Thursday, December 31, 2009

Food Blog Search

I added a new link to this blog. Its in the right margin underneath my list of "other sweet blogs". Its called Food Blog Search. Thousands of recipes are just a click away- click on the picture and see. I have been using this food search for quite a while now. I love that when I search for a recipe or ingredient on here I am gauranteed to get pictures with my results. A recipe has to sound pretty amazing for me to try it without a picture! Food Blog Search has lead me to some pretty delicious recipes and some really great food blogs. Give it a try next time you're looking for a great recipe!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Dutch Baby

Looks cool, right? You will definitely impress any holiday guests coming your way with this one! Don't worry, dutch babies look difficult, but there couldn't be an easier recipe out there! The heat of the oven does all the work. A dutch baby, otherwise known as a german pancake, is an "eggy" giant, oven baked pancake. Such a fun breakfast, kid-friendly and yummy too! Traditionally it is served with a sprinkling of lemon juice and powdered sugar, but we usually eat it with maple syrup or raspberry sauce and whipped cream.
Make sure your guests or family see it come out of the oven, if they aren't already gathered round the oven watching it puff, it deflates rather quickly when taken out of the oven.
Dutch Baby
4 eggs
1 T. sugar (optional- I usually skip it)
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cups flour
2/3 cup milk
3 T. butter
*Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put the butter in an oven safe skillet or cast iron skillet (or 2 9 inch cake pans, although it wont puff as well) and place in preheating oven.
*While the butter is melting, blend the eggs until light yellow. (I usually do this by hand, but can be done with a mixer. The more you beat it, the more air you put in the eggs, the more puff you will get).
*Add all the other ingredients and blend well until smooth (err on the side of too much beating)
*Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven and immediately pour the mixture into the skillet and quickly get it back in the oven.
*Bake for 20 min. (dont open the door during this time, until it has begun to brown, otherwise it may deflate)
*Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake another 10 or so minutes until deep golden brown.
*Cut and serve hot
What a pathetic drizzle of raspberry sauce, huh? :) We were using up some leftover from the freezer!

*Your goal is to have the sides puff more than the middle, although that often doesnt happen. A dutch baby is like a snowflake- no two look the same!

*They are actually rather "light" and I could eat 1/2 of one myself, so if you plan on feeding more than a few people, make sure you have other stuff to go with it like bacon or sausage and fruit.

*Step up the impressive and decadent factor by piling it high with seasonal fruit and whipped cream or sauteed cinnamon and sugar apples (it makes a natural and delicious bowl!)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Santa Cookies

I have been making these santa cookies every Christmas for as long as I can remember. It wouldn't be Christmas without them! We usually make them with a couple of rolls of pillsbury sugar cookie dough, but this year I decided to make my own dough. I used my sister's sugar cookie recipe, divided it in half and rolled them into logs. It worked beautifully and this dough didnt spread at all!
The M-ster sprinkling the hats. She wasnt too interested in helping yesterday- good thing we only did one roll- maybe she will want to help another day:
"Ooohhh..." The T-ster thinks they look pretty good even before they are baked:
Santa Cookies
3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
red sprinkles
chocolate chips
red hot
piece of nut
white frosting
*Combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
*Cream the butter and sugar
*Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy
*Gradually add the dry ingredients and mix well.
*Divide dough in 2 and roll each piece into a log. Wrap in seran wrap and chill overnight- rotating occasionally to help keep a round shape.
*Slice chilled dough into about 1/4 inch slices (I got about 24 slices out of one roll- equals 12 cookies)
*Place one slice on a greased baking sheet. Take another slice and cut a triangle into it. Place the triangle on top of the head and place the other two pieces on the face as a mustache.
*Place two chocolate chips on each face for the eyes. The red hot for the mouth, under the mustache and the nut for the nose. Sprinkle the hat with red sugar sprinkles.
*Bake at 375 degrees for about 8 min.
*When cooled, frost the moustache and decorate the bottom edge of the hat and tip of the hat with a star decorators tip.

Monday, December 14, 2009

See's Fudge

This fudge and I go way back!! I mean as far back as my memory allows me. Every year my grandma would work hard to fill a big box full of Christmas goodies for my family and one for my cousins. It was full of peanut cookies, chocolate chip cookies, banana bread, poor man's bread, a giant windmill cookie, and my two favorites- cinnamon rolls and this fudge! Yum!!

My grandma gave me the recipe when I got married and the first year that I didn't get to enjoy her fudge, I decided to tackle it myself. Fudge is a little intimidating, all that heating and bubbling and stirring. It felt like there were just too many things that could go wrong, but after a phone call to my grandma to learn a few of her secrets, I discovered that it wasnt so hard afterall. And look, even I can create a creamy delicious fudge that tastes just like grandma's!- well, almost anyway, can you ever really match grandma? :)
See's Fudge (from Grandma Vanderbilt)
4 1/2 cups sugar
12 oz. can of evaporated milk
1/2 lb. (2 sticks, 1 cup) butter, chopped into chunks
18 oz. chocolate chips (I used dark choc., but in the past have used milk choc., both work fine)
7 oz. jar of marshmallow creme (the recipe says 8 oz, but I can never find that size and it seems to work just fine missing that one ounce)
2 tsp. vanilla
*Put the sugar and evaporated milk in a 6 quart pan and bring it to a rolling boil over medium heat, stirring nearly constantly. When it begins to boil rapidly, begin timing, and allow it to boil rapidly for about 8 min, stirring constantly. (grandma says it will NOT burn! :)
*Take it off the heat and add the butter, chocolate chips and marshmallow creme. Transfer to a big bowl and beat until smooth and creamy.
*Add the vanilla (and nuts if you choose) and continue to beat until it thickens (usually takes around 7-10 mins)
*Immediately pour into a well buttered 9x13 pan and allow to cool in the fridge at least overnight, if not longer. (I usually store mine in the fridge)
Makes 5 lbs.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sticky Biscuits

When we woke up this morning to a blizzard and I knew my husband would be home I knew I wanted to make cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Only problem? We didnt want to wait 3 hours to eat, while the yeast took its time to do its thing!! So I improvised and made some out of biscuits. Not as good as the real deal, but definitely not bad for a quick fix!

