Sunday, March 22, 2020

Butter Crackers

When you have a little extra time to spend, it's absolutely worthwhile to spend it "puttin' on the Ritz" and making these crackers at home, instead of purchasing them.  They're actually quite straightforward to make, tasty, and homemade means you know exactly what's in them.
  • 1 C flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp cold butter
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/3 C water (or as needed)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp melted butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt for topping
1.  Preheat oven to 400F.  In a mini food processor, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.  Add cold butter a few small pats at a time, pulsing to combine.  Pour in oil and pulse to combine.  Add water about a half Tablespoon at a time, pulsing with each addition, until dough comes together forming a ball, scraping down sides if necessary.
2.  Roll dough very thinly and cut out with cookie cutter.  Poke 5-6 holes in each cracker with a skewer or the back of a toothpick.  Bake on a parchment- or silpat-lined baking sheet for 10 minutes, or until crackers are just beginning to brown.
3.  In the last minute of baking, combine melted butter and salt for topping.  When crackers are fully baked, brush each with melted salty butter and allow to cool.

Robyn's notes: I have never used all of the water, I generally use about half of what's called for, but I'm also baking at high altitude and often when it's pretty low humidity.  If the dough has come together, stop adding water. These make very tasty crackers, which I keep going back to. As I do with the bought version, I enjoy them plain, with cheese, and with peanut butter.  For the price of ingredients in my area, this is an item it's financially reasonable to make instead of buying.  It's also a good option for recipes that call for a crushed Ritz crust, avoiding buying a full box of crackers and having leftovers (since avoiding leftovers is one of my missions in life).  Watch me demonstrate this recipe on youtube!

*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often

Friday, March 13, 2020

Mint Chocolate Cookie Butter Truffles


With just enough mint but not too much, the creamy chocolate centers nearly melt in your mouth!
1. Line a large baking dish with cling film or parchment paper. Pour prepared cookie butter into dish, spreading out as thin as possible. Refrigerate at least one hour.
2. Line another dish with cling film. Using a spoon or scoop and rolling quickly in your hands, form the chilled cookie butter into balls about one inch in diameter, placing each ball onto the cling film where they will not touch. Refrigerate at least one hour.
3. Fill the bottom of a double boiler with a couple inches of water, bring to a simmer. In the top section, melt 1 Cup of chocolate chips until the chocolate is 105°F. Remove top section from heat and stir in remaining 1/2 Cup of chocolate, a bit at a time, letting it melt before adding more. Allow chocolate to cool to 82°F. Return to the double boiler until it warms to 86°F. Remove from heat.
4. One at a time, drop chilled balls of cookie butter into melted chocolate, using a spatula or fork to completely cover each ball and to gently remove from chocolate. Place each ball on parchment paper to set. If temperature of chocolate drops below 82°F while coating the balls, return it to the double boiler briefly to heat to about 87°F. Allow truffles to rest while they set.

Robyn's notes: prepare cookie butter as instructed in that recipe, but using mint Oreos instead of plain. The cookie butter is really sticky, when it's chilling you want as much of it exposed to the air as possible, or you won't be able to form it into balls. If you don't want to temper the chocolate you can just melt it, but you won't get the same snap, and since the inside of the truffles will be soft, that firm coating helps.

**** 4 Stars: Very Good. Enjoyed by us both, I will make this frequently.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

InstantPot Applesauce


Usually, I make a good-sized batch of applesauce and can it, so I have plenty on hand for just a little bit of work. However, if I don't have time to do those extra canning steps, I can make a smaller batch in the InstantPot Mini.

1 1/2 lbs apples (about four medium)
1 1/2 Tbsp unsweetened apple juice
1/4 C sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

1. Peel, core, and slice apples into eighths. Cut each segment in half crosswise.
2. Place apples in the inner pot of Instant Pot Mini. Add apple juice.
3. Lock the lid in place. Select Pressure Cook or Manual, and adjust the pressure to High and the time to 4 minutes. After cooking, release the pressure naturally for 15 minutes, then quick release any remaining pressure.
4. Unlock the lid. Add sugar and cinnamon. Smash with a potato masher to desired consistency. Carefully taste and adjust seasoning, adding more sugar if needed. Be aware that the apples will taste sweeter when hot.

Robyn's notes: if you're not sure which varieties are sauce apples (as opposed to eating or pie apples), feel free to ask the produce manager. Some options are Fuji, Golden Delicious, Braeburn, Cortland, Crispin, McIntosh, Liberty, and Rome. The best sauce is made with a combination of two varieties. It's good to keep a few juice boxes on hand in the pantry for this use, since the recipe calls for such a small amount of juice. Don't think you can skip the juice, the IP won't come up to pressure without the juice inside.

**** 4 Stars: Very Good. Enjoyed by us both, I will make this frequently.