Monday, December 28, 2009

This holiday season I made two batches of buckeyes.  Joy really, really wanted to help me make them, so together we made the first batch.
The first time around I used Skippy Natural peanutbutter.  FAIL  The dough was way to soft and drippy.  I tried adding more butter, more sugar, but they never quite worked right.  With the next batch I used regular, off brand peanut butter.  Worked GREAT!  Just a tip, in case you might use natural peanut butter. 

4 cups creamy peanut butter
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
6 cups powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla
4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons shortening

In a large mixing bowl, beat peanut butter, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla together until well mixed.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Roll into small buckeye sized balls (About 1 inch in diameter)  Place on wax paper lined cookie sheets. Chill in the freezer for several hours, until very firm.

 Melt together the shortening and chocolate chips until smooth, being careful not to burn the chocolate.  Stick a toothpick into each ball, and careful dip into the melted chocolate, leaving just a small, round opening at the top, to resemble a buckeye.  Freeze until chocolate is completely set.  Store in the freezer or refrigerator.  Makes about 12 dozen.  (If you make them bigger around you will get less.  Or if you hand out samples frequently, as I did, you will get less :)
Store in fridge or freezer.
Scalloped Potatoes with Ham

This is a recipe we love to make when we have leftover ham.  It can also me made without the ham, and served as a side dish.

6 Tablespoons butter
1/3 cup chopped onion
8 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 cups milk
12-14 medium small or medium potoatoes
3-4 cups chopped, cooked ham

In a medium saucepan sautè onions in melted butter until tender.  Stir in flour, salt, and pepper.  Add all the milk.  Whisk often, cooking over medium-low heat until thick and bubbly.

Peel, wash, and thinly slice potatoes.  Grease a large baking dish.  Preheat oven to 350°.

In the baking dish spread half the potatoes on the bottom, sprinkle on half the ham, and pour half the white sauce on top.  Repeat layer with the other half of ingredients.
Cover and bake at 350° for 1 hour, stirring once or twice (Until potatoes are slightly softened.)  Uncover, and bake for 15-20 minutes more until potatoes are completely soft.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Andes Mint Cookies

3/4 cup margarine
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 Tablespoons water
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

On low heat melt margarine, sugar, and water.  Add chocolate chips; stir until half melted.  Remove from heat and stir until completely melted.
Coo for ten minutes.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Reduce speed and add dry ingredients.

Chill one hour (Dough will be like fudge).  Preheat oven to 350°.  Roll into balls, about 1 inch in diameter.  Bake on a foil lined baking sheet for 12 minutes, no longer.

Immediately put 1/2 an Andes mint on each cookie.  Let them sit for one minute, then spread the mint around the cookie with the back of a spoon.  Cool completely before stacking.  (I like these cookies better if they are cold, but some people at my house prefer them warm.  We keep some in the fridge, some on the counter.)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Homemade Eggnog
Many eggnog recipes are served containing raw eggs.  Not this recipe. Its cooked thoroughly. Its a great holiday treat!

13 eggs
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 quarts milk, divided
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups whipping cream
additional nutmeg

To prepare: fill a clean sink with ice and cold water, until about half full. Mix 1 quart of cold milk measured, with vanilla, and 1 teaspoon nutmeg.  Have a large, heatproof bowl ready.

In a heavy 4-at. saucepan, whisk together eggs, sugar, and salt.  Gradually add one quart milk.  Cook and stir over medium-low heat until a thermometer reads 160° F.  Be careful to keep stirring so the mixture does not turn into custard.  Once heated to 160° F. pour into a large heatproof bowl.

 Place bowl in the ice bath.  Hold on to the bowl at all times, making sure it does not tip into the water. Carefully stir in milk mixture.  Continue stirring frequently until mixture is cool.

Carefully strain mixture with a fine strainer, to remove all lumps.  (Sometimes small pieces of custard-like stuff form in the eggnog.)  Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours.

Right before serving, beat the whipping cream in a mixing bowl, on high, until soft peaks form.  Whisk gently into cooled eggnog.   Sprinkle with nutmeg if desired.
Yield: 3 1/2 quarts.
Eggnog may be stored in the refrigerator for several days.  Whisk before serving.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Chicken Soup with Mashed Potato Dumplings

1 Tablespoon oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup onion, chopped
2 cups baked chicken, shredded
2 medium carrots, peeled, washed, and chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped (We don't eat celery so my mom just added a little celery salt.)
6 cups chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon sage (We still don't have any sage, so my mom added some poultry seasoning.)

1-1/2 cups baking mix
1 cup mashed potatoes (Prepared with milk)
1/4 to 1/2 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon pepper

In a large pot, saute onions and garlic in oil until tender, 3-4 minutes.  Add broth, carrots, chicken, and seasonings.  Bring soup to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
In a small bowl, mix together dumpling ingredients well.  Carefully drop large spoonfuls of dumpling batter into simmering  soup.  Cover, and simmer over medium heat for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in dumpling comes out clean.  Yield: 5 servings.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Fettuccine with Creamy Tomato Italian Sausage Sauce

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 shallots, chopped (I don't think my mom used these)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 pound Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 14-oz. cans diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 Tablespoon dried sage  (We did not have any sage so my mom used part Italian seasoning, and part poultry seasoning)
  • 1 pound fettuccine
  • grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a heavy, large pot over medium-high heat.  Add shallots and garlic and sauté until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes.
Add sausage and sauté until no longer pink, about 5 minutes, breaking up the sausages a bit.  Add cream; simmer 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes with juice.  Add spices.  Simmer until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite.  Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid.
Return pasta to same pot; add sauce.  Toss over medium heat until sauce coats pasta, adding reserved cooking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls if mixture is dry.  Season with salt and pepper.  Transfer to bowl; sprinkle with cheese and serve.
Serves 8.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Peppermint Patties
I made these peppermint patties with three of my younger siblings, Joy, Laurel, and Levi.  We had a lot of fun!  

  • 1 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened
  • 9 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons peppermint extract  (The original recipe calls for 1 tsp. but I think 2 would be better)
  • 1-1/2 cups semi-sweet OR dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate
  • 3 Tablespoons, and 1 teaspoon shortening

In a mixer, beat cream cheese and peppermint extract until smooth.  Slowly beat in the powdered sugar.  The dough will be very stiff.  Between two pieces of parchment paper, roll out a portion of the dough until it is about about 1/4 inch thick. (I used an actual peppermint patty to decide the thickness.)  Continue this until all the dough is used.  (Wrap the remaining dough in plastic wrap to keep it from drying out.)  Use a small cup (a medicine cup works well) and cut out small circles.

Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Freeze for 1/2 hour.  Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt the semi-sweet or dark chocolate chocolate chips and 3 Tablespoons shortening.  Stir constantly until smooth; remove from heat immediately.  Drop frozen patties in chocolate one at a time, and scoop them out with a fork.  Tap gently to remove excess chocolate.  Place back on parchment paper.  Chill.  To decorate, melt 1 teaspoon shortening with 1/4 cup very dark chocolate until smooth.  Drizzle on top of candies.  Store in the refrigerator.  Makes about 6 dozen patties.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Mile High Biscuits
I don't think these biscuits quite get to be a mile high, but they are very good!

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon, and 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
3/4 cup shortening or butter
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup milk

In a large mixing bowl, combine first five ingredients. Cut in cold butter, or shortening.  (I used cold butter, and grated it on our cheese grater.  That was pretty cool!  It worked okay.)  Consistency of the mixture should resemble coarse meal.

Mix milk, and egg together.  Add to flour mixture.  Stir just until combined.  Dump dough onto a well floured surface. Knead about 8 times.  Roll out to about 1 and 1/2 inches thick.  Cut out biscuits using a floured cookie cutter, or cup.
(When I make biscuits I usually roll the dough out to half the usual thickness.  Then I cut out my biscuits, and stack two pieces before baking.  This makes sort of a double layered biscuit.  The biscuits are much easier to cut in half this way.)

Place biscuits on a air bake cookie sheet.  Bake at 400° F. for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
Serve warm.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Oat Banana Bread

3-4 medium bananas, very ripe
1/2 cup oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup quick oats
1/2 cup chopped pecans, optional
In a medium mixing bowl, beat peeled bananas with an electric mixer on medium speed, until completely liquid.  Add sugar, oil, and eggs.  Beat well.

On top of banana mixture, gently combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and oats.  After combining dry ingredients, mix into wet ingredients, until completely mixed.  Stir in nuts.  (I only put nuts in part of the bread I made, because some people at my house like nuts, but others don't!)  Pour batter into greased muffin pans, or greased bread pans.  The pans should be about 3/4 full.
 Bake at 350°F.  Bake muffins for about 15 to 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Bake bread for 40-50 minutes or until a knife or toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Remove to a wire rack, and cool completely.  Serve with cream cheese. 

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars


1 19.5 oz. packaged brownie mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup cooking oil
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350° F.
Lightly grease a 13 x 9 in. baking pan.  Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine brownie mix, eggs, and oil. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined.

Remove 1/2 of the brownie mixture and set aside.  Spread the remaining brownie mixture evenly into prepared pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter until smooth.  Spread evenly over the brownie mixture.

Flatten pieces of the remaining brownie mixture with your hands.  Then place them on top of the peanut butter mixture.

Bake at 350° F. for 20 - 25 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and the top is set.  The middle will be very jiggly.
Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.  Cut into bars.  Makes 32 bars.
To store, layer bars between waxed paper in an airtight container.

Many thanks to Emily who took pictures for me!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

French Silk Pie

1-9 inch pie crust, baked
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate pieces
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 egg yolks, beaten
3 Tablespoons whipping cream
whipping cream (for serving)
chocolate curls (for garnish)

In a heavy 2-quart saucepan, combine 1 cup whipping cream, chocolate pieces, butter, and sugar.
Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, till chocolate is melted. (About 10 minutes)

Remove pan from heat, and gradually stir about half the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks.
Return egg mixture to saucepan.

Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly till mixture is slightly thickened and almost bubbly. (About 3-5 minutes)
Remove from heat.  Stir in 3 Tablespoons whipping cream.

Place saucepan in a bowl of ice water, stir occasionally till mixture stiffens and almost holds its shape.  (About 20 minutes)

Transfer chocolate mixture to a medium mixing bowl.
Beat the cooled chocolate mixture with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until light and fluffy. (about 2 or 3 minutes)

Spread filling in baked pie shell.  Cover and chill pie 4-5 hours or until set.  Best if served within 24 hours, but will last 3-4 days if stored properly.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Serve with whipped cream and garnish with chocolate curls.