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cinnamondanish21_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

At this point we know there’s no escape. This next week is going to be miles of rough road, it’s going to call for coddling and coddling by definition calls for butter and cinnamon. Buckets of butter and cinnamon.

These cinnamon danish are based on one of my old guilty pleasures, the McDonald’s cinnamon danish. I don’t even think they sell them anymore and I haven’t had one in years. So I rebuilt it from memory and it’s pretty close! The pastry is flaky, the filling is loaded with cinnamon and the icing adds vanilla to the mix. I’m cutting some photos below to save length, but if you’re new to bread dough you can find mixing instructions and photos in one of my other bread recipes.

This does need to rise overnight, so start them the day before. you can cut this recipe in half if you like.

Cinnamon Danish, Makes about 30 3″ x 4″ Danish

For the dough

  • 4-1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1 egg
  • 3 T. butter
  • 1 pkt. fast-rising yeast
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 12 T. butter (reserved, at room temp)

For the filling

  • 4 T. cinnamon
  • 1 c. fine bread crumbs
  • 1-1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 2/3 c. white sugar
  • 5 T. butter

For the glaze

  • 3 c. confectioner’s sugar
  • 4 t. vanilla
  • 2-4 t. water

Make the dough:

Scald the water and milk together in a saucepan, stir in the sugar and 3 T. butter. Cool to lukewarm and stir in the egg, flour and yeast. Let rise until doubled in bulk. Punch down the dough and knead it well, adding flour if necessary to keep it from sticking, until the dough is satiny and elastic. Wash and grease the bowl, put the dough back in, cover it with plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge overnight.

On baking day:

Divide the dough into two equal pieces.

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We’ll work with one half at a time. Roll one ball of dough out to 1/4″ thickness. Slice the reserved 12 T. of butter in half, and then take one half and cut it into halves lengthwise. Put it in the middle of the dough.

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Fold the dough over the butter, bringing the bottom up and the top down to flop over it.

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Yay! We’re laminating! Roll this back out to 1/3″ thick. Repeat the fold, bottom up, top down.

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Repeat one more time: roll this back out to 1/3″ thick. Repeat the fold, bottom up, top down. Wrap your now-laminated dough in plastic wrap and put it back in the fridge and repeat the process for the other dough ball.

Preheat the oven to 375. Combine all the filling ingredients in a bowl and mix to fine crumbs.

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Get the first ball of dough back out of the fridge. Roll it out to 1/4″ thick.

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Let it rest for a few minutes and then cut it into squares. (This waiting period keeps them from shrinking.)

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If you want to be proper make an egg wash by beating an egg with 1 T. of water. We’ll use this to seal the edges as we fill. Take a square and add a tablespoon of filling to the center.

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Bring opposite corners up to the middle and seal them with egg wash or press them.

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Turn the danish seam side down onto a greased cookie sheet. Keep going until you’re done! It will be worth it, trust me.

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When the danish have nearly doubled in bulk take a sharp knife and make three slits across the top to show off that pretty filling.

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Bake for 15-20 minutes, until flaky and golden brown.

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Make the glaze while the danish are baking. Stir together the sugar and vanilla, and drizzle in water as needed for the proper pouring consistency.

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Lay the baked danish on a cooling rack and drizzle glaze over them contentedly, taking in deep healing breaths of the cinnamon steam as you go. You will immediately feel better.

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You will feel better yet when you take a bite.

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cinnamondanish21_little-house-dunes


Four years ago: Calzones
Three years ago: Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
Two years ago: Chocolate Sheet Cake
One year ago: Sugarfree Apple Butter


pumpkincake14_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

Now I like a good four-page recipe probably more than the next girl, but there are times when you have to come up with something FAST. You found a slip at the bottom of the school backpack asking you to bring in something for the bake sale/party, you’ve been invited to a tailgate, or you just need cake like NOW.

This recipe is for those times. If you can stir you can make it. I promise. If you’re an experienced baker it’s still a lovely thing to throw together for a treat after working all day. It keeps well, it’s moist and velvety and it has that irreplaceable homemade thing going. It would also make a great Halloween dessert, just bake it in a round and drizzle a spider web-ish design in chocolate over the top. Boom.

