Mamas Schokoladenkuchen

A dear friend from AR sent us this cake recipe, ‘Mama’ being her dear mother-in-law.

‘Mama’ was a German lady, and her chocolate cake recipe is still a family favorite.

Mamas Schokoladenkuchen

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup kefir or buttermilk
  • powdered sugar to dust, if desired

Directions

Melt the butter in a sauce pan, then add water and cocoa powder.  Stir until smooth and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, cardamom and salt.  Add the liquid mixture from the saucepan, the eggs, and the plain kefir or buttermilk.

Blend well; the batter will look glossy.

Preheat oven to 350ºF and grease a 9×13″ cake pan.  If using a different cake pan, baking time will have to be adjusted.

Pour batter into the cake pan and bake for 25 – 30 minutes; the cake is done if an inserted wooden tooth pick or skewer comes out clean.

Let cool, then dust with powdered sugar.

 

 

Basic Sourdough Cookies

This humble, soft cookie is tasty, slightly tangy, and versatile.

Not sure about yours, but my sourdough is really going rather well in the warmer temperatures.  One day this past week I had plenty of bread already and was looking for something different to make with sourdough, and tried these cookies.  They were a success, so much so that I made another, slightly varied batch the next day.

 

Basic Sourdough Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (or 1 stick) butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup sourdough starter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 – 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup salt

These are the basic ingredients, and the cookies are very tasty just like this.  For variations, add any of the following or experiment with what you like best:

  • chocolate chips
  • raisins
  • walnuts
  • coconut flakes
  • pecans

Directions

Cream sugar with butter, sourdough starter, egg and vanilla extract, in that order.  In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients (minimum amount of flour, baking powder and baking soda, salt).

Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, then adjust the amount of flour necessary depending on how liquid your sourdough starter is, and how absorbent your flour, making a somewhat spongy dough.

Preheat oven to 350ºF and grease two baking sheets.

Drop dough by the teaspoon on the greased baking sheets, leaving a bit of space so the cookies can rise.  Bake for about 10 minutes.  Remove from baking sheet onto a rack and let cool.

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Basic Sourdough Cookies with Chocolate Chips

Lemony Cupcakes

Easy to make and just up our alley in terms of taste!

For this recipe you need two standard 12-cup muffin tins.

Lemony Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cup flour, sifted
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 5 tsp poppy seeds (we omitted them)
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 sugar
  • 2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
    Glaze
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbl lemon juice
  • sprinkles of your choice

Directions

Mix all the dry ingredients together.  In a different bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and lemon together.  Add eggs one at a time and beat in.  Then add half of the flour mixture and mix it in.  Now add the milk and then the remaining flour mixture.  Mix until it is all blended well.

Preheat the oven to 325ºF.  Line two standard 12-cup muffin tins with paper.  Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling each three-fourth full.

Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes until golden brown and a wooden skewer inserted comes out clean.  Take out the pans and set them on a wire rack.  Let cool for a few moments, then take the muffins out of the tins and let them cool completely on the rack.

Now for the glaze:  Whisk together lemon juice and powdered sugar until the glaze has the right consistency, adjusting the amount of sugar as you go.  You don’t want it too thin so it doesn’t run off the cupcakes.  Sprinkle with sprinkles or other decoration right away, if desired, then let the glaze dry and harden for about 20 minutes.  And there’s that.  Enjoy!

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Connie’s Baked Onion

Enjoy this episode of “Connie’s Camp Cooking” and glean various yummy recipes.

Lonnie and Connie from ‘Far North Bushcraft And Survival’ – they are located in Alaska – uploaded a campfire cooking video that we found both entertaining and informative.  Yesterday we tried the onion recipe and it turned out very delicious indeed.  Her sweet potato bread is next!

For her baked onion, Connie cuts the onion into wedges (as shown in the featured image), puts butter between the wedges and a bouillon cube in the middle, wraps and seals it all with aluminum foil and then just bakes it in the coals.  We did the same, but put the onion into the oven together with a bunch of oven potatoes and baked it all for an hour or so at 350ºF.

