National Blonde Brownie Day   1 comment

I’ve always loved blonde brownies, and just recently found out that there is a National Blonde Brownie Day – and it’s today. How fun is that?!

So here’s my favorite blonde brownie recipe. Super easy, super yummy.

1/2 c butter, melted
2 eggs
1 c sugar
1 c flour
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/2 t almond extract

Mix like brownies; spray 8″ square pan
Sprinkle sugar, nuts, or chocolate chips on top if you want.

Bake 30 minutes @ 325′

(today I tripled this and have it baking in a 12″x17″ jelly roll pan)

Posted January 22, 2010 by smithlaurel in Uncategorized

Beka Bread Re-visited   Leave a comment

Since I’ve returned to making bread thanks to my new mixer (and to the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day concept, which needs its own post), I’ve been wanting to see how my favorite homemade bread recipe would do in the mixer. I’ve posted the recipe before, but I thought I would post some mixer adaptations as well as pictures.

Beka Bread ~ aka Honey-Wheat-Oatmeal Bread ~ Mixer Version

Combine in mixer and cool to lukewarm –
3 c boiling water
2 c old fashioned oatmeal
(you don’t need to actually use the mixer yet, but why dirty another bowl?)

Add to oats once they are lukewarm –
1 c warm water
2T yeast
1 c honey
2 T oil
1 T salt
2 eggs

Combine and add 4 cups flour (half wheat/half white)
Let the dough “sponge” 15 minutes (just cover the mixing bowl/mixer with a towel and go read blogs or something)

Add 1 cup of flour at a time (alternate wheat and white) — about 5 cups. Let the machine do the kneading for you until the dough is nice and elastic. This made a wetter dough than I’ve come up with doing it by hand, but I decided to go for it and see how it turned out.

Turn the dough out into an oiled bowl (yes, I’m longing for a glass bowl for my bread, but tupperware works!).

Let rise about an hour, or until doubled. My kitchen is on the chilly side, so I turn on the oven just long enough to get it comfy-warm, then turn it off use my oven for my rising station.

Form loaves – you will need to sprinkle flour on the dough and have floured hands. Like I said, it’s a wet dough.

Let rise again. This batch probably would have risen more if I’d given it a bit more time, but I was impatient!

Bake @ 350′ for 25-30 minutes. Let cool in pans on cooling racks before removing from pans.

Let cool so you don’t smash it with your bread knife … and enjoy!

Posted January 18, 2010 by smithlaurel in Uncategorized

Hot Chocolate Mix   2 comments

Here’s a simple and yummy hot chocolate mix. It’s the one I grew up drinking, and it’s still my favorite.
Health drink? No.
Comfort drink? Oh yes!

12 cups powdered milk
1 large jar creamer
2 cups cocoa
4 cups sugar
4 cups powdered sugar.

1/3 cup per serving, to taste

And if you’re like me, you won’t be able to wait until you get it in a gallon jar for storage before you make yourself a mug!

Posted January 18, 2010 by smithlaurel in Uncategorized

Self-Rising Flour   Leave a comment

I find it handy to have these proportions around since I don’t buy SR flour and some recipes call for it:

4c Flour
2T Baking Powder
2t Salt

Posted January 9, 2010 by smithlaurel in Basics

Cranberry Dessert   Leave a comment

Here’s a simple and scrumptious little dessert that Katie and I made yesterday. The recipe is from Nancy Rollinger.

George’s Cranberry Dessert

2 cups cranberries in pie pan.
Sprinkle 1/3 cup sugar over.
Add nuts as you like.

Whisk in bowl:
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup flour

Pour over cranberries (I actually found that I needed to put little spoonfuls of the topping all over the top because it didn’t “pour.”)

Bake 325 40 min

Simple. Pretty. Yummy!

Posted January 9, 2010 by smithlaurel in Treats

Pecan Tassies   1 comment

One of my favorite Christmas treats is Pecan Tassies, which I have loved since childhood. Thanks, Mama!

