Spiced Cranberry Apple Bread

Spiced Cranberry Apple Bread

Spiced Cranberry Apple Bread

I can hear it now- “here she goes with another damn apple recipe!”. Yep. Sue Me. Another apple recipe πŸ˜› Actually, please don’t sue me. It would lead to a long drawn out court battle that the media would pick up on and things would come to light that would embarrass us both like my bad habit of eating ice cream in bed and then letting the partially eaten pint melt when I fall asleep and that habit of yours where…well, let’s just leave it as you really need to start closing your window shades at night. Just sayin.

I promise; I’ll move past apple recipes here soon (then I’ll annoy you with cranberry and/or citrus ones πŸ˜› ). But when this one popped into my mind after trying to use up some cranberry sauce, I knew I had to share it. You’ll thank me for this the weekend after Thanksgiving when you have a huge bowl of cranberry sauce in the fridge and you’ve already eaten 12 “day after Thanksgiving” sandwiches covered in that same sauce.

I love the way this turned out. It is rather like fruitcake, in that there is just enough batter to hold the fruits together and man, is it ever full of fruit, but without the dried and candied fruit peel. Not that I personally have any issue with those. I’m a fruitcake fan from way back. I can eat my weight in fruitcake, be it homemade or store bought.

This is wonderfully moist, full of both cranberry sauce and dried cranberries as well as a ton of diced apples. Add in some orange zest and warm spices and this is such a quintessential Fall and Winter style quick bread. It’s easy to throw together, with the most “difficult” part being dicing the apples (I’ll add a tip for how I do that quickly in the recipe instructions). And it makes your house smell SO good while it’s baking. This is the typical quick bread, in that it is even better the second and third days than it was when freshly baked.

You know the drill! <3

Spiced Cranberry Apple Bread

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (preferably freshly grated)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange oil or orange extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 14 ounce can cranberry sauce (or 1 3/4 cup homemade)
  • 1 1/2 cups finely diced, cored apple (about 2 mediumish apples; don’t worry about peeling) *note at bottom
  • 1 1/3 cups chopped, toasted pecans
  • Glaze-
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Spiced Cranberry Apple Bread

Spiced Cranberry Apple Bread

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 10 inch loaf pan. If you don’t have a ten inch, use a 9 inch and a mini loaf pan or a couple of spots in a muffin tin. Just don’t try to load all of the batter into a 9 inch pan or it will overflow.
  2. Whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, spices and orange zest in a small bowl.
  3. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer on low speed, beat together the butter, sugar and extracts until light and creamy. Add in the eggs and beat until just mixed. Add in the cranberry sauce and beat just until mixed.
  4. Using a large spoon or rubber spatula, add in the flour mixture all at once. Without stirring, dump theΒ  apples and pecans on top, then mix the batter (use a wooden spoon or spatula, not the mixer) together just until mixed and there are no flourly streaks in it. I say again, as I have before, do NOT overmix quick breads of muffins of you end up with tough bread with tunnels in it.
  5. Bake at 350 until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean, with no moist batter, just a few crumbs, about 45 to 55 minutes, depending on what pan(s) you used. If you put some in a muffin tin or mini loaf pan, make sure to check those sooner, at about the 30 minute mark.
  6. Let cool in the pan for five minutes or so, then use a butter knife to loosen from the sides and invert onto a rack to finish cooling. When cool, whisk together the glaze ingredients in a small bowl and drizzle over the top of the loaf.

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Spiced Cranberry Apple Bread

Spiced Cranberry Apple Bread

*Note- I’ve found that the easiest way to get a nice dice on fruit is to simply not try so hard. I used to stand over them and painstakingly finely dice each piece of apple. Now, I core them, give them a rough chop, then lay a large knife horizontally over the fruit and rock it back and forth, using the knife to scoot the pieces back into the pile as needed. It gets them diced in a minute or so and no backache from bending over a counter trying to make each piece perfect.

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Dark Chocolate Cranberry Orange Bread

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Orange Bread

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Orange Bread

 

I can never do anything normally, can I? Nooooo, not me. Other bloggers post lovely recipes for cranberry orange this and cranberry orange that and make us all run to the store to grab 78 more bags of cranberries to add to the 312 we already have in the freezer because what they create looks so enticing. But not me… I just HAVE to change it up some. Why, you ask? You did ask, didn’t you? I heard someone mumbling out there. Why? I don’t know. I just have to be different. I’m a rebel like that. Or something.

