Monday, September 18, 2017

Molasses Spice Cookies

I have had a food "AhHa". I have edited pictures before using hiking photos when I wanted to crop of boost the colors but never has the thought even crossed my mind to do that to my food photos!! Today I thought well why not? I took this photo and wow..it turned out great. This was really how it looked not the faded small thing that was the actual picture. I am so excited!! Try Molasses Spice Cookie by America's Test Kitchen in their Best Ever Christmas Cookie recipe book. YUM.

Molasses Spice Cookie

  • 1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup light or dark molasses
Whisk dry ingredients. Beat butter, brown sugar, and remaining 1/3 cup granulated sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add molasses and mix well. Slowly add flour mixture. Roll in sugar and bake about 11 minutes. Let cool on sheet and then transfer to cooling rack.


I also want to try a recipe I found on the LA times with 2 other recipes that sound amazing-pumpkin pie and sour cream tangerine cake.

"I make gingersnaps year-round, not just during the holidays. I love the chewiness of these cookies, and because of their yielding texture, they are especially good for ice cream sandwiches."-Valerie Gordon
2 cups (14 ounces) granulated sugar
1 cup (6 ounces) light brown sugar
3 1/2 cups (17.5 ounces) flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons finely chopped candied ginger
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (5.5 ounces) unsulphured molasses
1. Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two large heavy baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
2. In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 cup each of the granulated and brown sugars. Set aside.
3. Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, ground ginger and cinnamon into a medium bowl. Mix in the candied ginger.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl, using a handheld mixer), combine the butter, the remaining 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar and the remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add the molasses, beating until no streaks remain. Add the flour mixture 1 cup at a time, beating just until the batter is smooth.
5. Using a 2 1/2-inch ice cream scoop (or a 1/3-cup measure), scoop the dough onto the lined baking sheets, spacing the cookies 3 inches apart. Sprinkle the cookies with the sugar mixture. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the surface is cracked and flat. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets on cooling racks for 10 minutes.
6. Using an offset spatula, transfer the cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to four days or transferred to freezer bags and frozen for up to two months.
For chocolate gingersnaps: Add 1 cup (5 1/2 ounces) 61% bittersweet chocolate chips after the dry ingredients are incorporated.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Pizza Soup
Quick and easy dinner. I love this in the winter for a change. You can really add anything you want to.

2 cans chicken broth (14 oz)
1 1/2- 2 cups frozen cheese tortillini           
1 tea fresh garlic 

Boil until pasta is tender

1 can diced tomatoes (14oz)                       
1/4 cup diced sliced pepperoni                  
1 tea basil
1 small can mushrooms (drained)

sliced olives

Combine all other ingredients and boil 5 minutes. Serve with grated mozzarella cheese on top.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Orange Chocolate Chippers

Long ago in a city far far away in another life..single, before children, when calories didn't stick to me like glue..I discovered one of the best cookies. A coworker, at the local women's shelter,  shared with me her recipe for Orange Chocolate Chippers. They are amazingly light in texture yet not lacking in flavor. Fun to make during orange season. 18 years old and still tried and true to bring big
smiles.


Orange Chocolate Chippers 
recipe shared by: Kathryn Monson
Ingredients:
1 cup shortening
6 oz softened cream cheese
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tea vanilla
2 tea orange zest
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tea baking powder
1 tea salt
6 oz chocolate chips
1/2 cup finely chopped nuts

Directions:
Cream: 1 cup shortening, 6 oz softened cream cheese, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar
Add: 2 eggs, 1 tea vanilla, 2 tea grated orange peel (beat well)

Stir in: 2 cups flour, 2 tea baking powder, 1 tea salt
Add: 6 oz semi-sweet chips and 1/2 cup nuts
Bake: 350 for about 10 minutes

What I did differently:
No nuts due to allergies (drat!)
Zest from 2 whole oranges (so a bunch more than called for)
Brown sugar not packed
Very rounded 1 cup of chocolate chips
10 minutes they were not done so I added 5 minutes. The bottoms were slightly brown while the tops remained very light.

I thought they were perfect.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Salsbury Steaks


 Alton Brown's Everyday cookbook is really fun.  Confession, I am not an Alton Brown fan. My cousin raves but I find that I don't care for the way his cookbooks are organized. All over the place like. But the Everyday cookbook is clean cut and wonderful.

