Tuesday, September 27, 2016

HERSHEY'S SOFT & CHEWY COOKIES

My husband and I were asked to host one of the gatherings that our church was having to better inform the congregation about the upcoming capital campaign drive to finish paying for the construction of our new sanctuary, gathering area, and youth area. Each gathering started with a social time when we were to have "finger foods" for everyone to enjoy. Since our gathering was in the middle of the afternoon and mainly for retirees, I decided they would probably enjoy having a variety of cookies to choose from. 

When trying to choose a variety of cookies to make, I knew I wanted to have some sugar-free or limited sugar ones for any diabetics, a few that were glutton-free, and then of course some regular ones. 

I had a recipe for some applesauce cookies that my dil Sara once made that I had shared that I knew would be good for those people needing little sugar. Sara called them Sugar Free Applesauce Cookies. A reader commented that they were not sugar free and I should try again. Technically they aren't sugar free because apples have natural sugar in them. But that little bit of natural sugar is the only sugar in them as I substituted an artificial sweetener for the cup of sugar. You can use Splenda or stevia as they both work well in baking. I prefer the stevia but either one works. I guess the correct title should be No Sugar Added Applesauce Cookies.   

I had shared another recipe for some cookies that I called Less Cookies because they were Eggless, Dairyless, Flourless, with No Sugar Added Cookies. I knew it would be easy to make glutton-free if I used glutton-free oats for the oats. I didn't have the almond milk so mine wouldn't be dairyless. There is plenty of natural sugar in the cookies from the applesauce and the raisins. Since my focus was on glutton-free, I didn't worry about the dairy or natural sugar.

I made a loaf of my Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread to share also so I wanted to make sure I had some non-chocolate cookies. (chocolate chips are okay. tee-hee) The statement at the bottom of the recipe for these Hershey's Soft & Chewy Cookies that the cookies were softer the second day appealed to me as I was spending my Sunday afternoon baking most of the cookies.  I found the recipe in one of my Favorite Brand Name Cookbook - Bake Sale. They included a picture of them on the next page and they looked yummy.



HERSHEY'S SOFT & CHEWY COOKIES

1          cup (2 sticks) butter (no substitutes)
3/4     cup packed light brown sugar
1/2      cup granulated sugar
1/4      cup light corn syrup
1          egg
2         teaspoons vanilla extract
2-1/2  cups all-purpose flour
1          teaspoon baking soda
1/4      teaspoon salt
1          package (10 or 12 ounces) Hershey's Chips or Baking Bits (any flavor) (I used a 12 ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.


In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. (I admit I didn't read the recipe carefully and add the corn syrup with the butter and other sugars.


Add the corn syrup, egg, and vanilla,
beat well.


Stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually add to butter mixture,
beating until well blended.


Stir in chips or bits.


Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheets. (I always use my cookie scoop which hold 1 tablespoon of water.)


Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned and almost set. (In my new gas oven, I cooked mine the full 10 minutes.)


Cool slightly on cookie sheet;


remove from cookie sheet and finish cooling on wire rack.




Cookies will be softer the second day.


I used my 9 x 13 - inch baking pan that has a plastic cover and layered the cookies (a dozen on each layer) separating them with wax paper.

Here is a picture of Sara's Sugar Free Applesauce Cookies I baked.


and a picture of my Glutton-Free version of the Eggless, Dairyless, Flourless with No Sugar Added Cookies I baked.


Monday, September 26, 2016

SEX IN A PAN

When our bridge couples group met this month, just about everyone was busy or sick. The "group" ended up being just 3 couples. If you play bridge, you know that means we were short a couple. Jan and Byron said they would just watch and eat and let Linda and Mitch and my husband and me play, but we didn't like that idea. Instead I came up with an idea so we could all play (at least off and on). 

We started off by each drawing a card. The two highest in rank cards were partners against the two middle cards (people) and the two people with the lowest cards in rank sat out. After the hand was finished, the couple who had sat out (and ate) switched with the losing partners and played the next hand. So that no one played with the same person two hands in a row, the winners of the hand split up. The two who had sat out the previous hand, just sat in either one of the empty chairs. We didn't keep score and had so much fun. By the end of the evening everyone had partnered with everyone and equally important.... everyone had ample opportunity to eat (Jan and Byron had plenty for us to eat) and visit.

For dessert Jan had made the layered dessert many call "Sex in a Pan". It was so delicious! I managed to get a good picture of one of the servings. 

(If you want to reduce some of the sugar calories, you can use the sugar-free instant pudding mixes.)


