Easy Peach Cobbler

I have to say, I wonder about this recipe. Why would a girl from Georgia make a peach cobbler with canned peaches? One can only think because it’s the middle of winter or something, but even then you could get frozen peaches – buy them or freeze them in mid – late summer at the height of peach season. Not sure I get it, but I needed a quick dessert to take to my mother-in-law’s (loveliest person in the world) for dinner when my brother-in-law was in town. The decision to have BBQ seemed to work with this dessert and to be honest, while it was not my ideal peach cobbler, in a pinch, it was not bad.

D&D_2837I have lots of canned peaches and mandarin oranges in the pantry because my eating habits lately are just so weird (thanks chemo). It’s not that I can’t eat, I just don’t feel like it and when I crave something, I have to have it because the craving will not last long – at. all.

Two 15-ounce cans sliced peaches in syrup
8 Tbs butter
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk

Homemade Whipped Cream:
2 cups whipping cream, chilled in the fridge
4 tablespoons sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Drain 1 can of peaches; reserve the syrup from the other. Place the butter in a 9- by 12-inch ovenproof baking dish. Heat the butter in the oven until melted.
In a medium bowl, mix the flour and sugar. Stir in the milk and the reserved syrup. Pour the batter over the melted butter in the baking dish. Arrange the peaches over the batter. Bake for 1 hour. The cobbler is done when the batter rises around the peaches and the crust is thick and golden brown. Serve warm with fresh whipped cream

Homemade Whipped Cream: Chill a large metal mixing bowl and the wire beater attachment in the freezer for about 20 minutes. Pour the chilled cream and sugar into the cold mixing bowl and beat until it forms soft peaks, about 5 minutes. The mixture should hold its shape when dropped from a spoon.

Source: Trisha Yearwood

Saturday April 28 2018

Lemon Love Cake

This is a recipe I never, um, ever, thought I might make. It uses two things that I just cannot abide by. Cake mix and pudding mix. Ugh. Dear lord the chemical smell just about sent me over the edge.

That said, I had seen Valerie Bertinelli make this kind of cake some many times, in so many iterations, that I just had to give it a go out of pure curiosity sake. So why not a lemon cake for Easter.

D&D_2787Easter to me is lemons or carrot cake and a few bits of chocolate, oh, and wait, some tiny jelly bird eggs – yes, I stock up for the whole year. You just don’t want to get into the details of what happens when you eat WAY too many jelly bird eggs.

Unsalted butter, for greasing
All-purpose flour, for dusting
One 16.5-ounce package lemon cake mix
1 lemon, zested and juiced
>One 32-ounce container part-skim ricotta
Two 8-ounce containers mascarpone
4 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk
One 3.4-ounce package lemon instant pudding mix

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13-by-9-inch baking pan with baking spray.

Prepare the cake mix according to package directions, then add 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and set aside.

Beat the ricotta, lemon zest and 4 ounces of the mascarpone with an electric mixer on medium-low speed until smooth. Add the sugar and vanilla; beat until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until just combined. Gently spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the cake batter.

Bake until the cake layer has risen to the top (the ricotta and cake layers switch places) and a wooden pick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat the remaining 12 ounces mascarpone with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Gradually add the milk, beating until smooth. Add the pudding mix and beat until smooth. Let stand until thickened, about 5 minutes. Spread the frosting over the cooled cake.

Notes: I was a glutton for punishment and did all this by hand. It worked out, but I really need a nice hand mixer for when I don’t want to get the stand mixer into a mess.

Also, this recipe made me purchase things, I, um, never buy. 1) Cake Mix, 2) Jello Pudding Mix. But the idea seemed so good I could not quite help myself.

Source: Valerie Bertinelli

While I have to say this smelled a little chemically being mixed up – it certainly didn’t taste like that.

There were only 4 of us for Easter and this cake is huge, um, and dense. So I sent the vast majority of it to the Boy’s work. I understand that one of the bartenders hid it from pretty much everyone else. I think the best thing about this cake is it makes it own “cheesecake” layer on the bottom – hence – dense, but yummy. Might need to make one of these for the next pot luck at work – might be a new favorite.

