Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles aren’t anything all that special. They’re sugar cookies with a bit of cinnamon/sugar coating on the outside and not much else. Funny though, they’re one of those things that everybody loves, and if you’re heading to a little party (as I am later this weekend) they’re a must. This time around, the specialty here is that the snickerdoodles are made with butter and bread flour, a trick I learned from King Arthur’s Flour, and which I can recommend without reservations.

So apart from the butter and bread flour — both of which may not make a lot of difference — the REAL reason I make these cookies is because of something else in my mind, anyway. Snickerdoodles were something I could always count on my mother to make, especially at Thanksgiving and Christmas, but also as just a welcome home or about any other good reason she could think of. They were never a big deal, but they almost always were there, just in case you needed a little something.

I miss them, and her.

(more…)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Raisin Oatmeal Cookies

Raisin Oatmeal Cookies

Raisin oatmeal cookies are a special treat here in good ‘ol Cleveland, and one of those things that, after I’ve made them, I can’t figure out why I’ve waited so long to do that. They could be one of the best I make, although that depends on who you ask, I guess. And this time around, I am headed off to a party over the weekend, so this treat will probably sell out rather quickly, I would think.

The recipe is very simple. It does, however, require good oatmeal (none of that instant variety) and uses butter (definitely no margarine). There is something special about good oatmeal — especially steel cut oatmeal if you can get it — that adds a special quality to the finished cookies. And the butter. There is something about butter that really makes the cookies soft and, basically, just more “cookie-like” if I can make that a word.

(more…)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

White Brownies With Chocolate!

white brownies

I don’t normally bake a lot of things. I can and will do a little baking under the right circumstances, but generally, I like enjoying the baking from someone else rather than doing it myself. Then, of course, I was looking through some cookbooks and saw this recipe for white brownies with amazing white and black chocolate. For some reason, I just had to have them. And after a few bad starts and a nasty cut on my finger (no, don’t ask — I was doing something stupid) they finally made it to my table.

I’d never made a white brownie, so that was a good start. But what I really liked about this idea (which has been modified a bit) was the inclusion of both white chocolate and the good old dark black chocolate. There is something about having both versions rather than just one in the mix that makes both of them seem a bit more. In any case, give these a try. Especially with some ice cream…

(more…)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Peach Pie, Getting It Just Right

Peach Pie

Peach pie is one of those things that, done right, is quite likely the best pie you can make. Done badly, it can be pretty awful. How do you make it the right way? Surprisingly, it’s actually pretty easy, but does require a little care in getting everything ready.

So to start out, you need a couple of pie crusts. I use the special Perfect Pie Crust I’ve used for many years. If you have another recipe or even want to use a prepared crust, go for it. You can also make a lattice crust if you like. The secret is how to deal with peaches, which can be way too juicy or, on occasion, too  dry. To handle that, after the peaches are peeled, put them in a pan with brown and white sugars and let them sit for at least an hour. If you then lift out the peaches and take that wonderful peachy juice that’s left behind, add it to some starch (I use tapioca, you can use cornstarch or what ever else works), cinnamon, nutmeg and some salt. Heat it until everything is dissolved and it starts getting nice and thick, and add it back to the peaches. Add a little butter and you’re done.

You can then bake the pie and that’s all there is too it. And with a bit of luck, you’ve got a pie that’s moist and flavorful.

(more…)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

A Simple Chocolate Pie

chocolate pie

Chocolate pie is what I would call one of the best things you can easily make, and win a few hearts along the way. Valentine’s Day is coming!! With a little bit of help from one of my grandma’s favorite recipes (and some upgraded chocolate), you can have the pie in a hurry, too. The recipe is very easy to make and the only thing that’s a downside is having to wait around for the pie to cool enough to eat it.

The pie you see in the picture is not the simplest nor the most extravagant pie you can do with this recipe. If you care, you can use a chocolate pie crust made up of Oreos or Graham crackers, or a simple pie crust from the refrigerated aisle at the grocery store. I use my own crust, but didn’t bother to make it look as pretty as you might have seen elsewhere at Discovery Cooking. I just wanted something quick and easy. I used some whipped cream and some chocolate chips to decorate mine, you can use fruit or have it just plain. Your call.

(more…)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Pane Bianco — Bread with a Superb Stuffing

pane bianco

Although I have not done much of it lately, there is something special about a home-made loaf of great bread, especially when it’s loaded with a superb stuffing that sends it over the top. That’s where this Pane Bianco comes into the picture. This concoction has a wonderful but simple stuffing that’s very good on it’s own and even more important, I’ve already started thinking about what might be added in future editions.

This is not any kind of original thinking on my part. It started out as a post by King Arthur’s Flour. The idea was to get people to give the bread a bake-along project for the month. It’s a very simple dough but what makes it stand out is a filling made with tomatoes, cheese, basil and garlic. The filling is the wonderful part. Dipped in some of olive oil, or dabbed with a little bit of dip or just by itself, the filling is amazing and definitely worth giving this bread a try.

I made mine in a couple of loaves, but the recipe really just calls for one large loaf. It works either way. And FYI, this is a great little Labor Day appetizer.

The recipe below, is pretty much exactly from King Arthur’s Flour.

(more…)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

A Basic Cheesecake

Cheesecake

Sometimes, you just have to have a great cheesecake.  It doesn’t happen often, maybe, but especially, when you got company coming by for a weekend or maybe just to indulge yourself, there is really is nothing better than beautiful cheesecake, standing there and ready to go when dessert hits.

This cheesecake is relatively light and ready for almost any filling you might like to try. And, yes, it’s just perfect for that 4th of July weekend. It’s flavor  is a very light vanilla with a chocolate graham-cracker crust (you can use just about anything you like for a crust) and apart from have to wait overnight for it to get to peak condition, it is fairly easy to make. What I like about this version is that it really does go with just about any kind of filling you can imagine, from fresh fruit to chocolate. It pretty much works with anything.

(more…)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
%d bloggers like this: