Vanilla Sprinkle Cookies

 

Vanilla Sprinkle Cookies

Vanilla Sprinkle Cookies

Good morning, world….I hope this is not too many sprinkles to start off the week.   Once in a while I get carried away with sprinkles.  They’re so joyful and happy looking, they lift my spirits.  And in this world of white that surrounds us here, we need a little (read, a lot) of color. IMG_9134

Here (pretend I’m pointing) you’ll find cookies.   Not just any cookies, but the most colorful and buttery delicious cookies I could come up with.

The cookie base is a traditional sugar cookie:  scoop-able dough, not the roll-out kind.

The flour gets whisked together with the baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt.

Softened butter is beaten together with vanilla and granulated sugar.

Then an impossible number of sprinkles gets stirred in.  Isn’t this fun?  Like a party about to happen.

Add in those sprinkles!!

Add in those sprinkles!!

The dough needs some time in the refrigerator before the cookies are baked.  The butter needs time to re-chill and the egg needs time to moisten the dough.  A 2-hour chill is good although overnight is better.

The dough is portioned into 2 tablespoon balls and rolled into more rainbow sprinkles.   If it feels like too much, that’s absolutely right.

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These cookies are chewy in the center, crisp at the edges, and packed with sprinkles and vanilla.  They’re the perfect way to get in the mood for whatever celebration lies ahead.

VANILLA CONFETTI COOKIES

Yield:  makes about 18 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1  1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup ( 1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperatureIMG_9120
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sprinkles

Directions:

1.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.

2.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes.    Add the egg and vanilla extract, and beat until thoroughly combined.

Cream butter and sugar; add egg and vanilla.

Cream butter and sugar; add egg and vanilla.

3.  Reduce the mixer speed to low, and slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.

Adding in the dry ingredients.

Adding in the dry ingredients.

The dough will be thick ( you may have to finish incorporating the mixture with a wooden spoon).  Fold in 1/4 cup of the sprinkles.

Add in those sprinkles!!

Add in those sprinkles!!

4.  Place the remaining 1/4 cup sprinkles in a bowl.  Scoop up 2 tablespoon of dough and roll in a ball.  Dip the ball in the bowl of sprinkles to cover lightly.  Put the balls on a platter.  Repeat with the remaining sprinkles and dough.  Chill the dough balls for at least 2 hours.

Form balls of dough, roll in more sprinkles, then chill.

Form balls of dough, roll in more sprinkles, then chill.

5.  Place oven racks in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350*F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

6.  Transfer the chilled dough balls to the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches of space in between each ball.

Leave space, cookies will flatten out and spread.

Leave space, cookies will flatten out and spread.

7.  Bake until the cookies have spread and are just beginning to brown aground the edges, but are mostly pale and soft, 8 to 10 minutes.  Let cool on the cookie sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.  The cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

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Baked Black and White Doughnuts

Baked Black and White Doughnuts

Baked Black and White Doughnuts

Ah, yes…..doughnuts!   Do you love them?   Strangely enough, I can’t say that I do.  I’ve always thought of doughnuts as greasy, fried, blobs of sweetness without many redeeming qualities.  But then about a year ago I got introduced to baked doughnuts. Up till then, I had never tried them.   Now, they may not suit everyone, especially those of you who crave your daily doughnut from the doughnut shop, but I hope you will agree with me that they are good….like, really, really good.   OK?

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Baked doughnuts are the drama, whereas fried doughnuts are the comedy of life, sort of like little emojies 🙂   These doughnuts in your hands, in your life, are like magic.  That’s it,  that’s all I’m saying.

These doughnuts are a take-off on those black and white cookies, we all love.  They’re for when you can’t decide it you want a chocolate glazed doughnut or a vanilla glazed one with sprinkles.  See, I’ve solved that problem for you!   Donut ignore this recipe.  (Pun intended.)

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I like the way these doughnuts come together,  mostly because it’s so simple.  No electric mixer involved, just two bowls and  a few measuring and mixing tools.   And since I’ve become completely captivated by browned butter and the flavor it adds to baked goods, I’ve used it here too.