Pumpkin Cake, Makes one 8″ cake or about 12 cupcakes

  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 c. flour
  • 2/3 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. oil
  • 1 t. fresh ground ginger
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda

Frosting

  • 4 oz 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 3 T. soft butter
  • 1 t. milk
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 2 c. powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the pumpkin, eggs, sugar and oil. Stir together well.

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Stir in the spices.

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Then the flour, baking soda and baking powder.

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Spread it evenly in a greased baking dish.

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Bake for about 25 minutes, until the center springs back to the touch. Set it aside to cool to room temperature.

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While the cake is cooling make the frosting. Combine the powdered sugar, butter and cream cheese in a mixing bowl.

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Beat in the vanilla and the milk. Add a little milk if you need it to reach the desired consistency. Beat for two minutes.

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Spread the icing on the cooled cake.

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Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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I sprinkled some candied nuts on top.

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Keep leftovers refrigerated, and lightly covered.


Four years ago: Farmhouse Cornbread
Three years ago: Cheese Fondue
Two years ago: Brioche Coffeecake
One year ago: Apple Dumplings


coneysauce7_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

I was downstate last week for my son’s college orientation and it reminded me how much I miss the coney islands that are on nearly every corner around the Detroit metro area. When we lived there the coneys were our go-to, the best ones serve breakfast all day every day, so even the little people could always find something on the menu. They also have amazing greek salads, gyros and – yes, coney dogs.

I’m not enough of an authority to fine-slice the differences between the Flint and Detroit-style coney sauce, to me they are equally delicious. And if you order a proper Michigan coney it will arrive on a snappy Koegel dog with a soft bun.

This recipe is based on a post by goldendog in the Chowhound forum, and I’ve adjusted it a little bit. It may look red to you if you’re used to the brown stuff out of a can, but it’s got a nice balance of tomato, spice and kick. If you want more chili and less tomato use tomato juice instead. This would be a good crockpot sauce.

Coney Sauce, Michigan Style Makes about 1-1/3 c. sauce (enough for 6-8 coney dogs)

  • 1 small white onion
  • 1/2 lb. ground chuck
  • 3 T. chili powder
  • 1-1/2 t. garlic powder
  • 1 t. Frank’s Red Hot
  • 1 t. black pepper
  • 1-1/2 t. salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 14-oz can tomato sauce

Peel and chop the onion, put it in a food processor bowl.

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Pulse the onion until it’s finely chopped. Add the ground chuck.

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Pulse again to a fine homogenous mixture.

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Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium. Add the meat and stir until browned.

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Add all the rest of the ingredients.

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Cook on a low simmer for about two hours. The sauce will get very thick. Remove the bay leaf.

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Serve the coney sauce on a freshly grilled dog. If you want a ballpark feel wrap it up in a piece of aluminum foil.

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The sauce will keep, refrigerated, for about three days. Freeze in a ziplock for longer storage.

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Three years ago: Hamburger & Hot Dog Buns
Two years ago: Pork Tacos with Mango Salsa
One year ago: Double Berry Cookies


mexicansweetbread18_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris-Brady

Last weekend was graduation party #1 – a group of close friends for dinner and a board game tournament night. It was a big success, but with a dozen teenagers I was worried about having enough food. As I told my son, it’s the way of my people to worry about having enough food. Seriously, running out of food is probably our worst nightmare.

So, even with a taco buffet and four different kinds of mini-desserts I felt like I needed more. I needed a big batch of Mexican sweet bread. If you buy this at a Mexican grocery you probably know them as conchas. The commercial variety tend to be drier inside, and great for dunking in coffee. The homemade ones are tender and delicious, with a fine crumb.

This recipe comes from My Sweet Mexico by Fany Gerson. We’ve tried different recipes, but the topping has never been quite right until we found this one. You want a topping that is crunchy, and spreads out while baking – but not too much. When you are mixing the dough, think of how we did the brioche earlier. That’s the technique.

You have to start these the day before, but if you time it right your house will be blanketed in a heavenly combination of cinnamon and vanilla right when your guests arrive.

