Monday, March 31, 2008

Baking: Marshmallow Brownies

I have been enjoying the Amish Country Cookbook that I checked out from the Library. It is full of verses and quotes and little helpful hints along with a unique collection of recipes. It is like all those church cookbooks. I decided to try these brownies. They turned out very good- the frosting has a very deep chocolate flavor. I love anything chocolate/marshmallow.

3/4 cup shortening or oleo- (I used butter)
1 1/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 T cocoa
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup chopped nuts

Mix in order given. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes. Take out of oven and cover with miniature marshmallows. Put back in oven for 3 minutes.


3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup water
3 T cocoa
4 T butter
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Boil for 3 minutes. Let Cool. Add 2 Cups powdered sugar.

Backyard Birds visiting the pond

Weekend Project: Picking out Paint Colors

We spent the weekend trying to decide on paint colors. We chose a few colors to try and then painted small patches on the walls to see if we like them. We did end up going back to the store and getting the colors we tried out. All three colors are pretty dark. I sure hope we like them when we are all done. It is only paint right?

Baptism Cookies for Ella Rose

Baking Project: Leaves and Acorn cookies for a business meeting

Baking: Ginger-Toffee Cookies

Its a Rainy Day today- Seems a little more like spring to see rain instead of snow. I thought I would try out a new recipe. It comes from Taste of Home.

Ginger-Toffee Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1 large egg
3 tablespoons molasses (not blackstrap)
1/2 cup toffee bits (Bit’s ‘o Brickle or Skor bits)
1/4 cup minced crystallized ginger
1 cup turbinado sugar (raw sugar)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 large baking sheets or line with parchment.

Mix first 6 ingredients in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter
and sugar in large bowl until well blended, about 1 minute.

Add egg and molasses; beat until well blended (do not over beat). Add dry
ingredients and beat on low speed just until blended.

Mix in toffee and crystallized ginger. Chill dough 1 hour.

Place turbinado sugar in shallow bowl. Using hands, shape dough into 24
balls, each about 1 1/2-inches in diameter. Roll each dough ball in
turbinado sugar, coating completely.

Place 12 balls on each prepared sheet, spacing evenly apart. Bake cookies 8
minutes. Reverse cookie sheets and continue baking until cracked on top but
still soft to touch, about 8 minutes longer. Cool cookies on sheets 5

Using metal spatula, transfer cookies to racks and cool completely. (Can be
made 2 days ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.)

Makes 24

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Bird's love and birds' song,
Flying here and there;
Birds' song and birds' love,
Passing with the weather,
Men's song and men's love,
To love once and forever.

Men's love and birds' love,
And women's love and men's!
And you my wren with a crown of gold,
You my Queen of the Wrens!
You the Queen of the Wrens-
We'll be birds of a feather,
I'll be King of the Queen of the Wrens,
And all in a nest together.

Poem by Tennyson

This Little bird has been busy building a nest under our deck and singing a sweet little song for 3 days.

SpRiNg is Here! and the BIRDs are Singing!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Baking: Bill's Big Carrot Cake

This Carrot Cake recipe comes from Dorie Greenspan's "Baking from my home to Yours" Cook Book.

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt
3 cups grated carrots (9 carrots grated with food processor shredding blade,
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup raisins or craisins
2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs

-Preheat the oven to 325f. Butter three 9x2 inch round cake pans, flour the insides and tap out the excess.

- Wisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

-In another bowl, mix together the carrots, coconut, nuts and
raisins, set aside.
-In a large bowl, whisk together the oil and sugar until smooth, add
the eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Whisk
until smooth.( or use a stand mixer)
-Add the flour mixture and mix in until it just disappears, gently
fold in the carrot mixture.
-Divide the batter among the prepared baking pans.
-Bake for about 40-50 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes and unmold them. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.

Cream Cheese Icing:

8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1 stick (4 ounces, 8 Tbsp) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 pound (3 3/4 cups) powdered sugar, sifted
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice- or Lemon Extract
1/2 cup shredded coconut (added to half the icing and used to fill the cake)
finely chopped toasted nuts or toasted coconut to garnish the top if
you so desire
-Beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth and creamy.
-Add the powdered sugar and lemon juice and continue to beat until
smooth. If you want to add coconut to the icing, stir it in ( stir into half the icing and use to fill the cake.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Easter Cookies

Baking: World Peace Cookies

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick plus
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup) packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel, or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small bits
or mini chocolate chips


1 . Sift the flour, cocoa, and baking soda together and keep close at hand. Put the butter in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until the butter is soft and creamy. (Alternatively, you can do this and all subsequent steps by hand, working with a sturdy rubber spatula.) Add both sugars, the salt, and vanilla extract and beat for another minute or two. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the sifted dry ingredients. Mix only until the dry ingredients are incorporated — the dough will look crumbly, and that's just right. For the best texture, you want to work the dough as little as possible once the flour is added. Toss in the chocolate pieces and mix only to incorporate.

