MASTER BASIC COOKIE RECIPE with VARIATIONS

After a too-long hiatus, here is another recipe/method which should be handy for the not-too-far-away  HOLIDAY BAKING SEASON.  Note that most of these cookies store well without become stale.  Do not store in plastic bags or containers for long periods.  These do best in the metal cookie tins that your mothers or grandmothers favored.

This is the recipe for a BASIC COOKIE MIX that can be prepared ahead of time, stored in the fridge or freezer and used when needed to quickly assemble batches of cookies adding what I have suggested or adding your own variations – the possibilities are endless. Dried fruits, nuts, M&Ms, Reeses pieces, different spices and so on.
I used to use this for holiday gifts – giving a jar of this with the additives in Ziplock bags – leaving only the perishable stuff needed to add.

Note that some of the recipes require the addition of cake flour. Because some need more and some less – and it tends to clump into hard lumps if mixed into the basic stuff, that needs to be added with the other ingredients. You can also use organic pastry flour, or “soft” wheat flour, such as White Lily – it just has to be very low gluten so the cookies are tender.
It can be omitted completely, you just need to use a bit more of the basic mix or a bit less liquid.

MASTER BASIC COOKIE RECIPE

 

10   cups all-purpose flour

3    cups white sugar

3    cups light brown sugar

4    Tablespoons baking powder

4    teaspoons kosher salt

3   cups butter – cut into small cubes  – divide into two batches

Mix all the dry ingredients together.

Place half the dry mixture into the bowl of a food processor (depending on size of processor – smaller machines use 1/3)

Add half the butter and pulse until the mixture looks like fine bread crumbs.

Transfer to a container that can be tightly sealed and is fridge or freezer safe.  Mixture will keep for weeks in the fridge, months in freezer.

Process the other half of the dry ingredients with the remainder of the butter again until it looks like fine bread crumbs.

Transfer to the container.

Refrigerate for at least 24 hours before using in one of the following recipes.

 

VARIATIONS ON A THEME – COOKIES EVERY WHICH WAY

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OATMEAL RAISIN

Yield – about 30 cookies – depending on size of portion

2     Cups – Basic cookie mix

3      Cups rolled oats –  Old-Fashioned are best but any type will work.

1/4   Cup  Dark brown sugar, firmly packed

1      Cup Raisins – or Sultanas (other dried fruits chopped can be substituted. Also candied ginger, coconut chips, dried banana chips, etc.)  Be creative!

1/2   teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2   teaspoon ground allspice

1 1/2  sticks softened butter

1     large egg

1     teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3     Tablespoons dark molasses

Combine all the dry ingredients – and the raisins – in a large bowl

Beat the softened butter with the egg, vanilla and molasses and add to the dry ingredient.

Stir until well blended.

Drop walnut-sized portions onto a baking sheet lined with parchment – leave about 1 1/2 inches between for cookies to spread.

Bake in a pre-heated oven (350° F.)  for 18 minutes.

Remove from oven, slide parchment onto a cooling rack.

 

LEMON SUGAR COOKIES

Yield, about 40 cookies.

3     Cups Basic cookie mix

1     Cup cake flour

1     Large egg (slightly beaten)

1     Tablespoon – Rounded – grated lemon zest

1     Tablespoon  lemon juice

1/2   cup granulated sugar for rolling cookie balls

Mix together  cookie mix, cake flour, egg, lemon zest and lemon juice in a large bowl until completely blended.

Turn out onto parchment paper or silicone kneading mat.

Divide into 4 portions.

Form into small rolls about 1 inch in diameter.

Wrap individually in plastic wrap and chill for at least two hours.

Pre-heat oven to 350° F.

Cut rolls into 1-inch pieces and roll between palms to form balls.

Roll balls in granulated sugar.

Arrange balls on baking sheet lined with parchment, flatten with bottom of a glass dipped in sugar.

Leave about 1 inch space between cookies.

Bake for 6 – 8 minutes  (If using convection oven, use shorter baking time)

Remove from oven, slide parchment onto cooling rack.

