Thursday, June 25, 2009

Strawberries and Cream Cake / Strawberry Shortcake

My husband's favorite dessert is Strawberry Shortcake. While we prefer to use angel food cake, most of the time this is a last minute, thrown together dessert and I don't have time to run to the store.

Here's the simple version we use instead

1 white or yellow cake mix - prepare as directed and bake in either a tube pan, 9" rounds, or a 9x13.

30 minutes to an hour before serving, rinse, hull and slice strawberries. Place in a bowl along with 1/2 - 1 c. sugar. Toss to coat and let macerate.

Whipping Cream:
Pour 2 cups whipping cream into mixing bowl, and with electric mixer beat to stiff peaks, while gradually adding 1/4 - 1/2 c. sugar. Add 1/2 t. vanilla.

To assemble:
Cover cake with whipping cream and spoon strawberries and syrup over top.

Amazing Chocolate Chip Cookies

This was our family's favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie growing up. While I can't validate the veracity, we were always told that this was a "Mrs. Field's" recipe.

Ironically, several months ago, we traveled for a couple of days to attend my nephew's baptism. My sister-in-law's friends had helped bring in some treats for refreshments, and I couldn't keep my hands off of these cookies.

When I got the recipe I was astonished to find out that the recipe was exactly the same as my family's favorite recipe, but cut-in half. Following is the large batch recipe (112 cookies) but it can easily be cut in half.

Cream together
2 c. butter
2 c. sugar
2 c. brown sugar

4 eggs
2 t. vanilla

Mix together:
4 c. flour
5 c. oatmeal (Put small amount in blender at a time until it turns to powder - after measuring.)
1 t. salt
1 t. baking powder
2 t. baking soda

Mix together all ingredients.

24 oz. milk chocolate chips (1 c. butter-scotch chips may also be used)
3 c. chopped nuts
8 oz Hershey bar (or Skor) grated or crushed

Bake on un-greased cookie sheet. Roll into golf ball-size cookies 2 inches apart. Bake at 375* for 6-10 minutes.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Michelle Obama's Apple Cobbler


I found this recipe on the internet and my family and guests really enjoyed it. While not a huge fan of prepared pie crust, you easily make this with homemade pie crust as well.


* 8 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced [or a bag of frozen peeled apples]
* 1-1/2 to 2 cups of brown sugar
* 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 cup white flour

Mix these ingredients together in a bowl and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight so the spice goes all the way through the apples.

* 3 sheets refrigerated pie crust
* 1 stick of butter

Preheat oven at 325 degrees. Butter and flour the bottom of a large baking dish. Roll out three pie crusts real thin -- as thin as possible. Layer the bottom of the pan with 1-1/2 of the pie crusts and prick a few holes in it. Pour the apples with the liquid into the pie pan. Dot 3/4 of a stick of butter around the apples. Use the final 1-1/2 pie crusts to cover the apple mixture entirely (let the pie crust overlap the pan).

Pinch the edges of the dough around the sides of the pan so the mixture is completely covered.

Melt final 1/4 stick of butter and brush all over top of crust.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees. Bake at 300 for up to 3 hours -- that's what makes the crust flaky, like Barack likes it. Put the cobbler in the oven and go for a walk, go to the store, or do whatever you have to do around the house. Start looking at the cobbler after two and a half hours so it doesn't burn.

Serve anytime
This recipe makes one cobbler, which is like a double pie.
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Monday, June 8, 2009

Thin Mint Cookies

Yes - these are just like the girl scout cookies. While the recipe book I found these in (an SAA compilation) called them Slim Mints, they are so similar to the girl scout ones that it is scary. At first, I wasn't sure, but later, once they set up, they got a little more crunchy - I was amazed. Also, some of them are still not completely set in the picture.

Here it is:
1 Devil's Food or chocolate cake mix
3 T. butter
1/2 c. flour
1 egg
1/4 c. water
1/4 t. peppermint extract

Combine the dough ingredients. Mix by hand until a crumbly dough forms. Roll the dough into 4 logs about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours. Remove wrapping and slice logs into 1/4 inch cookie rounds. Bake on greased sheet at 350 for 10 minutes. Remove from baking sheet immediately after removing from oven.

1/4 t. peppermint extract
6 T. butter
4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Place the ingredients in a double boiler over medium heat (or in microwave) and melt, stirring frequently, adding a bit of water if it thickens too much. Dip the cookies in chocolate and place on cooling rack to dry.

NOTE: I FOUND THAT THESE TURN OUT MUCH BETTER IF YOU LET THEM COOL ON THE RACK FOR A WHILE UNTIL THEY ARE VERY COOL, CRISP, AND HARD. If you dip them in the chocolate sauce too early they will remain soft and are a disappointment.

