Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Overnight Danish

4 1/2 tsp dry active yeast
1/2 cup warm milk
6 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
1 cup cold butter
1 1/2 cups warm half and half cream
6 egg yolks, beaten
1 can pie filling, any flavor (pudding also works)
Icing (see recipe below)

Dissolve yeast in warm milk. Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter. Add the yeast mixture, half and half, and egg yolks. Stir until mixture forms a soft dough (will be sticky). Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Punch dough down. Divide into quarters. Roll each portion into an 18" x 4" rectangle. Cut into 1" x 4" strips. Place two strips side by side. Twist together. Shape into a ring, and pinch ends together. Repeat with remaining strips. Place 2" apart on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.
Using the end of a wooden spoon handle, make a 1/2" deep indentation in the center of each roll. Fill each with about 1 Tbsp pie filling. Bake at 350 for 14-16 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks. Drizzle icing over rolls.

2 Tbsp butter, softened
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
dash salt
4-5 Tbsp half and half cream

Beat butter until fluffy. Gradually beat in the sugar, vanilla, salt, and enough cream to achieve a drizzling consistency.

Jamaican Chicken and Potatoes

Jamaican Jerk Seasoning (see recipe below)
3 to 3 1/2 lb whole chicken
2 Tbsp oil
3 medium baking potatoes, cut lengthwise into fourths (I always make extra potatoes)

Make Jamaican Jerk Seasoning. Heat oven to 375. Line roasting pan with aluminum foil. Place chicken, breast side up, on rack in roasting pan. Brush 1 TBSP of the oil over chicken. Rub 2 TBSP seasoning into the chicken skin. Brush remaining Tbsp oil over potatoes and sprinkle with remaining seasoning (I do the potatoes in a Ziploc bag, or a container, and shake them). Place potatoes on rack around chicken. Roast uncovered 60-75 minutes, until potatoes are tender and meat has reached a temperature of 180. Let chicken stand 15 minutes, then carve.

Jamaican Jerk Seasoning
1 Tbsp instant minced onion
2 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground red pepper (cayenne)

Mix all ingredients. Can be stored in a cold, dry place for up to 6 months.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Sugar Cookies

I love my old sugar cookie recipe, but they don't hold their shape well. I did a bunch of research, and built my own recipe. I made several batches. With some trial and error, I finally created one with the taste I love that still hold their shape. Just adding flour makes them dry and shortening isn't the same as butter. Too much heat melts the sugar too fast and flattens the cookie, so a high sugar recipe wouldn't work with high temps. (The above picture: The white is my regular recipe with extra flour. The pink is less granulated sugar, temp 400. They look great but I didn't like the flavor as well. The purple was more sugar, soda, cream of tartar and 400 temp. The blue is the recipe below with powdered sugar.)
I traded out the baking powder for some baking soda and cream of tartar. And a friend of mine told me that granulated sugar melts at a different temperature than powdered sugar. She told me it's the granulated sugar that flattens out the cookies, so I traded that straight across. So, see what you think.
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 eggs
3 tsp. vanilla
3 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla until fluffy. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Chill for 1 hour. Roll 1/4 inch thick on floured surface. Cut out shapes. Bake at 350 for 10-12 min. Cool completely. Frost and decorate!

If you want a variation, you could substitute 1 tsp. almond flavoring for the vanilla. Or add keep vanilla and add 1/2 tsp. nutmeg and 1 tsp. cinnamon. (Great variation for the holidays.

1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tblsp. milk
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 Tblsp. butter

Mix until smooth and not too runny.