The Secret to Cooking Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs

Hard boiled eggs

 

I love hard-cooked eggs, but too often this seemingly-simple recipe has led to frustration — undercooked yolks, or worse, yolks tinged in green from over-cooking.

And the peeling! Peeling hard-boiled eggs has nearly driven me to madness, especially when I wanted perfect specimens for a nice plate of deviled eggs.

Fortunately, there is a simple secret to making perfect hard cooked eggs. Forget pricking the ends, using old eggs, or risking cracked shells by dropping eggs in boiling water. Instead, cook them in hot steam for a perfect result.

You’ll need a large saucepan that can accommodate the steamer basket or insert. Arrange your large eggs in a steamer basket.

 

hard boiled eggs

 

Add about an inch of water to the pot and bring to a full rolling boil over high heat. Add the egg-filled steamer basket (use an oven mitt if necessary to protect your hand) and cover. Set your timer, and steam the eggs for exactly 13 minutes.

 

steam hard cooked eggs

 

While the eggs are cooking, fill a bowl with ice and water.

 

Ice and water

 

When the 13 minutes are up, use tongs to immediately transfer the hot eggs to the ice water, and let them rest in the water for at least 10 minutes.

 

Chill hard boiled eggs

 

Tap the eggs all over with a soup spoon to crack the shells, and roll them gently on your counter.

 

Crack hard cooked egg

 

Then peel them under a gentle stream of lukewarm running water, which will help loosen the membrane between the shell and egg.

 

Perfect hard boiled egg

 

Voila!

 

Hard-cooked eggs

 

When you cut them, you’ll be rewarded with perfect yellow yolks. The peeled eggs will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

Need an easy deviled egg recipe for Easter brunch or a picnic? You might like these Bacon Deviled Eggs.

 

Bacon Deviled Eggs

Hugs and happy Easter!

The signature for Eliza Cross

P.S. There’s still time to enter the book giveaway for a brand new copy of The Suburban Micro-Farm by Amy Stross.

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

12 Desperation Dinners for When You Don’t Feel Like Cooking

Pasta with Parmesan cheese

Dear friends,

Do you ever have nights when you really, really aren’t in the mood to cook?

I write cookbooks, so I do lots of recipe developing and tinkering as part of my day job. I truly enjoy being in the kitchen and preparing food, usually.

Except when I don’t.

Some nights, I could more easily endure a root canal without anesthesia than figure out what to make for dinner.

Some nights, I would give anything to sit on the couch and eat cheese and crackers and watch Friends reruns while a personal chef prepares a well-balanced, appealing meal for my family.

There have also been seasons in my life — when my babies were teething, for instance, or during times of intense grief — when making dinner seemed like the hardest thing I had to do all day.

What do we cook on the nights when we are truly, madly desperate?

Here are some of my go-to emergency dinners. I am not presenting these as perfect healthy meals, but as dinners that can get you through a rough patch. You can fill in with salads or fruit or cooked frozen vegetables to make a somewhat balanced meal:

