Thursday, July 13, 2017

APRICOT BARS

Candy-like topping over delicious shortbread crust—gotta love it! These store well and are better eight or more hours after baking.





Apricot  Bars
Makes 16

2/3 cup dried apricots
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/4 cup fine granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 eggs at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup shredded coconut

1. Butter 8x8-inch baking pan.
2. Rinse apricots, cover with water, and boil 10 minutes. Drain, cool, and chop.
3. Combine 1 cup flour and granulated sugar. Blend in butter until crumbly, using fork or pastry blender. Press mixture into bottom of prepared pan.
4. Bake crust at 350°F. until lightly browned, about 18 minutes.
5. Beat eggs and vanilla, and then gradually beat in brown sugar.
6. Sift remaining 1/3 cup flour with baking powder and salt.
7. Blend flour mixture into egg mixture.
8. Stir in walnuts, coconut, and apricots. Spread over baked crust.
9. Bake in 350°F. oven for 30 to 35 minutes.

10. Cool completely before cutting into 16 bars.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

CLASSIC BRAN MUFFINS

Committed to eating more fiber, I plan to make a batch of these muffins each week and then to freeze most of them. Each night that I don't have fresh muffins, I will remove two muffins from the freezer and place them in a plastic tub to thaw overnight. The next day, I will eat the thawed muffins as a treat, not necessarily for breakfast.

Note that doubling the recipe would be a cinch.




Classic  Bran  Muffins
Makes 12


1 cup buttermilk
1 12 
cups wheat bran
1 egg
13 
cup vegetable oil
12 cup brown sugar
34 teaspoon baking powder
34 
teaspoon baking soda
12 teaspoon salt
34 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 cup all-purpose flour
12 cup whole-wheat flour
12 
cup raisins, shredded coconut, or chopped walnuts or pecans



1.    In quart-sized measuring cup, measure buttermilk. Add bran and stir. Let mixture stand for 10 minutes.

2.    In medium-large bowl, beat egg.
3.             
3.  To beaten egg, add vegetable oil, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and vanilla. Beat by hand until well-blended.

4.  Add bran mixture and stir well.

5.  Gently stir in all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, and raisins, coconut, or nuts.

6.  Distribute batter among 12 greased or paper-lined muffin tins.

7.  Bake in 375°F. oven for 15 to 18 minutes or until muffins pass toothpick test.




     NOTE: These freeze well.

Friday, March 24, 2017

PIGS IN A PRETZEL BLANKET

These were a huge hit when I took them to a potluck. I used Hillshire Farm Lit'l Smokies. My dough didn't rise well, partly because I cheated on the rising time and partly because my yeast was old, yet the appetizers still were delicious.




Pigs  in  a  Pretzel  Blanket
Serves 10

1 cup water at 110°F.
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/4 cup honey
3 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
Canola or vegetable oil
1 14-ounce package cocktail franks or smoked sausage
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
Honey mustard for dipping

1. Measure warm water in a 2-cup measuring cup. Stir in yeast and a teaspoon of the honey. Let stand for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in medium-sized bowl, combine bread flour and 1 teaspoon salt.
3. Blend remainder of honey into yeast mixture.
4. Pour yeast-honey mixture into flour mixture. Stir well with wooden spoon.
5. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface, and knead for 10 minutes.
6. Place dough in lightly oiled medium-sized bowl, turning dough to oil top. Cover bowl, and let rise until dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
7. Punch down dough, re-cover, and let rise another 30 minutes.
8. Divide dough into 32 pieces. Roll or pat each piece of dough into rough rectangles, approximately 1.5 inches by 3 inches.
9. Place each frank or sausage along short side of dough rectangle, and roll dough around it, pinching the long end to seal. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
10. Combine poppy seeds with kosher salt. Lightly brush each appetizer with beaten egg. Sprinkle with poppy seeds and salt.

11. Bake in 450°F. oven until golden brown, 10 to 14 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with honey mustard for dipping.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

CRANBERRY SCONES

This makes a small batch of scones, so feel free to double the recipe. It is a good recipe for a beginning cook, but be sure not to overwork the dough, creating tough scones.

Cranberry  Scones
Serves 4

1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup cold butter
3 tablespoons milk
1 egg, beaten and divided
¼ cup dried cranberries
½ teaspoon coarse sugar


1. In small bowl, combine flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt.
2. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
3. In another small bowl, combine milk and 2 tablespoons of beaten egg.
4. Add egg–milk mixture to crumb mixture and stir just until moistened.
5. Stir in cranberries.
6. Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface; knead gently six to eight times.
7. Pat dough into 6-inch circle. Then cut into four wedges.
8. Place wedges on lightly buttered baking sheet. Brush unbaked scones with remaining egg, and then sprinkle with coarse sugar.
9. Bake in 425°F. oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.



NOTE: The dough should be rather dry; baked scones will be fine.

 May cut into smaller pieces and bake for 12 minutes.

 May add white chocolate chips or chopped pecans.
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