Category Archives: Food/Recipes

Lunchroom Butter Cookies

Lunchroom Butter Cookies

Just in time for the holidays. This recipe is really simple to prepare and the taste takes you back to your elementary school lunchroom.

www.j-notes.com/recipes/buttercookies.htm

Butter Cookies (the yummy lunchroom kind!!!)

2 sticks of butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 3/4 cup of plain flour

Cream butter and sugar together. Add flour a little a time. Form dough into small balls and flatten with a fork or by hand. Bake at 325º until lightly brown…. About 15-20 minutes. Recipe provided by my baking buddy, Billy.

The Making of Half Hearted Valentine Cookies

Half Hearted Valentine Cookies

The Half Hearted Valentine Cookies have become my most popular cookie outside of the Christmas holiday season. It has been a few year since I have made them and I learn something new each time. For this batch, I made cookies a little thicker. The thinner cookies brown on top too quickly. Enjoy!
Half Hearted Valentine Cookies

Festival of Desserts 2008

Festival of Desserts 2008 11

These red velvet cupcakes were an absolute showstopper. They were made by friend, Marvin, for this year’s Festival of Desserts. I am hoping to get the recipe for them and I will post it here. This was the first year that we had guest desserts. I made 10 desserts, ranging from sweet potato pie to cranberry oatmeal cookies and chocolate eggnog rum cake. As always, we had ham and chicken. A great time was had by all.
Additional photos from the Festival of Desserts can be seen here. I am already cooking up ideas for Festival of Desserts 2009. :)

Cranberry Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cranberry Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 large eggs
3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 cups rolled oats
2 cups dried cranberries
2 cups pecan halves
1 12 oz bag of chocolate chips or chunks

Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugars, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition. Combine flour, baking soda, and cinnamon; gradually stir into creamed mixture. Fold in rolled oats, cranberries, chocolate chips, and pecans. Drop rounded spoonfuls and press them by hand onto the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in preheated oven. Remove cookies to a wire rack and cool completely.

Tips and pointers:

I have made these cookies for a few years now but I wanted them to be more chewy and soft. My secret baking angel suggested that I use 1/4 cup less flour and also finely chop the cranberries and pecans. Press the cookie dough flat by hand on the cookie sheet which makes them spread wider. I bake my cookies for 12 minutes then pull them out of the oven as they will keep cooking as they are cooling which makes them more chewy.

Makes approximately 36 cookies. (More like 4 dozen.)

My Apprenticeship – Part 1



Preparing the lattice, originally uploaded by in2jazz.

This photo was from my first night apprenticing at Bakesale Betty. My personal goal is to sharpen my baking skills. Also, this is a far cry from being a computer geek. It was a lot of work but very fun. More photos here.

My task for the evening was prepping rhubarb pies. Betty started me out cutting out dough in circles and pressing it into the pie tins. Next, I prepared the rhubarb filling which consist of 25 pounds of rhubarbs, sugar, freshly squeezed orange juice, and orange zest. I mixed the rhubarb filling in a very large steel bowl with a large paddle which was like an oar. I rowed through the mixture and poured it into the pie shells. I took a dinner break and feasted on Betty’s pasta with portobello mushrooms (very yummy!) then she showed me how to make the lattice to cover the pies. I had never made a lattice before. It was much simpler than I expected but it took me a couple of pies to get the hang of cutting away the extra dough. The final touch was brushing the lattice with cream and spreading sugar on the top of each pie. I loaded each cookie sheet of pies on the rack and placed the rack into oven. I prepped a total of 13 pies. I learned from Betty that it is not about speed but quality when baking.

Betty’s oven rack is amazing. The rack spins in the oven so the baked goods cook evenly. Here are the finished pies:

Rhubarb Pies

Betty gave me a couple of the pies I made and some other baked goodies to take to work with me. My co-workers loved everything and asked that I give Betty their thanks. Thank you to Betty and everyone at Bakesale Betty for a great experience. I definitely look forward to doing it again.

Bon appetit!

Dessert Goodness – Part 2

Dessert Goodness #2, originally uploaded by in2jazz.

These are photos from the 4th Annual Festival of Desserts and other holiday baking. Over 40 people stopped by for dessert during the course of the evening and I still had leftovers. Everyone had a great time and I am already thinking about this year’s festival. I did learn something important along the way. The “bake cake now and glaze later” approach will have you glazing and frosting cakes all evening.
The desserts included the following:

Chocolate Egg Nog Rum Cake

Chocolate Egg Nog Rum Cake, originally uploaded by in2jazz.

1 cup of butter (2 sticks)
2 cups sugar
3 cups sifted Cake Flour
3 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 cup eggnog (I like the Berkeley Farms Eggnog)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup Myers’s dark rum
1 package of Jell-O chocolate pudding
3 heaping tablespoons of Hershey’s Cocoa

Cream butter, gradually add sugar, creaming until light and fluffy. Sift flour with baking powder and salt. Add eggs one at a time to creamed mixture, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture alternately with eggnog and flavoring, beating after each addition until smooth. Add package of chocolate pudding, rum and cocoa and mix well together. Pour batter into a greased 12-cup bundt pan. Bake at 350º for 55 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes then remove and place on wax paper and let cool before putting on the glaze.

