Friday, July 24, 2015

Cinnamon "Twisties"


Yep, this is yet ANOTHER recipe using cinnamon!! If I had my way, I would probably put cinnamon in everything I baked :) This recipe came out of the 1938 edition of the Town Crier De Luxe Recipe Book,  the same year my mom was born!
 
 
My mom used to make cinnamon rolls a lot growing up. She moved into a skilled nursing facility this past December and about three weeks ago, my family and I were able to visit with her. My mother is pretty much bedridden and her memory is starting to fail a bit, but she is still able to recognize us. I feel incredibly blessed that I still have in her my life, because she is so very ill. I think the next time I visit my mom, I will pack some cinnamon twisties in my suitcase!!!
 
Ingredients
 
2 cups white flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons shortening
2/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
 
Powdered Sugar Glaze
 
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons water
 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9-inch round pan with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl, put the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. "Cut" in the shortening with two knives. Pour the milk in the middle and with a large spoon, mix well until soft dough forms. On a lightly floured surface, knead about 10 times and then roll out until it is 12 inches long and six inches across. Brush the melted butter over the entire surface. In a small bowl, put the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Sprinkle evenly over the dough and then roll up like a jelly roll and cut into eight slices. Place in prepared pan. The cinnamon rolls will look small, but with five teaspoons of baking powder, they get bigger, I promise!  Bake for 20 minutes or until they begin to turn lightly brown on the bottom. Remove from oven. In a small bowl, put the powdered sugar and water. Mix well with small spoon until smooth and then drizzle over the "twisties." Makes eight. Cover loosely with foil at room temperature.
 
 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Pink Lemonade Muffins


Yesterday, even though the weather was beautiful, I spent a large portion of the day inside working on the computer and doing household chores. I figured I could sit outside today on the deck and just "chill," sipping a cold glass of pink lemonade and reading a book. Well, guess what? I woke up to heavy rain pelting our bedroom window! Wonderful. Since it was so cloudy and dreary this morning, I wanted to bake a little "sunshine" into some muffins. I love "experimenting," in the kitchen with different ingredients, such as using powdered lemonade in place of some of the white sugar in this recipe and substituting yogurt instead of sour cream to make these muffins more moist!! These were so tasty, I had two for breakfast with my coffee :) I'm keeping my fingers crossed the sun comes out later this afternoon!

Ingredients
 
2 cups white flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup pink powdered lemonade
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5.3 ounce container Yoplait Greek 100 
   strawberry yogurt
 
Glaze
 
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons water
 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners and set aside. In a large bowl, put the flour, sugar, powdered lemonade, baking powder, salt, butter, eggs, milk, vanilla extract and yogurt. Stir well with large spoon until smooth. Distribute the batter evenly between the paper liners. Bake for 20-23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into one of the muffins comes out clean. Remove to wire rack to continue cooling. To make the glaze, put the powdered sugar and water in a small bowl and mix with a spoon. Drizzle on the muffins. Makes one dozen.


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Cinnamon Cake

 
 
Buried in my collection of over 110 cookbooks, I found a Pennsylvania Dutch Cookbook from 1960.  There are some pretty "unique" recipes such as shoo-fly pie, pretzel soup, rabbit cake and boy's legs. Boy's legs? Don't worry - they are potato and beef filled pastries. Anyways, being the cinnamon "gal" that I am, when I found a recipe for cinnamon cake, I knew that was definitely one to try! I always love the way our house smells when I'm baking anything with cinnamon - it smells so good! Both Lauren and Dominic were around when I frosted this cake last night, so they both got a "sample." Of course they loved it! Why won't they?!?!? They "inherited" their love of cinnamon from me!
 
Ingredients
 
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups white flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9-inch round pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until smooth by hand or with electric mixer. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, eggs and milk. Combine well until smooth. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack. Below is my recipe for cinnamon cream cheese frosting which is what I used on top of the cake. If you still want even MORE cinnamon, sprinkle a little on top!  Store cake covered in fridge. Serves eight.
 
