Thursday, December 31, 2009

Portzelky (New Year Fritters)

By the sound of the name, I imagine that these New Years fritters were adopted from our Ukrainian roots. My own mother was not in the habit of making these, but the family I married into was, so I chose this recipe many years ago, submitted by a Mrs. J. H. Peters to the Mennonite Treasury of Recipes. The trick is to make sure that the oil is the right temperature, so it is good if you can use an electric pan or fryer where you can set it. This recipe makes 3 dozen.

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1/2 Tbsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups raisins
  • 1/2 cup prunes cut into small pieces
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 egg whites, beaten stiff
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp instant yeast
  • 2 tsp baking powder

 
1 litre Canola oil (approx) for frying

 
Method:

 
  1. Rinse raisins with boiling water to plump
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine milk, water, salt, sugar, soda, raisins and prunes.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder and yeast, adding some to the liquids.
  4. Stir egg yolks into batter and then add the rest of the dry ingredients to make a heavy batter which will be rather stiff.
  5. Fold in beaten egg whites with spatula
  6. Cover and let rise until double in size. (half to one hour)
  7. Using two regular tablespoons (one for scooping and one for scraping) drop into hot oil (about 375F or 190C), turning over once and frying until brown.
  8. Scoop into a paper towel lined pan and roll in sugar while still warm.
Happy New Year!

 

Portzelke Bites - Gluten-free


I was challenged by several requests for gluten-free Portzelke. I didn't really think I could do it. But you never know until you try and my second attempt produced these very tasty morsels. I am very pleased with how they taste and my husband pronounced them 'very good' and proceeded to help himself to a goodly number! The true test! A non-Celiac person has the final word.

I used the white bean flour in this recipe because it mimics a wheat flavour. If you buy white bean flour, taste it first. If there is more than a very faint aftertaste. it is not flour from only the small white bean. There is nothing worse tasting to me than a 'raw bean' flavor. I grind my own small white beans that I buy in the grocery store. We bought a second hand flour mill, an old stone motor driven one .


Portzelke (New Years Fritters)
Ingredients and Method

1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp. yeast
(let proof in warm spot)

Liquid Ingredients
1/2 cup warm milk
1 tsp melted butter
1 tsp vinegar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg

Dry Ingredients
1/2 cup white bean flour
1/2 cup white rice flour
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup potato starch
2 tbsp Arrowroot flour
1 rounded tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 slightly rounded tablespoons of sugar
2 cups of raisins
Method
1. In mixing bowl put in liquid ingredients and beat ... then add the proofed yeast.
2. Mix dry ingredients in zip lock bag and add all at once to liquid .
3. Beat on low until blended then on high until dough is smooth and changed texture- a minute or two.
4. Add raisins and beat until mixed evenly.
5. Scrape sides of bowl down with spatula to form a ball of dough in bottom of bowl.
6. Cover and let rise in warm spot for 30 -40 minutes.
Heat about 3/4 of an inch of oil in a pot or small frying pan.

When hot drop by teaspoon a dollop of dough , about the size of a large walnut, into the hot oil and fry until a rich golden brown.

I made them smaller than the regular wheat ones because they seemed to be better.... but you can try them any size you like. And I also prefer them well done.

The texture of the Portzelke is very good - slightly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside with a very good crumb. (Next day - warm left overs in toaster oven)

Let them cool and dust with icing sugar if you like them that way.
Enjoy !!!
**

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Cutletten Sandwiches

I make these sandwiches when I have leftover "Cutletten".
Judy posted a recipe for "Kotletten" (you can find it under the "Mennonite Recipies" section of this blog) which is basically the same as my recipe for"Cutletten". My precious Mother in Law always fried hers in a pan using only a Tbsp. or 2 of oil and she would occasionally coat them with bread crumbs before frying them. Any way you make them, they are a treat and there are usually enough leftover to make this delicious sandwich the next day.

  • Leftover "Cutletten"
  • 1/2 of a medium onion, sliced
  • 1/4 red or yellow pepper cut into strips
  • 1/4 green pepper cut into strips
  • grated cheddar cheese or mozzarella cheese or a mixture
  • bread slices
  • butter, BBQ sauce and mayonaise ( if desired)
  1. Saute' onion and peppers in a pan until they lose their crunch.
  2. Place bread slices on a pan and toast lightly in the oven.
  3. Turn the slices over and spread other side with butter, mayo (if desired) and BBQ sauce.
  4. Cut leftover Cutletten in half and lay flat sides on bread. (I often fry the meat lightly to warm it before putting it on the bread)
  5. Top with saute'ed vegetables and grated cheese.
  6. Broil, watching closely until cheese melts.
  7. Serve open faced with Bread and Butter pickles.


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hot Turkey/Chicken Sandwiches with BBQ Gravy

Do you have any left over Turkey?
Well here is another recipe to try.
I was watching the food network and wrote the recipe down from the show Ricardo.
I love his accent and his food always looks so good.
He served his with green peas......but this is what mine looks like....
not exactly Ricardo's style, but delish none the less.