Sticky Biscuits

For the biscuits:
2 cups flour
1 T. baking powder
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup milk

For the topping:
3/4 cup brown sugar
4 T. butter
3 T. honey
1 T. corn syrup
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans (I left off since the T-ster was going to be eating them too)

For the filling:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 T cinnamon
4 T. butter, softened

The method:

*Combine all the filling ingredients and set aside.
*Combine all the topping ingredients, except the pecans, and begin to heat in a small saucepan until melted together.
*While the topping is melting together make the biscuits:
*Combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
*Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two forks until butter is roughly pea sized.
*Create a well in the dough and all at once, add the milk. With a fork gently toss until moistened and starts to hold together.
*Transfer to a lightly floured surface and quickly knead 4 or 5 times to bring the dough into a rough disk.
*Roll out into a rectangle (maybe 6 x 12 ??)
*Sprinkle the filling over the rectangle and then from one long side, roll up the dough and pinch to seal.
*Pour the topping into a lightly greased 9 inch round cake pan. (I didnt quite use all of it) And top with pecans.
*Cut the dough into 8 slices and place on top of the topping in the pan.
*Bake at 400 degrees for about 18 min? (I didnt really time it!- start watching after maybe 12 min)
*Cool slightly and then invert onto a plate or pan and allow the topping to drip down a bit before removing the pan.
*Serve warm

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Reindeer Sammies

Need a cute idea to please the kids in your life this Christmas season? Try these Rudolph the Reindeer treats. Take your basic Ritz sammie, peanut butter smashed between two Ritz crackers, dipped in chocolate, add a few other ingredients and you have a reindeer. I dont have a real recipe for this one, but here's the basic idea:

*Smear peanut butter between two ritz crackers and sandwhich together.
*Melt some candy melts in a double boiler, or in a small bowl placed over a bit of simmering water in a saucepan.
*Dip the crackers in the chocolate and set on a piece of wax paper to dry. While the "head" is still wet, dip two small twist pretzels and place next to the head so the chocolates touch and allow to harden together.
*Also while the "head" is still wet, place chocolate chips on the face for eyes and a red hot for the nose. (It helps to have a three year old help with this step! :)
*I used roughly two sleeves of ritz and one pkg of candy melts. I had leftover chocolate, which was perfect because I love chocolate covered pretzels:

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Speculaas (windmill cookies)

Dec. 5 is celebrated in Holland as Sinterklaas Day. Of course, being a Dutch family, it only made sense to take this opportunity for a good excuse to bake and have a party. Speculaas cookies (windmill cookies) are the traditional treat of Sinterklaas day. It is usually made in windmill or dutch boy and girl shapes, baked into a wooden press, but we just made due with christmas cookie cutters, along with a wooden shoe shape and a windmill shape, although as you can see in the picture below, the windmill looks a little more like a bunny, at least that's what the M-ster says!
Speculaas are a crunchy, spice cookie, studded with almond slices and usually topped with almond slices (we left them off this time). We also made half the dough without almonds for the little ones at the party! It's a very easy dough to whip up and work with. You do need to let it chill in the fridge overnight, so plan ahead!
Speculaas (windmill cookies)
1 cup butter, softened
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
3 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp ground anise seed (I left out b/c I didnt have any)
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cups sliced almonds, plus more for topping, if desired
*Combine the flour, baking soda, all the spices and the salt. Set aside.
*Cream the butter, vanilla, and both sugars, until light and fluffy.
*Add the beaten eggs and blend well.
*Add the dry ingredients.
*Stir in the almonds, by hand, so you dont crush them.
*Divide the dough into four and form each one into a disk. Wrap each section in plastic wrap and chill overnight.
* When ready to bake, allow the dough to warm up a bit so you can roll it out. Roll to about 1/4 inch thickness, cut.
*Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 min.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Peanut Blossoms

Its Christmas baking season! Time to pull out all those holiday favorites. I would love to hear what some of your favorites are, leave a comment, maybe you will help me discover a few new ones!! I thought I would start the season off with a classic, but can you believe I've never made peanut blossoms before! So simple, so delicious, so classic! Good thing I had some leftover kisses I needed to use up! The M-ster was very helpful in unwrapping all the kisses and in pressing them into the cookies. Here's the recipe I used, just in case, like me, you've never made them either. :)

Peanut Blossoms
1 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp milk
sugar for rolling
bag of Hershey kisses
*In a small bowl combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
*Cream the butter and peanut butter.
*Add both the sugars and beat well.
*Add the egg, vanilla and milk and beat to combine.
*Mix in the flour mixture.
*Roll a small amount of dough into a ball (about 1 inch) and roll in sugar to coat.
*Bake at 375 degrees for about 10 min.
*Remove from oven and immediately gently press a kiss into each cookie.