Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Coconut Macaroons

There is a wonderful bakery in a small town called McMinnville, Oregon near my town and they make the best coconut macaroons I have ever had. I have searched and tried many a macaroon recipe trying to duplicate this cookie to no avail, until today.

I have found a recipe and unfortunately I don't know the source. I read it months ago and took screenshots of the recipe where it has been sitting on my phone. I decided to give it a whirl today and it is a perfect macaroon.  Loaded with coconut, sweet, gooey in the middle, crunchy around the edges....just delightful. The other positive thing is that it is an easy recipe to make with no need for getting out the mixer. 

Coconut Macaroons

4 egg whites
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp honey
1/4 tsp salt
Mix together in medium saucepan over low until tepid. Do not overheat.

1/4 cup flour
1 cup toasted coconut
1 1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 tsp vanilla

Heat over medium heat stirring constantly until mixture resembles thick mashed potatoes.

Put mixture in bowl and cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350 deg.

Place mixture in 1/8 cup mounds on parchment lined baking sheet.

Cook for 18-20 minutes until golden brown.  Cool on rack.

Monday, January 31, 2022

Pan de Cristal (Glass Bread)


With a rainy Monday and no plans, I decided to try my hand at a recipe that looked intriguing from King Arthur's Baking website. I get a weekly newsletter from this excellent company and have always found them well tested with plenty of helpful hints to achieve success.

This was last weeks King Arthur's Recipe of the Week and the pictures posted of this bread looked so delicious. A dark crust, just how we like it at our house and an extremely porous looking texture. Here's the thing; it takes a minimum of six hours to make so it's not something to tackle if you're not dedicated to running in and out of the kitchen all day.

I started by printing out the recipe and it was FIVE pages long. A bit intimidating and I thought  "What have I gotten myself into?" I read and reread the recipe a few times and then pulled up my sleeves and got started. Initially, when I got the ingredients (bread flour, salt, yeast, and water) it was so loose it was almost like waffle batter. That, apparently, is the secret to making the phenomenally crackly crust. 

Well, throughout the day as I went in every 20 minutes to twist and fold this dough, it turned very manageable and when it was time to bake, it had nice fat bubbles erupting on the surface . It makes four small loaves, approximately 5" x 7" and it can be reheated in the oven to refresh the crispness.  

The Husband and I cut into and tasted the first loaf still hot from the oven because who can wait and I can honestly say it was the best bread I have ever tasted. Seriously delicious.   Here is the link to the recipe if you're looking to challenge your bread making skills, https://www.kingarthurbaking.com/recipes/pan-de-cristal-recipe

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Amish Friendship Bread


Those of you of certain age may recall back in the 70's and 80's there was a trend where home bakers were making Amish Friendship Bread.  The deal was that it was similar to sourdough bread in that there was always a cup or so of starter each week that either had to be thrown out as one replenished the original starter OR....the excess was shared with friends along with the recipe, thus the title of this delicious bread.

I received numerous starters from people I worked with and I know I made the bread, but I don't recall ever keeping the starter going or sharing it with others. I recall enjoying this quick bread but totally forgot about it until I was recently perusing through a newly purchased Cook's Country cookbook and came upon a recipe for Friendship Bread that doesn't require a starter batter.  It's a straight forward recipe, utilizing lot's of cinnamon and sugar. I added raisins to one of the loaves and I think you could add any other dried fruit or nuts to your liking. Your home will smell amazing while this is baking. The recipe makes 2 loaves; one for you and one to share with a friend!


Amish Friendship Bread

3½ cups granulated sugar, divided use

1 tablespoon PLUS 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided use

1⅓ cups PLUS 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided use

3¾ cups all-purpose flour

1½ teaspoons baking powder

¾ teaspoon baking soda

¾ teaspoon salt

1¾ cups milk

3 eggs, lightly beaten

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a small bowl, thoroughly combine ½ cup of the sugar and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon; set aside.

Brush 2 (8½-by-4½-inch) metal loaf pans with vegetable oil, using 1 teaspoon per pan. Add 2 tablespoons of the cinnamon-sugar to each loaf pan and tilt to coat the bottom and sides evenly; set pans and remaining cinnamon-sugar aside.

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining 3 cups sugar, the 3¾ cups flour, the remaining tablespoon cinnamon, the baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, the remaining 1⅓ cups vegetable oil and the vanilla extract.

Stir the milk mixture into the flour mixture, mixing just until moistened. Batter will be lumpy. Divide batter between the prepared pans. Divide and sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup cinnamon-sugar over the batter in each pan.

Bake 65 to 70 minutes or until a tester inserted near the center of each loaf comes out clean. Cool loaves in pans on a wire rack for 1 hour. Run a paring knife or offset spatula around the edges of the loaves to loosen. Gently tilt pans to remove each loaf. Serve warm or at room temperature. Loaves will keep wrapped in foil for up to 3 days.

Makes 2 loaves.

