Cookies Make Everything Better

Cookies Make Everything Better

Cookies make everything better! Cracked sugar cookies are a classic, buttery, chewy sugar cookie. Everyone loves them!

Special Equipement:

Cookie Baking Tips:

  • Start with room-temperature unsalted butter and eggs
  • Chill dough for 30 minutes to 1 hour before baking
  • Scoop dough with a cookie scooper so that each cookie is the same size and bakes evenly
  • Set a timer, check cookies for doneness
  • Remove from oven, set cookie sheet on a wire rack for 5 or so minutes
  • Remove cookies from cookie sheet and place directly on wire racks; set aside until completely cool
  • Bake some today!

    Cracked Sugar Cookies

    Pure and simple sugar cookies - loved by all!

    Prep Time 30 minutes
    Cook Time 10 minutes
    Servings 3 dozen

    Ingredients

    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
    • 2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed firmly
    • 1 egg, room temperature
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla

    Pour 1 cup of Turbinado sugar into a wide bowl or pie plate. Roll dough balls in the sugar and place on the cookie sheet. Bake.

    Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 375Fº.

    2. Whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt; set aside.

    3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter, sugar and brown sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla.

    4. Add the flour mixture to the butter/egg mixture, mix until blended.

      Chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

    5. Scoop dough with a cookie scooper. Roll in sugar. Place on Silicone lined cookie sheet, spacing apart because the cookies will spread during baking!

    6. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

    7. Cool cookie sheets on wire racks for 5 minutes.

      Remove cookies from cookie sheets and set on wire racks to cool completely.

    8. Happy baking!

 

Cheaper By The Dozen

Cheaper By The Dozen

Cheaper by the dozen . . . and more delicious! Surprisingly homemade bagels are better than 99% of the bagels available at grocery stores and bakeries.

During quarantine, there has been a recent surge in homemade bread baking. So if you are looking for a new bread recipe, this one’s for you!

After testing several bagel recipes for the best one, we discovered a few special techniques and ingredients that drastically improve the bagels’ flavor and texture. Try this recipe . . . in no time at all you will be a champion bagel baker!Homemade Bagels

The Secret Ingredient:

  • Non-diastatic malt powder.  It is a sweet derivative of roasted barley. It gives the bagels their distinctive shiny crust. Add it to the dough and to the water bath.

The Secret Techniques:

  • After the second rise, gently press a whole into the center of each bagel.
  • Drop the bagels in a gently simmering water bath with non-diastatic malt powder.
  • Cool and roll in your favorite topping.

Favorite topping:

Why bread flour? 

  • The bread flour creates a chewy texture.

What if bread flour is unavailable?

  • No problem . . . all-purpose flour may be substituted for bread flour.
  • Simply, measure 4 cups of all-purpose flour, take out 2 tablespoons of the flour and replace it with 2 tablespoons of vital wheat gluten.

Special Equipment:

* Susan Apple, Inc. Jade Linen Dress

Bagels

Impress you friends and family with these soft on the inside, chewy on the outside, bagels. Bagel-making techniques are easy to master for novice or experienced bread bakers.

Bake them for less than $3 or buy them for $20 per dozen!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 3 hours
Servings 12 bagels

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons non-diastatic malt powder
  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water - not exceeding 110Fº

Water bath: 2 quarts water and 2 tablespoons non-diastatic malt powder

Toppings to add before baking: Everything Bagel Topping by King Arthur Flour®, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dried onion flakes, or your favorite topping

Vegetable oil and cornmeal for baking sheets

Your favorite cream cheese to spread on the plain or toasted bagels.

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine all of the dough ingredients. Beat for a couple of minutes. Switch the attachment to the dough hook and continue mixing until the dough "thwaps" the side of the bowl. The dough will be quite stiff.

  2. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with a clean, damp dish towel; set aside to rise for 1 - 1 1/2 hours. The dough will become puffy.

  3. Preheat the oven to 425Fº.

  4. Generously sprinkle corn meal onto a Silicone Baking Liner Mat placed on a jelly roll pan; set aside.

  5. Pour the toppings into individual pie plates or bowls; set aside.

  6. Prepare the water bath by heating the water and the non-diastatic malt powder to a gently simmering boil in a large, wide-diameter pan.

