Strawberry Cheesecake Poke Cake – Nance and Robyn make the same recipe!

Whenever we get around to it, we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Strawberry Cheesecake Poke Cake, a recipe Fred requested. It was originally posted here on Buzzfeed.

Robyn’s Take:

Fred spotted this recipe on Facebook a few weeks ago, and requested that I make it. I figured, since I was going to be making it anyway, why not ask Nance if she’d be willing to make it too, and kill two birds with one stone? She was up for it, so off to the grocery store I went.

I was immediately irritated by this recipe. Why buy a cake mix and then make half a cake? What the hell am I going to do with the other half of the cake mix? That is just sloppy and lazy and stupid recipe creation, if you ask me. So I trolled through the comments and decided that I’d just make the damn cake in a 9×13 pan. A lot of commenters (shut the fuck up, spellcheck, commenters IS SO a word) mentioned that there was way too much of the topping, so I decided not to double it (which was my first instinct), and I’d buy two containers of Cool Whip just in case.

Your ingredients:

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Cake mix, graham crackers, strawberries, cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, milk, “whipping topping” (which we all know is Cool Whip).

Like all poke cake recipes, it starts with making the cake.

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While the cake is mixing, spray your cake pan with cooking spray and then line the bottom with graham crackers, like so.

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After the cake is done mixing, tell Betty Crocker to kiss your ass.

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What is the point of making a cake if you can’t eat the batter? I’ll take the chances of salmonella poisoning, thank you very much.

Cake’s ready to bake!

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While the cake is baking, cut the tops off your strawberries. I went one step further and cut the strawberries in half, because that’s the kind of exciting life I lead.

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About ten minutes before the cake was done cooking, I figured I’d get the topping ready to go. Instead of following the original instructions, I thought I’d be smart and mix up the cream cheese, condensed milk and milk before adding the strawberries. A lot of people complained about not being able to get the topping completely smooth the way the recipe demanded, so for some reason I thought my way would work better.

It didn’t.

I ended up throwing all that shit in the blender and blending the hell out of it, and I think that’s what you should do, too. If you don’t have a blender, try a food processor, but I think a blender would be way better.

Hey! How about an affiliate link? This is the blender I have, a KitchenAid blender in red, and it kicks ass every time I use it.

This is what my topping looked like after I’d blended it to hell and back.

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Yes, I took a sip and yes it was pretty damn good.

When the cake was done, I immediately poked holes in it with my wooden spoon.

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Those holes are way bigger than I would ordinarily make in a poke cake – usually I’ll use a big fork. But I was (kind of) following instructions, so I did what the recipe said I should.

While the cake is still hot, you dump your topping as evenly over the top as possible while trying to take a picture with the other hand.

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A lot of people in the comments to the original recipe bitched about how much topping there was, and I’m with them. I don’t have any idea how this much topping would have worked on a 9×9 size cake. It would have overflowed the pan, is what it would have done. As it was, I still ended up with about 1/2 a cup of topping I didn’t use. I mean, live your life how you want, but I wouldn’t recommend using the entire batch of topping.

At this point, Alice – who was trying to take a nap on top of the cupboards – woke up and gave me hell.

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“JESUS CHRIST, lady! Trying to sleep here! Can you keep it DOWN?!”

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“ASSHOLE.”

Lucky for her, I was done with the loud portion of the cake-making.

This is what it looked like after I’d added all the topping I was going to add.

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Though I was messing with my camera settings – it was a much paler pink than that in real life.

Once it cooled down a bit, I stuck it in the fridge until it cooled completely. You don’t want to put Cool Whip on a warm cake, or it’ll melt. IMPORTANT LIFE TIP FROM ROBYN right there.

This is what it looked like when it was cool.

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Obviously, the topping kind of pooled around the edges, but that happens with pretty much any poke cake. I was very glad I hadn’t used the entire batch of topping.

And here it is after I put the Cool Whip on top.

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Aren’t I fancy, with the swirls on top like that? The one 8 ounce container of Cool Whip was plenty. Again, I’m not sure what kind of drugs the original recipe maker was on.