Recipe adapted from Cook's Country December/January 2019


Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Copycat Brach's Gumdrop Nougat Candy


When growing up, I loved the Brach's candy stand in the grocery store, chock-a-block full of sweet treats. On those rare occasions when my mom would fill up one of those pink and white striped bags, these gumdrop white nougat candies would always be included.  I believe they were her favorite, as they were mine.

I was recently watching some candy making You Tube videos thinking perhaps I'll get ambitious this holiday season and whip up a few batches of candy to share as gifts and I came across a video showing how to make these nougat candies. Let me just say, they are drop dead easy to make and are very similar to the taste of the real thing.  The nougat is not quite as chewy, but at my age with the number of crowns in my mouth, that's probably good.

I asked The Husband if he liked these and he placed them as his #1 worst candy, with Circus Peanuts running a close second.  I guess I will not be putting any in his stocking.

If you have 10 minutes to spare and are interested in whipping up a confection, this might be the recipe you've been waiting for.

Copycat Brach's Gumdrop Nougat Candy 

4 packed cups of miniature marshmallows

1 cup white chocolate chips

1 Tbsp butter

Pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla

6.5 oz box of Dots

Place marshmallows, chips, and butter in a large microwaveable bowl. Place on high in microwave and cook, stopping every 15 seconds or so to stir. Use a spatula sprayed with vegetable spray.  Once this mixture is completely melted,  quickly add salt, vanilla and gumdrops and combine. Pour mixture in a 8x8 inch pan lined with parchment paper. I used a foil pan and just sprayed with vegetable spray and it worked very well. Leave in refrigerator for at least 2-3 hours.  Using an oiled knife, cut into 1 inch cubes and wrap each cube in wax or parchment paper.

The recipe states if well wrapped, these will last for a few weeks. We'll see about that!

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Blueberry Muffins Redux


Happy National Blueberry Muffin Day.  Who knew? An hour or so after The Husband and I had eaten our blueberry muffins I made using fresh berries picked from our blueberry bush, he sent me a tweet announcing this fruity holiday. What a coincidence....or could it just be a blatantly manufactured "holiday" created by the blueberry producers of America?  Whatever the reason, any day is a good day for blueberry muffins.

The recipe I use is from a McCalls cookbook my parents gave me when I was still in high school. I have made this recipe so many times over the years, I don't even need to open the book.  It's an easy, one-bowl recipe. I often get all the ingredients together the night before so I can get these in the oven in 10 minutes in the morning. I have blogged these before, but they are so good, they deserve an encore.

Blueberry Muffins

Preheat oven to 400 deg.

Grease 12 muffin tins

2 cups all purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

3 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup milk

1 beaten egg

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Extra sugar for sprinkling tops of muffins

In a medium bowl mix together dry ingredients. Add blueberries and toss in flour mixture. Add milk, egg, and oil. Combine until well combined with dry mix but do not over mix. Fill the muffin cups to approximately 3/4 full.. Bake in preheated oven 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Enjoy!


Sunday, July 4, 2021

Sunday Fun-Day Shrimp Chow Fun


This week's new recipe is a favorite in Chinese restaurants, Chow Fun. It is a rice noodle dish with various vegetables, and a protein of your liking.  I went for fat, meaty prawns for our dish, but it works with grilled tofu, chicken, or beef.  

I got this particular recipe from a popular You Tube chef and his channel is called Yeung Man Cooking.  I will not plagiarize his recipe as he has a cookbook to sell. . Instead, I will direct you to his video where he puts this dish together using tofu. 

My assessment of this recipe is that though it was flavorful and not a difficult recipe, I probably won't make it again. I always feel when I cook Asian food, it never tastes as delicious as when the pros make them.  I buy all kinds of ingredients for these dishes and then find I don't use them again. 


Thursday, July 1, 2021

Croque Monsieur


I have been in such a recipe rut as this pandemic and quarantine has continued on for so long. Having to think of meals to cook every day for 15 months has taken its toll on my cooking creative juices.  Even though restaurants are opening up again, I have given myself a challenge to try a brand new recipe once a week.

This week took The Husband and I on a virtual foodie tour down the Champs Elysee where we stopped at a charming French bistro and ate this delicious Croque Monsieur and a simple green salad. It's a very rich sandwich so nothing more was needed. Okay, I'm fibbing a little. Some mousse au chocolat would have been a divine dessert. 

Croque Monsieur


  • 8 slices hearty white sandwich bread
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 12 ounces thinly sliced Black Forest deli ham
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 ounces Gruyère cheese, shredded (1 cup)     

Mornay Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 ounces Gruyère cheese, shredded (1 cup)
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • Pinch ground nutmeg


1. FOR THE SANDWICHES: Adjust oven rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with vegetable oil spray.

2. Brush bread on both sides with melted butter and place on prepared sheet. Bake until light golden brown on top, about 10 minutes. Remove sheet from oven and flip slices. Return to oven and bake until golden brown on second side, about 3 minutes. Reserve 4 slices for sandwich tops; evenly space remaining 4 slices on sheet.