Mind you, I love cranberry orange anything and I may post something a wee bit more “normal” before the holidays are over, but not today.

Tidbit- when my 17 year old son Zach got home from church last night, one of the first things he did was snag a slice (like half the loaf…he’s 17, after all) of this bread. He then wandered to where Russ and I were watching TV and said “Now that’s just weird. This TASTES like Christmas. What the … I took a bite and it just tastes like Christmas.” My reaction was a pleased smile and a “that’s what i was aiming for so I’ll call this recipe a success”. Coming from a young man whose usual response to food is “Snarf….gobble…snort, slurp, kjgJfJfg, more…”Β  I consider this a great reaction.

And he’s right. This really does taste like Christmas. You have a moist bread with a lovely dark chocolate flavor first, then you are hit with the background of orange and cranberry. The bread itself isn’t overly sweet, so the pieces of chocolate are a pleasant surprise when you get them as are the cranberries. Then the glaze just takes this over the top to complete yumminess.

You know the drill… πŸ™‚

I love you guys!

Mrs. Cupcake, who has eaten far more of this than I should have

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Orange Bread

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup full fat sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons orange extract
  • zest from one orange (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (NOT drink mix)
  • 1/2 teaspoon each of baking powder and baking soda
  • 2/3 cup dried sweetened cranberries
  • 2/3 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 inch loaf pan and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, vanilla extract and orange extract. Beat until combined then add in the sour cream and beat just until combined.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, orange zest, baking powder and baking soda. Dump the chocolate chips and cranberries into the same bowl and give it a quick stir to combine and get all the pieces dusted with the flour. This helps prevent them all from settling down to the bottom of the loaf.
  4. Pour/spoon into the prepared loaf pan (this is a thick batter). Smooth the top. Bake at 350 until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.
  5. Let cool in the pan for about ten minutes, then turn it out onto a rack to finish cooling.
  6. When cool, make you glaze. Combine the powdered sugar and orange zest in a small bowl. Add one tablespoon of the orange juice to it and stir. If it’s still too thick to drizzle, add the other tablespoon of o.j. Drizzle over the cooled loaf and sprinkle with some dried cranberries.

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Orange Bread

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Ham & Swiss Scones (And Keeper Of The Memories)

Ham & Swiss Scones

Ham & Swiss Scones

 


Every once in a while, I’ve brought up my family outside of my husband and kids. Sadly, as one ages, one finds that family circle getting smaller. In my life, since my sister Sandra and both our parents have passed away, there is only myself and my brother left. We also have two half sisters, whom I love dearly, but they didn’t grow up with us so don’t have the same set of memories or same history, unfortunately.

Steve and I have always been fairly close. We’ve had our ups and downs, times our relationship was splintered (Lilo And Stitch quote- “This is my family. I found it all on my own. It’s little and broken, but still good. Yeah, still good“. I love that movie.), but all in all, we’ve stayed close.

Since childhood, I’ve had a faulty memory. It seems to be due to an accident in youth. Add in the stroke from a few years back and a lot of my past is missing. Well, Steve and I have a habit of spending a fair amount of time on the weekends texting each other and many of his texts start out with, “Do you remember…”. Unfortunately, a lot of the time, I don’t. Steve has become, in my eyes, the Keeper Of The Memories. He is the one who reminds me of things we did as kids, the people we knew and the things we did, many of them crazy and probably dangerous and illegal, keeps me up to date on which relative has died, which was one that was nasty in the past, etc etc. He’s the one that helps me recall certain movies we watched 73 times as kids, which songs were important to us, usually for silly reasons and keeps the memories of our parents and sister fresh.Β  I’m the one that still rags him about using my Barbie Make Up Doll Head as Franken-Barbie for his garage haunted house one year and reminds him of the time we stood in the kitchen for an hour, him 18, me 13, while I tutored him in the fine art of talking to girls. Steve and I are the only people we each have who remember each others pasts. We remember the bad hair cuts (I still have the picture of you in 7th grade when your hair was shoulder length), the teen years when we both were rather hard to get along with, the fights with our parents. We know about the times of eating ketchup sandwiches cause there wasn’t anything else to eat even though our mother worked her butt off, the trips to Alabama, the nights up watching Creature Feature, the night mom kicked her then b/f out of the house for kissing another woman and “do you doubt my veracity?”. We remember “doodles” and “ewww, you “blew it” “. Siblings have their own language, their own inside jokes and memories. They make us laugh, they make us nostalgic and sometimes, they make us sad. But there is a bond there that can’t be shaken. It’s different than the one you have with parents, because for a lot of your growing up years, parents are the enemy. Siblings are the ones who can beat the crap out of you, but no one else better try it. They are the ones who are sad with you when your parents age and die. They are a tie to your own past and a part of your forever. You don’t see the age, you don’t see them as the grown ups they are. They always stay the kid you played with, argued with and made memories with.

