A ‘to-die-for” favorite

I think just about every family has one — that go-to dessert that is used to celebrate special occasions.

In my post-holiday email correspondence with Barb Atchison about the recipes she submitted to my mom’s “Mixing & Musing” column many years back, Barb sent an “addendum” about her family’s love of the Best Ever Éclair Cake recipe from DotMom’s cookbook.

“This recipe has been such a family favorite that when our son Joel, a 1999 graduate of WHS, graduated from high school, he asked for this cake instead of a decorated cake for his high school graduation party,” writes Barb, noting that she made 10 of them for that event. “This Christmas was the first time my grandkids (5, 4 and 2 years old) had it, and it was a resounding success. There is no more favorite dessert at the Atchison house than Éclair Cake … It is ‘to die for’ good.”

I guess that endorsement calls for a reprint of the recipe. Perhaps it will become a family favorite for some other households.

Best-Ever Éclair Cake

Butter the bottom of a 9- by 13-inch pan. Line with whole graham crackers.

Mix two 3¾-ounce packages instant French vanilla pudding with 3½ cups milk; beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Blend in one 8-ounce container Cool Whip. Spread half this mixture over crackers.

Arrange another layer of graham crackers, then another layer of the pudding mixture, and finally a third layer of crackers. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

Combine 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted, with 2 tablespoons white corn syrup, 2 teaspoons vanilla, 3 tablespoons soft butter, 1½ cup confectioner’s sugar and 3 tablespoons milk. Spread frosting over top layer of crackers. Refrigerate at least 24 hours. Improves with age.

Barb also sent along another favorite recipe for a chocolate cake, noting that she uses powdered buttermilk from a can in it.

“I blend 4 tablespoons buttermilk powder with the dry ingredients, then use 1 cup water when adding the liquids in place of the liquid buttermilk the recipe calls for.

“The recipe makes a very moist cake that just gets moister the longer it sets. However it is so good that it doesn’t usually last that long!”

Barb’s Easy Very Moist Chocolate Cake

Blend 2 cups flour, 2 cups sugar, ½ cup cocoa, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon soda.

Add 1 cup buttermilk, 1 cup oil, 2 eggs (reserve 1 white for frosting) and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Mix well, then add 1 cup hot coffee. Beat until well-blended. Batter will be very runny.

Grease and flour a 9- by 13-inch pan. Pour batter in pan and bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.

Cool and frost with the following: Blend 3 tablespoons softened butter, 1 egg white, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 2 to 2½ cups powdered sugar. Add a few drops of milk, if necessary, to get spreading consistency.

The final recipe of the day is by special request from Maree Rose of Worthington. In last week’s “Looking Back” column on the reminiscing page, Maree spotted a mention of a recipe that was printed in DotMom’s column 10 years ago, and called to see if I could find it. I had some doubts about being able to locate it, but a quick search through the Daily Globe archives did turn it up. It was originally credited to Gloria Hibma of rural Worthington.

Microwave Meat Loaves

 In a bowl combine 1 beaten egg, 1/3 cup milk, 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce, ½ cup crushed packaged stuffing, and 1 tablespoon onion soup mix. Over this mixture crumble 1¼ pounds lean ground beef and mix well.

Shape into five loaves; arrange loaves around edge of a microwave safe dish. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 6 to 7 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees. Cover and let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Cover top of loaves with ¼ cup barbecue sauce.

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