HAM, POTATO & KALE SOUP

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     A simple, yet hearty and satisfying soup made with leftover ham.  Have it on the table in about 30 minutes.  Nothing better than that! 

INGREDIENTS:  Yields 4 -6 Servings

3 cans chicken broth

½ cup onion, chopped

2 large cloves garlic, minced or chopped

1 large carrot, grated or finely chopped

2 large Russet potatoes (about 3 cups)

2 cups cooked ham, diced

2 cups frozen or fresh Kale or Spinach

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 Chicken bouillon (Optional)

½ cup half and half

 

PREPARATION:

Add chicken broth, onion, garlic, and diced carrot to a 4 qt sauce pan and turn heat on medium/low.

Wash potatoes well and cut into bite-sized pieces.  I leave the skins on.  Add to chicken broth.   Bring to a simmer, then cover and reduce heat.  Cook for 20 minutes.

Add Kale or Spinach (Thaw and drain if using frozen).  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Cover, and bring to a simmer again.  Let simmer another 10 minutes.

Add ham, and chicken bouillon.  Simmer 10 minutes.

Add half and half.   Just heat through, don’t boil.

Serve with Corn bread, Italian bread, Cheese bread, Salad, or Crackers

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2016

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BROWNIE BITES

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     What can you do to dress up brownies?  How could you make them both pretty and fun?  Bake them in mini muffin pans and put a secret surprise in each one.  Since you will be feeding adults, as well as children, a secret surprise works for everyone!  

     I dug around in my freezer and found suitable ingredients for the secret surprise centers.  I used walnut halves, cherry chips, caramel bits, semi-sweet chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, and chocolate pieces with caramel centers.  If you’ve taken my advice and kept a variety of special goodies in your freezer, you should be all set! 

     I had such a good time making these little treats from heaven. They were SO delicious and would be perfect for any occasion. Serve at your New Year’s party, a birthday party, family get-together, or when you just need a few bites of a brownie. They don’t have to be decorated, but it made them so much more fun!

INGREDIENTS:  YIELD  48 MINI BROWNIE BITES

4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate

1 ¾ sticks butter

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 ½ tsp vanilla

¼ tsp baking powder

1 cup AP flour

For the Secret Surprise: M & M’s, Reese’s Pieces, Chocolate chips, walnut halves, cherry chips, caramel bits, etc.

 

PREPARATION:

In a 2 – 3 quart saucepan, add the butter, chocolate and sugar over low heat, stirring with a whisk. Cook and whisk periodically, until you see tiny bubbles beginning to form.

Remove from heat and add the vanilla.  Then you can either temper the eggs or just let the mixture cool for about fifteen minutes.

Add the eggs, and whip well.  Add the flour and baking powder, whisking only until incorporated.  If you want nuts, add them now.  Simple?  Yep!

Line your mini muffin tins with paper cups.  With a cookie scoop, fill the bottoms about 1/3 full.  Add your secret surprise and continue filling until cups are nearly full.

Bake at 350° F for about 20 -22 minutes.  Don’t over bake, or you’ll lose your moist fudginess.  Brownies continue cooking even after you take them out of the oven.  Cool completely before you frost them.

FROSTING OR GANACHE:

For the frosting, you can make ganache, use any frosting, melt white chocolate for a white ganache, etc.  Just let your imagination run wild.

Ganache is simple, and so beautiful.  To make it, simply heat 2/3 cup whipping cream (heavy cream) in a sauce pan or microwave.  Stir in 1 cup chocolate until melted.  Easy?  Yep.

Please remember to Like our Posts and Follow Chew Wanna Eat? for more great recipes, home hacks, gardening, and health information!    You won’t be sorry.

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2016

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CARAMEL CAKE WITH PRALINE FROSTING

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Pictured is the standard recipe baked in three 8” pans.

 

  A perfect cake that is sure to Wow everyone.

     This recipe was a bit of a struggle for me.  The cake was perfect, first time out and I didn’t have to make any changes.  It is absolutely the most flavorful, tender cake ever.  The Praline Frosting, on the other hand, was a struggle.  It took me about five or six tries before it was good enough to share with you all.  One of the issues was that I was using a store-brand brown sugar.  It gave me fits.  Once I started using Domino brown sugar, I had success.  The other issue was that the sugar kept crystallizing instead of dissolving.  That just wouldn’t do.  I discovered by trial and error, that adding a scant ¼ cup of water did the trick.  What was happening was the moisture in the butter was evaporating, and the sugar dried out instead of dissolving.  I really had to put my thinking cap on.  The end result is a delicious Praline Frosting that compliments the cake perfectly!