What does any of this have to do with Ham & Swiss Scones? Not a thing. But make the scones anyway. They are completely delicious. πŸ™‚

Ham & Swiss Scones

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried dill weed
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onions
  • 10 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, sliced thin
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 12 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) diced ham
  • 12 ounces Swiss cheese, cubed into about 1/2 dice
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line a greased baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, dill weed and dried onion.
  3. Using a pastry blender, cut in the cold butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  4. Break the egg into the heavy cream and whisk to combine. Pour all at once into the flour/butter mixture. Stir well with a fork until the mixture comes together into a ball. Add in the cheese and ham and use your hands to (as quickly as possible) mix them into the dough.
  5. Dump it out onto a lightly floured board or counter and knead a few times just to incorporate the ham and cheese.
  6. Pat down into a 3/4 inch thick circle and cut into 12 wedges. They don’t have to be perfect. Mine are usually misshapen and ugly and I have come to prefer that; there is something homey and rustic about them that way.
  7. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes or until they are golden brown. See all the cheese that oozed out and clung to the sides of the scones? Don’t be upset… that crispy browned cheese is one of the best things about these!
  8. Let cool for at least 30 seconds before eating them. πŸ˜€

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Three Cheese, Pancetta and Fig Scones

Three Cheese, Pancetta & Fig Scones

Three Cheese, Pancetta & Fig Scones

I’ve always had a yearning to travel. While I love my country and have hopes to someday explore all the back roads and hidden gems in North America, there are soooooo many other places I want to see. There is a movie I absolutely love called The Way . I have now seen it 8 times and have recommended it to so many people that Emilio Estevez should be sending me part of his royalties lol. I won’t give the plot away. Just go to the link and then go buy the movie.
This movie leaves me aching to see the world (as well as attempt the pilgrimage the movie portrays though I know I may never be able to afford it), including parts of it not shown in the movie. I honestly can’t think of one part of the world I don’t want to see. I am “that” person who watches with wide eyes the TV travel shows, devours travel books and especially loves when my two loves; food and history are mixed in with the travel idea. When I lived in Germany, I was never blessed enough to get anywhere else in Europe and it is, of course, one of the parts of the world I want to see. And one of my main loves there is Scotland. I have seen so much of the country via books, movies, TV and the Internet and love it. I admit that food wise, there are some Scottish specialties I will probably not try… think Haggis, “Potted Heid” (their version of headcheese)

While they may not have originated there, scones seem to be synonymous with Scotland. I am pretty sure however, that these are not exactly Scottish in the flavor combo. The other day I asked on my facebook fan page whether everyone would prefer bacon and Swiss or pancetta and Swiss. One woman mentioned using figs and I loved the idea. So I incorporated them into the scones and I love them. Thanks Diane! These scones marry sweet and savory quite nicely. I just took my go to scone recipe, deleted the sugar and added in chopped dried figs, 3 types of cheese and crispy pancetta. These are slightly crispy, wonderfully flaky and getting a bite of fig with a bit of pancetta, all mixed into a cheesy scone, is amazing. The use of both butter and cream in these makes them melt in your mouth tender.

