Monday, February 07, 2011

Mushroom Farfalle

I can't remember where I found this recipe but I am SO glad that I did. I changed it a bit but every time I make it it turns our beautifully. I especially like how it will taste slightly different every time depending on the mushrooms you choose to use. I swear this recipe is like going out for pasta at a restaurant...mmm...soooo yummy!


Cooked Farfalle pasta (enough for whoever wants to eat, I like to make mine fresh)
1 Tbsp butter (or margarine, I change it depending on how salty I am feeling, unsalted is my favorite)
12 oz of FRESH mushrooms not canned--this is crucial to get the right texture (here is where you go crazy! Sometimes I just use chestnut, sometimes I will take 2-3 of 4 different kinds, like tonight where I used oyster, large flat, shitake, and chestnut)
1/2 cup chopped onion (I like white for this recipe, but if you like sweet red then go for it)
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup white wine
2/3 cup whipping cream (I have used single cream here too)
1/2 cup parmigiana cheese
2 Tbsp fresh parsley (optional)

1. cook everything but the white wine, cream, cheese, and parsley in a skillet on med-high heat for 12 minutes
2. add white wine and simmer for 2 minutes
3. take off the heat and stir in cream and cheese
4. toss with cooked pasta
5. garnish with parsley

Cranberry & Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

These cookies were inspired by the idea behind The Kitchn's Gluten Free Cherry and Walnut Cookies but in the end, it is nothing like them at all. For one thing, I like to squish my cookies so they aren't as fat as the ones pictured in that post. This means that my 1/4 cup measure makes for a hefty cookie, which really should be about 4 little cookies (which I have made as well, you can alter the size to your liking). The recipe above also had a lot of different flours and no chocolate and xanthan gum and all sorts of things that are hard to find here in Britain. My favorite thing about these cookies is that the brown sugar turns into a caramel as you bake them (sometimes I leave chunks in on purpose so as to have even more caramelly cookies). So--here is my, pretty much entirely invented by myself but inspired by the recipe above, recipe...


1 cup flour
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (to give it some richness, can just use regular flour)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup pecans (or any other favorite nut)
1 cup dried cranberries (you could try it with any favorite dried fruit)
8 oz white chocolate chips (I find this is a nicer, lighter flavor than milk or dark chocolate which compliments the cranberries well)
3/4 cup unsalted butter (again, for a nice sweet flavor--keeps out the saltiness)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar (I prefer the dark brown as it makes a richer caramel, but light brown works just as well)
1 large egg or 2 small eggs

1. Preheat the oven to 350F or 176C and line the cookie sheets with parchment or wax paper
2. Mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside
3. Mix in another bowl oats, pecans, cranberries, and chocolate
4. Cream together sugar, butter, and eggs
5. Mix in the flour mixture to the cream mixture slowly, then add the oats
6. Scoop into 1/4 cup (or smaller) portions and put on the baking sheet, I like to press them, but if you like a super think cookie, don't press
7. Bake for around 12 minutes until they look cooked around the edges and undercooked in the middle (may need to add or subtract time depending on your oven)
8. Take out of the oven and let cool on trays, then detach from paper and cool on racks

Raspberry Bread

I made some raspberry bread based on my mom's banana bread recipe. Her recipe comes from the Original Betty Crocker cookbook with some twists (she doesn't include nuts and uses shortening instead of butter). The reality is that it is a 'fruit bread' recipe, using fresh fruit of any kind to make the bread...just most of the time it is over-ripe bananas. I really liked the way this recipe turned out, however next time I think I will up the amount of raspberries or alternatively try adding a bit of raspberry jam to up the flavor. Will keep you posted on which permutation yields the best results.


