Hostess-Style Brownies & Fudge Icing


By Gloria Pitzer

As seen in… The Original 200 Plus Recipes Book (Secret Recipes, Marysville, MI; June 1997, p. 14)


½ cup butter

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

½ tsp vanilla

1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

¾ cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

4 TB unsweetened dry cocoa

1 recipe Fudge Icing (below)


Grease 8-inch-square pan. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add one egg at a time, beating well after each. Add vanilla. Add remaining ingredients (except frosting), beating on medium speed.

Spread evenly in prepared pan. Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes or until set but do NOT overbake! Cool a few minutes and spread with warm fudge icing (below).


4 TB butter

1/3 cup milk

Dash of salt

4 TB dry cocoa [powder]

1-lb powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla


Cook and stir first four ingredients until smooth. Remove from heat and beat in powdered sugar [a little at a time] and vanilla until smooth [again].

Refrigerate leftovers, covered… Or freeze to use in a few months.


Also see…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – De-Stress With Happiness

Fudge Frosting, No Smear



As seen in… The Original 200 Plus Recipes Book (Secret Recipes, Marysville, MI; June 1997, p. 53)


½ cup light corn syrup

½ cup buttermilk (not sour milk)

½ cup packed brown sugar

½ cup margarine (or butter)

4 squares (1-oz each) solid, unsweetened, baking chocolate

½ tsp salt

1 TB vanilla

5 cups powdered sugar


As listed, combine first 6 ingredients in 1½-qt saucepan, over medium-high heat, stirring until smooth. Bring to boil. Stir constantly, boiling hard for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Let cool 20 minutes.

Beat in vanilla and powdered sugar (a little at a time) until smooth.

Sufficient to frost 24 cupcakes or two 8-inch-square pans. Recipe may be cut in half.

Also see…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – De-Stress With Happiness

Sailorman’s Fried Chicken


By Gloria Pitzer

As seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 96). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).]



3 cups self-rising flour

1 cup cornstarch

3 tablespoons each: season salt and sugar

2 tablespoons paprika

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 small package Italian salad dressing mix powder

1½ ounce package each: onion soup mix and spaghetti sauce mix

3 cups corn flakes, slightly crushed

2 eggs, well-beaten with ¼ cup cold water

3- to 4-pound cut-up chicken fryer


Combine the first 9 ingredients [dry coating mix] in a large bowl. Put the cornflakes into another bowl. Put eggs and water in a third bowl. Put enough corn oil into a heavy, roomy skillet to fill it 1-inch deep. Get it HOT! Grease a 9″ x 12″ x 2” baking pan and set it aside. Preheat oven to 350°F.

Dip chicken pieces, one at a time, as follows: (1st) into dry coating mix, (2nd) into egg mix, (3rd) into the corn flakes and (4th) briskly, but briefly, back into the dry mix. Next, gently drop each piece into the hot oil, skin-side down, to brown for 3-4 minutes on medium-high heat. Then brown the other side. Don’t crowd the pieces during frying.

Next, place the pieces in the prepared baking pan, single-layered with skin-sides up. Seal pan in foil, on 3 sides, so steam can escape. Bake at 350°F for about 35-40 minutes. Remove foil to test for tenderness. Allow it to bake, uncovered, 5 minutes longer to crisp the coating. Serves 4 to 6.

Leftovers refrigerate well for up to 4 days. Do not freeze these. Left-over dry coating mix (the 1st 9 ingredients) can be stored at room temperature in a covered container for up to 2 months.


Also see…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Summertime Vacation Time

Aunt Jenny’s 8-Inch Fudge Cake


By Gloria Pitzer

As seen in… The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; June 1997, p. 4)


1 cup sugar

1 cup flour

½ cup water

½ cup Spry [or Crisco] (or 1 stick margarine)

2 TB dry, unsweetened cocoa

3 TB buttermilk (or sour cream)

1 egg

Dash of salt

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp vanilla


Combine sugar and flour and set aside. In small pan, bring to boil water, Spry, and cocoa; stirring until thick and smooth and comes just to a boil. Remove from heat at once.

Pour hot mixture over sugar/flour mix in 1½-qt mixing bowl. Beat well on medium speed, adding in buttermilk, egg, salt, baking soda, and vanilla. Beat until smooth (about 2 minutes).

