Fall: Memories of Mother and Baking

FALL.... brings back fond memories of my mother and baking. Each year as the season transitioned from summer to fall, so did the smells in my childhood home.

When the days began to grow cooler and the nights colder, my mother started stockpiling baking ingredients. Several times a week the scents of cinnamon, apples and chocolate greeted me when I came home from school. Mom would always invite me to help her make cookies or bake a cake, but I was only interested in licking the beaters and stealing a spoonful of batter before heading outside to play with my friends.

My mother taught herself how to cook and bake. While us kids watched TV at night, she’d browse magazines for recipes and add them to her collection. After my mother passed away, my sister sent me a few of her recipe books. I appreciated the gesture, until I took a closer look and saw that the recipes were all main courses and appetizers. She’d kept the pastry and dessert books for herself. Sneaky sister.

Pioneer Woman to the rescue! A while ago I bookmarked Ree Drummond’s cooking blog on my laptop. I told myself if a Pi Beta Phi sorority girl and graduate of the University of Southern California could teach herself how to cook for the Marlboro man, then I could teach myself to cook for the golfer man.

Ree’s rum cake recipe is one of my favorites. After two trial runs at making this cake, I was confident enough to purchase a fancy Bundt pan and Ree’s vintage-looking cake platter. Each year I stock up on bottles of rum and make several cakes to give away at Christmastime. You can find Ree’s rum cake recipe HERE.

I’ll never be as good in the kitchen as my mother, and I’ll never keep my recipes as organized as she did. But when I do come across a recipe in a magazine or on the Internet that I’d like to try, I print it off and toss it into my vintage recipe tin, which sits on my vintage stool in the corner of my not-so-vintage kitchen. 


Giveaway Alert!

Answer the following question for a chance to win a signed paperback or digital copy (winner’s choice) of TWINS FOR THE TEXAS RANCHER. (I’ll announce the winners name in the comment section of this post on Sunday October 1st!)

Of all the treats your mother baked when you were growing up, which was your favorite?


Until Next Time…Happy Trails!












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62 thoughts on “Fall: Memories of Mother and Baking”

  1. Thank you for the great post Marin.

    My favorite treat that my Mom used to make was her Surprise Cookies. They were an oatmeal cookie with rice krispies, raisins, nuts, and tons of goodies in them. Such fond memories.

    Cindy W.

    • Cindy, your post made me smile–I remember a friend of mine whose mother would always make “surprise” casserole which was basically all the leftovers in the fridge, cream of chicken soup and cheese over the top–it was different tasting each time and my friend hates it, lol! You mom’s Surprise cookies sound much better 🙂

  2. Good morning. Wow that’s a tough question my mom is an excellent cook and cooks all the time. But I do think her pecan pie is the best I’ve ever eaten in my 48 years here on earth. I’ve tried to duplicate it and I come close, but it’s still not the same. It must be that extra stirring of love she put in it. I do know that she uses 1/2 Dark Karo syrup & 1/2 light Karo syrup and semi-finely crushed pecans. Oh great now I’m hungry. You have a great rest of the week & weekend.

    • Tonya, your mother’s pie sounds to-die-for! I kind of like the thought that you can’t quite duplicate it-it makes the memory of your mother all that more special. You enjoy your weekend also!

  3. I could probably think of things I’d rather not remember. I remember her trying to do away with Christmas candy she would put it in pound cakes and then take to my dads family. She would literally take and put the hard candies from Christmas into her pound cakes that were good alone but I can say they always got ate but after those cakes I was totally turned off to Christmas candy. Now my dad oh I never have been able to duplicate to perfection his cornbread it was kinda thin with just the perfect amount of thickness and had a crispness on the bottom that I learned but never have I been able to get that perfect thickness or thinness should I say

  4. My mother always did a lot of apple pies and strudels in the fall. I was never able to help make them, but I sure did my share in helping eat them. I have never been good at cooking, so I don’t even try to make anything like my mother did.

  5. Like you, I can never be as good a baker as my mother! My favorites of hers were her no-bake cookies and midnight bars. She must have secret ingredients in her baked goods because mine never taste the same.

    • Susan, isn’t it funny how we try to duplicate our mothers recipes but they never taste quite the same? I often wonder if its because baking supplies have changed in the way they’re manufactured and stored. Who knows?

  6. I’d say I liked chocolate chip cookies the best but my mom always loved pound cakes. When I was really little we had a milk man as well as a bread man who also brought bakery items on his truck. My collie didn’t like him, so to win her over he gave her a donut each trip.

  7. I guess I would have to say pecan pie was one of my favorites that she made. I use her recipe now to make pecan pie at Christmas for the family.