For the bread, Connie uses equal amounts of flour and cooked sweet potato (or pumpkin) mash and some salt, mixes it together until it can be rolled out or formed into patties, and then fries it in butter in a skillet.

But watch her do it, it’s much better than just reading about it.  And note her cobbler recipe that is printed in the video description.

Herbal Household Remedies: Mint

Most plants of the mint family have a wonderful fragrance and can be used in various ways. Check out this link to find out more.

Here is an interesting article on the OFA‘s website about mint and its uses.  If you have some in your yard, you know just how prolific all the mint family plants are.  Make use of them instead of fighting them as ‘weeds’!

12 USES FOR MINT LEAVES FROM HEALTH TO HOME

How do you use extra mint leaves? Here are 12 marvelous uses for mint around the home and garden—from culinary to medicinal to mouthwash to bug repellent!

mint_ice_cubes_full_width
All images on this post are straight from the article we are linking to, only slightly edited

Applesauce Bread

This cake-like bread tastes wonderful with butter!

The same recipe works for Banana Bread: Simply substitute the applesauce for banana (you will need two medium sized ones), and omit the cinnamon from the dry ingredients.

Applesauce Bread

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of apple sauce or mashed banana
  • 1/3 cup  milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts, if desired.  If omitting, add 1/4 cup more flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon (omit if making banana bread)

 

Directions

Heat oven to 350ºF.  Grease BOTTOM ONLY of a 9×5″ or 8×4″ loaf pan.

In a large bowl, beat butter until fluffy.  Beat in eggs; add applesauce (or banana), milk and vanilla.  Blend.

In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, nuts if using, salt, baking soda, cinnamon) and mix well.

Add dry ingredient mixture to wet ingredient mixture and stir until just mixed.

Pour into greased pan and bake for 50 – 60 min.  The bread is done if an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then remove from pan and let cool completely.

For storage, wrap tightly and keep in the fridge.

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The texture and look of all breads is determined by the flour you use. For this bread as for most everything we bake, I used freshly ground wheat flour. If you use all purpose flour, your applesauce bread will look a lot lighter than ours.

Sourdough Pancakes

Prepare the sponge the night before, and you can make fresh sourdough pancakes in the morning!

How’s your starter doing?  Mine took a while to mature, so to speak.  It really only started to get frothy this week, and it has been going for at least a month.  In the meantime, I have been baking with it regardless: There are plenty of recipes for baked goods with sourdough that you can use even if your starter doesn’t rise all that well yet, like the sourdough biscuits I posted recently.  Here is another such recipe: sourdough pancakes.

Sourdough Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sourdough sponge (proofed batter; see below for instructions)
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 Tbl sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbl baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup melted butter

 

Directions

  1. Prepare the sourdough starter the night before, that is, take your starter from the fridge and measure out 1 1/2 cups.  Put into a bowl (preferably glass or porcelain rather than metal), add 1 1/2 cups of flour and 1 cup of tepid water.  Mix well.  Let sit over night, lightly covered; return the rest of the starter, if there is any, to the fridge.  In the morning, measure out 2 cups of starter for your pancakes into a mixing bowl and reunite the rest with your starter in fridge.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, and leavening agents) together.
  3. Add the milk and the eggs to the two cups of proofed starter and mix well.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well, then let rest for 15 minutes.
  5. Gently stir in the melted butter, then fry in batches like you would any other pancake.

Recipe courtesy of the Frugal Gourmet Jeff Smith.

 

Corn Crumbles

Recipes in children’s novels: Always worth a try!

This recipe comes from one of the books we picked up for the girls at a library sale.  The girls love the book AND the cookies!

Corn Crumbles

Ingredients

  • 8 Tbl (or one stick) soft butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal (fine or coarse, it doesn’t matter)
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt

 

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, cream butter, sugar, and lemon zest.
  2. Add beaten egg, beat well.
  3. Add cornmeal and salt.  Then add flour, as much as is needed to make the dough dry enough to roll it out.
  4. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  5. Roll dough out, about 1/4 inch thick.  Cut out shapes and place on a lightly greased baking sheet.
  6. Bake for about 15 minutes until the crumbles are golden brown.
  7. Let cool on a rack.