2. Turn the dough out onto a smooth work surface and squeeze it so that it sticks together in large clumps. Gather the dough into a ball, divide it in half, and working with one half at a time, shape the dough into logs that are 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) in diameter. (Cookie-dough logs have a way of ending up with hollow centers, so as you're shaping each log, flatten it once or twice and roll it up from one long side to the other, just to make certain you haven't got an air channel.) Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and chill them for at least 1 hour. (Wrapped airtight, the logs can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for I month.)

3. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and keep them close at hand.

4. Working with a sharp thin-bladed knife, slice the logs into rounds that are 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) thick. (Don't be upset if the rounds break; just squeeze the broken-off bit back onto the cookie.) Place the cookies on the parchment-lined sheets, leaving about 1 inch (2.5 cm) spread space between them.

5. Bake only one sheet of cookies at a time, and bake each sheet for 12 minutes. The cookies will not look done, nor will they be firm, but that's just the way they should be. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the cookies stand until they are only just warm or until they reach room temperature — it's your call. Repeat with the second sheet of cookies.

NOTE: The dough can be made ahead and chilled or frozen. If you've frozen the dough, you needn't defrost it before baking — just slice the logs and bake the cookies 1 minute longer. Packed airtight, baked cookies will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days; they can be frozen for up to 1 month.

Recipe From Dorie Greenspan's Book

Recipe © 2002 Dorie Greenspan. All rights reserv

Gold Medal Cookies for Wrestling Team

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Baking: Shamrock Cut-out Cookies

Baking: Lemon Drop Wafers

I love lemon drops so I was excited to try these Cookies out of a Martha Stewart Desserts cook book.


Makes about 2 dozen.

* 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
* 1 1/2 cups sugar
* 1 large egg
* Zest of 2 lemons, finely chopped
* 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
* Pinch of salt
* 1/3 cup lemon drops, (2 ounces of whole candies), crushed


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with Silpat baking mats or parchment paper, and set aside.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and 1 cup sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl twice. Add egg; mix on high speed until combined. Add lemon zest, and beat to combine.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to butter mixture, and mix on low speed until combined, about 20 seconds. Add candy, and mix to combine. Transfer dough to a sheet of plastic wrap, and freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.
4. Pour remaining 1/2 cup sugar into a large bowl. Shape the dough into 1/2-inch balls. Drop each ball into sugar, and roll, coating completely; use sugar to keep dough from sticking to hands.
5. Working in batches, place sugared balls on prepared baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Gently press balls, flattening to a 1/4-inch thickness. Transfer remaining dough to refrigerator.
6. Bake cookies just until golden, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining dough. Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.

Baking: Present Cookies with Gift Tag

Monday, March 03, 2008

Making: Southwestern Nachos

This recipe comes from the Feb/March 2008 issue of Taste of Home. These were awesome. I baked two thick pork chops in the apple juice mixture instead of slowly cooking the pork loin roasts and I also divided the recipe in half. It still made a generous 9x13 pan full of nachos.

2 boneless whole pork loin roasts (3.5 pounds each)
1 cup unsweetened apple juice
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp liquid smoke. optional
2 1/2 cups bbq sauce, divided
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 T. honey
1 pkg ( 11 ounce) tortilla chip scoops
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1 can ( 15 ounce ) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro

Cut each roast in half, place in two 5 qt slow cookers. Combine the apple juice, garlic, salt, and Liquid Smoke if desired; pour over meat. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or until tender.

Shred pork with two forks; place in a very large bowl. Stir in 2 cups barbecue sauce, brown sugar and honey. Divide tortilla chips between two greased 13in x 9in x 2in baking dishes; top pork mixture. Combine the corn, beans, tomato, onion, cilantro, jalapeno and lime juice; spoon over the pork mixture.
Bake, uncovered, at 375 for 15-20 minutes or until heated through. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt cheese with milk. Drizzle cheese sauce remaining barbecue sauce over nacho. yield: 30 servings.

Busy Weekend: Pinewood Derby Races and Basketball Games

What an exciting weekend. Both boys have been enjoying trophies and medals. Cade's Basketball team won the championship game at the tournament. What an exciting game- they won in overtime by 2 points. Cade and Quinn's pinewood derby cars had to race without them since we had to go to the basketball game. We found out later that
Quinn's car was the fastest in the tiger den- so he was pleased to receive a trophy.
Little boys love trophies- and singing "We are the Champions".

Baking: a few more Garden Cookies

Baking: Garden Cookies

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