 

CAKE INGREDIENTS:

1 ½ sticks butter, at room temperature

1 cup milk

4 large eggs

1 cup sugar

1 cup packed light brown sugar

½ tsp salt

1 TBSP baking powder (sifted if not lump-free)

1 ½ tsp vanilla

2 cups AP flour

 

PREPARATION: 

Spray the bottom of two 8” or 9” cake pans.  Place a piece of Parchment Paper on bottom of pan.  Butter bottom and sides of pan.  Flour pans, shaking excess off.

In mixer bowl, beat eggs and sugars until well blended.

Add butter and mix well.

Add salt, baking powder, and vanilla, beating until combined.

Add flour and milk alternately, beating until combined.

Evenly divide the batter into the two pans and bake at 325° F for 35 – 40 minutes.  If you use three pans, cakes will cook in less time.  Use toothpick test.  Cakes will be golden brown.  Let cool for 15 minutes on wire racks.  Remove from pans and peel Parchment paper off the bottom.  Let cool completely.  If you’re making three layers, they will cook faster.

PRALINE FROSTING INGREDIENTS:

1 stick butter

2 ¼ cups light brown sugar, packed (Make sure to use Domino brand)

¼ tsp salt

1 ½ tsp vanilla

¼ cup water

1 ½ – 2 cups confectioner’s sugar

¼ cup half and half

½ cup chopped Pecans, or leave whole and used to decorate cake

 

FROSTING PREPARATION: 

In a 1 ½ – 2 qt saucepan, melt butter.

Add the brown sugar and salt.  Bring to a full boil and let it cook for two to three minutes.  Add the water.  (You need to do this to keep the sugar from drying out and crystallizing).  Continue cooking for another few minutes until sugar has completely dissolved.

Add 1 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar and whip with a whisk until no lumps remain.

Remove from heat.  Add vanilla and half and half.  Stir and heat until you have a thick, but kind of pourable frosting.  It will thicken up as it cools, so keep that in mind before adding any additional confectioner’s sugar.   If adding chopped pecans, they can be added now.  I usually add them directly to the middle layer only while frosting the cake, reserving whole nuts for the top.

Let cool for a few minutes, and then frost your layers by pouring it slowly between the bottom and middle layer.  Spread with a spoon.  If it drips over the sides, that’s ok!   If it’s pouring too quickly and running over the sides too fast, let it set up a little more.  You’ll end up with a puddle of frosting on the cake platter instead of on the cake.  Pour over top layer and decorate with pecans.  (If it happens to get too thick, just place on low heat for a minute and it will soften right up again).

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2016

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WALNUT ROCA (Toffee Candy with Chocolate and Nuts), easy

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     Of all the Christmas candy I made this year, I have to say that this was the fave.  It’s my version of the famous Almond Roca.  I made it with walnuts, and it was outstanding.  After all, what’s not to like about rich toffee with a topped with rich chocolate and walnuts?  Don’t worry, it’s very easy.  You MUST have a candy thermometer because the temperature of the toffee is extremely important. Best of all?  It made over 2 lbs of candy. 

 

INGREDIENTS:

1½ cups coarsely-chopped almonds, divided (Or pecans or walnuts)

16 oz. (2 ½ cups) Domino’s light brown sugar

1 lb. butter

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

1 ¾ cups milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips

PREPARATION: 

Line an 18” x 13” half sheet with Parchment paper. Sprinkle ¾ cup chopped nuts. Set aside.

In a 2 qt. sauce pan, combine sugar and butter over medium/low heat while stirring frequently for several minutes unit bubbly and thick. Use a candy thermometer, and do not let it touch the bottom of the pan.  (Once it reaches about 245° F, you will begin to notice the aroma.  Heavenly).  The color will begin to change to a rich amber and by the time it is finished, will be a golden brown). At 290° F remove from heat. Watch carefully toward the end to prevent it from burning.

Add the vanilla, stirring to combine.  Pour candy evenly on top of the nuts on the cookie sheet. Let stand for a few minutes.

Melt good quality chocolate chips in microwave with a scant tsp of canola oil.  If you microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between each increment, you will end up with perfectly smooth melted chocolate.

Spoon the melted chocolate over the toffee layer, add the remaining nuts, and press lightly into the warm chocolate.

Allow to set up for a few hours.  Break into random-sized pieces using the tip of a sharp knife.  Eat a piece and prepare to say, “Oh my goodness!”

