Sunday, August 14, 2016

Sunday Dessert ~ Scripture Cake

Scripture Cake was very popular in the 19th center, but around long before that.  It's definitely a favorite with Southern bakers and this "Southern baking transplant!"  The history says it was invented to bolster familiarity with the Bible.  All the ingredients are named in the Old Testament passages.  Instead of listing ingredients, like usual in recipes, the amount was given plus a Bible verse.  So, here is how the recipe was written, but fear not, I have give it below with the ingredient and the amount:-D

1/2 cup Judges 5:28
1 1/2 cups Jeremiah 6:20
3 (separated) Isaiah 10:14
2 cups Leviticus 24:5
2 tsp. Amos 4:5
1 tsp. Exodus 30:23
1 tsp. each 2 Chronicles 9:9
1/2 tsp. 2 Kings 2:20
1 cup Jeremiah 24:5
1 cup 2 Samuel 16:1
1/2 cup Genesis 43:11

There are a number of versions of Scripture Cake and this one I borrowed from Tammy Algood, author of the wonderful cookbook, Sunday Dinner in the South.  This cake makes a wonderful dessert and my hubby loved the spices, but it can also be served for tea time; another tradition we uphold.

Scripture Cake
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs, divided
1 T honey
1/2 cup water
2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground mace
1 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1 cup finely chopped figs
1 cup dark or golden raisins
1/2 cups chopped almonds

Preheat oven to 350F-degrees.  Spray a 10-cup Bundt pan (I used my new square one) with a baking spray or grease and flour and set aside.

In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar at high speed until light and fluffy.  Add egg yolks, one at a time while the mixer is running.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.  Add the honey and water and mix again.

In a separate bowl, mix the flour, spices and salt together.  Add the chopped figs, raisins, and almonds and toss to coat.  This step helps to ensure the fruit and nuts are equally distributed in the finished cake.

Add this mixture to the butter mixture.  Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into the batter.
Spoon evenly into prepared baking pan and bake for 40-50 minutes until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool about 10 minutes, then invert onto a serving platter.

Dust the top with confectioners' sugar and serve.  Garnish with fresh figs, if desired.

This time-honored dessert recipe, with its roots in Biblical learning was the perfect selection for Sunday dessert. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Apple Pie Bread Pudding

Bread pudding was something my mother made quite often.  It was her way of using up stale bread, especially homemade bread with no preservatives.  I saw this recipe on FB and it intrigued me, but of course, I did change it up a bit to make it.  I think my Mother would call this dessert "Poor Man's Apple Pie!"

Bread pudding is popular in many countries; in the Philippines it's made with bananas and in Mexico, it is served at Lent and called Capirotada.  Mostly it is a dessert, but I have been known to make a savory one as well.

Apple Pie Bread Pudding

6 slices of white bread, cut in cubes
3 large eggs
1/2 cup Half & Half
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
2 tsp. Apple Pie Spices (or you can use 1 T ground cinnamon)

In a bowl, whisk the eggs, half & half, vanilla and spices together.  Add the bread cubes and use a rubber spatula to make sure they are completely coated.
All the bread to sit while you fix the apple filling, soaking up all the liquid.  Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350F-degrees (175c).  I used a 10-inch iron skillet to bake mine pudding in, but you can use a round baking pan as well.  Place 4T of unsalted butter in the skillet and place it in the oven to melt. Remove from oven and spoon the bread into the pan, pressing down slightly.

Apple Filling:

3 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 T cornstarch

In the same bowl, place chopped apples, brown sugar and cornstarch in it.  Stir until the apples start to release their juices and the mixture is thoroughly combined.

Spoon on top of the bread cubes and pressing down lightly.  Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes or until the apples are soft and golden brown.

To serve, slice in wedges.  You can add a scoop of vanilla ice cream (I didn't have any) and drizzle with caramel sauce, which is what I did.  It was wonderful and brought back memories of my mom's bread puddings. Enjoy!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Peach Jam Bars and August's Give-Away Apron

Summer is sailing by and I have been busy, as usual.  First, I have a new release of dies coming out next week and so last week I was in Colorado shooting videos. Also, this month, our lovely grandchildren will be visiting us and getting ready for a week of fun and antics takes a lot of planning:-D  We're celebrating their birthdays, all at once, since we never get to be with them on their actual date...stay tune, it will be fun.

