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Archive for the ‘Desserts’ Category

postheadericon Old-fashioned Large Pearl Tapioca Pudding

My Dad was not a simple man in many respects.  As a young boy, he quit school and went to work to help support his family which included his parents, three brothers, and a sister, Pop being the youngest child in the family. He did odd jobs, including working in the local butcher shop which not only earned him some money to take home, but some things, like offal, to help feed the family.

He enlisted in the Army in WWII, saw combat with Company B, 310th Medical Battalion attached to the 338th Infantry Regiment (“Custer”) on the Fifth Army front in Italy and was the recipient of the Bronze Star for heroic achievement in action. Upon return home, he did what many men in the Coal Region did — got married and went into the mines.

A near fatal injury from falling rock in a bootleg mine in the 50s ended his days underground, but coal and the Coal Region were in his blood; he bought a tractor-trailer and hauled coal from Schuylkill County breakers to Philadelphia and New York City five days a week. When road taxes and operating expenses became too much of a burden, he sold the truck to “get away from coal”. Just months later, he fund himself once again involved with it and mining, only this time it was above-ground, driving massive Euclid trucks (“Yukes”) for a local breaker.

Although he tried at times, he was never truly able to escape the grasp Anthracite had on him. It followed him to his grave in 1989, after years of him fighting for breath as Black Lung ravaged this strong, hard-working, intelligent, loving man I am so proud to have had as a father. I know this world would be so much better off if only there were more like him.

One of Dad’s favorite things was tapioca pudding, but he only liked the large pearl tapioca. Many times in restaurants in the Coal Region, this pudding would be on the dessert menu, but he always grilled the waitress as to whether it was the “real” (pearl) tapioca or “that other stuff” (instant or quick-cook variety).  Mom often made it at home for him, and I remember helping her  measure it out and put it in a bowl to soak. To this day, I never look at this recipe without seeing Pop, sitting at the kitchen table, enjoying a big bowl of this pudding.

Dad’s birthday is May 25th, in memory of him, I am posting this recipe today. I hope you enjoy it as much as he did.

This simple homemade tapioca pudding, is creamy and rich, and filled with slightly chewy pearls of tapioca. Although simple to make, the pearl tapioca requires several hours soaking time, so plan accordingly. Don’t try to rush the soaking process or skimp on soaking time! The tapioca pearl are cooked when they become translucent with a dot of cloudy center remaining. The pudding may seem runny immediately after cooking, it thickens upon cooling. Do not use instant or quick-cook varieties of tapioca for this recipe.

 

Old-fashioned Large Pearl Tapioca Pudding

Old-fashioned Large Pearl Tapioca Pudding

Old-fashioned Pearl Tapioca Pudding

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup large pearl tapioca (not instant or quick-cook varieties)
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Place tapioca pearls in a bowl and fill with water. Swish the pearls around, drain, refill the bowl with water and allow the pearls to sit 8 hours or overnight.
  2. Drain the tapioca after the soak and set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan mix milk, salt, and 3/4 cup sugar. Bring to simmer over medium heat. Add the drained tapioca when the milk starts to bubble around the edges of the pan.
  4. Simmer 25 minutes or until tapioca pearls are mostly clear, stirring frequently to avoid sticking and scorching.
  5. .In a small bowl, beat eggs with remaining 3/4 cup sugar.
  6. Temper the eggs by slowly adding and stirring some (about half) of the hot mixture into them.
  7. Add the tempered egg mixture back into the saucepan and stir well.
  8. Bring to a boil over medium heat and stir constantly for 2 minutes or until mixture is thick.
  9. Remove from heat and add vanilla.
  10. Transfer to a bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap allowing it to rest directly on the surface of the pudding to prevent a "skin" from forming on the top.
  11. May be served slightly warm or chilled.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/05/16/old-fashioned-large-pearl-tapioca-pudding/

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postheadericon No Bake Krispy Date Balls

My Mom was a  homemaker/home health aid with clients in the Schuylkill County area. Many were elderly and looked forward to her visits far more for the companionship than the health care and homemaking services she provided. Some of the clients came and went quickly due to severe health issues, but some were long term. It is usually inevitable that people thankful for assistance and companionship grow close to their caregivers. My Mom experienced just that. She often chatted with clients and many times, their favorite recipes came up in conversation. Sometimes the particular food was the topic of discussion because it was on the counter or in the refrigerator at the client’s home at that time. Many of these folks were culinary treasurers from the previous generation and turned out some of the tastiest Coal Region comfort food around.

