Posts Tagged ‘Ingredient’

Um… this one is pretty easy to do, but it’s also the only one I have left, so… yea. As something to play with, though, you could try taking this idea and sweetening them. I bought mini-muffin trays and did a cinnamon/sugar bit with them that actually came out well (I didn’t write down how I did it though, but it took some tweaking to get them to puff with the smaller size and not burn, but it worked once I got it). I tried whole-wheat versions before (not because I’m a “whole wheat fan”, but some people around me are), and I have not figured out how to get them light enough to actually puff at all—they just come out more like biscuits.

Over all, these are my go-to thing to make when I’m requested to bring something, but I’m also pressed for time. They’re quick to throw together; the bake time is only half-an-hour.

Needed Tools:

  • Popover pan(s) or aluminum muffin pan(s) (I normally use muffin pans because I had trouble finding a popover pan anywhere and by the time I finally found a place that had them, I was already used to using the muffin pan and didn’t care—seems silly to have a pan with only one use anyway).
  • Mixing bowl
  • Whisk
  • Sifter
  • Measuring cups and spoons

Needed Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ tablespoons melted butter/margarine
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups 2% milk (2% is the happy-middle of milk in baking, it’s not too heavy, and it’s not too light) at room temperature

What to do:

  • Preheat oven to 425 (it’s also commonly suggested that you allow your pans to preheat also for about 2 minutes, but if you’re doing multiple batches and can’t really do that too easily, then it can be skipped, but it does help).
  • Sift the flour and whisk together the salt, eggs, milk, and melted butter until smooth.
  • Fill the greased pans less than half full and bake for 30 minutes.

This should make about 12 or so.

324455_2518830087249_376842630_oMy Rum Balls

This is, obviously for combustion reasoning, a refrigerator-cookie, so there will be no oven needed.

Needed Tools:

  • Bowl
  • Masher or blender or food processor (for finely crushing things)
  • Sifter
  • Baking sheet
  • Plastic wrap

Needed Ingredients:

  • ½ cup powdered sugar (about ½ cup extra for rolling later)
  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ finely chopped walnuts (you can also use hazelnuts, pecans, or almonds based on your preference or its availability)
  • 1 ½ cups finely crushed vanilla wafers
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ cup Bacardi 151 (unless you’re a sissy, of’course, then you can go with some sissy rum… sissy)

What to Do:

  • Sift together first ½ cup powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and allspice.
  • Stir in the rum and corn syrup.
  • Stir in the vanilla wafers and walnuts, and mix well.
  • Place in the refrigerator to firm up for about 30 minutes (or until dough is firm enough to be able to form into a ball).
  • Place remaining ½ cup powdered sugar in a bowl.
  • Shape the dough into balls about 1-inch (the batch amount will depend on the size of the balls).
  • Roll the balls into the powdered sugar until thoroughly covered.
  • Place on baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

My Russian Tea Cakes

These are extremely simple to do. I’m giving you the basic tabula-rasa version of them, but they are very easy to completely change up and experiment with. Commonly I make these every year to serve as the kids’ version of Rum Balls.

Needed Tools:

  • Baking sheet
  • Bowl

Needed Ingredients:

  • ½ cup powdered sugar (plus about another ½ cup or so for rolling)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup softened butter or margarine

What to Do:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350
  • Mix everything together thoroughly.
  • Shape the dough into balls about 1-inch (the batch amount will depend on the size of the balls).
  • Place them on a un-grease baking sheet.
  • Bake 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Remove and let them slightly cool on a wire rack (but not too much, you want them to be warm enough for the powered sugar to stick, but not so warm that the powdered sugar melts).
  • Roll them in a bowl of powdered sugar, and cover them thoroughly.
  • And now just le them sit and finish cooling.

Now, I have tried many different variations of these, such as coffee, chocolate, chocolate-chip, speculaaskruiden, a random variation of all those together, and stuff I don’t even remember anymore. If you’re someone that likes to experiment with flavors, this is definitely the playground to do it in.

CIMG0011Spekulaas are a Belgian cookie that is among the traditional winter holiday foods in my family. Taste can be compared to similar to a “windmill cookie” (a lot of Dutch, Swedish, German, area of foods come very close to Belgian foods for pretty much the obvious reasons).

