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Thread: Recipes

  1. #21
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007

    Yogurt Desperation Biscuits

    I made up this recipe when I needed an accompaniment to soup, but didn't want to go to the store. It uses plain yogurt thinned with milk or water instead of the usual buttermilk, because who needs to buy a whole quart of buttermilk? This recipe will probably get howls from true southerners, but whatever...

    Yogurt Desperation Biscuits


    *1.5 cups flour
    *1 tsp salt
    *1.5 tsp baking powder
    *1 tsp sugar
    *4 TB butter (margarine or shortening will do if that's what you have, but REAL butter tastes better)
    *0.5 cups plain yogurt (whole will taste better than nonfat)
    *0.25 cups milk or water


    Biscuit cutter, baking sheet, parchment paper.

    1. Preheat oven to 425 F
    2. Blend together flour, salt, baking powder and sugar in a bowl. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs (panko sized chunks).
    3. Mix together the yogurt and milk until smooth. Add to the flour mixture to form a slightly sticky dough.
    4. Pat the dough out gingerly on a floured surface until it's an inch thick. Fold it in half and pat it out to an inch thick again. Repeat 2 more times. Cut out biscuits with a 2 inch round cutter, or cut into squares if you don't have a biscuit cutter.
    5. Place biscuits on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake in the top third of the oven for 10-15 minutes, until the tops and bottoms are golden.

    Serve hot or warm.

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  3. #22
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004

    Baking with mixes

    We donít all have the time or inclination to research recipes and bake fabulous cakes from scratch anymore. Whether you do or donít make your own phyllo dough and plum kuchen, there are times when a boxed mix is what you will use. These tips are to give you a more satisfying result.

    Many mixes will now have supplemental recipes with added oil or eggs or chopped pecans. Those are a good start to improving the mix. You also have to consider if your bottom line is calories or fat grams or killer taste. My theory is that if you are actually making a cake, itís a little late in the game to be worrying about the fat or calories. So letís make it a worthwhile experience.

    Almost any mix will be improved with an additional tablespoon of softened butter and a teaspoon or two of a good vanilla extract. Use the real thing for both. While the essential taste and esters are in the synthetic or enhanced butter substitute and imitation vanilla extract, the compound side notes are not. Those serve to broaden the bouquet and the taste. Those are what our minds associate with the real items.

    So, soften a tablespoon of real butter, salted or unsalted. Mix that in with your other fats whether oil or egg yolk, or perhaps a prune puree. Of course that last is not a fat, but it is used in many recipes for the silkiness and the necessary emulsification. Your fats (or puree) will be beaten on high speed to incorporate air. (Unless you are making brownies or muffins.) This should take a couple of minutes with continued scraping of the sides of the mixing bowl. You will see a gradual lightening of the color of the mixture, and if itís all fat and sugar, youíll notice itís appreciably lighter in texture.

    Vanilla can be added to most mixes, including brownies and cookies, unless the flavor or coloring would be a problem. Iíve a friend who always uses vanilla extract imported from Jamaica. You donít have to go that far, but the better quality the vanilla, the better quality the taste. Add a teaspoon or two to any mix, either at the time of creaming the shortenings, or when the liquids are added. When vanilla doesnít work with the flavor Iíve planned, I might use a tablespoon of brandy, or rum, or a bit of freshly ground cinnamon, nutmeg or ginger. You could use fresh citrus zest at this time instead.

    Donít overpower with the seasoning and flavoring, but you know if you like the taste of rum or lime or ginger.

    A note of warning: One tablespoon of butter and two teaspoons of vanilla can be the making of a great baked good from scratch. Increasing the butter or vanilla beyond that will start to detract. The butter will fail to emulsify and may show up as globules in your baked goods, and the excessive vanilla can taste bitter.

  4. #23
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004

    General Cake making

    Aside from the beating of the shortening I mentioned, the completed cake batter may call for a few minutes of beating. Many people omit this step and they shouldnít. Again, you need to incorporate air, so the beating will do that. It is possible to overbeat a cake. The only one Iíve ever known who does that is my sister-in-law, and she does it intentionally. She likes the sunken look so she can fill the cake with more frosting. She apparently uses the cake as a Frisbee afterward. If you beat the cake mix as directed, even a couple of minutes more, you will not be in danger of overbeating it.

    I know Iíve said that a bit more butter improves a cake mix, but there is a reason that many cakes call for vegetable shortening. You may avoid it because of hydrogenated fats, but that greasy white stuff is one of the things that makes cakes light. It emulsifies better, it aerates better, it allows finer bubbles and a smoother texture. A cake recipe that allows you to choose your shortening may taste good with all butter, but it will be a better texture as well as flavorful with half shortening and half butter.

    If you want the lightest of cakes, you need to separate your egg yolks and whites. The yolks will be mixed in with the shortening or oil, or at least beaten before adding the dry ingredients. The whites will be in a separate bowl. You can sprinkle a dash of salt on them, but otherwise you need a very clean bowl and beater set. Whip to soft peaks at the very least. You can whip them to stiff, but they are harder to fold in. Anyhow, fold the egg whites into the otherwise completely prepared batter. Be gentle, do not use the mixer. You want the air (see, thereís that incorporated air again!) bubbles in the whites to be mostly intact. You will probably see very slight streaks of whites in your batter, but there shouldnít be any pockets of egg white you could stick your pinky in. Then carefully fill your pan without banging it around.

