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Monday, January 23, 2012

Pumpkin Tea Bread

If any of you have been following my personal blog, cjs-kitchen, you may know that I put up a lot of pumpkin this last fall.  I baked and pureed 2 pumpkins at a time and froze the final product in 1 or 2 cup packages so I could enjoy baking with pumpkin this winter.  When I saw this recipe in Grandma's files I knew I had to try it and immediately got a package of that wonderful, orange puree out of the freezer to thaw. 

I made this bread on Wednesday, January 18 and I'm just now completing this post because our power has been out since the 19th!  If you've been watching the news or live in Western Washington you know we've been having some crazy winter weather.  I'm actually staying at the resort where I work for the 2nd night in a row, just so I can be where there's power and not contribute to any additional messes out there! 

Anyway, we had a lovely snow day Wednesday - the WHOLE FAMILY ended up home (the kids ended up out of school all week and finally went back today, the 23rd - YIKES!) and I baked this bread as well as some cookies, we watched movies, snacked, relaxed and just had a lovely day together. 

The bread was delicious.  In fact, I sent a loaf (this recipe makes 2) over to my in-laws who reported that they wanted a permanent order placed for a loaf any time I make it! They like to spread butter on it, but we all like it just the way it is.  It has a lovely moist texture and plenty of flavor.  It's the perfect thing for a comforting bite in the morning when the power's out, or in the afternoon when you want a snack, it would pack well in lunch boxes or even be good as an after school snack.   I think you'll enjoy it - I know we did!

Pumpkin Tea Bread

2 C Sugar
1/2 C Oil
1 small can pumpkin (2 C)
2 1/2 C flour
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp soda
1 tsp cinnamon or allspice

Mix together sugar, oil and pumpkin in a bowl so sugar dissolves.  Mix together dry ingredients and the dissolved pumpkin, oil & sugar. 

1 C raisins, washed and plumped
1 C Walnuts if desired

Line 2 tins with wax paper.  Grease these & fill tins 3/4 full.  Bake 1 hr and 15 min at 350 degrees or until done.

Chris' Note: To plump the raisins, simply pour some boiling water over them and let them soak for about 5 minutes. If you like raisins but don't enjoy them in baked goods this is a good trick - it makes them nice and juicy again so they don't dry out in the baking process.  Also, I used waxed paper per the instructions above, and had a tough time separating it from the bread on the ends.  In other recipes, I've used parchment paper with much better success so I would suggest using parchment instead.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Frosted Chocolate Nut Drops

When I first started this project about a year ago, I went through ALL of Grandma's recipes and sorted them out making piles according to various categories like:  Biscotti Recipes, Grandma's Creations, Main Courses, etc. and set aside all the ones I thought would be most appealing, most wanted - especially if they were also marked "Very Good" and I put them in the stained glass recipe box Grandpa made for Grandma (sadly, it no longer has a lid, which was the colorful part).  I wasn't going to bake cookies today...really, but as I was going through them today to decide which ones to work on for the next several upcoming posts, I stumbled upon this recipe and it was so easy and sounded so tasty that I decided I would bake them up today, take a photo or two and post this recipe immediately.

I haven't even frosted them yet (although I will have by the time this post is published) and they are already very tasty.  They reminded me of German Chocolate Cake as they went together and their flavor does not dissappoint.  In fact, they have a cakey texture too - and I'm willing to bet they'd really taste like German Chocolate Cake if you topped them with coconut-pecan frosting instead of the chocolate frosting the recipe calls for (I just may do that).  I hope you like them!

Frosted Chocolate Nut Drops  (from Regina)

1/2 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
2 oz chocolate melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg unbeaten

Beat all of the above together until creamy.

1 1/4 cups sifted flour
1/4 teaspoon soda
1/2 cup butter milk

Add the flour and soda to the mixture with the buttermilk.  Beat all together.  Stir in 1/2 cup nuts.  Drop rounded teaspoons on greased baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.  Frost tops with chocolate frosting. 

Chris' Notes:  I used butter in mine (if I'm going to put an essentially solid fat ingredient in my baking, it's going to have full flavor) and I didn't have buttermilk in my fridge, so I used cultured buttermilk solids (you can find it in the baking aisle at the grocery store, it's a powdered form of buttermilk and you mix it with water according to the package directions).  This may have made my dough wetter than it would have been with actual buttermilk since buttermilk is usually pretty thick.  At any rate, my dough was more like cake batter and no way was it going to drop onto a sheet for baking and come out anything but a pancake so I added flour 1/4 cup at a time until it resembled cookie dough.  I only added nuts to half since we have a non-nut eater in our household.  I used walnuts, but if I were going to frost them with coconut-pecan frosting, I'd use pecans instead.

Update note:  I finally frosted them - with chocolate frosting this time around and I actually like them better without the frosting!  The ones I made with the nuts are my favorite and next time I make them, I will definitely frost them with coconut-pecan frosting and see how they come out!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Calling All Family Members - Need Your Help!

It's been almost a year since this blog was started.  Recently, I started posting photos on the blog and one of my projects for 2012 will be to make as many of the recipes from previous posts as I can and add pictures to the posts along with any useful information I can add - so keep your eyes out for updates. 

Moving forward, I'd like to also make some videos to share with family members who are visual learners and also for other folks to enjoy.
First up is a Ginetti making video.  I'd like to have it up in time for Easter so maybe late February, early March date for doing the video.  It may take 2 days in order to get them made & frosted and be able to have good lighting for the video. 

So, I'm looking for someone with a video camera who would be willing to do the filming as well as family members who would be willing to appear on camera making the Ginetti with me and sharing stories, tips & tricks.  You can let me know by leaving a comment below, messaging me on Facebook or posting to my Facebook wall.

I hope you join me!