Archive for October, 2011


Happy Halloween!

October 31, 2011





October 30, 2011

We love pancakes.  I have a wonderful scratch pancake mix that I keep in the pantry.  It’s a perfect recipe for the pancake lover in your life.  So is this recipe.  It marries our favorite things, oatmeal cookies and pancakes.   The oatmeal cookie muffins reminded me how much we love this breakfast too.

The original recipe calls for nuts, but I don’t add them.  I guess it’s because I don’t add nuts to my oatmeal cookies.  If you do add them, please share.  I do like to brown the butter, but you don’t have to do that.  But if you want to try a new twist, try them with honey instead of the syrup.

The pancakes are a little darker than what I’m used to but that is due to the brown sugar in the batter.  They are a very moist and fluffy pancake with a hint of cinnamon flavoring…

Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes

  • 1 C Old Fashioned Oats
  • 1 C Flour
  • 1/2 C Brown Sugar
  • 2 t Baking Powder
  • 1/2 t Baking Soda
  • 1 t Cinnamon
  • 1/4 C chopped Pecans or Walnuts (optional)
  • 3/4 C Sour Cream
  • 3/4 C Milk
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1 t Vanilla
  • 2 ripe Bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 C Raisins, soaked in warm water for at least 20 minutes
  • 1/4 C Butter, melted (brown the butter and you won’t be sorry)

In a large bowl, mix together the oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and the nuts (optional).  In another bowl, whisk the eggs, sour cream, milk and vanilla together.  Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ones until just combined.  Fold the bananas and raisins into the batter.  Stir in the melted butter.

Heat a griddle over medium heat and use additional butter to the griddle.  Laddle the batter on to the prepared griddle, cook the pancakes until bubbles form on the tip and then flip them.

Serve with drizzled honey (oh yes!) or syrup.

Makes about 2 dozen pancakes.  Take the remaining pancakes and place them on a cookie sheet in one layer.   Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for about a half an hour, once they are frozen,  place the pancakes in a Ziploc bag and put them back in the freezer until you are ready to eat them.  This will prevent the pancakes from sticking together inside the bag and will allow for easy reheat on a busy morning.

On a separate note, I’ve been eyeing the pasta attachment for my kitchenmaid mixer.  Does anyone have one of those?  Any tips?


Lemon Crinkle Cookie

October 26, 2011

I know it’s fall and pumpkin season, but I needed to share this simple lemon cookie.  I found this recipe a few months ago and kept forgetting to make it.  I made it over the weekend while Meeshie was out spending the day with her friends.  This one is being added to my Christmas cookie rotation, it’s that good.

This cookie has a great outer layer of crunch brought about from rolling the dough in powdered sugar.  When I sampled the raw dough (I know I shouldn’t with the raw egg, but I’m old enough to remember that was the best part of helping bake), it tasted like lemonade.  The inside of the cookie is light and soft a perfect contrast to the crunch, and because the powdered sugar is baked into the cookie, there is less mess.  A perfect grown-up cookie.

Lemon Crinkle Cookies

  • 1/2 C Butter, softened
  • 1 C Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 t Vanilla
  • 1 Egg
  • zest and juice from one Lemon
  • 1/4 t Salt
  • 1/4 t Baking Powder
  • 1/8 t Baking Soda
  • 1 1/2 C Flour
  • 1/4 C Powdered Sugar

In a large bowl, cream butter and granulated sugar together until light and fluffy.  Whip in vanilla, egg, lemon zest and lemon juice.  Scrape sides and mix again.  Stir in the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix again briefly.  Pour the powdered sugar into a bowl or plate.  Roll a golf ball sized amount of dough into a ball and roll in the powdered sugar.  Place about an inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake for 9-11 minutes or until the bottoms just begin to brown and the cookies no longer appear shiny.  Remove from the oven and cool cookies for 3 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Speaking of Christmas cookies, am I the only one that tries to add at least one new recipe a year to share?


OMG It’s Pumpkin

October 22, 2011

We love cinnamon rolls.  I make them a few times a year, keep them in the freezer and then reheat them for a quick morning treat about once a month.  I even give them away at Christmas.  There’s nothing like the smell of cinnamon rolls while they bake in the oven, especially on Christmas morning.

But it’s also the time of the year when I obsess over pumpkin: pumpkin whoopie pies, pumpkin pie, pumpkin roll, pumpkin muffin donuts are just a few of the things I love to make.  I saw this recipe for pumpkin cinnamon rolls and I knew that I had to make it.  The recipe needed to be altered due to the fact that I no longer have a bread machine, plus I doubled it to so that I wouldn’t have any leftover canned pumpkin.

All I can say is wow!  This is so good.  It’s an unexpected twist on a favorite.  I’m looking forward to enjoying this for breakfast the morning of Thanksgiving, too.  It’s a perfect make ahead dish that will really get you in the mood for fall.

If you do plan to freeze them, ice them and then wap them in Saran and then foil.  Reheat them in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes if thawed and about 20-25 minutes if frozen.  You’ll know they’re ready to take out of the oven once you start to smell the cinnamon.  Just keep an eye on them, you don’t want them to dry out, you’re just re-heating them!

