Soft Homemade Caramels

Homemade soft caramels should never be made when you are home alone.  These may possibly be the most dangerous thing that has ever been cooked in my kitchen.

Not because it will hurt, although it could if you aren’t careful playing with molten lava temperature melted sugar, but because you need to get them wrapped and out of the house as quickly as possible.

Do not send more than a few of these at a time to friends, as these will also be dangerous at their house.  Do bring them to work for brownie points! Should be worth at least a few of those.

You and everyone else who eats these will not be able to stop eating them until either your teeth hurt, your stomach hurts, or you have eaten all of them.  Once they are all eaten, you will be thinking of them for days to come.

After reading several caramel recipes, I settled on starting with this one from Land O’Lakes and tweaking it ever so slightly.

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Snickerdoodles

If I had to choose the one cookie recipe that I think would please everybody, it would be Snickerdoodles.  Soft, buttery, and covered in sugar and cinnamon.

No worries about someone who doesn’t like chocolate, or those who may have a tree nut allergy.  These are great with coffee, tea, warm cider, on winter days, on warm days, well they are great no matter when or how you serve them.

Snickerdoodles are one cookie you can bet will always be on my Christmas cookie gift platters.

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Banana Bread with Strawberry Butter

Banana bread and strawberry butter ran hand-in-hand with the $30 salad, at a restaurant we used to eat at in Florida.  Of course, you know the drill if you have been a follower of my posts, either the restaurant doesn’t exit or it is out of my geographical location.  In this case, it is both.

The banana bread would come out in the bread basket served with the menu.  I’m not sure why they even bothered to serve yeast rolls.  You could look across the restaurant tables and see lonely yeast rolls hanging out in those bread baskets.  Obviously, the banana bread smeared with strawberry butter was the preferred choice.

I have two banana bread recipes, but I prefer this one to go with strawberry butter.  The other banana bread recipe has a pretty strong banana and brown sugar flavor that seems to overpower the strawberry butter.  It’s also almost too moist and dense for the addition of any butter.  I say almost because folks still seem to butter it when I carry it somewhere

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No-fail Sugar Cream Pie

Sugar Cream Pie is truly a regional specialty.  I had never heard of one until I met Andy.  In case you missed the memo, both Andy and I started our lives in the Midwest.  He was born in Indiana, I was born in Illinois.

Even though Illinois and Indiana are so close to each other, this pie calls Indiana home, and most folks across the border have never heard of it.  Same with buckeye balls, I never heard of those before Andy either.

Some version of sugar cream pie was made by Andy’s Aunt Alice, but I have not been blessed with any recipes.  She was the pie baker for Andy’s grandmother’s restaurant, Elizabeth Parker’s in Richmond, Indiana.  Eventually she was the pie baker for Uncle Bill and Aunt Karen when they took over the restaurant.  Andy loved all of Alice’s pies, except perhaps chocolate.  He isn’t a chocolate fan.

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“Too Cheesy” Macaroni and Cheese

Who doesn’t love a big helping of homemade macaroni and cheese? My spouse, that’s who. He likes the stuff from the box; powdered cheese, foil packet of cheese, any kind of cheese besides good old fashioned American cheese slices. Now don’t misunderstand, there is something to be said about the convenience of those blue boxes and I have cooked my share of them. I have also served up the frozen and refrigerated prepackaged varieties. I feel no shame.

But I prefer my macaroni and cheese the way my mom used to make it when she was in the cooking spirit. It is swimming in cheese, enough cheese that it gets called “too cheesy” in this house and rarely gets made anymore. I was excited to write this post because it gave me the excuse to make it for photos.

(Side note: while writing the recipe, I realize that the DH might actually be right, this might be too cheesy……. But please do not tell him he was right, I will never hear the end of it.)

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German Almond Cookies

German-Cookies-Body2Over the years I have searched for a cookie from my childhood. It would help if I could remember the name of the cookie, but alas, all I can remember is the name of the bakery they came from, Myers Bakery.

My dad used to take me there and his dad used to take him there, that’s how long the bakery was around. It opened in 1905. It lasted at least 90 years…… but you know the story of my life, the bakery closed.

German-Cookies-BodyThe cookies were soft, long, brown and had slivered almonds in them, but no almond flavoring, which I think tastes likes cherries anyway. Not chocolate brown, and they were not molasses cookie brown. Nor were they spiced like a gingerbread or windmill cookie. They were almost like a peanut butter cookie, but without peanut butter. They are not honey cookies, been there, done that, even bought the t-shirt.

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