Sunday, December 3

Danica's Oat Bran and Flax Seed Muffins

1 ½ cup Unbleached Flour
¾ cup Flax Seed Meal
¾ cup Oat Bran (or Rolled Oats-milled)
1 cup Brown Sugar
2 Tsp Baking Soda
2 Tsp Baking Powder
½ Tsp Salt
2 Tsp Cinnamon
1 ½ Cup Carrot
2 Apples (peeled and shredded)
½ Cup Raisins (or Cranraisins)
1 Cup Nuts (Walnuts Chopped)
¾ Cup Milk
2 Eggs (beaten)
1 Tsp Vanilla

Optional: Substitute the fruit for any listed here: cranberry sauce, defrosted orange juice concentrate, bananas, cranberries, blueberries.

1) Mix Flour, Flax Seed Meal, Oat Bran, Sugar, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Salt and Cinnamon in large Main bowl.

2) Stir in Main Bowl, Carrots, Apples, Raisins and Fruits.

3) In a separate bowl, combine Milk, Eggs and Vanilla. Pour into Main Bowl and stir. Don’t over mix.

Fill Muffin tins ¾” full. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Cool and enjoy.

Saturday, November 25


Almond Spice Cookies
Caramel Pecan Cookies
Spiced Icebox Butter Cookies
New England Molasses Gingerbread Cookies
Pecan Crescent Cookies
Italian Almond Cookies
Chocolate Hazelnut Crinkle Cookies

Gingerbread house research

The History Of Gingerbread

Gingerbread House from Epicurious.

about Gingerbread Houses

Lots of links for gingerbread houses

More gingerbread templates and etc

Ideas and tips from food network

Many gingerbread links at dmoz

Victorian Gingerbread house and templates

Blueprints and recipes

lots of info at

Molasses Honey Ginger Cookies

1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup honey
2 egg yolks
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the icing:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Liquid food colorings and colored sugars

1. Cream together the shortening, sugar, molasses, and honey in a bowl with an electric mixer. Add the egg yolks and mix well.

2. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices; stir into the shortening mixture. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill well.

3. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out shapes with Christmas tree and/or other holiday cookie cutters; transfer to lightly greased baking sheets.

4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake cookies for 8 to 10 minutes. (Do not overbake.) Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets until they are firm, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

5. Beat confectioners' sugar, butter, milk, and vanilla until smooth, adding more sugar or milk as needed. If desired, divide icing among smaller bowls and tint with different food colorings. Decorate cookies with colored icings and sugars.

Via Epicurious


From Epicurious
Active time: 40 min Start to finish: 9 3/4 hr (includes chilling dough)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup plus 4 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup apricot preserves or raspberry jam
1 cup loosely packed golden raisins, chopped
1 1/4 cups walnuts (1/4 lb), finely chopped
Milk for brushing cookies
Special equipment: parchment paper; a small offset spatula

Whisk together flour and salt in a bowl. Beat together butter and cream cheese in a large bowl with an electric mixer until combined well. Add flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms. Gather dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap, then flatten (in wrap) into a roughly 7- by 5-inch rectangle. Chill until firm, 8 to 24 hours.

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Line bottom of a 1- to 1 1/2-inch-deep large shallow baking pan with parchment paper.

Cut dough into 4 pieces. Chill 3 pieces, wrapped in plastic wrap, and roll out remaining piece into a 12- by 8-inch rectangle on a well-floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Transfer dough to a sheet of parchment, then transfer to a tray and chill while rolling out remaining dough in same manner, transferring each to another sheet of parchment and stacking on tray.

Whisk 1/2 cup sugar with cinnamon.

Arrange 1 dough rectangle on work surface with a long side nearest you. Spread 1/4 cup preserves evenly over dough with offset spatula. Sprinkle 1/4 cup raisins and a rounded 1/4 cup walnuts over jam, then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar.

Using parchment as an aid, roll up dough tightly into a log. Place, seam side down, in lined baking pan, then pinch ends closed and tuck underneath. Make 3 more logs in same manner and arrange 1 inch apart in pan. Brush logs with milk and sprinkle each with 1 teaspoon of remaining granulated sugar. With a sharp large knife, make 3/4-inch-deep cuts crosswise in dough (not all the way through) at 1-inch intervals. (If dough is too soft to cut, chill until firmer, 20 to 30 minutes.)

