Baking

Puff Pastry Apple Hand Pies


Hand pies, dumplings, turnovers, empanadas, spring rolls and egg rolls pretty much anything that you can pick up with one hand that has either sweet or savory ingredients inside; I am a fan!
Out of everything I listed in my opening statement I have made them all but two of them. One of the two has been on my list to try to make but I haven’t gotten around to it; the other I think it is just easier to go to a bakery and buy them. I want to learn how to make empanadas and turnovers I am content with someone else doing it. At least for now!
Quick story from my childhood. My mother owned a cleaning company when I was a kid and I would go with her to a couple of offices at night; one was next to a Mom and Pop store/deli. The Mom of the store was a very sweet lady and she knew my favorite was Hostess apple pie and an orange crush. As you can tell I was a health nut way back then too. She would try to save me these items, or at least that was what she said when I came in that week. Now as an adult I very rarely drink soda but orange crush is still on the list, I honestly cannot remember the last time I had a hostess apple pie. I think I had one as an adult but it was many many years ago.
I do prefer to eat homemade or restaurant made items versus processed; but if I was on a desert island and all they had was hostess and crush – I would be pretty OK!
I’ve mentioned many times using up items I have on hand and last week I had some apples on the counter that no one seemed to be grabbing and frozen puff pastry sheets in the freezer that had been in there awhile. Apple hand pies sounded perfect to me; and they were! 

puff pastry apple hand pies
Yields 12
easy to make and eat
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Ingredients
  1. ½ cup granulated sugar
  2. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  3. 3 crisp apples or whatever you have on hand; cored and cut into ¾” dice
  4. 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  5. ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  6. pinch of ground cloves
  7. 2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
  8. 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  9. 1 tbs all purpose flour
  10. 1 package (17.3 ounces/2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
  11. 1 egg beaten with 1 tbs water, for egg wash
  12. 1 tablespoon Sugar in the Raw
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the apples, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt and cook for 10 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the apples have softened and released their juices.
  3. combine the lemon juice and flour in a small bowl and stir to the dissolve the flour.
  4. Remove the apples from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and flour mixture. Pour the apple mixture into a medium bowl and set aside to cool while you prepare the pastry. Make sure you allow them to cool, I did not and it made a mess.
  5. Unfold one sheet of puff pastry on a floured cutting board. Roll the sheet into a 12-inch square with a rolling pin. With a sharp paring knife, cut six 5-inch circles from the pastry, using a dish or a bowl as a guide and discarding the scraps. Place ¼ cup or less of the filling on one side of each circle, leaving a border around the edge of each circle. Brush the edges of the circles with the egg wash and fold over, making half circles. Crimp the edges together with the tines of a fork. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry. Place pies on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, and chill for 15 minutes. Brush with the egg wash, sprinkle with the sugar in the raw, and make 3 small slits in each pie to allow steam to escape. Bake for 20 minutes, until puffed and golden brown.
  6. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or at room temperature.
Notes
  1. Make sure your apples are cooled. Some of the filling may come out while preparing and/or baking it's fine.
Adapted from ina garten
Adapted from ina garten
Cooking at Clark Towers https://cookingatclarktowers.com/

Coffee Creme Cake

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How many kitchen items do you have that doesn’t exactly get a lot of use but you just can’t or won’t part with?  I am scared to even count and the thought hasn’t even really crossed my mind. Well it might have crossed it but it was dismissed almost immediately.