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
 
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Slow Cooker Chuckwagon Chili

Who says you should only use your slow cooker in the winter? I use mine year round - it is especially great to use when it's hot outside, that way you don't have to heat up the kitchen. I am STILL using the slow cooker that I got as a wedding present 19 1/2 years ago!! The past Wednesday afternoon, the hubby called and told me that his bike had a flat tire. Since he rode his bike to work, that meant I would need to go pick him up right around the time I usually start our dinner. I decided that I was going to make some "chuckwagon" chili, the "chuck" being a great looking piece of boneless chuckeye steak the hubby had picked up earlier in the week at Meijer. I had a small "window" of time between when I got back from taking Dominic to music therapy and when I needed to pick up the hubby to put it all together.  I am not a "cowgirl," but I certainly feed hungry people daily here at Cathy's Kitchen. Two little bits of chuckwagon "trivia." What do you think it means if a cowboy yelled, "man at the pot!" when they saw you pouring yourself a cup of coffee? It meant the cowboy wanted another cup of coffee. I'm going to try that tomorrow morning when the hubby is getting himself a cup :)  A second little bit of trivia-  the container for putting food scraps after a meal is called a "squirrel pan."  I wonder what my family would do if I said, "go put all your food scraps into the squirrel pan!" I'm guessing they would have NO idea what I was talking about! Around here, whenever I make chili, I also make up some elbow noodles to put underneath. Would you believe I had never done that until the first time I made chili for my hubby and he was asking, "so, where are the elbow noodles?" That was the only way he ever ate chili growing up in Cleveland!


Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds boneless chuckeye steak,
  cut into bite sized pieces
2 tablespoons white flour
3 tablespoons canola oil
15.5 ounce can red kidney beans,
  undrained
14.5 ounce can chili ready diced tomatoes,
  undrained
15.5 ounce can Great Northern beans, undrained
8 ounce can tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Using a zippered top gallon size plastic bag, put the flour and the chuckeye steak. Close the top and then shake until all the pieces of meat are covered. In a large frying pan, put the three tablespoons of canola oil. Cook over low to medium heat until the pieces of chuckeye steak are no longer pink in the middle. Drain off any grease and set aside.  In a 2 1/2 quart slow cooker, put the red kidney beans, diced tomatoes, Great Northern beans and the tomato sauce. Add the chili powder and cinnamon. Stir together with a large spoon and then add the meat.  Mix well and then cover and cook for 3 hours on high. Top with shredded cheese if desired. Makes four servings.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

White Chocolate Saltine Cracker Toffee


White chocolate chips are one baking item I don't use too often, based on previous not so great experiences. White chocolate can be, well, "temperamental." I have made saltine cracker toffee with semi-sweet chocolate chips and it doesn't last long here. I was curious if I made the toffee with white chocolate if it would be just as popular. Well, guess what? All of my regular "customers" that are "permanent" visitors to Cathy's Kitchen couldn't shovel it down fast enough. When I took a peek into the container just now that's in the fridge to see how many toffee pieces we had left, Dominic came over and asked for a "chewy," which is his nickname for them. If you can believe it, there are only two pieces remaining. Hmm, there are four of us that live here. You know what that means, don't you? Time to make some more!!

Ingredients

37 1/2 saltine crackers
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
11.5-ounce package white chocolate chips
  (I used Kroger's Private Selection brand)
 ** (Nestle and Hershey's both make 12-ounce
        packages of white chocolate chips
       which are fine to use in this recipe)
Sprinkles, if desired