2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup shortening (mom uses butter flavored Crisco, we don't have that here so I use Stork which is the most similar thing I could find here)
2 eggs
3 Tbsp buttermilk (we don't have this here either, but you can make it yourself with lemon juice/vinegar and milk)
1 cup mashed fruit (raspberries in this instance)
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1. Cream together sugar, shortening, and eggs
2. Stir in buttermilk and mashed fruit
3. Sift and stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt
4. Pour into a well greased 9x5x3 inch bread pan and let sit 20 minutes before baking
5. Place into a preheated oven at 350F or 176C and bake for 50-60 minutes until it tests done (i.e. you can prick it with a gigantic toothpick type implement and no wet dough is on it)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Rum Balls, Mice, and Birch Bark

So, the mice and the birch bark are actually dead easy to make--all it requires is some chocolate melting abilities.  For the birch bark, you melt Almond Bark (a vanilla flavored white chocolate looking concoction) found in the baking aisle and you dip the pretzels into it and lay them on wax paper to cool. You can do this with your fingers, the bark won't be that hot. Then you can sprinkle them with sprinkles or you can make them look like birch bark by melting some chocolate (whatever is your favorite) and using a spoon to drizzle it in lines. You can also dip the pretzels in the chocolate only if you prefer. It's entirely adaptable....which is where the mice come in.

Mice essentially need you to buy some sliced almonds, some Hershey kisses (or hugs in this case...the striped ones) and some maraschino (or cocktail) cherries with the stems still on, and get some chocolate to melt. Once you melt the chocolate you dip the cherries in, sit them on wax paper to cool, and squish an unwrapped kiss on the front of it for a face. Slip two sliced almonds behind the head for ears (this all sticks because the chocolate is melty) and then draw the face on in melted chocolate with a toothpick.

Here are the rum balls--I am not the biggest fan, but my sister loves them. Therefore, I didn't bother to take down the recipe...though I might do it for posterity sake (after all, I might want to use up some rum and feed these things to other people who love them...I still get to bake and won't get fat from eating half of it!)

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

The next set of cookies was also taken from Serious Eats (I think I am beginning to like this Rachel girl they have over there....or at least her mom's cookies!). These were a bit sticky to roll in your hand but not horribly so and the end result was lovely and chocolatey (but not overly so). I will surely be making these again.


2 cups sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup (4 oz) melted unsweetened chocolate (cool)
2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
powdered sugar for rolling


1.       Mix sugar, oil, chocolate, and vanilla. Mix in eggs one at a time. Stir in flour, salt, and baking powder
2.       Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours
3.       Heat oven to 350
4.       Roll teaspoons full of dough into balls and coat in powdered sugar
5.       Place on greased cookie sheet 2 in apart
6.       Bake 10-12 minutes until no indentation remains when touched

Cinnamon Snap Cookies

These cookies were made from a recipe on Simply Recipes and they were a magnificent choice to try. They were easy to cut after freezing into logs and once they were baked...mmm...they tasted like cinnamon toast crunch cereal. Delightfully sweet and light.


2 cups flour
1 ½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cloves
12 Tbsp (1 cup) unsalted butter
2/3 cup sugar
½ tsp vanilla
¼ cup honey
1 large egg
Cinnamon & Sugar for coating (1/4 cup sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon)


1.       Sift together flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves
2.       Beat butter and sugar together with electric mixer on medium until fluffy; add honey, egg, and vanilla until incorporated
3.       Mix dry into wet ingredients until smooth
4.       Flour surface and divide dough into 2; roll into 2 inch logs. Place in plastic wrap and smooth. Freeze for 2 hours or more
5.       Heat oven to 350; line baking sheets with parchment paper
6.       Slice dough into ¼ inch rounds and coat in sugar mix
7.       Bake 10-13 minutes until dark golden brown—watch after 10 min, can easily burn

Lemon Cakemix Cookies

These were an idea from my mom, we had never made them before but she had tried some from a co-worker cookie swap. I looked up the recipe on (my favorite resource for searches!) and forced my brother into hard labor with the stickiest dough next to yeasty bread. The cookies were very lemony and delicious!


1 box (18.25 oz) lemon cake mix with pudding in the mix
2 ¼ cups frozen cool whip
1 egg
1 ½ tsp lemon zest
1 cup confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)


1.       Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2.       Mix cake mix, egg, cool whip, and lemon zest in a mixer at medium blend
3.       Drop by teaspoonful (very sticky) into powdered sugar, roll lightly in sugar to coat
4.       Bake 10-12 minutes on ungreased cookie sheet until light