Saturday, May 25, 2013

Make Your Own Homemade Sour Cream

"Hey yogurt, if you're so cultured, how come I never see you at the opera?"
- Attributed to Stephen Colbert

I use a lot of sour cream. It is one of my favorite ingredients for baking. I prefer using it over yogurt, since it has a higher fat content, I think it makes tastier baked goods. So when I first found out you could make it yourself, I was all over it.

Measuring the cream

I keep heavy cream in the house, mostly because I use it in tea and coffee. There is nothing like heavy cream, pure and simple. I actually think heavy cream is my favorite food of all time. Since I keep it around, this is so awesome for me. I can make my own sour cream myself, if I run out of store bought.

Just added the milk/vinegar mixture
Another reason I wanted to share it here, is because many of my recipes call for it, and sour cream isn't available in every country. But heavy cream, (probably called simply, cream, in most places) I know is more widely available.

And we wait for the magic to happen

The great news is I think this homemade sour cream tastes even better than store bought. The first taste you get when you taste it is sour cream. But then you get this after taste of heavy cream. So of course I love that! And you know what the ingredients are since you made it yourself!

After 24 hours, it gets thick! But not quite as thick as store bought, but almost.

The bad news is it doesn't last as long in the fridge as store bought, and it's not quite as thick, (it's still thick, just a tad less than store bought.) It lasts about a week after you make it, but after a few days it does loosen a little. I think it's best within the first 4 or 5 days.

Vintage Minton Bowl, Pink Napkins and  Towle Sterling Silver Spoon, available at my Etsy shop, House of Lucien.

Homemade Sour Cream

There are 2 different ways you can make this, I've included them both.

Recipe #1 from All Recipes This is the recipe I used this time, but I've made it both ways.


1 cup (8 oz or 237 ml) heavy whipping cream - here in the US there is whipping cream and heavy whipping cream, get the heavy kind, the one with the highest fat content

1/4 cup (59 ml) milk

3/4 tsp white vinegar


In a small bowl, add the milk and the vinegar stir, and let stand for 10 minutes.

Pour the heavy cream into a jar and stir in the milk mixture. Cover the jar and let stand at room temperature for 24 hours.

After the 24 hours has passed, store it in the fridge. Use within a week.

Recipe #2 From Mother Earth News this article also includes how to make cream cheese


1 cup (8 oz or 237 ml)  heavy whipping cream - here in the US there is whipping cream and heavy whipping cream, get the heavy kind, the one with the highest fat content

1/4 cup (59 ml) sour cream OR cultured buttermilk, OR yogurt with live cultures


In a jar add the heavy cream and the sour cream or buttermilk, shake it all up and let it sit at room temperature for 24 hours. After 24 hours, store it in the fridge. It will last a week in the fridge.


Monday, May 13, 2013

Butterscotch Chewy Cake - Vintage Pillsbury Award Winner!

"Nostalgia is a file that removes the rough edges from the good old days." 
- Doug Larson

I was shopping at our local thrift store and I heard the employees talking. I heard the words, "wow this is old! What is it? Is it a scrap book? It's recipes! This is so cool!" I promptly came over and said, "O.K. what are you talking about, and where is it?"

What they were referring to was this book I'll call The Scrapbook. It was made from a tailors book that talks about their prices and the clothes they offer. Nowadays it would be a brochure, but this is a full on hard cover book. The owner of this book glued recipes over the pages. There are a few calenders glued to the back page, the first one starts in 1926. Google tells me this recipe from a Pillsbury baking contest dates to 1955. At least thirty years of recipes have been collected in this book, her whole adult life.

This recipe is easy to make. You just need a bowl, a whisk and a spoon.

I'm a lover of vintage items. I have my own vintage shop, even. So I was all over this. This book tells a story about the times through food. I started to think about it. My father is 80 years old. He was born in 1933. He was a child during the later years of the making of this book. This book was made by someone who lived during his mothers era.

Right before going in the oven

It was the depression. There was no internet. How did they get recipes? Probably through friends, people at church and passed down from their mothers. Cookbooks, if you could afford them.

