Monday, July 3, 2017

My Favorite Lemon Cake Recipe


  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup grated lemon zest (6 to 8 large lemons)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • For the glaze:
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


Directions


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 (8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch) loaf pans. You may also line the bottom with parchment paper, if desired.  Or use 3  9-inch cake pans, greased and lined with parchment paper. 
  2. Cream the butter and 2 cups granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, and the lemon zest.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly between the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.  For 9-inch pans, bake 25-30 minutes. 
  4. Combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar with 1/2 cup lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. When the cakes are done, allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and set them on a rack set over a tray or sheet pan; spoon the lemon syrup over them. Allow the cakes to cool completely.

For the glaze
  • Combine the confectioners' sugar and the lemon juice in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth.
  • Pour over the tops of the cakes and allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides.


Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • the zest from 1 lemon (just the yellow part not the white pith)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • coconut flakes and/or blueberries, for garnish, optional

  1. Beat cream cheese, butter together 3 minutes on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  2. Beat in zest and lemon juice. 
  3. Beat in confectioners’ sugar a cup at a time and continue beating on medium speed about 5 minutes until thick and fluffy. 
  4. Frost cake when completely cooled, store in refrigerator.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

My Favorite Macaroni & Cheese Recipe

4 cups milk
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
16-oz. package elbow macaroni, cooked

Preheat oven to 400°.

Microwave milk at HIGH for 2 minutes.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat; whisk in flour until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute.

Gradually whisk in warm milk, and cook, whisking constantly, 5 minutes or until thickened.

Whisk in salt and 3 cups shredded cheese until smooth; stir in pasta. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased baking dish and top with remaining cheese.

Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Strawberry Cheesecake

My husband wanted a Strawberry Cheesecake for dessert for Thanksgiving so I just finished baking this recipe I found on allrecipes.com. I sure hope that it's good.  I'll have to add a picture of it tomorrow because I'm too tired to pull out the camera right now.  Gotta get some sleep after cleaning up the kitchen..

Strawberry Cheesecake

1 Pkg graham crackers processed in food processor (approx 1 1/4 cups)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, melted
20 oz frozen sweetened sliced strawberries, thawed and drained
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 tablespoon water (optional)

Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, and butter in a bowl. Press onto the bottom of an ungreased 9-inch springform pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Place strawberries and cornstarch into a blender. Cover and puree until smooth. Pour strawberry sauce into a saucepan.

Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil and stir until sauce is thick and shiny, about 2 minutes. Set aside 1/3 cup strawberry sauce; cool. Cover and refrigerate remaining sauce for serving.

Beat cream cheese in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy; gradually beat in condensed milk. Mix in lemon juice and vanilla extract, then beat in eggs on low speed until just combined. Pour half of cream cheese mixture over crust; drop half of reserved strawberry sauce by 1/2 teaspoonfuls on cream cheese layer. Carefully spoon remaining cream cheese mixture over sauce; drop remaining strawberry sauce by 1/2 teaspoonfuls on top. Cut through top layer only with a knife to swirl strawberry sauce.

Bake in preheated oven until center is almost set, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight. Serve reserved strawberry sauce with cheesecake. If the sauce is too thick, stir in water.

Also on the Thanksgiving Menu:
Turkey (my husband bought one of those greaseless turkey fryers to cook the turkey in)
Cornbread Dressing
Macaroni & Cheese
Potato Salad
Collard Greens
Green Beans Casserole
Cranberry Sauce
Carrot SoufflĂ© 
Beverages:  Water, Cokes, Sprite, Little Hugs (for the grands), Iced Tea
Strawberry Cheesecake
Old-Fashioned Pound Cake

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Food Processor Biscuits

For years I've tried to perfect homemade biscuits but was never able to get them to look or taste like the ones my mother made.  She has this big bowl that she keeps her self-rising flour in, makes a well in the center and puts a chunk of lard and milk in it to work it into a dough.  After her dough comes together, she kneads it a few times, then pinches the dough into little clumps, then rolls each one into balls, flattens them into discs, places them in a greased biscuit pan. After she has placed them all in the pan, she takes her hand and gives them another press down, places them in a 450 degre oven and bakes them.  During the last couple of minutes in the oven, she turns the oven to broil to brown them.

I love watching cooking shows on TV and YouTube and ran across a YouTube Video with instructions for making biscuits in a food processor.  I followed the instructions and loved the results.


