Saturday, June 23, 2018

HOME MADE CREAM CHEESE

HOME MADE CREAM CHEESE


This is fun to make, quick and surprisingly tasty !! It only takes 3 ingredients and makes almost 5 1/2 ounces of cream cheese.


4 cups WHOLE milk
2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (see note below)
1/4 teaspoon table salt (OR) 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt

Use a heavy saucepan (so it doesn't scorch), heat the milk (stirring constantly) until it comes to a boil.

Once it starts to boil, turn the heat down to medium (keep stirring) and add the lemon juice one tablespoon at a time...........waiting one minute between each addition (important, keep stirring). (see note below about amount of lemon juice.

Fairly quickly (less than a minute) the milk will start to curdle and the curds will float, leaving a fairly clear, faint green liquid under the curds.  

Pour everything through a strainer that is lined with cheesecloth. Let it stain and cool for about 20 minutes. The strained curds will look like this:


After the curds have drained and cooled, put them in a food processor and process for about 3 minutes, or until very smooth.  Add the salt and process for another 15 (or so) seconds. 

Cover tightly and chill.
This recipe makes almost 5 1/2 ounces 
of cream cheese

Note about the lemon juice: With the WHOLE MILK that I use, it only takes 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice to get perfect curds, but you might need that 3rd tablespoons with a different brand of milk (just have that 3rd tablespoon ready, just in case).

There is no lemon flavor in this finished cream cheese. If you are going to add herbs or other flavors, add them before you chill the cheese.

Store in fridge.

ENJOY !!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

RASPBERRY SHORTBREAD BARS

This is the best recipe I've tried in a long time. I found it over on "The Domestic Rebel"....my picky-picky husband is in love with this sweet treat!!!

The bottom crust is a deliciously TENDER shortbread, then there is a simple layer of raspberry jam, nuts and more shortbread pieces on top. It couldn't be easier!!! The original recipe didn't have a frosting, but I think every cookie bar needs a drizzle, don't you? (My tweaks to this recipe are in blue).


CLICK ON THIS PICTURE

3/4 cup butter (room temperature)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1   teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond  extract
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup raspberry jam (I used 1/2 cup)
1 cup slivered almonds (I used 3/4 cup of toasted pecans, chopped)

Preheat oven to 350°F and line an 8"x 8" pan with foil, spray the foil with cooking spray. (I lined an 8" x 8" baking pan with parchment paper and used NO spray. Leave the parchment ends long, so you can grab onto them to lift the bars out of the pan after they are cooked and cooled.)

CLICK ON THIS PICTURE

In a large bowl (I used my stand mixer) beat the room temperature butter, powdered sugar and extracts until creamy (about 2 minutes).

Add the flour and beat until it all comes together. The dough may be a little crumbly but that's OK. (Dough comes together perfectly using a stand mixer....a smaller mixer might leave it a little crumbly).

CLICK ON THIS PICTURE

Remove 1/2 cup of this dough, wrap it in plastic and freeze for 10 minutes. (I patted the 1/2 cup reserved dough into a thin disk and then put it in the freezer)

Pat the rest of the dough onto the foil (or parchment) lined pan, in an even layer. Top with 1/2 cup of slivered almonds and jam, spreading almost to edge of dough. I put toasted pecans UNDER the layer of jam.

Crumble the remaining dough on top and finish with remaining slivered almonds. (I cut up the frozen dough into very thin slivers with my pastry cutter and sprinkled evenly over the jam layer, then I topped that layer with the final 1/4 cup toasted chopped pecans.)

Bake 45 to 50 minutes at 350°F or until the top is light golden brown and center is set. Cool completely. My electric oven took exactly 45 minutes to get nice and golden on top. The original recipe said "bake until center is set", but there is nothing in the center to 'set' in this recipe, so I would ignore that idea.

The original recipe didn't have a frosting, but I thought it needed some, so I just mixed a little melted butter with some powdered sugar and vanilla and a couple tablespoons of milk (sorry, I never measure my frosting's). Just mix it well and drizzle over the cooked bars....you can't go wrong.

Cool completely before cutting into squares.

CLICK ON THIS PICTURE

ENJOY !!!





Monday, April 9, 2018

PINEAPPLE PECAN SNACKING CAKE

When I was a kid, a million years ago, "snaking cakes" were all the rage. They were simple recipes you mixed up by hand, with a bowl and a spoon. This is one of those great recipes.

It is moist, sweet, fruity, nutty......and snack-o-licious !!


PINEAPPLE PECAN SNACKING CAKE

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 eggs
1 (20 ounce) can crushed  pineapple including juice
1 cup chopped pecans (toasted at 350° for 5 minutes)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract

Mix the crushed pineapple and juice with the eggs, extracts and sugar. Mix well.

Add the flour and baking soda and mix until fully incorporated, but don't over-mix. Stir in toasted (cooled) pecans. 

Pour the batter into a greased and floured 9 x 13 baking pan and bake at 350°F for 30 to 35 minutes. My electric oven takes 30 minutes.  If you are using a glass baking dish, reduce the heat to 325°F. Test for done-ness with a toothpick.

Cool baked cake in the pan for 15 minutes then turn out.  Frost when cake is completely cool.

Frosting
4 ounces of cream cheese (room temperature)
4 ounces of butter (room temperature)
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon milk

Beat frosting ingredients until creamy then spread on cooled cake.





ENJOY !!!