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They’re basically made with flour + sugar + spice + everything nice, (i.e., buttermilk, egg, vanilla, and browned butter).

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Browned butter adds a lovely depth of flavor and nuttiness to the cake-y doughnuts, and lots of freshly grated nutmeg takes them over the top.

Dry ingredients are whisked together to fluff and blend them well.

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Wet ingredients are whisked up just so, and added to the dry.  Wet + dry, that’s how you do it.  It’s called cooking math.

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Baked up, these doughnuts are soft, tender and sweet.

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Chocolate and vanilla glazes are thick enough to be just spreadable.  Colored sprinkles never hurt.

Glaze one side of each doughnut with the chocolate glaze, then do the other side with vanilla glaze,  Don’t forget the sprinkles.  It will take a bit of will power to do this without taking a bite out of one of them.   I wish you luck.

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I’m sorry to tell you, but the final decision is yours here….will you bite into the chocolate side, or the vanilla side first????

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BAKED BLACK AND WHITE DOUGHNUTS

Yield:   Makes 6 doughnuts

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter (but you will use only 2 Tbp. of it in the recipe)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

For the chocolate glaze:

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • pinch salt
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp. milk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the vanilla glaze:

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp. milk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Lightly grease a doughnut pan and set it aside.

2.  In a small saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter.  Butter will begin to crackle and pop as it melts.  That’s the water cooking out of it.  Once the water has evaporated out, the butter will quiet down and begin to brown.  Keep an eye on it as it browns quickly.  It will begin to smell nutty.  Remove from heat and immediately pour into a small cup or bowl to cool.

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3.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and sugar.  Set aside.

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4.  In a small bowl, whisk together egg, buttermilk, and vanilla extract.  Measure out 2 tablespoons of browned butter and whisk into the wet ingredients.

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5.  Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients.

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Lift and fold as you stir until no flour bits remain and all of the ingredients are well combined.  Try not to over mix the batter.  This is what makes a tender cake.

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6.  Use a small spoon to dollop batter into the prepared pan.  Smooth out and fill each doughnut cup in the pan three-quarters full with batter.

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7.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.  Check for doneness at 8 minutes, tops should spring back slightly when touched.  Do not over bake them.  Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan a few minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

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When the doughnuts are cool, make the glazes.

1. For chocolate glaze:  whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, and salt.  Add 2 tablespoons of milk and vanilla extract.  Stir to combine.  Add more milk as necessary to create a thick but still just pourable glaze.

2.  For vanilla glaze:  whisk together powdered sugar, milk and vanilla to create a thick put still pourable glaze.

3.  Spread half of the doughnuts with chocolate glaze, and remaining half with vanilla glaze.  Place back on the wire rack and sprinkle the vanilla side with colored sprinkles while the glaze is wet.  Allow to set for about 30 minutes before storing or serving.  These doughnuts are best within 2 days.

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SOURCE:   Adapted from Joy the Baker

 

Banana Cranberry Bread

I love the beginning of the New Year.  There’s nothing going on that makes demands on me.  It’s when I can slow down, do some thinking and planning, and recalibrate my brain.

Banana Cranberry Bread

Banana Cranberry Bread

Whenever I need to get “centered” I turn to my oven, and usually what I want to put into the oven involves fruit in some way.   In the fruit bowl on my kitchen counter or in the crisper drawer of my refrigerator there is usually some fruit or other that needs to be eaten or used up.   In most instances that would be several black and pretty far-gone bananas in the fruit bowl.

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It’s embarrassing when someone stops by, and there are the bananas on the counter wearing their black skins, with maybe a few fruit flies visiting them.  You know what I mean, I’m sure.  Who doesn’t buy a bunch of bananas every time they go to the grocery store.  Come on, that can’t be just me.

So like everyone else in this predicament, I make banana bread.   Familiar, reliable, sweet.  It’s a home run.

