Wednesday, March 22, 2017

CLASSIC SHORTBREAD COOKIES

Sweet and tender, these old fashioned classic shortbread cookies are easy to make and ALWAYS a big hit. Picky-picky husband loves them frosted in pink (for some weird reason), they are one of his all time favorites.



 

CLASSIC SHORTBREAD COOKIES

2 cups UNsalted butter (room temperature)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
4 cups all purpose flour
(NO EGGS)

The cookie batter in the recipe is fairly heavy, so it works best in a stand mixer if possible.

Add 2 cups (one pound) of room temperature butter and 1 cup regular sugar into the bowl of your stand mixer. Beat until fluffy (about 2 minutes). The last 30 seconds or so, add the salt and extracts and beat until well mixed. (see note about salt)

Add the flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing well between each addition.
Dump cookie batter onto counter and divide into 4 sections. Roll each section into a "log" about 2" in diameter. Wrap each "log" in plastic wrap and chill for one hour. You can roll the entire CHILLED log in sprinkles or finely chopped nuts before you slice them if you like.


Pre-heat oven to 350° and slice chilled cookie dough "logs" into 1/4" slices. Place on UNgreased cookie sheet and bake for 18 minutes or until the very edges just start to turn golden.

Cool cookies and frost if you like.  If you aren't going to frost them, roll the sliced cookie's in granulated sugar BEFORE BAKING.

NOTE: If you do not have UNsalted butter on hand (no big deal), just use regular salted  butter, but LEAVE OUT the salt in the recipe.



 
ENJOY !!!!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

STRAWBERRY TEA CAKE (KNOWN IN MY HOUSE AS THE BEST COFFEE CAKE IN 10 YEARS!) (Seriously!)

Usually, when I hear the word "coffee cake" I think of a sweet treat that is only "at it's best" right out of the oven and it usually needs either a cup of coffee, tea or glass of milk to wash it down. Well, dear friends, this coffee cake IS the exception to that rule. My husband and I finished this cake in a single day with NO trouble (a cake this size usually lasts us several days). We just couldn't stop snacking on it!




I used all strawberries, this time, which added to the sweetness of this buttery cake, but we seriously enjoy this recipe with a raspberry filling as well.I sure hope you give it a try, you will NOT be disappointed.

Make the fruit filling first and let it cool a little.

In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, mix:

12 ounces of frozen strawberries (I used 12 ounces of frozen strawberries that I chopped finely in my food processor).
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Heat the above ingredients, over medium heat, stirring until it is thick and bubbling. Set aside while you make the batter.

Cake Batter
2 and 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup COLD butter sliced in to thin pats

Put the flour, sugar and butter in your food processor and pulse until you get fine crumbs. Remove 1/2 cup of these fine crumbs and set them aside for later in the recipe.

NEXT:
To the remaining crumbs in the food processor, add:
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3/4 cup buttermilk (no substitutions)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pulse a few times until everything is good and moist (but don't over-mix).

Preheat your oven to 350 and grease and flour a (2 piece) 10" round tart pan. Using your fingers, press 2/3 of the batter into the prepared tart pan, pushing the batter evenly across the bottom and one inch up the sides of the pan (flouring your finger tips helps here).

Once you have the batter spread out and pushed up on the edges, gently pour in the fruit filling and spread it around the bottom.

With the reserved 1/3 of the batter, place small pieces in an irregular pattern on top of the fruit (I used a one teaspoon measure to get the right size). Be very careful not to push the batter pieces down into the fruit, you want them to float on top of it as much as possible. Finally, sprinkle the reserved crumbs over everything.

Bake in a 350 oven (Important tip; place a cookie sheet under the tart pan) for 30 to 35 minutes (my electric oven takes 35 minutes). 

The finished cake will be golden brown and smell heavenly!! I am certain that just about any fruit would work with this coffee cake.

When the cake is done baking, place it on a cooling rack for 15 minutes before you take it out of the pan.

 
ENJOY !!!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

FREEZING EXTRA BUTTERMILK

 
OUT OF BUTTERMILK FOR BISCUITS ???
 
 
 
How many times have you tried a recipe that calls for 1 cup of buttermilk but they only sell it in quarts? Usually (at my house anyway) the unused/extra buttermilk sits (forgotten) in the back of the fridge until its "use by" date has expired, but that is now a thing of the past. Since I discovered how well buttermilk freezes, I always have it in the house.

The only trick is to freeze it in small containers so that it thaws quickly. The smallest container I tried was my ice cube tray. After they are frozen, just put them in a freezer bag and carefully mark what's in the bag:
 

 

Ice cube trays are not a standard size. I have one that measures 2 tablespoons per cube and one that measures 1½ tablespoons per cube, so keep that in mind when you are thawing out the cubes (I usually just thaw a couple extra to be on the safe side).

As a general rule:

8 frozen 2 oz. cubes = 1 cup buttermilk
6 frozen  2 oz. cubes = 3/4 cup buttermilk
4 frozen 2 oz. cubes = 1/2 cup buttermilk
2 frozen 2 oz. cubes = 1/4 cup  buttermilk
6 frozen 2 oz. cubes  = 3/4  cup buttermilk

 
 
You can thaw the buttermilk cubes overnight in the fridge, or if you need them sooner than that, you can microwave them for just a few seconds.
 
DON'T FREAK OUT TIP:
Sometimes, the thawed out buttermilk looks like it's separated (not pretty), don't freak out. Just whisk it back together (for a few seconds) then use it in any recipe.

TIP # 2:
The accuracy of the SIZE of your frozen buttermilk cubes is just a guideline and not at all important, it just gives you an idea of how many to thaw out for any given recipe.