Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Witch Fingers

I made these to go along with our pasta dinner on Sunday night. I saw Martha Stewart do something like it with pretzel dough, but I wasn't up to venturing into the unknown so I used my pizza crust recipe. They turned out fabulous and even look a little bit gruesome. The almonds make disgusting looking fungus fingernails.
I made my regular pizza crust, but cut off bits of the dough and rolled them into finger shapes. It's pretty easy to shape because what witch has beautifully shaped fingers? You can't really go wrong here. I used kitchen shears to make knuckles and stuck an almond on for the fingernail. I didn't give them a second rise after I shaped them because I wanted them to stay long and skinny. A few turned out a little chubby.
I baked them at 400F for about 14 minutes.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Gingerbread Mummies

I've been baking, just not posting...busy I guess. I have a few things saved up though. These little treats are from my mom's gingerbread cookie recipe. I love this recipe because it is soft and I really love a soft gingerbread cookie and the spices are the perfect combination. You can adjust the amount of ginger to how spicy you want them. And the secret ingredient is vinegar. Seems a little unusual, but it makes them tangy.

I usually decorate these like little gingerbread men all decked out for the holidays, but I haven't baked anything "Halloweenish" yet and so I thought the mummy look was appropriate and also there is no need for a steady hand. I used white chocolate to frost them with which resulted in a super rich treat, needless to say my husband ate about 5 at once and then consumed a 1/2 gallon of milk. You could really use any roll out cookie dough and just decorate them like mummies. Chocolate or sugar cookie would be good too. Even a powdered sugar glaze instead of the white chocolate would make a great combination. I'm all about taking an idea and running with it...so have fun! But you really should try this cookie recipe because it is a winner and a craving of mine this time of year. Forewarning: This is a HUGE batch of cookies. I cut it in half when I made it but the 1 egg is tricky. I just scrambled it a little and poured about 1/2 of it into the batter.

Rolled Gingerbread Cookies
1 c butter
1 c sugar
1 egg
1 c molasses
2 Tbls vinegar
5 c flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2-3 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves

White chocolate chips and rasins for decorating.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, molasses, and vinegar. Sift in dry ingredients and mix together well. Chill for 2-3 hours. (I cheated and got away with 1 hour. You just want the dough to hold together as you roll it and they hold their shape better when the dough is cold.)

Roll dough into 1/4" thick on lightly floured surface. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Bake on parchment lined baking sheets for 5-6 minutes.

For crisper cookies, roll dough to 1/8" thick and bake until more browned on the edges.
Let cool. Melt white chocolate chips in double boiler or microwave. Put melted chocolate into a plastic baggie with the corner clipped off and drizzle white chocolate onto the cookies. Cut raisins in little pieces and use for eyes.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Molasses-And-Buttermilk Gingerbread Squares

I made these for the boy that mows our lawn for us. He does a really good job and as a result receives really yummy trats. Actually, we have a gardener do the front lawn and this nice young friend of ours does the back. We do this because we don't want all of the nutgrass from the front yard to spread the to the back because of using the same mower. And we also don't want to pay a gardner to do both and he receives money, not treats. Apparently these are not the days when we can just trade goods for work.

Well, I must say that this is a really great cake. I know the title says squares, which gives the impression of a bar cookie. But this is a cake. The buttermilk makes it extremely moist and it has the perfect blend of spices. It was easy to whip up and is great served slightly warm.

Molasses-And-Buttermilk Gingerbread Squares
From epicurious.com

Nonsick vegetable oil spray
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 c mild molasses
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c (1stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 c buttermilk
1 large egg

1 Tbls powdered sugar-for dusting

Preheat oven to 325F Spray 8x8x2-inch baking pan (I used 9") with nonstick spray. Sift flour , cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and soda into medium bowl.

In a large bowl, combine molasses, 1/2 c sugar, melted butter, buttermilk, and egg; whisk to blend.

Whisk in dry ingredients. Pour into prepared baking pan. Bake in preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack. Dust with powdered sugar. Cut cake into 16 squares.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Barefoot Contessa's PB&J Bars

I have had this recipe for probably over a year and I have always wanted to try them. Actually I have always wanted to try some of the Barefoot Contessa's recipes, but never have. I love peanut butter. I love peanut butter. I love peanut butter. You get the idea. Sadly I did not get a picture before they were all eaten, so here are a couple of links with pictures. I've noticed that lots of fellow food bloggers have baked them. Je Mange la Ville , Sugar Delirium , Alpineberry
So now you have three pictures to ooze over. My only wish was that I had a incredibly large glass of milk to down these with. They were so rich, not sweet, just rich. I loved the crunch of the peanuts on the top. I used strawberry jam, because we always seem to have an endless supply of it. The jam on the edges got nice and chewy. I love the edges of bar goodies because they bake chewier. Some people prefer the middle, but I'm a corner person myself.

Barefoot Contessa's PB&J Bars

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt 1/2 lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp.
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups creamy peanut butter
2 large eggs, at room temp.
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup jam or jelly
2/3 cup peanuts, coarsely chopped (salted or unsalted)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x13x2 inch cake pan with parchment and then butter and flour the parchment and pan.
Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside dry ingredients.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Add the peanut butter and mix for another minute. Mix in the eggs and vanilla.
On low speed, add the flour mixture and mix until flour is just incorporated.
Spread 2/3 of the dough into the prepared pan. Spread the jam evenly over the dough. Drop small pieces of the remaining dough over the jam making sure to leave some of the jam exposed. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts.Bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely before cutting and serving.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

New Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Cookies

While sorting through some old magazines, I came across this recipe from Cottage Living. It looked good and I wanted to make something new and I had all of the ingredients. This was a really great cookie. At first I thought they were going to be dry, but I was careful not to over bake them and they turned out soft. The cookies themselves are not overly sweet which is great because they are sandwiched with frosting. They have just the slightest hint of cinnamon to deepen the flavor and I will certainly make these again.

New Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Cookies

1 1/4 cups butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3 cups oats, rolled or quick

Preheat oven to 375F.

Beat butter and sugars with an electric mixer at medium speed until creamy. Add egg and vanilla, beating well.

Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl and whisk together. Add to the butter mixture. Add oats; stir well. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto baking sheets lined with parchment papre. Bake at 375F for 9-11 minutes. Cool on pan 2 to 3 minutes. Remove cookies from pan and cool on wire racks.

Spread 1 tablespoon cream filling over bottom side of half of the cookies. Top with remaining cookies, right side up.

Cream Filling
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Beat ingredients together until combined and light and fluffy.