When I worked at a bakery this was one of my favorite cookies though this is not their recipe. Luckily, at this bakery,  I could eat all I wanted and didn’t have to pay for the indulgence. Where this particular recipe comes from is a complete mystery since I’ve been making it for over 15 years.  It’s probably been modified many times and I now guiltily claim it as mine.  It’s a fun Holiday treat and packages well for gift baskets.  I couldn’t resist posting this recipe so early since I’m going to a Christmas in July party next month.  If I can find dates, which may be impossible, then this will be my contribution to the desert table.  This is a rich buttery recipe with lots of chopped dates and nuts.

Ingredients

10 Ounces Dates; pitted and chopped 2 large eggs
1 cup sugar 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 cup hot water 3 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 cup Pecans; finely chopped, or walnuts 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup soft butter 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

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Preparation

Combine dates, sugar, and water in a medium saucepan; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, about 6 to 8 minutes or until mixture thickens. Remove from heat; stir in chopped walnuts. Let cool completely.

Cream butter in a large mixing bowl; gradually add brown sugar, beating well. Add eggs; beat well. Stir in vanilla.

Combine flour, soda, cream of tartar, and salt in a medium mixing bowl; add to creamed mixture, stirring well.

Divide dough into thirds. Roll each portion into a thin 12 – 15 inch square on separate sheets of parchment. To roll thin and avoid sticking, cover dough with a second sheet of parchment; press out dough to form a square shape and finish with rolling-pin over top of second sheet of parchment. Carefully, peel top piece of parchment away from dough; thinly spread the squared dough with one-third of reserved date mixture.

lifting up the edge of the lower parchment, gently peel of the long edge of the dough and roll up jelly roll fashion. Use a pastry knife to slide and roll the dough if necessary. You can use the lower piece of parchment to continue to form the jelly roll shape so as not to tear the dough. Use the same procedure with the remaining two portions of dough.

As formed, wrap each roll in the parchment, and chill overnight. If time is short, you can freeze the dough for a few hours to rapid chill. Remove parchment paper. Cut into 1/4-inch slices, and place 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheet or cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until cookie browns slightly around edges. If cookies do not brown, may need to increase oven temperature or increase butter next time made.

Prepare dough and chill overnight. Store baked cookies in airtight containers.

If you like the recipe from KCinAZ, then give me a like or comment on this post. 😀  I’ll try to give you more fun recipes.

A favorite at many restaurants, the twice baked potato is easier that it appears to make.  You just need to allow the right amount of time for them to be perfect.  Made for Memorial Day Weekend for a good-sized group of friends.  If you have vegetarian friends, just set aside enough potato mix before adding the bacon and everyone will be happy.

Ingredients
8  Large russet potatoes
8  strips cooked bacon  cut into slivers with scissors
16  ounces sour cream
1  cube butter
Salt and pepper to taste
1  cup shredded Mexican three blend cheese

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Notice the two vegetarian potatoes in the center that do not have bacon on the top.  These potatoes were gigantic huge russets from Costco and took almost 2 hours to cook.  They were probably double the typical size of a standard russet.  If you have smaller potatoes then you will need more potatoes than 8 to go with the other ingredients or you may not need as much butter, cheese or sour cream.

Preparation

Wash and then oil with olive oil each potato.  Then generously sprinkle each potato outside with sea salt.

Bake at 375 until can pierce easily with fork.  Time approx. 1.5-2 hours depending on elevation and size of potatoes.  These potatoes were so big that it took 2 hours until potato felt soft on inside when squeezed lightly.  Allow to cool for 20-30 minutes or until you can handle to touch.

Cut each potato in half with sharp knife.  Scoop out potato inside into large bowl leaving a small amount of potato in the skin.

Reserve the best 8 potato skins to be filled.

Using two knifes, cut  potatoes in the bowl into fluffy bits with like you we’re working with pastry.  Add remaining ingredients a little at a time mixing gently as you go until you reach the right texture of filling.  If you add too much butter or sour cream the potatoes may end up mushy.  (reserving a little cheese and bacon for garnish).