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These are rather crunchy and very good for dipping.  Enjoy!

Link: Harbinger of Spring Look-Alikes: Dead Nettle & Henbit — The Herb Society of America Blog

Dead Nettle is just beginning to take off in the yard. Have a look at this great post about uses of it!

By Susan Belsinger

The first spring wildflowers, herbs, and weeds are popping out all over. Two that frequently appear together are both members of the mint family, Lamiaceae: dead nettle (Lamium purpureum) and henbit (Lamium amplexicaule).

via Harbinger of Spring Look-Alikes: Dead Nettle & Henbit — The Herb Society of America Blog

Disclaimer: The author of this blog is not an medical professional, nutritionist, or dietitian. Content on this website is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to substitute for legal or medical advice, or medical treatment or diagnosis. Consult your health care provider if you are experiencing any symptoms and before using any herbal product or beginning a new health regimen. When wildcrafting or foraging for plants, do so ethically; be accompanied by an expert; and always have absolute certainty of plant identification before using or consuming any herbs. By using any or all of this information, you do so at your own risk. Any application of the material provided is at the reader’s discretion and is his or her sole responsibility.

Sourdough Biscuits

Quick and easy, and just a tad sour.

If you recently made your (first) own starter, you might have discovered by now that periodically, you have dough to discard.  This happens when your starter is bigger than you baking needs, so to speak.  Well, who likes to discard something they just made?  We sure don’t, and so here are two recipes for sourdough biscuits: The first uses starter you would otherwise discard, the other uses proofed starter.

Sourdough Biscuits with ‘Discard’ Sourdough

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (8 Tbl) cold butter
  • 1 cup sourdough starter, unfed and cold from the fridge

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF, with rack in the upper third.  Grease a baking sheet.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Cut in cold butter until the dough is crumbly.
  3. Add starter and mix gently until the dough comes together.
  4. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and gently pat into a 1-inch-thick round.
  5. Cut rounds with a glass or biscuit cutter.  Pat any scraps together and cut additional biscuits.
  6. Place biscuits on baking sheet, giving them room to expand.
  7. Bake in the upper third of the oven for 20-23 minutes, until golden brown.  The smaller you cut the biscuits, the shorter the baking time will be.
  8. Serve warm.  Wrap leftovers tightly when they are completely cooled and store at room temperature for several days.  Or freeze well-wrapped biscuits for longer storage.
  9. Makes about 6 large biscuits, or more if you cut them into smaller rounds.  Part of our most recent batch is pictured above.

 

For the next recipe, you need “proofed” sourdough batter.  To have the batter ready in the morning, remove the starter from the fridge the night before and allow it to get to room temperature.  Measure out 1 1/2 cups of starter and put it in a 2-quart glass or plastic mixing bowl (not metal).   Add 1 1/2 cups of flour and 1 cup of tepid water.  Mix well, cover, and let sit overnight.

In the morning, measure out the amount of proofed started that you need for the recipe and return the remaining batter to your starter in the fridge.  Remember that your starter needs fed: Give back what you took out by returning the same amount of flour and water that you removed.

Sourdough Biscuits with Proofed Starter

Ingredients

  • 2 cups proofed sourdough batter
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 Tbl baking powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup milk or buttermilk

Directions

  1. Prepare sourdough batter the night before.
  2. In the morning, mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl and cut in butter until the dough is crumbly.
  3. Mix milk with sourdough batter and stir into the dry ingredients.
  4. Knead on a floured board for about half a minute.
  5. Roll out 1/2 inch thick and cut into rounds.
  6. Place on greased baking sheet and let rise for 30 min to 1 hour.
  7. Preheat oven to 400ºF.  Brush tops of biscuits with melted butter or milk and bake for 15 minutes or until puffy and golden brown.
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