American

Cows in a Blanket

cows-in-a-blanket

One of my favorite party foods has always been cows in a blanket. Back home we have a big bowl on our table for every holiday or party and they always go fast. Last weekend I threw my son a graduation party with all of our family and I made a batch of these. I like to have mine plain but you could add cheese to the dough if you would like and also set up little bowls of various dips if you would like.

1 package of beef cocktail weenies
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons cold butter
3/8 cup buttermilk (I used laban)

1. Preheat oven to 400F.

2. In a large bowl add flour, sugar, baking soda and baking powder. Cut in cold butter until mixture is coarse. Add a small amount of buttermilk at a time until a dough like consistency has formed. Allow dough to rest for a few minutes.

3. Tear off a piece of dough and wrap around cocktail weenie until all has finished. Place on a non-stick baking mat and cook for 13 minutes.

Yields: 30

Pretzel Rolls

pretzel-rolls

pretzel-roll-recipe

Late at night when everyone has gone to bed and I have completely finished my day I like to curl up in bed and read on my IPad and also get on Pinterest. I came across a batch of pretzel rolls last night and just knew that I had to make them today. We love big soft pretzels so this seemed like a recipe we may love as well.

The recipe was pretty straight forward and simple to do however I ended up cutting it in half because all of the recipes I came across was for 18 plus rolls and that’s way too much for my small family. I got 7 out of my recipe which was just perfect. I was so happy as I went through the steps because every bit of the process was going smoothly and perfect. I loved how you pre-boiled them for a bit like bagels to get that chewy exterior and soft inside and that pretty much had me knowing how lovely they would end up becoming. After they cooled a bit Talal and I wanted to try one to see if they were anything like our beloved pretzels are just soft rolls (either way I would have liked them) but I could not believe that they tasted exactly like soft pretzels and actually even much better. Sea salt is defiantly a must for this one and when I use it I prefer to add some in my hand and sprinkle it with my fingers.

1/2 cup Warm Water (110°F)
1 teaspoon dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons baking soda
6 cups water
1 egg, Lightly Beaten
sea salt
oil for hands

1. In a small bowl and yeast, sugar and 2 tablespoons of warm water. Allow to sit for 5 minutes until frothy.

2. In a large bowl add flour and salt, mix. Make a well in the center add butter and yeast mixture. Add water a little at a time until a dough like consistency has formed. Knead for a few minutes. Place the ball back into the bowl and lightly cover the top with oil (not working into dough). Cover with a towel and allow to rise in a warm area for at least one hour.

3. Punch dough down and mix for about 30 seconds with your hands. Cut the dough into 7 pieces (2 ounces each). To shape, take a piece of dough and start forming a round, smooth ball by pulling the sides to the center and pinching to seal. Place, pinched side down, on a counter and lightly cupping your hand around the dough ball, rotate your hand in small circles lightly rolling the ball around the palm of your hand.

4. Place the ball on the baking sheet pinched seam side down, with at least 1” between each roll. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes until doubled.

5. Preheat oven to 425°F. In a large saucepan, water to a low boil. Add the baking soda and lower heat to a simmer. Put the rolls into the poaching liquid, seam side down. Poach for 30 seconds then carefully turn the roll over in the liquid. Poach other side for 30 seconds then remove with a slotted spoon to the same prepared sheet pans, seam side down. Repeat with the remaining rolls.

6. With a pastry brush, glaze each roll with the lightly beaten egg, making sure to coat all sides completely. With a sharp straight edged knife, cut an x in the top of each roll. Top each roll with a sprinkle of sea salt.

7. Bake the rolls in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes.

Yields: 7

Homemade Pickles

homemade-pickles

I always make sure that I have a jar of homemade pickles in the refrigerator. The homemade version is much more crisp plus just knowing what goes into my food gives me a great piece of mind. You can cut the cucumbers very thin and they will be ready in a day or two or rather thick like I do then leave them for about a week to sit and marinate. If you have a few large jars around the house then its best to use those. I actually just use my old pickle jars since they are the perfect size.

1 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup white sugar
5 cup cucumber slices
4 teaspoons dill seeds (or fresh dill)
1 cup sweet onion, sliced

1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring vinegar, salt and sugar to a boil. Boil until the sugar has dissolved, about 10 minutes.

2. Place the cucumbers and onions in a large bowl. Pour the vinegar mixture over the vegetables. Transfer to sterile containers and store in the refrigerator.

Yields: 8 cups

Little Chocolate Cake

8x8-cake

I have a small family of three so I have to get creative with recipes and make the correct sizes that I know will actually get eaten. The chocolate cake is probably one of my favorite desserts to have so I shrunk my recipe down to make the perfect 8×8 cake also known as my little chocolate cake. The frosting recipe is absolutely perfect giving the correct amount you will need to frost it so you do not have to worry about too much or too little (something that always seems to be a problem for me). I add a bit of hot espresso since the flavor really brings out the chocolate but you can substitute that for hot water if you would like.

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons hot espresso or water (or half of each)
1 egg
1/4 cup buttermilk (I used Laban)
5 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
Dash of salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon soda

Frosting:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1-2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350F. In a mixing bowl add 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder and hot water or espresso, mix until well combined. Add 1 cup of sugar and egg, with a hand mixer beat until combined. Add 5 tablespoons of butter, buttermilk, vanilla, salt, baking powder and soda, mix well. Add flour, mix.

2. Grease an 8×8 pan (I use silicone). Carefully pour batter into pan and place into the oven baking for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow cake to thoroughly cool.

3. After cake has cooled get a mixing bowl add powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder and 3 tablespoons of butter. With a hand mixer blend well. Add vanilla and enough milk until you get the consistency you want. Frost cake.

Yields: 1 8×8 cake