Peanut Butter Cookies

I’ve come to believe that every great recipe has its roots in Joy of Cooking.  A few tweaks here and there perhaps, but the bones of the recipe can usually be traced back to the hard work of Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker.  Peanut butter cookies are no exception.

These cookies are rich and crumbly, and are my favorite way to introduce peanut butter to infants (before 1 these days you know).

  • 1/2 C butter
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1/c C granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 C peanut butter (I use Jif)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 C all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Blend butter and sugars until creamy.  Mix in egg, peanut butter, salt, baking soda, and vanilla until well combined.  Add in flour.  Roll dough into small balls and place on cookie sheet.  Press dough flat on cookie sheet with a fork.  I usually dip the fork in sugar between cookies so it doesn’t stick.  You can also use the tip of a whisk and create a star pattern.  Bake 10 min.

Posted by Anja Weyant

Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake with Ganache Icing

This cake is one of our favorite chocolate cakes.  It contains sour cream, which typically results in a
moist cake that keeps well.  The dark chocolate ganache is a decadent icing, which further helps to keep the cake moist.  I usually store the cake under a glass cover.

Ingredients for the Cake:

1 cup butter
1/3 cup cocoa powder (I use Hershey’s dark chocolate)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
2 cups all purpose flour (I use King Arthur)
1 and 3/4 cups sugar
1.5 teaspoons baking soda
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions for the Cake:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F and thoroughly butter and flour a Bundt cake pan
2. Combine butter, cocoa, salt and water in a small pot, and heat on medium, stirring frequently until butter is melted (don’t overheat). Set aside to cool a bit
3. Sift the flour, baking soda and sugar into a large mixing bowl (I use a KitchenAid with whisk for this cake)
4. Add about half of the melted butter mixture to the flour mix and start whisking until combined, then slowly add the remaining butter mixture
5. Add the eggs, one at a time
6. Add the sour cream and vanilla
7. Whisk until the batter is smooth (may need to scrape the bottom of the bowl with a spatula to make sure it is all blended together)
8. Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake in center of oven for about 40 – 45 minutes, until toothpick inserted comes out clean. (my oven takes 44 minutes) Try not to over-bake it.
9. Place pan on cooling rack, and let cool down – about 15 minutes or so, before inverting onto cake plate.  Let cake cool some more.

Ganache Icing

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chocolate morsels  
  • scant 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Combine 1 cup chocolate morsels (I use Hershey’s dark morsel, can also break up high quality chocolate into small pieces) and scant 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream in a double boiler.  Heat on medium, stirring constantly.  Watch carefully, stir until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture gets shiny – pull of heat immediately (chocolate will temper quickly) and stir.  (if it seems too runny, add a few more morsels and stir them in)  While still very warm, spread ganache on the cake.

Cookie Press Lemon Cookies with Icing

Here is one of my favorite cookie press recipe – a light, lemony cookie that is perfect for Springtime (or any time).  I made these for Easter:
Cookies:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind 
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 1/4 cup flour (I use King Arthur all purpose flour)
Preheat oven to 375 F. 
Thoroughly cream butter and sugar (3 minutes or so in the KitchenAid).  Add lemon juice, lemon rind and the beaten egg and mix until combined well.  Sift the combined flour, baking soda and salt into the mixing bowl and then mix it in.
Use a cookie press with a shape of your choice (I used a flower petal one), and press out the dough onto cookies sheets.  Bake in center of oven for 10 – 12 minutes.
Removed cookies from sheet and let cool on wire racks.

Icing:
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (or to taste)
  • Powerdered sugar
Melt butter in a glass bowl in microware, add milk and lemon juice and mix it together.  Add powerderd sugar until soft icing consistency.  Spread on center of cookies and let the icing set until dry.  Store in closed container. Enjoy!

Anja’s Italian Sausage Vegetable Soup

This recipe came with the following preface: “Leif and Freyja both loved it”.  Leif is three and a half and Freyja just turned one.  If they both like the same dish, it must be amazing.  And it is! Really delicious – plus it is fast and easy to make:

Ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • wine
  • 1 lb loose Italian sausage (I used mild)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3- 4 carrots, chopped
  • 3 – 4 celery ribs, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic – minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 14.5oz can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 can cannellini beans
  • 2 cans of condensed chicken broth, one can of water (may use 2 cans if you want)
  • 1 cup rotini pasta, uncooked
  • 1.5 cups baby spinach, cleaned
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated 

Heat some olive oil and cook sausage in skillet, until done.  Transfer cooked sausage into stock pot.  Add the onions to the empty skillet, add a little more olive oil if necessary, and cook until they are “glassy”. Add the minced garlic to the onion and mix well, cook for another minute or so. Add the chopped carrots and celery, and stir in the skillet, together with the onions for about 5 minutes. (At this point, I add freshly ground pepper)

Deglaze skillet with about 1/2 a cup of (red) wine, then add all the vegetables to the stock pot with the meat. Add the tomatoes, beans, and the 2 cans of chicken broth plus 1 can of water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 15 minutes. (Test your carrots to see how done they are).  Add the pasta and cook for at least another 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and add the spinach. Let soup stand for another 5 minutes. Top with grated cheese in bowls.

Enjoy!

Making “Fruit-leather”… and Jerkey

Samantha got us a “kick-ass” dehydrator for Christmas. The first thing Jeff made in it was – of course – deer jerky, which turned out great.

But then we experimented with making fruit leather – the fruit roll-up kind of snacks.  We thawed out some of our seedless blackberry puree (the same kind we use for making jam), and then cooked it with SureJel and sugar, only we used more than twice the amount of fruit than the jam recipe calls for.  This thickened the puree enough to be able to spread it on the trays of the dehydrator.   I should mention that we got non-stick silicon sheets for the trays – which was very helpful.

We also spread out some of our homemade applesauce on two additional trays.  We let the fruit dry for about 8 hours,then peeled them off the sheets onto a cutting board.  We then sliced and rolled up the dried fruit puree.  They turned out really well, more tart than sweet, and absolutely delicious!