Tag Archives: flour

Pecan Sandies

We used to love the popular commercial version of this cookie, but they changed the recipe years ago, like so many other popular foods did, and ruined them. This recipe comes pretty close to what we remember, and it doesn’t use any odd ingredients. It is your basic 1-2-3 ratio cookie, with a few items added to highlight the pecan flavor. They have become one of our favorite cookies.

I roll the dough in balls and press them flat with a glass, but if you want a more perfect round, roll them into logs and slice them before baking.

Pecan Sandies

  • Servings: makes 3 dozen 2 inch cookies
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 350°; line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Ingredients
  • 4 oz sugar—1 tablespoon dark brown sugar plus enough granulated sugar to make 4 oz.
  • 8 oz butter (2 sticks)—I used salted butter
  • 12 oz all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • Optional: 1-2 tablespoons milk if dough is too dry to form into balls and press
Preparation
  1. In bowl of stand mixer, cream butter and sugars until fluffy. Beat in salt and vanilla.
  2. Slowly incorporate flour until combined. As mentioned in ingredients list, the dough could be too crumbly to roll into balls and press, depending on such factors as temperature and humidity. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until dough holds together well, but is not sticky or too wet. Today I only needed 1 tablespoon.
  3. Mix in nuts until well combined.
  4. Form into small balls about 1 inch in diameter and place on cookie sheets 2 inches apart.
  5. With a flat-bottomed glass or other flat object dipped in flour, flatten each ball of dough to about 1/4-3/8 inch thick. Don’t press them too thin or they will be too crispy.
  6. Bake for about 12 minutes or until edges are beginning to brown. Cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes, then remove to rack to cool completely.

Chewy Cherry Pecan Cookies

This cookie is pretty much like your favorite chewy chocolate chip cookie, but with dried cherries and pecans.

I have both unsweetened dried Bing cherries and unsweetened dried tart Montmorency cherries; either would make a good cookie, but with all the sugar and vanilla, I felt the cookie could stand the tartness—and it does. I don’t think my pictures do the cookies justice, but maybe a picture never does. My chocolate-loving husband thinks they are great, but he warns you that if you eat too much dried fruit, you’ll get a tummy ache!

Chewy Cherry Pecan Cookies

  • Servings: makes 1 1/2 dozen large cookies
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 350°; line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Ingredients
  • 2 cups dried tart cherries—pour boiling water over cherries to cover. Wait 5 minutes, then drain.
  • 1 stick butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar or equivalent sugar substitute
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar or equivalent sugar substitute (sugar substitutes may affect final cookie texture)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
Preparation
  1. Beat butter and sugars in bowl of stand mixer until light and fluffy. Mix in egg and vanilla until until well combined.
  2. Slowly beat in dry ingredients—flour, soda, and salt—until well combined.
  3. Mix in pecans until combined, then add drained cherries. The cherries will be moist and soft, so overmixing could break them up; it’s better to mix them in with a large wooden spoon.
  4. Scoop dough with a 2 oz scoop onto lined cookie sheets, about 2 inches apart. I put 6 on each sheet.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes until browned. Cookies will be soft and mounded. Let cool on cookie sheet about five minutes before removing to cooling rack to cool completely.

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Venison Lasagna Bolognese

The first dish from the buck my husband harvested this fall.

This lasagna is a tale of two sauces—a bolognese ragù and béchamel. Neither sauce is difficult to make and the ragù in particular can be made the day or evening before to simplify the final dish preparation. This lasagna doesn’t require all the cheese (ricotta and mozzarella) of typical lasagna recipes, just finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano on each layer, so that the result is a lasagna that is not quite as filling—and by filling, I mean overfilling. You can certainly use the ragù in a typical cheesy lasagna, but I think the béchamel would be overpowered by all that cheese. Ordinarily, I would add cream and butter to a bolognese ragù after the long simmer, but felt that the layers of béchamel provided the necessary creaminess to the dish.

Two things I did differently:

  1. In addition to using venison instead of lean beef or veal, I used ground, smoked, thick-sliced bacon instead of the traditional pancetta, which is not smoked. The smoky bacon adds another layer of flavor, and the venison can handle it. The bacon happens to be from a local company that provides the hot dogs and kielbasa to Heinz Field, Smith Provision, and it’s a really flavorful bacon.
  2. I used some of my frozen tomato sauce made from our summer garden tomatoes. It’s a thick sauce made from roasting tomatoes, carrots, garlic, and onion, so it is already flavored with some of the final sauce ingredients, but since my sauce has been blended, you still need the chopped vegetables in this ragù.

