Showing posts with label recipes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label recipes. Show all posts

Friday, March 14, 2014

DIY Herbed Focaccia

This delightfully dimply bread is crusty and flavorful. It is great cut into strips and served with red sauce for an appetizer or as bread for a gourmet sandwich. It is also a great accompaniment for anything from soup and salad, pasta, chicken, or even pizza.

Homemade Herbed Focaccia Recipe

  • 2 1/2 cups flour (white, whole wheat, or a combination)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 1 pkg or 2 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar or honey 

  • Oil (olive or other)
  • Salt
  • Minced garlic (fresh or dried)
  • Minced onion (fresh or dried)
  • Oregano
  • Basil
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Shredded mozzarella
  1. In a mixing bowl combine flour and salt.
  2. In a liquid measuring cup combine warm water, 1 Tbsp oil, yeast, and sugar or honey. Let sit 5-10 minutes.
  3. Pour liquid into flour and salt and stir and knead until soft dough forms. Add a little flour or warm water if the consistency is to wet or dry. Let sit 10 minutes.
  4. Heavily oil a cookie sheet. Sprinkle salt over the bottom.
  5. After dough has begun to rise spread over cookie sheet like thick pizza crust. Make indentations with your fingertips or knuckles.
  6. With a clean pastry brush, heavily paint the top of the bread with oil. Sprinkle with as much or little salt, garlic, onion, herbs, and cheese as you desire.
  7. Let rise 15-30 minutes in a warm environment if you are impatient like I am. Allow to rise 12-24 hours covered and refrigerated if you want richer taste and can wait that long.
  8. Bake in a preheated oven at 450F for 10-20 minutes (depending on how brown and crisp you want it).

Friday, March 7, 2014

DIY Irish Soda Bread Biscuits

We love the taste if Irish Soda Bread and these biscuits bake up even faster. Great with soup or stew for St. Patrick's Day or any day.

Homemade Irish Soda Bread Biscuits

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup regular milk with 1 Tbsp vinegar or lemon juice added)
  1. In a mixing bowl sift together all dry ingredients.
  2. Add milk and oil, and stir until just combined.
  3. Either roll out on floured surface and cut with biscuit cutter, or drop rounded tablespoons full onto greased cookie sheet.
  4. Bake at 400F until golden brown, about 10-12 minutes for average size biscuits.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

DIY Fresh Coconut Chocolate Cake

I love baking with the real fresh fruits and vegetables available in the markets here. This coconut chocolate cake recipe uses fresh coconut juice and meat.

You can make this recipe even easier by using a store bought or homemade cake mix. Or simply mix up the dry ingredients when you are preparing the cake; it doesn't take very long. I imagine you could substitute canned coconut milk and dry shredded coconut, but I haven't tried.

This is a great island twist on a classic cake. One medium coconut should yield more than enough juice and meat to make this recipe. Drink the juice up (quickly it goes bad fast) for a natural electrolyte drink, Or freeze to use later. Place extra shredded coconut on a cookie sheet and toast in your oven to use in other recipes or add to your granola.

Homemade Fresh Coconut Chocolate Cake Recipe

  • Chocolate Cake Mix OR
    • 2 1/3 cups flour
    • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
    • 1 Tbsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup oil (if using coconut oil melt first) or melted butter
  • 1 cup coconut juice, conout milk or regular milk
  • 2 cups shredded fresh coconut meat (divided)
  1.  In a medium mixing bowl dump cake mix OR sift together dry ingredients.
  2. Add oil and juice or milk to dry ingredients and stir until well combined.
  3. Fold in 1 cup shredded coconut into batter.
  4. Pour cake batter into a greased 9x13 cake pan.
  5. Sprinkle remaining shredded coconut on top of the cake.
  6. Bake at 350F for 25-35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean and the coconut on top is toasted lightly.
  7. Garnish with extra toasted coconut when serving if desired.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

DIY Conversation Heart Cookies

We can't buy conversation heart candies here in China so I thought it would be fun to make conversation heart cookies instead.

I saw the cute conversation heart cookies that Martha Stewart made and decided to make my own version with my "low tech" cooking equipment. Her's look prettier, but I didn't have to pay $25 for a cookie stamp to make these (even if it were possible to buy it here), and these cookies are fun and get the job done.

You can even invite your kids to help you make these. Most kids love to cut out sugar cookies and paint on the icing.

Do be sure to let the sugar cookies cool completely before icing and the icing harden completely before adding words, stacking, or serving for best presentation.

Homemade Roll Out Sugar Cookie Recipe

  • 3 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup butter or margarine softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • Milk (if the dough is too dry)
  1. Cream together butter and sugar.
  2. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
  3. Add dry ingredients, incorporating flour about 1 cup at a time.
  4. If the dough is too dry add milk one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.
  5. Chill in the refrigerator a couple of hours or overnight. I did find that with all real butter though I had to let the dough soften up a bit after chilling it overnight.
  6. Roll small sections of dough at a time to 1/4 inch thick. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters and place on an ungreased baking sheet.
  7. Bake at 400F for 6-8 minutes, until edges just begin to brown.

