Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Great Cookie Recipe: Stacie's Rollo Cookies

Stacie made these great cookies. Everyone fought over the last few.

Caramel-Filled Chocolate Cookies

Delicate pastry wraps chewy caramel and chocolate in this winning cookie.


2 1/2 cups All Purpose or Unbleached Flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup sugar

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 cup margarine or butter, softened

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 eggs

1 cup chopped pecans

48 Rolo® Chewy Caramels in Milk Chocolate, unwrapped (from 13-oz. pkg.)

1 tablespoon sugar

4 oz. vanilla-flavored candy coating, if desired

Preparation Directions:

1. In medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa and baking soda; mix well.

2. In large bowl, combine 1 cup sugar, brown sugar and margarine; beat until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs; beat well. Add flour mixture; blend well. Stir in 1/2 cup of the pecans. If necessary, cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate 30 minutes for easier handling.

3. Heat oven to 375°F. For each cookie, with floured hands, shape about 1 tablespoon dough around 1 caramel candy, covering completely.

4. In small bowl, combine remaining 1/2 cup pecans and 1 tablespoon sugar. Press one side of each ball into pecan mixture. Place, nut side up, 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

5. Bake at 375°F. for 7 to 10 minutes or until set and slightly cracked. Cool 3 minutes; remove from cookie sheets. Cool on wire rack for 15 minutes or until completely cooled.

6. Melt candy coating in small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Drizzle over cookies.

High Altitude Instructions:

Increase flour to 2 3/4 cups. Bake as directed above.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Making: Our Favorite Hot Cocoa Mix

Hot Cocoa Mix-- We make this every December-

1 14-quart box nonfat dry milk

1 1-pound jar coffee-mate creamer

1 2-pound box Nestle's Quik

1 2-pound bag confectioner's sugar -- sifted

1 15-ounce jar chocolate malted milk mix (Ovaltine)

Combine all ingredients together in a VERY large bowl. Mix well. Store in airtight containers (like jars). Attach instructions for use with each jar.

Instructions: To use, mix 1/3 cup of the dry mix with 2/3 cup boiling water. Stir and top with marshmallows, if desired.

Sledding Fun

Spiderman Birthday Cake

Baking: Babka with Poppy Seed Filling

1/2 cup milk (plain soy milk will also work)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup wrist-temperature water
1 1/4 teaspoons yeast (half a package)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
About 2 1/3 cups bread flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
(Enough to make a soft dough)
Nonstick spray for the bowl, the work surface, and your hands

1. DO THIS AHEAD: Gradually heat the milk in a small saucepan until it becomes very hot but is not yet boiling. Remove the pan from the heat, and add cut in the butter in about 4 or 5 slices. Set aside to cool to wrist temperature, during which time the butter will melt.
2. Place the water in a medium-large bowl, sprinkle in the yeast, and let it stand for about 5 minutes.
3. When the milk mixture has cooled to wrist temperature (and no warmer!), add it to the yeast, along with the sugar and salt. Beat in the egg.
4. Add the flour one cup at a time, beating after the first addition with a large whisk, and after the second with a wooden spoon. At some point you will have to graduate from the spoon to using your hand. Add small amounts of flour to keep your hand from sticking too badly, and m;ix until all the flour is incorporated, and you have a soft dough. It's OK if it's slightly sticky.
5. Lightly spray a clean work surface with nonstick spray. Turn out the dough, and knead it just a few times, pushing it into itself, so it comes together in a smooth ball . If it is too sticky to handle, spray the palms of your hands with a little nonstick spray. The goal is to keep the dough as soft as possible–even a little wet!
6. Clean out and dry the bowl (or use a second clean, dry bowl) and coat the inside surface with nonstick spray. Place the dough in the bowl, and spray the top surface with more nonstick spray. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel, and put it in a warm place to rise until doubled in bulk.
7. Punch down the dough, and proceed with filling and finishing. You can also refrigerate or freeze the dough at this point, if you don't intend to fill and finish it right away. (Wrap it in a sealed plastic bag.)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Recycled Christmas Tree

Check out this Christmas Tree made out of Mountain Dew Cans.
"This must be the most creative Christmas tree ever. Using about 400 cans, some PVC pipe for the trunk and construction flags these guys spent 4 days turning all that aluminum into the perfect decoration." From Gecko and Fly

Baking: Cream Cheese Chocolate Cupcakes

Quinn made these yummy cupcakes and I helped a little. I found this easy but good recipe on this blog called How about Orange.

