Monkey Bread!

20160208_154046[1] (1600x1060)No one knows why it has the name it does although there is no shortage of guesses.  Google led me through several articles that all seemed to be cribbing from the same page.  There is a tree called a monkey puzzle tree with bark that looks sorta kinda like one of these things if you squint just right.  I won’t be bothered to care much one way or another.  Mrs J remembers seeing these made using canned biscuit dough but we went with scratch made from this recipe.20160208_170917 (1600x1060)This one appears to be pretty close to what we were looking for.  We had a tray under it but didn’t need it to catch any sugar bubbling out but it did make it easier to handle.  Give it a few minutes to cool, then turn it over onto a platter.20160208_171012 (1600x1060)Wait too long and it will be glued in there pretty tight.  Mix the powdered sugar for the glaze while you wait those few minutes for it to cool.DSC_1798 (1600x1060)It wouldn’t hurt to add a drop or two of vanilla to the glaze but we didn’t do that.  I’m thinking various other additions to the sugar might be gilding the lily but I have some maple extract that might have played a role were I not old and forgetful.DSC_1799 (1600x1060)We, and by “we” I mean “I”, tore into it right away.  You may wish to wait a wee bit longer than I did but the burns on my fingers will heal.  No worries!

Mmm… Cookies

DSC_0003 (1600x1060)Mrs J busied herself in the kitchen after dinner and tried out a new cookie recipe she found written on the Splenda sweetener blend package but it’s also online here.  They are amazingly good, even considering my expectations were low because of the artificial nature of the substitute brown sugar stuff.  I does contain significant parts of the real thing so it’s better than the Kroger store brand of the same sort of sweetener.  I will note that she added pecans to her batch.  We both give this recipe thumbs up!

Banana Bar Pr0n

DSC_7797 (1600x1060)This recipe seems a little more involved than many we looked at but they did turn out rather well.  We made the brown butter frosting with Splenda and subbed a Splenda brown sugar blend for regular brown sugar.  The recipe called for cooking the bananas down in the oven first although it seems to me just as easy to do it in a pan atop the stove.  We are really liking the brown butter recipes we see for frostings.  Browning the butter adds a lot of flavor.

Mmm… cookies

This is just a generic chocolate chip cookie recipe that Mrs J had on – *gasp* – a sheet of paper!  I have no idea where it came from, may be straight off of a chocolate chip package.  Here are the ingredients:

3/4 cup sugar, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup softened butter, 1 T vanilla, 2 slightly beaten eggs, 3 cups flour, 3/4 t baking soda, 3/4 t salt, 3 cups semi sweet chips, and 1 cup chopped nuts.

Cream together the sugars and the butter, add the eggs and vanilla, mix.  In another bowl, sift together the dry ingredients, add to the wet and mix well, dough will be stiff, add the chips and the nuts.

Using a cookie scoop drop the dough onto baking trays lined with baking mats or parchment paper and bake for 12-13 minutes at 350.  Remove when they look brown enough to suit you and cool on a rack.

Road Trip Requires Orange Cookies

 

I’m heading out tomorrow and won’t be back until mid-week, so JeffreyW will have to keep you entertained.  I’ll be spending my time at a spa/retreat, soaking in various mineral springs and mud pools in NM.  Not to mention the massage, pedicures and other treats that await.  No phones, no computers allowed.  Woo. Hoo.

It will be a 5 hour drive for us to get there, so treats are necessary.  I decided Orange Cookies would be a good choice.  The original recipe is great, but as usual I did not plan ahead and had no zest of any kind on hand – I used it all up on the Sour Cream Lemon Poppy Seed Cake.  What to do, what to do?  I decided that instead of using orange juice, I would use the same amount of orange juice frozen concentrate, undiluted.  This upped the orange flavor without adding excess liquid.  That worked so well, I think I will do it that way from now on.   That is also how the recipe ended up with sour lemon milk instead of buttermilk.  I was out of buttermilk powder and knew I could substitute the sour lemon milk (2 tsp lemon juice to 1/4 cup milk) this added an additional citrus flavor to the cookies that buttermilk would not have done and is now part of the original recipe.

Next change comes courtesy of Cook’s Magazine.  Cookie dough that rests in the refrigerator for 15 minutes makes a much more flavorful cookie that is crisper on the outside and chewier on the inside.  Also sets up better in the oven.  So that’s what I did.  I also put the dough back in the refrigerator between batches.

All in all, I think this batch of Orange Cookies exceeds any that have come before.  Yum.

More fun with the new toy.

The cake:

box of yellow cake mix

box of vanilla pudding

2 egg yolks

2 whole eggs

1-1/3 cup milk

The filling:

1 cup shortening

1-1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup butter

2 egg whites

1 cup milk

5 T flour

2 t vanilla extract

For the filling:  Heat the milk and the flour in a small saucepan, stirring constantly, until it thickens to a paste.  Set aside to cool.  In a mixing bowl cream the shortening, the butter, and the sugar together with the vanilla.  Add the milk flour mixture when it is cool and cream them together until the volume doubles.  Whip the egg whites to stiff peaks and combine with the rest of the ingredients in the bowl, stir to incorporate thoroughly.

For the cake:  Mix all the ingredients until smooth in a mixer, pour into the baking tray.  Place into a preheated 375 oven with a lid made from another greased baking tray, weighted with a heavy skillet.  Bake for ~25 minutes then check the cake with a toothpick for done.  Cool completely on a rack then slice the cake as shown in the picture.  Spread the cream filling and reassemble the halves.  Cut to separate the individual cakes.

Enjoy!

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