SEX IN A PAN

Crust:

1       cup flour
1/2   cup butter, melted
2      tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2   cup pecans, chopped

Combine and press in the bottom of a 9 x 13 - inch pan and bake in preheated 350 degree F oven for 15 minutes.

Let cool before adding the following layers.

Layer 1:

1       8 - ounce package of cream cheese
1       cup powdered sugar
1/2 - 3/4 of an 8 - ounce carton of whipped topping

Beat this with mixer until creamy.

Spread over the cooled crust.

Layer 2:

3       cups cold milk
1        (4 - serving size) instant vanilla pudding mix
1        (4 - serving size) instant chocolate pudding mix
1        teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients and beat until smooth and thick.

Carefully spread over the first layer.

Layer 3:

Spread the rest of the whipped topping over the pudding layer.

Refrigerate until ready to serve. Store leftovers in refrigerator.


List of ingredients:

1        cup flour
1/2    cup butter
1        cup + 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2    cup pecans, chopped
1        8 - ounce cream cheese
1        8 - ounce whipped topping
3       cups cold milk
1        4 - serving size instant vanilla pudding mix
1        4 - serving size instant chocolate pudding mix
1        teaspoon vanilla extract

Byron outdid himself with the appetizers. I have several recipes to share with you later of some of them.

Friday, September 23, 2016

OATMEAL COOKIES

I know I have been sharing a lot of cookie recipes lately, but I just think it's unforgivable if a cookie jar is empty. A cookie is just perfect sometimes when you just want a little bite of sweet. So many fewer calories than eating a piece of cake or pie. You know?!

My husband loves oatmeal cookies. Well, I do too. Anyway I was looking through a cookbook I have had since the early 90s called Recipes From Hope, Arkansas Birthplace of Bill Clinton. (I am from Arkansas also, just not Hope.) The recipe for Oatmeal Cookies was in the front section of family recipes, specifically Hillary Rodham Clinton's Favorite Recipes. I substituted craisins for the raisins.



OATMEAL COOKIES

1-1/4      cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/4         teaspoon baking soda
1/2         teaspoon cinnamon
1/2         teaspoon salt
1/2         cup soft butter or margarine (1 stick)
1             cup firmly packed (dark) brown sugar (I haven't seen dark brown sugar in the stores in a long time.)
1             egg
1/2         teaspoon vanilla
1             cup rolled oats
1/4         cup buttermilk
3/4        cup seedless raisins, chopped (I used craisins)
1/2         cup chopped pecans or walnuts (I did use walnuts this time.)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease 2 cookie sheets.

Sift flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together. 

Cream butter with sugar thoroughly. 

Add egg and vanilla, beating until light.

Add flour and buttermilk alternately, beating until smooth. (I start and end with the flour mixture.)

Add oats. Mix well.

Add raisins and nuts.

Drop by teaspoonful and space about 2 inches apart. (I used my cookie scoop.)

Bake for about 12 minutes or until edges are brown. (10 minutes might be long enough.)

Cool on wire rack.





Wednesday, September 21, 2016

WATERGATE CAKE

Watergate Salad is one salad I do enjoy. I think it is Jeffrey, my older son's favorite salad. When I saw this recipe in Lia Wilson's Quick Fixes with Mixes cookbook for Watergate Cake I knew I had to give it a try. This cake reminds me of the Watergate Salad but as a cake instead.

I needed something fast and easy to make Monday night to take to Hillcrest Thrift Shop yesterday because I forgot to make anything earlier in the day. Not sure where my mind was. (Probably on the colonoscopy I am having on Thursday and what I was going to eat that was low in fiber on the next two days. As you read this today, I am trying to forget about eating period. Looking forward to Thursday afternoon getting here.)

The cake is very moist. Some of the volunteers loved it and some wanted it sweeter. I did use a unsweetened coconut and sugar free pudding mix. My husband thought it was fine because we don't like really sweet things anyway. If you want it sweet, use ingredients that contain sugar.


WATERGATE CAKE

1       box white cake mix without pudding (I used a traditional vanilla cake mix)
1       package - 4 - serving size - pistachio flavor instant pudding mix (I used a sugar-free one)
1/2   cup oil
1/2   cup milk
4      eggs
1       (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple with juice (This was 1 cup crushed pineapple and 3 tablespoons juice if you are using a larger can.)
1       cup marshmallows (I used the miniature ones)
1/2   cup chopped pecans
1/2   cup shredded coconut (I used unsweetened coconut)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 12- cup capacity Bundt pan.

