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Almond Joy Cookies

Almond Joy CookiesHow good does Sweet Pea’s Kitchen » Almond Joy Cookies sound?  Well they are worth the calories and taste just if not more satisfying as one of my favorite candy bars.  The cookies have the perfect crunch to chew ratio.  I am thinking they would be really good turned into ice cream sandwiches come summer time.

I will admit the one of my few food weaknesses are cookies.  I can’t seem to help myself if they are in the house.  Store bought cookies are easy to turn away but homemade cookies are the best.  Homemade cookies are particularly hard to resist if they are hot from the oven (I like them gooey).

Mr.Picky on the other hand enjoys himself a cookie (as long as it has no nuts) but they must have cooled completely.  Warm dessert is my favorite and something Mr.Picky finds unappetizing.  Mr.Picky’s one exception to the hot dessert rule is my homemade cinnamon rolls, which he will reheat for day.

As I sit here typing I am enjoying myself an afternoon cookie and for once pleased Mr.Picky is not around.  Not often I get to enjoy nuts in my dessert.  Enjoy one for me and keep on baking.

Almond Joy Cookies:Almond Joy Cookies

Yields about 2 dozen

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar,lightly packed
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract (I didn’t have any so I left it out)
  • 1 cup shredded or flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup almonds,finely chopped

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Sift flour,baking soda, and pinch of salt together.  Set aside.

Cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy.

Beat in egg, vanilla, and almond extract.

Add in dry ingredients until just combined.

Stir in coconut, almonds, and chocolate chips until incorporated.

Almond Joy Cookies

Drop on a baking sheet in about 1-2 Tbs size balls (a scoop works well)

Bake 18-20 minutes until just set, allow to cool on cookie sheet 3-5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.

 


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New York Cheesecake Recipe

So good I can't get a picture before they dig in.

So good I can’t get a picture before they dig in.

Mr.Picky would never pick birthday cake or regular cake for his birthday dessert.  Instead he could sit down to a great slice of plain New York style cheesecake.  I have made numerous recipes to perfect the cheesecake of his dreams.  Chantal’s New York Cheesecake Recipe – Allrecipes.com was the closest to perfect as far a New York style cheesecakes.

Although I find cheesecake to be too rich for me this was a great recipe.  Mr.Picky thought it was by far the best recipe for cheesecake and will be the recipe I will make from now on.  By the way cheesecake freezes and thaws great, easy to make ahead and keep in the freezer for dessert down the road.

It was not Mr.Picky’s birthday but he was hankering for some cheesecake the week before.  I happened to have a large brick of cream cheese to use up and the remaining ingredients were on hand.  I put together a cheesecake while he was out of town and surprised him with a big slice when he got home.

This is the first time I have had a cheesecake crack, but it is also a new oven to me.  It this bothers you cover with a sour cream topping.

This is the first time I have had a cheesecake crack, but it is also a new oven to me. It this bothers you cover with a sour cream topping.

New York Cheesecake:

Crust:

  • 15 graham crackers, crushed
  • 2 Tbs butter, melted

Filling:

  • 4 (8 oz.) packages of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 Tbs vanilla
  • 1/4 cup flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Press crust into a 9″ or 10″ springform pan.

Mix cream cheese and sugar until smooth.  Blend in milk.

Add eggs one at a time, mixing just enough to incorporate.

Mix in sour cream, vanilla, and flour until smooth.

Pour filling into the crust.

New York Cheesecake

Bake 1 hour with a water bath below.  Turn off oven and cool 6 hours in oven.

Place to age in refrigerator at least overnight.

If there is any remaining cheesecake freeze the cake whole.  Slice and wrap the pieces and place in a freezer bag for storage.  Just pull out a piece as needed, unwrap while frozen and it will thaw within an hour on a plate.

Frozen New York Cheesecake

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Taco Crescent Ring

Taco RingThere is a huge brand out there that came out with this Taco Crescent Ring at least 15 years ago.  Well I am still making it but I have my version.  It is easy and looks fancy plus both Mr.Picky and the kids eat it up with smiles on their faces.  It is not by any means healthy or by scratch.

I happen to have bought a box of 5 cans of crescent rolls as a treat to create what I felt necessary.  This is not a usual purchase and I know they are loaded with all kinds of junk.  Sometimes my stomach feels the need to eat some junk and doesn’t care what my brain or body want.

I was in need of a quick dinner and had everything on hand.  So this recipe was prepared once again to everyone’s satisfaction.  I thawed the meat from the freezer and the rest of the ingredients are usually on hand.