My favorite recipe for Banana Bread was my starting place for this recipe.   The yogurt in the recipe, in addition to the bananas, makes a nice tender bread, plus the texture it brought to the finished bread was amazing.   I added some whole fresh cranberries for some bright spots of color and a zing of tartness amongst the sweetness.  They are still appropriate for the season.

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OK, let’s take a deep breath and relax as we make this bread.  This will not be stressful at all!

We will get out flour, spices and salt and whisk them together well.  Nice fluffy flour, with no lumps.  From the refrigerator, take out eggs, yogurt and butter.

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Now about the butter….why add plain butter when you can add browned butter that’s nutty, fragrant, and has an almost caramelized flavor?  Yes, let’s do that!

What else so we need?  Brown sugar and the mashed banana.   This is turning into something special in spite of myself.

Stir it all together:  flour and spices plus all that banana goodness.

Last, throw in the cranberries, pretty little gems.  This is the festive part, the bells and whistles.

It makes a lot of batter for one 9″ x 5″ pan.   This can be one tasty loaf of banana bread plus 1 or 2 banana bread muffins; or divide into 2 smaller loaf pans, one for now, and one to freeze.

Don’t even think of baking this bread without some crumbly topping.  It’s the decorative ending, or beginning, as that is what you will see first, and tempt you to sample this yummy bread.

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This bread can do no wrong.  It’s moist and soft.  Perfect for breakfast and snacking.  Studded with cranberries and topped with a crunchy topping.   I think you should make a loaf as soon as you have some black bananas,  maybe next weekend?

BROWN BUTTER BANANA CRANBERRY BREAD

Yield:  (1) 9″ x 5″ loaf + 1 or 2 muffins, or (2) 8″ x 2″ loaves

For the bread:

  • 6 oz. unsalted butter, melted and browned to measure just over 1/2 cup
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (make part of it white whole wheat if you like)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup mashed banana ( about 3 medium bananas)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1  1/2 cups whole fresh cranberries

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For the crumble:

  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cold
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 Tbsp. lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Spray pan(s) with non-stick cooking spray and line with parchment paper leaving about two inches of paper to hang over the long sides of the loaf pan.

2.  Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Butter will begin to foam and crackle as it melts.  When the crackling subsides, the butter will begin to brown.  Swirl the pan as the butter cooks.  When the butter browns and begins to smell nutty, remove from the heat and transfer to a small bowl.  Taking the butter out of the hot pan will stop it from overcooking and burning.  Set aside to cool.

3.  In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt , cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom.

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4.  In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, mashed bananas, vanilla extract, and yogurt.

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When butter has cooled, whisk in the browned butter.

5.  Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients.

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Fold together, making sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to incorporate any hidden pockets of flour.  Fold together the ingredients, taking care not to over stir.

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Fold in cranberries.

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6.  Make the crumble:  Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips until crumbly. (or cut in the butter with a pastry cutter.)

7.  Spoon batter into prepared pan(s).  Sprinkle the crumble over the top.

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Bake the loaf for 50 – 60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and allow to rest in the pan for 15 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

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8.  Bread will last for 4 days, well wrapped at room temperature.  This loaf also freezes well.

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SOURCE:    adapted from Coffee Cakes and Quick Breads

 

 

 

Loaded Nachos

Loaded Nachos

Loaded Nachos

Around here we take our nachos very seriously.  Very, very seriously.

What this means is that we really do love nachos, and both Mr. D. and I agree we like them loaded with as much stuff as I can get my hands on.

When making nachos, it’s a little like building a house.  First you start with a good foundation (tortilla chips), then you build up the structure, a tower of multi layers of  seasoned beef, beans, crisp waffle fries, and cheeses.  Then you top it all off with some pico de gallo, that you made yourself; savory, colorful, and so delish.

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When you look at the ingredient list for these nachos, it looks like a lot, but really it isn’t.  It all comes together when you experience that first perfect bite that contains a little bit of everything.  Yes, indeed!

I made these for New Year’s Eve.  They served as our supper, but you can serve them as an appetizer, or a snack.  (Think Super Bowl coming up.)  Once you start on them it’s hard to stop so take my advice and make a lot.

