Pot de Crème

Ingredients:
2 cups Heavy Cream
6 Egg Yolks
1 cup Granulated Sugar
1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate nibs
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
Water for cooking
Whipped Cream for topping

Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 325°F
  • In a large bowl beat the Egg Yolks with 1 cup of Heavy Cream, Vanilla, and Sugar.
  • In a double boiler, melt the Chocolate and other 1/2 cup of Cream.
  • Slowly add the Chocolate Mixture to the Egg Yolks and mix well. Do not add all the Chocolate at once, or it may cook the Eggs!
  • Divide the Mixture into 6 Ramekins or similar oven-proof dishes. Traditionally, you could use Espresso Cups.
  • Place the filled Ramekins into a baking dish, and fill the dish with water so that the water comes up about 1 inch around the Ramekins. If you have a baking dish that has a lid, use that. Otherwise, you will need to cover the baking dish with Aluminum Foil.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the custard begins to set, but is still jiggly.
  • Remove and cool, then chill until you serve (at least 1/2 an hour).
  • Garnish with a dollop of Whipped Cream

Makes 6 Ramekin-sized servings, or 8-10 Espresso-sized servings.

NOTES: So I fell in love with this dish when I happened upon it at a French restaurant called Singe Vert in New York. I asked my chef mentor Philippe Fallait about the dish, and he said it was not as hard as people think but also very rich and that I did not want to know how many egg yolks went into it. Well after much trepidation, I finally built up the nerve to look into this dish–and this year I finally made my recipe and executed it. It was a hit with my closest friends (who are very particular and honest)–I was very excited.

So Pot de Creme is not a custard, not a pudding, and not a mousse, but is very similar to all of those. It is creamy and silky smooth, and very rich.

Festive Noodle Kugel

Ingredients:
12 oz Egg Noodles
8 oz Cream Cheese
8 oz Sour Cream
8 oz Ricotta Cheese
4 Eggs
1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Mace
1/2 tsp Salt
3-4 cups Graham Crackers, crushed
1/2 – 1 cup Raisins (optional)
Water for Boiling
Pinch of Salt for Water

Directions:

  • Bring Water to a Boil and add Salt and Egg Noodles. Cook till al dente. They will cook much quicker than regular pasta, so don’t leave it unattended.
  • Drain the Noodles, and set aside.
  • Preheat Oven to 350°F.
  • Divide the Graham Cracker crumbs and sprinkle on the bottom of a casserole dish (9″ x 13″ approximately).
  • In a large bowl combine the Dairy, Eggs, and Spices (and Raisins if using them). Mix well.
  • Fold in the Noodles.
  • Pour mixture (think scoop) into the Casserole dish, and even it out with a spatula.
  • Sprinkle with remaining Graham Cracker Crumbs.
  • Bake for 45-55 minutes.

Makes 6-8 servings.

NOTES: This Central European Jewish dish is traditionally served at Hanukkah, though it can be served throughout the year as a festive pudding/custard. I first learned this dish when I found evidence that a section of my family was Ashkenazim and had converted to Catholicism in the 1800s.

Chess Pie

Ingredients
1 Pâte Brisée for 9″ shell
1 1/2 cups Granulated Sugar
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Butter, room temperature
2 Tbsp Cornmeal
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
5 eggs
2/3 cup Buttermilk

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • Cream the Sugars, Butter, Corn Meal, Cinnamon, and Vanilla Extract.
  • Slowly beat in each egg.
  • Finally, beat in the Buttermilk gradually.
  • Roll out your Pâte Brisée to 1/8 inch thick, and big enough for a 9″ pie. Place in pie pan and crimp the edges as you desire.
  • Pour filling into the shell.
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until it has set. The edges may brown slightly.

Makes 1 pie.

NOTES: I cannot find any definitive reason why Chess Pie is called so. Some theories say it is because it came to the Americas from Chester, England. Other theories say it comes from a pie chest (or piece of furniture for pies). All I know, is it is very common in the South, and always made with buttermilk! I highly discourage making this with cream or milk, unless you add a little of vinegar.

