Showing posts with label betty crocker. Show all posts
Showing posts with label betty crocker. Show all posts

25 May 2017

Lazy Blackberry Almond Bars

I came home from work Monday night in the mood to bake something Right Then That Minute. Since I had a bag of sugar cookie mix and a punnet of fresh blackberries on hand, I decided to whip up a batch of my tried-and-true generally-husband-pleasing blackberry bars. These bars are based on Betty Crocker's "Raspberry Streusel Bars" recipe, but I've steadily tweaked it over the years until it has become what you see below.


You don't absolutely have to warm the preserves, but it spreads much more easily on the hot sugar cookie base if you do. Otherwise, I find bits of the base get pulled up and mixed into the preserves as I try to spread it around.


Lazy Blackberry Almond Bars

Yield: 25 bars

Ingredients

  • 1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
  • ⅓ cup butter, softened
  • 2 Tbsp white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground mace
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup seedless black raspberry preserves, warmed until slightly runny
  • ¼ blackberries
  • ¼ flaked almonds

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 8-inch square baking pan with foil and brush with canola oil or spritz with cooking spray.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine cookie mix, butter, flour, almond extract, cinnamon, mace, and egg until a soft dough forms. Press half of the dough into the bottom of pan and bake 15 minutes.
  3. Spread warm preserves over cookie base. Sprinkle with blackberries.
  4. Mash remaining dough and almonds together with a pastry blender until crumbs form. Scatter over preserves and berries.
  5. Bake 20-25 minutes or until bars are golden brown.
  6. Cool completely then cut into bars and store in a tightly sealed container until needed. Baked bars will slowly soften, so eat within a day or two of baking.

06 April 2016

Cookies for Orderly Cupboards

The addition of two bags of flour has caused my usually orderly baking cupboard to descend into chaos. Every time I open its doors to get out the walnuts or refill the sugar pot now, a partially used bag of dried fruit or chocolate morsels throws itself at me. "It's too crowded it here," they cry. "We don't know where we're supposed to fit! DO SOMETHING!"


So I turned a bunch of them into cookies! (Possibly not what they had in mind). I started with a Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix leftover from Christmas and just tarted it up with random baking add-ins. Because I used a lot of add-ins (too many?), I ended up with more cookies than cookie sheets. I just let the first pan cool on the porch after the cookies had been removed from it to the cooling racks and then re-used it, parchment and all, for the last batch.

These cookies came out pretty deliciously. I mean, they would have to be at least "okay" as the mix makes them mostly foolproof. The flavors and textures were quite good, although I think I would have preferred almonds to macadamias and a bit of orange zest wouldn't have gone amiss. Still, my coworkers kept telling me how delicious the cookies were, so what do I know?

Cookies for Orderly Cupboards

Yield: about 32 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 17.5 oz pouch Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup crystallized ginger chips
  • ⅓ cup dried apricots, chopped small
  • ½ cup unsweetened dried flaked coconut, crumbled between your fingers
  • 1 cup 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup unsalted raw macadamia nut pieces

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Line 2 half sheet pans (13"x18") with baking parchment.
  2. Place cookie mix, butter, and egg in your stand mixer's bowl. Attach bowl and flat beater to the mixer. Turn to Speed 6 and beat until a soft dough forms. Add in remaining ingredients and continue to beat until combined.
  3. Drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets, about 2 inches apart.
  4. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool cookies on pan for 2 minutes then transfer to cooling racks and allow to cool completely.
  5. Store cookies in a tightly covered container until needed.

06 January 2016

Easy Strawberry Almond Bars

Haven't baked a lot of cookies this Christmas season, but I did bake a pan of really delicious strawberry bars using a bag of sugar cookie mix and Betty Crocker's recipe for "Raspberry Streusel Bars" as a base.


I added a little orange zest and cinnamon to the sugar cookie dough (along with the other ingredients called for in the recipe) and mixed slivered almonds in with the reserved dough that was to be crumbled on top of the jam to form the "streusel." And, obviously, I used strawberry preserves instead of seedless raspberry jam.

