Holiday cookie baking in full swing

Since Columbus Day cookie baking has been in full swing for me.  I plan to have all cookies done before Thanksgiving as I did last year, when I was able to create a wonderful cookie tray to share on Thanksgiving.  I plan to make this a yearly tradition.

When do you begin cookie baking?

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Ooey Gooey Chocolate Chipper Goodness

I just had to make these cookies.  For some reason which I am associating with a friend, I kept saying Chocolate Chipper all week at various times and had those two words stuck in my brain.

 

I substituted unsalted butter for shortening, baked them at 350 degrees for 12 minutes and allowed them to cool on the sheet for 5 minutes.  I found that chilling the dough between baking batches was a good thing and I added both milk chocolate and peanut butter chips.  Yummy!!

So addicted to cookies lately!

What are you baking these days?

Crankin’ out the cookies!

I’ve been crazy for baking cookies lately and I’m very proud that I’ve been ambitious enough to try all new recipes!

This past weekend I pulled out my Grandmother’s Better Homes & Gardens cookbook and made two from there with my own twists added in.

I first baked the Peanut Butter Cookies which I’ve named Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies because I added milk chocolate chips to them for a bit of chocolate and they are very good.

Here is the recipe which I used for the Peanut Butter cookies:

Before I make anything I always sift/whisk the dry ingredients together in a bowl.  I creamed the wet ingredients together with my stand mixer, added the flour mixture by hand and then 1 cup of Nestle Milk Chocolate Chips (my fave!).

I used a cookie scoop to measure them all the same and put some chips on the top of the cookies (like you would do with a Hershey Kiss for the Peanut Blossom cookies) and then pushed them down a bit.

I baked them at 350 degrees (not the 375 as listed in the recipe) for 12 minutes and then allowed them to cool on the sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to the cooling racks.

As you can see the bottoms are nice and brown and they are great to eat!

My second recipe was the Drop Sugar Cookies.

First, I want to say that as I tasted one of these I had this overwhelming feeling stir through me of familiarity in taste.  I’m 99.9% positive that this was the same recipe which my Grandmother used for her annual Christmas Cut-Out Sugar Cookies which I loved so much.  It was an amazing feeling!

After mixing the batter I chilled it in the fridge for approximately 20 minutes before I scooped them and tossed them around in sprinkles.

I baked them at 350 degrees too for 15 minutes instead of the recipe’s noted temperature of 375.  I allowed them to cool on the sheet for 5 minutes like I did with the other cookies.  Also it is very good to chill the dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before you make the first batch of drop sugar cookies and also to chill it between the batches as they are baking.

By rolling them around in the sprinkles before baking you can see how the cookies really have color throughout.  If I make them and roll in the sprinkles as I did today I will cut the sugar back to 1/2 cup versus the 3/4 cup in the recipe or I may keep the sugar the same and just add the sprinkles to the top of the scooped cookies.

I certainly have more great cookie recipes to add to my rotation and with Christmas right around the corner I can’t wait to bake them for friends!

 

Craving cookies

For some unknown reason I’ve been infatuated lately with making and eating cookies.  In the past month I’ve baked several dozen cookies of various types and have frozen some for future nibbling.  I don’t know why the sudden allure to bake them so much but they do make me happy!!

Because of inspiration I received after my Molasses Cookie post I plan to look through the ones which my Grandmother had and bake more of those to help bring back some long lost memories (just in time for the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons which are quickly approaching!).  Maybe that is the reason my soul is craving cookies!  They are small yet tasty pieces of our past which bring comfort through our recalled memories.  And the happiness they are bringing me is helpful to my craving soul right now.  Maybe my Grandmother is trying to help me through the simple yet satisfying process of baking 🍪   As I recall from my childhood I don’t have many memories of actually baking with her.  It seemed that cookies and pies always magically appeared in her kitchen and she always had something to share and send home with us.

 

I hope to bake and share some more ‘From My Grandmother’s Recipe Box.’

😌

 

Chaotic Cooking-Through Challenge : My Homemade BBQ Sauce

To kick off month two I will share my homemade BBQ sauce recipe which was inspired by the BBQ sauce recipe listed in the Poultry section of the Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook which I’m cooking-through.

Last week we had grilled chicken and I made this sauce so I have some photos to share.

