Search This Blog


Follow by Email

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Caramelized Pecans

½ cup granulated sugar 
2 cups pecans (any other nuts will work) 
A pinch kosher salt

Consider one of the following, all optional (I prefer mine without the options):
  • pinch cinnamon
  • pinch cloves
  • generous pinch cayenne
1.  Line a cooling rack with foil or parchment paper and set aside.
2.  Heat sugar, nuts and spices in heavy medium skillet over medium heat.  (Any skillet will work, but you are making caramel, which is notoriously rough on nonstick pans.  Stainless steel is preferable only for the sake of your pan.)  Stir constantly with wooden spoon.  Do not add water.  After several minutes, the sugar will begin to melt & turn golden.
3.  Continue to stir.  Continue to stir gently.
4.  When sugar is completely melted, empty contents of skillet into thin layer onto prepared rack.
5.  Let cool and break into pieces.  Store in cookie tin or glass jar with tightly fitting lid.
(Note:  if the sugar does not seem to be melting after about five minutes, your stove may not be hot enough.  Increase the heat to medium and continue as directed.  Monitor very carefully.)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Impossible Taco Pie

A delicious (and simple) Mexican casserole.  Serve w/ sour cream & guacamole and salad.

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 ( 1 1/4 oz.) envelope taco seasoning mix
  • 1 can ( 4 oz.) chopped green chiles, drained
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup Bisquick
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease glass pie plate, 10 x 1 1/2 inches.
Cook and stir ground beef and onion in skillet until beef is brown;drain. Stir in seasoning mix, dry. Spread in pie plate; top with chillies.

Beat milk, eggs and Bisquick baking mix until smooth. Pour into pie plate. Bake 25 minutes. Top with tomatoes and cheese. Bake 8-10 minutes. Longer or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes. 6-8 servings.  Great leftover dish! 

This recipe is from Bisquick.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Lemon Pound Cake Muffins

Tender with a fine texture and soooooo easy to make!  These sweet lemon muffins are moist and flavorful. Delicious with or without poppy seeds.

Yield: 24 mini muffins, or 12 standard sized muffins

1 3/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon poppy seeds (optional)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream (any fat content)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
zest of 1 lemon (about 1 teaspoon)

1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375*F.

Line a muffin pan with paper liners, or spray lightly with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt, then set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter until smooth. Add sugar, then continue to beat until light and fluffy (1-2 minutes).

Add eggs (one at a time), then sour cream, vanilla extract, lemon extract and lemon zest. Blend until well combined.

Slowly pour in the bowl of flour and blend just until fully incorporated.

Scoop batter (using a cookie scoop if available) into prepared pan.

Bake mini muffins 12-14 minutes. Bake full sized muffins 18-20 minutes. 

Remove muffins from pan (after a few minutes) and finish cooling on a wire rack.

Combine powdered sugar and lemon juice to create a glaze, then dip the tops of the muffins in the glaze. Allow glaze to set (10 minutes or so).

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Doughnuts

This is what homemade doughnuts look like--complete with the irregular shapes, doughnut holes & well-seasoned cookie sheet ;)

It had been years since I had made doughnuts but this recipe caught my eye on Pinterest.  They are a cake doughnut, not a yeast doughnut.  The recipe is NOT rocket science but does take time, so patience is important.  I don't cook with HOT oil very often, so PLEASE  make sure all small children, pets (& overly anxious/curious adults) are OUT of the kitchen while using HOT oil!

Yield: 12 doughnuts and holes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes



For the donuts:
2 1/4 cup cake flour (yes, I DID use cake flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sour cream
Canola oil, for frying

For the glaze:
3 1/2 cup (350 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup hot water

For the donuts:
In a bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together until sandy. Add the egg yolks and mix until light and thick. Add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl in 3 additions, alternating with the sour cream, ending with the flour. The dough will be sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.

On a floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/2 inch thickness. Use a doughnut cutter or two differently sized biscuit cutters to cut out as many donuts as possible, dipping the cutters into flour as necessary to prevent sticking. You should get about 12 doughnuts and holes.