These. Bars. These bars were just nomilicious. We could not stop eating them and they did not last long! Definitely worth baking again. Next time I might use lemon zest, black currant preserves, and hazelnuts ... or, you know, try the recipe as it was actually written ...

26 August 2015

Celebratory Chocolate Cookies for a Coworker

One of my coworkers is getting married soon so we threw a little do for her one afternoon and it was really sweet. Her colors are pink and orange, so there was pink and orange everything. Plates. Napkins. Balloons. Pom-poms. Fans. Cupcake picks. Cookie decos.

Look at that gooey caramel center! Rolos, yo.

Yes, even the cookies were pink and orange! I used two Betty Crocker chocolaty cookie-mix based recipes -- "Chocolate-Caramel Filled Cookies" and "Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies" -- as the bride-to-be loves chocolate. As you can see by following the links, neither of my cookies looked much like Betty Crocker's! But they were both quite delicious and my coworkers nommed them up as if the cookies were manna in the wilderness. (The Husband was also rather disgruntled about the lack of cookies flowing in his direction ... I made dozens of cookies. Surely they didn't all need to go to work? Well, yes, they did).

Need to work on my glaze-drizzling technique :(

I made the cookies exactly as directed ... except I had so much glaze leftover from decorating the "Chocolate-Caramel Filled Cookies" that I used the excess to decorate the Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies," too. The white chocolate glaze might have looked prettier against the dark chocolate cookie, but I didn't know what else to do with the leftover glaze. Throwing it out just seemed silly.

03 July 2015

Repurposed Picnic Leftovers or "Hide It In Salad"

Is there anything sadder looking than a picked over vegetable tray the day after a picnic? Usually, I chop up whatever remains and throw it into a "Everything but the Kitchen Sink" tossed salad for lunch, but it was still the weekend and The Husband needed feeding, too, and salad is not really his favorite kind of supper. Happily, I had a box of Betty Crocker's "Classic" Suddenly Salad and knew he'd go for that ... appropriately amended with picnic leftovers.


I prepared the salad according to the directions on the box, then stirred in leftover grilled chicken, guacamole, salsa, lime juice, cilantro, chopped peppers, grape tomatoes, and onion. When I served it, I topped each portion with shredded cheddar, crushed tortilla chips, and more salsa.

Overall, I'd say it was a pretty good salad for something that started out as a box mix, but I think it could have benefited from the addition of black beans and corn.

22 April 2015

Slow Cooker Salsa Swiss Steak

Sometimes, I basically just type the contents of my kitchen into "the Google" and see what I get. This week, I got Betty Crocker's delicious "Slow-Cooker Salsa Swiss Steak."


I used a bag of frozen sliced peppers and onions instead of fresh, but otherwise followed the recipe to a T with pretty tasty results. The meat was as tender as pot roast and the sauce was rich and flavorful ... but, I admit, it could have used a couple cloves of garlic. What isn't improved by a little garlic, though?

20 June 2014

Celebrating with Easy Spumoni Cookies


"Spumoni Chunk Cookies" I made for a retirement party. The recipe starts with Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix and then tarts it up with pistachios, dried cherries, and semisweet chocolate chunks. I've made these cookies several times now, but I admit this was the first time I actually stuck with the recipe -- I've used toasted walnuts or pecans -- because pistachios are not something I usually have on hand. (If you can find shelled salted roasted pistachios, well, good on you. I bought mine still in the shell and, in shelling them, probably put as many in my tummy as in the measuring cup).


I thought I had a bag of Nestle Toll House chunks left from Christmas, but couldn't find them when it came time to bake and ended up buying a bag of Hershey's Baking Melts. Based on the packaging illustrations, I was expecting thumbnail-sized rounds, but opened the bag to find surprisingly big 'uns. A bit too big for these cookies, I thought, so I ended up chopping them in half. Unlike with the pistachios, no chocolate ended up in my belly!


