Monday, October 22, 2012

Mmm...French Toast!

Papa's Buttermilk French Toast

1 ½ cups buttermilk
2 large cage free eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Pinch of fine grain sea salt

1 loaf French bread

Unsalted butter
Combine the first 6 ingredients in medium size mixing bowl and
 beat with fork or French whip until frothy.
Slice the bread in ¾ inch thick slices discarding the end pieces.
 Feed them to the birds out on the deck.
Heat griddle or pan to medium high heat, add 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, it’s hot enough when the butter gets bubbly and starts to pop, don’t let it brown.
 Dip the sliced bread into the egg mixture, one slice at a time and place into the hot skillet.

Cook until you can smell the aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg and the toast is golden brown in color, flip bread over & let it cook for the same amount of time on this side.
Place on plate , dust with powdered sugar, top with unsalted butter, maple syrup…and enjoy the essence and flavors of earlier times, when life moved at a slower, kinder pace.
It’s a great way to start (or end) a day!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

This one is one of my favorites!

Tres Leches Cake

Ingredients for the cake:
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup butter, softened
6 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract (not artificial flavoring)
3 tbsp. Water
1 ¾ cups flour
1 ¼ tsp. baking powder (use only ¼ tsp. if you are baking in a high altitude like me)
¼ tsp. salt
Beat the sugar and butter in a lg. bowl until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, add the vanilla and the water and mix together. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients and whisk together then add all at once to the wet ingredients and mix until all ingredients are combined. Pour the batter into a greased & floured 9-inch spring form pan. Bake at 350 degrees until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake, 55 – 60 minutes.

The three milks:
1-12 oz. can evaporated milk
1-14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract (not artificial flavoring)
Before the cake is ready to come out of the oven, stir together the canned milks, the heavy whipping cream and, the vanilla. As soon as the cake is done poke holes in the top of the cake with a toothpick or a wooden skewer and pour 1 ½ cups of the milk mixture over the cake slowly and evenly. Reserve the rest of the milk mixture to be poured on the individual servings of cake as you plate them.
The Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream
3 tbsps. Powdered sugar
1tsp. pure vanilla extract (not artificial flavoring)
Whip the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream until it starts to get fluffy then add 3 tablespoons powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla, continue to whip until the whipped cream will hold a medium-stiff peak. 
My favorite fruits for this cake are strawberries (obviously), raspberries or a mixture of berries, mango or a combination of toasted coconut & fresh pineapple chunks.

Tres Leches Rum Cake
Substitute 3 tablespoons of rum for the water in the first mixture
I think the one main thing that I do differently with my tres leches cake that makes it stand out for most people is that I don’t entirely soak the cake with the milk mixture. When I slice the cake I pour some of the reserved milk mixture into a shallow serving bowl and place the slice of cake into the bowl and top it with the home-made whipped cream then the fruit.
This cake also makes a beautiful presentation as a whole cake when you mound the whipped cream onto the top of the cake like a cloud and put the fresh fruit onto it!
The only differences to this recipe for high altitudes is the drastic reduction in the amount of baking powder, (as noted above) because if you use the  amount of baking powder called for originally in this recipe it will rise too quickly at higher altitudes which will cause it to  fall. Also, cakes are more prone to stick to the baking pan at higher altitudes. I simply make sure to grease the baking pan really well with vegetable shortening before I flour it and when I’m ready to remove the cake from the pan I run a spatula first around the sides of the cake and then after I remove the side of the spring form pan I run the spatula all around the bottom of the cake to be sure to loosen it from the bottom of the pan.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


These are my sweet milk biscuits.
I also make buttermilk biscuits but these are my family's favorite.


"These are better than the ones you get in a can!"

He ate his all gone!

First I will share some bits of information that I have picked up along the way. Baking is not difficult if you understand that it is a science. Did you ever wonder why your can of baking powder says "Double Acting?"
Well, that's because it's activated twice: 1st, when you add liquid, and 2nd, when heat is applied. So what does this mean you ask? It means that after you've mixed the wet ingredients into the dry and you have kneaded the dough, (ever so gently)  and you've cut the biscuits out and they are in the greased pan, now, let them sit for about 15 minutes before you put them into the oven, they will rise. Letting them rise before you bake your biscuits will result in bigger, fluffier and more tender biscuits!
Most recipes never say that, so if you're like me you've followed that recipe as it was written and then wonder why your biscuits are not as big and fluffy as those at your favorite restaurant. Try it!

This is a 'heaping' tablespoon of sugar. This isn't enough to make the biscuits
taste 'sweet', it just adds another dimension to the flavor. If you want a sweeter
biscuit you could double this amount.

Whisk the dry ingredients together.

You can use shortening, lard or butter (or a combination of any of the three)
for the fat in the recipe. It does need to be a solid fat though and
not a liquid like vegetable oil. I used COLD butter here.

Mix in the butter with your fingers (no fancy tools needed for this!) and
when it looks like this you're ready to move on to the next step!
Add the milk a little at a time...
...and stir it so you know when you've added enough milk because some
 days will take less liquid than others. This one I can't explain, you'd think
that rain would mean you need less liquid but that's not always the case!
Any who...It should look like this.
I don't use a rolling pin either, I just pat the dough out with my hands
 to about 1/2 inch thick. I broke my kitchen ruler just before this shot
so I had to use this one that is usually designated for my desk.
I didn't show it because both my hands were covered with biscuit dough and flour, but to knead the biscuit dough you simply fold it in half and then turn it and fold in half again. Use only enough gentle pressure to flatten it enough to fold over again.
Do this about 8-10 times.

I have this set of biscuit cutters with three sizes, today I decided to use the
momma bear size because the grand kids have pretty healthy appetites!

While the biscuits are having a little R&R you can use the cutter as a
bench scraper to help clean up!
After 15 minutes of R&R.
Notice the ugly one at the bottom right? Well that is just the last piece of dough!
 Also, notice how I like to put my biscuits close together so the sides are
softer rather than crusty.
I put them into a 10 inch cast iron skillet here. I used bacon drippings to grease it.
That gives your biscuits an old fashioned, grandma's kitchen taste!
I just love my mom's cast iron skillet!

Sweet Milk Biscuits
Makes  10 - 2 1/2 inch biscuits

2 cups flour
1 heaping tblsp. sugar
2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup cold butter, shortening or lard
3/4 - 1 cup 2% milk 

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Measure the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a medium sized mixing bowl.

Mix the shortening in by hand, using your fingers to mix the flour mixture into the shortening until the mixture in the bowl looks like peas.

Add enough milk to bring the dry ingredients together and form a dough.

Put some flour onto work surface, turn the dough out onto the flour and lightly knead about 6 - 10 times.

Pat out to about 1/2” thick and cut with the round cutter. Place into a 10" baking pan or cast iron skillet. Brush with half & half or melted butter.

Cover with a towel and set the pan of biscuits aside for 15  minutes then put them into the oven & bake for about 15 - 20 minutes or until they’re a light golden brown.