Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

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Nora is learning to make cookies but she has a distinct preference for chocolate! A recipe found in a cookbook written by my cousin Jane Purtle was just what Nora ordered!  In Food from the Hills, the author recorded family recipes from her family, which happens to be our family, too.  My grandmother, Clyde Curley Terrell, and Jane Purtlle’s father, Russell Hill, were half-siblings.  My great-grandmother Ernestine Augier Hill Curley was married to Jane’s grandfather, James Hill.  After he died, she married my Great Grandfather Curley. These chocolate oatmeal cookies were a favorite in the Hill family.

But there is more to this cookie story.  The original oatmeal cookie (without chocolate) recipe was one found in the Home Economics class cookbook from Bullard High School in Bullard, Texas where Jane Purtle’s mother Ruby and my mother, Opal attended.  So I am certain Nora’s great-grandmother Opal also made these cookies. Nora’s middle name is Opal.  I had fun thinking about all these connections while we made these cookies.

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Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

1 egg

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons buttermilk

1 cup oatmeal  ( recipe says Quick, but regular works great and makes a chewier cookie)

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted (Please note:  I substituted 6 Tablespoons Dutch cocoa powder  plus 2 Tablespoons oil for the melted baking chocolate)

Break egg in mixing bowl and beat in sugar.  Add oil to sugar and eggs. Add milk and oatmeal. Sift flour with salt, baking powder and soda into the first mixture.  Add chocolate and beat well.  Drop by teaspoonfuls on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees until firm around edges but soft in center.

If desired, omit chocolate and add 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Remove from baking sheet and cool on rack.

 

 

 

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Mashed Potato Cinnamon Rolls

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Many years ago, I was given a recipe for these big fluffy cinnamon rolls, with the curious ingredient of mashed potatoes!   If you have leftover mashed potatoes, this is one of the bet ways to use them!  They are light, fluffy, and smell heavenly while rising but even better while baking!
Mashed Potato Cinnamon Rolls
  • 4½ cups flour (separated 1½ and 3 cups)
  • 1 package active dry yeast (2¼ teaspoon)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup mashed potato
  • ⅓ cup butter, cut up
  • ¼ cup sugar, granulated
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
 Cinnamon sugar mixture
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1-2 tablespoons flour
  • ¼ cup butter, melted (for brushing)CinnamonRolls1CinnamonRolls2
  1. In large mixing bowl of stand mixer, combine 1½ cups of flour with yeast.
  2. Combine milk, potato, butter, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan, then heat on medium heat until butter starts to melt.
  3. Remove from heat .
  4. Add slowly to flour mixture and mix with regular mixing paddle on low speed for about one minute.
  5. Add eggs and continue beating 2-3 minute. Scrape down sides of bowl.
  6. Switch to dough hook.
  7. Add the rest of the flour (3 cups) and mix for about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. Alternately, you can knead by hand.
  8. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Make sure to turn dough in order to completely coat the dough with the grease.
  9. Cover with plastic wrap.
  10. Let rise for about 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
  11. Punch dough.
  12. Turn it out on a lightly floured board and let it rest for about 10 minutes.
  13. Meanwhile, combine brown sugar, cinnamon and flour in a small bowl. Set aside.
  14. Also, prepare pan (13 x 9 x 2 inches) by greasing or spraying with non-stick spray.
  15. Preheat oven to 375 ° F.
  16. Roll out dough until you get an 18 x 12 inch rectangle.
  17. Brush the surface with melted butter and evenly sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture.
  18. Roll into a log, starting with the long side.
  19. Cut the roll into 12 slices.
  20. Place in prepared pan.
  21. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about 30 minutes or until double in size.
  22. Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.
  23. Cool slightly before drizzling with icing (if using).
Glaze
Mix 1 cup powdered sugar with a few tablespoons of milk.Whisk until smooth and just glaze the rolls before serving.
I like to zest a little orange peel or lemon peel into this, optional.
Whisk until smooth and just glaze the rolls before serving.
Make it ahead:Once the rolls have been cut and placed in the pan, they can be refrigerated overnight. Remove from fridge and let stand at room temperature (covered) for about 30 minutes before baking (as per instructions).