Apple Zucchini Bread

Ingredients:
2 cups All Purpose Flour
2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
2 tsp Cinnamon, ground
1 tsp Nutmeg, ground
1 tsp Cloves, ground
1 tsp Ginger, ground
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
1 cup Granulated Sugar
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp Honey
1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
4 Eggs, beaten
1 cup Applesauce
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 cups Zucchini, shredded
1 cup Apples (Red Delicious), skinned, seeded, diced or shreaded
1 1/2 cups Pecans, chopped

Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 350°F.
  • In a large bowl, sift together all Flour, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Salt, and Spices. Set to the side
  • Combine the Eggs, all Sugar, Honey, Maple Syrup, Vanilla, and Apple Sauce in another bowl, and mix well.
  • Slowly incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing well. You may use a mixer for this, as the batter will be fairly thick.
  • Fold in the Apples, Zucchini, and Pecans.
  • Divide the batter into greased loaf pans (9×5).
  • Bake for 55 minutes to an hour, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  • Please let them cool for 10 minutes before removing them to wire racks to cool further.

NOTES: The first time I had zucchini bread, I was very skeptical. I mean the majority of my zucchini was sauteed with garlic, so the idea of it serving as a sweet stumped me. Still after trying it, this then 8 year old was pleasantly surprised. Zucchini bread can be used as a side item at an Autumn or Winter dinner, or with brunch or tea. I still think it is a great side for Thanksgiving, served warm with dinner, with fresh butter.

Zucchini bread apparently had its hay-day in the 1960s in the US when the idea of using Butter was on the decline, with folks instead wanting to use Oil. I, however think the use of Apple Sauce (something that seemed to happen in the 90s to replace the oil) instead of Vegetable Oil is a better fix. Apple Zucchini Bread is a quick bread, and can easily be modified into muffins, as a result.

Horchata de Arroz – Mexican Rice Milk

Horchata de Arroz

Ingredients:
2 cups long-grain white Rice
3 cups warm Water, for soaking
1/2 cup blanched Almonds, ground
3 Cinnamon Sticks
1 Tbsp Vanilla
1 cup Evaporated Milk
3 cups Cold Water
1/2-3/4 cup granulated Sugar

Directions:

  • Place the Rice, Warm Water, ground Almonds, and Cinnamon in a bowl overnight. For the Almonds, you can use a Food Processor to grind them–doesn’t have to be a fine powder.
  • Remove the Cinnamon Sticks and discard.
  • Pour the mixture into a Blender, and blend for 30 seconds.
  • Strain through a Sieve, Cheesecloth, or Coffee Filters into a pitcher.
  • Add Evaporated Milk, Vanilla, Sugar, and 2-4 cups
  • Using a Whisk, stir well, and adjust the taste with more Sugar if needed.

Makes about 1/2 a gallon.

NOTES: This beverage is a true Meso-American fusion food. It came from Spain where it was made with tigernuts. In the Americas, due to lack of tigernuts, other ingredients were used. Depending on the Latin American country, you will see Rice or various types of seeds used. Most Mexican varieties are made with Rice with Cinnamon–some adding strawberries or Prickly Pear.

Now the Historian in me read that the name comes from Valencia Spain from orxata deriving from the word for Barley. In traditional Meso-American cooking, it looks like a metate (a stone motar tool) would have been used to grind the rice mixture. One day, I want to get a metate and make it that way LOL!

Banana Pudding

Ingredients:
4 cups Milk
1 cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 cup Cornstarch
1/2 tsp Salt
4 Egg Yolks
3 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Tbsp Butter
4-6 Ripe Bananas, sliced
2-4 cups Savoiardi Lady Fingers, cut into pieces

Meringue Topping or
Whipped Cream

Directions:

  • Line a baking dish with a layer of the Savoiardi followed by a layer of the Bananas.
  • If using the Meringue Topping, preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • In a large sauce pan, combine the Cornstarch, Salt and Sugar.
  • In a bowl whisk together the Egg Yolks and the Milk.
  • Slowly add the Yolk/Milk mixture to the Dry Ingredients, whisking with a balloon whisk. Whisk well to prevent any lumps.
  • Heat on low-medium Heat, stirring constantly. Do not bring to a boil.
  • As the pudding heats up, the cornstarch will start to thicken the sauce. Be vigilant as it will go from broth to custard almost with no warning. When it starts to turn to custard, it is done cooking.
  • Remove from the heat and mix in the Vanilla and Butter.
  • Pour half of the mixture over the Bananas Cookie Layer, then add additional Savoiardi and Bananas.
  • Top:
    • If using a meringue, make the meringue mixture and top; bake for 12-15 minutes or until the meringue is golden.
    • If using whipped cream, spread over the top of the pudding; crumble the remaining cookies, and sprinkle on top; then refrigerate.

