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Archive for the ‘Baking’ Category

Pumpkin pie, oh I love you.  Yet, I am one of those who will scrape the filling out of the crust and leave the crust behind.  It’s not that I don’t like pie crust, I eat it in all other types of pies, but pumpkin pie it’s the filling that I crave. My children have developed this eat filling-leave crust preference as well so I was overjoyed when I learned I could make pumpkin pie without needing to make a pie crust at all.  Not a bite goes to waste and every fork full is a delight of rich, creamy, golden decadence.

Crust-less Pumpkin Pie

1 cup pumpkin (canned or fresh..not pumpkin pie filling)

3/4 cup sugar

1 can evaporated milk

1 tbsp butter melted

1/2 cup bisquick mix (or homemade bisquick mix)

1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

Mix all together and pour into greased pie pan (or square cake pan because you can’t find pie pans until after you already have it made).

Bake 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes.

*If you want to make small individual pies, pour into greased muffin tins and bake 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.*

To make your own Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend

2 tbsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp ground allspice

Mix and store in airtight container.

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It’s fall festival time and with them come caramel apples.  All year long I look forward to this time of year, the sour tang of the apples mingling with the sweet butter of the caramel…treat of the gods, I swear.

I’ve lost count of how many of these delicious beauties on a stick I’ve made through the years but one thing has always reigned true. I have no luck with pre-wrapped store bought caramels.  Perhaps others do, but for me it always slides down the apple to become a sticky pile at the bottom.  To remedy this I have taken to making my own caramel.

To make your own caramel is amazingly simple, even more so if you have a candy thermometer.

Homemade Caramel Recipe

2 cups brown sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1 cup butter

1 can sweetened condensed milk

2 tsp vanilla

In heavy saucepan, combine brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and condensed milk; bring to boil over medium-high heat.

Cook and stir until candy thermometer reads 248 degrees, this is what is known as firm ball stage.  If you do not have a thermometer, take a glass of ice cold water and drip hot caramel into water. If it forms a stiff ball as it sinks it is ready.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

I do not suggest doubling this recipe, if you need more, make a second batch.

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October is apple month and with it comes many fall festivals, bake sales, craft shows and the beginning of the cooking season.  This morning I spent whipping up (literally) several dozen of these little gems. Only problem I kept running into was resisting the urge to stop licking the frosting in the bowl.

This recipe might sound complex, but it really isn’t.  The ingredients used are pantry staples aside from apple cider and apples which are in abundance this time of year.

Apple Cider Cupcakes (15 full size cupcakes, 30 mini cupcakes)

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

2/3 cup sugar

1 2/3 cup flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup apple cider

2 eggs

1 cup apples, diced

Combine all ingredients in bowl and stir until well mixed.  Pour into greased or lined cupcake or mini cupcake pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes for traditional cupcakes and 10-13 minutes for mini cupcakes.

*If you take this recipe, minus the spices and fruit, and replace cider for water you have the basic recipe for cupcakes and cakes.  Add your own ingredients and flavorings and you can make an abundance of tasty treats anytime.*

Maple Cinnamon Frosting

4 cups powdered sugar

1 stick melted butter

2 tbsp maple syrup

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Place in bowl and beat with hand mixer or use stand mixer until consistency desired for piping or spreading.  Add more confectioner sugar if needed to gain desired texture.  (This frosting is great on sugar cookies, molasses and spice cookies also.)

Caramel  Streusel Topping

1 cup flour

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 tbsp caramel ice cream topping

Use fork to combine ingredients until crumb texture.  Sprinkle on top cooled and frosted cupcakes.

I’m going to admit it, keeping this blog has been a challenge for me.  I am one of those people who cook by sight, touch and taste rather then measuring.  This blog has forced me to keep track of how much of what I put in recipes which probably is a good thing as I now have recipes to pass down to my children.  I still will go by sight, touch and taste at times however.  The frosting recipe being one such example. I find every time I make it, it might require more powdered sugar, or more liquid then the recipe did the time before to get same results.

These have been a fall hit  a few years running now.  I hope you enjoy them also.

