Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Grandma's Butter Cookies....Sort Of

When my brother and I were kids, Grandma used to make butter cookies. Lately I've been having a craving for them as I do from time to time. I decided to whip up a batch after work today. I'm not sure why I'm bothering because no matter how many times I try, I can't get my cookies to taste quite like hers. I have her recipe and it's very basic. I consider myself a fair cook so you'd think this would be easy, right?
I've tried numerous times over the years. I've tried different brands of butter and flour. Different pans, etc.  It's not like anything is "wrong" with my cookies, they just aren't quite her cookies.
My Mother has tried to make them as well with the same results. Good cookies but not like Grandma's. Finally we resigned ourselves to the fact that without Grandma here to stick her fingers in the dough, the cookies are just never going to be the same. Still, every time I make them, I feel a little twinge of hope.
I've been letting the cookies cool as I write this blog. It's time for the taste test. 
Drum-roll please..........
As expected, not bad but not the same. 

I sure miss my Grandma (and not just for her cookies). I wonder if she could bake me a batch when I get to Heaven.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Tie Dye Cupcakes

Pinterest  gets me into trouble. I can get sucked in looking at all the delightful things people have "pinned" and before I know it, hours have passed by. The other problem? Pinterest is loaded with recipes and food ideas. Some times I feel so inspired I go in the kitchen and start playing.
Today's Pinterest inspired experiment was tie dye cupcakes. 

This was a little time consuming but pretty easy to do. I divided my cake batter (made from scratch thank you very much) into four parts and mixed a different color of food coloring in each part. I put the colored batter in disposable pastry bags and squirted the colors in random patterns and layers into my cupcake papers and baked as usual. 

To get this swirly colors effect in my (made from scratch thank you very much) icing, I dipped a butter knife into food coloring gel and made four streaks of gel on the inside of a disposable pastry bag. I then put my plain white frosting in the bag. As I squeezed the frosting out, it picked up the colors. I used a large decorating tip.   

Above is what the cupcake looks like when you take the paper off. Below is how the inside looks when you cut or bite into them. 

This was a fun project and I can see myself doing this again. I'm happy with the way they turned out. Now I just have to find some one to give most of these cupcakes to because I do NOT need to eat them all. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Let Them Eat Cake!

While this is not actually MY cooking adventure, it did in fact take place in my kitchen so I think I still get to blog it, right? Eh, my blog, my rules. 
This past weekend my boyfriend (who happens to be a pastry chef) made a massive cake for his father's surprise birthday party. This thing took nearly 8 hours and 4 trips to the store to make. The finished product weighed approximately 30 lbs. It was amazing.

Layers of chocolate cake and peanut butter frosting.

Chef Rick at work.

Smoothing on the frosting.

A heartfelt sentiment. 

I assure you, the cake tasted fantastic.

I wasn't sure how I felt about having a boyfriend that can out-cook me any day. I do love cooking. But ya know, I think I could get used to the idea.

Monday, January 13, 2014

A Cooking Frenzy

My cooking blog may have been neglected but my kitchen has not been. In fact I have been VERY busy in there lately.
I don't think that fellow would mind me sharing with you the fact that he doesn't cook much...ok at all really. For Christmas I did something a little different for him. I cooked and froze several meals worth of food for him including two lasagnas and some meat loaf in the form of muffins (easier to have single portions that way). All that fellow has to do is heat it and eat it. He can handle that.
I also made oreo fudge and FINALLY got my Grandma's peanut butter fudge recipe to come out right. Color me thrilled! (I'm not sure but I imagine that's some shade of pink.)

For Christmas I received two crock pots. My first thought was, which one do I keep? I don't need two crock pots.... Correction, I just never KNEW I needed two crock pots. I've been wanting to get into the 'make ahead and freeze' meal thing more and a crock pot is essential in this endeavor. TWO crock pots is a wonderful thing. The other day I put a chicken in one cp and a pork roast in the other. In a few hours I was putting together five different meals. My freezer is starting to look like something more than just an ice cube tray holder!

I used the chicken stock as the base for what might be the best chicken noodle soup ever. (I know, I shouldn't brag but if I don't toot my own horn, there's no one else around to do it for me. LOL )  

With my renewed zeal for experimenting in the kitchen, I'll try to do better about posting recipes and pics and such. 

Cook on!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread

I was in the mood to experiment in the kitchen yesterday. Since fall is upon us I figured why not embrace the season of the pumpkin.

2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/12 cups whole wheat pastry flour*
1/2 cup butter softened
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 15oz can of pure pumpkin

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Beat sugar, butter, vanilla extract and eggs until creamy
Combine all dry ingredients and gradually add to wet mixture. 
Mix until smooth
Gently stir in canned pumpkin by hand
Pour into a greased floured loaf pan
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes*
Allow the bread to cool for 15 minutes before removing it from the pan

* I recommend you be sure to use whole wheat PASTRY flour if you want light fluffy bread. Regular whole wheat flour will work but the texture of your bread will be heavier and harder.

* Start checking the loaf at 30 minutes. Oven temps vary. When a knife inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, the bread is done. No one wants over cooked pumpkin bread!

Results: A yummy, moist loaf of pumpkin bread. It's great warm or cold, by it's self or with butter. 

Mmmmmmmm good. Enjoy the season of the pumpkin!!