Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Basic Cake Donuts

Basic Cake Donuts

• 3 and 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

• 1 and 1/4 cup sugar
• 3/4 cup milk
• 2 large eggs
• 2 Tablespoons shortening
• 3 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• vegetable oil - for frying
• powdered sugar - for dusting

In a deep fryer, add vegetable oil so the oil is about 3 inches deep; heat oil to 375 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, take 1 and 1/2 cups of the flour and add the sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.

In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add milk and stir.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Add shortening. Mix with an electric beater set to low speed for about 30 seconds - making sure to occasionally scrape batter down that sticks to the side of the bowl.

Increase beater speed to medium and beat for an additional 2 minutes - adding a bit of remaining flour every 10 or 15 seconds until all flour is used.

Turn dough out onto a well-flour surface. Sprinkle a little flour over the top of the dough. Roll out dough until it’s about a 1/2 inch thick.

Cut out individual donuts with a donut cutter. Dust the cutter with a little flour to avoid sticking.

Carefully, drop donuts into hot oil: wear a cooking glove or oven mitt and transfer donuts to oil using a spatula. As the donuts cook, they will rise to the surface of the oil. When they do, flip them with the spatula.

Fry them for about 1 minute per side - until golden brown.

Transfer completed donuts to stacked paper towels to drain off excess oil & allow donuts to cool to room temperature then dust with powdered sugar and serve.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls

These are gobbled up as soon as family sees them. I'll never try another cinnamon roll recipe, because I think these are the best. Note: These are wonderful fresh, but they don't freeze well

Cinnamon Rolls


1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
 2 tablespoons butter
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg

3 tablespoons softened butter
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup raisins (optional)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoons milk or juice


In saucepan, heat 1/2 cup milk, water, and 2 tablespoons butter until very warm. Place milk mixture, salt, flour, yeast, sugar, and eggs in the pan of the bread machine in the order suggested by the manufacturer. Select the Dough cycle. Press Start.

Once Dough cycle is complete, remove the dough from the bread machine and punch down. On a floured surface, roll into a large rectangle. Smear with the softened butter. Combine the cinnamon and 1/3 cup sugar. Sprinkle over the rectangle. Generously sprinkle the raisins and/or chopped nuts over the top.

Roll the dough up into a log starting at the long side. Cut into 12 slices. Place the rolls cut side down into a 9x13-inch greased baking pan. Cover, and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled, about 30 minutes.

Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Combine the confectioners' sugar, 1.5 tablespoons melted butter, vanilla extract, and 1.5 tablespoons milk into a thick frosting; set aside.

Bake rolls in preheated oven until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove and allow to cool 10 minutes. Spread frosting over baked rolls and enjoy.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Thrifty Food Plan & Shopping

I have been doing a bit of research on the USDA website and trying to figure out the food budget they think is the ultimate Thrifty Food Plan for us American. For a family of three (two adults & 1 teen son) I have narrowed it to 490$ a month and that doesn’t include anything which isn’t edible so toilet paper, napkins, sandwich baggies, etc are separate. They recommend that the weekly budget of @122$ be divide in the following way. When I got this all worked out I was shocked because we buy and eat a lot more meat than that.

This is how it should be.

Group 1: 19$ a week

Flours, rice pasta, chips, cereals, breads and grains, and other baking goods like baking soda & baking power.

Group 2: 32$ weekly
Potatoes, carrots, onions, celery, fresh veggies ~ greens, yellow, & orange

Group 3: 21$ weekly

Fresh Fruit, canned & frozen fruit, juices

Group 4: $17 weekly

Milk, butter, sour cream, cheeses, yogurt, any dairy

Group 5: $20 weekly

Eggs, bacon, beef, pork, chicken, turkey, fish, shellfish, nuts, nut butters, and dry beans & lentils.

Group 6: $14 weekly

Sugars, brown sugar, coffee tea, pop, condiments & sauces, snacks, pop & everything else like oils

Well today I went to four of the eight grocery stores in my area: ALDI’s, Value King, Giant eagle, and BJ’s whole sale club. I was shocked to find out that the cheapest and best prices were at ALDI’s on the baking supplies and just about everything else including hamburger and pasta. Unless, it was something on sale and I had a coupon for the sale item. Then it was cheapest to shop at Giant Eagle. That being said, it would be most cost effective for stuff like flour & sugar to get those at the BJ’s because there you can get a named brand in a huge 25 pound or larger bag for slightly more than the smaller generic version at ALDI’s.

