Monday, September 07, 2015

Danny's Winning State Fair Recipes

As requested, here are Danny's State Fair recipes. The published book will be out, and available for purchase at next year's fair, and we'll have some give-aways then. Meanwhile, if you're anxious to make some bread and jam, here you go.

 Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup granulated white sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup vegetable shortening (I used Crisco)
1 cup sunflower seed butter *
2 large eggs
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups quick oats
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with non-stick parchment paper or grease the pans lightly.

Cream together sugars and shortening. Add the eggs one at a time, and then the sunflower seed butter. Mix well. Sift together the flour, soda, and salt. Add gradually to the mixture. Beat in the vanilla extract. By hand (with a wooden spoon) stir in the oats and chocolate chips.

If your kitchen is very warm, chill the batter in the bowl for 5 minutes. If not, proceed by dropping heaping teaspoons of batter onto cookie sheets about 2 inches apart.

Bake about 15 minutes or until cookies are just firm-they harden upon cooling. Let stand a minute before removing from pans with a thin spatula to a cooling rack.

These cookies keep best in a metal tin rather than a crockery jar. They freeze well tightly wrapped in freezer paper, and then placed in Zipper freezer bags. Thaw at room temperature.

*I have peanut and tree nut allergies, so I use sunflower seed butter in baking. I have also made these successfully with soy butter which is a bit less expensive than sunflower. I can't vouch for peanut or other nut butters in this recipe, but I'm told that the sunflower seed butter is indistinguishable from peanut butter as far as taste from non-allergic members of my family.

 Baking Powder Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon aluminum-free baking powder
2 teaspoons granulated white sugar
1-1 ¼ cups heavy whipping cream
4 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet. Sift together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the cream slowly (you may not need it all) working the dough as little as possible until it just comes together. The less you handle biscuit dough, the more tender they will be.

Gently pat out the dough to ¾ inch thickness (less if you prefer flatter biscuits). Using a biscuit cutter (or a glass if you don't have one) cut the biscuits and then dip them one at a time in melted butter before arranging on a baking sheet. You may be tempted to skip this step, but I promise you it is worth the extra calories! Bake about 15 minutes or until biscuits are nicely browned. Biscuits are best served hot (with more butter!) but they may be kept warm in a bowl lined with a tea towel.

These biscuits re-heat perfectly in a microwave oven next day. Heat them at half power in twenty second intervals until they are hot. The biscuits may also be frozen wrapped tightly in individual plastic sandwich bags. Re-heat in a slow oven, or in the microwave as described above.

Makes about 8 biscuits if you're being generous, 12 if you're feeling thrifty.

Cherry Coconut Lime Quickbread

1/3 cup melted, unsalted butter
1 ¼ cups granulated white sugar, divided
2 large eggs
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup 2% milk
½ cup flaked, sweetened coconut
1 cup dried sweet cherries tossed lightly with a teaspoon of flour
Grated peel of a whole lime
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed and strained lime juice

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Generously butter a standard loaf pan 8 ½ x4 ½ x2 ¾ .

Blend the butter with 1 cup of the sugar and beat in the eggs one at a time until well blended. I use a wooden spoon for mixing quick breads as mixers have a tendency to over-mix delicate batters. Sift together the dry ingredients and add, alternating with the milk in two additions. Fold in the coconut, lime peel, and half the cherries. Pour into prepared pan and scatter remaining cherries on top. Let batter rest ten minutes before baking-this helps keep the top from cracking too much. Bake until cake tests done-about 80 minutes in my oven, but to be safe, start checking around 1 hour.

While cake is still hot, and in the pan, mix together the remaining sugar and lime juice leaving the it somewhat crystalline. Brush over the hot cake and let cool in pan on a rack until mostly cooled (about 30 minutes). Turn out onto rack and let cool completely before wrapping tightly in wax paper, and then again in cling film. The cake should be left to mature at least 1 day before serving. Cake freezes well.

 White Cake

1 cup egg whites at room temperature
1 cup granulated white sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sifted all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder (I use an aluminum-free brand for better taste)
½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Butter to grease pan
Confectioner's sugar to dust pan

Prepare a 2 quart tube or Bundt pan by greasing generously with butter and dusting with confectioner's sugar. Knock out any excess sugar. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. If using a dark coated or non-stick pan reduce the heat to 325 degrees F.

In a large bowl, whip the egg whites until they look foamy. With a hand mixer on the highest speed, add the sugar a tablespoon at a time beating well with each addition. This is slow work, but it builds higher egg whites and keeps the sugar from making the cake too grainy. Patience is rewarded here. When whites hold stiff peaks, beat in the salt and vanilla extract. Don't over-beat the whites-they shouldn't be dry.

