Grandmas Festive Jell-O Cookies

Jello-Cookies

 

My mom used to make these cookies for Christmas with cherry and lime jello.  This is a sugar cookie recipe with a box of Jell-O added into the mix.  You can make them for any holiday such as Fourth of July using cherry and berry blue Jell-O for red, white and blue cookies.  You can have fun with this recipe and change it out for whatever the occasion.

 

Ingredients

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

1/2 cup sugar

1-3 oz pkg Jell-O

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

Directions

Cream the butter, shortening, sugar and Jell-O. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat on medium speed until well mixed. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder. On slow speed, add the dry mixture, adding a little at a time. Mix well.

The dough will be fairly soft, but not sticky. You don’t need to refrigerate the dough before rolling.

Pre-heat oven to 400°F.

Roll dough into 1″ to 1 1/4″ balls and then roll in a bowl with about 1/2 cup of granulated sugar in it, completely covering the exterior of the dough ball. Place on the pan about 2″ apart. Using a flat-bottomed glass press the dough to about a 3/8″ thickness.

Sprinkle the top with sugar. Bake the cookies for 6 – 8 minutes.

Easter Greek Tsoureki

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This traditional Greek Easter bread is terrific for Easter brunch, slathered with butter; and any leftovers make the world’s most outrageous French toast! A nice thing about this recipe is that the work is broken up into two sections. The first day you make and knead the dough in the evening, then pop it into the fridge for a long, slow rise. On the morning of the second day you shape the dough, then let it rise again and bake it. The traditional flavoring for the bread is a spice called “mahlep.” In a pinch you can substitute vanilla, but the mahlep is worth finding. It adds a distinctive cherry/almond, sweet-nutty flavor that’s unlike anything you’ve tried before.

Starter

1 1/2 cups  Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

1 cup lukewarm water

4 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

Dough

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons Baker’s Special Dry Milk

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon ground mahlep, or the same amount of vanilla extract

3 large eggs — 2 for the dough, 1 to brush over the loaf before baking

Optional Decoration

5 hard-boiled eggs, dyed red

1 tablespoon canola oil, for brushing the hard-boiled eggs

Directions

To make the starter: Mix the starter ingredients in a large bowl. Cover the bowl and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour. The mixture will initially be the consistency of thick pancake batter; after an hour it should be very bubbly, airy, and doubled in size.

While the starter rests, ready the dough. Melt the butter over low heat and set it aside to cool. In a small bowl, combine 1 cup of the flour with the sugar, dry milk, salt, and mahlep.

Mix 2 of the eggs into the risen starter. Stir in the cooled melted butter.

If you’re substituting vanilla extract for mahlep, stir it in. Add the flour/sugar mixture and stir until everything is incorporated.

Add the remaining 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups flour 1 cup at a time, as needed to make dough that’s stiff enough to form a ball but is also soft and slightly sticky.

Knead the dough — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — until it springs back when pressed gently with a floured finger. If kneading by hand, try to use only the lightest dusting of flour on the counter and on your hands. The more gently you knead, the less sticky the dough will seem. When done, place the dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours, or overnight.

The next morning, remove the dough from the fridge and knead it gently a few times, to deflate it.

Liberally butter a 9″ round cake pan, or line a sheet pan with parchment. Divide the dough into three pieces, and set them aside, covered with lightly greased plastic wrap.

If you’re using the dyed eggs, rub each one with a paper towel dipped in vegetable oil and set them aside. Press the large piece of dough evenly into the prepared pan.

Make three16″ strands with the dough; pinch the ends together at one end. Braid for 4″ to 5″; tuck an egg into the braid. Continue to braid, placing another egg into the braid at 2″ intervals.

Cover the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap, and let the loaf rise at room temperature for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until the top is just barely level with the top edge of the pan. During the last 45 minutes of the rise, preheat your oven to 350°F.

To bake the bread: Lightly beat the remaining egg. Brush it over the loaf. (Alternatively, omit the egg wash if you’d prefer to brush the loaf with honey when it comes out of the oven.) Press the last hard-boiled egg firmly into the center of the risen loaf.

Bake the bread for 20 minutes. Open the oven door, reach in, and carefully press each egg farther down into the bread.

Continue to bake the bread for an additional 40 to 50 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 190°F. Tent the bread with aluminum foil for the last 30 minutes, to prevent over-browning.

Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack. If desired, heat 1/4 cup honey with 1 tablespoon water until warm, and brush over the loaf. Let the bread cool completely before serving.

Easter Croissants

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Ingredients

Dough

2 large eggs plus enough warm water to make 2 cups of liquid

1/4 cup sugar

5 1/2 to 6 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast

1/2 cup nonfat dry milk (optional)

1 scant tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional; for sweet pastry)

2 tablespoons butter, melted

Butter

1 7/8 cups unsalted butter, cool to the touch

3/4 teaspoon salt (omit if using salted butter)

1/2 cup Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

Directions

Make a sponge by cracking the eggs into a 2-cup liquid measure and adding enough warm water to equal 2 cups. Beat until blended, and pour into a large mixing bowl. You can also put the sponge into the bucket of your bread machine, set on the dough cycle. Add 1 tablespoon of the sugar, 3 cups of the flour, and the yeast. Mix until well blended. Cover and set aside.

While the yeast begins its work, set up the butter inlay. Mix the butter and 1/2 cup flour just until the mixture is smooth and well blended (no hard lumps). You can do this with a mixer, a food processor, or with a spoon, by hand. Be careful not to beat the mixture at high speed; you don’t want to incorporate any air. Lightly flour a piece of plastic wrap, place the butter mixture on it, and use a dough scraper to pat it into an 8-inch square. Wrap the butter and put it in the refrigerator on a flat surface for at least 30 minutes.

Stir the vanilla, if using, and the melted butter into the sponge. Whisk together the remaining 2 1/2 cups of the remaining flour, the rest of the sugar, the dry milk, and the salt. Add to the sponge and mix until you have a soft dough, either by hand, in your mixer, or using the dough cycle of your bread machine. Check the dough after kneading for 4 to 5 minutes, adding more of the measured flour if the dough is still sticky.

Once the dough is smooth and elastic, pat it into a square shape, wrap it loosely and refrigerate it for 30 minutes.

Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and put it on a lightly floured surface. Gently roll it into a square about 12 inches across. Unwrap the butter slab and place it in the center of the dough at a 45° angle, so it looks like a diamond in the square.

Fold the flaps of the dough over the edges of the butter until they meet in the middle. Pinch and seal the edges of the dough together; moisten your fingers with a little water, if necessary.

Dust the top with flour, then turn the dough over and tap it gently with the rolling pin into a rectangular shape. Pick up the dough to make sure it isn’t sticking underneath, dusting under with more flour if necessary, then roll from the center out until you have a rectangle 20 inches long by 10 inches wide.

When you’ve reached the proper size, take a dry brush and lightly sweep off any excess flour, then fold the bottom third of the dough up to the center, and the top third over that (like a business letter). Line the edges up on top of each other and even up the corners so they’re directly on top of each other. Take a dab of water if you need to, to tack the corners together. You’ve now made your first “turn.”

Turn the dough package 90° to the right, so it looks like a book ready to be opened. If the dough is still cool to the touch and relaxed, do another rolling and turning the same way. Make a note of how many folds you’ve completed and the time, and wrap the dough. Return it to the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Repeat the above folding and turning process one more time, for a total of four turns. Once completed, wrap the dough well and refrigerate it for at least an hour, and preferably overnight before using.

Using half the dough at a time, roll it to a 12″ x 18″ rectangle. Trim the edges of the dough on every edge using a ruler and pizza wheel. This cuts off the folded edges that would inhibit the “puff.” Cut the dough in thirds lengthwise and in half through the middle. This will give you six 4″ x 9″ pieces. Cut each piece in half diagonally and arrange them so the points of the triangles are facing away from you. It’s okay to stretch them out gently to elongate them when you do this. Cut a 1/2″ notch in the short edge of the triangle.

If you want to, this is the time to place a teaspoon of filling at the base of the triangle. Roll up the dough, starting with the notched edge and working toward the point. Make sure the point is tucked under the bottom of the croissant. If you have to stretch the dough a little to make that happen, it’s okay. You can also use a drop of water on the tip to help it stay in place. Form the crescent by bending the ends toward the center where the tip is tucked underneath. Place the croissants on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover and chill for 30 minutes. You could also freeze the unbaked pastries at this point.

Take the croissants out of the refrigerator, and preheat the oven to 425°F. While the oven is heating, brush the tops of the croissants with an egg well-beaten with 1 tablespoon of water.

