The summer weather cooled a bit and baking is now able to be done without making the house unbearable. Hubby and I did heave and ho (we have scrapes and bruises to prove that we are getting too old for this sort of thing) the too big AC unit into the sewing room window and put up curtains to partition the living room from the rest of the house but prefer to not have to use it if possible. So technically I could have heated the oven (ugh!) and then go sit in the cooled living room but I did not. Baking is not a past-time I have the urge to indulge in summer. I will confess that I have at least once succumbed to chocolate urges and baked a box of brownie mix. Then we ate that in two sittings. Not good for the waist line!
The idea that I would cook through the Betty Crocker cookbook was a bust. I may do some baking from it but the meat and vegetable recipes were too plain and uninteresting to me this year. I did not even bother to look in that book when deciding to make oatmeal cookies. Deciding to make oatmeal cookies delighted Hubby. Alas, I did not put M&Ms in them so technically they are not “Daddy Holiday Oatmeal Cookies”.
I found this cookbook while looking for a recipe to use. Actually it is the first book I looked at and since there was a recipe I did not look further.
The oatmeal cookie recipe is on page 33 and calls for 3 cups of goodies added to the batter. The only item I added to the original recipe was 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and then I mixed up the 3 cups of goodies for variety.
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed (doesn’t every baker know to pack brown sugar by now?)
2 eggs (also at room temperature if one remembers to put them out on the counter with the butter,or is this just for bread?)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups oatmeal (I don’t think it matters if this is instant, quick, or regular? I used quick-cooking.)
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup white chocolate morsels + 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cranberries + 1/2 cup dried blueberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. This recipe goes together in the usual way: cream butter and sugars then add eggs, beating well after each, then add the vanilla. Whisk the dry ingredients together (flour through cinnamon in above list) and add to the creamed mixture. Then add the oatmeal and goodies. I combined these in a separate bowl first as well.
Scoop batter in heaping tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheets and bake 10-12 minutes until lightly golden. Let sit on baking pan 1-2 minutes before removing to cooling racks. This step is very important or the cookies will fall apart. This made exactly 4 dozen cookies.
Hubby is having a few for breakfast with his coffee right now. I had thought I would take a plate of these to work but Hubby is enjoying them too much to deprive him of his treat. I did sneak a dozen of them into a freezer bag for later, maybe?
I may or may not have posted this recipe before. I have a hard time keeping track. There are just so many recipes out there, and just so many that I keep going back to. On occasion I have spotted an interesting new one to try, but have not been adventurous lately.
I am almost three years into blogging, or is it four? It is actually four. I did not intend for this to just be a post of recipes but who am I to think people are interested in my musings on my ordinary life?
Life has happened in the four months since I last posted here. Hubby was laid off and is at that borderline age of contemplating whether this should lead to retirement but not quite there yet, so a job search continues. Leo the Dog had to be let go to doggy heaven after 13 1/2 years of life and 2 1/2 years as part of our family. 😦 Camping season is upon us and we managed to survive a week of biting black flies and chiggers in the Vermont woods. And now that Leo is not a consideration I have been able to look at the State Parks for camping but it is a bit late in the season already to find weekend spots at the shoreline parks.
The other day I needed to bake. Something. Anything. This snack cake recipe is an easy favorite and it has variety. I made the applesauce version with a few tweaks.
1 2/3 cups flour; I used one cup all-purpose and 2/3 whole wheat pastry
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon gingerbread spice (recipe called for allspice)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon vinegar
And my own additions:
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
Mix everything together. I do the dry ingredients first and then add the wet and the additions. Put in 8 inch square pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes. All done!
This recipe makes a one layer cake. I made the chocolate version to make “bug cakes” for my daughters birthday. The grandchildren helped me decorate them. I bought this fancy pan for $3.50 at an estate sale last summer.
And yes I am aware that there is a unicorn butterfly. It’s all good. 🙂
I have posted on making a lemon meringue pie before Birthday pie: lemon meringue. This is a different recipe. I baked this pie for the same purpose as this year our favorite Airman is home with us for her birthday. And again she requested a lemon meringue pie. This year’s pie is from PCV Emily, now RPCV. I make her pie crust as my go-to crust and you will find that one here. The apple cider vinegar and egg pie crust is fabulous. Each batch makes three nine inch crusts. I made two batches. I use my food processor for easy mixing.
