Thursday, May 27, 2010


I am a recipe "tweaker". I like (LOVE) to find a good, solid recipe, test it, tweak it and make it my own. This does not mean I make it better... I just make it mine and that is what makes it special. I love to cook and bake and I love to serve others. Making a recipe my own allows me to create delicious food and share it with people I love.
Special. Food is so special.

This recipe has been tweaked. It is no-fail. It is delicious. You can trust me... you will make someone feel very special by making these for them.


3 C lukewarm water
2 packages yeast
2 T salt
1 1/2 T sugar
6 1/4 C flour (bread flour works best)

Combine water, yeast, salt and water in a bowl and allow to rest 5 minutes. Add flour and mix well. Cover with a warm towel and allow to rise 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 450. Form bagels by rolling small pieces into small balls, flattening slightly and piercing a hole through the center (or use a doughnut cutter). Rest formed dough on a floured surface, covered in plastic wrap for 20-30 minutes. You should be able to get a dozen bagels out of this recipe.


8-10 quarts water
1/2 C sugar
1 t baking soda

Bring water to a rolling boil and drop bagels in 2 at a time (do not crowd) and allow them to simmer for 2 minutes on each side. Remove with a skimmer (or slotted spoon) and place on a flour dusted towel. At this point, you can season the bagels as desired (I like using poppy seeds, sesame seeds, cinnamon/sugar and plain old salt). Place bagels on a baking sheet or stone dusted heavily with cornmeal and bake 20 minutes, along with a baking pan filled with 2 cups boiling water to allow moisture into the baking process. They should be firm and lightly browned.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Homemade Pop-Tarts

My sweet friend Becky of Vintage Mixer came over a few Saturday's ago and suggested we make homemade pop-tarts together. I've never made pop-tarts and was excited about the idea! Well... we were poor planners and didn't prepare our dough in enough time so we were unable to bake these fun little packages together but I could not shake the desire to make them myself. They are easy and a super fun breakfast (or dessert).

Pop-Tarts... from scratch:

2 Cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 Cup cold, unsalted butter (cubed)
4 Tablespoons ice cold water

Combine flour, salt and sugar in a bowl. Add chilled butter, in thirds. Using a pastry cutter (or 2 knives and a fork), cut the cold butter into the flour mixture until it is completely coated and the mixture resembles tiny peas. Add ice water and mix until the dough forms a ball. Divide in half, wrap in plastic wrap and chill 2 hours, or overnight.

Remove the dough and roll out (on a lightly floured surface) into 2 thin discs. Trim edges and slice each piece into 6 rectangles (or circles or squares!). Put a dollop of the filling of your choice onto the center of 6 pieces and then top them with the other 6 pieces of dough. With wet fingertips, seal the edges of each tart, then crimp with a fork. Poke a few small holes in the tops. Freeze tarts for 2 hours on the baking sheet.

Bake in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Some filling may leak out... it's ok. Sprinkle with powdered sugar while still warm.

Filling options:

Brown Sugar and butter

I used chocolate and Becky had brought me a jar of Marion Berry Jam from her trip to Oregon so I used that as well. They were absolutely delicious! They are just a simple, hand-held pie and are better than any store bought "tart" I've ever tasted.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mactweets #7 Tell Me A Story...

The little girl you see here is me, all dressed up and ready to play on the banks of Plum Creek or in Walnut Grove. I was obsessed with the Ingalls family and the stories of The Little House On The Prairie, as a little girl. I read each book cover-to-cover, several times each. I adored this series. I am sure, and can admit, that the television series assisted me in my desire to dress in long, flowered/checked dresses for a year straight. I thought I must have looked just like Laura or Mary... and I was very proud. I would beg my mother to buy me these dresses and we had to do a "spin test" in the store (to make sure the dress spun out in a full circle around my ankles). I used to read these books and imagine myself walking down a dirt path, lunch pail in hand, to the schoolhouse and then running home and jumping into Pa's arms before I had a warm slice of Caroline's homemade bread. I could feel the cold winters in The Big Woods and felt the closeness of their family at Christmastime. These books completely swept me away, to another time and place and I get sentimental just thinking about them. I tried to get my oldest daughter to read them, when she was a bit younger but they didn't quite catch in the same way. They hold a very special place in my heart.

I decided on oat macarons with a maple cream filling. The flavors seemed appropriate. I used a 2 egg white shell recipe and sprinkled oats on the resting shells and filled them with:

Maple Cream Filling

1/2 Cup butter, softened
3 Cups powdered sugar
1/2 Cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla

Whip the butter until very light and fluffy. Add sugar one cup at a time until completely incorporated and add the syrup and vanilla. Whip until very light and fluffy once more and pipe onto the shells.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Mango-Lime Sorbet

I love frozen treats. Ice cream (and cones and sandwiches and shakes and sundaes...), frozen fruit pops, gelato, smoothies and... sorbet. I enjoy making ice creams and sorbets a lot and not just in the summer. We had some friends over for dinner a few months ago and I made this sorbet for them. I think it's delicious and it got good reviews from the crowd too. It's simple and fresh and really perfect for the warm months of summer.

1 Cup sugar
1 Cup water
Zest from 2 limes
3 ripe mangoes
3/4 Cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoons tequila

Heat sugar, water and zest in a small pot until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside to cool completely. Peel and cut the mango into pieces and add them plus the lime juice, salt and cooled sugar water to a blender and puree till smooth. Pour into a bowl, cover and chill in the refrigerator until completely chilled. Stir in tequila and pour into your ice cream maker to churn and freeze to desired consistency. Transfer to a freezable bowl and freeze until firm.

Watch this video on How To Cut A Mango for tips to assist you.

Photos taken by my sister: Monica Lehman