Monday, April 30, 2012

A classic: White Dropped Amish Church Sugar Cookies

White Dropped Amish Church Sugar Cookies  
New Recipes from Quilt Country Copyright 1997

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) margarine (not butter or they will be crispy, not soft, according to the author - I always bake with Land-O-Lakes margarine) 
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
sugar and raisins for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a large mixer bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar for 3 minutes. Add the eggs and extracts and beat until well combined. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and salt. Add to the creamed mixture and combine until the mixture is moistened. Stir in the sour cream by hand and blend well.

Using a 1 1/2-inch cookie scoop or a tablespoon, drop the dough onto a parchment-lined or nonstick baking sheet, then top each one with sugar and a raisin or two or three. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the bottoms are lightly browned. (I used a larger cookie scoop so I used 5 raisins for the cookies I made with raisins and I might have baked them a little longer.) Remove the cookies to a rack to cool. Store in airtight containers or freeze.

Annie from Haphazard Homestead very generously passed some of her unwanted cookbooks to me. This gem was among them. I love Amish recipes and this book is very well done.  I remember watching Marcia Adams on PBS years ago.  This book is more than just recipes -  it has lots of information about the Amish.  It's a very good read.

This recipe was one of the best recipes I've made, honestly. Nothing fancy but everyone loved them, including my picky older son. I started making them without raisins because I thought I was out of raisins but then I realized I did have raisins. They were good both ways. They were soft and tender and very flavorful. I will definitely make these again!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A lamb (or Kacey) cake

Renalde Lamb Cake Recipe

The Ugly Binder, from the internet

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 cup milk
3 cups sifted cake flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream shortening and sugar until fluffy; add egg yolks one at a time, beating thoroughly after each one is added. Sift dry ingredients together 3 times and add alternately with milk and vanilla to creamed mixture, beating until smooth after each addition. Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites. Grease cake mold thoroughly; fill face part of mold full of batter; cover with other half of mold and place in hot oven, face down, baking for 45 minutes. Cover with pans while baking to prevent burning. I didn't do this. I secured it with silicon baking bands. Bake at 450 degrees for first 15 minutes; finish baking at 350 degrees. I checked mine 11 minutes early and it was done.  Remove from oven; lay on back of mold for 15 minutes before loosening to take out.  I let it cool completely before trying to sit it upright.  This recipe makes sufficient batter for extra cupcakes.

I've picked up many (many, many, many) kitchen items from yard sales over the years. Unfortunately most of them get stored away someplace where I can't see them, and I forget about them. This is especially a problem with holiday items - from yard sales or not - I forget that I had them until the holiday passed. By some miracle, when I was thinking about what to make for Easter, I remembered I had picked up this cake pan last summer.

This isn't one of the original cast iron molds, it's a Wilton. It has the advantage of not having the pointy ears that are prone to falling off. It's head is a bit sturdier too. I did use a recipe from one of the older model molds. Wilton didn't provide a recipe. It suggested boxed cake mix (which I feel might not be sturdier enough to support the lamb's head but I can't say for sure) or any sturdy cake recipe, like a pound cake. This recipe is definitely similar to a pound cake. It blew me away, to be honest. It was moist, it had a great crumb, it had that simple yet wonderful flavor you would expect from these ingredients.

I used my Easy Buttercream Frosting recipe, with white food coloring (the bomb!) to frost the lamb. You could use coconut but no one seemed too keen on that idea. I colored some coconut for the 'grass'. I also added some Cadbury mini chocolate eggs when I got to my sister's house on Easter.

I did the decorating at 10pm so it was shakey. I used my Pampered Chef cake decorator and just made little swirls. I was not as neat and attentive as I might have been had it not been 10pm. The ears were supposed to be pink but I forgot before I cleaning up all the frosting. I was going to make up a small bit of pink frosting but decided to leave well enough alone.

When I started looking at lamb cakes, I thought they looked like my sister's dog Kacey, a bichon frise. We started joking that this was a Kacey cake. Some people who came to Easter dinner, who were not familiar with lamb cakes, assumed it was a Kacey cake (my dad thought it was a butter sculpture lol). At one point, I came through the dining room door into the kitchen, catching a glimpse of the cake on the kitchen table and for a moment I thought Kacey (the real dog) had climbed onto the table.  That's pretty funny since he's 15 and he was never much of a climber, not even when he was a puppy - the dog has been carried up and down steps, up and down from furniture, etc all of his life!

Monday, April 23, 2012

I'm not dead!

I've been cooking but I need to catch up on my blogging! I thought I would at least share some pictures with you: