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These recipes are modernized versions of the snacks that Aunt Betsy made for Joel Harris in the 1840s. They will give you a taste of what food was like in pre-civil war Georgia, but with tasty flares and simpler steps to make them worth the effort!

Ginger Cakes

Back in Joel's day, this yummy treat would have been a full sized cake made in the bottom of a dutch oven and sprinkled with powdered sugar, but we decided to make cupcakes instead (I LOVE cupcakes!) All of the classic tastes of a southern ginger cake, in miniature! And, to add flavor, we came up with two different icings: lemon cream cheese (Christian's favorite!) and maple buttercream (My favorite) Yum!

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Butter (if you're not using cupcake liners)

2 cups of all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

1/2 salt

3/4 cup light molasses

3/4 cup canola oil

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup water

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

2 large eggs

Line (and spray with non-stick spray...the molasses makes these little cakes STICKY!) or butter 18 cupcake tins.

Heat oven to 350°F and put the rack in the middle. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, salt and pepper until there are no lumps. Set aside.

In a large saucepan bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Once it reaches a boil, remove from heat and add (in this order) baking soda, molasses, oil and sugar. Mix until well combined.

Add the flour mixture to the saucepan a little at a time. Mix until you get rid of all the lumps. Then, using a rubber spatula, stir in the eggs. Then, using a measuring cup, fill the prepared tins. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Lemon Cream Cheese Icing


2 (8-ounce) packages of cream cheese

1 stick of butter (8 tablespoons)

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

1 teaspoon (or so) of lemon zest

1 teaspoon (or so) of lemon juice

ginger snap cookie crumbs for topping

Place the cream cheese and butter in a stand mixer.  With a paddle beat on medium speed until combined. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl.

Add powdered sugar, vanilla, lemon zest and juice. Mix until combined.

Continue to add lemon zest and juice until you're happy with it.

Maple Buttercream


2 sticks of butter

2 cups of powdered sugar (to start)

1 cup maple syrup

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon of salt

Combine all  ingredients in a stand mixer and beat until there are as few lumps as possible.

When we were done mixing, ours was...well...lumpy. So we just added more powered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until it was smooth and frostable!

Lemon Cream Cheese

Ginger Cakes

Maple Buttercream

Ginger Cakes

Flat Chicken Pies

We weren’t really sure what this was supposed to be, but the name sounds so yummy we had to figure out! Then, Mom remembered something her grandmother used to make for her that fit the bill perfectly! May I present: FLAT CHICKEN PIES!



1 (8 ounce) package of cream cheese

1 (2 ounce) package of dry ranch dressing mix

1 can of chopped chicken

1 cup of cheddar cheese

2 packages of refrigerated biscuit dough

Canola oil and butter for cooking

Mix together cream cheese, ranch dressing mix, chicken and cheddar cheese.

Take two of the biscuits and combine them in your hands. Set it on wax paper and, with a rolling pin, roll out the biscuits to the biggest circle you can get it. Repeat until you are out of biscuits.

Spread the filling over the biscuits. Fold them in half and use a fork to seal them.

Cook in a frying pan over medium heat until golden brown.

So there you have it! Two of Joel's favorite foods for your enjoyment! Bon-appetit!

This is a dutch oven. When Joel was a kid in Eatonton, Aunt Betsy Cuthbert made him ginger cakes in the bottom of one of these!

Here is Aunt Betsy Cuthbert, a freed slave living in Eatonton with her grandchildren. She loved to make snacks for Joel and the other children who would come and play in the white mud gullies with her grandkids!

Welcome to cooking with Mary-Blair! With me: Mary-Blair! Ever since we traveled back in time to the 1800s and met Joel Chandler Harris, we've been learning all about life in that time in school. Since I LOVE cooking, I decided I would try to make some of Joel's favorite foods and share them with you! Hey, I might even do this again the next time we travel back in time with the magical pencils!

When Joel Chandler Harris was a boy in Eatonton, Georgia, one of his favorite things to do was to go and play in the 'white mud gullies' next to the house of Aunt Betsy Cuthbert, a freed slave who was everyone’s 'Aunt'. Joel and his friends would play in the 'gullies' till Aunt Betsy would call them inside for snacks of Flat Chicken Pies and Ginger Cakes that she had made that morning in her dutch oven. Everyone loved Aunt Betsy's cooking, and when Joel grew up, he always remembered Aunt Betsy and the yummy snacks she gave him and the other little boys in Eatonton.


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Copyright 2016 Pencilsandpixiedust.com

Copyright 2016 Pencilsandpixiedust.com