When the oven is hot, bake the croissants for 15 minutes then reduce the oven’s temperature to 350°F and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes. The croissants should be a deep golden brown, even where the dough overlaps; you don’t want any raw dough in the center. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.

Easter Babka Chocolate Swirl Bread

Babka Chocolate Swirl Bread 

Babka is traditional Eastern European Easter bread. This version is a dessert bread, and it’s great with coffee.

Dough

1 cup water

1/4 cup milk

2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg yolk (reserve the white for brushing on top)

2 tablespoons sugar

3 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

Filling

2/3 cup sugar

2 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa

1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans

1 tablespoon Instant ClearJel (optional; it keeps filling from overflowing during baking)
Topping

2 tablespoons melted butter

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/4 cup Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

Directions

Place all of the dough ingredients into the pan of your bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Program the machine for dough or manual, and press Start. Check the dough’s consistency about 7 minutes after the kneading cycle begins, adding additional water or flour to form a soft, smooth ball of dough. While the dough is rising, combine all the filling ingredients in a small bowl, and then set them aside.

Shaping: Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface, and roll it into a 10 x 14-inch rectangle. Brush it lightly with melted butter, and sprinkle the filling over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border along the edges. Starting at a short end, roll the dough up jelly-roll style. Pinch the ends closed, and tuck them under. Place the loaf, seam-side down, in a lightly greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Brush the top of the dough with the reserved egg white. Combine the topping ingredients and sprinkle over the loaf in the pan. Cover with greased plastic wrap (or a proof cover). Let it rise for about 45 minutes; it won’t double in size, but should just barely crown over the rim of the pan.

Baking: Bake the loaf in a preheated 350°F oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until its sides have pulled away slightly from the pan. Remove the loaf from the oven and, after about 5 minutes, remove it from the pan. Transfer it to a rack to cool completely.

ORANGE DREAMSICLE CAKE

Orange Dreamsicle Cake

Ingredients

1 Package  Yellow Cake Mix

2 small boxes Orange JELL-O

1 Package  Vanilla Instant Pudding

1 Cup 2% Milk

2 Teaspoon  Vanilla

1 Tub Cool Whip

Directions

Bake the cake as directed in a 9×13″ pan. Let cake cool completely. Poke holes in cooled cake. Mix 1 package orange gelatin dessert with 1 c. boiling water and 1 c. cold water. Pour over cake. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours. Mix pudding mix with cold milk the other package of orange gelatin dessert and vanilla. Beat by hand with a whisk until thickened. Fold in the whipped topping. Frost the cake with the pudding mixture. These instructions will make a single layered amazing cake that is delicious!

PLEASE NOTE: To get the layered look as in this particular picture – make your cakes in well greased and floured pans – follow baking instructions. I then tip then out onto cooling rack and invert back onto a cookie sheet. Proceed to poke holes and do the jello thing and refrigerate (or put out on the cold enclosed back porch as we do). It is a little tricky to get the layers – but I love our pan lifters to help with this process. (most people use these to take pizza off their grills, but I use it a lot for cakes)! Enjoy! And remember – if your first time doesn’t come out looking quite so perfect — it will still taste amazing!!

Easter Bread Wreath

Easter Bread Wreath

 

Starter

1 cup unbleached all purpose flour

1/2 cup cool water

1/8 teaspoon instant yeast

Dough

2 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons instant yeast

1/3 cup granulated sugar

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 large eggs

1 large egg yolk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract + 1/4 teaspoon orange oil

1/4 teaspoon ground anise seed, optional

Grated peel of 1 large orange

Glaze

1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

2 to 3 tablespoons orange juice or milk

Sprinkles or nonpareils, for decorating

Directions

To make the bread: Mix together the starter ingredients, cover the bowl, and let rest at room temperature overnight, or for up to 15 hours.

Next day, combine the bubbly starter with all the remaining dough ingredients. Mix and knead, using a mixer or bread machine, until the dough is elastic and satiny.

Grease a large bowl and let the dough rise for 1 to 2 hours, until it’s noticeably puffy.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased surface, divide it into three pieces, and shape each piece into an 18″-long rope. Braid the ropes together, and connect the two ends to form a wreath.

Cover the wreath and allow it to rise until puffy, about 1 to 2 hours. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 375°F.

Bake the wreath for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven heat to 350°F and bake for an additional 20 minutes, tenting it for the final 10 minutes of baking. The finished loaf will be golden brown, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center will register at least 190°F.

Remove the wreath from the oven, and transfer it to a rack to cool.

