Sunday, October 30, 2011

Cookie Time Again.....



How about those pumpkins?? It is hard to believe Halloween is tomorrow with all this snow coming down. I thought maybe we had missed it and skipped into December already. What a better time to bake when you are cooped up at home surrounded by snow.




Sugar Cut Out Cookie Recipe
Ingredients





1 Cup of Softened Butter
1 Teaspoon of Salt
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla
3 c. of Flour
1 1/2 c. of Granulated Sugar (I use half brown sugar )
2 Large Egg
2 tsp. of Baking Powder


Directions
*Preheat the oven to 375°F.
*Cream the butter and sugar.
*Beat eggs and vanilla into the butter / sugar mixture.
*In a separate bowl, sift together the baking powder, salt and flour.
*Mix the sifted dry ingredients in with the wet ingredients one cup at a time, and continue mixing until the dough becomes stiff.
*Divide the dough in half and refrigerate 1 hour or more.
*On a floured surface, roll each half of the dough until it's approximately 1/8" thick.
*Cut out cookies using floured cookie cutters.
*Bake the cookies on an parchment covered cookie sheet for 6 - 8 minutes, or until they're golden brown.
*Let the cookies cool before frosting.


**Now for the frosting I use a confectionery sugar frosting and dip the cookies in to get that smooth texture. I let them dry then take chocolate frosting with a small round tube in my pastry bag to make the facial marks on the pumpkins










Confectionery Sugar Frosting -
3 c. powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. lemon juice or extract, and enough warm water to get the dipping consistency you desire.**It works best in a mixing bowl with a whip. I let it go to get all the lumps out

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Awesome Pumpkin Cookies

We made these a few weeks back at school and I just had to share. They are super moist and delicious. They will last a while, if you can stop yourself from eating everyone! Storage my be difficult because of the frosting. be sure to let dry well before stacking.



INGREDIENTS
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1 cup Pure Pumpkin
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Glaze (recipe follows)

DIRECTIONS
**PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Grease baking sheets.

**COMBINE flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in medium bowl. Beat sugar and butter in large mixer bowl until well blended. Beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets

**BAKE for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Drizzle Glaze over cookies.

**FOR GLAZE:
COMBINE 2 cups sifted powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in small bowl until smooth.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fly Your Flag!!

Great day to fly a flag here in New England. The weather has been sunny and wonderful. Fall is peaking it's head in and it is nice to see.


I made this Leaf Flag about 20 years ago, after seeing it on a beautiful Fall day, driving through Vermont. I knew I had to make it, it was just so darn cute! Flying flags like these are pretty popular around these parts, so I have made a few through the years. This was one of my first ones and it was fun to do.


The hard part was getting all the poplin colors. And then of course all the close stitched zig-zag stitching. After you do all that stitching, then it is on to using a seam ripper. So yes, it can be time consuming, but well worth it. And look how long it has lasted!!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Tasty Fall Leaves


I haven't had the chance to do any leaf peeping yet. The colors are not at their prime, but I am hoping to rectify that problem within the next couple weeks. But, to get ready for the fall big reveal, I thought I would make some colorful leaf cookie cut out. The weather is starting to chill and the rain has been falling for a few days now....what better way to spend an afternoon than to bake, bake, bake!


Sugar Cut Out Cookie Recipe
Instructions

1 Cup of Softened Butter
1 Teaspoon of Salt
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla
3 c. of Flour
1 1/2 c. of Granulated Sugar (I use half brown sugar )
2 Large Egg
2 tsp. of Baking Powder

Directions
*Preheat the oven to 375°F.
*Cream the butter and sugar.
*Beat eggs and vanilla into the butter / sugar mixture.
*In a separate bowl, sift together the baking powder, salt and flour.
*Mix the sifted dry ingredients in with the wet ingredients one cup at a time, and continue mixing until the dough becomes stiff.
*Divide the dough in half and refrigerate 1 hour or more.
*On a floured surface, roll each half of the dough until it's approximately 1/8" thick.
*Cut out cookies using floured cookie cutters.
*Bake the cookies on an parchment covered cookie sheet for 6 - 8 minutes, or until they're golden brown
.*Let the cookies cool before frosting.
**Now for the frosting I use a confectionery sugar frosting and dip the cookies in to get that smooth texture.