Pour [batter] into a greased and floured, 8-inch-square, baking pan. Bake at 375°F for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

MEANWHILE, while cake is baking, prepare frosting (below) to be applied to [hot] cake right out of the oven.


4 TB Spry [or Crisco] or butter

2 TB dry, unsweetened cocoa

3 TB brown sugar

Dash of salt

4 TB milk

2 cups powdered sugar


In saucepan, combine first five ingredients [as listed], stirring while you bring it to a boil. Stir and boil gently 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and beat in powdered sugar on high speed. Keep icing warm until cake comes out of oven. Immediately pour warm frosting over hot cake. Cool and cut into squares for 8.

Also see…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – National Junk Food Day Eve

Basket & Ribbons – Strawberry Ice Cream


By Gloria Pitzer

As seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 252). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).]


3 egg yolks

14-ounce can, sweetened, condensed milk – or use my homemade version [*see page 33 of this book]

1 teaspoon vanilla

10-ounce package frozen sliced strawberries, thawed

16 ounces heavy cream, whipped stiff


In large mixing bowl, beat yolks until smooth – about 3 minutes on high-speed. On lowest speed, add the milk and vanilla, just to thoroughly combine.

Drain and dice berries, stirring them into the milk mixture with a sturdy spoon. Carefully fold in whipped cream with a rubber scraper until it’s well distributed.

Pour into a 2-quart freezer container. Seal tightly. Freeze until firm enough to scoop. Makes about 1 ½ quarts.


Also see…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Dog Days Of Summer

Fried Chicken, Like Frankenmuth



As seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 94)… [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).]*

The German community of Frankenmuth, Michigan, which for decades has celebrated the art of fried chicken (served family-style) has had thousands of customers lined up every weekend and holiday, waiting to be seated in one of their 2 large restaurants. Their fried chicken is like ‘Grandma used to make’ – richly flavored, moist inside and never greasy. The family-style dinner provides the table with large bowls of homemade mashed potatoes and gravy, moist and spicy dressing (called “stuffing” in other parts of the country), a fresh-from-scratch cranberry-orange relish, hot breads and beverages.

The fried chicken method:

Begin by setting your electric skillet at 400°F and melting ¼ pound margarine and ½ cup corn oil in it. Blend only until the margarine bubbles, without letting it change color. Don’t let it brown, please!

Run the pieces of a cut-up chicken fryer under cold water. Shake off the excess water but don’t let it get too dry. Dredge each piece evenly in flour, turning it over and over about 3 or 4 times to let the moisture of the chicken absorb the flour as you turn it and form a coating.

Place the floured pieces skin-side down in the oil/margarine mixture and, as it brown’s, sprinkle each piece with the following: 1/8 teaspoon onion salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, ¼ teaspoon paprika and a dash of sage.

When the skin-side of each piece is golden brown, turn and let the bone-side that you just seasoned, brown as well. Dust the browned side with the same 4 ingredients given above. Also sprinkle each piece, skin-side up and nicely browned, with 1 tablespoon flour per piece and then about 2 teaspoons of the drippings in which the chicken is being fried.

Rinse a baking pan in hot water and shake it off, but don’t dry it. Transfer chicken pieces to the moist pan, skin-side up, in a single layer. Put it in a 400°F oven to bake, uncovered, for about 30 minutes – for a moister coating cover the pan with foil as the chicken is baking. Serves 4.


*Also see…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – It’s A Finger Licking Good Day!

Griddlecakes And Syrup, Like Pancake House


As seen in… The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; June 1977, p. 32).


2 eggs

2½ cups buttermilk

3 TB oil

½ tsp salt

½ tsp vanilla

½ tsp baking soda

3 TB pancake syrup (*see homemade version below)

2 cups flour

¼ cup cornmeal


In mixing bowl, combine ingredients as listed and beat on medium speed. When smooth, let batter rest 10 minutes before using – 1/3 cupful for each pancake on a lightly greased, hot griddle.

[NOTE: To test griddle for hotness: a few drops of water will “dance” on it when it’s ready.]

Turn [griddlecakes] once, only as you see bubbles come to top of batter and edges appear dry. Makes 16 pancakes.