Sift the flour, measure, and sift again with the baking powder. Although most flour is pre-sifted today, this does help to ensure even measuring and will sort out any hard pieces of flour. Sift the mixture over the egg whites and with a flexible rubber spatula gently fold the flour in. It should be well incorporated, but don't panic if you see a streak of flour as it will disappear with the next step. Fold in the melted butter until blended.

Pour batter into prepared pan, and place pan on a baking sheet to avoid any mishaps (trust me, the one time you fail to do it, the cake will overflow!). Bake about 1 hour or until cake springs back when touched lightly on top. Remove the cake immediately from the pan onto a cooling rack.

Cake keeps well at room temperature under a dome for about a week. For longer storage, wrap tightly in cling film and store in the fridge.

Cinnamon Buns  

(About) 4 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 cup 2% milk, scalded
2 ¼ teaspoons granulated dry yeast (not instant)
¼ cup lukewarm water
1 large egg, slightly beaten
(about 3 tablespoons softened butter)

4 tablespoons very soft butter
¾ cup cinnamon sugar mixed to taste (we prefer about 2 teaspoons cinnamon to ¾ cup sugar)

2 cups confectioner's (powdered) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons water or enough to make a smooth paste

Sift the flour, and set aside. Although flour is sold pre-sifted, I find it still benefits from an additional sifting. Place the butter, salt, and sugar in a large bowl and add the scalded milk. Stir to dissolve the sugar and melt the butter. Meanwhile, soften the yeast in the warm water. When milk mixture is cooled, add the yeast mixture to it along with the beaten egg. Stir in 3 ½ cups of the flour by hand with a wooden spoon a cup at a time giving it a very thorough mixing. When the flour has been incorporated, scrape down the sides and brush the top of the dough and the sides of the bowl with the softened butter. You'll want to use the full 3 tablespoons, but if the dough looks dry, or your bowl is quite large, feel free to use more as needed. Cover the bowl with cling film and let rise in a warm spot for about 2 hours or until ALMOST doubled in bulk (about ¾ of the way).

Place the dough on a floured surface and knead gently adding flour as required until dough is no longer too sticky to handle. Resist over-flouring as it makes rolls tough. You shouldn't need more than ½ a cup if any at all. Let dough rest five minutes.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface into a 10x24 inch rectangle. Spread the top with 4 tablespoons of very soft (but not melted) butter. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture and using a butter knife gently spread it smooth. Roll the dough into a log (you will get more buns if rolled the long way, larger buns the short way-it is a matter of personal preference). Cut the buns about an inch thick (again, if you prefer a shorter or taller bun do as you see fit) and place in a generously buttered pan (cut the long way, the recipe will fill two 9x11 pans. It is also attractive baked in round pans for special presentation). I always place the pans on a baking sheet as the butter can sometimes drip and I don't enjoy cleaning the oven. Let rise until light-about 25-30 minutes in a warm-ish kitchen. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake 10 minutes, then rotate pan and bake an additional 10-15 minutes depending on the size of the buns. You can test to see if they're done by gently pulling them apart with a fork. Remove from pan to a rack over a baking sheet. Mix together the icing and spread on still-warm buns. Makes 24 buns.

Wheat Bread

2 ¼ teaspoons granulated dry yeast
¼ cup lukewarm water
½ teaspoon granulated sugar
1 ¾ cup lowfat buttermilk
4 tablespoons corn oil margarine or other good quality (not, “Light”) margarine
1 scant tablespoon coarse or kosher salt
2 tablespoons honey
2 cups high gluten bread flour
3-4 cups whole wheat flour
Extra margarine to grease pans

In a small bowl combine the water and sugar. Gently sprinkle the yeast on top and stir to dissolve. Let sit 5 minutes or until foamy. Meanwhile, gently heat the buttermilk and margarine until just warm, and the margarine is softened. You can use butter, but the margarine gives the wheat bread a softer crumb, and extends the shelf life. Combine with the proofed yeast mixture in a large bowl and add the salt and honey.

Add two cups of high-gluten bread flour and beat 5 minutes on high with a hand mixer or with a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. In the absence of either, roll up your sleeve and get out your best wooden spoon to tackle the job!

Slowly add the wheat flour a cup at a time until you have a dough that can be removed to a floured surface for kneading. Add slowly as you may need less flour than you think. When you have a somewhat shaggy dough, let it rest a few minutes while you wash out, and then grease the bowl. This allows the gluten molecules to line-up, and you'll find the dough less sticky than before. Add any additional flour you must, and knead well until elastic-about 5 minutes. Place the dough in the greased bowl, turn once to coat and then cover tightly with cling film. Let rise until doubled, 1-2 hours depending on the temperature of your kitchen.