Confectionery Sugar Frosting -3 c. powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. lemon juice or extract, and enough warm water to get the dipping consistency you desire.
**It works best in a mixing bowl with a whip. I let it go to get all the lumps out.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pumpkin Whoopie Pie

This time of year I love me some pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin! And once again they say there is a shortage of pumpkins, which I haven't seen yet. But, if you see cans of pumpkin in the store right now, pick up enough to get through the holidays. The last couple of years when they said there was a shortage, as it got closer to Thanksgiving, you couldn't find any cans on some of the shelves at the local store. If your like me, and liking some pumpkin stock up baby!

PUMPKIN WHOOPIE PIES



Ingredients
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups solid pack pumpkin puree
2 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 tablespoon ground cloves


Directions
**1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F . Lightly grease baking sheets.
**2.Combine the oil and brown sugar. Mix in the pumpkin and eggs, beating well. Add the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, 1 teaspoon vanilla, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Mix well.
**3.Drop dough by heaping teaspoons onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake at 350 degree F. for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cookies cool and fill with marshmallow fluff or cream cheese frosting.

Pesto, pesto, pesto!

Yes, it is almost time for the overnight temperatures to reach freezing point, which is 32 or below. Unfortunately, that means hurry up and clean out the garden of anything that has survived so far. That meant picking the tomatoes green or not, all the jalapenos, and lots of herbs. Which included a huge amount of Basil.

So what better way to store up a bunch of this delightful smelly leaf, than to make it into pesto so that I can store up a bunch in the freezer. Some people store them in ice cube trays. But since I have none of them around I store mine in snack size ziploc bags. This recipe is so simple, especially if you have everything on hand.


PESTO
Ingredients
3 cups packed fresh basil leaves
4 cloves garlic
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts

Directions
1.Combine basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and nuts in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Blend to a smooth paste. Store in little ziploc snack bags in freezer.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Panera Broccoli Cheddar





This week in class we will be stirring up a couple of great soups that we are copying from some famous restaurants. I made this several times and it comes out so great , you can not tell the difference. Go ahead and see if you can tell the difference.




PANERA BROCCOLI CHEDDAR




INGREDIENTS:
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups of 2 % milk
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 pound fresh broccoli (I use frozen if I have it on hand)
1 cup carrots,shredded



salt and pepper, to taste
8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese

PREPARATION:
**Saute onion in butter. Set aside. Cook melted butter and flour using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly and slowly add the milk(this is called making a roux). Add the chicken stock whisking all the time. Simmer for 20 minutes.

**Add the broccoli, carrots and onions. Cook over low heat until the veggies are tender for 20-25 minutes. Add salt and pepper. The soup should be thickened by now. Pour in batches into blender and puree. Return to pot over low heat and add the grated cheese; stir until well blended.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Monster Cookies







I recently helped sponsor a bakesale and these cookies were one of the number one sellers. I love the fact that they seem a little healthy with the oats and peanut butter. Add a couple of teaspoons of flaxseed and it would seem even better!!! LOL


This time of year they make those special autumn colored M & M's if you can find them. And note this little trick..... if you press them into the dough after you have balled them up on the sheetpan, they will not chip and break.



MONSTER COOKIES
Ingredients
1/2 cup margarine, softened
3/4 cups white sugar
1 cups packed brown sugar
1 1/2cups peanut butter
3 eggs
1 teaspoons corn syrup
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 cups flour
1 cup candy-coated milk chocolate pieces
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips


Directions
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2.In a large bowl, cream together the margarine, white sugar, brown sugar, and peanut butter until smooth. Beat in the eggs, two at a time, then stir in the corn syrup and vanilla. Mix in baking soda, flour, and oats until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Roll dough into 2 inch balls, and place 3 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten slightly with the palm of your hand and place the candies in before baking.
3.Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool on cookie sheets for a few minutes, before transferring to wire racks to cool completely

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fun Friday Pizza ....Yum!


