Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Help~

Who hasn't read this book or seen the movie?  I ask of all of you if you haven't DO it!  I guess I say that with all my favorite books, but really it is funny and sad and gives us great understanding into what it was like for these women to have black maids who cooked their food, raised their children but couldn't, wouldn't share a bathroom!!!  They were friends but couldn't act as if they were friends...imagine that today?!  I don't think so!

Take a few minutes to go to the library or rent the movie.  You will be glad you did and if you have read it...pass it on, it's worth sharing with all your friends and family...ours is on the move!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Debbi Fields'...

great American desserts...this happens to be one of my favorite go to cookbooks.  She has an amazing array of delicious desserts to choose from & one of our favorites is...Debbi's Blondies...oh my are these ever good.

(Adapted from Debbi Fields' great American desserts)
9" x 13" pan   electric mixer works best  preheat oven to 325 degrees

16 TBSP (2 sticks unsalted butter, softened...I used reg. butter)
1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs @ room temperature
1 TBSP vanilla
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I'm going to try 1/2 white, 1/2 wheat...next time)
1 tsp baking soda
1 /2 tsp salt

(I did not do these last two steps, they are definitely optional, but a delicious addition!)

1/2 cup chocolate chips/butterscotch chips (both) why not... 
1/2 cup store-bought butterscotch or caramel sauce
1/2 cup chopped pecans toasted

1. Butter baking pan
2. Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and blend together just until smooth using electric mixer on medium speed.  Do not whip.
3. In a small bowl, stir together the eggs and vanilla.  On low speed, blend the egg mixture into the butter mixture until combined.  Scrape down the bowl.
4. In a bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.  Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and beat on low speed until just combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
5. heat butterscotch or caramel in microwave or on stove top being careful, stir in pecans.  With a spoon drizzle evenly over the blondies. With tip of knife, swirl the sauce into the batter just below the surface.
6. Bake the blondies for 25-30 minutes or until the top is a light golden brown and the center is still slightly soft. be careful not to overbake because this will dry out the crumb.  Cool the blondies in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Dutch Apple Pie

Hi everyone, sorry to have been away & had no contact...I was just in a frumpy mood & the computer was the last thing on my mind!!!  So to say sorry I'm posting this delicious pie!   Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!  (& making it was fun too)

375 degrees for 50 minutes

5 cups cored & peeled apples (Granny Smith - excellent)
1 TBSP lemon juice
1/2  cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 TBSP flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter...@ room temp.

Fit pie crust into plate.  In large bowl, mix sliced apples, lemon juice, both sugars, flour, cinnamon & nutmeg.  Place apples into crust to make an even-ish top.

In medium bowl with pastry blender or fork, mix flour, both sugars & butter until coarsely crumbled.  Sprinkle
evenly over apples.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Easy Cinnamon Rolls

And I mean easy!  This is a no yeast dough so it is quick.  I have been wanting to try this for years and then when I want to make them I can't find the recipe.  Somehow it always seems to elude me, like the missing sock in the dryer!

Well today I found it...then lost it!  Believe me I couldn't comprehend where it had gone.  We looked everywhere.  A good 20 minutes later my husband found my BFF's favorite scone recipe on the kitchen counter so I walked in and DUH...I had put it on the bread machine so I wouldn't misplace it!!!  Needless to say I started making them right away...& as usual, yes I did, I tweaked the recipe.  It turned out 100% better than the way they said to do it.  So get ready to bake because you will want these ASAP!!!

Easy Cinnamon Rolls
Preheat oven 400 degrees
Adapted from Grandma's Kitchen

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 TBSP baking powder (yes TBSP)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
8 TBSP butter (1 stick) softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 TBSP cinnamon

1. Sift flour, baking powder, salt & baking soda in a medium bowl & mix well.  Stir in vegetable oil.  Add buttermilk & stir until just blended.

2. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth.  roll dough into a 15 x 8 inch rectangle.  Lightly grease a 9 inch round baking dish.

3. Combine softened butter, brown sugar & cinnamon.  Mix well until smooth paste like consistency.  Spread this over your entire rolled out dough.  Roll up rectangle jelly roll style starting from one end & pinch seam to seal.

4. Cut the roll into one 1 1/2 inch slices.  Arrange the slices, cut side up, in prepared baking dish.  Bake until lightly browned, about 15-20 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Serve hot.

I made an easy powdered sugar and milk glaze to dip or pour over the top.  A cream cheese and powdered sugar would also be good on these...Enjoy~

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Do you fruit cake?

Ahhh, now its time to start planning for Christmas.  I was watching Kelsey's Essentials on the Cooking Channel & she had a gingerbread cake truffle recipe that looked amazing.  My only problem is I despise white chocolate...one because it isn't chocolate & two I just don't care for the flavor!  So that said I'm going to have to go with dark chocolate unless I can get the white to not taste like itself!!!  Any ideas out there please let me know.  I might venture a try with fruit cake!  Jury is still out on that one!  Although I would 'tweak' especially where the fruit comes in, because I can't stand that fruit they use in traditional fruit cake! 