How to quickly peel, cut, and cube a watermelon


Many years ago my husband and I were working on an activities committee for our church and we were in charge of the annual fourth of July breakfast. Also on the committee were a couple of retired women who had been school cooks. One of them taught us this handy way to cut melons. It is so quick and efficient and makes it a snap.
First, cut the watermelon in half (not lengthwise).
Place the heart of the watermelon down on the cutting board and slice off the very top slice.
Then, starting from the first cut, proceed to cut down, cutting off strips as you go.

After you have removed the rind, slice the watermelon (horizontally) into several rounds.

Then, slice several times vertically until your cubes are the appropriate size.

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Place the serving bowl upside down on the cutting board, and rapidly invert.

Lauren's Tres Leches Cake - Guatemalan

While Lauren thought that her recipe might be very similar to Cristina's, the Guatemalan version definitely has some differences. Here it is:

6 eggs
1 c. sugar
1 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. vanilla

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
1 c. milk

Mix the egg yolks and sugar, then add the flour and baking powder. Next add the egg whites and vanilla. Pour into pan and bake at 350* for 20-25 minutes (until edges turn golden.)

Remove cake from oven and using a fork, prick the top of the cake. Mix the three milks together and pour over top of cake.

3 egg whites
6 T. sugar
vanilla to taste

Beat egg whites, to stiff peaks, slowly adding sugar. Mix in vanilla and spread over cake, sprinkling with cinnamon.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Tres Leches Cake

I spent this morning at my friend Cristina's house learning to make a Mexican tres leches cake. Another friend, Lauren is also lending me a copy of her Guatemalan tres leches recipe that I'll post once I get.

While I was surprised at the flour Cristina used, yet the end result was much lighter and fluffier than tres leche cakes I've had in the past. I'm excited to try out some of her other recipes and get them up here soon too.

4 eggs separated
3 c. Krusteaz pancake mix (or regular flour)
1 c. sugar
1 c. butter
1 T. baking powder (use 1 t. extra for flour)
2 t. vanilla
1 c. milk

1 c. milk
1 can evaporated milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
Whipping cream
Powdered sugar

Separate the eggs and beat the whites to soft peaks. Add the yolks and beat until fluffy. Slowly incorporate flour and baking powder, alternating with milk. Add sugar, butter, and vanilla.
Here's how the batter should look

Pour into prepared pan(s) and bake at 350* for 40 minutes.

Once baked, cut a thin layer from the top to allow cake to absorb the milk mixture. Mix the three milks and pour over the top of the cake. Cake will absorb the milk mixture as it cools.

Once cooled, beat whipping cream to medium peak stage and add powdered sugar to sweeten (according to taste.) Cover cake with whipping cream and decorate with fresh fruits such as kiwis, strawberries, cherries, etc.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Fast n' Easy Pizza Crust and Homemade Pizza

Since some of my best recipes are here, I came looking for my pizza dough recipe. I was astonished that I haven't included it yet.
This is another which comes from Luanne. While I used to favor a recipe that I did in my bread maker, this is a much quicker recipe which my family enjoys.
My daughter made this dough, and my kids made personal pizzas with it this time.

1 Tbs. dry yeast (1 pkg)
1 c. warm water
1 t. sugar
2 T. oil
2 1/2 c. flour
1 t. salt

Mix all ingredients and set aside for 5 minutes. Oil pan or pizza stone, then sprinkle with corn meal if desired, and push dough out out onto pan/stone (or cookie sheet.) Bake crust for 15 minutes at 400*. Add sauce and toppings and bake until crust is golden brown (approx. 15 more minutes.)

Note: We used wheat flour this time, which doesn't seem to make a difference.

Marilyn's Rhubarb Coffee Cake

One of my husband's co-workers has been bringing this into the office for the past couple of years. My husband surprised me by asking for this recipe and bringing it home for me. While she titled it a bread and used bread pans, I made it in a 9 x 13 and call it a coffee cake.

1 1/2 c. brown sugar
2/3 c. oil
1 egg
1 c. buttermilk (or sour milk)
1 t. salt
1 t. soda
1 t. vanilla
2 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 c. diced rhubarb
1/2 c. chopped walnuts

1/2 c. sugar
1 T. soft butter
Optional: Cinnamon

Combine brown sugar and oil. Add egg, buttermilk and vanilla. Beat well. Stir together dry ingredients and stir into sugar mixture. Fold in rhubarb and nuts. Pour into 2 greased and floured loaf pans or 9 x 13 baking dish. Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle on top.
Bake for about 40-50 minutes at *350. Remove from pans and cool.