Right out of the oven

Newspaper articles and food labels with delicious sounding recipes must have felt like a gift. What a perfectly sensible idea to glue them to the pages of an already existing book! During a depression you do what you gotta do to provide your family with a tasty and hearty meal. A great and timeless lesson in resourcefulness.

The scrapbook made from a tailors book, I love how art deco it is.

I have a collection of vintage cookbooks myself, but this was more special. More personal. I wanted to cook from it right away.

This is incredible. She used it her whole adult life, 30 years of collecting. There are calenders glued to the back from 1926, and the recipe I used from a label that dates to 1955. 

Loose in the last few pages of the book was a leaflet from Pillsbury, with the recipes of the prize winners from 1955. Turns out Pillsbury has been sponsoring baking contests for 64 years and counting.

The book includes recipes of all kinds

The recipe that caught my eye was this butterscotch chewy cake. I love the flavor of butterscotch and it was easy and quite straightforward. I crossed my fingers that the recipe would still work after all of these years.

There are pictures! It is interesting to me to see what was in fashion.

I'm happy to announce that yes, indeed it did work. It produced exactly what it advertises. A chewy cake. The texture is a cross between a snack cake and a blondie, or a brownie. I enjoyed it alone as a casual snack in the afternoon. But we really devoured it topped with butter pecan ice cream and caramel sauce. A sundae is how this cake shines. The texture stands up to the ice cream and caramel without getting soggy. And since the weather around here has been unseasonably warm, it was a welcome treat.

Even handwritten recipes, waffle cake, sounds good!

The cake is super easy to make. It really just takes a few minutes to throw together. It's just a few basic ingredients, eggs, flour, lots of pecans, etc. - with one exception. Scotch. Scotch whiskey to be specific.

There are even diet tips.

Scotch isn't included in the original recipe, I added it. Here's why. I've made a few different butterscotch desserts in my life, (I'm not talking about artificially flavored butterscotch like those chips) that included it. It really brings home the taste of butterscotch without tasting like alcohol, since it's baked. If you absolutely can't use alcohol you can go ahead and omit it. But I do recommend it for the best flavor.

labels with recipes

While I'm very happy about my new book, I'm also a little sad, that this book isn't in the hands of the family of it's creator. More and more in this digital age I find people don't hold onto things like they used to. I attend garage sales where they are selling their mothers items and not passing them down like previous generations would. With shows on TV like Hoarders, no one wants to be a pack rat. Which part of me totally understands.

Call me sentimental, but I like these little pieces of yesteryear, in a tangible form to hold in my hands and dream about times past.

My free range chickens are always looking for a treat. I think they thought I was bringing this outside for them.
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 Vintage Etched Drinking Glasses, Antique Johnson Bros Plates, English Ironstone Pitcher with Pink Roses, Towle Sterling Silver Spoon, and Baby Pink Cloth Napkins available at my Etsy shop, House of Lucien.

Enter coupon code ALCHEMY at House of Lucien for 20 percent off of your order! 

Butterscotch Chewy Cake

Adapted from the 2nd prize winner of Pillsbury Grand National Recipe and Baking Contest 1955, Mrs. Richard Enloe Atlanta, Georgia


4 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

2 cups (400 g.) packed brown sugar

2 Tablespoons butter - melted

1 1/2 cups (190 g.) sifted all purpose flour - sift first then measure

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups (146 g.) chopped pecans

3 Tablespoons Scotch Whiskey (optional, but recommended)

For serving

Ice cream, butter pecan or vanilla or whipped cream - optional

Store bought or homemade Caramel Sauce - optional


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, 180 degrees Celsius, Gas Mark 4. Grease well a 13 x 9 inch pan, set aside.

Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Add brown sugar, vanilla and melted butter and stir together. In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the egg mixture and stir together well, until incorporated. Add the chopped nuts and the scotch whiskey (if using) and stir again until well blended.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 25 minutes or until it springs back lightly when touched lightly in the center, and until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream, I used butter pecan ice cream and store bought caramel sauce for topping and it was marvelous!