Cool Whip will always and forever remind me of Fred’s nephew. At Thanksgiving one year, we were cutting the pumpkin pie, and someone brought out the can of Reddi-Wip. Fred made a joke about “Oh, the REAL whipped cream, we’re getting fancy this year!”, and his nephew informed us that Reddi-Wip was NOT real whipped cream, that REAL whipped cream came in a tub. Do we tease him about it every year? I think you know the answer to that.

Sprinkle crushed graham cracker crumbs on top, and serve.

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The verdict? Fred really liked it a LOT, I thought it was okay. I think it actually would have been improved with real whipped cream (not the Reddi-Wip, the kind of whipped cream you make yourself with the heavy whipping cream and sugar and the bowl and beater straight from the freezer). (Yes, I know that Amanda is weeping happy tears and preparing me to welcome her back into the fold of pretentiousness. But Cool Whip has a plastic aftertaste to me, and real whipped cream is 1000% times better, so SHUT UP AMANDA, NO ONE ASKED YOU.)

Fred liked it so much that he asked me to make it again the following weekend, using cherries instead of strawberries. I did (used frozen cherries, thawed), and it was okay, but we both think the strawberry version is better.

Will I make it again? Yeah, when it’s requested. I’m not a huge fan of this cake, but I’ll eat a piece or two if it’s sitting around. It would be good at a cookout or large gathering, I think.

My other note: The second time around, I used a cake mix we had in the cupboard (Duncan Hines Classic Yellow, which is our favorite) instead of specifically buying a vanilla cake mix, and it was fine.

 

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Nance’s Take:

Robyn’s husband, Fred, picked out this recipe for us to try. I am guilty of just looking at the picture and saying yes because damn, that cake looked good and I was hungry. But when it came time to make the damn cake I thought that maybe Fred was trolling us. Half a cake mix? WTF? Who does that shit and way to make it more complicated. I went and read all the comments to see how this worked and decided based on comments alone that I would make the cake a normal 9×13.  Robyn probably made it the right way.  She’s a rule follower, that one.  Me?  Rebel.  No half cake batters for this bitch.

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As you can see, I felt that graham cracker placement was really important. Important enough to practice it before I did anything to the pan.

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I decided to grease and flour this pain (a huge pain in the ass) because I didn’t want graham crackers sticking or any messes. Not that I know for a fact that they would stick. I have no idea what they would do because who bakes with graham crackers? Not me, that’s for damn sure.

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The Big K stayed by my side the entire time. She loves being in the kitchen for obvious reasons. Unfortunately, there will be no pictures of her trying out this cake because she’s a bit of a hog and I have yet to be able to snap a photo of her actually eating anything. The food is there and then it is GONE. Her big mouth is faster than my trigger finger.

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Separating egg whites is apparently something that I can’t do right even when I use an egg separator. I said fuck it (of course I did) and let the yolk in there. Fortunately, it wasn’t enough to change the color of my cake.

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I just let the camera do its own thing which is why it’s focused on the beaters. This is the cake mix all ready to go.

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Action shot of the cake mix going over the graham crackers. About those graham crackers…you don’t need them. In fact, they made the cake weird. You had this wonderful cake with filling, etc., and then you have a weird texture on the bottom. They don’t stay crunchy, they just get weird. Skip the graham cracker part altogether. Trust me.

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Cake baked with holes poked in it.

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I made an executive decision to not try and whisk motherfucking strawberries. Who has time for that shit? I got out my handy dandy chopper.

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My camera once again focused on the wrong thing, but just pretend it’s an artsy photograph. At least my strawberries are chopped and ready to go.

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Surprise addition to the DCEP family. This is Charley. She has a sister…

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Clyde. I’m sure the girls will be seen on DCEP more often, but they haven’t really figured out the whole camera thing yet so I need to give them a minute.

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The strawberries with the condensed milk and cream cheese added. I skipped the regular milk because this seemed pourable enough and I didn’t want it all runny and messy.

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This is the last picture I have of this cake. The filling, poured over the top, reached the top of the pan. It was so high that I couldn’t add the whipped cream. I put it in the refrigerator and hoped that it would soak down in. It did fill the holes that I made, but never went down far enough for me to put whipped cream on it.  I should have taken the time to get the flour off of the rim of the cake pan, but I couldn’t be arsed.

