Sunday, December 12, 2010

Some Cookie Recipes

My grandmother was an amazing cookie baker.  She baked and sold cookies during the holidays and it was always a treat to get a box of her assorted varieties.  Here are a couple of favorite recipes that others have asked for recently.

Grandmom called these cookies "Crescents" when she rolled them in a crescent shape and then coated them with powedered sugar.  Others call the Russian Tea Cakes, Mexican Wedding Cakes or "Those Little White Ones".  Whatever you call them, they are delicious!

Mexican Wedding Cakes

1 cup butter
 2 teaspoons vanilla
 1/2 teaspoon salt
 2 cups finely chopped or ground pecans (walnuts can also be used)
 1/3 cup granulated sugar
 2 cups all purpose flour
 1 tablespoon water

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Cream butter, sugar, vanilla and water until light.
Blend in flour, salt and nuts.  Using the lowest speed of the mixer,  blend until well mixed.
Using about 1 teaspoon dough, shape into a ball (or use a cookie scoop.)
Place on ungreased cookie sheet.  These can be spaced closely, as they do not spread much.  (I fit 70 on a half sheet pan.)  Bake at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  When cool, roll in confectioner's sugar.

Pressed Butter Cookies 
Gertrude Young

2 C Butter 
4 eggs
2 ¼ C sugar 
½ tsp salt
1 tsp almond extract 
5 1/3 C flour

Cream butter and sugar until very light. 
Add extract. 
Add eggs, 2 at a time. 
Continue beating until thoroughly creamed. 
Reduce Mixer speed to lowest speed & add flour and salt. 
Do not over mix. 
Put through press in a variety of appropriate shapes. 
Bake in preheated 400° oven for 9 minutes. T
he cookies should be lightly browned on bottom and around edges. Yield: about 3 lbs cookies.

Some hints for pressed cookies

1. Do not chill dough unless recipe calls for it (few do).
2. Decorate before baking with candied fruit, cherries, nuts or colored sugars.
3. Decorate after baking with thin icing [confectioners sugar and water] & assorted toppings or chopped nuts.
4 Use butter instead of margarine because butter improves in flavor in storage.
5. Flavoring can be changed to suit (ie: Vanilla, lemon, etc.).
6. Food coloring can be added as desired. I add mine during creaming if I’m just making one color.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Apple Crisp

Apple Crisp is a recipe that has been around for ages. My recipe comes from my classic Betty Crocker Cook Book, circa 1979, the source of many great time-tested recipes.

For a 9x13 pan

Fill pan 2/3 full with 6-8 cups peeled and sliced tart apples. My favorite apples are Staymans for baking.

Mix the following ingredients until crumbly
  • 1 cup - 1 1/3 cups brown sugar (depending on tartness of the apples)
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup butter (10 tablespoons)

Spread on top of sliced apples and bake at 375 degrees for 45 -60 minutes until apples are tender when pierced with a cake tester. and top is a toasty brown.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Peach Salsa

This recipe for peach salsa comes from Great Salsa Recipes. It was amazing.

-2 cups ripe peaches, chopped
-1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
-3 Tablespoons lime juice
-1 clove minced garlic
-1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
(or 1/2 tablespoon dried cilantro)
-2-3 tablespoons chopped jalapeno peppers
-1/2 cup sugar

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, cover and chill at least two hours before serving.

For a marinade, I pureed this mixture (minus the jalapenos) and marinated pork chops in it for grilling. I am sure it would be just as nice with chicken.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Lasagna Casserole

This recipe is from a "Quick Cooking" cookbook and may be a lot like something you already fix, but we liked the flavors. It feeds 8-10 people easily and is great for sharing with a friend in need if you are feeding fewer people.

  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 - lb ground beef
  • 1 tsp. crushed garlic
  • 26-32 oz. spaghetti sauce (to taste)
  • 1 lb. medium shell pasta (We also like Piccolini miniature bowtie pasta in this)
  • 15 oz. container cottage cheese
  • 3 cups Italian blend cheese or mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons parsley flakes
  • 1/2 tsp oregano*
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil*

(*or 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning)

Brown chopped onion with 1 lb of ground beef and garlic to taste. Add 26-32 ounces of spaghetti sauce (depending n how much sauce you like.)

Boil medium shell pasta till just tender (I've also used campanelle curly pasta; it is fun). Drain. To pasta add 15 ounce container cottage cheese and 2 cups grated Italian blend cheese (or mozzarella), 1/3 cup parmesan and 2 tablespoons parsley flakes. Mix well. Stir in sauce. Pour into greased 9x13 pan (which will be very full) or two smaller casserole dishes. Cover and bake about 45-50 minutes till hot and bubbly. Add remaining grated Italian blend cheese to the top and heat till melted.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Brown Sugar Pound Cake

This is a lovely, rich pound cake with the taste of brown sugar melded with butter- what could be better? It's a great cake to take to events, or to make for a bake sale since one recipe can make two loaf pans or one bundt pan.

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 lb. brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a bundt pan or two 8" loaf pans.

Cream butter, shortening, sugars and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Sift flour, salt and baking powder. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Beat just until all ingredients are blended.

Put batter in the prepared baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 1 hour, to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Test for doneness. Cool cake in pan 5 minutes before turning out to cool.

