Peanut Butter Cookies

I halve a lot of recipes – especially cookies.  We just don’t need 4 dozen cookies laying around the house because you know what happens?  We eat 4 dozen cookies.  Half batches usually give me the right amount for my husband’s lunches for the week plus a few extra for us to munch on.

Way back when I shared my peanut butter blondies post I mentioned my husband likes peanut butter cookies.  However, I made soft, chewy peanut butter cookies for years before he told me he prefers them thin and crispy.  What’s nice about these cookies is that you can make them chewy or crispy without altering the recipe – it’s all in how much you flatten them before you bake them.  If you want soft cookies, press them with the back of your fork a little bit.  If you want them crispy, press them down a lot!

If 2 dozen cookies is still too much, or you want to multiply the recipe and stockpile some cookie dough for later, this dough is great for freezing. Read More »

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Extending the Shelf Life – A “Bread-speriment”

Few things are better than homemade bread.  The flavor is hard to beat, and it makes the kitchen smell amazing.  However, the shelf life often leaves much to be desired.  It’s not something you need to worry about if you intend to gobble up your loaf right away, but if you make a loaf on Sunday and want it to last through lunch on Friday you might end up disappointed when by Thursday the loaf starts to mold.  And lets face it, you’re not saving any money making your own bread if you have to throw it out.

I usually have good luck with my bun recipe lasting a full week.  My recipe uses an egg, and the lecithin in the egg yolk can act as a preservative, so that could be why.  However, as wonderful as my bun recipe is, sometimes I want to make a different kind of bread.  I know, crazy, right?  Besides, I wouldn’t mind squeaking a few more days of freshness out of my buns from time to time.

I don’t want to go out and buy a commercial dough enhancer because they’re pretty expensive and the reviews on whether they work or not seem pretty mixed.  In hopes of finding a cheaper alternative, I decided to embark on an adventure to try to find if there is something, natural or commercial, that I can add to a bread recipe that will help extend its shelf life.  My first contender: Vital wheat gluten with vitamin C.

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Vital wheat gluten is better known to improve the texture of breads, however this product has vitamin C, which is an additive that should improve shelf life. Read More »

A Strawberry Cheesecake with a Chocolate Swirl

I’d been itching to bake something fancy for awhile.  Saturday was my sister’s birthday, and she and my parents wanted to come out and visit us, so I happily volunteered to make her a birthday cake.  I stewed for awhile about what to make… there are far too many good ideas out there!  But, no matter how much time I spend on Pinterest, when I need to make a special dessert I will most likely make a cheesecake.  And it’s got “cake” in the name, so it qualifies as a birthday cake, right?

Besides, cheesecakes are kind of my thing.Read More »

Zucchini-Rhubarb Muffins with Crumble Topping

It seems as though the only non-objectionable way that I can cook zucchini in this household is in sweet baked goods.  Last year I had a bumper crop from two plants and I was making zucchini bread 6 or 8 loaves at a time.  I found It’s a lot easier to give away zucchini when it’s already baked into a sweet, cinnamon-and-sugar topped loaf of bread, so if I knew someone would be stopping by I would have a loaf or two ready for them to take home.  Although zucchini season came a little late for us this year, we’re finally into it.

So, last week I was eating some zucchini bread from my first batch of the year.  It was delicious.  It was moist and cinnamon-y and sweet, but suddenly I had a revelation that something was missing.  It needed something… something zingy… it needed rhubarb!  I decided I needed to make that happen.  And I am glad I did!Read More »

How to Make a Piping Bag from Freezer Paper

I once tried using a zip-top bag with a piping tip.  The issue with that is plastic stretches and the pressure of the frosting causes the tip to blow out of the end of the bag.  At least that was the case for me.  It was a buttercream icing, it wasn’t too thick, and I had a large tip.  I think I eventually got the plastic coupler to snag the cut in the bag just right and was able to get through frosting my batch of cupcakes.

Sure, you can get disposable piping bags for relatively cheap nowadays.  But in my case that would mean ordering them online and waiting a week for them to arrive via free shipping.  And let’s be honest, I don’t really need 100 piping bags for the roughly 3 times a year I need one.