Taco RingTaco Crescent Ring:

  • 2 tubes of crescent rolls
  • 1 lb. ground beef or turkey
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 (16 oz.) can of refried beans (black or pinto)
  • 1 recipe of my taco seasoning or a taco seasoning packet
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese or mexican cheese blend
  • 1/2 cup water
  • tomatoes, diced
  • sour cream
  • lettuce, shredded
  • salsa
  • olives,sliced

Brown ground beef and onion in a skillet and drain any extra fat.

Add in water, taco seasoning, and refried beans.  Stir and heat until combined.  Set aside to cool slightly.

Taco Ring

On a circular baking pan or baking stone spread the crescent rolls evenly in a sun shape.  Leave a circle about 6 inches wide in the center and have the pointed end face out, overlap here needed.

I will sometimes roll or press the rolls together to get a good base for the filling if needed.

Spread the meat mixture around the circle evenly allowing about 1/2″ of room near the edge of the inner circle.

Taco Ring

Sprinkle with the cheese.

Taco Ring

Starting anywhere began folding the pointed edge of the outside triangle into the center.  Slight press or tuck under the inner circle to hold the filling together.  Not all of the filling will be covered and that is the pretty part.

Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

 

Serve with tomatoes, sour cream, lettuce, salsa, and olives to top each slice.
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Peach and Blackberry Crisp

The berries are almost falling off the vines and the peaches are arriving from eastern Washington by the case full.  Since the two fruits are ripe at the same time why not combine them for a Peach and Blackberry Crisp.

Our family prefers a crunchy crisp to a cobbler, not that cobblers are wonderful.  The smell of oatmeal and brown sugar alone is almost enough to satisfy my craving.  Crisp fillings are endless and are so easy to throw together.  Although I do need some vanilla ice cream to go along, vanilla yogurt will do in a pinch.

When coming up with this recipe I combined our families apple crisp recipe and my favorite strawberry rhubarb crunch recipe.  The results were bowl scraping good. Especially when we topped it with homemade vanilla ice cream.  This crisp turned out so great I had to share with the neighbors before I ate the whole pan.

 Peach and Blackberry Crisp

Peach and Blackberry Crisp:

  • 2-3 cups peaches, diced
  • 2-3 cups blackberry, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbs flour
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

 

Combine berries, peaches, 1 cup sugar, and 2 Tbs flour.  Place in a lightly greased 9 x 13″.

Peach and Blackberry Crisp

Next combine the remaining ingredients to form a coarse crumb texture.  Sprinkle evenly on the fruit.

Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling.

Peach and Blackberry Crisp

Cottage Cheese Crescent Rolls

Cottage cheese crescent rolls is a recipe out of grandma’s recipe box.  Years ago I copied some recipes on  my recipe cards and put them into my box.  I recently found this recipe and it sounded interesting.  I have no recollection of Grandma making this or of eating these.  So why not try them.

How easy to mix it all and forget about it overnight.  Plus there are only three ingredients, it can’t get much easier than that. I baked them up the following evening to accompany our dinner.

Next time I might roll them out a bit thinner.  The directions were old and didn’t give a lot of guidance.  1/4 inch thickness would be about right next time.  I made only have a recipe and it made 16 rolls which seemed like plenty so I will keep the recipe adapted.  I also wasn’t sure if I mixed them enough because I could still see bits of cottage cheese.  Don’t worry the cottage cheese just melted away in the oven and no one would guess it was in there.

They had a great butter flavor and we found they tasted best with a bit of jam.  I would make these again for sure.  These rolls are pretty small but being loaded with butter probably is just right.

Cottage Cheese Crescent Rolls

Cottage Cheese Crescent Rolls:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cups flour
  • 6 oz. cottage cheese ( I used skim it was fine)

 

Mix all together (there will be little bits of cottage cheese it is ok) and refrigerate covered overnight.

Dough after chilling overnight

Dough after chilling overnight

Divide dough into half.

Roll each half as you would a pie crust and cut into 8 triangles as you would pie pieces, use a bit of flour if needed as you roll out to prevent sticking.

Rolling up the triangle pieces

Rolling up the triangle pieces

 

Roll each triangle starting with the big end up into a crescent roll shape.

Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven

Bake at 325 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Susan’s Coffee Cake

Susan's Coffee CakeI am not sure who Susan is, but Grandma has been making her coffee cake since I was a little girl.  I suppose I will need to ask her soon, if she even knows who she is or if she clipped the recipe out of the paper  years ago.

