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Special Section Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, May 26, 2010

Alluring aromas are a recipe for success in selling a house

By Saranac Hale Spencer

My family moved only once during my childhood, so I remember it well.

Our real estate agent made several efforts to improve our house’s appeal — she gave us a fake tree to spruce up the living room, which my parakeet, Kiwi, became fond of and pooped on.  She also suggested that we bake right before we held an open house to create an inviting atmosphere.

Last year for Christmas, my sister, Maggie, put together a book of family recipes.

Here are a few aromatic ones, some with short introductions from their authors:

Orange Kiss Me Cake

By Bobby Hale

1 large orange

1 cup raisins

1/3 cup walnuts

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

½ cup shortening

¾ cup milk

2 eggs

¼ cup milk


1/3 cup orange juice

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ cup walnuts finely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350° F.  Grind together the orange, raisins, and walnuts.

2. Sift together the flour, soda, salt, and sugar, then add the shortening and ¾ cup milk.  Beat at medium for two minutes.

3. Add the eggs and remaining milk, beat for another two minutes.  Fold in the orange-raisin mixture.  Pour into a greased, floured 12x8x2” pan.  Bake at 350° F for 40-50 minutes.

4. Drip the orange juice over the warm cake.  Combine the 1/3 cup sugar, cinnamon, and walnuts and sprinkle over the cake.

Lone Ranger Cookies

By Marie Spencer

1 cup shortening

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon soda

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

2 cups Rice Krispies

1 ½ cups rolled oats

1 cup coconut

½ cup chopped walnuts

1. Cream shortening and sugars.  Add eggs and vanilla to this.  Then mix in the flour, soda, baking powder, and salt.  Finally, stir in Rice Krispies, oats, coconut, and nuts.

2. Drop by teaspoon on ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350° F for 10 minutes.  Dough should be really thick and might require flattening on sheet.


By Saranac Hale Spencer

1 3/4 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

6 tablespoons butter (3/4 stick) room temperature

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 cup milk

1 egg

orange zest and raspberries or cranberries

Preheat oven to 450°.  Put flour and baking powder in a mixing bowl and stir with spoon.  Add butter and mix with hands.  Add honey, milk, and egg, and stir with spoon, roughly mixed.  Add raspberries and orange zest.  Put on cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

Honey butter



Mix together and serve with warm scones.

Bryce Butler’s Squash Soup

By Melissa Hale-Spencer

I worked closely with Bryce Butler for years before he died of cancer in 2001, steadfastly writing for The Enterprise up until the week before he died. Bryce often told The Nutmeg Story, which had a good moral for the newsroom. When he was a kid, he made a salad dressing for his family all by himself and proudly presented it at dinnertime. His brothers and parents eagerly spooned it onto their salads, only to recoil on tasting it. Bryce had used cayenne instead of nutmeg.

“Why didn’t you ask which one to use?” asked his mother.

“Because I thought I knew,” replied Bryce.

Bryce loved to have parties and sometimes had them at our house since it was so much bigger than his. One of the most memorable was a baby shower for Deiter Gehring and Laurie Ten Eyck, expecting their first child — Wolfgang. People said it was the only baby shower they’d ever been to where a keg of beer was polished off. It was very festive. Bryce, a dedicated cook, prepared this soup for the first course of a night-long feast.

1 tablespoon of butter

2 cloves of minced garlic

1/2 cup of chopped onion

1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper

2 1/2 cups of chicken broth

3 pounds of winter squash, peeled, seeded, and diced

1 1/2 to 2 cups skim milk

A pinch of nutmeg (not cayenne)

1. In a large, heavy saucepan, melt the butter and sauté the garlic and onion until you can see through them.

2. Add the pepper, broth, and salt if you want, and bring the liquid to a boil.

3. Add the squash, reduce the heat, cover the pan, and simmer the soup for about 8 minutes or until the squash is tender.

4. Remove the soup from the heat, and stir in the milk and nutmeg.

5. Purée the soup in a blender or food processor, and return it to the pan. Heat it before serving, but do not boil.

Key Lime Pie

By Magdalena Hale Spencer

I love tart key lime pies and this one is easy to make with only enough sweetness to make it a dessert without ruining the wonderful lime flavor.


1 wax-paper block of graham crackers (1 ¼ cup of crumbs)

5 tablespoons melted butter

1/3 cup sugar


3 egg yolks

1 ½ teaspoon grated zest of 2 limes

14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

2/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1. Crust: Preheat oven to 350° F and butter a 9” pie pan.  Break up the graham crackers; place in a food processor and process to crumbs.  Add the melted butter and sugar and pulse until combined.  Press the mixture into the bottom and sides of the pie pan.  Bake the crust until set and golden, eight minutes.  Set aside and leave the oven on.

2. Filling: With an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and lime zest at high speed until very fluffy, about five minutes.  Gradually add the condensed milk and continue to beat until thick, three or four minutes longer.  Lower the mixer speed slowly and add the lime juice until just combined, no longer.  Pour the mixture into the crust, bake for 10 minutes or until the filling has set.  Cool then refrigerate.

Royal Velvets, aka Rum Things

By Melissa Hale Spencer and Bobby Hale

Both of our daughters loved this special Christmas treat and begged to have it brought to school instead of cupcakes for their birthday parties. Maggie’s teacher was outraged that I would be serving children liquor. Saranac’s teacher was more enthusiastic.

6 cups heavy whipping cream

2 cups sugar

½ cup water

8 egg yolks

¼ teaspoon salt

2 ounces rum

1. Whip cream until stiff, set aside.

2. Mix sugar and water together, boil until it reaches 236° F.

3. Meanwhile, mix together egg yolks and salt, beat until very stiff.  Add the sugar syrup in a fine stream while beating and continue beating until peaks form.  Add rum, mix in.  Fold in whipped cream.

4. Pour into foil cupcake holders, decorate as desired, and freeze until firm.  Eat within four days.

Mexican chocolate tart

By Saranac Hale Spencer


1 cup chocolate wafer cookie crumbs

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 Tsp. cinnamon

1/8 Tsp. salt

5 Tbls. butter


1 cup heavy whipping cream

4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

1 3.1 ounce disk Mexican chocolate, chopped

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, room temp.

2 Tsp. vanilla extract

1 Tsp. cinnamon

1/4 Tsp. salt

1. Crust: Blend first four ingredients in a blender or food processor.  Add the melted butter and mix until the crumbs are moist.  Press the mixture into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.

2. Filling: Bring cream to simmer in a medium saucepan.  Remove from heat to add the chocolate and whisk until it's melted.  Add the butter, one piece at a time, and whisk until smooth.  Whisk in the vanilla, cinnamon, and salt.  Pour filling into crust.  Chill until set — about 15 to 20 minutes.

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