Sunday, September 22, 2013

Peanut Butter Cookies, easy, old fashioned and delicious. A classic recipe that I've been making since I was little and that's a really really long time ago.

Nothing dramatic, cutting edge or terribly fascinating here today.  Today it's about classic, easy and delicious.  When I was a little kid, really little by the handwriting on my stained recipe, my Auntie Mary used to make peanut butter cookies. They were delicious.  I remember carefully writing the recipe out on lined paper and putting it in the binder cookbook I had (and still have).  On the top is written, "Auntie Mary's Peanut Butter Cookies".  Did she invent it? Probably not but forever, they will be Auntie Mary's cookies.  The recipe is probably on the back of a peanut butter jar somewhere but it's the way I did it then and still do it.

Tracy's Auntie Mary's Peanut Butter Cookies

Preheat oven to 375

In a bowl, combine:

2 cups all purpose flour (you can substitute SelfRaising flour, just omit the powder and salt)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

In a big bowl (or kitchenaid mixer)

Cream together:
1 cup shortening (or 1/2 shortening 1/2 margarine)
1 cup peanut butter (smooth)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar

When it's smooth and gorgeous, add:

2 eggs
splash of vanilla
1 Tablespoon milk

When it's combined and creamy, add the flour mixture a little at a time until it's all combined.  No need to beat like crazy here, it's a cookie not an enemy.


NOW then, frequently I find myself adding a 12oz bag of chocolate chips, I like milk chocolate but semisweet works as does a combination.

Sometimes, when I'm particularly unhappy, stressed or missing whatever it is that I need to make my life happy, I will make these cookies in  a big bowl and a wooden spoon.

There's something cathartic about creaming sugar and fat with the back of a spoon instead of using the equipment.  If you have the chance, make these with a bowl and a spoon instead of the machine, they taste different, better.

Spoon onto cookie sheets and  press a fork that's coated in flour into each one to make a lovely crisscross pattern.

Bake about 9-11 minutes?  Cook them till you like them, longer for crispy and shorter for soft.

Cool these on a wooden board, it makes the bottom the perfect crispness.

Line them up like soldiers and eat with joy in your heart.  These are best eaten piled up high on a small plate so it looks like more, and with a large glass of icy cold milk for dunking.

Go make them, now


Hot Fudge Upside Down Sundae Cake

QUICKIE dessert that everyone on earth should be making and eating, regularly.

Make this, eat this, feel joy and love in your heart.

I've been making this cake forever, I don't know where the recipe came from or how I found it, it's been my 'go to' for as many years as I can remember cooking on my own.  It's fast, it's SINFUL and it makes you and anyone near you happy and joyful.


This recipe has THREE players.  Prepare each separately then combine in the right order and you will be in HEAVEN in 45 minutes.  READY?

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Boil some water, either in a kettle or in the microwave, just get really hot water however you can.

IN a 8x8 or 9x9 square or round pan (see the choices you get!) combine:

1 cup all purpose flour (or self rising, just omit baking powder and salt)
2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar

IN a glass measuring cup, combine:

1/2 cup milk
2 Tablespoons plain oil
2 tsp vanilla

IN a small bowl, combine

1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder.
pinch salt

OK here's the instructions:

Pour the wet mixture onto the flour/sugar mixture and mix with a spatula.  I always use a spatula, I don't know why but it works.  Be sure it's all combined, it's the texture of toothpaste, seriously, it's supposed to be!

Smooth it out on the bottom of the dish and then sprinkle the brown sugar mix over it.
DO NOT MIX, just sprinkle it on the batter and look at how fabulous it's obviously going to be.

Pour recently boiled water or nuked water or really hot tap water over the whole mess to cover.  I use about 2 cups to get extra sauce but just be sure it's covered.

Pop it into the oven and bake for about 30-45 minutes.  The top of the cake will cook up through the water and will be dry looking and the volcanic chocolate fudge sauce will be erupting all around it.

Let it sit a moment then dive in!  I serve mine with custard because, well because I can.  It really doesn't need anything at all except a bowl, a spoon and a moment to take you to that happy hot chocolate fudge place for just a moment

MAKE this, enjoy



Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Updates and plans...

Ok darlings; 

This isn't about meatballs, but there's a meatball post coming, I wanted to get your, "oh goodness!" juices flowing with this looker of a picture! 

My update is that: 

I'm writing to Nesco about my pressure cooker, trying to get involved with them to review and write more about it.  I have replaced the insert because I dropped it and it bent, but I have noticed my gasket is loose now and I have to decide whether to replace it or buy a new/same/different pressure cooker.  I have to admit that I love that thing and made some more food this week, the posts will be up this weekend.  I've been terribly busy with getting kiddo organized for his freshman year of homeschooling high school.  Exciting and terrifying. 

I've applied to be a tester with Campbell's.  I'll keep you posted on that. 

I'm working on recipes using some canned food, seriously, I accidentally tried some and well, they were delicious.  Watch for recipes. 

I am reworking some of my British classic recipes, bangers and mash, toad in the whole, pie with custard, cottage and shepherd's pie, Yorkshire pudding and suet dumplings.  Watch for those recipes and preparations as well. 

I've connected with my Norwegian sister and am going to try to get some ideas from her for some of her local fare, sometimes it's nice to shake it all up! 

In the mean time, start saving all your fat from whatever animal you happen to cook.  Save the fat and pour it into jam jars, labelled and shoved in the door of your freezer.  I have jars labelled, "chicken", "beef", "bacon" and "goose".  Yeah, I have goose fat.  Anyway, we will be using these fats in various incarnations over the next while and I want you to have it ready.  When you're at the grocery store, ask your butcher if they have any fat throw aways and if you can have it, some say yes and you can bring it home, render it in a saucepan over medium low heat for a long time and get absolutely DELICIOUS cooking fat for FREE. 

Ok, back to what I need to do, I'll keep you posted on the happenings.  

ALSO, my posts on Cuisinart, Nesco and Pappadeux are getting really high traffic, thanks!!!