Combine 1 cup light corn syrup, ½ cup brown sugar, and ½ cup water in a pan on medium to medium-high heat; cooking and stirring until sugar dissolves. Then stir in a dash of maple flavoring and 1 TB of butter (or margarine). [Makes about 1½ cups.]

Also see…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Gloria Pitzer’s Homemaker’s Newsletter

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Meant to Mentor

Happy Monday and happy February Eve! Personally, I always look forward to Mondays because they are my 52 Chances each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you!



It’s the last day of January. The final day for observing (among other things)… National Mentoring Month! Thankfully, mentoring can be done anytime, anywhere, and by anyone. A favorite quote of Mom’s, by James Keller, says: “A candle loses nothing in lighting another candle.”

I recently saw a documentary about how Bob Ross was such a great mentor for so many years to so many budding artists. That was THE JOY that he got out OF PAINTING. He loved to mentor others in the joy he believed everyone could attain from the simple act of painting. I always found joy in watching his videos and just listening to him talk.

Tawas Lighthouse – Tawas, Michigan – photo by Laura Emerich

As I’ve written in some other blog posts, helping Mom re-write her last published cookbook brought us even closer together, through our shared love for writing. It reminded me of when I was a pre-teen, falling in love with writing poetry. Mom was meant to mentor those who shared her love for writing!


Somewhere within that re-write project, Mom’s “child” (as she called each of her publications) became like my own “child”. I dedicated over two years of my free time to its completion. Mom was elated when she heard her favorite cookbook “went to print” again, saying one of the highlights of her life was being “kind of famous for a while!”

Mom passed away later that month (two weeks after her 82nd birthday), leaving behind a beautiful legacy of faith, love, generosity, humor and a wide range of creative talents. I feel so lucky to have all of these memories of her and how she mentored me in so many ways, throughout my life. Additionally, I’m grateful for this forum on which I can share it.


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over – And I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 75)


THE CARE AND CONCERN that an author has for their readers is part of the pleasure of presenting interesting ideas in either an entertaining way or in an informative way. I try to balance my own presentations between the two.

When I am broadcasting over the numerous radio stations around the country, sometimes around the world, I try to lift the listener to a new height of interest and enthusiasm, and I leave the serious side of nutrition to the experts, who have the medical background to support their claims.

My hope is to present my recipes in such a way that cooking is a joy and never a job! I try to present these recipes with the same concern as I do [when] giving a gift to a special friend. Each of our 5 children, who have grown up helping Paul and me with these recipes, have gone out into the world with this legacy of love and enthusiasm. We can only hope that they use what we have given them…

I can only hope I’ve made Mom proud of what I’m doing with her legacy – her treasury of articles and recipes – and all it entails. Dad would’ve been happy to have fully retired the business after its 30th year of operation (2004). However, Mom never wanted to stop what she was doing.

Nonetheless, at some point in time, our bodies and brains reach that stage, when they just can’t do what they used to do. That’s part of why I still write for/about Mom – to continue carrying her torch, in hopes of inspiring others to be creative and write about what they love. I also want to share Mom’s mentoring in the kitchen, in the home, in the family, and in other relationships.

‘I’ve had so many good examples to follow – I’ll try to be one, myself, to somebody else.’ – Gloria Pitzer (This is not a Cook Book, written and self-published by Gloria Pitzer (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 8)

Mom had her own mentors, directly and indirectly. First and foremost was her own mother! Others included the Bronte sisters (whose family story she saw in the 1946 film, “Devotion”), as well as iconic comedians like Lucille Ball, Betty White, Carol Burnett, and Erma Bombeck to name a few.

I’ve also written previously about how Maya Angelou had influenced Mom’s writing, as well, after she read, in a 1993 issue of the Christian Science Monitor, about how Maya’s own devotion to writing began with “gratitude lessons” and “the yellow pad”.

I’m grateful that I grew up, being mentored and influenced by both of my parents, to seize opportunities and always give my best effort in everything I attempt. Everyone should have at least one good example, influence, or mentor. We should also strive to be that for someone else, too.


As seen in…

The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; June 1997, p. 113)


COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS, was always my mother’s advice to me when I would try to bend a sympathetic ear, imploring her to comfort me and keep me company in my occasional misery. And, of course, misery does love company!

But counting my blessings was the last thing in the world I felt up to doing when the world seemed to be so hopelessly bleak, and whatever problem I had at the time, seem so devastating to me. Now here I am telling my own children the same thing. Only I tell my own children to count their opportunities, for an opportunity is just a blessing in disguise!