Cranberry Breakfast Pie

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I had never heard of a Cranberry Breakfast Pie, much less baked one until I decided to try one more cranberry recipe to use the rest of my batch of fresh cranberries. Now, it has become one of my favorite cranberry dishes. This pie was delicious for breakfast, but would make a wonderful dessert with a bit of vanilla ice cream, or a welcome offering to serve with coffee anytime. Fresh or frozen cranberries can be used, but fresh is always best. I discovered the recipe on The Texas HIll Country website, which reports it is served at  The Seasons Bed and Breakfast in Tyler, Texas, which is the area where I was born and grew up.

Cranberry Breakfast Pie

3 cups fresh cranberries, rinsed, sorted, and drained dry

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

½ cup sugar

¼ cup butter, melted

2 eggs

1 tablespoon orange flavored liqueur

1 Tablespoon fresh orange zest

1 ¼ cups sugar

1 cup flour

Instructions:

Butter and flour a deep 10-inch pie plate. Place cranberries in the bottom of prepared dish. Sprinkle with pecans and ½ cup sugar.

In mixing bowl, combine melted butter, eggs, liqueur or juice, orange zest, sugar, and flour. Beat with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour over cranberries. Bake at 325 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes or until a pick comes out clean and top is golden brown. Cool pie on a wire rack.

Texas Pecan Pie Bars

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Maddie helped with baking Pumpkin Pie and Pecan Pie Bars for our Thanksgiving feast. She is recently very interested in history, so it was fun to talk about the history surrounding this recipe. I found the recipe in a cookbook I bought over 30 years ago while visiting Colonial Williamsburg, a wonderful living history site. The Williamsburg Cookbook, compiled by Letha Booth, is one of my most favorite cookbooks. It is a collection of nearly 200 traditional and contemporary recipes adapted for home kitchens – a good way of remembering my trips to Colonial Williamsburg.  I have never tried a recipe from this collection that was not delicious. Not surprising, since many of these are served in different Inns there.  Christian Campbell’s Spoonbread and Chowning’s Tavern Brunswick Stew have become family favorites as well as Williamsburg Inn Pecan Bars. I adapt this recipe to include Texas pecans and Meyer Lemons grown in my back yard. Pecan pie in small bites!

Texas Pecan Pie Bars

      Bottom layer, or crust

3/4 cup butter

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

zest of 1 whole Meyer lemon

3 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat overn to 375 degrees. With baking or cooking spray, coat 2 nine inch square baking pans.  Cream butter and sugar, add eggs, lemon zest and mix.  Add flour and baking powder and add to creamed mixtures.  Combine well. Pull dough into a ball and chill for 15 minutes to provide easier handling.  Divide in half and press each half into bottom of baking pan.  Bake 12 -15 minutes but remove from oven before browning. Add pecan topping which can be assembled while crust is baking.

        Pecan Topping

1 cup butter

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 cup honey

1/3 cup whipping cream

3 cups of pecans, chopped coarsely

Change oven setting to 350 degrees. Combine butter, sugar, and honey in a heavy saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cool 5 minutes, add cream and pecans and mix well.  Spread topping evenly over baked crust with a buttered wooden spoon.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Cool and cut into 1X2 inch bars.

 

 

 

Apricot Scones

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I fell in love with scones in 1991 during a trip to Scotland. While we were living in Indonesia, I read an enchanting article in Victoria Magazine which featured a tearoom in the Highlands housed in a 200 year old cottage. When we planned soon after to include a trip to the UK on summer trip back to the US from Jakarta, I hoped to add a visit there. Joe managed to find Shore Cottage (not easy), and he and I and our youngest son, Ben had tea there. I bought a Shore Cottage Tearoom Book of Recipes which still holds a place of honor on my shelves of cookbooks. Tell me, wouldn’t you be drawn to go to a place with this description?

