Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Fluffy Angel Yeast Biscuits


Fluffy homemade angel yeast biscuits are to die for!




I make all kinds of biscuits.  Drop biscuits. Cheddar biscuits.  Buttermilk biscuits.  Sweet biscuits.  Savory biscuits. 

Wow!  I sound like Bubba sharing his shrimp recipes with Forrest Gump.

They are all delish!  But, I am sorry, there is NO substitute for fluffy angel yeast bisuits.  These are the ones that rise so light and airy they could float away.

And they melt in your mouth!

They really aren't hard to make.  So don't be intimidated by a yeast recipe.  Everyone equates "yeast" with difficult and time-consuming...but it really isn't so.  The work is easy- just allow some time in between for rising.  Come on, there are always bills to pay or laundry to get done...or better yet, that book that needs to be read.  So, no fretting on yeast recipes.  Maybe I should post my pizza crust recipe next! 

But back to the best biscuits...  (Aww, such lovely alliteration.)

You can add butter, honey, or jam if you want.  I did post a lovely recipe for Jumbleberry Jam .

Or you can pop them in your mouth right out of the oven.  Either way, please enjoy!




Fluffy Angel Yeast Biscuits

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (105 degrees to 115 degrees)
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 cup warm buttermilk (110 to 115 degrees F)
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup cold butter
1 egg (for egg wash)

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. The water should be between 100-115 degrees F, but don't overthink it.  If it feels warm, you're good.

Add sugar and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in buttermilk; set aside. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in yeast mixture; mix well.

Turn onto a floured surface; gently knead for 1 minute. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes. Not long at all!

Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; roll to 3/4-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 2-1/2-in. round biscuit cutter. Place 2 inches apart on a greased baking sheet. Prick tops with a fork. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. This is what makes them so light and airy.



Crack egg in a small bowl and add a tablespoon of water.  Stir until blended and brush over the top of each biscuit to create that beautiful golden brown color when baking.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to cool on a wire rack. Serve warm.





Monday, June 25, 2012

Jumbleberry Jam


Jumbleberry Jam and homemade yeast biscuits.


Are you wanting a delicious way to use up all those summer berries?  You definitely have to try this Jumbleberry Jam recipe. 

Love the name and absoutely love the taste...

I know you can figure out the name, if you just think about it.  You throw in any kind of berry you have on hand and they land in a big jumble in the pot.

Rustic, old fashioned, and the kids can help, with supervision of course.



Come back tomorrow, and I will give you the secret to the fluffy angel yeast biscuits. My mouth is watering just thinking of them.



Jumbleberry Jam
2 cups quartered and hulled strawberries
1 cup blueberries
1 cup raspberries
1 cup blackberries (if the seeds bother you, substitute with another berry)
1 cup small diced green apples (Granny Smith is a good choice- high in natural pectin)
3 cups sugar
juice and rind of half lemon

Making jam can seem intimidating; trying to get the right ratio of sugar to fruit, whether to add pectin or to be a purist and use fruits that are naturally high in pectin.  But once you get the hang of it, it's not hard at all, and it is quite rewarding to spread your own warm yummy jam over just toasted bread.

Before you start, put a small saucer in the freezer.

This recipe includes small diced green apples which are naturally high in pectin but you can add a package of pectin as a substiture to the apples if you wish.  Personally, I like the consistency and taste of the apples, which cook down and get soft.

In a large saucepan over medium heat bring all the berries, sugar, and lemon to a slow simmer until the sugar begins to melt.  Increase the heat and bring the mixture to boil.  Keep the mixture at a rapid boil for 10-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Be careful to not let the jam burn. Reduce heat if needed.



You can test the setting point of the jam by spooning a small amount on your chilled saucer. If the surface wrinkles it is ready to put into the jar.  If it is not thick enough, lower the temperature to a gentle simmer and continue to cook, while stirring constantly until it thickens, then turn off the heat.

Spoon the jam into clean glass jars and refrigerate or freeze. Makes 2-3 jars, depending on size.


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Growing Gourmets: Summer Cooking Camps Are Back


Last year's Mad Hatter Tea Party was a tasty trip through Wonderland!


Already making plans for the summer? 

It's that time again!  The Growing Gourmets children's summer cooking camps are coming back. Don't forget to sign your children up for a fun week of hands-on cooking!  Located in the Fairfield neighborhood right here in Cypress, Texas, the classes offer children ages 8-12 the opportunity to expand their culinary skills in a home environment.  The classes are kept small for the best possible instruction.  All the camps have fun themes to make learning fun.  Each child will even get to take home a notebook full of his or her very own recipes.

