M & M Cookies – the best ever.

Okay – best M & M cookies ever. My mom always made these for Christmas, I am not sure why, but I tend to make them year round. I guess it just one of those things I make to make the Boy happy at anytime of the year – and, yes, it really does seem to work. I think I need picture of him eating them, but do not expect he will allow that at all.

D&D_20831 cup Crisco
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp table salt
1 1/2 cups M & M’s, plain or peanut, but no – do not do peanut – just saying

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together Crisco and both sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix to combine. Add vanilla. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture in 2 batches, scraping down the mixing bowl as needed. Add M & M’s and stir to combine.  Use a #30 disher to scoop dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake 10 minutes or until golden – turning half way through.

D&D_iPhone_image6I am not sure what else there is to say about this recipe that I have not said before. I keep Crisco in the fridge just for this recipe because I love it so much. Maybe it is just a reminder of my mom, but at the same time it is a really good cookie recipe too.

I am guessing it is a bit of both. Yep, it is.

 

Peanut Butter Cornflake Cookies 

I am typically not a fan of no bake cookie things, excepting Rice Krispie treats, but I thought to give this a go. It reminds me of something completely random my mom made me as a child – one day, I will try to explain it, but I am sure it will not make any sense to anyone but me. That said, these are flavors of my childhood excepting the cornflakes. I think they are kind of cute in their on strange way.

D&D_19561 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
6 cups corn flakes

In a large saucepan, add sugar, then spray measuring cup with vegetable spray and add peanut butter and light corn syrup. Cook over medium to medium high (depending on your cooktop) until the middle of the mixture starts to boil. Stir constantly so sugar and peanut butter don’t burn. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and cornflakes until evenly coated.

Spray a #20 disher with vegetable spray and scoop and drop on to waxed paper. Do this quickly before the mixture sets up. Let cool on waxed paper for 30 minutes. Store at room temperature.

Thoughts: These are super sugary. But in small doses are good. Hope The Boy and my test kitchen at the office enjoy them.

I think they work because corn flakes have, pretty much, no flavor.

And the votes from my test kitchen are in and they are very positive. I do wonder what this might be like with, wait for it, pretzels.

17 June 17

Source: www.spendwithpennies.com/peanut-butter-cornflake-cookies/

Vanilla Taffy

I have never posted this recipe. It is a family recipe that is so special to me. It may mean nothing to anyone else – probably will not. But this is one of those handed-down recipes for something not many people make at all … and there is a story to it.

My mom made this every winter, not every Christmas because this recipe depends on the weather. There has to be low humidity and in the South that usually will only happen sometime between late December and late February. So this did grace the Christmas Eve party on occasion -yes, but there was no guarantee. It is North Florida after all. We oftentimes wore shorts on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

This was a recipe from my mom’s mom, Daisy, and my mom would describe how Daisy made it in the winter* and then to get the taffy hard they would toss it in the snow. We never were able to do anything like that, but it is kind of cool to understand where a recipe really comes from.

To be honest, I have never seen a recipe like this. Most people, when they think of taffy, think of salt water taffy which is soft,  but this is not. We (me and the Boy) have taken to calling it crack because when you pull it right and put enough air in it, it gets opaque and, well, looks like crack – at least the kind I have seen on Cops  (read: have no practical experience in the real stuff, but from TV, I can totally see it).DD_9068

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 Tbs butter
1 tsp vanilla

Necessary – candy thermometer – not kidding. Necessary.

Place sugar, water, corn syrup, and cream of tartar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Then cook without stirring until candy thermometer reaches 266 degrees.

Remove from heat and add vanilla and butter and stir until dissolved. Pour onto sil-pat lined baking sheet. When still hot, but cool-ish enough to pull, pull small bits in cords until opaque – you will burn at least your thumbs, but probably a couple of other fingers in the process. Twist into ribbons and lay on wax paper-lined baking sheet. When hard, break into pieces (just drop on baking sheet and see what happens) and wrap in cut waxed paper, or if you want to be fancy, wrap in pieces of parchment. We used waxed paper growing up, but I have taken a liking to parchment in the last few years.  

*They also butchered a pig each winter. Something I completely understand, but an not likely to be involved in.

2016 – Tomato Soup with Spinach and Mozzarella

“Keebler’s” Pecan Sandies

dd_1625I totally have a soft spot for pecan sandies – always have had. Over a decade ago I started making them from scratch and have never looked back. I have several recipes I like but so far my first one has been my favorite one.

This is a new recipe to try and displace my current leader.

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chopped pecans
Sugar for rolling

Sift together over waxed paper, flour, baking soda, cream of tartar,salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter, canola oil, sugar, and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Beat the egg in, then stir in vanilla.

Mix the flour mixture in the butter mixture. Mix in pecans. Chill for at least 20 minutes or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and roll into sugar.  Place 2 inches apart on parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake 10 – 12 minutes or until edges are golden. Do not over bake. Cool on wire rack. Makes about 3 dozen.

~~ Now, can I compare this to the Keebler’s version of pecan sandies, probably not. That would involve buying cookies, and I just cannot rationalize doing that when there are so many more recipes to try. That said, these were good, but I still prefer my old reliable. Everyone else liked them though, so that is a good thing.

