Tag Archives: cinnamon

Butter Pecan Cookies

7 Jan
Butter Pecan Cookies

Butter Pecan Cookies

I’ve gone rogue on you, I tell ya’! Me, making more cookies? Unheard of! Unlike the dreaded cakes and pastries, it appears I’m able to make some humble cookies without a complete disaster.

Once again, I got this fabulous recipe from my friend Jodi over at The Creative Life in Between. She’s the cookie-maker queen! My mom sent me a couple of pounds of Texas pecans for Christmas, and another dear friend gifted me some candied pecans. So when Jodi posted her Butter Pecan Cookie recipe… well, you get the picture.

I halved the original recipe, so the smaller version is below which makes about 3 dozen cookies. And for whatever reason, this cookie recipe didn’t really need a high-altitude adjustment aside from maybe a minute or two cooking longer. I put the candied pecans on top, and omitted the raw sugar topping. We kept a dozen for ourselves and the rest I brought to a USPS potluck on my last night of work as a Holiday Clerk Assistant. I survived six weeks helping to bring your holiday mail and packages to your doorstep! That certainly deserved a cookie or two.

Butter Pecan Cookies

1 1/2 tablespoons salted butter
1 1/2 cups pecan halves, chopped
2 sticks salted butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 1/4 cups flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
Candied or regular pecan halves for decorating

Buttered Pecans

Buttered Pecans

Prepare buttered pecans by melting 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chopped pecans and cook, stirring occasionally for 4-5 minutes, until lightly toasted. Remove from skillet to a bowl to cool.

In same skillet, melt 2 sticks of butter for cookie batter. Bring to a boil until butter just begins to brown, and then remove from heat. Be careful not to burn it as that tastes bitter, but be sure to get it to the browned stage.

Browning Butter

Browning the Butter ~ yes, you really do boil the butter!

Using an electric mixer, combine sugars with browned butter on slow speed until fully combined. Add vanilla and then eggs, one at time, beating until fully combined.

Add flour, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda – folding in with rubber spatula until fully incorporated, and then fold in the buttered pecans.

Butter Pecan Cookie Batter

Butter Pecan Cookie Batter

Cover bowl and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees.

If you have refrigerated overnight – let dough sit long enough to become scoopable.

Place ping-pong-ball sized scoops of dough 1-2 inches apart on baking stone or cookie sheet. Flatten slightly and press a pecan half in center.

Bake 8 to 11 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit on baking stone/cookie sheet for 10 minutes, then remove to cooling rack to cool completely.

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

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Mexican Shrimp Meatball Soup (Albondigas de Camerones)

8 Jan
Mexican Shrimp Meatball Soup

Mexican Shrimp Meatball Soup

The snow will just not stop where I live! We are buried, I tell ya’! So of course I made more soup (spicy too!) to ward off the snow demons and hopefully melt them.

I made this earlier in the year from a recipe at Cooking on the Ranch, but the hubs said there was too much seasoning in the shrimp meatballs and he couldn’t taste the shrimp. So I made a notation on the recipe to make it again but with noted adjustments. I did, and the meatballs came out so much better this time! We really enjoyed it so I hope you do too!

Mexican Shrimp Meatball Soup
Adapted from Cooking on the Ranch

For the meatballs:

1/2 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (weight after peeling)
1 thick slice onion, quartered
1 tablespoon tomato paste
A pinch of ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
2 heaping tablespoons flour
1 egg yolk
A pinch of salt

For the soup:

1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 roasted Hatch chiles, peeled, seeded and chopped (can sub 1 4-ounce can mild green chopped chiles)
3 to 4 cups shrimp, fish, or chicken stock
2 bay leaves
Ground black pepper and salt, to taste
Fresh chopped cilantro, for garnish

Shrimp Meatball Mixture

Shrimp Meatball Mixture

Add the shrimp, onion, tomato paste, spices and herbs, flour, egg yolk and salt to a food processor. Pulse until well combined. Cover and chill in refrigerator for a half hour.

Meanwhile, start making the soup. Heat the olive oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven and saute the onion until translucent and soft, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a minute more. Add the tomatoes and chiles and simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes.

Simmering the Soup Base

Simmering the Soup Base

Add the stock, bay leaves, and pepper and salt, to taste. Bring up to a simmer again, then simmer on low heat while you make the meatballs.