Punch down dough and cover again. Let rise another 30 minutes. Meanwhile generously grease two standard loaf pans or one large Pullman-style pan.

Shape dough into loaves taking care to pinch the bottom to stretch the top smooth. Place in pans seam-side down and cover lightly with a tea towel. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Let loaves rise until almost doubled-about 45 minutes. Carefully slash the tops before loading into the hot oven. Immediately reduce the baking temperature to 375 degrees F. Bake loaves 20 minutes, then rotate pans front-to-back and bake another 15 minutes. It is hard to tell when wheat bread is golden, so an instant-read thermometer is helpful. The loaves should read 200 degrees F. internally. Alternately, you can remove the breads from the tins and gently rap the bottom with your knuckles. If they sound hollow, they're done. Generations of bakers have made-due without instant read thermometers, so don't worry if you have to use your knuckles-my mother does!

Cool breads on racks. Because of the margarine they have an excellent shelf life when wrapped tightly in waxed paper and then in cling film. The bread also freezes well.

 White Bread

2 ¼ teaspoons granulated dry yeast
¼ cup lukewarm (not hot) water
½ teaspoon granulated sugar
1 ¾ cup lowfat buttermilk warmed but not scalded
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened in milk)
1 scant tablespoon coarse or kosher salt
2 tablespoons honey
(about) 4-5 cups high-gluten bread flour
Extra butter to generously grease pans

In a small bowl, place the warm water and sugar together. Sprinkle the yeast on top and gently stir to dissolve. Let sit until foamy (about 5 minutes). Meanwhile, gently heat the buttermilk and butter taking care not to bring it to a scald. It should be just barely lukewarm to soften the butter.

In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture, the milk and butter, and stir in the salt and honey. With a hand mixer (or a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook if you have one) beat in two cups of the flour starting on low speed and increasing to high once the flour is incorporated. Beat on high for five minutes, scraping the bowl as needed.

Slowly add additional flour a cup at a time until you have a slightly sticky dough that can be gently kneaded. Let it rest for a few minutes in the time it takes to wash and grease the bowl. This helps the gluten strands develop, and you may not need to add as much flour as you would have a few minutes earlier. The amount of flour needed will vary with humidity in the air and the brand of flour you use. Always add in small amounts as the less flour used, the less chance of the loaf coming out dry. Knead the dough until it is elastic and no longer sticky. This will vary, but is generally about five minutes.

Place the dough in a buttered bowl and turn once to coat it. Cover the bowl tightly with cling film, and place in a warm spot away from drafts. Let rise until doubled. In a warm kitchen that's about an hour, but in winter it can take as long as two.

Punch down dough, and let rise again for 30 minutes or until ¾ of the way to doubled. Meanwhile, generously grease your bread pans. This recipe will make one large loaf, or two standard ones. The bread will develop a beautiful crust, but you must not skimp on the butter. Figure about 1-2 tablespoons for each pan.

Shape your loaves being careful to stretch and pinch the dough on the underside to ensure a smooth top. You can leave the tops as-is, or lightly dust them with a tablespoon of flour sifted through a fine sieve. Cover lightly with a tea towel, and let rise until doubled-about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Before baking the bread, slash the tops with a sharp knife. Upon loading the breads on the middle rack of the oven, immediately turn the heat down to 375 degrees F. Bake 20 minutes, then rotate the pans front to back in the oven to ensure even baking. Bake another 15-20 minutes or until loaves are golden and sound hollow when rapped on the bottom with your knuckles. If you own an instant read thermometer, it should be 200 degrees F. internally as the ideal. Cool on racks.

Pickled Mushrooms with Onions

1 lb. Fresh, whole mushrooms (look for small ones)
2 medium sweet onions cut thinly into rings
1 ½ cups malt vinegar
1 ½ cups water
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
4 teaspoons pickling salt
1 teaspoon crushed, dried tarragon
1 teaspoon black, whole peppercorns

Wash and dry the mushrooms trimming stems. In a large, non-reactive pot combine onion rings, vinegar, water, brown sugar, pickling salt, tarragon, and peppercorns. Bring the mixture to a boil. Add the mushrooms, and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer five minutes.

With a slotted spoon, remove the mushrooms and onions from the liquid. Pack into hot, sterilized jars leaving ½ inch headspace. Bring liquid back to a boil. Add liquid to jars leaving ½ inch headspace. Remove air bubbles, wipe treads, and adjust lids and bands. Process 15 minutes in a boiling water bath canner adjusting for your elevation. After processing time is up, turn off heat, remove lid from canner, and let jars stand 5 minutes to cool down. Remove jars to a heat-proof, draft-free spot and let cool 12 hours before checking for seals. Makes about 4 half-pints.