We ate the shit out of this cake. No lie. Even without the whipped cream it was delicious. Rick was in Missouri so he didn’t get to try it, but my mom and I did it up. We tend not to eat real meals when he’s not around so trust me this cake made a fabulous breakfast, lunch and dinner. My only complaint, as seen above, was that stupid graham cracker bottom. I ate everything but the bottom of the cake because of the weird texture. Just skip the graham crackers and you’ll be fine.

 

Strawberry Cheesecake Poke Cake - Nance and Robyn make the same recipe!
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Original Source/Author:
: Dessert
Cuisine: Is there any country on earth that does poke cakes except middle America? I think not
Serves: 12ish
Ingredients
  • 1 box cake mix (vanilla or yellow)
  • cooking spray
  • 1 pack of graham crackers
  • 1 pound strawberries with tops removed
  • 1 8-ounce block of cream cheese, softened
  • 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 c. milk
  • 8 oz whipped topping
  • strawberries for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Make cake following the directions on the box.
  3. Spray a 9x13" baking pan with cooking spray.
  4. Line the bottom of the baking pan with graham crackers (breaking some, if necessary). Crush the remaining graham crackers into crumbs, and set aside.
  5. Pour the cake batter into the pan (gently, so as not to scatter your graham crackers), then bake following the times on the back of the box, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Using the end of a wooden spoon (or any large serving spoon), poke holes in the cake evenly over the cake.
  7. In a blender (preferred) or food processor, blend strawberries, cream cheese, condensed milk, and milk until smooth. (You could also do this by hand, but you're not going to get as smooth a result.)
  8. Pour the mixture evenly over the cake while the cake is still hot. I don't recommend using the entire batch of topping (I end up with about ½ - 1 c. left over), but you make your own decision.
  9. Cool the cake - first on the counter and then in the fridge - until completely cool.
  10. Spread whipped topping on top.
  11. Chill cake for a few hours, or overnight (the longer it cools, the better).
  12. Sprinkle crushed graham crackers on top, slice, and serve.

 

Slow Cooker Cheesy Bacon Ranch Potatoes – Nance and Robyn make the same recipe!

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Whenever we get around to it, we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Slow Cooker Cheesy Bacon Ranch Potatoes, a recipe that Nance spotted somewhere and that we both thought sounded tasty; it was originally published on Damn Delicious.

Robyn’s Take:

First things first: someone mentioned in the comments to the previous post – and they are right – that we aren’t correctly informing y’all that when we link to things on Amazon, they are affiliate links. This means that whenever you click on that link and then buy something from Amazon, we get a tiny percentage of your purchase. I need to put something in the sidebar and will be posting at the top or bottom of each post, so everyone knows that we’re pulling in the big bucks.

We’re saving up for a beach house – so far, we’ve saved nearly enough for a pack of gum!

Now, the recipe. Nance sent me the link at some point and said “Doesn’t this look good?”, and so when it was time to choose our recipe for this month, I suggested we just go ahead and make the potatoes. I mean: potatoes, cheese, bacon. What’s not to like, am I right?

Your ingredients:

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Bacon, red potatoes, cheddar, ranch dressing mix, chives. First up, make your bacon. The recipe says to preheat your oven and bake the bacon at 400ºF. Instead, I made the bacon using my very favorite oven-baked bacon recipe – put bacon into a cold oven, set it to 375ºF, and bake for 20 – 30 minutes (depending on how thick it is and how well-cooked you prefer your bacon). You don’t have to do it like I do, you could pretty much cook it however the hell you want, even ::shudder:: pan-frying it.

You do you, is what I’m saying. I made mine in the oven.

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And while your bacon is makin’, you can get the other shit ready – line your crock pot with foil, chop up your taters.

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Before you know it, your bacon is ready!

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Doesn’t it look tasty? I was a little grumpy that it hadn’t occurred to me to make extra bacon to shove in my face.

Let your bacon cool, and crumble it up. Or use a knife and chop it up while it’s still hot, if you’re the impatient sort.

Coat your foil with cooking spray, and put a layer of potatoes in the crock pot. Top with cheese, ranch dressing powder, and bacon. Repeat it two more times, setting aside half a cup of cheese.

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Fold the foil down over the whole shebang, put the top on the crockpot, and cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 3-4.

Then go confer with your chef kitten.

