Tag: Baking

Nancy’s Jumble Cookies

Nancy’s Jumble Cookies

Nancy Dolnier, the General Manager of Wilton’s Village Market, periodically publishes creative recipes as part of the store’s weekly flyer. This Jumble Cookie recipe, which she says has appeared before, is simply outstanding, and provides a batch of creative cookies for your family or to take to an event. Other than stirring up the ingredients, it is very little work.

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup quick cooking oats
  • 1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (she suggests chocolate “chunks,” but we couldn’t find any)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • ¾ cup chopped pecans
  • ¾ cup shredded coconut
  • ½ cup white chocolate morsels

ingredients

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. In an electric mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar.
  3. Mix in the egg yolks and vanilla
  4. Add the flour, salt, and baking powder, and mix until uniform.
  1. Mix in the oats.
  2. One by one, add the chocolate chips, raisins, pecans, coconut, and white morsels, mixing after each addition.
  3. Place a sheet of baking parchment on a cookie sheet, and using a large cookie scoop, drop about 8 cookie balls onto the parchment.
  1. Bake for 14-16 minutes and transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.
  2. Repeat until all the cookies are baked.
  3. Makes about 30 amazing cookies.

Depending on your mixer, you may be able to use it to do all the mixing. If the mixer gets overloaded, mix in the final ingredients by hand with a wooden spoon.

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Flakey buttermilk biscuits

Flakey buttermilk biscuits

Buttermilk biscuits are great for breakfast (or dinner) and take very little time to make. In this recipe, we used unsalted butter, and devised a trick to make them even flakier. Just as in making croissants, we turn and fold the dough a couple of times to make more layers of butter. The result is biscuits made up of many layers, and with a terrific flavor. We use unsalted butter because it contains less water than salted butter, but you can use salted butter if that is all you have.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Unsalted butter, 1/3 cup or 2/3 stick or 76 g
  • About 1 cup of buttermilk
  1. Set out one stick of butter from the refrigerator for a few minutes, while you gather your ingredients.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450° F.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
  4. Cut the butter into small slices and drop into the flour.
  5. Cut the butter into the flour using a pastry blender or two forks.
  6. Add 1 cup of buttermilk, and more if most of the flour isn’t moistened.
  7. Pat the dough together on a cutting board and roll it out.
  1. Fold the dough into thirds and roll out into a rectangle.
  2. Again, fold the dough into thirds and roll it out.
  1. Cut the dough into biscuits using a biscuit cutter or a drinking glass, and place the biscuits on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  2. Bake the biscuits for 10 minutes, and serve right away.

baked

Date bars: rich holiday treats

Date bars: rich holiday treats

Date bars and cookies are always part of the holiday season, perhaps because of their Middle Eastern origins. Soft flavorful date bars take about a hour to make, and keep very well. This recipe is an old family one, adapted from an old Betty Crocker recipe. (Note that date bars are very different from Singles’ Bars.)

For the filling

  • 1 ½ cups pitted dates, cut up
  • 1 ½ cups raisins
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 ½ cups water

Mix the above ingredients in a saucepan and cook with occasional stirring for 10 minutes, until smooth and thickened.

For the cookies

  • ½ cup butter (1 stick)
  • ¼ cup shortening (Crisco)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • ½ cup chopped nuts
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  2. Cream the butter and shortening in a mixer and add the brown sugar. Mix until smooth.
  3. Stir in the flour, salt, and soda and mix until uniform. Stir in the oats and mix thoroughly.
  4. Press about half of the crumbly mixture into the bottom of a greased 13 “x 9” baking pan.

spread-dates

  1. Mix the chopped nuts into the date mixture and spread over the bottom layer.
  2. Sprinkle the remaining crumbly mixture on top and press down slightly.
  3. Bake until light brown, about 25-30 minutes.
  4. While warm, cut diagonally from corner to corner and then  in parallel to the first cut about an inch apart. Repeat between the other two corners, making diamond shaped bars.
  5. Remove when cool. Makes about 2 dozen.
Easy breakfast scones