Pour 2 inches of canola oil into a heavy bottomed pot (yes, that is important!) with a deep-fry thermometer attached. Heat to 325°F. Fry the doughnuts a few at a time, being careful not to overcrowd the pot. Watch the temperature!!!  Fry on each side about 2 minutes, being careful not to let them burn. Let drain on a paper bag (or paper towels) to soak up the excess grease.

For the glaze:
Mix all ingredients in a bowl with a whisk until smooth. Immerse each doughnut into the glaze. Place on a wire rack above a sheet pan to catch any excess glaze. Let sit for 20 minutes until glaze is set. Doughnuts are best served the day they are made but may be store in an air tight container at room temperature for a few days.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Zucchini Bread

It is that time of year again...zucchini seems to be everywhere!  This is a moist and flavorful sweet bread recipe that Jonna Roper shared with me when we lived in Sacramento,CA over 30 years ago.  Thanks Jonna! So happy I found this recipe again--hope you are doing well!

Put dry ingredients into a large bowl set aside:
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans & sunflower seeds) 

3 large eggs
1 cup of oil (can use liquid coconut oil too)
2 tsp. vanilla

Add to egg mixture:
2 cups sugar
2 cups grated zucchini

Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients and mix well.  Grease & flour 2 medium-sized loaf pans (I used 1 regular loaf pan & 2 small loaf pans).  Bake at 325 for 1 hour and 10 minutes.  Cool and wrap well in plastic wrap.  It is delicious anytime but tastes even better day 2.

This bread freezes well and makes a great addition to a tray of other fruit/veggie sweet breads.

Macaroni Gratin

  • SERVINGS: 8 
I had too much milk in the frig!  Rather than waste it, I tried this mac & cheese variation--creamy throughout, cheesy on top.  This deliciously moist macaroni gratin (with a mild garlic flavor) is a far cry from American macaroni and cheese. Chef Benoît Guichard cooks the pasta in milk, then cools the cooking liquid down with ice cubes, a technique that keeps the macaroni from drying out. The dish can be served as a main-course pasta for four with a salad or as an accompaniment to roasted meats or poultry.
3 quarts whole milk (I used 2%)
4 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground white pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
3/4 cup heavy cream (use milk for a lower fat option)
3/4 pound ridged penne pasta
2 trays of ice cubes (I used 4 cups--who has ice cube trays??)
1 cup freshly grated imported Gruyère cheese (3 1/2 ounces)  (I used sharp cheddar & fresh Parmesan)
2 tablespoons minced chives
In a large saucepan, combine the milk and garlic. Warm the milk over high heat until bubbles appear around the edge. Remove from the heat, cover and let steep for 10 minutes. Remove and discard the garlic. Measure out 1 cup of milk and reserve; set aside the rest.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, without browning, for 1 minute. Remove the saucepan from the heat and gradually whisk in the reserved 1 cup of milk, stirring constantly, until the sauce is completely smooth. Season with a large pinch of salt and generous gratings of white pepper and nutmeg. Return the pan to low heat and cook the sauce, whisking constantly, until it's thick, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, let cool slightly and stir in the heavy cream. Season with salt.
Preheat the oven to 500°. Add 1tsp of salt to the remaining milk and bring back to a simmer. Add the pasta and cook, stirring, over moderately high heat so the milk is just simmering, until al dente, about 10-12 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the ice cubes to stop the cooking. Once all of the ice cubes have melted, drain the pasta in a colander and transfer to a large bowl.
Add the white sauce to the pasta and toss to coat. Transfer the mixture to a buttered 9-by13-inch gratin dish. Sprinkle the cheese all over the top and bake for about 10 minutes, or until bubbling around the edges. Turn on the broiler and (carefully) broil, rotating the dish, until the cheese is golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Let the gratin stand for 5 minutes, then season generously with white pepper, garnish with the chives and serve.

The Purpose of Scratch Only

The purpose of Scratch Only is to share recipes and ideas. Not all of these are my original recipes (and I know not EVERYTHING is from scratch), I have made these over and over and will not post anything that I do not make and enjoy first (sorry, but you won't find any seafood here). This blogger reserves the right to edit or delete posts with content deemed inappropriate or unwanted for any reason. If you have questions, please e-mail.