Source: http://buttercreambarbie.blogspot.com/

Best Pecan Sandies, um, ever

These pecan sandies are just that – sandy. I am just not sure that another version could take their place – nope, but I have a couple of other recipes for pecan sandies just to try. And prove to myself that these are, by far and away, the best. I have no doubt about it.dd_1607

16 Tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla, but pretty much as you want
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup pecans, chopped – Renfroe’s to be sure.
Sanding sugar, for rolling

In a bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter and 1/3 cup sugar and salt until light and fluffy.^ Add in vanilla, once again, as much as you would like. Add flour and mix, scraping the bowl down as you go. Add the pecans and mix until incorporated. Divide dough in half and form into two inch thick logs. Wrap tightly in cling film and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Working with one log at a time, cut the dough into 1/4 inch slices. Arrange them on a baking sheet and sprinkle with sanding sugar.

Bake 25 – 30 minutes until the cookies are lightly golden on the edges, making sure to rotate pans half way through.# Let cool on sheet for one minute, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

I think slice and bake cookies are dead simple, and they are. And I will say it once again, this is my go-to recipe for pecan sandies.

^ what, exactly, does that mean. Really? Not sure.

# something you should always do

Shortbread

Shortbread is an odd little cookie if you ask me. It is not sweet, much, and can be a bit difficult to work with, but I am a fan. Although it is not the first thing I would go for in the baking/cookie department. I think is pretty much amazing with tea though, I guess that is because it is a Scottish biscuit in origin. And I have to say, I do sort of mess with the general idea of shortbread – see: vanilla and sanding sugar.dd_1583

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted*
1/2 -3/4 tsp vanilla (optional, well, not really)
Sanding sugar (optional, nope, not really)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter until slightly lighter in color and smooth. Sift confectioners’ sugar and salt over a piece of waxed paper. Beat with butter until light, fluffy, and smooth. Add a bit of vanilla if preferred.

Sift flour over waxed paper. Add flour and mix until just incorporated. Scrape soft dough onto plastic wrap. Cover with more plastic wrap and pat until a bit thin. Rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour – it needs to be firm to the touch.**

Using flour, roll out shortbread dough until it is 1/4 inch thick. Use your favorite cookie cutters (my mom’s) or a biscuit cutter and put the cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cool the cookies in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Sprinkle with sanding sugar or whatever sugar you feel inclined to use.

Bake until the tops are golden, about 12-14 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet and then move to a wire rack to cool completely.

* confectioners’ sugar always needs to be sifted. It is just a given.

** I chilled overnight because I am kind of lazy that way. Well, not really. Here’s the deal – I make a dough one night and bake it later, usually the next day. It works because I can do each step – make and then bake the next day – because during the week my baking occurs after work. I also justify this by the fact that I have read that cookie dough gets better with a bit of time in the fridge. Sure – that works for me – after all I’m making cookies during the week, not just on the weekend.

I have had this recipe in my cookie binder, yes, I have that, for a long time and I think trying to find the source of this recipe when the title is only “shortbread” is nigh on impossible. So I won’t but will thank the gods that be for a pretty good recipe that I messed with just enough to make be really happy.

 

Very Special Rice Krispie Treats

I defy anyone to not like a home-made rice krispie treat. They are great, drop dead simple, and make people happy. Those of us who bake/cook do it to make people in our lives happy. These also make me happy – so a total score!dd_1562

I had an accident once with rice krispie treats. It was probably common enough, but it made for a major advancement in my recipe. I had put my unsalted butter in a sauce pan to melt before adding the (mini) marshmallows and was not paying attention. Unbeknowst to me, I had created a light version of brown butter but went ahead with the recipe – this, people, is a game changer. No shit. Game Changer. It gives the treats a nuttiness that is simply amazing.

So then I started to think what else could I do to make these simple treat special? Well, let’s see – marshmallows are vanilla flavored so why not a bit of vanilla extract while we’re doing this – gild that damn lily. Then I think I had one of the best thoughts lately (maybe ever). What does sweet food love more than salt? Um, nothing. So after the treats were in the pan, I sprinkled them with Maldon salt. Holy Hell. Yup.

So here are the particulars … based on memory because I just kind of winged it.

4 Tbs unsalted butter
10 oz-ish bag of mini marshmallows
1 Tbs vanilla extract (the really stuff, please)
5 cups rice cereal (snap, crackle, and pop, stuff – Publix brand works really well)
2 tsp Maldon salt – or your choice of sea salt, something flaky though

Spray a 9 x 13 inch glass pan with cooking spray and set aside. Melt butter in a light colored sauce pan that way you can see when it starts to get just a bit brown. Add the marshmallows and stir to start melting. When you feel in the mood add in the vanilla. Once marshmallows are melted, stir in the rice cereal and coat with marshmallows.

Dump marshmallow mixture into prepared pan and using wet hands smooth it into an even layer. Sprinkle the pan with Maldon salt.

Then – eat for breakfast because you know all the cool kids are doing it.