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

  • Dough:
  • 1  C Milk
  • 4 1/2 t Dry Yeast (two packets)
  • 2 Eggs, beaten
  • 1-14 oz can Pumpkin
  • 2 T Butter
  • 6 1/2 C Flour
  • 1 C Brown Sugar
  • 2 t Salt
  • 1 1/2 t Cinnamon
  • 1/2 t Ground Ginger
  • 1/2 t Nutmeg
  • Filling:
  • 1/2 C Butter, melted
  • 1 C Brown Sugar
  • 4 t Cinnamon
  • 1 t Nutmeg
  • 1 t Ground Ginger
  • 1 t Allspice
  • Frosting:
  • 8 oz Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1/2 C Butter, softened
  • 1/2 C Maple Syrup
  • 1 t Vanilla
  • 4 C Powdered Sugar
  • 1/2 t Pumpkin Pie Spice

Combine the milk, butter and sugar in a sauce pan.  Scald the milk mixture.  Set aside for about 25-30 minutes.  Add the dry yeast  to the milk mixture and let it set for a minute.  Add the eggs, flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and pumpkin to the yeast mixture.  Blend well, the dough will be tacky.  Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with a damp towel and let rise for an hour.

Generously flour the counter, place half of the dough on the counter and knead slightly.  Roll the dough into a 9×12 rectangle.  Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice in a small bowl.  Using your hands, spread some of the melted butter on the dough to cover , then add half of the brown sugar mixture.  Starting from longest side of the dough, tightly roll the dough toward you making sure to seal it once you have finished rolling it.  Use a sharp knife and cut the dough into 1 to 1 1/2 inch pieces.  Using some of the melted butter grease your pan(s).  I use the round aluminum cake pans, but use whatever you feel comfortable with.  I like the pans because they are easy to freeze, they allow for about 8 rolls and they are easy to give away.  Repeat with remaining dough.

Cover and let rise again for another hour.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

While they are baking, make the frosting.  Cream the butter and cream cheese together.  Add the syrup, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice and powdered sugar.  Spread over the warm rolls.

This makes 4 pans of cinnamon rolls.


Chicken Tortilla Soup

October 20, 2011

These last few fall days have really turned cold and wet.  It’s perfect soup weather, as far as I’m concerned.  My husband and I love soup.  I can eat it every day for dinner with some nice fresh bread.  Meeshie, on the other hand, is not a fan of soup, which I know I’ve mentioned before.  Is it wrong of me to then name some soup chili so that she’ll eat it?  Maybe, but what white lie have you told to get your children to eat a meal?

My husband has been asking me to make him some chicken tortilla soup that’s cheesy.  What I like about this recipe is that it’s cheesy, but that doesn’t take over the soup.  I love how the masa harina adds that underlying tortilla flavor.  This soup can be served with tortilla chips, sour cream, cheese and jalapeno.

Oh, and Meeshie ate it, although she did say she liked my regular chili much better.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • 1 T Vegetable Oil
  • 2 large boneless skinless Chicken Breasts (about 1 lb)
  • 1/2 C Onion, diced
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, diced and seeded (optional)
  • 4 C Chicken Broth
  • 1 C Mesa Harina
  • 2 C Water
  • 1-28 oz Crushed Tomatoes
  • 2 t Chili Powder
  • 2 t Cumin
  • 1 t Tabasco
  • 2 C Sharp Cheddar, shredded
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 C-1 C Sour Cream

Add the oil to a large pot over medium heat.   Add the chicken breasts to the pot, after seasoning with pepper and brown for 4-5 minutes per side.  Remove the chicken from the pot.

Add the onions, jalapeno and garlic to the pot and saute for about 2 minutes, until tender.  Slowly add the chicken broth, chili powder, and cumin.  Combine the masa harina with the 2 C of water, whisking until well blended.  Slowly add the masa mixture to the broth mixture.  Allow to simmer and continue to simmer for 5 minutes.  This will eliminate the raw taste of the mesa harina.  Once the mixture has simmered, add the crushed tomatoes, tabasco, and the cheese.  Cut the chicken into small pieces and add them to the pot.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes.  Add the sour cream, stirring through and serve.

Serve with sour cream, tortilla chips, cheese, jalapeno, and green onion, if desired.


Halloween Fun

October 17, 2011

Meeshie had her Girl Scout Halloween party today.  I’ve been working on the costume and finished it over the weekend.  She was a demented or evil fairy.  I made a black tutu and spray painted some pink wings black.  On the big day, she’ll also have glitter sprayed in her hair and on her body along with some mascara.  Girls!

I’ve taken a few pictures of the skirt, but haven’t had a chance to take care of the wings yet.  I’m hoping to get the whole thing together this weekend and share.

I did make these great cookies for the party, though.  My friend Carol gave me the recipe last week.  She made them last year and brought them to work, they were a big hit and I can see why.  Unfortunately, last year Meeshie’s school instituted a new policy with regard to snacks-they don’t allow any of them.  So, although in the past I’ve made some really cute teats: ghosts from the oreo truffles, pumpkins from small blocks of cheese, and witches hats with fudge stripe cookies and kisses, I was hesitant to make these.  But then I remembered the party with the Girl Scouts!

