Friday, March 24, 2017

PIGS IN A PRETZEL BLANKET

These were a huge hit when I took them to a potluck. I used Hillshire Farm Lit'l Smokies. My dough didn't rise well, partly because I cheated on the rising time and partly because my yeast was old, yet the appetizers still were delicious.




Pigs  in  a  Pretzel  Blanket
Serves 10

1 cup water at 110°F.
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/4 cup honey
3 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
Canola or vegetable oil
1 14-ounce package cocktail franks or smoked sausage
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
Honey mustard for dipping

1. Measure warm water in a 2-cup measuring cup. Stir in yeast and a teaspoon of the honey. Let stand for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in medium-sized bowl, combine bread flour and 1 teaspoon salt.
3. Blend remainder of honey into yeast mixture.
4. Pour yeast-honey mixture into flour mixture. Stir well with wooden spoon.
5. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface, and knead for 10 minutes.
6. Place dough in lightly oiled medium-sized bowl, turning dough to oil top. Cover bowl, and let rise until dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
7. Punch down dough, re-cover, and let rise another 30 minutes.
8. Divide dough into 32 pieces. Roll or pat each piece of dough into rough rectangles, approximately 1.5 inches by 3 inches.
9. Place each frank or sausage along short side of dough rectangle, and roll dough around it, pinching the long end to seal. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
10. Combine poppy seeds with kosher salt. Lightly brush each appetizer with beaten egg. Sprinkle with poppy seeds and salt.

11. Bake in 450°F. oven until golden brown, 10 to 14 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with honey mustard for dipping.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

CRANBERRY SCONES

This makes a small batch of scones, so feel free to double the recipe. It is a good recipe for a beginning cook, but be sure not to overwork the dough, creating tough scones.

Cranberry  Scones
Serves 4

1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup cold butter
3 tablespoons milk
1 egg, beaten and divided
¼ cup dried cranberries
½ teaspoon coarse sugar


1. In small bowl, combine flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt.
2. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
3. In another small bowl, combine milk and 2 tablespoons of beaten egg.
4. Add egg–milk mixture to crumb mixture and stir just until moistened.
5. Stir in cranberries.
6. Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface; knead gently six to eight times.
7. Pat dough into 6-inch circle. Then cut into four wedges.
8. Place wedges on lightly buttered baking sheet. Brush unbaked scones with remaining egg, and then sprinkle with coarse sugar.
9. Bake in 425°F. oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.



NOTE: The dough should be rather dry; baked scones will be fine.

 May cut into smaller pieces and bake for 12 minutes.

 May add white chocolate chips or chopped pecans.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

STREUSEL COFFEECAKE

I am delighted to report that I have discovered a basic coffeecake recipe. It's easy to make and has no funky ingredients unless you count the buttermilk. It's good warm or at room temperature. You can make the streusel topping at night and then, the next morning, make the batter and put the cake in the oven. Jump in the shower, get dressed, and, when you're ready for work, you can take the coffeecake with you and be a hero at work or by dropping it off at your kids' school for the hard-working staff there. Or do what I did—take it to church for the post-service potluck and fellowship.


Streusel  Coffeecake
Serves 12

Cinnamon Streusel

3 tablespoons butter at room temperature
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Dash salt
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¾ cup packed brown sugar
¾ cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Cake Batter

½ cup butter at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup buttermilk at room temperature

1. Butter 12x7.5-inch glass baking pan and heat oven to 325°F.
2. In medium-sized bowl, prepare streusel by blending cinnamon and salt into softened butter.
3. Stir in flour, then brown sugar, and then nuts. Use hands if desired.
4. In large bowl, prepare cake batter by creaming butter. Then add granulated sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
5. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down bowl as needed.
6. Beat in baking powder, baking soda, salt, and vanilla.
7. Hand-stir flour mixture into creamed mixture in three batches, alternating with half of buttermilk. Do not over-stir.
8. Spread half of batter in prepared pan. Evenly top with half of streusel. Carefully spread remaining batter over strewn streusel. Then sprinkle remaining streusel on top.
9. Bake for about 45 minutes or until cake is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

10. Cool cake on a rack for 15 to 20 minutes before cutting and serving.

Friday, November 25, 2016

BROWN-SUGAR BACON BITES

I discovered this recipe in the November 2016 issue of Sunset magazine on Thanksgiving Eve. Made the bacon bites the next morning to take to a Thanksgiving meal where they were a hit, served as an appetizer. They are a cinch to make, so this is a good recipe for beginning cooks. Just make sure to line those baking sheets with foil and be sure that you use rimmed baking sheets.



Brown-Sugar Bacon Bites
Serves 4


20 thick slices of smoked bacon, about 30 ounces,
cut into 2-inch pieces


1/4 cup dark brown sugar

2
teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon freshly ground fennel seed


  1. 1.  Line two rimmed baking sheets with foil. This step is essential to avoid great difficulty cleaning pans.

  2. 2.  Set wire rack in each pan. Then arrange 2-inch bacon pieces on racks in single layer.

  3. 3.  Mix together brown sugar, black pepper, and ground fennel.
  4. 4.  Sprinkle brown-sugar mixture over bacon.

  5. 5.  Bake in 400°F. oven until bacon is crisp, about 30 minutes, rotating pans after 15 minutes.

  6. 6.  Let bacon cool to room temperature so that sugar will harden.

  7. 7.  Arrange pieces in airy heap in several small bowls. Serve as appetizer. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

WENDY'S BRAN MUFFINS

The worst aspect of this recipe may be that it is scaled to only make eight muffins. However, the recipe can be doubled easily, and I recommend that you do double it if you are baking for more than one.

I make a single batch for just myself. Typically, I eat three muffins the first day and finish the batch over the next couple of days. I eat the muffins warm or at room temperature. I eat them without butter or jam. However, I have eaten them with a slice of Cheddar cheese.

This is a good recipe for kids to try and, if they like the results, to add to their personal cookbook of recipes kept in a binder.


Wendy’s  Bran  Muffins
Makes 8

1 cup wheat bran
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1 egg
3/4 cup buttermilk at room temperature
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. In a medium-sized bowl, stir together bran, all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. 
2. Add walnuts and stir.
3. In a small bowl, beat egg.
4. Add buttermilk, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract to beaten egg; beat well.
5. Make well in dry ingredients and pour combined wet ingredients into well.
6. Stir gently only enough to moisten dry ingredients.
7. Divide batter evenly among eight greased or paper-lined regular-sized muffin tins.
8. Bake in 375°F. oven for 12 to 14 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

NOTE: To go fancy, add a half walnut to the top of each uncooked muffin.
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