Milkmaid's Recipe Box

FOOD, FOOD, FOOD! I'm such a FARMER at heart-- even a CALF knows that so much in life is about the FOOD! (A bit of a "bio" about me can be found way down near the bottom.)

You can find a recipe index entitled "Labels" down along the right side, starting below the picture of the farm. Then, below the "Label" list are pictures of some of my old "standbys"-- click on their picture and it should take you to the recipe.

You will see no advertising on my blog; this means there is no monetary benefit for me having "visitors" or "joiners"-- having said that, if you do wish to JOIN my blog, you can do so by scrolling w-a-y down to near the bottom of the page...

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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Peanut Butter - Kiss Cookies

This cookie's recipe is almost "everywhere"!

When I googled "peanut butter blossom cookies", ONLY 450 THOUSAND sites popped up!!!!!   So, according to the amount of ingredients you have on hand, or the look you like, take your pick from the many recipes others have already posted. For example, check this out (copy/paste this link if necessary):  https://www.google.com/search?q=peanut+butter+blossom+cookies&espv=2&biw=1164&bih=570&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=L4SVVNnWK4KdyASvnYCgAw&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAg

The particular recipe I 
chose to make these can be found at: http://americanheritagecooking.com/2014/12/peanut-butter-blossoms/

Because I made these larger than the 
"2 tablespoon-sized" dough balls, I added
almost two minutes to the baking time 
that was suggested in the recipe I used.

As with any recipe, you know your oven
best and you know how you'd like your
cookie to end up--  dryer, or more moist.
Bake according to your oven, your likes!






Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Caramel Corn*



INGREDIENTS:

1/2 teaspoon SALT
1 cup BUTTER
2 cups BROWN SUGAR
1/2 cup light CORN SYRUP
...
1/2 teaspoon BAKING SODA
...
5 quarts POPPED POPCORN

DIRECTIONS:

Pop corn until you have 5 quarts of popped corn.  Put into a large bowl, and set aside.
  1. Put salt, butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup into a heavy-bottomed pot, and stir constantly.  Bring to a boil over MEDIUM heat--  then, continue to boil (a "boil" that can't be stirred down) for only 2 minutes.  While all of this is happening, just keep stirring all the while and make sure nothing is sticking/burning on the bottom of your pan. (Be careful-- this mixture is so very hot!!!)
  2.  Remove from heat and stir in the baking soda which will cause it to change color a little and foam up. 
  3. After the baking soda is stirred in, pour the very hot mixture over popped popcorn and GENTLY mix --lifting from the bottom and coming up through the kernels until popped kernels are well coated.  (Vigorous mixing would break the fragile kernels up too much.)   
  4. Put coated popcorn on a large baking sheet (about 16-inch by 11-inch?) that was ever so LIGHTLY sprayed with non-stick spray.  
Below:  Because I made a double batch, I had two pans...

5.  Bake in a pre-heated 250-degree oven for 1 hour, but you must gently lift/stir it (to sort of separate the "clumps") EVERY 15 minutes.
6.  At the end of 1 hour, remove from the oven; stir for the last time and let the caramel corn cool in the pans. 
7.  When cool, dump into a large bowl and gently break up the largest clusters before putting into whatever kind of containers you choose.

*Recipe from Smurawa's Country Bakery in Pulaski, WI, and you can find them right here: http://www.smurawabakery.com/

Can you imagine ANY small-town bakery selling 20,000 Paczkis on "Fat Tuesday" like they did last year?  Well, check this out:  http://www.smurawabakery.com/paczki-day    (Oh, those "Polish things" are SO GOOD!!!!)

Saturday, December 13, 2014

(Caramalized) Browned Butter Krispie Treats

 My new FAVORITE "way" 
for making Krispie Treats...
As of right now, I am all done with making Krispie Treats the "regular way".  I'm all over the taste that comes from making one little change to the original recipe-- that "little change" is letting the butter brown a bit before adding the marshmallows!

