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Baking 101


Hello again!
Below you will find the latest installment of my 'lil cooking school on the web! The following recipes have been included because of their minimum of ingredients and minimum fuss...soooooo click away and have a tasty holiday!!!

{Cookies} { Pies} { Cakes} { Beverages}


Gingerbread Cookies

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups dark molasses
2/3 cup cold water
7 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Easy creamy frosting
Assorted candy toppings

Mix brown sugar, shortening, molasses and water in large bowl. Stir in flour, baking soda, ginger, salt, allspice, cloves and cinnamon. Cover and refrigerate about 2 hours or until firm.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheet. Roll one-fourth of dough at a time 1/4 thick on floured surface. Cut with floured gingerbread cookie cutter or other favorite shaped cutter.

Place about 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until almost no indentation remains when touched in center. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Cool completely on a wire rack. Spread cookies with Easy Creamy Frosting and decorate! It's that easy!!! Now here's the frosting...

Easy Creamy Frosting

4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 tablespoons half-and-half

Mix all ingredients until smooth and spreading consistency.

(To personalize, add cookie dough hair by pushing cookie dough through a garlic press. Raisins, chocolate chips or mini-M & M's make great eyes and buttons. You can also bend the arms and legs before baking to make dancing gingerbread people.)

Sugar Cookies

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
Granulated sugar plain and colored

Mix powdered sugar and butter in a large bowl. Stir in egg, vanilla and pure almond extract. Next, stir in flour, baking soda and cream of tartar. Cover and refrigerate about 2 hours or until firm.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Roll half of dough at a time 1/8 inch thick on lightly floured surface. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until light brown.

Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Cool on a wire rack.



Pumpkin-Cream Cheese Pie

Pecan Shortbread Cookie Crust
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3 eggs
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
1 tablespoon milk

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Bake Pecan Shortbread Cookie Crust; cool. Beat sugar, flour and cream cheese in a large bowl on low speed until smooth; reserve 1/2 cup. Add remaining ingredients except milk to remaining cream cheese mixture. Beat on medium speed, scraping bowl constantly, until smooth. Pour into crust.

Stir milk into reserved cream cheese mixture. Spoon over pumpkin mixture. Cut through cream cheese and pumpkin mixtures with a knife in S-shaped curves in one continuous motion. Turn pie plate one-fourth turn and repeat.

Cover edge of crust with 2 to 3-inch strips of aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning; remove foil during the last 15 minutes of baking. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 30 minutes. Cover loosely and refrigerate at least 4 hours.

Pecan Shortbread Cookie Crust

1 1/2 cups packed crushed shortbread cookies with pecans (about 16 cookies)
3 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons all-purpose four

Mix all ingredients. Press firmly on bottom and up the sides of an ungreased pie plate, 9x1 1/4 inches. Bake about 12 minutes or until light brown.



Carrot Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 treaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 cups finely grated carrots
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup chopped nuts, divided

Cream Cheese Frosting

2 packages (3 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
3 cups confectioners' sugar
6 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add eggs, oil, carrots, and vanilla; beat until combined. Stir in 1/2 cup of nuts. Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool. Combine frosting indredients in a small bowl; mix until well blended. Frost cooled cake. Sprinkle with remaining nuts. Store in refrigerator.

Chocolate-Nut Torte

6 ounces sweet cooking chocolate
¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter
4 eggs, separated
1/8 teaspoon salt
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup ground hazelnuts or walnuts
2 tablespoons hazelnut liqueur or 2 tablespoons prepared coffee

Heat oven to 375º. Grease and flour springform pan, 8x1½ inches. Heat chocolate and butter in a 2-quart saucepan, stirring occasionally, until melted; cool 5 minutes.

Beat egg whites and salt in medium bowl on high speed until stiff. Beat egg yolks and sugar in small bowl on medium speed until lemon colored; stir into chocolate mixture. Stir nuts and liqueur into chocolate mixture. Gradually fold chocolate mixture into egg whites; pour into pan.

Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until top is dry and knife inserted into the center comes out slightly wet. Cool completely, remove side of pan.



Hot Spicy Cider

1 quart apple cider
1 thick orange slice
5 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks

Insert cloves into orange skin. Place all ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Heat until piping hot. Serve in a mug with a thin slice of orange for garnish.

Mock Irish Creme

1 cup half-and-half
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons chocolate-flavored syrup
2 teaspoons instant coffee
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon pure almond extract
1/8 teaspoon coconut extract
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

Place all ingredients in blender. Cover and blend on medium speed about 30 seconds or until well blended. Serve over ice, or refrigerate until chilled and serve topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings, if desired. Store tightly covered in refrigerator up to 1 week. Stir before serving.


Updated December 16, 2000