Tuesday, December 12, 2017

DATE BARS

Last week I started prep work on a crown on one of my back molars. I started taking goodies to my dentist and his staff last year. (I needed another place to bake and take something I wanted to share with you here.) Well, last week I was all consumed with the fire in Ventura, CA and didn't get anything made before I went. (We lived in Ventura for 21 years before we moved to Kansas City 9 years ago. It has just been devastating and so surreal. Three of the teachers I taught with lost their houses in the fire.) I felt badly about my neglect, but then when I lost my temporary and had to go back two days later, I thought I would take them something. (I had told Dee, the receptionist, that I would bring them something when I came back to get my permanent crown.

The important thing is I had good intentions; I just didn't look at the clock when I started them. Turned out, the timer went off like 2 minutes before I needed to leave for the dentist. I had just enough time to remove them from the oven and cut them into bars, but they were too hot to take to the dentist. I did take a picture and showed it to them when I got there. (I know ... that was really tacky of me.) I promised them I would bring something really special when my crown is ready. (I have a recipe for chocolate covered cherries I want to make.

Because there is no tooth behind the molar, Dr. G told me the temporary might come off again. I hope not. I told him I didn't plan to eat on it like I did before. I'm hoping the permanent crown will come back earlier than my appointment and they can schedule me to come in later this week. It is not fun eating everything on one side of the mouth.

Since I didn't take any to my dentist office, I gave four bars to Friends Janice and Leon when Janice and I went out shopping Friday. She was going to stop me at two, but decided she wanted one to eat with her coffee the next morning. Later that night as I was enjoying one, I found a small date pit in the bar. I sent Janice a text to warn her to eat softly just in case and she said all was well and they had already eaten them all. Guess she didn't get to enjoy one with her coffee Saturday morning. Saturday night when our Tasty Bunch met, the first thing Leon told me was how much he enjoyed those date things I made.

I found the recipe in Louise Durman's Just Desserts, a  compilation of recipes from the Knoxville News - Sentinel. They were really, really good. I am sorry I didn't start them early enough to take some to Dr. G and his staff.



DATE BARS

3/4       cup sifted flour
1/2       teaspoon baking powder
1/2       teaspoon salt
1          cup brown sugar (I removed 6 teaspoonfuls)
1/4       cup shortening, melted (I used canola oil instead)
2          eggs, beaten
1          cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
1          cup chopped dates

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or spray a 7 x 11 - inch pan.


Sift flour and
then measure,
add baking powder and salt and sift the three ingredients together.


Combine sugar with the flour mixture.
(I removed 6 teaspoons of brown sugar from the cup.)


Mix melted shortening (or oil) with beaten eggs then
combine the mixture with the dry ingredients.
Mix in nuts and dates.
Pour into pan and
bake for 30 minutes.
Cut bars while still hot with a sharp knife.



Monday, December 11, 2017

PIGOUT CAKE

Are you ready for a most unusual cake? This is not your regular chocolate cake. I took the cake to Hillcrest Thrift Shop to share with the volunteers last Tuesday. One of the volunteers came out of the community room eating a piece and said, "I don't know who made this but this is delicious!" Another volunteer told her I had made it. Then I told her what it was called - Pigout Cake and she laughed and said, "Well, that is what I am doing...pigging out on it."

I have never seen a cake made like this using a cake mix. The water gives it a different, more dense texture, but oh so good. Then add the frosting, and omg...perfection. In fact, Volunteer Roger came by the register and told me I had outdone myself on the dessert.

The recipe in Best of the Best from Iowa was from the cookbook Home Cooking with the Cummer Family. This cookbook contains over 400 recipes from 89 different cookbooks that they call the best of Iowa. As of 1998 there were 24 Best of the Best cookbooks from 23 different states (Texas has two.) I have one or two of them. I haven't really done them justice checking them out, but I must. Until then... I hope you will give this Pigout Cake a chance.

I used some sugar free products when I made the cake. I didn't use a sugar free yellow cake mix but could have reduced the calories even more if I had.



PIGOUT CAKE

1       yellow cake mix (You could use a sugar free yellow cake mix)
1       package instant (milk) chocolate pudding (4 serving size) (I used a sugar free mix)
2       cups lukewarm water
2       egg whites, slightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or spray a 9 x 13 - inch pan.


Combine cake mix and pudding in a large mixing bowl.


Add water and egg whites. (Just whisk the egg whites til lots of bubbles.)


Mix well.


Pour batter in cake pan and spread out evenly.


Bake for 25 to 35 minutes. 

Cool cake slightly in pan on wire rack.






Remove from pan and place on serving plate or covered plastic container.

Frost with frosting when completely cool.

FROSTING

1/4     cup softened butter
1        cup powdered sugar, sifted
1       (8 ounce) container of whipped topping (I used a sugar free one)

Heath or Skor candy bar, crushed (I used a little toffee brittle bits)


Beat butter and powdered sugar together until nice and smooth. (Make sure butter is soft.)


Fold in whipped topping.


Spread frosting on top and sides of the cake.


Sprinkle crushed candy bits on top.

Store in the refrigerator, covered.



Friday, December 8, 2017

APPLE CINNAMON OATMEAL CASSEROLE

I have made baked oatmeal before, but this Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Casserole from the Bennett House Bed & Breakfast in the historic district of Old Town Manassas might be my favorite. So many baked oatmeal casseroles are on the dry side. This one definitely isn't. It was very moist and warmed up nicely in the microwave. I ate mine alone, but my husband added his to his yogurt for breakfast.