You know the drill… πŸ™‚

Three Cheese, Pancetta & Fig Scones

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Herbes De Provence (found easily in the spice aisle and is wonderful with so many foods, it’s worth buying if you don’t have any on hand)
  • 10 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, sliced thin
  • 4 ounces diced Pancetta, fried until crisp and then blotted with a paper towel to remove the grease
  • 3/4 cup of coarsely chopped dried figs (use good ones. Trader Joes sells some great dried figs. But where ever you get them from, make sure they are nice and fresh, not all shriveled and hard)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (NOT that powdery stuff. Buy the real thing)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease 2 9×13 baking sheets.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and Herbes De Provence. Mix well.
  3. Using a pastry blender, cut the chilled butter into the flour mix until it resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the pancetta, cheese and figs
  4. In a small bowl (measuring cup, large pair of hands, whatever) combine the egg and the 1 1/2 cups of cream. Mix well.
  5. Pour the cream mixture into the flour all at once. Stir well with a large wooden spoon or a fork. The mixture will still have some flour left on the bottom of the bowl. Dump it all onto a lightly floured board (make sure to scrape the bowl to get anything clinging in there) and knead for about one minute, just to get all the dry parts well combined.
  6. Pat into a large rectangle about 3/4 of an inch thick. Use a sharp knife and cut the dough into 12 pieces. Lay them on the prepared baking pans, near to each other but not touching.
  7. Brush the tops of the scones with heavy cream and sprinkle with sea salt.
  8. Bake at 375 degrees until they are light golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  9. Let cool on the pan for one minute, then transfer to a serving dish. These are best served warm and fresh, though you can reheat them by either nuking them for 30 seconds or so or putting them in a 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes.

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Lemon-White Chocolate Pound Cake With A Lemon Honey Glaze

Lemon White Chocolate Pound Cake With A Lemon Honey Glaze

Lemon White Chocolate Pound Cake With A Lemon Honey Glaze


I have a thing for pound cake. I may have mentioned that before. While I love fancier desserts too, especially those that are rich, creamy and filled with 5000 sticky calories per serving, I also love the simple desserts. Pound cake is just so homey, comforting, and darned easy. And if you want creamy, all you need to do is top it with whipped cream, 12 scoops of ice cream and chocolate sauce. Not that I’d do that of course. Nope, nope, nope, not me *wipes chocolate sauce off chin*


I was torn between making a lemon pound cake, which I’ve been promising my husband for weeks lol, or Pumpkin Bread, because personally, I’m ready to get my Autumn on. But the followers on my facebook page voted for the pound cake (you meanie butts you!!! You’d better be glad I lurves you all! πŸ˜› ) so here you go.

As I mentioned to them, I can’t, however, make just a “normal” pound cake. I’ve said before (and will probably say again because I’m getting old and forgetful. Did I mention that I’m getting old and forgetful?) and will say again (because I’m old and forgetful) that I lack the gene that makes me capable of making a recipe as listed. Nope… gotta either drastically change one so that it is like giving plastic surgery to Justin Bieber and making him look like Madonna or I have to just make up one of my own.

This one is just your basic pound cake incarnation. But I added a ton of lemon flavor as well as a touch of ginger for zing to the batter. Then for good measure I dumped some white chocolate chunks in there. They melted entirely into the batter, leaving these little pockets of slightly crispy sweetness. And if you’ve never had white chocolate with lemon, you’re in for a treat. They go SO well together! Then I topped this with a tart lemony glaze that has a subtle hint of honey.

This is NOT a mild little cake. It’s quite sweet, so serve small slices.

You know the drill…

Lemon-White Chocolate Pound Cake With A Lemon Honey Glaze

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract (if you have an emulsion, even better, Use 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup oil
  • GLAZE-
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 inch loaf pan with a non stick spray such as Bakers Joy.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, lemon zest and white chocolate chips. Stir well.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, extracts, lemon juice and oil. Whisk to combine.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones, all at once. Stir well to combine until there are no dry floury spots left.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan Bake at 350 until a wooden skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 60 minutes. If it starts to get too brown on top, cover loosely with foil.
  6. When done, cool in pan for five minutes, then run a butter knife along the edges to loosen the cake and turn it out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
  7. For glaze, combine all the glaze ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk to combine, making sure to get rid of all the lumps.
  8. Pour or spoon glaze over the cooled cake.

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Eggnog, Fruitcake And Happy Accidents

 

Eggnog and fruitcake; you either love them or hate them. I have never met anyone who says “Oh, fruitcake (or eggnog) is ok. I eat some every year but that’s about it”. From what I’ve seen it’s more like this

Person 1- “I am really loving this eggnog I’m drinking. I look forward to it every year!”

Person 2- “OMG!!! You sick bas****!!! Get away from me if you drink that crap! It’s nasty! It’s made from Llama brains! You are no longer a part of my life!!