Get a bowl of water ready and add parchment paper to a large cookie sheet. Dip your hands in the bowl of water, and using a spoon, scoop out a large teaspoon of the shrimp mixture, and roll into a ball and place on the cookie sheet.

Shrimp Meatballs

Shrimp Meatballs

Dip hands in water as needed, it prevents the shrimp mixture from sticking to your hands. Repeat until shrimp is gone. Drop the meatballs carefully into the soup, then bring to a simmer again heat the meatballs until cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Simmering the Shrimp Meatballs

Simmering the Shrimp Meatballs

Remove bay leaves, and serve soup in bowls garnished with chopped cilantro.

Mexican Shrimp Meatball Soup

Mexican Shrimp Meatball Soup

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

Pastitsio, Pasticcio, Pasticchio

28 Feb
Pastitsio, Pasticcio, Pasticchio

Pastitsio, Pasticcio, Pasticchio

Pistachios, am I nuts? No, this is Pastitsio, also known as Pasticcio, and sometimes spelled Pasticchio. But my tattered Better Homes and Garden cookbook names this Greek dish it the latter. No matter how you spell it, it’s dang good! It also messes up a lot of pots and pans. But don’t let that stop you from making this guest-worthy casserole.

You can shorten the cooking time by preparing some of the steps concurrently, or, if you have a lazy weekend day with lots of time you can just methodically work your way through each step. The end result will be the same. Bites of savory tomato and ground beef pasta topped with a lusciously puffy bechamel/egg crust. Are you drooling yet???

I had not made this in probably 5 or 6 years, so I just followed the recipe again as written (mostly) in the cookbook. Traditionally, this dish is made with a tubular pasta but I think the smaller macaroni works well with this. My family agreed it could use a few tweaks, but even so we all enjoyed this immensely. I’ve added my tweaks to the recipe below, and I think you’d be satisfied with them. So here it goes:

Pasticchio
From Better Homes and Gardens All-Time Favorite Recipes

6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) dry elbow macaroni
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (the real stuff!)
1/4 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
3/4 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce (I would also add a can of diced tomatoes next time)
3/4 teaspoon salt (I used Mrs. Dash, but we agreed real salt would be better)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I actually used 1/4 teaspoon, and it was the right amount)
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper (I ground in liberal amounts)
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Paprika, to make it pretty

Pasta Mixture

Pasta Mixture

Cook the macaroni according to package directions. Drain, and set aside to cool for a bit. When cooled enough not to cook the egg you will be adding, stir in 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup of milk, and the beaten egg. Set aside.

Beef and Tomato Sauce Mixture

Beef and Tomato Sauce Mixture

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef and chopped onion until the meat is cooked and the onion is tender. Drain off any excess fat. Stir in the tomato sauce (and can of diced tomatoes, if using), and the salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and pepper. Set aside.

Bechamel Cream Sauce

Bechamel Cream Sauce

In a saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and a little bit of salt to form a paste. Pour in the 1 1/2 cups of milk all at once, whisking continuously. Cook and stir until the sauce is thickened and bubbly. Add the other beaten egg to a bowl, then pour half the sauce into the bowl with the egg and combine. Then pour that mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of it. Stir in 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese until combined.

Final Prepping of the Casserole

Final Prepping of the Casserole

Layer half the macaroni mixture to a lightly oil-sprayed 2-quart casserole dish. Spread the meat mixture evenly on top of the pasta, then the remaining macaroni. Spread the cream sauce over all. (Optionally sprinkle ground paprika over it, to make it pretty.) Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy with a side salad or vegetable. Guest-worthy, indeed!

Pastitsio, Pasticcio, Pasticchio

Pastitsio, Pasticcio, Pasticchio

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Starbucks Old Fashioned Coffee Cake

13 Mar
Starbucks Old Fashioned Coffee Cake

Starbucks Old Fashioned Coffee Cake ~ Coffee Anyone???

“MOM!!! I just found the best recipe book in the entire world!”

“Well then, I think I want that too! Where do I buy it?”

Turns out it was a Pinterest link to all the Starbucks recipes in electronic book form, so I didn’t have to buy it, but there was no option to print it! I know that sounds odd, but even using the web browser print feature didn’t work properly.  So I captured a screenshot of one of the recipes she wanted to make and printed it. I’ve typed it out below so that you can copy and paste it to a word editor if you want to print it, or just print this page from your browser. It’s been on my bucket list to get some kind of widget for print-friendly recipes, but alas I have not gotten around to that research. And by the way, the website where I got this from is not the original author. I tried to get to the original source of it, and ended up on all kinds of pfishy and scary pages so I am leaving the link to it off of here in the interest of security.