Bake until golden, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool to warm in pan on a rack, about 30 minutes, then transfer logs to a cutting board and slice cookies all the way through.

Makes about 44 cookies.

Yum Yum Brownie Muffins

1 box devil’s food cake mix
1 can solid pack pumpkin (15 oz.)

Directions: Mix the two ingredients together. Don't add anything else that may be mentioned on the box, such as eggs, oil, or water.

The mixture will be very thick and you will be tempted to add in other things to make the batter smoother. DO NOT DO THIS AS IT WILL RUIN EVERYTHING! Place batter into muffin tins (or mini muffin tins) lined with paper, or sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Makes 12 regular or 36 mini muffins.

Found here. Bonus: Is a WeightWatchers recipe.
(1 Muffin, or 3 minis - 180 calories, 2.5g fat, 37 carbs, 2.5g, fiber, 2.5g protein - 3 WW points)

I have found you can add some other ingredients. So far I've tried some coffee and powdered ginger. Might try nuts. Even if you're not trying to be "healthy" this is a fudgy, not too sweet treat that is super yummy and dangerously easy.

Friday, November 17

Swedish Dreams

From Baker's Catalogue

The texture of these sweet butter cookies is ultra-crisp, crisper than any cookie you've baked before. Unless, that is, you already know about the cookie-baker's secret weapon: baker's ammonia, or ammonium carbonate. This old-fashioned leavener, originally called hartshorn (because it was ground from deer antlers), gives cookies a snapping-crisp, extra-light texture that's indescribable, until you experience it yourself. The closest comparison might be a Pepperidge Farm Bordeaux cookie, if you're familiar with that treat. If you don't have baker's ammonia, use baking powder; just be aware that though the cookies will taste good, their texture won't be nearly the same.

This dough comes together quickly and easily, and the cookies lend themselves admirably to all kinds of sugar decorations. They're pretty, they keep well, and like your basic black dress, they go with everything, making them a perfect addition to your holiday cookie gift plate.

1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt*
2 teaspoons vanilla extract(1259)
1 teaspoon orange or lemon extract, optional
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon baker's ammonia
coarse sparkling sugar or sugar decorations, for topping
*If you use salted butter, reduce the salt to 1/2 teaspoon.

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets Place the different sugar decorations you're using into separate small bowls

In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the sugar, butter, salt, vanilla, and orange or lemon extract. Add the flour and baker's ammonia, and beat until the dough comes together, scraping the bowl once; it'll seem quite dry at first, but keep beating, eventually it'll become chunky and cohesive. Scoop the dough by teaspoonfuls (a teaspoon cookie scoop works wonderfully well here) into the bowls of decorations. Roll the dough balls in the sugar to coat. Put them on the prepared baking sheets, and use the bottom of a glass, dipped in sugar if necessary to prevent sticking, to flatten the balls to about 1/4-inch thick.

Bake the cookies for about 20 to 25 minutes, until they're a very light golden brown around the edges. Remove them from the oven, and transfer them to a rack to cool. Yield: 4 dozen cookies.

Monday, November 13

Moroccan Spice Rub

1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 handful fresh cilantro sprigs
Simple Roast Chicken

Before roasting the chicken, combine the cumin, curry, ginger, salt, and cayenne in a small bowl. Add the oil and combine.

Use your fingers to carefully loosen the skin from the breasts, thighs, and drumsticks. Spread the spice mixture evenly under the skin. Place the cilantro inside the cavity. Roast the chicken according to the recipe.

