Friday, December 20, 2013

German Cookie Craving

                                                        GERMAN COOKIE CRAVINGS

 Due to Thanksgiving coming a week late this year and tons of overtime at work, my baking this year is nada, zilch, zero, nill...nothing. After the New Year, however, I plan on making up for it a little bit. This year, I have been craving two favorites from when I was a kid that our family made. Linzers and Molasses Thumbprint cookies. I have no idea why, maybe it's the jam! So here they are, something for you try if you aren't familiar with them. These raspberry almond linzers are a treat. the almond sugar in the cookie dough makes it a delicate treat.



2/3 cup almonds
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, plus more for the work surface
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
1 12-ounce jar raspberry jam


Heat oven to 350° F. Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and toast, tossing occasionally, until fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes; let cool.

In a food processor, process the almonds and ¼ cup of the brown sugar until the almonds are finely ground.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and the remaining ¼ cup brown sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low and gradually add the almond mixture, then the flour mixture, mixing until just combined (do not overmix).

Divide the dough in half, shape into two disks, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours.

Heat oven to 350° F. 

On a lightly-floured surface, roll out each piece of dough to a ⅛-inch thickness. Using a 2- to 2 ½-inch round cookie cutter, cut the dough into rounds and place on parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing them 1 inch apart. Using a ¾- to 1-inch round cookie cutter, cut out the centers from half of the cookies. Reroll and cut the scraps as necessary.

Bake, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until the edges are golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool slightly on the baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Sprinkle the confectioners’ sugar on the cookies with the holes. Spread 1 teaspoon jam on the remaining cookies and top with the sugared cookies. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

The Molasses Thumbprint Recipe here was my great Aunt Phil's, and I looked forward to them whenever we visited for the holidays. Mom always used maple syrup instead of molasses because her family grew up with a sugar shack in the family and home made maple syrup is just one of the best things on earth. Dye's Maple Syrup Company makes the best!

                                  AUNT PHIL'S MOLASSES THUMBPRINT COOKIES

Cream together -

 1 cup butter
 1 cup brown sugar
 1 cup dark molasses (I like Maple Syrup here)
 2 tsp baking soda dissolved in 1/2 cup boiling water

Sift together -

 4 & 1/2 cups flour
 1 tbsp ginger
 1 tbsp cinnamon

    Combine dry with wet ingredients until smooth. Roll out in circles, make a thumbprint and add your favorite jam in center. You can use any jam in the center, I like apricot, strawberry and raspberry, myself.  

Sprinkle with sugar and bake in a moderate oven (about 350) until just set, do not over bake.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Venison Season

                                                                   Venison Season

The week after thanksgiving here is a PA national holiday. For those not getting what that means, it's the first day of buck season for rifle! Archery is in a couple weeks before hand, but rifle season is long anticipated by all the hunters. We don't hunt anymore, mostly because we are fortunate enough to have family and friends who love to hunt but don't want all their meat and share with us. It's no longer fun to kill things, and I only ever hunted for the meat anyway. Never cared about antlers, I can't eat them. Besides, the older I get, I'm not overly fond of freezing my behind off and being in crappy weather to bag one, either. We just wrapped and froze some of the fresh venison from this week, and thought I'd share a couple ways I make it in various cuts. Our meat isn't usually gamey here. If it is, I soak the meat in milk in a gallon ziplock bag in the fridge overnight. It does two things, gets rid of the gaminess and tenderizes the cut.

Roast Venison

Above was a roast I did, sauteing onions and mushrooms and garlic in butter first, then searing the roast good on all sides to lock the moisture in before transferring to the oven or crockpot. I seasoned with rosemary, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper and deglazed after the sear with a merlot. Roast carrots, potatoes and lime beans and cinnamon applesauce will complete the meal. Venison is a fragile red meat, roast low and slow or it will dry out and be tough; I did this one for a couple hours  around 300-325. 

Another favorite for this cold weather is a nice venison stew.

Venison Stew

 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
 2 pounds venison stew meat
 3 onions, chopped
 2 cloves garlic, minced
 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
 1 bay leaf
 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
 1 tablespoon salt
 3 cups water
 7 small potatoes, peeled and quartered
 1 pound carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
 1/4 cup water
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In a skillet, deeply brown the meat in oil. Add onions, garlic. Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, oregano, salt, and water. Simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until meat is tender.
Add potatoes and carrots; cook until tender.

Combine flour and water. Stir into the stew. Remove bay leaf before serving.

Venison Chip Steaks and Tenderloins

These are simple, tender and delicious and should never be overdone, in my opinion. I sear them quickly (they cook fast so be careful) in a little butter and usually with onions, a touch of garlic, slat and pepper. They just don't need any more then that and are so good.

Venison Steaks

I like to do these a couple ways. Some times just grilled and seasoned, be careful, they cook quickly.

Another way is to do swiss steak with them. They're great with creamed potatoes, brown rice or noodles


12 to 14 oz venison cube steak

1/4 c whole wheat flour

 1 medium onion, cut into wedges

 2 medium carrots, slices

1 quart stewed tomatoes

Dredge venison in flour and brown in large, deep nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Add onions, carrots, and tomatoes. If mixtures seems dry, add water or beef stock .Also add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to medium low. Cook until meat is tender, about 1 hour.