Light Pumpernickel Rye Bread

light pumpernickel bread loaf

Light Pumpernickel Rye Bread was a treat at our house back in the 70s. The kids waited not so patiently for the bread to cool enough to slice. In the wintertime, real softened butter was at the ready to slather onto the fresh from the oven bread. During the summer months, the kids loved popping the top off my homemade dill pickles to accompany the bread, I’m not sure why they chose that particular combination, but a quart of dill pickles and a loaf of pumpernickel bread disappeared in a flash. Their father, usually away at work, was fortunate that each recipe yielded 2-loaves. Enjoy this old family recipe with an origin that’s unknown.

light pumpernickel bread slices on plate

Light Pumpernickel Rye Bread

2-packages active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups ever-so-slightly warm water
2 3/4 cups unsifted rye flour
1-tablespoon table salt
1-tablespoon caraway seeds
2-tablespoons margarine or butter, softened
1/3 cup molasses
3 1/4 to 3 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour (use less flour rather than more)
2-tablespoons yellow corn meal

Night before: in a large bowl, sprinkle yeast into slightly warm water and stir until yeast dissolves. Add rye flour and beat until smooth. Cover and let stand in warm place overnight. Note: To create a warm place, heat a cup of water in the microwave; remove the water and then leave the yeast mixture in the microwave overnight.

Next morning: mix in salt, caraway seeds, shortening, molasses and 2 cups of the all-purpose flour; gradually work more flour into the dough a little at a time. Keep adding flour until 3 1/4 to 3 3/4 cups flour is used or until dough is quite stiff and cleans the side of the bowl. It’s wise to always use less rather than more flour. A stand-up mixer with dough hoops or food processor works in place of hand kneading, if desired. Place dough in a large, lightly greased bowl; turn the dough so a smooth shiny side is up; cover and let rise for 1 hour or until almost double in bulk.

Punch down the dough and divide into 2 halves; round each half into a smooth ball using a small amount of vegetable oil, if desired. Sprinkle a baking sheet with corn meal; place loaves on baking sheet over top of cornmeal. Cover the bread loosely with plastic wrap and then with a kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour. Brush top of each loaf with cold water.

Preheat oven to 375° and bake bread for 35 to 45 minutes, or until tops are lightly browned. Cool (at least slightly) before cutting into slices with a serrated knife. Yield: 2 loaves with approximately 8 slices each

light pumpernickel bread slices side view

Next month’s feature will be my family’s recipe for homemade garlic dill pickles.

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Old-fashioned Pineapple Cream Pie with Meringue

Old Fashioned Pineapple Cream Pie with Meringue

Prepare yourself for a mini-vacation to the Hawaiian Islands with my recipe for Old-fashioned Pineapple Cream Pie with Meringue. This pineapple cream pie captures the fresh flavor of pineapple with every rich and creamy bite. It’s one of my favorite recipes to make during the winter when fresh fruit from the grocery store just isn’t cutting it. I’m also putting a spoiler alert on the made-from-scratch cream pie filling because once you’ve tasted homemade cream filling, there’s no going back to the store-bought, packaged variety. Yes, it’s that delightful, and the same is true of home-prepared meringue.

Old Fashioned Pineapple Cream Pie with Meringue

2 cups 2% milk, scalded
3 eggs, separated
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 9-inch pie shell, baked and cooled
1/4 cup crushed pineapple, drained

Separate eggs and set aside so whites can warm to room temperature. Scald milk, remove unwanted residue; cover and set aside. Beat egg yolks; add sugar, salt, flour and butter. Gradually add scalded milk, stirring constantly. Cook in double boiler until mixture thickens (this can also be done in a microwave if you prefer). Stir in 1 cup drained pineapple. Cool slightly; turn into a baked pie shell.

