Sunday, November 23, 2008

Delicious cinnamon rolls

You can use left over Homemade Pizza or roll dough to make delicious cinnamon rolls.

Here is what I did:
  1. I took the left over dough that had already risen once, punched it down and plopped it down on a floured surface.  Using my french rolling pin (you can use what ever type of rolling pin or your hands if you like!) to roll it out - about 1/2" thick.

  2. I softened a stick of unsalted butter, smeared that liberally over the top of the rolled out dough.

  3. I then sprinkled a mixture of cinnamon sugar(1/2 C. sugar and 1/4 C. cinnamon) over the top of the softened butter. If you want you can sprinkle raisins or pecans on this at this time.
  4. Started with the long side of the rolled out dough, started rolling the dough toward the other side of the dough - like a jelly-roll.pinch the edges to seal it.

  5. Slice the dough into 1 1/2" to 2 inch pieces. Arrange dough pieces, cut side up, in a greased 12-inch deep dish or round cake pans.
  6. Cover dough with a clear plastic wrap or clean flour sack dishtowel (this is what I use). Let raise until doubled in size - anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 hour.

  7. Bake in a 375º oven for 20-30 minutes or till light brown. If necessary, to prevent over browning, cover the rolls loosely with foil the last 5-10 minutes of baking.
  8. As the rolls are cooling slightly, mix up the following for the glaze: I like to drizzle this on my rolls, letting the glaze flow into the crevices and then lick the bowl if you want!
Glaze 1 (I prefer)
  • 1/2 bag powdered sugar
  • vanilla to taste
  • 1/2 stick melted real butter
  • tsp. or two of flavored coffee creamer 
 Glaze 2
    • 4 C. powdered sugar
    • 1 C. + 2 Tbsp soft butter
    • 2 tsp. vanilla
    • add milk to make creamy and spreadable.

    Saturday, November 22, 2008

    The accidental Cinnamon roll

    Last night we had a wonderful time when two families came over to share in pizza night.  With the 11 people here, I had planned on 12 personal pan pizzas, but ended up with so much more.  It's always a bustle of activity when we have pizza night and last night was no exception.  I love it when we have people over - the laughter and warm, stories shared, kids playing... 

    Well the long of the short of it, we had so much dough left over that I was able to make a huge batch of cinnamon rolls for this morning's breakfast!  The kids were thrilled and the house smells just yummy!  

    The Sauce: 

    1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
    1 8 oz. can tomato paste
    1/2 C. water
    1 tsp. oregano
    1/2 tsp. basil
    1/4 tsp. salt

    Mix the above  in a sauce pan and let simmer for about 10 minutes.  I usually make a double or triple batch of this and cold pack can the rest or stick it back for the next week's pizza. 

    The Dough/Crust

    Mix 3/4 c. warm water and 1 1/4 tsp of yeast (I used fast rising yeast) and let set for 5 minutes.  It should foam up a bit.  Add 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 Tbsp. sugar and mix well.  Mix in 1 C. flour and mix well, continue adding flour a cup a at a time, mixing well.  Making sure the dough is smooth and elastic. Knead well on a well-floured surface until smooth in texture, about 10 minutes.  Cover and let rise until the dough has doubled in size - 1-2 hours.  Each batch of dough will make one large or two personal pan pizzas.  

    Making the dough really doesn't take much time, but it seems that everyone loves to have a different kind of pizza. To solve the problem, I use round cake pans to make personal pan pizzas! The dough recipe I use will make 2 personal pan pizzas or 1 large pizza per batch, so it is easy to figure out how many batches to make. I spray the cake pans with Pam Olive oil, roll out a small (a little bit larger than my fist) portion of the dough, and place it in the pan. I use my pizza cutter to cut off the excess dough by rolling the blade around the edge, just above the dough. You can make a thin or thick crust depending on how thick you roll out the dough. Put on your layer of sauce and create away. We lay all the ingredients out in containers and everyone can either construct their own pizza or I can make them up for them.

    Bake at 350 degrees until the cheese is melted and pizza looks done.  

    Monday, November 17, 2008

    Hard-boiled Egg Chocolate Chip Cookie

    This weekend I tried a new cookie made with a hard-boiled egg. I was a little skeptical, but intrigued. The girls said they looked delicious, the boys were itching to eat a few, but they were so HUGE that they could only eat one. I didn't make my near as big as theirs and got 16 cookies instead of 8, but they were still big. Great with a glass of milk. I did freeze them like they suggested and the taste is just as good. This was very different from the regular chocolate chip cookie that I've made before, but it was well worth trying and will make it again! I'm going to post it just as they did with the pictures that I took. These three are wonderfully daring and innovative bakers and I encourage you to visit their baking blogs and try some of their recipes! Standing Ovation on this one!

    Today’s cookie is an extra special collaboration between three baking bloggers. Anna (Cookie Madness), Katrina (Baking and Boys), and Clumbsy cookie shared the same idea of how they wanted a certain cookie to be, so they started with a base formula then made adjustments to the ingredients and technique until they agreed that the cookie had achieved their vision. Several stomachaches (and many emails) later, they ended up with a delicious cookie.

    And so with an ocean and some US states in the middle, this is their cookie:

    We hate wasting ingredients so to start, we made a very small batch yielding 2 cookies. Once we fine-tuned that, we scaled it up to 8 cookies. For those of you who don’t need 8 cookies, we’ve included the small batch version as well. The first recipe makes 8 large cookies, and by large, we mean 1/4 pound each. These are big, fat, sturdy cookies that are perfect for wrapping decoratively and presenting to friends. What’s great about these cookies is they hold up well. The cooked egg keeps them fresher longer and gives the middle an interesting moist yet crumbly texture. The technique we used to build the cookie also plays into that. We made the whole cookie in a food processor and started by cutting cold butter into flour. The cookies take about 20 minutes to bake. You can bake them in a regular oven or if you own one, a convection oven.

    Amazing Hard Boiled Egg Chocolate Chip Cookies

    • 12. 4 oz all purpose bleached flour (2 ¾ cups spooned and swept)
    • 8 ounces cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks (16 tablespoons)
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
    • 1 hard boiled egg*, cut into big chunks
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 cup chocolate chips

    Amazing Hard Boiled Egg Chocolate Chip Cookies (Small Batch)

    • 3.1 oz all purpose bleached flour (2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour)
    • 2 ounces cold unsalted butter (4 tablespoons)
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
    • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 1/4 of a hard boiled egg*
    • 1 tablespoon lightly beaten egg
    • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • Small handful of chocolate chips

    Combine flour and butter in food processor. Pulse until mixture is mealy and coarse. Add the salt and baking soda and pulse to mix. Add both sugars and hard boiled egg. Pulse again until mixture is mealy looking. Add in the raw egg and vanilla and pulse until mixture just begins to come together. Dump mixture into a bowl, add chocolate chips and shape into balls. You will see egg whites in dough – they’ll disappear as the cookies bake. Bake on a parchment lined cookie sheet at 350 degrees F. for 20 minutes or until cookies appear lightly browned around edges. Let cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to rack to finish cooling.

    The first batch makes 8 big cookies, the small batch makes just 2.

    Important: Let cool completely before serving. The texture gets better as the cookies cool. It’s even better if you cool the cookies, freeze them, then thaw them.

    Note: If you have a convection oven, try convection baking for 18-20 minutes. Anna tested in both types of oven and liked the convection oven texture a lot.

    * About the hard boiled egg: I don't know where this idea came from first, but it's used in some ancient European recipes. It's not uncommon to use this technic in some bakeries to achieve a certain cookie texture, it's more usual to use just the hard boiled egg yolk, but the whole egg is also used.

    You can do it like this and just mix the egg in the food processor or if you want you can also pass it thru a sieve or grind it before adding it to the dough. Other alternative is instead of hard boiling it, you can microwave beated egg for a few seconds (about 20-30 for a whole egg) until it gets the consistency of a omelette. You can then grate it, or cut it in small chunks and proceed as we say in the recipe.

    Sunday, November 16, 2008

    King Arthur's Pie Crust

    This is a wonderfully tasty and flaky pie crust that I've used for years. It rarely falls apart on me, transfers easily, and holds up great. You can use this for a Pot-Pie crust as well, just make it a bit thicker and double the recipe. I found this in a King Arthur Flour Company catalog years ago, saw it in a demonstration during one of their cooking schools, and loved it.
    Apple Pie
    Medium- or Short-Flake

    medium-flake crust can be used for main-course dishes or, by adding the optional sugar, for sweet fillings or even tart shells. Our recipe makes enough for a double-crust 9-inch pie. You can easily substitute whole wheat pastry flour for an equal amount of your unbleached white.

    Start with about 1/2 cup until you find a ratio you like. Whole wheat pastry flour produces a crust with a "bite" and a hearty flavor, which is great with savory fillings and is a wholesome alternative for sweet fillings, too. I love this recipe. It is simple, doesn’t fall apart, and can be made ahead of time. This is the one I use all the time.

    2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
    1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
    2 teaspoons sugar (optional)
    1/2 to 3/4 cup shortening, lard or butter (I use unsalted real butter)
    4 to 7 tablespoons ice water

    In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and sugar if you're using it. With a pastry blender, two knives, or your fingertips, cut or rub half of the fat into the flour mixture until it resembles cornmeal. Then take the remainder of the fat and cut or rub it in until the largest pieces are the size of a dime, or flattened peas.

