Friday, October 5, 2018

5 Spice Pumpkindoodles

I bought Chinese 5-spice this week and discovered that it goes beautifully with pumpkin. I've always wanted to try pumpkin cookies, so I took this opportunity and used my homemade 5-spice pumpkin butter and made snickerdoodles with it. YUM! The warm spicy mix is perfect on sugar cookies warm from the oven...

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup pumpkin butter (see recipe HERE)
2 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
4 tsp Chinese 5-spice
Heat oven to 400.
Mix butter, shortening, sugar, and eggs thoroughly. Blend flour, cream of tartar, salt, and soda. Stir into butter mixture. Mix well. Shape dough into 1” balls and roll in 5-spice sugar (1/4 cup sugar and 4 tsp 5-spice mixed together).

Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 8-10 minutes

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Ginger Blondies

I have enjoyed blondies (aka Butterscotch Brownies) since I was a kid. But in order to make them taste a bit more like Fall, this time I made them with dark brown sugar and crystallized ginger. Perfection!

1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9” square baking pan.

Melt butter. Stir in brown sugar, egg, vanilla and almond extract. Mix in flour and salt. Fold in ginger pieces.

Spread into prepared pan. Bake 20 minutes or until set and golden brown.

Cool on wire rack.

Grape Juice

If you have a lot of grapes, you gotta get hold of a steamer/juicer. A friend gave me a bunch of grapes today and loaned me hers. It is a super fun toy! My youngest son calls it the "still." LOL

It's so simple to do...

1. Fill the base 3/4 full of water. Place on stove.

2. Place the next part (I don't know what to call it???) on top of the base...

3. Place the steamer basket inside the last part and fill it full of washed grapes. Don't worry about taking them off the stems. Just get rid of any yucky ones, sticks and leaves.

4. Then place the hose where it belongs (making sure it is on all the way). Place the other end of the hose into a large pot on a chair next to the stove.

I started with this chair but realized it was too high

5. Turn the stove onto high heat until the water comes to a hard boil. Then turn down to medium-high heat to keep it at a good steam.

Wait until the juice stops flowing into the pot. You may have to fiddle with the hose to get it to flow. It took me about 30 minutes or so to get a full batch of juice.

6. Then remove the lid and the steamer basket very carefully. I put it on a baking tray next to the steamer on the stovetop. Empty out the pulp into a large bowl. You can dump it out or save it for your compost pile. Then refill the base with water and start the process again.

7. When all the grapes have been juiced. Put 1-2 cups of sugar per gallon into your juice. Then heat it to 190 for 10 minutes. Do not boil.

8. Pour into hot sterilized jars (pints or quarts) leaving 1/4" headspace. Place on lids and bands until finger tight. Process in boiling water canner for 20 minutes.

Turn canner off and let rest 5 minutes before removing.

9. Check seals after about 24 hours. Place any unsealed jars in the fridge and use right away. Place the rest on the shelf to be used with 12 months.

Overnight Oats

This is a quick, easy breakfast that has almost endless possibilities: pumpkin butter, jams, fresh fruits, curd...

pumpkin butter

blueberry lemon curd

chocolate banana

strawberry jam

Just follow this simple formula for whatever you choose.

Mix equal parts of oats, yogurt, and milk. Stir in whatever add-ins you want and 1 teaspoon of chia seeds.

Cover in small jar or bowl and refrigerate overnight.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Apple Cider Donuts

I really wanted a good apple cider donut recipe. I tried one and it was a total flop. So I just tweaked one of my other recipes and it worked. This is a nice small batch of donuts which is a good thing because you really have to eat them right away. They do not hold.

First: Pour 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice in a measuring cup. Add milk to the 1/2 cup line. Let sit for 15 minutes. Stir.
Next take 1 1/2 cups of apple cider and boil it on high heat until it has reduced to 1/2 cup. Let it cool to the temperature of your hot tap water.
Then pour 1/2 cup of the hot apple cider into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of yeast on top of the water. Sprinkle 1/8 cup flour on top of yeast. Lightly mix and let sit 5-10 minutes, it will start to get foamy.
Add the milk and the following ingredients to the yeast and cider mixture.
3 Tablespoons melted butter, cooled slightly
3 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups flour (I used a bit of whole wheat flour, too)
Stir to make a soft dough. Add more flour if needed to make it stiff enough to knead.
Knead for 5 to 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Knead in more flour if it is sticky. You will end up using about 2 1/2 to 3 cups total.
Roll out to about 1/2” thick. Cut out with donut cutter. (I used a biscuit cutter and an apple corer for the centers)
Place on baking sheet, cover with thin towel and set aside in a warm place to rise for about 30-45 minutes. (I turn my oven to the lowest temp for about 5-10 minutes while kneading and then turn it off)

before rising
(I also used the scraps)

Heat oil in deep fryer to 375.

Carefully place donuts, a few at a time, into the hot oil. Cook until golden brown and then flip to cook the other side. Watch them carefully! They cook kind of quickly and turn dark. I think it is due to the cider in them. 

Place on a paper-towel lined plate to drain. 

Then toss in sugar mixed with a bit of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

You can also make a glaze from sifted confectioners sugar and apple cider. Pour over while donuts are still hot.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Chai Cider

Chai tea tastes like India and Autumn. On cold rainy days, a hot, creamy sweet chai tea warms you from the inside. But on warm sunny fall days,a chai cider hits the spot. What is chai cider? Cold chai tea and apple cider.

Mine was made with my homemade chai and the cider we pressed on Saturday.

To make chai, simmer 3 black tea bags in 6 cups of water with your favorite blend of spices for 15-20 minutes. I haven't found a combination I didn't like...

Choose from these spices: (always use whole spices, not ground)
black pepper
nutmeg (whole grated)
star anise
ginger root

Serve hot with cream and sugar or cold with apple cider.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Zucchini Patties

The original recipe claims these taste like crab cakes. They don't but they are tasty. We dipped ours in cocktail sauce but they would be good with a nice dill sauce, too. I made some changes, but they turned out pretty tasty and are a great way to use up some of  the zucchini in my garden...

2 1/2 cups grated zucchini

Place in a colander and toss with 1/2 tsp salt. Let drain for 30 minutes. Then press out any remaining moisture with a clean towel.

1 egg, beaten
2 Tbsp melted butter

Then stir in:
1 cup plain store-bought breadcrumbs
2 heaping teaspoons of Old Bay
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
dash cayenne, optional

Mix well with hands. Press into 6-8 patties.

Coat with panko bread crumbs. Place on baking tray lightly coated with vegetable oil.

Bake at 400 for 14 minutes per side.

Serve hot.