I've also tried to keep up with my "Jam" making and have over 40 jars of peach, 21 of strawberry, and 12 of Peach/Pineapple on the shelf.  I'm behind on doing blueberry, raspberry, or blackberry, but hope to tackle those fruits as well.  However, since the Peach Jam was so excellent this year, I decided to go back and make one of Kelly's favorite recipes-"Kelly's Jam Bars."  I've made them before, but using either strawberry or raspberry and thought today I'd try Peach.  Kelly made these so many times and you can read the story and recipe.  They turned out perfect--Enjoy!

August's apron can certainly be called "Pretty in Pink," one of Kelly's favorite movies.  I found the fabrics at one of our local quilt stores, "Wish Upon a Quilt," and fell in love with it.  You might guess that Paris is on my Bucket List!  I love the colors and if you'd like to be wearing this apron, make a comment on any of the posts this month and I will send #140 apron off to you. 

Saturday, August 6, 2016

July's Give-Away Apron Winner...

Running behind, as usual, so July's Apron winner is "Take Me There Totes."  Please email me your address and I will happily send this beautiful apron out to you.  I will have August's apron up either later today or tomorrow...I promise:-D

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Molasses Spice Cookies

Last weekend, my hubby and I tried a new restaurant in Raleigh for brunch; it was wonderful.  Irregardless is located in the downtown area, but nestled in more a residential setting rather than a business site.  When we first sat down, they brought us freshly squeezed orange juice and a basket of homemade breads--biscuits to a spiced pumpkin bread.  We both reached for the biscuits first, but after I had finished most of my meal, I broke off a piece of the thinly sliced pumpkin bread and literally couldn't stop eating it!  Really, how embarrassing, I ate 3 thin slices which I decided equaled the size of a slab of bread I'd normally have:-D I love those flavors and it made me realize how much I look forward to autumn so I can bake using them.  However, I thought, why should I wait and decided to bake a cookie today that I know my hubby loves just as much as I do...and, since I'm traveling to Colorado tomorrow, I can take a gift bag with some cookies that I know my friends will love too.

Molasses cookies, with their cracked exterior counterbalancing the uncommonly moist, soft and chewy texture comes from using butter, not shortening and adding an egg yolk rather than a whole egg for tenderness.  When using molasses, it's important to balance that assertive flavor with strong spices--cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and allspice.  Additionally, I added ground white pepper since I sometimes do that in my gingerbread.  Rolling the balls of dough in Sanding Sugar gives the finished cookies a sweet crunchy coating.

Molasses Spiced Cookies
12 T (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup light or dark molasses
1 large egg yolk
2 1/4 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground white pepper
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 375F-degree.  Line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside.  Place 1/2 cup of Sanding Sugar in a shallow dish and set aside.

In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the molasses, vanilla and egg yolk and increase speed to medium to beat until incorporated, about 20 seconds.  Whisk the flour, baking soda, and spices together.  On low speed, add the flour mixture; beat until just incorporated.
The dough will seem a little sticky, but don't add more flour.  Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and make sure there are not "pockets" of flour remaining.

Use a tablespoon-size scoop and drop into the Sanding Sugar.  Roll the ball into the sugar to coat.  Space balls about 2 inches apart on the parchment-lined sheets.

Bake in the preheated oven for 10-11 minutes until browned, still puffy, and have begun to set, but the centers are still soft.  Do not over bake!
 Remove from the oven and let cookies set on the sheet for 5 minutes.  Transfer to a rack to cool to room temperature before serving (or storing!)

Needless to say, my kitchen smelled like autumn was around the corner even though it's 96F degrees here today.  Enjoy! 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Peanut Butter Snickerdoodles

My mom baked peanut butter cookies and Snickerdoodles all the time, but never thought of combining these two flavors--my favorites.