 

CRANBERRY & WHITE CHOCOLATE COOKIES

(I can’t ear regular chocolate – chocolate chips can be substituted)

VARIATION –  may add 1/2 cup chopped pecans or macadamia nuts  OR other dried fruits, chopped if larger than raisin size, coconut chips, etc.

2 1/2   Cups basic cookie mix

1/2   Cupcake flour

1     Tablespoon – heaping – grated orange zest

1     Large egg  beaten

2     Tablespoons water (or orange juice)

1     Cup dried cranberries

1     Cup while chocolate chunks or white chocolate chips

Variations – add if desired -

Extra granulated sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer bowl  mix together the  dry ingredients, toss with the cranberries and chocolate chunks and nuts if desired.

Add the egg, the liquid and mix until thoroughly blended.

Shape into balls about 1 1/2 inch in diameter (or larger if desired)

Rolls balls in granulated sugar.

Place on baking sheet lined with parchment, about 3 inches apart and flatten slightly so they don’t roll and to allow cookies to spread.

Bake for 15 minutes, cookies should be just slightly browed around the edges.

Remove from oven and slide parchment with cookies intake onto cooling rack.

 

PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES

VARIATION

P-NUT BUTTER COOKIES WITH TOFFEE BITS

Yield:  About 4 dozen cookies – depending on size.

2 1/2   Cups basic cookie mix

1     Cup cake flour

1     Cup creamy peanut butter

1     Large egg

(Variation)  1/2 cup Toffee bits

A little flour for use in finishing shape.

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a large mixing bowl (or stand mixer) place all ingredients and mix until well blended and mixture is texture of soft clay.

Scoop into portions – 1″ to 2″ in diameter – depending on size of finished cookies you want.

Roll into balls  and place about 2 inches apart on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Using a dinner fork dipped in flour, mash cookies flat in a criss-cross pattern OR use the bottom of a glass with an incised design – I use one with a “hobnail” design.

Bake in preheated oven for 12 – 15 minutes, depending on size of cookies – A convection oven will take less time.

The cookies should be only slightly browned at the edges.

Remove from oven and slide parchment with cookies intact onto cooling rack.

 

TRIPLE GINGER BISCUITS (TIP OF THE HAT TO ENGLAND)

Yield about 40 cookies

3     Cups Basic Cookie Mix

1     Cup cake flour

1     Tablespoon ground ginger

1     Tablespoon grated FRESH GINGER

1     Tablespoon  finely minced CANDIED OR CRYSTALLIZED GINGER (omit this if not on hand)

1     Teaspoon ALLSPICE

1     Large egg, slightly beaten

2     Tablespoons water

1/4  Cup molasses  or Lyle’s Golden Syrup if you have it on hand.  DO NOT USE HONEY

Granulated sugar for rolling cookie balls.

Mix all ingredients (except granulated sugar) in a large bowl until well blended. (if mixture seems too dry add another tablespoon of water.

Place in fridge and chill for an hour or so.

Pre-heat oven to 350°F.

Using a small scoop or two teaspoons, drop portions of dough into granulated sugar spread in a pie tin.

Roll into balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet, leave about 2 inches between for cookies to spread.

Bake for 15 minutes – cooked should barely show color at the edges – shorten time if using convection oven.Remove from oven and slide parchment with cookies intact onto cooling racks.  Cool completely and store in air-tight tin.

DO NOT STORE IN PLASTIC!

 

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July 9, 2014 Foolproof 2-ingredient cream biscuits.

This ONLY WORKS with a soft wheat flour.  All self-rising flours are made with soft wheat.   You can also find some “plain” soft wheat flours – White Lily is one but self-rising flour is marketed by Pillsbury, Gold Medal, King Arthur Flour (sold at Walmart too), and my favorite, Odlums, a product of Ireland sold online at Food Ireland.com.

This is a versatile recipe but the basic biscuits are virtually foolproof.  And there is no need to “cut butter or fat into the dry ingredients” as is called for in almost all biscuit recipes.  The heavy cream substitutes for the fat.