We make Salsbury steaks a lot with brown gravy mix, plain burgers, and caramelized onions. This recipe takes our simple dish up to a new level of flavor.

Salsbury Steaks
Ingredients:
1 lb ground sirloin
1/3 cup flour
1/2 tea salt
2 Tb nonfat dry milk powder
1 medium onion, sliced thin
2 garlic cloves
1 pint mushrooms, sliced thin
1/3 cup red wine 
2/3 cup low fat milk
1 beef ramen flavor packet

Directions:
Whisk flour and milk powder in bowl. Divide beef into 4 patties and salt then dunk in flour mix. Set on a wire rack at room temp. Mix milk, red wine, and beef flavor packet in a separate bowl. Set aside.

Saute onion in butter until brown. Add mushrooms and garlic. Cook until mushrooms reduce by half. Remove to a plate and add 1 Tb butter to pan. Cook patties 4 min on first side. Flip the patties and cook for 2 minutes. Add everything back to pan. Simmer 10 minutes to thicken sauce.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Picnic and Party Pecans


Rolo candy on a snap. 250 degree oven for 3-5 minutes till soft. Press on a pecan.


32 pecan halves
5 oz Gorgonzola cheese
3 oz cream cheese
1 1/2 tea pepper
32 dried apricot halves

Place pecan halves in frying pan and roast for 4-5 minutes. Remove from pan immediately and cool. In food processor add both cheeses and pepper. Spread mixture over apricot halves and press a nut half into the center.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

A break from painting..Strawberry Pie

We recently went on the best summer holiday. A trip to visit my father in California. While there we went to dinner and had pie. We talked about my grandmother's homemade strawberry pie as being the best pie ever. My grandmother was an excellent cook. I came home knowing I had to make her pie even though I don't have it down perfectly yet.

I used my mother in law's amazing crust recipe.
Pie Crust
2 cups flour
1 cup shortening
1/2 cup water
1 tea salt
2 tea sugar

I used about 1/4 lard with 3/4 cup shortening and froze it. I also used frozen water that had just crusted over. So my ingredients were really cold. I use a food processor to mix the dry then the fat and then the water. It is shaggy then I pull it together on my floured pie towel. It comes together as you roll it out. This crust was tender and fantastic.

Grandma McQuivey's Strawberry Pie 
4-6 cups fresh ripe strawberries-washed and hulled
1 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
4 TB cornstarch
1/4 tea salt
1 TB butter
2-3 drops red food coloring

Crush 1 cup berries and cook with water 5 minutes. Strain. Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add to strained juice an cook 3 minutes of until thick and clear. Stir constantly. Add butter and coloring. Place remaining berries in baked and cooled shell. Pour over fruit. Chill.

I made 2 pies. One was soupy because I thought the glaze would set up. It doesn't. The other pie I got the glaze way to stiff and it was like a layer of glaze on top of my fruit. You want your glaze to be pourable but thick enough to hold its shape. Not quit as thick as yogurt..and Greek yogurt is way to thick. I also added 1 cup sugar instead of 3/4th because my strawberries were a tad tart. With sweet strawberries 3/4th sugar is great.

What I discovered is that pie making is like painting. The success is in the prep work. You must have frozen fat and very cold water for pie crust to be its very best. Just like you must clean, mud, sand, and fill all holes before painting. It makes a huge difference.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Million Dollar Coconut French Toast



Counting change for our Europe trip! When I was younger my dad paid for pizza with change. I thought that was the most horrific thing that could happen. Now I am seeing the benefits of change! My dad gave us his loose change..over $800 dollars worth. We rolled it during breakfast.

Coconut French Toast

Ingredients:
2 eggs
2 1/2 Tb sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cup milk
1 cup flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
Texas toast cut on the diagonal
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut

Heat pan with veggie oil. Mix eggs, sugar, salt, extract, milk, flour, baking powder, and 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut in dipping pan. On plate mix rest of coconuts. Dip bread in egg mix then in coconut. Add to hot pan. Cook till done. Place on paper towel. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Breakfast Porridge


We had the chance to go to Hell's Kitchen in Minneapolis for dinner and were told to get the porridge. For dinner? So glad we did. This has become one of my favorite things to make.


My nut allergy children do not like this so I use nuts!! The original recipe calls for a different nut but I like to use almonds. The original recipe can be found at food.com.