LOADED NACHOS

Yield:  Servings:  4

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 lb.  ground beef
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) pinto beans, chili beans, or ranch style beans
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • tortilla chips
  • frozen waffle potato fries
  • 1 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 cup Mexican Blend, Taco blend or Monterey Jack cheese
  • 3 – 4 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 whole jalapeño, finely diced (optional)
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped (or use parsley)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 avocado, pitted and diced
  • sour cream, (optional)

Directions:

Start by cooking the waffle fries.  Follow package directions for oven temperature and length of time needed to get them  crispy on the edges.  Once cooked, remove from oven and set aside. If you prefer you may omit the waffle fries and use all tortilla chips throughout.  I prefer the fries because I like the texture contrasts in the finished nachos.

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Next, dice up half the onion….

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Heat up a non-stick skillet with a little olive oil….

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and add in the chopped onion.

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Cook the onions for a minute or two, then add in the ground beef.

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Break it up and let it cook until the meat is browned.  Drain off any fat that has accumulated in the bottom of the pan.

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Open the beans and add them to the pan along with the seasonings.    Stir it around to mix in the spices and blend the flavors.

Pour in the hot water to make it a little more saucy.  Reduce the heat to Low and let it simmer while you get the rest of the ingredients ready.

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Next, chop up the rest of the onion, making a fine dice.

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Next up,   chop up those tomatoes.  This is how I do it:  cut off the tops, then cut them into slices, then cut the slices into strips.  Now cross-cut the strips to dice them.  If you are using a jalapeño, use the same technique to dice it.

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Peel and seed the avocado, cut into strips, then crosscut into cubes.

Now, throw the onions, tomatoes, avocado and jalapeño into a bowl.  Tell them to get acquainted, you’ll be right back.

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Tear the leaves off half a bunch of cilantro (or parsley) and chop roughly.   Throw that into the bowl.

Cut a lime in half, and squeeze in the juice.  Add a little salt and pepper.

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And  stir it all together.  That’s your Pico de Gallo!!

We like it a little chunky, but if your family likes it more finely chopped, that’s great.  It will all taste the same.

Finely, the cheese 🙂  I grated a yellow cheddar and used a package of Taco Blend.  I did not mix them together.  You’ll see why in a minute.

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To assemble the nachos, make a single layer of chips on a platter or large plate.

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Scoop up a big ole spoonful of the beef/bean mixture and sprinkle it all over the chips.  Messy is good, so let it be!

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Sprinkle on a layer of cheddar,

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This is where the goodness-level jumps up a notch:  Put on a layer of waffle fries….

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And another layer of beef and beans…

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Then a nice layer of Taco blend, and another layer of waffle fries.

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Now use up the remainder of the beef/bean mixture to top it all,  and a final layer of Taco blend or cheddar (your choice).

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I put mine back into the still warm oven (turned off), and let the cheese melt.  Alternately, you could nuke the whole shebang for about 45  seconds until the cheese is perfectly melted.

AND THEN….

Spoon the Pico de Gallo on top of it all.   Why?   Because this is the roof on the house, or the flowers in the garden.   It’s the finishing touch that keeps you going back for more.   And it looks so pretty!

AND, because it’s all the veggies that makes this platter of nachos healthy.  I know for sure it’s what makes them so delicious!

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I hope you enjoy my approach to making nachos.  Try them real soon, and of course, you can add whatever extras you like:  sour cream, chopped black olives, chopped green onions–anything.  My favorite part are the chips on the bottom that start to soften under all the gooey ingredients, while the waffle fries stay crisp.  Divine!

SOURCE:   Adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks

Gingerbread Scones

Gingerbread Scones

Gingerbread Scones

By now your plans for Christmas morning breakfast are probably all set, but just in case they are not, here’s a suggestion for scones that are quick to make and will bring back memories of Christmas mornings past.  Ginger bread in another form, what’s not to like here?

This spicy-sweet combination of molasses and ginger is a hallmark of the holiday season.  So just like Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas”,  it doesn’t take much to put us in the holiday mood.

