Mandarin Orange Cake

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Next Step: Mandarin Orange Cake! For all those gloomy days out there, a taste of sunshine comes to greet you in a naturally sweet cake. Did you realize mandarin oranges don’t only come in a can? Actually, you know them by other names in the produce department: “Halos” and “Cuties”. Sometimes people refer to mandarin oranges as clementines or tangerines. Small world, huh? Whatever you choose to call them, their pretty color and ease in peeling make them a popular choice. This cake recipe is versatile enough to be baked in a muffin tin, miniature bundt molds, or as a single-layer coffeecake. Something else to think about. The sugary glaze tops it all.

MANDARIN ORANGE CAKE

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup butter, melted

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon orange extract

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

zest of one orange

1/2 cup milk

Ingredients for Orange Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons orange juice

Orange peel zest, for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray miniature bundt molds with nonstick oil with added flour. Sift together flour and baking powder in a bowl. Set aside. Cream together sugar and butter in a medium bowl. Add egg; mixing well before adding orange extract, vanilla extract, and zest of one orange. Gently fold in flour mixture, alternating with milk. Stir until combined. Divide mixture into miniature bundt molds, filling 2/3 full. Bake 30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Prepare orange glaze by combining powdered sugar and orange juice. Stir until smooth. When cakes are golden brown, remove from oven. Cool slightly before inverting molds onto a wire rack. Remove molds. Transfer cakes to a platter to finish cooling. Drizzle with orange glaze and garnish with orange zest. Serve warm.

Mashed Potato Fritters

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Country Casual Cravings: Mashed Potato Fritters! Time to stretch the budget a little bit. Whether you have leftover mashed potatoes from another meal or purchase your favorite prepared brand at the grocery store, this recipe offers a flavorful experience that is unforgettable. Is it the gooey combination of cheeses? The crisp potato cake with the fluffy center? Or perhaps it’s the zing of spice that piques the taste buds. For me it’s all about nostalgia. My mother made them for supper when I was a child.

MASHED POTATO FRITTERS

Ingredients:

2 cups mashed potatoes

1 tablespoon yellow onion, diced

1/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated

2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated

1 egg, whisked

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons cornmeal

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper

3/4 cup vegetable oil

Green onion snips, for garnish

Instructions:

In a mixing bowl, combine mashed potatoes, yellow onion, cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, beaten egg, flour, cornmeal, garlic powder, and cracked black pepper. Mixture should be stiff. By heaping spoonful, form a small disc with your hands, about 1/2”-inch thick. Set aside. Repeat with remaining mixture. In an iron skillet, warm vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with paper towels. Place potato cakes in the skillet without touching sides. Cook 2-3 minutes until deep brown. Flip and cook 2-3 minutes longer. Transfer potato cakes to the paper towel-lined baking sheet to absorb excess oil. Place on a platter and garnish with green onion snips. Serve with dipping sauce.

SRIRACHA MAYO

Ingredients:

1/4 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon sriracha hot sauce

1 teaspoon lime juice

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Red pepper flakes and green onion snips m, for garnish

Instructions:

In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, sriracha hot sauce, lime juice, soy sauce, and kosher salt. Stir until smooth. Garnish with red pepper flakes and green onion snips.

Fritter Fratter Apple Loaf

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Country Casual Cravings: Fritter Fratter Apple Loaf! This recipe is pure country. If you don’t believe me, ask the Amish. They cook for taste, dietary staples, and comfort. It definitely checks all the boxes when it comes to a flavor-filled bakery bread loaded with fresh fruit, brown sugar, and cinnamon spice. No frying allowed, simply because this delectable treat falls in the category of “quick breads”. No need to feel intimidated. You have everything you need. As with any recipe, the results depend on the one baking it. You can do this.