  1. Pasta with butter and Parmesan cheese.  Year after year, I turn to this simple, kid-friendly comfort food dish during hard times. I cook the noodles a little softer than al dente, drain and toss with salted butter and freshly ground black pepper. I usually add a little cream cheese and stir until it melts, or a dollop of sour cream, plus a little milk. Then sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese….the kind in the green can, or fresh grated if I have that. I had fresh basil when I shot the photo above, so I chopped a little and sprinkled it on top. Alternately, you could add some cooked frozen peas, or crumbled crisp bacon if you’re feeling motivated.
  2. A rotisserie chicken. Pick up a golden, roasted chicken at the deli or market. Cut it up and serve with a green salad and some crusty bread. In the summer I sometimes serve the chicken cold. One hot August night, we had cold sliced chicken accompanied with red grapes and a sliced mild cheese. So simple and good.
  3. Embellished baked potatoes.  Bake large-ish Russet potatoes at 400 degrees F for an hour or so, until tender. (If you’re in a hurry you can poke the washed potatoes several times with a fork, and microwave them one at a time for about 5 minutes. Then wrap in foil and let them sit.) Split open the potatoes and serve with butter or sour cream and shredded cheese, or veggies, or bacon, or chopped ham, or whatever you have in the fridge. Baked sweet potatoes are good served this way, too.
  4. French bread pizza. Split a baguette of French bread in half and cut crosswise to make 4 large pieces. Spread with pizza sauce or spaghetti sauce, sprinkle with extra toppings of your choice and grated cheese, and bake on a cookie sheet at 425 degrees until the cheese is melted and the bread is hot and crispy, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Bertolli penne. This is not a promotional plug for Bertolli, just a blessed secret my sister shared with me. Look for the bagged Bertolli classic meals in the frozen meals section. The Chicken Parmigiana and Penne is kid-friendly and mercifully easy to prepare. You pour the contents of a bag in a large skillet, cover and cook for about 12 minutes while you lie down and put a cool washcloth on your forehead. The bag contains penne pasta, a decent fresh-tasting tomato sauce, melty mozzarella cheese, and breaded chicken pieces that kids love. 1 bag will feed 2 large or 3 small people. I always keep a bag in the freezer for emergencies. I wish this product was organic but it’s not, so I remind myself that life is a series of trade-offs.
  6. Quesadillas. Spread two flour tortillas with butter, sandwich shredded cheese inside, and cook in a frying pan over medium heat until golden brown. Cut in wedges and serve with salsa on the side. You can layer whatever other ingredients you have on hand, like chopped chicken or veggies, with the cheese. I add cooked corn and chopped green chiles to cheese quesadillas, and my kids love them.
  7. Fried rice. Put a pot of rice on the stove while you go and put your feet up. When the rice is done, heat a little olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat and cook some onion and whatever veggies you have on hand. You can add chopped cooked chicken or other meat if you like. Add the rice and a little tamari or soy sance and cook, stirring, until veggies are almost tender. Add a beaten egg to the mixture and cook until the mixture is hot and the egg is cooked. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot. Yum.
  8. Amy’s frozen cheese enchiladas. Again, this is not a promotional endorsement. Amy’s enchiladas are mild and organic and easy to microwave, and my children will eat them. Serve with some beans and corn on the side, and you could almost feel virtuous.
  9. Sandwiches. Make grilled cheese sandwiches with soup, or make simple tuna melts or egg salad sandwiches. Or (my favorite idea) put out bread and the fixings and let everyone make their own.
  10. Scrambled eggs. Try adding a few tiny cubes of cream cheese when you’re cooking the eggs. It will melt into the mixture and make the eggs extra creamy. You can add chopped veggies or cheese, or whatever you have on hand.
  11. Breakfast. I always try to sell this idea to my children as a wacky time with their fun-loving mom: “Kids, we’re going to have breakfast for dinner!” I will say with enthusiasm, glass of wine in hand. Prepare eggs, bacon, frozen waffles, French toast, pancakes, sausage, English muffins, or whatever morning foods you can muster the energy to cook.
  12. Ramen noodles. Discard the chemical-y flavor packet. Simmer some chicken broth in a saucepan, add some frozen or leftover veggies, cook the noodles until tender, and serve.

How About You?

What are your go-to emergency dinners when you can’t bear the thought of cooking? I’d love to hear your ideas on the comments section of this post.

Hugs,

The signature for Eliza Cross

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

Browned Butter Roasted Almonds Recipe

Roasted almonds | Happy Simple Living blog

Do you ever get the mid-afternoon hungries? I do (EVERY afternoon), and I’m always looking for delicious snacks that satisfy my craving for something crunchy and salty.

Almonds nicely fit the bill, and they’re happily wholesome, too. Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats, which are the “good” fats that are associated with reduced heart attack risk.

They’re are a good source of protein, fiber, and vitamin E, and almonds also contain nutrients like magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc.

These toasted almonds are based on a tried-and-true family recipe that our mom makes every Thanksgiving to serve with pre-meal drinks. Back in the day, Mom would have to remove the skins from the almonds by covering them with boiling water and letting them soak. Then she would painstakingly remove the skin from each almond with a dishtowel.

One can understand why Mom only prepared these nuts once a year, but today you can find whole, peeled almonds in bulk from stores like Natural Grocers. Don’t you love progress?

 

Blanched almonds | Happy Simple Living blog

 

But wait… aren’t almonds healthier if you leave the peel on? In researching this question I found pros and cons for both peeled and unpeeled almonds. Some sources suggest that the skins contain good antioxidants, while others suggest that removing the peels makes the almonds easier to digest and therefore increases the absorption of nutrients and vitamins. I prefer the flavor of peeled almonds, but if you like the peels you can leave them on.