What you need is . . ..
  • Left over shredded Turkey or Chicken
  • Slices of your favorite bread
  • Sauce, lots of it.
Sauce/Gravy:
  • 6 tbsp. butter, I used less
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1 tsp. chili
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. onion salt
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 tbsp. ketchup
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  1. Melt the butter, add the flour...stirring with a whisk.
  2. Add all the dry spices to the flour mixture.
  3. Add the beef broth, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce.
  4. Cook until nice and thick.
  5. Take whatever shredded Turkey that you are using and just moisten it with the sauce, in a separate pan and heat the meat through.
  6. Toast your bread or leave plain.
  7. Add the chicken
  8. Cover with second slice of bread
  9. Pour over desired amount of gravy.
  10. This makes lots of gravy for lots of sandwiches
  11. Enjoy
  12. Try to resist the temptation of licking the plate clean...... ;^D).....or you will end up with a double chin....
This gravy is also very good over meatballs.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Cheese Fondue

We have enjoyed cheese fondue with our Swiss friends on many occasions...and find it is a wonderful camping dish or a treat to enjoy with friends around the table on a winter evening. This is a recipe that came from a 'Taste of Home' collection at one time. Make a meal of it by dipping raw vegetable pieces and cooked chicken strips as well as the usual cubes of bread.

  • 3/4 cup apple juice
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 loaf of fresh French bread, cubed

Directions:

  1. Rub inside of large saucepan with the clove of garlic.
  2. Bring the apple juice to a boil over medium heat...then reduce to low heat.
  3. Toss the cheeses with the cornstarch, pepper and nutmeg...stir into the juice.
  4. Cook and stir constantly for 3-4 minutes...or until cheese is melted.
  5. Transfer to a fondue pot to keep warm.
  6. Serve with cubed bread for dipping.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Bread for the Journey

It is the last Sunday of the year and it's almost time to ring in the new year..
None of us knows what our future holds but if we put our trust in God we know that we will not go alone..God will be with us each step of our journey. It's also the time of year when people make new year's resolutions. I checked an online dictionary and it gave me this definition of a new year's resolution..'a promise that you make to yourself to start doing something good or stop doing something bad on the first day of the year'.
Philipians 3: 13,14
"No dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.
I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Jesus Christ, is calling us." (NLT)

I wish you all a hope and peace filled New Year!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Joy to the world!

Jesus is the reason for the season.
All the preparations. . .
all the goodies in the freezer . .
all the gifts under trees around the world. . .
all are because of Jesus.

A few days ago I was listening to my favorite female Vocalist singing like an angel.
I had goosebumps as she sang O Holy Night.
Her eyes were closed as she sang to her Saviour . .
and I wondered then what heaven must have been like when the Christ Child was born.
What must that choir of angels been like .. .
singing Glory to God?
Again this Christmas I stand amazed at the gift of Jesus.

The Bible says . .

"For God so Loved the World that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life"
John 3 :16


Have you accepted the gift of Jesus?
You might think that you have done far to many bad things for God to forgive you.
God already knew before he created you .. what you would do in your life.
You might think that you will try harder to be good. . .
but there is nothing you can do to earn this gift . .
it is free to all who believe!
Before God created man he knew we would ALL be sinful.
Even knowing that he still created us ..
and loved us. .
and sent Jesus as a wee baby so that he would grow to be a man without sin that could pay the price of our sin.




I don't know very much of what heaven will be like ..
but when I get there. .
I want to sing like an angel.


I'll be joined with loved ones that have gone before me. . .
and together we will sing praises to Jesus Christ . .
who loves every person ever born on this earth.

My heart longs to say something that will help you to understand how important it is not to delay accepting the most important gift you will ever be offered.
God created man to worship him.
If we don't worship God we will worship other things and then we'll feel an ache and a void that nothing seems to satisfy.

Each of us will feel a personal ache and longing in our heart . ..
a void that only Jesus can fill.

I pray that no one that reads this blog goes away feeling unloved.
We long to reach out to those that feel unlovely . . .
and unloved in this hurting world.

(left to right . ..Anneliese, Bev, Julie, Lovella, Marg, Judy, Kathy .. missing from the picture are Betty, Charlotte and Ellen)

On behalf of all of us at Mennonite Girls Can Cook . .

We wish you a day filled with the joy and peace of Christmas.

All for now . . .with love,

Lovella

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Fresh Mozzarella PinWheels


This is a very simple appetizer that I made for our Thanksgiving gathering that would be great for Christmas or the New Year Celebration. All you need is a fresh mozzarella roll (I found this at my local grocery store in the deli section) tomatoes, fresh basil, and prosciutto. Roll out the the mozzarella, place thin sliced tomato, basil, and strips of prosciutto on the flat mozzarella. Now roll it up carefully and cut into pinwheel slices. I heard a good tip about using dental floss to cut through soft cheese. I might try that next time. I used a sharp knife and it worked OK.

