Posts Tagged ‘baking’

Cranberry Brown Sugar Cookies – Like Little Fruity Cakes

I found the recipe for Cranberry Brown Sugar Cookies on the back of a package of Domino Brown Sugar. I cut it out and put it in my to do pile of IMG_3021recipes for a good long while. I finally got around to making them and they are delish. The cookies are not too sweet and are more like little mini fruity cakes than cookies. I also decided that the raisins and cranberries in them gave me a serving of fruit for the day so I completely chowed down without regret.

Here’s how you make them.

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (although I used Vanilla Yogurt)
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  1. Heat oven to 400 F and lightly grease your cookie sheets.
  2. Beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs and sour cream (or yogurt); beat until creamy.
  3. Stir together flour, baking soda, salt cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in a small bowl. Gradually add to sugar mixture beating until well mixed.
  4. Stir in cranberries and raisins.
  5. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheets (they don’t flatten out so you can put them pretty close).
  6. Bake 8-10 minutes until lightly browned.

Oh So Good Chocolate Nut Biscotti

As a former teacher I think I have the right to say that teachers love a treat…. especially food! When I worked in a school and the word was put out that there were donuts, or cake, or fruit, or burritos or really anything in the teacher’s lounge you had better get your running shoes on because if you didn’t get there early the gettin’ was gone. At the school my kiddos go to the PTA must have heard the word on teachers liking goodies. The first Friday of each month they put out a spread in the teacher’s lounge to celebrate all the teacher birthday’s for that month. So I do my part – every other month or so I bake.

I sometimes just whip up a box of brownies, but more often than not, I use this opportunity to try a new recipe. Last month I tried Chocolate Nut Biscotti.

I really like Biscotti – it’s especially fun to dip it in coffee – but I’ve never made it. I found this recipe on the inside wrapper of a bar of Ghirardelli baking chocolate and I thought I’d give it a go. Not only was it pretty easy to make (even though there are MANY steps) it was DELISH. So delish that I sent half to my kid’s school and the other half to work with My Man so I wouldn’t gorge on the chocolatey goodness. There’s coffee and lots of butter in the dough and it’s dipped in chocolate. Seriously worth making.

Because the recipe was from a Ghirardelli wrapper, of course it’s going to tell you to use their chocolate, but if you have a favorite brand I’m sure it’ll do too. The recipe makes about 30 biscotti.

Be sure after making these that you store them in the fridge. If you keep them at room temperature the chocolate gets all melty (at least it did in my house).

Ghirardelli Chocolate Nut Biscotti

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 TBS instant coffee
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (I used almonds)
  • 1 bar(4 oz) Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Baking Bar, melted (I think that this is a fancy way of saying semi-sweet. I melted the bar in the microwave)


  • 2 bars (8 oz) Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Baking Bars
  1. Preheat oven to 325F
  2. Lightly butter and flour a large baking sheet
  3. Stir in eggs, instant coffee, and vanilla in a small bowl until well blended, set aside.
  4. Mix the flour baking powder and salt in a medium bowl, set aside.
  5. Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer set on medium speed until light and fluffy
  6. Beat in the egg mixture
  7. Gradually add the flour mixture, beating well after each addition.
  8. Stir in the nuts and chocolate.
  9. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions.
  10. On a lightly floured surface, shape the dough into two logs, each 14″ long, 1 1/2″ wide and 1″ thick.
  11. Place the logs 4″ apart on the prepared baking sheet.
  12. Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned.
  13. After cooling, cut each log diagonally into 3/4″ thick slices.
  14. Bake for an additional 12 minutes or until slightly dry.


  1. Melt chocolate
  2. Dip each of the biscotti halfway into the melted chocolate
  3. Place the biscotti on a wax paper-lined tray.
  4. Refrigerate until the chocolate is firm.

If you give this a try, let me know – I’m always curious to see if y’all like what I do.

Cornmeal Buns AKA 3 Hour Rolls

Stockpile of Frozen Buns

I have a cookbook made by Better Homes and Gardens that is called Test Kitchen Favorites. It is not my favorite book, and I don’t go back to it time and time again, but every once in a while I whip it out to find something new. It has recipes organized by era (very interesting to see what was tasty in the 30’s as opposed to what we eat now – lots more butter!) I was in a baking mood and I found this recipe for Cornmeal Buns (50’s & 60’s era). It is time-consuming (any yeast rolls are – rise and pound and all that) and yields way more rolls then my family of 4 will eat (froze the rest) but they are yummy. They taste kind of like a normal old dinner roll, but the corn meal gives them some texture that adds crunch, in a good way.

