Saturday, May 26, 2007

Mom's Best Peanut Butter Cookies

Hmmm...maybe I should call this blog "Katrina Bakes" — so far there are a lot of cookie and treat recipes...

These cookies are my mom's recipe. The peanut butter cookies I remember as a kid. They are fabulous. Perfect texture, flavor, and excellent with a tall glass of milk.

I actually don't make these very often because they're too tasty to resist. I do bake them 2-4 minutes less than mom so they are crisp outside and soft in the center, rather than dunkers, but if you like them more firm for dunking, you can bake them 10-12 like Mom's recipe. I don't bake longer than 8 minutes.

1 cube butter
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1-1/2 c. flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Cream butters and sugars, add egg and mix. Sift all the dry stuff through a sieve into bowl and mix. Scoop dough onto parchment-lined cookie sheets with a 1-inch scoop and flatten with the tines of a fork in a crisscross pattern. Bake at 375-degrees F for 7 minutes (8-minutes max). Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

From The Heart

My most treasured recipes are both delicious and tied to wonderful memories. I love to cook excellent food, and more than that, I love to cook for the people I love. I got to do that this weekend in Jamie's glorious kitchen (convection oven, gas stovetop...ah...) — here are three of the recipes we enjoyed:

BBQ Baked Lentils
My first year at college, Jamie and I were roommates and we tried our hand at being vegetarians. Many delicious (omnivorous) years later, this recipe is still one of our favorites:

Bring to boil (in about 4 quarts water) 2 1/3 cups lentils, then add 2 tsp. salt. Simmer for 30 mins, drain, then mix into a large, covered casserole dish with the following:

15 oz. can tomato sauce
2 Tbs. minced onion
1/2 c. ketchup
1/4 c. molasses
1 Tbs. Worchestershire sauce
2 tsp. dry mustard powder
1 tsp. chili powder
1 Tbs. vinegar
2 Tbs. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. liquid smoke (optional)

Bake at 400 degrees F for 45 mins. Makes 8 generous servings.

Katrina's Crepes
This is an adapted Swedish Pancake batter recipe. Along with John's glorious biscuits and gravy, these crepes are a late breakfast favorite. This is a double batch — they freeze beautifully.

3 c. flour
2 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. vanilla paste (or extract)
6 eggs
4 c. milk
2 T melted butter

Combine the dry, mix in the wet. Cook in medium-hot skillets (sloped sided cast iron pans are great, or medium sized non-stick), and stack 'em up until all the batter is gone. Tease Joel when he asks when it'll be time to eat. Serve with bacon, some fruit and good coffee. Squeeze a lemon or lime wedge over each crepe, sprinkle with powdered sugar, then a spray of whipped cream. Roll up and enjoy!

Christmas Gingersnaps
The original recipe is either from my great grandma Sartor or her daughter Alma. As usual, I've adapted it a little. Jamie and I have made these every year on the first weekend of December for the past six years. It all started with the Sauk Mountain Invitation-only Pottery Sale and some holiday baking at our house in 2000. Things change a little each year, and now we cruise a local sale for our holiday pottery shopping, but we always make these cookies. This is also a double batch (makes about 11 dozen), because we always make a bunch to share. They freeze like a dream too.

1 1/2 c. shortening
2 c. sugar
1/2 c. molasses
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
2 c. all purpose flour
4 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. cloves
2 tsp. ginger

Bake at 350 degrees F. Cream the wet ingredients, add the dry. Scoop onto parchment-covered cookie sheets with a 1-inch scoop and bake for about 8 mins for chewy cookies - 10 mins for crispier "snaps". You can roll the balls of dough in sugar before baking, but we've found that they taste better (and are better for you) without!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Got Milk?

Strangley, I crave chocolate chip cookies when I'm nursing. Not each time the baby eats (thank goodness), but during the months I'm feeding a little nursling. I think it's my friend Shelly's fault for bringing us a heaping, glorious plate of chocolate chip cookies when M was a couple days old. Instant association. Lucky for me, I like chocolate chip cookies, but don't seek them out with such fervor when my body stops burning those 500 extra calories/day to make milk. (Yes, E's shirt does say, "Breast - the original white milk")

The following recipe is amazing, and we got it from the Toyota dealership - they sent us a tin of these delicious morsels and (thankfully) the recipe. The secret to really excellent, soft cookies is to not overbake them - I stick with 8 mins for these and they are great. My other secret is to coursely chop really good dark chocolate bars and throw them in the dough in place of standard chocolate chips.

Great Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 ½ c. butter flavored shortening
2 ½ c. packed brown sugar
4 T. milk
2 T. vanilla
2 eggs

3 ½ c. flour
1 ½ t. baking soda
2 t. salt

2 ½ c. chocolate chips

Preheat to 375-degrees F. Combine shortening, sugar, milk & vanilla. Beat at medium until well blended. Beat in egg. Combine dry ingredients & add to creamed mixture until just blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Bake for 8-10 minutes for chewy cookies and 11-13 minutes for crispy cookies. Do not overbake. Makes about 6 dozen.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A Glass Full of Sunshine

Orange Julius recipe from Lora. Joel & I used to make these in college. They're guaranteed to make you smile.
1/2 can frozen OJ concentrate
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 t. vanilla
Ice to thicken

Blend and enjoy!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Tee's Chewy Cookies

Update: 6/1/2010... I made these with my kiddos today (hence, the 3.5 yr-old photo of the boy I've added), and we dubbed them "Scooby Snack Cookies." They love 'em! I did cut them a lot smaller after this plate, as they're sweeter than I remember!

My grandparents used to call me "Tee" and this recipe was one that I remember making by myself in Hawaii when I was about 6 years old. Yes, it really doesn't have any fat in it except from the nuts. Really good, gooey brownie-ish bar cookies - without chocolate. They'd be great with dark chocolate in them, or sub in pecans for the walnuts. Originally from my Mom's friend Belinda:

Mix together by hand (if you're a little kid) OR with a mixer:
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla

Add the following then combine well and pour into greased 8-inch square pan:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. baking soda
1 cup chopped walnuts

Bake 20 mins at 350-degrees F. Cut and serve to grownups or kids alike - all love 'em! These are especially great for tea-party treats.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Mocking Joel (Blackberry Tart)

So, Joel teased me about blogging enough that I'm on to another blog...about things I'm ginning up in the kitchen, or things we're loving (from the grocery or at restaurants). This fabulous Blackberry Tart is from Jamie's Italy by Jamie Oliver (aka The Naked Chef), except that I made it easier by making a graham crust instead of a shortpastry crust... It was delicious. My adapted recipe for Torta di More:

Your favorite graham cracker crumb recipe - bake in 9-inch springform pan

Filling: 1 Tbs. vanilla paste (from Trader Joes), 18 oz. marscapone cheese (also at TJ's), 1/2 c. half & half, 3 Tbs. sugar, 3 Tbs. grappa or pear brandy

Whip the filling together with stand or hand mixer, until smooth & shiny. Spread over the cooled crust, then top with 3 cups fresh berries (pre-tossed in about 1/2 c. sugar).

(By the way, while he does tease me mercilessly about my blogging, Joel did make me the lovely header for this blog.)


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