Thursday, December 22, 2016

EASY KOLACHE COOKIES

There are many different styles (and spellings) for Kolache cookies; some are made with yeast, some made with cream cheese, some are round, some are rolled up.

This recipe is a cream cheese and butter crust that is light as air and bakes up flaky and sweet. Instead of using dried fruit, it uses jam (any flavor you like) They are truly delicious and look SO PRETTY on any cookie tray.

CRUST

2  1/4  cups all purpose flour
1  cup UNsalted butter at room temperature
8  ounces full fat cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix flour and salt and set aside. NOTE: If you do not have salt free butter, just omit the salt in this recipe.

In a stand mixer, beat the room temperature butter and the room temperature cream cheese on medium high speed for 4 minutes.

After you have beaten the butter-cream cheese for 4 minutes, slowly add the flour-salt  mixture (I usually add it in fourths), mixing well after each addition.

Divide the dough in half and shape into two flat disks about 3/4" thick. Cover and chill for about an hour.

After the dough has chilled for an hour, lightly coat each disk with flour and pat off any extra. Coat your counter with regular granulated sugar and roll out the dough to 1/8" thickness.

NOTE: If you are like me, I often don't get back to this dough within an hour and it is rock hard when I go to roll it out. If that happens, just let it sit out for 10 to 15 minutes to let it soften up enough to be workable. The dough is very forgiving that way.



Cut dough into 2 1/2 inch squares. Pick up each square and pinch two opposite corners together (see above photo). Lay it on a parchment lined baking sheet and spoon 1/4 teaspoon of favorite jam into each end of the cookie. Personally, I like to do this step with a disposable frosting bag and I just squirt it into each end opening.

Sprinkle the pinched center with a little more granulated sugar. Bake in preheated 375° oven for 12 to 14 minutes (my electric oven takes exactly 12 minutes). Cool on wire rack.


ENJOY !!

Friday, December 9, 2016

BETTER THAN MOM's PECAN TASSIES

Everyone seems to have their own favorite Pecan Tassie recipe, but the crust in 99% of the recipes out there is the same..... flour, butter and cream cheese.

This year, I added just a little extra something to the crust part of the recipe and it made a HUGE difference to the overall cookie, they were a big hit.

Tassie Crust
1 cup butter (room temperature)
6 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cream the butter and cream cheese (with electric mixer) until it is light and fluffy. Add rest of the ingredients and beat until the dough comes cleanly away from the inside walls of your mixing bowl. Flatten dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and chill for one hour.


Tassie Filling
3 large eggs3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Beat the eggs until very well mixed and lemon colored. Stir in everything else.


ASSEMBLYRoll pastry into 1 inch balls and place them into an ungreased mini-muffin pan. Using your fingers, press the balls of dough into the bottom of each cup and up the sides. (I use the floured end of my rolling pin to press the dough into place instead of my fingers). Put a few chopped pecans in the bottom of each pastry shell and top with about a tablespoon of filling. (see note)

Bake in pre-heated 375F oven for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the filling is set, yet still a little soft in the center. Remove from oven and sit the pan on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before you try to lift them out. Lift tassies out of pan and cool on a wire rack.

NOTE: Keep in mind that the filling puffs a little as it bakes, so don't overfill the unbaked shells. If you overfill them, they will be harder to get out. For those stubborn Tassies that want to stick, just use the tip of a knife to help you lift them out of the pan.

Monday, October 10, 2016

EASY NO KNEAD ENGLISH MUFFINS

This recipe is SO easy that it would make a great weekend cooking project for that kid in the family that is a "wanna-be" chef. There are several steps, but they are all EASY.


You will need:
2 cups all purpose flour (divided)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/3 cup milk 
2 teaspoons KOSHER salt(kosher measures different than table salt)
1 envelope of yeast
yellow corn meal
6  large mason jar rings

In a large bowl, mix:

1 cup all purpose flour (you'll use other cup later)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt (not regular salt)
1 envelope yeast (I buy it in bulk, so I use 1 tablespoon)

In a smaller, microwave safe bowl, mix:

1 1/3 cups milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Microwave the milk-oil for 1 minute. Take it out of the microwave and stir it, then test it with your finger. It should feel nice and warm, but  NOT hot (I call it baby bottle warm).

Stir the milk-oil into the dry  mixture, until everything is very well mixed, then add ONE MORE cup of flour and stir until WELL mixed. Cover the bowl and set it in a warm part of your kitchen for 45 minutes.  After 45 minutes, it will look puffy like this:


Stir the air out of the dough (it will be very sticky). 

Preheat your dry (no grease) electric fry pan to 250°. Now here is a hint: everyone's fry pans cook at different rates, so cook ONE "test muffin" to see if you need to turn your heat up a little or down  a little. You want the muffin to look nice and golden when you flip it over after 5 minutes, like this:

 My electric fry pan is perfect at 250°.

Now you are ready to make the rest of the muffins. Spray the inside of the jar rings with vegetable spray (these are going to be your English muffin molds). Set them on your PRE-HEATED dry electric fry pan and sprinkle a little corn meal in the circle before you put the dough in.

Spoon batter into ring molds (it's pretty thick and sticky at this stage). I used about 1 1/4 large ice cream scoops of dough for each muffin.

When all 6 rings have dough in in them, put a lid on the fry pan, but cock it sideways so that it doesn't cover the whole pan. If your fry pan doesn't have a lid, you can cover it with a cookie sheet, but make sure the cookie sheet doesn't touch the muffins.

Cook at 250° for five minutes, then (before you flip it over) sprinkle a little corn meal onto the top of the muffin and then GENTLY flip it over (ring and all).

NOTE: It isn't absolutely necessary, but a Teflon pan works great for these muffins.


Put the lid back on the pan (leaving it open a little) and cook for another five minutes.  Remove from rings (they slide right out) and put the muffin on a baking rack to cool.


Cool completely, then split them open with a fork. To do this, insert the fork into the side of the muffin, half way between top and bottom. Twist the fork JUST A LITTLE, then remove it. Repeat this all the way around the muffin. When you get back to the place where you started, the muffin should just come apart.  Just make sure you do this AFTER the muffin is completely cooled.

To serve, toast in toaster or under broiler until light golden.

If you don't have mason jar lids, you can use anything (that can withstand heat) that is about the same size.


ENJOY !!!