Self-Rising flour – – 2 cups      (also about 1/4 cup of regular flour for flouring the board)

Heavy cream – – 1 cup

Mix just till blended – turn out dough onto floured board

fold and knead 4 or 5 times.

Pat or roll out into half inch slab.   If you have a rolling pin, use it but not necessary.

Fold in half and press out or roll to 1/2 – 3/4 inch thick.

ALLOW TO REST FOR 5-10 MINUTES

Pre-heat oven to 400°F.

With a sharp biscuit cutter cut into rounds

OR with a sharp knife cut crossways into squares. (Can also use a pizza wheel)

Transfer to a baking pan with sides just barely touching.

BISCUITS 1

Bake for 12 minutes – turn pan back to front

Bake another 10 minutes or until biscuits are the color in

the second photo.

BISCUITS  2

They should split naturally – because of that “fold” before cutting.

BISCUITS  3

Serve hot or warm but these are also good cold.

Serve with plain butter and jam, compound butter with herbs or cream cheese with herbs, etc.

Option! Add a tablespoon or so of sugar to the dry ingredients, before adding the cream. This will give you a slightly sweet biscuit suitable for strawberry shortcake or other fruit applications.

Add the sugar plus raisins, currants, dried cranberries, etc., and cut with larger cutter  to make scones.

Scone photos:

scones currant 7:1:14

SCONES

scones currant 7:1:144

For a SAVORY biscuit you can add grated Parmesan cheese – you will need to add a bit more cream.  You can also add black pepper or cayenne to use the biscuits as a base for canapes, etc.

These are small “cocktail biscuits”  cut with a 1 1/2 inch cutter  (standard is 3 inches)

Cocktail biscuits1

Cocktail biscuits3

These also are rolled or patted out and folded and rolled before cutting so they split naturally.

Cocktail biscuits4

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Copper KA now on ebay

The copper mixer is now on ebay – item # 181461398018.
As the last one I saw sold for 836.00 I think I have priced this one competitively.

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July 8, 2014 Preparing for Ebay – 1955 Copper Kitchenaid 3C

The Model K 3 C was in production from 1950 to 1962 when the Model K-45 was introduced.

In 1955 Kitchenaid began producing the 3 C in colors and also in chrome finish and copper.  The latter was shipped with a lacquer coating to preserve the finish but industrious homemakers used abrasive cleaners a bit too vigorously and many of these machines, including this one, have had mild to moderate damage to the finish, especially on areas where the material being processed might be deposited.   I have seen three, besides this one, and all have evidence of damage to the finish.

Still, in spite of the less than perfect appearance of the finish, this is an attractive mixer and as it is fairly rare, should be interesting to serious collectors.

KitchenAid 3 C COPPER1

KitchenAid 3 C COPPER4

KitchenAid 3 C COPPER3

 

KitchenAid 3 C COPPER12

 

KitchenAid 3 C COPPER5

 

KitchenAid 3 C COPPER8

 

KitchenAid 3 C COPPER6

 

KitchenAid 3 C COPPER9

 

KitchenAid 3 C COPPER13

 

KitchenAid 3 C COPPER2

The following photos shows the area where there is most damage to the copper finish, virtually worn away, obviously from using abrasive cleaners.

Other areas on the body of the mixer exhibit fine scratches and some scuffing around areas of greatest exposure.

KitchenAid 3 C COPPER19

 

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July 1, 2014 – Glass Teapots

Here are some glass teapots.
Glass teapots are perfect for brewing the “presentation” or blooming teas that are constructed so they open like a flower when hot water is poured into the teapot.

The ribbed teapot is “vintage” from the 1950s. It is unmarked but had a Pyrex handle. It has a built-in infuser that can be lowered and raised and a device on the lid that catches the chain to hold it out of the water. Very clever idea.

The others are all newer – I just broke the lid on one as I was taking it off the shelf – tipped it a bit too far and the lid popped out. I can’t find the infusers for two of them – they are somewhere but right now I have no idea where.

