To see more of Grammy's recipes, click on the "Grammy's recipe box" label at the end of this post.
In my continuing exploration in creating vintage recipe dimensional art shadowboxes, I decided today to make up an old recipe out my Grammy's recipe box. This is the first of many recipes I will be making in order to photograph the finished result and then illustrate it in watercolors for the art pieces.
I inherited my Grammy's recipe box at her passing when I was 10 years old. It's a lovely wooden box with her maiden name initials on the front (she didn't marry until her late 20's). The box is full of recipes that span from around 1910 through the 1970's. The older recipes, written in fountain pen, are yellowed with a wonderful aged patina. Some have splatters of batter on them. Some are missing corners or the ink is smudged. Some recipes are actually dated with the name of the person who introduced the recipe, and I was pleased to find a few that belonged to my great-grandmother and must have come from her recipe box.
Very few, if any, of the recipes are illustrated. And I think I've only witnessed a handful of them being made in my presence. Most of them are for foods that I've never seen or tasted. So this culinary and artistic journey proves to be quite an adventure... and today's experience was no exception.
I decided to start with the handwritten recipe for "Chocolate Creams". They seemed simple enough. But as I have discovered with many of the recipes in the box, the measurements on the ingredients are a bit vague--like exactly how much confectioners' sugar goes into the "cream" to make it a stiff paste. As Hubby pointed out, one was probably supposed to learn how to make it from watching someone else do it again and again. So I had to experiment a bit and tweak a little.
The results are these decadent candy delights that feel "sinful" to even have in the kitchen. Hubby did try some of the "oops" candies and deemed them officially "sinful" in every way that a chocolate-covered almond and vanilla flavored sugar-paste ball can be. Of course I had to taste as I mixed to get the flavoring just right. All the recipe said was "6 drops of flavoring" (see what I mean by vague). The tasting alone gave me a sugar buzz that I'm still feeling as I write this over an hour later.
But I have to admit that the many of the finished candies are promising subjects for the watercolor illustrations I'll be painting. I'll be sharing the finished art piece here as soon as I have it illustrated and constructed. In the meantime, if you want to see the other completed pieces that make up the debut collection of my vintage recipe dimensional art, just click here.
This is how the recipe is written (I did some tweaking that I'll note after):
1 egg white
2 T cold water
Confectioners sugar ()
6 drops flavoring
1/4 lb. sweet chocolate
Beat the egg and water together only til mixed; add the sugar til the ingredients form a stiff paste (about 1-1 1/2 cups). Work in flavoring with sugar; then form into small balls. Grate the chocolate and put in a cup over hot water to melt. Dip the balls into it one at a time; using a fork for the dipping. Lay separately on waxed paper and, if necessary, dip a second time.
Now for my tweaks and tips:
- It took more than 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar to create a paste that could be rolled. I just kept adding until it was stiff enough then rolled the centers using powdered sugar to keep it from sticking.
- I used almond extract AND vanilla as a flavoring and it took way more than just 6 drops to fit my taste.
- I used semi-sweet but I think that next time I'll use an even darker chocolate since the centers are so sweet that the darker chocolate would work. It took more than only a 1/4 lb. to have a deep enough bowl of . Once I had a deep enough reservoir the dipping was really easy with a fork, and it only took one dip to coat the centers nice and thick.
- I suppose you could flavor the centers with about anything that you can think of. You could even color the center paste to make it different too.
- These need to be kept refrigerated (especially in warmer weather). I had some little Wilton's treat bags that I packaged them in to give away to friends.