IMG_4264I am sitting here trying to remember why I even bought my bundt pan. I believe it was right around the time the kids were born so close to 30 years ago; damn I’m old. I mean damn that pan is old. I also believe I bought it after someone brought into work a sour cream coffee cake that I still have the same recipe for; though I haven’t made it for quite some time. Maybe that oldie but goodie needs to make a re-appearance.
IMG_4266Anyway, I saw this recipe on the cover of one of my favorite magazines Fine Cooking and I knew immediately I would be breaking out my old bundt pan and giving it a try. While I definitely should have adjusted the cooking time for my dark bundt pan; I left it in the oven probably 3-5 minutes too long and was too dry for us. Though I will be making this again. It has great flavor and it looks awesome. The only ingredient I have never been able to find is Instant espresso powder. I have needed it before for other desserts and I should just order it online; but I still haven’t. I substituted it for some dark roast instant coffee I found and it worked out just fine
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Coffee Creme Bundt Cake
Serves 10
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Ingredients
  1. 2 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature, plus a little more for the pan
  2. 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus a little more for the pan
  3. 2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  4. 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  5. 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  6. 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  7. 3 tablespoon instant espresso powder, or dark roast
  8. 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  9. 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  10. 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  11. 3 large eggs, room temperature
  12. 3/4 cup sour cream, room temperature
  13. Glaze
  14. 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  15. 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  16. 1 large egg yolk
  17. 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  18. 1/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder, or dark roast
  19. 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
Instructions
  1. preheat the oven to 350' F. butter and flour a 12-cup bundt pan
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cardamom, baking powder, salt and soda.
  3. in a large mixing bowl, combine the coffee and vanilla. Add the sugars and butter and beat with an electric mixer on medium until fluffy. about 4 minutes. beat in the eggs one at a time until well combined.
  4. reduce speed to low and alternate adding the flour mixture and the sour cream. Ending with the flour and mix just till combined.
  5. Add the batter to the pan and smooth the top.
  6. Bake until the cake is puffed up and test with a skewer in the center, remove it from the oven when the skewer comes out clean. 45-55 minutes. Check it at 40 minutes if using a dark pan.
  7. Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then flip the cake onto the rack to cool completely.
Prepare the Glaze
  1. in a small saucepan, heat the condensed milk, butter, egg yolk, salt and coffee over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. about 4 minutes. drizzle while warm over the cooled cake. top with chopped walnuts.
  2. serve warm or at room temperature.
Adapted from Fine Cooking - Samantha Seneviratne
Adapted from Fine Cooking - Samantha Seneviratne
Cooking at Clark Towers https://cookingatclarktowers.com/

lemon zucchini blueberry tea cake

My initial intent was to post about the asparagus that I cut from the garden Friday after work I had pork chops out and a plan. But it was so nice out and we haven’t been able to use the patio or the porch yet this year; it has been too cold and too rainy. Friday afternoon was beautiful out so instead of cooking we made a plate of cheese and crackers and had our first Happy Hour out on the porch. I will admit our Happy “Hour” usually turns into Happy till the sun goes down or the bugs force inside.

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Since my asparagus is still in the fridge and we are going out to dinner with some friends tonight (Saturday) I still won’t have time to cook the dinner I planned on making last night. Welcome to nice weather and the changing of plans. Happens to me all the time!
My daughter and I got the porch, patio and the flower garden ready this morning plus did some raking and got my in-laws patio ready for them and I made my shopping list but it is way to nice out to go to the store, so that will have to wait for another day. I am currently sitting out on the patio writing this while my husband is lounging over there reading. Life is good!!!

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If you have never had lemon and blueberries in a muffin, tart or cake or something you really need to try some sort of baked good using both of them, they are like the perfect compliment a little sweet, a little tart. the flavors are terrific together though I am very partial to lemons so maybe I am a little biased but they are worth checking out.

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This is my first one using their suggested amount of blueberries – we all felt every bite benefited from having a blueberry with it.

Lemon Zucchini Tea Cake preheat oven to 350 degrees

¾ cup applesauce – or if you want coconut oil
1 ¾ cups shredded zucchini – drained
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
3 eggs
1 ¼ cups sugar
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
Handful of fresh blueberries

In a stand mixer or use your hand mixer; combine the eggs and sugar on medium-high speed until light in color 1-2 minutes. Add the applesauce, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla beat until well combined another 1-2 minutes. Add the zucchini, beat till combined; another minute. Sift the flour, soda, powder and salt. Add this mixture to create the batter and beat till combined; do not over mix.