Person 3- *tackles person one, steals the eggnog and sucks it all down in 5 seconds flat, then proceeds to hold up an eggnog delivery truck to appease their addiction*

Replace eggnog and drinking with fruitcake and eating and you have the picture of the typical reactions to both eggnog and fruitcake. I stand firmly in the camp of those holding up eggnog/fruitcake trucks. Not….erhmmmmm *whistles innocently* that I’ve ever done that.

I adore both eggnog and the much maligned fruitcake. I make my own fruitcake every year (you can get it how you like it that way, which in my case means a ton of fruit) and tend to buy one or two or eight of the preservative filled Hostess or whatever brand I see… “Joes Fruitcake anyone”? fruitcakes. And I happily slurp down a gallon or twelve of store bought eggnog each holiday season. Don’t get me wrong… home made is good too but somehow it just isn’t the same as the overly thick, overly sweet kind from a carton.

So when I saw a recipe a while back on Mandys Recipe BoxΒ  for eggnog coffee cake, I knew I had to try it. I mean… it uses store bought eggnog! But (no offense Mandy) I knew I wanted to change it up a bit. Originally though, it wasn’t going to be a big change, just a matter of more struesel and more spice as well as the chance to use my LorAnn Eggnog Flavoring. But, like I said, that was originally. It ended up being a larger change than I meant to make but it actually all worked out and saved some calories to boot. PLUS, made this egg free for those who like that. How? Simple. I forgot to add the eggs to the batter. Oops. When I saw how thick the batter was, I added about 2 tablespoons more eggnog to thin it out some. It seems to have done the trick in replacing the eggs because this was quite yummy without them. And it was still moist and tender. So, as far as I am concerned, the eggs are optional. Next time I make it, I’ll add the eggs out of curiosity but that’s about it lol.

Sooooo… if you like eggnog and warm from the oven baked goods, try this. It has a nice eggnog flavor and a moist tender crumb (even without the eggs hehe). Good cake for a weekend breakfast or a simple dessert. This comes together quickly. The original recipe called for an 8 hour rest time but I skipped that and it was fine. That would however be handy if you wanted to mix it up the night before and just pour and bake the next morning.

Eggnog Coffee Cake

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 cup eggnog (add an extra 2 to 3 tablespoons if omitting eggs)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon rum extract
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon eggnog flavoring (optional)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • STRUESEL- (I doubled this)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • GLAZE-
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons eggnog (enough to make a glaze of drizzling consistency)
  1. Grease bottom of a 13×9 inch pan and preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together your struesel ingredients and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together your butter and sugar until creamy.
  3. Add in the eggnog, sour cream , extracts and eggs (if using).
  4. On low speed, beat in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  5. Spread the batter in the prepared pan. At this point you can refrigerate for 8 or more hours, but like I said, I didn’t.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Let cake cool in pan on a wire rack.
  8. Mix together your glaze ingredients and eat a spoonful of it and drizzle all over the coffeecake.

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Me?? Make something the “Normal” Way?!

Bite your tongue! You should know better than that. If there is any way to mess up change a perfectly good recipe, I’m the woman to do it. Hmmm, coming from a food blogger, that doesn’t sound too great now does it? Let me rephrase that to put myself in a much better light shall I? If a recipe has certain inherent flaws or shortcomings, or possibly could be adjusted by adding alternate flavors or adding more layers of flavor, I am the woman who will screw up attempt it and be seen later banging my head off of a table when it fails make a roaring success of it.

So were you impressed there?? Huh huh huh? Did I use big words and sound frighteningly wonderful?! Whadda ya mean I just sounded frightening!? I’m hurt! Nay, wounded to my very core! Nay, devastated. Nay, rambling as usual!

Fine, I’ll stop now.

