Monday, December 14, 2009

Almond Poppy Seed Bread

Almond Poppy Seed Bread
This is an old recipe of my mother's, and it is fool proof. And. Everyone I take it to begs for the recipe. Good sign, no?

1 1/8 C oil
3 eggs
1 1/2 C milk
1 1/2 T poppy seeds
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 tsp. almond extract
3 C flour
2 1/2 C sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

Mix wet ingredients. Add dry ingredients gradually. Pour into 2 greased bread pans and bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

Mix the following and pour over partially cooled bread:
1/4 C orange juice
3/4 C sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract
chopped almonds (optional)

A note on size: Instead of doing the 2 large loafs, I often bake 4 smaller loaves. They take about half the time to bake and are perfect little gifts.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Friday, November 27, 2009

Pumpkin Cookies

1 large can of pumpkin
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups of sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
Combine wet ingredients and add to:
5 cups of flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
3 tsp. pumpkin spice
Cook at 375 degrees for about 12 minutes or until edges are LIGHTLY browned.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 cube of butter (1/2 cup)
8 oz. of cream cheese
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
soften butter and cream cheese. Blend ingredients until smooth. Sprinkle with chopped nuts if desired.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Favorite Rolls

A couple of years ago, I set forth on a mission to find the perfect roll recipe. I was disappointed by several (even Martha's! For shame!) before my friend, Wendy, invited me (OK, so I invited myself) to her home to make rolls with her. And? Mission accomplished! These are now my go-to rolls for Thanksgiving and any other roll occasion.

The recipe:

Combine 2 cups warm water (about 104 deg.), 2 tablespoons yeast, and 1 tablespoon sugar. Let sit 5 minutes. Add 2 sticks butter (melted and cooled--again about 104 deg.), 3 beaten eggs, 1 cup sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 8 cups flour. Mix and knead dough. Let sit until doubled. Punch down.

(I let mine rise in the fridge overnight. If you do this, you have to get the dough to warm up a bit before rolling it out or it is too difficult to work with.)

Take a grapefruit-sized wad of dough and roll it out on a floured surface into a circle that is 1/4-inch thick. With a pizza cutter, cut the circle into 12 triangles. (You'll do this 4 times, making 48 rolls total.)
Roll triangles up from wide end. Place point down onto a greased baking sheet. (You've practiced this technique with Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, right?!) Cover and let rise until doubled. Bake at 375 for 12-14 minutes, until golden.

Enjoy! Savor! Eat as many as you want--it's the holidays!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Oatmeal Carmelitas

oatmeal carmelitas

64 caramels (I always throw in a few more)
2/3 c. minus 2TB (10 TB total) canned milk or cream

Melt caramels in cream in a double boiler. (I don't have a double boiler so I just put them in a saucepan on low heat.)

Dough: (mix 2x for top and bottom... or just double and split in half)
1 c. flour
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 c. quick oats
3/4 c. melted butter
1/4 tsp. salt

2 c. (12 oz) chocolate chips
1 c. chopped nuts

Mix dough. Stir until butter is absorbed and mixture is crumbly. Press in cookie pan 10x15. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and nuts. Cover with caramel mixture, spreading carefully. Sprinkle with second dough mixture. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool. Cut into squares.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Perfect Apple Pie

by Jenny

Pie Dough
2 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
1 tsp salt
2 T. sugar
½ c. vegetable shortening, chilled
12 T. cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼ -inch pieces
6-8 T. ice water

I usually make my crust in a food processor, but I used a mixer this day, both work well. Just remember that an overworked crust is a yucky crust. The first step in making this crust is to combine the flour, salt and sugar in the food processor. Add the shortening and process it until the mixture has the texture of coarse sand. Scatter the butter pieces into the mixture and mix in until you have the texture of coarse crumbs (keep the butter bits about pea size). After this you can add the ice cold water a couple of tablespoons at a time until the mixture sticks together. Divide the dough into two parts and flatten them each into small disks, then wrap each one in plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour (you can use it for up to two days after you make it). Not only is it easier to work with dough when it’s cool, but it also makes for a flakier crust.