Grease or spray your pan and add the batter, place in the oven for about 40-45 minutes. Bake until your wooden toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cool, loosen the edges and invert the cake onto a wire rack to completely cool. Once cool, spread cream cheese frosting and top with some blueberries

I used 2-8” cake pans but could be made in one larger cake pan; it doesn’t rise like you would think as it is a denser kind of cake.

Cream cheese frosting
1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened
¼ cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 16-ounce bag of powdered sugar (roughly 4 cups – I buy mine in bulk)

Cinnamon Rolls for Mothers Day

Happy Mothers Day!

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You really should make these this morning – my mouth is watering

I will be going out to breakfast this morning without my children. My husband and I are away for the weekend for a wedding in Rhode Island. For those of you that are home and plan on making breakfast for your mother, wife, grandmother or just for yourself. These are worth making today, or any day really.  They are so easy to put together and crazy fast that you can make them in under an hour – seriously!

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Do I have your attention yet?

I’ve made them a few times and it still surprises me how good they are and how quickly I can make them and with so few ingredients that I always have on hand; I bet you do too. Make a frittata or strata or just scrambled eggs and a fruit plate and you will have a very tasty very satisfying breakfast or brunch fit for a Queen!

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The dough comes together very easily!

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Add as much or as little cinnamon as you like

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after baking

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before baking / after rising

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Cinnamon Rolls
Serves 9
Easy, fast, light and fluffy Cinnamon Roll with great flavor
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  2. 3 tablespoons sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon salt
  4. 2 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast = 1 packet
  5. 1/2 cup water
  6. 1/4 cup milk
  7. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  8. 1 large egg
  9. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
for the Filling
  1. 1/2 stick butter softened, room temperature
  2. 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  3. 1/4 cup brown sugar
for the Glaze
  1. 1 cup powdered sugar
  2. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  3. 2-3 tablespoons milk
Instructions
  1. pre-heat your oven to 200’ and just before you place the rolls in the oven; turn it off.
  2. in a large bowl add the flour, sugar, salt and yeast; mix well
  3. In a microwave safe bowl heat the milk, water and butter till the butter melts 30-40 seconds.
  4. Once melted stir into the flour mixture and the egg and knead until the the dough is no longer sticky roughly 3-4 minutes.
  5. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl to rest for 5 or 6 minutes.
  6. Mix together the cinnamon and brown sugar for the filing
  7. Roll out the dough after it is done resting; into a 15″x 9″ rectangle.
  8. Spread the softened butter on top and then sprinkle the sugar cinnamon mixture over the butter.
  9. Roll the dough on the 15” side tightly and cut into 9 large even pieces.
  10. Place them in a 9″x 9″ slightly greased pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the; turned off oven for 20 minutes.
  11. After 20 minutes remove the plastic wrap and turn the oven up to 375’F. Bake for 15-20 minutes until they are lightly browned.
  12. Make the glaze while the rolls are in the oven. Mix the powdered sugar, vanilla and use enough milk to make the glaze light enough for you to drizzle over the hot rolls when they come out of the oven.
Adapted from from the recipe critic
Adapted from from the recipe critic
Cooking at Clark Towers https://cookingatclarktowers.com/