Peanut Butter cookies date back to 1910 in the United States. George Washington Carver, an American agriculture educator who stressed that peanuts could replace the cotton crops that were damaged by Weevils for the farmers wrote a book, "How to Grow the Peanut and 105 Ways of Preparing it for Human Consumption" and in the book, there were three recipes for Peanut Butter Cookies.  However, it wasn't until 1932, published in the Schenectady Gazette that the criss-cross marks made with the tines of a fork appeared.  Pillsbury instructed cooks to do this because peanut butter cookie dough is dense and by pressing it with the fork, the cookie cooks more evenly.

Snickerdoodles are likely German in origin called Scheneckennudal.  Somewhat like a sugar cookie, except Cream of Tartar is substituted for baking soda and the cookie is rolled in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.  Cream of Tartar, chemically referred as Potassium bitartrate, crystallizes in wine casks during the fermentation of grape juice.  Removing these crystals and straining through cheesecloth is called beeswing.  The white powder is used in many culinary and household purposes. It gives the "crunch" is these Peanut Butter cookies that are normally soft and chewy.

Peanut Butter Snickerdoodles
1/4 cup (4T) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. Cream of Tartar
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt

1/4 cup granulated sugar
1T cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F-degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together for 5 minutes, until fluffy.  Add the peanut butter, vanilla, and egg and mix on medium until combines.  Scrape down sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.  Add the dry ingredients and mix on low until combined; the dough will be stiff.

Form 1-inch balls from the dough and roll in the sugar/cinnamon mixture.
Place on the parchment lined baking sheet, about 2-inches apart.  Use a dinner fork to create the criss-cross pattern.  Bake for 10-12 minutes until brown.
These recipes makes almost 3 dozen.  Now, grab a glass of milk, take a bite and imagine you're a kid again coming home from school and mom has baked cookies.  Enjoy!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Sunday Dessert ~ Lemon Icebox Cheesecake

Just the word "Icebox" sounds perfect for these hot summer days.  First introduced during World War I,  the Icebox Cake is derived from similar desserts like a Trifle or Charlotte.  It became popular in the 20s and 30s because of the shortcuts and pre-made ingredients involved.  In fact, many cookie companies started printing directions for the IceBox Cake on the back of their packages.  I used the new Oreo Lemon Cookies as my base to give this dessert an even more lemony taste since the amount of lemon juice is "dialed back" on this icebox version because the heat of the oven in a baked cheesecake mellows the tartness of it.
My sister would agree that Mom made the best Lemon Glazed Cheesecake, but I have to say with the temperatures in the 90s and humidity higher, this icebox version is just as satisfying...just saying!

Lemon Icebox Cheesecake

10 lemon sandwich cookies (you can use graham cracker crumbs too)
2 tsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp. grated lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350F-degrees.  In a food processor, process cookies until finely ground. Add butter and zest and pulse until combined.  Press mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan, lightly sprayed with a baking spray.  Bake until lightly browned and set, about 10 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack, at least 30 minutes.

Lemon Curd:
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt
2 T lemon juice
1 T unsalted butter
1 T heavy cream

While crust is cooling, whisk the egg, egg yolk, sugar and salt together in a small saucepan.  Add lemon juice and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until thick and pudding like, about 3 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in butter and cream.  Press through fine-mesh strainer into small bowl and refrigerate until needed.

1 envelop (2 3/4 tsp.) unflavored gelatin
1/4 cups lemon juice (approx 2 lemons)
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 1/2 lbs (3-8 oz) cream cheese, cut into 1-inch pieces and softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream, at room temperature

Combine lemon juice and gelatin in a small bowl and let stand until gelatin softens, about 5 minutes.  Microwave until mixture is bubbling around edges and gelatin dissolves, about 30 seconds.  Set aside.

In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese, sugar, and salt until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, about 2 minutes.  Slowly add cream and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add gelatin mixture and 1/4 cup curd, increase speed to medium high, and beat until smooth and airy, about 3 minutes.

Pour filling into cooled crust and smooth top.  Pour thin lines (mine were too chunky!) on top of the filling and lightly drag a paring knife or wooden skewer through lines to create marbled appearance.  Refrigerate until set, at least 6 hours.  Remove sides of the pan and serve.

Leftover cheesecake can be covered in plastic wrap and kept refrigerated for up to 3 days...if it lasts that long.  Enjoy!