We blow through a lot of flour and sugar here, with my son Joe planning on culinary school after he graduates next year.

I was shocked to discover how pathetic our consumption of fresh fruit & veggies is. In fact our consumption of them including canned and froze items is embarrassingly low. We are carnivores and junkasaurouses. The bulk of our items fall in group 4, 5, 1, 6 and after today’s weekly trip which came in under budget by 12$ we were way over in those categories and need to spend another 40$ on fruit & veggies to achieve a balanced diet.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Breakfast Biscuits

Breakfast Biscuits


2 cups flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
3/4 milk


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Sift (or mix, in my case... Sifting on a saturday morning?!) the flour, sugar, bp and salt. Cut the butter in with a pastry cutter or two knives until the butter is about the size of peas.

Mix in the milk until barely combined. Turn out onto a floured countertop, and knead about 10 times, until everything is smoothly combined. Roll or press the dough out to 1/2 an inch thick (or thereabouts). Cut with a floured round cutter of some sort... I use a glass. The number you get depends on the size...

Bake for 10-12 minutes on an UNGREASED cookie sheet until puffy and golden brown.

For me, the trick is to work them as LITTLE as possible.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Steakhouse Wheat Bread

This recipe is just like the yummy bread you get at restaurants on the little carving board served with a crock of whipped butter.

Steakhouse Wheat Bread


3/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
1 tablespoon Penzy's unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 cup bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast


Place the warm water, butter, honey, salt, coffee, cocoa, sugar, bread flour, whole wheat flour, and dry yeast in the pan of a bread machine in the order listed. Put on regular or basic cycle with light crust.

** You can remove the dough at the end of the rise stage and cook in mini loaf pans or make rolls etc.

Saturday, March 20, 2010




2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon chopped green onion
2 egg yolks, beaten
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups potatoes (half mashed & half shredded)
1 egg, beaten
Sifted dried bread crumbs

Peanut oil, enough to fill pan 1/2-inch


Add milk, salt, pepper, chopped onion, beaten egg yolks and flour to mix of the potatoes. Chill and then shape using an ice cream scoop. Dip in the beaten egg, then roll through bread crumbs. Fry each boxty in shallow oil until brown on all sides.

Cook's Note: Cook in small batches, giving each boxty at least 2 inches of space around it to not overcrowd the pan. This prevents the boxty from crumbling while frying.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Perfect Pie Crust

I got this recipe out of an old Better Homes and Gardens cookbook that my mom bought and passed down to me from when she was living in New Orleans in the 1950's. I have never made or eaten a crust that was flakier or had better flavor.

You can roll it out between two sheets of wax paper if you need a top crust or just prefer to do it that way.


2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons milk


Mix flour, salt, and sugar in a bowl. With a fork whip together oil and milk; pour over flour mixture.

Mix with fork until dampened; turn into pie plate and press dough evenly against bottom and sides. Crimp edges if desired.

To pre-bake: Prick; bake 425 about 15 min

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

3 1/2 cups unbleached flour (or use 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour plus 1 cup unbleached)
1/2 to 3/4 cup raw or brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick butter, softened
1 egg
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup golden raisins or currants
1 teaspoon dried caraway seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 375F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda.

Cut the butter into the flour mixture, until crumbly.

Add egg and buttermilk.

Mix until moistened.

Add raisins or currants and caraway seeds if desired.

Form into a round loaf on a greased baking sheet.

Use a knife to cut a spiral or cross on the top.

Bake one hour.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Soft Caramels

These soft caramels have a creamy, chewy texture that melts in your mouth and never sticks to your teeth. They are delicious on their own, dipped in chocolate, or used in other baked goods. For the best texture, allow the caramels to sit at room temperature overnight to fully set up.

