Baking and Jam Making

Baking and Jam Making

This week, one of the local markets had cherries for a decent price. I got cherry preserves in my mind. I rolled the idea around in my head for several days because I knew I didn’t have time to do anything with them. Meanwhile, my mother-in-law brought a small box of peaches from her tree. So yesterday, I broke down and bought cherries.

The peaches were small so i decided to boil them and then strain the fruit rather than peel and pit them. While they boiled, I pitted the 8 pounds of beautiful, yummy cherries. The cherries were then put in another pot to boil with sugar and cinnamon.

The cherries finished first. The first thing I did was to take 2 cups of cherry juice and add it to the peaches. Next,I put the cherries into 7 quart jars. 6 of the jars were sealed up and prepared to process through the canner. The last jar I set aside for a cherry pie.

Meanwhile, the peaches had softened. I strained the peach pulp into the juice and threw away the skins and pits, although I noticed that one jar has a pit in it. I added 3 cups of sugar, 2 packages of pectin and brought the mix to a boil. When the jam was ready, I filled 6 pint jars of cherry-peach jam.

Then  I loaded the canner and processed my jars. I love the way the finished jars look!

While the jars were processing, I made a cherry pie!

In a bowl I mixed 2 cups of flour and a tsp of salt. i then cut in 1/2 cup of cold butter. Before I started, I took a stick of butter and cut it into small pieces. Those pieces are what I cut into the flour. Once the mixture resembled small crumbs, I drizzled a couple tablespoons of ice water over the flour and mixed it in. I continued until I had a dough that could be formed into a ball. I then covered it with plastic wrap and refrigerated it for a half hour.

At the end of the half hour, I rolled the dough out to about 1/2 inch thickness and placed it into the pie crust. I poured the cherries I had saved into the crust and sprinkled a 1/4 cup of flour over them. I rolled out the rest of the dough to form a top crust and sealed the edges. the pie baked at 425 for a half hour and then at 350 for another 20 minutes.

This morning, I decided I needed biscuits for the jam. I found this recipe online and then changed it a little (as always…lol!)

Granny’s Homemade Biscuits

2 cups flour

1 Tbs baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 Tbs honey

1/4 cup shortening

3/4 cup milk

1. Combine the dry ingredients.

2. Add honey and shortening. Cut in until mix resmbles coarse crumbs.

3. Add milk. Mix well.

4. Make a dough ball and knead for a minute on a floured surface.

5. Roll out to 3/4 inch thickness and cut biscuits.

6. Bake at 425 for 12-15 minutes. They become really fluffy and golden brown.

Pear Crisp

Pear Crisp


1 stick butter

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup almonds

1 tbs lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup flour

6 pears sliced

1 tsp cardamom


1. Preheat the oven to 375.

2. grease a 9″ square pan with 1 tbs of the butter.

3. Cream together remaining butter and sugar.

4. Add the lemon juice, vanilla, oats, and flour to the butter mixture. Mix until well-combined.

5. Put pear slices into the pan. Sprinkle cardamom over the pears.

6. Crumble the topping over the pears.

7. Bake for 30 minutes.

8. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.


Pastelitos (Fruit Pies)
Yield: 20 servings Baking Time: 30 minutes
Temperature: Medium, 400°F Freeze Well

  • 1/2 pound dried apricots
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
    1 1/2 cups water
  • 2/3 cup shortening
    3/4 cup sugar
  • 4-6 tablespoons ice-cold water
    2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Place apricots in a medium-sized saucepan and cover with water.
Cook at medium heat until fruit is soft and almost mushy. Drain.
2. Purée fruit in a blender, add 3/4 cup sugar, return
mixture to saucepan. Cool mixture at medium heat until it is thick.
Set aside.
3. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium-sized mixing
bowl and cut in shortening.
4. Make a well in center of dry ingredients. Add water, a small
amount at a time, and work mixture into a dough.
5. Divide pastry in half and roll each half on a lightly floured
board to fit a 9×11 inch jelly-roll pan.
6. Line jelly-roll pan with one half of rolled pastry. Spread
apricot mixture evenly over pastry.
7. Place second half of rolled pastry over top of apricot mixture.
Cut pastry edges to just touch sides of jelly-roll pan. Press
edges of pastry together with a fork to seal the edges.
8. Sprinkle remaining sugar and cinnamon over top of pastry. Make
several vent openings in pastry with the tines of a fork.
9. Bake pastelitos in a 400°F oven for 30 minutes. Cool and cut
pastelitos into small squares.