Makes:  1  of 9x13" pan, plus 1 of 8x8" pan.  Perfect sized batch for pot luck affairs-- take the 9x13-inch, and keep the 9x9-inch for "future use"--and, I think we all know what THAT "future use" means!   (BUT!,... if you DO only want to make a small batch, use the ingredient number that is printed in blue.)
INGREDIENTS:
  • 12 oz. (or 3 sticks) unsalted butter, plus a little extra for greasing the pan. (4 oz. or 1 stick)
  • 3 bags of 10.5 oz. mini-marshmallows (1 of 10.5 oz. mini-marshmallows)
  • Optional, a dash of vanilla?
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt-- omit this if you used salted butter.  (1/4 teaspoon salt)
  • 18 cups of dry Krispie cereal.  (6 cups dry Krispie cereal)
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Butter the pan(s) you plan to use.
  2. Measure the cereal into a large bowl right now so that it's ready at the end.
  3. In a large pot-- preferably one with a thicker kind of bottom, melt butter over medium-low heat.  It will first melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty.  Watch VERY closely-- stirring all the while, and scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan as it starts to darken.  This butter can go from "light brown" to burnt in a hurry--  so watch it closely to prevent that from happening.
  4. When butter is evenly browned (or turns a nutty color), turn off the heat, remove from burner and quickly stir in the marshmallows to keep the butter from continuing to darken with its own heat. 
  5. Turn heat back on to LOW and keep stirring the marshmallows into the butter mixture until all is smoooooooooooooth.
  6. Turn off the heat, again. Remove the pot from the stove and stir in the salt.  OPTIONAL:  You could also also add a scant teaspoon of vanilla (1/4 teaspoon) at this point. 
  7. Dump this hot mixture over the Krispie cereal and mix well, very gently working the cereal up from the bottom of the bowl and to the top until all is coated.  
  8. Scrape this coated cereal mixture into the prepared pan(s) and press down lightly.  If necessary, butter hands to gently press mixture flat. Let cool, and cut into squares or bars.

My interest in making these treats like this started a few months ago. Both my daughter and I were asked to take something to church for a funeral dinner-- me, a casserole; her, some bars.   She made these.   Well, after all was over, she asked me to take her container home with me.  Since there were a few Krispie Treats left in her very large pan, I.................... helped myself.  I immediately concluded they tasted better than any I'd ever made.  I asked her what she did differently.   At first, she couldn't think of anything-- then, she asked, "I wonder if it is because I let the butter brown a little bit before adding the marshmallows?"  YES!, that had to be it.    After that, while checking around on the Internet, I found actual recipes calling for doing that-- yes, letting the butter brown before continuing with the recipe!!!  From now on, I will always be making these  like this!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Banana Blueberry Crumb Muffins*


It's hard to believe we can get to THIS kind of 
"GOODNESS" in just about 25 minutes 
from start to finish!


What a wonderful  "marriage"!   Three very ripe bananas and one cup of fresh blueberries--  oh, how GOOD they end up tasting after meeting up with the other ingredients!!!
Yield:  12 muffins
Prep. time is about 5 minutes
Baking time is 18-20 minutes

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 and 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
........
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed (but not into mush)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
.......
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
.......
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2  teaspoons butter, at room temperature
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Preheat the oven to 365-degrees
  2. Line one 12-count muffin tin with papers
  3. Ever so lightly, spray liners with non-stick spray.  Set aside.
  4. In a med. bowl, combine the 1 and 1/2 cup amount of flour with the baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Whisk together well and set aside.
  5. In another med. bowl, combine smashed bananas, sugar, slightly beaten egg, and melted butter.  Stir until well blended.
  6. Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture, barely stirring-- stir JUST until all is moistened.
  7. Spoon muffin batter into muffin papers (a cookie scooper works great for this)
  8. Drop the fresh blueberries (equally) on top of the muffin dough in the tins-- I ended up having about six blueberries for each muffin top.
  9. Gently press each of the blueberries down into the dough.  They don't have to be totally covered.  (I do it this way so that my stirring doesn't break the blueberries as they could be IF they had been mixed into the dough.)  Set aside.
  10. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, 1 and 1/2 tablespoon of flour, and the cinnamon together.
  11. Using a fork, cut in the 2 teaspoons softened butter until evenly mixed.
  12. Sprinkle the brown sugar/butter mixture evenly over the tops of the muffins.
  13. Bake for 18-20 minutes OR until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  14. ENJOY!!!!  