One day, Mom’s client had a little saucer of these snacks wrapped and ready for Mom to bring home for my Dad and I to try. One bite and I fell in love. I had just passed my test for my driver’s license and asked to take the car to the store so I could get the ingredients to make more. I used to make them so often, I knew the recipe from memory. As I thumb through my recipe file and see cards in my Mom’s handwriting, I realize I have only made these once since she passed away nearly 30 years ago. It is time to make them once again, I believe. Thinking about her carrying them home to us that day with the little bow on top no longer brings tears of grief from my eyes over losing her but brings a smile. That is always something to celebrate – and these sweet, chewy little gems are just the ticket to celebrate with!

Fast and easy to make with no baking (only a few minutes of stove top cooking required), you will find yourself turning to them when you want an easy snack or need a contribution to a potluck or bake sale.

No Bake Krispy Date Balls

No Bake Krispy Date Balls

Krispy Date Balls

Ingredients

  • 1 stick salted butter (1/4 pound)
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 (8 oz.) package pitted chopped dates
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, pecans, or almonds
  • 2 cups crispy rice cereal (like Rice Krispies)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Shredded or finely grated coconut for rolling

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan, melt butter and sugar over low heat.
  2. Add dates and boil 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Add nuts, crispy rice cereal, and vanilla.
  4. When cool enough to handle, form into bite-sized balls and roll in coconut.
  5. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/04/04/no-bake-krispy-date-balls/

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postheadericon Ambrosia (Salad)

A staple on many tables in Pennsylvania Dutch country and found at church events, pot lucks, and holiday dinners, Ambrosia was on the menu for my family’s Easter dinner; both my Mom and I adored it. Ambrosia literally means “food of the gods” but technically, it also means a dessert made with oranges and shredded pineapple.  And mini marshmallows.  Got to have the mini marshmallows!

Often found in the ready made salad sections of grocery store delis in the Pa Dutch/Coal Region, Mom and I would occasionally indulge ourselves by purchasing a container, but nothing tasted as good as the bowl of Ambrosia that we prepared together on Good Friday afternoon intended to be an accompaniment to our family’s Easter feast.

Even though Mom always used fresh coconut (cleaned and grated by my Dad) for a cake for Easter dinner dessert, she always bought a can of Baker’s sweetened shredded coconut for use in her Ambrosia recipe. Mom also always bought a larger jar of maraschino cherries than needed for the Ambrosia and set some aside in a little dish for my Dad to divert him away from snacking on the cherries draining in the colander that were destined for the salad.  Without fail, Dad would stride into the kitchen and spy the draining cherries, Mom would hand him the little dish to divert his attention and give me a look and grin that said, “There.  That’ll keep him busy!”

As big a fan as my Mom and I were of Ambrosia, the rest of our family had a “take it or leave it” attitude.  And that was a good thing, because as the time passed between the making of the bowl of Ambrosia and dinner after church on Easter Sunday, the level of Ambrosia in the bowl dropped dramatically. Apparently, both my Mom and I had the habit of sneaking a spoonful of Ambrosia out of the fridge periodically when we believed no one was looking. Once the level became dangerously low and it appeared the Ambrosia was in jeopardy of never making it to Easter dinner, Mom would dutifully put aside a little bowl she tucked in the back of the fridge so she and I could have a taste on Easter Sunday with our dinner.  Years later, Mom and I had many a laugh reminiscing about our stealth attacks on the Easter Ambrosia!

As the Easter season approaches, I think I will add this to the dinner menu in memory of my wonderful Mom.  I would move Heaven and earth to have one more minute with her again if I could.  Love you, Mom. And miss you like crazy.

NOTE: Nothing is carved in stone regarding the ingredients – feel free to leave out something you are not fond of and add something you are, if you desire. Toasting the coconut before adding it to the salad  raises this to another level as does toasting the nuts if using. Make sure the pineapple, mandarin oranges, and maraschino cherries are thoroughly drained to keep the light and fluffy texture from becoming watery. Add the mandarin slices last and fold in gently to minimize the segments breaking apart. An overnight chill in the fridge before serving allows the marshmallows to become soft. The addition of sour cream in Mom’s version of Ambrosia keeps the salad from being overly sweet due to the high fruit content.