NOTE: Pastelitos are traditionally about as thick as the little finger. Any kind of dried fruit or combination of dried fruits may be used.

Berry Streusel Bars

Berry Streusel Bars
1 1/2 c Quaker Oats, uncooked – (quick or old-fashioned)
1 1/4 c All-purpose flour
1/2 c Brown sugar, firmly packed
3/4 c Margarine or butter; melted
1 c Fresh or frozen blueberries
1/3 c Raspberry preserves OR- strawberry preserves
1 ts All-purpose flour
1/2 ts Grated lemon peel (optional)

Heat oven to 350 F. Combine oats, flour, brown sugar and margarine; mix until crumbly. Reserve 1 cup for topping; set aside. Press remaining oat mixture onto bottom of ungreased 8 or 9-inch square baking pan. Bake 13 to 15 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool slightly. In medium bowl, combine remaining ingredients; mix gently. Spread over crust. Sprinkle with reserved oat mixture, patting gently. Bake 20 to 22 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely; cut into bars. Store tightly covered.

Pecan Pie Muffins

Pecan Pie Muffins
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped pecans
2/3 cup butter, softened
2 eggs, beaten
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour 18 mini muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together brown sugar, flour and pecans. In a separate bowl beat the butter and eggs together until smooth, stir into the dry ingredients just until combined. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Cups should be about 2/3 full.
3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on wire racks when done.

Danish Pecan Kringle

For the pastry:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup cold butter
1 package active dry yeast
¼ cup warm water (110 – 115 degrees)
½ cup warm milk (110 – 115 degrees)
1 egg, beaten
1 egg white, lightly beaten
For the filling:
1 ½ cups chopped pecans
1 cup packed brown sugar
dash of salt
1/3 cup butter, softened
For the icing:
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 to 2 Tablespoons water
2 Tablespoons chopped pecans
Combine flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl, cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs.  Dissolve yeast in warm water; stir into flour mixture with warm milk and egg.  Beat until smooth (dough will be very soft).  Cover and chill at least 2 hours, but no more than 24 hours.  Combine filing ingredients in small bowl before forming kringles.  Lightly flour a pastry board to prevent dough from sticking.  Divide dough in half, cover and return remaining half to refrigerator while forming first kringle.  Roll dough into a 6 x 18 inch rectangle.  Spread a 3 inch strip in the center with half of the beaten egg white.  Spread pecan filling over the egg white.  Fold one side of the dough over the filling, then fold over the other side, overlapping to cover filling.  Pinch dough to close the fold.  Pick up kringle carefully and arrange in an oval on a greased baking sheet, seam side down, pinching ends together to meet.  Cover with a towel and repeat for second kringle.  Cover kringles and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes (until slight indentation remains if you press gently with finger).  Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.  While baking, beat powdered sugar with water to desired icing consistency.  Cool kringles for 10 minutes, then drizzle powdered sugar icing on kringles and sprinkle with chopped pecans.  Cut in wedges to serve.

Applesauce Cake

This is a favorite of mine in the fall. I love to use the applesauce as I am making it. I usually put cream cheese icing and a sprinkle of cinnamon on top. DELICIOUS!!
Applesauce Cake

1 cup butter
2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 cups applesauce
1 cup pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix butter, sugar and eggs. Add dry ingredients. Mix well. Add apples, pecans and vanilla. Mix and pour into greased pan. Bake at 350 for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Blueberry Muffins


Blueberry Muffins

The next day, Nelly couldn’t wait for her cup of coffee. She dressed quickly and headed for Celestial Visions. She could smell fresh blueberry muffins as soon she turned the corner. When she opened the door, Sadie had already poured her cup of coffee and had a saucer with two of the beautiful muffins ready at her table.

“Oh my, how did you know that I was coming?”

Sadie smiled. She had the sweetest grandmotherly smile. “I saw you turn the corner. I had hoped you would come back today.”