Coffee cake is so yummy, as long as it is not to dry.  Then again there is a reason you eat it with coffee to wash it down.  Susan’s coffee cake on the other hand is nice and moist because it has an amazing buttermilk glaze on top to soak into the cake.  I was looking through my recipe box and had put this recipe to the side to make.

Not once have I made this recipe on my own.  It has probably been at least 15 years since I have eaten it.  Grandma would make coffee cake if they were having company for brunch.  I would get it eat it if I was lucky enough to be over there when the company came.

Sorry about no post yesterday, we were camping.  Camping was fun but along with camping comes a lot of work for me, the mom that always is prepared for everything.  I try to plan all my meals and get anything done ahead of time.  This way I might actually get to enjoy our camping vacation.

For dinner I had lots of ideas and I made a big container of chunky chicken salad for lunches.  But what to make for breakfast?  Mr.Picky would like a hot breakfast every morning including potatoes, eggs, some gravy if he had his choice.  When you’re camping this is completely possible but a lot more work than I was willing to put in for a two-day trip.

I recently learned my husband who hates sweets enjoys coffee cake.  This was after I sent him to the store for a few items and he came home with two large boxes of coffee cake mix and was on a mission to eat some (but that is a whole nother story).  Then it clicked, I could make Susan’s Coffee Cake but with no nuts for Mr.Picky and bring it camping with us.  Talk about a no cook meal that everyone would be happy with.  I did bring some bananas in which everyone was required to eat before they had cake for breakfast.

Susan’s coffee cake fresh out of the oven was tempting, I wanted to dig right in.  We ate it two days later and it was still amazing.  I had a few disposable tin containers with lids, that just worked perfect to take my cake in camping.  It sealed great and was really a no mess breakfast.  I hope you can enjoy this recipe as much as we did.  I am sure I will be making this a lot more often now.

Susan’s Coffee Cake:Susan's Coffee Cake

This yields a 8 x 8″ pan, and would easily feed 6-9 people a good size piece.

Cake:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Topping:

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs flour
  • 1 Tbs butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup nut, chopped ( I would use pecans or walnuts)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbs water

Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup butter

For the cake prepare a 8 x 8″ square baking pan by greasing it lightly.

Mix together sugar, shortening, egg, and milk.  Meanwhile sift or whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.  Then combine the two mixtures to form a smooth thick batter.

Spread batter into pan.

Combine all the topping ingredients in a small bowl.  My topping is going to look verily smooth because I left out the nuts.Susan's Coffee Cake

Spread topping on top of batter as best you can, I used the back of a spoon to lightly spread it around.

Bake the coffee cake at 375 degrees, for 25-30 minutes.  Check with a toothpick, when it comes out clean of the center your cake it is done.

The last few minutes of baking combine all the glaze ingredients in a small sauce pan.  Over medium heat while stirring, heat the mixture until boiling.  Boil for one minutes and remove from heat.

Pour the hot glaze over the hot coffee cake evenly.  Allow the coffee cake to cool before serving.

Never Fail Pie Crust

Pie crust, the great debate of bakers and fear of many including me.  I can make pie crust, just rolling it out to look perfect is the problem.  After trying many recipes this one seems to take the cake or shall I say pie.  This simple recipe which may seem strange but is an old one and good one.  It is tender and flaky and very forgiving.

This recipe yields a double crust for two large 10 inch pies, or I have even gotten 3 crusts from it when doing 9 x 13″ pie bars.  If you don’t need a double crust it is ok, tightly wrap up the unused portion and keep it in the freezer.  Now you have pie crust to use without the work.

This is how wonderful your crust can turn out.

This is how wonderful your crust can turn out.

Never Fail Pie Crust:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 Tbs vinegar
  • 4 Tbs cold as ice, water

Never Fail Pie Crust

 

Mix together flour and salt.  With a pastry cutter, cut shortening into flour mixture until it is the size of small peas.

Add water, vinegar, and beaten egg.  Mix dough until just combined and comes together as a dough.

Split dough in two and wrap tightly in plastic wrap, I shape my dough into about 6″ pancake rounds so it will easily roll into a circle after chilling.  Refrigerate the portion(s) you wish you use for about 20 minutes before rolling out to desired thickness.

Never Fail Pie Crust

Freeze any unused portions for 2-3 months in the freezer, and thaw in the fridge before use.

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