Apple Pie Filling
2 T. unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
6 or 7 large apples (choose three varieties, such as Fuji, Honey Crisp, Granny Smith etc)
1 T. juice and 1 tsp grated zest from 1 lemon
¾ c. plus 1 T. sugar
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp allspice
¼ tsp salt
1 large egg white, beaten lightly

Adjust the oven rack to the lowest position in the oven, place a rimmed baking sheet on it, and heat the oven to 500 degrees. Remove one piece of dough from the refrigerator and roll it out (I usually roll out my dough between two pieces of plastic wrap so it doesn’t slide around, and so it’s easier to move to the pan.). Transfer the dough to a 9 inch pie plate, let the dough overhang a little so you have room to seal the edge. Refigerate the dough-lined pie plate.

Peel, core and slice the apples and toss with lemon juice and zest. In a smaller bowl combine the flour, sugar and spices and then add it to the apples. Turn the apples (and the juices) into the chilled pie shell and mound it slightly in the center (I personally think apple pie should highlight the apples so I tend to use a lot of apples in my pies, but I won’t be offended if you use less).

Roll out the second piece of pie dough and place it over the filling. Tuck the folds of dough underneath itself and then flute the edges or press with the tines of a fork to seal it. Cut 4 slits on the top of the pie to let out steam. Brush egg white over the top and sprinkle lightly with sugar.

Place the pie on the baking sheet and lower the oven temperature to 425 degrees. Bake the pie until the top crust is golden, about 20 minutes. Rotate the pie from front to back and reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees; continue baking until the juices bubble and the crust is deep golden brown, about 30 minutes longer. Remove from the oven (and don’t drop it on the floor like I did recently) and let it cool (I’m always impatient about this and never last long, although this pie tastes especially good the day after it’s made). ENJOY!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Soft Sugar Cookies

Halloween Sugar Cookies
by Lori
Got a bit of time on your hands? And a little holiday cheer in your heart? Then you should make these sugar cookies with your child/children/spouse/self.

Because they are YUM. I got the recipe from my practically perfect in every way (baking included) sister-in-law, Maria, who got it from our fabulous aunt, Laurie, who must have gotten it from the ultimate goody guru. I think the secret is the sour cream.

Soft Sugar Cookies
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 cups sour cream
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
6 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. almond flavoring
1 tsp. vanilla

Maria's directions:

Cream together the butter, sugar and eggs.
Add sour cream, flour, soda, salt and flavorings.

The dough is fairly sticky, so you will need to use a fair amount of flour when rolling the cookies out. (I like to put it in the fridge for a few hours to help it firm up).

Cut out shapes and bake on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees for about 7 minutes. (I never set the timer when I bake, I just watch the cookies. Someone taught me once that the cookies are done when the tops are no longer "shiny" and there are small air bubbles on top.)

Frost with your favorite butter cream frosting. (I also add a little almond flavoring to my frosting--maybe 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon or something).

My directions
Do all the above (letting your daughter roll out the dough. Daughters love to roll out dough). But when you forget to "just watch the cookies" and you burn one batch (me=not practically perfect in every way), then you should designate that dozen for experimental frosting by your four year old.And, in general, you should have fun making these cookies. And you should not mind the flour and frosting EVERYWHERE. Because isn't it fun to hear your child direct, "Now, one tea-scoop of salt!," after scrutinizing tsp for a few seconds? Isn't that worth a flour/frosting covered kitchen? Sometimes it really is!

And...sometimes it's really not! And on those days, when you don't have a bit of time on your hands (but you do have a little holiday cheer in your heart!), then you should buy Halloween Oreos. Because they are orange and black. And they have ghosts and bats and cats and witches imprinted on them. And doesn't that make them the perfect Halloween cookie?? October is the only time we buy Oreos.)

Whatever cookies you choose, my friends, here's to a happy, tasty, Halloween!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

French Peasant Bread

Here is the recipe:

1 package (2 1/2 tsp.) dry yeast
2 cups warm water
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
4 cups flour
corn meal
melted butter

Place yeast, water, sugar, and salt in warm bowl and stir until dissolved. Add flour and stir until blended. Do not knead. Cover and let rise one hour or until doubled in size. Flour hands, remove dough from the bowl and place in 2 rounds (they're not particularly pretty, and yes, the dough should be very sticky and goopy!) on an oiled cookie sheet sprinkled with corn meal. Let rise an additional hour. Brush the top with melted butter (sometimes I just use cooking spray!) and bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees and cook an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven and brush again with butter. Serve warm.

Here's what I love: You are making 2 loaves at a time. You don't have to wait for your yeast to proof. You don't have to knead a thing. Seriously, you stir it all up with a spoon and that's it!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Carrot Cake

Sini’s Carrot Cake Recipe (courtesy of her mom)

3 c carrots, grated
2 c flour
1 1/2 c sugar
1 t baking powder
2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
3 t cinnamon
4 eggs
1 1/2 c vegetable oil
3 t vanilla
1 small can crushed pineapple

Preheat oven to 350. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the wet ingredients and mix. Pour batter into a greased cake pan. Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick stuck into the cake comes out clean. Cool before frosting.

1 package cream cheese, softened
1 cube butter, softened
3 t vanilla
powdered sugar
chopped nuts (optional)

Mix cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Sini uses a beater to mix them. Keep mixing and add powdered sugar a little bit at a time until you get the desired consistency. Sini doesn’t know exactly how much she uses--probably about 3 cups. Spread frosting on the top of the cake. Garnish with nuts if desired. Enjoy!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Kathy's Soft Sugar Cookies

Kathy's Soft Sugar Cookies

2/3 c. butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 c. milk
3 1/2 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. vanilla
1/4 t. salt

Cream butter and sugar; add eggs. Dissolve baking soda in milk and blend. Add vanilla. Sit flour and salt; add gradually to mixture. Chill. Roll about 1/8" thick and bake on a greased cookie sheet @ 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

The dough is very sticky, so sometimes I add a tiny bit more flour, but mostly it's important to chill it for a long time. Mine was in the fridge for several hours (or maybe overnight, I can't remember). Then I roll it out on powdered sugar. This time I also tried keeping the cut-out cookies in the fridge for a few minutes, and I think that helped them keep their shape in the oven. Oh, and I do mine a little thicker than 1/8".

Creamy White Frosting
(From Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook)

1 c. shortening
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 t. lemon, orange, or almond extract (I used almond)
4 1/2 c. sifted powdered sugar (about 1 pound)
3 to 4 T. milk

In a medium mixing bowl beat shortening, vanilla, and extract with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Slowly add half of the powdered sugar, beating well. Add 2 tablespoons of the milk. Gradually beat in remaining powdered sugar and enough remaining milk to reach spreading consistency.

When I used this for a birthday cake I used 1/2 c. margarine and 1/2 c. shortening. For the cookies I used 1 c. butter. I liked both ways, and I think both would be better than just shortening. I frosted 30-35 cookies (about 4") with this recipe.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

PB Cookies

1 C brown sugar
1 C sugar
1 C peanut butter
1 C butter
1 T vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
3 1/2 C white flour

Bake @ 350 for 16 minutes
Makes about 18 cookies (1/4 C scoop size)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sugar Cookies

From Tauna:

Sweetheart Sugar Cookies

½ c butter or margarine

½ c sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

2 tsp baking powder

2 ¾ c flour

Cream butter and sugar together until smooth. Add eggs, vanilla, and baking powder and mix well. Add and flour and combine thoroughly. It will be a very stiff dough. Immediately roll to 1/8 inch thickness and cut as desired. Bake on top rack of 400* oven for 6 to 7 minutes or until lightly brown. Immediately remove from baking sheets and cool on wire racks.

Easy Soft Sugar Cookies

1 c sugar

½ c milk

½ c shortening

½ tsp salt

2 eggs

4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla

3 ½ c flour

Cream sugar and shortening. Add eggs, vanilla, milk, salt, and baking powder. Mix well. Stir in flour until completely blended. Chill dough for ease in rolling. Roll out to ¼-inch thickness and cut out desired shapes. Bake at 300* for 10 minutes or until lightly brown on bottom.

From Kristen:

Sugar Cookies

1 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. butter
2 eggs
2t. vanilla
1t. salt
1 1/2 t. baking powder
3 3/4 c. flour

Cream sugar and butter. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix in dry ingredients.
Bake at 375 for 8-9 minutes.
I usually check them after 5 minutes depending on how small they are.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread Cookies

2 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Sift flour, baking soda, salt and spices onto waxed paper. Beat vegetable shortening with sugar until fluffy in a large bowl; beat in molasses, egg, and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture, a third at a time, blending well after each addition, to make a soft dough. Wrap dough in foil and chill 4 hours, or overnight. Roll out dough, one quarter at a time, to a 1/8" thickness on a lightly floured pastry board.Cut with 3" cookie cutters. Place 1" apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in moderate oven (350 degrees) 8 minutes, or until cookies are firm but not too dark. Remove to wire rack with spatula, cool.

I ignore the sifting part and just stir all the dry stuff together. I also found, thanks to my mom, that using powdered sugar instead of flour when you roll out the cookies works great!