Ambrosia (Salad)

Ambrosia (Salad)

Mom's Ambrosia

Ingredients

  • 1 - 8 ounce tub of whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 - 20 ounce can pineapple in its own juice, tidbits or crushed, drained well
  • 1 - 15 ounce can mandarin orange segments, drained well
  • 1 cup red or green seedless grapes, sliced in half
  • 1 - 1/2 cups sweetened coconut flakes (toasted if desired)
  • 1 - 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1 - 10 ounce jar of maraschino cherry halves, drained well
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine whipped topping and sour cream.
  2. Add in coconut flakes and marshmallows.
  3. Fold in pineapple, grapes, and maraschino cherries and nuts (if using).
  4. Gently fold in mandarin oranges.
  5. Cover bowl and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight before serving.
  6. Keeps up to 3 days in refrigerator.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/02/26/ambrosia-salad/

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postheadericon Cool and Creamy Jello Pie

I love this pie and the recipe is a classic that has been around for a long time. It is so quick and easy you will find yourself wanting to experiment with other gelatin flavors; lemon, lime, orange, raspberry, peach – use your imagination. You can top it with additional whipped topping and garnish with fruit or serve it as is. You can choose to add fruit to the filling or not, it is up to you. If adding fruit, use a cup of small fruits or chopped pieces; make sure it is dry (fresh blueberries) or well drained (chopped canned peaches). This is a very family friendly recipe, quick to make, and kids love it.  This is a 3 or 4 ingredient dessert that is a welcomed light ending to any meal and is especially refreshing as the weather warms here in the Coal Region as spring approaches. Try it frozen in the hot summer months.

Cool and Creamy Jello Pie

Cool and Creamy Jello Pie

Jello Pie

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, divided
  • 2/3 cup boiling water
  • 1 pkg. (3 oz.) JELL-O Strawberry Flavor Gelatin
  • ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip Topping, thawed
  • 1 ready-to-use reduced-fat graham cracker or shortbread crust (6 oz.)

Instructions

  1. Slice 1 cup strawberries; refrigerate for later use. Chop remaining strawberries; set aside.
  2. Add boiling water to gelatin mix; stir 2 min. until completely dissolved.
  3. Add enough ice to cold water to measure 1 cup. Add to gelatin; stir until slightly thickened. Remove any unmelted ice.
  4. Whisk in COOL WHIP. Stir in chopped strawberries. Refrigerate 20 to 30 min. or until mixture is very thick and will mound. Spoon into crust.
  5. Refrigerate 6 hours or until firm. Top with sliced berries just before serving.

Notes

You may use any flavor gelatin and add appropriate fruit to the filling.

http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/02/24/cool-and-creamy-jello-pie/

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postheadericon Coconut Dusted Cake with Cooked Frosting

When I was a kid in the 60s and 70s, every holiday had its ritual in my family. Easter was no exception. Every year, without fail, Mom and I went shopping for an Easter outfit for me, complete with requisite frilly hat and often, given the penchant for the Coal Region to spew forth unseasonably cool weather around Easter, a coat (lookout Sears, Robert Hall, and Town and Country, here we come!). An order was placed with our church for a potted lily which would join dozens of other pots lined up on the altar Easter morning with cards attached to a lilac bow inscribed with the names of deceased loved ones the flowers honored. Two dozen eggs were bought and stored in the refrigerator early (because eggs that are not ultra fresh peel easier when hard-boiled, don’tcha know…) awaiting their bath in Paas egg dye which magically produced lovely bowls of color in which to dip those eggs by dropping a little tablet of fizz into a bowl of combined vinegar and water.  My favorite Easter basket came out of the attic along with the colorful cardboard bunny and egg cutout decorations that were taped to the inside surface of the picture window in the front “parlor” of our house. Evidence of tape from previous years were always clearly visible on those poor, overused decorations, but I loved them. Local hoseys (volunteer fire companies or “hose companies”), clubs, and organizations planned and held Easter egg hunts for children in their towns. It was no holds barred when the signal was given to “Go!” and dozens of kids, running in all different directions, turned over every leaf and looked under every shrub, hoping to find not only an egg, but a numbered egg which denoted a prize.  Oh, to be the lucky one in your age group to uncover and snag the egg marked with a “1”. More often than not, that number corresponded to a ginormous chocolate bunny that was coveted by every kid in attendance.  Numbers “2” and “3” also brought prizes, but oh how they paled in comparison to “1”! During the shopping trip to the local A & P for the supplies for our family’s Easter feast, my Mom would place a fresh coconut in the cart which would come home to be used for her favorite cake which she made every year for Easter dinner without fail. Once home, I would plant myself on a chair at the kitchen table and watch my Dad set to work on the coconut. Mom always told Dad she left the prep work of them to him because he was so proficient at it, but I think she preferred to get through the experience with unscathed knuckles. Dad stood at the sink, a coconut sitting on a tea towel in his left hand, a hammer in his right. With a confident swing of the hammer, and a resounding “thwaaack” the coconut split open and the water from inside poured into the sink.  Dad then separated the meat from the hard shell,  picked up the peeler and removed the brown “skin” from the creamy white coconut meat. Out came the box grater and he grated every bit of that coconut by hand, somehow managing not to scrape his knuckles even as each piece became smaller and smaller as he worked.  Perfect! Even though my child’s mind was convinced otherwise  there was nothing magical about the freshly grated coconut and, over the years, I have made this cake using store bought shredded coconut and it was delicious. I now realize the memories, the traditions, and the love in our family is what made those coconuts and the cake lovingly created with them so special.  If you can get fresh coconut to use, go for it. If not, flaked or grated commercially prepared will work just as well.  If you are not a fan of coconut, leave it off, the cake and frosting are delicious on their own. This icing is not overly sweet and is light and smooth. This recipe is in my files in my Mom’s handwriting and has been around longer that I have been.

