Our fourth of July is almost here. It’s a time for fireworks, fun, and food… especially food. And what could you make that would be as exciting as the fireworks? This is it, baby! My fresh strawberry cake. It’s one of my most popular recipes and now that strawberries are in season, you won’t need a loan to bake this delicious dessert.
It’s Independence Day. So declare your independence from store bought sweets and make this beautiful, show stopping, fresh strawberry cake. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
You can turn my easy one-rise dinner rolls into bunny buns for Easter. Kids will love them and grown ups will enjoy the tasty bread rolls. This recipe is super easy but it will take a little time to put the faces together. This is almost the exact same recipe as my easy dinner rolls but you’ll need a couple of extra tools.
I use two cookie/biscuit cutters that are 2 1/2 inches and 4 inches across. The small circle is for the faces and the bigger one for the ears. To cut out the little noses I use the top of a lipstick tube. You’ll also need raisins and it helps to put together matching pairs or raisins in advance that are the same size and color. You might not notice but a box of raisins has many different sizes and shades.
Now for my photo tutorial. First, you roll the half of the dough into a 6 x 12-inch oval and this is how you cut the circles. The smaller ones are the faces and the bigger ones will be for the ears:
Put the small circles on your baking sheet (I make 4 faces per sheet) and then this is how you cut the ears from the two large circles:
You cut the nose using the top of a lipstick – it’s about 1/2-inch wide:
You tuck the ears slightly under the top of the head, place the nose, and push in the raisins for eyes. This is how they look before baking (four per sheet):
Once you make four bunny faces you cover the baking sheet with a towel and let it rise in a warm spot until doubled. That takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. While they rise you put together the other four bunny buns. They bake at 375° F for about 10 minutes. For the leftover dough, I roll it into a few 2-inch balls, rise and bake the same way. I hope someone sends a photo! Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Here is the Christmas present I made for myself… or what’s left of it anyway. You don’t have to be Polish to love a slice (or 2 or 3) of makowiec (mah-KOH-viets). It’s usually a bread to be shared but this one is all for me! I made it without the powdered sugar glaze and opted for an egg wash and poppy seeds on the top.
The filling is made with ground poppy seeds, fresh orange and lemon peel, ground almonds and vanilla. It’s a Polish holiday bread for Christmas as well as Easter but I say make it for any holiday, or birthday, or laundry day, or tax day…. Click here for the recipe.
And Merry Christmas to all my fellow cooks and bakers. Thank you for all your comments and photos – I appreciate it so much when anyone takes the time to make a comment or send a photo. I have posted most of the recipes I make but I will try to add more as they make it into my kitchen. xoxoxo
There’s something addictive about these Christmas sugar cookies because I can’t stop eating them. So this will be my first batch because I’m not sharing. I’ll make more if anybody else wants some – but these are mine. I used a cookie press because it’s faster and I like that the cookies are tiny, no more than 2 inches across. So these are one-bite cookies but I am never able to eat just one.
For anyone using a cookie press, try to get very fine sprinkles because these mini cookies hold fine sprinkles better than some of the bigger cookie decorations, which seem to roll right off. I like mixing my colors and using blue and purple too. My recipe uses only half the butter of most others. These easy Christmas cookies keep really well. They can be refrigerated and stay nice and fresh for at least a week and I have frozen some for months and they are still good.
For me, Christmas sugar cookies are just part of holiday decorating but it’s decorations you can eat. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Christmas is the best time to make sweet breads like my Christmas wreath bread but it doesn’t have to be a wreath. It can also be braided and shaped into a regular loaf. And it doesn’t even have to be for Christmas. With a simple white glaze you can enjoy it any time of year. If you want to toast it, just omit the glaze and you can make fabulous cinnamon-raisin toast.
I have actually made a dual loaf. I cut it in half and only glaze half so the other half can be toasted. So you see this lightly sweet raisin bread is really versatile and it’s made entirely without butter. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
My pumpkin pie is ready! There are three things I always do the day before Thanksgiving. One lesson I’ve learned over the years is: Do everything you possibly can in advance. So I already made my pumpkin pie, fresh cranberries, and I’ve made a pot of turkey stock. Here’s how… I roasted some turkey wings for an hour at 375 and then scraped up all the drippings. I put the wings, drippings, water, and the same vegetables and spices I use in my chicken stock into a pot, and cooked it for 2 1/2 hours. I let it cool down and it’s now in the fridge. Tomorrow I’ll skim off the fat use it for my make-ahead gravy and in my stuffing.