The one with the box, the Grosche is a cute shape but the design is iffy. The top of the lid gets extremely hot after the tea is steeped so that one has to use a hot pad to hold the lid while pouring the tea so it won’t fall out. The glass infuser also has to be handled carefully because it also stays very hot.
The bowl-type Bodum has a plastic bowl-shaped infuser (ideal for loose full leaf teas that need a lot of room to unfurl) and the “handle” of the infuser basket doesn’t get all that hot, probably because the plastic insulates it.
The large straight-sided teapot has a plastic infuser that hangs from the outer lid and can be lifted out by holding that lid.

There are many other designs available in glass teapots, both traditional shapes and sizes.
Adagio Tea has a couple of interesting shapes, one with a warmer stand which is quite pretty.
Republic of Tea also has several lovely glass teapots, including the “bowl” teapot which they have as Earl Grey Teapot and infuser.
They also carry the Assam teapots which work like a French press but only the medium and small sizes.

Teavana offers several shapes and sizes of glass teapots.

A wide selection of glass teapots is available at Teavivre!  And they have a glass teapot with 12 Blooming/Flowering teas  Description HERE.

Amazon of course offers several pages of glass teapots, all different shapes and sizes, some individual, most medium and a few quite large, including a 1 and 1/2 liter tea kettle/teapot with infuser “egg” by Menu.

One inexpensive French press coffee/tea maker – large “Basel” by Grosche should come with a caveat.  It should not be cleaned in the dishwasher.  The plastic “cage” that holds the glass carafe became brittle and cracked after three times in the dishwasher.  And I found it impossible to remove the glass from the cage.  It was only 12.99 (now 13.99) when I purchased it.  I tossed the cage and the lid/press and kept the beaker for awhile but it cracked so it too was tossed.

Amazon also has the Yama Glass “Sitka” teapot which I think is very attractive and is ideal for loose “full leaf” tea that requires room to unfurl.  The strainer is above the liquid and keeps the leaves from pouring into the cup or mug.   I’m considering adding this one to my collection because it is different.

I have two of the Assam teapots with glass handles, one large – 51 oz, available at Amazon, and one medium, 34 oz.

Vintage ribbed glass Vintage ribbed glass3 Vintage ribbed glass1 Vintage ribbed glass2

 

 

Grosche Grosche1 Grosche4 Grosche5 Grosche6 Grosche8 Grosche7

 

 

 

 

 

Bodum bowl Bodum bowl1 Bodum bowl2 Bodum bowl3

 

 

 

straight infuser straight infuser1 straight infuser2 straight infuser3

 

Large glass teapot Large glass teapot1

 

broken top broken top2

 

 

 

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June 18, 2014 Adding more teapots. Metal TEAPOTS

The various type of materials that have been used to produce teapots is staggering.  Ceramics of all types from crude, heavy pottery to stoneware,  porcelain both hard paste and soft paste, faience and bone china and the extremely tough vitrified china, glass, even wood and bamboo, and now we come to metals.
These include:
Stainless steel, including one that is cute to look at but POORLY designed. The last two photos. The teapot is heavy and the handle is totally inadequate, is difficult to hold level with the teapot EMPTY, impossible to hold with one hand with it full. Must have been designed by someone who never before held a full teapot. That particular style of squatty teapot requires a taller handle and best would be one over the top. The pewter teapot had a top handle and is easy to use and it too is quite heavy.
Enameled steel – early “graniteware” and late the more sophisticated “modern” designs.
Cast iron, a small Japanese Tetsubin – I have three or four more but have yet to find where I “hid” them.  Also enameled cast iron from various countries – popular in Scandinavia.
Aluminum – popular in the UK and less so in the US. Interesting designs often based on silver and silverplate designs from the 19th century.
Pewter – the one pictured was made in Italy – I believe in the 1980s.
Silver plate – I have one that is not in great condition but still looks pretty good for its age (1880s).
There are others, brass, bronze, various alloys
HPIM6645
And FIRST, the jewel of my collection, the Gorham Copper teapot with rosewood burl handle. 1881.
Dinged up with allover evidence of use but still attractive. It survived the ’94 earthquake but got at least one tiny dent. The stand which supported it above a little copper “spirit lamp” that burnt alcohol was totally crushed and mangled as it fell out of the bookcase and landed right under the vertical support. The teapot bounced away from the crash site on the carpet.
For years after I inherited the teapot, I did not know it was by Gorham nor that it was so old. The bottom was covered in black, burnt-on crud, from being placed over a flame for many, many decades. Only after I cleaned some of the black stuff off, did I find the Gorham mark, name and the “N” date mark for 1881. I would love to show it on Antiques Roadshow. Gorham produced a lot of silver and silver plate teapots but not many copper.
Gorham #1
Gorham 3
Gorham15
Gorham14
copper bottom closeup
Pewter, Made in Italy.  This teapot has the perforations between the body of the teapot and the spout – another with built-in strainer.
HPIM6656