Almonds are perfectly delicious raw, so if you don’t feel like cooking you can just stop reading right now and go eat some yummy, plain almonds straight from the bag. I like to store them in the refrigerator, which keeps them fresh longer and also gives them a nice crunch.

But I do love the nutty flavor they develop when they’re slow roasted. So let’s proceed.

The Magical Process of Browning Butter

You may have heard the term “browned butter” in recipes for cookies and cakes. The French call it beurre noisette, which is such a nice, fancy way to describe what happens when butter is heated until the milk solids cook and turn lightly brown, giving the butter a rich, nutty flavor. In this recipe, the butter turns into beurre noisette just as the almonds turn golden brown. C’est magique!

Before we begin, I would also like to mention that if you’re a vegan or want to try an alternative preparation, you can make these almonds with olive oil. They won’t have the browned butter element, but they’ll still be wonderful and fragrant and toasty and delicious. Just substitute olive oil in place of the butter, and watch the almonds carefully while you’re cooking them so they don’t burn.

How to Pan Roast Almonds

Before you begin, put a couple of layers of paper towels (a couple layers of plain brown paper bag will work, too) on a plate and reserve. You’ll need 1 tablespoon of butter for each 1 cup of almonds. Select a sauté pan in which the almonds all fit in a single layer. It’s okay if they’re a bit crowded, as that will help prevent over-browning. Also, dig around in your kitchen drawer and find a nice large, shallow spoon. You’ll use this to transfer the cooked almonds to the paper towels, and you don’t want to use a slotted spoon because that would leave behind all of the browned butter.

Heat the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. The second the butter melts, but before it starts to foam, add the almonds and stir to coat them all over with the butter.

 

Toasted almonds | Happy Simple Living blog

 

Cook the almonds, stirring frequently and watching carefully so that they don’t burn or over-brown. Soon they’ll start to roast, and your kitchen will smell amazing.

I pity the poor squirrels in your neighborhood, languishing outside as this irresistible aroma wafts from your home. If you open a window, make sure your screens are tightly secured.

Toasting almonds in butter | Happy Simple Living blog

 

Now you are going to have to watch the nuts very carefully, as they can turn from perfectly roasted to slightly burned in a matter of seconds.

This would not be an ideal time to click on, say, Buzzfeed’s “26 Crazy Cat Photos That Will Totally Blow Your Mind.”

Continue to cook, stirring constantly, focusing with intent, and ignoring all attempts by the evil forces of the universe to distract you. The moment the almonds are evenly browned, remove them with a spoon to the prepared paper towels. Use the spoon to ladle some of the browned butter over the nuts. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Toasted almonds | Happy Simple Living blog

 

Let them cool for about 10 minutes before serving. If you serve a bowl of these warm nuts to your guests accompanied by a cold drink, I promise that you will hear nice compliments.

If you’re not planning to eat the almonds now (a scenario that, frankly, I find hard to imagine), you can cool them to room temperature and transfer to a covered container. (If you pack some of these almonds in a pretty container, they make a terrific gift. Let me know if you need my shipping address.)

Toasted almonds | Happy Simple Living blog

 

Here’s the recipe, all in one place:

Browned Butter Roasted Almonds with Sea Salt

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw, peeled almonds
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • sea salt, to taste

Directions:  Arrange paper towels or several layers of a brown paper bag on a plate and reserve.

Heat the butter in a saute pan over medium heat. As soon as the butter melts, add the almonds and stir to coat them all over. Cook, stirring frequently and watching carefully so that they don’t burn or over-brown. As the nuts begin to brown, continue to cook, stirring constantly. The moment the almonds are evenly browned, remove them with a spoon to the prepared paper towels. Use the spoon to ladle some of the browned butter over the nuts. Sprinkle with sea salt.  Cool for about 10 minutes before serving, or cool to room temperature and transfer to a covered container. The nuts will keep well in the refrigerator for about 3 weeks. You can also freeze them for up to 2 months. Makes about 4 servings.

That’s it! These toasted almonds couldn’t be simpler to prepare. I hope you enjoy them, and if you make the recipe I’d love to hear what you think.

