Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sour Cream Spice Cake

  • 2 cups sifted cake flour, sift before measuring
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar and sour cream to make 1 cup
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
Optional: Substitute nutmeg, mace, and/or cardamon for the cloves and allspice

Optional: Add 1 cup of golden raisins

Sift dry ingredients. Mix and beat well the shortening, eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Mix the vinegar and sour cream together in a measuring cup; add alternately with the sifted ingredients and beat until smooth. Add nuts and/or raisins and beat all until smooth.

Bake at 375〫in layer pans for 25 to 30 minutes, or in an oblong pyrex dish for 35 to 40 minutes.

Frost with the butter cream frosting of your choice.

The original version of this recipe came from Diana's Kitchen.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

These cookies are soft and taste a lot like brownies.

1 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled

2 - 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Powdered sugar

Mix together butter, sugars, eggs, vanilla, and cooled chocolate. Beat well.

Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the butter mixture and stir until blended.

Chill the dough for easier handling. Form into small balls the size of a walnut. Roll each in powdered sugar and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake at 350〫for 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool on pan for another couple of minutes, then place on paper towels to finish cooling. Store in an airtight container. Makes about 3 dozen.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Italian Sodas

How did I ever miss this delicious beverage? Does everyone know how to make these? I had my first Italian soda the other day at Zeffiro's Pizzeria Napoletana, and we've been making sodas at home ever since.

The process is simple: Just place some flavored syrup, club soda, and a little half and half in large glass filled with ice, stir gently, and sip the drink through a straw. The proportions will vary, depending on your taste. There are more complicated instructions on the Internet that will instruct you as to the order of ingredients, when and how much to stir, etc.

The fun begins when you discover a grocery store with a good variety of syrups. We found ours at Toucan Market in Las Cruces. So far, we've tried Torani Orgeat (almond) and Le Sirop de Monin Vanilla; but there are a lot more we'd like to experiment with--I remember seeing raspberry, amaretto, apricot, grenadine, pomegranate, butterscotch, chocolate almond, mango, hazelnut and lemon. There are lots of other flavors, as you will see when you visit the Monin site. You can use the syrups in a variety of tea, coffee, and smoothie concoctions, too.

Mix up your soda and sip it while sitting out on the patio in the desert winter sunshine. That's what we do!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Auntie Bucksnort's Decadent Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

Bucksnort is famous for not following directions, so when she asked for my peanut butter cookie recipe, I just sat back and waited for the unexpected. The cookies she made were the best I've ever had, and I have to say, I know my cookies!

1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup peanut butter
2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

1 43 gram Hershey milk chocolate bar, coarsely chopped
1 100 gram Toblerone chocolate/honey/nougat candy bar, coarsely chopped
1 cup white chocolate chips

Cream together butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in peanut butter. Sift dry ingredients and stir them into the peanut butter mixture. Add the chopped chocolate and the chips and stir well.

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Press each down slightly with the back of the spoon.

Bake at 375〫for about 10 minutes. Makes 3-5 dozen cookies, depending on how big you make them.