3. FOR THE MORNAY SAUCE: Melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in milk and bring to boil. Once boiling, remove from heat and quickly whisk in Gruyère, Parmesan, salt, pepper, and nutmeg until smooth.

4. Spread 1 tablespoon Mornay on each slice of toast on sheet. Then, folding ham slices over themselves multiple times so they bunch up, divide ham evenly among slices of toast. Spread 2 tablespoons Mornay on 1 side of each reserved slice of toast and place slices Mornay side down on top of ham.

5. Spread 2 tablespoons Mornay evenly over top of each sandwich, making sure to completely cover toast, including edges (exposed edges can burn under broiler). Sprinkle sandwiches with Parmesan, followed by Gruyère.

6. Bake until cheese on top of sandwiches is melted, about 5 minutes. Turn on broiler and broil until cheese bubbles across tops of sandwiches and edges are spotty brown, about 5 minutes. Serve.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Happy Pi Day


It's been awhile since I made a pie so I got motivated today to whip something together.  My choices with what I had on hand were some questionable apples in the fridge, pudding mix in the cupboard, or a can of cherry pie filling on the pantry shelf. Cherry will always win out at our house.


Rather than reinvent the wheel, I stuck to my favorite pie crust recipe which is the recipe my grandma and mom used when they baked tarts.  You can find it here.  Because I am inherently lazy and also because I love streusel topping, I opted for that as opposed to a top pastry crust.  Below is the basic ingredients to put that together.  I rolled out the crust and placed it in a regular 9 inch pie plate, threw in the cherry pie filling, topped with the streusel topping, and baked at 400 degrees for 35 minutes.Voila!


 Streusel Pie Topping

1 stick room temperature butter

1 cup flour

3/4 cup brown sugar

dash of salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

With a pastry cutter or your fingers, mix everything together until it makes a cohesive crumble. Distribute evenly over the pie of your choice.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Snowball Cookies Redux


Christmas is one week away and I have to admit I have not been very interested this year. I am sure I am not alone in this sentiment.  Seeing that The Husband and I will be not be leaving our humble abode and will not be receiving any visitors, I felt there was no reason to do my usual batches of holiday treats.

This afternoon I had a slight change in my bah humbug attitude and decided to make one batch of traditional cookies I grew up with, the snowball cookie.  These have a special place in my heart as they were my dear dad's favorite.  The other thing is that they are super easy to make.  I blogged about these originally here and today I used a simpler recipe that didn't even require hauling out the mixer.

Wishing one and all happy holidays and may 2021 be a much better year for all of you and for our country.

Snowball Cookies

1 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 pinch kosher salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups finely chopped pecans or walnuts 

1/2 cup warmed butter, cut in cubes

1/2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper

In a bowl combine flour, granulated sugar, salt, vanilla,and nuts until mixed together. Add butter with your hands and combine until mix resembles a coarse crumble. Form cookies into 1 inch balls and place on cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until light golden brown.  While cookies are still slightly warm, roll them in powdered sugar and place on cooling rack. Makes 15-20 cookies.


Sunday, December 6, 2020

Yorkshire Pudding Redux


Going back to the well with my Yorkshire Pudding recipe..This side dish has been a favorite food my entire life.  It was served by my Yorkshire grandmother when the Chase clan would come for Sunday dinner. It was served by my mother along with our Christmas prime rib. It has been one of my favorite things to make when on occasion, I make a roast beef dinner. The smell of this entire dinner cooking certainly evokes fond memories of both my grandparents and parents home when I was growing up.

I have an entry in my blog of the recipe my mom and grandmother used but I have found a new and I think improved recipe that I find makes for very satisfying results. I use a popover recipe and have an actual popover pan that I use to make super high and puffy Yorkshire pudding. I use a dab of beef fat from the roast as well as spraying the sides of the pan with Pam to ensure easy release.  

The one thing I would recommend when making these is to put a baking sheet on the bottom shelf of the oven to catch any drips of batter or grease that might spill out as these puddings puff  up in the pan. The last major oven fire we had (and there have been a few in our kitchen) was caused by Yorkshire pudding drippings.

There it is. The perfect English Sunday dinner, minus roasted potatoes because,well,...who needs those when you have Yorkshire Pudding.


Yorkshire Pudding or American Popovers

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

3 eggs

1 cup milk

3 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 cup flour

1/2 tsp salt

Whisk eggs, milk, and oil together. Sift flour and salt over wet mixture. Whisk into a smooth batter. 

Put 1 tsp beef fat or vegetable oil in the bottom of popover pan. Spray sides of each cup with Pam.  Place pan in oven for approximately 5 minutes to heat up oil. Carefully remove hot pan from oven and fill each cup no more than 1/2 full. Place in oven with cookie sheet below pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes, Take out of pan and serve immediately.