Wednesday, November 16, 2011

B is for Butter

B is for Butter Cookies!

This letter was a no brainer... My mom always talks about butter cookies (of which I have never tried), whether it is about Salerno butter cookies or her Great Aunt Evie's cookies. Apparently, they are to die for. So, logically, I had to make them.

First, I had to FIND the recipe. All I knew is that it was in our unorganized cabinet of recipes. After an hour of going through everything in the cabinet I found the old, discolored, ripped piece of paper labeled Butter Cookies.

Before, I get to the recipe, I would like to tell you a story about my mothers horrible cooking skills. When she tried to make these cookies she failed miseribliy! Mind you this was well over 20 years ago. But, anyways, I guess the recipe didnt work for her and instead they melted all over the place in the oven, so based on her culinary knowledge (or lack there of) she decided they needed more flour... which still didnt help so she gave up on the recipe, and into our cabinet it went.

So when I started to make these cookies she was very sure that they were going to melt all over and not turn out so she insisted that I too add the extra flour that she had back in her day... Clearly against my own judgement and everything I learned in school - I listened to her... to which she replied when she tasted them... "These taste very flour-y" ... Well no duh! You told me to put more flour in them! (Note - this recipe doesnt include the flour my mom insisted on putting in, it is the orignal recipe Evie used.)

Here is my Great Great Aunt Evie and her Butter Cookie recipe...

Butter Cookies


1 lb butter (softened)
1 C sugar
4 egg yolks
2 C flour
1 tsp vanilla


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cream butter.

Add sugar slowly.

Add egg yolks.

Add vanilla.

Add flour.

Scoop onto pan. (Note- my mom says its supposed to be marble size - not pictured - because they are supposed to be bitesize and melt in your mouth.)

Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes or until light brown around the edges.

Eat 'em up :)

My thoughts - They were good. My mom like them - well not the size- but now I have to make them for Christmas for all of our relatives. I took them to my friends house and they devoured them. So all in all, a very successful family recipe!

Until next time .... Shianne :)

Next up is C... I didnt want to do the typical Chocolate, Caramel and Cheesecakes for this letter so instead I chose Cranberries!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A is for Acorn

A is for Acorn.... Acorn Squash Cake actually.

When I informed my mom that I was making this she looked at me funny and said "Acorns - gross." When I told her that it was acorn SQUASH she didn't seem anymore thrilled. See the thing about my mom... well she always makes a nasty face up until she actually tries the finished product, and then she apologizes for her doubts... this happens about 8 times out of 10 so I'm not too concerned...

I must admit... I have never tried an acorn squash, let alone had to bake with one, so this was a whole new experience for me. And since I didn't know a thing about what I was about to undertake nor how to cook a squash I googled it (just like everything else in my life). And this is what I learned (thanks to chefinyou)...

So, these are the acorn squash still at the store. I was surprised to find them so quickly and at $1.29 a pound I don't think that they were that expensive. Usually they weigh between 1 and 3 pounds each (you can do the math). Anyways, there were only a handful to choose from so my job wasn't too hard. I read that when buying acorn squash (which you can find at any major grocery store) that you don't want one that is too dark in color because then it isn't ripe enough.

With my squash picked out, I headed home to prepare it (the recipe calls for cooked squash). I set my oven to 375 and then began to cut my squash.

And OH MY is it hard (probably why its considered a hard-shell squash...). A trick that I learned was to cut off a little piece from the side (seen on the knife in the picture above) so that in the process of cutting it, it wouldn't roll away. After using all of my muscle and a little while later I finally got through.

 The next step (the easiest of them) is getting all of the seeds out. Which I might add reminded me of gutting a pumpkin... except easier.

With your oven prepared, you want to put your acorn squash cut side down on a sheet pan and put it into the oven for about 30 minutes. Now, if you wish you can cook it longer... the result will be a sweeter taste.

When the acorn squash is done it will start caramelizing around the edges. This is due to what is called bleeding of the squash - which simply means that the juices begin to seep out.

 Now, its time to get all of the goods out of the squash.

 If you cooked the squash long enough this step should be pretty easy.

Then comes the mashing, always my favorite part (especially when making mashed potatoes :) ).



1/4 C butter (softened)
3/4 C brown sugar (light, firmly packed)
1 egg
1 C acorn squash (cooked and mashed)
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 C all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 C pecans (chopped)


1/2 C brown sugar (light, firmly packed)
1/3 C all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 C butter (softened)
1/2 C pecans (chopped)


 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.

Add egg, beating well.

Stir in squash and vanilla.

Combine flour and next three ingredients.

Gradually add flour to squash mixture, beating at low speed after each addition. Stir in pecans.

Pour batter into a greased 9-inch square pan. (I don't have a 9x9 so I decided to use a 8x8 inch pan.)

For streusal topping, combine all ingredients in a bowl.

Sprinkle with topping

Bake until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes.

This is when I turned it at 20 minutes. Back in for 25 more.

This is what it looks like when I took it out. It smells yummy and the top is nice and golden. :)
Cool for 15 to 20 minutes. You can serve this warm, room temp, or chilled.

A piece of cake. :)

So we tried it warm. My thoughts about the whole process... The "batter" was very thick before baking so I was skeptical about whether or not it would be moist. It wasn't too bad... My only concern was the lack of acorn squash flavor... I don't think that I would have known it was in there if I wasn't the one to make it... Guess it could be a good secret for mothers to sneak vegetables into their children's diet. ;) The peanut gallery (my mom) doesn't like this one (but we had it warm so I'm still holding on to the fact that once its fully cooled it will be better). However, she is very fond of the streusel...

If you make this yourself... let me know how it goes or suggestions you have!

Until next time.... Shianne

Next letter B ... which is for Butter Cookies (my Great Great Aunt Evie's recipe)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I've decided to work my way through the alphabet with desserts. What does this mean? Well, a while ago I discovered my passion for baking, I even went to school and got a degree in it. But, now that I'm back home, I have gone back to baking the things that I have always baked... chocolate chip cookies, cakes, etc... Now, if you will follow me on a journey to bake from A to Z we will discover new desserts, new cultures. I cant promise you ever one will be amazing, but, I do promise you that we will make it, and we will learn. I have a vast knowledge of information that I sucked up from school, so hopefully, I'll be able to pull on that as well.

If you ever have a suggestion for a letter let me know and I will be sure to incorprate it somehow.

Coming up for A - Acorn Squash Cake (frosting has yet to be decided)

Stay tuned

- Shianne