1 cup wild rice
1/2 cup nuts
1/2 cup dried blueberries
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup maple syrup ( I use a very scant 1/4 cup almost 1/8)
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Rinse rice.
Cook rice in 4 cups water for 45 minutes. Drain.
Add all other ingredients and heat through.


Monday, July 10, 2017

Granola Smackdown


I love a food challenge! I love finding the best of the best recipes. These cookbooks hold the answer to what is the best granola question. If you like crunchy seeds go for the family cooks recipe. If you love a hint of orange in your wonderfulness then The 150 Best American Recipes is your recipe. If you love chocolate granola, Sweet in the book for you. These recipes I found were not better than one another but were stand alone great recipes for different occasions. All three are the best. Go to granola recipes.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Quinoa Potatoe Salad- A Thing of Wonder

The Splendid Grain by Rebecca Wood has some great recipes. We love a twist on a summer favorite, potato salad. The recipe below has my changes which includes leaving out pickles, olives and parsley.

Quinoa Potato Salad

Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds potatoes (or 1 pound box pasta for a pasta salad)
2-3 TB balsamic vinegar
1/2 tea sea salt
1/2 tea pepper
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 cups cooked quinoa (tricolored)
1/2 cup onion, minced
1/2 cup mayo
1 Tb Dijon mustard

Cook potatoes until tender but firm. Cube them. Sprinkle with 2 Tb balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Let stand at room temperature until potatoes are cool. Add celery, quinoa, and onion. Gently toss to combine. Combine mayo and mustard. Fold into potatoes. Sprinkle with paprika.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Creme Brulee Wishes

I love creme brulee but rarely make it. If I had all the time in the world I would make the following different things.

http://www.kitchenbutterfly.com/2013/06/13/technique-how-to-brulee-without-broiler-or-blowtorch/

pumpkin creme brulee (The Weekend Baker pg 213)
ginger creme brulee (The Bon Appetit Cookbook pg 611)
coconut creme brulee (The Flavors of Bon Appetit pg 183)
stove top creme brulee (The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook pg 359)
Lime creme brulee (a small slip of paper in some cookbook)

Friday, June 30, 2017

Cinnamon Roll Heaven

I have been on a quest for great cinnamon rolls for years now. My mother in law makes the best rolls: orange rolls, cinnamon rolls, and dinner rolls. She makes them for Christmas gifts. They are a very worthy gift! 
I have never been able to get them just right. This recipe helped me achieve THE BEST cinnamon roll.


The recipe is originally from the Oregonian by Nicki Cross. I found the recipe in my 150 Best American Recipes cookbook that I have been using since 2006. I have loved everything I have made from this book. I have made changes to the original recipe.

Ingredients:
Dough
1 cup warm water (105- 115 degrees)
2 Tb active dry yeast
1 tea honey
1/4 tea ground cardamon
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup milk, heated to 110 degrees
10 1/2 Tb butter, room temp
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tea salt
7-8 cups all purpose flour (sticky dough)
Filling
8 Tb butter, melted and cooled
1 1/4 cup sugar
3 Tb cinnamon (I like Penzey's)
1/4 tea cardamon
2/3 cup melted butter for pans
1/4 cup sugar for pans

To make dough, combine first 8 ingredients with 3 1/2 cups flour. Mix until smooth.  Add salt with the 4th cup flour. Stir in enough flour to make a slightly stiff but stick to your finger tips kind of dough. I let my Bosch knead the dough for 5-10 minutes.
Place in greased bowl and rise until doubled 1 1/4 hours.
Make filling while raising-mix 1 1/4 cup sugar, cardamon and cinnamon together.
Punch down and rest 5 minutes.
Roll out to 15X20 rectangle.
Spread 1 cube of butter (8 Tb) on the dough. Sprinkle with sugar mixture. Roll jelly roll style and pinch edges shut. Cut into 16 slices.
Use 2 13X9 pans. Pour 1/3 cup melted butter in each pan and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Place cinnamon rolls in pans-8 slices per pan. Cover and let raise 45 minutes or until doubled.
Bake 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until 190 degrees in the center. Cool before frosting.

I like my rolls without frosting. I think they are great as is..but my family loves the extra sugar. The recipe I love the best is from a friend, Amber. It is divine.

Frosting Recipe
1 stick margarine (no butter)
4 Tb cream cheese (room temp)
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tea lemon juice
1/2 tea vanilla

Beat butter, cream cheese, and sugar for 12 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Yes, margarine and yes, 12 whole minutes! It is worthy it. So yummy.