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That’s Chef Barnaby, who I was babysitting (along with his sisters Bubble and Squeek) for a couple of weeks while their regularly scheduled foster mom was in Uganda. They’ve gone back to her, but they certainly were fun while they were here with us. Chef Barnaby told me that my knife skills were for shit. What does HE know?

When it’s been 3-4 hours (or 7-8 if you’re cooking on low), remove the lid, unfold the foil, and sprinkle the remaining half cup of cheese on top. Put the lid back, and cook until melted, which should only take a couple of minutes.

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Then serve that shit!

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We had our potatoes on Memorial Day weekend, along with burgers and coleslaw, because it seems a very cookout-friendly side dish.

What was the verdict? Well, before I can tell you that, I have to tell you this: I am a dumbass. I am such a dumbass that I see a recipe, and I think “Oooh, that looks good, and I LOVE everything I’ve ever made from Damn Delicious, so this will be a hit!”

Well.

The problem is that although in THEORY I really like potatoes (and in actuality I DO like bacon and cheese), the reality is that I’m just…not that crazy about potatoes. I’ll eat them if they’re put in front of me, I like a nice scoop of potato salad, I’ll eat one or two of your french fries, every now and then I like a baked potato, and mashed potatoes are okay, but for the most part I have no desire or craving for potato products, and I’m happy to skip them. So these would have had to be laced with the crack cocaine* to get my interest. I ate them, and was pretty much “meh” about it. Fred said they were good, but he also wasn’t super crazy about them, and we gave our leftovers to the chickens.

So we give this recipe a resounding “meh” with the caveat that we are weirdos, and if you’re into potatoes in a big way, your mileage may vary.

*Also not into drugs or drinking. I might be the most boring person you’ve ever met.

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Nance’s Take:

Once again, I saw this recipe on my Facebook wall.  I have no idea who posted it because that would involve me having to pay attention to something for more than 30 seconds.  I saw potatoes and a crockpot and I was ready to roll.  I figured this was going to be an easy winner.

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I had to change the recipe right from the beginning because my bacon was frozen (I buy a 3-pack at Sam’s) and I don’t like to bake my bacon in the oven anyway.  Thankfully, Shirley (aka: mom) was around so she fried the bacon for me.  There is nothing worse than a woman with ADD standing around waiting for bacon to fry.

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Krissie was on high alert while that bacon was frying!

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The recipe seemed easy enough. Throw a bunch of shit in a foil-lined crock-pot and rock ‘n roll.  That is an affiliate link over there.

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My potatoes were so old that they were growing eyes. I think they’re called eyes. That’s what we always called them. If I’m wrong (gasp!), feel free to tell me in the comment section. Oh god, I hope they’re called eyes and I haven’t been stupid for 40+ years. Anyway, those sections had to be cut out and then the potatoes had to be chopped.

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As usual, this recipe called for fresh chopped chives of which I had none. Who keeps chives in the house on the regular? I sure as hell don’t. Luckily, I had bought chives one day and I have until 2018 to use them up. As it was, the recipe never said when/where to add the chives so I didn’t even use my dried ones. I predict this bottle of chives is going to be thrown out in 2019 when I need them and realize they’re too old to use. Sigh.

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My first layer of potatoes turned out perfect! I’m a real food blogger! Look at those potatoes, man. Look at that photography.  I am ALL THAT.

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I decided to not mess with that twee one tablespoon of ranch dressing. I just sprinkled it over all of the potatoes and hoped for the best.

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All layered up and ready to go. Note the pretty bacon. Did I mention I had high hopes for this recipe?

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This is the day that we found out what food Krissie doesn’t like. Raw potatoes are not for her.

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All sealed up and ready to go. I pretend that I’m off to work and returning to a fabulous meal when I use my crockpot.  But I’ll be honest…I never leave the house when it’s on. Shirley’s neurosis has wrecked my nerves so now I worry about fires and such. Thanks, mom. Keep spreading The Crazy.

I let it cook for 7-8 hours (leaning more towards 8 hours).

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This is what I ended up with. Note: My husband and mother liked it. I thought it was terrible. The potatoes on the top weren’t cooked, the cheese was steamed and rubbery. The bacon was damp from being enclosed in the foil with the potatoes. Damp bacon. Rubbery cheese. Hard potatoes. Yuck, yuck, yuck. When you look at all the work that went into this, making the bacon, cleaning/chopping the potatoes, grating the cheese and layering everything this recipe is a big fuck you to anyone who tries it. On the box of ranch dressing there was a recipe for making potatoes in the oven. You chop them up, coat them with oil, sprinkle the ranch, throw them in the oven and call it a day. That’s my kind of recipe!