I used fresh pasta sheets available at my grocery to construct the lasagna; you don’t need to boil them first as they cook in the casserole to just the right tenderness—just make sure you have plenty of sauce to cover.

Venison Lasagna Bolognese

  • Servings: 8 main dish servings
  • Difficulty: easy
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Note about salt: There are lots of ways to get too much salt into this dish. There is salt in each sauce, your chicken stock may be salted, the bacon may be salty, and authentic Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is salty. Personally, I would leave out any extra salt in the ragù. Taste as you go along.

Preheat oven to 375° when ready to construct the dish.

Ingredients
Bolognese Ragù Sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (or more)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • about 1 cup celery heart, center ribs with leaves, finely chopped
  • about 1 cup finely chopped carrot
  • about 1 cup medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 pound smoked bacon, coarsely ground
  • 1 pound ground venison
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 2 cups thick tomato sauce (or crushed tomatoes or tomato paste with more chicken stock)
  • salt & pepper to taste (careful with the salt—see the note above)
Béchamel Sauce
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 4 cups milk (I used lactose-free whole milk)
Lasagna
  • fresh pasta sheets to make at least 5 layers in a 13″ x 9″ dish
  • about 2 cups finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Preparation
  1. Prepare the meat sauce, which needs to simmer for about two hours.
  2. In a large straight-sided skillet (often called a chicken fryer) sauté the garlic, onion, carrot, and celery in olive oil until the vegetables are translucent. Remove vegetables to a dish while browning the meats, which you can’t do well in a pan of vegetables.
  3. In the same pan, using more olive oil if needed, brown the ground bacon. Add the ground venison and ground pork, breaking it all up and cooking until browned and cooked through, about 15 minutes.
  4. Return the sautéed vegetables to the pan. Stir in the parsley, chicken stock, red wine, and tomato sauce (or whatever tomato product you are using).
  5. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally. I’m sure this is a sauce that could be made in a slow cooker, too.
  6. When the meat sauce is about done, make the béchamel sauce.
  7. In a large saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter.
  8. Stir in the flour and seasoning, stirring until all the flour is combined with the butter and there are no lumps.
  9. Slowly stir in the milk, stirring constantly with a large wooden spoon or whisk. Some people like to scald the milk first in the microwave, but I find that unnecessary—maybe it quickens the thickening. Continue stirring over medium heat until thickened enough to coat the back of the spoon. Remove from heat.
  10. Construct the lasagna. Butter a 13″ x 9″ baking dish.
  11. Using a large ladle, lightly cover the bottom of the dish with béchamel sauce.
  12. Arrange your uncooked pasta sheets over the béchamel. You don’t need to cover every inch of the pan, as the pasta will swell a little on absorbing the sauces. I trimmed my sheets to fit in two large squares on each layer, but your sheets may be more narrow than mine.
  13. Top each layer of pasta with enough meat sauce to cover all the edges. Then add a layer of béchamel. Finish with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
  14. Repeat until you reach the top of the dish, ending with the sauces and cheese. Mine came all the way to the top with 5 layers, and while a little bubbled over, most of it was absorbed by the pasta.
  15. Bake at 375° for about 40 minutes. Place a sheet pan on a lower oven rack to catch any spills. The finished lasagna should be browned and bubbly.
  16. Let rest a little before cutting into large squares.

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Oatmeal Cranberry Walnut Muffins

This is a merging of two recipes in my old Betty Crocker’s New Picture Cook Book (1961): “Cranberry-Orange Muffins” (p. 88) and “Oatmeal Muffins” (p. 90). The recipes are so similar in amounts of ingredients, that it didn’t take much to combine them. The only big decision I had to make was whether to use white or brown sugar, so I compromised and used half of each. Oatmeal takes the place of half the flour in the cranberry muffins, a formula you can use to add oatmeal to a variety of muffin recipes.

Oatmeal Cranberry Walnut Muffins

  • Servings: 12 muffins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 400°; line a muffin pan with paper liners or butter the cups.

Ingredients
  • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup almond milk (or any kind of milk, even buttermilk)
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries (thawed, if frozen)
  • 1/2 cup shelled walnuts
  • 1/3 cup softened butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • orange zest from one large orange
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Preparation
  1. Mix oats and milk; let soak for about 20 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.
  2. Add cranberries and walnuts to the bowl of a food processor and pulse about 10 times until the ingredients are roughly chopped. Don’t worry about uniformity.
  3. Cream butter, sugars, and egg in the bowl of a mixer until creamy. Mix in orange zest.
  4. Add dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt) and oat/milk mixture. Carefully mix on low speed until combined.
  5. Stir in cranberry/walnut mixture.
  6. Fill muffin cups at least 2/3 full.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove muffins to rack to cool.