Since I am not the baker in the family (as I’ve told you too many times, right?) we followed this recipe exactly. I am pretty sure you can’t fudge on baking ingredients without something in the process failing. OK, maybe adding more nuts or a different type would work, or subbing raisins or something, but the rest of it is in the  “no-touchy-changey” zone for me.

I let my daughter make the majority of this, but I did have to supervise and step in periodically. She’s actually coming along quite well with her mixing and measuring techniques. This coffee cake came out just delicious, and having a piece warm out of the oven was divine! It’s not overly sweet, and the house just filled with this lovely aromatic cinnamon and fresh baked bread smell, which lingered for hours and hours afterwards. I am glad we made this. We’ll have a yummy breakfast or afternoon snack for several days now!

Starbucks Old Fashioned Coffee Cake

Starbucks Old Fashioned Coffee Cake

Starbucks Old Fashioned Coffee Cake
Copied from somewhere on the WWW

For the Struesel:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

For the Cake:
Butter and flour for pan
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. First, butter and flour the inside of a Bundt pan or 8-inch square pan, or something of that size. We used a Bundt pan, which is the round baking pan thingy with a hole in the middle. In a medium bowl, combine the Struesel ingredients. To make the 1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs, all you need to do is take a full sleeve of them and crush them in a baggie with a pestle or your fist. It would have been nice to know that, as we kept crushing them up three at a time and adding them to a measuring cup, and lo and behold! Oh well. Lesson learned. An entire sleeve of graham crackers is exactly one and a half cups. And that cardamom ingredient? I almost fell on the floor with the price. It costs over $48 a pound for it!?!?! Thank goodness for bulk aisle bins. I pretty much got exactly what we needed (actually about 1/4 teaspoon too much) and it cost me 46 cents. It didn’t break my bank for that much. However, if you don’t have a bulk aisle to purchase this from, do NOT buy a spendy container of it in the spice aisle. Just leave it out, OK? Just sayin’…

Moving on, take a much larger bowl, and mix the flour, sugar, and baking powder. Chop up the softened butter into smaller cubes and add to the bowl with the eggs, vanilla extract, and milk. According to the recipe, you should “beat vigorously until smooth and quite thick,” for about one minute. Well we didn’t use an electric mixer because it didn’t say to do that, so we used a fork and took turns until we deemed it vigorously beaten and quite thick, which took longer than one minute. Maybe three or so.  Spread half of the batter in the bottom of your pan, then sprinkle half the Struesel mixture evenly over that. Layer the rest of the batter and Struesel again. Bake for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Cool for a minimum of 20 minutes, then remove from pan and serve. Coffee would be an excellent choice with this. My daughter is really trying to turn me into a baker!

Fried Cinnamon Apple Chimichangas

27 Feb
Fried Cinnamon Apple Chimichanga

Fried Cinnamon Apple Chimichanga

My teenage daughter asked if she could make these about a week ago. She showed it to me online, and I said that was fine, so we went and bought the ingredients. She’s discovered Pinterest, and while most of her browsing is on nail and fashion boards, she does browse the foodie boards here and again and glommed onto this recipe and pinned it. As we started making it for our Sunday dinner dessert, she said, “Mom? Can you put these on your blog?” Wow, I didn’t think she even read it or had one iota of interest in this site of mine. Now I’ve probably completely embarrassed her by saying all that, but oh well. So here you have these incredibly delicious, incredibly oil-splattering messy but oh so good dessert (or breakfast — hey they have apples!) Chimichangas. They really were not that hard to make and the process took probably an hour total if you don’t include the cooling time of the filling. It’s just that when you have an inexperienced cook/fryer who needs assisted a lot, making them does take a while longer. If you know how to roll up a burrito and fry food, then you’re good to go. Just a note, the original recipe said this will make 8 to 10 Chimichangas using small flour tortillas. We ended up with 17 of them! Either our apples were really big or our tortillas were really small, or maybe both. I’m going to try to freeze some or take some to work for my office mates, if my daughter and husband don’t polish them all off soon.