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I love, love, love plums.  They to me are the fruit of the gods. For the holidays however, or really anytime, dressing them up a bit is a pleasant surprise and what better way then with maple syrup and whipped topping?  I’ve served these with pancakes and French toast for breakfast, pork for supper, or just as a side dessert with holiday turkeys and ham. To make them is extremely easy but yet they go over quite big.

Wash and cut your plums in half removing pit.  You can leave them halved or slice them up, however you prefer.  Place them in a casserole dish or cake pan and drizzle with maple syrup to coat.  Bake 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until insides are soft.

You can either serve these as is, or add a vanilla whipped topping to them.  To make the topping, simply stir a cup of Cool Whip style topping in a bowl with 1/4 cup of confectioner (powdered) sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract.  Spoon over top…simple, easy and delicious!

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There was a question posed by a friend about what to do with apples that had lets just say lost their beauty quality.  Either being older and wrinkled, bruised, rodent nibbled or gotten a few worms.  When I was growing up, these apples were the norm and often found littered under my grandparents apple trees. Other then the store bought ones I don’t remember very often seeing what one would deem a “pretty” apple.  Few of these apples however went to waste.  Today I use the same logic and lessons taught me then with my own apple tree harvest.  Nothing goes to waste…and by this I do truly mean nothing.  The good flesh is sliced, diced or mashed to make into pies, pie fillings, cobblers, muffins, pancakes, fritters, cakes, donuts or applesauce.  The skin peeled away and some taken out to the chickens to eat.  Extra skin, seeds and rotten parts get thrown into the worm compost to be turned into good useable soil.

Easy Apple Cobbler

5 cups apples, peeled and sliced

1 cup sugar

2 tbsp cornstarch

1 tbsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp allspice

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1 tbsp vanilla

1/4 cup melted butter

1/4 cup apple cider

Combine in bowl and pour into greased 8×8 cake pan.  In bowl combine following:

1 cup flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup melted butter

1/4 cup milk

1 tsp baking powder

1 egg, slightly beaten

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

Stir together to form a thick (muffin consistency) batter.  Spoon over top of apples and spread out with spatula to cover.

Cook at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.  Check with toothpick test.

**If batter to thin, add more flour…if to thick, add more milk**

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This is an extremely simple dessert to create yet it has big taste sure to please at your next party, holiday gathering, church function or simply the dinner table.

S’more Pudding Dessert.

1 pkg graham crackers (broken with hammer to crumbs)

1 lg package chocolate pudding (or homemade pudding)

1 sm jar marshmallow cream

Layer all but 1/2 a cup of your graham crackers in bottom of baking dish, cake dish or pie pan.

Over top of this spread your pudding.

Gently warm your marshmallow cream until “puffy” and able to be easily spread.  Spread atop the chocolate pudding.

Sprinkle rest of your graham crackers on top and refrigerate at least one hour before serving.

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It finally rained yesterday and is raining again today,  to celebrate this long awaited occasion I baked up several batches of these bar cookies.  One nice thing about these cookies, they use prepackaged cake mix to prepare (or if like me, you use your own MYO prepackaged cake mix).

1 box yellow cake mix. (or your own homemade)

1 cup white chocolate chips

1/2 – 1 cup oatmeal

1/2 cup oil

2 eggs

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp allspice

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2-3/4 cup water (this is where you need to use your eyes. You want a consistency that is not as stiff as drop cookies, yet not as thin as cake batter.)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Prepare a greased cookie sheet.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.   Pour batter into cookie sheet and using spatula spread until it covers the bottom of the sheet (don’t worry about it looking to thin, it raises as it bakes a bit.)  Bake for 20 minutes and check center with toothpick, if  not ready yet, continue to cook at 5 minute intervals.  Remove from oven, let cool slightly and cut into bars.

 

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Tomorrow my son has a parade to attend and I got charged with desserts.  I wanted something that was capable of holding a old fashion charm, easy to eat and easy to carry.  Cookies and cupcakes just didn’t seem proper, though I did use cupcakes to create this.  I’ve made these before and they really are delicious and simple.  You can’t go wrong with that.

