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Wednesday, September 29, 2010


These are my husband's favorite cookies.  When I was a stay at home mom with a bunch of little kids, I actually baked these for him on a semi-regular basis.  They are fast and easy, the ingredients are always on hand, and kids love to help form the balls of dough and roll them in cinnamon-sugar.  The last few years my man has had a bit of a Snickerdoodle famine.  Once in a while he gets lucky when his darling daughter gets the urge to bake, but I have not provided him with a regular supply of his favorites for a long time.  Today I didn't have to go to work, and the changing leaves on the mountains outside my window put me in a fall-ish baking mood.  My husband has been out of town a lot lately too, so these make a pretty good welcome home.  The start aligned just right for me to bake Snickerdoodles and I can't wait to hand these over to him tonight!  Try these out:


1 -1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
2- 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Beat 1-1/2 cups sugar, the butter, shortening and eggs with electric mixer.  Stir in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.

Shape dough into balls.  Mix 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon in small bowl.  Roll balls of dough in cinnamon-sugar.  Place on ungreased cookie sheet (I prefer stoneware cookie sheets).

Bake 10 minutes if using metal cookie sheets, 12 minutes if using stoneware.  Cookies should be slightly puffed and mostly set.  Don't overcook these or they'll end up hard and dry.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fresh, juicy, tree-ripened....Peaches!

Shortly after we built our house ten years ago, I bought a little peach tree and had my husband plant it in the corner of the back yard.  I had heard on a radio gardening show that peaches don't fare well in the extreme winters we have in the far north of Utah, but I love peaches so much that I wanted to try anyway.  Until last year the little tree never produced more than a handful of peaches (but they were always juicy and delicious).  Last summer we got quite a few, but grasshoppers and wasps attacked them before we got many.  But this year.....THIS year was THE year for my little tree!  The branches were so overburdened with fruit that they bowed all the way to the ground.  My 8 year-old son picked some peaches one Saturday, a few days later I picked more, and the tree was still covered. Since birds ate all the fruit off my pie cherry tree and neighbor kids took all the apples off my two dwarf trees I had to make the most of the peaches!

So, I canned peaches and made peach jam for the very first time.  It was time consuming, but I'm proud of those lovely jars.

I still had lots of peaches, which I used to make two fresh peach pies.  There are lots of fresh peach pie recipes out there that use Jello or other artificial ingredients.  Those may be okay if you're using peaches that are less then perfect.  But for juicy peaches that came straight off the tree that isn't good enough.  I used an all natural recipe that really takes advantage of the ripe peach flavor.  The only thing is, you'll want to serve this pie the day it's made.  Otherwise the juicy peaches cause the filling to break down and it can get a little soggy by the next day.  Don't worry, you might want to eat the whole thing by yourself.

Fresh Peach Pie

1 baked pie crust (I used a deep dish pan in order to enjoy more peaches per piece!)

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 Tablespoon butter
2 cups peaches, pureed (I used a potato masher.  If you have a food processor you can use that)
1 teaspoon almond extract
Peeled and sliced fresh peaches - the amount depends on the size of your pie pans.  For a 9 inch pie you'll need about 5 cups
2 cups whipping cream, whipped and sweetened

Combine the sugar, water, cornstarch, butter and pureed peaches in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Boil until thick, about two minutes.  Cool completely.

Add almond extract.  Stir in the sliced peaches, then pour into the baked pie crust.  Top with the fresh whipped cream and refrigerate just until the pie is chilled.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Baking is my therapy

When I started this blog I had big plans to bake a new and different pie every week. I forgot that I have a life with a husband, seven children, parents, siblings, a grandson and paid employment.  Not to mention other hobbies and interests.  So, the pie a week goal hasn't happened consistently.  But I'm trying.  I do get a lot of enjoyment out of baking - whether it's pie or cookies or bread.  Turning some flour and miscellaneous other ingredients into a thing of beauty and deliciousness is really satisfying.  I'm glad my mother gave me the freedom and confidence to play in the kitchen and start learning cooking and baking, and I'm glad my husband and children have been willing to try anything I baked over the years.  I also have great friends and neighbors who have willingly eaten my baking efforts.  Now fall is creeping on and I'm getting excited about baking again.  I've also cut back from working full-time to working half-time, so hopefully I'll have a little more time to play in the kitchen.  In addition to more pies I want to bake bread more often.  What else should I try out this fall and winter?

Peaches off the tree in my yard will be made into a pie or two soon!  I'll show you the results and share the recipe.