Living in the south, I kinda love cornbread. If you don’t, they kick you out and make you live somewhere like Siberia (prays I have no readers in Siberia cause I just spent five minutes thinking of places one wouldn’t want to live and then changing them so as to not offend anyone living there πŸ˜› ). You also have to love sweet tea (lack of that love is why they made my native Kentuckian daughter in law move) and Paula Deen (don’t tell anyone, but while I love her recipes, but she annoys the poo out of me with her use of “Y’all” fourteen times in each and every sentence). I wrote a post back when I first started the blog about the differences between Yankee cornbread and Southern cornbread. But this post isn’t about either of them. It’s about MANLY CORNBREAD! Please make sure you say that with a sneer on your face and while swaggering across the room adjusting your crotch. And in reality, I didn’t do much changing to the original recipe. My point was just that I seem to be incapable of making things that are “normal”. Nope; have to hunt down and make the unusual ones. And as cornbread goes, this fits that criteria. It’s from Emeril Lagesse. The only thing I changed was to not use cayenne pepper because while I love spicy foods, I thought that that as well as the jalapenos may be too much for my kids. Plus, I added a good amount more cheese and threw some green onions in there too. I mean… cheese, bacon, peppers… it was just crying out for green onions.

So go get out your cast iron pan (please tell me you have one. If not, time to buy one.) and your cornmeal and get to cooking. And Kim go get me a COKE while you’re cooking, wench! πŸ˜€ And for YOU
Ann there is no cinnamon in my recipe today so you can make it hehehehe πŸ˜›

This is wonderful cornbread. Crispy and hot and stuffed full of a creamy corn and bacon mix. It has just the right amount of spice and flavor. Enjoy! As my dad would have said “Eat it! You’ll grow hair on your chest!”

Emerils Manly Man Stuffed Corbread

  • 1 pound bacon, chopped (his called for a half a pound… what can I say? I HAD to have some sitting there for noshing on didn’t I? It’s like…the law!)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (I used frozen & it worked fine)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (again; I didn’t use this)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Place a 10-inch cast iron skillet in the oven to get hot.
  3. In a large pan, fry the bacon over medium-high heat until brown, about 6 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels
  4. Drain all the fat but 2 teaspoons. Return to medium-high heat and add the corn to the pan. Cook, stirring, until golden and tender, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the cream, butter, 1/4 teaspoon salt and water and cook until thick and creamy, about 10 minutes.Β  Do NOT do as I did and walk away and come back just in time to prevent it from overflowing all over your stove top. Ummm… oops?
  6. Remove from the heat and mash with a potato masher, spoon, your husbands electric razor… to crush some of the corn. Let cool.
  7. In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, remaining salt, and cayenne (if using). Stir to combine.
  8. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, buttermilk, and 2 tablespoons of the melted butter.
  9. Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well.
  10. In a separate bowl, combine the cooled creamed corn, bacon, jalapenos, and 1 1/2 cups of the cheese, and mix well.Remove the skillet from the oven and add the remaining tablespoon of melted butter, tilting the skillet to coat the bottom and sides.
  11. Pour half of the batter into the bottom of the skillet. Top with the corn-cheese mixture, then top with the remaining half of the batter.
  12. Bake until golden brown and set, about 30 minutes.Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.

 

Reinventing The Wheel…Or Biscuit

Can you see all the little layers?? Huh huh huh?




We’ve all done it. Or at least if you’ve cooked for any length of time and are more than a casual “I HAVE to cook so I do” sort of foodie you’ve done it. What the heck am I talking about? Food reinvention. Aka the times you want to make something you’ve made before but just want to do it differently. You want something traditional but you want something new. That train of thought has brought us so very many of the foods we all love. Though I doubt Twinkies and Cheetos were somebody’s brain child as to how to reinvent cheese and cake. Mores the pity. πŸ˜›

I have been wanting biscuits. I have also been wanting croissants. But biscuits were boring and croissants are a pain in the proverbial tushie. I can make both with no problem. You can’t live in the south and cook without learning to make good buttermilk biscuits or you may as well hide in a hole. And I taught myself to make croissants years back just cause I wanted to prove I could do it. But neither was exciting me yesterday when I was contemplating today’s post. So I figured I’d make Angel Biscuits- those biscuit/yeast roll hybrids. But I wanted to play with them and see if I could get them to be more akin to croissants with out all the trouble and time that croissants take. I have to say; I’m pretty tickled with how they turned out.

Hours before I started the dough, I cut two sticks of butter in half. Then I rolled out each half in between sheets of waxed paper and froze them. After I got the dough finished later, I did the rolling and turning technique (more or less) that you use when making croissants after inserting the sheets of butter in them. After baking, I tried one (I wanted to eat more but controlled myself lol) with some of my home made Apricot Honey Jam. All I can say is… oh my. These turned out fantastic. Are they the prettiest rolls in the world? Nope. But I couldn’t care less nor will you. I promise. These are tender and buttery and the tops and bottoms get a slight crispy almost fried taste and texture due to the butter. You can see the layers in this and they are reminiscent of the flaky biscuits you can make from a can (the ones where you can peel apart the layers) but without the canned taste, thank God and the Pillsbury Dough Boy. So give these a try. They aren’t time consuming at all and taste so darn good!