Blueberry Pie Bars

Before my husband and I were married way back in the late eighties. We got a puppy together, isn’t that kind how things tend to progress for most? You date for a few years; you move in together and get a pet? I see it is a trial period to see if you can co-habitat before pulling the trigger on marriage and kids. If you can co parent a pet and not kill each other; you might have a shot at this marriage/parenting thing. In my opinion!
IMG_3984We have had dogs more than we haven’t; 4 in total and all but the first were rescues. The current one is testing all of us. I have lovingly dubbed him my ungrateful rescue. The last two were wanderers but that is nothing compared to the coo coo that runs our lives now. I really wish I documented everything he has done. It would make for an entertaining dog drama. He has separation anxiety and he has come a LONG way in the last 9 years. He is lucky he has us and we are lucky to have him. BUT last week he had to have TPLO. I proudly can say I have never heard of this up until now. TPLO stands for Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy – now that’s a mouthful.
IMG_3990.JPGWe have been spoiled with free feeding all of our dogs, very few leash walks, we have a lot of land that’s partially ours and all around us. Mostly hands off care for our pets. This surgery comes with a lot of restrictions for not just weeks but months. It’s going to be a long road not just for him but for us. My daughter gets all the props for leading and keeping us on track. Just a glimpse of the first 14 days; no stairs, his own pill of the week box and a cone of shame. Here’s hoping for a full recovery 4-6 months down the road.
IMG_3993.JPGWhat is my segue into my cooking blog – absolutely nothing and I apologize but it has been pretty much all dog and no cooking in my world right now. I will share with you a wonderful blueberry recipe that is worth checking out and pretty easy to throw together.

INGREDIENTS:

Crumble Crust and Topping
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
pinch salt, optional but recommended

Filling
1 large egg
1/2 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt; or sour cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Blueberry Layer
12 ounces (2 cups) blueberries (fresh or frozen; thawed or unthawed either works)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons cornstarch

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray; set aside.

Crust and Crumble Topping In a large bowl add the melted butter and sugars, whisk to combine. Add the flour and salt. Stir to combine, should be dry and sandy with a few large clumps.  Set a heaping 3/4 cup crumble mixture aside for the topping. Transfer remaining mixture to prepared pan, Create an even smooth flat crust. I use the bottom of my measuring cup. Set aside.
IMG_3985Filling In a medium bowl, add the egg, Greek yogurt or sour cream, sugar, vanilla, and whisk to combine. Add the flour and whisk to combine. Evenly pour filling over the crust smooth it over the crust.
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Blueberry Layer In a separate medium mixing bowl, add all filling ingredients and toss to combine. Evenly distribute blueberry mixture over the filling.
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sprinkle with the reserved topping.

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Bake for about 60 minutes, or until edges are bubbling and the topping is slightly browned. Place pan on a wire rack and allow bars to cool for at least 1 to 2 hours before slicing and serving. Don’t skip this part or they will fall apart.
IMG_3992.JPGBars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, in the fridge for up to 10 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months. I bet they won’t make a week in my house.

 

Recipe adapted from Avery Cooks 

Raspberry Squares

I am going to share this recipe with you that I originally posted about 5 years ago. Yeah I know I can’t believe I have been writing a weekly blog for about 6 years now. I honestly didn’t know how long I would stick with it. I didn’t know what my objective for a blog would be. I see bloggers come and go, I see them change format, and timing some slow down with how often they write. I am still writing and sharing because I enjoy it, I enjoy hearing that people look forward to reading my post, I enjoy sharing recipes that I would make again. I love it when someone makes one of my recipes and gives me a shout out.

beef and broccoli 008 beef and broccoli 010 beef and broccoli 026 beef and broccoli 028 beef and broccoli 030 beef and broccoli 033 beef and broccoli 035 beef and broccoli 039 beef and broccoli 041

Sometimes you want something sweet but you don’t have the time or patience to make individual cookies.  I will admit I do make more cookies than bars and I am not a fan of jelly filled anything but I found this raspberry bar recipe and fell in love.  I have made these many many times now, when I offer to bring them places I always double the batch just so I can leave some at home.  They are really easy to make, generally can be thrown together in about 15 minutes, not including baking I hope you try making them.  You can substitute the filling for whatever your preference is.