  7. Transfer the dough to a Silicone Baking Liner Mat. With a pastry scraper, divide into 12 equal potions. Roll each portion or shape into a smooth, round ball. Place the balls on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Cover with a clean dish towel; set aside for 30 minutes.

  8. With your thumb poke a hole in the center of each dough, and form into a bagel shape. (The center doesn't need to be too large).

  9. Drop the bagels into the water three at a time. Let them simmer for a minute, flip over, then simmer for another minute. Remove with a slotted spoon, return to the oiled sheet to dry for just a couple of minutes. Continue with the remainder of the dough balls.

  10. Dip the bagels one at a time into the toppings. Arrange on the prepared cornmeal-sprinkled baking sheet.

  11. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, until golden brown.

    Serve with your favorite cream cheese. Enjoy!

  12. Store in an air-tight container for up to one week.

Recipe Notes

What if I don't have bread flour?

No worries. You can substitute all-purpose flour for bread flour. Measure 4 cups of all-purpose flour. Remove 2 tablespoons of the flour and replace with 2 tablespoons of vital wheat gluten.

 

We Eat Cake Because . . .

We Eat Cake Because . . .

We eat cake . . . because it’s the 4th of July. Inspired by the American flag, I am decorating this white party cake with buttercream icing, blueberries and strawberries.Flag Cake Preparation

Happy Birthday America!

*My Texas Kitchen apron by Yelladawg_creative

*Susan Apple, Inc. Red Linen Top

Flag Cake

Moist and delicious. This is a great cake recipe for your 4th of July celebration!

Tips:

*For the best results, be sure the butter and eggs are room temperature.

*Cake flour should always be sifted before measuring.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Cream Cheese Frosting: 2 cups(4 sticks) unsalted butter, 1 8oz. package cream cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 2-pound bag confectioners' sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350Fº.

    Grease and place a piece of parchment paper(9X13) of a 9 X 13 sheet pan; set aside.

  2. In a mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt; sift into another mixing bowl, repeat for a total of 4 times; set aside.

  3. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each one is added.

  4. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk and vanilla.

  5. Pour into the prepared pan.

  6. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

  7. Cool on a wire rack.

  8. Invert cake onto a 9 X 13 cake board; remove parchment paper and cool completely.

    While the cake is cooling, make the frosting and wash the blueberries and strawberries. Spread out on a paper towel lined jelly roll pan; set aside to dry completely.

    Slice the strawberries.

  9. Decorating the Flag Cake:

    1. Frost the sides and top of the cake.

    2. Place blueberries and sliced strawberries on the cake.

    3. Add an Ateco® star tip #826 to a pastry bag. Fill it /2 full with icing. Pipe the stripes onto the cake.

    4. Add an Ateco® star tip #30 to a pastry bag. Fill it /2 full with icing. Pipe the stripes onto the cake.

Frosting: Cream the butter and the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the salt and vanilla. Mix. Gradually add the confectioner's sugar and mix together.

Sometimes You Just Need A Cake

Sometimes You Just Need A Cake

Sometimes you just need a cake . . . Angel Food Cake is our cake of the day!

This recipe is a winner! It won a blue ribbon in the State Fair of Texas cake contest. 

The delicate and beloved Angel Food Cake is a timeless American Cake. Sometime around the 1830’s, the first Angel Food cakes were made by the frugal Pennsylvania Dutch cooks. After making noodles with dozens of egg yolks, they couldn’t bear to throw away the egg whites. So they came up with a new cake made of stiffly beaten egg whites and a few simple ingredients. The AngelFood Cake was born!

A few simple Angel Food Cake Tips.

Angel Food Cake

This award-winning cake won a blue ribbon at the 2007 State Fair of Texas cake contest!

Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1 3/4 cups egg whites (10-12), room temperature
  • 1 t. cream of tartar
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups superfine sugar

Frosting: 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup Karo® syrup, 4 tablespoons water, 4 egg whites (room temperature), 1 t. cream or tartar, 1/4 t. salt and 2 t. vanilla

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º.

  2. Sift together the cake flour, confectioners' sugar, and salt; set aside.

  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites until frothy; add the cream of tartar and continue beating to soft-peak stage. Gradually adding 1 1/2 cups sugar; whisk until the mixture is stiff but not dry.