Mexican Sweet Bread (Conchas), Makes about 24 4″ conchas

For the bread:

  • 1-1/4 c. whole milk (I used evaporated milk.)
  • 3/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 T. yeast
  • 3/4 c. soft butter

For the topping:

  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1/2 c. soft butter
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 2 t. ground cinnamon

Scald the milk and cool to room temperature. Add the sugar and the eggs.

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Pour the mixture into a large mixing bowl and add the yeast.

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Add the flour and put on the dough hook.

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Mix until you get an elastic dough, about four minutes.

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Add the butter, four tablespoons at a time, and beat until the dough comes back together. It might take a while but keep going. Eventually you’ll end up with a shiny elastic dough.

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Let it rise until doubled.

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Then flip it over, cover it with plastic wrap, and refrigerate it overnight. The next day, when you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 and make the topping.

Combine everything but the flavorings in a mixing bowl and beat well. Conchas typically have a bright topping so I divided mine in half. I flavored one half with vanilla and added three drops of yellow food coloring.

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I kneaded cinnamon into the other half.

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Turn the dough out.

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You can flour the surface lightly, but the dough isn’t very sticky at this point. Grease your baking sheets and divide the dough into golf-balls.

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Divide the topping into large gumballs and flatten them in your palms. Put one on each roll.

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Score them with a knife or a concha stamp. (I use an Ateco stamp.)

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Let them rise until doubled and bake 35-40 minutes.

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The topping will get crackly, and inside…

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Is a beautiful fine-grain. These reheat and freeze well. Store leftovers wrapped at room temperature for up to three days.


Three years ago: Hot Fudge Sauce
Two years ago: Aebelskiver
One year ago: Chocolate Quinoa Scones


browniecookies7_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

Good news! The days of agonizing over whether to make brownies or cookies are over. Sometimes you CAN have the best of both worlds.

These cookies bake up thick and chocolately. If you like them fudgy, take them out when the center is still a little bit glossy. If you like them cakey, wait until the tops are matte. Either way these are perfect companions to a glass of cold milk.

Brownie Cookies, Makes about 40 3″ cookies

  • 1/2 c. butter, at room temperature
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 3/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 6 T. dark cocoa powder
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1-1/2 t. vanilla
  • 2 c. mini semisweet chocolate chips (or dark chips)

Preheat the oven to 375. Combine the butter, oil and sugars in a mixing bowl. Beat until creamy, about four minutes.

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Beat the eggs in one at a time, beating for two minutes between each addition.

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Add the dry ingredients.

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Then beat in the chips, water, milk and vanilla.

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You should have a thick, creamy batter. Drop by tablespoons-full onto greased baking sheets. Flatten slightly.

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Bake about 10-12 minutes, see my note on baking time above.

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Store in an airtight cookie jar.

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Three years ago: Pan-Roasted Chicken with Soused Mushrooms
Two years ago: Chocolate Mint Cookies
One year ago: Salted Caramel Banana Cake

 

mapleovenbake9_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

It is one of the great joys in life to come across people with whom you are immediately simpatico – as if you’d known each other your whole lives. That has been our good luck these past two weeks and even better, this new young friend of ours is someone who appreciates good cooking. He is, in fact, a “good eater” – which was always one of my grandparents’ highest compliments. In light of this I made this dish for Sunday brunch, when my table included four teenagers and one with her thirteenth birthday on the horizon.

This recipe comes by way of my mother-in-law. I’m not sure of it’s exact origin but it may have once been on the Bisquick packages. Regardless, it is makes a lovely large dish for a crowd and leftovers heat up perfectly. If Bisquick is not available in your area, here is an approximate substitution:

  • 2-1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 T. baking powder
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 c. butter

Mix the dry ingredients together, then cut in the butter with a pastry blender or process in a food processor to fine crumbs.

Maple Oven Pancake, Makes one 9 x 13 pan

  • 2-1/2 c. Bisquick (or substitute above)
  • 1-1/2 T. granulated sugar
  • 1-1/4 c. milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 c. maple syrup
  • 2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 12 slices of crispy bacon, crumbled

Preheat the oven to 400. Combine the Bisquick and sugar.