Easy breakfast scones

Scones are little more that sweetened biscuits, and just as easy to make. Usually people add some fruit, such as raisins or dried cranberries, but you don’t have to. These are an easy weekend breakfast you can make in less than half an hour. This recipe is adapted from one by Steven Valenti who adapted his from Martha Stewart.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 5 Tb sugar
  • 1 Tb baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 6 Tb chilled, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • ½ cup raisins or other dried fruit
  1. Preheat the oven to 425° F.
  2. Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt, using a whisk.
  3. Cut the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry blender.
  4. Add the milk, and stir in with a fork until just moistened.
  5. Knead the dough together on a lightly floured surface.
  6. Pat the dough into a 1 inch thick round and cut it into 8 wedges.
  7. Place the wedges on a baking sheet, covered with baking parchment.
  8. Brush the tops with milk and sugar.
  9. Bake until golden brown, about 12-15 minutes.

Cool briefly on a wire rack, but serve while still warm, with plenty of butter.

Seven layer cookies

Seven layer cookies

You make these really simple cookies by just pouring 7 things into a baking pan and baking them for half an hour. For the butterscotch chips, see if you can avoid the Nestle ones that have a sort of artificial taste to them. The organic and trendy section of your grocer may have other kinds. You can also use Reese’s peanut butter chips instead.

  • 1/4 lb butter (1 stick)
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips (6 oz pkg)
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (6 oz pkg)
  • 1 14 oz can Eagle brand (sweetened) condensed milk
  • 1 cup nuts, chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Melt the butter in a microwave, 2 minutes at 50% power works well.
  3. Pour the butter into the bottom of a 10 x 13 baking pan.
  1. Add the graham cracker crumbs, followed by the coconut, butterscotch chips, and chocolate chips.
  2. Pour the Eagle brand milk over the chip mixture.
  1. Top with the chopped nuts.
  2. Bake for 30 minutes.

Cool and cut out squares to cool further on a wire rack. When completely cool, cut the squares into smaller cookies.

Sour cream Christmas cut-out cookies

Sour cream Christmas cut-out cookies

Christmas cut-out cookies are a holiday tradition in many families. These delicious, but simple, cookies have been part of our family tradition for at least 3 generations. The sour cream keeps the cookies moist, and the icing helps them stay that way. They don’t last long in most families!

If you have sour cream, butter, sugar and some cookie cutters, these aren’t very hard to make. And you can ice them with your whole family.

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened (preferably unsalted)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 31/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Butter cream icing(below)
  • Colored sugars
  1. Combine the butter and sugar together and cream using an electric mixer.
  2. Add the sour cream, baking powder, soda, salt and vanilla.
  3. Add the eggs and mix well.
  4. Add the flour to make a soft dough.

batter

  1. Cover the mixer bowl with foil and chill in the refrigerator or freezer for an hour or so.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325 F.
  3. Take out only about a quarter of the dough at a time, and roll it out on a floured board, keeping the rest chilled.
  4. Cut out the cookies and place on baking parchment on a cookie sheet, or directly on a greased cookie sheet.
  1. Bake for 7-9 minutes until the edges have only just started to brown.
  2. Cool the cookies on a wire rack and ice with butter cream icing and decorate with colored sugars.

Butter cream icing

  • 1/4 lb (one stick) butter
  • 1 lb confectioners’ sugar
  • About 1/4 cup milk
  • Soften the butter by pressing the wrapped stick with your hand or a rolling pin. Cut into pieces and place in a food processor. Add the confectioners’ sugar and pulse until uniform,
  1. Add the milk, a little at a time until the icing is smooth and spreadable. Mix food coloring into portions of the icing so you have several colors available.

Ice the cookies and decorate with colored sugars. Let them dry for an hour or so before boxing them up.