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2016

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CORNED BEEF HASH

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     As you may know, Bob has been curing his own corned beef for quite some time now.  The reason?  We were tired of buying overpriced corn beef that was often tough an always fatty.  It’s a simple process, and the results are always outstanding.  All you need to do is buy a brisket and brine it.  How easy is that?  The results yield a tender flavorful roast that store-bought corned beef cannot match.  And leftovers for Reubens or corned beef hash?  Indescribably delicious!  My twist?  I served it with a Spicy Honey Mustard Sauce.  

(You will find the prep instructions for the brined corned beef in another post.  Go to the search box to locate it).

 

INGREDIENTS:  4 Servings 

4 cups potatoes

Olive oil

2 TBSP butter

1 cup sweet onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups corned beef, diced

Eggs, poached or fried

Seasonings:  Salt, pepper, parsley, basil, and a dash or two of rosemary.

 

PREPARATION:

Wash and pierce potatoes.  Cook 2 minutes in microwave.  Flip over and cook for 2 more minutes.  When cool enough to handle, cut any spots off and dice.

In large skillet, drizzle with olive oil and add 2 TBSP butter.  Sauté potatoes until they are beginning to brown.  Add salt, pepper, garlic, and onions.  Continue sautéing until potatoes are browned enough to your liking.

Add seasonings, garlic, and corned beef.  Sauté a few more minutes while eggs are cooking in a separate pan.  Serve, placing fried eggs on top.

HONEY MUSTARD SAUCE INGREDIENTS:

2 TBSP honey

1 ½ tsp lemon juice

2 TBSP Dijon mustard

½ cup mayo

½ tsp sriracha sauce

PREPARATION:

Place all ingredients in a small bowl, and whisk until combined.

Serve with corned beef, Reubens, corned beef hash, chicken, stuffed mushrooms, or onion rings.

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2016

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RUSSIAN TEA CAKES

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A traditional Christmas cookie in my house for as long as I can remember.

Made the world over, these delicious cookies are known by many names.  Russian Tea Cakes, Mexican Wedding Cookies, Swedish Tea Cakes, Italian Butter Nut, Southern Pecan Butterball, Snowdrop, Viennese Sugar Ball, Sand Tarts, and Snowballs. Call them whatever you want. They’re all so similar that you won’t have a problem renaming them. I do know, however, that some Italian recipes use anise. I am posting my Russian grandmother’s recipe which is the only one I use. The recipe is well over 100 years old.

You can mix them and have the first tray in the oven in less than ten minutes. Love that? I thought you might!

INGREDIENTS:  Yields 40 cookies 

Combine:  1 cup soft butter

½ cup sifted confectionery sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 tsp half and half or milk

Sift together:  2 ½ cups flour

¼ tsp salt

Add:  ¾ cup finely chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts or pecans)

 

PREPARATION:

Roll dough into 1” balls.  Place 2” apart on ungreased cookie sheet.  Raise rack so they don’t burn on the bottom, or use parchment paper or silicone baking sheet.

Bake until set, but not brown.  400* for 10-12 min

While still warm, roll in confectionery sugar.

*NOTE:  The above ingredients are my Grandmother’s.  Me being me, I often add ½ tsp Almond Extract and 2 teaspoons of half and half.  I like the texture better.

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2016

GUMMY CANDY

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How beautiful are these????  My adult son, Robbie loves gummy candy and eats it all the time.  Me being me, I wanted to make my own.  Did he love them?  You bet!  Was it fun to make them?  Yes!  Know that the recipes don’t make a whole lot, so better buy extra ingredients.

You have your choice of making them with either gelatin dessert or fruit juice if you want them a little healthier.  I will say that both were good, but the fruit juice recipe needs to cook a bit longer to firm them up.  I’ll post both of them for you.

The second thing I’d like to mention is that you can use either a squeeze bottle to fill your molds, or a large spoon.  I tried both methods and the spoon worked best for me.

FRUIT JUICE GUMMIES INGREDIENTS

1 cup 100% fruit juice

2 TBSP Knox unflavored gelatin

1 TBSP honey

*With the addition of honey to this recipe, don’t give to children under the age of one.

 

PREPARATION: 

Pour fruit juice into a small saucepan.  Sprinkle Knox evenly over the top.  Don’t stir.  It needs to bloom.  Let sit for 5 minutes.

Over medium/low heat cook until mixture has become slightly thickened and gelatin has completely dissolve.  Remove from heat and stir in honey.

Pour into molds or a lightly coconut oil greased glass dish and chill until set.

Refrigerate leftovers.