Raspberry Bars

1½ cups all-purpose flour
1¼ cups quick-cooking oats
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ cup finely chopped pecans or almonds, or a combination of both
12 tablespoons unsalted butter softened but still cool.  Cut into pieces
1 10 oz jar of raspberry preserve

Easily doubled – which is how I generally make them
Preheat oven to 350’F

Spray 9×9 pan fold two 16-inch pieces of parchment or aluminum foil. Fold and press the first sheet into the pan pressing the corners, with the second sheet crisscross over the other.  You will want to make sure the end over hang; this is to take the bars out of the pan a lot easier.  Spray with the sheets with cooking spray.

Mix the flour, oats, sugars, baking soda, salt, and nuts in a bowl of an electric mixer on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds.  With the mixer on low, add the butter pieces; continue until the mixer is well blended and resembles wet sand; about 2 minutes.

Transfer two thirds of the oat mixer to the prepared pan; use your hands to press the crumbs evenly into the bottom of the pan. Bake until the crust starts to brown, about 20 minutes.  Using a rubber spatula spread the preserves evenly over the baked oats; sprinkle the remaining oat mixture evenly over the preserves. Bake until the preserves bubble around the edges and the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 1 ½ hours. Remove the squares using the foil or parchment paper handles. Transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 1 ½ inch squares.

Baklava thumbprint cookies

Happy Healthy New Year To You All

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I am guessing you are thinking wait didn’t she write just last week it was going to be a sugar free zone January. I did, especially at the office, now if only someone; anyone would come and eat the giant margarita glass overflowing with Lindt chocolates before I go back to work on Wednesday there might be a fighting chance.  Also I did mention this at home and got a resounding hell no we won’t go chant sooooo not sure how this is all going to pan out.

IMG_3864.JPGI also mentioned several blog posts ago that there will always be baked goods in my life so I am just going to keep being me!
IMG_3865.JPGI saw this recipe in a magazine that intrigued me in 2 ways. Firstly I have always wanted to make a thumbprint cookie but none of the fillings seemed calorie worthy; I’ve never been a huge fan of a lot of jelly, don’t get me wrong I like it just fine, but I want it to be a light layer as an accent not the main ingredient, if you get my drift. You will never see me eat a jelly donut – just saying! Secondly I like baklava and actually since spending time in Greece recently you could say love; because theirs was all amazing. But the ones I have had here in the states were just way too sweet for me. I sound too picky for a foodie but there you have it!
IMG_3866.JPGThese cookies were almost perfect and everyone over Christmas loved them. The only thing I would do actually will be doing differently is; not a huge fan of almond extract it is such a powerful flavor and tastes kind of fake to me, I would add half the amount of that and increase the vanilla extract. I will give you the recipe as I found it but since I am going to be me; you do you!
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Ingredients
1 cup of sugar
½ cup butter, softened
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon almond extract – here I would do ½
1 teaspoon vanilla extract – here I would to 1½
2¼ cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt

Topping
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup honey
¾ cup of chopped walnuts

Directions
Add the flour, baking powder and salt to a small bowl and set aside.

Cream the sugar and butter until well blended. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the extracts.
IMG_3868.JPGAdd the dry ingredients to the wet, beat until creamed all together.

Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate until firm enough to form into small balls. Around 30 minutes or so.
IMG_3870.JPGPreheat oven to 375’F
Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside

Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Place them about 2 inches apart on either parchment lined or silpat lined baking sheets.
IMG_3872.JPGBake for 8 minutes. Pull them out of the oven and press a deep indentation in the center of the cookie with the back of a spoon or I used the back of a melon baller. Fill each indentation with a little honey and top with nuts; then sprinkle them with the cinnamon and sugar. Back into the oven for another 1-9 minutes.
IMG_3876.JPGCool them on the sheet for a minute and them remove them to wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Approx.
1 cookie 168 calories, 7g fat, 25g carbs, 2g protein

Recipe: Sharon Eshelman – Taste of Home

Russian tea cakes or Mexican wedding cookies?