Powdered Sugar Icing Recipe

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2-3 Tbsp milk
  • Food coloring
  1. Place powdered sugar is a small mixing bowl and add milk a Tbsp at a time until a nice consistency. Stir until smooth. Add food coloring if desired.
  2. Drizzle or paint cooled cookies a solid color with a food safe brush. Sprinkle with sugar or sprinkles if desired.
  3. Allow to harden for at least 1 hour before carefully painting words of your choice on the hearts. (Obviously shorter is better as far as word choice for these cookies.)
  4. Allow to harden again at least 1 hour before stacking or serving.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

DIY Strawberry Cheesecake Chocolate Trifle

I love layered desserts. To me a trifle is the combination of flavors and textures of a bunch of great desserts into one super dessert.

If you make each layer in this dessert from scratch it will take some time.  Definitely still worth it, but if you are pressed for time or just want an easier option, buying the components pre-made and layering them yourself would make this trifle quick and easy.

If you are presenting this dessert in jars, using cupcakes is great because they slide right into jars and make nice layers.

Homemade Strawberry Cheesecake Chocolate Trifle Recipe

  • Chocolate cake cubed or cupcakes (homemade or store bought)
  • Strawberry cream cheese (store bought or add 1/2 cup strawberry jam to 1 cup cream cheese)
  • Strawberries
  • Whipped cream or cool whip
  • Chocolate chips (optional)
  1.  Layer ready made ingredients into glass jar, trifle bowl, or other container. Start with chocolate cake and end with whipped cream and/or chocolate chips.

Friday, January 10, 2014

DIY Cake Mix Cookies

Ironically, I got this recipe for cake mix cookies from one of my grandmothers. Not quite the from scratch recipes from her childhood, but she used it a lot when she wanted to make cookies, but didn't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

This recipe is great to have if you need to take cookies somewhere in a hurry, and it is extremely easy and versatile. Change out the type of cake mix and additions for endless possibilities. Make bit size, giant, or bars (pan cookies) and just adjust the baking time.

This is also a great first recipe for kids who could safely be trusted with the oven to make on their own.

Homemade Cake Mix Cookies

  • 1 cake mix OR the following dry ingredients from homemade cake mix
      • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
      • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
      • 1 Tbsp powder
      • 1/2 tsp salt
      • 1/3 cup cocoa powder (for  chocolate cookies only obviously)
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • Up to 1 1/2 cup additions (chocolate chips, M&Ms, raisins, nuts, etc.)
  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl until well combined.
  2. Place on prepared pan and bake at 350F (bake 8-12 minutes for average size cookies, 20-25 minutes for brownies or bars).
  3. Enjoy your really easy cookies!
Makes 2-3 dozen average size cookies, or 1 9x13 pan brownies or bars (pan cookies).

Friday, January 3, 2014

DIY Cake Mix

I know in America you can sometimes buy cake mixes really inexpensively, so this might not be a money saving recipe for everyone. However, it can be really useful to know the ingredients in a basic cake mix, in case you need to make a cake quickly and don't have a mix on hand.

You can make mixes ahead of time and store the dry ingredients in a zip-top plastic bag in the pantry or freezer, or you can just use the recipe to make a from scratch cake similar in taste and texture to a cake mix.

For us, since we can't get a cake mix for less than about $3.50-$4.00 USD, this is a huge money saver. I use these recipes all the time for these basic cakes and other recipes that call for a standard cake mix. This recipe makes about the same as a standard cake mix (1 9x13 rectangle, 2 8-9in circle layers, or 24 cupcakes) and of course baking time will vary according to the size of your pan(s).

Homemade Cake Mix Recipe

Start by adding:
  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder (for a chocolate cake only obviously)
 Now you have a choice of adding these now or later:
  • 1/2 cup shortening cut into dry ingredients like for pie crust (or you can add shortening, butter, or oil when you are making the cake)
  • 1/3 cup powdered milk so you just have to add 1 scant cup water later (or you can just add 1 cup milk later) *
 When you are ready to make the cake you have to add
  • 3 eggs (or egg whites for white cake)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Place dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl
  3. Add your choice of fat and milk if you haven't done so already. (Add water now if you have already mixed in milk powder).
  4. Beat in eggs (or egg whites) and vanilla. Beat until smooth.
  5. Pour into greased pan(s) and bake (30-35 minutes for 9x13 rectangle,25-30 minutes for 8-9 inch circles, or 18-24 minutes for cupcakes).
*If I am using this cake mix for another recipe that simply calls for cake mix, I don't add the milk powder or any milk, unless the new recipe calls for it and never noticed a difference.

Friday, December 13, 2013

DIY Payday Bars (Caramel Peanut Clusters)

If you like some crunchy or salty with your sweet these caramel peanut clusters are for you. They are a nice twist on some of the more traditional holiday candies.