Rosewater  Cherry "Jelly"
 ("Jelly" means clear jam in the US, not gelatine)

3 quarts cherry juice
6 tablespoons dry pectin
2 tablespoons lemon juice
5 cups sugar
1 tablespoon rosewater

Combine cherry juice, pectin, and lemon juice in a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved. Return to a full rolling boil. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring to keep it from boiling over. Remove from heat. Add rosewater, and skim any foam from top.

Pour jelly into hot, sterilized, half-pint jars leaving ¼ inch headspace. Wipe treads clean, adjust lid and band securely, and process 10 minutes in a boiling water bath canner (adjusting time for altitude as needed). Turn off heat, remove lid from canner and let jars cool down 5 minutes before removing to a heat-proof surface free from drafts. Let stand at least 12 hours before checking seals. Makes about 5 half pints.

Note-Cherry jelly takes a couple weeks to fully set, so don't panic if it seems to runny immediately after processing.

Apricot Raspberry Jam

4 cups apricots peeled, pitted, and sliced
1 ½ cups raspberries
3 ½ cups granulated white sugar
½ cup water

In a large pot, combine water and apricots. Cover, and gently simmer about ten minutes until slices are translucent. Add sugar and raspberries. Bring to a boil and cook to the jelling stage (I used the spoon test) stirring constantly to prevent sticking and sputtering.

Fill hot sterilized jars leaving ¼ inch headspace. Remove air bubbles, wipe treads clean, and adjust lids and bands securely. Process 10 minutes in a water bath canner. Turn off heat, remove lid from canner and let jars cool down 5 additional minutes before removing to a heat-proof surface in a draft-free spot to cool for 12 hours before checking seals. Makes about 4 half pints.

Apricot Butter

2 pounds apricots
½ cup water
3 cups white granulated sugar
2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice

For the pulp:
Wash and blanch apricots, then plunge immediately in cold water to stop the cooking. Peel, halve and pit apricots. Combine apricots and ½ cup water in a large pot. Simmer gently until apricots are soft. Puree with a food mill (you can use a food processor if you have one). Measure 1 ½ quarts pulp.

For the butter:
Combine pulp and sugar in a large pot. Cook until thick enough to mound up on a spoon. It is really helpful to use a spoon with a long handle because butters really start to spit as they cook down. You should watch it, and turn down the heat as needed, but wear long sleeves, and use the longest handled spoon you own.

When butter is moundable, add the lemon juice, and stir. Ladle the hot butter into hot, sterilized jars leaving ¼ inch headspace. Remove any air bubbles, wipe the treads clean, and adjust the lid and band securely. Process jars 10 minutes in a boiling water bath canner.

Makes about 3 pints

Spiced Cherry Jam

It wouldn't be Christmas morning at our house without this jam to spread on stollen.

1 quart pitted, chopped sweet Bing cherries
6 ¼ cups granulated, white sugar
2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice
2 pouches Ball liquid pectin
1 tablespoon mixed spice (ours has cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, coriander, mace, allspice, and ginger)

Combine cherries, sugar, lemon juice, and mixed spice together in a large pot. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Stir in liquid pectin. Return to a full rolling boil, and boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly (this is important because it has a tendency to foam over if you don't). Remove from heat, skim any foam and ladle hot jam into hot, sterilized jars leaving ¼ inch headspace. Remove any air bubbles, wipe treads, and adjust lids and bands securely. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water bath canner adjusting as needed for elevation. At the end of processing time, turn off the heat, remove the canner lid and let the jars cool down 5 minutes before removing to a heat-proof and draft-free spot to cool for 12 hours before checking seals. Makes about 8 half-pints.  

There you have it. I hope you find something interesting to try.


ThriftyParka said...

All I can say is YUM!!!!

Connie said...

These all look good but sunflower seed butter in oatmeal cookies! As soon as it cools off a little around here I'm going to fire up,the oven and give them a try. Yum!!

Goody said...


The sunflower seed butter is a strange thing, but it does an excellent job mimicking peanut butter. These cookies are a bit like a crunchy granola bar. If you like chewy oatmeal cookies with raisins-this isn't it. I was shocked to see it get first place as it is so far from a traditional oatmeal cookie, but it is rather like getting two cookies in one.

Sue said...

Time to make this into a book with photos of the prize winning produce. Name, Danny's Delights from mummas Kitchen?

Helga said...

Holy shizzer, what a glorious repast, and a WINNING repast no less! WOOHOOOO! XXXXX

Curtise said...

Danny, King of the Kitchen!
Thanks for sharing the recipes. xxx

Goody said...

Thanks everyone for your sweet comments.

Radostin said...

Wow, highly impressive!