Croissant Style Buttermilk Biscuits

  • 2 sticks butter (1/2 pound), room temp, cut in half (preferably salted for this recipe contrary to what I usually advise)
  • 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) regular yeast
  • 2 tablespoons warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup buttermilk (you may need a touch more if the dough is dry)
  1. Put one of your pieces of butter onto a large piece of waxed paper. Fold the paper over it and smoosh the butter down. Then roll the butter out flat into a thin sheet. Do this with each of the four pieces. Put into the freezer for at least an hour.

    See? The butter doesn’t have to look pretty. Just nice and thin and flat. πŸ™‚

  2. When the butter has been in for about 50 minutes, preheat your oven to 400 and start your dough.
  3. Mix the yeast with the warm water in a small container. Set aside.
  4. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the shortening with a pastry blender until mixture is the consistency of fine crumbs. Stir in the buttermilk, then the yeast. Mixture should leave sides of bowl and be a cohesive mass. If not, add a little more buttermilk at a time until it does.
  5. Place the dough on a generously floured board. Knead until it comes together smoothly. Gently roll out the dough into a rectangle. It doesn’t need to be perfect.
  6. Place one of the frozen butter sheets on it and fold the dough in half, enclosing the butter. Seal the edges well.Β  Gently roll back out into a rectangle large enough to insert another sheet of butter.
  7. Do this three more times with each of the other pieces of butter. Make sure your board stays decently floured. Seal the dough well after inserting each sheet of butter using fingers moistened with a bit of buttermilk if necessary. Cover any cracks with a light sprinkling of flour and just continue on as you have been doing. Work quickly so that the butter doesn’t have time to soften up too much. The steam is what helps create the layers and warm butter won’t steam as well. When you have all the butter rolled in, you will end up with a thick fairly heavy piece of dough that looks more or less like this:
  8. Roll out a LITTLE bit. You’re not trying to flatten it out again just make it a touch bigger. Once you have this done, cut the dough into 16 pieces. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Serve with jam or preserves or chocolate sauce if that makes you happy. But you won’t need butter on these I promise you. πŸ˜›

 

But What Will I Leave The Children?!

I’m not a wealthy woman. So far from it it’s giggle worthy. I have the same pipe dreams as everyone else about winning the lottery and living a life of leisure in my 4 bedroom house that has a library with floor to ceiling bookshelves. I’d eat seafood every night except for the nights I was eating steak of course. My kids would never need anything and I would be able to leave them large inheritances…such large ones that I would have around the clock security and metal detectors at the front door for when they came over to fawn over me and ask about my health. What?! I believe in being cautious!

But in real life… the same one where I clean my own toilets, clean up cat poop. have cooked approximately 10,000 meals since I entered adulthood (who am I kidding? I still haven’t entered adulthood. I don’t think you are allowed to say that until you prefer something other than Ho-Hos for dinner), did NOT pay someone else to give birth to six children (wouldn’t that be awesome!? Childbirth by proxy! Yeah baby!. Sorry. Moving on.) and have carpets desperately in need of steam cleaning, I don’t have large inheritances to leave my kids. So what will they be fighting over? Besides my collection of old rock and country albums and cassette tapes (yes, I have cassette tapes. Shush.) 300 gazillion books, more spices than any one household should have, stuffed animals older than dirt and the worlds strangest collection of knick knacks (including Stanley the Pig) that is? I was going to leave them my recipes. I had grand plans of making 6 different hand bound copies, lovingly hand printed, of all the recipes they grew up with and loved. My spaghetti sauce, lasagna, sticky buns, chicken curry, homemade rolls, banana bread, cranberry pumpkin bread, homemade apple butter and so many more. Mind you, in reality, they would have been left with rubbermaid containers and drawers (not to mention the top of my hard drive which is groaning under the weight of miscellaneous paper)Β  filled with about 3000 printed out recipes and some hand written ones but hey, my intentions were good. They will have to find the correct recipes (that is assuming I even HAVE a recipe for whatever they are looking for. Most of my cooking is just trial and error) and then figure out how I changed them because I never write down my changes. Between you and I, part of that is because I’m a stingy cuss who doesn’t want anyone to have my recipes πŸ˜›

But now that I have started this blog, my poor kids are screwed. They get nuthin’. Cause all my recipes are going to end up on here eventually. Such as today as I post my chocolate chocolate chip banana bread recipe. So what will I leave the children? Some Andy Gibb albums, figurines of a pig, old clothes and Bobby Goldsboro cassette tapes.

