Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Blueberry Bundt Cake


First, I have to take a moment to note today's special date...
Have you noticed it was 11-12-13 today?
What a great birth-date that would be!

My daughter made this spectacular cake today. {I grated the lemon rind for her :)}
Blueberry Bundt Cake
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cupbutter or 1 cup margarine
  • 1 3/4 cupssugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cupsblueberries, tossed with
  • 2 tablespoon flour
 Glaze
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 7-9 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • lemon zest (to garnish)

Directions:
Heat oven to 350°F Butter a 12-cup bundt pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In another large bowl, beat butter (or margarine) until smooth. Add sugar and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla and beat until combined. Beat in flour in three additions, alternating with sour cream. Beat for 2 minutes. Fold in blueberries. Spoon into prepared pan.

Bake at 350F for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Run a sharp knife around edges of the pan. Turn out and cool completely.
Glaze: in a small bowl, mix together confectioners' sugar, lemon juice and corn syrup until smooth. Drizzle over top of cake and let it roll down the sides
~~~♥~~~


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Homemade Bagels

Right now I am making bagels. I always wanted to make bagels but they seemed complicated and intimidating. A friend gave me this recipe some year ago, and it has become a favorite in my home.

A kitchenAid with the dough hook makes it easy to whip up this recipe quickly.


Homemade Bagels

Begin by mixing:
  • 4 cups unbleached or bread flour
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 T. vegetable oil
  • 1 T. yeast

Add enough hot water to make all ingredients moist but not wet or sticky. Start with 1 1/4 cup and add up to 1/4 cup more as needed.

Knead for 10 minutes, or more if needed, until smooth.

Lay a sheet of wax paper on the counter and lightly spray with Pam at this point. Dump dough on a cutting board and cut into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a nice smooth ball. Then place on the sprayed waxed paper leaving space between balls.

Let dough rest 20 minutes.

After the 20 minutes, make a hole in the center. Poke a hole through the center of the ball, gently push the edges out to make to create a donut shape. Don't worry about the hold being too big. As the bagel rises the hole will shrink.

Let bagels rest another 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 425°. Fill a pot about half way with water and set on the stove to boil. It should be wide and flat. Prepare baking sheets by spraying them with Pam. You will be able to fit about 6 to a standard baking sheet.

After resting period, gently flip bagel onto pancake turner and slide into boiling water. So it won’t lose its shape, you can set a pancake turner next to the bagel and then flip the bagel over onto the pancake turner.

Transfer the bagel into the water...just slide the whole thing into the water and the bagel will slip right off for you. Allow enough room for rising as they boil. You can boil 3 or 4 bagels at once. Boil 1 minute. Flip and boil 1 more minute.

Lift from pot with slotted spatula or slotted spoon and set on baking sheet.

At this point you can bake plain or add a topping.

Top your bagels with any combination of the following garnishes: poppy seeds, sesame seeds, coarse salt, or rehydrated dried onions or garlic. (Soak dried onions or garlic in water to cover for at least 1 hour before applying.) To give the bagels a nice golden color and also help the toppings stick even better, brush the top of each bagel with some egg yolk whisked up with a little water.

Bake for 10 minutes. Flip and bake 10 more minutes.
~~~♥~~~

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Five Minutes a Day for Fresh-Baked Bread

You want quick and easy no-kneading artisan bread?

This recipe makes 4 1-pound loaves. You can double or half it. I mix mine in my kitchenAid, but it can also be mixed by hand in a large bowl.
  • 3 cups warm water
  • 1 1/2 T. yeast
  • 1 1/2 T. salt
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 5 1/2 cups unbleached flour whole wheat flour to sprinkle on peel 
 Mixing and storing the dough:
1. mix the yeast and salt with the water in a 5 quart bowl.
2. Mix in remaining dry ingredients without kneading, using a spoon, or kitchenAid with dough hook.
3. cover, not airtight, and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses (about 2 hours) Unlike traditional artisan bread, it will not hurt the dough to sit longer than this.
4. The dough can be used immediately but it will be easier to handle if you refrigerate three hours first. It can now be put in the fridge for up to 14 days.

When you are ready to bake:
5. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1-pound (about the size of a grapefruit) piece. Dust with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. Allow to rest and rise on a cornmeal-covered pan for 40 minutes.
6. Twenty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place an empty broiler pan on the bottom rack and adjust shelves so that they will not interfere with the dough as it rises during baking.
7. sprinkle loaf liberally with flour and slash a cross, scallop or tic-tac-toe pattern into the top, using serrated bread knife. Leave the flour in place for baking; tap some of it off before slicing.
8. Put bread in oven. Pour 1 cup HOT tap water into the broiler tray and quickly close the oven door. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until deeply brown and firm. Smaller or larger loaves will require adjustments in baking time.
9. Allow to cool before slicing or eating.

