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Category Archives: Baking

Potato Chip Cookies

Since I have committed to writing every day during the month of November, I have decided that, in addition to my usual Thursday Menu Planning post, I will assign myself regular gigs for the remaining days of the week so that if I have a day when I am feeling more Sandra Lee than M.F.K. Fisher, I can still post something that is (I hope) of use to you, gentle reader. Here’s what I think I’m going to do:

Sundays: Bests and Worsts. Best and worst meal ever, cookbook, cooking show, kitchen implements, etc..

Mondays: Heirloom Recipes. I will extract from my mother the recipes for things like both grandmothers’ baked beans and my Jewish grandmother’s Chicken Paprikash.

Tuesdays: Random Dinner Snapshot. Whatever we really ate for dinner, photograph, recipe and reviews.

Wednesdays: Thanksgiving Planner. I am”doing” Thanksgiving this year, and will document menu planning, recipes, trial runs, etc..

Thursdays: Menu Planning Day, as always.

Fridays: Dessert Day. Starting today, I will provide at least one tried-and-true dessert recipe of some sort every Friday.

Saturday: Rant and Rave Day. I will address a food-related issue that drives me crazy, or express my gratitude for something wonderful. Either way, expert relatively little in terms of concrete, usable information.

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Today being Friday, I’ll start you off with a strange but wonderful recipe I found in a pamphlet-type cookbook assembled by the Williamston, Michigan Area Senior Center. The book is compilation of recipes both retro and recent, with (my favorite part) stories and reminiscences written by some of the seniors. This recipe for Potato Chip Cookies caught my eye one day when I happened to have a bag of potato chips that had been pillaged and abandoned by the boys, and contained nothing but greasy, salty chip rubble. I hate to waste anything, and with this recipe handy, I can add one more item to my list of recyclable foods.

There is some sort of ingredient alchemy that takes place in these cookies; it results in a salty-sweet flavor that I associate with many great foods including PayDay candy bars and Beer Nuts. I have no business eating either, and at the moment I’m not, but I would love to think that someone, somewhere was knee-deep in my favorite cosmic flavor experience while I stick to Kashi and Greek Yogurt.

Potato Chip Cookies

(from “A Taste of History” Volume 4, Number 1, Written and Produced by The Williamston Area Senior Center; Submitted by Marge Stillwell)

  1. 1 cup shortening (I have used both butter and butter-flavored Crisco)
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. 1 cup brown sugar
  4. 2 cups rolled (crushed) potato chips (Note: this should be fairly obvious, but the potato chips can’t be barbecue, salt and vinegar, cheddar or otherwise flavored. They also can’t be baked, Pringled or anything other than standard cooked-in-oil chips).
  5. 2 eggs
  6. 1 cup chopped nutmeats (I use pecans, although walnuts or chopped peanuts would be yummy and chopped hazelnuts or macadamia nuts would be elegant)
  7. 2 cups sifted flour
  8. 1 tsp baking soda
  9. 1 tsp salt
  10. 1 tsp vanilla

Mix first three ingredients together until light and fluffy. Add all other ingredients and mix well. Drop onto a greased cookie sheet and bake in a 375-degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes.

Anadama Bread

Barbara, of Bless Us O Lord, has requested my recipe for Anadama Bread.

According to Wikipedia:

Anadama bread is a traditional bread of New England made with white flour, cornmeal, molasses and sometimes rye flour. There are several popular myths about the origin of the name, which mostly take this form:

“A fisherman, angry with his wife, Anna, for serving him nothing but cornmeal and molasses, one day adds flour and yeast to his porridge and eats the resultant bread, while cursing, ‘Anna, damn her.'”

This legend is considered dubious at best by food historians, despite not having a confirmed explanation for the name. It is also not readily agreed exactly when or where the bread originated, except that it was before 1940.

My recipe comes from Beard on Bread, and includes white flour, molasses and cornmeal, but no rye flour. It makes a hearty, satisfying, dense and slightly sweet bread. I have not been successful adapting this recipe to the stand mixer, so I make it “by hand.”

Anadama Bread

(From Beard on Bread by James Beard)

  1. 1 package active dry yeast
  2. 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  3. 1 1/4 cups warm water (100-115 degrees, approximately)
  4. 2 tablespoons butter
  5. 1/4 cup molasses
  6. 1 tablespoon salt
  7. 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  8. 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, approximately

Dissolve the yeast and sugar in 1/4 cup warm water in a large bowl and let proof for five minutes. Combine the remaining water, butter, molasses, and salt in a saucepan and heat to lukewarm. Stir into the yeast mixture. Add the cornmeal and mix well. Add the flour, 1 cup at a time, and beat vigorously; the dough will be sticky and hard to work. Turn out on a lightly floured board. Using a baker’s scraper or a large spatula, scrape under the flour on the board and fold the dough over to incorporate the flour. Repeat this process until you can knead with your hands, using only enough additional flour to make a smooth dough that is springy to touch; the stickiness will not be completely eliminated. Shape into a ball, put in a buttered bowl, and turn to coat the surface with the fat. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk.