Here’s to staying nutty,

The signature for Eliza Cross

squirrel

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

Pumpkin Maple Donut Holes Recipe

Pumpkin maple donut holes | Happy Simple Living blog

It’s cool and rainy this morning in Colorado, and I’m dreaming of these cinnamon sugar-y pumpkin maple donut holes I made a few weeks ago. The recipe is from my new cookbook, Pumpkin It Up!, and you can win your very own signed copy this week. Just visit this post for the details. The giveaway ends at midnight MST this Friday, October 14, so don’t delay.

I used a cake pop pan to make these donut holes, but if you don’t have a special pan you can make them in a mini muffin pan and they’ll puff up and turn out great.

 

pumpkin patch

You can use canned pumpkin to make these sweet treats, or you can make your own easy homemade pumpkin puree. Many of the pumpkin patches and stands have good baking pumpkins now. Some of my favorites are Little Giant, Cinnamon Girl, Baby Pam, Amish Pie and Winter Luxury.

To me, pumpkin maple donut holes taste like autumn and spice and comfort and home cooking and love. Let’s make some; shall we?

 

pumpkin donut holes

Pumpkin Maple Donut Holes

  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup canned or cooked pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease two 12-cup donut hole or mini muffin pans.

Combine 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and reserve. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt until blended. Add the pumpkin, maple syrup, eggs, oil, and vanilla and stir until just combined; do not overmix.

Spoon 1 rounded tablespoon of batter in each opening of prepared pans. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until donut holes spring back lightly when touched. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes and transfer to a wire rack. Brush the donut holes with melted butter and dredge in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place on the wire rack to dry for 5 minutes. Makes 24 donut holes.

Enjoy!

The signature for Eliza Cross

P.S. You might also enjoy this recipe for Pumpkin Caramel Cinnamon Rolls.

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

Pumpkin Caramel Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

Pumpkin Caramel Cinnamon Rolls | Happy Simple Living blog

Photo by Susan Barnson Hayward for Gibbs Smith

The flavor of pumpkin spice seems to be everywhere right now, and is even the subject of some good-natured debate; some folks are complaining of Pumpkin Spice overload with so many manufacturers jumping on the #PS bandwagon. The TODAY show is even running an online poll where viewers can vote on whether the pumpkin spice craze has “gone too far.”

Pumpkin It Up cookbook by Eliza CrossIf you’re overloaded on #PS, you may wish to skip this post. If you’re a pumpkin spice lover, read on!

Today I’m sharing one of my favorite recipes from my newest cookbook, Pumpkin It Up! (128 pages, hardback, $16.99; Gibbs Smith, Publisher). Perfect for a weekend breakfast or brunch, these flaky cinnamon rolls are filled with a pumpkin spice-pecan mixture and drizzled with a caramel icing while they’re still warm. The rolls are extra easy because they begin with a tube of refrigerated crescent roll dough. If you like, you can use an organic brand such as Immaculate.

For the filling, you can use canned pumpkin or make your own pumpkin puree; I’ve included complete instructions after the cinnamon roll recipe. Steaming or baking the pumpkin is quite easy, and pumpkin puree freezes really well so that you can have it on hand whenever you get a pumpkin spice craving.

Now is a great time to visit your favorite farmer’s market or pumpkin patch and buy good cooking pumpkins. Stay away from the gigantic Jack O’Lantern pumpkins, which tend to be tough and stringy, and look for look for smaller, sweeter baking varieties. Some of my favorites are Little Giant, Cinnamon Girl, Baby Pam, Amish Pie and Winter Luxury.

Here’s the recipe:

Pumpkin Caramel Cinnamon Rolls

  • 1 can (8 ounces) refrigerated crescent rolls or seamless dough sheet
  • 1/3 cup cooked or canned pumpkin puree
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened, divided
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons milk, divided
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9-inch round cake pan.

If using crescent rolls, unroll dough and separate in 2 long rectangles. Overlap long sides 1/2 inch to form 1 large rectangle. Press seam and perforations to seal. If using dough sheet, unroll dough and pat in large rectangle.

In a small bowl, combine the pumpkin, 4 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 tablespoon milk, pie spice, and salt, and stir until well blended. Spread the mixture over the dough and sprinkle with pecans. Starting at long side, roll up; pinch seam to seal. Cut in 12 equal slices and arrange cut side up in prepared pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until rolls are golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan until melted. Stir in remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar and remaining 1 tablespoon milk; cook over medium low heat 1 minute. Cool for 5 minutes. Stir in vanilla and 1/4 cup powdered sugar and beat until well blended, adding more powdered sugar if needed until desired consistency is reached. Drizzle rolls with icing. Makes 12 rolls.