“I woke up thinking about blueberry muffins and your wonderful coffee.” Nelly inhaled the steam from the coffee and took a sip. She could feel the smoothness of the creamy drink working its miracles on her half-awake senses. Closing her eyes, she sighed with pleasure and smiled. “Oh that is perfect.”

Sadie got her own cup of coffee and came to sit at the table. “I hope you don’t mind. I enjoyed visiting with you yesterday.”

Nelly didn’t mind. In fact, she wanted to talk to Sadie about the coffee shop. She was hoping for advice on how to set up her own place. “No, I don’t mind. I was wanting to ask you about this place. What made you decide to open a coffee shop?”

“I have dreamed about a place like this for most of my life. Somewhere to go to get away from reality for a while. I was married and raised six children, mostly on my own because my husband was always so busy with his patients. I love baking and most of my recipes are ones I perfected while the kids were little. When they were babies, I created this place in my mind. It gave me comfort during rough times. So after my husband died, I sold everything and planned for almost a year before I opened my doors.”

“I have a place similar to this that I dream of. I have always hoped to do the same. I’ve been squirreling away what money I can in the hopes that someday I can make my dream come true.” Nelly sighed a little wistfully. “This is almost exactly what I had in mind. Although, the pastries are a delightful addition. I’m not a very good cook.”

Sadie grinned suddenly. “I wasn’t either when I got married. but neccessity breeds invention. I found if I could tinker with recipes instead of following directions, I was much better. And the more I practiced the better I got.” She got up suddenly and walked back to the kitchen. When she returned, she had a battered notebook in her hands. She sat down and opened the book. It was full of recipes in plastic page protectors. Flour dust swirled up as she turned the pages. “The recipes I created are all down here on these pages. As I perfected them, I wrote the recipe down so I would have the right recipes at hand. Experimenting is fun but you can’t guarantee the results.” She turned the pages until she found the one she wanted. Then she removed a paper and pencil from the back of the book. She copied the blueberry muffin recipe down onto the paper in neat, precise cursive.

While she was writing, Nelly looked on in curiousity as she ate the muffins. She took her time, reveling in the bright sweet blueberry flavor. Using her index finger, she cleaned every crumb from the plate.

“Okay, this is the recipe I used for the blueberry muffins you just ate. The key is to use fresh blueberries. Follow the directions precisely, and you should have muffins that taste as good as the ones you just ate.” Sadie passed the recipe to Nelly and then stood and took the book back to the kitchen.

When she returned, Nelly stood and took a five from her purse. “Thank you so much Sadie. I need to get to work but I really enjoyed breakfast.” She took the recipe and put it into her purse. “I will try the muffins this weekend. I can’t wait to see how they turn out!”

Sadie smiled again. “Nelly, have a wonderful day and I will see you tomorrow!”

Nelly pushed her chair in and gathered her things. She waved and went out to begin her day.

Blueberry Muffins

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh or thawed frozen blueberries
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup whole, 2 percent fat, or 1 percent fat milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a muffin tin or line the cups with paper liners. In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer), cream the butter until smooth. Add 1 cup of the sugar and mix. Add the eggs, vanilla, baking powder, and salt and mix. In a shallow bowl, mash 3/4 cup of the blueberries with the back of a fork. Add to the batter and mix.

With the mixer running at low speed, add 1/2 of the flour, then 1/2 of the milk, and mix. Repeat with remaining flour and milk. Fold in the remaining 1 3/4 cups whole blueberries by hand until well mixed. In a separate small bowl, mix the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar with the cinnamon. Use an ice-cream scoop or large spoon to fill the muffin cups 3/4 full. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar over the muffins and bake until golden brown and risen, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in the pan at least 30 minutes before turning out.

Apple Fritters


Apple Fritters


Nelly walked briskly down the street, wondering where to go for breakfast. It was a cold blustery November morning and a cup of strong hot coffee would be perfect about now. She turned down 19th Avenue heading toward work. She’d been down this street a million times.

Suddenly, the smell of coffee and freshly baked bread wafted along the wind. She stopped and inhaled the heavenly scent and looked around. There at the end of a small brownstone building was a new sign hanging under a red and gold striped awning. Nelly quickly walked to the door.