A couple summers ago my husband was grilling chicken and asked me for some BBQ sauce to put on it near the end of the grilling time.  I looked in my fridge and found a bottle of some old out-dated sauce.  I had been seeing various recipes to make homemade sauce and while watching those cooking shows about BBQs in the South I wanted to try my hand at creating my own.  Some people love dry-rubs for meats and others love a sauce.  I like both as long as the food is tasty.  🙂  I pulled out my trusty BHG cookbook and another recipe or two which I had clipped from somewhere and compared recipes for homemade BBQ sauce.  I have created my signature BBQ sauce from the inspiration of BHG cookbook’s recipe and another recipe and since that day I haven’t bought BBQ sauce.  This doesn’t make a lot of sauce (approx 3/4 cup) and it is always perfect for chicken, burgers, deer chipped-steak or anything else tasty.  (You could double or triple the recipe as needed for your needs too)

In a small saucepan stir together the following:

Ingredients

1/2 cup ketchup

3 Tbsp brown sugar

1 Tbsp mustard

1 Tbsp water

1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce

1/4 tsp granulated garlic or garlic powder

1 tsp liquid smoke (I use Hickory liquid smoke)

Directions

Cook on the stove on a low to medium heat and stir as needed for 2-5 minutes.  Do not boil.

Now your sauce is ready for whatever you want to add some pizzazz to.

Enjoy!

 

 

I’m going to cook this book

It’s become a tough decision for me.

I have so many vintage cookbooks as well as newer ones which I want to cook-through so deciding on a book for this challenge has become difficult.

But I have decided to cook-through my Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book which I acquired in the mid 1990’s.  You can read all about my love affair and collection of these cookbooks at this link: My BHG Collection

It is a book which I turn to again and again and have written all over the various recipes which I’ve already made with many notes on them concerning what I did to make them scrumptious in my kitchen.  I have begun looking through it and realized that there are still so many more recipes which I haven’t made but want to try so that is the reason I’ve chosen this book filled with over 1300 recipes.

I also have loose recipes inserted throughout and this poor thing is falling apart due to 20+ years of use but it is well loved and I do look to it for guidance on so many things while in the kitchen as well as for the tried-and-true standby recipes which I’ve made for years and which we enjoy so much.

The top cover has come away from the spine so my hubby taped it for me to at least keep it together

Most of the book is away from the spine but I keep it intact now with a rubberband!

I hope you all are looking through your books to choose the one which you will use for my fun challenge.

The first recipe category big-reveal will be posted on May 1, 2017.  Tell you friends and family; the more the merrier!

And a big THANK YOU for joining me on this fun challenge adventure!

🙂

My Favorite Filling (You call it Stuffing)

Here in PA Dutch Country, many people say ‘Filling’ rather then ‘Stuffing’ for that wonderful, tasty, scrumptious side next to the turkey.

Some people actually put it in the turkey but I don’t do that.  I prefer to make my Filling in a dish by itself.  My favorite is the Old-Fashioned type and recently we began adding mushrooms to it.  We absolutely love it!

You may desire to try something different this Thanksgiving so I will share my homemade recipe for Mushroom Filling.  It is not difficult to make and most people will have the simple ingredients in their kitchen at this moment.  It is definitely very tasty!

The ingredients listed will fill an 8″x 8″ dish (double or triple it to feed a crowd; I often do).

Ingredients

1 cup finely chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)

1 tsp of parsley (crushed) (or other herb you enjoy)

8 cups bread cubes (dried if you prefer)-Please note: I always take 16 slices of white bread and cube it up.  If I let it on the counter for a little while, uncovered, it will dry out a bit but I don’t worry about it if the bread isn’t dried and I never buy bread cubes to make this.

1/2 cup to 1 cup chicken broth, turkey broth or water (your preference)-I always use broth

Roughly 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms (or use more if you really love them!)

Directions

In a saucepan cook celery and onion in butter til tender but not brown.

Saute your sliced mushrooms in a separate pan to remove the excess water in them and brown them a bit.

Add the mushrooms to the cooked celery and onion.

Stir in your parsley (or other herb) and add salt and pepper to your preference if you want to add it now.  I often just add fresh ground pepper and leave the salt out.  Your guests/family can add salt, at the table, if they want it and if you use gravy you probably won’t need any additional salt.

Add the celery, onion, mushroom mixture to the bread cubes in a large bowl and then begin gradually adding your broth and tossing everything together in the bowl.  You want everything to be moist but not extremely moist or it will need to bake longer in the oven.  If you use fresh bread, you won’t need to add as much broth to your Filling.