1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/3 c. sugar
1 egg
1/8 tsp. salt
1 c. chocolate chips
1 c. peanut butter chips (or just use more chocolate if you want)

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. baking cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. water
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1 Tbs. white vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla

In a bowl, beat cream cheese. Add sugar, egg, salt. Mix well. Fold in chips. Set aside. For cupcakes, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Mix well. Fill paper-lined muffin cups half full with batter. Top each with 2 Tbs. of cream cheese mixture. Bake at 350ยบ for 25-30 minutes. Cool 10 minutes and remove from pan. Makes 18.

Christmas Things

We spent the icy weekend getting out Christmas Decorations and putting up the tree. I love the vintage bird ornaments that Quinn and I found at the thrift store last year and we set up the $3.00 garage sale nativity set that I found in September. In fact, everything in the pictures were either thrifty finds or given to us.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Vintage Cookie Recipes: Orange GumDrop Cookies

Here is my Grandma Mildred's recipe for Orange Gumdrop Cookies. I looked all over on the internet and combed through lots of my cook books and couldn't find the exact recipe. I hadn't made these for a long time. I often buy the orange slice candy but someone always gets into them before I get the cookies made.
Check out Twisted Candy for a few vintage cookie recipes. I am going to try out the Date pinwheel cookies. I hope they are like the ones I remember.

Grandma Mildred's Orange Gumdrop Cookies

1 pound orange slices cut up and rolled in flour
1 Cup oleo ( I used butter)
1 Cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
Add 2 eggs and 1 tsp vanilla
2 Cup Flour
1 heaping tsp baking powder
1 heaping tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup coconut

1 tsp out on greased baking pan
Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes
Makes 5 1/2 dozen

Counting down to Christmas

Here is a poem perfect for today. Cade spend some time outside in the cold today doing chores..We didn't even have to nag him. He is highly motivated by the fact that "Santa" is watching or maybe he thinks good behavior equals good Christmas presents. I don't know how long this will last.

Jest 'Fore Christmas

FATHER calls me William, sister calls me Will,
Mother calls me Willie but the fellers call me Bill!
Mighty glad I ain't a girl---ruther be a boy,
Without them sashes curls an' things that's worn by Fauntleroy!
Love to chawnk green apples an' go swimmin' in the lake--
Hate to take the castor-ile they give for belly-ache!
'Most all the time, the whole year round, there ain't no flies on me,
But jest'fore Christmas I'm as good as I kin be!

Got a yeller dog named Sport, sick him on the cat.
First thing she knows she doesn't know where she is at!
Got a clipper sled, an' when us kids goes out to slide,
'Long comes the grocery cart, an' we all hook a ride!
But sometimes when the grocery man is worrited an' cross,
He reaches at us with his whip, an' larrups up his hoss,
An' then I laff an' holler, "Oh, ye never teched me!"
But jest'fore Christmas I'm as good as I kin be!

Gran'ma says she hopes that when I git to be a man,
I'll be a missionarer like her oldest brother, Dan,
As was et up by the cannibals that live in Ceylon's Isle,
Where every prospeck pleases, an' only man is vile!
But gran'ma she has never been to see a Wild West show,
Nor read the life of Daniel Boone, or else I guess she'd know
That Buff'lo Bill an' cowboys is good enough for me!
Excep' jest 'fore Christmas, when I'm as good as I kin be!

And then old Sport he hangs around, so solemn-like an' still,
His eyes they seem a-sayin': "What's the matter, little Bill?"
The old cat sneaks down off her perch an' wonders what's become
Of them two enemies of hern that used to make things hum!
But I am so perlite an' tend so earnestly to biz,
That mother says to father: "How improved our Willie is!"
But father, havin' been a boy hisself, suspicions me
When, jest 'fore Christmas, I'm as good as I kin be!

For Christmas, with its lots an' lots of candies, cakes an' toys,
Was made, they say, for proper kids an' not for naughty boys;
So wash yer face an' bresh yer hair, an' mind yer p's and q's,
And don't bust out yer pantaloons, and don't wear out yer shoes;
Say "Yessum" to the ladies, and "Yessur" to the men,
An' when they's company, don'a pass yer plate for pie again;
But, thinkin' of the things yer'd like to see upon that tree,
Jest 'fore Christmas be as good as yer kin be!

Eugene Field

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