all sorts of recipes, from me to you

all sorts of recipes, from me to you…

Friday, December 19, 2014

Caramel-Coconut Cookies



Many of you ~ like my family ~ go bananas for anything chocolate.  Not me ~ I go bananas for caramel and coconut!




These rich cookies are crunchy on the outside and creamy, maybe a little chewy toward the center, a perfect combination to me.  The recipe belongs to Better Homes and Gardens, and I liked it so much, I doubled it:  all the more to share.  They’re easy cookies to make and good for the season.


Ummm, caramel!

N’uff said:  If you like the two, you’ll be addicted to these!  Just make them, and you’ll see…


Caramel-Coconut Cookies

Ingredients:

½ cup shortening
½ cup butter, softened
½ granulated sugar
½ packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
2 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1¾ cups four
36 vanilla caramels, unwrapped*
¼ cup milk
¼ cup shredded coconut, toasted

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, beat shortening and butter with electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds.
Add both sugars, baking powder, salt and baking soda.
Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.
Beat in egg, the 2 tablespoons of milk, and vanilla until combined.
Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. And stir in any remaining flour.
Drop dough by level measuring tablespoons 2-inches apart onto prepared cookie sheet.
Bake for 9 minutes, until edges are slightly browned.
Transfer to a wire rack.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, microwave caramels and the ¼ cup milk on high until melted and smooth, stirring every 30 seconds.
Spoon caramel mixture onto cookies.
Sprinkle with toasted coconut.
Transfer to a rack and cool.
Makes 40 cookies

*I use Werther’s Baking Caramels, they’re wrapped in wax paper and easy to use for baking!


ENJOY!







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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Pineapple Thumbprints



When I bite into one of these little gems, it’s like capturing the essence of Hawaii, my favorite destination!


It’s a buttery sugary treat with a creamy filling nesting in the thumbprint.  It’s a cookie that is filled with the delicious flavor of pineapple.  This recipe, from Food Network Magazine, can easily be doubled.

Making "thumbprints"

Filling the "thumbprints"

To mellow the sweetness, the filling is blended with cream cheese. Then the cookie is finished with a few bits of dried pineapple clustered in the cream cheese filling.

Maybe a little toasted coconut scattered over the cookie would be the icing on the cake...


Pineapple Thumbprints  
Adapted
Ingredients: 

2 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
½ cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ cup dried pineapple chunks, finely chopped, plus more for topping
1/3 cup canned crushed pineapple in juice
1½ ounces cream cheese
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Milk, for brushing

Method:
 
Whisk flour baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
Beat butter, brown sugar and 1/3 cup granulated sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Beat in the egg, then the lemon juice.

Reduce mixer speed to medium low; mix in dried pineapple, the the flour mixture until combined. 
Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine crushed pineapple, cream cheese, the remaining 2 teaspoons granulated sugar, vanilla and lemon zest in a bowl with a rubber spatula, breaking up any large pineapple pieces. 
Refrigerate until slightly firm, at least 30 minutes.

To bake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Roll dough into 1-inch balls; arrange 2” apart on baking sheets.
Indent each with the back of a floured ¼ teaspoon measuring spoon.
Brush with milk.
Bake until cookies are slightly puffed, 10-12 minutes.
Remove from oven and re-indent.
Spoon in the filling.
Return to oven until lightly browned, 6-8 more minutes.
Let cool 5 minutes on baking sheets; transfer to racks to cool completely.
Top with dried pineapple.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies




ENJOY!





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Monday, December 15, 2014

Rich and Creamy Buckeye Candy ~ OHIO!



After we moved to Louisville, when I was a teenager, Dad gave me several Buckeye nuts for good luck ~ I still have them to this day, with one being in my purse all the time.  They always remind me of him…


  

I’m a Buckeye at heart ~ was born in Ohio, lived there through my early years; my extended family still lives there.  It’s almost a shame ~ I’ve never made Buckeye Candy until now. 




There are about a zillion recipes over the Internet for this delicious confection; this one belongs to Jif.  It’s not a candy that is made often in this neck of the woods, so that makes it even more of a treat with it’s taste similar to Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.




The buckeyes are dipped in chocolate in a manner to duplicate the nut from the Buckeye tree, the state tree of Ohio.  They have a smooth peanut butter filling that is coated with rich semi-sweet chocolate.  It’s an easy recipe, which you will probably want to double like I do. 




Maybe these sweet little candies will bring a person good luck, just like the real Buckeyes do!