Punch the dough down, Shape into one loaf, to fit a 10-inch loaf pan, or divide into two pieces and shape to fit two 8 x 4 x 2-inch loaf tins. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk. Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 10 minutes, then lower he temperature to 350 degrees and bake for about 35 minutes more, or until the loaves sound hollow when tapped with the knuckles on top and bottom. Cool on racks.

I Know What Boys Like

Its not what you think. This is still a G-rated blog.

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In addition to baking for the “boys” in my house, I regularly bake goodies for our college student neighbors, many of whom also happen to be boys. We live in a house that is literally surrounded by student rentals, so I start the year by sending over plates of baked goods as a gesture of good will, and then I tend to get attached to certain houses as the school year progresses and send over more goodies as the spirit moves me, or the occasion warrants. These kids are away from home, running to and from campus like crazy people, keeping bizarre hours, biking, running, playing sports, living on Kraft mac and cheese and ramen noodles, and definitely pleased to see a plate of homemade cookies made by a Mom.

Today I made Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chips, Soft Sugar Cookies and No Bake Cookies. Two platters of cookies are “thank yous” to guys who took time on Sunday to come watch Sam play football, one platter is a “thank you” to a house full of guys who are on the Michigan State University football team, who gave us free (and fantastic) tickets to last week’s home game, and the fourth is for my own boys, just because I love them.

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Chewy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

(Submitted by Dr Amy to allrecipes.com)

 

INGREDIENTS

* 1 cup butter, softened
* 1 cup packed light brown sugar
* 1/2 cup white sugar
* 2 eggs
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 3 cups quick-cooking oats
* 1 cup chopped walnuts (I omitted these because Sam hates nuts in cookies)
* 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until just blended. Mix in the quick oats, walnuts, and chocolate chips. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.

3. Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

 

Soft Sugar Cookies

(Contributed by Diana Rattray to About.com)

INGREDIENTS: * 3/4 cup shortening
* 1/4 cup butter
* 2 cups granulated sugar
* 4 egg yolks
* 1 1/2 cups milk
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 1 teaspoon lemon extract ( I usually use all vanilla)
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 tablespoon baking powder
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

PREPARATION:
Cream shortening and butter with sugar. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Pour milk into a large measuring cup; add extract(s) and baking soda. Into a separate bowl sift flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.

Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture alternately with the milk mixture. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets then sprinkle with a cinnamon-sugar mixture. Bake for 12 to 13 minutes at 375°. Store sugar cookies in an airtight covered container.

Comfort Concluded: Sixty-Minute Rolls

I will conclude my week of rallying for comfort food with a recipe for homemade yeast dinner rolls that can be prepared in an hour. It is, of course, more convenient to go with the dough boy, but if you own a stand mixer these are pretty easy to put together even after a work day, since the prep is broken down into 15 minute increments and you can do other things while these are rising and baking. Tonight I had pea soup in the slow cooker, and made these during the last hour of the soup’s cooking time. These could probably also be prepared the night before as far as the final rise, refrigerated, and brought to room temperature for baking while the oven preheats.

Sixty-Minute Rolls

(from “The KitchenAid Refurbished Stand Mixer Use and Care Book”)

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 4-5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • Combine milk, water and butter in a small saucepan. Heat over low heat until liquids are very warm (120-130 degrees); butter does not need to melt.
  •  

    Place 3 1/2 cups flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in bowl. Attach bowl and dough hook. Turn to Speed 2 and mix 5 seconds. Gradually add warm liquids to flour mixture, about 30 seconds. Mix 1 minute longer.

    Continuing on Speed 2, add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until dough clings to hook and cleans sides of bowl, about 2 minutes. Knead on Speed 2 for 2 minutes longer.

    Place in a greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise in warm place, free from draft, 15 minutes. (Note: at this point, I begin preheating my oven to 425).

    Turn dough onto floured board. Shape as desired. Cover, let rise in slightly warm oven for 15 minutes. (Note: by this point I have already cranked my oven up to 425, so I place my pans atop the stove for the second rise and they are warmed by the heat from beneath). Bake at 425 for 12 minutes or until done. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks.

    You can do a number of different things with this dough. The recipe makes 2 dozen dinner rolls, which is more than we need, so I often make 12 rolls and then shape the remaining dough into 4-6 larger rolls for sandwiches. These may take a little more time to bake than the rolls; they are done when they start to brown on the top and feel hollow if you flip one over and “knock” on it.

    In preparing the dinner rolls, if I am really in a rush, I just divide the dough into twelve balls and bake them free-form on a baking sheet or in muffin tins. If I have more time, I divide them into strips and roll them into curls, or place them in tins and cut them with kitchen scissors in half and then in quarters to make cloverleafs. Both rolls and sandwich buns are good brushed with a little egg white right before baking, and, if you are feeling fancy, a sprinkling of poppy or sesame seeds is lovely.