Coconut Dusted Cake with Cooked Frosting

Coconut Dusted Cake with Cooked Frosting

Coconut Dusted Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup softened butter and shortening (about half and half)
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2-1/2 cups flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
    Icing
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 Tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

    Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  2. Grease and flour 2 - 9 inch layer cake pans.
  3. In bowl, cream sugar and butter/shortening until light and creamy.
  4. Beat in eggs and vanilla until well blended.
  5. Stir together flour and baking powder in small bowl.
  6. Add the milk and flour mixture, alternating, ending with the flour mixture. Beat until well blended and smooth.
  7. Divide cake mix evenly in pans, bake on center oven rack until top springs back when pressed or cake tester comes out clean. (Mom never wrote down the baking time, and I am embarrassed to say I never did either. I check by sight and cake tester. I would start watching them at 20 minutes or so.)
  8. Cool in pans 15 minutes then turn out onto rack to cool completely.
  9. Once cool. place one layer on plate, frost top, place second layer on top, frost top and sides.
  10. Sprinkle coconut on top and/or sides.
    Icing
  1. Place Flour in small saucepan and whisk in milk until smooth.
  2. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick.
  3. Remove from heat and set aside to cool completely.
  4. In mixing bowl, place the butter, shortening, sugar and salt and beat with mixer until light, beat in the vanilla, then add the cooled milk/flour mixture and beat until smooth and fluffy.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/02/18/coconut-dusted-cake-with-cooked-frosting/

 

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postheadericon Baked Paczki (Polish Doughnuts)

As the Easter season approaches, many of us in the Coal Region look to tradition for our final indulgences in foods that were often abstained from during the Lenten season.  The day before the start of Lent, known as “Fat Tuesday” (or Shrove Tuesday) in many regions is often referred to as “Donut Day” or “Fasnacht Day” in the Pa Dutch and Coal Regions. Due to our heavy influence of Eastern European cultures and immigrants, it is also known as “Paczki Day” in many Polish households. As with other cultures in our region, the making of paczki is traditionally a way to use up all of the fat, sugar, and fruit in the house–things that are forbidden during the strict Polish Lenten season. In Poland, Paczki Day, the day when all of the last paczki are consumed, is the Thursday before Ash Wednesday. In the USA, Paczki Day is the day before Ash Wednesday. The difference between these and a basic doughnut is that paczki are made with a very rich, sweet yeast dough consisting of eggs, butter and milk. Sort of like a brioche doughnut. Traditionally, paczki are fried in hot fat, but many people either do not have the kitchen equipment to deep fry, or they prefer not to do so due to health or safety concerns. This is a recipe for BAKED paczki that are just as delicious as their fried counterparts and baking them gives you a great kid-friendly recipe and opportunity to involve the younger members of the household in the process to introduce them to family traditions! Paczki can be filled with a variety of fruit jams or cremes, but the most traditional filling is a stewed plum jam or rose hip jam. The easiest way to fill these is to use a pastry bag fitted with a Bismarck Tip. If you do not have a bag/tip, you can cut a slit in the side of the baked dough and spoon in some jam. Fill with your favorite fruit preserve or even lemon curd or custard. Baked paczki last longer than fried, but are still best consumed the day they are made.

