Thursday, December 29, 2011

Oatmeal chocolate chip, raisin cookies

These cookies are a new favorite of ours, I make them about once a week. I found the original recipe here but of course I tweaked it a bit. I hope you like it, they go great with coffee.

Oatmeal chocolate chip and raisin cookies
1/2 cup (1 stick) + 6 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tsp flax seed, ground
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup raisins
Cream the butter and sugars together. Add eggs one at a time mixing well with each addition. Add vanilla. In a seperate bowl mix flour, baking soda, salt,flax seed, and cinnamon. Add to wet ingredients mixing well each time. Fold in the oats and choclate chips and raisins. Bake on greased baking sheets for 9 ish minutes at 350 degrees. They will still look under done but will be done, if that makes sense. If they cook too long they will be hard.
Edited to add:
I just made these with half whole wheat flour and half white, I also used dried plums instead of raisins. Im betting most dried fruits would be awesome in these. It took a tiny bit linger to cook, but tastes delicious.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Tiny pies and cholcolate spoons

For those of you who still have last minute Christmas shopping to do or baking, I have some ideas. Yesterday I realized I had another Christmas party to go to and no gift to bring for the gift exchange. So I loaded up the kids and headed to the dollar store, picked up some coffee cups, marshmallows, plastic spoons and wax paper. The gift exchange is for gifts under $5 the cups were only a dollar each. I already had some supplies on hand at home like, chocolate chips, m &m's, celophane bags, pepermint candies and hot chocolate. To make the spoons you take the chocolate chips and melt them in the microwave, it doesnt take long. Dip the spoon in the chocolate so the part you eat off of is covered. You can either leave it plain or dip it in assorted toppings.

 My boys loved to crush the candies with the hammer and they also loved to decorate the spoons. When you get your toppings on, place the spoons on the wax paper so they can dry. When dry I put mine in a ziploc bag and put them in the fridge. I put the celophane bag in the coffe cup and then placed two packages of hot chocolate in it and added small cookies, two spoons and some candies for the kid cups. Here's the finished product, looks like a good gift to me and the leftover spoons are awesome in my coffee this morning. On the left is the kids cup and the right is the adult cup.

Tiny pies
I have lots of jam and jelly left so this is a good way to use up your canned goods. You can either make or buy pie crusts, I chose to buy this time because Im in a time crunch. Lay the dough out on a lightly floured surface and using a circle cookie cutter (biscuit cutter or coffee up), cut out lots of circles, place a 1/4 tsp or so of jam or jelly in the center and some butter (because who doesnt like butter?)

Fold the circle in half and with a fork press the edges together, make tiny holes in the top too. Place on greased cookie sheet and bake until lightly browned on top. I think I have my oven on 375 to 400. Cool on rack and enjoy! These are messy to make if you are like me and insist on putting too much jelly in the pies. I used blackberry jelly and apple preserves, I wanted to use pear honey but I found out that it is too runny and squishes out the sides easily.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Gluetn Free Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

I found the original recipe on the Hip girls guide to homemakings site and of course I can never find the specific flours called for so I changed the recipe. You can find the original and below is my version of it. I find that gluten free doughs are challenging, they are wetter and stickier and never seem to do what I want. It stuck horribly to the wax paper when I tried to roll it, I know better for next time to add more tapioca flour and make it drier. I just pulled these out of the oven and they smell heavenly. Good luck on making these and let me know of any changes you have made.

Gluten free pumpkin cinnamon rolls
1/4 cup of warm water
2 yeast packets
1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup sweet white rice flour
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp Tapioca flour/starch
2 tbsp ground flax seed
1 tbsp millet flour
2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
Mix the warm water and yeast in small bowl and set aside. In a large bowl mix all ingredients from brown rice flour through allspice, mix well. In another large bowl mix melted butter, light brown sugar, pumpkin puree, egg and yeast mixture. Slowly add flour mixing well after each addition. If its to wet after all the flour is added, add more tapioca flour to make it more dough like. This is where I went wrong, next time Ill add more in. Place two large sections of parchment or wax paper on table, put dough on this and add more paper on top to cover dough. Roll out until its 1/4 inch thick and rectangle shaped. Remove top layer of paper and spread 4 tbsp of softened butter on dough. In a bowl mix the following ingredients:
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Mix well and then sprinkle over butter coated dough covering to the edges. Roll up the dough carefully, I had to scrape mine off the wax paper, but I got it. When its rolled into a log cut it into 1/2 inch pieces and put in a greased pan. Let rise for 1 hour, then preheat oven to 350 and bake for 14 minutes turning the pan around halfway through the time. You can use any icing you want on top, Im going to make mine out of confectioners sugar and water.
Edited to add:
These get easier to make every time I make them, and I finally took a picture of them before I baked.