I do love to take baked goods to the restaurants that we frequent. I also do make a special effort to get treats back to the kitchen. So many people forget about the back of the house.

Mustard-Swiss Crackers

This is a new recipe for me and a new idea as well. I have so very many cookbooks, but just for convenience sake, I usually use recipes I’ve saved on my cute little red drive from off the interweb.

Well that stops now. I am going through so rather old cookbooks to start “cooking the books.” I won’t do it all at one time, just as I feel like it, but this is my first foray into the idea.  I already know what I have next in line – spoilers, but since I had swiss in the house and all kinds of mustard and I have an unnatural thing for crackers, I decided to start here. My changes, due to not wanting to go to the Publix,  are noted below.

D&D_28248 Tbs cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
8 ozs Swiss cheese, coarsely grated (2 1/4 cups)
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 Tbs Dijon mustard – used Gulden’s and added Dijon to the next grocery list
2 tsp dry mustard (Coleman’s)
1 1/2 tsp mustard seeds – didn’t use
1 tsp salt

In the bowl of the food processor, blend butter and cheese until almost smooth. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until combined. Divide dough between two sheets of waxed paper and role into an 8 inch log. Wrap tightly in wax paper and then foil; freeze until firm, 1 1/2 – 2 hours.*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment. Cut logs into 1/4 inch slices and arrange 1 inch apart. Bake, turning half way through until edges are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

Source: The Best American Recipes: 2004-2005

Cook the Book 2018

*Refrigerate overnight – totally worked as it most of the time does.

Dough 7 April

Baked 10 April – smells a lot like mustard, but the taste is wanting. Needs some heat and I think the Swiss just gets lost in the end. So we shall try this again – maybe adding a pinch of cayenne

They bake up beautifully though, so worth another try (very soon) with some flavor adjustments. Maybe the Dijon mustard will make a change too.  Sprinkle of some salt on the top. Not sure – so many ways that this can go.

Love things you can prep and leave in the fridge and bake a few days later. Makes baking in the evening after work so much easier. You feel like you’ve accomplished something on a Wednesday or whatever.

 

Homemade Peanut Butter Dog Treats

This is an easy and flexible recipe. You can used canned pumpkin or canned sweet potato or just toss a sweet potato in the oven while you’re roasting something else. All-purpose or whole wheat flour will work.

D&D_2715I have to admit they smelled good, but I was concerned when Hood dropped the cookie from his mouth and sat there and sniffed it. But that didn’t last long – he likes them. I made in two sizes for him.

2/3 cup roasted sweet potato
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 large eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, or more, as needed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, beat together sweet potato, peanut butter and eggs until well combined. Gradually add 2 1/2 cups flour at low speed, mixing just until incorporated. Add an additional 1/4 cup flour at a time just until the dough is no longer sticky.

Working on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough 3-4 times until it comes together. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Using cookie cutters, cut out desired shapes and place onto the prepared baking sheet.

Place into oven and bake until the edges are golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Let cool completely.D&D_2704

Source: damn delicious.net

Easy and fun and Hood – arbiter of taste that he is, loves them.

D&D_1827_Hood_MardiGras

Sour Cream Drop Biscuits – MFC

This is the recipe I have used for years and years. It is from my mom’s very best friend -Mary Francis Christy. It is simple and so very good and the technique, you must admit makes it even better. I have made these for years and years when I just want a simple biscuit to go with my dinner and maybe a couple left over for breakfast the next day.

D&D_2680I do not have self-rising flour in the house often, unless I plan on some biscuits and in this case, I was not thinking ahead. If I don’t have self-rising flour, I do know how to make it out of all-purpose flour.

So here is the dead simple deal:

1/2 pint full-fat sour cream (full-fat – come on, you are making biscuits, right?)
8 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
healthy pinch of kosher salt
2 cups self-rising flour (or the make your own version w/A-P flour)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix all ingredients. Drop into greased muffin tin and bake until golden brown, 25 – 30 minutes, turning half way through.