Sunday, June 11, 2017

Cheesy Mexican Pasta via The Weeknight Dinner Cookbook


http://barefeetinthekitchen.com/category/the-weeknight-dinner-cookbook/

I picked up a new cookbook at the library this weekend. When looking through cookbooks I sometimes find one or two recipes that I really want to try. I flipped through this one and almost every recipe was something I wanted to try! Easy and doable looking the title promotes Simple Family Friendly Recipes.

So I have made 2 of the recipes having the ingredients on hand. Everyone loved them. This one is a pasta dish that was easy and quick to whip up. This cookbook may be a birthday present to myself this year!

Cheesy Mexican Pasta

Ingredients (with my changes):
12 oz bite size pasta-cooked
1 lb ground beef- cooked then seasoned with spices
1TB chili powder
1 1/2 tea ground cumin
3/4 tea salt
3/4 tea pepper
1/2 tea paprika
1/4 tea oregano
1/4 tea garlic powder
1/4 tea onion powder
1/2 tea cornstarch

2 cups chopped zucchini
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes-not drained
1-2 cups fresh or frozen thawed, squeezed spinach

1 cup shredded cheese mix (colby jack)

Top with:
sour cream
green onions
cilantro

Directions:
While noodles cook. Brown meat. When almost done add all spices including corn starch. Add veggies (not spinach) and tomatoes and cook 6 minute with lid on. Stir and add frozen spinach,  replace lid to cook 6 more minutes until veggies are done to your liking. Add drained cooked noodles to pot. Sprinkle cheese on top and replace lid to melt cheese. Serve with toppings.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Bon Appetit Spaghetti and Meatballs


I do believe I have found my favorite meatball recipe. These are amazing...just absolutely fabulous. My coworker says, "I love me a meatball." Well, you would love this one. I make a big batch and freeze the meatball to use in little portions later. I also like to make the meatballs bite size and not super large..adjust cooking time for size of meatball.

Spaghetti with Sicilian Meatballs
The Bon Appetit Cookbook

Meatballs:
2/3 cup fresh breadcumbs made with crustless french bread
3 Tb whole milk
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup minced onion
3 TB fresh basil
1 large egg
2 clove garlic (recipe calls for 1)
1/2 tea salt
1/4 tea pepper
1 lb sweet Italian sausage ( I like to use half sausage and half ground beef)
2 TB pine nuts
2 TB dried currants (really are great!)

Sauce:
Olive oil
1 1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic
2 28 oz can diced tomatoes
2 TB chopped fresh basil

Saute onion for sauce in olive oil until golden. Add all other ingredients and simmer 1 hour. Add additional fresh basil, salt, and pepper to taste.
While simmering make meatballs. Soak bread crumbs in milk for 5 minutes. Mix all other ingredients and roll into balls. Bake until light brown, about 30 minutes in a 350 oven. Add to sauce when ready to serve.

Serve over pasta.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Smitten Brownie Cookie


Brownie Roll-Out Cookies
Recipe from Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt (slightly rounded)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
Preheat oven at 350 degrees. 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 and puffed.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Monday, May 8, 2017

River Run Biscuits

Really Big Buttermilk Biscuits River Run cookbook
Ingredients:
5 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tea baking powder ( I used 1TB)
1 1/4 tea soda
1 tea salt
12 Tb cold butter (I use frozen and shred it into the food processor)
2 1/2 cup buttermilk (I had success with 1 cup heavy whipping cream and 1 1/2 cup milk)

Oven 450 on greased sheet.
Use food processor
Add buttermilk and mix briefly
Knead briefly...gently fold
Pat into 1 1/2 or 2 inches..cut
Sides touching
Bake 15-20 min. Allow to cool

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have made browned butter rice krispy squares and been amazed! I never thought about browning butter for chocolate chip cookies. I saw many recipes and finally decided to make these beauties. So great. The recipe I tried is from Lauren's Latest blog. I was going to try other recipes..but I think I don't need to.

