Thursday, November 09, 2006

Oh...To Be 25 Again!

Yesterday, I purchased a new OPI nail color from their 25th Anniversary Collection. OPI is known for the catchy names of their polishes and my new color is no exception. "Oh...To Be 25 Again!" is a deep chocolatey brown shade that seems perfect for fall.

This spurs the question of if I would want to be 25 again. When I was 25, I hadn't yet discovered real cooking. I made dinner every night, and we certainly didn't starve, but my obsession with food hadn't yet hit. Simple meals of pot roast, spaghetti, tacos, or hamburger helper were most often thrown together with sides of frozen corn or peas, or canned green beans. Fresh veggies were for salads. Dinner out often meant an order of chicken strips. I was a lot fussier about what I was willing to eat or try. I hadn't yet discovered the true joys of food.

I did however bake a little. It is ironic that now that I am in the kitchen a lot, I don't really care to bake. I do desserts for holidays and get-togethers with friends, but I would rather try a new savory recipe than a sweet one. But, back then, I had discovered those little Pillsbury cookbooks that are at the checkout stands of the grocery stores. The photos lured me in, and the simple recipes allowed me to make some great desserts. Cranberry Dessert Cake with Warm Butter Sauce is a find from one of those pamphlets. I was only 18 (not 25) when this recipe jumped at me from the pages of a Fall Baking Cookbook. It is a fabulous blend of dense cake and tart berries with a smooth, sweet sauce. I have made this repeatedly for many different occasions and never had so much as a morsel left on the plates. I don't know that I would ever want to go back to 25 (or even 18) again, but I will gladly bring this dessert along to enjoy for the rest of my years. :~)

Cranberry Dessert Cake with Warm Butter Sauce
2 ¾ cups flour
2 ¼ cups sugar (divided)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups sour cream
½ cup milk
¼ cup oil
½ teaspoon almond extract
2 eggs
3 ½ cups fresh cranberries
½ cup butter
½ cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 375F.
Grease and flour bottom only of 9x13 pan.
Combine flour, 1 3/4 cups sugar, baking powder, soda, and salt.
Mix well.
In medium bowl, beat sour cream, milk, oil, almond extract and eggs.
Add sour cream mixture to flour mixture.
Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.
Gently fold in cranberries.
Spoon into prepared pan.
Bake at 375F for 45 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
BUTTER SAUCE: In small saucepan, combine 1 cup sugar, butter and whipping cream.
Bring to a boil.
Simmer over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat, stir in vanilla.
Serve warm sauce over cake. (20 servings)

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