MAKE BUTTER IN YOUR STAND MIXER

Do you have a lot of heavy whipping cream leftover from the holidays like I do?  If so, consider turning it into butter with your stand mixer. It only takes about 15 minutes tops, and the mixer does all the work.

This isn't something I would make on a regular basis, but it IS perfect for very special occasions (try mixing in your favorite herbs or spices). It is also a fun project you can do with your kids.

All it takes is some heavy whipping cream + salt, + a stand mixer + 15 minutes .... and "hocus-pocus", you will have butter!!


 
Start out with a quart of ICE COLD heavy whipping cream


Whip it, on medium high, in your stand mixer, using the wire whisk attachment. It will try and splatter a little, so I usually cover my whole mixer with a dish towel.


Whip until you get nice stiff peaks, like this (should take about 4-5 minutes.


Now this next step is where the "butter" starts to happen. Change from your whisk to your paddle attachment. Let the mixture beat for a few more minutes (at medium high speed,)and it will start to look a little more yellow and it will "loosen up" considerably. This is when you need to make a serious plastic wrap cover for the top of your bowl because it starts to splash.

The mixture will start to separate like this:

 
Don't freak out, this is what its supposed to look like. The buttermilk is starting to separate from the butter.

After it has whipped a little longer, the mixture will completely "break down" and separate, like this: (click on the photo to get a better look).


Although this liquid is called buttermilk, it is very thin and nothing like commercial buttermilk. 

You are now done with the whipping stage (the whole process takes about 12-15 minutes) but there are a couple more steps:

Put the butter into a strainer, and drain off the liquid, It will look like this:


Rinse the "chunks" under VERY COLD running water (the water will not effect the butter as long as it is very cold). Squeeze the pieces together as you rinse the butter. You are basically trying to rinse out any little pockets of milk liquid.

 
Work 1/2 teaspoon table salt into the butter (or you can leave it unsalted). To do this step, I put the butter back in the stand mixer and beat it for a few seconds, so the salt would be evenly distributed.


Finally you have butter !!
 
A quart of heavy cream will make 10 ounces of delicious butter. It will keep in the fridge for about a week, or you can freeze it.
 
 
This sounds like a LOT of steps, but they are really
very simple and straight forward.
 
 
 
ENJOY !!!
 


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Apple Pie

Well - I guess I'm in the mood to share my favorite desserts tonight! I don't have many on my website, so I guess this is a good thing for my readers! It has to be the Christmas season...and the fact that I'm cooking right now in preparation for our family Christmas Eve dinner tomorrow!

My husband LOVES apple pie, so one day I decided to make one for Christmas dinner. And he LOVED it! It is now a Christmas tradition and he only gets it once a year!

I get to claim this recipe as my own, excluding the Double-Crust recipe. I found this recipe in a cookbook, but I completely re-vamped the filling; therefore, I get to call it mine :) This one is NOT gluten free (sorry guys).

This one takes some time to make. If you want to take short cuts and save time, you can buy a pie shell and a pie crust top and just make your filling. But if you make your own crust...it's so good!

Enjoy this one! We love to serve it with a scoop of french vanilla ice cream on top!

Recipe for Double Crust Pie

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 10 tablespoons cold water
Directions:
  • In a medium bowl, stir together flour and salt with a hand whisk.
  • Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening until pieces are pea sized.
  • Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the water over part of the flour mixture. Gently toss with a fork. Push moistened dough to the side of the bowl. Repeat, using 1 tablespoon water at a time until all the flour mixture is moistened.
  • Divide in half; form each half into a ball
  • On a lightly floured surface, use your hands to slightly flatten 1 dough ball. Roll dough from center to edges into a circle 12 inches in diameter.
  • To transfer pastry, wrap it around the rolling pin and then unroll it into a 9-inch pie plate (or I re-use my aluminum pie pans)
  • Ease pastry into pie plate without stretching it. Trim the pastry even with rim of pie plate. 
  • Transfer apple pie filling (recipe below) to pastry-lined pie plate.
  • Roll remaining dough ball into a circle, about 12 inches in diameter.
  • Cut slits on top to allow steam to escape. Place the pastry on top of the filling, then trim 1/2 inch beyond edge of plate. 
  • Crimp the edges as desired (there are so many cute ways to do this!!)

Recipe for Apple Pie Filling

Ingredients:

  • 1 recipe for Double-Crust Pie (above) or use a store bought ready made pie shells and topping if you are short on time.
  • 6 cups of thinly sliced peeled Granny Smith Apples (about 5-6 apples)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice from fresh lemon
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon milk (for topping)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (for topping)

Directions:

  • Prepare and roll out pastry for Double-Crust pie (see recipe above).
  • Take your Granny Smith Apples and core them and cut into slices.