 

TRADITIONAL GUMMIES INGREDIENTS:

1/3 cup cold water

2 ¼ oz packets of Knox unflavored gelatin

1 (3 oz) box Jello (any flavor)

2 TBSP white corn syrup

PREPARATION:

Pour water into a small saucepan.  Sprinkle Knox evenly over the water, followed by your Jello.  Don’t stir.  It needs to bloom.  Let sit for 5 minutes.

Over medium/low heat, add corn syrup, and stir or whisk until gelatin is dissolved.  It should take 4-5 minutes.  It’s ok to let it come to a slow boil.  The important thing is dissolving the gelatins.

Pour into molds, a lightly coconut oil greased glass baking dish, or ice cube trays and let set until firm.  You can speed it up by refrigerating or popping into the freezer.  They will pop right out like magic.

Refrigerate leftovers.

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2016

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SWEET AND SPICY BABY BACK RIBS (Cooked in Pressure Cooker)

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Since my son, Cory gave me an Instant Pot for Mother’s Day a few years ago, we have been singing its praises. It cooks a complete dinner in such a short time and takes the ordinary out of our food.

     Bob cooked these amazing ribs and we were both in love!

 

Ingredients:

2 racks pork ribs (baby back)

Your favorite Pork Rub seasoning, not a real heavy coating (Hickory rub works)

1 c. water

2/3 c. Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce (or your favorite brand)

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

4 Tbsp. sugar

2 Tbsp. rice vinegar

1 tsp. grated ginger (or 1.5 tsp powdered)

1 tsp Sriracha hot chili sauce (or to taste, more if you like it pretty spicy!)

 

Instructions:

First, be sure to remove the membrane from ribs. (Cut both racks into 3 equal portions so they fit stacked in INSTANT POT) Rub ribs with seasoning. Pour in 1 cup water and place Ribs on little rack that comes with your INSTANT POT.  Use Manual setting and cook for 75 minutes on HIGH pressure. (if using a large crock pot, cook on low heat for 3-5 hours until ribs are cooked through and they are already starting to fall off the bone, a good way to tell if they are done is to stick a knife in the ribs and if the knife comes up without pulling at the meat, they are done.) Doneness method works for INSTANT POT also.

In a small bowl, combine chili sauce, sugar, vinegar, ginger, and Sriracha. Place ribs on a baking sheet, brush sauce on Ribs, and put on the top rack of the oven. Bake for about 10 – 12 minutes on 450 degrees (or broil for about 3-5 minutes)  until the sauce begins to caramelize… watch them VERY closely so they don’t burn!!!

The sauce was out of this world.  Make some extra to serve at the table for a dipping sauce.

We served homemade coleslaw with ours!!! Delicious!!

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2016

 

MARRONS GLACE

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CANDIED CHESTNUTS

Hailing from Northern Italy and Southern France, Marron Glaces (maruh n, muhrohnFrench marawn gla-sey ) are nothing more than a candied chestnut which is then glazed by baking.  They can be eaten plain, added to desserts, served with crepes, eaten over ice cream, etc.  Until this year, I struggled to remove the shell, and found the inner membrane so time-consuming.  Now, however, there is an easier way!  I found a video in youtube and have posted the URL.

Marron glaces are VERY expensive and available seasonally when the crop of chestnuts is ready.  You’ll pay $50 for half a pound if you order them online.  One nut, yes, just one will cost you $4.00 in New York City.  Go to Paris and it will cost you over $4.00 apiece.  I have a dear friend that was born in France.  I make them for him every year when fresh chestnuts are available in our grocery stores.  As I said, it used to take forever to peel them.  Now, I learned that you can poke a hole, microwave them for 15 seconds, and then whack them with the palm of your hand.  It was actually kind of fun and eased all sorts of stressful thoughts that had been wandering around my head.  It takes four days to complete this recipe, but do not worry.  Once you have peeled them, you will only spend a few minutes a day.

If peeling is not for you, you can order a can of authentic French chestnuts online for about $15.00 for a 20 oz can.  They are packed in water, and many of them are broken, so do your own math.   I bought a can because I couldn’t bear the thought of peeling that inner membrane.  Then I found the video, and Bob bought me some fresh chestnuts.  I made both, and they are going out in the mail tomorrow.  I’m so anxious to see which he prefers.

INGREDIENTS: 

40 fresh chestnuts (or a 20 oz can of French peeled chestnuts)

2 cups sugar

3 ½ cups water

1 tsp vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean

 

PREPARATION: 

Working with three nuts at a time, take the point of a paring knife and poke a hole in each nut.  (I found it easier to peel if you poked, and then made a 1 ½” slit.  Watch the video and try it both ways.  Pop the three chestnuts in the microwave for 15 seconds, and then whack one at a time with the palm of your hand.  Peel.  The membrane and outer shell come off.  You will get sections of the wrinkly indents that have a small piece of the inner membrane stuck.  Take your paring knife, turn it upside down (flat end down) and poke the tip into the indent.  Wiggle the knife and push it along.  The membrane should pop right out.  The reason for doing 3 at a time is that they must remain hot to quickly remove the inner membrane.  If you have a problem with one, pop it back into the microwave for 3 seconds.

