A Bitter Taste
Dear Heloise: I recently purchased some jars of fruit preserves that were labeled to have been prepared with Splenda. I did not read the label nor realize my huge mistake until tasting. Horrible after taste. Is there a way to rid the preserves of the Splenda, neutralize that taste, or do I accept reality and toss them? — Ralph K., Lafayette, La.
Ralph, artificial sweeteners are blended in the recipe at the factory and there is no way to remove the sweetener used. Some leave an aftertaste, but most do not. You might be especially sensitive to the flavor, or the aftertaste might not be from the artificial sweetener but rather from some other ingredient in the fruit preserves.
ANOTHER USE FOR VINEGAR
Dear Heloise: There was a terrible smell that stayed in my microwave. A cup of vinegar heated in the microwave took all the smell away. — Joyce C., via email
Joyce, yes, vinegar to the rescue. However, you can also put 2 cups of water along with 2 tablespoons of vinegar in a microwavable bowl (put a toothpick on top to prevent boilover). Microwave on high for 5 minutes and let it keep steaming for a few minutes, then wipe clean. The steam does all the work. — Heloise
Dear Heloise: Your recipe for war cake is a huge hit at my house! Since I’m having 1940s-themed Christmas dinner for family and friends, would you repeat that recipe for me? — Darcy T., Alexandria, Va.
Darcy, the War Cake recipe is one of the most requested of my recipes. Here it is:
Using a medium- to large-size cooking pot/pan, mix together 2 cups of brown sugar, 2 cups of hot water and 2 teaspoons of shortening. Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup raisins and 1 teaspoon each of salt, cinnamon and cloves. Boil for 5 minutes after the mixture begins to bubble.
When this mixture is cold (and it MUST BE COLD), add 3 cups of flour and 1 teaspoon of baking soda that has been dissolved in a couple of teaspoons of hot water. Mix well. Pour into a greased tube and bake for about 1 hour at 350-375 F.
This is just one of the cakes I enjoy baking at this time of year.
To get a copy of my “Heloise’s Cake Recipes” to make tasty desserts for your family, just send $3, along with a stamped, self-addressed envelope to: Heloise/Cakes, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001.
Here’s a Heloise hint for you: If you need to check on a deep cake, such as an angel food cake, use a long piece of uncooked spaghetti. If it comes out clean, the cake is done.
THE CANDY DISH
Dear Heloise: We keep wrapped candy on our coffee table. When guests visit, is it necessary for them to ask for a piece, or is it permissible for them to get a piece? I’m not referring to children, but adults who are relatives or frequent guests. — John W., via email
John, usually adults should ask. However, some people assume that if there is a candy dish with candy in it, it’s there to be consumed by anyone who wants a piece. It only becomes rude if they help themselves to several pieces. — Heloise