Place into a buttered 8″x 8″ pan and bake it uncovered in the oven with your other food.

A rough estimation on times and temps are as follows:

325 degree oven for 40-45 minutes

375 degree oven for 20-30 minutes

I just add it to the oven and keep an eye on it until it is as browned as I like it.  My turkey is typically done, out of the oven and “resting” before my Filling and that’s okay too.

If you have any questions, just ask.  This is a basic Old-Fashioned Filling recipe and you can tweak it as you like.  Add in anything you enjoy and see what you create!

Your Family will Thank You!!

(I recently baked a roaster-chicken for supper with this Filling, sweet potatoes, gravy and jellied cranberries on the side.  It was a mini-Thanksgiving meal and I often make this recipe throughout the year and definitely at the holidays.)

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My BHG Collection

I do not remember cooking or baking much as a child.  My mother cooked for us and a baked item was a rare treat.  My grandmother, on the other hand, loved to bake a lot and we benefited from the goodies which came out of her kitchen.

As I got older and began dating the man whom I would eventually marry, my interest in cooking and baking took root inside me and became a hobby which I still enjoy today.  I began collecting recipes, books and magazines from everywhere and received cookbooks as gifts too.

In 1996, I was to be a bridesmaid in my (then) best friend’s wedding.  I decided to purchase kitchen goodies and a cookbook for her bridal shower gifts.  ‘What a great idea for a young bride and her husband to begin their journey in life together,’ I thought.  Also because I enjoy being in the kitchen and it is a necessity to eat, I wanted to give her those gifts.  I purchased a soft-cover Better Homes & Gardens cookbook which was updated for the 1990’s and the current edition for purchase.  I then just innocently began to look through that book and all the scrumptious recipes; a book which I didn’t own.  Yet.  At some point before that bridal shower, I decided to keep that cookbook and I didn’t give it to her.  That is a decision which I have never regretted.

So began my journey and love affair with the world of Better Homes & Gardens cookbooks, magazines and recipes.  A love which has endured all those years and still exists today.  That Better Homes & Gardens cookbook became my most favorite cookbook and it has shown its use.  It is falling apart but still my favorite.

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Even the pricing sticker is still there!

It became my first BHG cookbook but certainly not the last.  I eventually inherited my grandmother’s vintage cookbooks and recipe card boxes and among all of that stuff was this special spiral bound BHG book.

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I love the added bonus of information on the inside of the covers!

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20160331_201319Funky kitchen, don’t ya think?!

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More very important information which we can always use.

I have to admit my love affair with BHG is rather strong.  I have subscribed to their magazine for many years and have added more vintage editions of their cookbook to my ever-growing collection.

For Christmas one year, my husband gave me this very unique and rare edition.  I absolutely love it.  It has the Wartime Cooking Supplement which I’ve never seen before.  All of these new additions to my kitchen are pre-owned which gives them even more special character traits which I love.

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I must be very careful with this one especially, because the pages are spiral-bound but tear away easily.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much moving of the book and they tear away from their spine; but otherwise it is in great condition!

And recently at a flea market I purchased these older versions “for a song,” practically.  The woman who was selling them said they belonged to her recently deceased mother-in-law who was quite old when she died.  They were planning to move into her home but needed to start purging and selling things.  The one book cost $.50 and when I asked about the other, she said $.75 since it was bigger. 🙂  I wasn’t going to argue with those prices.

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This is for the one book but I can’t find a date in the other one; the pages must be missing.

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It looks like the reviews are ‘Super’ & ‘Terrific’ on this particular cake!  What do you think?! 🙂

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I just saw this recipe for the first time and they sound scrumptious!

I have compared editions and various recipes and it is cool to see the various changes through the years in the recipes; some have stayed while others just disappear.  It must be due to Homemakers’ requests and how families are eating through the decades.

I have borrowed newer BHG cookbooks from the local library but I don’t really care for any of them.  I love the older vintage ones with all that extra bonus stuff that’s included inside on the covers and the notes which previous owners include in their editions.  I will stay with my vintage collection of cookbooks and keep cooking and baking the way my mother and grandmother did.  Their food was the bomb!!

(By the way, the book holder which I used for these photos is a homemade cookbook stand which my hubby made for me!  I absolutely love it and it is rather large and very useful on the kitchen counter)!  🙂