in pre heated oven at 350 degrees. Cool completely before cutting.

Oh How I Love Clipping Old Recipes…


Oh, how I love old recipe clippings

Spattered and tattered

And yellowed with age;

Newspaper clippings and

Scribbled receipts,

On the back of an envelope,

Or the edge of a page.

I love all their names,

How they roll off my tongue,

Names just as sweet

As a song being sung.

Granny’s beet relish,

And Maude’s apple pie,

Aunt Becky’s favorite

Caraway rye.

Church-social brownies,

Miz Carr’s piccalilli,

And here’s a corn relish

We got from Aunt Tilly.

Uncle Jim’s homemade chili

Aunt Ann’s apple strudel,

Sister Sue’s one and only

Best noodle kugel.

I hold in my hand

A bit of the past,

And somewhere beyond

I hear someone ask

“May I have this receipt

for this great cherry pie?

My husband just loves it – and

Oh, so do I!”

And gladly she copies

It down for her guest

On a small piece of paper

That comes to rest

Inside of a cookbook

Or shoebox of snippings,

Spattered and tattered

Recipe clippings.

-Sandra Lee Smith

(*This was previously published in a recipe newsletter I used to subscribe to, called Fare Share…but it was B.C. (before computers) and I have no idea what year. Maybe the late 1980s)

Baking Sugar Cookies

As I write this I am defrosting sugar cookie dough to make up giant egg shaped cookies for the kids to decorate for Easter.

My grandchildren, sometimes their friends, sometimes my sister’s children–decorate oversize cookies several times a year (Christmas, Easter, Halloween). I have acquired a lot of different season  sprinkles” to go onto the cookies, and make up large batches of sugar cream  frosting. But now is probably as good a time as any to confess that the sugar cookies are usually “cheater” cookies–I buy refrigerated sugar cookie dough and doctor it with additional flour, to make a stiffer dough (so

The cookies don’t spread too much) and then roll it out and cut out the shapes. The children like to cut out the shapes themselves but that is sometimes more mess than I am prepared to deal with unless it’s one child at a time working with me in the kitchen. Ok, so maybe it’s not cheating so much as it is cutting corners. I DO make my own from-scratch butter cream frosting. And once that’s slathered on the baked cookies, who knows the difference?

But if you can’t stand the thought of using refrigerated cookie dough, Here is an old tried-and-true favorite cookie dough that I have been making for decades (before the refrigerated stuff came along):


1 cup butter (2 sticks) – softened

2 cups granulated sugar

4 eggs, well beaten

4 cups all purpose flour

1/8 tps each nutmeg & cinnamon

Cream butter, gradually add sugar; beat with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs. Sift together dry ingredients and stir into creamed mixture. Store overnight in covered container. Roll dough very thin (I roll it out between 2 sheets of wax paper). Cut into shapes. Bake at 350Degrees 1-13 minutes. Makes 16 dozen small cookies.

*I always use parchment paper on the cookie sheets; this eliminates ever needing to butter the cookie sheets. Always cool cookies on wire racks.When completely cool, they can be stacked in plastic storage containers.

Welcome to my new blog..

Trust me, I don’t have a clue what I am doing. Wendy saidI needed a blog. My name is Sandy & I love to cookbaked, fool around in the kitchen (strictly culinary)& I have been collecting cookbooks for over 40 years.

I wrote cookbook reviews and food related articlesfor a newsletter called the Cookbook Collectors Exchangefor about 11-12 years before “discovering” Wendy & INKY TRAIL News, where I do a column called “In the Kitchen”.  I love anything and everything that is food related.

Also enjoy writing…and reading.

Hope someone else out there enjoys these things too.