Baked Paczki (Polish Doughnuts)

Baked Paczki (Polish Doughnuts)

Baked Paczki (Polish Donuts)

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups warm milk (105 to 110 degrees F)
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) room-temperature butter
  • 1 large room-temperature egg
  • 3 large room-temperature egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon brandy (or rum)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4-1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • Optional: Granulated sugar, Confectioners' sugar, and fruit paste or jam for filling

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl or measuring cup, add yeast to warm milk, stir to dissolve and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together sugar and butter until fluffy. Beat in egg, egg yolks, brandy or rum and salt until well incorporated.
  3. Still using the paddle attachment, add 4-1/2 cups flour alternately with the milk-yeast mixture and beat for five or more minutes by machine and longer by hand until smooth. The dough will be very slack. If very soft or runny, add up to the remaining 1/2 cup flour.
  4. Place dough in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk approximately 1-1/2 to 2 -1/2 hours. Punch down, cover and let rise again.
  5. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Pat or roll to 1/2 to 3/4-inch thickness. Cut rounds with 3-inch cutter. Remove scraps, and re-roll and re-cut. Transfer rounds to parchment-lined baking sheets, cover and let rounds rise until doubled in bulk, 30 minutes or longer.
  6. Heat oven to 375F degrees.
  7. Place pączki in the oven on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until toothpick tests clean when inserted into center.
  8. Remove from oven and roll in granulated sugar while still hot or confectioners' sugar when cool.
  9. To fill the pączki, let them cool completely then pipe or spoon in filling.
  10. Baked pączki are best eaten the day they are made.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/02/14/baked-paczki-polish-doughnuts/

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postheadericon Fasnachts

Known as “Fat Tuesday” (March 5th in 2019) in many places, in Pa Dutch country and the Coal Region it is know as “Fasnacht Day” or “Donut Day” — it occurs on Shrove Tuesday, which begins the traditional 40-day period of fasting and prayer practiced by Christians prior to Easter (famously celebrated as Mardi Gras, the term for Fat Tuesday in French, in New Orleans. In Dutch country, we celebrate by indulging in eating this deep-fried fasnacht (donut) for good luck and,  traditionally, to clear the animal fat out of the pantry before Lent begins. Fasnachts are made using all remaining supplies of lard, sugar, fat or butter, which were not to be eaten during Lent. Although every cook has their favorite — and often generations-old — recipe, fasnachts are often made using mashed potatoes. Some are round. Some are square. Some have holes in the middle. Some are yeast raised, others use baking powder as the leavening in the recipe. They can be plain, glazed, or covered in powdered sugar or cinnamon and sugar. Throughout our region churches, fire companies, schools, scout troops and other organizations sell dozens of fasnachts as a fund-raising opportunity. Many organizations gather volunteers who make their own, often turning out hundreds or thousands of dozen which then get picked up or delivered to those who have placed advanced orders. Many times, these tasty treats will be sold out quickly, so if you have a favorite fasnacht source, always place a timely order! Many local coal region bakeries sell tremendous numbers of donuts on Fasnacht Day directly to customers through their shops in addition to being the source for many groups who sell the donuts to raise funds but who do not make their own. The word Fastnacht originates from the German words “fast”, which is the shortened version of the verb “fasten”, which means “to fast”, and “Nacht”, meaning night, indicating the eve of the traditional Lenten fasting. This version uses both mashed potatoes and yeast so it will require some rise and wait time when prepping. If you would like a version made with baking soda which works up faster, I suggest using my Crullers recipe from this site.

Fasnachts

Fasnachts

Fasnachts (donuts)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • Salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cups white sugar, plus more for coating
  • 2 quarter ounce envelopes active dry yeast
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar for dusting, if desired