Blessings on all your Christmas worship and celebrations!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tropical Punch

I had this punch recently at a baby shower that my friend, Debbie, put on and she was happy to pass along the recipe for this site. I've tried it two different ways this season already and want to assure you that you can mix up almost any frozen fruit punch and add a co-ordinating sherbet for this refreshing drink. For example, a combination of berry punch and cranberry cocktail with raspberry sherbet creates a nice color and flavor too.

Ingredients:

3 cans frozen Minute Maid mango fruit punch
2 2litre bottles Club Soda or Ginger Ale
1 litre Del Monte mango & peach sherbet & frozen yogurt

Allow frozen juices to soften, then mash up with potato masher. Do not add any water, only the club soda or ginger ale. Drop scoops of sherbet on top and let sit for 10 - 15 min to allow foaming on top.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Rocky Road Fudge

Perhaps you haven't made home made fudge yet this Christmas.
If you haven't. .
the ingredients listed are either in your kitchen or else.. .
easy to find.
You'll need a candy thermometer and a heavy pot.
Read through the instructions first before beginning.

  • a few tablespoons cold butter for buttering your pan and the thermometer
  • 3 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1 - 2 cups lightly toasted walnuts. . .coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 3 tablespoons white corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  1. Lightly butter your thermometer and your foil lined pan.
  2. Put your sugar,chocolate, cream, corn syrup, instant coffee and salt in a heavy saucepan. The pot should be large enough to cook pasta for a family and the bottom should be heavy to avoid burning on the bottom.
  3. Stir well with a wooden spoon or a heat proof spatula until well combined. Continue to stir and bring the mixture to a full boil over medium heat.
  4. When the mixture comes to a boil . . put the lid on for 2 minutes to allow the steam to clean the sides of the pot. You don't want any hard crystals forming which could later fall into your fudge.
  5. Now put the candy thermometer onto the side of the pot but make sure it does not touch the bottom. Do not stir but allow the boiling mixture to come to 236º F. This will take a few minutes. Do not leave the stove at this point.
  6. Remove from heat but do not stir. Add the butter and do not stir. Let it sit with the thermometer still attached to the side of the pot until it cools to 110º F. Do not let it cool more than this because if it cools too much you will not be able to beat it smooth. (I made this error and fought to smooth it into the pan) My fudge had absolutely smooth texture but it was difficult to beat because I let it get too cool. If you beat it when it is still too warm it will form crystals and you will not be able to get rid of them.
  7. While you are letting it cool. . .put a piece of foil into your square pan and let the edges hang over so that you can remove it easily to cut. Butter the foil. Set aside.
  8. Once the mixture has cooled to 110º F use a hand mixer to beat the fudge until it begins to lighten in cooler and it begins to thicken slightly.
  9. Add the nuts and marshmallows and pour into your pan. Do not scrape the sides of your pot just in case it has some hard crystals.
  10. Score the fudge into squares before it gets completely set. This makes it easier to cut neatly after it has chilled several hours.
  11. Store in your refrigerator.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Almond Jelly Cookies

These cookies taste like a tender shortbread with a nutty flavor. You can use any kind of jam or jelly but I prefer to use red and green..this time I used crabapple and mint. Another wonderful cookie for Christmas. And the recipe comes from my favorite cookie book..Best of Country Cookies.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups butter or margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups ground almonds
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
jelly or jam of your choice
1. Cream butter and sugar in a mixing bowl
2. Add ground almonds, vanilla and mix well
3. Combine flour and salt and gradually add to creamed mixture
4. Refrigerate the dough for 2 hours until easy to handle
5. On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough to 1/8" thickness
6. Cut half of the cookies with a round 2" cookie cutter and the other half with a donut cutter.
I used the 2" cutter for all of them and then used a little 'tree cutter' for half of the cookies.
7. Place 1" apart on ungreased cookie sheets
8. Bake at 350º for 10 to 12 min until lightly browned
9. Remove to racks to cool. Once cooled spread 1/2 tsp jelly over the bottom of the solid cookie and place cookie with cutout centers over the jelly.
Yields: I had 31 'finished cookies'

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Bread for the Journey - Fourth Advent

LOVE

Today we celebrate the last of the 4 Advents, which are....
Hope, Peace, Joy, Love
***
We are told, in Acts 2:25-28, that King David, by the Spirit,
looking down the long coridors of time,
saw that the Messiah was coming and he
celebrated his Advent.
David had HOPE,
He said,
"My flesh will rest in HOPE"
HOPE, the expression of expectant faith for what is to come.
David had PEACE,
He said,
"He is always before my face,..at my right hand that I may not be shaken"
PEACE, knowing in whom we have believed!
David had JOY.
He said,
"Therefore my heart rejoiced ..... you will make me full of JOY in your Presence."
JOY, the expression of knowing we belong to God.
and David had LOVE.
He said ...
" I will love You, O LORD, my strength." (Ps.18:1)
****
For thousands of years, people waited in HOPE
anticipating with JOY
the One who would bring PEACE on Earth, goodwill toward men.
Today we celebrate the Advent of Christ looking backwards,
Joy fills our hearts as we experience the LOVE of God.
God IS Love....
and we celebrate this season because His love came down to live among us.
His love extends to every human being,
His love is enough to save every sinner,
that will , in faith, receive Him.
Christmas is a season of LOVE,
no one is so rich,
and no one is so poor
that the best gift to give or to receive is not the gift of Love.
***
"Lord, I thank you this Advent Sunday that you love us,
thank you for sending your Son as the ultimate Love Gift,
so that we may become Your Children.
Even as we love you , Father, may we love one another.
Amen"