Mix with large spoon until blended but do not over mix.

Fill each potato skin to the top and then heap over top with any remaining potato  mixture so that each potato has about the same amount of filling.  Place filled potatoes onto foil lined cookie sheet; skin side down potato filling up.

Garnish with extra cheese and bacon and could also shake a little paprika on top for extra coloring.

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Optional: chives in filling and parsley for garnish.

Cook in 325 oven for 30 min in middle if oven until cheese is fully melted and potato is completely heated through.

If you want the top browned then broil on high at top of oven for 2-3 minutes.

Turkey stuffing for those of us who used to hate stuffing.  I started making this dressing many years ago and it’s always been a hit.  Can be prepared the day before and then baked with Turkey the next day.   For a vegetarian version use Knorrs vegetable cubes prepared in water to replace chicken broth.

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Rice Mixture:

1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup mild onions; chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup celery; chopped into small pieces
1 cup Basamati rice
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
1 pinch saffron; optional
1 teaspoon ground sea salt; or to taste
1/2 teaspoon Cavendars Greek Spice; or substitute poultry seasoning 

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Bread Mixture:
1 pound bread stuffing; cubes/seasoned
1/2 cup mushrooms; canned/drained & chopped into small pieces
2 small granny smith apples; chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 cup pecans; chopped, can substitute slivered almonds
2 cups chicken broth; substitute Knorrs Vegetable cubes in water for Vegetarian

Preparation

1.  In a very large skillet, saute onions and celery in butter over low heat.  Add rice and continue to saute for 2-3 minutes until onions and celery are slightly tender.  Add chicken broth, salt and Cavendars Spice. .  Bring to a boil.  Cover pan tightly, lower heat to maintain slow boil, and continue to cook 15 minutes (rice will not be fully cooked).  Rice will be soft and of a thick soup consistency.

2.  Remove rice mixture from heat and mix in bread croutons, canned mushrooms, apples and pecans.  If your pan is not large enough then combine rice and bread mixture in a mixing bowl large enough to handle all the ingredients.

3.  With a large spoon, mix bread and rice together along with other ingredients until well blended.  I like my stuffing to be of a slightly dry texture prior to adding to the bird. After combining all the ingredients, I then slowly add more chicken broth and continue to turn the stuffing until I reach my desired consistency which is loose and slightly moist.  If you like your stuffing more on the dry side, then leave the texture loose and slightly moist.  If you like your stuffing soft and thoroughly moist, like bread pudding, then continue to add broth until the bread and rice begin to pack together into a slightly tight and soft consistency.

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(If prepared the day before: place 1/2 of dressing in a one gallon bag and the remaining in a baking dish.  Refridgerate until following day.)

4. Fill the cavity of a medium sized turkey or large roasting chicken with lightly packed dressing and allow to overfill a little.   Fill the breast pocket if the turkey with more dressing as well and make sure to tuck and secure the skin with a metal or wooden skewer.  When you begin to brown the bird, cover the dressing with foil so that it will not burn, but is brown and slightly crunchy on top. Bake according to Turkey Recipe instructions.

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5.  Place any remaining stuffing in a covered clay baking crock or fancy baking dish if for a holiday.  Cover and refrigerate baking dish until the final hour before dinner then bake in 350 oven for 1 hour.

6.  Remove the cover from the baking crock for the last 15 minutes of cooking so that it can crisp a little on the top.

7.  Serve hot in baking dish.

For the love of Lamb this is one of the best ways to introduce someone to a Lamb dish. I served this lamb for a Holiday Dinner party; doubled the recipe and it was perfect for 8 people.

Some of my best friends, Scott & Pam, Barry & Gina along with my hubby Gus, of course, enjoyed and savored the meal.  Scott made his famous Port Mushroom Gravy Sauce that complimented the lamb wonderfully.  I’ve tried to get the recipe from him but he only has it in his head and says it always turn out different each time.  The dinner was also served with roasted potatoes along with sauteed fresh green beans with almond slivers.