Yield: Seasons 1 chicken


Old-Fashioned Chocolate Layer Cake

For best results, don't make the frosting until the cakes are cooled, and use the frosting as soon as it is ready. If the frosting gets too cold and stiff to spread easily, wrap the mixer bowl with a towel soaked in hot water and mix on low speed until the frosting appears creamy and smooth. Refrigerated leftover cake should sit at room temperature before serving until the frosting softens. Serves 10 to 12

12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), very soft, plus extra for greasing pans
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (8 3/4 ounces), plus extra for dusting pans
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate , coarsely chopped
1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa (3/4 ounce)
1/2 cup hot water
1 3/4 cups sugar (12 1/4 ounces)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon table salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs
2 large egg yolks

16 ounces semisweet chocolate , finely chopped
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick)
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream (cold)

1. FOR THE CAKE: Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch-round by 2-inch-high cake pans with softened butter; dust pans with flour and knock out excess. Combine chocolate, cocoa powder, and hot water in medium heatproof bowl; set bowl over saucepan containing 1 inch of simmering water and stir with rubber spatula until chocolate is melted, about 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup sugar to chocolate mixture and stir until thick and glossy, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and set aside to cool.

2. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Combine buttermilk and vanilla in small bowl. In bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whisk eggs and yolks on medium-low speed until combined, about 10 seconds. Add remaining 1 1/4 cups sugar, increase speed to high, and whisk until fluffy and lightened in color, 2 to 3 minutes. Replace whisk with paddle attachment. Add cooled chocolate mixture to egg/sugar mixture and mix on medium speed until thoroughly incorporated, 30 to 45 seconds, pausing to scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Add softened butter one tablespoon at a time, mixing about 10 seconds after each addition. Add about one-third of flour mixture followed by half of buttermilk mixture, mixing until incorporated after each addition (about 15 seconds). Repeat using half of remaining flour mixture and all of remaining buttermilk mixture (batter may appear separated). Scrape down sides of bowl and add remaining flour mixture; mix at medium-low speed until batter is thoroughly combined, about 15 seconds. Remove bowl from mixer and fold batter once or twice with rubber spatula to incorporate any remaining flour. Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans; smooth batter to edges of pan with spatula.

3. Bake cakes until toothpick inserted into center comes out with a few crumbs attached, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 15 minutes, then invert onto wire rack. Cool cakes to room temperature before frosting, 45 to 60 minutes.

4. TO MAKE FROSTING: Melt chocolate in heatproof bowl set over saucepan containing 1 inch of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside. Meanwhile, heat butter in small saucepan over medium-low heat until melted. Increase heat to medium; add sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, and salt and stir with heatproof rubber spatula until sugar is dissolved, 4 to 5 minutes. Add melted chocolate, butter mixture, and cream to clean bowl of standing mixer and stir to thoroughly combine.

5. Place mixer bowl over ice bath and stir mixture constantly with rubber spatula until frosting is thick and just beginning to harden against sides of bowl, 1 to 2 minutes (frosting should be 70 degrees). Place bowl on standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed until frosting is light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir with rubber spatula until completely smooth.

6. TO FROST CAKE: Place one cake layer on serving platter or cardboard round. Spread 1 1/2 cups frosting evenly across top of cake with spatula. Place second cake layer on top, then spread remaining frosting evenly over top and sides of cake. Cut into slices and serve.

Thai-Spiced Pumpkin Soup

Thai-spiced Pumpkin Soup

2 acorn squash, pumpkins, or other smallish winter squash
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
1 teaspoon (or more) red Thai curry paste
2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt (or to taste)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and place the oven racks in the middle.

Carefully cut each squash/pumpkin into halves (or quarters). Slather each piece of squash with butter, sprinkle generously with salt, place on a baking sheet skin sides down, and place in the oven. Roast for about an hour or until the squash is tender throughout.

When the pumpkin/squash are cool enough to handle scoop it into a large pot over medium high heat. Add the coconut milk and curry paste and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and puree with a hand blender, you should have a very thick base at this point. Now add water a cup at a time pureeing between additions until the soup is the consistency you prefer - a light vegetable stock would work here as well. Bring up to a simmer again and add the salt (and more curry paste if you like, I used just shy of 6 teaspoons but the curry paste I use is not over-the-top spicy).

Serves six.

Thursday, October 12

Sweet Potato Praline Brulee

2 pounds sweet potatoes, mashed or pureed
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 large egg yolks
1 20 ounce can crushed pineapple, drained, juice reserved
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
3 tablespoons gold rum
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Freshly ground pepper

Praline Topping:
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cups chopped pecans
1 1/2 tablespoons gold rum
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Put the mashed sweet potatoes in a large bowl. Stir in the melted butter.
Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the
pineapple, rum, nutmeg, and ginger, and stir well to combine. Season to
taste with salt and pepper. Divide the mixture evenly among the ramekins.
Using a spatula, spread the sweet potatoes so they are even on top. Bake
15 minutes.

