Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas! May peace, joy, and love fill your home this holiday season.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pearl's Spudnuts

These little jewels are pillowy soft on the inside with a light crisp outside. The first time I ever tried these was when we were stationed out on Adak, 1400 miles waaaay out on the Aleutian chain of Alaska. A sweet round grandma named Pearl, who was an amazing baker, shared this with us in Relief Society. When I was Young Women President in our branch we went Christmas caroling and I brought the girls over to my home for hot cider and cocoa with doughnuts. A couple of weeks ago one of the young ladies came up to me and told me she would really love it if I would make doughnuts and hot cider for the girls so I did, between getting ready to decorate for a church dinner tonight and taking care of Family History stuff. These life "events" never come one at a time do they? This recipe is so yummy you will want to make it often.  I hope you enjoy this as much as we do.

Pearl's Spudnuts
1 1/2 c. warm water
1/2 c. oil
1 cup mashed potatoes
2 T. yeast
1 c. sugar
1 t. salt
1/2 t. vanilla
2 eggs
2 t. nutmeg
5 1/2 to 6 c. flour
Powdered sugar for glaze or cinnamon sugar

Combine warm water, yeast, and a little bit of the sugar in a mixing bowl. Let yeast start to bubble. Add the rest of the ingredients except for 3 cups of the flour and mix well. Start adding the rest of the flour while keeping the mixer set at stir. The dough will be very soft. Let sit and rise, then stir down, rise again and stir down. Flour a surface and take half the dough out. Flour your hands and pat down the dough to about 1/2 an inch. Cut with favorite doughnut cutter or glass. In a heavy cast iron skillet or deep fryer heat the oil to 350-375 degrees. Drop cut dough shapes into oil and let puff up until golden brown. Turn and do the same with the other side. Drain on paper towels and dredge in cinnamon sugar or glaze. For my glaze I put about 1 cup powdered sugar in a bowl and then added a touch of orange juice, just enough to have a thin but not watery glaze. This will make about 4-6 dozen depending on the size of your cutter. Bon Appetite!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sheryl's Butterscotch Bars

Butterscotch deliciousness in a thick yummy bar. Created for my family as an alternative to chocolate, these bars are a variation on Almond Fudge Bars, a recipe that has been revamped from an old Bisquick recipe. Full of oats, brown sugar, and flavor, these are sure to be a family favorite at your home as well.


1 c. butter
2 c. brown sugar
1 t. each vanilla and almond flavoring
2 eggs
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
2 1/2 c. flour
3 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. walnuts or pecans, chopped
1- 10 oz.  bag Nestle's butterscotch chips. Fair warning, if you go cheap they won't come out the same..I'm just sayin'....
2 T. butter
1 c. sweetened condensed milk  (do not use the whole can unless you want to catch your oven on fire, okay, if you're single and the firemen are cute go ahead but I warned you....) 
1 pinch of salt
Cream together butter, brown sugar and eggs in mixing bowl. Add flavorings. Toss in baking soda, and salt and then while mixing add the flour slowly. Add the oats, one cup at a time until mixed well and add nuts. Take out 1/3 of the dough and set aside. Spread the rest in a 11 x 17 cookie sheet. You can use your fingers if you butter them first to help spread the dough. It will be rather thin.

In the top of a double boiler combine your filling ingredients and melt over slowly simmering water in the bottom pot. Once smooth spread over the top of the cookie dough. Now take the rest of the dough that was set aside and drop by small pieces onto the filling. If you like you can sprinkle more chopped nuts over this. My family doesn't like nuts but it makes these extra tasty in my opinion. Bake in a 350 degree oven on a rack set at one level above the center of the oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden on top. Let cool about 15 to 20 minutes before cutting. Yield 48

So you want to know about the fireman reference? One Christmas season when we lived in Sitka, AK as I was getting some baking done and of course hadn't showered yet, I put a batch of these in the oven. Yes, I used the whole can of sweetened condensed milk as I didn't want to see the rest go to waste. So about 15 minutes into the baking time I hear the smoke detector go off and run to the kitchen to see smoke billowing out of the oven. I opened the oven door and there were flames shooting up from the bottom of the oven and no amount of salt or baking soda would put them out. I had opened the doors and windows to let the smoke out and someone seeing this called the fire department. A whole crew of guys show up  and they got the fire out, but here I was, no make-up, hair a mess, and shabby sweats on. Needless to say, every time I passed one of them in the grocery store, or where ever, I was asked if I'd been baking lately....