Gingerbread Cookies

These cookies are awesome, they can be coated with powdered suger, iced with icing or studded with raisins. I prefer just plain old powdered sugar, a light coating at that. It goes great with a cup of coffee. My boys love to decorate these cookies and have been asking all month if its time to make them, so Im making the dough today and we will bake tomorrow. Oh and when I decorate these with icing I put wax paper on the table and put the cookies on it so there is less mess.

Gingerbread Men
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 cup molasses, warmed
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp warm water
Confectioner sugar, or raisins for topping
Combine flour, spices, and salt. In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar, beat in the egg. Then beat in the molasses. Dissolve baking soda in the warm water and add to the molasses mixture beating until smooth. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients then cover and chill for 24 hours. Preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease two baking sheets. On a floured surface roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thick. Use cookie cutters to get your shapes and put 1 1/2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. If you are using raisins do this now to make eyes or whatever you want. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes and transfer to wire rack to cool. If you are dusting with confectioners sugar do it when the cookies are cool. If you are icing, mix confectioners sugar and water to get desired thickness and add colors if desired then decorate your cooled cookies.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Orange Marmalade

I never remember eating orange marmalade growing up, I know I probably did though. Ill sure never forget the first time I canned it. My oldest boy was still a baby, so its been a good 7 to 8 years ago. I have come to love the patience it takes to make it. From cutting the zest off, then peeling the pith, then chopping the fruit, and then the waiting 2 weeks for it to set. Its all worth it to me, and now hopefully worth it to my wonderful fiance, Jeromi, who so awesomely helped me peel today. I went about making it a little different today, I used cuties, the baby oranges, instead of large ones. It tastes great still, it took 8 cuties. I got them and the lemons at homeland this morning, just imagining what I was going to make with them later. The boys loved the cuties too, we have gone through almost 2 bags today, lol. Good luck making this and if you have any questions about canning, please ask.

Orange Marmalade
4 oranges (I used 8 cuties)
2 lemons
Remove the zest of oranges and lemons, chop and set aside. Peel and discard the pith, the white part. Chop the fruit, saving and juice with it and set aside. Place the peels, 2 1/2 cups of water and 1/8 tsp baking soda in a large pan. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add fruit and juice and simmer 10 more minutes. I didnt measure my end result of this, but it should add up to 4 cups of the cooked fruit.
4 cups cooked fruit
5 1/2 cups of sugar
Add sugar and 1 box of pectin to fruit. Cook until it reaches a full rolling boil, cook like this for 1 minute stirring constantly. Skim foam if needed then put into prepared jars and wipe lid and rim, put on the 2 piece lids and screw it down tightly. Water bath for 10 minutes, when they cool off check lids for a good seal. This may take 2 weeks to set.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

This bread is awesome and super tastey. It never lasts too long at our house and makes excellent toast for breakfast. To make it you have to make the buttermilk bread dough below and refrigerate it.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread
1 1/2 pounds (cantaloupe sized piece) of Buttermilk bread dough
Butter or neutral tasting oil to grease pan
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup raisins
egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp of water)
Lightly grease pan and set aside. Dust the top of the refrigerated dough and cut off 1 1/2 pound piece. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly turn the sides under turning the ball as you go. Roll it out in a rectangle like appearance keeping it about 1/4" thick, using more flour as needed. Using a pastry brush spread on egg wash covering the entire surface. Mix cinnamon and sugar together and sprinkle on dough evenly as possible. Then sprinkle on raisins evenly. Starting at the short side roll it up jelly roll style. Pinch the edges and ends together and tuck the ends under. Place in pan and allow to rest 1 hour and 40 minutes. Then preheat the oven to 375, and bake 35 to 40 minutes until golden brown. Then remove it from the pan and allow to cool completely before cutting.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sugar Cookies

I bake cookies all year long and these are my boys favorite cookie. They love to help cut out and decorate them, not to mention eat them. I have made this same recipe for years and go figure its off the back of a bag of sugar. I have discovered that some of the best recipes comes from looking at the back of the bag. It makes me wonder why I never looked there before.