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Stuffed Pork Loin

I found this recipe in a magazine a number of years ago. It was pictured with cooked red cabbage, which is how I like to serve it as well.

Ingredients:

3 lb pork loin or rib roast
2 Tbsp butter
2 apples, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 c dried apricots, chopped
1/4 c prunes, chopped
2 Tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate
1 - 2 Tbsp minced fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Method:

  1. In a small pot, melt butter, add apples and cook about 5 min., stirring until lightly browned.
  2. Add apricots, prunes and juice, and continue cooking until fruit is tender and liquid has evaporated.
  3. Season with half the thyme, salt and pepper. Cool.
  4. Cut a pocket into side of roast. (see photo below)
  5. Fill pocket and tie up with kitchen twine.
  6. Season roast with salt pepper, thyme and cinnamon.
  7. Spray roasting pot with oil and bake roast at 350 F( uncovered) for 30 min. Cover and bake another 60 – 75 minutes, until meat thermometer inserted in center shows 160 F (71 C) remove from oven onto plate, cover and let sit for 20 min. before serving.

I like to add cut up potatoes, yams, carrots and left over fruit filling for the last hour of roasting. Once I've removed the vegetables onto a serving platter I shake up a Tbsp of flour with about 1 cup of water and add it to the drippings to make a bit of gravy to drizzle over the roast. Season to taste.


Friday, December 18, 2009

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Help! We're all being asked to bring some baking or appy at this time of year. Here is a simple quick dish that everyone will love...
This is one of our favorites, especially at this time of year. It's an appetizer dish made for those big eaters in your family, who need a bit of meat...It's a great dish to prepare and tags along my winter ski trips.
And remember, we're about to approach the Olympics just after the New Years (55 days left) If you look carefully you will notice the Olympic Inukshuk engraved on the side plate...Yes, the Olympics are coming and you'll here more about it in the New Year.

Buffalo Chicken
  • 2 Boxes Cream Cheese
  • 1 Cup Franks Hot Sauce
  • I Cup celery chopped up
  • 2 Cups cooked chicken breasts shredded into mixture.
  • 1 Cup shredded cheese
Mix creamed cheese and hot sauce, adding celery, chicken breast and cheese into one bowl.
Top with cheese and bake 350' for 30 minutes. Cover with aluminum foil to keep hot.

Now you are ready to grab your favorite drink, sit down and sample this finger lickin' good appetizer, and I can guarantee that you will be the first to hang around the kitchen, double dipping while no one is looking.

Enjoy!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Erna's Poppy Seed Cake

I got this recipe from my friend Erna, who makes fabulous German Pastries and is an excellent baker. This cake has a poppy seed cake base, a custard filling covered in chocolate. How can this get any better.

CAKE:

  • 3 eggs separated
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 chopped nuts, any is fine but I used almonds
  • 1/2 cup poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  1. Separate egg yolks and egg whites
  2. beat whites until stiff peaks form
  3. beat eggs and sugar separately
  4. add oil to the egg yolks
  5. fold in the dry ingredients including nuts and vanilla
  6. gently fold in the egg white
  7. bake in a greased 9x13 pan for 30 min. @ 350
BUTTER ICING:
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
Spread evenly over cooled cake.

CHOCOLATE TOPPING
  • 3 squares of semi-sweet chocolate melted with 2 TBSP butter
  • Pour over top.
Add toasted almonds over top when chocolate is still wet, optional.

NOTE: It is best to cut the cake into desired serving pieces before the chocolate sets and is still soft. Keep cold, and is good right out of the freezer.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Crockpot Stuffing

My sister-in-law always cooks her stuffing in the crockpot...and shared her recipe with me. I used it a few times...and then combined it with the simple Betty Crocker original recipe that I have been making for decades...and have found it to be a great way to make extra stuffing for a large crowd. The steam keeps the stuffing nice and moist...and it stays piping hot until serving time.


Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf of firm white bread, cut into 3/4 inch cubes (or 9 cups of cubes)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons poultry seasoning (or 1 1/2 teaspoons sage and 1 teaspoon thyme)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth (add more if you prefer a very moist stuffing)
Directions:

  1. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Cook onion and celery until veggies soften...stirring frequently.
  2. In large mixing bowl, combine bread cubes, seasonings and onion mixture. Add enough broth to moisten. Transfer to slow cooker and cover.
  3. Cook on high for 1 hour. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 4 hours.
  4. Serves 10.
Notes:
  • I double the recipe...stuff the turkey and cook the remaining stuffing in the crockpot. When it is time to carve the turkey...add turkey stuffing to crockpot, combine well and keep piping hot until dinner time.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Raisin Apple Braids

These make a nice gift for your neighbours. Depending on the size you want, you can divide the dough to make 3 or 4 braids. I photographed them as Christmas gifts but of course you can make them any time of year and freeze the extras if you like. The recipe comes from the 1968 Pillsbury Bake Off Breads Cook Book.

  • 6 1/2 - 7 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 eggs
Raisin Apple Filling
  • 2 1/2 cups peeled, finely chopped apple
  • 1 cup chopped raisins (I use sultanas. rinsed well through a sieve)
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (opt.)
  1. In large mixer bowl, combine 2 cups flour, sugar, salt, and dry yeast.
  2. In 4 cup glass measuring cup, microwave milk and butter until milk is warm and butter has begun to melt. (or warm it in a saucepan on the stove)
  3. Add warm milk to mixing bowl and mix on low
  4. Add slightly beaten eggs and continue to mix until well moistened.
  5. Mix for 3 minutes.
  6. Change to dough hook and then add remaining flour to make a stiff dough.
  7. Continue to mix or knead by hand for 5 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic.
  8. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning to grease top.
  9. Cover and let rise in a warm place until light and doubled in size. (I usually do this in the oven which I have warmed to 170 degrees and then turned off.)
  10. Line 2 cookie sheets (with edges) with parchment paper.
  11. Prepare Apple Raisin Filling: In saucepan, combine all filling ingredients except pecans. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil at least 5 minutes, stirring frequently or until it thickens somewhat. Cool
  12. Punch down dough and divide in half. (or into 3 sections)
  13. Roll each section into a rectangle and place on cookie sheet.
  14. Spread centre third of each rectangle with Raisin Apple Filling (see picture below).
  15. Using a pizza cutter, cut dough diagonally at 1 inch intervals on both sides of filling.
  16. Fold opposite strips of dough over filling, crossing in centre. (see picture below)
  17. Seal ends of each braid.
  18. Cover and let rise in warm place until light and doubled in size.
  19. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.
  20. Remove to racks and cool.
  21. Ice and decorate as desired.





Monday, December 14, 2009

Pfeffernusse

Every year I am asked about this recipe, so this year, my sister called and said,
"I want to learn how to make Pfeffernusse." So we penciled in a calendar date and had a fun time in her kitchen making all sorts of recipes that we love, and learned how, too many fingers in the dough, can spoil everything.
Remember before you bake these cookies, you need to make sure your cupboard is stocked with those special spices from the deli. Find out, how disastrous it can be with two sisters in the same kitchen.

Pfeffernusse

Bake @ 325 degrees for 9 minutes.
  • 11/2 C honey
  • 2 C white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves
  • 1 tsp. cardamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 11/2 pkg Neunerlei Lebkuchen Gewurz (purchase at Delicatessen)
Step One:
Warm honey in microwave and add sugar and spices.
Cool mixture till room temperature.
  • 1 C margarine
  • 1/3 C sour cream
Step Two:
Melt margarine and add sour cream. Now add to honey mixture

Blend flour and soda into Mixing Bowl
  • 51/2 c flour
  • 3tsp baking soda
Step Three:
Sift together flour and baking soda and add the above mixture and mix well.
I usually use my kneading hook, as this dough is heavy. One time I broke my cookie beaters.


Place in fridge overnight to cool. To bake, grease cookie sheets.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bake for 9 minutes. Just slightly browned.
Roll dough into rolls (snakes) and slice.(thickness of your index finger)
When baked, leave cookies on sheet 2 minutes, then remove from pan.
Sometimes I leave the dough in the fridge for days and let the young ones make snakes together with me. It takes time rolling them out, but its fun if you do it with someone else and make an activity out of it. This yields about one ice-cream pail.
I actually bake a few pans every Advent Sunday, and that way they are fresh.

The best way to eat these are to dip them in a fresh cup of coffee.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Bread for the Journey-Third Advent

JOY!
I love to picture the shepherds on the hill sides tending to their flocks of sheep. It was probably just another night in the fields....when suddenly!

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people". Luke 2:9

Fear turned to great joy!
Good news....
for the shepherd...
for all people.

Lord, thank you for the lasting joy that can be found through Jesus.
May our hearts be filled with expectancy this week. The story is old, and we have heard it over and over, but today I ask that you would refresh that old story in our hearts. Lord may you help us to prepare our hearts for the Prince of Peace, and to share the joy that is for all people.