Oven-Cooked Pumpkin Puree

  • 1 medium pie pumpkin, about 4 pounds
  • 1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Wash the pumpkin and cut out the top and stem with a sharp knife. Lay on a cutting board and carefully cut in half. Scrape out stringy pulp and seeds. (Rinse and reserve seeds to make Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, if desired.)

Cut pumpkin in large pieces and arrange skin-side up in a roasting pan. Pour water in the bottom of the pan and cover with aluminum foil. Bake 45–60 minutes, or until pumpkin is soft and easily pierced with a fork. Cool to room temperature.

Scrape the soft pulp from the skin into a food processor or heavy-duty blender, discarding the skin. Pulse until evenly pureed, adding a little water if necessary to make a smooth puree. Alternately, mash the pulp in a large bowl with a potato masher or run it through a food mill. If finished puree is too watery, drain in a fine mesh strainer for 30 minutes.

The puree can be used immediately or refrigerated, covered, and used within 3 days. The puree may also be frozen, tightly wrapped, or stored in an airtight container for up to 6 months. Makes about 8 cups.

Steamed Pumpkin Puree

  • 1 small pie pumpkin, about 2 pounds
  • 1 cup water

Wash the pumpkin and cut out the top and stem with a sharp knife. Lay on a cutting board and carefully cut in half. Scrape out stringy pulp and seeds. (Rinse and reserve seeds to make Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, if desired.) Cut pumpkin in 4-inch pieces.

Stovetop steaming method: In a large pot fitted with a steamer basket, heat water to boiling. Add the pumpkin, reduce heat to a simmer, and cover. Cook until pumpkin is tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and cool to room temperature.

Microwave steaming method: Place the pumpkin pieces in a microwave-safe bowl, add the water, cover, and cook on high until pumpkin is fork tender, about 15–20 minutes depending on microwave. Cool to room temperature.

Scrape the soft pulp from the skin into a food processor or heavy-duty blender, discarding the skin. Pulse until evenly pureed, adding a little water if necessary to make a smooth puree. Alternately, mash the pulp in a large bowl with a potato masher or run it through a food mill. If finished puree is too watery, drain in a fine mesh strainer for 30 minutes.

The puree can be used immediately or refrigerated, covered, and used within 3 days. The puree may also be frozen, tightly wrapped, or stored in an airtight container for up to 6 months. Makes about 4 cups.

Hugs,

The signature for Eliza Cross

P.S. You might also enjoy this recipe for Pumpkin Quick Bread.

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

Pumpkin Quick Bread Recipe is Easy and So Good

Pumpkin Bread

While pumpkins are widely available this week, you may want to buy a pie pumpkin to cook and puree. Pumpkin freezes beautifully and lasts for up to 6 months if it’s tightly wrapped in the freezer, so you can enjoy its comforting taste in many different recipes well into 2016.

101 Things To Do With Pumpkin cookbook As I wrote earlier this month, my newest cookbook is 101 Things To Do With Pumpkin (Gibbs Smith, Publisher; 128 pages, $9.99). Thanks to all of you who submitted comments about your favorite ways to enjoy pumpkin, and congratulations to lucky winners Carolyn and Linda, who each won a signed copy.

This easy pumpkin quick bread recipe is one of my favorites, and it’s so good with a cup of coffee or tea. It’s featured in the cookbook’s “Muffins and Breads” chapter, and I think you’ll love its moist texture and spicy flavor.

Pumpkin Quick Bread

  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin or 1 7/8 cups cooked pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour three 3 x 7-inch loaf pans.

In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin, sugar, oil, water, applesauce, and eggs until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. Stir the flour mixture in the pumpkin mixture just until blended. Divide evenly among the prepared pans.

Bake for about 50 minutes, or until loaves are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Makes 3 loaves.

Here’s how to cook and puree your own pumpkin:

Easy Baked Pumpkin Puree

  • 1 medium pie pumpkin, about 4 pounds
  • 1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Wash the pumpkin and cut out the top and stem with a sharp knife. Lay on a cutting board and carefully cut in half. Scrape out stringy membranes and seeds.  Cut pumpkin in large pieces and arrange skin-side up in a roasting pan. Pour water in the bottom of the pan and cover with foil. Bake 45 to 60 minutes or until pumpkin is soft and easily pierced with a fork. Cool to room temperature.