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Beside it’s strong, robust flavor, gingerbread also packs a punch with its unmistakable aroma.  Like many aromas, it can transport you across many years and many miles to when you were first introduced to it’s spicy goodness.

The delightfully cozy combination of spicy ginger, bold molasses, cinnamon and cloves will work their memory whether you have it in the form of cakes, cookies or scones, as I made here.

GINGERBREAD SCONES

Yield:   Makes 12

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flourIMG_8642
  • 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup cold butter, cubed
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg, separated
  • coarse sugar

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 400*F.  Grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper, and set aside.

2.  In a large bowl, whisk the first eight ingredients ( flour through cloves).   Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Dry ingredients and wet ones prepared to mix together.

Dry ingredients and wet ones prepared to mix together.

3.  In another bowl, whisk milk, molasses and egg yolk until blended; stir into crumb mixture just until moistened.

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4.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface; knead gently just a few times.  Pat into an 8-inch circle.  Cut into 12 wedges.

8-inch circle of dough, cut into 12 wedges.

8-inch circle of dough, cut into 12 wedges.

Place wedges 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet.

5.  In a small bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy.  Brush over the tops of the scones.  Sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Brush tops with egg white, and sprinkle with LOTS of sugar for a crunchy top.

Brush tops with egg white, and sprinkle with LOTS of sugar for a crunchy top.

Bake 12 – 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Do not over bake, as they can become dry.

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Best when served warm.    Especially good with a flavored butter, such as cranberry butter, or honey butter.  These make a nice addition to a luncheon or a tea.

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I really liked these scones as they are not sweet, so a flavored butter adds a nice touch.  The next time I make them I will also add some chopped candied ginger, to really emphasis the ginger flavor.

SOURCE:    A Taste of Home

 

 

 

Caramel Apple Dip

Caramel Apple Dip

Caramel Apple Dip

Looking for a little something extra for your Halloween Party?  This one is easy to make and offers a different approach to caramel apples.

For some people, apple cider, apple pie, and caramel apples are some of the essential fall things, conjuring up memories of trips to the orchard, fall festivals, and such.  I have never been one to go out of my way for a caramel apple, finding them sticky and messy to eat.  But anything with caramel piques my interest, and this recipe for a dip really intrigued me.

In addition to the savory appetizers I served at Mr.D’s birthday party, I wanted something cold and fruit based, that children would like.  Let me tell you, this was definitely it.  Apples cut into thin wedges, arranged on a platter with this dip, some chunks of cheddar cheese, and some grapes made a perfect counterpoint to the hot and savory Salsa Wings and Baked Broccoli Parmesan Dip

This sweet smooth and fluffy dip is really a crowd-pleaser.  Be careful it’s so good that you won’t want to stop eating it.

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In my haste to set it out for everyone to enjoy, I forgot to take a photo of the final platter arrangement of fruit, dip, and cheese.  But what I did was set the bowl of dip in the center of a square serving platter.  In the two diagonal corners were piles of apple wedges, in another corner were the chunks of cheese, and in the fourth corner was a bunch of red grapes.  This was a pretty arrangement, with all the cool foods grouped together.

The recipe calls for 3 apples, but I cut up 6 apples, and still there was some dip leftover.  The next day, I put a small container of it and an apple in Mr. D’s lunch.  He really liked having it as a mid-day snack at work.  So this would also be good in lunch boxes for school, or as an after school snack, if you are someone looking for such ideas.

CARAMEL APPLE DIP

Yield:   2-3 cups of dipIMG_8360

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (8-ounces) low fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
  • 1 tsp, vanilla extract
  • 1 cup marshmallow creme
  • 3 medium eating apples
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. water

Directions:

1.  In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese and brown sugar,

Whip brown sugar with cream cheese.

Whip brown sugar with cream cheese.

add caramel topping and vanilla and beat until smooth;

Mix in caramel topping and vanilla.

Mix in caramel topping and vanilla.

Fold in the marshmallow creme.  This can be really sticky so I used my beater on low speed to get the marshmallow mixed in evenly.

 

Fold in marshmallow creme.

Fold in marshmallow creme.

