Strawberry Pie

April 12, 2010

With strawberry prices so low this season, we had more than our share of them. I bought two flats of them a while back, and while I was trying to come up with things to make, I mentioned a strawberry pie to hubs, and got this strange look back.

“What? You’ve never had a strawberry pie?” I screeched

he shook his head, which was my cue.

“Oh don’t worry. You will.”

Of course, when my Mom made them, she would buy the pre-made glaze for them, and I wasn’t taking my lazy behind to the store, so I just had to look for a recipe with a glaze….

After rifliling through a bunch of duds that used crap like strawberry jello in them (yuck!)… I found one that fit the bill!

I went with my old standby with the crust. Crust used to scare me to death, until I found out you could use a food processor to mix it. All of the sudden, this lazy gal no longer loathed crust making!

I cut into the pie after dinner and slapped on some whipped cream and handed it to hubby. He actually licked the plate! I’d say that was a home run….

Strawberry Pie

  • 4 c. hulled, washed strawberries
  • 3/4 c. water
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 3 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Crush 1 cup of berries in saucepan. Add water and simmer about 3 minutes. Strain juice from cooked berries. Add water if needed to make 1 cup of liquid.

Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt. Slowly add reserved berry juice, stirring until smooth. Bring to boiling, stirring constantly. Cook until thick and clear. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

Arrange remaining 3 cups berries in baked pastry shell. Spoon glaze over the berries, being careful to coat each one. Chill for about 1 hour.

Brownie Cut Out Bunnies

April 2, 2010

Easter was here and I thought “cookies”, especially since I had bought the cutest bunny cutter when we were in Savannah last month. Then I thought about…..

February….

Then March….

and the thought of another sugar cookie dang near gagged me.

So, I asked my dear friend Amanda about other cut out cookies, and she kindly pointed me to my next adventure….

These were the angora ones of the bunch….I also had smooth coated (non coconut) ones.

Kind of reminds me of that little “Bite Me” bunny on t-shirts and all…

These little beauties are made from the Brownie Cut Outs recipe from Smitten Kitchen, then coated with a layer of white chocolate, for more of an authentic Easter Bunny feel. I added a jelly bean nose and an icing face and there ya go!

But the cookie itself? True heaven. Nice and soft, nice and chocolaty. Not overly sweet. Perfection.

What can I say? I bit!

Do yourself a favor…the next time a sugar cookie makes your eyes roll, and not in a good way, give these a try! And…have a hoppy Easter!

Brownie Cut Out Bunnies

adapted from Smitten Kitchen

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened dark cocoa

Whisk dry flour, salt and baking powder in bowl and set aside. Mix butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and cocoa in mixer. Gradually add flour mixture, and mix until smooth. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least one hour.

Roll out cookie dough on floured counter. Cut into desired shapes, brushing extra deposits of flour off the top. (It does disappear once baked, though, so don’t overly fret if they go into the oven looking white.) Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 8 to 11 minutes (the former for 1/8-inch thick cookies, the latter for 1/4-inch cookies) until the edges are firm and the centers are slightly soft.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Melt white chocolate until smooth and coat each cookie. Lay on a flat surface until chocolate solidifies. Before drying, you can also add coconut.

cut jelly beans in half and apply cut end to the cookie for the nose

cookies can be further decorated with icing as elaborately as you would like

Chocolate Chip Cookie Muffins

March 29, 2010

Sometimes, you want a muffin. Sometimes you want a cookie. Sometimes you don’t know what you want, you just know it needs to be good.

These were born from one of those moments, and they are awesome. The tops were crispy and chewy like a cookie, and the depths of the muffin were soft and luscious.

The next time you have your sweet tooth screaming and you don’t know what will shut it up, whip up a batch of these beauties – guaranteed to turn it comatose. And in this case, that is a very good thing. This is coming from me and not Martha!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Muffins

A Dough Puncher Original Diddy

  • 2 c. flour
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 c. white sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 c. canola oil
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 bag chocolate chips

mix oil, sugars, vanilla, and egg together, then add dry ingredients and chips and stir until just moistened

drop into a greased muffin tin or one lined with papers

bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes, until slightly puffed and golden

Peanut Butter Shortbread Squares

March 12, 2010

I was wanting to make some cookies just because. Part of me was hoping to find something that I could use my new cookie stamp on, but that was a pipe dream. Something sweet was the most important requirement.

