Friday, October 3, 2014

Peanut Butter Cookies

This is my mom’s recipe.  It’s the one I’ve always used.  I’ve tried others before but they just don’t compare to this one.  It has the right amount of peanut buttery taste, sweetness, and softness (or crispness if you bake a bit longer).  You can barely bake (for soft cookies) or bake a little longer (for crunchy cookies).  My husband and I like soft; our girls like crisp (for dipping in milk!).  Since I get distracted easily and don’t always remove them early for the soft ones, I usually end up with some soft and some crisp.

1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
3 cups flour (you can use 2 for richer cookies but I prefer 3 for the texture)
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt

Stir together flour, baking soda, and salt.  In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and peanut butter.  Add the sugars and blend well.  Mix in vanilla and eggs.  Add the flour mixture and stir until combined.
Place balls of dough on an ungreased cookie sheet (I use a cookie scoop, but you can just make small balls; about the size of a walnut or smaller).  Flatten with a fork dipped in white sugar to make a criss-cross pattern.

Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.

Allow to cool for a minute or two.  Remove from pans to wax paper, a kitchen towel, or a cake rack. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Peach or Blueberry Cream Pie

This came from my Grandma Ann.  She always made it with blueberry pie filling, which is delicious!  I decided to try it with some peaches I had.  The result was really yummy!!
1 pie crust, baked as directed (a graham cracker crust can be substituted)

1 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 oz. cool whip
Beat the cream cheese, slowly add the powdered sugar.  Mix in the vanilla.  Fold in the cool whip.  Spread into cooled crust. 

Pie Filling:
Make a paste of:
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/3 cup water

In a medium saucepan, put:

2 cups blueberries or peaches (chopped)
1 teaspoon lemon juice (only if using peaches)
3/4 cup sugar

Add the paste mixture.  Stir over medium-low heat and cook, stirring constantly to prevent sticking, until thick.  You may need to lower it to low.

Spread the cooled pie filling over the cream filling.  Refrigerate until cold through (2-4 hours).

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Butter Rolls

These are the soft, fluffy kind of homemade rolls.  I cheat and let my bread machine mix, rise, and knead the dough.  This makes them so light and fluffy!  I will include "regular" instructions for those who don't use the bread machine with notes for those who do.

This makes a lot of rolls but don't worry, you can place formed (not risen) rolls on a wax paper lined tray and freeze until firm; put in a freezer zipper bag.  To prepare, place frozen rolls in greased pan and rise for 2-3 hours, bake as directed.


1 tablespoon fast acting dry yeast (you will need 2 packets but you won’t use all of the 2nd one)
1 teaspoon plus 1/3 cup sugar (just 1/3 cup if using bread machine)
1/2 cup warm water (110-115 degrees) (may need 1-2 tablespoons more in bread machine)
1/2 cup butter, softened (margarine can be used; I suggest real butter)
1/2 cup warm milk (110-115 degrees)
1 egg, room temperature
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups all-purpose flour (more or less)

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in warm water. Add the butter, milk, egg, salt, remaining sugar and 2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes (I probably only knead 3 or 4 minutes). Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. You can simply pat the dough out (about 1/2 inch thick) and cut into squares or whatever shape. For a fancier way of doing them, roll each portion into a 12-inch circle, cut each circle into 12 wedges. Roll up wedges from the wide end and place point side down 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets. Curve ends to form crescents.

Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks.

BREAD MACHINE TIPS: When you do this by hand, you can decide whether or not to add all the flour. I add all 4 cups in the bread machine and watch it during the first mixing cycle. If it's too thick, I add 1 tablespoon water and another if necessary. You want a not-too-sticky dough but something that if poured out onto a surface, it flattens very easily.

Pour onto a floured surface, form as desired. The best way to get soft, fluffy rolls is to simply pour the dough out, flatten (don't knead anymore), cut into squares, move to pan, bake. Yum!

*NOTE: An oven with the light on is a great place to rise rolls if the oven is not being used to bake something else at the time. If the oven is already employed, the top of the stove is a good place (the heat from the oven will help them rise faster).

Monday, June 30, 2014

Dark Chocolate Frosting

This is so yummy!  It’s not for the faint of heart, I’ll say that!  It can be fickle and you kind of have to know when to stop adding powdered sugar.  But it’s so worth it!  And hey, if you do end up eating it with a spoon, no worries…it tastes like a spoon full of fudge!  Worst case scenario, you crumble your cake and layer it with the frosting in a parfait dish (guilty!  I’ve done this before!).

1 stick butter, no substitutions

1 1/2 cups white sugar

1 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups powdered sugar (you may need less; you may need more)

Combine the cream and sour cream in a measuring cup, mixing until smooth (or as good as you can get it).  Set aside.

Place a large saucepan with the butter in it over medium heat to melt the butter.  Over the heat, stir in the sugar, cocoa, and salt.  The mixture is going to be grainy and thick. 

Slowly add the cream mixture, while whisking.  Continue to cook without boiling until the sugar is dissolved (about 6-8 minutes).  If necessary, reduce the heat to medium low. 

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Allow to cool at room temperature, then whisk in the powdered sugar until desired consistency.   Use as desired.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Vanilla Cupcakes

True confession: I have been scared to try making homemade vanilla cupcakes. I’ve tried one recipe but with not-so-great results. Most recipes call for cake flour. I have nothing against it, really, it’s just expensive and not something I use often.