NOTES: Banana Pudding is a Southern comfort food. In the Summer time it is traditional to use a Meringue topping, however no one will fault you for using whipped cream. Though traditionalists would probably scream, I prefer Ladyfingers or Savoiardi to Vanilla Wafers, and I partially wonder if that is what was used before Vanilla Wafers were mass-marketed. Regarding the bananas, they need to be real ripe with brown speckles on the skin. You can rush the ripeness by putting them in a dark place ina bag or in the fridge.

Meringue Topping

Ingredients:
4 Egg Whites, room temperature
5 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Directions:

  • Beat the Egg Whites until they form soft peaks.
  • Add the cream of tartar, and continue to beat, gradually add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until stiff peaks form.
  • Fold the vanilla into the meringue

NOTES: You can use this topping on Banana Pudding, but also on any custard pie, or other pie that would require Meringue topping. Just cover the pie, and bake at 375°F until golden brown.

Peaches, Strawberries, and Cream

Peaches, Strawberries, and Cream

Ingredients:
2 Peaches, washed
8 Strawberries, cold
1 tsp Granulated Sugar
1 tsp ground Cloves
2 Cups Heavy Cream
1 tsp Confectioners Sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
Water for Boiling

Directions:

  • Place the Peaches in a Pot, and fill with water enough that they float. Remove the Peaches and set them aside.
  • Bring the water to a boil.
  • Using tongs, drop the peaches into the water, and roll them around for about a minute.
  • Remove the Peaches with tongs, and run them under cold water.
  • The skin of the Peach should easily peal at this point, so peal them, and then chop them into bite-size chunks and place in a large bowl or in serving dishes.
  • Slice the Strawberries in quarters and mix with the Peaches.
  • Sprinkle the Strawberries and Peaches with the Granulated Sugar and Cloves, and refrigerate.
  • In a separate bowl, whip together the Heavy Cream, Confectioners Sugar, and Vanilla until stiff peeks form.
  • Remove the fruit, and cover with the whipped cream and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

NOTES: This is a very simple summer desert, that is set off by the addition of cloves. If you are not going to serve right away, hold off on making the whipped cream until before serving.

Variations:
Ṽ›Ɣ – Use a Non-Dairy Whipped Topping instead of making your own Whipped Cream.
S›Ƨ – Substitute Splenda® for the Sugar on the Fruit, and omit it from the Whipped Cream–there will not be a noticeable difference with the Whipped Cream.

Scottish Shortbread Cookies

Whole-Wheat Scottish Shortbreads

Ingredients:
1 cup Granulated Sugar
2 cups Butter
3 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 300° F.
  • In a large bowl, cream the Sugar and Butter with the Vanilla Extract.
  • Slowly incorporate the Flour a cup at a time. I highly recommend that you break down and use your hands!
  • Knead the dough on a floured surface to ensure that it is well mixed. If dough is too moist and sticky, add more flour.
  • Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Form the dough into a cylinder and place lengthwise on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Roll the cylinder into the shape of the cookie sheet, the dough even with the top of the edge of the baking sheet.
  • Using a pizza slicer, score the top of the dough into bar-shapes, not going too deep.
  • Using a fork, poke each bar-shaped piece with the prongs in the center of each bar, pressing down to the bottom of the pan. You should think about this as a decorative feature for each bar.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until it starts to turn slightly golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven, and while warm cut along the scores made from the pizza slicer, making the individual bars.
  • Let cool in the pan.

Makes about 5 dozen.

NOTES: Scottish Shortbread is a super-simple tasty cookie that is known as the “Jewel in the crown of Scottish Baking”. Originally, this would have been made with Oat Flour instead of Wheat Flour, but that is not regularly available. Scottish Shortbread is ideal with tea, in my humble opinion.

About the cutting. You can also choose to make wedge shaped cookies instead. To do this roll out the dough in a round shape about 1/4″ thick and 10-12″ in diameter on a piece of parchment.  Using an upside-down pie pan or round cake pan as a stencil, trim off the excess dough. Carefully lift the parchment onto a cookie sheet, score into wedges, and poke with a fork for decoration. You would then cut the dough into wedges while it is still warm. You can also make small round, individual cookies on a cookie sheet. These need a little less time to cook, so keep your eyes on them.