  8. Love your post, Marin. Fall was very special in our family and my mom….oh how she loved to bake! Since she had a horrible sweet tooth, my sister and I definitely benefited. She made the best Coca Cola cake, Mountain Dew cake, and pecan pies. But the treat I always anxiously anticipated each fall was making taffy. I think it was because it took the whole family to pull it. Talk about laughing and family stories and the jokes my brother would tell. Such a special time. One other fall tradition when the weather turned colder was rabbit hunting–again as a family. We’d pile in the car and drive through the countryside to a spot my dad would proclaim prime rabbit country. He and my brother would get out with their rifles. I admit that I hated to see the dead rabbits and my sister and I never, ever ate one bite. But it was the family closeness that I cherished.

    Your book looks awesome! Congrats!

    • Linda, count me in the not eating the poor bunnies, lol! But Taffy? Your mom sure was adventurous in the sweet department. And speaking of soda cakes, I bought a 7-up cake at our local farmer’s market and OMG, it was amazing! I tried to make one and it turned out dry so I know there’s a trick to it, just haven’t figure sit out yet 🙂

  9. Chocolate Chip cookies were my favorite. Just the Tollhouse recipe from the back of the bag. That’s what I first learned to bake and still do.

  10. My mother never baked. My paternal grandmother baked all sometimes but she made a type of cookie with a hot skillet type things on top of the stove and we loved them. She was born and raised in norway.

  11. My mom was an excellent cook and I have many wonderful memories of pies, cakes, and good old country cooking. Every Christmas she always made several Jam cakes and she would give one to me and one to my brother. She passed away this past February so this Christmas I am going to use her recipe and make two jam cakes. One for my brother and one for my family. I don’t expect it to be as good as hers but I will try, somehow, to add all of the special memories into the batter!

  12. Yum! I love your tribute to your mom, Marin. My gram was the baker in our family, but I remember my mother teaching me recipes during summer vacations when I was a kid. Sadly, I did not grow up to be a cook, but fortunately, Hubs is a masterful chef! I’d love to get one of those rum cakes some Christmas!

    • Trish, I haven’t read her book only snippets on the internet, but I thought I read somewhere that she was going to go to law school and dropped out after she met her husband. I would love to visit her cafe and store one day!

  13. One of the things I enjoyed the most were her World’s Best Cookies. They were large cookies. Sort of a combination chocolate chip and oatmeal cookie. Easy to make, but really god.

  14. Marin, thanks for your post. I enjoyed reading it. My late Mom was an amazing cook but never baked. But my paternal grandmother baked all the time. She was born in Italy and my favorite from her will always be her Italian cookies called Cucidati.(not sure I spelled it right ). They were time consuming though. I remember her and my 6 aunts in the kitchen making batches of them for our huge family.
    Carol Luciano

  15. Carol, what a neat memory about your paternal grandmother! My paternal grandmother’s claim to fame were her pies and pie crust. I remember her baking the leftover pieces of crust after brushing them with butter and cinnamon and letting us kids eat them 🙂

  16. My mum baked apple pies or apple tarts as we call them in Northern Ireland

    At Christmas she made steamed Christmas cake if you look up clootie dumpling thatsvthe recipe and method it’s served sliced and fried with bacon and eggs on xmas morning or cold sliced and buttered

      • It’s so good
        Traditionally a Scottish dish it evokes memories of Christmas for me the warm kitchen the aroma of mixed spice and the pile of new tea towels … the pudding is wrapped in greasotoof paper then in a linen or Cotten tea towel … “the clout”

        Definitely a dish worth making

  17. My mom was a good pie baker, but the first thing she taught all of us kids to bake was a molasses cookie recipe from my dad’s aunts. It is a rolled cookie and kids can play with the dough without ruining the finished cookies. If some of the cookies are a little crisper than the first ones cut out it is okay because they are great dunked in milk, coffee, or even hot tea.

    I wonder if Kim Hansen’s grandmother’s Norwegian cookies were krumkake. A number of the women in our church are of Norwegian heritage and krumkake and lefse were always brought to pot lucks during the holidays.

    • Alice, pie making is an art form and takes lots of patience-at least that’s what my grandmother claimed. My father’s favorite cookies re molasses and I haven’t made those in a long, long time-maybe I need to do that this holiday season 🙂

  18. We always had a lot of eggs from the chickens on the farm so my Mother made a lot of Angel Food cakes which took about a dozen egg whites.
    The best was a dark chocolate Angel Food cake with a 7-minute frosting.
    Soooooo yummy

  19. Happy Sunday to all!

    I enjoyed reading everyone’s comments and learned a few things I didn’t know about baking and sweets!
    I’d like to congratulate Cindy Woolard~Cindy is the winner of my Fall: Memories of Mother & Baking post! Cindy please contact marin@marinthomas.com to claim your prize–either a signed paperback or the Kindle version of Twins for the Texas Rancher!

    I’ll be back on Oct 12th with my next blog and giveaway-hope to see you then!
    Happy Trails,

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