The Lord is near!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Spinach Bites

This recipe comes from Carolyn, a cousin's wife. who brought them to a birthday party.
They were unusual and so tasty that I asked for the recipe.
I noticed after making them that the recipe said to chop and cook the spinach which I didn't do. I just squeezed all the liquid out and added it. My bites don't look as nice as hers did but the flavour is terrific.
  • 10 oz. frozen spinach, chopped, cooked and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups turkey bread stuffing mix
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion (I sautèed it with the garlic in a little butter first)
  • 1 clove garlic minced or 1 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper (add 1/2 tsp. salt if using fresh garlic)
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 1/3 cup butter melted
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  1. Mix all ingredients together. Let stand for moinsture to absorb. Add more crumbs if needed.
  2. Shape into 1 inch balls.
  3. Arrange on greased or parchment paper covered baking sheet.
  4. Bake at 350º F oven for about 20 minutes.
  5. Serve warm.

You may make these ahead and store them in fridge or freezer before baking. (Thaw before baking) Makes about 2 1/2 doz. Spinach Bites.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Cappuccino Flats

If you like coffee, cinnamon and chocolate..this 'gourmet cookie' is for you! Ever since I discovered this recipe I have been making them for my cookie trays every Christmas. They are not difficult to make but you do need to be careful when you pack them in containers for freezing that they lay flat and have a waxed paper lining between layers, otherwise the chocolate tends to get a bit smudged... I find that it works better if I freeze them on a large pan and then pack them in containers. But smudged or not they are delicious!
I found this recipe in..Best of Country Cookies.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tbsp instant coffee granules
1 tsp warm water
1 egg
2 squares (1 ounce each) unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
2 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3 tbsp shortening

1. Cream butter, shortening and sugars
2. Dissolve coffee in warm water and add to creamed mixture
3. Add egg and melted chocolate and mix well
4. Combine flour, cinnamon, salt and gradually add to the creamed mixture. (Dough will be sticky)
5. Shape into two 6" rolls, wrapping each roll in waxed paper
6. Refrigerate for 4 hrs or until firm
7. Unwrap and cut into 1/4" slices and place 2" apart on ungreased baking sheets
8. Bake at 350º for 10 to 12 min or until firm
9. Remove cookies from pan and place on a cooling rack

Chocolate dip:
1. Melt chocolate chips and shortening on low heat in a small saucepan.
2. Dip each cookie halfway, shake off excess chocolate.
3. Place on waxed paper to harden.

Yields 3 1/2 doz cookies (or flats as they are called)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

German Hazelnut Cookies


These are one of my favorite Christmas cookies.
Hazelnut and Chocolate are the perfect pair.
  • 1 cup hazelnuts finely chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  1. Beat butter and sugar together until light.
  2. Add egg yolk and vanilla.
  3. blend in flour and hazelnut.
  4. Form into 1" balls and make an indent on the center with a wooden spoon.
  5. Bake on a greased baking sheet @ 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Cookies should look light in color.
  6. Fill the center with melted semi sweet chocolate.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Jan's Munchies

My friend Jan and I have often found the same recipes and we make a joke over who's name will claim it. It was tempting to call these Kathy's munchies but that just didn't seem right as this is Jan's claim to fame amongst our friends. Her and I call it '2 cups'...that makes it really easy to make as it is 2 cups of each ingredient. The only trouble would be if you forget what the ingredients are. There should be a warning on this recipe....
Be careful-once you start eating this you can't stop! Jan and I know...we have over indulged on this these.

In a large bowl mix the following together:
-2 cups Golden Grahams
-2 cups Cheerios
-2 cups pretzels
-2 cups salted shelled peanuts ( if you have a nut allergy leave out the peanuts and just add extra of the other 3 ingredients.

Place 2 cups of white chocolate wafers in a microwavable bowl. Melt stirring every 30-45 seconds. You do not want to over heat. Take out and stir when very small pieces still look hard. Stir well until very smooth and pour hot white chocolate over the dry ingredients.
Spread on wax paper lined baking sheets and allow to set in fridge until hardened. (about 15 minutes) Break into bite size pieces. Store in a large plastic container or ice cream bucket. Keep in the fridge or freezer.



Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Special Salad

This jello salad recipe is just one of the many great recipes I have collected over the years from my mother in law. She loves to entertain and along with her wonderful meals she always has her table beautifully set with china, silver ware and the perfect choice of crystal bowls for her many varieties of salads.

Step one:
-1 box orange jello
-1 box lemon jello
Mix the two boxes of jello powder together in a large glass mixing bowl and stir in 1 1/2 cups of boiling water. Mix well until jello has dissolved and them add 2 cups of cold water.
Place mixture in the fridge until it begins to set. (this does not take long)

Step two:
-3 bananas, sliced
-1 small can mandarin orange segments, well drained
-1 14 oz can crushed pineapple, drained but save the juice in a 1 cup measuring cup for step five.
Mix together the three fruits and stir into partially set jello.

Step three:
Top the jello-fruit mixture with 1/2 bag mini white marshmallows and then put jello back in fridge.