Buckeyes
Adapted

Ingredients:

1½ cups creamy peanut butter (I use Jif)
½ cup butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
3-4 cups powdered sugar (I used almost 3½)
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons shortening

Method:

Combine peanut butter, butter, vanilla and salt in large bowl.
Beat with an electric mixer on LOW until blended.
Add 2 cups powdered sugar, beating until blended.
Beat in additional powdered sugar until mixture, when shaped into a ball, will stay on a toothpick.
Shape into 1-inch balls.
Refrigerate 1 hour.
Place chocolate chips and shortening in microwave-safe bowl.
Microwave on medium for 30 seconds, stir.
Repeat until mixture is smooth.
Reheat as needed while coating peanut butter balls.
Insert toothpick in peanut butter ball.
Dip ¾ of ball into chocolate, leaving top uncovered to resemble a buckeye; remove excess.
Place on wax paper-lined try.
Remove toothpick and smooth over holes.
Refrigerate until firm.
Makes about 4-5 dozen

Pam’s note:  The chocolate adheres well when the peanut butter balls are VERY COLD and the chocolate is VERY HOT.  Dip them immediately; don’t let them sweat, as the chocolate won’t stick.  They’re easy to make, and sooo good!


ENJOY!







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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Spritz for Christmas


 They’re a buttery crisp dainty little cookie ~ they’re Spritz cookies!



The sweet little cookie was new to me when I met Bill.  His mother always made a “ton” of them this time of year.  And, it would not be Christmas here, if I didn’t bake them.

Years ago, I used the old Mirro aluminum cookie press: 




Then, graduated to this one:



 
 
And now, I use this one great tool with a push button: 




The electric cookie press works like a charm, once you get the hang of it.  It’s an automatic one-touch operation that takes practice, practice, practice to get the feel of how to control the amount of dough released.  Then, it’s easy to create great cookies and cleaning is easy also.  Plus, it does much more, with discs for making cheese straws, filling deviled eggs, pasta shells and pastry.  It’s a winner!

Here’s the cookie recipe I use, from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook, circa 1978:


Spritz Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
2¼ cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 teaspoon almond extract or vanilla

Method:

Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Mix butter and sugar.
Mix in remaining ingredients.
Place dough in cookie press; form desired shapes on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake until set but not brown, 6-9 minutes.
Immediately remove from cookie sheet to rack to cool.
Decorate as desired or not.
Makes about 5 dozen

Note for decorating:  Dab cookie with small amount of light corn syrup, with a toothpick or small brush, before sprinkling with colored sugar; the sugar will then adhere to the cookie.




ENJOY!



Disclaimer:  Cuisinart, or no third party, is involved with this post.  The content is solely my opinion.






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Monday, December 8, 2014

Creamy Spaghetti Squash w/Garlic



Spaghetti squash is one versatile veggie; it’s nutritious and tastes good too!




However, it probably doesn’t get all the love it deserves.  It has a delicate buttery taste, without adding butter; making it a healthy substitute for pasta, if a person is limiting carb intake.


Scooped out
Nearly done cooking


This is a creamy dish, that’s easy to pull together.  If you’ve never cooked the squash, this is a good recipe to start with!  Next time, I will be adding more garlic…


Creamy Spaghetti Squash w/Garlic

Ingredients:

1 spaghetti squash
1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
¼ cup half and half or milk
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tablespoon dried parsley
Salt and pepper, to taste


Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut squash in half and remove seeds.
Bake squash, cut-side down on a baking sheet for about 45 minutes, until fork tender, let cool to handle.
Shred squash with a fork, lengthwise like spaghetti strands, set aside.
In a hot skillet, sauté onions and garlic until tender.
Add shredded squash and mix.
Season with salt and pepper.
Blend in chicken broth and half and half.
Add cheese and parsley, combine well.
Remove to serving dish.
Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan, if desired.
Serve

ENJOY!





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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Spicy Pumpkin Pie with a Story



Bill is the pumpkin pie connoisseur in this family, and he likes it spicy!



This pie is synonymous with this time of year and it’s always a great dessert.



I cannot even think of pumpkin pie without remembering a neighbor who lived beside us in Louisville years ago.  She ran over to me one day with a “pumpkin pie” in her hand, asking what happened to it…

“Uhhhhh, oh my gosh, Beth!”

She bought a large pumpkin, scooped out the stringy stuff and seeds, and set them aside; next, she threw the flesh (meat for pies) into the trash.  Then she proceeded to make her pumpkin pie ~ of stringy stuff and seeds mixed with evaporated milk and spices ~ poured the conglomeration into a pie shell and baked it.

It was disgusting!  She was upset, ready to bawl, while I tried controlling myself by not laughing hysterically until she left!

‘Nuf said, here’s the recipe for a spicy pumpkin pie, it’s delicious!


Spicy Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients:

2 eggs
1 can (16-ounces) pumpkin
¾ cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cloves
1 can (12-oounces) evaporated milk
Pastry for 9” one-crust pie*

Method:

Heat oven to 425 degrees.
Beat eggs slightly with a whisk.
Beat in remaining ingredients.
Pour into unbaked pie shell.
Bake for 15 minutes.
Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees.
Bake for 45-50 minutes longer until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Transfer to wire rack and cool.
Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.
*My pie crust recipe is way back here.  


ENJOY!





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