I wish I had known this years ago. What frustrating disappointments I could have avoided, or at the upmost, handled better. I would’ve used the enthusiasm and the optimism that I acquired during the last two years or so to work off those petty resentments that separate us from folks whom we could really care about, if we only get to know them better, and perhaps understand why we’re in conflict.

Naturally, if we judge everything by what we see on television, we’d know that’s impossible – that people in conflict can’t resolve their differences, or so the reports indicate in those real-life fantasies that exaggerate greed, envy and contempt as if the motivation for these traits were purely justified. I don’t think they ever are!

Preparing your assortment of thoughts and feelings in a compatible mixture, in order to produce successful relationships, is really no different than preparing an assortment of compatible ingredients in a recipe for a dish that promises to be a stunning success on the dinner table.

Whether it’s a recipe for preparing a very good dish, or a very good relationship, the basics are still the same – compatible ingredients, attention to detail, thinking about what you are doing, and making logical adjustments as you go!


Again, it’s the last day of January, for observing… National Hobby Month, National Blood Donor Month, National Hot Tea Month, National Oatmeal Month, National Slow Cooking Month, National Soup Month, and National Sunday Supper Month! But, as January ends, don’t stop having a hobby or donating blood or enjoying things like hot tea, oatmeal, soup, slow-cooker meals and/or Sunday suppers. And PLEASE, never stop being a positive mentor for others!


In honor of TODAY, also being National Backward Day, here is Mom’s copycat recipe for Greenfield’s Blueberry Upside-Down Cake; as seen in her self-published cookbook… The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; June 1997, p. 13).


P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…


Today is also… National Hot Chocolate Day and National Inspire Your Heart With Art Day! Plus, as the last Monday of January (2022), it’s also… National Bubble Wrap Day!

Tomorrow is the start of February. Some of February’s month-long observances include… National Fasting February, An Affair to Remember Month, Black History Month, National Canned Food Month, National Creative Romance Month, National Great American Pies Month, National Bake for Family Fun Month, National Bird Feeding Month, National Cherry Month, National Grapefruit Month, National Hot Breakfast Month, National Library Lover’s Month, National Snack Food Month, and National Weddings Month!

Tuesday is also… National Baked Alaska Day, National Freedom Day, National Get Up Day, and National Texas Day! Plus, African Heritage and Health Week is always February 1st-7th!

Wednesday, February 2nd is… National Heavenly Hash Day, National Tater Tot Day, and National Groundhog Day! Plus, it’s also… US Snow Sculpting Week – February 2nd-6th for 2022.

February 3rd is… National Carrot Cake Day and National Day the Music Died Day! Plus, as the first Thursday in February (2022), it’s also… National Optimist Day!

February 4th is… National Homemade Soup Day and National Thank a Mail Carrier Day! Plus, as the first Friday in February (2022), it’s also… National Wear Red Day and National Bubble Gum Day! Additionally, it’s… National Boy Scout Anniversary Week, which is always celebrated February 4th-10th.

February 5th is… National Weatherperson’s Day and National World Nutella Day! Plus, as the first Saturday of February (2022), it’s also… National Ice Cream for Breakfast Day and National Play Outside Day (which is the first Saturday of EVERY month)!

February  6th is… National Frozen Yogurt Day and National Chopsticks Day! Plus, as the first Sunday in February (2022), it’s also the start of… National Burn Awareness Week!


…5 down and 47 to go!

Texas Fruitcake



As seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 279)… [A rewrite of her famous, self-published cookbook, Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).]*

Legend has it that Puddin’ Hill has the best-darn fruitcake west of the Mississippi – and the recipe for it is a secret that has been closely guarded by a lady named Mary, and her family – who’ve made it, not just a tradition, but a reason for celebrating!


1 pound each: walnuts and dates

10-ounce package currants

20-ounce can pineapple chunks

2 jars (10-ounces each) red maraschino cherry

2 cups sugar, divided

1 cup all-purpose flour

6 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 ½ cups sugar

¼ pound (one stick) butter or margarine

1 teaspoon each: baking powder, salt, grated orange rind and lemon rind

½ teaspoon each: nutmeg and cinnamon

2 ounces brandy flavoring, or real brandy

1 cup all-purpose flour


Break up walnuts with hammer. Slice dates into 4 pieces each. Mix these with currants and set aside. Put pineapple and its juice with 1 cup of the sugar in a small sauce pan. In another small sauce pan, combine cherries with their juice and the other cup of sugar.

