Friday, April 30, 2010

this li'l piggie is rollin' in dough

if betty ford has a clinic for bakers addicted to pans and cutters, i probably should take a vacation there. my collection of bundt pans is growing and so is my collection of cookie cutters. lately, i have limited myself to large copper cutters but even so, i have way too many if you ask my husband.

they live in coke crates and i have no idea how many i have. i do know that i tend to gravitate towards unusual shapes. so if you paw through them, you will find a spider web, a ladies dress, several different fish and a selection of chanukah cutters. this week i found myself doing just that, pawing through the heap to pick out a cutter to test my sugar cookie recipe with.

and here it is, a little piggy, coming or going-you decide. in the past, i have used him at the cafe since we have a special place in our bellies, i mean hearts, for pigs. have you looked at the weather vanes on top of the barn? sometimes i give them a tail and serve pig butt cookies and other times, i give them chocolate chip eyes.

in the last 25 years, i have rolled out tons of sugar cookies, literally. as a result, i have come up with a fool proof method for rolling out dough.
here it is; dowels that are the same diameter as the desired thickness of the dough, a big rolling pin, a soft brush and flour-lots of flour.

liberally flour the rolling surface, place the dowels and dough on it and flour the dough. then start rolling. Lift the dough once or twice as you go and make sure there is plenty of flour under it.

brush off as much of the excess flour as you can and cut the cookies as close together as possible.

before baking them, dress them up a bit if you like. i didn't have any plain pink crystals left because they had all been turned into this rainbow blend so we have blind bobtail rainbow piggies. as long as i am not too busy, hams & jams gets sugar cookies to sell and this week they are pink tulips so stop by and get some while they last!!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

peanut butter brownies

consider this an updated and baked version of that old tv commercial. hey you got chocolate in my peanut butter-no you got peanut butter on my matter how you call it, the two go together like left and right. in other words, they're incredible on their own and together a combination that can't be beat. i love them in ice cream, it could easily be my last meal. in cookies, they are a favorite too. so it's only natural that they would end up in a brownie that i have baked. years ago when i had my own bakery, they were a constant selection in our showcase. they are a little laborious but worth the effort. melt chocolate and butter in one bowl and peanut butter and butter in another

keeping the two separate batters warm is the key.

whisk in some eggs and sugar

fold in the flour and then move on to the chocolate batter

whisk in the eggs and sugar and a little coffee

fold in the flour and cocoa and a few chocolate chips

dollop the batters into a pan

take a wooden spoon handle and swirl them together

don't over do it or you will lose the design

let them cool and cut them into squares. you may have to hide them, they tend to disappear.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

the party's over for tipsy cakes

the end was in sight; only one more test run on the chocolate tipsy cakes and i could finally scratch them off the list. i had had just about all i could stand of drunken cakes in my kitchen and i was looking forward to sobriety. then i realized that i was all out of booze and i would have to head out to the local liquor store. that seems like an easy fix. the only hitch, it was 7 am and i'm thinking it was a little early to shop for booze. i cleaned the house instead. at precisely 10, i ventured out to the store for the bottle of bourbon i needed.

if you ever need to purchase booze in the morning, be prepared to be scrutinized. and if you think it's funny to refer to that bottle of bourbon as the breakfast of champions, don't be surprised if the man behind the counter looks at you with doubt in his eyes. and another thing you may want to remember, explaining that you just want to bake a cake with it won't change that look much either. so there you have it, my trip to the store for booze and my lame attempt at comedy with the man behind the counter. the fact that i told him that i didn't need anything real high end since i was baking with it was just fuel for the fire. when i finally asked him how many ounces were in the bottle, i knew i was pushing my luck but it may have been what saved me. i actually started calculating tablespoons and ounces and i think he finally believed me, kinda, sorta, maybe-maybe not. he did ring me up and take my card so i got out of there while the getting was still good!

the last batch of the troublesome little buggers. suffice it to say, we have all climbed on the wagon and are now behaving ourselves.

coconut-you either love it or hate it. i like it, a lot. and these crispy/chewy confections are like heaven! coconut chews, mmmmmmmm

so thanks to our first lady, victory gardens are all the rage. well, i have had a large garden for a while now and making a cake that features things i grow in my garden is logical. for the first test, i baked the victory garden cupcakes as a bundt. it has lots of carrots, zucchini, apples and walnuts. and for those of you that are curious, i will have zucchini in the garden, carrots are a possibility and if we are lucky this year, our apple tree will produce a few fruits and finding walnuts is as simple as walking through the neighborhood to find a tree.

the final run on the victory garden cupcakes, as actual cupcakes no less. for this occasion, i pulled a few of my favorite mugs out to take the place of a cake stand. don't you just love thrift stores? i never know what i will find.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

drunken cakes

the tipsy cakes are out of control. it's sort of like panama city beach at spring break-the party never ends...

Grandma's Rum Cake

1 to 2 quarts Rum
1 cup butter - accept no substitutions
1 teaspoon sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup dried fruit - not citron
Baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Lemon juice - from fresh lemon
Brown sugar
Nuts - mixed or your preference

Before you start, sample the rum to check quality. Good, isn't it? Now go ahead, select a large mixing bowl, measuring cup, etc. Check the rum again. Just to be sure the rum is of the HIGHEST quality, pour one level cup of rum into a glass and drink it as fast as you can. Repeat.

With an electric mixer, beat 1 cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl. Add i seaspoon of thugar and beat again. Meanwhile, making sure that the rum ish truly one of the finest quality, pour one hiccup of rum into a glass and drink it as fasssh as you can. You might need to try another cup. Open a second quart of rum if needed.

Add 2 arge leggs, 2 cups fried druit and beat till high. If druit gets schtuk in beaters, just pry it loose with a drewscriver. Sample the rum again. Sift 1/2 pint of lemon juice. Fold in chopped butter and strained nuts. Add one babblespoon of brown thugar or whatever color you can find. Wix mell. Grease oven and turn cake pan to 350 gedrees. Pore the hole mess into the boven and cake.

Check the rum again and bo to ged.

this is just one of many versions of the recipe available online. just remember, bake responsibly. friend never let friends drink and bake (at least not alone)