So, I found this gem on a website: and modified it a bit. When I baked them today, I was very surprised at the outcome! They were very easy to make (almost as easy as a box mix). They pull away from the cupcake liner for the most part. They’re very moist and spongy! They are tasty, even without icing! A winner in my book!

So, here’s my recipe…

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

Stir these together in a mixing bowl:

2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt


3 large eggs
1 stick butter or margarine
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Mix with a mixer until the dry ingredients are moist. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes or until fluffy.

Fill liners 1/2 to 2/3 full of batter. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly touched (if it leaves an indention, bake a few more minutes).

Let cool completely on a cake rack. Frost as desired.

Sunday, June 15, 2014


This is a very large batch, so feel free to cut it down to a smaller amount.  When I cook, I like to cook a lot so Austin has leftovers for lunch. 

This is flavor-packed!  I prefer to sauté the onions so they aren’t crunchy.  It gives the meatloaf a different taste too.

2 1/2 pounds ground chuck (or higher quality meat)
1/2 onion, chopped and sautéed in a bit of oil until almost transparent
5 teaspoons McCormick Grill Mates (we like Montreal Steak, the one with Worcestershire is good too)
garlic powder, a few shakes
1/3 cup quick oatmeal
2 eggs
1/4 cup BBQ sauce
1/4 cup ketchup

Mix everything together with your hands.  Form 3-4 small loaves.  Place on prepared baking rack (place a sheet of foil over a baking rack, place on a cookie sheet, take a knife and poke holes in the foil).  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, or until done. 

If fixing ahead of time, spread the mixture into a 7x11 pan and place in the refrigerator until needed (up to 24 hours).  Cut the mixture in half (short side), then cut each in half again to make 4 loaves.  Remove from pan and place on prepared backing rack.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Egg Custard Pie (makes its own crust)

This is a recipe from Mammy (Austin’s grandmother).  I love this recipe because there’s no crust to make!  It sort of makes its own crust.  I also love that it’s so easy and I usually have everything on hand for it. 

If you have high quality vanilla that you save for special occasions, this is one time you want to use it.  In some recipes you can’t really taste the vanilla but in this one you can!

This is good warm or cold.  You can make individual pies in custard dishes.  You can make one deep dish pie.  You can make two thinner pies.  You can serve it alone (which is what I do) or you can add some berries and/or whipped cream to it.

Beat these items together with a whisk:

4 eggs, beaten well

1 ¾ cups sugar

½ cup self-rising flour (or ¾ teaspoon baking powder and ¼ teaspoon salt added to ½ cup plain flour)


2 cups milk

1 stick butter or margarine, melted

1 ½ teaspoon vanilla

Beat well.  Pour into greased deep dish pie pan.  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until set.  It will brown on top but that’s okay.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Mississippi Mud Cake

Photo taken by Delores Bailey.

This may not look like much.  But oh my!  It’s very yummy!  The only thing that might improve it is some peanut butter spread under the marshmallows. 

First you need to make a batch of brownies.  I suggest Lady Brownies (without the cream cheese) but probably any brownie would do, especially if they are a bit thick. 

Right after pulling the brownies out of the oven, sprinkle about ½ bag of mini marshmallows (or large ones cut with scissors into about 4 pieces each).  Return to the oven for about 8-10 minutes, or until they start melting.  Remove from oven and pour the icing over them.  Swirl a bit if you desire.

1 stick butter
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 pound powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Place the butter, milk and cocoa in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Stir constantly until butter is melted.  Cook for another 2 minutes (stirring constantly) or until mixture thickens slightly.  Beat in the powdered sugar and vanilla (a whisk works well or you can use your mixer). 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Avocado Pie (Grandma's recipe)

Tonight I was going through some of my grandma's recipes and found this one.  I admit that 1. I have not made this; and 2. I have no plans to ever make this.  But I felt it was interesting enough to post.  Well, interesting to me anyway.  Perhaps someone out there is interested.  Perhaps not.  So here it is, written just as my grandma wrote it.  It doesn't say to bake so I'm assuming you don't...but there are raw eggs in it.  This part doesn't bother me (we use fresh eggs around here so the salmonella dangers aren't big for us) as much as the avocado part does.  Ha!

2 whole eggs, well beaten; add
1 can Eagle condensed milk; add
1/2 cup lemon juice; add
1 cup (or little more) mashed avocado.

Smooth into graham cracker crust.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie

Photo by Delores Bailey (paid for with a piece of pie)
Photo by Delores Bailey

This combines two of my favorite desserts: strawberry pie and cheese cake.

1 baked pie shell
you can use this recipe or…
Melt 1 stick butter, add 1 cup flour, stir, and pat into bottom and up sides of pie plate.  Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until done.

Cream Cheese Layer
1 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
¾ cup powdered sugar
1 cup cool whip

Beat cream cheese, add powdered sugar.  Add cool whip and mix well.  Spread into cooled pie crust.

Strawberry Layer:
1/2  cup sugar
1/2  cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons strawberry Jell-O (can use sugar free)
red food coloring, about 4 drops (optional, I don’t use)
1/2 to 3/4 pound fresh strawberries, cleaned and hulled (quartered)

Combine sugar, cornstarch, and water.  Cook on medium until clear and bubbling and remove from heat.  Add food coloring and gelatin and stir well.  Cool until slightly warm.  Stir strawberries into glaze.  Pour over cream cheese mixture.  Chill until set.  Serve with whipped cream or cool whip topping.