    Sprinkle the ice water, one tablespoon at a time, over the flour/fat mixture. With a fork, toss the mixture that you've just moistened and push it to one side. Continue until the dough is just moist enough to hold together.

    Then gather it into a ball (a bit like gently packing a snowball), cut it in half and flatten the halves into two disks. If you're making a double-crust pie, make the piece for the bottom crust slightly larger, since it has to fit down into the pie plate.

    Wrap the two pieces of dough and put them in the refrigerator to give them a rest for 30 minutes or more before rolling them out.

    my cherry pie

    If you get in a pinch or need to do the pie crust quickly, I've used my food processor and they still turn out okay.  


    Cherry Pie

    Cherry Pie

    My family loves a good cherry pie and this is one that I frequently take to gatherings.

    • 2 cans of cherry pie filling (I use Comstock, but you can use Lucky Leaf or whatever is available).
    • a toucn of Almond Extract (maybe 1/4-1/2 tsp)
    • Sugar (1/4 c. sugar, more or less)
    Okay this is one of those pies that I don't really use a recipe on, but go by taste.

    • Preheat oven to 450º, remove chilled pastry dough from the refrigerator and set aside.

    • Pour the contents of the pie filing in a large bowl, add a bit (maybe 1/4-1/2 tsp.) of almond extract and about 1/4 cup of sugar or less. Taste. Adjust by adding more extract or sugar if you need and taste again. I love this part! If you want the filling to be a bit thicker, you can take some of the filling, add a tablespoon or two of flour or cornstarch. Once it is blended in nicely, add it back into the rest of the pie filling and stir gently until it is uniform (blended in well).

    • Roll out the bottom crust and fit into 9-inch pie plate, trimming to 1 inch beyond the edge. Lay the top crust over the filling, sealing and fluting the edges; cut steam vents in the top. My kids love it when I do a fancy lattice crust. ** Just remember that it needs to be vented so if you just lay a solid crust over it, use a knife to slit a few places, so the steam can escape.
    • Bake 15 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 350º F and bake 40-50 minutes or until the crust is golden. You might want to put a cookie sheet below your pie in case there is any overflow. This will save you from having to clean your oven.
    • Remove pie from the oven and cool slightly on a wire rack. Serve warm and adda scoop of vanilla ice cream if desired.

    Thursday, November 13, 2008

    Joanie’s Scalloped Tators

    A friend from church gave this to me when I was first married and it has been a hand-down easy favorite! It is so simple to make for 1-however many you need, and is so delicious!!!

    1. Thinly slice 1 medium potato per person. Spray baking dish with Pam or Crisco.
    2. Put 1 layer of potatoes, covering the bottom of the dish and lightly salt and pepper. I don't always peel the potatoes, more vitamins are retained that way.
    3. Lightly cover the potatoes with shredded Colby or Colby Jack cheese.
    4. Thinly slice butter and dot these on the top of the cheese (do not cover the top with butter or it will be greasy. No more than 1-2 tablespoons cut up into small pieces.
    5. Lightly dust the top with flour (like you would a cake pan)
    • Repeat steps 1-4 until you’ve run out of slices or room.
    • On the last layer, top it nicely with cheese, and finish with the butter and dusting of flour. Using 1-2 cups of hot whole milk, pour over layers until milk appears ½ way up on the dish. If you use too much milk, it will be very runny. I usually take a conservative side with this.
    • Sometimes I'll put this in the microwave to cook for 20 minutes if I'm in a hurry. If you do this, please use Plastic Wrap to cover it.
    • Cover with foil and Bake in oven for 40-45 minutes at 350º

    Tuesday, November 11, 2008

    Cornbread and Chili

    With the chill in the air and frost on the lawn, my family begs for those comfy winter dishes that we love. One of those main staples for the winter is Cornbread and Chili. My father-in-law loves my cornbread and chili, and I've been known to made up a huge batch so I can leave some with them. I love it when the family gets excited about something being done in the kitchen.

    I must confess that my chili recipe is nothing special. I get a package of 2-Alarm chili (except the red peppers), add a pound of cooked deer or turkey meat, brown a pork chop, cut that into small pieces. throw it in with a couple of cans of tomato sauce (maybe even a can of diced tomatoes), throw in a few cans of pinto beans, a cut up stalk of celery, and a few tablespoons of brown sugar. Let it simmer in the crock pot or in a dutch oven for an hour or two (if you're not in a hurry). Now my husband is originally from Indiana and he loves his chili mixed with elbow macaroni. That makes me think more of something they used to serve us in the cafeteria in school, but I like my chili on a baked potato with lots of cheese!