I really wanted a bar cookie because I was feeling lazy, but the first thing that came to mind was chocolate chip, and we had none in the house. Then, I thought about the peanut butter I made. Hmmm…was there such a creature as peanut butter shortbread?

Turns out…yes…there is, which meant, I would get to use my cookie stamp! Squeeee!!!

I know its light, but ain’t it purty????

Now, as far as the cookie itself…oh.my.

Its the classic, crumbly, buttery, delicate shortbread texture, bursting with peanutty goodness. Its completely to die for. I mean, if you like shortbread and you like peanut butter, of course.

The deep golden color makes traditional shortbread pale with envy.  It was so easy to make, and just delish. Its going on my short list, and as bad as that sounds, its truly a good thing!

Peanut Butter Shortbread

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch

Combine the butter, peanut butter, and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl; beat with electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Beat in vanilla. Slowly beat or stir in the flour and cornstarch until mixture holds together.

Press into a greased baking sheet to about 1/4 inch thick and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Cut while the bars are hot.

Luck O’ The Irish From The Oven!

March 9, 2010

Savannah is known for its St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations. This year will mark the 186th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade…the 2nd largest parade in the US. Everyone gets decked out:

We went to Savannah this weekend, because, like locals, you  couldn’t catch us dead out in that mess of green beer and crazies.

It did however, make me want to spread some green early, so these graced my kitchen today…

I tried a new sugar cookie recipe, because I don’t didn’t have a favorite. To me, most are just as the name implies..a cookie that tastes like sugar. Definitely a kid’s cookie, and in all reality, I made these with my toddler in mind.

Let me tell you, these were the richest, most full flavored sugar cookie. Perfect texture – roll them out thin, and you got a delightfully crisp cookie. Roll them out a little thicker and they became a soft, chewy sinful cookie.

My good side briefly invaded the kitchen and was able to finagle a little wheat flour into the dough, but I was able to corral her and toss her out of the room before she realized these guys had two sticks of butter in them. She couldn’t handle the truth!

I’ll defiantly be sticking with this recipe for all my future cutouts.

The icing is the recipe that my mother clipped out of a newspaper when she was newly married and had been using ever since. My Mom & Dad just celebrated their 55th anniversary. I figured, I couldn’t go wrong with it, and I was right.

Sugar Cookie Dough for Cut Outs

  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
  • 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp vanilla

cream together sugar and butter, add egg and vanilla, then add flour 1 cup at a time until mixed thoroughly – do not chill

roll out onto a floured surface and cut out with you choice of cookie cutters

bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly browned at the edges

transfer to cooling racks to be decorated once completely cooled

No Fail Sugar Cookie Icing

  • 4 c. powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp shortening
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp light corn syrup
  • 1/4 c. water
  • food coloring and or sprinkles for decorating

cut butter and icing into sugar with a fork, blend with corn syrup and water. It will be a thinner icing, but it spreads well and hardens to where the cookies can be stacked, and will have a nice, shiny gloss.

  • If you want it thicker, add more sugar one tablespoon at a time
  • If you want it thinner, add more corn syrup, one teaspoon at a time

Homemade Oreos

March 5, 2010

I couldn’t believe it when I just kind of typed “homemade oreos” into a search engine one day as a joke and up popped this recipe.

These are dark and evil, and oh so good!

They were amazingly easy, too. I can’t tell you how excited I get when I get to use a food processor to do my work for me.

This is Oreos Round #1 for me, because as tickled as these made me, I see room for improvement and know just how I want to tweak these.

First off, they need to be uniform, and I think a little extra flour, cocoa and sugar will allow me to roll these out to a uniform thickness and use a cutter to make them all the same size.

Second of all…the filling. People, this is nothing more than buttercream. I was actually disappointed when I looked it over. But – I’ll admit that the flavor is the same, but biting into a nice crisp cookie and having the filling squirt out was a real downer. I think I know how to remedy that as well.

I am about trembling with excitement to see if these tweaks will do what I think they will to these lil gems….

I think Nabisco and I may be going around in the ring once I make these adjustments!

