Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Traditions

The longer I live, the more I realize 
that my great-grandmother was a saint.

She was also very Irish and proud of her heritage.

She established a great many of our family traditions.
One of my favorites was Blarney Stones.

Most people have never heard of them before.
They are just a heavy cake that is cut into rectangles,
frosted on all six sides with green buttercream
frosting and then rolled in chopped peanuts.

Every year Great Grandma Hall baked enough for everyone and their dog.
Actually, she didn't bake them for the dogs but Champ sure enjoyed them.
Sorry Grandma --- I didn't know what a pain in the ass they were to make.


I've been missing Great-Grandma a lot lately,
so I decided to make Blarney Stones this year.

They remain a fond memory from my childhood and I thought
it would be cool to share that piece of myself with my students.  

I have Grandma's actual recipe.
She liked me best, so I got it.

 

Actually, I stole it from Mom's one day when she was at work.
But don't tell her.

I have discovered that Grandma's recipes are more of an ingredient list rather than a real recipe.  I need step by step instructions.  A list of ingredients just doesn't cut it for me.

We had to brave the Evil Empire to get the needed items.
 
Finding cake flour was difficult.  I didn't realize that vanilla was called Madagascar Bourbon.  Interesting tidbit of info for you. Like my kids say, "We learned something so we can go home and go back to bed."
I really like the way they think!

  My baking powder was past the expiration date, but we won't tell Ms. Simpleton.  If I had gone over to Mom's, I could have probably borrowed the very can of baking powder that Grandma Hall had in her kitchen when she went to the nursing home! 


I mixed up the batter and baked the cake.
It looked beautiful coming out of the oven.

 
I smiled to myself as I cut it into 24 small squares and
I pondered which St. Patrick's Day story I would read as I shared my treat with the kids.  I wondered how many of them would make the connection between my story and the story entitled Saturdays and Teacakes.

  I had read somewhere that freezing the cake pieces would work better, so I bagged them individually and stuck them in the freezer overnight.

We went to Ogallala on Monday morning for acupunture, 
but as soon as we got home I hurriedly mixed up my frosting. 

  
I was still thinking how much fun this was.
I took out the first bar and removed it from the baggie.

I carefully and lovingly spread the frosting on each side
and placed it in the peanuts for a good rolling.

 
It is a messy process, but I just knew
it would be worth it when I was done.

Let's see, 24 kids.  8 for the staff.  4 for at home.  I'd mail some to Aunt Sue and Sister Two and then I needed some for Mom and her guard caretaker. Good Lord, how did Grandma ever do it?!

Hmmm .... Grandma never complained about making them.

I decided I just had to get the knack of doing this and it would get easier.
I thought that until I had frosted about a dozen.

At that point I decided the heck with the kids
because they wouldn't appreciate them
the way that I thought that they should!  

Instead, I plated up a small batch, 
called Sister Two, instructed her to meet
me at Aunt Sue's and off we drove to Alliance.

They have the history and understand the tradition.
They smiled as they nibbled on the bars.
They said all the right things.

It's a good thing no one counts on me to 
carry on the traditions because it will be
a long time before I make them again!

5 comments:

Sue said...

It was like sitting at Grandmother's yellow kitchen table - they were that good! What a great surprise it was to see Trudy and Mardel walking up to the back door. And then to se BLARNEY STONES.......Love you guys!

Mom said...

Sue I was just as surprised as you were!! I scarfed two of them ------- mmmm good. My 'guard' really loved them too! Hard to believe Trudy is 46 years old and finally learning on to cook. hee. Not only that, but something from an ancestor to boot.

Sister One said...

Who knows --- I might even branch out and try a green bean casserole!

SisterTwo said...

I do believe Grandmother drank when she made these. It's the only way to make it through it with your sanity on a yearly basis.

Sister One said...

That explains how she did it! That would have definitely helped.