HPIM6657

HPIM6658

 

 

Aluminum – English made.  Sona Ware  2 Cup with perforations between the body of the pot and the spout – a built-in strainer.

HPIM6666

HPIM6665

HPIM6667

Another aluminum teapot, also Made in England.  SWAN Empire teapot with perforations between body and spout – another with built-in strainer.

HPIM6662HPIM6663

HPIM6664

This little cast iron teapot is a Japanese Tetsubin.  It holds just 1 cup (8 ounces) and is designed for Japanese green teas.  It has a stainless steel mesh infuser basket.

HPIM6659

 

Very modern stainless steel – an “Aladdin” type design.  I originally had two of these but sold one on ebay a few months ago.  It is well designed and easy to hold and pour with one hand.

HPIM6668

 

And this is the one that is so poorly designed that it is virtually impossible to use.  Even empty it requires two hands to hold it level because the handle is placed wrong.  Obviously not designed by a tea drinker…

HPIM6661HPIM6660

 

 

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June 9, 2014 – Adding some more photos to the “Teapots” page.

Some of these teapots have been packed away for nearly fifteen years and a few even longer.  Most are “vintage” and a few are newer.

A Sadler teapot with typical Art Deco design popular in the 1930s.

Sadler Art Deco

 

A Sadler  “Chintz” decorated teapot from England.Sadler Chintz 1

Sadler Chintz 2

 

TUSCAN – Fine Bone China, Made in England

TUSCAN:England

 

Two Japanese “Redware” teapots, different shapes and styles.  These were very popular in the late 1940s and throughout the 1950s. Sold at Woolworth’s and other “Five and Dime” stores.

Japan redware::

Japan redware::2

Japan teapot:red

Japan teapot:red1

Old Country Roses by Royal Albert – this 1998 teapot made in Indonesia.

Old Country Roses

 

A teapot with the “Cattail” pattern made by Universal Potteries

Cattail

 

A Hall China teapot made for the Lipton Tea company – often given as “premiums” for purchase of several boxes of tea.

Hall Lipton

Elgreave

HPIM6569

 

A Chinese red  Hall China Sani-Grid teapot.

Hall red sani-grid

HPIM6571

HPIM6573

A Forman Family teapot with metal “cozy” teapot made by Hall China.  The ceramic finial indicates an early piece, the later ones had metal finials.  This one purchased new in 1940.

Hall:Forman

A small single serve teapot by Hall China for their “institutional” line – restaurant ware.

Hall Tea instutional:restaurant

A Hall China  Philadelphia teapot.

Hall Philadelphia

A Shenango teapot in the “Castle” pattern unusual teal color.

Shenango castle

A silverplate teapot made by E. G. Webster & Bro., late 19th century – a true antique. Needs polishing.  Has a couple of dents.

silplate tpot E.G.Webster&bro1

A Sadler English teapot decorated with teapots!Teapot with teapots

A very small Redware teapot, no marks.Little redware unmarked

A Sadler English Teapot, teal and gold.Sadler Teal:gold

A Hall China “Murphy” teapot, in light blue, the most common color.Hall MURPHY

A fake “blue flo” – Blue Willow style teapot, rather crudely made and with fake “Victoria Ironstone” marks.

Fake blue ironstone1

 

Shawnee Teapot.  Made in USA.