Recipe for the perfect Artisan Five Minute Bread


Your family is sure to love it!
~~~♥~~~

Easy Chicken Pot Pie


I had Sunday’s leftover chicken, Monday’s leftover potato soup, and last Saturday’s leftover cheese biscuits.

The recipe below was my inspiration for dinner.
I chopped the chicken and placed it in the bottom of my casserole dish.
Poured the potatoes soup with chunks of cheddar cheese over the chopped chicken.
Topped it with crumbled cheese biscuits.
Last of all I poured a ½ cup of melted butter over the topping.
Lightly covered my casserole with aluminum foil, and baked it in the oven at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.
Removed the foil and continued baking for 25 minutes more.

My family LOVED it!
They said that they can't wait for me to make it again. ☺

Chicken Pot Pie
  • 2 chicken breast (better with the bone)
  • 1 bag of mix frozen vegetables
  • 1 can of cream of chicken
  • 1 can of cream of mushroom (you can leave this out if you don’t like mushroom)
  • 1 box of jiffy mix corn muffin mix
  • 1 stick of butter
Bake jiffy mix corn muffin. And set aside.
Boil two chicken breast until the meat falls of the bone. Cut into small pieces.
Then mix chicken, cream of chicken, cream of mushroom, mixed vegetables and about a cup of broth from your chicken into a baking dish.
Then crumble the corn muffin over the chicken mixture, and pour melted butter over the corn muffin mix.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Or until the crust turns brown.
~~~♥~~~

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

My daughter discovered this tasty, chewy oatmeal cookie recipe.  It uses 2 tablespoons molasses instead of brown sugar.

I especially like that it makes a small batch of just 1 dozen cookies.

I prefer the freshness of smaller amounts baked more frequently.
Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies 
  • 1 1/4 cups rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup raisins
Directions

Combine the oats, flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Beat the butter, sugar and molasses in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla until smooth, about 2 more minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the flour mixture and beat until combined. Stir in the raisins by hand. For the best flavor and texture, cover the dough and chill at least 4 hours, or overnight.

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Form the dough into 12 balls, about 2 tablespoonfuls each, and arrange 3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Flatten with the back of a fork. Bake until the cookies are golden, 15 to 17 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to racks to cool completely.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Drop Biscuits ~ Easiest Biscuits I Ever Made!

I grew up with this biscuit recipe. Growing up in a family of 15 children, we always had some sort of bread on the table, and these biscuits were served often.

Although this recipe uses oil, not butter, it makes spectacular, fluffy biscuits.
I have to admit; I did not appreciate biscuits until I was older. My children, however, love these biscuits!
Drop Biscuits
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar (optional – I usually do not use sugar unless making these for strawberry shortcake)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup oil
Preheat oven to 400°
Mix dry ingredients. Add milk and oil. Stir lightly with a fork until just moistened.
Let sit about 20 minutes, allowing baking powder time to work…this is the trick to fluffy biscuits. Drop by forkfuls onto ungreased baking sheet. (Makes 12 biscuits) Bake 15 minutes, or until golden.
For Cheese Biscuits:
Add garlic powder and cheddar cheese to the dry ingredients before adding milk and oil.
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Bush on Top of Cheese Biscuit:
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ¼ teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Pinch salt
After baking, melt 2 tablespoons butter in the microwave. Stir in ½ teaspoon garlic powder and the ¼ teaspoon dried parsley flakes and a pinch of salt. Brush garlic butter over the tops of biscuits, using all the butter. Makes 12 biscuits.
~~~♥~~~

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Homemade Plum Butter...From Tree to Table

This morning I sent my boys to the back yard 
to pick me a basket of plums for my plum butter.

My Ingredients:
12 cups plums (approximately)
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
Directions:
Split plums in half, remove pits, and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces. Do not peel. Place in a 6 quart nonreactive saucepan, and add 1 cup water and the sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook until fruit is very soft, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, puree fruit and liquid in a blender or food processor.
Rinse saucepan and return puree to pan along with allspice and cinnamon (or your choice of spices). Cook over low heat, stirring frequently to prevent scorching, until thick enough to spread, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Remove from heat and let cool. Store in airtight container.
Source: Recipe adapted from: Nutmeg Nanny
NOTE: If you don't process in a water bath, the butter can be kept refrigerated for up to three weeks or frozen for up to one year.  Canning instructions. I personally like this site: How to Make Plum Jam - Easily!
Tip:
• 1 pound plums = 6 to 8 two-inch whole plums
• 1 pound plums = 2-1/2 cups sliced plums
• 1 pound plums = 2 cups cooked plums


Making Plum Butter
Add water and sugar.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook until fruit is very soft, about 20 minutes.

Remove from heat, puree fruit and liquid in a blender.

Cook puree, with added allspice, over low heat, stirring frequently to prevent scorching, 
until thick enough to spread, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. 


 Enjoy fresh homemade plum butter!
I was planning on making plum jam, but then someone gave me a jar of fig butter this year. Something I read on the side of the jar of fig butter changed my mind. It said that what makes spread butter, not jam, is when it contains more fruit than sugar. I have always loved apple butter. I never knew there were other fruit butters.

It amazes me how little sugar is used in fruit butters, compared to jams. Jam uses three to four more cups of sugar than fruit, while butters us only 1 ¼ cup sugar for around eight or nine cups of fruit! Plus, butter is easier to make than jam, and no pectin is needed. Although I still love plum jam, I am stuck on plum butter for now.

~~~♥~~~



Thursday, February 28, 2013

Best Chocolate Cake ~ This Side of the Rockies!

In celebration of my father's birthday into heaven . . .

This is the absolute BEST chocolate cake EVER! No, I believe you cannot find a yummier cake this side of the Rocky Mountains! (Anywhere, really.)

The secret is the HOT strong black coffee added to the batter. You love coffee? You’ll love this Dark Chocolate Cake !

This recipe is even better if made a day ahead.
Raspberry jam is a tasty addition between the layers.

NOTE: To sour milk: Use 1 tablespoon white vinegar plus milk to equal 1 cup.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes for round pans, 35 to 40 minutes for rectangular pan or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely. Frost as desired. Yields 10 to 12 servings.


My family has been baking this chocolate cake since I was a young'un.