Rum Glaze

2 sticks of butter
1/2 granulated sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup Karo syrup
1 cup of rum (currently using Myers’s Dark Rum and getting rave reviews!!!)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Melt butter in saucepan until lightly boiled (do not overheat). Add powdered sugar slowly with a wire wisk then add granulated sugar. Once dissolved under low heat, add brown sugar. After the brown sugar has dissolved, add Karo syrup. Keep stirring with wire wisk. Bring to a light boil. Add rum and bring to a boil while stirring with a wisk. Remove from heat and wisk in the vanilla extract. Add more powdered sugar or use less rum for a thicker glaze.

Poke holes in the cool cake wit fork. Drizzle and brush the glaze over the cake. Continue to brush the cake with glaze that has ran down the side. Let dry and serve.

For Chocolate Rum Cake, omit the egg nog and use 1 cup of milk with the flour mixture. For Plain Rum Cake, omit the egg nog and Hershey’s Cocoa. Use Jell-O French Vanilla pudding and 1 cup of milk with the flour mixture.

Cinnamony Goodness…

My first batch of cinnamon rolls!

Recipe borrowed lovingly from an awesome individual.

Cinnamon Rolls

4 1/2 – 5 C (unbleached/organic, if doable) flour
4 t active dry yeast (2 packages)
3/4 C milk
1/2 C water
1/2 C vegetable shortening (part butter — also, I use Spectrum’s non-hydrogenated shortening — it works very well)
1/2 C sugar (or rapadura, or ecocrystals, or turbinado)
1 t salt
2 eggs, room temperature

Measure 1 3/4 C flour into yr large mixer bowl. Add yeast and blend. Measure milk, water, shortening, sugar, and salt into saucepan. Blend. Heat until warm (about 120-130 degrees F).
Pour into flour/yeast mixture. Add eggs. Beat 30 seconds with electric mixer at low speed, scraping bowl constantly. Beat 3 more minutes at high speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Stop mixer.

Gradually stir in more flour (by hand) to make a soft dough. It will be rather sticky. Knead on lightly floured board or counter until nice an’ smooth, about 5-10 minutes (it’s good exercise!!). Cover with bowl or pan and let rest for 20 minutes.

Shape as desired. Here’s what I do: I cut the hunk of dough in half, roll out one of the halves until it’s flat and rectangular and large, brush it with butter, sprinkle it with a cinnamon/sugar mixture, add raisins (sometimes), and roll it up. Then I cut off the ends and cut the rest into 1″ wide slices. They usually fit nicely into 2 9″ greased cake pans. Then I put them in a warm oven (I usually warm it to 200 degrees for a few minutes, then turn it off) with a pan of hot water under them and a foil tent over them and let them rise for 40 minutes, or until doubled.

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. You can ice these with powdered sugar icing (I usually do) after they’ve cooled off, but believe me when I tell you that they’re wonderful just plain and warm outta the oven. Cool them on a rack. When they’re cool, you can wrap them in foil, and freeze. Just warm them in a 250 oven for about 45 minutes and oooh boy, it’s like you just made ‘em.
Enjoy them — the recipe is from a cookbook called Homemade Bread, published by the Farm Journal people in 1969.

Powdered Sugar Glaze

1 cup of powdered sugar
1 tbl of milk
1 tsp of vanilla

Add milk and powdered sugar to get the glaze to the consistency that you desire.

What did I learn?

My dad made cinnamon rolls for us when we were kids so every now and then the thought of making them myself would pop through my brain and then disappear. I had never made anything using yeast before so I was a little nervous about how these rolls would turn out. It was much easier than I expected and I learned that working with yeast was not as terrifying as I thought. I mixed everything by hand and kneaded the dough by hand as well. As you can see in the photo above, my pan was a little crowded so I will put less in the pan next time and measure my strips of cinnamon dough a little better. Overall, I was very pleased.

The Second Annual Festival of Desserts

Egg Nog Pound Cake

It is that special time of year. Continuing the tradition started last year, I hosted the second annual Festival of Desserts on Friday. As always, I ran out of time and didn’t make all the desserts I wanted to prepare. Here are the desserts that were enjoyed for this year’s festival.

  • Banana Chocolate Walnut Brownies
  • Chocolate Brownies
  • Egg Nog Rum Cake
  • Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
  • Cheesecake
  • Lunchroom Butter Cookies
  • McNannygocious Pound Cake
  • Egg Nog Pound Cake
  • Red Velvet Cake
  • Banana Nut Bread
  • 7 Up Cake

Special Guest Desserts

  • Lemon Squares
  • Sweet Potato Pie

Special thanks to Joey for the lemon squares, David for the sweet potato pies, and JS & AF for the chicken. Another big hit of the party was the hot apple cider with the mulling spices from Williams-Sonoma. A good time was had by all. I must apologize for not taking more dessert photos.