This year I’m trying a new way to roast turkey – at 500 degrees! It will be an adventure. I hope it turns out but no matter, it’s good to take occasional risks. But there’s no risk with my amazing pumpkin pie. The crust is made without butter or shortening so if you want to try it, click here for the recipe.
If someone invites you over for a homemade Thanksgiving dinner (turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls, cranberries & pumpkin pie) no matter how good or bad the food was, you should lift them up, in their chair, and carry them around the neighborhood like the Rose Parade with everyone following and cheering for the cook. You might even build a float for them made out of plywood and turkey feathers, because cooking Thanksgiving dinner is a huge accomplishment for even the most experienced cook. After the parade, send them to Hawaii for a week. They’ll need it.
After every Thanksgiving turkey dinner I make, I always say, “Next year, we’re going out. I’m not doing this again. It’s too stressful!” But then we go out and the food is awful and I miss my home cooking so I do it again. All this is to explain why I have no turkey dinner recipes to share. But I do have sides and desserts!
I wish I could share a fabulous roast turkey or stuffing recipe but I’ve never made my stuffing the same way twice. I make a bread stuffing and sometimes I add mushrooms, sometimes shredded apple, sometimes walnuts, and sometimes all of the above. And my turkey? Well, I’ve roasted it upside down, right side up, brined it, bagged it, rubbed it, and I still don’t have a recipe I can share.
But I do have these four contributions to Thanksgiving cooks that I hope you enjoy. For my Fresh Cranberries recipe that cooks in 5 minutes, click here. For my Easy One-Rise Dinner Rolls recipe, click here. For my Healthier Easier Pumpkin Pie recipe that uses no butter, click here. For my Easy Pecan Pie recipe that you can also make without butter, click here.
Pecan pie doesn’t have to be complicated. Mine is simple and you don’t need any fancy ingredients. And it’s healthier too, with an olive oil crust. I used to make pie crusts the old way with either shortening or butter and ice water but an oil crust is so much easier. It’s quick and you can just pat it into the pan or I roll it between wax paper and then transfer it into the pan. By the way, the pan is never greased when you’re baking pie.
In this case I use a standard 9-inch pyrex glass pie pan and not a deep dish pan. My pecan pie filling is super simple. Everything goes into one bowl, stir for one minute and boom. Done. It uses less butter than most along with brown sugar, white sugar, and corn syrup but keep in mind that corn syrup IS NOT high fructose corn syrup. They don’t even sell HFCS to the public.
If you’re trying to bake without butter, I also have a completely butter-free pecan pie in my Baking Without Butter category. My two pies are exactly the same recipe except one uses butter in the filling and one uses a trans fat-free spread. For my butter-free filling I used Benecol. I baked both pies today for a blind taste test and I served a small slice of each one on the same plate. Guess what? Nobody could tell the difference! They are both so delicious, filled with lots of toasted pecans and a sweet, gooey filling. I’m definitely making my pecan pie for Thanksgiving this year, and probably Christmas too, and maybe my birthday… then there’s tax day… and well, you get the picture. Enjoy! – Jenny Jones
For my Easy Pecan Pie (with butter) recipe click here.
For my Pecan Pie Without Butter recipe click here.
Is it too soon to start some Christmas baking? Not at my house. I just made my Christmas wreath bread because it’s never too soon to start testing all my holiday recipes. This slightly sweet egg bread is filled with golden raisins and topped with a light glaze and sprinkles. I love sweet breads and I thought about adding some nuts but I prefer it with only raisins.
It’s very similar to my original holiday bread, which was a braided loaf, but this one is shaped into a circle to make a wreath. Use as much or as little glaze as you like but the sprinkles are what makes it a Christmas bread. If you use pastel sprinkles, it becomes an Easter bread, or make it with no sprinkles or glaze and it becomes a fabulous toasting bread. I know it’s early but I’ve been waiting all year to start my Christmas baking.
UPDATE:Please note the correct baking temperature is 350and not 375 as initially posted.
This is what my valentine wants for his special day on Saturday. Of all the things I love to bake, this is the one he asks for on his birthday and on Valentine’s day. He loves it. It’s a white cake filled with two pounds of strawberries and covered with fresh whipped cream. I love it too. So I’ll make this amazing cake for him but it won’t be free. I’m negotiating some terms…
1) Immediate response when there’s a spider in the house – no delays.
2) Never ask if I’m going out wearing that… because I am.
3) Sign my contract that says valentine chocolates don’t have to be shared.
4) The above terms notwithstanding, the strawberry cake must be shared.