Monday, September 23, 2013

Nellie Flint's Cocoa Marshmallow Cookies

I loved visiting my Grandparents' farm in Greencastle Indiana during holidays and summers - and I was so happy when Grandma Flint had her homemade pecan pie - or these cookies!

Grandma Flint’s Cocoa Marshmallow Cookies
1 ¾  cups flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
½ cup cocoa
½ cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
¼ cup milk
18 marshmallows cut in halves
½ cup pecans (optional)
Sift together flour, salt, soda, and cocoa. Cream shortening and sugar, add Egg, vanilla and milk, beating well. Add dry ingredients and mix.
Drop by spoonfuls unto greased baking sheet. Bake in 350 oven 8 minutes (don’t overbake).
Remove from oven and press ½ marshmallow cut side down on each cookie. Bake 2 minutes longer.
Cool, top with cocoa frosting, then press on a pecan half.
Makes 36-40 cookies

Cocoa Frosting
Combine 2 cups sifted confectioners sugar, 5 Tbs cocoa, and 1/8 tsp salt. Add 5 Tbs softened butter and 4-5 Tbs light cream.

If you don’t ice the cookies, bake the full 10 mins

Monday, September 16, 2013

Pumpkin spice cupcakes

I made these for Sunday dinner yesterday - delicious!

thanks to Chow

I decreased the spices slightly because I was making these for my grandchildren

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil, plus more as needed
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée (not pie filling; about 1 3/4 cups)
  • 1 recipe Pumpkin–Cream Cheese Frosting (optional)
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Line 2 (12-well) muffin pans with paper liners. Alternatively, coat the wells with vegetable oil; set aside.
  2. Place the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to aerate and break up any lumps; set aside.
  3. Place the sugar and measured oil in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until the sugar is incorporated, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle with a rubber spatula.
  4. Return the mixer to medium speed and add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, about 1 1/2 minutes total mixing time. Reduce the speed to medium low, add the pumpkin, and beat until just combined, about 30 seconds. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle with a rubber spatula.
  5. Turn the mixer to low speed, slowly add the flour mixture, and beat until almost completely incorporated, about 1 minute. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in any unincorporated flour at the edges with a rubber spatula, making sure to scrape to the bottom of the bowl.
  6. Fill the muffin wells three-quarters of the way (about a heaping 1/4 cup per well). Place the muffin pans side by side in the oven and bake for 12 minutes. Rotate the pans front to back and side to side and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean, about 10 minutes more.
  7. Place the pans on wire racks and let them cool for 5 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the pans and cool completely on the racks. Frost withPumpkin–Cream Cheese Frosting, if using.

Here's Chow's frosting recipe - I actually used chocolate frosting because I was making my Easy Chocolate Cake for Sunday dinner too (big family) - so I'm not sure how this tastes but the reviews are good.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin purée (not pie filling)
  1. Place the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl and whisk to combine; set aside.
  2. Place the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until fully combined and smooth, about 1 minute.
  3. Reduce the speed to low, slowly add the powdered sugar mixture, and beat until fully incorporated and smooth, about 3 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the paddle and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  4. Turn the mixer to medium speed, add the pumpkin, and mix until fully incorporated and smooth, about 1 minute. Use immediately.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

My favorite lentil soup

This recipe is from my all time favorite cook book - Jane Brody's Good Food Book.

It's an old book but still available on Amazon

This soup is so good!

My Favorite Lentil Soup

2 T olive oil
2 large / 3 medium onions, chopped
3 carrots, grated
3/4 t marjoram
3/4 t thyme
1 28-oz can tomatoes with juice
7 cups broth
1.5 cups dried lentils--rinsed and picked
1/2 t salt
1/4-1/2 t pepper
6 oz dry white wine
1/3 C fresh parsley or 2 T dried parsley flakes

Heat the oil in a large pot with a heavy bottom. Sauté the onions, carrots, marjoram, and thyme for about 5 minutes.

Coarsely chop the tomatoes, then add them to the veggies. Add the broth and lentils. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for a half hour to 45 minutes or until lentils are tender.

Add the wine after the lentils are tender, then season to taste. 

I like to add chopped Kale near the end of the cooking time.

This soup is great topped with grated cheese

Basil walnut pesto

I've made this pesto 3 or 4 times this summer already - it's amazing spread on hearty whole grain toast and topped with cherry tomatoes.

This recipe is from Vitamix - but I think it would work in a good blender or food processor.

Basil Walnut Pesto
Yield: 1 c (240 ml)
1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
1/4 cup (25 g) grated Parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 cups (80 g) fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup (30 g) walnuts
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt

Place all ingredients into the Vitamix container in the order listed and secure lid.
Select Variable 1.
Turn machine on and slowly increase to Variable 7.
Blend for 45 seconds-1 minute, using the tamper to press ingredients into the blades.

Recipe yields enough sauce to coat one pound of pasta

Note - this recipe works better when doubled so that the Vitamix tamper can reach the ingredients - and it's so good you will eat it all up fast!