Holiday Cookie Baking In A Hurry And Short Bread Jelly Tarts.

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This year I hurt my knee and was not up to doing my usual baking for Thanksgiving.  I was supposed to stay off my feet but you know how that goes.   I just propped myself up on a stool in the kitchen and did the cooking.  There was know one else to do it.  I had some bags of cookie mix that I had bought at a big discount this summer.  This was as good a time as ever to use them up.  The kids got out the butter, eggs and cookie sheets.  It was easy for me to mix and roll out.  I didn’t have to move around the kitchen like I would have baking from scratch.  Cutting  out and baking went fast.  I used canned frosting and what sprinkles I still had on hand that would work for Fall.

One of the tricks I used was placing a fan in front of the cookies to get the canned frosting to harden up quickly. It will firm up the frosting in about a hour or two so you can easily pack them between wax paper in containers.  I like to make royal frosting and others types that harden and firm up.  I now found that with a little help from a fan you can have the same results with bought frosting.  The idea is to keep them from sticking to the wax paper or each other with the soft frosting.  I didn’t want to leave them out to dry over night.  I just wanted to get the cookie making over with.

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Another thing I made from cookie mix was tarts.  I have a set of pumpkin shaped tart pans that I have had for a while.

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These are small individual serving tart pans.  You can use any size of tart pan that you have. To make the crust for the tarts I used a short bread mix that you can find during the Christmas season.  I bought this mix with the others last summer in a close out sale.  I also was able to get almond paste at that sale.

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I followed the direction for the short bread and patted them into the tart pans on the bottom and up the sides.  I only have 4 pumpkin shaped ones so I used 2 standard round tart pans that were the same size.  I then filled them with some jam.  I used pineapple and mango jam that I make during summer because it looked the right color for pumpkins.  You just need a nice coating of the jam over the short bread.  The short bread puffs up and fills the pan while baking.

The next step was to decorate them with the almond past.  To do that you have to mix with electric mixer 2 egg whites with the tube of paste.  This takes a few minutes to break up and soften the paste.  It will get light and slightly fluffy.  I put it in a pastry bag that had a decorator star tip on it.  I just decorated the edges and piped the design I wanted on the tarts.

I baked them for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees until the almond piping was lightly browned.   Let cool and then remove from pans. To do that you just push the bottoms up from the ring.  Cut them into pieces when you get ready to serve like short bread.  The short bread tarts is eaten like a cookie.  The almond past is slightly crunchy but still light and give a special flavor touch to the cookie tart.  The tarts turned out to be a favorite for Thanksgiving.

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My little hoard of cookie mixes came in handy.  I was still able to spoil the kids.  I always buy cookie mix and cake mix after the holiday or season is over and take advantage of the deep discounts.  I always mark on the package with a dark crayon the expiration date so I can see it in the cupboard.  That way I know to use it before it expires.  All these mixes were going to expire in December. I paid less then a dollar for them.  The almond paste was 50 cents and that was 90% off the normal price.  I bought 5 tubes because that was all they had and put them in the freezer.  I have 3 left to use for Christmas.

I have a bunch of cake mixes that I have gotten marked down so I will probably turn all those into cookies for Christmas this year.

Fresh Apple Pie

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Apple pie is a simple pie to make.  With the pie dough in the dairy case at the grocery, it don’t take long to make.  I used Mackintosh apples because they are tart.   Some people like Granny Smith for the same reason.  You don’t have to be afraid to try making this pie even if you have never made a pie before.  It is also cheaper to make them then buying bakery pies and it tastes better because you are in control of the sugar and spice.  I can usually get 2 pies from a large bag of apples.  I normally will make my own pie dough but sometimes I need to put a pie together quickly.  Refrigerated pie dough is a great help and time saver.

I usually take the pie dough out of the refrigerator while I peel the apples and slice them.  The dough unrolls easier if you let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes first.

Normally for a 8 inch pie it takes about 7 or 8 apples.  It really depends on the size of the apples and the size of pie pan you are using.  You can usually tell when you have enough sliced.

Pre Heat oven 350 degrees.  This temperature works the best for my oven.

I mix in a separate bowl for a 8 inch pie.