    Brioche

    If you want to make this completely from scratch, you’ll need to make some Brioche. In bakeries, this rich, buttery, egg-y bread is often sold as rolls, which are delicious but not as useful to me as loaves.

    brioche_reinhart_650786_l.jpg

    In loaf form, Brioche makes great toast and sandwiches; I am particularly fond of it spread with a bit of sweet butter and some marmalade. If you have any left, it also makes french toast to die for.

    I use James Beard’s recipe from Beard on Bread, although I use a stand mixer for the kneading.

    Brioche Bread

    1. 1 1/2 packages active dry yeast
    2. 2 tablespoons sugar
    3. 1/2 cup warm water (100-115 degrees, approximately)
    4. 1 cup (2 sticks) melted butter
    5. 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    6. 4 cups all-purpose flour
    7. 4 eggs
    8. 1 egg yolk mixed with 1/4 cup evaporated milk or light cream

    Combine yeast, sugar and warm water, and allow to proof. Mix the melted butter and salt. In a large bowl (the stand mixer bowl, if you are using one) combine the flour, eggs, melted butter and yeast mixture. Mix until smooth, using either a spoon or your mixer. (This will be a sticky-ish dough). Place in a buttered bowl, turning to butter all surfaces, cover and set in a warm, draft-free place until light and doubled in bulk, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Punch the dough down and shape into two loaves. Fit into buttered 8x4x2 loaf pans and let rise again in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Brush the yolks with the egg yolk-milk wash. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes, until the loaves are a deep golden brown and sound hollow when tapped with the knuckles. Cool on a rack.

    Reject Pantry Day 4: Oatmeal Cranberry Squares

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    Today is day four of the Reject Pantry Project, and I went for the can of whole cranberry sauce. I found a recipe for Oatmeal Cranberry Squares on Cooks.com. They are very easy to make, and while I found them right on the edge of cloyingly sweet, everyone else liked them. Bottom line: I used up a WHOLE Reject Pantry Item, and I made something that tasted pretty good. I might be inclined to leave out the pineapple and/or add some orange zest to the filling mixture next time, for a little more complexity.

    OATMEAL CRANBERRY SQUARES

    (from Cooks.com)

    FILLING:

    1 (#1) can whole cranberry sauce
    1/2 c. crushed pineapple, drained
    1/4 tsp. salt

    Combine all ingredients for filling.

    TOPPING:

    1 1/2 c. quick oatmeal
    1 1/2 c. flour
    1 c. brown sugar, packed
    3/4 c. butter
    1/4 tsp. soda
    1/8 tsp. salt

    Crumble remaining ingredients. Place half of crumbs in an 8 x 10 (or similar size) greased pan. Spread with filling and pat on remaining crumbs. Bake 25 minutes at 400 degrees. Cool and cut into bars.

    Reject Pantry Day 1: A Banana Bread Revelation

    Yesterday, I vowed to use five ingredients languishing in my pantry, or to die trying. Today, since I had some very ripe bananas, I decided to make banana bread. I made two subsequent decisions that led to the most flavorful, tender example of banana bread I have ever personally tasted. First, I decided to try Mark Bittman’s banana bread recipe from How to Cook Everything. Second, I decided to start my Pantry Reject Challenge by using my Manischewitz Cake Meal instead of regular flour called for in the recipe.

    cake-meal.jpg

    This banana bread is, seriously, to die for. It is infinitely better than what I have made using my previously posted recipe. It is tender, flavorful, moist, with a slightly crisp crust, and has a nice complexity from the unsweetened coconut and the nuts. I also like it better with butter instead of oil. The only hitch is that I will have to make it again with regular flour instead of the Cake Meal to see if that made a big difference in the fabulousness of the results.

    bittman-banana-2.jpg

    In the meantime, here’s the recipe, stolen in its unaltered entirety from Mr. Bittman:

    Banana Bread

    Makes 1 Loaf

    Time: About 1 hour

    1. 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, plus some for greasing the pan
    2. 1 1/2 cups (about 7 ounces) all-purpose flour (this is where I substituted the Cake Meal, although it isn’t a one-to-one correspondence; 5/8 cup of Cake Meal = 1 cup all-purpose flour)
    3. 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
    4. 1 teaspoon salt
    5. 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    6. 3/4 cup sugar
    7. 2 eggs
    8. 3 very ripe bananas, mashed with a fork until smooth
    9. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    10. 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
    11. 1/2 grated dried unsweetened coconut (note that its unsweetened!)
    1. Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan.
    2. Mix together the dry ingredients. Cream the butter and beat in the eggs and bananas. Stir this mixture into the dry ingredients; do not mix more than necessary. Gently stir in the vanilla, nuts and coconut.
    3. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until nicely browned. A toothpick inserted into the center of the bread will come out fairly clean when it is done, but because of the bananas this bread will remain moister than most. Do not overcook. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes before removing from the pan. To store, wrap in waxed paper.

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