Step four:
-1/2 pint whipping cream
-1 tbsp sugar
-1/2 tsp vanilla
Whip together until thick, cover and place in fridge until step five is ready.

Step five:
-1/2 cup sugar
-2 tbsp flour
-1 egg, well beaten
-1 cup pineapple juice,( use the juice from the fruit and add water and 1 tsp lemon juice to make one cup)
Stir ingredients together in a microwavable bowl and heat for 1 minute at a time, stirring between until mixture is thick (2-3 minutes) You can also cook this on the stove top, stirring constantly.
Cool this mixture completely and then fold in the whipped cream. Spread over the marshmallow mixture.
Step six:
For the final layer, use a very fine cheese grater and grate 3/4 cup of cheddar cheese on top.






Monday, December 7, 2009

Honig Kuchen (Honey Cookies)

My friend Dorothy is a wonderful baker and I have gleaned many recipes from her over the years. This is one of them. My MIL always made honey cookies as did both of my grandmothers and it is a Christmas tradition in many Mennonite and German homes.
There are several tips you need to remember.
  1. These cookies are best baked a month or so before Christmas so that the flavours have time to ripen.
  2. My MIL used a boiled icing to coat her cookies but I didn't always have success in getting the icing to dry thoroughly. Dorothy's simpler recipe dries quickly and tastes just as good.
  3. You can easily halve this recipe. The whole recipe makes 14 doz. cookies. (see end of recipe for storage tips)
  4. The orange zest is my addition and is optional.

  • 1 cup honey
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp. baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp. baking ammonia* dissolved in 3 Tbsp. boiling water
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground star anise
  • 1/2- 1 tsp. salt
  • 2-3 tsp. orange zest (opt.)
  • 7 cups flour

* This is a leavening agent and can be purchased in health food stores or some pharmacies. Please see note in the comments that follow this recipe for more information on baking ammonia.

Icing: (Mix the following recipe twice - once for each 7 doz. cookies)

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
  1. Beat together, butter, honey, brown sugar, eggs and sour cream in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add soda, dissolved ammonia, zest and spices.
  3. Add flour and mix thoroughly. Dough will be fairly soft and will start to pull away from the spoon.
  4. Refrigerate overnight. (I have left it in the fridge for several days)
  5. Roll into balls and place on cookie sheets. (I use a small spring-style ice cream scoop to make them an even size and then roll each ball smooth between my hands)
  6. Bake at 375º for about 10 minutes.
  7. Cool completely.
  8. Beat egg whites until foamy and add icing sugar in 3 parts beating very well after each addition. Continue to beat until icing holds a soft peak.
  9. Place 7 doz. cookies in a very large bowl.
  10. Pour icing over and gently fold icing over cookies with a silicone spatula until cookies are almost completely covered. (My MIL did this with her hands. Messy but effective!)
  11. If making a full batchof cookies, make the second batch of icing and repeat with the second 7 doz.
  12. Here's where the kids can help - take cookies out of the bowl one at a time, making sure each cookie is covered completely in icing and lay out on waxed paper.
  13. When cookies have completely dried on one side, turn them upside down and let the bottoms dry completely.
  14. These cookies need to ripen so do not store them in the freezer. I line ice cream buckets with waxed paper and layer the cookies with squares of waxed paper in between each layer. Cover tightly and store in a cool place.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Bread for the Journey ~ Second Advent

One of my first memories of Christmas was the lighting of the Advent Candles.
These candles were lit beginning the 4th Sunday before Dec. 25th.
My husband's family came from Germany and this was their tradition.
We eventually made this our family tradition while the children were younger,
I loved the anticipated looks from our children,
while we went to the forest, to gather branches to make a wreath.
The circular wreath represents God's eternity and unity.
Evergreens are a symbol of enduring life.

The children carefully took turns weekly lighting the candles.
Advent is an invitation to an inward preparation, calling us to listen,
to attend to the preparation of the heart.
The first candle lit signifies the
Hope of Jesus birth, representing the light of the world.
Second Candle ~ Peace ~ Without Christ their is no peace in this world.
Third Candle ~ Joy ~ Lasting Joy can be found through Christ.
Fourth Candle ~ Love ~ Christ represents his love to us through his birth.

My prayer for all of you,
"Oh God, as I close my eyes and allow my mind to go the quiet place I see, please help me learn how to welcome Advent and prepare for the coming of Christmas. So often I get caught up in the busyness of the season, running frantically through my daily "to do " list. Bring me into the stillness, into Your presence, that I may learn what it means to "wait on the Lord," to welcome Your coming in this holy season."

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Chocolate Toffee Almond Squares

I got this recipe from a Robin Hood Baking Festival pamphlet. These squares are always a favorite on a cookie plate.