3/4 cup of sugar

1/2 cup of flour 

1 teaspoon Apple pie spice or cinnamon.

Stir the dry ingredients together.  Then mix in the apples and make sure they are all coated.  Arrange apples in uncooked pie crust and pour any flour mixture left in the bowl on top.

Now dot with butter pieces on top of apples.  I usually use 2 tablespoons of cold butter that I cut up in little pieces.  Care fully sprinkle 1 teaspoon of vanilla on top of apples, making sure to get a little all over the top of the apples.

I use a pie bird so this is usually when I put it in the center of the apples almost to the bottom.  Now add the top crust and crimp the edges and cut slits in the top.  I use the dough that I trim off to cut out little apples or leaves with very small cookie cutters.  I place them on top.  I brush the top of my pie with egg wash using 1 egg and a little water.  Then sprinkle some finishing sugar on top.  To keep the pie edges from getting too dark and tough. I use strips of foil to cover the edge or a pie crust ring.

Bake for 40-45 minutes.

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The Tale of Two Creeper Quilts

DSCN1723 Creeper is a character in the on line game called Minecraft.  It is a very popular game for little kids.  I made 2 twin size quilts to sell last summer at the Metro Con in Tampa.  My older grandkids had a craft booth there.  They didn’t sell so they are now up on Etsy.  My youngest grandson wanted to be in the picture so I left him pose.  It does give a perspective of the size of the quilts.  Here are some more pictures of the quilts. DSCN1346DSCN1719DSCN1729DSCN1730 The quilts are just as nice on the back side and can also be used as just a green quilt.  I used poly batting because it is light and cuddly for a child.  It also is easy to wash which is important with children.  It was machine quilted in the ditch with a wavy stitch to reinforce the seams for long wear.  The fabric is high quality cotton from my stash.  There might be some poly cotton blends that may of slipped into my stash from others giving me fabric out of their stash.  I have fabric that I don’t remember buying.  The quilt came together from what I had in my stash that matched the pixels in the game. https://www.etsy.com/listing/211215775/creeper-quilt?ref=sr_gallery_18&ga_search_query=Minecraft+quilt&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery

Applesauce Honey Cookies

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A really delicious cookie to make in the fall.  They have a wonderful apple and spice with a hint of honey. The cookie is soft and moist.  I used a cookie stamp to make fall flowers and decorated them with fall chocolate chips with colored sugar before I baked them.  The recipe calls for you to flatten them with a fork.  I plan to hide some of these in the freezer to give as a hostess gift and friends.

Applesauce Honey Cookies

2 ¼ cup flour

½ teaspoon of baking powder

½ teaspoon of cinnamon

½ teaspoon of ground ginger

¼ teaspoon of salt

½ cup butter room temperature

½ cup packed brown sugar

½ cup white sugar

1 large egg

½ cup applesauce

1 tablespoon honey room temperature

Sift together in a separate bowl flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ground ginger and salt. Cream in a mixing bowl butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Add egg, applesauce and honey then mix until blended. Chill for an hour.

Pre heat oven 375 degrees. Prepare cookies sheets with parchment paper or vegetable spray.

Roll in ball size of walnuts and place on cookie sheet. Use fork to flatten cookie or cookie stamp.

Bake for 10 -14 minutes until slightly brown and set. Let cool on wire rack.

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Applesauce Banana Bread-Dairy Free And Sugar Free

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With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it is time to think about what we are going to serve for dinner or what we are going to take as a guest to dinner.  The hardest thing is to think up a desert for some one who can’t have dairy or sugar.   Here is a wonderful treat for such a person that you can give.   I made these with sugar and they turned out wonderful. It is very moist and the applesauce gives it an added flavor surprise.  I bake them in mini loaf pan and shorten the time to 30 minutes.  They could also be baked as muffins.

3 ripe bananas
1 cup  sugar or Spenda plus an extra 1/4 cup of applesauce
1/2 cup  applesauce
2 eggs
1 teaspoon  baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2  teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon  vanilla extract
2 cup  flour

Preheat oven 350 degrees.  Prepare a standard loaf pan with vegetable spray.

