Almond Crescents

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My family was talking about going Christmas caroling, so I decided to make some cookies that we could pass out to the people we caroled to.  When I first found this recipe in Grandma Dora’s recipe box, it stuck out because it was written on a piece of stationary rather than an index card and it was written with beautiful handwriting.  When I looked at the recipe, I noticed it was made with just a few simple ingredients.

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Almond Crescents

Mix together thoroughly . . .

  • 1 cup soft shortening (or 1/2 butter)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup ground blanched almonds (or mixed nuts)

Sift together and work in. . .

  • 1 2/3 cups sifted flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Chill dough.  Roll with hands pencil thick.  Cut in 2 1/2 inch lengths.  Form into crescents on ungreased baking sheet. Bake until set. . . not brown in a 325 degree oven for 14-16 minutes.  Cool on pan.  While slightly warm, carefully dip in 1 cup confectioners sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon mixed.  Makes about 5 dozen 2 1/2 inch cookies.

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To begin with, I ground up the almonds.

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I then put the ground up almonds in the kitchen aid with the sugar, shortening and butter.

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I mixed these ingredients thoroughly.

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I then worked in the flour and salt.  After they were well combined into the dough, I set the dough in the refrigerator to chill.

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Next I rolled the dough until it was pencil thick and cut it into 2 1/2 inch lengths.  This was a little tricky to get the hang of, but by the end I had it down to a system.

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I then formed the 2 1/2 inch lengths into crescent shapes and placed them on ungreased baking sheets.  I baked them for about 16 minutes at 325 degrees.

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I let them cool slightly on the pan and then carefully (and carefully was the key word because they were very delicate and broke easily) dipped them in confectioner’s sugar and cinnamon.

In the end, my brother-in-law and I both ended up getting sick and the Christmas caroling never happened.  So, we had to keep the cookies for ourselves. (-:  (I did take another batch I was making for caroling to some of our neighbors.)

I really like how these cookies taste.  They have a very sophisticated look and flavor.  I think if I made them again, I might bypass the crescent shape and just make them in balls.  This would really make the whole process very simple.  But, whichever way you make them, they are definitely a nice addition to your Christmas celebration!

Happy Baking!  Amy

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Fruity Baked Oatmeal – A Bonus Recipe

You might recall that when I gave you the recipe for the oatmeal bread I mentioned I really love baking with oatmeal.  I do.  And, so I have another oatmeal recipe for you.  I have been baking this breakfast dish for many years and it is one of my favorites.  I had never had baked oatmeal until I went on a retreat with some friends.  They were going to a missions conference at a retreat center and I went along with them to watch their boys during the meetings.  It was a nice place and I remember that they served baked oatmeal for breakfast.  I loved it and so I began looking for a recipe.  Once I found this recipe, I never turned back.  I’ve tried other baked oatmeal recipes, but they never measure up to this one.  I will give you the original recipe and then tell you how I have changed it over the years.  Both the original recipe, and the “healthier” version I have come up with are worth your time!

Fruity Baked Oatmeal

  • 3 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup chopped peeled tart apple
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh or frozen peaches
  • 1/3 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • Additional fat-free milk, optional

In a large bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  Combine the eggs, milk, butter;  add to the dry ingredients.  Stir in the apple, peaches and blueberries. 

Pour into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray.  Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cut into squares.  Serve with milk if desired.

Putting it together is really quite simple.

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Just combine the dry ingredients.

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Then combine the wet ingredients.

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Add the fruit.

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Stir together.

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Put it in the pan and bake.

I have changed it a bit, to try to make it healthier.  Actually, I pretty much make it a little bit different every time.  But overall, here is my “new” version.

Amy’s Fruity Baked Oatmeal

  • 3 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons flax seed meal
  • 2 tablespoons wheat germ
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup chopped peeled tart apple
  • 1 cup chopped fresh or frozen peaches
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

The directions to put it together are pretty much the same as the original recipe (dry ingredients, wet ingredients and then mix in fruit).  I use a slightly larger pan since I add more ingredients.  I also bake closer to 45 minutes.

My favorite way to make this is to put all of the ingredients together on a Saturday night.  Then, I stick it in the refrigerator overnight.  On Sunday morning I put it in the oven and it makes a nice breakfast before church.  The leftovers are also good warmed up in the microwave.  You can serve with milk like the recipe states or serve it with a dollop of yogurt.

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I’m glad I found this recipe.  It is one I’m sure I will always keep in my recipe box.  I hope you give it a try and add it to yours.  If you do, let me know what you think!

Happy Baking!

Amy

Granola – A Bonus Recipe

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Granola – I ate this bowl of granola for my breakfast right after I took the picture. It was delicious!

Since it is “back to school” time for a lot of families, I was thinking about how breakfast sometimes has to be done in a hurry.  When I was eating my favorite quick breakfast the other day, I thought about how I should share this great recipe with all of you.  This one, like the zucchini bread and the raspberry pie, is a bonus recipe because it does not come from my grandmother’s recipe box.  My good friend Linda gave me this recipe last summer.  She got it from her sister, also my good friend, Laurel.  I have made a lot of different granola recipes, but once I was given this one, I don’t deviate from it very often.  In fact, I often double it because it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or in the freezer for even longer.  And, as soon as it is gone, it is not long before I am stirring up another batch.

The recipe is as follows:

Granola

  • 4 1/2 cups oats
  • 1/2 cup each raw walnuts, almonds and cashews
  • 1/2 cup each raw sunflower and pumpkin seeds
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup canola or veg oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately  Mix wet into dry and then spread out on a jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes, stirring after 30 minutes and then every 7-8 minutes until beginning to brown. Cool on counter and then place in fridge for 2-3 weeks. This is also delicious with dried cherries, cranberries or raisins.
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Granola cooling in the pan.

One of the nice things about this recipe is how you can change it to suit your tastes or what you have on hand.  I usually use 1/2 cup of flax seed meal and 1/2 cup of wheat germ in place of the sunflower and pumpkin seeds because that is what I have.  I also lower the maple syrup to 1/4 cup so I am eating less sugar and it still tastes great.  I also use whatever nuts I have on hand at the time.  It is so simple to put together.  I usually top it with yogurt and fresh fruit.
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Childhood birthday part with Linda, Laurel and Beth and our friends Sarah and Michael.

Linda, Laurel and their sister Beth were some of my sisters, brother and my best childhood friends.  In fact, they are more than childhood friends – they are our forever friends because we love them still and feel like we are with family whenever we are with them.  Thank you for the great recipe girls!
Happy Baking!
Amy