Six Flags Over Texas
June 4-7 $70
Mon.-Thurs., 10 am-12 pm
8-12 year olds

Six Flags over Texas is the slogan used to describe the six nations that had sovereignty over the current territory of the US state of Texas. We are going to take a culinary tour through Texas history and explore how the cuisine of each nation is reflected in the foods we love today. We will travel through history creating and tasting recipes from the past. We’ll include a day for pioneers, eating like cowboys on the trail, and exploring the cuisine of the French, Spanish, Mexican (even German, though it is not one of the six flags) immigrants who influenced our current culinary tastes with dishes like homemade tortillas, kolaches and paellas. Join us for the best tasting history lesson you’ve ever had!


Pastries, Cakes, & Pies, Oh My!
June 18-21 $70
Mon.-Thurs., 10 am-12 pm
8-12 year olds

Mixing science and art, this class will cover the fundamentals of baking as we create beautiful and delicious pastries and desserts. We will learn how to make classic pastry cream and Pate’ Sucre (French pastry dough) as we create delicious tarts. Add molten chocolate cake, crème brulee, Madeleines, and poached pear anglais for a complete French pastry tour. Finally we bring out the Michelangelo in all of us, but instead of using a paintbrush we will create edible art with a pastry bag as we learn the secrets for decorating beautiful cookies and cakes. This class is perfect for students wanting to expand their pastry skills and satisfy their sweet tooth all in one.



Manners Matter: Traveling in Style
July 9-12 $70
Mon.-Thurs., 10 am-12 pm
8-12 year olds

Having good manners are important every day, not just when we sit down to dine at a fancy restaurant. This four-day session will focus on etiquette, setting the table and good table manners as we cook recipes that test even the neatest and most polite child! Please don’t think this is a “stuffy, boring” class…for we will use our etiquette expertise to “travel” to exotic lands and have…high tea in England…pastries on the sidewalk cafes of Paris…fondue on the long voyage aboard the Orient Express from Paris, Vienna, Amsterdam to Turkey…and a fine dining experience at the Plaza in New York

 
To Register:
Email me at robin@sussiebox.com

Questions:
Please feel free to email me at robin@sussiebox.com with any questions you might have. Classes will meet at my home and class size will be kept small for the best hands-on experience. Please consider enrolling early to reserve a space.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Turkey Rice Krispie Pops & Mickey Mouse Pops


Our Turkey Rice Krispie Pops are cute and yummy!



Happy Thanksgiving! 

Today we started the first day of our holiday break. It's so wonderful to sleep in, enjoy a good cup of coffee, read a magazine and blog a little.  For those of you still at work and school, so sorry!  I will try not to rub it in, since this is the first year we have actually enjoyed such a long Thanksgiving break.

Hopefully this will mean a few extra entries on the blog since I know everyone is already planning their holiday menu and grocery shopping, too!  This weekend I had a little help making these fun Rice Krispie Pops.  You can find the original recipe on the Kellogg's blog but I've included it here along with a few pointers that might help you as we figured out along the way.


Our messy little Mickeys taste delicious!

We also made a few into Mickey Mouse Rice Krispie Pops for our little 2 year old neighbor next door who loves anything Mickey.  These were a little messier to make and came out a little more "home-made" looking.  So, if kids are helping, turkeys are super easy and Mickeys, not so much!



Turkey Rice Krispie Pops

3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 package (10 oz., about 40) regular marshmallows
6 cups Kellogg's® Rice Krispies® cereal

1 package (12 oz., 2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/3 cups candy corn
48 small white candies
24 lollipop sticks or wooden ice cream sticks

In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.  Add Kellogg's Rice Kripies cereal. Stir until well coated.  Using 1/4-cup measuring cup coated with cooking spray divide warm cereal mixture into 24 portions. Using buttered hands shape each portion into ball. Cool. (We stuck each ball in the freezer for a few minutes because the warm chocolate seemed to make the balls fall apart unless they were really cold.)

In microwave-safe bowl combine chocolate morsels and oil. Microwave on high for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until smooth, stirring every 30 seconds. Dip each ball into chocolate, allowing excess to drip off. (We waited until the chocolate was set before we added the candy corn feathers and beak and the candy eyes.  Trust me on this one.  Super messy if you don't wait and super easy if you do!) 