Thanks Carol!  These were a big hit with the girls and us!

Monster Finger Cookies

  • 1 C Butter, softened
  • 1 C Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 t Almond Extract
  • 1 1/2 t Vanilla Extract
  • 2 3/4 C Flour
  • 1 t Baking Powder
  • 1 t Salt
  • 1/4 C Almond Slices or Whole
  • 1 tube Red or Black Decorating Gel
  • Green Food Coloring

Beat the butter, sugar, egg, and extracts together.  In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture.  Add the green food coloring until you achieve the desired color.  (You can skip this step if you want them to look more mummy-like.)  Divide the dough in half, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Take out one half of the dough at a time and break off a small amount of dough.  Roll out between your fingers to create the knuckle shape.  Place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet (or grease the pan).  Use a butter knife to make indents in several places to resemble the wrinkles in a finger.  Bake in a 325 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.  Let cool.

Once cooled, squeeze the red or black decorating gel onto the tip of each finger and gently press an almond on top so the gel oozes out from underneath.  I also used some red gel to give some of the fingers a cut, just be creative!

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.


Swedish Flop

October 11, 2011

Have you ever had swedish flop?  It’s a coffee cake with a crumble top, powdered sugar and cream filling.  If you’re lucky, you can find it with a fruit layer added to the cream filling, usually strawberry.  When I was a girl, it was one of our favorite desserts.  Our local grocery store sold it in the bakery section.  It always reminds me of my younger brother because he always requested it for his birthday.

I had forgotten about it until recently when I saw it at the grocery store.  I’m not sure how I came across it because I rarely go into the bakery section, but there I was and I bought it.  I thought that Meeshie would enjoy the crumbly filled goodness of this dessert, and she did.  Then once I got it home and ate it, I knew that I had to make it.

Except I had a hard time finding a recipe.  Apparently swedish flop is a regional thing.   Every where I looked, people were looking for the recipe but not many out of the Chicagoland area had heard of it.  In my quest, I found a recipe that sounded close to what I wanted so I used it as a starting point.  I don’t even remember where I found the recipe, so I can’t even link you back to the page.  The crumb topping smelled heavenly, but wasn’t quite what I was looking for.  No recipe mentioned fruit, and since I didn’t go to the store for this, I used some strawberry jam.

The filling reminded me of a frosting from my childhood.  Have you ever made frosting which requires you to cook some flour and milk on the stove to form a paste before adding sugar and butter?  I have.  We call it French Cream and I’ve made so many times I’ve lost count.  It’s a denser frosting that when whipped properly tastes light but works well for decorating instead of buttercream.  It was always our go to way to frost any cake and was super easy to adapt for other flavors.  I’m talking orange or strawberry Wyler’s instead of sugar for a flavorful frosting.

Well this filling incorporates that method.  The key to the filling (or frosting) is to make sure that the flour and milk mixture incorporates itself into a paste, much like mashed potatoes.  Then you must make sure that the paste is cold, stick it in the fridge or freezer if needed before incorporating it into the rest of butter mixture.

Swedish Flop

  • Cake
  • 1 package Dry Yeast (2 1/4 t)
  • 1/2 C Milk
  • 1/2 C Butter, cold
  • 2 C Flour
  • 1/2 t Salt
  • 2 Egg Yolks, beaten
  • 1 t Vanilla
  • Topping
  • 1/4 C Butter, cold
  • 1/3 C Brown Sugar
  • 1 t Cinnamon
  • Filling
  • 3 T Flour
  • 1/4 t Salt
  • 1/2 C Milk
  • 1/2 C Butter, softened
  • 1/2 C Powdered Sugar
  • 1 t Vanilla
  • Additional Powdered Sugar for dusting

In a small sauce pan, scald the milk and set aside for 20 minutes to cool.  While the milk is cooling, sift the flour and salt and then cut the butter into small pieces.  Cut the butter and flour mixture together until incorporated into pea sized pieces.  Add the yeast to the milk and let sit for 5 minutes or until frothy.  Mix the eggs and vanilla together.  Add the yeast mixture to the eggs and then combine that into to the flour mixture.  Form into a ball, leave in the bowl, cover and refrigerate for one hour.

While the dough is resting, combine the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon together until crumbly.  After an hour, remove the dough from the bowl and spread into a well-greased pan.  I used a 10×7 inch pan, but you the recipe called for a 8×8 inch one.  I’ve always had sweedish flop in the shape of a long coffee cake not a square one so that’s why I used the longer pan.  Spread the topping over the dough.  Cover and let rest in a warm place for one hour.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes.  Remove and cool.

While the cake is cooling, prepare the topping. Mix together the flour and salt in a small sauce pan over low heat.  Add the milk and stir constantly until the flour mixture has thickened to a paste.  Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.  Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla together until light and fluffy.  Gradually add the cooled flour mixture.  Mix until creamy.  Split the cake in half length-wise and spread the filling on the one layer.  Add the top layer and sprinkle with powdered sugar.  You can add a layer of fruit such as jam on top of the filling before adding the top layer if you like.


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