I really love these cookies, I mean what’s not to love, butter, sugar and nuts. They are super easy to put together and rather quickly too. I don’t know why but they are generally only made around this time a year. Maybe because they look like a snowball?

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How cute are my fish teaspoons?

I have heard them called many things; Russian tea cakes, Mexican wedding cakes, Italian wedding cakes, snowballs, snowball cookies, and butterballs to name a few. Why so many names? Why called a cake when they clearly the size of a cookie?
IMG_3719.JPGIn doing a little research the names Russian versus Mexican seem to come from what nut you choose to use. Russian tea cakes use Hazelnuts, almonds and walnuts. And Mexican wedding cakes use pecans. The names snowballs and butterballs seem to be more of whatever your family has grown up using maybe? The cake versus cookie has a long explanation but I will try to condense it A LOT. Mexican weddings used to not have the typical tiered creations that we have here in the US instead they had tables with all kinds of confections for their guests and these were popular. The Mexican wedding cake cookies are known as polvorones. The Russian name is said that they were a popular treat at tea time for Europeans. 
IMG_3718.JPGPreheat oven to 325 – prepare 2 cookie sheets either with parchment, spray or silpat mat

2 cups whole pecans or walnuts, chopped fine
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened but cool
⅓ cups sugar
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups confectioners sugar for rolling cooled cookies

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Mix 1 cup chopped nuts, flour, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside
Place the remaining nuts in a food processor and process until they are the consistency of corneal, careful not to over process and make butter. Stir into the flour mixture and set aside.
IMG_3713.JPGCream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about a minute or two. Beat in the vanilla; scrape as needed. Add the flour mixture and beat on low until the dough just comes together; about 15-20 seconds. Scrape again as needed and process till dough has all come together a few more seconds.
IMG_3714.JPGWorking with 1 tablespoon at a time, use a cookie scoop if you have one to make them all the same size. Roll into a ball and place on a prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes; just until the tops are barely brown. Rotate halfway through cooking.
IMG_3716.JPGCool on the cookie sheet for about 2 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes or so. Roll cookies into confectioners sugar, gently shake off the excess. They can be stored in an airtight container up to 5 days, or frozen for a couple of months. Just before serving roll them again in confectioners sugar to coat again; tap off the excess.
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Recipe: Cook’s Illustrated

Buttermilk Biscuits

I have been writing this blog for several years now and while I enjoy writing and sharing with you all. You would think I would have a better game plan; I don’t I have been on vacation this past week and it didn’t occur to me to write this weeks blog or even make something worthy of sharing until 7:40 last night ugh! I literally had all week and I want to say we had cereal at least 2 nights and I think my husband made banana pancakes one night. It could have been a perfect week to try out some new recipes write up a few blogs so I didn’t add to the pressure of the holiday season. Nope not me let’s get up early and make something so I could take pictures and write it down for you. You’re welcome 🙂
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I have been wanting to make cookie dough for the freezer so I figured I would make some sort of cookie for you, then the fridge ingredients dictated that I needed to use up some of the buttermilk and we needed to eat something for breakfast; who doesn’t love biscuits; seriously I don’t know of anyone that doesn’t at least like biscuits.
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I have made this recipe several times and they never had really come out as advertised. I will go on record that it was all my fault. I used her recipe and made them my usual way which apparently was wrong; well not wrong I was just not going to get the same results as they showed in their pictures. So I decided to make them step by step according to the recipe which I will share with you, and you can decide if you want fluffy or flat biscuits, they taste the same to me. but the fluffy ones are beautiful to look at.

Buttermilk Biscuits
Spray a sheet pan lightly with nonstick spray or use a silpat mat like I did.
Preheat oven to 450°F.

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping the dough
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
4 tablespoons (½ stick) cold unsalted butter
¾ cups cold cultured buttermilk

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Add the shortening and use your fingertips to pinch it completely into the flour mixture.

