Saturday, August 8, 2009

Aunt Carol's No-Fail Pie Crust Recipe

My mother made the BEST pies EVER!! Her crust was always light and flaky, melt-in-your-mouth, good-to-the-last-bite wonderful. I cannot tell you how many pie crusts I watched my mother make and how many pies my mother baked in her lifetime, but every single time, the crust was pure perfection!! Try as I may, I've never been able to master the art of the pie crust until a woman on a cross stitch message board shared her secret recipe. I've made this a couple of times, and every single crust has been wonderful. Not quite as light and tasty as Mom's but it's a close second.

AuntCarol’s Pie Crust-Never-Fail Type

This pie crust recipe is one that SUPER easy to roll out – one that never gets soggy – leaving that last piece of pie as good as the first – it’s the only pie crust recipe I’ll ever use – it’s the BEST –


1 egg
¾ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon WHITE vinegar
7 tablespoons water
1 cup shortening (CRISCO)
3 cups flour

BEAT egg.

ADD salt, vinegar, and water.

ADD CRISCO. BLEND with fork, while ADDING flour, about a cup at a time.

FORM into one big dough ball. THEN DIVIDE into 3 equal-sized dough balls (or you can divide it into 2 equal-sized dough balls like I did just today).

ROLL OUT thin on a lightly floured surface and then PLACE into pan of your choice.

Note: Prepared pie shell should be put into the refrigerator 30 minutes before filling – and REMEMBER all fruit pies must be baked on the lowest rack in your oven –


After you've put your crust into the pie plate, trimmed and fluted it, take all the little leftover pieces and roll them into a ball. Roll out with a rolling pin, cut out shapes with cookie cutters, if you like, or cut into strips, then put onto a piece of foil. Prick the crust with a fork (to allow steam to escape) and sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on the top. Cook at 350º (or whatever temperature your pie recipe calls for) until nice and brown. Some of my fondest memories are when Mom would let us use her cookie cutters and make "pie dough cookies". She also allowed us to decorate the tops however we wanted, with sprinkles, colored sugar, and all those fun baking toppings we didn't use often!!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

As a rule in our house, we're not mayonnaise eaters. We're Miracle Whip kinda people, so if I have to have mayonnaise for a recipe, I try to use it up or else it'll sit in the fridge til it's past its "use by" date. Since money is tight right now, I went looking for some creative, yet tasty uses for the mayo I currently have on hand. (I had used some of it in a pasta salad, but had more than half a jar left.) This is what I found, and it was perfect for just the 2 of us.

This cake comes from a time in American life when eggs and sugar were rationed and any kind of dish including them was a treat. The mayonnaise takes the place of oil and eggs and makes the cake moist and tasty.

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake
3/4 C mayonnaise
1 C sugar
1 t vanilla extract
2 C all-purpose flour
1/4 C baking cocoa
2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 C water

2 T butter, softened to room temperature
1-1/2 C powdered sugar
2 T baking cocoa
2 T warm milk
1 t vanilla extract
pinch salt

In a large bowl, beat mayonnaise, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; add to mayonnaise mixture alternately with water, beating well after each addition.

Pour into a greased 9" square baking pan. Bake at 350º for 25-30 mins or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Frosting: In a small bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar, cocoa, milk, vanilla, and salt. Frost cake. Store in the refrigerator.

As you can see, I sprinkled some chopped nuts on top of my finished product because it looked too plain without them!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Cowboy Cookies

Cowboy Cookies
1/2 C butter (1 stick), softened
1/2 C light brown sugar, packed
1/4 C granulated sugar
1 egg
1 t vanilla
1 C flour
2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1 C rolled oats (I used Quick Oats, what I had on hand)
1 C (6 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 C raisins
1/2 C chopped nuts (I used walnuts)

Preheat oven to 375º. Lightly grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

Beat butter with sugars in large bowl until well blended. Add egg and vanilla; beat until fluffy. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda in small bowl; stir into butter mixture. Add oats, chocolate chips, raisins, and nuts. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2" apart onto prepared cookie sheets.

Bake 10-12 mins or until lightly browned around edges. Remove to wire rack to cool.

Makes about 4 doz. cookies

Absolutely delish!! You can't eat just one! LOL

Monday, August 3, 2009

Homemade Flour Tortillas

I found this relatively easy recipe for flour tortillas online at the Pioneer Woman's new recipe website/community, Tasty Kitchen. I decided to give it a go since we love flour tortillas. I have very fond memories of going to my grandmother's house and eating fresh tortillas slathered with butter, then dipped in syrup. My mom never could master the art of making flour tortillas, but my great-grandmother was a pro! I think it helped that she was of Mexican decent and made them her entire life. The rolling pin she used is now in my dad's possession. I think the next time I go visit, I'm going to bring it back with me!

A couple of notes before I post the recipe. Make sure your surface is very well floured, as well as your hands, and your rolling pin. You don't want it to be overly floured, but you don't want the tortillas to stick to the rolling pin or the surface. Also, make sure that your griddle or skillet (preferably cast iron) is nice and hot when you start. If you have too much flour on your tortillas when you throw them on the griddle, the flour will burn and you'll end up with little black flecks of flour on your tortillas. (As seen in the pic above! LOL) Do NOT add all the water at once!! You probably won't need all the water, so add slowly and then mix to the proper consistency. It shouldn't be too wet or 'stringy' when you pull it. It also shouldn't stick to your hands. If it does, add more flour. Because I added all the water, I had to add a lot of flour to get it to the desired consistency. I had approx. 2 dozen tortillas of various shapes and sizes.

Flour Tortillas

* 3 cups White Flour (I used All-purpose)
* 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
* 1 teaspoon Salt
* 5 tablespoons Cold Butter, Shortening, Or Lard (I used butter, of course!)
* 1-¼ cup Warm Water

Preparation Instructions

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add shortening/butter and either combine in food processor or cut into dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly. Add warm water 1/2 cup at a time until mixture is a soft dough. Add more flour a tablespoon at a time until dough is soft and slightly sticky, but not wet.

Shape dough into 12-15 balls, about the circumference of a silver dollar/50pence. Roll the dough out on a well-floured surface until dough is about 1/4inch thick.

(It works really well to have one person rolling out tortillas while another one cooks them).

Heat a frying pan or griddle until water dances on the surface. Place one tortilla in the pan and cook for about 30 seconds, or until edges start to pull away from the pan and small air pockets start to form. Flip tortilla over and repeat on the other side. Tortillas will have some parts which are more brown.

Repeat for all tortillas. Serve warm, or package in airtight container once cooled. Use within a week, or up to a month if frozen.