Strawberry Pastry

God bless the person who decided pastries were an ideal breakfast food! Can I get an “AMEN”??? That sweet, carb loaded goodness might not actually be part of a healthy, balanced diet but it certainly does give me motivation to actually eat breakfast. My eyes don’t exactly light up the same way when presented with a bowl of plain oatmeal.

Homemade pastry is particularly delicious but it is also time consuming. I don’t have a lot of spare time these days so I fully embrace the pre-made puff pastry sheets found in my local grocer’s freezer section. Slice it, shape it, fill it and you’ll have beautiful little delights that fit in the palm of your hand. Whether you want to share these treats with friends is totally optional – I’ll admit I ate most of these myself.

 

Tips:

  • Be sure to pull the pastry sheets out of the freezer ahead of time. It takes about 30-40 minutes to thaw out.
  • The strawberry mixture will end up with some juice in the bowl. Try to avoid scooping the juice onto your pastries as it will leak out and get a bit messy.

 

Strawberry Pastry

Ingredients:

16oz strawberries, sliced

¼ cup sugar

1 teaspoon corn starch

1 tablespoon orange zest

17.3oz package puff pastry sheets, thawed

Glaze:

2 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon milk

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a bowl, combine strawberry slices, orange zest, sugar and corn starch.

Cut each sheet of puff pastry into 9 squares. For each square, gently fold diagonally in half to form a triangle. With a sharp knife, slice dough ¼ inch from each edge – slices should not quite meet at the corner. Unfold triangle, you will have two L shapes framing an inner square. Fold the corner of one L over to the opposite corner of the square. Do the same with the other L. Dough will now have a diamond shape. Fill inside of diamond with strawberry mixture. Repeat folding and filling process for each square of dough.

Place each filled pastry on lined cookie sheet. Back for 15 minutes or until pastry begins to turn light golden brown. Let cool completely.

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For the glaze, whisk orange juice and powdered sugar with a fork. Gradually add milk until glaze has reached desired consistency. Drizzle glaze over pastries.

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Stir-n-Drop Sugar Cookies

IMG_4223I used to spend hours baking and decorating cut out sugar cookies. It was like therapy for me, a way to tune out the rest of the world for a while. I still enjoy making sugar cookies but I just don’t have time for the detailed work that goes into decorating those cut out cookies. As I was sifting through my grandmother’s recipe box I came across this great recipe. As with most of her recipes, the original source is unknown. However, the internet is a great tool and I did find the modernized version of this recipe on the Betty Crocker website. Following the recipe directly left me with slightly burned cookies so I altered the baking time a bit and the second batch turned out slightly soft – just the way I like them! The original recipe also makes some pretty small cookies so I also changed the amount of dough used for each serving.

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Tips

  • If you aren’t a fan of lemon flavor, feel free to leave the zest out or swap it for another citrus flavor (lime, orange or maybe even grapefruit).
  • It is really easy to customize these cookies for holidays by changing up the color of your decorative sugar.

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Makes 2 dozen cookies

2 eggs

2/3 cup vegetable oilBetty Crocker

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Zest of 1 lemon

¾ cup sugar

2 cups all purpous flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

Additional colored sugars for decorating

Heat oven to 400*F. In a large bowl, beat eggs with oil, vanilla, zest and sugar. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Stir flour mixture into egg mixture. Drop dough by the tablespoon full onto parchment paper covered cookie sheet. Grease the bottom of a glass with butter or cooking spray. Dip glass into colored sugar then gently press on ball of dough until dough is ¼-inch thick. Repeat on each ball of dough. Bake 6 minutes or until edges of cookies start to turn golden brown. Transfer cookies from cookie sheet to cooling rack and let cool completely before eating.

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Double Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

I learned two things while creating this recipe. First, this dough was NOT meant to be biscotti. Second, it doesn’t matter because apparently, my family doesn’t care for biscotti anyway. When I tried making this dough into biscotti it was a huge fail. The edges were burning and the center was puffing up. However, one bite into the middle puffy area and I knew I needed to find a way to use this dough for something else.

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Take two and I discovered success in cookies! I have served a lot of different cookies to family, friends and co-workers over the years. I have never received more complements than I have with these cookies. The rustic appearance gives the impression that these might be a crispy cookie but they are actually quite soft inside. The bonus is that they still taste great dipped in coffee so feel free to indulge for breakfast.

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Tips:

  • This dough is thick. Be sure to use a stand mixer so you don’t burn out your electric hand mixer.
  • If you need to approach this recipe in steps, combine your dry ingredients and then cover the bowl with plastic wrap until you’re ready to finish the recipe.

 

Double Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

5 tablespoons butter (room temperature)

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup macadamia nut pieces

1 cup white chocolate chips

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat brown sugar with granulated sugar and butter. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix in dry ingredients 1 cup at a time. Stir in macadamia nuts and chocolate chips.

Scoop tablespoon-sized mounds of cookie dough and place on the parchment paper. Leave 2-inches between the cookies. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and transfer the cookies from the parchment to cooling racks.

 

 

 

Farm-Style Biscuits

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I love bread. I mean, I REALLY love bread! Bring me your bagels, your loafs and your rolls! Homemade bread of any sort? Forget about it, I’m done. All of this being said, baking with yeast is always a challenge for me. That is the beautiful thing about this biscuit recipe, NO YEAST! No waiting on dough to rise (my house is always too cold to get a good rise).

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I pulled this recipe from my grandmother’s recipe box. I have no idea where it was originally printed but it is definitely a keeper. These biscuits are easy to make and taste great. The recipe also makes a manageable number of biscuits, I got nine out of it which is perfect for my small household.

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One of my favorite things about biscuits is how diverse they are. Top them with butter and honey like I did here or add your favorite jam for a snack. You could smother them in sausage gravy with a side of eggs for a hearty breakfast. Put them on the dinner table to soak up the au jus sauce from your favorite pot roast recipe. The options are nearly unlimited. The added bonus on this particular recipe is that it gives a couple of recommendations. First, it gives instructions for reheating the biscuits. Second, the recipe notes you can use this dough for topping meat pies, casseroles or cobblers.

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Tips

  • If you don’t have a pastry cutter, use your hands to blend the shortening into the dry ingredients.
  • You can use a glass or cookie cutter (basic shapes of circle or square) to cut out these biscuits.

Farm-style Biscuits

2 cups unsifted flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons sugar

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cream of tartar

½ cup solid shortening

2/3 cup milk

1 extra large egg, slightly beaten

Sift together flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and cream of tartar. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles course crumbs. Add milk and egg all at once. Stir quickly until dough leaves sides of bowl. Turn out dough on lightly floured board. With greased hands pat out dough with biscuit cutter. Place biscuits about one inch apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake in oven preheated to 450 degrees about 12 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 10-12 biscuits.