Friday, December 23, 2016

Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies

I am always up for a good sugar cookie recipe. I found this recipe here and pretty much made as directed in the recipe. The only thing I did different was smash the balls of cookie dough just a little before baking... they didn't spread much and I wanted a slightly flatter cookie so they would look a little like snow balls. I was giving these as neighbor treats along with some key lime truffles. I made a tag that said "have a ball this Christmas"! These cookies are a tender, chewy cookie with a lovely butter cream frosting on top. You can add food coloring or any color of sprinkles. YUM!

Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:
Cookies:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2teaspoon baking soda
1/2teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar 
package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg 
2 teaspoons vanilla

Frosting:

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar 
2-1/2 to 4 tablespoons milk 
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
Dash of salt
food colors, as desired
candy sprinkles, as desired

Directions 


  • Heat oven to 350°F. In small bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  • In large bowl, beat granulated sugar, cream cheese and 1/2 cup softened butter with electric mixer on medium speed about 1 minute or until fluffy; scrape side of bowl. Beat in egg just until smooth. Stir in 2 teaspoons vanilla. On low speed, beat flour mixture into sugar mixture until well blended. Cover and refrigerate 15 minutes.
  • Shape dough into 60 (1-inch) balls. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Slightly press dough balls so they don't bake so puffy. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are set. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in medium bowl, beat powdered sugar, 1/4 cup softened butter, 2 to 4 tablespoons milk, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla , and a dash of salt with electric mixer until smooth and fluffy. If frosting is too stiff to spread, add additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time. Tint with food color. Using knife, spread slightly less than 1 teaspoon frosting on each cooled cookie; top with sprinkles. Store covered in airtight container at room temperature

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Best Homemade White Bread EVER

I LOVE home made bread... especially still warm from the oven slathered in butter..... yum! This recipe was on Facebook and it looked too good not to try. I had a good recipe for white bread that I thought I'd never find better but my goodness this recipe is awesome. I love homemade bread that's soft and not too crumbly, but still has a good chewy crust and this was it. I have always rubbed butter over my loaves of bread after they cool about five minutes... that is what makes them shiny. This bread also makes great toast ...especially with Jam. Hope you enjoy as much as I did!

Homemade Bread
click here for recipe site
Ingredients:
2 cups warm water
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 TB sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1 Tablespoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk
5-7 cups of bread flour, white or wheat will work too (can use more if needed) all purpose flour is ok to use too.. that's what I had
1 TB shortening--to grease loaf pans (I use non-stick cooking spray)
1 TB butter (to top bread)

Directions
1. Place the yeast and sugar in a small bowl. Pour the warm water (not too hot) over the yeast mixture and let it sit for 15-20 minutes, or until nice and bubbly.
2. Combine melted butter, sugar, evaporated milk and salt into a large mixing bowl. When your yeast mixture is ready add them together and mix.
3. If you are using a stand mixer put on your bread hook and then pour in 3 cups of flour. If not you can stir/kneed it as well. Then add in 1 cup of flour at a time and mix. When you get to 5 cups of flour in the bowl, add in 1/2 cup more of flour at a time until the dough is no longer sticking to the sides. You'll know it's ready when your fingers no longer stick to the dough.
4. Then cover the ball of dough and sides of the bowl with shortening and cover the bowl with a warm towel. Set by the window and allow it it rise (approx 1.5 hours). When it has risen over the bowl punch it down and place on a floured surface.
5. Kneed the dough for 2-3 minutes.
6. Cut dough into two pieces and roll them out into a rectangle. Roll the dough up and place into 2 greased bread pans.
7. Let the bread rise again, and when it looks like a good loaf of bread place them in the oven at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. When the bread is done, cool for 5 minutes then rub the top with butter and remove onto a cooling rack.
Enjoy!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Banana Pancakes with Peanut Butter Maple Syrup

I never said I was the best photographer... and of course I chose the ugliest pancake for myself and the rest were eaten by the time I took a picture so excuse the photo above. But boy oh boy were these the best Banana Pancakes ever! I love the Peanut Butter maple syrup on them too and of course.... bacon on the side. The syrup kind of reminds me of those peanut butter rice krispie treats we love. I think I'll make these over the holidays for my company.... Yummo!!!

