Tuesday, June 21, 2011

English Toffee

As I was looking through an old cookbook of mine I came across a recipe for English Toffee. My mind began to wonder back to when a friend of mine went to England and when she returned she gave me a box of toffee. It had to be some of the best toffee I have ever had. It felt hard and was covered in chocolate, but melted in your mouth. Now this englsh force is made by a company in England called Thortons. I have been in love with toffee ever since then. So I am going to attempt to recreate this delectable treat with my recipe that I located from an old cookbook. I will try it and then post the pictures and the recipe if it is successful. Intrested?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Cornmeal for Pancakes???

What is the deal about Cornmeal Pancakes? Well if you have never tasted them, they are very delicious. Long ago these pancakes were called "griddlecakes" or "hot cakes". In the deep south they were called "hoe cakes". These cakes were derived from an the American Indian way of making pancakes by grinding corn between stones to make a "meal" or "corn meal". Salt and water were added to these cakes and cooked over heated coals or campfire. This is was one of the first methods of making pancakes. Some people substitute white corn meal for the yellow corn meal and they make what is called "island hot cakes". These "island hot cakes" are still made today in Rhode Island. They are made with stone ground white corn meal.  The pancakes were crisp on the outside, soft within, and when served hot, spread with butter and covered with pancake or maple syrup. The reason why they are called "hoe cakes" in the south is because slaves would cook them over a campfire on a tool called a "hoe". Here is a good recipe for them if you want to try them.

1/2 cup sifted flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups yellow cornmeal
2 eggs beaten
2 1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Sift together flour, salt and baking soda. Stir in cornmeal. Add eggs, buttermilk and vanilla, beat just until smooth. Pour 1/4 cup batter for each cake onto a lightly greased, hot griddle. Cook until golden brown on both sides. Serve hot. Makes about 20-25.

Recipe taken from Great Home Cooking in AMerica by Farm Journal.

Take time out to try these traditional cakes, they are extra yummy!!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Useful Baking Tips and Substitutions

How many times have you went to the cupboard and said DANG IT!! I want to make this but I don't have the ingredients for it. Some ingredients can be substituted with simple concoctions from your very own kitchen. Here are a few substitutions that you may find useful when you are in a rut....

1. No buttermilk? Add 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup of fresh whole milk. Let it sour for 5 minutes before using.

2. No cake flour? You can substitute 1 2/3 cups all purpose flour for 2 cups of cake flour.

3. No sweetened and condensed milk? Try making your own with 6 cups of whole milk, 4 1/2 cups of sugar, 1 stick of butter, and 1 tsp vanilla. Cook over medium heat for about 1 hour. While cooking stir occassionally, then cool. Makes 4 1/2 cups. Store in the fridge for about 2 weeks. Another way is- Substitute 1 cup instant nonfat dry milk plus 2/3 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup boiling water and 3 tablespoons melted butter for 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk.

4. No Allspice? Substitute 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves and 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg for 1 teaspoon ground allspice.

5.No baking powder? Substitute 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar and 1/4 teaspoon corn starch for 1 teaspoon baking powder.

6.Out of powdered sugar? Substitute 1 cup granulated sugar plus 1/8 teaspoon cornstarch processed in a food processor fitted with a metal blade for 1 cup powdered sugar.

7.Need self-rising flour? Substitute 1 cup all-purpose flour plus 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt for 1 cup self-rising flour

8.No sour cream? Substitute 1 cup plain yogurt for 1 cup sour cream.

9. Need whipping cream? Substitute 1/3 cup melted butter and 2/3 cup whole milk for 1 cup whipping cream.

10. No plain white sugar? Substitute 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar for 1 cup granulated sugar. (Flavor will be affected somewhat.)

Those are just a few sustitutions to help you when you are out of some of those key ingredients in your kitchen.

Now just a few baking tips to help your cakes come out light , moist and fluffy every time.

1. Unless specified always preheat your oven.
2. Combine all dry ingredients together.
3. Add flour and milk to an egg mixture alternately, always beginning with flour miture and ending with flour miture. This makes your cakes lighter.
4. Always mix your eggs one at a time for at least 2 minutes each to achieve a creamy, smooth and moist cake.

Happy Baking!!!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Taste of Home

I have been searching for a recipe for Churros for a long time and finally found one. If any of you know what it means to have a real churro, then you know what I am talking about. You know the kind that has the crunchy outside and the soft gooey inside. Mmmmm.......Well if you know what you have been missing please try this recipe at home.

1 cup water
rind of 1 lemon
6 tbsp butter
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, plus extra for dusting
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
olive oil - for frying
5 tbsp sugar

Place water and lemon in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, add the butter and salt and cook until the butter melts. Add the flour all at once with the cinnamon and the vanilla. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and stir rapidly until it forms the conssistency of mashed potatoes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, using a wooden spoon until the mixture is smooth. Heat 1 inch oil in a skillet until it is hot enough to brown a cube of bread in 30 seconds. Place the batter in a pastry tube with a wide nozzle, then squeeze out 5 inches lengths directly into the hot oil making sure to keep the churros are about 3-4 inches apart, as they will puff up as they cook. You may need to fry them in 2-3 batches. Cook them in the hot oil for about 2 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Dust generously with sugar and sprinkle cinnamon to taste. Serve either hot or at room temperature. Serves 4


Friday, April 15, 2011

The Key to Yummy Desserts........

For years people have asked me what the key is to my yummy array of delectable desserts.....and the answer is Watkins Home Products. Watkins is a company that makes all natural products. There is something about the purest ingredients that make Watkins the right choice for your baking business. If you have never heard of Watkins, let me share this experience with you. Watkins has been in the top running for best products since 1868. Watkins products have been used in my family for many, many years. I remember seeing their products in my mother's kitchen as a child. When I decided that I wanted to open a bakery in my home, I started brushing up on my baking skills. Everytime I made a cake something was missing. Even though it was yummy and I would receive many praises on my vast creations, to me it was still lacking something special. Then I remembered that my mother use to bake with products from a company called Watkins, interested I did an online search and found the company again. It did not surprise me to know that they were still in business. So I ordered some products and used them in my baking. EUREKA!! I had discovered the missing ingredients in my baked products. I found out that I could sell the products out of my home and so I decided to sign up and become a distributor for the company. This has to be one of the best decisions I have ever made. Not only do my cakes now taste complete, but I can also share this experience with you too. If you have not tried Watkins Home and Baking Products please get online and look at my website at www.watkinsonline/lashandaboyce . If you would like a free sample of some products email me at shandacakes@yahoo.com. I will send you some to try at home and let you taste the difference!

 Have a happy baking day!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ultimate Sweet Potato Pie

I have made Sweet Potato Pie many different ways. I have tried brown sugar, and white sugar. More cinnamon and nutmeg. More vanilla, even tried it with lemon extract and maple syrup but could not figure out what that distinct sweet taste was in the pie that I tasted before. Then finally I made it with white sugar and sweetened and condensed milk and EUREKA!! It was perfect. With just the right amount of sweetness, the milk made it ultra creamy too. It by far has to be the best sweet potato pie I have ever tasted! You must try it. If you want the recipe please let me know and I will gladly pass it on.