Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Macaroon Kiss Cookies

If you like coconut and chocolate you've hit the jackpot with this recipe. These Macaroon Kiss Cookies may become your new favorite. This cookie is unforgettable with a combination of cream cheese, coconut, a taste of fresh orange juice and a Hershey's kiss. I found this great recipe at Rook No. 17, and I knew it was something special.




Macaroon Kiss Cookies
2/3 cup butter, softened
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon juice from a fresh orange
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 cups sweetened flaked coconut, divided into 6 cup and 4 cup portions
1 bag Hershey's kisses (48 pieces)

In a large bowl, beat the butter, cream cheese, and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, vanilla, and orange juice; beat until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt; add to the creamed mixture 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the 6 cups of coconut and beat to combine. Refrigerate the cookie dough for 1 hour. In the meantime, remove the wrappers from the kisses.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Using a cookie scoop, make dough into 1-inch balls, then roll each ball in the remaining 4 cups of coconut. Place cookies on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes until cookies are lightly browned. Remove from oven, immediately press one chocolate kiss into each cookie. Return pan to oven and bake for one additional minute. Remove pan from oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Gently remove cookies to rack to continue cooling. Makes 4 dozen.

While the cookie dough chills, unwrap the Hershey's kisses so they will be ready to pop on top of the cookies when they come out of the oven. The recipe indicated that it would make 48 cookies, but my batch had 50 cookies.

Use a cookie scoop to make the cookie balls to roll in coconut.

Place cookies on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.


Bake for 12 minutes until lightly browned.

Immediately press a kiss into each cookie, then return to the oven for 1 additional minute.

Cool the cookies on a wire rack.


This recipe makes a lot, so it is a good one to make for holidays or special events. You might want to just make half the recipe unless you are expecting a crowd.






These cookies are pretty and delicious too.



Sunday, February 26, 2012

Just Add Popcorn

I think a bag of popcorn is all you'll need when you snuggle on the couch under one of these fleece throws and turn on a movie. They're so soft and warm, and really easy to make. I know many crafters have made these blankets - I have seen them a lot, but never knew exactly how to make them until I found the directions from Barb at A Chelsea Morning.


To make one throw you'll need:
2 pieces of fleece, maybe a print and a solid, the suggested size is 1 1/2 yards for each piece of fabric.
You'll also need sharp scissors and a yardstick or ruler.

Spread the two pieces of fabric out together flat without stretching, with the wrong sides together.

Trim off the curled up selvedge edges and cut the two pieces of fabric the same size, trimming off any uneven ends.

This next part is very important, but looks odd when you do it. On each of the four corners, cut out a 6-inch square.

Then on all four sides, cut strips 1-inch wide and six inches long. Use a yardstick to keep everything straight.

The next part is the easiest. Holding both of the fabric strips together, form a loop and a knot. Barb says not to just tie the ends together, loop and knot.

Continue to loop and knot all the way around the blanket.



And that's all there is to it. You'll end up with a soft throw, completely lined, and with fringe all the way around. I'm going to be mailing this one off for a couple of sock monkey enthusiasts to enjoy.


I also made another one for my grandson Landon in a different pattern.


His sported some big equipment and was lined in camo.



I know these throws have been around a while, but maybe I'm not the only one who didn't have the directions for making one. These cuddly blankets were a lot of fun for me to make. I hope these directions will be helpful to someone.





Saturday, February 25, 2012

Mission Organization: Week 8 - My Bakeware

My Mission Organization project for this week was to organize my bakeware so that I could access it more easily. After all, I reach for these items every day, and having them handy just makes sense. My sister and my daughter both have those wonderful cabinets with built-ins that store baking sheets upright. I just love those, but my cabinets, unfortunately, did not have that feature until I gave them a makeover this week.


Here are a couple of my bakeware shelves after the makeover.




This is the way I was storing my bakeware in a lower cabinet. This is not a terrible arrangement, but not accessible either. I was spending my time standing on my head or down on my knees searching for the pan I needed.



I have a couple of these tall narrow pantries on either side of my refrigerator. I decided to try moving my bakeware into one of these.



I didn't even have anything too important in this one to move out.



I kept thinking of how to make my sheet pans and such stand up, so I bought two of these corner shelves.




I turned them sideways and pushed them to the back of the cabinet shelf.




Then I just slid all the sheet pans, muffin pans, and other bakeware into the slots, and it worked.




I am really happy with this new bakeware arrangement. I can see my pans now, and I don't have to stand on my head or crawl around the floor to find the one I want.




Friday, February 24, 2012

Snickerdoodle Bread

I've been waiting to bake this Snickerdoodle Bread for a long time. My sister sent me this recipe by email in October of 2010 when I was baking bread for a bake sale at my grandson's school. I didn't bake it then because I couldn't find the cinnamon chips that were called for in the recipe. I liked the sound of the recipe, so I printed it and put it in my notebook to use later, and I kept an eye out for the cinnamon chips. Problem was, I didn't find the cinnamon chips until just recently when I was shopping out of town.




In the meantime, my friend Andi at The Wednesday Baker has baked a very similar Snickerdoodle Bread that looks really delicious. Check hers out too.