When Emily sent my son the recipe for the pie crust she also sent recipes for some pie fillings, one of which was Lemon Meringue. I went with that this year. It calls for 6 eggs. The ingredients were not as clear as I had hoped. But I figured them out and the pie was a big hit. And turned out better this year than two years ago.
For the Lemon Curd:
1/2 cup lemon juice and zest of those lemons (how many lemons is this? I used 4 and had to add a bit of bottled lemon juice to make 1/2 cup. The lemons were small and I got tired of juicing them!)
3 whole eggs (save the whites for the meringue): this is understandable
3 egg yolks (this makes it confusing: is this from the above eggs? or is it a total of 6 egg yolks?)
1 cup sugar
8 Tab butter cut into pieces (this is one stick=1/2 cup)
I decided to use 4 egg yolks and 2 whole eggs, saving the 4 egg whites for the meringue. Mix all the ingredients into a heavy saucepan. Stir constantly over low heat so nothing sticks to the bottom and the eggs don’t scramble. Do this until one boil bubble comes to the top. This will take awhile. You could strain this through a sieve to remove seeds and zest but I like zest and there were no seeds in my lemon juice.
Now make the meringue. This turned out really well. I was very pleased.
4 large egg whites
1/4 + 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup superfine sugar (whirl the sugar in a food processor to make it superfine)
In a bone dry and very clean bowl beat egg whites and tartar with a mixer until very foamy. Slowly add in sugar as you continue mixing. Mix until stiff peaks have formed.
Now here’s where I wasn’t prepared. The pie crust needed to be pre-baked. This would have easily been done while I was preparing the filling, but I didn’t think to do this. So I now have stiffly whipped meringue in my mixer bowl and fully cooked and hot lemon curd in my saucepan. And I had used a pyrex 8-inch pie dish and still have no pie beans for pre-baking! And I had deliberately placed the pie crust in the dish in the freezer to prevent shrinkage, but had it out at room temperature while I was preparing the curd and meringue, and now I have to pre-bake. I end up with a little shrinkage and a bit of soggy bottom at the end. Life goes on.
Spread the curd into the pre-baked (mine was half-baked) pie crust. Pile the meringue on top. I had lots of meringue. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes until meringue is lightly browned.
I found a box mix at one of those big warehouse type stores that sell odd items, discontinued stuff, and leftovers. The ingredients are your basic recipe ingredients: sugar, flour, cocoa, corn starch, canola oil, baking powder, and salt. I had to buy this; actually I bought two boxes. I’m thinking that I could make my own cake mixes by mixing up the dry ingredients and listing what wet ones to add. For this box mix one adds 1 1/2 cups milk, 1 stick butter, and three eggs. I’m not sure how they got the canola oil in the mix.
I love German Chocolate Cake. Either myself or a family member makes or buys one for my birthday. It is not my birthday, no where close. I have previously made a German Chocolate Cake just for fun, also not for my birthday. That post is Cake Envy
This was super easy to make. I baked it in my 8-inch round cake pans. I then made the frosting from the side of the box for the classic Coconut Pecan Frosting.
1 cup sugar
1 cup canned evaporated milk
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
Cook all this except the coconut and pecans in a sauce pan. Bring to boiling and then cook over medium heat 4 to 5 minutes, until slightly thickened. Stir in the coconut and pecans. Cool completely before frosting the cake.
What could be simpler? Well, it usually helps to read the recipe several times. I put in an entire can of evaporated milk so that was 1 1/2 cups. I cooked this longer than the 5 minutes because it was not getting thick. I admit I also had to pick out a few small pieces of scrambled egg! After cooking and stirring in the coconut and pecans it seemed more pudding like than frosting. I contemplated making it into a German chocolate trifle. But I persevered and stuck it in the fridge to firm up. And voila! It worked!
I baked popovers to go with leftover soup. I used my favorite popover recipe which is in a cookbook entitled The Cookie and Biscuit Bible. I must be catching up on my Bible reading as I recently checked out some other food and cooking “Bible” books from my local library. Anyway this popover recipe is simple and has always turned out well. It is my favorite but it is also the only popover recipe I have ever used.