To make the glaze: Stir together the sugar and 2 tablespoons of the milk or orange juice. Add more liquid 1/4 teaspoon at a time, until the glaze is thin and pourable.

Drizzle the glaze onto the cooled braid then decorate with sprinkles, if desired.

EASTER HAM & POTATO SKILLET

Ham-and-Potato-Skillet

 

Ingredients

1 lb sliced ham

1 tbsp margarine

1 tbsp brown sugar

101/2 ounces cream of mushroom soup

2/3 cup evaporated milk

1/3 cup water

1/4 cup onion (chopped)

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

3 cups potatoes (thinly sliced)

1 cup sliced raw carrots

Directions

In 10″ skillet brown ham in butter and brown sugar. Remove ham and pour off the fat.  Mix in same skillet, the soup, milk, water, onion, salt & pepper. Stir in 3 c thinly sliced potatoes and carrots.  Cover, cook over low heat stirring now and then, until veggies are tender, about 35 minutes. Lift veggies from the bottom so they don’t stick.  Place whole ham slice or cut in serving size pieces and place on top of veggies. Cover and cook about 10 minutes more.

EASTER DINNER SCALLOPED POTATOES

 

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Ingredients

6 sliced potatoes

1 chopped onion

¾ cup grated cheese

2 tsp. salt

Pepper

3 tbsp butter

2 tbsp flour

2 cups hot milk

Directions

Melt the butter in a sauce pan.  Add flour, salt, and pepper, and stir smooth. Slowly add in the hot milk while stirring constantly. On thickening, melt the grated cheese into the sauce. Place layers of the sliced potatoes, cheese sauce, and onions into a buttered baking dish or casserole.   Repeat until all ingredients have been used. Bake for 60 minutes at a temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Chocolate Easter Candy Eggs

Chocolate Easter Candy Eggs

These moist chocolate cake eggs harbor a delicious secret: caramel candy.

Cake

2 cups sugar

2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

2 tablespoons cornstarch

3/4 cup Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa or Dutch- process cocoa

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons espresso powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

4 large eggs

3/4 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups water

Filling

1 cup caramel from a block; or 3 dozen unwrapped caramel candies

Topping

3/4 cup caramel from a block, or unwrapped candies and 1 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream or half and half
Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease the wells of an egg pan. Or line a muffin pan with papers, and grease the papers. Whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the eggs, oil, and vanilla, beating until smooth. Gradually add the water, beating until smooth. Pour the batter into each cup of the prepared pan, bringing it to within 5/8″ of the rim of the pan. While the cakes are baking, prepare the caramel. If you’re using block caramel, scoop 1″ balls and roll them smooth between your palms. Place them in the freezer. Bake the cakes for 14 minutes. Place one ball of caramel (or 2 unwrapped caramel candies) atop each egg or muffin; it’ll sink in. Continue baking for an additional 12 minutes until cake is set and springs back when lightly touched. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Loosen cakes, and gently slip them out of the pan onto a cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining batter and caramel. When all the cakes are baked and cooled, combine the 3/4 cup caramel and cream, and heat in the microwave till very hot. Remove, and stir till smooth. Drizzle over the cakes, reheating as necessary.

Easter Cookies

Italian Easter Cookies

 

Dough
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 1/2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

Icing
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
4 teaspoons milk
4 teaspoons light corn syrup

Directions

Beat together the oil, butter, eggs, vanilla, salt, baking powder, and sugar until smooth. Add the flour, beating until smooth. Refrigerate the dough for at least one hour, or overnight.

Scoop the dough into 2-teaspoon-size balls; a teaspoon cookie scoop works perfectly here. Roll the balls into logs about 4 inches long and about 1/2-inch in diameter. Coil into doughnut shapes, leaving a small hole in the middle.

Place the shaped cookies on lightly greased baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch between them. Bake them in a preheated 350°F oven for about 18 minutes. They may have the merest hint of golden color on top, but they definitely won’t be brown. Remove them from the oven, and transfer to a rack to cool completely before icing.

To ice the cookies: Put 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar into each of four bowls. Add 1 teaspoon milk and 1 teaspoon corn syrup to each bowl. Stir until you’ve made a soft, spreadable icing, adding more milk if necessary. Tint the icing in each bowl a different color. Dip the top of each cookie in one of the icings. Sprinkle with sugar decorations. Allow the frosting to harden before storing the cookies.