Friday, August 16, 2013

Quick & Easy Jam Bars


Use your favorite jam (raspberry and apricot are nice). These are ready in a flash and folks with a well-developed sweet tooth love them!.


Jam Bars
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup quick or old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter
  • 1/2 cup jam of your choice 

 

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Mix together flour, baking powder and salt. Blend in oats and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter (or rub between fingertips) until mixture is crumbly.

Pat 2/3 of crumbly mixture into a 9x9” pan (for thicker bars, use an 8x8” pan). Spread with jam. Top with remaining crumbs and pat down lightly.

Bake at 375° for about 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cut into bars when cool.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Bread Machine Pizza Crust


The semolina flour adds nice "chew" and flavor to this crust. If you don't have semolina on hand you can substitute whole wheat, or additional all-purpose or bread flour and your pizza will still be great! Pre-baking eliminates the "soggy crust" problem that often plagues home-baked pizzas.

Makes one 16" or two 12" thin crusts 
Pizza

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose or bread flour  
  • 3/4 cup semolina flour
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Have all ingredients at room temperature and measure into bread machine pan in the order specified by manufacturer. Select dough cycle.

When dough cycle has completed, move the dough to a floured board and cover with a bowl or tea towel and let rest for 15 minutes*.

PreBake Crust:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Roll out dough to fit pan(s). Give pan a light coating of olive oil and sprinkle with a little cornmeal. Press dough into pan and bake for 10-12 minutes or until crust begins to slightly brown.

Add toppings of your choice and bake for another 15-20 minutes until crust is browned and toppings are cooked through.

*If you would like to delay baking the crust until later, skip the resting phase and place dough into a large oiled bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Store in refrigerator until ready to bake (up to 12 hours). Punch dough down, cover and let rest outside of refrigerator for 30-45 minutes before rolling out and baking. I think the crust actually turns out better if it has been refrigerated, as it is easier to roll out and seems to have firmer texture after baking.

Variation:
Add 1-2 teaspoons herbs of your choice along with dry ingredients. I like to add 1 teaspoon each of dried oregano and parsley.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Digestive Biscuits

Digestive Biscuits


Digestive Biscuits (named for their supposed health benefits when they were first developed back in the 1800's) are a plain, sublimely comforting cookie that I have loved since I was a little girl. My mother swore by Peek Freans, but McVities are also excellent. They can be hard to find in the U.S., but not to worry--they are surprisingly easy to make at home! Although the texture of these biscuits is somewhat more shortbread-like than the commercial variety, these delicious biscuits are definitely an acceptable substitute. My family likes them sweet, but you can cut the sugar back to one-half cup or less if you prefer a less-sweet or savory biscuit. If you are in the mood for a more decadent treat, try dipping the tops in melted chocolate—soooo good!
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  • 1-1/2 cups Graham Flour*
  • 1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt**
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Decorative sugar crystals, optional

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. Cut in butter (using a pastry blender or by rubbing between your fingertips) until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the sugar. Add milk and mix until a stiff dough is formed. Knead into a smooth ball and roll out on a floured board to 1/8” or so thickness. Cut into rounds or other desired shapes and place on a greased cookie sheet (or use parchment paper). Prick cookies all over with the tines of a fork. Sprinkle with sugar crystals.

Bake 15-20 minutes, until a pale golden brown. Do not under bake or the biscuits will not be crisp.

*Can also use traditional whole wheat flour, but I like the sweeter, nuttier flavor and chewy texture of graham flour (sometimes known as “wholemeal” flour).
**Salt can be omitted depending on preference of if salted butter is used

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Acorn Squash Pie


A delicate alternative to traditional pumpkin pie.   
Lovely and delicious—don’t forget the whipped cream!

 

    Acorn Squash Pie
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1-1/2 cups cooked, mashed acorn squash*
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 unbaked pastry shell (9 inches)

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Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Mix together sugars, flour, salt, spices and squash.  Stir in butter, eggs, milk and vanilla.  Pour into pastry shell and bake for 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to 325 degrees F and bake for 40 minutes, or until pastry is browned and filling is set (a knife inserted into center comes out clean).

Serve warm or cold with a dollop of whipped cream.


