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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Shortcake


I have always added sugar to my go-to biscuit recipe instead of making actual shortcakes. Oh man, if I had only known what I was missing. These things are amazing!  We have had an abundance of strawberries from our garden this year and had yet to make Strawberry Shortcake.  I remembered seeing a recipe for shortcakes in the June issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine and thought I would try something new. Here is the recipe which I have adapted:

1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/4 cups cold shortening, cut into cubes
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp. whipping cream (I bought a small container of whipping cream and used the rest to make the whipped cream for the Strawberry Shortcake)
1 egg-replacer equivalent
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a small bowl stir together butter and shortening.  Cover; freeze 15 minutes.  In a large bowl stir together the flours, 1/2 cup of the sugar, baking powder and salt.  Once the butter is chilled, rub the butter into the flour mixture with your fingers leaving large pebble size pieces. 

In a medium bowl whisk together the 1/2 cup cream, egg-replacer, and vanilla.  Add this to the flour mixture.  Stir with a fork until combined.  Gently knead until smooth, about 1 minute (dough should hold its shape without falling apart.  Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface.  Roll until 1 inch thick.  Using a 2 1/2-inch cutter, cut 6 rounds, re-rolling scraps as necessary.  Transfer the cakes to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze for 15 minutes.  While the cakes are freezing, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Measure the 1 Tbsp. of cream into a small bowl.  Brush the tops of the cakes with the cream and sprinkle them with sugar.  

Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted near centers come out clean.
Remove and cool completely before serving.


Here are the Strawberry Shortcakes we had over the weekend: 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Maple Cookies (Eggless)


These are a childhood favorite of mine and I always make them at the first sign of Autumn.  They are soft and rich with maple flavoring.  

1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons maple extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Drop rounded tablespoonfuls of dough about 2” apart on greased baking sheet. If you don't grease the baking sheet they will stick.  Bake about 10-12 minutes, or until almost no imprint remains when touched lightly. When cooled, spread with maple butter glaze.

Maple Butter Glaze


1/2 cup butter
2 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons maple extract
2-4 tablespoons hot water

In a small sauce pot, heat butter until golden brown. Blend in sugar and maple extract. Stir in 2 to 4 tablespoons hot water until icing runs off a spoon. 

Also, I tend to dip the top of the cookies into the pot of glaze which I think is easier than trying to spread it evenly. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Italian Sesame Seed Bread



Italian Sesame Seed Bread (adapted from King Arthur Flour)

  • 3 1/2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tbsp milk powder
  • 2 tsps active dry or instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsps salt
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cups water

Topping:

  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp egg replacer (this helps the sesame stick)
  • 3 tbsp sesame seeds

Mix everything together except for the topping ingredients. Knead for 10 minutes.
Let rise in a greased bowl (I use olive oil) for 1 1/2 hours or until double.
Punch down the dough and divide into three even pieces.
Shape each piece into a 20" log.
On a parchment lined baking sheet braid the three pieces tucking under the ends.
Brush the loaf with milk and let rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until double.
Mix 2 tbsp milk and 1 tbsp egg replacer together.
Brush the bread with the milk mixture and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Bake at 400F for 20-25 minutes or until golden.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Eggless Zucchini Brownies



This recipe was shared with me by a friend.  These are not only amazing they might be the BEST brownies I have ever made.  They are more cake-like than fudge-like as far as brownies go.  With all the zucchini coming out of the garden this year I might be making these a few more times before the season is over.  I wonder if they freeze well.

Brownies

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsps baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsps vanilla
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted, plus additional for topping

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Grease and flour a 9x13" cake pan.

In large mixing bowl combine the flour, baking soda, cocoa, salt, and sugar.
Add the vegetable oil, vanilla, and zucchini and mix well.  The mixture will seem too dry in the beginning but the zucchini will release some moisture as you mix it.
Fold in the chopped walnuts.
Pour into the cake pan and spread evenly.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Frosting
  • 6 tbsps cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
In an electric mixer combine all the ingredients and mix until smooth.
Spread on the the cooled cake and then top with a few toasted walnut pieces.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Bread & Butter Pickle Recipe


It is that time of the year when we are harvesting a lot of vegetables from the garden.  We've been inundated with cucumbers and making pickles almost every week.  Our favorite pickles to make are these Bread & Butter Pickles.  My mom has been making them since I was little and we love to eat them on a sandwich with Swiss cheese and spicy brown mustard.

  • 25 to 30 medium cucumbers (we have figured about 5 pickling cucumbers per pint jar if you really cram them in the jars)
  • 1 large white onion (optional)
  • 2 large sweet peppers (bell peppers work well)
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 5 cups cider vinegar
  • 5 cups sugar 
  • 2 tbsp brown mustard seed
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cloves

Wash the cucumbers and slice them as thin as possible (about 1/4" or slightly thinner works well). Chop the onions and peppers; combine with cucumbers and salt; let stand 3 hours and then drain any water off. Combine the vinegar, sugar and spices in large pot and bring to a boil. Add the drained cucumbers and heat thoroughly but do not boil. Pack while hot into sterilized canning jars, we use pints, to within 1/2 inch of top. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Recipe yields: 5-7 pints

Eggless Banana Bread


I always find myself letting the last few bananas sit on the counter until they are starting to turn brown just so that I can make this banana bread.  This is a recipe that was passed down from my grandmother that I converted to be eggless.  I love it warm, smeared with soft butter for breakfast.

  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 dollops sour cream (a dollop is a heaping tablespoon)
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (usually takes about 3 bananas)
  • 1/4 cup melted butter, cooled
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a separate bowl mix the sugar, nuts, sour cream, mashed bananas, and melted butter.
Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture and mix until just combined.
Spoon the batter into a lightly grease and floured 8x4" loaf pan. I use a glass loaf pan for all my quick breads so that the crust doesn't get too dark.
Bake at 350F for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Eggless Pineapple Upside Down Cake


For Father's Day this year I made an updated version of my dad's favorite cake.  It turned out really well and I like the cake/topping ration on this version the best.   It's very sweet and I needed a glass of water when I was done but the pineapple flavor really shown through.

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 20-ounce can of pineapple slices or crushed pineapple, drained, reserving 1/2 cup juice
  • 4 dollops sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • maraschino cherries
Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a 9-inch round cake pan. Add the brown sugar and stir well to thoroughly combine. Arrange 6 to 8 pineapple slices in a single layer over the brown sugar mixture. Place a maraschino cherry in the center of each ring. Set the pan aside.

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl; set aside.

Mix the sour cream, sugar and 1/2 cup of the pineapple juice. Add the flour mixture to the sour cream mixture and mix just until combined.

Pour or spoon the batter evenly over the pineapple.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Place a cookie sheet on the rack below the cake in the oven. The cake has a tendency to bubble out of the pan.

Cool the cake in the pan for 5 minutes, not any longer or it will stick. Use a knife around the cake to make sure it is loose from the pan, then invert it onto a serving plate.