In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, pudding mix, oil, milk, eggs, and pineapple.
Beat on low speed for 30 seconds to blend, then beat on medium for 2 minutes.

Gently stir in marshmallows, pecans, and coconut.
Stir til well blended.

Pour into pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until cake tests done.
Cool on wire rack in pan about 15 minutes.

Remove from pan and continue cooling on wire rack.

I stored the cake in a covered cake plate overnight and sifted a spoonful of powdered sugar over it the next morning before taking it to serve.



Tuesday, September 20, 2016

BARBIE'S ZUCCHINI BREAD

I realize I have shared many Amish recipes lately. I think it is because so many of the cookbooks I have by my chair to look at when I am really not interested in what is on the television are Amish cookbooks. I do enjoy their recipes. They are usually not difficult or labor intensive. My husband often adds additional "seasonings" at the table because many of them do not use a lot of seasonings. (and he likes "seasoned dishes") They are also recipes that I occasionally see in non-Amish cookbooks because some Amish cooks are a little less traditional. No matter what the reason, I rarely try an "Amish" recipe, that I don't like.

I like zucchini bread but I don't like how recipes for it call for so much sugar. I do try to control and reduce the amount of sugar in recipes as much as I can. I just pass them by. This recipe from The Beverly Lewis Amish Heritage Cookbook caught my attention first by the word "Barbie" in the title and secondly when I noticed it had 1/2 cup of honey as a substitute for the 1-3/4 cups of sugar. It also had 1 cup of oil and usually I will substitute unsweetened applesauce for part of the oil when a recipe calls for so much, but this first time I decided to stay true to the recipe. 

In a personal note below the recipe, I discovered that "Barbie" (aka Barbara) is Beverly Lewis' sister. She passed the recipe along to Beverly years ago. Beverly's granddaughter Ariel like to put jelly or honey on top and sometimes whipped cream. 

I will admit that the bread wasn't as sweet as so many zucchini breads I have made, but everyone at Hillcrest Thrift Shop raved about it when I took a large loaf to them to enjoy. I cut the loaf down the middle and then sliced it and there were only 3 "pieces" left by the end of my shift. Josh, our downstairs manager, did admit to eating two pieces.

The only other personal note I have for the recipe is it indicates it makes 2 large loaves. I consider a large loaf the one made using a 9 x 5 - inch loaf pan. I prepared one and then two smaller loaf pans hoping to be able to have two smaller loaves to keep at home - one to eat now and one to freeze for later. Well, after filling the 9 x 5 - inch loaf pan, I only had enough to make one of the smaller loaves. I was using my Pyrex smaller loaf pans and not my metal mini loaf pans. The latter is about 3 x 4 - inches. You could probably fill two 8-1/2 x 4 - inch loaf pans.



BARBIE'S ZUCCHINI BREAD

3         eggs
1-3/4  cups sugar or 1/2 cup honey ( I used the honey)
1         cup oil
2        cups grated zucchini
1         teaspoon vanilla
1         teaspoon cinnamon
1         teaspoon baking soda
1         teaspoon baking powder
3        cups flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease 2 large loaf pans (8-1/2 x 4 - inch).

Combine first five ingredients until smooth - eggs, sugar or honey, oil, zucchini, and vanilla.



Add cinnamon, baking soda, and baking powder.



Gradually add flour and mix until thoroughly combined.



Pour batter into prepared pans.



Bake for 55 minutes. ( I baked the smaller loaf for 40 minutes.)







Cool on wire rack 5 minutes or so before removing to finish cooling.

Monday, September 19, 2016

CHOCOLATE REFRESHERS

Friend Kay made this delicious cake with this equally interesting name for us when we gathered at her house for an afternoon of canasta. I didn't ask her what the name meant or where she got the recipe. The name Chocolate Refreshers may have been chosen because the chocolate cake is surprisingly "refreshing".



CHOCOLATE REFRESHERS

1-1/4       cups sifted flour
3/4         teaspoon baking soda
1/2          teaspoon salt
1/2          cup butter (1 stick)
1-1/4       cup diced dates
3/4         cup packed brown sugar
1/2          cup water
1              cup chocolate chips
2             eggs
1/2          cup orange juice
1/2          cup milk
1              cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 15 x 10 x 1 - inch jelly roll pan.

Sift flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

Combine dates, brown sugar, water, and butter in large saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until dates soften. Remove from heat.

Stir in chocolate chips. (Cool)

Beat in eggs.

Add dry ingredients alternately with orange juice and milk. Blend thoroughly after each addition.

Stir in walnuts.