  4. Sift one half of the flour/sugar mixture over the egg whites; fold in lightly. Sift the other half of the flour/sugar mixture over the egg whites and fold in lightly.

  5. Pour into the ungreased round tube pan.

  6. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes.

  7. Remove form the oven, invert onto a funnel over a wire cooling rack and cool.

    Once cool, turn out of the pan. Ice with the frosting.

Frosting: Mix the sugar, Karo® syrup, and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cook until mixture reaches 242ºF on a candy thermometer. Meanwhile beat the egg whites until frothy, add the cream of tartar and continue beating until stiff peaks form (but not dry). Pour hot syrup very slowly in a thin stream into the beaten egg whites until firm, soft peaks form. Gradually adding the salt and vanilla during the mixing process. Spread on the cooled Angel Food Cake, making swirls with the spatula.

Devilishly Delicious Chocolate Cake

Devilishly Delicious Chocolate Cake

Devilishly delicious chocolate cake turns every occasion into a party!

Growing up in Louisiana, one of our favorite pastimes was baking the Black Midnight Cake out of Betty Crocker’s cookbook. Piled high with a double-batch of White Mountain Frosting, it was delicious to the last bite.

During the summers, we enjoyed plenty of family reunions. Everyone brought their favorite dishes. Aunt Kitty baked her chocolate sheet cake for every family gathering. She said “Everyone loves chocolate cake.” She was right . . . every bite of Aunt Kitty’s chocolate sheet cake was devoured!

Recently, I came across Aunt Dot’s Devil’s Food Cake recipe. It was a great beginning for this cake. Knowing how I like tall, multi-layer cakes, I doubled the ingredients and came up with this new version. The result was a four-layer, devilishly delicious chocolate cake!Slice of Devil's Food Cake

Devil's Food Cake

This cake is an intensely rich chocolate cake. It is sure to spark joy in every chocolate lover!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla

Frosting: 2 sticks(1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature, 1 cup shortening, 1 1-pound bag confectioners sugar, 1 24 oz. bag semi-sweet chocolate chips(melted in a double boiler and cooled), 1 tablespoon vanilla and 1/4 - 1/2 cup whole milk( add one tablespoon at a time until the frosting is spreadable-consistency!

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350Fº. Grease four 9" X 3" cake rounds. Add a circle of parchment paper to each pan; set aside.

  2. In a medium bowl, combine the cocoa powder and boiling water; stir together; set aside.

  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients - flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sugar, oil, sour cream, eggs, and 1 tablespoon vanilla. Add the cooled cocoa mixture. Mix together.

  5. Reduce to low speed, add the dry ingredients. Beat just until smooth.

  6. Divide the mixture between pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

  7. Cool the layers in the pans on wire racks for 15 to 20 minutes. Invert them onto a wire rack; cool completely.

To make the frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, crisco and powdered sugar. Add the cooled chocolate and vanilla. Blend together until smooth and creamy. Add just enough milk to make a spreading-consistency being careful not to add to much milk.

Make Your Bruschetta

Make Your Bruschetta

Make Your Bruschetta with local heirloom and cherry tomatoes. During the summer, it’s the perfect antipasta to enjoy with a glass of wine.

For the very best Bruschetta, I make it with home-grown cherry tomatoes and heirloom tomatoes from Saint Michael’s Farmers Market. 

Bruschetta

During the summer time, Bruschetta is especially delicious. Made with home grown cherry and heirloom tomatoes, basil and a few more pure, simple ingredients. Enjoy Bruschetta with a glass of wine while relaxing on your front porch. Summer evenings were made for this!

Ingredients

  • 2 heirloom tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 30 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 red pepper, roasted and chopped(a jar of best-quality may be substituted)
  • 1 bunch basil, finely chopped
  • 2 T. best-quality olive spread, (Kuby's brand is our favorite)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste

2 baguettes - slice at an angle in 1/2" slices, brush with extra-virgin olive oil, sprinkle with salt and toast under a broiler until lightly brown, flip and toast on the other side. Take out of the oven, brush toast with a clove of garlic sliced in half.

Instructions

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients; mix and set aside for 30 minutes to marinate.

  2. Top the toasted baguette slices with the tomato mixture. Place on a serving dish. Garnish.

  3. Serve at once!