Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sour Cream Biscotti


I love biscotti because of its versatility. You can have a few for breakfast or after dinner for dessert. It is also quite expensive to purchase at the store. The hubby and I were having a discussion this morning as I was getting ready to make some monkey bread out of biscuits. I was explaining to him that if I had to go to the store and buy that type of bread, it would be a lot more expensive than what I could make it for!  A popular brand, Nonni's, makes biscotti. It costs about $3.00 for eight. If I priced out the ingredients, I can say with almost 100% certainty that I can make a lot more than eight for $3.00!  I can't wait for Santa to come to our house Christmas Eve and "sample" some of the biscotti!! Hopefully, he will give it a 10 out of 10!  Maybe I'll make a few more for his reindeer :)



Ingredients

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups white flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray two cookie sheets with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside. In large bowl, cream butter and sugar together with a large spoon or mixer.  Add the eggs, sour cream and vanilla extract until well combined. Add the flour, baking powder and soda and mix well again. On a lightly floured board, divide dough in half and then shape each half into a loaf that is 12 inches long and 5 inches across. Place one half on each of the cookie sheets and bake for 25 minutes or until starting to turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and let them sit on the cookie sheets for 15 minutes. Using a serrated knife, cut each loaf into 12 equal slices and place cut side down. Bake for another 10 minutes and then turn each slice over and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and then place on wire rack to continue cooling. Makes 24.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Monkey Bread


Given how much I love cinnamon and sugar, I can't believe I have never made "monkey bread" before! There are bunches of recipes out there that involve making your own dough from scratch and using yeast, but given the hubby bought three cans of Pillsbury Grands!  biscuits earlier in the week and we already had a can in the fridge, I figured I might as well use up a few of the cans we had.  If you can believe it, all four of the cans of biscuits were a different "style!" Good grief. I adapted a recipe I found on the Pillsbury website. There are dozens  of variations of "monkey bread" on their website, but I went with the one that had 809 people rate it! I figured it must be the best one. It takes no time at all to whip this up and the baking time is only a half hour. So, you could have this on your table for breakfast or brunch in about an hour :) An added benefit, when this is baking it will make your house smell AMAZING! My "cinnamon" boy, Dominic, was hesitant to try this when I told him it was "monkey bread." Once I explained to him that it was cinnamon rolls with "frosting," he gobbled it right down!!!! We moms always have a few "tricks" up our sleeves. Now, if I could just get him to try brussels sprouts, my favorite veggie! LOL.

Ingredients

1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 can (16.3 ounces) Pillsbury Grands! Homestyle
  Buttermilk biscuits, refrigerated
1 can (16.3 ounces) Pillsbury Grands! Homestyle
  Southern Style Buttermilk biscuits, refrigerated
1 cup light brown sugar,
  firmly packed
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 12-cup fluted tube pan (also known as a "bundt" pan) with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside. In gallon sized Ziploc-type bag, put the white sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Open each can of biscuits (you should have 16 total). With a knife or a pair of kitchen shears, slice or cut each biscuit into four pieces for a total of 64 pieces. Put all the pieces into the Ziploc-type bag, close it up and shake until all of the pieces are covered with the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg mixture.  Arrange evenly in the prepared fluted tube pan.  In small bowl, put the brown sugar and the melted butter. Mix until smooth with small spoon and then pour over the biscuit pieces. Bake for 30 minutes or until the monkey bread is starting to brown. Let cool at least 10 minutes on wire rack and then turn pan upside down onto a serving plate. Serves 12.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Lemon Whippersnapper Cookies

My husband belongs to two gyms. One is across the street from the large university around here and the other is in a mall.  As you might imagine, the gym across the street from the university is mostly frequented by college students. Some people at that gym even call him, "sir."  Anyways, earlier this week, I was asking him, "so, have there been a lot of college students working out, since it's getting close to exam week?" He said, "yeah, I was showing those "whippersnappers" how it's done!" Well, okay then. I don't even know the last time I heard the word, "whippersnapper." Probably a LONG time ago. Just for the heck of it, I looked to see if there is such a thing as a "whippersnapper" cookie. Guess what? There is!  