Ingredients:

2 cups flour
2 cups oats
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup butter
1 (300 g) pkg chocolate chips
1 cup slivered almonds
1 (225 g) SKOR toffee bits
1 1/3 cups caramel sundae sauce
½ cup flour

Method:


Crust: Combine first four ingredients in mixing bowl. Add melted butter. Mix well.
Reserve 1 ¼ cups of the mixture for topping. Press remainder into greased or parchment paper lined, 9” X 13” cake pan. Bake at 350 F for 12 min. or until light golden.
Second Layer: Combine baking chips, almonds and toffee bits. Sprinkle evenly over base.
Third Layer: Mix together sundae sauce and flour until smooth. Pour evenly over chip mixture.
Topping: Sprinkle reserved oat mixture on top.
Bake 20 – 25 min. longer, or until golden. Cool completely. Cut into 48 squares.(You will need a sharp knife – I find this the most tedious of the whole procedure, but then they are ready to quickly add to cookie platters.) These squares freeze well and keep long in the fridge as well … that is, if no one finds them.


Friday, December 4, 2009

Peppermint Candy Biscotti

My mom in law made me this Peppermint Biscotti this year to add to my display. I had a very hard time leaving them for display and she has already had to bring me another batch .. .and the recipe to share with them.
Her friend Sally gave her the recipe which she had found in a Land O' Lakes recipe pamphlet. I found the identical recipe online.

  • 1/2 cup soft butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2/3 cup crushed peppermint candies
  • 14 ounces vanilla candy coating *
  • several drops red or pink food coloring
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • additional crushed peppermint candy to decorate
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F
  2. Combine the soft butter and sugar in a large bowl.
  3. Beat until creamy.
  4. Add the eggs and continue beating until well mixed.
  5. At low speed . ..add the dry ingredients and then the crushed candy.
  6. Divide the dough into four pieces and with floured hands .. make each piece into a 9 by 1 1/2 inch log.
  7. Place the logs 3 inches apart on a cookie sheet.
  8. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until the tops are cracked and they just begin to brown.
  9. Remove from the oven and cool 10 minutes.
  10. Reduce oven temperature to 325 F.
  11. Carefully remove and slice each log into 1/2 inch slices with a serrated knife.
  12. Arrange pieces back on the the cookie sheet cut side down.
  13. Continue to bake for another 12 - 14 minutes turning once until light golden brown. and crisp on both sides. Remove to cool on wire racks.
  14. Place candy coating in a saucepan and melt very slowly. Remove from heat.
  15. Stir in food coloring and peppermint extract.
  16. Dip each Biscotti part way into the warm coating and sprinkle with crushed candy canes and allow to set on a wire rack.

* My mom used Wilton white candy coating. She found it worked better than other white coatings. It stayed thicker and wasn't as drippy as others.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Outrageous Oatmeal Cookies

Raisin oatmeal cookies have always been a favorite around here...and this version using Starbuck's recipe is a keeper. We enjoyed them at Starbucks on our recent roadtrip...and discovered that the recipe was free for the taking. They are large...soft and chewy...and combine two kinds of raisins, dried cranberries and oatmeal.


Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cups old fashioned oats (not quick cooking)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup dark raisins
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup dark raisins, for topping
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins, for topping

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until combined.
  3. Gradually add flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and oats.
  4. Add raisins and cranberries.
  5. Combine raisins for topping in separate bowl and set aside.
  6. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons (or use ice-cream scoop), 2 inches apart on lightly greased baking sheets.
  7. Place 1 mounded teaspoon of raisins on top of each cookie.
  8. Bake about 12 minutes, until cookies are golden brown, but still soft. Cool on sheets before serving.
  9. Makes about 3 dozen large, chewy cookies.

Pour yourself a good cup of coffee and enjoy!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Bacon and Mushroom Bundles

I put this recipe together when I remembered an hour before leaving for a party that I'd promised to bring an appetizer. I used what I had in the fridge and it turned out so good I've made it again.
  • 3 slices bacon, chopped into 1/8 inch pieces
  • 6-8 large mushrooms chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 package cream cheese
  • 2 Tsp. Worcestershire sauce (opt.)
  • 2 tubes Pillsbury Crescent roll refrigerated dough
  1. Fry up bacon pieces in a pan until nice and brown.
  2. Remove from pan to paper towelling.
  3. Remove all but 1 Tbsp. of bacon fat from pan and add 1 Tbsp. of butter.
  4. Add onions and mushrooms to pan and saute' until soft.
  5. Add cooked bacon, Worcestershire and cream cheese and cook, stirring gently until cream cheese is melted.
  6. Remove from heat and let cool.
  7. Open tubes of crescent roll dough and pat each out into a rectangle, pushing the perforations together.*
  8. Cut into squares.
  9. Add a tablespoon of filling to each square.
  10. Pull corners of dough together to the middle and pinch edges closed. *Alternately, you can separate the perforated triangles, place the filling on the wide end and roll each into a crescent roll shape making sure the filling is completely enclosed. They will be a little larger this way. As you will notice from the pictures, I've done it both ways.
  11. Place bundles on baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
  12. Serve hot with Red Pepper Jelly. You can also make these ahead and refrigerate until ready to bake them, or bake them ahead and reheat in a warm oven.