As for the rest of the condensed milk here's a couple of ideas that might work for you, with your own variations added. 

Make a delicious sweet mustard spread by combining 3/4 cup of mayonnaise with 1/2 cup of Dijon mustard. Mix in 1/4 cup of sweetened condensed milk, 1 tbsp. lemon juice and 1 tbsp. of water. Combine ingredients completely and refrigerate. This is a tasty spread to use on sandwiches, in salads as a dressing, or as a sauce for ham and pork.
At wikipedia you can find these ideas : In parts of Asia and Europe, sweetened condensed milk is the preferred milk to be added to coffee or sweetened tea. Many countries in South East Asia use condensed milk to flavor their coffee. A popular treat in Asia and Brazil is to put condensed milk on toast and eat it in a similar way as jam and toast. In West Yorkshire, in the years after World War Two, condensed milk was an alternative to jam. NestlĂ© has even produced a squeeze bottle similar to Smucker's jam squeeze bottles for this very purpose. For those who drink coffee or tea and like to add milk, I would even consider adding flavorings to your leftover SCM and use it like a flavored creamer. 
I hope you like all of these ideas. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Cookies - Maple Melt-away Crisps

Tender, crisp and oh so buttery maple, these cookies are an adaptation of a recipe I found years ago. It was too crumbly and dry so I revamped it to come up with these. They are a family favorite. I hope you enjoy!

1 c. butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 t. maple flavoring
1/2 t. salt
2 c. flour
1/2 c. ground walnuts or pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add flavoring and the dry ingredients, mixing well. Chill for about 1 hour. Form into 1" balls and roll in white sugar. Flatten on un-greased cookie sheet with the back of a glass. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Yield about 5 dozen.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cran-Apple Dream Pie

 The other night we were having friends over for dinner. Hubby was fixing his delicious Chicken Curry with a lot of spice so I decided to create a creamy yet refreshing pie with a holiday flare. although there are several steps, this really is an easy peasy and so yummy pie, well worth the little bit of time put into making it. The cranberries can be rough chopped in the blender or food processor. Save yourself the headache of trying to chop each little cranberry or chasing them around the counter or floor. It's amazing the places you will find them later. ;-)
I used crumbs created from stale doughnuts that I cubed and lightly toasted before turning to crumbs as part of my crust ingredients but there are more possibilities such as crumbed short bread cookies, or the regular graham cracker crust. So I'm stating graham cracker crumbs in the recipe, but be creative! I never let anything go to waste, so if cookies are getting a bit dry or the same with cake, I just cube or crumble them up and dry them in the oven so I can use them for sweet crumb crusts later.
This pie has two main layers, one a creamy dreamy whipped cream cheese and whipped cream layer with a touch of grated orange peel. The other a fresh chopped cranberries and apples in jello. I used cherry jello as I didn't have raspberry, but try either and see which you like better. Cherry was very good, but I really want to try raspberry next time. Okay enough of this nonsense, on to the recipe!

Serves 8
1 1/2 c. sweet crumbs from graham crackers or shortbread cookies
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. butter, melted
In a 9" pie plate combine ingredients and press onto bottom and up the sides of the dish. In a pre-heated 350 degree oven bake for 5 minutes. Let cool on wire rack.

1- 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. heavy whipping cream, whipped, buy a pint container of whipping cream so you have some for topping as well.
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1-2 t. greated orange rind
1/2 - 3/4 c. powdered sugar, to taste
In a mixing bowl beat cream cheese until soft and fluffy, add powdered sugar, vanilla, and orange rind, mix well. Gently fold in whipped cream until fully incorporated. Don't beat heavily as whipped cream will lose it's stiffness and the creamy filling will be too soft. Spread into the cooled crust and let set in the refrigerator while preparing jello layer. 
1- 3 oz. box Cherry or Raspberry Jello
1 c. boiling water
3/4 c. cold water
1 c. each chopped apple and cranberries
1/2 c. sugar
In a medium size bowl combine jello, sugar and boiling water, stirring to dissolve. Add cold water and let soft set in refrigerator. Add fruit and stir gently. Carefully spoon over cream cheese layer in pie plate. Let set until firm, about 1-2 hours.

1 1/2 c. whipping cream
3-4 T. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
In a mixing bowl combine ingredients and whip until soft stiff peaks form. Add a dollup to each piece of pie when served.