Buttermilk Biscuits
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 6 tbsp of butter
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Add dry ingredients to food processor and pulse 4-5 times to combine.
  3. Cut butter into pats and place on top of flour mixture in food processor. Pulse 5-6 times to incorporate. Do not over mix. 
  4. Add buttermilk and pulse just until dough forms... About 9-10 pulses... Do not over-mix. 
  5. Turn out onto lightly floured surface. Shape into a ball and roll to desired thickness. 
  6. I used my cookie cutter to cut out the biscuits then re-worked the remaining dough and made a bread stick. 
  7.  Place biscuits on a lightly greased pan (I use a parchment paper lined pan instead). 
I probably left my biscuits under the broiler a tad too long but I do like my biscuits brown.  They were still good and my husband loved them.

Update: The recipe above calls for buttermilk and I don't always have buttermilk in my fridge.  I decided to purchase a container of the powdered buttermilk and try it.  There is a definite difference in the final outcome.  I added 3 tablespoons of the buttermilk powder to the dry ingredients in the food processor and added 3/4 cups of water in step 4.  I think I will add a little less water the next time because my dough was a bit too sticky and I had to incorporate more flour than I wanted to.  When I finally got the dough to the consistency that I wanted.  I squeezed off clumps of dough (just like my mother does), rolled them into balls, patted them into discs and placed on a parchment paper lined cast iron pan.  

Again, I left the biscuits under the broiler a tad too long but they, other than that, they were tender, soft and delicious. I don't know whether the powdered buttermilk made the difference or not.  I'll have to give each method another try to see but, as I stated earlier, I will use less water when using the powdered buttermilk.  

Monday, May 9, 2016

Pizza Casserole

This is way too much food for hubby and me so we will have left-overs for days!!!  If our daughter and her family comes by, they are more than welcome to take some home ... Their daughters will probably love it.

I saw this recipe on the Southernplate website and had to give it a try.  It was simple, only took a few ingredients, and is very tasty.  Quicker than trying to make a pizza because I didn't have to deal with making pizza dough although making Pizza dough in my Zojirushi bread maker will be a project that I plan to tackle later this week.  Here's the Recipe:

Pizza Casserole

2 pounds ground beef, browned and drained (I used ground turkey)
1 box penne pasta
2 jars pizza sauce
1/2 an onion (add to the meat while browning)
1 tsp garlic powder*
2 cups mozzarella cheese (or more)
1 pack of slice pepperoni
Salt and pepper (to taste)

Prepare pasta according to package direction. Drain water and set aside.  Mix pasta, sauces, hamburger and 1 cup of the pepperoni together and put into a lightly greased 9" x 13" baking pan.

Put more pepperoni on top, if desired, or just stir it all in.

Cover with cheese cheese is melted and bake at 350F for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling.

So Sad

My husband and I were at the mall with our two little grands (ages 4 years and 1 1/2 years) a couple of weeks ago and we were having a really great time with them.  I was in 'MeMaw Heaven', using my iPad Pro to snap pictures of them as they rode the various kiddie rides in the mall.  I set my bag down for just an instant to help the 1 1/2 year old get into one of the little cars, went back to my bag to get my iPad Pro to resume filming and taking pictures and, POOF!!! ... just like that, my iPad Pro had been taken from my bag.  I was just devastated!!!

I had years of memories stored on that iPad. I started buying them from the very first generation and upgraded each time a new one was introduced.  Even though I synch my iPad to my desktop on a regular basis, there are still files that had yet to be synced.  I wish I had the pictures I took of my little grands at the mall.  I had installed the 'Find my iPad App' on it but it only works if the person who took possession of it goes on-line.  I went to iCloud and added a 'lock' code so that it will lock it if anyone is able to access the Internet on it.  It was password protected so, hopefully, whoever took it will not be able to gain access to my information.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Half-and-Half Bread

There was a period in my life when I dreaded cooking... it was such a chore.  Now I love to cook ... Perhaps because I am now retired and have time to cook if and when I want to.  I invested in a Viking Range in 2001 and loved it but no longer own it.  It was a gas range and hubby and I moved into a home equipped with an electric range in 2012.  The kitchen is much smaller and the Viking was too large to fit the space... bummer.  Nevertheless, I've invested in other cooking gadgets that I love.

One of my favs is a Zojirushi Home Bakery Breadmaker.  I've made many loaves of bread in it... for hubby and me, my mother, my sister, my in-laws... whoever... whenever.  Today I tried my hand at a recipe I saw on-line... "Half-and-Half Bread - Half Wheat and Half White.

Half-and-Half Bread

1 7/8 cups water
3 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups white bread flour
3 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp dry milk
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp vital wheat gluten
2 Tbsp butter
2 tsp active dry yeast

Measure ingredients precisely and add to the baking pan in the order listed.  Make sure that the yeast does not touch the liquid.

Place the baking pan into the Home Bakery, close the lid and plug the power cord into the outlet.

Select the BASIC setting and press START.

When baking completes, press and hold the START/RESET button.  Take out the baking pan using oven mitts and gently shake the loaf out.

Let bread cool and serve.