In a medium fry pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the
remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Cook just until warmed through,
about 2 minutes. Spoon the praline onto the tops of the sweet potatoes in
the ramekins, dividing the evenly among them.

Using a kitchen torch, fire the praline until it bubbles vigorously. Serve
immediately. Serves 6 - 8.

Tuesday, October 10

Peanut/Cashew/Almond Brittle


  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  1. Grease a large cookie sheet. Set aside.
  2. In a heavy 2 quart saucepan, over medium heat, bring to a boil, sugar, corn syrup, salt, and water. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in peanuts. Set candy thermometer in place and continue cooking. Stir frequently until temperature reaches 300 degrees F (150 degrees C), or until a small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water separates into hard and brittle threads.
  3. Remove from heat; immediately stir in butter or margarine and baking soda; pour at once onto cookie sheet. With 2 forks, lift and pull peanut mixture into rectangle about 14x12 inches; cool. Snap candy into pieces.
Also fabulous with cashews and almonds. Made this for gifts last year around the holidays. Appeared to be a hit. (found at allrecipes).

Ye Olde Recipes

I've always found historic cooking, recipes, etc sorta neat and interesting.

Found some cool links on the subject here.

Italian Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

Italian Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

18-20 large mushrooms (smaller ones will do ok, but they take forever to stuff)
1/2 lb. Italian sausage (reg/sweet italian/fennel/etc, bulk type)
1/2 c. chopped onion
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced (or more!)
3 tablespoons oil
1/4 c. breadcrumbs
1 egg
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

1. Clean mushrooms from any dirt, but do not wash in water. Remove stems from mushrooms. Chop stems. Set aside.
2. Brown sausage, onion, garlic and chopped stems in oil and drain well. Set aside to let cool. (You can speed this up by putting them into a bowl, covering the mixture and leaving in the refrigerator.)
3. Once cool, mix with breadcrumbs, egg and cheese.
4. Stuff mushrooms full of the mixture.
5. Bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes.
6. Sprinkle with extra Parmesan.

The ones I made on Saturday didn't have the egg in them (I think that's why the stuffing started to fall apart a little, although it wasn't too bad). I also put the goat's cheese in the base of the mushroom and then added the stuffing on top of that. I suppose another option would be to mix the goat cheese in with the stuffing mixture.

Coriander Teriyaki Marinade

Heavenly Marinade for Coriander Teriyaki (original marinade via
* 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, coarsely ground in a spice grinder
* 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
* 2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
* 2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
* 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
* 1 pound flank steak, steak tips, chicken, or your favorite meat

1. Press coriander onto both sides of meat and put on a large plate.
2. Stir together soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and oil and pour over meat, turning meat to coat. Marinate, turning occasionally, 10 minutes.
3. Cook it up! (Grill it, pan fry it, etc.) Great over wild rice or brown rice.

This works well with steak (pretty much any type- I did it with steak tips and oh it is good) or chicken (also delicious!). Super delish! I didn't have any coriander seeds when I first made this dish, so I left that out but increased the amount of fresh cilantro by doubling it, and it was still amazing (although slightly different in flavor). I also love garlic and tend to put in at least 2-3 good sized cloves. I'm not a fish eater but, I bet this would be great on fish as well.

Another thing that is lovely to do with this is to make a pizza with chicken cooked in the marinade. Cook up the chicken in the marinade, or do it the next day with leftovers (which is what I usually do.) Get either pizza dough or some sort of pizza bread. Spread some of the sauce of the marinade and the bits of fond/carmelized bits from the pan (which I try to save when cleaning the pan of leftovers) on the bread or dough. Add some pizza sauce, only enough to lightly coat the dough or bread (too much and the dough will be too soggy when cooked). Top with shreaded mozzarella and bite sized pieces of chicken cooked in the marinade. Add olives, mushrooms or veggie of your choice (or none at all). Bake at 425F for about 15 minutes or until the crust is brown and the cheese is melted.

I've tried this with whole wheat pizza dough and it's rather good too.


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