This cake is so rich it needs no frosting!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Lucy's Pancakes

1 ¼ cup flour

1 tablespoons baking powder

2 tablespoons sugar

¼ tsp salt

1 egg

1 cup milk

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Blend dry ingredients. Beat in wet ingredients until batter is smooth. Use about ¼ cup batter for pancakes (size can be adjusted to preference. Pour batter hot griddle, over medium heat. I use a cookie scoop to measure the batter out. It helps keep the size even. Cook on the first side till bubbles appear and begin to pop on the uncooked surface. Flip pancake and cook till second side is nicely browned.

I almost always double this batch to feed the family and a have a few leftover for snacking.

It is easy to prep this ahead. I mix the dry ingredients in a zip top bag and with a permanent marker write the liquid ingredients on the bag. I do a bunch of these and keep it on hand for quick pancakes.

If you want to add things to your pancakes, we have found that stirring chocolate chips ( or blueberries or whatever) into the batter helps to distribute the ingredient more evenly and keeps it from burning on the griddle.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Creamy Garlic Shrimp

One day we couldn't decide on scampi or alfredo, so I blended both ideas and came up with the creamier than scampi-lighter than traditional alfredo shrimp dinner. Like most entrees with shrimp, it is very quick to prepare! I think this would also be good with frozen peas thrown into the pasta in the last minutes of cooking.

Creamy Garlic Shrimp with Pasta

6- 8 servings

  • 1 lb. fettucine
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1-2 tablespoons mnced garlic (I buy it in a jar for convenience)
  • 2 lbs peeled, deveined shrimp (I prefer the jumbo shrimp
  • 2 cups room temp. chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • ¼ teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dill
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese

Cook fettucine according to package directions.

While the fettucine cooks, melt butter in a large sauté pan and then sauté garlic on a low heat until it is fragrant. Sauté shrimp until just pink.

Remove shrimp from pan and set aside.

Whisk flour into cold chicken broth until it is smooth. Pour into sauté pan.

Add herbs and lemon juice.

Cook on medium hat, stirring constantly until broth is thickened.

Whisk in heavy cream and heat to boiling. When it boils, reduce heat to a slow simmer until pasta is ready.

Just before pasta is done return shrimp to sauce and heat through, being careful not to overcook the shrimp.

Drain pasta and toss with parmesan cheese. Add sauce and shrimp and stir until pasta is evenly coated. Let pasta stand briefly so the sauce soaks into the pasta.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Ina Garten's Lemon Pasta with Roasted Shrimp

This was a great recipe from "The Barefoot Contessa", Ina Garten. I think we could be kindred spirits. I would live barefoot if it was socially acceptable and didn't make my back hurt so much!

This is a great meal that is quick and easy to prepare. It takes about as long to make as it does to boil pasta. It actually takes longer for the pasta water to heat than it does for the whole meal.

Some variations we might try would be to make this with leftover grilled chicken, or to make the pasta with sauted summer vegetables for a light meal when the heat and humidity soar. I also wonder if it might be good cold as a pasta salad, but we haven't tried that yet. It's a good recipe to use as a springboard for creativity!

This recipe serves 6.


  • 2 pounds (17 to 21 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Good olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Pasta
  • 1 pound angel hair pasta
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cip olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 medium sized lemons, zested and juiced (about 1/3 cup juice)
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

    Place the shrimp on a sheet pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Toss well, spread them in 1 layer, and roast for 6 to 8 minutes, just until they're pink and cooked through.

    Meanwhile, drizzle some olive oil in a large pot of boiling salted water, add the angel hair, and cook al dente, about 3-6 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Quickly toss the angel hair with the melted butter, 1/4 cup olive oil, the lemon zest, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper and about 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking liquid. Add the shrimp and serve hot.

    Since I had frozen, cooked shrimp on hand I simply thawed the shrimp and added it to the pasta for a minute of heating through (be VERY careful not to overcook if you are using pre-cooked shrimp). Then I tossed it with the pasta and some Parmesan cheese. A hint of garlic might be a nice addition too...

    Wednesday, February 24, 2010

    Basice Stir-Fry Sauce

    2/3 c. soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine or 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
  • ¼ - ½ teaspoon dried basil (optional; add to dish just before serving )
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dry ginger or 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • Heat a pan over high heat; add the cooking oil, swirling to coat; add the garlic and ginger; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 15 seconds.

    Add the soy sauce mixture; bring to a boil.

    Reduce heat to medium and cook for 1 minute.

    Cool before using as marinade.

    I use about ½ of this mixture to marinate meat for stir fry.

    To thicken sauce:

    • 1- 2 tablespoons cornstarch ( 1 T. if you hve used 1/2 the stir fry sauce for marinade)
    • ¼ cup pineapple juice or water

    Dissolve cornstarch in cold liquid.

    Add the cornstarch solution to stir fry and cook, stirring, until the sauce boils and thickens.

    Pour thickened sauce over lightly stir fried meat and vegetables. Simmer till vegetables reach desired doneness.

    This can be used with a variety of vegetables and meats. Stir fry is an excellent way to be creative with leftovers. You can vary the flavors by using more pineapple juce or orange jucie in place of chicken broth, add some spice with red pepper flakes, or add and subtract ingredients to suit your family's preference.