Soft Caramels


• 2 cups heavy cream
• 1/2 cup condensed milk
• 2 cups light corn syrup
• 1/2 cup water
• 2 cups granulated sugar
• 1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter, cut into small cubes

1. Prepare a 9x9 pan by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Combine the cream and condensed milk in a small saucepan, and place the saucepan on a burner set to the lowest heat setting. You want the milk and cream to be warm, but do not allow it to boil.

3. In a medium-large saucepan combine the corn syrup, water, and granulated sugar over medium-high heat. Stir the candy until the sugar dissolves, then use a wet pastry brush to wash down the sides of the pan to prevent sugar crystals from forming and making the candy grainy.

4. Insert a candy thermometer and reduce the heat to medium. Allow the mixture to come to a boil and cook until the thermometer reads 250 degrees.

5. Add the softened butter chunks and the warm milk-cream mixture. The temperature should go down about 30 degrees.

6. Continue to cook the caramel, stirring constantly so that the bottom does not scorch. Cook it until the thermometer reads 244, and the caramel is a beautiful dark golden brown.

7. Remove the caramel from the heat and immediately pour it into the prepared pan. Do not scrape candy from the bottom of the saucepan. Allow the candy to sit overnight to set up and develop a smooth, silky texture.

8. When you are ready to cut the caramel, place a piece of waxed paper on the counter and lift the caramel from the pan using the foil as handles. Flip the top of the caramel onto the waxed paper and peel the foil layer from the bottom of the caramel.

9. Spray a large knife with nonstick cooking spray. Firmly cut into the caramels, creating 1” squares. Wipe the blade and re-spray as necessary.

10. Wrap the squares in waxed paper. The caramels will gradually spread and lose their square shape if not wrapped soon after cutting. Alternately, you can dip them in chocolate once they are cut.

11. Store the caramels at room temperature for up to two weeks.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Cranberry Maple Madeleine's

For about 30 Madeleine’s:

3/4 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup maple syrup
4 eggs
3 T milk
2 cups flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup dried cranberries


In one the bowl of the mixer, to put the butter and the sugar, and to beat until mixture is creamy and light.

While continuing beating, adding the maple syrup, then eggs and the milk.

Lower the speed of the percussionist and add the flour and the powder with paste which will have been sieved, in anticipation. Add the dried cranberries and blend.

Cover the bowl of paste and refrigerate 1 hour at least.

Preheat the oven in 350 F (180 C).

If use you of moulds in Madeleine’s in metal, spread with butter and will you flour them? If you use moulds in silicone, this stage will not be necessary.

Fill molds with Madeleine’s of paste in 2/3 of their capacity, then cook for 15 minutes.

Takke out the mould of the oven and wait 5 minutes before turning out of the tin

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Herbed Chicken Parmesan

My family recommends rice-shaped orzo pasta with this saucy chicken entrée, but you can serve spaghetti or angel hair pasta instead.

Herbed Chicken Parmesan
Cooking Light magazine, NOVEMBER 2003


1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided

1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs (I use Italian seasoned ones)
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1 pound chicken breast tenders
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 cups bottled fat-free tomato-basil pasta sauce
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) shredded provolone cheese


Preheat broiler.

Combine 2 tablespoons of Parmesan, breadcrumbs, parsley, basil, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a shallow dish. Place egg white in a shallow dish. Dip each chicken tender in egg white; dredge in the breadcrumb mixture. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Set aside.

Combine 1/8 teaspoon salt, pasta sauce, vinegar, and pepper in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap; vent. Microwave sauce mixture at HIGH 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Pour the sauce over chicken in pan. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining Parmesan and provolone cheese. Wrap handle of pan with foil, and broil 2 minutes or until the cheese melts.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Golden Graham Crackers

This recipe is adapted from Miette Patisserie, San Francisco

Chill dough completely before rolling and then chill the cut cookies well before baking them, otherwise they will be difficult to work with and will spread during baking.

Golden Graham Crackers ~ Makes about 4 dozen 2 1/2-inch cookies


2 cups flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon Penzy’s ground cinnamon
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup honey

sugar, for sprinkling (optional)


Position an oven rack to the center position and preheat it to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Whisk together flour, wheat flour, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed, cream together the butter and brown sugar, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl, and beat in the honey. Stir in dry ingredients on low speed. Scrape the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and pat it into a disc, wrap well. Refrigerate until firm but still pliable, about one hour.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out very thin, about an 1/8-inch thick (you can gather the dough scraps and reroll as necessary). Cut out cookies with a 2 to 3-inch cookie cutter and place on the prepared baking sheets, a dozen per sheet. Sprinkle with sugar if desired. Chill the cut cookies on the sheets for at least 15 minutes before baking.