Easy cheesecake in a pressure cooker

Easy cheesecake in a pressure cooker

If you follow the world of electric pressure cookers, like the Instant Pot and similar devices, you will perhaps have heard of the idea of making cheesecake in your pot. While this sounds a bit crazy, there is a really good reason to give it a try: uniformity. Cheesecakes can be difficult to make without over-baking them, leading to cracked, dry cake that people leave on their plate.

Making a smooth, creamy cheesecake is not just the province of expert bakers: you just need clear, repeatable instructions. There is an AllRecipes.com page on the details of making cheesecake, suggesting a water bath for uniform heating and cautioning you not to succumb to lower-fat cream cheese, that doesn’t have sufficient fat to set up properly.

You can also find a very nice cheesecake recipe here, but it requires that you leave the cake in the closed oven for 6 hours after baking at low temperature, followed by chilling in the refrigerator.

We decided to try out making a cheese cake following the fairly standard recipe and procedures given by Jill Selkowitz, who writes an excellent, if somewhat prolix, blog under the name ThisOldGal. So, this is her New York Cheesecake recipe with reduced discussion (but not reduced fat). This recipe is quite simple and you can do it in about 45 minutes. You still have to chill the cheesecake for several hours or overnight, though, so it is firm enough to cut.

To bake a cheesecake in the InstantPot or any of its cousins, you need a small spring form or drop bottom cake pan. We bought a Kaiser Noblesse 7” springform pan at our local kitchen store, so we could make sure it fits. The actual pan base is about 7”, but the interior of the pan only 6 ½ “.

For the crust, we used Nilla wafers, but you could use graham crackers or any kind of cookies you like.

The Crust

  • 24 Nilla wafer cookies (about ¾ cup when crushed)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 ½  Tb butter, melted

The Filling

  • 16 oz full fat cream cheese (2 8 oz packages)at room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tsp flour
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp grated lemon peel
  • ½ tsp grated orange peel
  • 2 eggs, at room  temperature
  • 1 egg yolk at room temperature
  • ¼ cup heavy cream

Top Layer

  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp sugar
  1. Melt the butter in a microwave for a minute at 50% power.
  2. Chop up the Nilla wafers in a food processor or blender. Add the butter, and process until smooth.

3. Butter the inside of the spring form pan and press the crumbs to the bottom and sides of the pan so they go up the sides and inch or even two. Put the pan in the freezer for 15 minutes to solidify the crust.

4. Wipe out the food processor, and add the cream cheese, cut into 1-2” pieces. Add the sugar, flour and vanilla.

5. Grate the lemon and orange peel into the processor bowl using a microplane grater (or any other sort of grater). Pulse until smooth.

6. Add the eggs and egg yolk and pulse until again smooth.

7. Add the cream and fold in with a rubber spatula.

8. Remove the pan from the freezer and pour in the filling.

9. Cover the pan with a layer of paper towel to prevent water from soaking in, and then with aluminum foil.

10. Put the trivet in the bottom of the Instant Pot and pour 1 ½ cups water.

11. Make a sling of some aluminum foil (we used heavy duty foil) so you can lift the hot pan out after cooking. Put  the sling in the pot and put the cheesecake pan on top of it.

12. Close the pot and cook at high pressure for 37 minutes. Allow the pressure to subside for about 15 minutes (normal release) and open the pot.

13. Lift out the baked cheesecake and unwrap it. If there is any water on the cheesecake surface, dab If dry with a paper towel.

14. Immediately spread the sour cream topping over the hot cheesecake, so it incorporates itself into the cheesecake. The cake may still be jiggly in the middle but will set up on standing and cooling. Let the cake cool on a wire rack for about an hour.

15. Chill for 4-5 hours or overnight.

Serve with berries dotted with whipped cream.

 

 

Delicious hot yeast dinner rolls

rolls-in-basketFor Thanksgiving, or any special celebration, it is great fun to bring our piping hot, just baked yeast dinner rolls. You can make these in a bit more than 2 hours rising time, but the preparation time is only about 10 minutes total.