*Other yellow winter squash such as Hubbard or butternut can also be used.  Purée the cooked squash in a blender first for a smooth, silky pie.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cajun Clove Cake

This old-fashioned spice cake is perfect with a cup of coffee or a cold glass of milk. Good plain, but particularly delicious frosted with vanilla buttercream or cream cheese icing . The amount of spice may seem excessive, but don’t skimp—the cloves do something magical in this recipe.

 
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 2-1/4 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup  buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
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Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour a 10" tube pan.
Sift flour with the cloves, cinnamon and salt; set aside.

Cream butter with electric mixer, then gradually beat in sugar until mixture is light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs.  Beat in one third of the flour mixture, then stir in 1/2 cup of the buttermilk. Beat in another third of the flour mixture. Stir the baking soda into the remaining 1/2 cup of buttermilk and mix into batter along with remaining flour.  Pour batter into pan and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean.

When cake has cooled, dust with powdered sugar or frost with vanilla buttercream.

Note: Recipe can be cut in half if you prefer a smaller cake.  Use two eggs plus one egg yolk and bake in a loaf pan or 8" tube pan.
 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sugar Yolkies

This recipe makes a wonderful sugar cookie with a unique, light & airy texture.  They can be crispy or slightly chewy depending on how long you bake them.  A great way to use up leftover egg yolks!

6 egg yolks
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup shortening or lard
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon lemon extract*
1-3/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder


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Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Sift together flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder and set aside. Cream together shortening, butter and sugar.  Beat in egg yolks and lemon extract, then mix in dry ingredients.  Chill dough at least an hour.  Roll dough into balls, then roll in white sugar and place on cookie sheet.  Flatten cookies with bottom of a glass that has been dipped in sugar.

Bake for 7-12 minutes or until a delicate golden brown (be careful not to over bake).

*Can substitute 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Cuban Lime Cookies

Lime adds a tropical counterpoint to this rich, sweet cookie.
 
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter
2 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoons grated lime peel (packed)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon lime juice
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Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Mix  together flour, salt and baking powder.  In a separate bowl, cream together butter, sugar and lime peel, then mix in the dry ingredients.  Wrap the dough and refrigerate for one hour.  Form the dough into 1" balls and place on greased baking sheet (cookies will spread during baking).  Bake 15-20 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Derbyshire Christmas Cake

I came across the basis for this recipe in an old book titled "Derbyshire Cookery" that a relative brought back from England many years ago.  Since my mother was born in Derbyshire, I decided to give it a try.  So far, reviews have been very positive! Feel free to change the mix of dried fruit to suit your taste (I used dark and golden raisins, dates, currants, chopped dried apricots and other fruit bits I had on hand). Just make sure the total amount of dried fruit is around 1-1/2 pounds (not counting the peel).


1/2 lb. butter
1/2 lb. brown sugar
1/4 lb. candied orange or lemon peel*
1/2 lb. sultanas (golden raisins)
1/2 lb. dark raisins, chopped
1/2 lb. currants
1 oz. ground almonds
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 lb. flour (about 2 cups)
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup brandy or rum**
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Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease tin(s) and line with parchment paper.

Sift together flour, baking powder and spices and set aside. Cream together butter and sugar. Add beaten eggs alternately with the flour mixture and fruit. Stir in brandy and mix well.

Bake in tin(s) greased and lined with parchment paper until a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.  Depending on the size of pan(s) used, this can be anywhere from 1 - 4 hours (turn the heat down to 275 degrees F. after 20 minutes). If necessary, cover cakes with aluminum foil  to prevent excessive browning. I find that miniature loaf pans (about 5-3/4" by 3-1/4" by 2-1/4") work great for fruitcakes--just the right size for wrapping and giving. This recipe will make about 5 miniature loaves.

When cakes have cooled, brush with brandy or rum and wrap individually in cheesecloth. Store in a covered crock or tin in a cool place for 2-3 weeks before serving.  If desired,  brush cakes with more liquor every week or so during the aging process (just don't overdo it!).  Cakes will slice better if refrigerated before serving.

 *Can substitute 1/4 cup marmalade
**Original recipe said to use a "wineglass full".  I guessed at a half a cup (4 ounces)

Aussie Recipes

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