*  This recipe was adapted from the recipe I saw on the blog of  http://realhousemoms.com/ in 2013.  I didn't make any huge changes.  How I did change: Lightly sprayed the paper liners, reduced the sugar a bit, introduced the fresh blueberries to the batter in a different way, reduced the total amount of the final crumb topping, and reduced the oven temperature just a little.  

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Chewy Molasses Cookies*


*I found this recipe on Page 97 in the December 2014 issue of Cooking Light. It was marked as the "Staff Fave"--I think it's now mine, too!  It reminds me of the "trimmings" I had when I made up gingerbread houses--  now, I can have that taste without the work of assembling/decorating houses.

Yield:  24 Cookies (If you make use just 1.5 tablespoons dough to form each cookie.)

After I made these cookies the first time, I knew I would want to make more cookies at a time-- so the number in parenthesis below is the quantity I used to "4 X" this recipe today.

INGREDIENTS:

1 and 3/4 cups fluffed/leveled all-purpose flour (7 cups)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (4 tsp.)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (2 tsp.)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (2 tsp.)
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (2 tsp.)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder (1 tsp.)
1/4 teaspoon salt (1 tsp.)
...........
6 tablespoons butter, softened (3/4 lb., or 3 sticks)
5 tablespoons granulated sugar (20 tablespoons)
1/4 cup dark brown sugar (1 cup)
............
1 large egg (4 eggs)
............
1/4 cup molasses (1 cup)
..........
3 tablespoons granulated sugar to roll dough balls in before baking (12 tablespoons, but 10 Tbsp. was plenty)

DIRECTIONS:
  1. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.  
  2. Combine the flour and next 6 ingredients (through the salt) in a bowl, stirring with a whisk.
  3. Place butter, first amount of granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a mixing bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed 5 minutes or until fluffy. 
  4. Add egg; beat 30-seconds.
  5. Add molasses; beat just until combined.
  6. Add flour mixture to butter mixture; beat at low speed or just until combines.  
  7. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes (longer is fine!)
  8. Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
  9. Shape dough into balls and roll in the second amount of granulated sugar (my dough balls were about 1.5 inches across.
  10. Place 2-inches apart on baking sheets covered with parchment paper.  
  11. Bake at 350-degrees for 12-13 minutes or just until set. 

      12.  Cool 3 minutes on pan; remove to a wire rack.

Some part of me wanted to drizzle some 
icing on the tops of these
tasty gems-- for "just because".  BUT,... 
managed to RESIST that urge!!!!
(They do NOT need any extra goodness 
added to what they already are!)

After they cooled, I put them in my
"usual" cookie place-- my enameled
cast iron cookware and covered them.


Monday, November 10, 2014

Chili Con Carne (super simple quick recipe)


If this recipe is not considered simple, I don't know what is!   I got this from an old "Betty Crocker Picture Cook Book" which I gave to my mother back in 1961 or 1962.  You do not need anything "fancy" to put this together.


INGREDIENTS and DIRECTIONS, all together in one list:

Brown in 3 tablespoons hot fat (less than this amount is okay)...
     1 lb. ground beef (I used just 1/2 pound and that works, too)
     1 and 1/4 cup minced onion

Add to the above and cook for 10 min...
     2 of 15 oz. can cooked kidney beans (I drained each, but probably wouldn't have had to.)  For a different look, you can use one can of light colored kidney beans, and one of the dark red variety.
     1 of 10.75 oz. can condensed tomato soup, as is.
     
Combine the following in a small bowl, stir until totally smooth, and then blend into the above...
     1 tablespoon chili powder (more can be added at the table)
     1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
     3 tablespoons water
     1 teaspoon salt  (If, out of habit, you already salted the hamburger/onion mixture as it was frying, omit this.)

Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, for 45 minutes.  Serve hot... with crackers or hot corn bread, or ???  (Instead of following this last step of "cooking over low heat" for 45 minutes, I put the chili into an enameled cast iron pot, covered it, and stuck it into a 350-degree oven for 30-40 minutes.)   M-m-m-m-m-m-m-m!


Above:  Little squares of sliced Aged Swiss 
Cheese tossed atop the dollop of sour cream.

