When I am cooking, I like to write in the margins of the recipe things I discover as I am making the dish, noting changes/additions/subtractions that I made along the way.
I ‘m not great at cooking with an electronic device as the source of my recipe. I’m a pretty messy cook (okay, a really messy cook)! I don’t want to touch screens or buttons or have my screen go to sleep while my hands are sticky, so I usually print off recipes when I am cooking from a blog or website.
Ironically, some of the recipes from this blog that I have in my notebook also have scribbles on them from the time since I posted them.
Even though they are tested, tweaked and approved before I post them, I sometimes alter things after the fact. I love getting feedback from people about recipes and new ideas of how they altered them. I have often tried changes people have suggested.
I decided that I needed to tell you some changes I’ve made, rather than sneaking in and changing the recipes on the past blogs without alerting you (and thereby confusing those of you who have made them before).
My long-term challenge with these cookies has been that they spread so much! This is especially a problem when you are cutting them into detailed shapes. The shapes tend to spread to the point of unidentified objects! Which, of course, defeats the purpose of cut out cookies! My mom looked up a shortbread recipe one day and noticed that the absence of baking powder was the main difference between the recipe and her sugar cookie recipe. It makes sense that baking powder would change the spreading of the cookie- that’s its main job. So, since this discovery, I have dialed it back from 4 tsp. of baking powder to 1 tsp. baking powder in my “Timeless Sugar Cookie” Recipe. It makes a pretty major difference in the spreading. They have the same taste and texture as before, they just keep their shape much better.
These are a staple in my home for breakfast treats and to take for breakfast events. They are so easy and are made with things you most likely have on hand. They are a good use for dying bananas and do not even require an egg! My college roommate, Karin, told me that she likes this recipe and uses it but cuts the sugar. I thought…”Cut the sugar? Why would you ever do that? 🙂 ” But I tried it, and she’s right- especially if you are going to add mini chocolate chips or sprinkle the tops with sugar before baking. 🙂 I think the flavor of the other ingredients really comes out when there is 1/4 cup less sugar. Who knew? Thanks, Karin! So rather than 3/4 cup sugar, I do 1/2 cup.
This is my son’s most requested soup. One day when I was making it, I thought, “really does it need a STICK of butter??” and I gave it a try with 1/2 a stick (4 Tbsp.) and it was just as rich and creamy and tasty! I have a hard time with a stick of butter in soup! I mean, in cookies, yes, 2 sticks most of the time, but in soup, I try to lighten it up if I can without compromising taste or texture. Certainly, this one fairs well with that reduction. Also, you can take or leave the sour cream depending on how creamy and dairy-ish you want it. My husband says, “Yes” and “Always” to including sour cream in all things, but sometimes I think it makes it more thick and creamy than necessary. So, in summary, my changes are cut the butter in half to 4 Tbsp. and take/leave/or reduce the sour cream.
4. Key Lime Pie
This is a our family’s favorite pie. It’s just so good. My challenge with it has been the size of pan and amount of filling. In the original recipe I posted I gave two sizes- a traditional pie pan and a deep dish. Well, this summer I tried to make the standard size and the 1/2 recipe of the filling was not enough at all. I ended up tripling the filling and putting it in 2 crusts…meaning it really needs 1 1/2 batches of the filling for a traditional pie plate. So, my conclusion is, use a deep dish and the large batch of filling unless you have a much smaller pie pan (diameter wise) like an aluminum pan.
5. Tea Cakes
I made Tea Cakes recently for an event. I always love them more than I remember! Sometimes I forget about them and then when they resurface and I make them, I fall in love all over again. They keep longer than sugar cookies and they are less work, but just as lovely. When I made them this summer, they just didn’t stay puffed up as high as I like them. I texted my friend, Melissa B.(when she makes them they always look perfect). She said she rolls them in small balls and that helps keep the roundness. I had rolled mine out with a rolling pin and cut them with a biscuit cutter. They turned out bigger and flatter. So, though in the blog post I said “roll and cut out or roll into balls”, based on my experience, I will now say roll them into balls!
6. Popcorn and Kettle Corn
We make stove-top popcorn most every week in our house (sometimes for family movie night on the weekends and sometimes for our Snack dinner on Sunday nights). Several months ago someone at church said I should ask our friend Drew for his Kettle Corn recipe. My kids and I are big fans of kettle corn. I asked Drew for his recipe and he said, “there isn’t really a recipe, but rather it’s just a matter of adding a few Tbsp. of sugar to the oil before popping.” That simple! So, now we sometimes make a batch of each. For the recipe, we simply add 3 Tbsp. sugar to the oil as it is heating up and swirl it around to distribute it evenly amongst the kernels. Make sure you salt the popped corn well, as the salty/sweet combo is what makes it so super-delicious!
I’m sure there are a dozen more recipes that I have tweaked-since-posting, but these are the main ones that have been on my mind. I often write about making recipes your own, altering them to your liking, and getting creative! So, since I have done that and have taken your advice on making things better, I wanted to let you know. I will update these 6 posts with these changes so that they will be “new and improved”.
Keep your great suggestions coming!