    As far as baking, if you are using glass or ceramic pans, lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees. Recipes donít say to do that anymore, but it still makes sense. Whatever time it tells you for the pan you are using, set your alarm for a few minutes earlier. If Iím making something that takes 25 minutes, I will be checking it at 22 minutes, and possibly removing it.

    Cakes will continue to cook for a tiny bit longer once removed from the oven. Actually everything does from the residual heat. But for the purposes of cakes or cookies or muffins, you want to remove them from the oven before they pull away from the sides of the pan. Generally, thatís before you think itís completely done. A toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center may pull out a couple of tiny crumbs, but no cake ooze. Cool it on a rack. If you donít have a rack, improvise. A cool burner can do in a pinch, just donít put it over the vent from the oven. As long as your cooling area allows some circulation below and is a flat surface, thatís good.

  5. #24
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004

    A Basic Buttercream frosting for cakes

    This is a good amount of frosting and it will fill and frost two ten inch layers, three eight inch layers, or a 13 by 9 inch sheet cake.

    Cream one stick of softened butter, (or ľ lb or 8 tbsp.) Whip it until it changes to a lighter color and texture. This is called creaming. Add one pound of sifted confectioners sugar, alternating with about a ľ cup of milk with two teaspoons of vanilla extract added. You may need more or less milk. Continue beating at high speed until the mix again shows a distinct lightening. It should be a couple of minutes. There is no danger of overbeating unless your mixer overheats.

    This can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for storage, but must be brought to room temperature again for frosting the cake. It will be ivory in color because of the butter and the vanilla.

    This is how a professional baker friend frosts his cakes: He makes a huge amount of buttercream, only he uses a professional grade butter flavored shortening, and artificial vanilla so that the buttercream remains snow white. Then he uses a long steel spatula and scoops a large amount on to the top of the cake. From that pile, he spreads it around the top and then down the sides, always skimming well above the cake crumbs. He uses a sprinkle of water on the spatula to smoothe the frosting to a sheen while the cake is on a lazy susan. He uses a professional tool to make a ripple pattern in the sidesí frosting, but told me I could use an old plastic lid pinked in a zigzag instead. If he gets crumbs in the frosting, he scoops that bit up and tosses it away. It takes too long to pick out crumbs and they never look good, he says.

    There are a couple of traditional variations to the buttercream to give a much richer flavor.

    For a cream cheese frosting, add a 3 ounce package of softened cream cheese to your butter when you cream it.

    For a chocolate buttercream, add ľ to Ĺ cup of sifted cocoa with the powdered sugar. You can also add a shot of espresso instead of milk for a mocha flavor, or dissolve some instant coffee in a small amount of water to add.

    For a frosting known as Hungarian frosting, make the buttercream as usual but add the yolk of one egg and two teaspoons or more of lemon juice. For modern safety measures, you should coddle the egg for one minute and then use the runny yolk. This will be more yellow than ivory, but has a very good flavor.

  6. #25
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004

    1-2-3-4 cake

    1 cup butter, softened (I suggest half shortening and half butter)
    2 cups granulated sugar
    3 cups sifted cake flour
    4 eggs, separated

    1 teaspoon salt
    2 teaspoons vanilla
    3 teaspoons baking powder
    4 quarter cups of milk (one cup of milk but you add it bit by bit)

    Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and vanilla, then whip again until well incorporated.

    Sift the flour, salt and baking powder together and gradually add to the butter and egg mixture while beating it. Alternate adding flour and adding milk.

    Once all is in the bowl, scrape the sides down with a soft spatula and continue to beat for two or three minutes at least. You will see the color lighten. Let it rest for a moment.

    In a clean bowl with clean beaters, whip the egg whites to soft peaks. Immediately begin folding them into the cake batter, gently.

    Scoop batter into three eight inch round pans that have been buttered and either floured or a piece of parchment cut for the bottom. Do not flatten the batter, just spread to the edges in a roughly even layer.

    Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove pans to cool on a wire rack when a cake tester poked in the center shows very few crumbs. Invert pans after running a butter knife around the inner edge. Cake will be golden brown outside and have a slight crunch to the crust at first. That will soften overnight, but it's one of my favorite features of this cake.

    There are a few variations, most notably is that this traditional oral recipe is the same as the Co-cola cake of The Depression, except the milk is replaced by one cup of a cola soft drink. That is too sweet for my taste. It's not bad with lemon juice instead of the vanilla and a quarter cup less sugar, though.

    You can make this cake with all-purpose flour, but it will be denser. I use less flour when I do. I also add a generous amount of vanilla. Duh. You can also add the eggs whole, rather than separating and whipping whites and folding in. Again, a denser cake.

    I whip these out so often that I can probably make one faster than most people can make a box cake. For years, my mother's cakes always sold at church and hospital bake sales before she even knew she was going to be asked to contribute. It was usually this cake, and usually baked by me.

  7. #26
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

    1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell
2 large eggs

    1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened

    1 cup (6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 cup chopped pecans

    Serve with ice cream (optional)
    Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
    Beat eggs in large mixer bowl on high until foamy.
    Beat in flour, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Beat in butter.
    Stir in morsels and nuts and spoon into pie shell.
    Bake for 55-60 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Serve warm.

    It's so wonderfully gooey and tasty.

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