French Muffin Doughnuts

Long before my cookbook collection grew, and even longer before internet and Google,I clipped recipes from the newspaper and taped them to note cards to save. This recipe is taped to a  bright pink card;the newsprint is yellowed. Our young family members loved these tender little bites as much as Joe and I did.  Fun to make and fun to eat!  They did not last long once out of the oven and rolled in cinnamon and sugar! There are a variety of recipes online with a variety of names – Muffin Doughnuts, French Puffs, Doughnut Muffins.

French Muffin Doughnuts

1 1/2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup milk

1 egg, beaten

Melted butter, 1/3 cup plus more for sugaring.

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg to mixing bowl. Combine milk, egg, 1/3 cup melted butter and vanillla.  Add liquid ingredients to flour mixture, stirring only until all ingredients are moistened. Fill cups of greased 24 count mini muffin pan half to 1/3 full and bake for 15-20 minutes, until turning golden brown. Remove from pan, immediately brush with melted butter, and roll in mixture of remaining 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon.

Cranberry Ricotta Scones

cranberryricottasconesIn 1991 while traveling in Scotland, we stopped at a Tea Room. The rustic crispiness of these scones reminds me of  200 year old Shore Cottage Tearoom in Taynuilt, Argyll, where Lily McNaught, her daughters, and granddaughters baked sweets and treats. Thanks to online information, I see that Shore Cottage is still there but not as a “Tea Room” – the ladies moved the business to The Robins Nest on Main Street, Taynuilt and guess what – the Lunch, the Teas, the Cakes, everything is just as it was. This is not one of their recipes, but my granddaughter Maddie and I baked them together. Surely Miss Lily approves.

Cranberry Ricotta Scones

2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon orange zest

4 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter,  cut into tiny pieces

1 large egg, beaten

1/2 cup (Whole Milk) Ricotta Cheese

3 tablespoons Whole Milk

1 cup cranberries, fresh, roughly chopped

 

Whisk the following together to brush over scones before baking

1 large egg, beaten

1 teaspoon milk or water

extra sugar to sprinkle over top.

 

Orange Glaze

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

Pinch of salt

3/4 cup confectioners sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 400°(F). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl mix together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and orange zest.
  3. Cut the butter into small cubes then, using two forks or a pastry cutter, quickly work it into the mixture until it resembles a coarse meal. Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl whisk together the egg, ricotta cheese, and milk. Add to flour and butter mixture and use a fork to stir everything together until just moistened.
  5. Add in the chopped cranberries and gently fold them into dough with a spatula.
  6. Pour the dough out onto a clean, lightly floured work surface and shape the dough into an 8-inch circle. Cut the dough into 8 wedges and carefully transfer them to the prepared sheet. Leave an inch or so between each scone as they do spread a little.
  7. Lightly brush each scone with the egg wash, then sprinkle the top of each scone with sugar.
  8. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the tops are lightly golden brown. Cool scones on the pan for 10 minutes, then top with glaze and serve warm.
  9. For the glaze:
  10. In a small bowl whisk together the orange juice, zest, salt, and confectioners sugar. Drizzle over warm scones and serve at once.

Cranberry Almond Bread Pudding with Amaretto Sauce

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Years ago, my sister sent me a recipe for bread pudding which I believe she found in the Austin Statesman. I added cranberries and our family raved about it. I do not think I ever made bread pudding before that, but have certainly made up for it since. This has become a keeper, a favorite, a lovely holiday tradition for the Parker kitchen. I have mentioned it before on Kitchen Keepers, but it deserves a stand alone post. I served it this week at our family Christmas dinner.  it is also a favorite guilty pleasure served for next morning’s breakfast or brunch if there are any leftovers!

Cranberry Almond Bread Pudding with Amaretto Sauce

1 pound French bread loaf, plain

1 quart half and half

1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)

1½cups granulated sugar

3 eggs

2 tablespoons almond extract

¾  cup sliced almonds

3/4 cup dried cranberries

Tear french bread loaf into bite-sized pieces, place in a medium size bowl Pour quart of half and half over bread and soak for one hour, stirring occasionally.  Preheat oven to 325 and butter a 9X13 inch baking dish.