I have a new go-to dough and sauce I've been tweeking. And boy is it delish! A really wet, sticky pizza dough that bakes up to perfection! Simple ingredients and technique in this dough make your pizza crust authentic, crispy and chewy just like your favorite NY pizza joint. This recipe makes enough for three 10- to 12-inch pizzas. And the sauce is enough for all three and more!

PIZZA DOUGH
Ingredients
2 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 teaspoons sugar
4 1/2 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tsp. salt
Directions
**1.Pour the warm water into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add in the yeast and sugar. Start to mix with a dough hook. Gradually add the flour until it comes together. add oil and salt and continue ti machie knead the dough for 5 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and knead in 1/4 cup more flour or as needed, adding the flour about 2 tablespoons at a time, to make a wet, sticky, but elastic dough. The dough should be "as soft as a baby's bottom." Form the dough into a round shape.
**2.Wipe the inside of a large bowl with olive oil, and place the round ball of dough into the bowl. Turn the dough over a couple of times so the dough picks up a thin coating of oil. Cover with a cloth, and refrigerate the dough for 10 hours or overnight.
**3.The next day, allow the dough to come to room temperature before rolling out on a floured surface and adding toppings as desired. Roll the dough out thin with a thicker edge before adding toppings.
**4.Place a pizza stone into oven, dust it with a little flour, and preheat oven to 500 degrees F (260 degrees C). Bake the pizza on the stone in the preheated oven until the bottom of the crust is browned, 6 to 8 minutes.

Pizza Sauce

Ingredients
3 garlic cloves, minced or 3 teaspoons
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 (29 ounce) can tomato puree
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons of oregano
1 T. fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Directions
1.In a large saucepan, saute garlic in oil until tender. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until sauce reaches desired thickness. Should you want it not too chunky puree it some more in a blender.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Graham Crackers..Really??



Have you ever wondered if you could make graham crackers?, how hard they would be? Well, probably not...You say, why make when you can buy a box for a $1.99. But, you can not find shaped grahams. So in my quest for something unique, I thought why not cut them into stars. They will look so cute with a fire roasted marshmallow in between, or you can frost cream cheese frosting in the middle of two and freeze. They can be packed away into school lunches. Your children will be the envy of the lunch table....


So with thoughts of an Autumn marshmallow roast on our backyard fire pit, these will be delish...Give these a try they are more simple then I would have ever thought!



Graham Cracker Recipe



*2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons unbleached pastry flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
*1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
*1 teaspoon baking soda
*3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
*7 tablespoons (3 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen
*1/3 cup mild-flavored honey, such as clover
*5 tablespoons whole milk
*2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract



DIRECTIONS
**In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade or in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Pulse or mix on low to incorporate.



**Add the butter and pulse on and off on and off, or mix on low, until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal.
**In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, milk, and vanilla extract. Add to the flour mixture and pulse on and off a few times or mix on low until the dough barely comes together. It will be very soft and sticky.
**Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat the dough into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, about 2 hours or overnight.
**Divide the dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator. Sift an even layer of flour onto the work surface and roll the dough into a long rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. The dough will be sticky, so flour as necessary. Cut into any shape you like and place on a parchment lined sheet pan.



*Repeat with the second batch of dough.
*Adjust the oven rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
* Using a toothpick or skewer, prick the dough to form two dotted rows about 1/2 inch for each side of the dividing line.
Bake for 25 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the tough, rotating the sheets halfway through to ensure even baking.
Yield: 10 large crackers

Cream Cheese Frosting



*8-ounce package of cream cheese
*2 tablespoons butter, softened
*1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
*3 cups of powdered sugar, sifted




Beat the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until creamy. Mix in the cream cheese and beat until light and fluffy. Stir in the vanilla extract and when fully incorporated add the powdered sugar. Mix until smooth and creamy. Place in the refrigerator for an hour before using.