Rolled Sugar Cookies

1 cup sugar
1 cup butter or margarine
3 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
sugar or sprinkles-for cookie tops
 In a large bowl combine sugar, margarine, milk, vanilla and egg blending well. In another bowl mix flour, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add flour mixture to wet mixture mixing well each time you add more. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
 Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a lightly floured surface roll out some dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut with floured cookie cutter and place about an inch apart on greased pan. Sprinkle and bake about 5-9 min until lightly golden brown. I usually bake until its barely brown, so the cookies are softer. Immediately remove from cookie sheets and cool on a wire rack. If your not using sugar or sprinkles be sure and let them cool before icing them.

Whole Wheat Pancakes

My family loves pancakes and I like making them different. So I jazz up this plain recipe with different things, like pumpkin, chocolate chips or apples and we top it with more than just syrup. We are all about peanut butter or fruit, my fav is strawberry's, we got them this spring from a lady who uses very little pesticides and for strawberrys that says a lot. It tends to make a fair amount of pancakes, but they taste even better the next day.  The original recipe calls for 2 cups of whole wheat flour, I fill my measuring cup up to 1 3/4 cup with wheat flour then I add a mixture of wheat germ, ground flax seed and/or wheat bran to make up the other 1/4 cup. Why do I do this? Because of the added fiber and omega 3s it adds. I gind the flax my self, that way its cheaper. I bought my packages of it a year ago and I keep it in the freezer and I grind it with my coffee grinder. The bran and germ I get at a local Amish store, its cheaper there than walmart and comes in bigger packages. Try and make this recipe your own and let me know what you did and if you liked it, Im always looking for a way to improve recipes.

Whole wheat pancakes
2 cups whole wheat flour (again I use 1 3/4 c. then use ground flax seed, wheat germ, and/or bran)
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
3-4 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs
5 Tbsp oil (I use extra virgin olive oil)
1 1/2 - 2 cups milk (depending on how thick you like pancakes)

Mix the dry ingredients together then add eggs, milk and oil. Mix well and cook on a hot greased giddle. For pumpkin pancakes add a can of pumpkin with wet ingredients, with the dry ingredients add either pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. I never know how much I add I just add, stir then smell of it, if I cant smell the spices I add more. For apple pancakes cut up one apple and add with wet ingredients, I also add cinnamon to this. For chocolate chips, bananas, or berrys I sprinkle them in when the pancake is just poured on the griddle. Some things you add make the batter thicker and you may need more milk. This batter seems pretty thick in the first place as compared to regular pancakes and may need cooked a bit longer or you could just thin it out.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Baking bread, buttermilk and gluten free

I have never made bread so much in my life until I got the book "Atrisian Bread in 5 Minutes a Day." Its quite interesting, and easy to make the recipes. So today my son Mason and I are making bread. We are also making a gluten free bread, I intend to make and sell bread. My first loaf of gluten free turned out horribly, you could have broke a window with it. Little did I know you had to use potato starch instead of potato flour. Im still learning about gluten free. My newest loaf is in the oven now its very pretty and it rose quite nicely. Thanks to Rachel, a blogger whos recipe I used and I also had to ask her many questions, she is super nice. The blog is    Please check out her blog and recipes she has lots of good ones.

 Buttermilk Bread makes three 1 1/2 pound loaves.

2 cups lukewarm water
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tbsp granulated yeast (2 packets)
1 1/2 tbsp Kosher salt
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
6 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I use bleached and it works fine)

Mix the yeast, salt, and sugar with the water and buttermilk in a 5 quart bowl or lidded container. Mix the flour in without kneading, using a spoon works great. Cover dough, not air tight though, and let it rise and collapse (or flatten on top) about 2 hours. You can use it now or put it in the fridge which makes it easier to handle. Refridgerate in a lidded container, I use the bowl I mixed it in with plastic wrap, and use within 7 days.  When ready to bake lightly greaser your loaf pan, dust the surface of dough with flour and cut off a 1 1/2 pound piece, cantaloupe sized. Use a serated knife for this. Dust the piece with flour and quickly shape into a ball by pulling surface of dough down and under it. Turn it a quarter turn each time and elongate it into an oval. Drop it into prepared loaf pan and let it rest an 1 and 40 minutes for cold and 40 minutes for fresh. Dust the loaf with flour and slash the top then coat with melted butter. Preheat oven to 350 and bake it for about 45 minutes or until golden brown. When its done remove it from pan and let it cool completely.