Decorate with candy corn for tail feathers and beak. Add candies for eyes. Let stand until firm. Insert lollipop stick into each. Best if served the same day, but we think they still tasted great the next day.





Mickey Mouse Pops

3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 package (10 oz., about 40) regular marshmallows
6 cups Kellogg's® Rice Krispies®cereal

1 package (12 oz., 2 cups)semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 ounces white chocolate
red sprinkles
yellow icing
24 lollipop sticks or wooden ice cream sticks

In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Add Kellogg's Rice Kripies cereal. Stir until well coated. Using 1/4-cup measuring cup coated with cooking spray divide warm cereal mixture into 24 portions. Using buttered hands shape each portion into ball. Cool.  Next, take 48 mini marshmallows and attach two on either side of each ball.  We pinched a little off the of the long side of each marshmallow to make it flat and sticky. 

Put the marshmallow Rice Krispies balls into the freezer for about 5 minutes to set and harden.  In microwave-safe bowl combine chocolate morsels and oil. Microwave on high for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until smooth, stirring every 30 seconds. Dip each marshmallow-eared ball entirely into chocolate, allowing excess to drip off.  Let stand until firm.

Melt 4 ounces of  white chocolate in the top of a double boiler, stirring constantly.   Dip the Mickey's about 1/3 of the way down and then roll in red sprinkles.  With yellow icing draw on Mickey's buttons on the back of his red sprinkled "pants."  Let harden and then insert lollipop stick into each one!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Welcome Back Butterscotch Brownies & S'more Bars



Welcome Back!


I went away for awhile...and I don't even have one big reason.  I have a million small reasons.  Three of them are not that small anymore ...they are growing bigger every day.  Those big feet and growing hands have busy schedules, sports practices, piano lessons, school projects.  Then add in my ever growing responsibilities... homeroom mom, job, homemaker extraordinaire (my family would be rolling eyes at this point) and the blog has gone from active, to occasional, to non-existent in recent months.

My apologies.  I hope a few of you out there remember me and the little cooking blog that could. 

Beyond all the activity that keeps me rushing from one place to another, I have just been in a resting place.  One of those times when you reevaluate all the ways you spend that precious commodity called time.  I am not always thrifty with those precious minutes, the ticking off of the past that propels you into the future.  I am the ultimate "fly by the seat of your pants" girl, which comes in handy when your child tells you the night before a project is due or someone needs six dozen of something delicious whipped up by tomorrow afternoon.  In these moments, I am your girl! Making something out of nothing really gets my adrenalin going!

However, those important goals that take planning and perseverance and plodding... Sigh! I am working on these attributes, learning from others who are better at it, who naturally make a choice, day-by-day and work and follow through, and emerge on the other side with something wonderful. 

So, I decided to slow down a bit.  Evidence in my life revealed itself.  That monster "Busy-ness" had taken over the family.  You know him, don't you?  Surely you've met him, too, at some point.  If I describe him, I'm sure you'll recognize him... the barring teeth ready to gobble up all your time, the strong arms that keep pushing you out the door to the next important something, the oh-so loud voice that drowns out solitude and quiet.  You know him, too?  He is very strong!  And on occasion, he quiets his loud voice to whisper into my ear.  "Everyone else is doing it."  "You will miss out."  "Your kids will fall behind."  "You don't have time to stop and think." "GO, GO, GO!"

Sigh.  But another voice has been whispering to me as well.  That still small voice.  Oh what a precious voice, so sweet, so beautiful...full of goodness and truth.  Telling me to,

"Be still and know that I am God." 

Be Still.  Be......still.   B...e.......s...t....i...l...l...

I do see the irony.  We are heading into the BUSIEST time of the year.  He is asking me to be still..NOW?  Absurd!  Unbelievable!  Impossible!

"With God, all things are possible."

OK, I will open my hands a little, loosen the grip I have on all the things, people, activities, self-made plans.  I will try to give them up to Him.  What He gives back is far greater, anyway.

So, the question becomes, "What stays and what goes?"  I have a suspicion that it can't all stay.  I don't really have the answer yet.  But asking the question is a start.  And I am sure about one thing.  I will never find the answer if I do not listen.

"Be still and know that I am God."

Why am I sharing??  Because I want to be a blessing to you.  I do NOT want to overwhelm.  Or heap more pressure. Or add guilt.   That monster is big enough without adding to his power.  I do want to add a few ideas and recipes over the holidays, fun crafts, treats for kids, yummy recipes.  I would like to encourage you to spend time with your family, or make something homemade together.  The trick is to pick ONE thing or maybe TWO... and let the other things go! 