2.  Cut apples vertically into thin wedges.  In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice and water;  toss apples in the lemon juice mixture.  Drain.

3.  Serve apples with dip, and enjoy.

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Happy Halloween, everyone, and have a great weekend!

 

SOURCE:   Taste of Home

Blueberry Lemon Muffins

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

When I was a teenager I went blueberry picking with my mother.  When we came home with our buckets full of  gigantic blueberries, the first thing we made was blueberry pancakes for dinner that evening.  The second thing we made were these blueberry muffins.  I think they were the first item I learned to bake.   I have never deviated from this recipe even though I have looked at many others over the years.  They are just sooo good, and they taste like home.

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These muffins are so easy to make; no beater is involved.  They are made completely by hand.  Just measure everything out, whisk together the dry ingredients,  whisk the liquids, add the sugared berries, and fill your muffin tins.  Bake and be sure to have at least one while they are still warm.  I like to have some butter melted and ready when they come out of the oven, and a little cup of sugar.  Then I dip or brush butter all over the top of each one, and sprinkle on the sugar.   Mmmmm, Mmmmm.

You know you want one!

You know you want one!

Most likely everyone already has their favorite recipe for blueberry muffins, but I’m sharing mine with you in case you don’t.  What makes these muffins a little different from others is the lemon-sugar that coats the berries before they are folded into the batter.  Lemon with blueberries is such a wonderful taste combination, and it really works to great advantage in these muffins.  Give them a try and compare to others you’ve made.

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BLUEBERRY LEMON MUFFINS

Yield:   Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

Blueberries and lemon---made for each other.

Blueberries and lemon—made for each other.

  • 1  3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2  1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup salad oil
  • 1 cup blueberries, washed and drained
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon peel
  • 1 tbsp. butter, melted;  a little extra sugar for topping

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400*F.   Line a muffin pan with paper liners, or grease well.

2.  Whisk together the flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt  in a mixing bowl.

3.  In another smaller bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, and oil.

4.  Make a well in the flour mixture and add the egg mixture all at once.  Stir quickly just to moisten.  There may still be some slumps.

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5.  Mix together the lemon peel with the 2 Tbsp. sugar,  add the damp berries and toss to coat.   Stir gently into the muffin batter.

6.  Fill the muffins cups–they will be quite full.    Bake at 400*F for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven when they are golden and test done.

7.  While still warm, brush tops with melted butter and then sprinkle with extra sugar.

Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.

Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.

 

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SOURCE:    An old recipe from my recipe box.

 

Grapefruit Buttermilk Doughnuts with Candied Zest

Graperfuit Buttermilk Doughnuts

Graperfuit Buttermilk Doughnuts

It was only after the fact that I learned that National Doughnut day had come and gone.  But that’s alright, I probably wouldn’t have paid any attention to it anyway.  I honestly never pay much attention to any of these so-called special days because there are so many of them, every single day it’s something, and often more than one something per day.

Who designates these special days anyhow?  No one has ever asked me what I think, or if I have a favorite food that I would like to honor with it’s own special day.  If anyone can get in on the act offering random suggestions for dedicated days, then I can do it too. Mine would be much more specific like— mulch the flower beds day, or skip work and go for a drive day, or lets’s get our nails done and then go out for lunch day, or put on some good music and dance day.  As you can see my days have a lot more to do in them than just eating one type of food… they’re more about movement and action and getting things done.  That’s the kind of gal I am.

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Anyway, having gotten that off my chest,  here’s a recipe for making doughnuts that are just the tiniest bit healthy because they are baked instead of fried.  I don’t know anyone who makes their own fried doughnuts, do you?  I think everybody and their mother hates deep frying foods, and that definitely includes me.   If the thought even crosses your mind, think of your thighs and reconsider!!   One impulsive act like frying doughnuts can undo weeks of careful eating, and hopefully weight loss, so get a grip on yourself.

Tiniest bit healthy baked doughnuts!!

Tiniest bit healthy baked doughnuts!!