“Through a periwinkle gate and a rose-bedecked door, one enters the white cottage where Lilly McNaught was born Perched above Loch Etive, it is now a tearoom noted for the sweets Lilly bakes with her daughter and granddaughters.”

This recipe is not in Shore Tearoom’s little blue book, but it comes from an intrigue with scones begun there in the Scottish Highlands.  When I think of baking them, I am reminded of the Shore Tearoom and our scones there. As you can see, I still have the article which drew me there.  I keep it folded inside the recipe book. I don’t know if Lilly still bakes with her granddaughters, but tomorrow I plan to bake scones with mine!

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Apricot Scones

2 Cups flour

3 Tablespoons. sugar 

3 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons orange zest

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 Cup dried apricots, chopped

1/2 Cup white chocolate chips

1 1/2 Cups whipping cream

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 Cup powdered sugar
2-3 Tablespoons. orange juice

Preheat oven to 400°. Line with silpat or grease baking sheet. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, orange zest, salt, apricots and vanilla chips.Stir to coat apricots. Add the whipping cream and almond extract all at once and stir just until ingredients are moistened.

Turn out the dough on a lightly floured cloth, turning a few times until smooth. Divide the dough in half and pat into two 6-inch rounds. Cut each round into 6 wedges. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 5minutes. While the scones cool, combine powdered sugar and orange juice. Drizzle over warm scones. These are best served warm.

Poppy Seed Rolls

 IMG_1781 IMG_1779Crescent roll dough found in the refrigerator section of the supermarket is one of the most versatile ingredients to be found!  Hundreds of uses can be found online and in cookbooks, featuring the dough in everything from savory starters to desserts.  Stuffing the dough with poppy seed paste or filling is only one of the many fillings that result in easy to do, tasty pastries.  These are close to homemade poppy seed kolaches!  We also use chocolate chips, apple slices sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, and separate the dough triangles into smaller pieces to wrap little sausages for pigs in a blanket!

Poppy Seed Rolls

2 cans (8 oz each) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1 can poppy seed filling
For Glaze:
1⁄2 cup

confectioners sugar

1 1⁄4 tablespoon milk
1⁄4 teaspoon fresh lemon zest

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line large baking sheet with silicone liner or lightly butter. Separate dough along perforations into 16 triangles. Spread poppy filling over triangles. Roll up, starting at wide end. Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until golden brown. To make glaze, combine confectioners sugar, milk, and lemon zest in small bowl, and stir until smooth. Drizzle glaze over top of rolls while they are warm

Funnel Cakes

I am sure most of you have seen these because they are so popular at booths in county and state fairs. This is one recipe I really not regret having a photo as well as a video to share with you!  The process is fun, the results dramatic, and very quickly disappear at our house.

Funnel Cakes

1 1/4 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4  teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon soda

1 egg

3/4 cup milk

your preference salad oil for frying

powdered sugar to use as topping

Mix dry ingredients in bowl, combine egg and milk, add to dry ingredients, and beat until smooth.. In a deep cast iron skillet,,heat 1 inch of oil.  Pour 1/4 cup batter into a funnel using your finger to cover the opening. .

Hold the funnel filled with batther over the heated oil, being careful not to spatter hot oil , remove your finger and slowly release the batter beginning in the center of the skillet and moving outward in a spiral. Brown 2 minutes, until golden crisp and puffy.  It will not be perfect, but the uneven spiral with its crispy goodness is perfectly delicious!  Repeat the process until all your batter has been used. You will have 5 or 6 funnel cakes, depending on size.  Drain well on paper towels, slide onto serving dish with wide spatula, and sift or sprinkle powdered sugar over top. Serve while hot.

YouTube videos of this are available for watching if you wish before you try this on your own.