Friday, August 26, 2016

SHORTBREAD MELT AWAYS

This cookie has a very traditional shortbread cookie texture, yet it is light as a feather, sweet and literally melts in your mouth!!! These cookies are one of my families favorites and they are gone in a snap!!

 
1 1/2 cups butter (room temperature)
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

Beat the room temperature butter for about a minute, or until it is smooth. Add the powdered sugar, salt and extracts and beat on medium high for another minute.

Add the cornstarch and beat until well mixed. Add the flour, one cup at a time, beating well in between each cup.  Beat everything for one more minute, then cover and chill for about 30 minutes (I seldom chill the dough and it does ok).

Roll the dough into 1" balls and then roll the balls in granulated sugar. Use a fork to gently press down on the cookie ball (see photo).

Bake on ungreased baking sheet for 10-12 minutes at 350°. You will know when they are done because they get lightly golden around the edges. Cool on the cookie sheet for about 30 seconds before removing them.

These are excellent frosted AND unfrosted.  Makes 36 cookies.

NOTE: If you don't have coconut extract, you can just use 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla, however, the coconut extract truly adds a wonderful taste. The finished cookie does NOT taste like coconut, but it adds a wonderful yummy-ness to it, so I hope you will try it.

Friday, August 19, 2016

PUMPKIN DOG TREATS

Our 12 year old dog, Chloe, has a very sensitive stomach, Almost everything gives her  nuclear gas, so I have been experimenting with dog treats for her that are dog tummy friendly.

 

This recipe (which she adores)  is quick and easy and doesn't seem to cause her trouble.  Roll the dough into appropriate size treats (small for little dogs or larger for big dogs). They are hard and crunch like a good milk bone.


1/2  cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 eggs
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons instant milk powder
2  1/2  cups flour

Beat eggs, pumpkin, salt and dry milk until well mixed. Add flour and (using your stand mixer because dough is very stiff) and beat until smooth dough forms.  If the dough seems a little sticky, add an extra tablespoon of flour.

Roll into ropes and cut into pieces like this:


Roll each section into a ball and place on Ungreased cookie sheet. These don't expand much as they bake, so you can place them fairly close together, like this:


Bake in pre-heated 350° oven for 40 minutes. If you've made BIG treats, turn the oven off after 40 minutes, but leave the goodies in the oven for an extra 20 minutes to insure they are dry. They will be hard and crunchy and store well.


I hope your dog enjoys them
as much as Chloe does !!
 


Monday, August 1, 2016

SIX MINI CHEESECAKES

As empty nesters, we are easily overloaded by a full size cheesecake, so I have been experimenting. I finally got it down to six cupcake size cheesecakes which suits us perfectly.

These little guys ALWAYS turn out perfect.....no cracks, no sink hole in the center and they are smooth, rich and addicting!!

 


Place six foil (or paper) cupcake liners in a cupcake pan. Preheat your oven to 325°.

CRUST
1/3  cup graham cracker crumbs
2    teaspoons sugar
2    teaspoons melted butter

Mix together and split evenly between the six cupcake liners, and press the crumbs into a flat layer.

FILLING
8 ounces of full fat cream cheese (room temperature)
6 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 teaspoons flour
2 large egg whites

Beat the room temperature cream cheese with electric mixer for three minutes. Add the sugar and beat for another two minutes.

Add the vanilla, flour and egg whites and mix until well incorporated, but don't over mix.

Pour the batter over the crumb crust, filling almost to the top (I use an ice cream scoop).

Bake at 325° for 25 minutes (the cheesecake should be just "set" and barely giggle when you tap lightly on the side of the cupcake pan.

Remove from the oven and let sit at room temperature about 20 minutes, then put in the fridge and chill for at least a couple of hours.

Before serving, I like to add a swirl of raspberry jam on the surface of the COLD cheesecake (any jam will work, see note below).

ENJOY !!!
 
Note:  I like to use the foil cupcake liners because they release the cheesecake so easily, but paper ones work great as well.
 
Note: Any jam or spreadable fruit works well in this recipe. I just put a couple of heaping tablespoons into a small bowl and stir in vigorously until it is smooth and soft.

Note: I never seem to remember to bring the cream cheese up to room temperature, so I just put it in the microwave for 10-15 seconds (to take the chill off) and it works fine.