Variations:
Traditional Scottish Shortbread – Substitute Oat Four for the All-Purpose Flour.

Whole Wheat Shortbread – Substitute Whole Wheat Flour for 2 1/2 cups of the All-Purpose Flour. The coarseness of the Wheat Flour achieves a similar texture to the Traditional Scottish Shortbread.

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Ginger
1 tsp Nutmeg
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 cup Granulated Sugar
1 cup Vegetable Oil
4 Eggs
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 cups Carrots, Shredded
1 cup Raisins
1 cup chopped Pecans
2-3 cups Cream Cheese Frosting
Pecans for decoration

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the Flour, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Salt, Sugar, Brown Sugar, and Spices.
  • Slowly incorporate the Eggs, Vegetable Oil, and Vanilla Extract.
  • Mix in the Carrots, Raisins, and Pecans.
  • Grease 2 8″ round cake pans and coat with flour.
  • Divide the Batter between the two pans.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Remove from the pans and cool on a rack.
  • Place one cake on a plate or cake plate, and spread frosting on the top.
  • Place the second cake on top and frost the top.
  • Carefully add frosting to the side and rotate the plate to spread the frosting along the sides.
  • Decorate the top with Pecans. If you prefer you can crush the Pecans and place along the sides of the Cake.

Makes 1 cake

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:
8 oz Cream Cheese, room temperature
8 Tbsp unsalted Butter, room temperature
2 cups Confectioner’s Sugar
2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Directions:

  • In a large bowl combine the Cream Cheese, Butter, and Vanilla Extract.
  • Slowly incorporate the Confectioner’s Sugar.

Thumb Print Shortbread Cookies

Thumb Print Shortbread Cookies (variety of fillings)

Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups Butter, room temperature
2 cups Sugar
2 Egg Yolks
1 tsp Vanilla
2 3/4 cups All Purpose Flour
1 tsp Salt

Fillings of choice:
Jam, Chocolate kisses, Candied Fruit

Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 350°F.
  • In a large bowl cream the Butter and Sugar.
  • Slowly incorporate the Vanilla and Egg Yolks.
  • Add the flour 1 cup at a time to the wet ingredients. As you near the final installment, the dough can be mixed with your hands.
  • Cover with Plastic and place in Fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Remove and roll into small balls (about 1″ in diameter).
  • Place on prepared cookie sheet and indent a pocket in the middle with your thumb (or finger if your thumb is too big).
  • Place your filling in the indentation. If you are filling with chocolate kisses, you can press the ball down with the kiss rather than your thumb. The dough may break a little as you press it down, this is ok.
  • Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the bottoms start to brown.

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen.

NOTES: Traditionally, these treats have jam in them as a filling. If you use jam, please keep in mind it will be much hotter than the cookie when it comes out of the oven.

Christmas Coffee

Ingredients:Vegan VariationVegetarian
Ground Coffee (for regular pot of coffee)
Water (for regular pot of coffee)
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1 cup Heavy Cream
1/4 cup Powdered Sugar
1/8 tsp Vanilla Extract

Ingredient amounts above are for 4 cups coffee. If your coffee machine makes more or less, adjust the amounts accordingly

Directions:

  • Prepare your Coffee Grounds and Water as usual for coffee.
  • Add the Spices to the Coffee Grounds, and mix.
  • Start brewing your Coffee.
  • In a bowl, start whipping the Heavy Cream with the Powdered Sugar and Vanilla until stiff peeks form.
  • Serve Coffee in individual cups, topped with a dollop of the Whipped Cream.

NOTES: You can adjust the spices as you see fit. If you use a darker roast, consider a little more Nutmeg and Cocoa Powder. This is not an exact science, but completely based on your taste.

Variations:
Ṽ›Ɣ – Do not make your own Whipped Cream. Use a Non-Dairy Whipped Topping instead…or omit altogether and just use a flavored Non-Dairy Creamer.