Mijn Grootmoeders Spekulaas Koekjes

Tools Needed:

Ingredients Needed:

  • 1.5cups softened butter or margarine
  • 4 cups brown sugar (preferably dark, for texture)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 4 +/- cups flour (you’ll need extra for lightly brushing the dough to make it easier to work with)

What to Do:

  • CIMG0009Hand mix all your ingredients (if you’re wondering how to do it bowl-free, it’s actually pretty easy—lay down your parchment on a large flat surface, measure out all your dry ingredients and mix them together, then mound them up, and form a bowl shape in the center, making sure to keep its walls dense—sandcastle or snow-fort builders should handle this easily—now put in your wet ingredients, and slowly combine everything together until thoroughly mixed—all this is good to keep in mind if I ever get around to posting one of my pasta recipes)
  • Form long rolls, and place in fridge until chilled (may need to let it sit over night to firm up properly)
  • Pre-heat oven to 350
  • Slice into cookie wafers and place on parchment layered baking sheet
  • Add sliced almonds
  • Bake for about 8 minutes

Makes about 20doz

Additional Note:

“Speculaaskruiden” (“speculaas spice”) is a combination of spices commonly used in many different Belgian baked goods. It can actually be found pre-mixes in the spice section of some stores, much like pumpkin spice, or apple spice, etc,  but in the US, it’s a bit of a search for it. My Grandmother’s version of Speculaas simplified the spices to only a couple things (which makes it a bit bland, but still eatable), but after doing research on the cookies I came across the spice combination, and gave it a try—it is a lot better (and from what my dad says, is a lot closer to the way his mother used to actually make the cookies). This combination only gives the basic ratio to work with, nothing precise, so don’t worry about getting obsessive over it, just work within the generalized region.


  • 4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground mace
  • 1/3 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/5 tsp ground white pepper (a pinch)
  • 1/5 tsp ground cardamom (a pinch)
  • 1/5 tsp ground coriander seeds (a pinch)
  • 1/5 tsp ground anise seeds (a pinch)
  • 1/5 tsp grated nutmeg (a pinch)

CAM00029After many years of having holidays with a dish of sweet potato casseroles that were more tiny marshmallows than anything else, and most people never eating it because it was an overly sweet, gross mess, I set out to repair this tragedy of culinary arts. In most recipes I have created, they are a combination of at least 3 or so different chefs plus my own details. I actually do a lot of research to the extent of “Good Eats” level of understanding of not just how things taste, but why. The end result of all this research brought me to this recipe, Sweet Potato Mash. It made all the sweet potato haters in my family, including myself, into sweet potato lovers, and I ended up officially replacing the person who originally made the sweet potatoes (she now brings store-bought pies). You’ll notice the key detail would be the topping is not a bunch of tiny marshmallows… that’s important—all ingredients should work with each other; none of them should dominate so much you can’t taste anything else.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

And, I normally do cookies for Christmas, so that’s probably where I’ll be going for the next food post (I’m not sure which cookies I’ll post on though).


Needed Tools:

  • Baking sheet
  • Knife
  • Bowls
  • Skillet or frying pan
  • Pot big enough for about 4 pounds of potatoes
  • Masher or electric mixer
  • Tongs and/or spoon (or whatever works better for you with frying)
  • Baking dish

Needed Ingredients for Potatoes:

  • About 4 pounds sweet potatoes (I normally use about a ¼ ratio of red and white sweet potatoes—the white has a bit more subtlety to it and creates a better contrast)
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice (home-style of the jug works too)
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons melted unsalted butter or margarine
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • about 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • about ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground or coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 cups chicken broth (preferably low sodium, or sodium free)

What to Do:

Part 1:

  • Preheat the oven to 375-degrees
  • Prick the potatoes several times with a knife and bake for about 1 hour or until the tip of the knife can go through easily.
  • Take the potatoes out and allow to cool just long enough to be able to handle, then cut in halves and scoop out the insides

Part 2:

  • Place the pot onto the stove on a medium heat
  • Add butter, and add the orange juice, allow the juice to cook out for about 1 minute.
  • Add the potatoes and the broth, brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, pepper.
  • Begin to mash to desire consistency, while gradually mixing in the cream.
  • Pour into a baking dish

Needed Ingredients for the Topping:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine
  • 3 to 6 northern apples (Michigan, McIntosh, etc), peeled, cored, and cut into eighths (because that’s what the apple slicer cuts it into)
  • 3 tablespoons of light brown sugar

What to Do:

  • Melt the butter in a pan over medium-high heat
  • Add the apple wedges and brown sugar
  • Cook and thoroughly coat for about 5 to 10 minutes until lightly browned on both sides.
  • Place on top of sweet potatoes
  • Bake the potatoes and apples for about 20 to 30 minutes until heated through.

As a warning, in researching sweet potato recipes that brought me to this one, I came across tips on how to store the potatoes which mentioned that they should never be refrigerated because it will cause them to loose their flavor. I have come to realize that this rule is important to take note of even with left-over concoctions, as I discovered this recipe is fine to be refrigerated for only about a day or two before it goes from a big plate of joy, to a big plate of disappointment.