Banana Pancakes with Peanut Butter Maple Syrup
adapted from Once upon a chef

For Pancakes
  • 1-1/2 cups all purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled off 
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • small, over-ripe banana, peeled (the browner, the better)
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons low fat milk
  • large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract (or more.... LOVE vanilla)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  • For the Syrup
  • 1 cup Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 cup Peanut Butter

Instructions:
Make the syrup first. I am guessing at the amount I used.... I poured my maple syrup in a small saucepan. Heat until warm then add your  peanut butter and whisk until smooth... you can add more syrup or more peanut butter according to you taste. Keep warm while you make the pancakes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a small bowl, mash the banana with a fork until almost smooth. Whisk in the eggs, then add the milk and vanilla and whisk until well blended. Pour the banana mixture and the melted butter into the flour mixture. Fold the batter gently with a rubber spatula until just blended; do not over-mix. The batter will be thick and lumpy.
Set a griddle or non-stick pan over medium heat until hot. Put a pad of butter and one tablespoon vegetable oil onto the griddle, and swirl it around. (Or spray with non-stick cooking spray like I do)
Drop the batter by 1/4-cupfuls onto the griddle, spacing the pancakes about 2 inches apart. Cook until a few holes form on top of each pancake and the underside is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip the pancakes and cook until the bottom is golden brown and the top is puffed, 1 to 2 minutes more. Using the spatula, transfer the pancakes to a serving plate.
Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve the pancakes while still hot with Peanut Butter maple syrup.
ENJOY!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Best Ever Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies


I LOVE  pumpkin chocolate chip cookies... nothing says 'Autumn time' like a warm pumpkin chocolate chip cookie still warm from the oven don't you agree? I have been looking for a recipe that was awesome for these cookies... I have posted some but some are too spongy... others are too dry.. This one was just perfect. Try adding a 1/2 cup cinnamon chips along with the chocolate chips for additional yumminess! Enjoy!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from Cooking classy
Yield: About 30 cookies
Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup  vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup  milk chocolate chips
  •  Optional: try adding 1/2 cup cinnamon chips along with the chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and salt for 20 seconds, set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, blend together granulated sugar, brown sugar and vegetable oil until combined. Mix in egg and vanilla then blend in pumpkin puree. With mixer on low speed, slowly add in flour mixture and mix just until nearly combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed (batter will be pretty wet).
  •  With a rubber spatula, fold in chocolate chips while folding batter to evenly combined. Drop dough 2 Tbsp (either using a medium cookie dough scoop or using two spoons) at a time onto baking sheets lined with Silcone liners or parchment paper, spacing cookies two inches apart. Bake in preheated oven about 10 to 12 minutes until cookies are nearly set (you don't want to pull them out before they are done or they'll taste raw, not a cookie you want to under-bake. The top layer of the cookie should be cooked through). 
  • Allow to cool several minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Store in a single layer in an airtight container . (I think they are best when eaten still slightly warm)... soft pillowy cookies! Enjoy!


Saturday, October 15, 2016

No Churn Peanut Butter Ripple Ice Cream

Oh my heavens this is good..... and easy. I found this recipe here and had to give it a try. I have been wanting to make a rich creamy homemade ice cream for a while. I borrowed my parents ice cream make this summer and made a root beer ice cream but man after getting the ice, the ingredients and then letting in churn and churn and then still having to freeze for a couple of hours before eating, this recipe seemed like heaven. AND it was!! So rich and creamy and perfect. I did have to top mine with chopped dry roasted peanuts.... I love ice cream and nuts.... but that's optional. Go ahead... give this one a try. You won't be sorry.