Modern Eggnog

Ingredients:AlcoholicSugar Free VariationVegetarian
4 cups Milk
2 Tbsp Nutmeg, ground
1 Tbsp Cinnamon, ground
2 tsp Cloves, ground
12 Eggs yolks
1 1/2 cups Granulated Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
4 cups Heavy Cream
1 cups Rum (optional)
1 cup Brandy (optional)

Directions:

  • In a saucepan, heat the Milk, Cinnamon, Cloves, and Nutmeg on medium heat. You want it to near boiling, but not scald or boil.
  • As the Milk nears boiling, remove it from the heat, and set to the side.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the Egg yolks, Sugar and Vanilla Extract until buttery and thick.
  • Temper the Milk and Eggs by pouring a little of the Milk into the Yolks, whisking. This raises the temperature of the Eggs high enough that it can be poured into the rest of the Milk without cooking the egg.
  • So, in following take the tempered mixture and add it to the Milk mixture in the Saucepan, and return it to medium heat.
  • As it cooks, the mixture will thicken like custard or an ice-cream base. When you can stick a spoon in it and it completely coats the spoon, remove from the heat.
  • This constitutes the Eggnog base. Pour into a pitcher and refrigerate for at least two hours.
  • When ready to serve, stir in the Heavy Cream and alcohol.
  • Eggnog is ready to serve, but the longer it cools, the better.

NOTES: Eggnog is originally from England, and was an upper-class drink in the holiday times, dairy and eggs not being readily accessible to lower-class people. There are several theories as to where the name “eggnog” came from. The one that makes the most sense to me is that there was a wooden cup used for alcoholic beverages that in Middle English was called a “noggin”. An Egg Noggin would be an alcoholic beverage with an obvious egg component. The second is that the name came from the Americas. The theory is that as the American colonies developed, there was regular access to dairy and eggs, however not for Brandy so people used Rum, which sometimes was called Grog…the idea being Egg’n’grog which was shortened to Eggnog. The second one seems more contrived to me and doesn’t answer what the drink was called before then.

Because this mixture is cooked, it is safe to drink it without alcohol–in fact I prefer it this way.

This is called “Modern Eggnog” to differentiate its cooking from the uncooked Traditional Eggnog, which is more like what was traditionally done.  In addition, the substitution of Rum, an American variation, takes the flavors from the older Bourbon that was used.

With regards to alcohol, really you can play with some of your favorites, Rum, Bourbon, Brandy, Cognac, and even Sherry…I do not recommend Vodka or Gin.

Variations
Tom & Jerry
Traditional Eggnog

S›Ƨ – Substitute Splenda® for the Sugar, and omit the Alcohol completely.

Caramel Butterscotch Sauce

Caramel  Butterscotch SauceCaramel Butterscotch Sauce

Ingredients:Vegetarian
1 cup Granulated Sugar
2 Tbsp Water
1 tsp Corn Syrup
1 Tbsp Butter
4 Tbsp Heavy Cream
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1/2 cup Butterscotch Morsels

Directions:

  • In a deep sauce pan or saucier pan, Whisk the Sugar, Water, and Corn Syrup. Heat on medium heat.
  • As this heats up, keep in mind it will get VERY hot – like 265°F. You cannot leave this unattended, and you must be very careful.
  • Whisk as it heats up.
  • The Sugar dissolves in the Water and is mixed with the Corn Syrup preventing crystallization. As it cooks, there will be several stages to watch for.
    1. Large bubbles: This means that you are nearing the creation of caramel–just keep whisking.
    2. Small bubbles: You are getting even closer, and you should start seeing a caramel color.
    3. No bubbles: This means the caramel is cooked. Time to remove from the heat
  • When the caramel reaches the “No Bubbles” stage, CAREFULLY add the Heavy Cream. There will be steam, and it will be very hot, so be very careful.
  • Remove from the heat and add the Vanilla, Butter, and Morsels, stirring constantly. The mixture is still very hot.
  • Caramel Glaze is ready

You can use this as a Dip or a Sauce to cover deserts.

Chocolate Pudding

Ingredients:Sugar Free VariationVegan VariationVegetarian
4 cups Milk
1 cup granulated Sugar
1/2 cup Cornstarch
1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Tbsp Butter

Directions:

  • In a large sauce pan, combine the Cornstarch, Cocoa Powder Salt and Sugar.
  • Slowly add the Milk, whisking with a balloon whisk. Whisk well to prevent any lumps.
  • Heat on low-medium Heat, stirring constantly. Do not bring to a boil.
  • As the pudding heats up, the cornstarch will start to thicken the sauce. Be vigilant as it will go from broth to custard almost with no warning. When it starts to turn to custard, it is done cooking.
  • Remove from the heat and mix in the Vanilla and Butter.
  • Place in a serving bowl and put in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.

