Friday, May 10, 2013

Peanut Butter Cookies


Photo by:   uzi978

Peanut Butter Cookies

Today's recipe is a simple one.  It is for peanut butter cookies.  My family loved these cookies, and the cris-cross fork pattern on top is the way we always marked them. My kids love to make this cookie, and maybe yours will too.

Ingredients
2 sticks butter
1 cup brown sugar 
1 cup granulated sugar 

1 1/2 cups peanut butter (You can use smooth or creamy peanut butter)
2 eggs 
1/8 to 1/4 cup Irish Cream or Hazelnut cappuccino powder
2 1/2 cups flour 
1 teaspoon baking soda 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit.

Mix butter, sugar, and peanut butter together. Add eggs beating well after each addition. Pour in the vanilla extract. Turn the mixer to a stir and add the cappuccino powder, baking soda, and flour. Mix until all the flour is incorporated and you have a stiff dough. 

Drop onto cookie sheets by rounded teaspoonfuls and then make the cris-cross pattern over the top with the tines of a fork.   
 
Bake for about 6 minutes or until golden brown.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Cinnamon Churros


Photo by: toolmantim 
 
We sometimes get hungry for simple things.  Churros are brown and crispy on the outside, like a doughnut.  They don't last long in our house.

Cinnamon Churros

Ingredients:

1/3 cup butter (no substitutes)
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 eggs beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
oil for frying 

Topping
1 cup granulated sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Instructions

Before you start, it is a good idea to assemble everything you need. Line a cookie sheet with paper towels to absorb the oil from the churros. A cake decorator with a large star tip.

Mix the topping of 1 cup sugar and 1 to 2 tablespoons cinnamon together in a low dish.

Start heating up the oil in a fry cooker or you can use a heavy cast irons skillet. You will need at least 2 inches of oil because the churros need to float. The oil needs to be 350° to 375° Fahrenheit.

In a heavy sauce pan, add the butter, water, brown sugar and salt. Turn the heat to medium high. Stir and cook until the mixture comes to a rolling boil. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the flour  and cinnamon, mixing until thoroughly combines.  The dough will be thick, and a bit crumbly.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and vanilla. Add this to the flour mixture.  Stir and mix until the eggs are mixed in and the dough is smooth.

Fill your cake decorator with the churro dough.

Test the oil to make sure it  is the correct temperature.  If the oil is too low, the churros will soak up the oil instead of frying. If the oil is too hot, you will burn your churros.

Pipe the dough into the hot oil, using your finger or a knife to cut the dough from the tip. Make the churros about 4 inches long. Fry them for about 1 minute and then turn them with a slotted spoon or tongs. Cook another 1 to 2 minutes.

Remove the churros from the hot oil and lay them on paper towels to cool slightly.  While the churros are still warm, roll them in the cinnamon, sugar mixture.

Repeat with the remaining churro dough. You can probably fry 4 churros at a time. An important step in making churros, is to do them in stages.  Fry only a few of them and then coat them in cinnamon sugar.  Then make some more churros. 

Now is the time to sit down with your family and enjoy.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Taco Seasoning and Spices for Your Kitchen

Have you ever wondered which spices you should have in your kitchen? I found a wonderful YouTube video listing the spices that everyone should have. But before I do that, I am going to include one of my favorite spice blends for tacos. Instead of buying spice blends at the grocery store, why not make your own. You can save a lot of money by doing this, and you can customize it to make it uniquely yours.

Happy cooking.

Taco Seasoning:

1/2 cup chili powder
1/4 cup onion powder
1/8 cup ground cumin
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon sea salt
Put ingredients into a jar and shake.




Saturday, May 4, 2013

No-Bake Chocolate Cookies


Photo by:  alibree




No-Bake Chocolate Cookies  
 
Today’s recipe is another sweet treat that my kids often ask me to make. So, when the weather is warm and we don’t want to use the oven, these cookies are great. They usually turn out to be just right, not too hard, or too runny. The day that you make them has a lot to do with how they turn out. Do not make these cookies when the humidity is high. They will not set up. Believe me, I’ve tried. 

Ingredients

1 c. butter 
4 c. sugar
1 c. milk
1 c. cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 c. peanut butter
6 c. oatmeal 

Directions

Mix butter, sugar, milk, cocoa, and salt, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients. Stir thoroughly and drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper. 
Set them someplace where they can set up as they cool. Enjoy.  

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Hot Chocolate Mix


Photo by:  shawnzrossi

Hot Chocolate Mix
 


Nothing warms a body up on a cold day better than a big mug of hot chocolate with marshmallows. It is one of those comforting drinks that not only warms you up, but it can bring about a sense of peace. Of course, hot chocolate is good any time of year. The prepackaged hot coco mixes are good but expensive. If you make it from scratch, it takes time to measure out all the ingredients.  

I can remember my mom making a big container of hot chocolate mix when I was just a young girl. All you had to do was heat up the water, measure some coco mixture into a cup and stir.  This is a wonderful recipe that makes it easy to prepare one cup, or several cups of hot chocolate.

6 cups instant dry milk
1 ½ cups sugar
1 ¼ cup cocoa

Find a large bowl. Measure the milk, sugar and cocoa into the bowl and mix the ingredients. I use a large bowl with a tight fitting lid. Then I shake the container to mix the dry ingredients. This way it contains the dust particles. When using the shake method, I allow it to sit on the counter so the dust particles will settle.

Pour this into a wide-mouthed 2-quart jar with a tight fitting lid. 


Other Additions
 
For a richer tasting hot chocolate, add 1/2 cup of non-dairy creamer to the dry mix. You can choose from several different flavors such as Hazelnut, Irish Cream, and French Vanilla. 

Sometimes we add a teaspoon of cinnamon to the dry mixture for a hint of spice.

Directions:

Heat water on the stove until it comes to a boil. 

Add a 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the hot cocoa mixture into a large mug or cup. 
After the water comes to a boil, pour some into your cup, stirring until the mixture is smoothe and creamy. Pour in the rest of the water, stirring as you do so. The amount of water should equal about one cup. If you have a bigger mug, you will need to add more hot chocolate mix. 

Top with miniature marshmallows.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Cowboy Cookies


Photo by: Rex Roof

Cowboy Cookies

A cowboy cookie is a chewy, oatmeal cookie that my kids love to make by themselves. My oven runs a little hotter so we bake them for 6 minutes instead of 8. 

Ingredients

1 cup butter, softened 
1 cup white sugar 
1 cup packed brown sugar 
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
2 tablespoons Irish Cream Cappuccino
 1 teaspoon baking powder 
1 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups rolled oats 
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease baking sheets. 
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. With the mixer set to stir, add the baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix to combine. Gradually stir in the flour and rolled oats.  Stir in the chocolate chips by hand. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets.  
Bake for 6 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove from the oven when edges are golden. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes. Place them on a cooling rack.