Thursday, October 11, 2007


I baked today. First on the agenda: Blackbottom cupcakes* for Bug, who's halfway through her first term at CSULB. When I was a freshman my mom's friend Grush sent me two coffee tins (remember when coffee came in tins?) of cookies, and in honor of that memory I thought I would send a care package to Bug. However, I make the worst cookies in the world, and Bug and her family love the BBCs, so I whipped up a batch.

I first made these during the summer of 1989. It was kind of a crappy summer; I was working as a groundskeeper at the university and left a relationship (and the housing that came with it) in July. A friend said I could stay with her while she was house-sitting for one of our professors. I slept in a sleeping bag in a room with a bare mattress and kept my clothes in a laundry basket in my car.

I was even less of a baker then than I am now, as in those days the only cooking I did was to make Cats & Dogs (basically, rice, beans, and a package frozen/cooked vegetables, dressed with rice vinegar; not surprisingly, I did the dishes most nights in my communal college house). I must have been flipping through a cookbook owned by Mrs. Professor when I ran across this recipe, and I made the cupcakes because years before I had loved them from the deli near the acting classes I attended after school in junior high. Since then I have made them so often I don't like them anymore, but I'm always happy to make them for others.

This evening I made two dishes of apple crisp**. The food bank received many boxes of apples from a citizen's back yard yesterday, and I brought home several that had bird nibbles on them, at the encouragement of the food bank director. I learned to make apple crisp from one of the few nuns at CSH, in a short attempt by the administration to provide "extracurriculars" to the upper form. Traditionally, even though I'm not Catholic, I say a Hail Mary for Sister Warner when I make apple crisp. It's been so long since I've made it, though, that I've forgotten the last part of the prayer. I hope the intentions count (though Sr. Warner was pretty strict and would probably not agree).

Tomorrow I'm taking one of the dishes of apple crisp to work for the FBD and his family, and Bug will receive her cupcakes tomorrow or Saturday.

* Blackbottom Cupcakes

8 oz cream cheese (easier if room temp)
1 unbeaten egg
1/3 c sugar
1/8 t salt (I usually leave this out)
6 oz choc chips (I usually go over on these, and have been known to increase the filling ingredients by half)
Beat everything but the choc chips together, then stir them in.

3 c flour
.5 c unsweetened cocoa
1 t salt
2/3 c oil
2 c sugar
2 t baking soda
2 c water
2 t vanilla

Beat well.

Fill cupcake liners 1/2 full with chocolate batter. Top each with 1 t cream cheese mixture (I usually do a tablespoon).
Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Makes about 30 cupcakes.

** Apple Crisp

4 c sliced tart apples (about four medium apples), peeled, cored, and chunked or sliced (I have an apple gizmo, my favorite kitchen gadget)
3/4 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c flour
1/2 c rolled oats (I used Grape-Nuts tonight because I didn't want to dash to the store. I hope it works)
1 t cinnamon
1/4 c allspice
1/3 c cold butter

Place apples in a greased baking dish. In a bowl, combine everything but butter, and then cut in butter till crumbly. Sprinkle over apples. Bake at 375F for 30-35 minutes.

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