Katya’s Cooking Class!

Wow, that sounds funny, as I am not too overly fond of cooking! However, I made my delicious idea and the kids have given it a resounding *thumbs up*! Oh, and we are “baking”, NOT cooking!

The recipe I use is one that a friend of mine found in Family Circle or Woman’s Day magazine many years ago. (gosh, that makes me sound *so* old!) The recipe was for bar cookies and was named “Split Seconds”. I suppose that name was given because of the rapid and easy preparation of these little treats!

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Here is the recipe:

3/4 cup butter, softened                 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2/3 cup sugar                                    1 egg

2 cups flour                                        2 teaspoons vanilla extract

 Preheat oven to 350.

In a mixing bowl, combine butter and sugar. Beat until fluffy. Add egg and beat again. Add baking powder and flour beating until completely blended. Add vanilla and mix again.

Notice that I am using a Kitchen Aid mixer. In the event you are doing likewise, I just basically threw everything into the bowl and blended well! Also, I used a tablespoon of vanilla, as I am a TOTAL vanilla freak!!!

You will end up with a nice soft dough. Roll into a ball, then divide into 4 pieces.

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Now, if your mom deprived you of the fun of playing with Play Dough as a child, you can NOW pretend! Roll the dough into 4 “snakes”, each 13″ long.

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Wasn’t that FUN? Now, take your hand and GENTLY (read, lighty!) press the pinky side into the dough (center) to form a “trough” the length of each roll. Do NOT press too hard, or the trough will end up too deep and the cookies will fold in half and not look nice. (yes, I learned this the hard way!!!)

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Now you may use your filling. This can be any jam or jelly. The sky is the limit. If it can be baked, you could use it as a filling for these simple cookies.  I have used strawberry, raspberry, blackberry jam, as well as grape jelly! Apple would be delicious as well.  Be creative!

Because the pumpkin butter was so smooth, it flowed right into the trough quite nicely. And now, the cookies are ready to bake!

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The recipe originally called for a baking time of 15-20 minutes. Since every oven is different,  I usually bake things the shortest time period and then check. My maternal grandmother was a cook for a fraternity house at Penn State University. She taught me years ago that a cookie was done as soon as the bottom turns a golden brown color. That is the rule of thumb I still use!

After 15 miutes, mine were done. Cool on the cookie sheet, then cut each roll. I generally cut the rolls in half,  then each half into thirds, ending up with six cookies per roll.  These are what I ended up with!

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Enjoy! (and please let me know how YOU used this recipe!

Do You Like Pumpkin?

Okay, Carly…now that I have *YOUR* undivided attention!

Note to those reading: Carly is my eldest child. She was born the day after Thanksgiving and she has a total love of anything *pumpkin*. I guess it was all the pumpkin pie I ate the evening before her birth!

 Last week, she assured me, as a matter of fact,  that Starbuck’s had a pumpkin scone that was “to die for”.   After this report, I mentioned it to Mark as we had to go to Rochester one day.

As I was returning some things at the store, Mark called around to several Starbuck’s stores. He finally located the said scones. We drove a few miles out of our way to obtain these wonders….I came back to the truck, paper bag containing scones in hand. I opened the bag, took a bite, and well….perhaps it would have been more tasty with a cup of tea?  I wasn’t thrilled, thinking the little scone tasted more to me like spice cake.  I felt terrible telling Carly,  but honesty is the best policy, no?  That is OK…I have never been a fan of scones, anyway. Give me something sweeter and moister! Cookies, anyone?

Well, since the somewhat disappointing scone caper,  I have been thinking about how tasty pumpkin pie would be.

Last Thursday, when Michelle and I went shopping, I found a big box of Jalapeno Poppers in the frozen foods. Glory! I LOVE these things. Arby’s  had them and they sold them with a little cup of Loganberry Jam to dip them in.  The sweet, mixed with the heat of the Jalapeno pepper inside was….just yummy!

Michelle and I picked up the box of Poppers, then headed over to the jams and jellies aisle to see if there would be any Loganberry jelly there.  I guess we should have known better, as we weren’t at Wegman’s…..we went to Top’s.  We examined all  the standards……Smucker’s, Welch’s, Polaner’s. Nada. Zilch. Nothing that even sounded good. Grape jelly or strawberry jam just wouldn’t do it.

It was then that we spotted the “exotic” stand. Yes, at the end of the aisle, there was a big black metal stand, offering out-of-the-ordinary delicacies.  This is the type of display that provokes Mark to lovingly (or otherwise!) tease “Mrs. Bigbucks”! 

We looked deliberately through the fancy little bottles and jars,  trying to narrow down our options. Michelle spotted a jar of Lime Curd that she begged me for…Although no Loganberry was found, we settled on a jar of Black Cherry Preserves from Switzerland.  We decided that might taste good with the Poppers. It was shortly afterward that I spotted the intruiging little jar of Pumpkin Butter.

I suppose it was the beautiful jar with its label that first caught my eye….And, the fact that a little yellow sign hung under it,  announcing that this product was on sale.  I picked up a jar, looking at the beautiful presentation and the contents…..golly, it looked *just* like pumpkin pie!  I put the jar into the shopping cart, then a few seconds later, removed it.  As we turned to go, I grabbed it back once again,  and placed it in the cart.

The little jar sat on my counter since last Thursday evening. I kept looking at it, wondering if I was going to be sadly disappointed by my silly compulsive purchase.

This morning, I decided to have a cup of tea, and as I was making it, I grabbed the Pumpkin Butter, opened it, and dipped a spoon into it.  Oh MY!  I again poked the spoon into the jar, thinking perhaps it wasn’t quite as good as I had first thought.  I toasted a small piece of Italian bread I had bought from the Top’s store, and although the Pumpkin Butter was good on it, I think I have an idea for something even *better*!

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The most surprising element to this whole thing is that the Pumpkin Butter is from a place called Oxnard, California!  It isn’t even imported!

I am going to try out a recipe later and use some of this. Stay tuned…