Serve with toppings of your choice:  Crackers, sour cream, snipped green onions, grated cheese, cubes of cheese, broken corn chips, etc.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Oatmeal Butternut Squash Cookies*


Because "Gardener" had an abundant crop
of Butternut Squash, I looked for extra
ways to incorporate them into our diet...

What better way than to eat 
the squash in COOKIES*!?!?!


INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt (I used Himalyan salt)
......
  • 2 sticks butter (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
.......
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
......
  • 1 and 1/2 cup baked and pureed (and cooled!) butternut squash 
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Mix the first SIX ingredients (all of the dry ingredients) until well blended.  Set aside.
  2. In a mixer bowl, beat the softened butter, brown sugar, and white sugar for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy.   Then, add the one egg, and the vanilla.  Continue beating just until well incorporated.  
  3. Add the "set aside" dry mixture to this and beat at low/med. just until blended.  (Dough will be STIFF!)
  4. Add the baked/pureed and cooled butternut squash and continue beating ONLY until well mixed.
  5. Preheat oven to 350-degrees.  Line your baking sheets with parchment paper.   With dough "drops" not quite the size of a golf ball (I used my cookie dough scopper/dumper for this), bake on parchment paper as follows:
  6. Put one oven rack in the upper third of the oven.  Put the other rack in the lower third of the oven. Slide one pan of cookie dough balls on the top shelf, and one on the lower rack.  Bake for 10 minutes.  THEN, ...change the pans around:  Move the top pan to lower shelf, bottom pan to higher shelf--  and bake for ANOTHER 10 minutes. At the end, I had just a single "extra pan"--  so, to bake that, I moved a shelf to the middle-of-the-oven position and baked the last pan for 20 minutes.    DONE!!!   (Because ovens are different, check on the progress of the cookies you bake in your oven.)
  7. Cool on pan for about 10 minutes, then finish the cooling on a rack.   When totally cool, you can eat them "as is", or put your favorite kind of glaze frosting on them.  (I used my favorite "browned butter frosting" on some of them, and also sprinkled chopped walnuts on "some".)   Except that I don't add any vanilla, this is a link to how the browned butter icing is made:    http://www.marthastewart.com/314840/brown-butter-icing  

*  I found this cookie recipe on the blog of Life Tastes Good at:  http://ourlifetastesgood.blogspot.com/

Monday, October 27, 2014

Double-Chocolate "Ca'Cookies"



I'm calling these Ca'Cookies** because... they remind me of having an actual piece of chocolate cake, but, to enjoy THESE, I don't need:
  • ... frosting. 
  •  ... a plate/fork.
  • ... a large container to keep the cake fresh. 

INGREDIENTS:

6.75 ounces unbleached all-purpose flour (about 1 and 1/2 cups)
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3/8 teaspoon salt
(Recipe called for no baking soda, and no baking powder.)
.....
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened 
2 tablespoons canola oil (I used the "Smart Balance" blend of oils)
.....
2 large eggs
.....
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
.....
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (I used the "60%" Ghirardelli chips)
.....
IF everyone here liked nuts, I would have added 1/2 cup chopped walnuts to the dough.

DIRECTIONS:
  1. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.  Combine flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda, stirring with a whisk.
  2. Place sugar, butter, and oil in a bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed  until well combined (about 5 minutes).  Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add vanilla; beat 1 minute.  Add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating at low speed just until combined.  Add chocolate chips; beat at low speed just until combined.  Cover with plastic wrap; chill for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
  4. Drop dough by 1 and 1/2 tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.  
  5. Bake at 350-degrees for 10 minutes or until almost set.  *
  6. Cool on pan for a while-- until they firm up a bit.  Remove cookies from pan; cool on wire racks.


* "The secret to these rich chocolate cookies is to not overbake them.  For a gooey, creamy cookie center, pull them out of the oven when they are still a bit glossy."

**This recipe came from Page 107 in 
the November 2014 issue of the 
Cooking Light magazine.

Yield:  26 cookies (a little bit smaller than what I made).

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Yellow Caramel POKE Cake

Two missionaries were coming for supper tonight-- 
this quick/easy dessert was our "finisher".
It's what I call a "doctored up" box cake!