Watch the video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QU6jl_uJLY

In a 1 ½ qt saucepan, bring sugar, water and vanilla to a boil.  Boil for roughly 7 minutes to make the syrup. Add the peeled chestnuts and simmer for about 7 minutes.  Turn heat off, let sit until steam is no longer rising.  Cover and let sit over night.

Second day, bring nuts and syrup to a boil and boil for one minute.  Let cool, cover and sit overnight.  Repeat for four days or until no syrup remains.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place chestnuts in a single layer.  Place in the oven at 170 ° – 190° F. Prop the oven door open with a silicone pad or wooden spoon.   Bake for 2 – 4 hours or until the candied chestnuts are dry.  This last step enables the sugar syrup to turn into a hard candy shell.

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SPRITZ COOKIES

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Spritz cookies are wonderful!  The flavor is so good, and they are simple to make.  Go find your cookie press and let’s make cookies!  You can customize with food coloring, sprinkles, colored sugar, frosting, or whatever else you can think of.  I’m going to teach you how to use your regular pastry tip to create dual or even triple colored cookies.  The recipe makes a lot of cookies, but I promise you, they won’t last long. 

     Of course, you can change the flavor extract to make other than vanilla flavored.  Some suggestions would be cinnamon, anise, chocolate, coffee, orange, lemon, peppermint, etc.  How about ginger powder?  Get the idea?  Make these your own!

VANILLA SPRITZ COOKIES

YIELD: 48 cookies

INGREDIENTS:

2 STICKS BUTTER, AT ROOM TEMPERATURE

1 CUP GRANULATED SUGAR

1 LARGE EGG

2 ½ TSP VANILLA EXTRACT

2 ½ CUPS AP FLOUR, SIFTED

Optional: 3/8 TSP CINNAMON AND

3/8 TSP NUTMEG

 

PREPARATION:

In large mixer bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add egg, vanilla and any other seasonings you want to add and mix well.

Add flour, mixing only until incorporated.

That’s it!  Could any cookie be simpler?  I doubt it.

Now for the fun part.  Find the disks you want to use and fit one in your cookie press.  Fill the press with plain or tinted dough.

I don’t like to use too much food coloring, because it could mess with the consistency of the dough.  So for approximately 1/3 of the dough, I would use 3 – 4 drops maximum.  Leave the white dough in the mixer bowl or make a third color.  Use a cereal or soup bowl to make red and green dough.  Or make purple or blue if you want.  These are your own special creations! Use a spoon to mix the coloring.  I even did some without thoroughly mixing the food coloring in so the cookies were a bit swirly.

To make two or three colors in one cookie, roll out two or three colored ropes that are the length of the press.  Press one piece of dough against one side of the tube.  Use a small spatula or butter knife to push it to one side.  Press the second colored dough on the other side of the tube.  If using three colors, put in a third colored rope.   You’ll get some very interesting and colorful cookies that don’t need to be decorated if you don’t want to.  They are delicious just as they are.

Bake on a silicone mat or stoneware sheet.

In my oven 355° F for exactly 10 minutes is perfect.

GAIL’S HINTS:

Do not chill the dough.  The butter will harden and your consistency will be off.

The first cookie out after changing the disk will probably be garbage.  Throw it back in the dough bowl.  It takes one wasted cookie to get all the air pockets out of the tube.

Cookies do not spread, so you only need to leave an inch between them.  Cool?  Yep

Place the press directly on the silicone sheet.  When you squeeze the handle and pull the press up in a straight motion.   Work in a semi quickly motion.  Place press on sheet and press the handle once.  Move on to the next.  When you figure out the perfect rhythm, you can fill a whole sheet in about one minute.

Let the sheet cool between batches or the cookies will begin cooking the moment they hit the hot sheet.  This is pretty true for any cookie recipe.  Best to use two sheets.

You want your baking utensil to hold onto the dough as you’re pressing.  Silicone mats do the job perfectly.  If I didn’t have them, I would use a plain, uncoated, non-greased cookie sheet.  I would not suggest parchment paper or Teflon sheet for this reason.

Slide them right off onto a cooling rack.  Do NOT let them turn brown.  It will ruin the texture and give you a very crunchy cookie.

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2016

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