Spread batter in prepared jelly roll pan.

Bake for 25 - 30 minutes.

Cool.

Spread with glaze.

ORANGE GLAZE

1-1/2     cups sifted powdered sugar
2           tablespoons soft butter
1-2        teaspoons grated orange rind
2-3       teaspoons cream

Combine sugar, butter, and orange rind. Blend in cream until of spreading consistency.



NOTE: Kay actually cut the recipe in half and made it in a smaller 9 x 11 - inch baking pan. She said when she makes the full recipe, she uses a 9 x 13 - inch pan instead of a jelly-roll pan. The recipe was one of her mother's.

Friday, September 16, 2016

LEMON BUTTERMILK BARS

I know buttermilk turns some people off. I like to use buttermilk in recipes because I think it makes the dishes more moist. 

When I made these Lemon Buttermilk Bars to share with the volunteers at Hillcrest Thrift Shop on Wednesday, I didn't tell everyone they were "buttermilk bars". As different ones came by the register (after trying one), they all told me how much they liked the "lemon bars" I had brought. I didn't correct them. 

The lemon cake mix does give them a strong lemon taste and they do remind you somewhat of traditional lemon bars. Another great thing about them and something I always look for when I am skimming through recipes is they were so easy.

It is not unusual for me to make some changes in recipes I find and this one was not different. The recipe calls for 3/4 cup sugar in the "topping" and I decided the sugar in the lemon supreme cake mix would be plenty. I substituted stevia for the sugar and it worked out perfectly. 

The recipe came from one of my favorite cookbooks, Quick Fixes with Mixes - Cakes, Cookies, Bars & Goodies - Great tasting desserts made with mixes by Lia Wilson. I have made so many recipes from this cookbook. (and still have a bunch to make)


LEMON BUTTERMILK BARS

1       lemon cake mix with pudding
4      eggs
2      tablespoons oil
1       cup buttermilk
1/2   cup butter or margarine, melted
3/4  cup sugar or stevia
1       teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

Pour cake mix into large mixing bowl. Remove 1 cup and set aside.

Add 1 egg and oil with remaining cake mix in bowl; blend well.




Press batter into bottom of greased 9 x 13 - inch baking pan. 

Tip! When I have to do this and I know the mixture will be a thin layer, I drop most of it in small amounts around the bottom of the pan.
I leave a little for the end to fill in to the places that need it.

In another mixing bowl, beat the other 3 eggs, buttermilk, butter, sugar or stevia, and vanilla until well blended.

Slowly add the reserved 1 cup of cake mix and beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth (about 2 minutes).

Pour mixture over cake mix pressed in the pan.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until lightly browned on top.

Cool and then cut into bars.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

TENDER PEACH SCONES

I know I shared a recipe from King Arthur Flour with you yesterday (still really enjoying it also), but I saw this recipe for Peach Scones when I saw the one for Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread and copied it down also. Since peaches are ripe in the grocery store right now, I had to give them a try last Saturday.

The recipe only used one nice sized peach but they were full of bite sized pieces of peach. I don't often make scones because, personally, they are often dry tasting and I don't enjoy them as much. BUT these are not dry and really quite delicious, hot or cold.



TENDER PEACH SCONES

2             cups flour
1/2          teaspoon salt
1/4          cup sugar
1/4 - 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, to taste (I used 1/2 teaspoon)
1              tablespoon baking powder
6             tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
2             large eggs
1/3          cup vanilla yogurt or sour cream (I used sour cream)
1/2          teaspoon almond extract
1              cup diced peach, peeled or not, fresh, frozen/thawed, or canned (I peeled one fresh peach)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper. (I did the latter)


In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, nutmeg, and baking powder. Work in the butter, using your fingers, a fork, or a pastry cutter.



In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, yogurt or sour cream, and the almond extract.


Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. (This made a fairly dry ball of dough)


Add the peaches, stirring just until everything is combined. This is a wet sticky dough.
(I had trouble when I added the diced pieces of peach. I ended up using my finger to evenly distribute the peach pieces in the dough.)


Drop the dough by 1/4 cupfuls or use a muffin scoop. My medium sized ice cream scoop (maybe it is also called a muffin scoop) worked perfectly. I did have 13 muffins instead of 12.


Sprinkle the scones with sugar, if desired.


Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until light golden brown. Since I used the parchment paper, I did bake mine for 25 minutes.


Allow to cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet. Serve warm if you like or at room temperature after cooling on a wire rack. Store at room temperature, wrapped or freeze for longer storage.



Great served with some homemade peach jam.....