Fried Apple Chimichangas
Adapted from Juanita’s Cocina, recipe here: Apple Cinnamon Dessert Chimichangas

For the filling:
1 1/2 to 2 cups water
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 apples, any kind, cored and chopped bite-sized (We used 2 Fuji and 2 Granny Smiths)

Apple Filling

Apple Filling

In a large skillet or saucepan, mix the all the filling ingredients except the apples and bring to a boil. Cook for about 3 to 5 minutes until the mixture becomes really thick. Add the chopped apples, cover, and reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally until the apples are tender. The original recipe called for 10 minutes or so, but ours took closer to 20 minutes. I’m sure that was due to our high altitude. We also had to add an extra half cup of water to the mixture partway through to compensate for the longer cooking time. Once the apples are tender, set the mixture aside until cool. At this point dinner was ready so we let it sit through dinner and that clean up, which was about a half hour.

For the Chimichangas:
8-17 small flour tortillas (sorry for the wide range! Just get a 20-c0unt or more package)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Oil for frying

First assemble your Chimichangas by spooning  some filling in the top third half of the tortilla. I’m laughing now because that’s how I taught my daughter to do it, and the original instructions say the bottom half. I wonder if it’s easier the other way? I don’t know, that was just how I instinctively did it. Anyways, flip in the sides of the tortilla partway over the filling then start rolling top-down, making sure the sides stay tucked in. This part was one of our issues, as daughter had a hard time keeping the sides tucked in as she rolled. I do think a majority of our splatter mess was due to the filling leaking out.

Platter of Fried Apple Cinnamon Chimichangas

Platter of Fried Apple Cinnamon Chimichangas

Once they are all assembled, now add the rest of the sugar and cinnamon to a wide bowl or plate and mix up, then set aside. Next, add about a quarter inch of oil for frying in a large heavy bottomed or deep cast iron skillet. We used plain vegetable oil. Heat it until medium-hot. (I don’t use a temperature gauge, I use the old-fashioned trick of sticking the tip of a wooden chopstick to the bottom of the pan. If it sizzles and bubbles right off the bat from the bottom, then it’s ready.)  Using tongs, lower two to four Chimichangas into the hot oil one at a time. My daughter could only handle frying two each batch as the splatters freaked her out, so that took us a bit longer too. We did use a splatter screen! Let them fry for maybe 30 seconds per side (really!) then move them off to drain on a paper towel once golden brown. Some were done more than less than others but don’t fret, it’s all good. Don’t let them sit too long or the sugar coating won’t stick! Roll each one around in the cinnmamon sugar mix while still moist, then put on another plate while you fry and coat the rest. Once done, feel free to sprinkle more cinnamon sugar over the top, and do eat them while warm! I will have to experiment on the best way to warm them up. Toaster oven? Microwave? Not sure yet as of this writing. I hope you have a chance to enjoy this dessert, as I don’t post many at all here. I’m a savory kind of gal, but one of these really hit the spot after dinner! And if you think flour tortillas would not be crispy or too floury tasting for this, well you have another think coming. I was amazed!

Susan’s Health Bomb Muffins

26 Feb
Health Bomb Muffins

Health Bomb Muffins

No friends, I did not abandon you! I had it in my mind to make a friend’s recipe for some healthy muffins, and decided I would wait to write my next blog until I did. My friend has made these many times and adapted the original recipe over the years. I have used her adapted recipe for this. I was able to buy the ingredients and the amount I needed for a very good price by going to the bulk section of one of our grocery stores here.

Muffin Batter

Batter up!

I actually found this a lot easier to make than expected. I had my daughter help me shred the carrots for it since we have two vegetable peelers, and I also used applesauce per Susan’s directions instead of peeling and chopping a bunch of apples. These muffins are absolutely delicious!!! And, they have flaxseed meal and oat bran in them, which are cited to have many health benefits over using standard bleached white flour. Of course, the addition of fruits and vegetables helps! Now both my daughter and husband can have a healthy breakfast in the coming week or two instead of complaining about the boring oatmeal and Cheerios that are typically available here.

Susan’s Health Bomb Muffins

1  1/2  cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup flaxseed meal
3/4 cup oat bran
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 cups finely shredded carrots
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup golden raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts (I used Texas pecans, from my mom of course)
1 cup milk
2 beaten eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix the  flour, flaxseed meal, oat bran, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl.  Stir in the carrots, applesauce, raisins, and nuts.

Combine the milk, beaten eggs, and vanilla in another smaller bowl.  Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir until all ingredients are moistened.  Do not overmix.

Let the batter rest a few minutes before putting in oven. Fill the muffin tins a little more than 3/4 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. I ended up with 18 muffins.  These are really, really good!

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