Monday, November 29, 2010

All Butter Pie Crust

I made two cherry pies and one pumpkin pie for our Thanksgiving gathering. My sister-in-law requested that I make a piecrust pie next time; she loved this crust so much! My father-in-law ate pie for breakfast the following day, with a sad remark about there being no more for the afternoon. Head to Simply Recipes for the full version of the recipe. I'm sure it's even better than the way I did it! Here's the shortcut method I adapted:

All Butter Pie Crust

2 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into chunks
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
6 to 8 Tbsp ice water

Cut the sticks of butter into chunks and place in the freezer for 15 minutes to an hour.

Combine flour, salt, and sugar in the Bosch bowl with whisks. Change to cookie paddles. Add butter and blend until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add ice water 1 Tbsp at a time, mixing until mixture just begins to clump together.

Remove dough from bowl and place in a mound on a clean surface. Gently shape into 2 discs. Roll out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch circle; about 1/8 of an inch thick. As you roll out the dough, check if the dough is sticking to the surface below. If necessary, add a few sprinkles of flour under the dough to keep the dough from sticking. Carefully place onto a 9-inch pie plate. Gently press the pie dough down so that it lines the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Use a butter knife or kitchen scissors to trim the dough to within 1/2 inch of the edge of the pie dish.

Add filling to the pie.

Roll out second disk of dough, as before. Gently place onto the top of the filling in the pie. Pinch top and bottom of dough rounds firmly together. Trim excess dough with kitchen shears, leaving a 3/4 inch overhang. Fold the edge of the top piece of dough over and under the edge of the bottom piece of dough, pressing together. Flute edges using thumb and forefinger or press with a fork. Score the top of the pie with four 2-inch long cuts, so that steam from the cooking pie can escape.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Applesauce Cake with Maple Frosting

This delicious creation was featured at CakeWalk. It sounds SO good!

Spanish Bar Cake (a.k.a. Applesauce Cake)
one 9x13 pan

2 1/2 c. white flour
2 c. sugar, raw or granulated
1/4 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t. baking soda
3/4 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. cloves
1/2 t. allspice
1/2 c. oil
1/2 c. water or apple cider
1 pint applesauce
2 eggs
1 c. raisins
1/2 c. walnuts, chopped (or more)

Preheat oven to 350.

Sift or mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix the wet ingredients in a medium bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry, and stir until well incorporated but do not over mix. Fold in the raisins and walnuts.

Spread into a 9x13 inch pan and bake for 25-35 minutes. Cake is done when tester comes out clean, and the top is lightly browned. (Time varies depending on the size and variety of your pan.)

Cool completely, and frost with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting.

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting:

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
powdered sugar (3-4 cups more for thicker frosting layer)
milk (2-3 T.)
1/2 t. (or more) Mapleine (maple flavoring)
(optional 1-2 T. butter)

Beat the cream cheese and optional butter until well mixed. Add Mapleine and enough powdered sugar to create a thick frosting. Thin with a bit of milk, and correct with additional powdered sugar should it get too runny.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fresh Hot Cocoa #2

Here's another version of fresh hot cocoa, this time a bit healthier. I found this one at mommyx12's beautiful blog.

Healthy Fresh Hot Cocoa

10 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Pinch of salt
2/3 cup of honey
1 cup hot water
8 cups milk
2 tsp vanilla

Combine the cocoa, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and honey in a large saucepan and mix well. Stir in the hot water. Heat until it just begins to boil. Quickly turn down the heat so the mixture barely simmers for about 30 seconds. Add milk to the saucepan. Stir constantly over medium heat for 1-2 minutes just to heat it.
Stir in vanilla. Use a wire whisk to beat the hot chocolate until is is frothy.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Old Fashioned Lemon Sugar Cookies

This is a recipe.

Old Fashioned Lemon Sugar Cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
Zest from one lemon
Juice of one lemon juice
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 large whole eggs

Preheat oven to 350°.
Sift flour, baking soda, and salt into a bowl and set aside.
Put sugars and lemon zest in your mixer and mix at medium speed for about 30 seconds (until well blended). Add butter, mix at medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Mix in eggs, one at a time, at medium speed, then add lemon juice and continue mixing at medium speed for about 30 seconds.
Reduce speed and gradually add flour mixture. Mix until just combined.

Chill mixture for at least 15 minutes.

Drop cookie dough onto non-stick cookie sheets spaced 2 inches apart. Place remaining cookie mixture in refrigerator and cookie sheet(s) in freeze for 15 minutes. Using the flat bottom of a drinking glass, press the cookies till about 1/2 inch thick. If desired, sprinkle cookies with colored sugar and brush lightly with wet pastry brush. Sprinkle with more sugar to taste.

Return to freezer for approximately 5 minutes. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes. Let cool on sheets for 3 minutes and transfer cookies to cookie rack and cool. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Lemon Shortbread Cookies with Frosting Options

I have an abundance of lemons right now, so I will be adding some of the lemon recipes that we enjoy. This cookie is wonderful!

Lemon Shortbread Cookies

2 cups softened butter
1 1/2 cup light brown sugar
6 tsp fresh lemon juice (you can use more, too)
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest from 2 lemons (or more, depending on your taste)
4 cups all purpose flour

Preheat over to 325. Cream butter and sugar. Add lemon juice, vanilla, zest and flour and mix well. Shape level tablespoonfuls into logs or balls and place on ungreased cookie sheets or press into a jelly roll pan for bars. Bake 15-20 minutes till cookie spreads and is very light brown in color. Cool. You can dip cookies into melted chocolate or soft lemon frosting when cooled, or drizzle with a lemony powdered sugar glaze.