For just the cake part of this, I did not follow the directions that are on the back of the yellow "boxed" cake mix.  Instead, I added "things"--  I did with the cake mix what it says to do on the following link, except that I used a YELLOW cake mix, and I added 4 WHOLE eggs instead of just 4 egg whites:  http://www.recipegirl.com/2007/03/16/white-wedding-cake/
I think my 9x13x2" cake baked for almost 45 minutes with how my oven works.  Rather than stick to a certain baking time, check your baking cake by ever so carefully inserting a clean/dry toothpick after 35 minutes-- when the toothpick  comes out clean, it's done.  After my cake was baked, I then "changed course" and followed the recipe directions given on the next website.

Yes,...The rest of the ideas for this easy cake, including
the poked holes filled with caramel topping 
and the wedge of apple used for decoration
came from the Betty Crocker website at...
http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/caramel-surprise-cake/d3baccbc-8531-46b1-bcac-80e80ef7037c
(Or, just google Caramel Surprise Cake)


Rather than prepare individual apple slices for "decoration",  as directed to in the recipe, I just took thin slices off of a store-bought nutty/caramel apple that looked like this...


And,... it ended up 
looking like this...



Wednesday, September 17, 2014

'tis this time of the year...


Yes!, ...'tis that time of the year to find out what's been happening UNDERground since planting time!   Of all the "findings", this one was the most "affectionate"...


Below:  The hugger from one side...
...and from the other side.

The smaller carrot being "hugged" was just "in there", 
loose and independent.  Was the "hugging" to save the 
"hugged" from being thinned?  

P.S.  The "digger of the carrots" said there were ALSO some 
carrots that looked "too naughty" to be photographed!   

Below:  On the back left, there are quart jars of canned peach halves that came FRESH (directly delivered) from GEORGIA by one of my sister's sons.  In fact, when my husband and I came back from our vacation,  my sister had these canned up for me-- in addition to that, she made those 4 pints of peach jam for us.
In comparison to the "home canner" my mother was, and in comparison to some other "home canners" I know these days, I do NOT consider myself to be any kind of MARATHON CANNER.  But!, there comes a time when an abundant yield of produce must be shared with friends,  OR it comes down to "do THIS" with the extras, OR ... heaven forbid, let 'em go to waste.

Other than the peaches and the peach jam in the above photo, there are pickled beets, and a whole lot of carrots.  Three varieties of carrots... the carrots along the front/left grew in the garden as PURPLE-colored carrots.  But, the purple color went away as I lightly pared (scraped?) them.  Canned up, they look just a little different in the jar.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Yellow "Lard" Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

This recipe came from the same source as my blog post 
for yesterday...from a compilation of recipes put 
out by the folks at Farm Journal, Inc. way back in 1973.

"This is a 2-egg cake with an old-time 
country taste made in a new way."
(See my personal comments about using 
lard in the blog post I entered yesterday.)

Like the recipe I posted yesterday, this was another recipe with directions that seemed very different to me.   This must have been the "way to go" in those days before we began opening boxes of cake mix and containers of "stir 'n spread" frosting. 


I will say that I am impressed with how "light
this cake turned out.  Light, but still not dry!  (I wonder if gently folding the egg whites into the batter at the 
end is what made it so light.)

INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup lard, softened to room temperature
  • 2 and 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 additional cup of sugar
  • 3 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Beat only the egg WHITES until frothy.  G-r-a-d-u-a-l-l-y beat into them the first 1/2 cup of sugar. Continue beating until very stiff and glossy.  Set aside.
  2. In another bowl, stir softened lard.  Add the sifted-together dry ingredients (cake flour, the last 1 cup of sugar, baking powder and salt).  Stir in the vanilla and only 3/4 cup of the milk.  Beat 1 minute at medium speed on mixer.  Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl frequently.
  3. Add remaining milk and the two egg yolks.  Beat for 1 more minute, scraping the bowl frequently.
  4. With wide spatula or wooden spoon, g-e-n-t-l-y fold the beaten egg white/sugar mixture into the batter.
  5. Pour into a 9x13x2" baking pan/dish that has been greased and floured-- bake at 350-degrees for about 30-35 minutes or only until toothpick comes out clean.  OPTIONAL: Pour batter into two greased and floured 9" round layer cake pans and bake at 350-degrees for about 25-30 minutes or only until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool baked cake(s) on a rack for at least 10 minutes before removing them from pans.
  6. Frost with Peanut Butter Frosting.  The recipe for that is below.