Making dinner rolls sounds like a lot of work, but in our house they are something everyone looks forward to for major holidays, birthdays and other celebrations. Kids like to taste a bit of the dough, and enjoy helping roll out the dough and cutting it, so it becomes a family affair!

There really is nothing better than these soft just-risen and baked dinner rolls, and this recipe is one of the most popular ones we know. It is really simple to make, using a food processor to replace the usual kneading step.

  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 package yeast (not rapid rise)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3-4 cups flour
  • 3 Tb butter
  1. Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water and stir in the 1/2 tsp of sugar. Let the yeast proof for a couple of minutes until it starts to foam.
  2. Put the milk, sugar and shortening in a glass pitcher and microwave for one minute. The shortening does not need to melt completely.
  3. Put one cup of flour into a food processor and add the warm milk mixture. Be sure to scrape in any remaining sugar or shortening.
  4. Pulse briefly until mixed.
  5. Add the yeast mixture and the egg and pulse the food processor until the mixture is uniform.
  6. Add about 2 cups more flour and mix until smooth. The dough should be smooth and no longer sticky. If it is still sticky, add more flour a little at a time until it is no longer sticky.
  7. Allow the dough to rise for about an hour, until doubled in bulk.
  8. Melt the 3 Tb butter in the microwave for 30-45 seconds.
  9. Remove the dough from the food processor and pat into a single mass on a floured board.
  10. Roll out the dough about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick and cut into circles with a large drinking glass or biscuit cutter.
  11. Dip each circle in the melted butter and fold into quarters.
  12. Place each folded circle into a muffin pan.
  13. When the rolls are all formed, cover with a damp towel and allow to rise about an hour.
  14. Preheat the oven to 375 º F.
  15. Bake the rolls for about 10 minutes until light to medium brown.
  16. Brush each roll with some of the remaining melted butter, place in a bowl and serve.

Stand back, these will go fast.

We have found that yeast packets on supermarket shelves are really variable in activity and some proof and bubble hardly at all. So we are now buying yeast in jars and keeping it in the refrigerator once opened. It is much more lively that way.

Enjoy your rolls!

Outrageous Halloween cake with candy layers

Outrageous Halloween cake with candy layers

For Halloween we decided to make a cake out of pure junk. While the cake layers are actual brownies, the middle is Halloween candy bars. We used Reese’s Peanutbutter Cups and Mounds Bars. The icing is mostly Marshmallow Fluff. We also used some chocolate frosting in the bottom filling, which you could make or buy. We made our brownies from scratch, since the recipe is as fast as making boxed brownies but you can make them either way or bust buy them. The recipes are at the bottom of the article. TO spread Marshmallow Fluff, it needs to be a bit warm, so warm it in a pan of hot water, or under a warming lamp, or briefly in a microwave.

You  will need 3 layers of brownies to make this cake. Two of ours were normal chocolate brownies and one was a butterscotch brownie recipe, both with added chocolate chips.

  • 3 brownie recipes baked in round pans
  • 10 Reese’s peanut butter cups
  • 1 cup chocolate frosting
  • ½ cup peanuts
  • Marshmallow fluff
  • 13-14 small Mounds bars
  • 10 candy kisses
  • ½ cup chocolate ganache (optional)
  1. Spread the bottom brownie layer with chocolate frosting.
  2. Arrange about 10 Reese’s cups on the top, cutting a few in half so they will nest more closely.

3. Add about ½ cup of peanuts between the Reese’s cups.
4. Spread the bottom of a second brownie layer with Marshmallow Fluff and set it on top of the Reese’s cup layer.

5. Spread the top of that brownie layer with more fluff.
6. Arrange 13 or 14 Mounds bars on top.

7. Spread the bottom of a third layer with more fluff and place on top of the Mounds.
8. Spread more fluff on top and arrange about 10 Hershey’s kisses around the edge.

9. Pour a little warmed chocolate ganache on top (shown at top of article).
10. Chill the cake until ready to serve. Do no freeze as it will toughen the brownies.