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover a jelly roll pan (11 inches x 17 inches) with aluminum foil and lightly spray with non-stick spray. Line up the saltine crackers in rows, so the entire pan is filled. Set aside.  In a medium saucepan, put the two sticks of butter and the brown sugar and slowly bring to a boil. Stir constantly for three minutes. Pour the mixture over the saltine crackers and bake in the oven for five minutes. Remove pan and then immediately distribute all the white chocolate chips on top of the crackers. When the chips begin to melt, spread with a knife, so all the crackers are covered. Put sprinkles on top, if desired. Let cool completely at room temperature for three hours or until the white chocolate has hardened up. If you want it to harden up quicker, put in the fridge (that's what I did). Break off into pieces with your hands.  Store covered in the fridge for up to three days.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Lazy Lady Chocolate Cake


When I first came across this recipe in my mother-in-law's vast "collection," I have to admit I was more than a little intrigued. How could I not be, just based on the name?!?!?!?! It's definitely an "unusual" name for a chocolate cake, isn't it? As I read through this recipe to make sure I had all the ingredients, I was trying to figure out why the word "lazy" would be in the title. Well, for starters, you don't need a bowl to mix all the ingredients, you prepare it all in the pan you will be using to bake it in. Okay, well that's one thing that makes this cake easier, one less dish to wash! I was thinking there had to be something else that made this cake, well, "unique." As I read to the end of the recipe, I discovered the other reason.  After you pull the cake out of the oven, while it is still piping hot, you put three Hershey's Milk Chocolate bars right on top. No need to make frosting!  I had visions of the bars melting so much that it would end up being a big chocolate puddle on top. Well, guess what? That didn't happen! Whew. This cake is totally scrumptious and I didn't feel like a "lazy" lady at all making it :)

Ingredients

3 cups white flour
2 cups white sugar
5 tablespoons baking cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups cold water

Topping

Three 1.55 ounces Hershey's
   Milk Chocolate bars
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In an ungreased 9 x 13-inch baking pan, put the flour, sugar, baking cocoa, baking soda and salt. Mix well with a fork. Make three "wells" in the dry mixture - one large, one medium and one small.  In the largest "well," put the canola oil, in the medium "well," put the vinegar and in the smallest "well," put the vanilla extract. Pour cold water over entire mixture and combine well with fork. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and put pan on a wire rack. Immediately place the three milk chocolate bars right on top of the cake. In five minutes or less, the chocolate bars will begin to melt. As they do, spread the chocolate evenly across the cake with a knife. When cool enough to eat and the topping has hardened up just a bit, dig in! Store covered at room temperature. Serves 12-16.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Chocolate Sugar Cookies


Sugar cookies are ALWAYS a big hit in our house.  What do you think could make sugar cookies even better? How about chocolate?!?! Who doesn't love chocolate, right? I found a recipe for "old-fashioned" sugar cookies in a 1959 edition of, The Fannie Merritt Farmer Boston Cooking School Cookbook."  Under the "sugar cooky variations," section, yes, cookie was spelled cooky, there was a chocolate sugar cookie variation. These cookies were so popular in Cathy's Kitchen, that we just have one left from the two dozen I made less than a week ago! I wonder which one of the four of us here will be quick enough to get the last one? I'm taking a wild guess that it will be between Lauren and Dominic!

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar,
  plus 1 tablespoon reserved
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk
1/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1 1/4 cup white flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet and set aside. In a large bowl, put the ingredients in the order above. With a large spoon, combine by hand until the batter begins to form and all the ingredients are well incorporated. In small bowl, put the one tablespoon of reserved white sugar. Set aside. Roll the cookie dough into 24 equal-sized balls and then with the bottom of a drinking glass, first press into the reserved white sugar and then press down onto the cookie. Add sprinkles if desired, like I did! FYI - these cookies don't spread very much at all while baking. When I pulled the first batch of cookies out of the oven, they were slightly bigger than a quarter. I pressed down slightly harder for the second dozen.  Bake for 15 minutes or until the cookies start to get firm on the top. Remove from oven and let them sit about 3 minutes on the cookie sheet. Gently remove from cookie sheet and let them continue to cool on a wire rack.  Store in a covered container at room temperature for up to one week (if they last that long in your house)!