No Churn Peanut Butter Ripple Ice Cream
Ingredients
6 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter, divided
¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons peanut butter chips
2 cups (16 ounces) heavy cream
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions
1 In a medium size saucepan, combine 4 Tablespoons (1/4 cup) of the creamy peanut butter and peanut butter chips. Heat over low heat until completely melted. Remove from heat and set aside to cool a bit.
2 In a large bowl using a hand mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract, and remaining 2 Tablespoons of the peanut butter on high speed until smooth and thick (about 3-4 minutes).

3 Spoon ⅓ of the ice cream into the bottom of a freezer-safe container or bowl (I prefer a loaf pan). Layer half of the melted peanut butter chips evenly over the ice cream, using a spatula to spread it around. Spoon another ⅓ of the ice cream on top of the peanut butter layer, and repeat layering with remaining melted peanut butter chips and ⅓ of the ice cream. Submerge a butter knife into the container and run it up and down the length of the container to "swirl" the peanut butter. Cover tightly and freeze overnight, or at least 8 hours. Ice cream can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.

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Monday, October 10, 2016

Puff Pastry Tarts

I love baking... I love autumn time and the fruits that are available at the grocery stores and farmers markets. I especially LOVE the smell of fall baking... Yum!! I haven't baked with puff pastry much but Alton Brown had a Good Eats episode on puff pastry and showed this recipe. I tweaked it a little but the original recipe is here. Enjoy!!

Puff Pastry Tarts
Ingredients:
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
Sugar, for dusting (I used cinnamon sugar)
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced into wedges

1 ripe peach, peeled, and thinly sliced into wedges
1 ripe plum, thinly sliced into wedges
Apricot or peach  jam

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. After puff pastry has thawed, place on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Unfold, and cut into 3 even strips. Move so they are a couple of inches apart.
I used a mandolin to cut my apple slices, just have them thin as possible. The peaches and plums I had slightly thicker. 
Poke pastry sheets with a fork down the center but leave about a 1/2 inch on the sides un-poked to provide an outlet for steam. Sprinkle pastry with sugar (or cinnamon sugar) and arrange apple slices an plum / peach slices on top.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Poke the crust; if it feels soft it needs more time in the oven.
Microwave some apricot jam for 30 seconds. When the tarts come out of the oven dab (don't brush) the jam on the tarts. Cool tarts at least 4 hours and seal in a resealable plastic bag. Serve at room temperature or heat in the microwave and top with ice cream or fresh whipped cream.
Enjoy

Best Bacon Jam ever!

 I first got introduced to Bacon Jam at a cute little cafe in Dayton, Washington. I ordered a smoked turkey panini that had bacon jam on it and was hooked! I found this recipe while searching for a good one on line and it's amazing! I made panini's on focaccia bread with smoked turkey, provolone cheese, thin sliced tomatoes, lettuce and the bread was spread with a garlic aioli, and of course this bacon jam--see the picture at the bottom.  You gotta try it! The next day I made grilled hamburgers and we put this on those too! So delicious! This reminds me of a good baked bean taste... only without the beans. Enjoy!

Best Bacon Jam
original recipe found here
Makes: 2 cups
INGREDIENTS
1 lb. thick cut bacon
2 extra large sweet onions, quartered and thickly sliced
½ cup brown sugar
⅓ cup strong brewed coffee
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar


Cut the bacon into half inch slices and add to a large frying pan. Don't worry if the bacon pieces stick together, they will come apart as they cook. Cook over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently until the bacon is cooked but still quite chewy. A few crispy bit are ok.
Using a slotted spoon remove the bacon from the pan and set aside. Pour out all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon drippings and reserve for another use.
Add the onions to the pan and cook for about 8-10 minutes then reduce the heat to low. Add sugar and stir. Continue to cook until the onions have caramelized, about 20 minutes. Add the coffee, ½ cup of water and the reserved bacon and increase the heat to medium. Continue to cook, stirring about every five minutes, until the onions are thick and jam-like, about 30 minutes.
 Remove from heat and stir through the balsamic. Taste for seasoning and salt if necessary.
Use immediately or refrigerate for up to a week. Bring back to room temperature before serving. There will be little spots of white fat when you take it out of the fridge. As the jam comes to room temperature, these will disappear.
LOVE this stuff!