The first time I made these I used egg rings; it was difficult not to overfill them, and they were a bit too small in diameter.  Because I also used whole flour instead of white, the batter was rather thick, and I should have added more water.

12 oz / 350 ml semi-skim milk, warmed but not boiling
1 lb / 450 g all purpose or plain flour (I used whole grain plain flour)
⅛ oz / 5 g dried yeast
2 tsp sugar
12 oz / 350 ml finger-warm water (approximate)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
Oil for cooking

Whisk together the milk, flour, yeast, and sugar.  Once combined, add half the water and beat into the batter; continue to add more water until the batter is thick and smooth, about the consistency of thick cream.  Cover with cling wrap and leave in a warm, draft free place until foaming – about 1-2 hours.

Whisk the sale and baking powder into the batter, then heat a heavy frying pan on the stove to hot but not smoking.

Wipe the pan surface with a light film of oil; also oil the inside of crumpet or pastry rings.  Place a few rings evenly throughout the heated pan and fill just below the top with batter.  Cook 5 minutes; there should be many tiny holes on the surface and the crumpets should be setting.  Flip the crumpets over and cook another 2-3 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack and release from the crumpet rings.

Note: If the batter seeps from under the ring it is too thin; whisk in more flour.  If the crumpet is heavy and without holes, the batter is too thick; add more water.

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Kay’s Goat Milk and Oatmeal Soap

This is Kay Schwandt’s recipe for an easy melt-and-pour soap.

16 oz. (454 grams) goats milk melt-and-pour base
1 tbsp. beeswax, finely grated or in pellets
3 tbsp. honey
¼ c. finely ground powdered milk
¼ c. finely ground oatmeal
1 tbsp. fragrance

Chop the goats milk base into small cubes and combine with the beeswax.  Melt together in the microwave, 30 seconds at a time, until thoroughly melted and combined.  Stir in the  honey and combine thoroughly.  Stir the powdered milk and oatmeal together and stir into the melted soap; stir until slightly thickened so that the oatmeal is evenly mixed throughout the mixture.  Pour into soap moulds and allow to set.

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Garden Products

Weed killer, from Countrified Hicks Facebook page:


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Oreos for Jessie

From Classic Snacks Made From Scratch, by Casey Barber.  Makes 3 dozen cookies.

3 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
½ c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp. baked soda (see below)
1½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 oz. semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
8 tbsp. chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
½ c. vegetable shortening
1 c. granulated sugar
2 large eggs

2½ c. powdered sugar
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
2 tbsp. whole or reduced-fat milk
1 tbsp. vegetable shortening

Make the cookies:
Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baked soda, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl, until no lumps remain.

Melt the chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, or microwave at 15-second intervals, stirring between each burst until liquefied.  Set aside to cool slightly.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, shortening, and sugar on medium speed for 3-4 minutes, until light, fluffy and creamy.  Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs one at a time, mixing throughly before adding the next.  Pour in the melted chocolate and mix until just combined.

Add the dry ingredients and mix until a soft dough forms.  Shape into 2 discs of roughly equal size and wrap each in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, until firm.

Preheat the oven to 375° F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat liners.

On a floured work surface, roll one of the dough discs to ¼ inch thickness and stamp out cookie rounds, about 1½ inches in diameter.  Transfer the rounds to the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining disc of dough.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cookies are slightly crispy at the edges and puffed but still pliable in the centre.  Cool completely on a wire rack before filling.

Fill the cookies:
Using the stand mixer with paddle attachment, mix the powdered sugar, corn syrup, milk, and shortening on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds.  Increase the speed to medium and beat for 30 more seconds to whip slightly.

With the flat side of a cooled cookie facing up, spoon 1 tsp. of filing onto the centre.  Top with a second cookie, flat side down, spreading the filling evenly.

Baked soda:
Baked soda reacts with the cocoa powder during baking to bring out the signature bittersweet chocolate taste and near-black colour.  Preheat the oven to 250° F.  Cover a rimmed baking sheet with aluminium foil and spread a box of baking soda in an even layer on the foil.  Bake for one hour and cool completely on the sheet.  Store in a well-sealed glass jar and use within one year.  Note that because of its concentrated alkaline content, baked soda is a mild irritant.

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Nutter Butters for Jessie

From the book Classic Snacks Made From Scratch, by Casey Barber. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
1 pinch kosher salt
8 tbsp. chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
1 c. granulated sugar
1 large egg
½ tsp. vanilla
½ c. creamy peanut butter

1 c. powdered sugar
¼ c. plus 2 tbsp. creamby peanut butter
¼ c. vegetable shortening

Make the cookies:
Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.

Fit a mixer with the paddle attachment, and it its bowl beat the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir in the egg and vanilla on low speed.  Add the peanut butter and stir on medium speed for 2 minutes.

On low speed, stir in the dry ingredients ½ cup at a time until just incorporated.

Spread 2 large sheets of plastic wrap on a clean surface and divide the dough into two equal pieces on the sheets.  Wrap each piece tightly to form a rough cylinder about 8 inches long and 1½ inches in diameter; freeze the dough for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350º F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat liners.

Cut the chilled dough into thin slices, no more than ¼ inch thick, and place on the prepared sheets.  Put in the oven for 30 seconds, them remove and form each cookie into a rough peanut shape by squeezing the sides gently in the middle to form grooves.

Return the sheets to the oven and bake for 13-16 minutes, until the cookies are dry and no longer shiny on top, but not yet browning at the edges.  The may seem slightly under baked, but remove them anyway and cool completely on wire racks.

Fill the cookies:
Using a stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream the powdered sugar, peanut butter, and shortening together on low speed until the sugar is just incorporated.  Then mix on high speed to fluff.

Spread the filling evenly on the flat side of half the cookies, then top with the remaining halves.  Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

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Ricotta Cheese

From the book The Zero-waste Lifestyle by Amy Korst.

½ gallon whole milk
2 cups buttermilk

Combine the milks in a bit pot over medium high heat.  Stirring regularly, and using a candy thermometer to monitor temperature, bring to 100° F.  Stop stirring at 100°, and let cook for another 10 to 15 minutes until the liquid reaches 175°.  Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, stretch two layers of cheesecloth over a colander in the sink.  Moisten the cloth with water until damp but not sopping wet.

At this point, the hot mixture will have separated into curds and whey.  Using a slotted spoon, gently spoon the curds into the cheesecloth and let drain for 5 minutes; discard the remaining liquid.

Gather the edges of the cheesecloth together to form a pouch holding the cheese.  Use a rubber band to securely close the pouch.  Hang by looping the band over the kitchen faucet and let drain for another half hour.

Store the cheese in a container in the fridge and use within 5 days.

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Lip Balm

This is Kay’s recipe for simple lip balm, to be placed in either tubes or pots.  Source for containers and supplies is Kay said that the beeswax is the hardener, so it’s important to use enough of that item.

½ oz beeswax, shredded
1 oz cocoa butter
1 oz castor oil
1 oz almond oil
4 drops oil – clove, orange, etc.

Melt all ingredients except the oil over low heat.  When melted and thoroughly blended, stir in the oil; pour into pots or tubes.  This recipe should make enough for 10 small pots.

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