    One of my favorite cookbooks is by Linda Fisher, The Muffin Lady. She does things simply with her hands and with her heart. I love her cornbread recipe - and wanted to share it with you. . Best served on a cold day with butter and jelly (if you're like my hubby).

    The Best Yet Sweet Cornbread

    4 T. butter
    1 T. baking powder
    1/4 c. oil
    1/4 tsp. salt
    2 c. cornmeal
    2 eggs
    1/2 c. sugar
    1 c. milk

    1. Preheat the oven to 350º. Allow 10 minutes for preheating.
    2. Put the butter and oil in a 9 inch square cake pan (Sometimes I make my cornbread in an iron skillet instead of a stone square pan and place in the oven until the butter melts and browns, approximately 10-15 minutes. Make sure the oil/butter coats the sides of the pan/dish you are using, so you have a smooth release.
    3. Combine all dry ingredients, make a well in the center.
    4. Add the eggs and milk, stirring well.
    5. Pour the melted butter and oil on top and stir gently until completely blended.
    6. Pour the batter into the same pan used to melt the butter/oil.
    7. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until light golden brown.
    *Yields about 8-10 servings.

    Thursday, November 6, 2008

    Fried Apples

    I remember my Mom making this when I was growing up and so I continued to do this once I got married, but most people around this area have not heard of fried apples. We love to fix them when we have company and are doing a home cooked meal. Most of time we get a reaction of "Um, can you tell me what this is?" Only our former minister's family had ever heard of or fixed them.

    This is an easy dish that we serve with our meal and not as a dessert. They will not look like a traditional fried food (hard and crispy on the outside, rather they will be tender when fully cooked.
    1. I like to use a harder type apple (Pink Lady, Rome, Braeburn). Core and slice some apples – about 1-2 for each person that you’re fixing dinner for, into wedges and then cut those in half. You’ll have a bunch of little wedges.
    2. Put some butter (you MUST use REAL butter) in a skillet (I use a non-stick skillet) and melt over medium heat. As the apples are cooking you may need to add some more butter if it looks like you don't have enough - make sure the butter doesn't cook completely out or they will burn.
    3. Add the apples; stir/turn the apples to make sure that all are coated by the butter.
    4. Sauté 15 to 20 minutes or until apples are tender, but not too soft or too brown. If you cook them too long they might become gooey. You will need to turn them from time to time to ensure even cooking. Some people like to add some cinnamon and nutmeg, though I never have.

    Wednesday, November 5, 2008

    Morning After Party Flourless Chocolate Cake

    I was sent this recipe a few years ago, but finally tried it Wednesday when I needed a quick dessert. Claire and I made this together and it turned out pretty good! Not much was left when everyone was done with it. Mine didn't look near as fluffy as the original picture, but that didn't seem to matter in the end.

    After-Party Chocolate Cake

    8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
    1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
    6 eggs, separated
    1/2 c. sugar
    confectioners sugar

    1. Heat oven to 300 degrees.

    2. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and line the side wall with a strip of parchment paper.

    3. In the bowl of a double-boiler, combine butter and chopped chocolate. Add water to bottom of pan and place bowl over pan. Melt chocolate over medium heat until smooth. Remove bowl from pan and cool slightly. (I cheated and did mine in the microwave - I don't have a double-boiler.)

    4. Beat egg whites with an electric mixture until soft peaks form. Slowly add sugar and beat until glossy and stiff.

    5. Whisk egg yolks into chocolate mixture. Whisk in a dollop of egg whites to lighten. Gently fold in the rest of the egg whites with a rubber spatula.

    6. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until cake is set (center may be jiggly), about 40-45 minutes.

    7. Cool cake for 20 minutes and remove sides of pan. Continue to cool. Dust with confectioners sugar. This taste great with a little dollop of ice cream or cool whip as well!

    This flourless cake has a light, mousse-like texture. Best served warm.

    Monday, November 3, 2008

    Pizzeria/spaghetti Casserole

    3 C. (8oz) cooked pasta
    2 C. pizza/spaghetti sauce
    2 oz sliced pepperoni or 1 lb of cooked meat (beef, chicken, bison, deer)
    1 1/2C (shredded mozzarella cheese)

    Cook pasta and drain. In a 2 qt. casserole, combine pasta, sauce, meat and cheese (save a little bit to sprinkle over the
    top when done). It's okay to stir and mix this in the casserole dish. Sprinkle with cheese. cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

    **I love to add in Parmesan, mozz. and other type of cheeses I have on hand. Finishing with mozz. and Parmesan.

    If you wanted to, you could add green peppers, garlic, other pizza type yummies. Serve with an Italian flat bread or garlic bread and this is simple and inexpensive meal!