My sisters and I grew up surrounded by extended family that included aunts, uncles, great aunts and uncles, numerous cousins and second cousins, and grandparents. Holidays and special occasions were marked by the food we shared. Our mom, grandma, and great-grandma have all passed away, and since I don’t bake, I thought perhaps the family recipes we cherished would perish as well, but Dave has made a special effort to learn how to bake many of our favorites.

One of our favorite recipes that always make the holidays special (we make it every Thanksgiving and Kira requests it for every birthday) comes from our dear aunt Darla:

Lucky Cherry Tea Cake

3/4 c vegetable oil (you can exchange the oil for applesauce but it will make the cake more dense)
1.5 c granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
juice of one medium orange (1/3 c)
3 eggs
3 c flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp almond flavoring
1 can cherry pie filling
For topping: 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 c sugar
Blend together oil and granulated sugar. Add the vanilla and orange juice. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Fold in flour and baking powder. Add almond flavoring to pie filling. Grease a 13 x 9 pan. Spread about 1/2 the batter into the pan. Spoon cherry pie filling over the batter. Cover with remaining batter. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture on top. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, turn oven to 325 and continue baking for 35 minutes.

Great-grandma Terry was a beautiful white-haired woman with blue eyes. Diabetes did not keep her from being the best dessert maker on earth (it also didn’t keep her from eating her fair share). To this day, we can still remember the smell of her warm cinnamon rolls coming out of the oven… but these potato chip cookies are a real delight.

Potato Chip Cookies

1 c shortening or margarine
1 c white sugar
2 c flour
2 c crushed potato chips
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 c chopped nuts
Cream shortening/margarine and sugar. Add eggs and mix well. Sift flour, baking soda, and salt together and add to batter. Add chips and nuts. Drop small amounts on buttered cookie sheets. Bake at 325 til browned.