Sunday, March 26, 2017

Cookie Jar Nut Cookies

While these have great flavor, they spread out and all ran together on the pan.  I also used a cookie scoop, so my cookies were very large.  The recipe DOES say to drop by TEASPOONfuls, so do try that!

Cookie Jar Nut Cookies
Taste of Home Cookie Cookbook

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup chopped walnuts

1. In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in milk and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and nutmeg; gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in walnuts.

2. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Flatten with a glass dipped in sugar. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Best Birthday Cake

I made this recipe for our Financial Peace party a few weeks ago.  The cake got rave reviews! 

The BEST Birthday Cake

For the cake:
2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, separated
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream --You can substitute yogurt or buttermilk

For the buttercream:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
6-8 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch salt
Food coloring in your desired colors
Milk or cream, to thin (if needed)

To garnish (optional):
Birthday candles

Step 1:

Make the cake. Adjust an oven rack in the middle position; preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease, flour and line the bottoms of two 8-inch(or 9 inch is what Beth used) cake pans with circles of parchment paper.

Step 2:

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set to the side.

Step 3:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Transfer the mixture to a bowl for the moment, and set to the side.

Step 4:

Fit your stand mixer with the paddle attachment or a rotary beater. In the bowl (it's fine to use the same bowl you just used for the egg whites; no need to wash), cream the butter until fluffy and light, 2-3 minutes on medium-high speed.

Step 5:

Add the sugar(s), and mix until combined and smooth, about another 2 minutes on medium-high speed. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, stirring after each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl as needed with a rubber spatula. Stir in the vanilla.

Step 6:

Add the sour cream and flour mixtures alternately, in 2-3 additions each. Mix until the batter is smooth and lump-free, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. The batter will be fairly thick.

Step 7:

By hand, fold the egg whites into the batter, stirring gently and only until no streaks of white remain.

Step 8:

Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, rotating at the 20 minute mark. To test doneness, insert a cake tester or toothpick in the center of the cake. It should come out mostly clean.

Step 9:

Remove the cakes from the oven, and let cool for 5 minutes. Then, run a sharp knife around the perimeter of each pan, to loosen the edges. Turn the cakes out onto wire racks, gently peel off the parchment paper, and let cool completely. Once cooled, level the cakes if necessary.

Step 10:

Make the buttercream. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes, or until very smooth. Add 2 cups of the confectioners' sugar and the salt, and stir to combine, first on low then on a higher speed as the sugar is absorbed. Continue adding the sugar, 1 cup at a time, until the buttercream has attained your desired spreading consistency. Stir in the vanilla and any colorings you'd like to add. If at any point the buttercream becomes too thick, add milk or cream, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the consistency has thinned out to your desired consistency.

Step 11:

To assemble, stack one of the cake layers on a platter, and apply a generous amount of buttercream on top, spreading it evenly all the way to the edges of the cake surface. Place the second cake layer on top; if you have leveled the cake, place the cut side down so that the flattest surface is facing up.

Step 12:

Apply a crumb coat (a thin coat of buttercream that is meant to contain crumbs and doesn't have to look pretty), and let the cake chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Once the crumb coat has set, use the remaining buttercream to ice the top and sides of the cake. You can pipe designs or take any liberties with cake decorating that you like! Garnish with sprinkles and birthday candles.

Recipe notes:
This cake will keep for 3 days at room temperature in an airtight container; it can also be frozen for up to 1 month. Refrigeration is not suggested. Beth DID refrigerate it over night

    Friday, March 24, 2017

    Gluten Free Chocolate Mint Crinkle Cookies

    Kathleen had gotten some Bob's Mill Gluten free flour. I needed to make a quick dessert and these fit the bill. We all liked them.

    Gluten Free Chocolate Mint Crinkle Cookies

    1 1/2 cups gluten free flour blend (*Note, my flour blend has xanthan gum included. If yours doesn't, add 1 teaspoon.)
    3/4 cup almond flour
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1 cup cocoa powder
    1 cup sugar
    1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons melted butter
    2 teaspoons vanilla
    3 large eggs
    1/2 cup Andes Chocolate baking pieces
    powdered sugar for rolling the dough balls.
    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
    2. In a large bowl, add dry ingredients and whisk to blend.
    3. In a small bowl, add all wet ingredients and whisk to blend.
    4. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix.
    5. Add Andes Chocolate pieces and mix.
    6. Scoop a little dough and roll with your hands into a ball shape.
    7. Roll the ball in powdered sugar and place on parchment paper lined baking sheet.
    8. When all of the dough is made into these balls, flatten them to 1/2 inch thickness with your hand.
    9. Bake 8-10 minutes.
    10. Remove onto a cooling rack.

      Thursday, March 23, 2017

      One-Hour Dinner Rolls

      I was in a baking mood and hadn't made yeast rolls in a while.  These were simple and delicious!

      One-Hour Dinner Rolls

      3 3/4 - 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
      1/4 cup granulated sugar
      1 Tbsp rapid rise yeast
      1 1/2 tsp salt
      3/4 cup cool water
      2/3 cup milk
      4 Tbsp unsalted butter, diced into 1 Tbsp pieces, plus more for tops
      1 1/2 tsp lemon juice

      Preheat oven to 180 degrees. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer whisk together 4 cups flour, sugar, yeast and salt.