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Whisk the milk, eggs and syrup together, stir into the Bisquick.

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Then stir in half the cheese.

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Pour it into a greased 9 x 13 pan.

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Bake for about 20 minutes. When the center is nearly firm, top the dish with the rest of the cheese and the bacon.

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Return to the oven until the cheese melts and the bacon is heated through, about five-six minutes. Serve warm with extra syrup to pour over the top.

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Store any leftovers in the refrigerator, wrapped. This reheats nicely in either the oven or the microwave.


Three years ago: Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
Two years ago: Dobos Torte
One year ago: Peach Upside Down Cake

cheesecake1_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

Since it’s been absolutely sweltering for the past week, my oven’s been getting a rest, but I made an exception for this cheesecake because the kids picked blueberries with grandpa and the berries are gorgeous. So think of this as a summer cheesecake. It’s much lighter than most, bright with lemon on the inside and pineapple on the outside. It’s also easy. If you have a food processor you can have it ready for the oven in under 10 minutes.

This would be easy to adapt to gluten free by switching to GF crumbs.

Cheesecake with Caramelized Pineapple, Makes one 8″ cake

For the topping:

  • One fresh pineapple, peeled and cored
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar
  • 2 T. water
  • 2 T. butter

For the crust:

  • One box of ‘Nilla wafers, or other vanilla wafer cookies
  • 1/3 c. butter, melted
  • 2 T. sugar

For the filling:

  • 2 8-oz. pkgs. 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 1-3/4 c. lowfat cottage cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/3 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 T. lemon zest or 1 t. lemon extract or lemon bakery emulsion

Optional: Fresh blueberries

Fill a baking dish with water and put it in the oven. Preheat the oven to 325.

Make the crust: Pour four cups of the wafers into a food processor, along with the sugar. Grind to fine crumbs. Pour the crumbs into a mixing bowl and stir in the butter. Reserve one cup of crumbs, then press the rest into the bottom of a greased 8″ springform pan.

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Wash the food processor bowl and reassemble, and put all the filling ingredients in.

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Process until smooth, about one minute.

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It will be nice and thick.

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Spoon it into the pan and smooth the top.

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Put it into the oven to bake for about 40-50 minutes. While the cake is baking make the caramelized pineapple.

Combine the water, brown sugar and butter in a saucepan. Bring it to a boil over medium heat.

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Chop up the pineapple. When the syrup has boiled for about five minutes, add the pineapple.

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It might splatter a little bit. Cook for another 10 minutes. Apparently I forgot to take a picture of the cooked pineapple, but we’ll get to it in a minute. The pineapple will start to get a little transparent. Take it off the heat and set it aside.

When the cheesecake is only a tiny bit jiggly in the center, take it out of the oven.

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The top might crack a little bit but that’s okay. Run a knife around the outside, then take the reserve crumbs and put them around the outside edge and spoon the pineapple into the middle, like so:

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Reserve the pineapple syrup. Put the cake in the refrigerator until thoroughly chilled. To serve remove the ring from the pan and slice.

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Drizzle each plate with some of the pineapple syrup, add the cheesecake and fresh blueberries.

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Two years ago: Mustard Roasted Potatoes
One year ago: Gooseberry-Raspberry Pie


 

quickfudgecake_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

I thought I’d share this recipe now, because it’s a lovely way to showcase fresh summer fruit. You can have this in the oven in under 10 minutes too, leaving you more time for summer fun. I’ve shown a thick layer there but you could also do two thin layers, to sandwich together with berries and whipped cream (or cherries and whipped cream for a great black forest). No matter what the size this is one great, moist cake that also keeps well thanks to the yogurt.

This recipe is based on one of my favorite cookbooks, More Home Cooking, by Laurie Colwin. She called it Happy Winter Fudge Cake, as she in turn adapted it from a children’s book called Happy Winter. I used an IKEA dark chocolate bar for this cake, but you can use any type that catches your fancy.