I could picture my in-laws possibly using the word "whippersnapper" at some point in their lives, but my husband?!?! My mind immediately sped forward to the hubby and I sitting on our porch in rocking chairs, about 30 years from now, saying, "look at those young "whippersnappers" riding their bikes down the street!"  Try making up a batch of these festive looking cookies around the holidays. They are a welcome break from chocolate! Well, all righty then, I guess I better "skedaddle" now!! 

Ingredients

1 (15.25 ounce) package lemon cake mix
8 ounce container whipped topping,
  (like Cool-Whip), thawed
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup powdered sugar

In large bowl, put the cake mix, whipped topping and the egg. Mix well with large spoon and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for four hours. When ready to make, preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.  In small bowl, put the powdered sugar. Roll into 28 equal sized balls. This batter is really sticky, so put a little of the powdered sugar on the palms of your hands - it makes it easier to roll. Roll each ball into the powdered sugar until well coated. Place on the cookie sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes or until the cookies are set and just starting to turn light brown. Remove from oven and let sit five minutes before removing them to wire rack to continue cooling. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Fudge Four O'Clocks


Ever since the beginning of September, I have been wanting to make this recipe. The problem was finding the "time." Get it?!?!?!?!?  Anyways, this past Sunday night, with the hubby and Dominic otherwise occupied, I finally got around to it!! Wow, all I can say is, if you love chocolate, then this recipe is for you.  I made a few variations here and there, a major one being that I didn't put walnuts into the batter before I baked them, because Lauren and Dominic don't eat walnuts. The hubby and I do like walnuts, so feel free to put some on top if you so desire, like I did! Lauren is coming home today from college to spend the Thanksgiving break with us and I can't wait for her to try a piece of this. Maybe we'll have some at four o'clock this afternoon with a cup of hot cocoa! 

Ingredients

1 cup white flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons baking cocoa
2 tablespoons shortening
1/2 cup water
1 cup white sugar
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and cover a jelly roll pan (11 inches x 17 inches) with aluminum foil. Spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside. In large bowl, put all the ingredients in the order given and mix well by hand with large spoon. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack. When completely cool, eat as is or top with your favorite frosting! I used Betty Crocker Rich & Creamy Milk Chocolate Frosting, because can you EVER have enough chocolate?!?!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Banana Oatmeal Cookies


Once again, we have too many bananas around here. Since Dominic and I just made cinnamon muffins yesterday, I went searching for a different way to use the bananas, other than making banana bread or muffins. I fished out my banana cookbook that an office mate from a LONG time ago gave me and started looking through it. Hmm, there are 56 banana recipes in the cookbook, such as banana scallops, banana cabbage salad, banana chicken salad, banana grape marlow, and banana caramel ice cream.  All those sound, ahem, interesting, but when I found a recipe for banana oatmeal cookies,  I knew I was on to something.  A bit of banana "trivia" - what is a group of bananas called? A hand! A single banana is a "finger." Today, both the hubby and Dominic each ate a "finger." The hubby had one in his lunch I made him and Dominic ate a "finger" with his cinnamon muffin for breakfast. LOL.  I was more than a bit concerned about how mashed bananas would turn out in a cookie - I had visions of the cookies spreading out across the cookie sheet as it baked and dripping onto the bottom of my oven!! Luckily, that didn't happen.  I made these around 11 this morning and had a few for a snack with the rest of my coffee before I went outside to shovel the snow!!