PEANUT BUTTER FROSTING:

Whip just 3/4 cup of chunky peanut butter until smooth.  Slowly add 3/4 cup of  cold "Basic Sugar Syrup*".  Continue beating until the frosting looks very creamy and smooth.  Put it on cake.

The recipe for this sugar syrup is also on the posting 
I entered yesterday.  If you don't want to 
look for it there, here it is:

*BASIC SUGAR SYRUP:

Ingredients:  2 cups sugar, and 1 cup water.
Boil sugar and water together.  After it reaches boiling stage, continue for only ONE minute. Remove from heat. Pour into a jar.  Cool, cover and keep refrigerated.  Makes about 2 cups.  
(If you don't think you will be making any more things that call for this, make just a smaller batch of this.) 






Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Fudge Pudding "Lard" Cake w/Glossy Chocolate Icing

This is a real "from scratch" cake (a VERY "scratchy-scratch" kind of recipe!)  I say this recipe has more "strange" (to me) directions than I have ever seen or followed before today.  I know there are much easier ways to make a cake, but, just for today, I wanted to do this... just the way they said to! 

I got this recipe from an old "freezing and canning" book published in 1973-- it was among a compilation of recipes put together by those at the helm of the old Farm Journal-- a magazine that many of us farmers regularly subscribed to.  Even as a very young girl, I always looked for the "recipe section" in it.  Yes, ...this recipe calls for LARD!!!   

When the use of Crisco and Canola Oil, etc. was being "pushed" (pushed A LOT!), LARD was given a bad rap!  A really bad rap!  These days, that "bad rap" is unraveling (actually, it is reversing!). Today, when I googled "lard benefits", ONLY 1,620,000 sites popped up for one reason or another.  You can read and decide for yourself if you would ever care (dare?) to use lard.  Check it out at:


https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=lard%20benefits 


BUT!, ...today's lard which is sold in the old-time and similar-looking green/white-colored Armour brand box is NOT what it used to be.   Read on that container and you're likely to see that the "hydrogenators"  have even "hydrogenated" today's lard-- and, the "hydrogenation" part is what I want to get AWAY from!  

A while ago, to get around that "hydrogenation" issue with most of "today's" store-bought lard, I picked up some pork fat from a local butcher and home-rendered my own.  I store it in glass jars and in the freezer-- just like my mother always did!  (Rendering it out wasn't anything hard to do, but it did take up a good bit of time.)


IF you REALLY like CHOCOLATE, you could pour "extra" of the glossy frosting on top of a piece and let it be all runny like this:


Read through the entire recipe (including the directions) before starting.

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1/3 cup lard, room temperature
  • 3 squares unsweetened chocolate
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Melt lard in a 3 qt. saucepan over low heat.  
  2. Add chocolate blocks to the melted lard over low heat and stir together until melted.  Remove from heat.
  3. Separately, mix 3/4 cup sugar and cornstarch thoroughly.  Stir this into chocolate mixture until well blended.
  4. Add the first 1 cup of milk; stir and cook over low heat until smooth and thick.  Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.  (Set pan in cold water to speed cooling.)
  5. Sift all of the remaining dry ingredients together 3 times.
  6. Add 1/2 of this sifted mixture to the thickened chocolate mixture, blend and beat only 1/2 minute (75 strokes).  
  7. Add 3/4 cup milk and blend. 
  8. Add remaining sifted dry ingredients, blend; beat just 1 minute (150 strokes).
  9. Add eggs and vanilla, blend and beat just 1/2 minutes (75 stokes).
  10. Bake in a paper-lined 9x13x2" pan in moderate oven (350-degrees) for about 35 minutes, or according to how your oven bakes.  COOL.
  11. Frost with Glossy Fudge Frosting (it is more like a ganache).  The recipe is below, but first make this syrup:  
BASIC SUGAR SYRUP

FIRST, while the cake is baking and cooling, mix up this BASIC SUGAR SYRUP which will be used in the frosting.  To make this, you'll need: 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water.  Boil sugar and water together for just one minute.  Pour into jar.  Cool, cover and refrigerate this.  This will make about 1 cup of "basic sugar syrup".