Makes about 6 servings.

Variations:
Ṽ›Ɣ – Substitute Soy Milk for Milk and Margarine for Butter.
›Ƨ – Use 1/2 cup Splenda® instead of sugar. Do not pack it down; it’s fluffier than regular sugar.

If you use Chocolate flavored Milk or Soy Milk, omit the Cocoa Powder and Sugar.

Persimmon Cookies

Fuyu PersimmonsFuyū 富有 Persimmons

Ingredients:Nut Alergy WarningVegetarian
Pulp of 3 medium sized Fuyū 富有 Persimmons
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 cup granulated Sugar
1/2 cup Butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Egg
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground Cloves
1/2 tsp ground Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Salt
1 cup Raisins
1 cup Walnuts, crushedDirections:

 

  • Preheat the Oven to 350° F.
  • In a food processor, pulse the Persimmon Pulp and Baking Soda until a puree forms. Set aside
  • In a large bowl combine the Sugar, Vanilla, Butter, and Eggs, mixing well.
  • Pour in the Persimmon Pulp, and mix well.
  • In a second large bowl sift in the two types of Flour and Spices.
  • Slowly incorporate the Dry Ingredients with the Wet Ingredients, mixing as you go.
  • Add the Raisins and Walnuts, folding the mixture rather than beating it.
  • On greased baking sheet, spoon teaspoon fulls of batter 2″ apart from each other.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes; remove to a rack; and repeat till done.

Makes about 3 dozen little cookies.

NOTES: Persimmons come in two real varieties: Astringent and Non-Astringent. The most common Astringent Persimmon is the Hachiya 蜂屋 and tends to look like a bee-hive or heart in shape. You can tell it astringent because when you bite into it, it dries out your mouth. If you can only find this type of Persimmon, then double the Baking Soda, also look out for the large seeds. Fuyū 富有 Persimmons are a variety of the Non-Astringent Persimmons, and look a little bit like a squashed tomato. They lack the strong dryness of the Astringent varieties, and taste good eaten by themselves. Because of their sweet flavor, lack of dryness, and no seeds, I prefer Fuyū 富有 Persimmons.

Variations:
Substitute dried Cranberries for all or part of the Raisins. Substitute Pecans for all or part of the Walnuts

Spiced Date Bread

Ingredients:Nut Alergy WarningVegetarian
16 oz Dates, chopped
2 cups Water, boiling
2 Tbsp Butter
1/2 cup Honey
2/3 cup Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
2 Eggs
2 3/4 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp Cinnamon, ground
1 tsp Ginger, ground
1/2 tsp Cloves, ground
1/2 tsp Nutmeg, ground
2 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
1 cup WalnutsDirections:

  • In a medium bowl, place the Dates and pour the Hot Water over it; let it soak for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat Oven to 350°F
  • In a large bowl, cream the Sugar, Honey, Butter, Vanilla, and Eggs.
  • Mix in the Dates and Water.
  • In a second bowl, combine the Flour, Spices, Baking Soda and Salt, and mix well.
  • Slowly incorporate the Wet Mixture into the Dry Mixture.
  • Once incorporated, add the Walnuts and mix well.
  • Pour into greased loaf pan.
  • Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Vanilla Pudding

Vanilla Pudding with Dark Chocolate ChipsVanilla Pudding with Dark Chocolate Chips

Ingredients:Sugar Free VariationVegan VariationVegetarian
4 cups Milk
1 cup granulated Sugar
1/2 cup Cornstarch
1/2 tsp Salt
3 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Tbsp Butter

Directions:

  • In a large sauce pan, combine the Cornstarch, Salt and Sugar.
  • Slowly add the Milk, whisking with a balloon whisk. Whisk well to prevent any lumps.
  • Heat on low-medium Heat, stirring constantly. Do not bring to a boil.
  • As the pudding heats up, the cornstarch will start to thicken the sauce. Be vigilant as it will go from broth to custard almost with no warning. When it starts to turn to custard, it is done cooking.
  • Remove from the heat and mix in the Vanilla and Butter.
  • Place in a serving bowl and put in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.

Makes about 6 servings.

Variations:
Ṽ›Ɣ – Substitute Soy Milk for Milk and Margarine for Butter. If you use Vanilla flavored Soy Milk, reduce the Vanilla Extract by 2/3.
›Ƨ – Use 1/2 cup Splenda® instead of sugar. Do not pack it down; it’s fluffier than regular sugar.