Quick Fudge Cake, Makes your choice of: one 3″ thick 8″ round and six cupcakes; 14 cupcakes; two 1-1/2″ thick 8″ rounds; one 9″ bundt

3 oz. semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 c. sugar
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
2 T. dark baking cocoa
1 t. salt
2 eggs
1/4 c. soft butter
1 t. vanilla
1 1/2 c. plain greek yogurt

Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the eggs, butter, vanilla, yogurt and melted chocolate in a mixer bowl and cream.

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The melted chocolate might turn into little bits but that’s okay! Keep going. Add the dry ingredients all at once.

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Mix on medium for about two minutes. You’ll have a thick creamy batter, that incidentally, is delicious.

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Spread it into your lightly greased pans. If you want flat layers be sure to make a depression in the center.

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Baking time will depend on your pans and your oven. This thick 8″ layer took about 25 minutes, thin layers and cupcakes take 12-15 minutes.

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Even fresh out of the oven it will cut nicely into neat slices. I like to serve it warm with fresh cold berries and a sprinkling of powdered sugar.

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Two years ago: Rhubarb Streusel Pie (a reader favorite!)
One year ago: Greek Chicken Pita Wraps

buttermuffins_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

The other morning I felt like having tea and jam for breakfast, but of course I couldn’t have just that because I am an Adult and I have to set an Example. So I made muffins to give me something to put the jam on. These are good, basic muffins with lots of nooks and crannies – a great way to showcase any kind of nice jam.

Butter Muffins, Makes 12 muffins

  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 T. melted butter
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/2 t. baking powder
  • Streusel, option (recipe under Basics page above)

Preheat the oven to 400 and combine the first four ingredients in a bowl. Mix well.

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Then add the dry ingredients, all at once.

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Stir briskly five-six times. It’s okay to have a few streaks of flour and some lumps, those will all take care of themselves.

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Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full, dividing the batter evenly.

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Put a little sprinkle of streusel on top if you like. (I make large batches and keep it on hand in the freezer.)

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Slide them into the oven and bake about 15 minutes.

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They will rise up and look quite fetching.

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They look even better with a lash of butter.

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Serve these warm. They are best eaten the same day but if you have some leftover wrap them in plastic wrap and warm them in the microwave for a few seconds when you want them.

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Two years ago: Yogurt Flatbread
One year ago: Spoonbread

mixedberrypie7_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

Since Saturday was PI day (3.14.15) and I live in a house with a bunch of math geeks/pie lovers pie there was no choice, pie had to manifest. The fresh fruit this time of year is somewhat expensive and questionable, so I thought it would be a good time to talk about the tricks of making pie with frozen fruit. Quick pie. Pie when you do not have the time to defrost because dinner is imminent. Pie when you want to clean out the freezer to get ready for spring.

Here I used a cup of small wild blueberries, about three cups of Montmorency cherries and one cup of raspberries – all individually quick-frozen last summer. Because you can’t tell with frozen fruit how much juice the berries will give off, things get tricky. So you guess at the start and then cheat if you have to later on.

I started this pie off in the oven without its topping. About halfway through the baking I checked to see if my initial guess was correct. Here I could have added in some cornstarch or tapioca flour, but I didn’t need to as you will see.

Mixed Berry Pie (with frozen berries), Makes one 9″ deep dish pie

  • 5 c. mixed berries of your choice, all individually quick-frozen
  • One unbaked deep dish pie shell (my recipe is above under Basics)
  • 2 c. streusel (my recipe is above under Basics)
  • 1-1/3 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. small tapioca
  • 1 t. cinnamon

Mix the sugar, tapioca and berries together in a bowl. Let stand for about 15 minutes while you preheat the oven to 375.

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Fill the pie shell with the berries evenly.

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After 25-30 minutes, take the pie out of the oven. The berries should be giving off their juices and while it should be a bit watery (because the tapioca is starting to do its job) the berries should not be completely submerged.

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If you have too much juice at this point you can gently stir in some more cornstarch or tapioca flour mixed with cold water. Then proceed to cover the pie with the streusel.

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Return the pie to the oven and bake for another 25 minutes, until the streusel is nicely brown.

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The pie will thicken as it cools. I left it to cool at room temperature. Here it is six hours later.

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Serve slightly warm with vanilla ice cream.

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Two years ago: Cream Scones
One year ago: Key Lime Pie

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