The Brass Sisters rock.
Who wouldn’t be charmed by these two masterful collectors of handwritten recipes and food memories?
Their new book, Baking with the Brass Sisters: Over 125 Recipes for Classic Cakes, Pies, Cookies, Breads, Desserts, and Savories from America’s Favorite Home Bakers (Griffin Books 2015) is a must for your cookbook shelf. Get a copy for your niece or nephew going off to college, get another for your kid’s teacher or your own best buddy. Or just have fun reading the story about A Little Girl’s Blueberry Cake (p. 23) or Marilynn’s version of lemon squares called Central Squares (p. 182). This is a book that traces lives through the amazing flavors and treasures that the sisters have encountered. It’s also a great guide for cooking up sweets to make your own memories rush back.
Marilynn and Sheila Brass live in Cambridge, MA, and many of the recipes refer to their own experiences growing up in and around Boston. The book has chapters on breakfast goodies, cookies, pies, cakes, and plenty more. To get an idea of how fun this new book is, check out the chapter called “We Gather Together,” which includes holiday recipes. They start off with Brown Sugar Brownies (p. 161) their most requested recipe. Joe Wells’ Dig Bat Cookies (p. 168) are rich spiced teacakes with a vanilla frosting, perfect when the weather turns cold.
We found this handwritten recipe for little iced teacakes in a manuscript from Patterson, New Jersey. We assume that Joe is a gentleman and not a lady. Whoever he is, he was quite a baker.
Then there is Grandma Rometo’s Torte (p. 169) flavored with black coffee and toasted walnuts. It’s from a Czech grandmother of a friend, who got it from her neighbor. The sisters write, “Grandma Rometo’s Torte is elegant and is definitely a cloth napkin and best china recipe.” This fall, when you want something pumpkin-y, try June’s Pumpkin Cookies (p. 178) that remind the sisters of pie without the crust. As for Central Squares, they are an easy but elegant cookie, with a baked, toasted almond crust, sweetened cream cheese filling, and lemon curd top. “We found this one on the back of an American Automobile Association membership card.” Ponder that surprise as you bake up a tray for your next party.