FRITTER FRATTER APPLE LOAF

Ingredients:

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

2/3 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup milk

1 1/2 cups diced apples, peeled and cored

For Glaze Topping:

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 tablespoon butter, softened

2 tablespoons milk

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a loaf pan with nonstick oil. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon. Mix well; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the softened butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until blended. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and sea salt. Gradually add to the large bowl. Stir until blended. Pour milk into the batter; blend until smooth. Pour half the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Layer with half the diced apples. Pour reserve batter over the apple layer. Top with remaining apples. Gently press into the batter. Cover the top with cinnamon sugar. Bake for 60 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. For the glaze topping, blend the powdered sugar and softened butter until smooth. Add milk and vanilla extract to form a smooth consistency. Allow the apple loaf to cool for 20 minutes. Drizzle the glazed topping over all. Slice loaf and serve.

Copycat Jiffy Cornbread

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Country Casual Cravings: Copycat Jiffy Cornbread! If you’re wondering why anyone would make a homemade version of a boxed mix, read on. Could it be I’m a control freak? Maybe I want a healthier version? Or is it because my adult son says he recalls fond memories of the blue and yellow box from his childhood? Truth be told, I was too lazy to drive into town to buy the store-bought variety. Good thing I keep a well-stocked pantry.

COPYCAT JIFFY CORNBREAD

Ingredients:

2/3 cup flour

1/2 cup organic cornmeal

1/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 egg

1/3 cup milk

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a square pan with non-stick oil. Set aside. In a bowl, combine flour, organic cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and sea salt. Mix well. Whisk in vegetable oil until smooth. Add egg and milk. Stir only until lumps no longer remain. Do not over-beat. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Serve warm.

White Chocolate Lavender Berry Scones

Eating My Way Through the Holidays. Festive Food Gifts: White Chocolate Lavender Berry Scones! Butter and Buttermilk, two main ingredients that lasso the moon. This is not your ordinary pastry. It’s not a doughnut. It’s not a muffin. It is a flavorful raised vessel for smearing on more butter. Granted, the American version may be filled with fresh fruit and chocolate chips, but hey, it’s all good. And since I was doing it my way, I went one step further and added a lavender glaze on top. There’s no way I’m going to be accused of making a dry-as-dust scone. I’m living with a man who conjures up that image whenever he hears the word “scone”. I believe for now, I’m okay with him thinking that way. More for me!

WHITE CHOCOLATE LAVENDER BERRY SCONES

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

4 tablespoons cold butter, grated

1 egg, room temperature

3 ounces buttermilk, plus more for brushing

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3/4 cup fresh blackberries

1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Ingredients for Lavender Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons dried lavender buds

Fresh mint, for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and sea salt. Add the grated butter; toss with flour mixture. Add the egg, buttermilk, and vanilla extract. Stir just until combined. Do not over mix. Fold in blackberries and white chocolate chips. Turn the dough onto a floured surface; then pat into squares. Cut into equal triangles. Place formed dough 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Brush tops with buttermilk. Bake until golden brown, 15-18 minutes. Rotate baking sheets halfway through. Allow the scones to cool slightly. To make the glaze, combine powdered sugar, lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon dried lavender. Stir until smooth. Drizzle scones with lavender glaze. Garnish with remaining lavender buds and fresh mint leaves. Serve warm with butter.

Mincemeat Quick Bread

Eating My Way Through the Holidays. Festive Food Gifts: Mincemeat Quick Bread! Don’t look at me that way. I know what you’re thinking. “If this recipe has mincemeat in it, I’m not eating it.” But hold on a sec. There are plenty of foods with names that sound downright gross. Think about it: head cheese, tripe, mung beans, and blood sausage to name a few. I’m here to tell you mincemeat is a sweet and savory filling that basically contains dried fruits, citrus, spices, and brandy. Ahhh. Now I have your attention. This particular recipe has about 1/4 cup apricot brandy in it. Just know if you do choose to add brandy or rum to a jar of prepared mincemeat, be sure to allow it to marinate in the refrigerator at least 8 hours before using. Now you can understand why some people eat it straight out of the jar.