Cherry Vanilla Pudding

Ingredients:
2 doz. Bing Cherries, pitted, quartered
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
4 cups Milk
1 cup granulated Sugar
1/2 cup Cornstarch
1/2 tsp Salt
3 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Tbsp Butter

Directions:

  • Dust the Cherries with Cinnamon in a large bowl, and toss.
  • In a large sauce pan, combine the Cornstarch, Salt and Sugar.
  • Slowly add the Milk, whisking with a balloon whisk. Whisk well to prevent any lumps.
  • Heat on low-medium Heat, stirring constantly. Do not bring to a boil.
  • As the pudding heats up, the cornstarch will start to thicken the sauce. Be vigilant as it will go from broth to custard almost with no warning. When it starts to turn to custard, it is done cooking.
  • Remove from the heat and mix in the Vanilla and Butter.
  • Pour over the Cherries, stir, and put in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.

Makes about 6 servings.

Peach Cobbler

Ingredients:Vegetarian
4 ripe Peaches, skinned, pitted, sliced into thin wedges
2 Tbsp Peach Schnapps
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1 Tbsp Corn Starch
1 cup Pecans, chopped (optional)
6 Tbsp Butter
1/2 cup granulated Sugar
1/2 cup Milk
1 cup Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt

Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 425°F.
  • In a large bowl combine Peaches, Peach Schnapps, Vanillas, Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Corn Starch, and Pecans, mixing thoroughly.
  • Place in a baking dish and bake for 10 minutes.
  • In a large bowl combine Flour, Baking Powder, Salt and Butter, using a fork or pastry blender.
  • Carefully stir in the Milk, and mix well.
  • Remove the Peach mixture from the oven and top with the batter, using a spoon.
  • Place back in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown

About 4 Servings.

NOTES: Serve with Vanilla Ice Cream or Whipped Cream, or even Heavy Cream poured on top.

Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients:Vegetarian
3/4 cup Peanut Butter (crunchy is best)
1/2 cup Butter, room temperature
1/2 cup Brown Sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated Sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Egg
1 1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, combine Butter, Peanut Butter, Sugar, Brown Sugar, Egg, and Vanilla, mixing well.
  • Slowly add the Flour, Salt, Baking Powder, and Baking Soda, mixing completely with the wet mixture.
  • Chill for 1 hour.
  • Preheat the Oven to 375ºF.
  • Form 3/4″ balls and place on greased cookie sheet 2″ apart.
  • Using a fork, press each ball down forming parallel line indentations. Press perpendicularly, creating a criss-cross design.
  • Bake for 9-11 minutes, or until the cookie begins to lightly brown on the edges.

Makes about 2 dozen

NOTES: Use some additional flour and dab the fork in it before pressing the cookies down to reduce the dough sticking to the fork. If using a non-stick cookie sheet, position the rack a level above mid-way to prevent burning.

These cookies are truly American, and some of the first recipes were developed by George Washington Carver in the 1910s. The criss-cross design that is customary for peanut butter cookies was first seen in the Pilsbury cookbook of 1923. The reasoning behind the design is unknown.

I think these were probably one of the first cookies I remember making with my mother. The memory has to be from when I was about 4 years old or so, when we lived in Ashtabula, Ohio. I also have fond memories making them when I was probably 7 or 8 with my Great Grandma Flynn at her home near Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ohio.

Snickerdoodles

Dedicated to Alia, who claims Snickerdoodles are her favorite type of cookie.

Ingredients:Vegetarian
1/2 cup Butter, room temperature
1/2 cup Canola Oil
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Confectioner Sugar
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Egg
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup granulated Sugar
3 Tbsp CinnamonDirections:

  • Beat Butter and Canola Oil, Vanilla, and Egg until well integrated.
  • Add Sugars, Baking Soda, Cream of Tartar, and Salt; beating until well integrated.
  • Slowly Add Flour to Wet ingredients until well integrated.
  • Cover and chill for 4 hours.
  • Preheat Oven to 375ºF.
  • On a clean surface, place flour and roll dough into 1″ thick ropes.
  • Use a knife and cut 1″ pieces.
  • Roll pieces into balls.
  • In a small bowl, combine remaining Sugar and Cinnamon, and roll the dough balls into it, coating completely.
  • Place on a greased cookie sheet 2″ a part.
  • Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned.
  • Place baked cookies on wire racks to cool.
Makes about 4 dozen.