You can also drop them onto an parchment-lined baking sheet, but the muffin tin thing is so much easier and they cook at the same time because they are the same size. Great, or what? Yep, great.

Sorry – since we are in the Biscuit Project, I really think these beat the drop biscuits from Cook’s Country. But you must understand – they are in Boston – that should tell you everything you need to know.

Although, I will allow that the technique here – baking the biscuits in muffin tins really makes a big difference. Cook’s Country – take note.

My mom and Mary Francis were like two peas in a pod. It was like having a local aunt, since all my real aunts live in North Carolina or beyond. I loved going to her house and I loved it too when she came to our house. Every time we just hung out in the kitchen and sort of saw what happened.

It is good to have people like that in your life when you are still impressionable – you know – what they now call tweens. But I’ve always been happier in the kitchen than anywhere else.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

Pi Day has begun … and this is like a Blondie in pie form.

D&D_26231 graham cracker crust
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla
8 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans
Pinch of kosher salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a large bowl, mix together eggs, sugar, flour, and vanilla until well combined. Stir in melted butter, chocolate chips, and pecans. Pour mixture into crust. Bake 35 – 40 minutes until pie has lightly browned and set in the center. Cool completely before serving.

I make my own graham cracker crust. It’s a little rustic, but it is tasty.

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs – I buy the box of crumbs, much easier the counting panels of graham crackers, etc. Honestly, no one ever seems to count them the same way.
1/4 cup sugar
6 Tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

Mix together and press into 9 inch pie pan sprayed just slightly with baking spray. Bake in the 325 degree oven for about 8 minutes rotating half way through.

Source: Add a Pinch

 

D&D_26209 January 2018 – Start making pies early since you never know what will be happening in mid-March – I mean, Mardi Gras occasionally, St. Patrick’s Day for sure, or just crappy cold weather that is killing everything in the garden that you planted – with ever present optimism – only to be spoiled be that late chill. Sigh.

Very chocolate-chippy kind of pie. Crunchy on the top and gooey in the middle – in the best sense.

Big success as I passed around wedges to people to get opinions. Might be even more lovely with some whipped cream – but it should not be sweet – the pie is certainly sweet enough.

Lemon Sour Cream Pie

Another new gamble for Pi Day. Also a nice way to try a pie that might just be perfect little tartlets for Easter which is fast approaching.

D&D_2697I totally cheated and used Pillsbury’s roll-out pie crust since I was taking on a baking project during the week. And you know, if you use a regular 9″ glass pie plate – not a deep dish pie plate, the dough works out nicely from blind baking for this kind of pie.

9 inch pie shell, docked, pre-baked, and cooled
1 Tbs lemon zest
1/2 cup lemon juice (depending on size about 4)
3 1/2 Tbs cornstarch
1 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 cup whole milk
8 Tbs unsalted butter, cubed
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
Whipped cream for garnish

Pre-bake parchment lined crust filled with pie weights and place on baking sheet. Let cool while making the filling.

In a heavy saucepan, whisk together lemon juice, lemon zest, cornstarch, sugar, egg yolks, and milk. Cook over medium low heat until thick making sure to whisk frequently. Remove from heat and whisk in butter. Allow the custard to cool completely. Once cool, whisk in sour cream.

Pour into baked pie shell and refrigerate at least two hours, or better overnight. Serve with whipped cream. But I like it better without.

Keep refrigerated.

Bitching: I need some kind of pie holder, so the top doesn’t get mushed. Put it needs to be a thin holder so you can stack two pies in holders on one shelf in the refrigerator.

This was a super simple, totally do-able on a weeknight kind of pie. It wasn’t too sweet either which made it big plus for me. I like my lemon desserts to be tart – not overly sweet. The custard was smooth and creamy.

Very nice. We certainly be doing this again, perhaps in aforementioned tartlets.