A reusable piping bag?  I 110% do not want to have to clean that.Read More »

Mom Came to Visit – Part 2

This past week my mom came to visit and we cooked up some exciting recipes.  What we cooked on Monday and Tuesday can be found on Mom Came to Visit – Part 1.

Wednesday Breakfast: Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Breakfast Sandwiches.

No photo, no recipe.

The reason I’m including this:  We used those pretzel rolls we made on Tuesday to make bacon, egg, and Swiss cheese breakfast sandwiches!  I also tried the trick where you cook the eggs in a mason jar ring to keep them round – it worked!  Make sure you spray the rings with cooking spray first, and if you want to flip them you need to make sure they’re cooked almost all the way through then use a fork or something to lift off the ring before you flip.Read More »

Mom Came to Visit – Part 1

I’ve been largely absent from my blog this week because my mom came to visit!

My husband was out of town for work for 4 days.  So, my mom came to hang out with the kiddos and keep me from going crazy from 4 days without a break from them.  My dad and sister even spent a night after bringing her out.  All in all it was a fun week, and I didn’t lose my sanity, which is always a bonus.

I’ve been meaning to do another recipe post, and since we cooked up some fun stuff I’m going to share what we made.  I’m breaking it up into two parts so it doesn’t get too long and overwhelming.Read More »

Mom’s Sugar Cookies

I didn’t do much this past weekend.  Not for lack of motivation, but because my husband was working on the farm truck.  I believe it was new brakes, calipers, rotors, a new ignition switch, and some other stuff with the steering column.  So, I was too busy with the kiddos to get anything done in the gardens, but they really just need some light weeding.  A quick summary:  The corn and pumpkins are growing good and the vegetable garden is doing its thing.  The flowers are doing great and my favorite iris looks like it will be blooming later this week, so perhaps I’ll have some photos and a little more to talk about then.

However, on Sundays I watch NASCAR and bake things. Read More »

How To Form Hot Dog Buns

It’s summer which means it’s time to grill!

Who am I kidding, we live in Wisconsin, we grill when it’s 20 below and snowing!  The warm weather just means you don’t need to wear a coat while standing at the grill.  Brats are the grilled fare of choice here in Wisconsin, which of course means you need buns.

Even after I started making my own hamburger buns and attempted to swear off store-bought bread altogether I found myself still buying hot dog buns.  My attempts at homemade always looked, well, just plain bad.  They tasted fine in and of themselves, but it’s hard to eat a brat or hot dog when the bun bulges in one area with hardly enough to surround the meat in another.  Not to mention the two inches of excess bun on the end.

If you read my post where I shared THE Bun Recipe I said I was working on some ideas on how to make hot dog buns that don’t look wonky.  Well, after a few tries I think I found a pretty easy method.  Rather than rolling it play-dough style into a lumpy snake with tapered ends, I took some cues from a few batches of french breads and cinnamon rolls and flattened my dough before rolling my dough up cinnamon-roll style.  However, rolling them out one by one would still lead to some unevenness and tapered ends, and I was looking for a result that was consistent and could be easily replicated, and here it is!Read More »

Peanut Butter Blondies

My husband likes all the cookies I make – as long as they’re peanut butter cookies.  I like making cookies, but Little Dude, a/k/a “Mr. I Just Need To Be Held,” doesn’t make it easy for me.  Usually by the time I get the first batch in the oven he’s had enough of sitting in his chair and makes sure that I am aware of his discontent.  At least for now, brownies and bars are my baked goods of choice.  Just mix up some batter, spread it in a pan, and after one stint in the oven I’m done, as opposed to switching out sheet pans every 11 minutes or so.

The first time I made this recipe I asked my husband how it was and if it was an adequate substitute for peanut butter cookies.  He said they were good, but commented that they didn’t have the fork marks.  So, of course, the next time that I made them I grabbed a fork and scraped the tines across the batter right before it went in the oven.  I believe they were served with a helping of “you got your fork marks so no more complaining.”

This recipe can’t get much easier – one bowl, no mixer required, and you probably have all the ingredients on hand.  To make these awesome bars gather up a stick of butter, light brown sugar, an egg, vanilla extract, peanut butter, salt, and flour.  Start preheating your oven to 350 degrees, get your butter melting, and head on over here to Gal on a Mission for the full recipe!

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