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On this last July Wednesday, wouldn't a special-occasion cake lift your spirits?

The one Angela Hartman is seeking fits the spirits-lifting description.

She wrote, "My brother lived in a dorm on campus at Baylor School in the '90s. His adviser was longtime Baylor teacher and coach Fred Hubbs. He and his wife, Betty, also lived on campus, and she kept the guys spoiled with her daily treats. For many years, Betty ran a very successful catering business in North Chattanooga named The Catering Company. She made a wonderful chocolate malted-ball three-layer cake that my brother raved about all the time. Now that I live in the Chattanooga area, he asked me to submit a request that if anyone who had worked with Betty had the recipe and might submit it."

This one is from Hungry Husband. "I read in Garden & Gun Magazine that William Faulkner's favorite food was salmon croquettes, 'the recipe on the can.' Can anyone supply details on this recipe?"

BREAD PUDDING

The reminiscing department always has a table full of good food memories. Bill Hall of Town and Country responded to the request for their bread pudding, and the bakers he named used magic, not precision, in their creation.

"As I remember, our bread pudding was a little treat from our two bakers, Eva Griffin and Earsaline Grier. I never saw a recipe, just watched them lay out day-old dinner rolls in a pan and casually mix a few eggs, some milk, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Then they poured the mix over the bread, not covered but enough to get the bread soaked, then topped it with some raisins and baked. We hardly sold any because it was usually gone before we opened, kind of an employee treat that we shared if there was any left over."

BROWNIES WITH ICE CREAM

Brownies and their many variations are a welcome category in any season. Sandra Oliver sent the first one, anchored by a brownie mix and topped with two more layers.

Ice Cream Brownie Dessert

Brownies:

1 package fudge brownie mix according to directions (or use your own brownie recipe)

Bake brownies in a 9- by 13-inch pan. Let cool completely.

Second Layer:

1/2 gallon softened ice cream

Spread over cooled brownies. Cover and freeze until firm.

Frosting:

2 cup sifted powdered sugar

2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels

1 1/2 cups Pet or Carnation evaporated milk

1/2 cup margarine

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup pecans

In a saucepan combine powdered sugar, chocolate morsels, evaporated milk and margarine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook 8 minutes.

Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and pecans.

Let cool. Spread over ice cream. Cover and return to the freezer.

Remove 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Makes 12 to 15 servings.

BROWNIES WITHOUT GLUTEN

Imagine now that the second entry in the brownie category contains not a speck of sugar or a dusting of flour. It's true. A gluten-free diet calls for lot of experimenting, and here is a successful experiment from the kitchen of Dr. B.C. The key ingredient is surprising but makes all kinds of sense: sweet potatoes.

Gluten-Free Brownies

1 1/2 cups mashed sweet potato

1/2 cup smooth almond butter

2 eggs

1/4 cup cacao powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup chocolate chips

In a bowl put mashed sweet potato, and add almond butter and eggs. Mix well until smooth.

Add cacao powder and baking soda to the mix. Fold in chocolate chips.

Heat oven to 350 degrees, and add the brownie batter to a prepared 8- by 8-inch baking pan.

Bake 12 minutes. Sprinkle sea salt on top, then bake another 8 to 12 minutes. These will be more gooey than cake-like.

XANTHAN GUM

Valerie Bowers advised about xanthan gum. "It's made from sugars fermented with a particular type of bacteria. Because the sugars have many sources, look for gluten-free xanthan gum. Bob's Red Mill makes one (available on Vitacost.com) as does Now Foods (available in a smaller amount on Amazon).

"It is a thickener and gives foods especially baked goods body. Don't skip it in recipes.

"And last, but certainly not least, it slows digestion so that the sugars in those baked goods are absorbed into your bloodstream much more slowly. It's even more effective with brown rice flour in a recipe. Hope this helps in the decision of whether or not to be adventurous and leave it out."

SOURDOUGH AND CINNAMON

Pat Treadwell advised us recently that sourdough starter may be frozen. Here she shares a step-by-step cinnamon bread; all you need is the sourdough starter. It all starts, like everything else, with Day One.

Feeding and Sharing Sourdough Starter

Day 1: Receive starter.

Day 2: Stir.

Day 3: Stir.

Day 4: Stir.

Day 5: Add 1 cup plain flour, 1 cup milk and 1 cup sugar. Mix well.

Day 6: Stir.

Day 7: Stir.

Day 8: Do nothing.

Day 9: Do nothing.

Day 10: Add 1 cup plain flour, 1 cup milk and 1 cup sugar. Mix well. Pour into 3 airtight containers, 1 cup in each to use as starters. (Most of the time I only save 1 cup of starter and make up the rest in bread.)

Cinnamon Sourdough Bread

1 cup starter from recipe above

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 cup vegetable oil

1 cup sugar

4 eggs

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 large box instant vanilla pudding

1 cup plain flour

Add to starter the remaining ingredients, and beat with a fork until well blended. Grease 2 loaf pans, and sprinkle with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Pour batter into pans, and bake at 325 degrees for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, depending on oven and size of pans. If mini-pans are used, bake 35 minutes.

Starter may be frozen until ready to start procedure all over again.

The sourdough questions often involve questions and considerations. Yesterday a round loaf of homemade sourdough arrived from a generous friend. This is the kind made with potato flakes, and only a tiny wedge of that round loaf is left. The baker explained: "I had to make two loaves to use my starter." So that starter, needing feeding and necessitating multiplication, became a very good thing.

Let's keep sharing and multiplying gifts in this season that has taken away plenty of sweet things, shall we?

Requests:

* Chocolate malted-ball cake

* Salmon croquettes

To Reach Us:

Fare Exchange is a longtime meeting place for people who love to cook and love to eat. We welcome both your recipes and your requests. Be sure to include precise instructions for every recipe you send.

Mailing address: Jane Henegar, 913 Mount Olive Road, Lookout Mountain, GA 30750

E-mail: chattfare@gmail.com

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Jane Henegar
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