If serving for 4 people, just stay with the recipe as is. There should be 4 individual chops per person.

Ingredients

2 racks of lamb; about 3 lb. total, Frenched 2  Tbs. Parsley chopped
1  teaspoon Kosher Salt; plus to taste 1  Tbs. fresh thyme chopped
1/2 teaspoon Fresh Ground Pepper; ground pepper 2  Tbs. Dijon mustard Optional
1  cup Croutons; garlic & olive oil seasoned , crushed

Preparation

Place a roasting rack in a large roasting pan and set the lamb racks on top. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F.

1.  Using a sharp paring knife, remove as much of the coating from the individual bones so that they do not discolor during cooking.  This step is not necessary for the ultimate taste, but only for the ultimate look of the lamb.

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2.  Remove as much excess fat as your desire. I cut off all the fat that I can because I think it helps to keep the lamb final flavor a little more on the milder side and less greasy. Make sure to remove as much fat as possible to take the edge off the taste of the lamb.

3.  Season the lamb generously with salt and pepper. If the time of year permits or if you have an indoor grill, sear lamb over high heat to add heat scoring and to seal the juices in the meat.

4.  Place the racks, fat side up, on a roasting rack, with the bones facing outward and the loins towards the center of the pan.  See the pictures for clarification.  Cover the lamb bones with foil to keep them from browning to much.  If you like dijon mustard, then you can evenly spread 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard over each lamb loin prior to adding the crouton crumbs.

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5.  In a small bowl, stir together the crushed croutons, parsley, thyme, the 1 tsp. salt and the 1/2 tsp. pepper. Spread the mixture evenly over the loins of each rack, pressing gently to form a loose crust.  (I use Fresh Gourmet Roasted Garlic Croutons — one of my favorites and there is enough garlic and olive oil in the crumbs at the bottom of the bag to do 1/2 a recipe.  If I don’t have these croutons on hand then I would substitute plain croutons or a coarse bread crumb then add 2 minced garlic cloves and 3 tablespoons olive oil to the crouton mixture.)

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6.  Transfer to the oven and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat, away from the bone, registers 125 Degrees F for rare, 35 to 40 minutes.  They will continue to cook a little more as they rest.  (When planning for a dinner party, place lamb in oven as the last guest arrives to ensure that it doesn”t over cook.

7.  Transfer the lamb racks to a cutting board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for about 10 minutes. Cut the racks into chops, transfer to individual plates.   Serve immediately.

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Cuisine:French    Main Ingredient: Lamb

Just a few days ago, I made my favorite Banana Bread recipe and usually it’s a special treat full of goodness and loaded with nuts. Not this time. Oh, there were plenty of nuts (including the cook) but the final baked bread was not what I expected. Only word to describe is “horrible”!! A word to the wise baker. When mixing the final batter for sweet breads DO NOT over mix. I was having so much fun mixing the batter that I over mixed the heck out of it. My thinking was oh, this is going to be so much better because I spent more time and energy mixing. Do not repeat my mistake or the loaves will not rise. The 4 mini loaves ended up 1/2 the normal fullness and were overly dense.   They turned out like over baked hockey pucks. Gus said it tasted good, but normally our mini loaves are gone in 2 to 3 days.  However this time there are still 2 1/2 loaves left. Guess I will just have to take them outside for the birds. Hope the birds like them better than we did.

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This is what it should look like when cooked right. Full rise and browned. Yummy!
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This is how it turned out by overmixing! Flat, dense and not really browned. Yucky!!