The cherries were the last of the Nuts.com sour (tart) cherries I'd bought for fruitcake last December. They're excellent cherries -- slightly sweetened with a real intense punch of cherry flavor. They look a little bit like raisins once they've baked into the cookies, but once you take a bite you know you're dealing with CHERRIES. There's no confusing these with anything else!


Everyone at the party really loved these cookies and several people asked me for the recipe, only to appear visibly distressed when I explained I'd tarted up a cookie mix. The Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix yields a perfectly fine cookie and, with all the other ingredients added in, the cookie base wasn't a significant player in texture or flavor, anyway. If you want to go all out, by all means do use your favorite from-scratch cookie recipe. I needed to bake quite a lot of cookies in very little time between several other obligations and using a cookie mix saved me from Freaking Out and Baking Angry. No one wants to eat angry cookies.

Anyway, there were 35 cookies at the start of the party and 0 cookies were left at the end, so I think it's pretty clear these cookies were a success!

11 December 2012

Christmas Time is Cookie Time

So, like everyone else, I've been baking cookies. Nothing fancy this year, because I don't have the motivation or drive for fancy, but I yearn for the comfort of cookies. The sheer homeyness of cookies.

Cookies!

The first batch I made, "Spumoni Chunk Cookies," used a recipe I found on bettycrocker.com. The cookies, which used Betty Crocker's sugar cookie mix as a base, were chock full of dried cherries, dry-roasted salted nuts, and white and semisweet chocolate chips. I admit my cookies don't look quite as pretty as the ones on the website, but they still tasted pretty darn fine and my coworkers scarfed them down as if they were manna or ambrosia.

Knowing The Husband would not touch the spumoni cookies with a ten-foot pole, I made him a batch of Crisco's "Ultimate Double Chocolate Chip Cookies" using white chocolate and semisweet chocolate chips. He seemed pleased with them, but said they were best still warm from the oven. Warming them the next day in the microwave worked okay, but nothing is beats cookies fresh from the oven.

Cookies

15 April 2012

Eating the Alphabet: E is for Edamame

I knew I wanted to use edamame for April's Eating the Alphabet Challenge as I like edamame a lot, but only ever eat it on its own as a snack and so thought this would be the perfect time to try using it in a "proper" recipe. I tried three recipes, but Bon Appétit's "Edamame Hummus" was clearly the best pick of the bunch.

While I liked this dip a great deal, I’m reluctant to call it hummus as it contains no chickpeas or sesame and, really, tastes nothing like any hummus I’ve ever eaten. It is very green and very refreshing, though, and I found I couldn’t stop eating it! It was like eating spring on a cracker endive whotsit.

Edamame & Pea

I halved the recipe as I was the only one who would be eating it and 6 cups seemed a bit much for one ... but maybe it wouldn’t have been as I ate 3 cups in 3 days! The dip kept well, retaining its bright green color and tasting as fresh on Wednesday as it did on Monday. I ate it with endive, as indicated in the recipe, but also with pretzel crisps and pita chips when I ran out of endive.

I’d only bought one small head of endive as I’d never eaten it before and wasn’t sure what I’d think of it. I followed the directions from "Easy French Food" for preparing endive and found it to be pretty simple, stress-free work. Alas, the endive spears were a bit meh. Crisp and slightly bitter, they didn’t seem like anything to write home about. I guess they’re just one of those things that make an excellent vehicle for other foods, but don’t stand out on their own. Oh well, the endive was only 50¢ per head so it was not an expensive disappointment! (And now I know endive doesn’t make me swoon and, surely, that’s worth knowing).
Edamame Hummus
Adapted from Bon Appétit, December 2011


Making Edamame & Pea

2 10-ounce packages frozen shelled edamame (soybeans) [1 10-ounce package]
Kosher salt [omitted]
2 10-ounce packages frozen peas ) [1 10-ounce package]
½ cup fresh lemon juice [¼ cup]
2 teaspoons minced garlic
½ teaspoon ground coriander [omitted]
¼ teaspoon ground cumin [½ tsp]
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling [6 Tbsp]
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro plus more for garnish [2 Tbsp]
¼ cup chopped fresh mint plus more for garnish [2 Tbsp]
Freshly ground black pepper [and salt, to taste]
Endive spears [or dip transport of choice]

Cook edamame in a large pot of boiling salted [I omitted the salt] water until tender, 3–5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a large bowl of ice water. Return water in pot to a boil and add peas; cook until heated through, about 1 minute.

