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spring honeys

In 30 days of beauty, baking on 03/23/2010 at 12:51 pm

If you’ve only been visiting here for the last week, you probably think that this blog is about food. If that bores you, thanks for bearing with me. It’s just that I want this space to actually reflect the seasons of our home and right now, we’ve been bitten by the baking bug. So there you have it.

We welcomed the first day of Spring with a little cookie experiment that ended surprisingly well. (Many previous ones, have not). If you’re looking for an indulgent, yet light as a feather cookie, look no further. I’ve aptly dubbed them “Spring Honeys”. When you taste them, you won’t believe they’re egg and dairy-free cookies either!

SPRING HONEYS: DAIRY AND EGG-FREE COOKIES – makes about 2 and a half dozen
1/3 cup of margarine (I can’t eat dairy, so I use Willow Run Soybean Margarine, but of course, you could use butter)
2/3 cup honey
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp applesauce
1 tsp baking powder
1 and a half cups all-purpose flour

THE TOPPING:
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Pre-heat oven to 375º. In a small bowl, mix sugar and cinnamon for the topping and set aside. In a large bowl, soften  and then beat butter or margerine for 30 seconds. Add honey, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt. Beat. Add applesauce and baking powder. Beat. Add flour. Beat. Drop rounded teaspoons on a greased cookie sheet (I use parchment paper instead) about 2″ apart. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon and sugar mixture.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown. When you take them out of the oven, the tops will still be a bit moist and cakey but if cooled on a wire rack, they’ll firm up.

day fourteen: lemon poppyseed cookies

In 30 days of beauty, baking, recipes on 03/04/2010 at 8:55 pm

These dairy-free lemon poppyseed drop cookies have become a family favorite. They freeze wonderfully and I actually prefer them cold instead of straight out of the oven. Try them. You won’t be disappointed.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup margerine (I use Earth Balance)
1 cup applesauce
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon zest
2-1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup poppy seeds

Cream together both sugars, margerine, and applesauce.
Add remaining ingredients.
Mix well.
Drop SMALL spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes at 350 degrees.
Makes about 3-1/2 dozen

a sweet read

In books, recipes on 01/20/2010 at 10:52 am



“Amish baking is by its very definition simple, self-sufficient, and often sweet and sticky. The worn hands of an Amish homemaker kneading loaves of bread carry the lessons of generations past. There’s a calming comfort in watching hands shape the dough, of watching bread balloon into a billowy golden pillow in a wood-fired oven. Throughout centuries of religious persecution in Europe and sometimes harsh settlement conditions in the United States and Canada, the Amish have turned their hands to feed themselves: men to plant and harvest, women to bake and cook. This insular self-sufficiency has elevated the Amish into legendary creators of cakes, pies, rolls, and doughnuts out of the building blocks of baking: flour, eggs, butter, vanilla, oatmeal, seasonal fruits, cinnamon and molasses.”

Lovina Eicher, Kevin Williams, The Amish Cook’s Baking Book (Kansas City: Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC, 2009), xvii.

Even if you never bake a single recipe, this book is a feast in itself. Colorful imagery and simple storytelling are scattered among recipes for Bumbleberry Pie, Rhubarb Squares, and Blueberry Streusel Coffeecake. You can read a little about Lovina, mother of eight, here and here.

 

p.s. I added some new names to “the regulars” this morning so drop by and say “hello”!

a slow return

In recipes on 01/07/2010 at 12:23 pm

french baguette

The “undecking” of our halls has begun, and with it, a slow sliding into the familiar quiet rhythm of winter.  Having finally cleared our cupboards of the last of the holiday sugar stash, I’ve been pining for a plump, honey-colored, “I-know-what’s-in-it” loaf  of  bread from our oven. But once I was mixing and flouring, kneading and pounding, I realized that’s what I was really missing. There’s something about plunging my winter-worn fists into that supple warmth that’s quieting. I can’t quite explain it. But then perhaps, you already know…

one tsp active dry yeast
one tsp granulated sugar
one and one half cups of lukewarm water
four to four and one half cups unbleached all purpose flour
two tsps salt

In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast and sugar over the lukewarm water. Let sit about 5 minutes until foamy. Stir in 2 cups flour until combined. Then add salt and two more cups of flour. Stir until dough is stiff.

On a lightly floured surface, knead until smooth and stretchy (8 to 10 minutes), gradually adding additional half cup of flour as needed if it’s too sticky.

Lightly grease a large bowl, add dough, cover with plastic wrap and a towel. Allow dough to rise in a warm draft-free spot approx 90 minutes, until doubled.

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Remove dough, punch down, and shape into a long baguette. Place loaf diagonally on parchment paper covered baking sheet. Let rise an additional half hour in a warm, draft-free spot.

With a sharp knife, make a few diagonal slashes in the top of the loaf. Rub top of loaf with a small amount of water to moisten.

Bake on center rack 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with everything.

Rumor has it that Winter is making plans to visit us in all her glory later today. Should I disappear from this space tomorrow, rest assured we are without electricity, in our pajamas, with noses pressed to the windows.

p.s. The Poppies start today! Head on over to Poppytalk and nominate your favorites. Categories include:
favorite handmade housewares
favorite handmade recyclable, reusable, repurposed goods,
favorite crafter,
favorite photographer
favorite handmade jewelry,
and more.
Nominations end Tuesday, January 12th.

| days of doing one thing = 10 |