Friday, December 19, 2014

Holiday Food Gifts: Seasoned Salt

Homemade gifts are the best! This is one works anytime of the year. A pinch or two of this seasoned salt is great in salads, soups, grilled meats and just about on anything.

2 cups kosher salt
25 cloves of garlic, it's about 2 heads)
1 1/2 tablespoons dried onion flakes
3 tablespoons chili powder, I use chili 3000 from Penzey. I love that stuff!
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons black pepper
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons dried rosemary

In a food processor add kosher salt and garlic. Pulse until garlic is minced and distributed.

Add spices and rosemary and pulse until everything is mixed well.

Pour into small mason jars and close with a lid. Tie a bow around the top!
Yields about 3 - 8 oz mason jars. Refrigeration is not needed and lasts at least a month.

Brampton Bed and Breakfast Inn 
Danielle, the Maryland broad
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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Holiday Food Gifts: Festive Mini-Bread Loaves

There's a long and great tradition of gifting food in most cultures. Giving homemade food gifts speaks of love, warmth and joy. I am a United Methodist clergywoman, and in the south there was a tradition of welcoming a new pastor with a "pounding".  Parishioners brought pounds of food: a pound of butter, flour, sugar, jam, ham, or even a chicken (sometimes still with feathers and wandering around). Money was scarce, but providing a greeting of food was a rich tradition.

As a teenager in Nebraska, I loved the many gifts of food that our family received. My favorite was a tray of homemade divinity and fudge. I've never mastered the art of divinity for sheer lack of trying, but how I loved the sweet, light goodness! My dad made and gave away small jars of homemade peppernuts with their spicy, crunchy goodness, along with homemade peanut brittle. 

My personal favorite for holiday food gifts are small loaves of bread--any kind of bread. Our asst. innkeeper, Jenna, made these super-cute and delicious pumpkin breads. Usually, she tops them with a maple glaze. Just find a pretty mini-loaf pan, and you've got a great gift.


3 cups sugar
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
4 eggs, whisked
1- 16 ounce can of pumpkin
3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cloves
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup water

Maple glaze:
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon half & half
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
pinch of cinnamon
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup toasted pecan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9 x 5 loaf pans. Stir together the sugar and oil. Add the eggs and pumpkin, stir well. In a separate bowl combine all the dry ingredients. In a measuring cup mix combine the milk and water. Add the dry ingredients, alternating with the milk mixture, to the sugar/pumpkin mixture. Stir until well incorporated.
Divide batter between two loaf pans. Bake 30-40 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and place on rack to cool

When cool, whisk all glaze ingredients except for the pecans. Spread the glaze on the loafs. Sprinkle pecans on top. Slice and serve. Yum!

Note: The pictured pumpkin loaves are topped with cinnamon sugar & pecans, not the maple glaze.

Lookout Point Lakeside Inn
Kristie Rosset
The Arkansas Broad
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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Holiday Food Gifts - Scottish Shortbread

As I was growing up in Scotland, I learned to cook by watching my grandmother and her two neighbors.   One of these three ladies always won the prizes at the local fair for home-made fudge or shortbread.  They guarded their recipes fiercely.   No written copies existed and as far as I know all three of them took their secret recipes to the grave with them.  However I think my recipe below  would get a nod of approval from any of them.  Every December I make several batches to have plenty on hand to include in gift trays of cookies and on our dessert tables. 

This recipe is truly "short" and the dough doesn't lend itself to being rolled out and cut into shapes, but if you want something a little fancier, when it first comes out of the oven you can use cookie cutters to make pretty shapes.  Of course this means you'll have scraps of cookie that someone has to eat.  Darn.   For Christmas we use green and red sanding sugar and cut holly leaf or bell shapes.   For Valentines we use pink and silver sanding sugar and heart-shaped cutters. 

While my personal favorite is the most simple traditional four-ingredient Scottish Shortbread, there are many ways to vary the basic recipe.   Add lemon or orange zest to the dry ingredients for a hint of citrus.   Mix in finely chopped crystallized ginger.   Cut shortbread into fingers and dip one end in melted chocolate.   Add finely chopped pecans or walnuts to the dough.   Add chopped fresh herbs such as rosemary, lemon balm or chamomile to the dry ingredients.   Use vanilla sugar instead of plain sugar.   

Who knew that four simple ingredients could produce such a little slice of heaven.  

1 lb. butter - softened
1 cup sugar - granulated sugar gives a coarser texture, powdered sugar a very fine tight texture
3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup white rice flour

For decoration:   Sanding sugar or 3 Tablespoons plain white sugar.
--- DIRECTIONS ---Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
I use a stand mixer for this process and an 11 x 16 cookie sheet.        

Beat butter on high speed for about 2 minutes.    With mixer motor running, slowly drizzle sugar into the butter.    Combine flours and add a cup at a time to the butter mixture.   Dough will seem dry and crumbly.   Dump it onto the ungreased cookie sheet.    Using your hands, pull dough together and knead very lightly.   Pat out evenly to fill the cookie sheet.    Using a fork, prick holes 2 inches apart.
Place cookie sheet in the oven and bake until golden brown - about 40 minutes.   As soon as you remove from the oven sprinkle top lightly with colored sanding sugar or plain granulated sugar.   Cut into squares or shapes while still warm.   Do not remove from cookie sheet until completely cooled.

Hint:  It's even better if you have enough patience to chill your dough for 30 minutes before baking.

The White Oak Inn
Yvonne Martin 
The Scottish Broad :)
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Monday, December 15, 2014

Holiday Gifts #1! Sour Cream Cookies

The recipe that you'll see is not a typical holiday cookie but I will admit that it is my all time favorite cookie. When I first started to bake, I treasured my Fanny Farmer Cookbook.  It was easy, it was basic and I was a "newbie".
 If anyone gave me a gift of these, I would love them forever!    And because nutmeg is the flavoring, I'm including a little jar of nutmeg complete with grater.


2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
5 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla ( I tend to be a little heavy handed on the vanilla )
2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg


Preheat oven to 375F **
Line cookie sheets with parchment.
Beat eggs well and then add sugar, sour cream, melted butter and vanilla.  Make sure all is well incorporated.
In another bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and nutmeg together and add to the egg mixture--again, incorporating well.
Using a teaspoon or small scoop, place on cookie sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes or until golden.

**Thanks to Fellow Broad, Danielle Hanscom, I always bake cookies at 300.   I would check these after 12 minutes and continue to bake until done.

The William Henry Miller Inn 
  Lynnette Scofield
 The Ithaca Broad
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