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Saturday, December 17, 2016

Old Fashioned Gingerbread

I haven't made gingerbread for years, but had some whipping cream to use in my fridge and for some reason I thought of gingerbread..it was cold and snowy so maybe that was what did it..anyway, I mixed some up tonight for an after dinner treat.  It is fast to make, although takes an hour to bake, but the house smells so good when it's baking it's worth the wait to eat it.  One nice thing about gingerbread, I think it tastes better warm..it brings out the spices so nicely.  Then add a big blob of sweetened, vanilla laced whipped cream and it's perfect around Christmas.  Here's the recipe:

OLD FASHIONED GINGERBREAD:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease and flour a 9 x 9 cake pan.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1 cup molasses
2-1/2 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup hot water

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.  Beat in the egg and mix in the molasses.
2.  add the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves.  Blend into the creamed mixture and stir the hot water, stirring until it's a smooth creamy batter.  Pour into the prepared pan. 
3.  Bake 1 hour in preheated oven, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool until slightly warm and serve with whipped cream. 

Leslie's Homemade Caramels

I need to get out today and do a little shopping, but since it's so dang cold and not sure about the roads yet since we had a pretty big snow last night, I decided to make a half batch of homemade caramels for Christmas. Granddaughter Alana really likes them and I didn't make them last year. It's a lot of time, but I really like these because they are buttery and have a good vanilla taste. The whole batch is huge and I didn't feel like wrapping them up for hours since Alana is gone this weekend to help me! Thank goodness there is always some left on the spoon and kettle to sample while they cool!

Here is the recipe (I got it from my friend, Leslie..she used to give me little gift bags of them that I'd hoard for myself before I finally asked for the recipe!)

Leslie's Homemade Caramels: (for the full sized recipe, just half the ingredients if you want a smaller size)

In a LARGE heavy kettle
4 cups white granulated sugar
4 cups light Karo syrup
3 cans Carnation evaporated milk
1 cup butter
1/4 tsp salt
2 teaspoons good vanilla

Boil on medium heat: sugar and syrup to 245 degrees with a candy thermometer. 

Add butter and stir until melted. 

Add milk VERY SLOWLY to keep from curdling.

Boil again on medium heat to 240 degrees.  This takes time! (like 25 minutes-nice to have a backup stirrer if you are lucky)  Be patient and get all the way to 240 degrees or they won't harden properly.  You need to stir the whole time.  Leslie uses a wooden spoon, but I use a metal one with a flat end so you are scraping the bottom well as you stir so you don't scorch the caramel on the hot bottom.  not sure if they have flat bottom wooden spoons, but that's what I'd use if you have one.  Get the whole bottom as you stir. 

Add the vanilla and salt when you get to 240 degrees and pout into a PARCHMENT papered jelly roll pan to completely cool before cutting and wrapping into caramels. 






Sunday, December 4, 2016

Raspberry (or any jam flavor) ribbons

My granddaughter, Sam, has a winter dance next Saturday and her 9th grade class has to bring treats/snacks..each class is assigned different items.  We decided, since she was here this weekend, to make some cookies for her to bring that were holidayish, since it's a Christian school and they celebrate Christmas and also can bring home baked goods still!  We settled on these ribbon cookies..I have always made them with raspberry, but saw a lady who had made cookies with a variety of jams and thought it would make a pretty display for the party.  I have made these for many many Christmas' in the past and always with the raspberry.  I actually kind of liked the apricot in them too though, change of pace. 

Here is the recipe:  It's pretty simple..I doubled it so there were plenty for the party.

RASPBERRY RIBBONS:

1 cup butter, softened (no substitutions, you have to use butter in these!)
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

GLAZE:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.  Divide dough in 4 portions.  shape each into a 10 x 2-1/2 inch log.  Place 4 inches apart on a greased or parchment lined baking sheet.

Make a 1/2 inch depression down the center of each log..I just use my fingers, and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Then fill the depressions with jam.  don't overfill.  Bake 10-15 minutes longer or until lightly browned.  Cool 2 minutes, meanwhile making the glaze.  drizzle the glaze over the logs.  Then I cut them at a diagonal and remove them onto a cooling rack to finish cooling completely.