Instructions

  1. Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan, cover with cold water by 2 inches and season generously with salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until very tender.
  2. Drain potatoes RESERVING 1 and 1/2 cups of the potato cooking water. Drain and mash the potatoes until smooth (do not use milk, butter or other seasoning - just mash the cooked potato) . Set the mashed potatoes aside and cool slightly.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together the mashed potatoes, reserved potato cooking water, sugar and yeast. Cover with a towel and let the mixture rise for 20 minutes; it will look foamy.
  4. Using a sieve, strain the mixture into a large bowl, smoothing out any lumps. Stir in the eggs and melted butter.
  5. Stir 5 cups of the flour, one cup at a time, until a dough starts to form.
  6. Gently knead the remaining 1 cup of flour in until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and forms a large ball. Cover with a towel and put in a warm place to rise for 3 hours.
  7. Dust some flour onto a baking sheet.
  8. On a well-floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/2-inch thick.
  9. Using a 3-inch cutter (or cut into 3 inch squares) cut out the donuts and set on the prepared baking sheet. Cover lightly with a towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.
  10. Line a baking sheet with a split brown paper bag or absorbent paper.
  11. In a deep fryer or Dutch oven, pour enough oil to fill no more than halfway up the side.
  12. Heat the oil to 365 degrees F.
  13. Place the donuts into the heated oil, two at a time. Cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.
  14. Transfer the donuts to the lined baking sheet to absorb some of the oil.
  15. While warm, place the cooked donuts into a paper bag with a spoonful of powdered or cinnamon sugar and shake gently until the donuts are well coated.
  16. Coating is optional, you may ;eave some or all plain.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/02/06/fasnachts/

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postheadericon Choose Your Fruit Coffee Cake

When I find myself staring at the walls or in the midst of a bad case of cabin fever…I make food.  I “cook” as much as I “bake” and if pressed to answer the question, “Which do you enjoy more?” my answer would be that baking squeaks out the win. After doing some soul searching on why that would be my choice, I realized that I have a huge file of recipes for baked goods that I can turn out quickly, often with less stress, mess, and fuss than non-desserts. Plus, there are just some days where a big ‘ole piece of cake wins out over a four-course meal in the happiness department. One of my favorite quick-to-whip-up snacks is this coffee cake which makes use of just about any fruit I might have hanging out in the fridge at any time of year. I have even used a jar of good quality jam as the fruit filling in a pinch (Oooo, I just made it easier to make – now I have no excuses not to!) This cake was a favorite of my parents. My Dad always had a cup of coffee while we were still gathered around the kitchen table after supper together every night and really liked something sweet to accompany it. After I found this recipe and made it the first time, Dad laughingly remarked it tasted “moor-ish” (he wanted “more”) and pretty much demolished the cake by the next day. After that, it became one of my most requested creations and we had a blast trying fruit after fruit throughout the year. We never did have one that emerged as a “favorite”…they were all greeted and devoured with enthusiasm. I cannot remember how many times I baked this coffee cake, but each and every time I do, in my memories I see us sitting at the kitchen table, sharing the laughs of the day with each other.  I think I’ll go stir up this cake — and some memories — right now. (Recipe from a classic Better Homes and Gardens cookbook)

Choose Your Fruit Coffee Cake

Yield: 9

Choose Your Fruit Coffee Cake

Coffee Cake

Ingredients

    Fruit
  • 1 and 1/2 to 2 cups sliced, peeled apricots or peaches; chopped, peeled apples; chopped pineapple; pitted cherries; blueberries, blackberries or red raspberries
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
    Cake
  • 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 Tablespoons cold salted butter
  • 1 whole egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk or sour milk (to sour milk, mix 1/2 Tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar with the milk, stir, and allow to stand for 5 minutes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    Crumb Topping
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cold salted butter

Instructions

    Filling
    Apricot/peach/apple/pineapple/cherry/blueberry filling – combine prepared fruit and water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until fruit is tender.
  1. Combine sugar and cornstarch; stir into fruit. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture is thicken and bubbly, about 3 to 5 minutes. Set filling aside.
    Blackberry/red raspberry filling – Combine fruit, water, sugar and cornstarch. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture is thicken and bubbly, about 5 to 7 minutes. Set filling aside.
    Prepare crumb topping
  1. Mix flour and sugar in a small bowl. Cut in cold butter until mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Set aside.
    Prepare Cake
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F degrees. (325F degrees if using glass baking pan)
  2. In a medium bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda. Cut in butter, until mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.
  3. In another small bowl, mix egg, buttermilk (or sour milk) and vanilla; pour into flour mixture. stir with wooden spoon until just moistened – some lumps may remain.
  4. Spread half the batter into a lightly greased 8x8x2-inch square baking pan.
  5. Spread cooled fruit filling evenly over batter.
  6. Drop remaining batter in small mounds on top of fruit filling.
  7. Sprinkle with crumb topping.
  8. Bake 40-45 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Serve warm or cooled. Store covered with plastic wrap for up to two days.