BROWNED BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup salted butter {2 sticks} (all I had was unsalted..but it seemed fine)
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, whisked
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I only used 1 1/2 cups and it was plenty)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat, then bring to boil. Once it starts boiling, swirl the pan constantly until the butter passes the foamy phase and becomes a deep amber color. (I didn't swirl...I was busy making lasagne but watching it closely) Remove from heat. Cool 20 minutes. (I was doing other things and waited longer than 20 minutes but it was okay)
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir dry ingredients together to combine.
  4. Add sugars, eggs and vanilla to cooled butter and stir to combine. Pour flour mixture to butter mixture and stir until dough comes together. Add in chocolate chips and stir again briefly to incorporate.
  5. Using a medium 2-tablespoon cookie scoop, drop the dough 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes until edges are lightly golden.
  6. Cool cookies 5 minutes on baking sheet before transferring to cooling rack. Store in airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. (Mine didn't last that long!)

Monday, May 1, 2017

Cheese Steak Philly

My friend gave me her favorite recipes for a Christmas gift. I thought this idea was so clever! I ran to the store to pick up the ingredients for a cheese steak philly. Never have dared make these even though we love them. There is an art here..not too soggy but not dry. Flavorful but not one ingredient stealing the show.
I went to Harmon's to pick up deli roast beef. The meat person asked me what I was making and got so excited when I told her. She told me what kind of meat I needed and how to barely heat. When she asked what kind of cheese I was using I told her about the sauce made with Velveeta cheese. No lie she about had a real heart attack and said I could NOT use Velveeta on such a good meat. The meat was pricey. So she talked me into some wonderful cheese slices.
Wanting to be true to the recipe I did make the cheese sauce..and we all LOVED it. Thanks Camille Cottle.

Cheese Steak Philly
Sauce:
8 oz Queso Blanco Velveeta
1/2 tea pepper
1/4 cup milk

Sandwiches:
6 TB butter
1 onion, sliced thin
1 each red, yellow, green bell pepper, sliced thin
2 lbs thinly shaven roast beef
6 sub rolls

Melt all sauce ingredients in pan. Add milk as needed if too thick. In fry pan saute onion and peppers in butter till soft or crunchy depending on preference. Add meat at last minute just to warm not to cook. Assembly sandwiches.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Frango (like) Mints


Candy seems to be my nemesis. When we first got married I tried making caramel and it broke the glass container it was in when we tried to remove it. Since then I have had a fear of candy making. I continue to try of course. This recipe is one that I can successfully make. I have had the recipe since around 1996.
I was in a group of recipe sharing ladies who would meet once a month and share recipes and the fruits thereof. We could sample and know if we would like to take the recipe. It was so great. I was in the presence of amazing cooks. Most of which I have lost touch with over the year. This is a great sadness and regret of mine.
Ladies would come and go but there was a core 4-5 of us that stayed for years! This recipe came from a 1 timer..didn't even write the name on my old 3 X 5 card. She said the mints came from a famous Frango mint take off. She was mind blown when none of us had heard of Frango Mints. If they are like this recipe they must be really good.

Homemade Chocolate Mints

2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cube margarine (I used butter once and it was a disaster)
1 cup plus 2 T powdered sugar (or more as needed)
2 eggs well beaten
1 tea vanilla
2 tea peppermint extract ( I accidentally used "mint" one year and it was like toothpaste-yuck)

Melt chocolate chips over low heat. Cool. In large bowl cream margarine and sugar. Add beaten eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Mix in cooled chocolate and finally peppermint extract. Drop by teaspoonful on wax paper covered cookie sheet. Chill. (can use almond, run, or coffee instead of mint)

Monday, April 17, 2017

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Joel says that these cookies are his favorite. I checked this book out of the library mostly because I saw this recipe and thought, "Gross. That sounds disgusting. I must try it." The recipe uses bacon fat. I have made these several times because we do love them. I can't pinpoint which bacon is best but it does make a big difference. The bacon grease can change these from "GREAT" to "What is that taste..Bacon?"

Irma's Chocolate Chip Cookie 
(Made in America Cookbook)

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tea baking soda
1/2 tea salt
8 Tb (1 stick) butter, room temp
1/2 cup bacon fat (dripping from bacon-stored in fridge)
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tea vanilla
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts (wish my girls didn't have nut allergies!)

Cream butter, bacon fat, and sugars until super light and fluffy up to 5 minutes. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Add vanilla then dry ingredients. Spoon in chocolate chips.

Bake 350 for 11 minutes. Best fresh.

