I never expected to see a day when the popular line of Hostess snack cakes would cease to exist.
It's one of the reasons I was contacted by Munster reader Marge Bukvich requesting where she could find a favored substitute recipe to satisfy her family's cravings.
"Hi Phil: Our family enjoyed the Valentine's Day event you hosted at Tiebel's last month. There's always good food and friendly people. And the Mock Hostess Ho-Ho Cakes your mother Peggy made to serve to all the guests were so delicious! I remember you printed your mother's recipe for this special cake in your column in The Times several years ago, and I saved it at that time. And I have misplaced it. Would you help me find it again? Thank you, Marge Bukvich"
Thank you Marge for attending last month's event and I'm happy to help with your request. The recipe you are referring to was published back in August of 2004 after my mom baked these same cakes for a Friday the 13th birthday party event in my honor hosted for readers at a small tea room in Highland.
The Mock Hostess Ho-Ho Cake recipe is found in my second published (yellow cover) cookbook from 2007 called "More From the Farm" ($29.95 Pediment Press), which I know many readers already have. Only 2,000 copies were printed. For those interested, my mother has six copies of this book available for any readers who still need it.
Recipes have a way of fading from mainstream and memories, which is why it's so important to preserve them to pass on to future cooks and generations.
Despite having written this weekly From the Farm recipe column for 11 years and three published cookbooks, after more than 700 recipes I've shared, there's still one recipe that has even slipped through my fingers during the past decade.
I've never shared a recipe for Snickerdoodles, one of my cookie favorites.
Crista Zivanovic, who was previously my features editor and is now assistant managing editor at The Times, has always had a coveted 50-plus-year-old family recipe I've wanted to share for making these cinnamon and sugar treats. I noticed the very treasured, yellowed, tattered recipe card framed and displayed in her kitchen while at her home for a party years ago.
This week, I finally get to the share both the recipe and its family origin, thanks to Crista, who provided the following:
"All my cousins fondly remember my Teta Mary Ranich Sherman's Snickerdoodles. No family party or gathering was complete without them, and she always made a huge batch for each of us to take back after breaks while we were in college. She never had any children of her own, so we were all her children, and we used to take turns having overnights at her house in Highland. She would let us stay up late and watch TV with her, and play us her beloved Hawaiian music albums on her stereo, and we'd do the hula dance in her living room, laughing and having the best time. Those overnights also involved two rituals, one dreaded and one beloved; when we were younger, she would cut our hair in her basement, which we hated, especially the girl cousins, because her only style for girls made us all resemble the Little Dutch Boy from the paint company ads, until we were old enough to rebel and escape her scissors! But the second ritual was a treat -- she would make us her famous Snickerdoodle cookies. She made them all the time, and they were the best cookies I have ever eaten. Once on a break from college, she surprised me and made me four dozen chocolate chip cookies and was dismayed when I complained! She thought she was being progressive, thinking college kids would prefer chocolate chippers. And though they were delicious, I begged her never to make me anything but Snickerdoodles, which she happily did forever after, even after I was married and moved away from the region.
To continue the ritual, until she moved to Dallas six years ago, my cousin Judy Grovich Goss always made my sons Snickerdoodles for the holidays. When I moved into my Munster house 15 years ago, I lost my copy of Teta Mary's recipe, so my cousin Dena Deanovich Gasic kindly gave me her copy, which I framed and hung on my kitchen wall, so I could never lose it.
Remember one thing -- bake them with love; without it, they won't taste as good."
Teta Mary Sherman's Snickerdoodles
1 cup soft shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 tablespoons each of cinnamon and sugar
DIRECTIONS: Cream shortening and sugar together, add eggs and beat with rotary beater until light and fluffy. Sift together dry ingredients and add to sugar mixture, beat only until blended. Chill dough and shape into walnut-sized balls. Then roll in mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake until lightly browned but still soft in 350-degree oven 10 to 12 minutes. Cookies will puff up at first, then flatten out with crinkled tops. Makes 4 dozen cookies.