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Valley of Heart's Delight Recipes

Santa Clara Valley Cheese Log

  • 1 lb. Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seed
  • 4 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 1/2 cup soft dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup pitted soft dried prunes

Grate Monterey Jack cheese coarsely. Beat cream cheese until soft. Combine cheese, salt, caraway and sufficient sherry to beat to a fluffy consistency. Chop dried fruits fine. Add to cheese and mix well. Turn out on foil and shape into a roll. Wrap foil around log and chill until firm. Makes 1 log, about 1 3/4 pounds.

—Prepared by Bonnie Montgomery, from a cookbook inherited from her Aunt Mary (Elena’s Favorite Foods California Style, copyright 1967)

Tomato Aspic Salad

  • 3 envelopes Knox gelatin
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 3 1/2 cups tomato juice
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons pickle relish
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 3-4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3-5 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • dash black pepper, cayenne pepper

Soften together gelatin and water. Bring to boil tomato and lemon juices, relish and bay leaves. Remove tomato mixture from heat. Add gelatin and let cool. Add remaining ingredients, stir and refrigerate until solid. Will fill one round mold. Serves 10-12.

 —Prepared by Gayle Frank, from a 1950s era recipe

Apricot Preserve Thumbprint Cookies

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped almonds (optional)
  • apricot preserves

 Cream butter, sugar, egg YOLK, vanilla. Sift dry ingredients. Stir into wet ingredients. Chill dough 1/2 hour. Roll dough into 1-tsp balls.

 Optional: Beat egg WHITE slightly with fork. Dip balls in egg whites. Roll balls in almonds.

 Place one inch apart on ungreased sheet pan. Press thumb gently in center of each. Bake 350ºF 10-12 minutes. Cool and fill thumbprint with preserves.

Makes 3 dozen.

—Prepared by Debbie Ferrante

Quick Tomato Spice Cupcakes

  • 1 package spice cake mix
  • 1 can tomato soup (condensed)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Blend in large bowl, beat two minutes at medium speed. Pour into two greased and floured 8-inch round cake pans. Bake at 350ºF for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool and frost with cream cheese frosting.

 —Prepared by Debbie Ferrante, from

Very Best Fudge Brownies

  • 4 1-ounce squares unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon fat-free egg substitute (or 2 large eggs)
  • 3/4 cup Prune Butter (see note)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Place the chocolate in a small saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until melted. Add the sugar, egg substitute, Prune Butter, and vanilla to the chocolate and mix well. Stir in the flour and, if desired, the salt and nuts. Coat a 9 x 13 inch pan with nonstick cooking spray. Spread the batter evenly in the pan, and bake at 325 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the edges are firm and the center is almost set.

Cool to room temperature, cut into squares, and serve.

Per serving (without optional ingredients and with egg substitute): 74 calories; 1.7 g fat; 1.3 g. protein; 0 mg cholesterol; 21 mg sodium; 1.1 g fiber; 6 mg calcium; 72 mg potassium; 0.6 mg iron.

 Note: To make Prune Butter, place 8 ounces pitted prunes (about 1 cup) and 6 tablespoons water or fruit juice in a food processor, and process at high speed until the mixture is a smooth paste. (This mixture is too thick to be made in a blender.) Use immediately, or place in an airtight container and store for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.

 —Prepared by Patt Curia, from a recipe clipped by Bonnie Montgomery from the Baltimore Sun food section

Prune Cake

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup pitted, cooked prunes
  • 1 1/2 cups sifted flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts

Cream butter; gradually add sugar, and cream until light. Add vanilla, and eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Fold in prunes. Add sifted dry ingredients alternately with milk, beating well. Add nuts.

 Half-fill greased and floured 2 inch high rectangular cake pan, bake in 375-degree F oven until done ( test – clean toothpick method).

 If desired, a cream cheese frosting can be applied.

 —Prepared by Barbara Foncannon

Apricot Brandy

  • 3 lbs. dried apricots (California grown only, and no foreign please)
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar per each pound of apricots
  • 1.75 liter vodka

In large bowl or pot pour in vodka, add 1 1/2 cups sugar and stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Repeat with next 1 1/2 cups sugar and repeat a third time until all sugar is dissolved and liquid is a clear syrup.

Into three quart jars, fill each with about two-thirds full with dried apricots, add liquid ingredient to top, and secure lid.

Store in dark area for 6 to 8 weeks turning or rotating jars at least every 4 to 5 days to prevent sedimentation. Then ENJOY! (Great over vanilla ice cream.) Makes approximately three quarts.

—Prepared by Jim Bunce

Better Than Sex Salad

Mix these ingredients in mixer until blended:

  • 1 8 oz container cool whip
  • 1 can Eagle brand condensed milk
  • 1 small container sour cream.

 Add and mix evenly:

  • 1 large can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 large can fruit cocktail, drained

 Fold in:

  • 1 can cherry pie filling.

 Mixture will turn pink. Chill in refrigerator for at least 6 hours.

 —Prepared by Beth Wyman

Fruit Cocktail-SPAM Buffet Party Loaf

  • 1 (15-ounce) can Del Monte fruit cocktail, drained (reserve syrup)
  • 2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 12-ounce cans Spam luncheon meat, very finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, very finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup green olives, very finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup Miracle Whip
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 lemons
  • Paprika
  • Additional Miracle Whip

Arrange drained fruit cocktail in 9-by-5-by-3 inch loaf pan. In top of double boiler, mix reserved syrup with gelatin, vinegar, cinnamon, and cloves. Place over hot water and stir until gelatin dissolves. Carefully pour 1/2 cup of gelatin mixture over fruit cocktail. Place in pan in refrigerator and chill until gelatin has thickened but is not set.

Mix Spam with celery and olives. Mix Miracle Whip with mustard, salt, and remaining gelatin mixture. Add Spam mixture to Miracle Whip mixture and blend well. Spread over fruit cocktail. Chill until firm, at least 4 hours.

For garnish, make lemon cups by halving lemons, slicing off ends (so lemons will stand up), and scooping out pulp. Dip cut edges of lemons in paprika. Fill cups with Miracle Whip and sprinkle lightly with additional paprika.

 To serve, unmold loaf onto large platter and surround with lemon cups. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

 —Prepared by Andre Luthard and Helene Stevens

Apricot Upside-Down Cake

1953 Recipe


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • fresh or canned apricot halves


  • 1 1/4 cups sifted flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 egg

Melt butter in 10-inch heavy cast iron skillet. Stir in brown sugar. Arrange apricot halves in mixture. Sift dry ingredients together over softened shortening. Add remaining ingredients. Beat 2 minutes. Pour over apricots. Bake in 375-degree oven for 45 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes; turn upside down.

Modern Version


  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons light run
  • fresh or canned apricot halves


  • 1 18.5-ounce package butter recipe golden cake mix
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

In a 10-inch iron skillet melt butter and mix in other topping ingredients except apricots. Arrange apricot halves in topping. Prepare cake according to package instructions. Pour over apricots. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 43–47 minutes. After 5 minutes turn upside down.