I found the recipe in a cookbook I bought on one of our trips to Virginia appropriately named Virginia Bed & Breakfast Cookbook. Innkeepers, Jean and Curtis Harrover, said "the dish is loved by low-cal eaters. Skim milk may be used along with sugar and salt substitutes". I did use skim milk and also truvia brown sugar blend and substituted dried cranberries for the raisins. I also added the ingredients that they labeled optional.


APPLE CINNAMON OATMEAL CASSEROLE

2       cups milk or half & half (I used skim milk)
1/4    cup packed brown sugar (I used 2 tablespoons brown sugar blend)
1       tablespoon butter
1/2    teaspoon salt
1       cup quick-cooking oats
2       tablespoons cinnamon (optional)
1       cup chopped peeled apple (optional) 
1/2    cup chopped nuts (optional) (I used walnuts)
1/2    cup raisins (optional) (I used dried cranberries)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a medium casserole dish. (I used a casserole dish about 7 x 11 - inches)

Combine milk, brown sugar, butter, and salt in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.
Bring to a simmer, cooking until butter is melted and combined, then remove from heat.

Put oats in casserole.
Stir in milk mixture that you have added the cinnamon to, apple, nuts and dried fruit.
(Make sure ingredients are spread out evenly in casserole.)


Bake for 20 to 30 minutes. (I cooked mine the full amount of time.)


Thursday, December 7, 2017

CRANBERRY CHEESECAKE MUFFINS

I didn't make these to give to someone for Christmas. We just enjoyed them ourselves. Don't get me wrong. They would be good to bake and then give to someone. I guess that is what the authors of Favorite Brand Name Gifts From The Christmas Kitchen intended when they included the recipe in their book.

I enjoy just about anything that is cranberry and orange together and these muffins weren't disappointing. He didn't say much, but I think (from the way he ate them) that my husband really, really liked them.



CRANBERRY CHEESECAKE MUFFINS

1       3 - oz pkg cream cheese, softened
1/4    cup sugar, divided
1       cup milk (I used skim milk)
1/3    cup oil
1       egg
1       pkg cranberry orange muffin & quick bread mix

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease or spray 12 muffin cups.

Beat cream cheese and 2 tablespoons sugar in small bowl until well blended. 
Combine milk, oil, and egg in large bowl;
beat with a fork or whisk until blended.
Stir in quick bread mix just until dry ingredients are moistened.
Fill muffin cups 1/4 full with batter. (I used my cookie scoop which holds 1 tablespoon of water and put two scoops in each cup.)
Drop about a teaspoonful of the cream cheese mixture in the center of each cup.
Spoon the rest of the batter over the cream cheese mixture.

Sprinkle each muffin with the remaining sugar.
Bake 17 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes.
Remove from muffin cups to wire rack to cool.


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

BLUEBERRY COFFEE CAKE

Last week I made some Cranberry Orange Coffee Cake (recipe from the Biltmore Estate in Ashville, NC) and took them to share with the rest of our Sunday school class who were being the Hospitality Team at church. I took them because one of our members, Mike, had asked if I had brought anything the week before. (Not sure why he thought I would have because it is not something I normally do, but he asked.) So I decided to make the scones and surprise them. Well, Mike really enjoyed the scones, but he told me he preferred blueberries. Well, Saturday  when I had some free time, I decided to look to see if I could find a recipe using blueberries. 

I found the recipe of Marlene Lenz of New London, IA in the 40th Reunion Limited Edition Midwest Old Threshers Cookbook from 1989. While a couple of people passed, everyone who ate it, raved about it. (I had cut two pieces for us before we left the house to eat later so I ended up giving what was left to Friend Fran to take home to enjoy later. She later sent me a text that the coffee cake was delicious.)

Because I am used to eating "sweets" less sweet, I thought it was very sweet. I even reduced the sugar some. I ate a little bit before we left the house to make sure it was okay. When I told my husband it was really sweet, he said he knew the class was going to like it. (ha)



BLUEBERRY COFFEE CAKE

1       cup sugar (I removed 6 teaspoonfuls from the cup)
1/2    cup margarine (I used unsalted butter)
2       cups flour
2       teaspoons baking powder
1       egg (beaten in a 1 - cup measuring cup, then finish filling the cup with milk)
                *       *       *       *
1       can blueberry pie filling
                *       *       *       *
1       cup sugar (I removed 6 teaspoonfuls from the cup)
1       cup flour
1/2    cup margarine (I used unsalted butter)
                *       *       *       *
Nuts (I used walnuts)
                *       *       *       *
 Powdered sugar frosting (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease or spray a 9 x 13 - inch baking pan.


Mix the first five ingredients - sugar, butter, flour, baking powder, egg, and milk. (I know that is six, but they didn't list the milk along as an ingredient.) together and
spread into pan.
(I sliced the butter and heated it in the microwave for 10 seconds to softened it a little.)


Cover with the blueberry filling.
(I dropped "blobs" around and then spread them together.)


Mix together the sugar, flour, and butter. (This mixture will be crumbly. The mixer does an excellent job for this. I did slice the butter and heated in microwave for 10 seconds to softened a little.)


Top the blueberry filling with the crumbly mixture. 


Sprinkle with nuts.
(I just cut up a few walnuts.)


Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. (I did bake mine the full 40 minutes.)


You may "frost" the coffee cake with powdered sugar icing after removing from the oven.
(I sifted a little powdered sugar and added enough milk to make it the consistency I wanted to be able to drizzle it on. It doesn't need a lot because it is personally very sweet to me.)


I misread the recipe and sprinkled the nuts over the pie filling...


I just chopped some more and sprinkled them on top of the crumbs. That meant I had a few more nuts then.