Sift flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda together in a separate bowl.  In a mixing bowl mash bananas then add sugar and applesauce.  Beat adding one egg at a time then vanilla.  On low speed gradually add flour mixture until blended.  Pour in loaf prepared loaf pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Let stand for 10 minutes before removing from pan.

 

Simple Little Cookie Stamp and Peanut Butter Cookies

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I was wandering through Walmart the other day waiting for my grand daughter get her hair cut.  So I took a look in the cake decorating isle and found this little cookie stamp by Nordic Ware.  I try to buy something every year from Nordic Ware because all their products are American made.  Only now after 20 + years of doing this I have quite a collection of bake ware and have run out of space to store it.

It started out with me saving Betty Crocker coupons and they offered a Krumkake baker.  I bought it and was delighted with it.  It took some practice but I caught on to how to flip and roll them.  Then I got a 6 cup bundt pan.  You can tell by the color how long ago that was.  The molded aluminum little bundt  was great for just using a box of Jiffy cake mix.  I used Baker’s Choice spray to prep the baking pan like the instructions said that came with the bundt pan.  The little cake slipped right out when inverted.  It was fun getting lots of complements on my cookies and little bundt cake.  I was hooked after that.

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I used my Betty Crocker coupons every year for a charming bundt pan until Betty Crocker stopped the coupons.  Then I just looked on the internet and would pick something that caught my fancy.  In the recent years that I am retired I have found a couple in thrift stores instead of buying new.  The kids have bought me a couple as a Christmas present.  For a few years even Walmart had the bundt pans and offered seasonal shapes.   But this year I found the little cookie stamp.  They have three designs but I could just buy one at $5. I picked the little waffle one.

My grandson was with me and he right away had visions of peanut butter cookies.  I have a few plastic hand cookie stamps  from a long time ago that the little kids like to help me make peanut butter cookies with.  In the process of making the peanut cookies,  the cookie stamp needed a light coating of vegetable spray to keep the dough from sticking.  When the dough started to stick again I would spray it again.  If the dough stuck I would just make the ball over again  and press.  The cookies turned out just beautiful.

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Peanut Butter Cookies

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees

Sift together:

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

Cream together:

3/4 cup of shortening or butter flavored shortening

3/4 cup of peanut butter

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup white sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon of butter flavored vanilla extract

Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture.  Mix until smooth with mixer.  The dough will be easy to handle and make into balls.  Place balls on cookie sheet and press flat with cookie stamp, fork, or the bottom of a glass.

Bake for 17 minutes large cookies and 12 minutes smaller cookies.  Keep in mind oven’s vary so watch closely your first batch and adjust time to your oven.

Walmart offers them on line shopping

http://www.walmart.com/ip/NordicWare-All-Seasons-Cookie-Impressions/29114440

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Nordic-Ware-Cookie-Stamps/37699498

Applesauce Bread Pudding

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One of the first things I learned to make was bread pudding.  My mother had a Betty Crocker Cookbook and I would look through it at a early at an early age for things I could make.  Bread pudding was one of them.  I still like making and eating it.  I adapted a recipe from Mott’s Applesauce for this bread pudding.  The original recipe had a oatmeal crumble topping to it.  I have since lost the original and only have my version of it.   I end up with bread that goes stale before I can use it up.  This is a problem for people who depend on a food bank for some of their groceries.  What do you do with day old bread that has a short shelf life.  Bread pudding is one of the ways to use it up.  I have shared this recipe with many of my neighbors.

This is quick and easy using specialty bread like raisin or cinnamon bread.  But you can make it with regular bread by adding raisins and a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon to the mixture.  It makes a wonderful warm evening treat when the weather is cold.

Apple Sauce Bread Pudding.

1 cup of applesauce

2 eggs

½ cup brown sugar

1 cup milk

5 slices of raisin bread or cinnamon bread.

Cut bread into square pieces and place in a 8 inch by 8 inch baking dish.

Pre heat oven 350 degrees.

Whisk applesauce, eggs, brown sugar and milk together in a mixing bowl. Pour over bread and stir bread to make sure all the pieces are evenly coated. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until golden brown on top.

Serve warm  with a choice of caramel sauce, milk or whipped cream.

 

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