Thursday, December 29, 2011

Grandma Knight's Apple Twist

My cousin, Diane Betts, taught me how to make a very special dessert while I was home for Christmas.  The apple twists we made were from a very premative recipe of my great-grandmother's that was published in a cookbook.  Basically you're instructed to make a pie crust; put apples, butter, and sugar inside the crust and twist it together.  The rest of the recipe involves simple syrup and two different baking times.  In short - they're AMAZING.  No wonder she was known across South Arkansas for her "twists".  I had two...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Oatmeal Toffee Cookies

So far this Christmas season I've made 30 dozen cookies for customers and close friends.  It seems they are going to be my signature item.  I'd love to write more about them now but I've got 5 dozen to make before the night is over.  More to come - and enjoy!
JRBakes Oatmeal Toffee Cookies

Saturday, December 10, 2011


20 minutes ago I had 5 followers and now I have none.  If I deleted you by some odd chance - it was strictly by accident.  Good food needs as many followers as it can get!  Merry Christmas.

Pecan Brittle - Thank you Linda Bohannon.

Hard Candy Christmas.  Well, Candy and Christmas have always been two things that I've always thought go together.  Since I was a child brittle has been a part of the holidays (both pecan and peanut) and always made by my cousin, Linda.  I could guess that she made 100 pounds of the stuff every year and wouldn't be telling a lie - I could actually be accused of "holding back".  Sadly I'm the only person in my family that has realized that one person can't make this stuff, I asked Linda to teach me 2 years ago and it's been a lesson in progress since then.  I love it.  I enjoy every minute of playing the "kitchen chemist".  Several of my friends have had this - I've sold several pounds of it myself and will be again this year.  One stipulation for learning how to make this (and it's nothing like anything you've ever had before) is that I don't share the recipe.  Linda told me that she'd whip my butt if I let anyone know how it's made and even though she's only 4' 11", she's all iron inside.  So, enjoy the pictures and if you give me enough notice you can enjoy the ware. 
Merry Christmas! 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Red velvet cake.  Of course I always think of Ouiser ( )anytime I see this dessert.  I'd never made one before but it was a co-workers wish to have it for her birthday so her wish being my command; Presto!  This was another "2 cake" projects and I was able to assemble two sheet cakes on top of one another to make a cake large enough to feed 40 people.  Small, tall pieces were served and a good time was had by all.  Cake makes everything better!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

It's almost time for pie!

I made buttermilk pie for several people this year.....and I can't wait to hear how their Thanksgiving entertainment went.  I only use pyrex pie plates - they're heavy and the box has to be strong to hold that plus all the goodness inside.  BUT - bake with one of those "made in USA" glass wonders and you'll see why there really isn't another choice when it comes to baking perfection.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Buttermilk Pie - Finished

I learned a while back how to make buttermilk pie from a friend of mine.  Dan is no longer with us but making this dessert is like having him here because his favorite thing was "something sweet".  About the only difference is that I make my own crust and he bought's just as easy to make one as it is to tear one out of a package.  This is a fairly simple dish that is everyone's favorite; even if they "hate buttermilk".  Check out the Facebook page, JRBakes for more photos.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sugar is sugar?

Don't skimp on your sugar - I only use Imperial. Most of my childhood I identified what things were by their product name so I always added "Imperial" to sugar when calling it by name. Much like "Kayro Syrup" or "Riceland Rice". Most ingredients are what I saw my family use when making anything in the kitchen so I continue to use them as well. My Grandmother used Imperial Sugar for baking well over 50 years - I've only got 38 more to go before I catch up.

Friday, November 11, 2011

It's delicious, it'll melt in your mouth, it's got nuts. Oh, Buttermilk Fudge, you're worth the calories.

     This morning I bought a 1/2 gallon of buttermilk.....all fat.  So, with my trusty pressure cooker pot I got from Goodwill for $5, 3 cups of sugar, 1 cup of buttermilk with 1/2 a teaspoon of soda dissolved in it, I started making fudge.  The heavy gague aluminum really does make a stout difference when making candy.  I've never had a batch burn when cooking in that pot but it sure won't stay as light colored as my cousin, Diane Betts.  Her fudge is white where mine is a darker, carmel color.  However, both of ours are little squares of Heaven - make no mistake on that.  You can use a 1/2  cup of pecans if you like while you beat it smooth, or not.  BUT, you CANNOT omit the stick of butter or teaspoon of vanilla after it's come off the fire.  I can usually count 3 minutes and then it's ready to pour into a butter greased pyrex for it to cool.  Cut, then put in a festive tin or pouch and give to your MOST deserving fans.  This isn't the easiet thing to make but it sure is one of the most wonderful when it's done. 
Not heard of it?  Just ask Stewart Lee, Rob Brinkley, or even Diane Betts herself.  Be prepared for strang noises as they describe just how special this fudge is.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

J.R. Bakes - Oatmeal Cookies

Oatmeal cookies with raisins - no, pineapple - no, prunes - no, chocolate - close, toffee - YES.
I'll share what has become everyone I know's favorite treat.  If you've tried these cookies, let me hear what you think.  If you haven't, let me know where I can bring you some.
Try it - you'll LOVE it!