Fresh oranges in the relish pair to make a savory accompaniment to rich salmon fillets. Serve the citrus relish with any kind of fish, or with shrimp or scallops.  The oranges were picked fresh from my tree yesterday and after peeling half the basket I’d seen enough orange peel to last a lifetime.  Then it came to mind, lets just peel a couple more choice oranges and make my Citrus Baked Salmon with Orange Relish.  My only mistake with this thought that the recipe is for four servings and there were only two servings of salmon to prepare.  After putting all of the spice rub on the salmon it came to mind that this looked like a little overkill.  After taking the fish from the oven it was obvious that there was too much spice rub.  A good portion of the rub was scraped off and the fish was then edible.  Too much Paprika had made it over powering.  So with that said, it is suggested to make sure to watch your portions and to always add spice rub according to the amount of meat spice.  The pictures that have been added are from when the recipe was originally made and posted on BigOven.com

Ingredients

Marinade: Orange Relish:
1/4 cup Orange juice    2 oranges seedless
2  tablespoons Olive oil 1/2 teaspoon Orange zest fresh
1  teaspoon Dried thyme 1 tablespoon Honey
4 Salmon filets; about 1 pound 1/2 teaspoon Onion powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt 1/4 teaspoon Salt
Spice Rub: 1 tablespoon Fresh Italian parsley chopped
3/4 teaspoon Paprika 1/2 teaspoon Ginger ground
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoons Dried thyme
Salt & Pepper Fillets Prior to baking

Preparation

MARINATE:

Mix orange juice, oil and 1 teaspoon of the thyme in small bowl. Place salmon in large resealable plastic bag or glass dish. Add marinade; turn to coat well. Refrigerate 30 minutes or longer for extra flavor.

BAKE:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix brown sugar, paprika, 1/2 teaspoon thyme and salt in small bowl. Remove salmon from marinade. Discard any remaining marinade. Rub salmon evenly with paprika mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place salmon on foil-lined baking pan.  Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.  Or, grill salmon over medium-high heat 6 to 8 minutes per side or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

RELISH:

Peel orange, section and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Mix all ingredients in medium bowl. Cover. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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If you like this recipe from KCinAZ, then give me a like or comment on this post. 😀 I’ll try to give you more fun recipes.

Will be making one of our favorite treats for when there are left over banana’s going a little over ripe.  Here’s are some pictures of the yummy treats right out of the oven.  Making four mini loaves this weekend.

This banana bread is loaded with walnuts and has a crusty edge just like the tops of those banana nut muffins we all love.  It’s like just eating the top off a muffin with every slice.   Prepare individual slices and spread with softened butter.  I prefer the four mini loaf version over one loaf.

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Ingredients

2  cups Unbleached flour 1/3 cup Butter
1  cup Sugar 1/3 cup Shortening
3/4 teaspoon Salt 2  extra large Eggs
1/2 teaspoon Baking soda 3  tablespoon Half-and-half cream as needed
3 Bananas 1  cup Walnuts chopped
1  teaspoon Vanilla extract

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease bottom and up the sides a bit of 1 large non-stick loaf pan; 9″ x 5″ x 2.5″ or 4 non-stick mini-loaf pans.  Lightly coat with flour on the bottom to prevent sticking if pans are not non-stick.

Mix sugar, flour, baking soda and salt in medium size mixing bowl with whisk.   Add shortening, eggs, bananas, and vanilla to the dry ingredients.   Cut the shortening, softnened butter, eggs, banana mixture into the dry mix with double pastry knifes or kitchen knifes then finish mixing with large mixing spoon. Add half-and-half until batter is still somewhat thickened.  Batter may seem to be too thick but it will mix in.  Fold in 3/4 cups of the walnuts and retain around 1/4 cup to top the baking loaf.  Do not overmix.

Spoon batter into the baking pan, or 4 mini loaves and spread to flatten to edges of pan.  Top with remaining walnuts.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 60-75 minutes for large loaf pan.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 45-55 minutes for mini-loaf pans.  Start checking at the lowest bake time and continue cooking until fully cooked.

Place in the middle of the oven for even baking.  Test with toothpick or wooden skewer until it comes out clean, but do not overcook.  If loaf is browned and beginning to split, it may appear to be done,  Don’t be fooled.  Check with “long” toothpick or wooden skewer.  If the toothpick is not coming out clean from the center then cover with a little foil so as not to over brown the top while the center finishes cooking.

If you like this recipe from KCinAZ, then give me a like or comment on this post. 😀 I’ll try to give you more fun recipes.