Sunday, May 21, 2017


Editor's Note: these are very delicious.

The historical account:

The recipe for what you see illustrated comes from the 1897 edition of Brighina Young's "Minnissippi Pioneer Cooking". The recipe is Brighina's own. She dubbed them "Rye-naughts", being that they were fundamentally a twisted, spiced rye roll. Originally they were, in fact, twisted strands of dough reminiscent of the slingshots built by her younger brothers Boogham and Ian Pratt (known affectionately as Iggy Pratt.) The rolls were a favorite for spring graduation parties and eaten with cheese and lemonade. At some point, however, the language drifted, and the rolls became known as "Y-nots?", and today are made with a Y-shaped cookie cutter. Having been adopted by the local university as a culinary tradition. Minnissippi alumni of BYU often are found at the famous 750 North bakery sampling a childhood favorite. The shift in the name is quite remarkable seeing that originally the "naught" stood for the "zeroth iteration" on the recipe. Brighina was widely known for her constant iteration of favorite dishes, such as "Caverat Head Cheese", but in this case, she was satisfied with the first try. The name evolved, and only later too, the shape, as pioneer ways diminished. So while the block letter Y-nots? have become a staple, the recipe for the original Rye-naughts remain. 
Y-Nots are famous also for their soft-pretzel like use of genuine Salt Lake salt. The use of coarse salt on soft-pretzel came from having a German baker pass through Utah and be exposed to Rye-naughts, which became the basis for soft pretzels upon his return to Germany.
 There is one common misuse of the term, however. Some over zealous students have used a Y-not roll to propose marriage (or a date to the prom) by presenting the roll as if asking the question, "Y-not" marry me? And "Why-not tie the knot". Other misuses include confusion the "naught" with the "nut" part of donut or doughnut. Both of these cases should be corrected whenever possible.

1.5 c stone-ground rye flour
2.5 c bread flour
1 egg
1 T oil
2 T molasses
2 T cocoa
1 t yeast
1 t salt
1 t dried lemon peel
1 t cardamom
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t ginger
1/2 t orange oil

Measurements are approximate! Make a yeast dough by standard procedure. Paint shaped dough with melted butter and sprinkle with fine and coarse sea salt. Bake for about 20 minutes. Enjoy at any temperature, with or without cream cheese. (Quite nice either way.)

Monday, May 8, 2017

Melissa Clark's Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

Reb loves rhubarb!

Mom made this NYTimes recipe and Reb loved it!

The crumb is quite fatty. Perhaps it has more butter in it than it really needs.

But Reb loves butter!

2 1/2 sticks butter, at room temp, plus more to grease pans
1 1/2 lb rhubarb, rinsed and sliced into 1/2 inch cubes-- about 4 c
2 t cornstarch
1 1/2 c sugar
1/2 c light brown sugar
2 c cake flour
1 1/4 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
zest of 1 lemon, grated
1 t vanilla
4 large eggs
1/3 c sour cream
2 t lemon juice

  1. Oven to 325. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Butter the paper and sides of the pan. Wrap two layers of foil under the pan, and place it on a buttered baking sheet.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix rhubarb, cornstarch and 1/2 cup granulated sugar.
  3. Mix the brown sugar and 1/2 stick butter in a pan over medium heat. Whisk until smooth and bubbling, about 2 minutes. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. Whip 2 sticks butter in a mixer with a paddle attachment for 2 minutes. With your fingers, blend the remaining 1 cup sugar with lemon zest until the mixture is uniform in color. Cream together with the butter at medium-high speed until it is light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, stopping to scrape down the bowl halfway through. Add the vanilla and mix well. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the sour cream, then the lemon juice. (It’s O.K. if the mixture looks curdled.) With the mixer set to low speed, add the flour mixture, 1/4 cup at a time, until well combined. Scrape down the mixer bowl in between the additions.
  5. Pour the brown-sugar mixture into the cake pan, then spoon in the rhubarb and its juices. Spoon in the batter so it covers all of the rhubarb. Smooth out the top.
  6. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the top of the cake is firm to touch and a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out without any large, moist crumbs.
  7. Place the pan on a wire rack, and cool for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the cake, place a plate on top of the pan and turn it upside-down. Release the cake from the pan while still warm or else it will stick.