14 April 2018

Femininity Friday: Vintage Cooking--Apricot Nut Bread

Courtesy of Microsoft

Dear Ladies,

One of my hobbies is collecting and cooking from vintage cookbooks, and I have amassed about fifty or so over the years.

I find it somewhat humorous that the cookbook from which I learned to cook--Betty Crocker's Cookbook, 1969 edition--is now considered vintage.  The feeling is akin to hearing a pop song from one's teen years playing on the "oldie" or "classic rock" station.  

But I digress.

This past week, as I continued culling and reorganizing my belongings, I found one of my smaller collection pieces tucked into a box of general books.  Simply...Good Cooking: 101 Recipes to Enjoy and Share was part of a sub-genre of vintage cookbooks published by product companies, which heavily featured the foods manufactured by the company in the recipes.  The booklet lacks a copyright date, but my guess would be late 1950s/early 1960s.  Fair use is claimed as the booklet has been out of print for at least fifty years and because the recipe is being used as instruction and critique.

Over the next few weeks, I plan to share one recipe each Friday, one from each section of the cookbook, along with my update of and commentary about the recipe.  I hope that you enjoy my humble effort and that my "little woman-to-woman ideas" help you.

Agape always,

The Original Apricot Nut Bread

3/4 cup boiling water
1 cup dried apricots, chopped
3 cups unsifted white flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (brand name) margarine
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup (brand name) light corn syrup
1 cup chopped nuts

Grease and lightly flour 9" x 5" x 3" loaf pan.  Pour water over apricots and let stand 15 minutes.  Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt.  In a large bowl, stir margarine, beat in sugar, eggs and corn syrup until smooth and well blended.  Mix in apricot mixture and nuts.  Gradually mix in dry ingredients.  Pour into pan.  Bake at 350 degrees F. oven about 1 1/4 hours or until cake tester inserted in center of loaf comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and cool on rack.  Serve with jam or jelly, if desired.  Makes 1 loaf.

Cynthia's Apricot Nut Bread

3/4 cup hot water
1 cup dried apricots, chopped
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder, preferably without aluminum
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup apple sauce
1 cup chopped nuts

Method:  Rehydrate apricots in hot water for fifteen minutes; drain off excess liquid.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spray a 9" x 5" x 3" loaf pan with cooking spray or grease and flour the loaf pan.  Sift together dry ingredients and set aside.  Cream together the butter and sugar, whipping until fluffy.  Combine the eggs and apple sauce into the butter and sugar mixture.  Stir in the dry ingredients by the half cup until fully incorporated.  Add the chopped nuts.  Place the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake in the preheated oven for one hour and fifteen minutes or until golden brown and a knife inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.  I don't perceive that the bread needs a topping, but softened cream cheese or butter could be used.  

Comments:  I updated the ingredients to improve the overall nutrition of the bread without compromising the taste and texture.  Whole wheat flour, no-aluminum baking powder, sea salt, butter, and apple sauce: these ingredients positively contribute to health for most people.  I felt that the sugar could be cut by a third without negatively impacting the sweetness of the bread and that the apple sauce would be an improvement over the corn syrup.


Laura Jeanne said...

I was delighted to read that you have a collection of vintage cookbooks, Cynthia. I do too. The oldest one in my collection is a Fannie Farmer cookbook from 1912. I lover reading those old books, not only for the recipes for for the housekeeping advice (which often included tips on handling servants! lol).

I like your alterations to the recipe for Apricot Nut Bread, and I think I might try it soon. I have some dried apricots in the cupboard right now. Thank you!

Cynthia Berenger said...

Dear Laura,

I appreciate receiving your poignant email and your interesting comment. Thank you! Please know that I am working on a reply to your email.

The Fannie Farmer cookbook sounds a treat. When I re-read my cookbooks, I am amazed at how much life has changed and how much it has not. Handling issues with servants would have been a big concern in 1912, what with the lack of machinery in the home.

I would be interested in knowing your results with the Apricot Nut Bread and what modifications you made to customize the receipe to your family.

Agape always,