Transfer peas to bowl with edamame; let cool. Drain well.

Working in batches, pulse edamame and peas in a food processor until a coarse purée forms, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in juice and next 3 ingredients. Gradually stir in 3/4 cup oil; mix well. Stir in 1/4 cup cilantro and 1/4 cup mint.


[I don’t understand why the directions had me do some of it in a food processor and some of it in a bowl when it seems like I could have done it all in the food processor and avoided dirtying extra equipment. I recommend whacking everything in your food processor and giving it a good whirl].

Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl; drizzle with oil and garnish with more herbs. Serve with endive spears.
Edamame & Pea

21 February 2012

Moderately Good Potato Soup

March's Improv Challenge features one of my favorite food combinations -- potatoes and cheese. The internetz are full of potatoes and cheese recipes and I've starting pinning some of them, building up a collection of Improv possibilities. This weekend, I thought I would give Betty Crocker's "Rustic Potato Soup with Cheddar and Green Onions" a whirl as I had an embarrassment of scallions on hand.

Potato Soup w/ Cheese & Scallions

This recipe turned out okay, but I won't make it again. The Husband enjoyed it very much, but I thought it was a bit bland and tasted too much like eating a big bowl of runny mashed potatoes. And this is after I tarted the soup up quite a bit! (It's likely my expectations were too high -- that, full of enthusiasm for the Improv Challenge, I simply expected too much from the recipe).
Moderately Good Potato Soup

3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 pounds unpeeled russet potatoes, cut into ½-inch cubes
2 cups 2% milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon thyme
16 medium green onions, finely chopped
4 oz Cabot Seriously Sharp cheddar, shredded

Bring broth to boil in French/Dutch oven. Add potatoes to broth and return to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until tender. Drain potatoes well, retaining 1 cup of hot broth. Puree 3 cups potatoes in blender with 1 cup of hot broth until smooth. Set aside.

Melt butter in Dutch oven and saute green onions under wilted. Add pureed potatoes, remaining potato chunks, milk, salt, pepper, thyme, most of the green onions, and cheese. Cook over medium, stirring, until soup is hot and cheese is melted. Taste. Adjust seasonings as necessary. Serve sprinkled with leftover shredded cheese, green onions, and black pepper.

I think the flavor of this soup would have been much improved if I had cooked 6-8 large garlic cloves with the potatoes and pureed them with the 3 cups of boiled potatoes. Also, I should have peeled the potatoes, because the bits of skin just didn't do anything for me.

(I can't share my "real" Improv Challenge recipe with you yet, but I am more that happy to share the ones that didn't make the cut).

14 February 2012

Easy Baked Apple Oatmeal, Yum!

I've gotten away from making oatmeal in my slow cooker -- don't even keep steel-cut oats in the house, anymore -- and this was a bit of a problem over the weekend when cold, blustery weather created an unbearable craving for slow-cooked oatmeal. Happily, I had a partial canister of old-fashioned oats on hand and knew there was a recipe for baked oatmeal squirrelled away somewhere. I eventually found the recipe ("Baked Apple Oatmeal") in Betty Crocker's Heart Healthy Cookbook. I've owned the Heart Healthy Cookbook for a while now and, judging by the number of sticky notes that decorate it, I've had every intention of cooking many things from it but ... well, the world is full of cookbooks.

Baked Apple Oatmeal w/ Blueberries

I don't think I can recommend this recipe enough -- it's incredibly easy to make and tastes really good. Not sweet at all so the apple, raisins, and cinnamon really pop. I ate mine reheated with a little milk and topped with blueberries. Yesterday, I liked it so much for breakfast that I had it for lunch, too!