Cornmeal Buns

  • 6 – 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 2 1/4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
  1. In a large mixing bowl combine 3 cups of the flour and the yeast. In a saucepan heat milk, sugar, butter, and salt just until warm(115F – 120F), stirring constantly to melt butter. Add milk mixture to flour mixture in mixing bowl; add eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on low-speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly. Beat on high-speed for 3 minutes. Beat in cornmeal at low-speed. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much remaining flour as you can.
  2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (6 to 8 minutes total). Shape dough into a ball. Place in a greased bowl; turn once. Cover; let rice in a warm place until doubled in size (1- 1 1/4 hours). Grease 36 muffin cups.
  3. Punch down dough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Shape into 72 balls (I know… it seems like a lot but it goes quickly, I promise!). Place 2 balls in each prepared muffin cup. Cover; let rise until dearly double (50 – 60 minutes).
  4. Bake at 375F for 12 – 15 minutes or until rolls are golden brown. Immediately remove from cups to wire racks. Serve warm or cool. Makes 36 buns.

If you don’t have 36 muffin cups: Place shaped dough balls on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet; cover with plastic wrap and chill while the first batch rises and bakes. After removing the baked rolls from the muffin cups, wash pan, grease, and refill with chilled dough. cover, let rise, and bake as above.

How I changed the recipe: I can never follow a recipe exactly! I used soy milk instead of cow.

My tip: Whenever I need a warm place for dough to rise I use my oven. I turn it on while I’m mixing my ingredients and then turn it off. When I’m ready for my dough to rise the warm place is ready!

Impending Doom Makes Me Want to Bake

Best chocolate chip cookies I've made in decades.

Image via Wikipedia

I felt my first earthquake. I didn’t just feel a slight tremor from 500 miles  away –I live in the state where it occurred. I know that Californians, left and right, are totally making fun of the amount of attention we East Coasters have given to this past Tuesday’s smallish seismic event… but if it’s new territory, it’s new territory… and feeling the ground beneath you swell is out of the ordinary for Virginia.

I’ve been a Virginian for just about 7 weeks, and in the days following  the quake (as everyone and their mother were discussing) all those who have lived here for years have assured me that stuff like this doesn’t happen.

Details: I was outside pulling weeds. My kids were in the house, upstairs, watching movies on my iPad. I heard a rumble and thought, what’s that? Explosion? Then saw the ground move and KNEW it was an earthquake. I was really in a panic to get to my kids as fast as I could. I jumped over a large bucket full of weeds, ran through a gate, around my house, and to my front door. By the time I got to the door the entire thing was over and my kids were at the door saying, “what was that?” and I in a bit of a frenzy shouted, “are you OK? It was an earthquake, come outside. ” I was a shook up, literally and figuratively. My biggest fear was that my children would be hurt and I wasn’t right there to stop that from happening.  They were fine, I was fine, the dog and cat were fine; the only casualties were two framed photos that leaped off my shelves and broke to smithereens.

My children weren’t scared at all. If they hear thunder they are on high alert (living in the land of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes for most of their childhood has taught them a thing or two) but the entire house shaking around them meant nothing. There were lots of questions and discussion about what to do if there was ever another. Two nights ago there was an aftershock at 1AM. I was asleep and probably would have slept through it if it wasn’t for a screaming child running down the stairs yelling earthquake. Buddy was following my directions of getting out of the house but the entire thing was over by the time I made it out of my room.

If the earthquake wasn’t enough of an event for the week, Miss Hurricane Irene is headed my direction. I’m far enough in-land that the National Weather Service has my county in a tropical storm warning… but there are trees everywhere… and I have a feeling that the winds that will be blowing through will do their share of damage… both to the homes and cars of those around me and to the power lines. I’m wishing I had let My Man get a generator when he tossed around the idea a few years back.

So, I’m going to bake some chocolate chip cookies tomorrow. There is something about the idea of being stuck in the house, that makes me want to bake. I’m pretty sure the last blizzard I was in produced some cookies as well. I just want to be sure to get them made before the power goes out.