I’ve been experimenting with them this year, and am ready to share my recipe with you. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Pecan Tassies (makes 48 tassies in mini muffin tins)

Dough
1 cup butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 1/2 c flour

Cream butter, cream cheese, and sugar. Mix in flour to form soft dough.
Divide into 48 balls of dough. I find it easiest to divide the dough in half and form each half into a square that I cut into 24 not-perfectly-equal sections, then roll into balls.
Let dough balls chill in refrigerator for about 30 minutes (covered, so they don’t dry out).
Smash each ball into a circle a bit larger than the mini muffin tins, then place into buttered/oiled muffin tin and push and poke as needed to form crust.

Almost done with this pan!

Filling
Cream together:
1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
dash salt

Stir in:
3/4 cup dark brown corn syrup
3 eggs, well beaten
2 cups chopped pecans
1 t vanilla

Fill each tassie about 3/4 full. You don’t want to overfill them, because when the filling gets outside the crust, it makes the whole business stick like crazy!

Bake at 350′ or until filling is set/crust is golden brown.

Note: The following tassies are not golden brown. They were still very yummy, but they are prettier at golden brown than dark brown. On the other hand, if you don’t bake them long enough, they will be very difficult to get out of the pan.

I’m working on setting things up so that I can post a link to an easy-print recipe, but for now, here are the basics so you can at least copy and paste them easily.

Pecan Tassies (makes 48 tassies in mini muffin tins)

Dough
1 cup butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 1/2 c flour

Cream butter, cream cheese, and sugar. Mix in flour to form soft dough.
Divide into 48 balls of dough. Chill, covered, for 30 minutes, then flatten and form crusts in buttered/oiled mini muffin pan.

Filling
Cream together:
1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
dash salt

Stir in:
3/4 cup dark brown corn syrup
3 eggs, well beaten
2 cups chopped pecans
1 t vanilla

Fill each tassie about 3/4 full.
Bake at 350′ or until filling is set/crust is golden brown.

Posted December 10, 2009 by smithlaurel in Treats

Creamy Ginger Chicken Soup   4 comments

Update: After eating more of this soup, Jonathan and I agreed that I should ammend the recipe to 1/4 c butter instead of 1/2 cup. Probably the first time I’ve ever decided something had too much butter! At any rate, start with 1/4 cup, and add more if you feel it needs it.

I had a hankering for a certain soup today… a soup I had never made or eaten, and one for which I couldn’t find a recipe. Creamy, chickeny, savoury. But not Mexican-type savoury. So I made it up, and I love the way it turned out. Hope you like it!

Laurel’s Creamy Ginger Chicken Soup

Ingredients:
3 lbs. chicken breasts
6 medium-large potatoes, peeled and diced
Fresh Ginger Root, minced (I used one medium size root that resulted in at least 1/2 c of minced ginger. Feel free to use more.)
1 medium onion, diced or minced according to your family’s preference
5 cloves garlic
1/4 c butter
1 c white wine (I used cooking wine and honestly think that real wine would add an even better flavor. If you don’t use either, add an extra cup of water)
1 c heavy cream
1 c sour cream
1 t salt (plus to taste)
1 t Garam Masala
Pepper to taste

Boil 3 lbs. of boneless chicken breasts in just enough water to cover them. When cooked, set the chicken aside to cool. Run the resulting broth through a strainer to catch any little pieces. You’ll need 6 cups for the soup, so save the extra or add some water to make up the difference. I felt the need to wash my soup pot before proceeding, but that step is optional. 🙂

In 6 cups of chicken broth and 1 tsp salt, boil the potatoes until just tender. Remove from heat.
Add the chicken, which you have cut up or pulled apart while the potatoes boiled.

In 2 T of butter, saute onion until it begins to become translucent. (Add the remainder of your 1/4 c of butter to the soup pot with the potatoes and chicken.)

Add ginger and garlic and saute a bit longer, add white wine and let simmer for several minutes.

Add the onion/ginger/garlic/wine mixture to soup pot, then stir in cream, sour cream, Garam Masala, and salt/pepper to taste.

Warm, but do not allow to start to boil. Serve and enjoy!

Posted December 4, 2009 by smithlaurel in Soups