Thank heavens these doughnuts require NO fryer.  They’re easy to make and they turn out light and cake-like. They require only one specialized pan; a doughnut pan that is generally inexpensive.  When I bought mine I thought I would never use it, but I’m finding myself using it more and more.  One little trick that I do with mine, is pour muffin batter in it and bake them.  You will get a shallow muffin, like muffin tops with a hole in the middle.  Think of it as a weight loss tactic; smaller muffin with a hole in the middle=less calories!   What you see in the above photo that looks like muffins is actually the remainder of the doughnut batter that I baked in a muffin pan.  I call them Douffins 🙂

Mr D. called these doughnuts “fabulous” and I have to agree with him.  I love the bits of tartness that the grapefruit zest adds to the flavor, and the grapefruit juice in the glaze keeps it all from becoming too sweet.  Making the candied zest is very easy to do, and now that I’ve done it, I would try it with other citrus fruits and use the candied zest as a garnish or topping on other baked goods.  Try this, it adds just the perfect touch.

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GRAPEFRUIT BUTTERMILK DOUGHNUTS WITH CANDIED ZEST

Yield:   1 dozen doughnuts  (I got 12 doughnuts plus 4 douffins)

Ingredients:

  • non-stick cooking sprayIMG_7533
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 large grapefruit, plus 4 two-inch long strips grapefruit zest thinly sliced
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons grapefruit juice

Directions:

1.  Coat 2  six-cavity doughnut pans with nonstick spray.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Meanwhile in a large bowl, combine flour, 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, baking powder, ginger, and salt, and mix well.

2.  In a small bowl, whisk buttermilk, egg, canola oil, vanilla, and zest of 1 grapefruit to combine.

Mix wet ingredients together.

Mix wet ingredients together.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir.  Spoon batter into the prepared pans, filling each cavity a little more than three-quarters.

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3.  Bake for 25 – 30 minutes.  Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then turn doughnuts out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

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4.  In a small bowl, whisk confectioners’ sugar and juice until smooth.  Set glaze aside.  In a small saucepan, combine zest strips, 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, and 3 tablespoons water, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer mixture until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.   Drain, and discard the liquid.  Immediately toss the zest strips in the remaining sugar until coated.  Transfer to a cutting board and chop.

After cooking, coat zest strips in sugar.

After cooking, coat zest strips in sugar.

 

Chopped sugared zest into small pieces.

Chop sugared zest into small pieces.

5.  For each doughnut, carefully dip the top in the glaze, then set on a wire rack, glaze side up, so excess drips off.  Sprinkle immediately with chopped zest.

 

Dip tops into glaze, sprinkle with zest.

Dip tops into glaze, sprinkle with zest.

 

These are unbelievably good.

These are unbelievably good.

 

SOURCE:   Country Living Magazine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whole Wheat Brownies

Whole Wheat Brownies

Whole Wheat Brownies

The start of the holiday weekend, and there we were with no desserts on hand.  Horrors!!  How can you even think of having a cookout without some kind of dessert to end the meal.  Just about everybody loves brownies, the fudgy-er the better.  And if a person wanted to add a scoop of ice cream and maybe a tiny drizzle of chocolate sauce, I certainly would be the last one to object.  Sooooo, brownies it is.

Was that a brownie sundae you wanted?

Was that a brownie sundae you wanted?

Let me see what I can do to make them “healthy”.   Gee, is there really such a thing as a healthy brownie?   Martha Stewart seems to think so, therefore I’ll take her word for it.  These whole wheat brownies get a healthy boost from whole wheat flour and applesauce, while cocoa powder and semisweet chocolate make them nice and fudgy;  really deep, dark and moist, but not heavy.

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WHOLE WHEAT BROWNIES

Yield:   Makes 16

Ingredients:IMG_7385

  • 6 tablespoons ( 3/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1  1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce, or Lighter Bake
  • 1 large egg
  • 8 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
Lighter Bake is made from applesauce.

Lighter Bake is made from applesauce.

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Butter or spray an 8-inch square baking dish.  Line it with parchment paper; leaving a 2″ overhang on all sides.  Butter or spray the parchment paper.