Shawnee teapot 1

 

And lastly, another Sadler, this one the “Sad Sadler” with it’s handle broken.  A lovely teapot that survived for decades only to suffer a major injury now.  Pretty Blue Willow decoration.

Sad Sadler1

 

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June 5, 2014 Added today: my recipe for MUSTARD – Home made, Easier than you might believe.

Here is the link to the page with my Master Mustard recipe.

I have been meaning to add this to the list of recipes for some time but I had managed to “lose” some of the photos.

This might look complicated to begin with but since it is done in several steps that can be spread out over a few days, it is really not that difficult.  And people are always impressed when they learn you have made your own mustard from scratch.

Next post will be about home made mayonnaise both plain and the garlic version so popular in France.

 

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ENORMOUS Staub cast iron French Oven (Oval)

This is a WEIGHTY and very LARGE  oval “French” oven or “Cocotte” (a “Dutch” oven is round)  that I bought quite a few years ago when I was still preparing game for some hunters I knew (their wives wanted nothing to do with learning to cook game.)   And I would prepare the roast or haunch or “saddle” of venison or elk or a “leg” of boar (like an extra-large ham) because this would hold it and smaller roasting pans would not.  (I also had a couple of large Magnalite roasters but they have high domed covers and some of the ovens these folks had were not tall enough inside to hold the taller roaster.)

Apparently this 12.5 quart oval vessel is no longer being marketed by Staub in the U.S. because it does not appear on the official Staub web site.  I found French sites that I think offer it, but as I do not read French and did not want to go through the translation process, I am guessing.   It was costly when I got it but I certainly enjoyed using it.

It weighs almost 30 pounds EMPTY (with the lid) and I have difficulty lifting it as it is and certainly would be unable to pick it up and move it with anything in it.

It does an amazing job on BRAISING tough meats that have to be cooked long and low to achieve the tenderness that only this cooking process can achieve (and is essential with most large game animals).  There are “drip spikes” on the underside of the lid so that condensed liquids will be distributed evenly over the entire interior and the lid fits snugly into the oven so there is little loss of moisture over the extended cooking time.   It can also be used on the stove top – over two burners – for an extra large soup or chili pot.

The material of which it is made is practically indestructible.  It will crack or break if dropped on a cement floor or struck with a sledge hammer, but otherwise, it is a tough piece of iron and it is coated so it will not rust and DOES NOT REQUIRE SEASONING.  It’s not truly enameled – except on the outer bottom – it has a tough ceramic coating that is similar to interior surfaces in glass kilns where it is important to avoid any flaking of the kiln material onto the glass being fired.  And, it can go into the freezer, with a prepared roast to keep it chilled for transport and then into the oven – I advise a cold oven to start, then set the heat and time.   This is far superior to the LeCreuset and other enameled cast iron that does stain when cooking certain foods and may craze and chip over time with resulting rust spots.  The lid handle is safe to 500°F. in the oven but can be removed if it is to be used in a hotter oven – a friend who has a smaller one uses it in his wood-fired pizza oven for baking huge loaves of artisan bread.

I’m going to put it in an ebay auction, as soon as I can figure out how to package it securely (needs a heavy duty box) and the shipping is going to be expensive.  Meanwhile, I’m admiring it because it is a handsome piece of cookware.

It’s 19 3/8″ overall length, including the handles. The body is 16″ x 11 5/8″ and height with the lid is 7 1/2″.

STAUB oval oven5

STAUB oval oven6

STAUB oval oven4

STAUB oval oven

STAUB oval oven3

STAUB oval oven2

STAUB oval oven1

 

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May 20, 2014 More “Heavy Metal” Cast iron, that is…

I have more cast iron but am posting photos of this one PLATED skillet because it is an illustration of how the manufacturer wished to appeal to people who wanted something more esthetically appealing on a visual basis.

This one is fairly early, I am not quite sure of the exact date but the slant Griswold trademark and the rim on the bottom indicate the range of years.

GR.Erie Plated 8 SLANT1 GR.Erie Plated 8 SLANT

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