Lemon Buttercream Frosting

1/4 cup butter
1/2 pound powdered sugar
1/4 tsp lemon zest
1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 Tbsp milk
dash of salt

Beat butter till soft. Add powdered sugar alternatively with combined zest, juice, salt and milk. Beat till smooth. Add more zest if not lemony enough for your taste. Add a drop or two more milk if it's too thick. You can tint with yellow food coloring, if desired.

Lemon Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp melted butter
2 Tbsp lemon juice

Mix well. Drizzle or pour over cookies. This works without the butter, as well.

The Best Browned Beef Stew

This is a Recipezaar (now called recipe. We adapted it for our family and have it at least monthly through the fall and winter. It is SO good!

The Best Browned Beef Stew EVER!

3 -4 1/2 lbs cubed beef stew meat
1 1/2 cups flour
4 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped fine
3 carrots, chopped fine
3/4 cup finely chopped celery with a few minced leaves
3 tablespoons dried parsley
3 pinches thyme
10 1/2 cups beef broth (chicken broth works, too)
6 medium potatoes, diced
6 carrots, diced
  1. Put flour, salt and pepper in a large zippy bag.
  2. Heat oil over medium heat in a large dutch oven.
  3. Place meat in bag with the flour and shake until well coated.
  4. Shake off meat pieces and add them to the oil and stir until slightly browned, Add remaining flour from the bag and the finely chopped onion.
  5. Stir until well browned.
  6. Add finely chopped carrot and next 4 ingredients.
  7. Cover and cook over low heat for 1 1/2 hours (stirring every 15 minutes).
  8. Add diced potatoes, carrots and cook for another 45 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
I always cook this in my large cast iron Dutch Oven. It imparts a flavor that is missing when it's cooked in a stainless steel pot. I pair this with French Bread, either in roll or loaf form.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sour Pickles

Another pickle possibility. I found this one at Everyday Finesse.

Sour Pickles

Wash cucumbers and put them in a gallon or larger jar, barrel or another container.

To make the brine:
2 1/4 cups white vinegar
1/2 cup salt
8 1/2 cups water
6 teaspoons dill seed
3 cloves of garlic
3 teaspoons mustard seed

Put garlic into jar with the cucumbers. Put all other ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour over cucumbers until jar is full. Weight down the pickles (you can use a plate). Let set in cool, dark place for up to six weeks.

To can: Put cucumbers in wide mouth quart jars and pour over the brine until full. Cap and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

Canned Dill Pickle Relish

Found on

Canning Garlic Dill Pickle Relish

Ingredients You Will Need:
5 pounds pickling cucumbers (about 14 cups chopped)
2 cups red bell pepper, chopped
5 ½ cups cider vinegar
3 teaspoons dill seed
6 cloves garlic, minced
5 tablespoons pickling salt

Prepare jars by sterilizing them. Jars should be kept hot until filled and processed. Lids and rings should also be sterilized.

Wash vegetables, discard stems and chop. Measure the vegetables and place them into a large bowl. Set aside. In a large, heavy-bottomed kettle, combine the remaining ingredients, stirring until the salt dissolves.

Add the vegetables to the vinegar mix and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for ten minutes.

Using a canning funnel, fill the sterilized pint jars, leaving a ½ inch of headspace. Remove any air bubbles with the sterilized handle of a wooden spoon. Adjust hot lids and rings and process the jars in a hot water bath for 15 minutes. A hot water bath means the jars will be covered with water by one to two inches and that the water will be at a full rolling boil for the entire 15 minutes.

Remove the jars from the heat and place them on a rack to cool. Leave the relish undisturbed for about 12 hours. Jars that did not seal must be refrigerated.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Canned Dill Pickles

These are my project for this week.

Canned Dill Pickles

Measurements are for 1 quart. Multiply as desired.

1-1 1/2 pounds of pickling cucumbers
2 Tbsp pickling salt
1 cup vinegar
1 cup water
1 tsp pickling spice
6 peppercorns
1 Tbsp dill weed
1/4 tsp Pickle Crisp
half a clove of garlic (optional)

Sterilize jars and keep hot.

Wash cucumbers, cut into slices or wedges as desired.

Combine salt, water and vinegar. Bring to a boil. Dissolve the salt, then turn reduce heat. Keep warm.

Pack cucumbers into jars. Add spices, including Pickle Crisp. Ladle hot liquid into jars to 1/2" headspace. Arrange cukes until they are all under the brine.

Clean jar rims, sterilize lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Cure for 3 weeks to 3 months before eating.

This recipe is adapted from the refrigerator pickle recipe we like so much. This makes 8 quarts.

Claussen Kosher Dill Pickle Clone ~ Canned Recipe

1 gallon pickling cucumbers
1/3 cup instant minced onion
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tablespoon mustard seeds
6 heads fresh dill or 8 Tbsp dill weed
1 1/2 quarts water
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup canning salt
  1. Slice cucumbers lengthwise into quarters, or slice into rounds, and add to sterilized jars along with the dill.
  2. Boil liquids and seasonings to dissolve the salt. Pour over pickles to 1/2" headspace. Properly prepare lids and rings. Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.