Homemade Payday Bars (Caramel Peanut Clusters) Recipe

  • Soft carmels
  • Salted peanuts
  1. Take a 1 inch caramel and knead it slightly (with clean fingers of course) until soft.
  2. Roll in salted peanuts. Press peanuts in firmly.
  3. Wrap individually in plastic wrap or parchment paper.
  4. Store in an airtight container. Freeze for longer storage (if you can keep them that long)

Want more crunchy caramel goodness?

No Corn Syrup Caramel Corn

Friday, December 6, 2013

DIY Chocolate Caramel Walnut Turtles

The only thing better than chocolate or caramel separately is chocolate and caramel together. These decadent turtles combine chewy caramel, rich chocolate, and salty walnuts.

These special chocolates are great for holiday parties or gift giving.

Homemade Turtle Recipe

  • Soft caramel candies (Homemade are awesome, but store bought should work too) (one for each turtle you want to make)
  • Walnut halves or quarters (5-6 for each turtle you want to make)
  • Chocolate to melt and spread over the top
  1. Take a 1 inch caramel and knead it slightly (with clean fingers of course) until soft.
  2. Place 4 pieces of walnuts for legs, 1 for the head, and 1 small piece for a tail if desired.
  3. Place on a plate or cookie sheet, caramel side up. Allow to harden slightly.
  4. Melt chocolate and spread a small amount over the top of the caramel.
  5. Allow to harden before stacking or serving.
  6. Store in an airtight container. Freeze for longer storage (if you can keep them that long).
Want even more chocolatey, caramel goodness?

Dark Chocolate Cake with Caramel Sauce

Turtle Ice Cream

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

DIY Pumpkin Pie Latte

It's the day before Thanksgiving and you might need a cup of coffee to get you going. Or perhaps you want a really good dessert coffee to serve tomorrow.

Either way pumpkin pie in coffee form fits the bill.

I'll show you three ways to achieve this deliciousness.

The first is to make this pumpkin ice cream and put a big scoop in a cup of good, strong, hot coffee. Once the ice cream is made it is super easy. And it keeps quite a while in the freezer.

Or you can make Pumpkin Pie Coffee Creamer, which is basically like the ice cream without eggs or cooking fuss, just stir or shake before each use. Keep it in the fridge for a few days so whenever you need a cup it's ready.

Or you can just mix up the ingredients you need cup by cup so there is no chance of waste.

Anyway you make it it is delicious, and always better topped with whipped cream.

Pumpkin Pie Coffee Creamer

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ginger (optional)
  • 1/8 tsp cloves (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree (homemade works great, but if using canned make sure to use 100% pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling with the sweetener and spices already added)
Mix all ingredients in a quart jar and store in the fridge. Shake or stir before each use.

Add desired amount to a cup of hot strong coffee. Top with whipped cream if desired.

Pumpkin Pie Latte (by the mugful)

  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin puree
  • 1 Tbsp white sugar
  •  1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • dash or pumpkin spice or cinnamon to taste
Add all ingredients to a cup of hot strong coffee. Top with whipped cream if desired.

Friday, November 15, 2013

DIY Caramel Candy Corn and Pumpkins

I don't really like store bought candy corn. Or at least I didn't when we were in America, American candy corn might seem better here. Here is China they have candy that looks like a corn cob and it actually tastes like corn. They have popsicles like that too. But I don't like either of those at all.

What I do like, a lot, is homemade caramel. So I made some caramel candy corn, pumpkins, and these cute turkeys I showed you before.

I used homemade caramel to make these, but I imagine a number of other options would work well also. Homemade chocolate ganache could work, as well as homemade edible play dough. I imagine store bought caramel, frosting and extra powdered sugar, or fondant would all work well too.

Homemade Caramel Candy Corn and Pumpkins Recipe

  • Caramels (homemade, store bought, or see other options above)
  • Sprinkles
  • Chocolate chips
  1.  For the candy corn, knead caramel and form into an elongated oval. Press yellow and green sprinkles on.
  2. For the candy pumpkin, knead caramel and roll into a small ball. Mark lines with a toothpick and top with a chocolate chip or green sprinkles.
  3. Allow to harden in the refrigerator before serving or storing in an airtight container.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

DIY Caramel Candy Turkeys

For either an unusual holiday dessert or a fun edible craft, these cute turkeys are sure to put a smile on your face.

I used homemade caramel to make these, but I imagine a number of other options would work well also. Homemade chocolate ganache could work, as well as homemade edible play dough. I imagine store bought caramel, frosting and extra powdered sugar, or fondant would all work well too.

Caramel Candy Turkeys Recipe

  • Oreo or other sandwich cookies
  • Caramel (homemade or see other options above)
  • Sprinkles
  1. Spread some soft caramel over the top of an Oreo. Sprinkle fall colored sprinkles on top.
  2. Take a piece of fairly stiff caramel and mold it to look like a turkey's head.
  3. Stick the turkey's head to the sprinkled Oreo and add a red or pink sprinkle for the turkey's waddle.
  4. Let harden in the freezer and then stand up to serve.


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