Toffee Cookies with Chocolate and Cayenne

I hate Valentine’s Day. Wait, not quite correct. I hate all card-company made up holidays that make you think you need to purchase a (cheesy) card for someone and basically waste money. These holidays include both Mothers’ and Fathers’ Days too. Ugh, so gross.

Valentine’s the the most egregious though made up holiday.  Overpriced roses that have no smell whatsoever. A meal out that is meh at best and again, overpriced. Pressure for the whole evening and lord help you if you have just started a new relationship. Just wait and ask her/him out in March or something. Go out for Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day – it worked for me.

That said, I took a recent cookie recipe and make sweet little heart cookies with chocolate and then did the perfect thing – added cayenne. Hey, why not, right?

D&D_260816 Tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 egg yolks
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate – Ghirardelli
1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
Fleur de sel / Maldon
cayenne

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add the egg yolks one at a time and mix well. Combine the flour and salt in a small bowl, then add the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture, mixing until well combined.

Shape the dough into a flat disk, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for 10 minutes.*

Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out hearts with a cookie cutter and place the cookies on the baking sheet.

Bake for 11 to 13 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Let cool completely on the baking sheet.

Bring water to a simmer in a double boiler, or set up a heatproof bowl over a small saucepan with water in the bottom. Melt the chocolate over the simmering water. When the cookies are cool, spread them gently with a thin layer of melted chocolate. Before the chocolate dries, sprinkle lightly with the pecans and a few grains of fleur de sel and a pinch or so of cayenne – let your conscious be your guide here. Let the chocolate set. The cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Makes 20 – 24 cookies – all depends on your cookie cutter.

*It took more than 10 minutes – way more – just leave the dough in the fridge overnight.

Johnson Brothers – Old Britian Castles – pink.

Mardi Gras Sugar Cookies

Most people think Mardi Gras is just a New Orleans thing, but that could not be further from the truth. Mardi Gras is huge in Mobile, AL and in Pensacola as well. I would list all the krewes we have here, but the list is long enough to make you bored.

Season starts on 12th Night, the day the 3 Magi brought their gifts to the baby Jesus and goes until Mardi Gras – Fat Tuesday – the day before Ash Wednesday, when we all start trying to behave a little better. Carnival gives us something to do when it is cold and miserable outside – drink copious amounts of alcohol and be loud.

We won’t even get into the Moon Pies. I just cannot explain that to even my own satisfaction.

Well, I know I make these cookies every, um, yes, every year, but they are fun and this sugar cookie recipe is just the absolute best. As much as I hate roll-out cookies, these always work. Simple and done. I keep buying different colors of sugar all year long – hey, you never know when you will need them.

dd_11801 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Over a piece of waxed paper, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer,  cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time and then the vanilla. Sift flour into butter mixture, 1 cup at a time until just combined. Dump out onto plastic wrap and shape into a disk. Cover with plastic and chill 3 to 4 hours (*or overnight or even a day or two).

Roll out dough until 1/4 inch and cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Brush and sprinkle with colored sugars. Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 8 – 10 minutes until edges are slightly golden. Remove cookies to a rack to cool completely.

You do have to be careful with such large cookie cutters because those sized cookies can break easier than smaller, more compact cookies.

Here are the cutters. Reasonably priced from King Arthur Flour. They do require hand-washing and drying immediately, but that is not a huge deal since there are only 5 cutters. They are sturdy and easy to use.

D&D_2638

Smoked Almond Toffee Mini Milk Chocolate Kisses

Ever since I tried smoked almonds a few months ago I’ve been planning on making some kind of cookies with them. So here we are.

D&D_266016 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup smoked almonds, chopped
8 ozs toffee pieces
5 ozs mini milk chocolate kisses

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Over a piece of waxed paper, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt.

In bowl of stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time and blend well after each addition. Mix in vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add almonds, toffee, and kisses.

Scoop dough onto baking sheet with a couple inches in between. Sprinkle with a little Maldon salt if you’re in the mood. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, turning the pans half way through.

Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Source: Mod Meals on Mendenhall & cute firefighter guys never hurt. Recipe modified by, um, me.

2 Feb 2018