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Monday, January 29, 2007

Mexican Pecan Candy

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup pecans (or more, to taste)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup browned sugar
Cook all ingredients (except the browned sugar); it is necessary to cook the pecans with the sugar and milk to get that flavor found in Mexican pecan candy.For the browned sugar, melt a cup of sugar in a skillet until it is a light brown.Remove the first mixture from the burner and add the browned sugar, stirring constantly. Place back on burner and cook until it forms a soft ball, 234 degrees F. on a candy thermometer.Remove from burner; place pan in a pan of cold water and beat until creamy. Then drop by spoonfuls on waxed paper

New Orleans Pralines

  • 1 pound box dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2-3 cups pecan halves
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

    In a saucepan, cook the sugars, salt, and milk until a candy thermometer registers 238 degrees F. or the mixture reaches the soft ball stage. Add the pecans and bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Remove the mixture from the heat and add the butter and vanilla. Let the mixture cool in the saucepan for 20 minutes. Spread newspapers on a table or countertop and cover the newspapers with wax paper. Beat the mixture slightly, just until glossy ((30 to 45 seconds at the most. Drop by spoonfuls on the wax paper. Let the candy cool on the paper for 15 to 20 minutes. Lift the pralines gently from the wax paper and wrap them individually in wax paper or plastic wrap. Store the pralines in an airtight container. Makes 20-30 (2 Inch) pralines

Sunday, January 21, 2007


  • 2 packages dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 or 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • melted butter, for topping
  • 1 recipe creamy peach, prune, or poppy seed filling (see below)

In a small bowl combine the yeast with the lukewarm water. Set the bowl aside.

In a large bowl cream together the butter, shortening, and 1/4 cup sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Mix in the egg yolks, milk, and salt, combining well. Stir in the dissolved yeast and the flour and mix until the ingredients are thoroughly blended into a soft dough. Cover the dough with a towel and set the dough aside to rise to about double in size, approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

While the dough rises, choose and prepare one of the three fillings. The recipes for the fillings follow these instructions.

Grease a baking sheet. Pinch off pieces of dough about one-and-a-half times the size of a golf ball, flatten the balls slightly, and transfer them to the baking sheet. Place the balls at least 1 inch apart and brush them liberally with the melted butter. Set them aside to double in size again, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

With your thumb, gently indent the top of the dough to the depth of about 1/2 inch. Make the holes deeper for the poppy seed or creamy peach filling. Spoon in a couple of teaspoons of filling, and, with the poppy seed or creamy peach versions, coax the dough over the filling. Let the kolaches rest again for 15 to 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Bake the kolaches for 10 to 12 minutes, until they are golden brown. Remove the pan from the oven, immediately brush the kolaches with more butter, and sprinkle them with the remaining sugar. Transfer them to a rack and let them cool.
The kolaches should be tender, somewhat like a light buttery Danish. They're best eaten the day they're made. Makes 3 dozen kolaches.

Creamy Peach Filling
2 cups small-curd cottage cheese, drained in a sieve or cheesecloth for 30 to 45 minutes
1/2 cup peach butter (you may use cherry butter if you prefer)
1 egg
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Squeeze any accumulated liquid from the cheese. Mix the cheese with the remaining ingredients.

Prune Filling
1 pound dried prunes
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Put the prunes in a saucepan and cover them with water. Add the vanilla and simmer until the prunes have softened, about 15 minutes. Drain and pit the prunes and chop them in a food processor with the sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Or chop the prunes by hand and then add the sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest.

Poppy seed Filling
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups poppy seeds
3/4 cup whole milk
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
Stir together the sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Set the bowl aside.
Grind the poppy seeds in a blender with about half the milk. Place the poppy seed mixture and the remaining milk in a large, heavy saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and stir in the reserved sugar-and-cornstarch mixture and the almond extract. Simmer, stirring often, until very thick, a matter of a few minutes.

Techniques and Tips
Some kolache recipes call for proofing the yeast in milk, but the fat in milk can actually hinder the yeast's development. It's best to proof the yeast in water first and then to add milk later for tenderness.
You can make kolaches with sausage or almost any type of cooked fruit filling. Don't use jelly, though, because it's too runny. The fruit needs to be cooked to fruit-butter consistency.
Make the center depressions carefully so the bread doesn't go flat.
Cover cheese-based fillings, like the creamy peach, and poppy seed fillings totally with dough. Stiffer fillings like prune can peek out the top.
Don't skimp on the amount of butter brushed on the dough.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Sausage Kolaches

  • 2 pkg. yeast
  • 1 cup mashed potatoes
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup potato water
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2/3 cup oil
  • 2/3 cups milk
  • 7-8 cups flour
  • butter, melted for brushing on top

Dissolve yeast in 1 cup water, potato water. Add sugar, salt, potatoes and eggs; mix well. Add milk and oil, mixing after each addition. Add flour, mixing dough well. Refrigerator for 4 hours or more.
Roll in small circles. Wrap around sausage. Let rise 20 minutes. Brush with butter. Bake at 375 degrees F. until brown. Brush with butter again.

Ham and Cheese Kolaches

  • 3 to 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 envelope yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 egg, large

    Ham and Cheese Filling
  • 1 cup diced ham
  • 1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard.

    Egg Glaze
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon water

    In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, cheese, sugar, undissolved yeast, and salt. Heat water and butter until very warm (120 to 130 degrees F). Gradually add to flour mixture. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Add egg and 1 cup flour; beat 2 minutes at high speed. Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cover; let rest 10 minutes.

    Divide dough into 16 equal pieces; shape each into a ball. Cover; let rest 15 minutes. Place balls on greased baking sheets 2 inches apart. Make a deep and wide indentation on each ball by pushing outward toward edge, leaving 1/2-inch ridge around outside. Fill with Ham and Cheese Filling. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Brush surface of dough with Egg Glaze.

    Bake at 375oF for 15 minutes or until done. Remove from sheets; serve warm. Refrigerate leftovers.

    Ham and Cheese Filling: Combine filling ingredients and refrigerate until ready to use.

    Egg Glaze: In a small bowl, combine 1 egg white and 1 tablespoon water. Beat lightly to blend.

Palm Beach Brownies

  • 8 ounce unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons powdered instant expresso
  • 3 ¾ cups sugar
  • 1 ⅔ cups unbleached flour, sifted

Adjust an oven rack one-third up from the bottom and preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a 9x11x2-inch pan with foil. Brush well with melted butter. Melt the chocolate and butter in the top of a large double boiler over hot water on moderate heat or in a small, heavy saucepan on low heat, stirring occasionally. When combined, remove from heat and set aside. Break the walnuts into pieces if necessary, trying to keep them fairly large. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs with the vanilla and almond extracts, salt, expresso and sugar at high speed for 10 minutes. On low speed, add the chocolate mixture and beat only until mixed.Add flour; beat just until blended. Stir in nuts. Spread in prepared pan; smooth top.

Bake for 35 minutes, reversing the pan from front to back once to insure even baking. At the end of 35 minutes, the cake will have a firm crust, but when tested with a toothpick will appear underbaked. Do not be concerned, it is done. Remove the pan from the oven and let stand until cool. Invert the brownies onto a cookie sheet and remove the foil. Cover with length of waxed paper and another cookie sheet, invert again. This cake MUST be covered and refrigerated for a few hours or overnight before it is cut into bars.
Makes 32 JUMBO brownies.
Recipe By : Maida Heatter (3-22-1996)