“Celestial Visions” was printed in fancy script upon the sign. She opened the door and was drawn into the sweetly scented bakery. It was a small room with the counter and one table. At the end of the room was a large stone fireplace with a cheerful fire crackling inside. There were books along one wall and the bakery case across the other. Inside the case were a half dozen plates containing bakery goods. There were doughnuts and apple fritters, several different fruit danishes, brownies, bagels and a large chocolate frosted cake adorned with chocolate chips and pecans. Behind the counter was a huge coffee urn and a doorway to the kitchen.

A large woman came from the kitchen area , wiping her hands on her apron as she walked through the door. She was about the same height as Nelly with her gray hair pulled back into a bun and hairnet. She had sparkling blue eyes and a cheerful smile. Her apron had Sadie embroidered on it.

“Hi! Welcome to Celestial Visions. What can I get for you?”

Nelly smiled. “To start I would like a cup of coffee. And then I would like something to eat, but I am not sure which one I want.” She stepped back and perused the pastries.

“Take your time, although I have to admit, the apple fritters are pretty delicious today.” She turned to the coffee urn and got a large blue mug from the counter. Once she had filled the mug with coffee, she got cream and sugar and set the coffee in front of Nelly.

“Alright, I will have an apple fritter to go with the coffee.” Nelly added cream and sugar to her coffee mug and took a tentative sip. Then she smiled and took another sip. “This is the best coffee I have had in a long time.”

“Go ahead and have a seat. I’ll bring the fritter to you.”

Nelly turned and sat at the table. She looked at the books on the shelf: Alice in Wonderland, Lord of the Rings, and many other fantasy classics sat on the shelf nearest to her. As she looked around she noticed tin cut stars hanging from the ceiling. They were painted different colors and then oversprayed with glitter. They swayed gently, sparkling in the sunlight that poured in through the windows.

Sadie came around the counter carrying a blue plate with an apple fritter on it. She brought silverware and a napkin with her. She set the plate on the table and smiled. “Let me know if you need anything else.”

“Thank you.” Nelly took a bite of the apple fritter and closed her eyes, savoring the moist sweetness. “Oh this is wonderful!”

This bakery was very similar to the coffee shop she had been imagining. For as long as she could remember, she had wanted to open a small coffee shop. She envisioned a place where one could come in, sit by a fireplace and read. Customers could get free refills and pastries. She stared into the fire and daydreamed about her coffee shop.

As she finished the last sip of coffee, Sadie came back and refilled her cup. She brought the sugar and cream to the table along with her own coffee cup. “Do you mind if I sit with you?”

“Oh no.” Nelly smiled and then added her cream and sugar to her coffee. “I was just sitting here admiring your bakery. This is very close to the perfect coffee shop I have been imagining. I have wanted to open a coffee shop for a long time just like this.”

Sadie laughed. “I just love this place and like you I had imagined it for a long time before I was finally able to open it.” She also looked into the fire and sipped at her coffee.

“How long have you been here? I walk down this street a lot and I have never noticed you here.”

“Oh I just opened a few days ago. I wanted everything to be perfect before I opened for business.”

“Well I will definitely be back. I absolutely love your coffee and the apple fritter was heavenly!” Nelly stood and opened her purse. “How much do I owe you?”

Sadie smiled and said, “$1.00 for the coffee and $2.50 for the apple fritter. So $3.50”

“Wow, and affordable too.” Nelly took out a ten dollar bill and handed it to Sadie. “Keep the change. The food and service were wonderful. And I will most likely see you tomorrow. I need to get to work. Thank you!” She smiled again and walked out into the street.

Serve apple fritter recipe with syrup or sprinkle with powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar.

Apple Fritters


  • 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup finely chopped apple
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted


Sift together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Add milk and egg; beat until batter is smooth. Fold in chopped apple. Drop by teaspoonfuls into deep hot oil — about 370° and at least 2 1/2 to 3 inches deep — and fry for about 2 to 3 minutes, until nicely browned.
Drain well on paper towels then roll in confectioners’ sugar while still warm. Serve as is or warm, with syrup, if desired.