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Family Cookbook Project, Week 1: Pound Cake and Toffee Cookies

We always had homemade desserts on the kitchen counter.

If they had not yet been served, you had to wait until after dinner.

Once they were cut they were fair game.

I was a kid who loved good food, and if I helped myself too often, Rachel called me "fatty bread" (it still rings in my ears.) As my mother's generation aspired to have a waist the same size as their boyfriend's hat band, there was no room for either being overweight or having feelings about it (UGH!) The name-calling did not slow me down...I believe it actually sped me up.

Glazed Pound Cake and Toffee Cookies (with Chocolate and Flaky Salt)

Pound Cake

As far as I was concerned, Pound Cake was Rachel's specialty. Like most of the desserts she made, it was housed in the lidded copper cake carrier on the counter almost weekly. I horrified my kids by telling them that my breakfast was frequently a slice of this glorious cake, buttered and toasted, and accompanied by an 8oz bottle of Coca-Cola. (LOL-I know several of you are shuddering, now, as well.) What can I say? It was the 70s in Alabama, I made my own breakfast most days (and don't knock it til you've tried it, it's delicious! Well, probably not so much with a Coke anymore...)

Also, Rachel's pound cake was seldom glazed or frosted...more on my choice to do so later.

This is the same style cake carrier we had, although ours had a centered, floral, copper design on each concealed the best goodies.

Rachel's Pound Cake


1 c (227g) of your favorite baking butter, room temp (plus more for greasing tube pan)

3 c (600g) granulated sugar

6 eggs, separated, room temp

2 t vanilla

3 c (390g) AP flour (plus more for flouring tube pan)

1/4 t baking soda

pinch of salt

8 oz (219ml) sour cream, room temp


Preheat oven to 325.

Prepare a tube pan with butter and flour.

Sift together flour and baking soda and set aside.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy and sugar is fully dissolved.

Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well. Add vanilla at this time, too.

Alternate dry ingredients and sour cream.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites to a stiff peak. Fold into cake batter until there are no white streaks.

Spoon into prepared cake pan, gently smooth the top, and bake for one and a half hours at 325, or until it springs back when the highest point is touched.

Allow to cool in pan for at least 10 minutes.

Run a thin knife blade between the cake and the walls of the pan and invert it onto the cake plate of your choice.

*If you are going to glaze the cake, do it while it is still warm, on a cooling rack set atop a sheet pan. As it is a dense cake I would also recommend poking some holes in the cake before you drizzle.


2 c confectioner's sugar, sifted

1/4 c butter, melted

2-4 T milk or hot water (depending on desired consistency)

1 1/2 t vanilla

Combine all ingredients thoroughly. Once all the sugar is incorporated, beat with a hand or stand mixer to the desired volume. Add your liquid of choice very slowly.

**The only reason I glazed the cake is because I inadvertently left out the vanilla (it was only in the list of ingredients and not mentioned in the body of the recipe). I added the vanilla glaze so I could add back the flavor.

This recipe holds up. It is just as buttery and lightly sweet as I remember. Feels like a warm hug from the inside, and floods my mind and heart with all the best memories.

The original recipe from the book.

Toffee Cookies

My Aunt Louise was Aunt Jane's mother, and she was also my godmother. Louise and her husband, John were close friends of my dad and Uncle Richard long before Mama and Aunt Jane were on the scene.

Desh worked for Aunt Louise and the Toffee Cookies were a specialty of hers. I loved these cookies, and when I tried to make them as a kid I could never get them to turn out right. They would end up too hard, too chewy, or too crumbly. I chose to attempt them now, thinking that after many years of cooking professionally, I would have a better chance of success. I'm so glad I did! YUM!!!

The base of these cookies is sort of like a crispy shortbread. I added a schmear of chocolate and some flaky salt to update them. It was a good choice. If you are sensitive to "too sweet" you will want to stick to a darker chocolate. This combination yielded a party of flavors and textures in my mouth. I am not sure they are like the cookies I remember from childhood, but they are super yummy. They would be great for hostess gifts or on a cheese board.

Toffee Cookies, close up

Desh's Toffee Cookies


4 oz (113g) butter

4 oz (113g) dairy-free butter, or margarine

1 c (200g) granulated sugar

1 egg, separated

2 c (260g) AP Flour, sifted

1/2 t kosher salt

1 t vanilla

1/4 c toasted pecans, roughly chopped

1/2 c chocolate chips, optional

Flaky salt to garnish, optional


Preheat oven to 275.

Cream butter, margarine, and sugar until light, fluffy, and sugar is dissolved.

Add egg yolk and vanilla.

Add flour and salt.

In a parchment-lined jelly roll pan, spread the batter thinly and evenly. (I like to do this with gloved hands so I can spread and spread and not get too messy.)

Whisk egg white until frothy. Brush over the batter with a pastry brush.

Sprinkle chopped pecans and lightly press into batter.

At this point, you can refrigerate them for a bit and then possibly roll out the base a bit with a small rolling pin to ensure an even layer.

Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes.

*If spreading chocolate on top, remove the pan at 1 hour, 10 minutes, and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Put back in the oven for the remaining 10 minutes,

Remove from the oven, and spread the chocolate with an offset spatula.

Garnish with flaky salt.

Cut while still hot for best results.

Original recipe from "Cooking Our Way"

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