Serve very small slices as this is ridiculously rich. It was, however, well received at a rehearsal break by a tribe of hungry actors.

cut-open

 

Chocolate brownies

  • ¼ cup butter
  • 2 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
  • ½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 325° F. Melt the butter in microwave for 1 minute at 50% power, and the chocolate for 1.25 minutes at high power, or in a double boiler. Mix together in a bowl and stir in the sugar and eggs, and mix. Add the flour and salt and mix. Stir in the chocolate chips and optional nuts. Pour into a greased, round cake pan, lined with baking parchment. Bake 30-35 minutes until the top is dry to the touch. Remove from the pan when cooled and cover until you a ready to use it.

Butterscotch brownies

  • ¼ cup melted butter (in the microwave at 50% power)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
  • ½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 ° F. Mix the butter, sugar and egg with a wire whisk in a bowl until fluffy. Add the salt, baking powder and vanilla and mix until smooth. Fold in the chocolate chips and nuts. Pour the batter into a greased round cake pan, lined with baking parchment. Bake for about 25 minutes. Unmold when cool.

Chocolate frosting

  • ½ stick butter (2 oz)
  • ½ lb confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 3-5 Tb milk

Add the butter and sugar to a food processor and process until mixed. Add the milk a Tb at a time until you have a smooth, spreadable icing. Pour in the melted chocolate and process until smooth.

Chocolate ganache

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ lb semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 Tb honey

Bring the cream snf honry to a boil and pour over the chocolate chips in a bowl. Let stand 5 minutes. Whisk until uniform. Let stand until ganache stiffens. If you are not using it soon, refrigerate. You can rewarm it under a warming lamp or very briefly in the microwave.

 

 

 

One bowl Quiche Lorraine

One bowl Quiche Lorraine

This simplified quiche recipe can almost be made in a single bowl. OK, you have to fry 3 strips of bacon, too, and probably will use a pitcher to fill the piecrust, but the crust and the filling can all be made in the food processor. And you don’t even have to rinse it out between ingredients!  You can have this quiche done in less than an hour including baking the piecrust.

Piecrust

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 2/3 cup (or less) cold water
  • Aluminum foil
  • Dry beans for weight

This amount of dough is more than you need: it makes two piecrusts, but since a quiche pan is bigger than one pie pan, we just make two and use the remaining dough for something else.

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Put the 2 cups of flour in the food processor and add the shortening. Pulse briefly.
  3. Add 1/3 cup of water and pulse briefly.
  4. Add some of the remaining water and pulse until mixed. If the dough is not smooth, add just a bit more water. The dough should be the consistency of Play-Doh.
  5. Roll out about ¾ of the dough to a circle larger than the quiche pan, fold it in half, and fit it into the quiche pan. Pinch it into place, and cut away any excess dough.
  6. Prick the dough in a few places with a fork.
  7. Put a sheet of aluminum foil over the piecrust and fill it with dried beans to weight down the crust.
  8. Bake 8-9 minutes, remove the foil and beans, and bake 2 more minutes.

Quiche filling

In this method, we create the filling but do not fill the pie shell until we have it sitting in the oven.  This prevents the filling from slopping over into the oven when you put the pie in.

  • 3 strips bacon, fried and drained
  • 4 oz Swiss cheese (Emmentaler or Jarlsberg)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups light cream
  • Chopped chives or green onions
  1. Reduce oven heat to 375°F
  2. Put the cheese in the food processor and grate it with the steel blade.
  3. Add the eggs and cream and pulse until mixed.
  4. Cut the bacon into small pieces and place on the crust.
  5. Pour the quiche filling into a 2 cup pitcher, making sure to get all the cheese
  6. Place the quiche pan on a pulled-out oven rack, and pour as much of the quiche filling as you can into the pie shell.

7. Top with the chopped chives or onions, close the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, until a knife blade comes out clean.

Remove the quiche from the oven, make sure the crust is free of the pan rim and place the quiche pan on top of a cup or jar and press downwards to drop the sides of the pan. Place the quiche on a platter and serve at once.