Snickerdoodle Bread
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 (10 ounce) package cinnamon chips
2 tablespoons flour

Topping
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two 9-inch x 5-inch loaf pans by greasing or spraying with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine butter and sugar; cream together with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla and sour cream, mix to combine. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon, whisk to combine. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture, stirring just until combined. Coat the cinnamon chips with 2 tablespoons flour, then stir into the batter. Spoon batter into prepared pans. Combine sugar and cinnamon for topping. Sprinkle topping over batter before baking. Bake in preheated oven for 60 - 70 minutes until a toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before removing bread from pan.

Original recipe source: Barbara Bakes

These are the cinnamon chips that have eluded me for more than a year. I'm sure that I could have ordered them online, but I really was in no hurry. I was determined that I would find them when I was in the right place at the right time.

I decided to stray from the recipe and use some different sized pans to bake the bread. I used two of these 3-inch x 5-inch mini loaves and also this 9 cavity petite loaf pan. I had to adjust my baking times since I used smaller pans. The petite loaves bake in about 25 - 30 minutes, and the mini loaves need to bake 35 - 40 minutes.

These are the petite loaves after I turned them out of the pan. My husband saw them turned up this way and asked if this was blueberry bread. It does look a little like blueberries from the bottom, but these are the cinnamon chips showing.




I have to say, this Snickerdoodle Bread really was worth waiting for. I'll have to buy more cinnamon chips next time I'm shopping out of town.






Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Cream Cheese Biscuits

I usually think of biscuits as a breakfast food, but I baked these biscuits for dinner tonight. These Cream Cheese Biscuits are good at any meal, any time of day. The recipe I used has been adapted from Cooks Country Magazine.





Cream Cheese Biscuits
4 ounces cream cheese (cut into cubes and frozen for 30 minutes)
4 tablespoons butter (cut into cubes and frozen for 30 minutes)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment paper. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the cream cheese, butter, both flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Pulse until all is combined and resembles coarse meal. Pour the mixture into a large bowl and add the buttermilk; stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until dough comes together. Shape dough into an 8-inch by 6-inch rectangle. Cut into biscuits and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 12 - 15 minutes until golden brown.




Combine all ingredients except buttermilk in a food processor. Pulse until combined.


After buttermilk has been incorporated, knead the dough on a floured surface.


Shape the dough into an 8-inch by 6-inch rectangle.


Cut out the biscuits and place on the prepared parchment paper lined pan.



Bake for 12 - 15 minutes.





This recipe makes 6 large biscuits. Add a little butter or jelly and you're all set for yummy.








Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Roasted Parmesan Potatoes

We like potatoes at our house just about any way they are prepared. These Roasted Parmesan Potatoes are an easy and tasty side dish to make. They're a no fuss, let-the-oven-do-the-work kind of dish.



Parmesan Roasted Potatoes
4 potatoes (about 2 pounds)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried Basil
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a sheet pan by lining with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Wash and dry potatoes. Cut each potato in half lengthwise, then cut halves into about 1-inch pieces. Place cut-up potatoes in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil, mix well. In a small bowl, combine Parmesan cheese, Basil, seasoned salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and pepper. Sprinkle this mixture over the potatoes and mix until potatoes are well coated. Spread potatoes out in a single layer on the prepared pan. Bake for 40 - 45 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through.



Four potatoes will equal about 2 pounds.


Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise, then cut the halves into about 1-inch pieces.


Drizzle the potatoes with the olive oil, then coat with the cheese and spices.


Spread the potatoes in a single layer on a sheet pan and bake for 40 - 45 minutes.


I served these potatoes with pork chops, but they are a good side for any type of meal. Try them out and see how your family likes them.




Monday, February 20, 2012

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten free baking is something I want to learn more about. My sister bakes gluten free often because of the diet restrictions of one of her grandchildren, so I have learned most of what I know about gluten free cooking from her. After spending several days traveling with her, I spent part of the weekend at her house with the family. On Sunday we did some cooking, and I used one of her recipes to make these Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies. These are good cookies.




To make this Gluten Free cookie recipe my sister first makes this Almond-Coconut Flour Blend. If you prefer, an alternative choice to the Almond-Coconut Flour Blend to use in the cookie recipe is 1/2 cup tapioca flour, 1/2 cup sorghum flour, and 1/4 cup brown rice flour.



These are the products she uses in her Almond-Coconut Flour Blend.

Print  Recipe


Almond-Coconut Flour Blend
8 ounces, weight Almond Meal
4 ounces, weight Coconut Flour
5 ounces, weight Arrowroot Starch

Throughly combine all ingredients and store in a cool dry place.



Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/2 cup butter flavored Crisco (no substitutes)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups Almond-Coconut Flour Blend
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup GF chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a sheet pan by lining with parchment paper. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream Crisco with sugars until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix together flour blend with salt, xanthan gum, and baking powder. Add flour mixture gradually to the Crisco and sugar mixture, blending well after each addition. Last, mix in chocolate chips. Drop dough from a cookie scoop 2 inches apart on prepared pan. Bake for 7 - 9 minutes or just until edges are light brown. DO NOT overbake cookies! Allow cookies to cool on a wire rack for 5 - 10 minutes. Makes 2 dozen cookies.


When baking gluten free, check all the ingredient labels to be sure they are gluten free products before adding to a recipe. Even some brands of baking powder and vanilla extract are not gluten free.


Drop cookie dough on a parchment paper lined sheet pan.


Bake cookies for 7 - 9 minutes in preheated oven. Be careful not to over bake. Even if you don't need a gluten free diet, I think you'll enjoy these chocolate chip cookies. I loved them.