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together 1/2 stick of melted butter, 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar and 3 eggs. Then stir in 2 tablespoons almond extract,  3/4 cups sliced almonds, and 3/4 cup dried cranberries. Pour soaked bread pieces into buttered baking dish and add almond/ cranberry mixture over the top.  Bake for 45 minutes or until it is turning golden brown on top. While it is cooking, make Amaretto Sauce:

Amaretto Sauce

½ cup butter

1 cup powdered sugar

1 egg

¼ cup Amaretto

Cook 1/2 cup butter and 1 cup powdered sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until hot. Allow the sugar mixture to cool to room temperature.

Whisk in 1 egg and 1/4 cup Amaretto.  After the bread pudding is cooked, slice it lengthwise and crosswise in the baking dish. Spoon sauce mixture over the top. Then, put the pudding back into the oven under the broiler until the sauce bubbles. WATCH CAREFULLY! It is really easy to burn the top of the pudding at the end. It is important to bring the sauce to a bubble, to cook the egg in the topping.

It is important to bring the sauce to a bubble, to cook the egg in the topping.   For individual servings, cut pudding into squares, place one at a time on oven proof dessert dish, spoon sauce over top and broil briefly as with whole pudding.

Chewy Chocolate Cookies

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Nora and I made a new recipe for chocolate cookies that will be one we consider a keeper!   This is for all the chocolate lovers in our family and yours!  Double chocolate, the taste is deep and rich.  Bake them longer if you want a crisp cookie, but they are best when you watch your baking time carefully and take them out when they are soft and puffy. They flatten as they cool, rich and chewy. Very much like a brownie in a cookie!  There are many recipes similar to this online and in cookbooks. Some use peanut butter chips instead of chocolate chips.

Chewy Chocolate Cookies

1 14cups butter

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups flour

34  cup cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

1teaspoon salt

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350°

In large mixer bowl; cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; gradually blend into creamed mixture. Add chocolate chips.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake only 8 or 9 minutes. Cookies will not look done, but soft and puffy.  LIft with a spatula and place on wire rack to cool. They flatten as they cool.

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Apple Spice Cake with Praline Frosting

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Many of the flavors of Autumn I love most are combined in this apple cake. The cake looks like the cover of my recent Southern Living magazine, but the recipe omits the layer of cream cheese batter that cake features.  The kitchen smells like a cup of chai tea, and we can hardly wait to slice and taste!  Great for dessert, as a treat with coffee, or toasted for breakfast!

Apple Spice Cake
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
3 cups flour
3 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and grated
Praline Frosting
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup salted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups (about 5 oz.) powdered sugar, sifted

1. Bring brown sugar, cream, and butter to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over medium, stirring constantly; boil,stirring constantly, 1 minute.

2. Remove pan from heat; stir in vanilla. Gradually whisk in powdered sugar until smooth. Gently stir until mixture begins to cool and thicken, 4 to 5 minutes. Use immediately, sprinkling top with toasted pecans if desired.

Blackberry Crisp

blackberrycrumbleUse blackberries, dewberries, raspberries, or blueberries (or a combination) in this old-fashioned crisp .A crisp is like a cobbler and depending on the fruit used can sometimes be called by names that make us smile –  pandowdy, grunt, slump, buckles, , croustade, bird’s nest pudding or crow’s nest pudding.  They are all simple variations of cobblers, and they are all based on seasonal fruits and berries, in other words, whatever fresh ingredients are readily at hand.  They are all homemade and simple to make and rely more on taste than fancy pastry preparation.

Early settlers of America were very good at improvising. When they first arrived, they brought their recipes with them, such as English steamed puddings.  When they could not find their favorite ingredients, they used what was available. That is how these traditional American dishes came about with such unusual names.

I made this one for a Saturday breakfast, but Joe can eat berry cobbler anytime!  It is tastiest when right out of the oven, and any leftovers never last long.

Blackberry Crisp

6 cups fresh Blackberries

1-2 Tablespoons light brown sugar

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest.

For Topping:

3/4 cup flour

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oatmeal

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

6 Tablespoons butter cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a deep baking dish. Combine berries, 2 Tablespoons sugar, and lemon zest in a bowl and pour into baking dish. In another bowl, combine flour, remaining sugar, oatmeal, and cinnamon. Add the butter bits and mix with hands until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle on top of berry mixture and bake until lightly browned and crisp, about 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 5-10 minutes. Serve warm.