I have been freezing my cookie dough in dollops. I freeze them by the dozen and can bake 1 dozen fresh when needed. I love this because I can always have fresh cookies within 20 minutes.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Taste of Italy-Tiramisu

Tiramisu (from Italian, spelled tiramisu, meaning "pick me up", "cheer me up" or "lift me up") is a popular coffee-flavoured Italian custard dessert. (Wikipedia)


I have never been one for soggy cakes like Tiramisu, Trifle, or some puddings that are really cakes in disguise. But when in Rome..literally, I tried tiramisu. Okay..it wasn't really Rome it was Florence, Italy. I had other treats in Rome. When in Italy, I loved Tiramisu. It was heavenly and didn't have a soggy cake texture at all.

So I thought I would try my hand at making this fun dessert at home. I used mascarpone cheese, which is worth the extra expense. I used ladyfingers which were hard to hunt down but worth it. I was telling my daughter that it was very similar to a recipe I have for "Mexican Lady Cake". The process was similar, ingredients different, and the end result different. I liked the recipe I found at Mel's Kitchen Cafe because it used hot chocolate instead of coffee which we do not drink or care for the flavor of.

The cake is delightful. It does bring cheer to the soul as does reminiscing about the wonderful place where I discovered that I really loved Italian food, Italian people, and the beauty of Italy. This adult went on an after hours adventure to find great dessert! I succeeded.


Tiramisu-Italian Lady Cake
Mel's Kitchen Cafe Recipe (with my changes)
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 ½ cups good-quality hot chocolate, 1 1/2 cup water and 6 TB hot chocolate powder (Ghirardelli)
  • ½ teaspoon rum extract
  • ½ tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • About 36 crisp ladyfingers cookies/biscuits (I used 1 package with 28)
  • 1 tablespoon natural cocoa powder- I would half this-my kids thought it was too bitter
DIRECTIONS
  1. Make the hot cocoa with 1 1/2 cups hot water and 6 TB Ghirardelli hot chocolate powder. Once it is lukewarm, add the vanilla and imitation rum extract. Due to the high cocoa to water ratio, whisk the cocoa mixture frequently to keep the cocoa suspended.
  2. Set a medium saucepan over medium heat and fill with about 1-2 inches water. Let it come to a simmer while you proceed with the recipe. In a medium bowl (an appropriate size to be placed on the pan that is heating), beat the egg yolks at low speed with a mixer (hand or electric) until just combined. Add the ½ cup sugar and salt and beat at medium-high speed until pale yellow, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula once or twice. Add ¼ cup cream to the yolks and beat at medium speed until just combined, 20 to 30 seconds; scrape the bowl. Set the bowl with the yolks over the saucepan of water that has come to a simmer. Cook the egg yolk mixture, stirring constantly and scraping along the bottom and sides of the bowl with a heatproof rubber spatula, until the egg yolk mixture coats the back of a spoon, about 4 to 7 minutes. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir vigorously to cool slightly, then set aside to cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes.
  3. Add the mascarpone cheese to the cooled mixture and beat at medium speed until no lumps remain, about a minute. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and set aside. In the now-empty bowl (no need to clean the bowl), beat the ½ cup heavy whipping cream at medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, fold 1/3 of the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture. Then gently fold in the remaining whipped cream until no white streaks remain. Set the mixture aside.
  4. Give the hot cocoa mixture a good whisk to combine. Pour it into a shallow baking dish like a pie plate. Dip 1 ladyfinger into the hot cocoa at a time, allowing it to soak up the hot cocoa for about 1-2 seconds per side (I way over soaked mine-soggy in places). Transfer each ladyfinger immediately to an 8-inch square baking dish. Lay the cookies side-by-side to create one even layer. You may have to trim/break the soaked cookies to fit the pan. After finishing the first layer of ladyfinger cookies, spread half of the mascarpone cream mixture evenly over the ladyfingers, spreading to the edges of the pan. Using a small fine-mesh strainer, sprinkle (I would half this) 1/2 tablespoon of the natural cocoa powder over the mascarpone layer.
  5. Repeat the soaking process with the ladyfingers, creating one more layer of ladyfinger cookies over the mascarpone/cocoa layer. Spread evenly with the remaining mascarpone mixture. Dust with the final 1/2 tablespoon of natural cocoa powder. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours to chill and set. This can be made up to 1 day in advance. Cut into squares and serve.

Thank you Mel for sharing a wonderful recipe and giving such clear instructions.