Baked Oatmeal, Ingredients

Combine old-fashioned oats, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and raisins in a big bowl. I used golden raisins, but dried cranberries or blueberries would also be delicious.

New Chopper

Chop two apples. The recipe doesn't say to peel them, but I did as my organic apples seemed to be coated with a sticky, waxy substance that would not wash off.

Baked Oatmeal, Unbaked

Combine everything together in a two-quart baker. It will look soupy. Don't panic. Bake.

Baked Oatmeal, Baked

See? 40 minutes later, most of the milk is absorbed and everything looks nomilicious. As an added bonus, your kitchen will smell like apple pie.

19 January 2012

Cookies, I Baked Them

I had promised The Husband cookies over the long weekend, but ended up using the last of the all-purpose flour in Sunday's silver dollar pancakes. I considered going to the store for flour, but in the spirit of the pantry challenge, it seemed a bit lazy to go buy flour when I had a mostly-full bin of King Arthur Organic White Whole Wheat Flour on hand. Surely I could make cookies with it? I use white whole wheat in roux, cakes, brownies, and quick breads so why not cookies? But could I find a recipe The Husband would like?

Happily, I found a Betty Crocker recipe for "No-Roll Sugar Cookies" which used white whole wheat flour. Since sugar cookies are the most basic, bog standard cookies I figured there was nothing about them The Husband would find displeasing and gave the recipe a go.

Sugar Cookies

And, you know, these turned out to be really lovely cookies -- crisp on the outside, tender on the inside, and richly perfumed with the heady scent of Penzeys Mexican Vanilla. I'm encouraged to try white whole wheat flour in more cookie recipes!

21 March 2010

Blueberry Bread Goodness

While rummaging around in the freezer, I found two pints of blueberries and thought "muffins!" and then I thought "blueberry banana bread!," but my frozen bananas were a bit too fossilized even for banana bread so I made Betty Crocker's "Blueberry Oatmeal Bread," instead.


I substituted King Arthur Flour's whole grain white for the all-purpose flour and didn't notice any weirdness -- the bread was nice and moist with good texture.

Overall, a very simple, very tasty recipe. Repeatable.

02 December 2007

Christmas Is a-Comin'

I’ve been reordering or replacing many of the worn-out (or just plain missing) holiday cookbooks at my library in the hopes that we might manage to get some new books on the shelves in time for Christmas and Kwanzaa. I didn’t think about the holiday cookbooks early enough to get new books or replacements in time for Hanukkah (they are here now, however, and are all totally awesome). Really, I need to put my brain on the same seasonal cycle as the department stores (winter in summer, etc) if I’m going to get the holiday books sorted out.

I probably sound as if I am complaining, but I’m not. I love collection development. I love replacing nasty old worn-out copies of cookbooks with spangle-y reprints or shiny new editions and then watching the circulation stats going up. People reading the books I select -- it's the best compliment.


One of the new books we’re getting is Betty Crocker’s Christmas and, while you can expect to see it on the shelves in early January, I can’t wait as I need to buckle down and start planning Christmas dinner ASAP lest it be “emergency spaghetti” all-round. As it this is the first Christmas dinner I have ever hosted, it has to be pretty fantastic.

And it will be.


So, no Betty Crocker’s Christmas before Christmas, but Betty Crocker’s Best Christmas (Hungry Minds, 1999) was available when I went looking for something similar and, wow, am I ever pleased to have found it!

I’ll be making the "Rib Roast with Herb Rub" for Christmas dinner along with "Do-Ahead Mashed Potatoes" and "Red, White and Green Beans." There are also two or three cookie recipes I’m just itching to try and the "Hot Crab Dip" will be excellent for New Year’s Eve if I can’t find my artichoke dip recipe.

Yum! If everything comes out well, I will have to think about buying this book for myself. Let's hope I get some gift cards for Christmas ...