GLOSSY FUDGE FROSTING

Actual Frosting Ingredients and Directions:

  1. Melt 2 tablespoons butter over hot (not boiling) water.  Remove from heat before the water boils.
  2. Add chocolate chips to butter over hot water and stir until melted, and well blended.
  3. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  4. Add just 1/3 cup of the cooled "Basic Sugar Syrup" very gradually, stirring after each addition until blended.  Mixture will become glossy and smooth.
  5. Remove from hot water and cool until of spreading consistency. 
  6.  Spread thinly over cake.  Apply quickly by pouring a small amount at a time on top of cake, near the edges; as it runs down the sides, you can leave "as is" or spread it with a spatula.  (Might work better to frost the top of the cake last.)  This frosting recipe should be enough for two 8" layers, or one 9x13x2" pan cake.
P.S.  This recipe makes opening a box of cake mix and a can of ready-made chocolate frosting look super easy and very tempting, huh!!!!


Friday, August 29, 2014

Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies*




These cookies DID turn out to be chewier than 
those made from my other favorite 
Peanut Butter Cookie recipe...


Personally, for next time, I think I will cut 
back on the "sweetness" ingredients.


INGREDIENTS:

  • l egg
  • 1 cup peanut butter (I used a "natural" chunky variety.)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup honey roasted or dry roasted peanuts, chopped (not needed IF you use chunky peanut butter as I did).


DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat oven to 350-degrees.
  2. BEAT egg in large mixing bowl with mixer until foamy.
  3. ADD the peanut butter, sugar and honey.  Mix well.
  4. ADD the flour and stir just until combined/smooth.
  5. Using my 1.5 tablespoon-sized cookie scoop, I put 15 "little balls of dough" on my 15x10" parchment-lined cookie sheet.  
  6. Flatten each dough ball, in crisscross pattern, with fork (slightly wet the fork tines if they get sticky).
  7. BAKE 11 to 12 minutes (in my oven, it was 11.5 minutes).  Cool on baking sheet for at least 1 minute.  Remove to wire racks, cool completely.  

Below:
This 5-quart enameled cast iron "kettle" is my
most favorite "cookie jar" around here... 
its lid is heavy enough to keep cookies in 
good condition for quite a while.


Based on recipe from Kraft's Food & Family / Fall 2014 / Page 38

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Fresh Plum Cobbler (Sort of!)

Watch it BUBBLE!!!!

And,... THEN,... HAVE A PIECE (with some ice cream)!!!!


This all started because my daughter Cheryl gave me a sack of fresh plums from their faithfully producing plum tree.   These aren't as large as the dark plums sold in grocery stores around here.  I would guess it takes two of these to equal one of the other.


Of the two varieties of plums she has, these were not the cling-free kind.  In other words, quite a bit of plum flesh WANTED to stick to its pit.  The recipe said to "pit the plums, and quarter them".   In this case, that wasn't a "neat" job.  As shown below, I first made the following cuts and then removed the flesh from the pit as good as I could.   (To make the cobbler, and because these plums were of the smaller kind, I doubled the number of plums called for.)


INGREDIENTS:

  • Oven Temp:  375-degrees
  • Baking Time:  40-45 Minutes, or until topping is brown and "bubbly".
  • 9x9" baking pan or dish, sprayed with "non-stick".
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  • 7 Large Plums (or 14 of the smaller type), pitted and quartered.
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
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  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (or mace, if you have it)
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  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
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  • 1/2 cup butter, melted


DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the prepared plums, first 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 3 tablespoons flour and cinnamon.  Spoon this into a sprayed or greased 2-quart (or 9x9") baking dish.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the next two sugar(s), baking powder, salt, nutmeg (or mace) and the last two cups of flour.
  3. Add lightly beaten egg; stir with fork until mixed together and crumbly.  Sprinkle this mixture over the plum mixture. 
  4. Drizzle top with melted butter.
  5. Bake at 375-degrees for 40-45 minutes or until plums are tender and top is golden brown.   
  6. Cool for at least 10-20 minutes before serving.   Serve warm or at room temperature.  (Ice cream  or whipped cream is a good addition.)
  7. Yield:  About 8 servings.


Below:  Warm plum cobbler with 
"squirts" of whipped topping...