      To a medium bowl add water, milk and butter and heat in microwave on HIGH power until it reaches 115 degrees on a thermometer, about 1 minute 15 seconds. Stir to partially melt butter (you just want to make sure it's softened through).

      Pour milk mixture into dry mixture in bowl of electric stand mixer along with lemon juice. Set mixer with a hook attachment then set mixer on low speed and gradually increase to medium-low, knead about 3 - 4 minutes until smooth and elastic while adding additional flour as necessary (dough should be lightly sticky but manageable).

      Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and rest 5 minutes. Meanwhile butter a 13 by 9-inch baking dish.

      Drop dough onto a lightly floured surface. Shape into an evenly level square, about 9 by 9-inches. Cut into 16 equal portions (don't have to be exact). Shape dough into 15 balls, while using excess dough from the 16th portion to add to smaller rounds as needed, and place shaped dough portions into prepared baking dish.

      Dampen hands with water and brush tops of dough with the water (just so they don't dry while rising in oven). Transfer to oven, close oven and turn oven off, allow rolls to rise 20 minutes (don't open oven door). Remove from oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees (this should take about 5 minutes, so just allow rolls to rest on counter while oven preheats).

      Bake in preheated oven 14 - 16 minutes until tops are golden brown. Remove from oven and run the top of a stick of butter along tops of rolls just to coat. Serve warm. Store in an airtight container (I recommend rewarming cool rolls in microwave for best results.
      Recipe source: Cooking Classy

      Wednesday, March 22, 2017

      Whole 30 Homemade Ranch Mix

      We have been making this since Kathleen has been trying to eat gluten free.  We like this!
      Whole 30 Homemade Ranch Mix

      2 tsp salt
      4 tbsp parsley
      3 tsp dill weed
      2 tsp dried chives
      4 tsp garlic powder
      4 tsp onion powder
      4 tsp dried onion flakes

      Mix all ingredients together and store in a ½ pint mason jar or other air tight container.

      2 tbsp = 1 package

      Tuesday, March 21, 2017

      Low Carb Crock Pot Pizza Soup

      I had wanted to try this and then had Don's mom stay for dinner on the spur of the minute. I made this on the cooktop and it turned out great. Next time I will use 1 can of mushrooms since 2 of my family members do not like them.

      Low Carb Crock Pot Pizza Soup
      1 (16 ounce) can crushed tomatoes (can use stewed or whole)
      2 (16 ounce) cans beef broth(can sub bouillon)
      2 (16 ounce) cans mushrooms (can use fresh if desired)
      1 medium green pepper, diced
      1 small onion, diced
      1 lb Italian sausage
      1⁄2 lb pepperoni, thinly sliced
      1 teaspoon garlic powder
      2 teaspoons dried oregano
      2 teaspoons italian seasoning
      1 cup freshly grated mozzarella cheese
      1⁄4 cup grated parmesan cheese

      Saute the sausage until brown.  Drain, and place in the crockpot.  Add all other ingredients but the cheeses.  Cook for 6-8 hours.  Spoon into bowls and sprinkle with cheese.

      Beth's notes:  If doing on cooktop, saute the onions and peppers with the sausage.  Add all ingredients but cheeses.  Bring to a boil and then turn to low and simmer for 30-60 minutes. 

        Monday, March 20, 2017

        Texas Sheet Cake with Fudge Icing

        I had taken a picture of this recipe from a magazine during a doctor visit! I made this for one of our Financial Peace classes. I put nuts on half. Next time I will bake it for a little while longer.

        Texas Sheet Cake with Fudge Icing

        Southern Living

        1 1/2 cups spicy, fruity cola soft drink (such as Dr Pepper) Beth used Coke Zero
        1 cup vegetable or canola oil
        1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
        2 cups all-purpose flour
        1 cup granulated sugar
        1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
        1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
        1/2 teaspoon table salt
        1/2 cup buttermilk
        2 large eggs, lightly beaten
        2 teaspoons vanilla extract

        Vegetable cooking spray
        Fudge Icing
        1 1/4 cups chopped toasted pecans

        Preheat oven to 350°. Bring first 3 ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring often. Remove from heat.

        Whisk together flour and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Add soft drink mixture, and whisk until blended. Whisk in buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla. Pour batter into a lightly greased (with cooking spray) 17 1/2- x 12 1/2-inch sheet pan.

        Bake at 350° for 18 to 22 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

        Prepare Fudge Icing, and pour over warm cake. Sprinkle with pecans. Cool completely in pan (about 1 hour)

        Fudge Icing

        1/2 cup butter
        1/2 (4-oz.) unsweetened chocolate baking bar, chopped
        3 tablespoons milk
        3 tablespoons spicy, fruity cola soft drink (such as Dr Pepper)
        4 cups powdered sugar
        1 teaspoon vanilla extract

        Cook butter and chocolate in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, whisking often, until melted and smooth.

        Remove from heat, and whisk in milk and soft drink until blended. Gradually sift in powdered sugar, whisking constantly. Whisk in vanilla. Use immediately.