So kids… don’t fight over it all. And be nice to the piggie.

CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CHIP BANANA BREAD

  1. 2 cups flour
  2. 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  3. 1 teaspoon salt
  4. 2 teaspoons baking soda
  5. 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
  6. 1 cup sugar
  7. 6 to 8 mashed bananas
  8. 1 1/2 teaspoons banana extract
  9. 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  10. 4 large eggs
  11. 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
  12. 1 cup walnuts (optional; I rarely use them)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Grease and flour two loaf pans or use the cooking spray that has both oil and flour in it. Either nine inch or eight inch will work. I use nine inch and that is what my cooking time is based on.
  • In a small bowl,mix together the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda.
  • In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the bananas and mix well. Mix in the eggs, vanilla extract and banana extract. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix just until combined. Mix in the chocolate chips and walnuts if you are using them.
  • Pour into the two pans and bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until a toothpick or skewer poked into the center of the loaf comes out almost clean. It’s ok if there are a few moist crumbs on it.. Let it cool for five minutes in the pan then turn it out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

Knock Knock!

Me: Who’s there?

Child: Banana!

Me: Banana who?

Child: Knock knock!

Me: Who’s there?

Child: Banana!

Me (said with a sob in my voice): Banana who?

Child: Knock knock!

Me: (as I bang my head off of a hard surface)Who’s there for petes sake!?

Child: Orange

Me: Orange who?

Child (giggling with extreme maniacal glee)Orange you glad I didn’t say Banana!?

In 25 years of motherhood, I have heard that knock knock joke approximately 5, 362 times. Add the 10,422 times I have heard Elephant jokes (ok, so I actually like those and routinely annoy people with them myself), fart jokes, pee jokes and jokes that make no sense whatsoever (Mommy, why did the…ummmm…the purple boy run across the street? Me- Why? Child- Because he wanted to eat a cookie! HAHAHAHAHA!!! Did you like that one momma!?) and it is a wonder I have any shred of sanity left.

When my son Jordan, who at sixteen has the childlike heart of an eight year old due to various mental disabilities he deals with, told me that joke for the 5,362nd time today, I laughed and groaned as my job description of mom demands I do, then I went back to thinking about todays post. I knew I wanted to make something sweet; surprise surprise, right? But I wasn’t sure what. Then the orange knock knock joke popped into my head at the same time as a serious chocolate craving hit me upside the head.Β  So this is what I came up with for today. I hope you enjoy them. We did. πŸ™‚ These are a moist dessert like muffin (not that that will stop me from eating them for breakfast!) bursting with orange flavor and dark chocolate chips.

 

Orange & Dark Chocolate Muffins

  1. 1 1/2 cups sugar
  2. 3/4 cup butter
  3. 1 6 ounce container orange yogurt
  4. 3/4 cup orange marmalade
  5. 2 teaspoons orange extract
  6. 1/2 cup thawed orange juice concentrate
  7. 3 large eggs
  8. 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  9. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  10. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  11. 1 10 to 12 ounce bag dark chocolate chips (Nestle has some out now)
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 22 muffin cups with paper liners (or grease really well but as we all know, I have a thing for making as little dirty dishes as humanly possible)
  • Beat sugar and butter in a large bowl at medium high speed until light and fluffy. Add in the yogurt, marmalade, orange extract and juice. Beat until thoroughly blended. Beat in eggs, Again, beat until well blended.
  • In a small bowl, mix together your flour, baking powder and salt. Pour it into the bowl of wet ingredients and mix with a large spoon (if you use your beater, you take the chance of 1) wearing a bowl full of flour and 2) over mixing) JUST until everything is combined. Don’t over mix or you’ll end up with tough muffins.
  • Mix in the chocolate chip; again, just until mixed.
  • Bake in the 375 degree oven until golden brown. Mine took 22 minutes.