Let both pans simmer briskly, uncovered, about 30 minutes. Reserving the syrups, drain each. Set fruits aside to cool, spreading them out over lightly-oiled cookie sheets. Place cookie sheets of fruit in a 350°F oven for 15 minutes.

Remove [cookie sheets] to cool for 15 minutes. Combine [fruit] with the first cup of flour and walnut mixture in roasting pan. Coat every single dry particle of it with the flour.

Then beat remaining ingredients, as listed, with electric mix er on medium-high speed for 5 minutes.

Pack mixture evenly into bottom of 2 Pam-sprayed, 8-inch, square Pyrex baking dishes that have 2 layers of wax paper on bottom only.

Place dishes on cookie sheets to bake at 275°F for almost 2 hours or until toothpick inserted in center of each comes out clean.

Cool [cakes]. Cut each into 2 equal loaf-like pieces. Wrap each in a brandy-soaked cloth and then in plastic bags. Store at room temperature for 30 days to “ripen” before serving.

If you [want to] use the cakes right away, you can take the reserved syrup from the pineapple and cherries, which you set aside earlier, and combine them in a small sauce pan, until piping hot.

Remove from heat and measure the syrup. Add half as much whiskey, rum or brandy and brush the warm syrup over the cake-loaves before slicing to serve. Freezes well up to a year.

Makes 4 loaves (4 x 8” each). If prepared 30 days before serving, soak and re-soak cloth in liquor during that time, keeping them just dampened. Sealing cakes in air-tight containers – after wrapping in the cloths and in the plastic bags to keep them moist.


*Also see…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Sweet Summertime

Saturday Bread Dough & West Virginia Bread


Both, by Gloria Pitzer

[*As seen in… Eating Out At Home Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Sep. 1981, 12th Printing, p. 24).]

Grandma and the five girls were up at 4 AM to begin the baking each Saturday. Here is her bread recipe in her own words – with two exceptions. I used water and dry milk powder in place of her “rich top milk” and corn oil in place of her “melted suet”. There is a certain charm and her recipe language from a time will never see again – that I thought you’d enjoy sharing with me.


Fill your two-gallon cooker with 1-qt warm tap water. Add ½ cup dry milk powder, 1 TB salt, 1½ cups sugar, 2/3 cup corn oil, and 2 beaten eggs. Take 3 cakes of yeast (not dry packaged) and dissolve in enough warm tap water in small soup bowl to give the thickness of gravy.

Add to liquid ingredients and then begin adding almost all of a 5-pound bag of flour to those liquid ingredients, until most of the flour has been folded easily into a thick batter. It will be sticky. It should be! You cannot knead this dough and don’t have to.

Divide batter into two large (ungreased) mixing bowls, as wide as a beach ball, so they’re half full and let dough rise twice until doubled in bulk, punching down each time.

Then divide dough into six buttered bread tins (about 9-inch long), lightly flouring fingers to keep dough from sticking to your hands. Let rise about an hour or until doubled.

Bake nearly an hour and a moderate oven (about 375°F today). Remove bread from pans immediately and let each loaf cool on its side.

Prick crusts with fork and butter each to keep them moist. Wrap in butcher’s paper and tie with string. (Today, wrap in plastic food storage bags or waxed paper.) Do not slice bread for at least four hours after baking. Then freeze it up to one year. Makes six loaves.


Divide the “Saturday Bread Dough” (above) equally between 12 round 9-inch layer cake pans that have been well-buttered. Dough should fill each half full. Let rise until doubled. Sprinkle top of each with white sugar (granulated – about 1 TB per loaf).

When doubled in bulk, bake two or three tins at a time in moderate oven (375°F) for half an hour or little more until golden brown. Remove from tins immediately. Cool a bit and wrap each in butcher’s paper and tie with string. (Today, wrap in plastic food bags or waxed paper.) Cut into pie shaped wedges while it’s still warm to serve with butter and preserves.

Makes 12 thin loaves. Freeze up to one year.

**Also see…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – The Backdoor Bakery