Sunday, February 21, 2010

Cooking with Cartoonists: Blueberry "Muffins"

Time for another recipe from The Cartoonist Cookbook! Artist #2 is Dick Brooks, who based his strip, "The Jackson Twins" on his own twin sisters. I hope they didn't mind!

His dinner menu was pretty impressive -- just reading it made me feel sleepy:

New England Clam Chowder

Steamed Clams

Boiled Lobster

Corn on the Cob

Cape Ann Blueberry "Muffins"

Fresh Strawberry Shortcake


(This menu is followed by instructions to go out back, lay in your rope hammock, and sleep for three hours after dinner!) Now, once again that's a meal I can't argue with. It's also a meal that would overwhelm our small household. I was intrigued by the quote marks around the "muffins" and everyone here likes baked goods, so it seems like the natural choice. And as it turns out, the reason they're "muffins" and not just muffins is because...they're not muffins. It's a coffeecake! But in our house there is no let's just call it cake.

Dick Brook's Blueberry Cake:
2½ c sugar
1 c butter, softened
3 eggs
1 c milk
5 t baking powder (yes, 5!)
1 t salt
5 c flour
1½ pints blueberries (this is 3 cups, or about 145 grams)

Preheat oven to 350°. Sift flour, salt and baking powder into a small bowl and set aside. Cream sugar and butter, adding eggs one at a time. Add milk, then add flour mixture slowly and beat until blended. Stir in blueberries and then spread into a 10½ x 15½ x 2 inch pan and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top. Bake for 1 hour, testing for done-ness before removing. I used that big chunky sugar -- sanding sugar? But regular sugar would work fine.

Now, I don't know what kind of crazy pans Dick had, but I had nothing close. I ended up using a 9 x 14 pan. The batter seemed awfully stiff as I spread it into the pan:

Dick Brook's Blueberry Cake

I was worried that it would be too dense. But, it baked up amazingly!

Dick Brook's Blueberry Cake

Unfortunately, I did not test for doneness, because the edges were so brown I thought it had to be done. An hour later, the center had totally collapsed and I had to dig the partially cooked center out and throw it away. Boo! Next time I will try two small pans and I will check it before taking it out. Fortunately, the parts that were fine were delicious:

Dick Brook's Blueberry Cake

In the words of the five-year-old, "YUM YUM YUM!". I will definitely be making this one again!

The Cartoonist Cookbook is a book put together in 1966 by the Newspaper Comics Council, featuring 45 popular strip cartoonists of the 60s, with bios, art and recipes. It's a fun thing to have if you like cartooning, but I somehow never got around to actually cooking from it. This year, I decided to work my way through it and try and do at least one recipe from each artist!

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