1 devils food cake mix

1 can cherry pie filling

1 can Redi Whip

1 jar Maraschino cherries

Chopped peanut or nut topping (optional)

1 case (or more) jelly canning jars

Yes, that is really all that is involved.  Before serving I will offer to add chopped peanuts to the top but that is optional.

1) Mix up your cake mix and follow directions for making cupcakes.

2.) Let cupcakes cool completely and cut them in half, you will use one cupcake per jar.

3.) Place bottom of cupcake in bottom of jar, add a layer of cherry pie filling.

4.) Add a healthy squeeze of Redi Whip on top pie filling.

5.) Add top piece of cupcake, don’t fret if you have to smush it in no one will notice.

6.) Add another layer of cherry pie filling.

At this point for transfer I put the lid and cover on the jar, then bring along Redi Whip, maraschino cherries and chopped nuts.

**Refrigerate jars until ready to serve or transport**

 

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MYO Turnovers

I know I’ve vanished for a while from posting. It isn’t that a lot wasn’t going on, it was more what was going on wasn’t worth posting about.  Mother Nature and I had a big fight this year and she won. With the drought and hundred plus degrees for months on end,  I’ve lost my entire garden.  With now being under a water constriction I am truly fearful how many younger fruit trees and bushes will be lost before this is over.  Being one who relies on putting up her own this was a harsh blow, but one that will be gotten over and worked through.

This week I made up Apple and Cherry Turnovers.  The children loved them, and while I made mine from scratch…I will offer you a more simple way to do the .  The simple method is to purchase puff pastry dough sheets from freezer section of your grocery store, flour a surface and roll out until thin, then add a filling either using homemade apple and cherry pie filling, or canned variety from store, and fold.  I do a side fold method as it is just cleaner, but you can do the more recognized triangle version as well.

A second method, and what I used, is using what is known as a “Rough Puff Pastry”, for this you need:

2 1/2 cups cold flour

3/4 tsp salt

24 tbsp cold unsalted butter cut into pieces

3/4 cup very cold water

Sift flour and salt into cold cubes of butter. Using a pastry butter, large chef knife or even your fingers cut the butter into the flour until you achieve a crumbly mixture.  Add ice cold water a little at time and mix until it all just sort of hangs together.  Shape into a messy, shaggy dough and roll to 1/2 inch thick.

Use your pastry scraper to fold the dough into thirds like a business letter.  Turn 90 degrees and roll out again.  Refold and turn once more and roll again.  This takes about four to five turns before your dough will take on a smooth appearance.   Wrap and chill the dough for half an hour before you do two more additional roll outs and turns.  Return to refrigerator for another half hour before doing your final roll out for use.

 

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I was called to duty to make some desserts for the children at my son’s school for their End of School party this week.  Being on a time crunch already with a second Science Fair and a Gifted & Talented party as well as a few other things demanding my time, and my baking, I decided to make these up early and freeze them.  The nice thing about these cookies is they freeze well, hold their form and can be defrosted the day before you need them.

Couple nice things about these cookies, having them in the “sandwich” shape, little fingers don’t become excessively covered in frosting when holding them, and your can stack them atop one another without issue, making transporting several dozen of them far easier.  See? This Mom thinks ahead.

I wish I had a fancy name for them but I don’t.  They are simply sugar cookies (your own recipe or packaged mix), frosting (again your own or store bought), and decorative sugar or sprinkles (I used up some I had left from valentines).

Mix up your sugar cookies and roll into large marble size balls.  Swirl the dough around in white sugar to coat and set on your cookie sheet.  Use the bottom of a glass to flatten them evenly.  Bake according to instructions on recipe.  Let the cookies cool completely while making up your frosting (if using homemade).  Slather the frosting on back of one cookie, put second cookie on top and roll the “sandwich” in a bowl of decorative sugar or sprinkles of choice to coat frosting edges.  That’s all there is to it.  Quick, simple and can give a crowd of children a good sugar rush.  What could be more satisfying?

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