Ah, mud season! Some have said that we’ve had a short winter but we’ll have a very long mud season.
I wouldn’t at all be surprised. Right now, my circular, dirt driveway is one big mud bath. Particularly terrible are two huge puddles at least six inches deep. This will have to be the year we have a couple of loads of gravel spread on this very old driveway.
Although that will help us, it won’t make my geese very happy. When they are let out of their pen, they make a bee-line for the driveway. There, they flap their once-white wings, squawk, bathe and have a wonderful time. More than a few future goslings have also been conceived in one of the puddles.
Mud is tracked onto the walkway, and then, despite the several rugs I have scattered in the hallway and kitchen, onto the floor. The mop has been my best friend lately.
On the upside of mud season though, is the beginning of new life. Wherever there’s a sliver of earth peeking through the snow banks, I find brave daffodils, irises, crocuses, day lilies and tulips poking up through the nearly frozen soil. All these glorious bulbs are impatiently waiting to grow as quickly as possible into spectacular yellow, purple, red, and orange blossoms.
Buds on the lilac bush are swelling, as are the buds on maples and other deciduous trees. The sap is running, promising many jars of sweet syrup. Spring officially begins today, March 21, but nature got a head start.
In honor of mud season, I’ve provided two recipes for incredibly sweet “mud” desserts. Not really mud, of course, but chocolate delights that resemble the thick, mushy mud we find in our yards, driveways andwalkways.
This first recipe has been around for quite some time, but we never tire of the rich chocolatey flavor and wonderful heavy texture. A yellow or white cake recipe can be used, but I prefer a double-whammy of chocolate, so I’ve included one of my chocolate cake recipes. This recipe is definitely NOT for those who want to start losing weight to fit in that new swim suit.
Muddy Pudding Cake (one 9x13-inch pan)
1 two-layer cake recipe
2 four-serving size packages instant chocolate pudding
1 cup powdered sugar
4 cups cold milk
1 and one-half cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 and one-quarter cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
two-thirds cup shortening
three-quarters teaspoon baking powder
one-half cup baking cocoa
1 cup milk
This is a really easy cake recipe. Just put all ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Grease a 9x13-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Immediately poke holes in the cake with the handle of a wooden spoon one-inch apart. Combine the pudding mix and powdered sugar. Gradually stir in the milk. Beat for one minute.
Before pudding starts to set, pour about half of the mixture into the warm cake holes. Let the remaining half of the pudding thicken slightly, then spoon onto the top of the cake. Using the back side of a tablespoon, swirl the thickening pudding into ripples. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Store the remaining cake in the refrigerator.
Mud Pie is another sweet, rich dessert. Top off each serving with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
Mud Pie (one 8- or 9-inch pie)
1 graham cracker, or vanilla or chocolate cookie crust (homemade or
one-quarter pound butter
2 one-ounce squares unsweetened chocolate
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 and one-third cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
In a saucepan, heat the chocolate and butter on low heat until both are melted and well blended.
In a bowl, beat the eggs, then stir in the corn syrup, sugar and vanilla. Add the chocolate mixture to the egg and sugar mixture. Stir well. Pour filling into the prepared pie shell.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the filling is set. Serve warm.
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