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Using a box grater, grate the cold butter into the flour. Toss until all of the pieces are coated. We have some butter we keep in the freezer so mine was frozen.
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Lightly coat your work surface with nonstick cooking spray, then flour. (The spray keeps the flour in place.) Add the buttermilk to the flour mixture. Gently mix the dough with a rubber spatula until there are no dry bits of flour left. The dough should be slightly sticky. I really did this step to the letter and I think the dough is a little more than slightly sticky.
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Transfer dough to the prepared work surface. Lightly coat your hands with flour and gently press the dough with the heels of your hands to form it into a smooth flat rectangle, 1/2-inch thick. Sprinkle the dough with flour, then fold it into thirds (like a letter). Press the dough out again, sprinkle with a little flour, and fold it into thirds again. This time folding in the open ends first. Repeat one more time. Dough should no longer be sticky. again this is the first time doing this step and it worked and I get it!
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With a floured 2-inch biscuit cutter, cut out dough rounds. Flip the rounds over so that the smooth sides that were against the work surface face up and place on the prepared pan, 1-inch apart. Stack the scraps and press and cut again. Refrigerate until cold, about 15 minutes. I put mine in the fridge just long enough to clean up my mess.
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Bake until the tops are golden brown and crisp, about 16 minutes. I set the timer for 10 and only added 3 more minutes. You know your own oven so adjust the time. Let cool 5 minutes before serving hot. This step was killing my husband; he is pretty dramatic when it comes to food. He is always starving – not really!!!

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the ones in the back are the fluffy ones

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You can see the difference in size – so your choice follow the directions as written or have flat biscuits – both are delicious!

Recipe by Carla Hall

 

Cranberry-Pistachio Cookie Bar

So last week I mentioned having some cookie bars cooling while I was writing. They are all gone, no I didn’t eat them all by myself I had some help. Actually it is kinda funny that my son who doesn’t live here anymore but works with my husband so is here most mornings does a drive-by of the stove and immediately looks to see what might be packaged up to snack on.
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My name is Donna and I am a snack-a-holic. (stop laughing KP) we have not one but two snack drawers and anything homemade goes on the shelf above the stove, mostly to keep my dog from counter surfing. Which he has done a few times.

IMG_3615Back to the cookie bars. I am going to blame the magazines I was going through to try to get rid of a few. Out of a half dozen or so I think I got rid of two. That is not how you clean out your magazines/catalogs. While going through them I came across one that they had me at the title Cranberry-Pistachio bars. One of my most favorite combination of sweet and salty is cranberries, pistachios and white chocolate. I have made cookies, biscotti’s and bark with these three magical ingredients and have NEVER been disappointed.
IMG_3622.JPGThese bars are thick, dense and chewy; not too sweet or salty just the right amount I think. Though they did not list white chocolate I had to add a drizzle of some of it melted on top.

Cranberry-Pistachios cookie bars
Preheat oven to 350’F – line a 9×13 pan with foil, spray non-stick spray

Ingredients
¾ cup butter, melted
1¼ cups light brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated white sugar
½ cup honey
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1½ cup salted pistachios, chopped
1 cup dried cranberries

Directions

In a stand mixer bowl, beat the melted butter, sugars and honey on medium until fluffy about 3-4 minutes. Scrape as needed. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Beat in the vanilla.
IMG_3616IMG_3617In a small bowl, whisk the flour and salt. Add them to the wet mixture, beating until combined. Add pistachios and cranberries till combined.
IMG_3618IMG_3620Press batter into pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes until a wooden toothpick comes out slightly sticky. Let cool completely in the pan. Optional drizzle of white chocolate. I took a handful of chips and in a Pyrex measuring cup; melted them in the microwave for about a minute. Then drizzled them on the cooled bars. Slice and enjoy!
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Recipe adapted from Southern Lady magazine

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