MINCEMEAT QUICK BREAD

Ingredients:

1 egg, room temperature

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon orange zest

2 tablespoons orange juice

2 cups prepared mincemeat pie filling (with 1/4 cup apricot brandy, optional)

2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 9”x5” loaf pan. Set aside. Combine egg, vegetable oil, orange zest, orange juice, and mincemeat pie filling. Stir until well blended. Set aside. In another bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt. Gradually add flour mixture to egg mixture, stirring just until combined. Pour into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Check loaf with a cake tester to make sure center is done. Remove from oven. Cool on a wire rack. Slice and serve.

Yeast Dinner Rolls

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Food Whisperer: Yeast Dinner Rolls! There’s nothing better than the smell of freshly-baked bread wafting out the oven door, in my opinion. It seems as the yeast magically leavens with flour, it produces an aroma that is not only warm heartwarming, but nostalgic. Perhaps it brings back childhood memories for you as well. For instance, the Wonder Bread Years were a simpler time where I played outside til after dark, giggled with my girlfriend, dated a boy on the weekend, and took a sack lunch to school. Crisp autumn days with damp earthy leaves and woodsmoke aromas smell nice as well. Maybe it’s time for you to bake some bread, too.

YEAST DINNER ROLLS

Ingredients:

1 cup warm milk

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

2 eggs

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

4 cups bread flour

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

Instructions:

Using a bread machine, layer warm milk, butter, and eggs in the bottom of the pan. Next add sugar, sea salt, and bread flour. Form a slight well in the flour layer. Pour the dry yeast into the well. Close the lid. Select Dough setting and press the Start button. When cycle is complete, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into 24 sections. Shape dough into balls. Place in a greased 9”x13” baking pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 40-45 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Traditional Plum Pudding

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Food Whisperer: Traditional Plum Pudding! Everyone remembers Little Jack Horner’s fame from a childhood nursery rhyme: “He stuck in his thumb and pulled out a plum.” It’s hard to resist that urge while eating these sweet, fruity, luscious plums. To pull this off, do like my Gramma used to say, “Honey, just dump everything in the pan, stir a little bit, and bake.” Sometimes we try to make things too difficult.

TRADITIONAL PLUM PUDDING

Ingredients:

1 cup flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1/2 cup milk

4 cups ripe plums, pits removed, skin on, and sliced

1 cup natural honey

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 2-quart ovenproof baking dish with nonstick oil. Combine flour, sugar, sea salt, and baking powder in the prepared dish. Whisk together. Add melted butter and milk. Stir well. Spread evenly across the bottom of the baking dish. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the sliced plums and honey. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and carefully pour over the pudding batter. Do not stir. Bake for 35-40 minutes until pudding is bubbly and golden brown. Remove from oven and serve warm with whipped cream.

Apple Butter Bars

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Food Whisperer: Apple Butter Bars! What if I told you there was no “butter” in apple butter? Would you wrinkle your brow and say, “Whaaat?” It’s true. Apple butter is made by slow-cooking apples a long time until the sugar content caramelizes, giving it a deep brown color. I skipped the homemade process by choosing to purchase an organic brand made by one of my favorite country restaurants. You can, too, by visiting local farmers who are more than willing to share their bounty this time of year. It’s Applelicious!

APPLE BUTTER BARS

Ingredients:

3/4 cup butter

1 cup sugar

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 1/2 cups natural apple butter

1 gala apple, peeled and chopped

1/3 cup peanuts, chopped

1/4 cup brown sugar

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9”x13” pan. Set aside. Cream together butter and sugar. Mix flour, sea salt, and baking soda together. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture. Spread 3/4 of batter in the prepared pan. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon. Spread apple butter on top. Layer chopped apple pieces over all. Fill in with chopped peanuts. Crumble remaining batter on top. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake 30-35 minutes. Cool slightly and cut into 24 squares.