 

 

 

 

 

Ham and Swiss Quiche with Greek Yogurt

yogurtquiche

This quiche made a lovely Saturday morning breakfast for us, but it is just as good for lunch or a late supper.  I experimented with using a different ingredient and found that a cup of Greek Yogurt works well with other traditional quiche ingredients. I used a heaping cup of chopped ham here, but will try it soon with chopped fresh vegetables instead. Serve with fresh fruit or green salad tossed with a citrus vinaigrette.

Ham and Swiss Quiche with Greek Yogurt

1 9 or 10 inch pie unbaked pie crust

1 generous cup chopped ham

1 cup grated swiss cheese

1 shallot, sliced very thin

3 large eggs

1 cup Greek yogurt

2/3 cup milk

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg. (a pinch!)

1/2 teaspoon salt

freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Fit the unbaked pie crust into Quiche baking dish. Sprinkle chopped ham over bottom of crust, top with 3/4 of the grated cheese, reserving 1/4 cup. Scatter thinly sliced shallot over this mixture. In a medium bowl, beat eggs and add yogurt and milk with nutmeg,

In a medium bowl, beat eggs and add yogurt and milk with nutmeg, salt, and pepper..  Blend, then pour slowly over ham and cheese.  Top with remaining 1/4 cup cheese and sprinkle extra nutmeg over top if desired. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

cookiebaker

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.

cookbook

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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Blueberry Breakfast Cake

blueberrybreakfastcakeThis recipe is available several places online.  I made it for the first time last week, but it won’t be the last time!  When blueberries are in season and available for good prices, I buy enough to freeze, so I used frozen blueberries which worked great.  Whether using fresh or frozen, be sure to put the berries in a ziploc bag with 1/4 cup flour and toss.  This keeps the berries from sinking to the bottom in a soggy clump. Then, fold the flour-coated fruit into the batter as the very last step before baking. This coating absorbs some of the liquid released by the fruit as it bakes and keeps the fruit in place until the crumb has set. This works for any fruit called for in a recipe as well as any other ingredients, like nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate chips. You can use this trick when baking muffins, cupcakes, scones, or any quick bread.

Blueberry Breakfast Cake

½ cup butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar, diviided (Save out 1 Tablespoon sugar for topping)

2 tsp. lemon zest or more — zest from 1 large lemon

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. kosher salt

2 cups fresh blueberries

½ cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cream butter with lemon zest and  sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined.

In a ziploc bag,  toss the blueberries with ¼ cup of flour and set aside.

Combine the remaining flour, baking powder and salt and add to batter  a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk.  Fold in the blueberries gently.

Grease a 9-inch square baking pan with butter or coat with non-stick spray. Spread batter into pan. Sprinkle with another tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes. Check with a toothpick for doneness and if necessary, return to oven until toothpick comes out clean..

Blackberry Scones

BlackberryScones

Blackberries are best when you can pick them yourself (without chiggers) and eat them at their freshest. But I am very happy when I find them in season at good prices and begin to think of all the ways we will use them.  Favorite choices have always been a bowl of fresh berries, gleaming and popping with juice or baked in a crusty cobbler. Berry pies are not far behind, and we even toss them in salads. Until I made these easy drop scones, I had never mixed them into a heavy batter like this.  But this recipe is a keeper. It produced a baking sheet with a dozen big puffy scones, which disappeared very quickly!

Blackberry  Scones

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 Tbsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/3 cup butter, cut into small pieces

grated zest of one large lemon 

1 large egg

3/4 cup milk, or the amount necessary to make 1 cup after one large egg has been added to measuring cup.

a big handful of berries

extra sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 425F. In a bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the butter and blend it with a fork,pastry blender or your fingers (or do it all in the food processor, if you have one), leaving some lumps no bigger than a pea.

Crack the egg into a measuring cup and add milk to make it a cup. Stir it together with a fork and add to the flour mixture; mixing until just barely combined. Add the berries and stir gently a couple more times, then drop the sticky dough in large spoonfuls onto a buttered or parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the tops with sugar.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or less if you made small scones, until golden. Reduce the oven heat by 25 degrees if baking on a dark baking sheet.