A few words of caution….

Number one: Let them sit about an hour or so after you sandwich them. I didn’t know oreos needed to be aged, but I promise you they are more like their predecessor once they have been assembled for a while. Who knew?

Secondly: Get your milk before you sit down in front of these. By the time you come up for air and think about it, you’ll be left with nothing but a few black crumbs and regret.

Stay Tuned for Oreos : The Sequel

Homemade Oreos

adapted from Smitten Kitchen

for the cookies:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dark unsweetened Dutch process cocoa (I used Hershey’s Special Dark)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg

for the filling:

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Set two racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 375°F.

In a food processor, or bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. While pulsing, or on low speed, add the butter, and then the egg. Continue processing or mixing until dough comes together in a mass.

With moistened hands, roll into balls about 3/4 inch in diameter and place on sheets about 2 inches apart. Slightly flatten the dough. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking. Set baking sheets on a rack to cool.

To make the cream: place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.

To assemble the cookies: in a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip, pipe teaspoon-size blobs of cream into the center of one cookie. Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press, to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie. I was able to get the filling all the way around evenly by rotating the cookie as I pressed down on the filling.

Pepperoni Pinwheel Rolls

March 4, 2010

My sister is visiting my parents right now and had brought along some bread that my brother in law gets given to him from a bakery he delivers to.  I wasn’t around when they opened it and was very sad to hear that two of the loaves were pepperoni rolls, and sadder still that they left me not a crumb.

So, I figured…I’ll just make my own! Instead of the loaf like mass that they had, I envisioned these huge pinwheel like rolls that look like a cinnamon roll, yet fool you with its savory goodness…

These went so far beyond my fantasies that I could have melted into a puddle of garlic butter right in the floor. Yes, that good!

And the bread itself?

Once upon a time, in a land far far away, there was a Schlotzky’s  Deli in our town. I looooooved the bread that they used for their sandwiches. The almost lacy texture, yet it was still firm and flavorful…sigh…

But, apparently, the people around here were more attuned to McDonalds, and they sadly went out of business. Creations.

But, I digress. I bit into one of these beauties…and…oh my…there is was! That amazingly lacy, lightly chewy bread that I so lovingly remembered! I just wanted to shout for joy …welcome back, baby! Oh how I’ve missed you!

I am so happy with these that I nearly wanted to devour the entire pan, even before hubby got to see them. I decided to be nice and left enough for dinner just the same. I wanted him to bask in their beauty, too….hope we don’t end up fighting over the last one…..

Pepperoni Pinwheel Rolls

a Dough Puncher Original

Dough:

  • 1 cup warm fat free milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 pkg yeast

Filling:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 pkg shredded Italian Blend Cheese
  • 1 pkg pepperoni

Topping:

  • 1/2  c Parmesan Cheese, grated

Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough cycle; press Start.

Roll dough into a 16×21 inch rectangle. Spread dough with olive oil, then the garlic powder and oregano and sprinkle evenly with shredded cheese. Arrange Pepperoni slices across the dough without leaving any space between them. Roll up dough and cut into 12-16 rolls.

Place rolls in a lightly greased 9×13 inch baking pan. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes.  Sprinkle with Parmesan, then bake at 375 for 15-25 minutes, until golden brown.

Challah

March 2, 2010

Last Friday, we stopped by a bagel shop where I found a Challah roll. I got it split and toasted, but with nothing on it, like butter or cream cheese, because I wanted to experience the bread itself.

By looking at the deep golden color, I knew it was an egg bread, but the only other thing I knew about Challah was how pretty it was, all shined up with its beautiful braided body…I just knew it had to taste as good as it looked.

I was so right and it sent me into a tizzy on making some for myself. I found a nice, simple recipe for some online, and that was all it took!

I halved the recipe, and it still made a ginormous long loaf….

I could hardly wait until it was cool enough to handle to slice into this puppy, and it was just as good as the roll…soft, subtly sweet, with a gorgeous, chewy crust….

It may not have been the best job of braiding, but dang it…I am used to braiding hair, not dough! Besides, beauty isn’t only crust deep!

Do yourself a favor and make some!!!