Bake 14 to 16 minutes until golden. Let the cookies set for a minute before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Hot Crossed Buns

Hot Crossed Buns


Cooking Time: 15 minutes, Servings: 18

1 cup milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast (one envelope)
4 1/2 to 5 cups flour (I used bread flour, but all-purpose will work)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1 cup golden raisins


In a small saucepan, heat the milk, butter and sugar until the butter is almost melted and the temperature is about 110 ° F. (bathwater warm). If you accidentally heat the milk too much, just let it cool down.

Stir together 2 cups of the flour, the salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cardamom. Set aside.

Combine the warmed milk and the eggs in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the yeast and let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes or until foamy. Fit a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Add the flour/spice mixture to the milk and beat on medium/high speed for about 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook. Add 2 1/2 cups of flour and knead for about 5 minutes, or until a soft dough forms, adding more flour as needed.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently by hand briefly until no longer sticky (be careful not to add too much flour). Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning it so that both sides are lightly oiled. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a draft free area for about an hour or until it has doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 375 ° F. Punch down the dough and form into 18 rolls. Brush each roll with a little melted butter and let rise again until doubled, about 35 minutes. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, until golden. Cool for ten minutes and pipe icing* in a cross form on each bun.

*Icing: Stir together 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar and enough orange juice to make a spreadable frosting.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies HNT

I just followed the recipe for traditional Toll House Cookies and instead of adding semi sweet cholate chips I added white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts. Scooped them on to sheets with the 1/4 cup scooper and baked at 376 degrees F for 11 minutes. They are large and sweet!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Engagement Roast Chicken

Engagement Chicken is just a basic roast chicken recipe that was published in the January 2004 Glamour magazine, a magical combination of chicken, lemons, salt and pepper that supposedly causes men to pop "the question."

The Engagement Chicken recipe was lifted from a former Glamour magazine fashion editor and foodie named Kimberly Bonnell, who advised anxious young staffers to cook this fool-proof chicken dish for boyfriends they wanted to impress. (The recipe was originally published in a cookbook called Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan under the less Glamour-ous name Roast Chicken with Lemons.) As the legend goes, the boyfriends morphed into husbands within a year after they consumed the chicken dinner.

A Glamour reader who tried the Engagement Chicken recipe testified to its magical powers in a letter to the magazine. "I made Engagement Chicken for my live-in boyfriend and less than two months later, I'm wearing a wedding band." I can attest to its powers because its kemp me married over 23 years now and it one of he hubsters favorite Sunday dinners.

Engagement Chicken


1 (4 to 5 pound) roasting chicken
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 lemons
1 lime
1 whole head garlic, cut in 1/2 crosswise
Good olive oil
2 Spanish onions, peeled and thickly sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Remove and discard the chicken giblets. Pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Cut the lemons in quarters, place 2 quarters in the chicken along with the garlic and reserve the rest of the lemons. Brush the outside of the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle the chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Place the chicken in a small (11 by 14-inch) roasting pan. (If the pan is too large, the onions will burn.) Place the reserved lemons and the sliced onions in a large bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Pour the mixture around the chicken in the pan.

Roast the chicken for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and a thigh and it reaches an internal temperature of 180 degree F at it fattest part. Remove the chicken to a platter, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes while you prepare the sauce, leaving the lemons and onions in the pan.

Place the pan on top of the stove and turn the heat to medium-high. Add the wine and stir with a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits. Add the stock and sprinkle on the flour, stirring constantly for a minute, until the sauce thickens. Add any juices that collect under the chicken. Carve the chicken onto a platter and serve with the lemons, onions, and warm sauce.

Monday, March 1, 2010

On hiatus due to flu! ;o(

We are all sick with the flu here. I had hoped that we would esca-pe the annual flu since we all had flu shots but alas we are really, really sick with it and in need of some Jewish penicillin. If only Jack's Deli delivered!!!