Scrape the soft pulp from the skin into a food processor or heavy-duty blender, discarding the skin. Pulse until evenly pureed, adding a little water if necessary to make a smooth puree. Alternately, mash the pulp in a large bowl with a potato masher or run it through a food mill. If finished puree is watery, drain in a fine mesh strainer for 5 minutes.  The puree can be used immediately or refrigerated, covered, and used within 3 days; the puree may also be frozen, tightly wrapped or in an airtight container, for up to 6 months. Makes about 8 cups.

Hugs and a happy harvest,

The signature for Eliza Cross

P.S. You might also enjoy this Pumpkin Caramel Cinnamon Rolls recipe and this recipe for Pumpkin Maple Donut Holes.

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

My Favorite Oatmeal Chocolate Scotchies Cookie Recipe

Oatmeal Chocolate Scotchies Cookie recipe | Happy Simple Living

It’s autumn, and along with the shifting light and cooler temperatures I find myself returning to the kitchen. This recipe is a variation of one of my favorite classics — oatmeal cookies with butterscotch chips. I’ve always loved the combination, but with most recipes it seems like the strong flavor of the butterscotch chips overpowers the milder oatmeal cookie.

These cookies begin with a nice, chewy base made with rolled oats, and I use half milk chocolate chips and half butterscotch chips — a ratio that tastes just right. If you use unsalted butter in this recipe, you may want to add a little more salt.

Oatmeal Milk Chocolate Scotchies

Oatmeal Chocolate Scotchies

1 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3⁄4 cup granulated sugar
3⁄4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup butterscotch morsels
1 cup semisweet or milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and lightly grease or line a baking sheet with a silicone liner or parchment paper.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a small bowl; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract and beat until smooth. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until smooth.

Add the oats and use a sturdy spoon to stir until well combined. Add the butterscotch and chocolate chips and stir until they are incorporated throughout the dough. The dough will be quite stiff.

Oatmeal Chocolate Scotchies Cookie Dough

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls on baking sheet, 2 to 3 inches apart; flatten slightly. Bake for about 9 to 10 minutes, or until edges are just lightly browned. Remove from oven, cool on the pan for 1 minute, and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Enjoy!

The signature for Eliza Cross

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

Chewy and Sweet Butterscotch Toffee Bars

Butterscotch Toffee Brownies

For years our mom has made the most delicious butterscotch brownies, using the classic recipe from The Joy of Cooking cookbook. Her bars are thin and chewy with a hint of salt, and they’re so, so good.

This is my version of the recipe, combining a slightly thicker butterscotch brownie base with a layer of (my favorite!) chocolate toffee candy bars chopped and scattered on top. They couldn’t be easier to make, and they’re perfect to take on a picnic or potluck.

Butterscotch Toffee Brownies

2 cups lightly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
6 Heath or Skor bars (1.4 ounces each), coarsely chopped (about 1 generous cup)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a 9- by 13-inch cake pan.

In a large bowl, mix together the butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and stir until blended. Spread the batter in the prepared pan. Sprinkle the toffee pieces evenly over the top and press lightly.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until dry on top and almost firm to the touch. Let cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then cut in rectangles with a sharp knife. Makes 36 bars.

Enjoy this beautiful summer weekend,

The signature for Eliza Cross

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

My Favorite Recipe for Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs with bacon

Summertime means cookouts and barbeques, and Deviled Eggs are one of my family’s favorite side dishes. I’ve tinkered with the classic recipe over the years, and this version makes filled eggs that are especially light and creamy. I top them with a sprinkle of crispy, crunchy bacon, and I usually leave a few of the eggs ungarnished for any purists in the group.

This recipe is adapted from the one I originally developed for my cookbook 101 Things To Do With Bacon.

CREAMY DEVILED EGGS WITH BACON

  • 12 hard-cooked eggs, peeled
  • 1/2 cup real mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard (or more or less to suit your taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 slices bacon, cooked and finely crumbled

Cut each egg in half lengthwise; gently scoop out yolks and place in a bowl. Mash the yolks with a fork until they are very fine, then stir in mayonnaise, mustard, and curry powder until well blended. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon about 1 tablespoon yolk mixture into the hollow of each egg-white half. Serve immediately or cover and chill up to 4 hours, garnishing with crumbled bacon just before serving. Makes 24 deviled eggs.

Enjoy!

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About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.