 

Orange Icing

Ingredients:Vegan VariationVegetarian
2 cups Confectioners Sugar, sifted
2 Tbsp unsalted Butter, room temperature
2 Tbsp Orange Juice
1 Tbsp Orange Zest
1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/4 tsp Cloves, ground

Directions:

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine Sugar, Zest, Vanilla, Cloves, and Butter.
  • Slowly incorporate the Orange Juice so that no lumps occur.

Variations:
Orange Whipped Dip
Fold into 2 cups Whipped Cream and serve with a Fruit Tray

Ṽ›Ɣ – Use Margarine instead of Butter. If doing Orange Whipped Dip, use a Non-Dairy Whipped Topping.

Suggested Uses:
Icing on Orange Cookies
Icing on Sugar Cookies

Orange Cookies

IngredientsVegetarian
1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Cloves, ground
1/3 cup Buttermilk, lightly whipped
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/3 cup unsalted Butter, room temperature
1/2 cup Sugar
1 large Egg, beaten
3 Tbsp Orange Juice
1 Tbsp Orange Zest, grated

Orange Icing

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Sift Cloves, Flour, Baking Powder, and Salt into a large bowl.
  • In a second bowl, combine Buttermilk, Egg, and Vanilla Extract.
  • In a third mixing bowl, cream the Butter and Sugar.
  • Using a blender, incorporate the Flour and Buttermilk mixtures. Pour a little of the Flour mixture and mix, then a little of the Buttermilk and mix.
  • When all is incorporated, slowly add the Orange Juice and Orange Zest
  • On a greased baking sheet, spoon batter (2 Tbsp each). Try to make them round, and leave 1 inch room between drops.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until cookie puffs and begins to lightly brown.
  • Remove and let rest on wire rack.
  • Frost the underside of the cookies and flip so that the frosted side is the new top.

Coffee Scones

Ingredients:Vegetarian
2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
3 Tbsp Butter, unsalted at room temperature
1 Tbsp Vanilla
1/2-3/4 cup Buttermilk

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Combine all dry ingredients into a large bowl. (This includes the Sugar)
  • Slowly add the Butter to the Dry Ingredients, until crumbs form, and no specs of butter are visible.
  • In a pitcher, combine the Buttermilk and Vanilla.
  • Slowly pour the Buttermilk into the Dry Ingredients, and mix. Do this until a thick dough forms. You may not necessarily use all the Milk.
  • On a flour-dusted counter top, knead the Dough for several minutes.
  • Roll out the Dough until 1 1/4″ thick, and shape into a 7″ circle using an upside down pie tin as a guide.
  • Cut the circle in half, and then each half into thirds forming triangles.
  • Place triangular scones on greased baking-sheet.
  • Brush excess Buttermilk over the tops of the scones, as this promotes browning.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown.

Suggested Uses:
Serve with Jam and Butter. Traditionally one would use a Devon/Clotted Cream instead of Butter.

Variations:
Think of a scone like a thicker muffin…most variations of a muffin would be fitting to a scone.

Cream Scones (rounder version made with Cream)

Cream Scones

Ingredients:Vegetarian
2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
3 Tbsp Butter, unsalted at room temperature
1 Tbsp Vanilla
1/2-3/4 cup Heavy Cream (or Milk)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Combine all dry ingredients into a large bowl. (This includes the Sugar)
  • Slowly add the Butter to the Dry Ingredients, until crumbs form, and no specs of butter are visible.
  • In a pitcher, combine the Cream/Milk and Vanilla.
  • Slowly pour the Milk into the Dry Ingredients, and mix. Do this until a thick dough forms. You may not necessarily use all the Milk.
  • On a flour-dusted counter top, knead the Dough for several minutes.
  • Roll out the Dough until 3/4″ thick.
  • Using a 2 – 2 1/2″ round cookie cutter cut scones out.
  • Place scones on greased baking-sheet.
  • Brush excess Milk over the tops of the scones, as this promotes browning.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.

Serve with Jam and Butter. Traditionally one would use a Devon/Clotted Cream instead of Butter.

Variations:

Think of a scone like a thicker muffin…most variations of a muffin would be fitting to a scone.

Coffee Scones (Triangular version, lighter and made with Buttermilk instead of Cream).