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Monday, July 1, 2019

Crunchy Peanut Bars

I love chocolate but sometimes you need a change. I can't tell you why I chose this recipe except that it seemed easy and I haven't done many from this particular cookbook, The New Antoinette Pope School Cookbook from 1961. I'm still trying to get back into the baking habit and was just looking for something easy to make. Yep, I was not particularly excited. Just gotta bake.
Lots and lots of peanuts! The instructions look long but are actually very simple. One of the great things about this cookbook since it is a 'school' cookbook, the instructions are very detailed and easy to follow.
More peanuts than anything else. I think I need more colorful bowls especially when most of my ingredients are brown.
This creates a very stiff dough. I got a nice arm workout though!
I talked a little about my new and much smaller kitchen. Here's a glimpse at my limited counter space. It makes cooking a bit more interesting and forces me to get creative with my use of space.
 Dough in the pan! Not exactly the correct sized pan but it still works.
 Topped with a healthy layer of peanuts.
I wasn't certain if the peanuts on top would actually stick but most of them did! You must cut this when it is still slightly warm or you will end up with peanut crumbles and not peanut bars. 
 Very crunchy bars. My apartment smells like peanut butter....yum...

These are amazing! So much better than I even expected. I love the crunch and the simple peanut flavor. These also kept very well and stayed nice and crisp for several days.

My Rating: Keeper! These may make a return around the holidays.

Friends & Family Rating: "I love these!" Lots of people loved how crunchy they were and how simple.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Spicy Apple Coffee Cake

Sometimes I just have to move away from cookies. My coworkers don't always agree but I think they secretly like the variety. Flipping through the 1952 pamphlet 250 Breads, Biscuits and Rolls I found this interesting recipe: an apple coffee cake made with cheese... The idea of mixing cheese with apples does not appeal to me even though I know a lot of people who love to add a slice of sharp cheddar cheese to their apple pie. So I gave it a try.
 Short recipe. Looks easy! I just had to get 'nippy' cheese. Somehow I had zero extra sharp cheddar in my house! I am so embarrassed...
I decided to go with the round cake version.
It qualifies as healthy since it has apples in it.
The dough came together very easily. None of the cinnamon was used in the dough so I'm guessing the 'spicy' part of the title has to do with the cheese. I love the bits of cheese peaking through!
 Looking good so far!
I don't know how I made this look so pretty! I'm not known for 'pretty' food, delicious but not always nice to look at. I don't know what happened here bit I'll take it!
And it baked up even prettier! Yeah!
 It looks good and the cake is nice and moist...
....but all in all a bland cake. Even though I used extra sharp cheddar you could barely taste the cheese and all the spice was added to the topping. Traditionally coffee cake is not a very sweet cake but even eating this with coffee could not save it. This might work better as a sheet cake since there would be less cake and more apples.

My Rating: Boring. Probably will not make again.

Friends & Family Rating: I don't know. No one gave me their opinion.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Chocolate Pecan Wafers

I'm back! Moving took much longer than I anticipated but I am finally settled. The new place is much closer to work! Yeah! Unfortunately the kitchen is much smaller. Boo..oh well!
A couple of weekends ago my family and I went to Yorktown to tour the replica of the Santa Maria and decided to stop at the local used bookstore. I found a 2 delightful 'new' cookbooks including Aunt Jenny's Favorite Recipes.  I decided to stick with something simple to start again, the chocolate pecan wafers.
Aunt Jenny was a character in a popular radio program in the 1940's that gave out housekeeping advice. All the recipes feature Spry, a brand of vegetable shortening. Shortening was still a fairly new product and so many cookbooks came out to promote this healthy alternative to lard.
 Spry makes everything better!
Starting with something simple in my small kitchen and I had all the ingredients.
 There is not a lot of flour in this cookie... Sadly I could not find Spry.
 Obligatory mixing photo. Yum! Shortening, sugar, and eggs!
 It looks much better with the chocolate added. Sorry the picture is kinda bad. I still have to figure out my kitchen lighting.
A whole tray of little turds. Ha ha ha
Aunt Jenny has special instructions on how to flatten your cookies.
 The only towel I could find had a pattern but it was a easy way to flatten them. I ended up only flattening half of the batch. I wanted to see how they were turn out un-flattened.
 I have missed the smell of baking!!
The flattened and un-flattened cookies turned out basically the same. Thin, crispy on the edges and chewy in the center. Delicious! A smaller batch than what I normally get out of an old recipe.
These were delicious! I would just skip the flattening part entirely next time. It was unnecessary and a bit annoying. Make sure you chop up the pecan nice and small.

My Rating: Keeper!

Friends and Family: Mixed reviews. "They are okay." "I love the texture. Crispy and chewy!" "Delicious"