Do you fruit cake?  If so please let me know & share your recipe unless it is a guarded family secret!  I would love to know how many people still make & send fruit cake for Christmas.

You can put your recipes here or you can send them to me,  bakesnbooks@yahoo.com

Now go to your room and read!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

Happy Holidays

Well Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  I LOVE the holidays, I already have a Christmas tree on the front porch with lights, no ornaments outside but plenty of lights!  I would be decorating for Christmas but we are having Thanksgiving @ our house & want it to feel like TG not Christmas.  Sad but true. I won't decorate til the next day. Yay!

How do you get ready for the holidays & when do you start your decorating? 

Only 9 days left to get me your Christmas Cookie recipes, the winner & recipe will be announced December 15th & put on Bakes n Books to add to your holiday goodie list!

So hurry get those recipes to me...bakesnbooks@yahoo.com

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sourdough Starter

I believe every kitchen needs this.  I had some awhile ago & neglected to feed it so I lost it.  When I saw this in my bread book I decided to make a new batch...

2 cups warm water
1 TBSP sugar, honey or maple syrup (optional) - I used sugar
2 cups flour
1 TBSP dry yeast

* Beat all ingredients together in a 2 quart bowl.
* Cover the bowl with a towel and place it somewhere warm.  (Use a towel, not plastic wrap, to allow airborne wild yeast to enter - it will contribute to the unique character and flavor of your starter.)
* The mixture will begin to bubble within a few minutes.  Initially, it will double in bulk, but as it begins to ferment it will settle down.
* Let the mixture sit in a warm place, stirring the liquid back into the batter (as it will separate) once a day for 2-5 days.  when the bubbling diminishes and it has a sour  yeasty aroma, it is ready to use.
* Stir the mixture and measure out the amount you need.  It will be the consistancy of pancake batter.

To keep starter going:

* Store the finished starter in a sealed jar in the refrigerator.
* Each time you remove some starter to bake, replenish with equal amounts of flour and water.  (If you use 1/2 cup of starter, stir in 1/2 cup each flour and water.)  Then let the starter sit in a warm place for 12 hours and let the yeast bubble and grow again before returning it to the refrigerator.
* A starter can be kept indefinitely - just stir and feed it every week or two.  Stirring, removing and replenishing your starter serves to feed the remaining batter.

*** Do not use metal utensils in sourdough starter!!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tell me your favorite reads~

Let me & other readers see what you like to read.  I for one would love to know what everyone has their nose in...Don't be shy~

SEAL Team Six

Memoirs of an Elite Navy Seal Sniper...Howard E. Wasdin & Stephen Templin.

The title was just to long to put in the little space given...This book was so good & hard to put down.  I started reading it when we were camping last summer @ Lake Tahoe.  I was using my flashlight, my phone & reading during daylight hours when I could! 

When the Navy sends their elite, they send the SEALs. When the SEALs send their elite, they send SEAL Team Six
SEAL Team Six is a secret unit tasked with counterterrorism, hostage rescue, and counterinsurgency. In this dramatic, behind-the-scenes chronicle, Howard Wasdin takes readers deep inside the world of Navy SEALS and Special Forces snipers, beginning with the grueling selection process of Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S)—the toughest and longest military training in the world.  What these guys go through is hideous & it's a wonder so many fail.  Those who make it are truly 'The Elite'!!!

I don't like to give to much up on any book...this book was excellent.  We got it for my dad for Father Day, he finished I grabbed it before he could put it down.  I do read alot of  different books so when I think they are books you will like I will tell you about them!                                                                                                                                                         

Saturday, November 12, 2011

BnB's Granola Chip Cookies

So this recipe is really easy, large & can handle variations...
350 degrees 10-12 minutes; watching closely

3 cubes butter or margarine
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 TBSP vanilla
2 eggs

4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 -2 cups granola of your choice depending on desired texture & other additions
1/2-1 cup raisins
*optional-chocolate chips, chunks, mini chips, butterscotch chips, coconut or nuts, M&M's, flake cereals...you can add anything or everything!  Play with it & have fun!

Cream together softened butter or margarine, sugars eggs & vanilla.  In another bowl sift together all dry ingredients.  Slowly add dry to wet mixing thoroughly.  Add granola.  If you choose to use chips, nuts etc. take out enough batter for a few bowls so you can have variations of flavors.  Leave some plain & put in a covered container & stick in the fridge for later date.

The granola I used had raisins & sliced almonds so I  added more raisins.  Took out some dough & put in some butterscotch chips...mmmmm...then decided two pans of cookies were going to be enough for tonight.  I put the rest away & it will last for quite awhile.  So try some great cookies, use some variations & then surprise company with yummy warm fresh cookies~

Cookies Mom Likes

I'm going to bake some cookies my mom has been wanting, although they don't live close it's to far to drop some by & they definitely won't last...So what I like to do is bake off a batch or two and then put the rest in a tub in the fridge.  Then you can bake a batch whenever you feel like fresh cookies without the trouble of bringing out all the stuff to make them again.  It was a great idea from my cousin Michelle when we went away for the weekend.  She made cookie dough and brought a tub full.  It was so nice to have home made cookies on vacation, everyone loved them~

I will make them & then post the recipe once I'm finished...go bake something, it's fun! 


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Rustic Apple Galette

Wow, I got the best Granny Smith apples so I decided to go for it & try once again to make a crust!  So far so good.  My sister gave me her old food processor so that made it so much easier.  So the loss of a rolling pin was a challenge because I used a glass and it kept getting warm from my hands.
I watched Julie & Julia last night...how funny I completely forgot it was a movie about a 'food blog'.  When I saw it the first time I thought to myself I can't do that!  Well, I guess I can because I am...

Kelseys Perfect Pie Dough  ~Preheat oven 425 degrees F.
Adapted from Kelseys Essentials

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 TBSP sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, chilled or frozen
4-6 TBSP ice cold water  (I used 3, just see how the texture is for you)
1/8 tsp cinnamon

I added cinnamon to the crust recipe...I adore cinnamon & I get the Cinnamon Dulce from Starbucks, (see below).

In a mixing bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, salt, vanilla; cut or work the butter into the flour mixture with your fingers or a cold pastry cutter until you have large pea sized chunks scattered throughout.  Alternatively, pulse the dough in a food processor or mix in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment on low speed.

Add the ice water slowly while mixing with a fork, or in the food processor or mixer, until just combined.  Be careful not to overwork the dough.  Wrap dough in plastic wrap , flatten and place in refridgerator or freezer for 15-20 minutes or overnight in fridge, let stand 10 minutes before rolling out.  Have your rolling area ready with flour & a little cinnamon...yummmy good!

Roll out the chilled dough to fit in a 9" pie plate.  Reserve the 2nd pie dough disc for another use if making a single crust pie.
I couldn't find my rolling pin so I had to use a glass, which was kinda hard because it absorbed the heat from my hands & was sticking..ug it was a mess!  But delish...

Yeild: 1 (9-inch) pie crust.

Now for the apples.  This part is from the Smitten Kitchen & a little addition or two of my own...like I've said before I tweak my recipes & they always seem to turn out delicious.

2 lbs of apples peeled & sliced (I used the most amazing Granny Smith I have had in years!!!)
2 packets Sugar in the Raw (or equivalent)
Cinnamon Dulce syrup from Starbucks  (or make an apple reduction with some apple juice, cinnamon & brown sugar) & I used it sparingly because it is very rich but so good!
Cinnamon & sugar mix from my shaker.

I got my handy paint brush & brushed the edges with the sauce, then used raw sugar, then sprinkled with cinnamon & granulated sugar (which I always keep ready in my baking cupboard)!
I can't wait, I know it is going to be delicious...Go ahead make one!  Tis the season for apples & pumpkins~

Monday, November 7, 2011

Bread Machine Cinnamon-Raisin Bread

Well tis the season to make bread...for me anyway (bread machine)!  I don't seem to do it other times during the year.  I was looking at different recipes and most of them called for dry milk.  I haven't had dry milk for years.  I went on line and the first recipe I came across was good ole Betty Crocker!  I was happy with what I saw so decided to go ahead with it...& I am soooo glad I did.  I tweaked it a little just because I always do.  Nothing smells as good as bread baking on a cool Fall day, I hope you enjoy~

Makes 1 loaf (1 1/2 lb), approx. 12 slices
Adapted from Betty Crocker

1 cup water (100 degrees) Recipe didn't specify so I went with the lowest from other recipes
2 TBSP butter or margarine, softened (I used butter)
3 cups bread flour (I used all purpose)
3 TBSP sugar  (4TBSP brown sugar)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon  (I used 1 TBSP)
2 1/2 tspn bread machine yeast  (I used what I had on hand)
3/4 cup raisins  (I used 1 cup & will probably use more next time)

I took my brown sugar and cinnamon & mixed them together before adding to other ingredients.

1.  Measure carefully, placing all ingredients except raisins in bread machine pan in the order recommended by the manufacturer.  Add raisins at the Raisin/Nut signal or 5-10 minutes before last kneading cycle ends.

2.  Select Sweet or Basic/White cycle.  Use medium or light crust color.  Remove baked bread from pan & cool on wire rack.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Memoirs of a Geisha~

I love this book!  It isn't a really lengthy book but it is a fantastic one.  Written by Arthur Golden & also made into a movie in 2005.

Nitta Sayuri tells the story of her life as a geisha. It begins in a poor fishing village in 1929, when, as a nine year old girl with unusual colored eyes is taken from her home and sold into slavery to a well known geisha house. Witnessing her transformation as she learns the rigorous arts of the geisha: dance and music; wearing kimono, elaborate makeup, and hair; pouring sake to reveal just a touch of inner wrist; competing with a jealous rival for men and the money that goes with it.

In Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl's virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to lure the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion.  At once romantic, suspenseful—and unforgettable.

I'm going to say it again...I love this book (& movie)!