Entry No. 66

Lynn’s Honey Cake

IMG_1920So, once the 4th of July has come and gone, it only takes a few days, my thing for Summer fades fast and I’m peeking around the corner trying to catch even the tiniest glimpse of Autumn.  I know we need Summer, the sunshine to snag a tan, the heat to bring crops to harvest – I just so prefer cooler weather.  Were it not for its purpose, I could skip Summer altogether.

Anyway, it’s been years since I’ve baked this cake.  It’s a favorite in my family, one my mother made popular with a recipe she found on a cake mix box thirty years ago and tweaked to make it her own. So, I turned on the oven three days after the 4th, tied aprons on my girls and myself and made some memories.  This one’s not so bad to bake at the peak of summer as the oven’s moderately cool at 325.  It wasn’t long till my oldest daughter caught a whiff of warm cinnamon and honey scented air with a hint of coffee wafting to her upstairs bedroom.  I heard her footsteps descending the flight moments later, “Oh, Mommy. It smells like Fall!”  Ah, yes.

IMG_1664My mom’s recipe has since been morphed into muffins occasionally, by my cousins in New York, I tried cupcakes too with Mascarpone frosting. Still, I prefer the original loaf my mom always served though – sliced, warm and spread heavily with whipped cream cheese.  This cake stores best wrapped in plastic wrap, then zipped in a zip-locked bag on the counter for a few days.  It makes for an Autumn-scented home and breakfast with tea and coffee each morning till it’s gone.

Lynn’s Honey Cake

Ingredients:

1 Package of Pound Cake Mix {I used the Betty Crocker one}

2 Tsp Instant Coffee

1 Tsp Cinnamon

1/2 Tsp Allspice

1/2 Tsp Nutmeg

1/2 Cup Honey

2 Tbsp Shortening

2 Tbsp Oil {canola or vegetable)

4 Eggs

Directions

Heat oven to 325 and grease an oblong loaf pan, the usual 13″ x 3″ size is fine.  In a mixer bowl, combine all ingredients and beat until fluffy.  Scrape down the bowl to make sure you’ve incorporated everything and pour into the baking pan.  Start testing the cake at around 40 minutes.  It’s very important not to over-bake this one to keep it from drying out. The bake time can range up to 50 minutes. Slice and serve warm with cream cheese and a drizzle of honey.

 

Entry No. 62

Simply Pistachio Biscotti

FullSizeRender-6We’re biscotti-lovers in my home.  Both of my daughters teethed on several of my homemade versions.  It was that or a hunkering large, dill pickle.  Really {I know}.  Anyway, this particular recipe is their long-standing favorite.  Here, we bake biscotti what some call “American-Style.” Simply put, they have a bit of give in the center, as opposed to traditional Italian biscotti, which is fully hardened.  I started making them a bit softer when my girls would accidentally inhale dusty crumbs from the harder versions.  These will last for weeks in a sealed tin or plastic bag, just like they lasted months for Roman soldiers away at war years and years ago.  Pistachio pudding mix gives these their tell-tale green tint and nutty flavor.  I’ve left them plain this time around, but white chocolate chips, dried cranberries and of course, shelled pistachios are all great additions.

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup Butter {room temperature}

3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar

2 Eggs {room temperature}

1 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract

2 {3.4 oz} Boxes Pistachio Pudding Mix

1 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder

2 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour

To Bake:

Heat oven to 375 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a mixer bowl, beat butter until fluffy.  Add sugar, beat until fluffy.  Add vanilla and eggs, mix until combined.  Add pudding mix, baking powder and flour.  Whisk these three together with a fork, then turn on mixer and beat all until combined.  Shape dough into a nicely formed log by hand.  This dough handles well and won’t leave you all sticky.  Place log on cookie sheet and press, pat and flatten log into about a 17″ x 3″ x 1″ high rectangle.  Bake for about 22 minutes or until bottom is golden.  Cool for 15 minutes on cookie sheet.  Slice in 1/2″ diagonals {a bread knife works best for this} and flip each slice on its side. You can slice them wider if you like and it will change the yield.  1/2″ slices will give you well over a dozen, probably two.  Bake 4-5 minutes.  Flip slices and bake 4-5 minutes more.  Cool.  Enjoy.

 

 

Entry No. 60

Peaches n’ Cream Cookies

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These cookies are just the right amount of “peachy” and oh, so very good.  They stay soft, chewy for days in a bag and are not overly sweet.  In spite of the name, they’re not calorie-laden with heavy cream.  Instead they draw their creamy flavor from French Vanilla pudding in the mix along with pure vanilla extract.  Canned or fresh peaches can be used in this recipe, of course, drain the peaches  {smile}. Perfect for any weather along-side tea or coffee, they don’t last long in my home. Also, they’re great when you want to bring along a dessert that’s just different than the rest, they travel well – a sturdy cookie.  This dough handles well, not overly sticky or hard to roll.  It’s one of my all-time favorites I came up with in my kitchen years ago after moving to Nebraska during a snowy winter.

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup Room Temperature Butter

2 Tbsp Granulated Sugar

1 Large Egg

1 Tsp Vanilla

1/4 Cup Water

1/4 Cup Vegetable or Canola Oil

{2} 3.4 oz Boxes of Vanilla or French Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix

{1} 3oz Box of Peach Jell-O Mix

1 Tsp Baking Powder

1/2 Tsp Salt

2 Cups All-Purpose Flour

2-3 Tbsp Diced Peaches {I used 2}

A small bowl of granulated sugar for rolling the cookies in before baking.

To Bake:

Heat oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper {if you have it}. Sift dry ingredients together in a bowl and set aside. In mixer bowl, add butter and beat until fluffy.  Add sugar, beat till combined.  Add egg and vanilla, beat until combined.  Add water and oil, beat until combined.  Add dry ingredients, mix until combined. Mix in peaches. Drop by tablespoons-full into bowl of sugar, coat and lumps of dough 1.5″ apart on cookie sheet. {I used a 1″ cookie scoop} Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Cool on wire rack, store in air tight container for a week or so. Makes about 40 one-inch cookies.