  • Peel the apple slices and cut slices until they are thin. Place in a large bowl.
  • Take 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice and sprinkle over the apple slices. Combine the apple slices with a spoon to ensure that the juice is covering all apple slices.
  • In a separate bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg until well combined.
  • Pour mixture over apple slices and mix well until all apple slices are well coated.
  • Transfer apple mixture filling to the pastry-lined pie plate. Trim the bottom pastry to edge of pie plate.
  • Place on filling, cut slits in pastry and crimp edges as desired.

  • Brush top pastry with milk and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of sugar. This gives your pie a nice brown topping.
Chef's Note: To prevent over browning, cover edge of pie with foil or a pie edge cover.


  • Bake at 375 F for 40 minutes.
  • Remove foil or pie edge cover and cook for an additional 20 minutes.
  • Remove from oven an cool on a wire rack.


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Red Velvet Cake

I get so many requests for this recipe. My dad has been making homemade red velvet cake since before I can remember and I asked him if I could share the recipe on my website and he said YES! I have no idea where he got this recipe...and he wont tell me any details about the history.

Most of my readers probably dont know, but I have a lot of recipes that are published. I write for a magazine and after talking it over with my dad, this recipe will be published in the February publication! My dad and I made this red velvet cake for my publisher and took it over to her as a Christmas present! It's absolutely beautiful and great for a holiday celebration!

Dad and I made 2 cakes this week, 1 for my publisher and 1 for our Christmas family dinner. This one defiantly is NOT gluten free and it contains nuts. I have not attempted to make a gluten free version. Perhaps one day I will...

Enjoy this treasured recipe. We get requests to make this cake and ship it all over the US because it is so popular and tastes so fantastic! Everything in this recipe is homemade, so get ready to invest some time if you plan to make this! It takes a total of about 4 hours to make (that includes cooking and cooling time) but it is so worth it!

This recipe is fantastic for both Christmas and Valentine's Day!

May God bless all my readers! Remember - Jesus Christ is the reason for the season!

Merry Christmas!!


Ingredients

Cake:

  • 2 1/2 cups self rising flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (two 1 oz. bottles) red food coloring
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 2 large eggs

Frosting:

  • 1 full stick (8TBSP) plus 1/3 sticks butter softened
  • 10 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1 pound box confectioner sugar
  • 2 cups chopped pecan pieces

Directions

To make cake:

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  • Mix together all ingredients with an electric mixer. NOTE: If you have a standing electric mixer, I recommend using this. The mix feature is so gentle that it will ensure that your cakes don't split on top.
  • Spray three 9-inch round cake pans with non-stick coating. NOTE: If you have flexipans - I HIGHLY recommend using these. You can eliminate the spray and they pop right out - no sticking! My favorite brand is Demarle Flexipan.
  • Pour batter equally into the three pans and bake for 20-25 minutes. (Test for doneness when a toothpick comes out clean).
  • Cool layers on wire rack for 10 to 20 minutes.
  • Carefully remove layers from pans to cool completely.
To make frosting:
  • Combine butter, cream cheese and confectioners sugar in a bowl.
  • Beat with your electric mixer until fluffy.
  • Fold in 1 1/4 cups of pecan pieces: use to fill and frost cake when cool. NOTE: I take my pecan pieces and chop them until they are very fine.
  • Decorate top of cake with remaining pecans.
  • Cool 1 hour.
Chef's Note - If you have some red velvet cake that was left over in your pan when removing the cakes, take those crumbs and break apart and decorate the top of the cake. It definitely makes the cake look more festive!






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THIN MINT CHRISTMAS COOKIES

It is time to start planning your Christmas cookie list, isn't it? Today's cookie is truly a five star keeper!!

These festive cookies taste just like Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies(only better!!) and they only take TWO INGREDIENTS to make!!! People will think you've been working on them all day.


 
drizzled some white chocolate
decoration on these, just for fun,
but it certainly isn't necessary. You
can use holiday sprinkles instead.

You will need some Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers and some Andes (creme de menthe) chocolates.....that's it!!
 
 
The chocolate wafers come in a 9 ounce package and I found the Andes Mints (those creamy little chocolate mints with the green center) in a 4.67 ounce package.  There are 28 mints in the package and one package will do a dozen cookies (I found the mint packages for $1.60 here in Alaska, so hopefully you can find them even cheaper.

I unwrapped and then melted the chocolates in my microwave for about 30 seconds...stirred and then microwaved them for another 10 seconds (stir until the chocolate is smooth and shiny). Dip the chocolate wafers in the melted chocolate (both sides) and place on some parchment paper (or waxed paper).

Stick them in the fridge (I used the freezer) for about 5 minutes to "set" the chocolate......that's it!!  

 
 
NOTE: If you are having trouble finding the Andes Mints, just use the Andes Mint baking chips (next to the chocolate chips) they will work just as well. 
 
MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!



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