Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Recipes: Evelyn Hammersley's Ice Box Rolls

(Part of what I'd like to do with this blog is post recipes verbatim from my grandmother Geneveive's treasured recipe box. However, Genevieve's recipe box is a little intimidating and I wasn't sure where to start. So I just reached in and grabbed one at random. I have no idea who Evelyn Hammersley is, but based on the use of the word "icebox," I'm guessing this recipe dates from the Depression or earlier.)

Evelyn Hammersley's Ice Box* Rolls

Makes about 4 dozen, party size

2 cups boiling water
2 heaping tablespoons lard
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup sugar

Pour boiling water over all ingredients and dissolve. Let cool until lukewarm. moisten two cake pans with 1/4 cup lukewarm water. Add 1 teaspoon sugar. Add 2 eggs beaten. Add all ingredients to the first mixture. Add 4 cups of sifted flour. Beat hard. Then add 3 cups more sifted flour. Put in icebox overnight. Make into rolls as desired and let raise 4 hours before baking.

For caramel pecan rolls: Take from icebox and roll out on well-floured board in a large strip about 3/4-inch thick. Spread with melted butter. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon mixed together. Roll up; slice into rolls about 1-inch thick. Line baking tins or muffin tins with melted butter, brown sugar and pecans and raisins. Place rolls in tins flat-side down, let raise four hours before baking.

* From the late 19th century well through the 1930s, almost every home contained a piece of furniture called an “icebox” – the precursor to our modern-day refrigerator. Iceboxes featured a compartment at the top where a block of ice would sit, and the convection from the cool air would keep anything in the cupboard underneath cool and fresh. To keep these iceboxes stocked with ice, a whole industry developed – ice harvesting, or ice-cutting, in which blocks of ice were cut from frozen lakes, streams and marshes in the dead of winter and stored for use year-round. Ironically, some of the best taverns in Chicago used ice cubes in their drinks that were harvested from the crystal clear waters of nearby Geneva Lake.

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