2 Tab. butter, melted
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups four
pinch of salt
a few sprigs of fresh herbs
I confess that I did not have milk in the house, nor fresh herbs. Well, there is a thriving bunch of parsley but I wasn’t keen on using that in popovers. So how do you make popovers without milk? I used 3/4 cup half-and-half with 1/4 cup water. For the herbs I decided to use 1/2 tsp dried fine herbs and 1/2 tsp dried tarragon.
Heat oven to 425 degrees F and spray/grease a twelve cup muffin pan.
Beat the eggs in a stand mixer until blended and then beat in the milk, then the melted butter. Sift the flour and salt and gradually beat this into the egg mixture. Stir in the herbs. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. Do not open the oven until done. These should have popped over the tops of the muffin cups and then slowly deflate when removed from the pan.
So what happened? Not sure but the heavier milk may have been an issue. I also may have beaten it too long and hard. I had read somewhere that the batter should be beaten for three minutes to be sure there is plenty air incorporated. Well, I started the beating with the eggs and kept the mixer going to the very end. This may have been 6-8 minutes since I did not have mise en place and everything ready to add in the proper order.
But all was not lost. These came out like an egg-y muffin and sopped up the soup broth just fine. Now what to do with the four that we didn’t eat?
Fall is in the air! I know this because I have gotten out a bunch of cookbooks and have gone to the library and checked out a few as well. I think about baking; I bake; I think about baking some more.
Apples: we bought some nice locally sourced Gala apples as these are one of our favorites for eating. It is a portable fruit. Hubby goes off to work with an apple, a piece of cheese, and granola bars, none of which is homemade. We then bought five pounds of more apples, also locally sourced, with the express purpose of making apple pies, muffins, tarts, etc.
So this week’s apple recipe is an Apple Crisp. This is from King Arthur Flour’s 200th Anniversary Cookbook. They had posted one on line but I think that may be different. Not sure. Anyway this is a good one. I did add my own flair to it, though.
4 cups chopped apples, peeled (KAF said this was about 8 apples, so I peeled, cored, and chopped exactly 8 apples.)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup oatmeal
1/2 tsp salt
1 teaspoon gingerbread spice mix (my addition: original recipe called for 3/4 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp allspice)
1/2 cup butter, softened (I melted mine)
2 Tab. chopped candied ginger (my addition)
1/4 cup dried cranberries (my addition)
Put chopped apples in lightly greased (or sprayed) 8-inch square baking dish. Sprinkle on the cranberries and the candied ginger. Blend the dry ingredient and add the butter. Melted butter (somewhat cooled) mixes in nicely. Stir until all ingredients are not dry. Put this on top of the apples. I patted it down like a crust. Bake 35 minutes at 375 degrees F.
This came out well. Hubby said it had a “grown up taste”, not sure what that means. The topping was crispy and contrasted with the apples very well. In future I would reduce the brown sugar to 3/4 cup sugar as I think the topping doesn’t need that much sweetness. We did not have ice cream in the house and that would add a nice finish to this Crisp.
I have made mini apple pies in a cup cake pan. The recipe is http://www.livewellbakeoften.com/mini-apple-pies/. I found this by googling apple pies looking for tarts. The only adaptation I made is to brush the tops with water and sprinkle on some cinnamon sugar. I also used 3 cups of chopped apples instead of 2 1/2. I used Macoun apples. If I make these again, and it is likely I will, I would reduce the sugar by half and increase the amount of apples to 4 cups.
2 9-inch pie crusts (I used store bought because I haven’t gotten around to making my own.)
2 1/2 cups apples, chopped
1/4 cup sugar (in the future I would use 1/8 cup)
2 Tab flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
Cut the pie crust into 12 circles about 3 1/2 inches. I used my Pyrex custard cups as the cutter. Press these circles of dough into your regular sized muffin pan. Use the leftover dough to make strips for the lattice tops. I found that four strips are needed for each mini pie.
Mix apples and other ingredients all together and spoon even amounts into the dough cups. Fashion the lattice to each. I then brushed the tops with water and sprinkled with a tiny bit of cinnamon sugar. Bake in 425 degree F oven for 20-25 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes or so and then carefully remove to a cooling rack.