To prepare meringue, preheat oven to 425°F. and then beat egg whites with 1/3 cup sugar until peaks form (here are a few tips for making perfect meringue). Spread meringue over pie making sure to touch the meringue to the crust’s edge to seal. Make “nests” in meringue using a bowl or spoon. Bake pie for 4 or 5 minutes, or until meringue is golden. When meringue is cool, fill the “nests” with 1/4 cup drained pineapple, if desired.

Yield: 6 servings

Note: If desired, add coconut to the pie filling and/or dusted onto the meringue before toasting.

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Crustless Turkey Sausage Spinach Quiche

crustless turkey sausageMy Crustless Turkey Sausage Spinach Quiche is my husband’s favorite workday breakfast. I make it on the weekend and then he pops a piece in the microwave for a quick and nutritious meal before he faces the early morning commute.

Prior to making quiche for hubby’s breakfast, he was eating a bowl of cold cereal before work. He was amazed how much better the high protein breakfast carried him through until lunch. Round out this meal by adding some fruit, sliced tomatoes or a toasted English muffin and you’re sure to think this breakfast makes waking up a whole lot better.

Crustless Turkey Sausage Spinach Quiche

1-9.5 ounce package cooked turkey crumbles
1/2 to 1 cup cooked spinach, chopped
6-large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Dash of sriracha hot chili sauce
1-teaspoon dry mustard
Scant tablespoon dried onions
1/4 cup water
1 cup cheese of your choice, shredded

Preheat oven to 325°. Generously spray an oblong 7.5″x10″ or a round, glass 9″ baking dish with cooking spray. Place the turkey crumbles in the bottom of prepared pan. Dot the top with pieces of chopped spinach using desired amount to taste; set aside.

Crack eggs into medium-size bowl and then whisk them thoroughly with salt, ground pepper, sriracha chili sauce, dry mustard, water and dried onions. Gently pour egg mixture over the turkey crumbles being careful not to displace spinach. Sprinkle top with shredded cheese.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean. Yield: 6 servings

Note: Individual quiches made in ramekins or a muffin pan fit perfectly on an English muffin as pictured below.

Yield: 6 to 8 individual quiches

quiche muffin

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Tip for Perfect Butter

peeling butter

Run a cheese plane or a vegetable peeler across cold butter for thin, quick-melting ribbons of butter; perfect for toast or bagel when the butter is too hard to spread.

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Almond Butter Toffee

almond butter toffeeMade from scratch at home, there’s nothing that compares to homemade Almond Butter Toffee. I’ve had this recipe for many, many years and I can’t recall from where it originated. I used to make it every holiday season when my kids were youngsters. They got a kick out of knowing we could make it at home and not have to buy it at the store.

The toffee portion is slightly softer than the commercial Almond Roca. Frankly, I prefer it softer so I don’t have to concern myself with breaking off a front tooth the day before Christmas. The flavorful blend of chocolate and almonds snaps against the crisp browned butter toffee for a heavenly melt-in-your-mouth experience. We always enjoy it and I think your friends and family will too.

ALMOND BUTTER TOFFEE

3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup granulated white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 cup sliced, baking almonds (divided)
1/2 cup slices, 1/2 cup chopped slices
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Butter a 12″x9″x2″ jelly roll or cookie baking sheet (use metal, not glass); set aside. Melt 3/4 cup butter in large saucepan. Add white and brown sugar and water; mix well. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat stirring constantly. Cook until a candy thermometer reaches 260°; add 1/2 cup almond slices and continue stirring. Continue boiling (and stirring) until candy thermometer reaches 300°. Remove from the heat and add baking soda. Rapidly pour into greased pan, top with chocolate pieces. Allow toffee to set for a few minutes and then spread the chocolate over the top and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup chopped almonds slices.

Cool completely in the pan and then break into pieces. Store in sealed container in a cool place (refrigerator is not recommended) for up to 4 weeks.

Yield: 1 1/4 pounds

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Tips for Using Danish Butter Cookies

danish butter cookies

Too many Danish Butter Cookies? Freeze them to use later as cookie crumb topping, crusts, coatings, etc.  You can also dip them in melted white chocolate and top with sprinkles as shown above.

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