Rum Balls

Candy, Food Hoarding Confessions, Unfussy
When I have cookies that are getting stale I stick them in a bag in the freezer. If you put them in the food processor you can turn them into a cookie crust for pies or cheesecakes, or use them for this thrifty little trick I’ve been doing to use up leftover cookies and assorted nuts that need a home after the holidays.

  • 3 cups crushed cookie crumbs (pretty much any cookie works here – chocolate, vanilla, graham crackers, etc…)
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped nuts – toast them ahead if possible
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 TBSP corn syrup or honey
  • 1 tsp. rum exract
  • 1/2 cup dark rum
  • Additional powdered sugar or cocoa powder for coating

Process cookies in food processor – measure 3 cups (+/-) and set aside. Process nuts in food processor – measure 1 1/2 cups.

Put cookie crumbs and nuts back in food processor. Add powdered sugar, cocoa powder, corn syrup, extract and dark rum. Pulse until evenly combined and starting to stick together.

Form into balls (1” is a good size, but it’s up to you). Coat in additional powdered sugar or cocoa powder.

Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

These are excellent right out of the fridge. They are also excellent when they come to room temperature and get soft and boozy.

Oatmeal Spice Cake

Breakfast, Cakes, Unfussy

This cake is a breeze to whip up and makes a great breakfast, what with all the oatmeal.

  • 2 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 12-cup bundt pan.

In a medium mixing bowl, pour boiling water over the oatmeal and let stand for 20 minutes.

In large bowl, cream butter until light. Slowly add sugars, creaming until the mixture is fluffy.

Beat in eggs, one at a time. Scrape bowl as necessary.

Whisk together flours, salt, soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add to the creamed butter and blend well. Stir in the oatmeal and vanilla extract.

Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan. Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cook on rack for 20 minutes. Turn out onto rack.

Dust with powdered sugar, or glaze with a cinnamon glaze.

Cinnamon Glaze:

  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 TBSP cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Whisk glaze ingredients together until smooth. Spoon over the cake.

Peach Cobbler

Unfussy

My favorite peach dessert. I like to get the peaches nice and hot before topping with cobbler so the underside of the biscuits isn’t underdone.


Peaches:

  • 2 1/2 lbs. peaches
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 TBSP cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Cobbler:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 6 TBSP cold butter, cut into tablespoons
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Dip peaches in boiling water for 5 seconds. Peel and slice into a medium bowl. Add sugars, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Stir to combine. Pour into an 8″ or 9″ baking dish.

Bake for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare cobbler:

Stir together flour, salt, sugar and baking powder in a medium bowl. Cut in butter until the pieces are no larger than small peas. Pour in heavy cream. Stir until the mixture is evenly moistened.

Shape the dough into 9 rough biscuits – flattening each to about 1 1/2 inches.

When peaches have cooked for 25 minutes, remove from oven. Top with cobbler. If desired, brush with heavy cream or lightly beaten egg.

Bake for an additional 35 minutes, until peaches are bubbling and cobbler is golden brown.

Look-No-Further Zucchini Bread

Bread, Muffins, Unfussy

This time of year I usually blindly pick a zucchini bread recipe to make from an online source or a cookbook so I can scratch the itch. I make it once, decide it’s not my favorite, and wait until next year to try again. This time I tested a few, tweaked the one I liked, and finally settled on this recipe. Moist, simple, not ridiculously sweet, with plenty of zucchini (in this case, the yellow variety).

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 TBSP cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 TBSP vanilla
  • 2 cups (250g) shredded zucchini

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease one 8.5×4.5″ loaf pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugars, eggs, coconut oil and vanilla. Pour over flour mixture and fold with a rubber spatula until just moistened.

Fold in shredded zucchini until uniform and all the flour has been incorporated. The batter will be stiff.

Scrape into prepared pan – it should fill the loaf pan 3/4 of the way up.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Tent loosely with foil and continue baking for an additional 30 minutes, until no longer doughy in the middle.

Let cool 10 minutes in the pan before turning out.

Makes one loaf. Makes fine muffins too.

Jammy Bars

Cookies, Unfussy

This is an excellent use of any tasty jam you have sitting in your fridge for a little too long. The peach rosemary jam I had from last year was lovely.

Crust:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Streusel:

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • 2 TBSP brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 5 TBSP butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups jam

Make Crust: Place all ingredients in the food processor. Process in long pulses until the dough is just formed, stopping and scraping the bowl when necessary. Remove dough from bowl and pat into a rough square.

Place dough between layers of wax paper and roll out to approximately 9×13″ and 1/4″ thick. Lightly grease a quarter-sheet pan or 9×13″ pan. Place the dough in the pan – the dough is forgiving and you can press it around to make it as even as possible.

Place dough in freezer for at least 30 minutes.

Make Streusel: In a small bowl, stir together flour, sugars, salt and cinnamon. Cut the butter into tablespoons and work into the flour mixture with your fingers until clumps form. Toss with vanilla and set aside.

Assemble and Bake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread 1 1/4 cups jam evenly over the dough in the prepared pan. Sprinkle evenly with the streusel.

Bake for 35 minutes, until the streusel becomes light brown. Let cool completely in the pan before cutting into bars.