2.  Place butter and 6-oz. of the chocolate in a heat proof bowl set over (not in) a pot of simmering water;  stir until melted.  remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.

Butter and chocolate melted together.

Butter and chocolate melted together.

3.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and soda.

Mix dry ingredients together.

Mix dry ingredients together.

4.  In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, applesauce and egg.  Stir chocolate mixture into sugar mixture.  Add flour mixture and stir just to blend.

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Pour into prepared baking dish and top with the remaining 2 ounces of chopped chocolate.

Top batter with remaining chopped chocolate.

Top batter with remaining chopped chocolate.

5.  Bake about 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached.  Let cool in pan on a wire rack.  Use the parchment to lift from the pan, cut into 16 squares.

Lift brownies from pan with parchment paper.

Lift brownies from pan with parchment paper.

Cut into squares to serve.

Cut into squares to serve.

 

SOURCE:   MarthaStewart.com

Banana Chip Muffins

Banana Chip Muffins

Banana Chip Muffins

It’s hard to know when would be the best time to eat these wonderful muffins.  Certainly, for breakfast, but they make a mighty fine dessert or snack as well.  I tested out this recipe last weekend because I plan to make them for an Easter Bake sale.  Muffins are always great with coffee on Easter morning, when you know there will be a big meal sometime later in the day.

When I was a teenager our youth group always got up really early to attend an Easter sunrise service.   At that hour of the morning, it was quite chilly outside, so when the service was over we always went to someone’s house or back to church for hot chocolate and whatever other goodies were provided.  Moving and beautiful as the service was, I always looked forward to the refreshments that followed.  These muffins are the essential accessory  to a hot beverage, and would be perfect served at an early morning function, or maybe an early meeting at the office.

Muffin and a hot beverage.

Muffin and a hot beverage.

These are sturdy muffins chock full of flaked coconut, chocolate chips, and nuts if you care to add them.  The tropical taste of the coconut blends beautifully with the banana flavor and develops the batter along the way; the inclusion of  chocolate chips is a necessity for those  individuals who require chocolate in every bite of muffin.

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What makes the texture of these banana muffins somewhat cake-like and soft is the process by which the batter is assembled: the butter and brown sugar are creamed together until fluffy and smooth.  This builds the batter’s creamy quality and prepares the mixture for the addition of the whole eggs.  Once the eggs are added, the flavoring extract and the mashed bananas are incorporated, followed by the final mix-in of the dry ingredients and enough buttermilk to moisten the whole.  The batter is now ready to accept the shredded coconut, mini chips and nuts.

Spooned into lined muffin cups and baked, the batter bakes up into plump muffins that have lovely rounded tops.  When you break open a warm muffin, you’ll find a tender, moist, “crumb” holding chocolate chips and coconut, all wrapped by the taste of banana.  Sigh!!

Can anything make them better?   Yes, butter!!

Can anything make them better? Yes, butter!!

BANANA CHIP MUFFINS

Yield:   12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1 cup white whole wheat and 1 cup regular flour.)IMG_7014
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons ( 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 large bananas)
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup flaked coconut
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips ( I used mini chips.)

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Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 375*F.  Line 12 muffin cups (3-ounce size)  with paper liners, or grease lightly.

2.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and the brown sugar for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.

3.  Beat in the eggs to incorporate,  add in the banana and vanilla.   The mixture may look curdled.   Add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk, continuing to mix just to combine.

4.  Reserve 2 tablespoons chocolate chips.  Add the rest of the chips, the coconut, and nuts, (if using) to the batter and stir in to distribute evenly.

5.  Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups.  Sprinkle the tops with the reserved chocolate chips.  Bake 25 – 30 minutes until a toothpick into the center of one muffin comes out clean.

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6.  Remove the muffin tin to a wire rack.  Cool the muffins in the pan for 5 minutes.  Remove muffins from the cups and finish cooling on the rack.  Serve warm or cool completely and store the muffins in an airtight container at room temperature.

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Happy Easter!  :)

Happy Easter! 🙂

 

SOURCE:   Chocolatier Magazine