Join me in some stillness this holiday season.  And if you see me at Target, running around like a mad woman with tinsel in my hair, you have my permission to reprimand me! :) 



Since it has been SO LONG... I will share two recipes.  I have had requests to share these treats.  Both are cookie bars, which are great for kids and for taking to group events...like those cookie exchanges every year.  Enjoy!  (And only make them if you have the TIME!) ;)

Both of these recipes are borrowed from other sources... Rebecca Rather's Butterscotch Brownies and Calphalon's S'more Cookie Bars.




Triangle-shaped brownies are super-rich, so you could even cut them smaller.


Butterscotch Brownies
(makes enough for a half-sheet pan)

Batter:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups firmly packed golden brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups flour 1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups chopped pecans (optional,  I leave out for my kids)

Icing:
1 cup butter with
2 cups firmly packed golden brown sugar
4 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup half-and-half
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a half-sheet pan (13x18 inches) with aluminum foil and grease foil with butter or cooking spray.

Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and continue beating for another minute.

In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Beat the flour mixture into the batter mixture on low speed until incorporated. Stir in the pecans, if you want. Pour into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Bake until the bars are set and slightly puffed, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely before icing.




Baby girl making the icing!


Icing: In a saucepan set over medium heat, melt 1 cup butter with 2 cups firmly packed golden brown sugar. Once the mixture is lightly bubbling, decrease the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 more minutes; set aside.

Using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat 4 cups powdered sugar, 1/3 cup half-and-half and 1 tablespoon vanilla on medium speed until creamy, about one minute. Add the melted butter mixture and beat until combined.





S'more Bars

1 cup butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 packages of HERSHEY’S Milk Chocolate Bars
6 cups miniature marshmallows

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until well blended. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt; add to butter mixture, beating until well blended.

Press a little more than half of dough in a prepared 9" x 13" pan. Reserve remaining dough. Bake 10 minutes.  I reduced the amount of time from the original recipe because it is easy for the cookies to become overdone.

After removing from oven, arrange large chocolate bars over baked layer, breaking as needed to fit. Sprinkle with marshmallows; scatter bits of remaining dough over marshmallows, forming top layer.
Bake 10 to 15 more minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.  Wonderful to eat when warm and gooey.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Popcorn Party & Movie Night: Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn

Popcorn Party and Movie Night


Looking for something fun to do this summer...inside?  I mean, I love to spend my summer outside, grilling out and splashing in the pool, but at some point the Texas heat just becomes unbearable.  That's when my family starts looking for indoor activities.  We hit the museum, visit the library and book stores, and go see all the summer blockbusters- doesn't that cold theater feel so good?!  Not to mention the popcorn.  I am not sure how much trans-fat is in a handful of that crunchy, salty goodness but it's summer, who cares?   I just can't seem to resist!





If you have read the blog before, you know my proclivity for making foods that are readily available for purchase, and though a bag of microwave popcorn will never compete with a tub of butter-slathered movie popcorn, I think I have found a suitable substitute.  A popcorn party!  How about several flavors of popcorn, sweet, salty, crunchy?  Or pile on the extras and mix up a cup or your own creation with m&m's, nuts, pretzels and cheese crackers.  Puts a whole new spin on trail mix, doesn't it?




So, pull out some favorite movies...old black and white classics, a Pixar marathon, comedy hour (our family loves Tim Hawkins!) and celebrate summer with a popcorn and movie night.

At our party, I made regular popcorn with butter and a tub of  "light" for those concerned with calories.  I offered toppings and mix-ins and then I made a few "specialty" flavors.  First, I whipped up a batch of my Almond Caramel Corn.  This is a family favorite. 


If you want to see the recipe you can visit Chocolate Almond Caramel Corn for the full recipe!


I also made a yummy, can't keep your hands out of the bowl, batch of Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn.  Do you remember the old recipe for Puppy Chow?  This is a popcorn version and it is fabulous.  Quick caveat- it doesn't store well (maybe a day or two) and tastes best when it is first made.  So, don't feel bad when you finish off the entire bowl.  Waste not, want not!

Secret: Want to turn up the volume on your party?  Our popcorn & movie night was a pajama party- adults included!!




Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn

7 cups plain popcorn (I used microwave popcorn.)
1 cup stick pretzels
2 cups Rice Chex cereal

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup creamy peanut butter
¼ cup unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ cups powdered sugar


I used my Puppy Chow recipe, and substituted popcorn. I think it is better when you mix in the pretzels and chex mix too which is similar to a version I had tried in a gourmet popcorn store.





Pop the popcorn and pour into a bowl.  Shake the popcorn and let any unpopped kernels fall to the bottom of the bowl.  We don't want anyone to break a tooth!  Carefully scoop out 7 cups into a separate large mixing bowl.  Add the pretzels and Chex cereal to the seven cups of popped corn.



In a microwave (at 50% power) or over a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter until melted and smooth. Stir in the vanilla.


 
Pour the chocolate mixture all over the popcorn mixture. Using a large spoon, carefully stir until all of the popcorn, pretzels and Chex cereal until evenly coated with the chocolate/peanut butter mixture.


 
Sift the powdered sugar over the chocolate-covered popcorn and stir until each piece is evenly coated. Spread the popcorn mixture on a baking sheet to cool. You can let it cool on the counter or speed up the process by sticking in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.  Break it up and serve it in a big bowl! Store leftovers in an airtight container.





Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Summer Cooking Camps Are Back!


Hop on over to the "Class Schedule" page to find out how to register for one these fun classes.


Summer Cooking Camps are Back!



Join us for a week-long course designed for kids with a unique and exciting theme that offers hands-on participation, detailed cooking instruction and their very own notebook full of recipes to take home! Plus, every day the kids get to eat what they create! The camps will run Monday through Thursday during the months of June and July at my home in Fairfield. Your kids are invited to join the fun as I look forward to teaching them the art of cooking!

In an effort to keep the best hands-on experience for individual students, I have limited the number of students and increased the age limit for the summer camps. If you have a group of preschoolers or early elementary children who are interested in participating, please contact me to set up a special class!


PLEASE NOTE UPDATES IN SCHEDULE:
Six Flags Over Texas
June 27-30   $70
Mon.-Thurs., 10 am-12 pm
8-12 year olds

Six Flags over Texas is the slogan used to describe the six nations that had sovereignty over the current territory of the US state of Texas. We are going to take a culinary tour through Texas history and explore how the cuisine of each nation is reflected in the foods we love today. We will travel through history creating and tasting recipes from the past. We’ll include a day for pioneers, eating like cowboys on the trail, and exploring the cuisine of the French, Spanish, Mexican (even German, though it is not one of the six flags) immigrants who influenced our current culinary tastes with dishes like homemade tortillas, kolaches and paellas. Join us for the best tasting history lesson you’ve ever had!


Pastries, Cakes & Pies, Oh My!
July 11-14   $70
Mon.-Thurs., 10 am-12 pm
8-12 year olds

Mixing science and art, this class will cover the fundamentals of baking as we create beautiful and delicious pastries and desserts. We will learn how to make classic pastry cream and pate’ sucre (French pastry dough) as we create delicious tarts. Add molten chocolate cake, crème brulee, Madeleines, and poached pear anglais for a complete French pastry tour. Finally we bring out the Michelangelo in all of us, but instead of using a paintbrush we will create edible art with a pastry bag as we learn the secrets for decorating beautiful cookies and cakes. This class is perfect for students wanting to expand their pastry skills and satisfy their sweet tooth all in one.



Manners Matter: Traveling in Style

July 25-28 $70
Mon.-Thurs., 10 am-12 pm
8-12 year olds

Having good manners are important every day, not just when we sit down to dine at a fancy restaurant. This four-day session will focus on etiquette, setting the table and good table manners as we cook recipes that test even the neatest and most polite child! Please don’t think this is a “stuffy, boring” class…for we will use our etiquette expertise to “travel” to exotic lands and have…high tea in England…pastries on the sidewalk cafes of Paris…fondue on the long voyage aboard the Orient Express from Paris, Vienna, Amsterdam to Turkey…and a fine dining experience at the Plaza in New York.



Cooks and Books Returns
Aug. 1-4    $70
Mon.-Thurs., 10 am-12 pm
8-12 year olds

Think “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs!"  Kids will look at stories a whole new way, as they create recipes inspired from some of their favorite books. Classic children’s stories like “Stone Soup” and new favorites like “If You Give A Pig A Pancake” offer plenty of inspiration for growing gourmets. We will bake bread like the little red hen, eat like the hungry caterpillar and perhaps reprise a few of our favorites like “Green Eggs and Ham.” Come hungry for good books and good food.