Challah

adapted from Tammy’s Recipes

  • 3/4 cups warm water
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 pkg active dry yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups flour, plus additional flour

add yeast to bowl and pour warm water over yeast and sprinkle sugar over the top. Wait until lfoamy, about 5-10 mins

add other ingredients and mix and begin to knead, adding flour as needed to knead to a smooth and elastic  ball (about 10 mins)

place in an oiled bowl, oil the dough top, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled (about 1 1/2 hours)

punch down dough, then

divide dough into 4 pieces. Roll each piece into a rope about 14-15″ long and an inch in diameter.

Lay 4 ropes side-by-side and pinch tops together. Braid tightly starting on the left, taking the rope over two and under one. Pinch bottom ends and fold under.

Place braids on greased baking sheets and cover. Let rise in a warm place for 25-30 minutes.

Brush with beaten eggs and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds if desired. Bake at 325 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until done. If loaf starts to brown too quickly, loosely lay a piece of foil on top. Cool on wire rack, covered.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

March 1, 2010

I love my Mom’s Chocolate Chip Cookies, they are the best.They are a little bit of everything…oatmeal, peanut butter, coconut…I guess you really shouldn’t even classify them as a simple chocolate chip cookie.

Sometimes you just want a chocolate chip cookie….you know, the fat, golden ones that are the slightest bit crunchy as you sink your teeth into them, into that buttery, chewy middle. Excuse me while I shudder…..

I saw a recipe for Best Big Fat Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. I felt my tummy quiver when I thought about the idea...Big…Fat…Chewy…mmmm…..

Then my good side of me infiltrated the dark side. This was my fatal error. Oh, don’t get me wrong…these were still buttery, sweet, totally yummy, but I let the good girl add whole wheat pastry flour to these guys. Totally changed the texture. While they still had a nice chew to them, thanks to the brown sugar, that blasted wheat flour made them fluffier than any cookie with any amount of self respect should be.

Sigh.

Well, they were still pretty, and yummy. Next time my evil twin wants cookies, however, I will lock up the wheat pastry flour before she gets started!

This is the original recipe…the one I will totally go by next time….

Best Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies


from Fake Ginger

  • 2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 c unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 c packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 c white sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 c semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.

Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Rainbow Cake With Lemon Buttercream

February 28, 2010

Look at this cake. So unassuming…so innocent looking. Of course the fluffy whiteness just makes you wonder what secrets lurk beneath the sweetness.

Would you ever suspect that in its nakedness it would look like this???

I had been wanting to try to make one of these babies for several weeks. I nearly made one for my nephew for his birthday on the 19th, but I was afraid the pretty colors would be lost on a teenage boy that just turned 18. So, I jumped at the chance to volunteer to make a dessert this weekend and haul it over to my parents’ home for dinner.

All gussied up with an icing coat and sliced up, it made quite an impression on my parents and my older sister and my brother in law who are currently in town, trying to escape the incredible amounts of snow that they have been buried under for months now.

It was like having a slice of sunshine cutting right through the crappy cold weather….

It was so much fun to make, and I seriously thought it was going to be a chore!

I totally cheated and used a box white cake mix and divided it into seven 1/2 cup servings and colored each bowl full accordingly with food coloring, and baked each layer in a well greased 9 inch round cake pan.

The first two layers about gave me a nervous breakdown because it was so thin that it nearly didn’t even coat the bottom. But, in a matter of minutes in a 350 degree oven, they baked up perfectly. I then stacked them in the “Roy G. Biv” rainbow color order that we learned about in school, and got more and more excited with each step.

I thought I was going to squeal when I laid the first slice down onto a plate, but controlled myself, since I had an audience.

I also made up the cheat by making my own lemon buttercream icing. It was awesome – the subtle brightness in the undertones of the sweet frosting just added to the summery feel.

Lemon Buttercream

  • 1/2 c. butter or margarine
  • 3/4 c. shortening
  • 2 pounds confectioner’s sugar
  • 3/4 tsp lemon extract
  • 3 tbsp half and half (more or less, depending on the consistency you are looking for)

blend butter and shortening together, add confectioners sugar about 1 cup at a time until blended.  The frosting will likely look very crumbly at this stage

add lemon extract and then half and half (or milk) one tablespoon at a time until you achieve the desired consistency