Ingredients

1 1/2 cups white flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup shortening
1 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 cup ripe bananas, mashed
  (about two large)
1 3/4 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In large bowl, put the flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, shortening, sugar and egg. Mix well with large spoon. In small bowl, mash the banana with a fork and then add to the ingredients in the large bowl. Add the oats, walnuts and chocolate chips and mix thoroughly by hand.  Drop by tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for about 18 minutes or until the cookies turn dark brown. Remove from oven and let cool on the cookie sheet about 2-3 minutes. Remove to wire rack to continue cooling. Makes 28 cookies.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Turkey Pot Pie


For months, okay, probably years, Lauren has asked me to make a chicken pot pie. Previous attempts did not end well, so I kept telling her, "I'm on the lookout for a good recipe!"  Well, I should have just asked my best friend. She gave me an awesome recipe, a handful of months back, which I made a few small changes here and there to. Chicken pot pie is great, but you can also use leftover turkey to make a turkey pot pie. Since the hubby had bought an eight pound turkey breast recently, I had TONS of that leftover!!  I watched my husband last night at dinner go back and forth to get more after he finished his first plate full. I finally said, "isn't that your FOURTH piece?!?!?!?!"



He looked at me and said, "who's counting?!?!?!?!" I guess I must have been! I have to admit, it was pretty tasty (I had seconds). I love making a homemade crust with shortening - it makes it so flaky! Remember, Thanksgiving is just around the corner and its a great way to use up some of that leftover turkey. I'm thinking as much as my husband and Lauren love turkey pot pie, I may need to make two!

Ingredients

Pastry:

2 cups white flour
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup plus two tablespoons shortening
5 tablespoons cold water

Filling:

1/3 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup white flour
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon thyme
14 ounce can chicken broth
2/3 cup milk
2 cups cooked turkey, chopped
16-ounce package peas and carrots, frozen

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In medium bowl, put the flour and salt. With two knives, "cut" in the shortening until it resembles small peas. Add the water and mix with a large spoon until a dough begins to form. Divide the dough in half. On a lightly floured board, roll each half into a 9 1/2 inch circle. Put half into a 9-inch ungreased pie pan and set the other half aside while you prepare the filling. In large stockpot, put the butter, flour, onion, salt, pepper and thyme. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with large spoon, until mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the broth and milk. Heat mixture to boiling, stirring constantly and then boil and stir for one minute. Remove from heat and add the chopped turkey and the frozen peas and carrots. Mix well and then pour into the pie pan. Place the reserved pastry on top and tuck the edges in. Cut a slit in the top to allow the steam to escape while it's baking. Cook uncovered for 30-35 minutes or until the crust is just beginning to brown. Let cool about 5-10 minutes before serving.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Confederate Coffee Cake


I am always on the lookout for different and unique quick breads. In my vast collection of over 100 cookbooks, I found a recipe for "Confederate Coffee Cake." I am not quite the history "buff" that Lauren and my hubby are, but anything to do with the Civil War, I find fascinating.  Growing up in Maryland, I have visited the Antietam National Battlefield and crossed over the Mason-Dixon Line many a time. Want to hear an interesting bit of history? On April 2, 1863, in Richmond, Virginia, a very large and angry mob of mostly women started protesting the high prices and shortages of food. It was called, "The Richmond Bread Riots." Evidently, it was the South's largest civil disturbance of the Civil War. A good thing that came out of the "Riots," was that within the week, the City Council approved a plan for a "relief program." As much as I love to bake and take care of my family, I can just picture myself if I lived in Richmond back then. I would have been at the front of those "Riots" leading the way!

Ingredients

1/2 cup margarine, melted
1 cup white sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups white flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Topping

1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons margarine, cold
  (cut into small cubes)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside. In large bowl, cream the margarine and white sugar together. Then, add the eggs, flour, baking powder, milk and cinnamon. Mix well with large spoon or with electric mixer until smooth. Pour into prepared loaf pan and set aside. In small bowl, put the topping ingredients. Mix well with small spoon and then sprinkle evenly over the top of the coffee cake batter. Bake for one hour and then test to see if it is done by inserting a toothpick into the middle of the loaf. If it comes out clean, it's done, if not keeping adding time in five minute intervals. When coffee cake is baked through, remove to wire rack and let cool for at least one hour before trying to remove it from the pan. Place on wire rack to continue cooling. Enjoy!