Notes

Rhubarb-Strawberry Coffee Cake: Prepare as above, except substitute 3/4 cup fresh or frozen cut-up rhubarb and 3/4 cup frozen unsweetened whole strawberries for fruit. Continue as directed.

http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/01/23/choose-your-fruit-coffee-cake/

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postheadericon Crullers

I never met a lump of dough I didn’t like…it is the “Dutchie” in me, I suppose.  But, why fight it?!?  So doughnuts are right up  my alley. Yeast raised or not yeast raised — they’re all good in my book.  But some recipes can be time consuming; this recipe provides a fast way to satisfy my urge for fried dough! This cruller recipe is for a version often made by Pa Dutch cooks; a denser dough somewhat like that of a cake doughnut in a stick shape (sometimes even twisted). not for a French cruller – a fluted, ring-shaped doughnut made from choux pastry with a light airy texture. Although some crullers are yeast raised, this one is not making them quicker to put together and cook up. They are best eaten the same day they are made, but left-overs can be stored n a plastic bag and make for great “dunking” the next day in milk, coffee or hot cocoa.  Adjust your heat for your cooking oil to make sure the dough is fully cooked inside and nicely browned on the outside. Once cooked, leave them plain, dust with powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, or even top with glaze. (If glazing, make sure doughnut is completely cool before glazing.)

Crullers

Crullers

Crullers

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3½ to 4 cups all purpose flour
    Optional Orange Glaze
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest

Instructions

  1. In mixing bowl, beat eggs. Add cream and milk.
  2. In another bowl, sift 3 cups flour, salt, and baking soda. Stir in sugar.
  3. Add the dry mixture to the liquid adding just enough additional flour to make dough that can be rolled but still remains soft.
  4. Mix well and let stand for 2 hours.
  5. Turn out on floured board and roll to 1/4 inch thick.
  6. Cut into strips approximately 6 inches by 1 inch.
  7. Fry in deep fat at 360F until browned on both sides.
  8. Drain on absorbent paper and dust with powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, or serve plain as desired.
    Glaze
  1. In small bowl, mix all ingredients together until smooth and blended.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/12/20/crullers/

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postheadericon Brown Stone Front Cake

One of the most used, spotted, and worn recipe cards in my collection is in my Mom’s handwriting and it is for “”Brown Stone Front Cake”. I lost track of how many times she made this cake; it was my Dad’s absolute favorite. Holding that recipe card, I can close my eyes and see her in my mind, plumping the raisins, gathering the ingredients, and pouring the batter into a well-used, very old 13 x 9 pan. As it baked, chances were my Dad was on his way home from a trip hauling coal to Philadelphia or New York in his tractor-trailer.  As the cake cooled, Mom put the coffee on in anticipation of Dad’s arrival. As he came through the kitchen door, he greeted us as if he hadn’t seen us in days. After the hugs and kisses were through, his eyes would light up again when he spotted his favorite cake on the counter. Simple pleasures made my Dad happy and I surely wish he was still with us. In doing some research on this cake, I came across several Coal Region cookbooks that include this recipe and call it “Brown Stone Front Cake” but on the internet, a “brown stone front cake” recipe often includes cocoa or chocolate and a suggested frosting. Mom’s version needs no frosting, or is delicious simply dusted with powdered sugar.  NOTE: Make sure the raisins as completely cool and very well drained before adding to the batter.

Brown Stone Front Cake

Brown Stone Front Cake

Brown Stone Front Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup sour milk (1 cup whole milk + 1 Tablespoon white vinegar, stir and let sit 10 minutes)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 pound raisins (plump by simmering raisins in just enough water to cover until they plump, cool completely and drain well)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 cups all purpose flour

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Cook the raisins, drain very well, and cool completely.
  3. Cream sugar with shortening until fluffy, then beat in eggs.
  4. Add flour, cinnamon, cloves, baking powder, milk; beat thoroughly.
  5. Gently fold in cooled, drained raisins.
  6. Pour into greased and floured 13 x 9 inch pan or 2 prepared 9 inch round pans.
  7. Bake until cake tests done using a cake tester or toothpick and the pick comes out clean and cake bounces back lightly when pressed. (Recipe does not give exact time. Start visually checking at 35 - 40 minutes for a 13 x 9 pan.)
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/12/18/brown-stone-front-cake/

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