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The paparazzi almost got a shot of the elusive Felina, but she wasn’t about to cooperate.

 

 

Slow Cooker Cheesy Bacon Ranch Potatoes - Nance and Robyn make the same recipe!
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Original Source/Author:
: Side dish, appetizer
Cuisine: Swedish
Serves: 8ish
Ingredients
  • 6 slices of bacon
  • 3 pounds of chopped potatoes (preferably red)
  • 1 c shredded cheddar + ½ c. shredded cheddar
  • 1 T ranch dressing mix powder
  • 2 T chopped chives
Instructions
  1. Make your bacon - put it in a cold 375ºF oven and bake for 20 - 30 minutes until crisp (or pan-fry it, if that's your preference). When it's done, let drain on paper towels, then crumble it when it's cool enough to handle.
  2. Line a crock pot with tinfoil, leaving enough of an overhand so you can wrap it across the top. Coat tinfoil with cooking spray.
  3. Layer ⅓ of the potatoes on the bottom of the crock pot, top with ⅓ cup of shredded cheddar, 1 tsp Ranch dressing powder, and ⅓ of your bacon. Repeat twice more.
  4. Cover potatoes with foil; cover crock pot and cook on low heat 7 - 8 hours or high heat 3 - 4 hours.
  5. Sprinkle with remaining ½ c. cheese and cover again until cheese is melted, 1 - 2 minutes.
  6. Serve sprinkled with chives.

Amish Sugar Cookies – Nance and Robyn make the same recipe!

Amish Sugar Cookies on Polish pottery

Whenever we get around to it, we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Amish Sugar Cookies, a recipe that popped up in Nance’s Facebook sidebar; it was originally published on Taste of Home.

Robyn’s Take:

We’re baaaaaaaaaaack, bitches!

Well, kinda. We’ve only been talking about doing sporadic posts for about a year now. Finally, we got our asses in gear, and went for it. I don’t even remember the last tandem post we did. If only there was a way to find out. Unfortunately, no. I guess it’s going to remain a mystery FOREVER.

(One of my thousand and forty-eight peeves: when you post something and someone comes along and says “What’s a (whatever)?” WELL YOU ARE ON THE INTERNET MOTHERFUCKER, HOW’S ABOUT YOU LOOK IT UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUP.)

Damn, two years. And that was the Pistachio Cake that I don’t even remember making. You guys have no idea how many times I’ve looked for a recipe here, stumbled across another one that we made, have ZERO recollection of ever making it, and I have to read the post to see if I liked it. On the other end of the spectrum, there are recipes like the McDonald’s Cheeseburger Casserole that we eat pretty regularly.

So anyway, we’re back. We’re planning, at this point, to do a post about once a month.

Since last Nance and I posted, Fred and I have lost a 5 cats (Corbie, Miz Poo, Sugarbutt, Tommy and Stinkerbelle – except for Miz Poo, their losses were completely unexpected), as well as our chicken guardian Gracie. 2015 was absolutely awful, to say the least.

We’re still fostering kittens. Currently, we have six kittens who are almost three months old. They’ve got the run of the house during the day, and if you ever wondered what it would be like to have your EVERY SINGLE MOVE judged and found wanting, let me tell you – it is alternately fun as hell and annoying as shit. If I need to get something out of the refrigerator, I have to sneak into the kitchen, grab what I need, and slam the door shut before the kittens figure out what’s going on. On the other end of the spectrum, I have kissed every one of those kittens at least 7,000 times, so it all works out.

Four of them are going to their homes on the 28th. Do you live in North Alabama? Want a couple of cuties? Chanandler Bong and Ken Adams are still available and need a home! This is what they look like. They are 63 times cuter in person. Chanandler’s the girl on the left, Ken’s the kitten with the Moe Howard hairdo on the right.

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Okay, on to the recipe! Like I said up there, this recipe for Amish Sugar Cookies popped up on Facebook for Nance, and she asked if I wanted to give it a try. Of course I was willing, so here we are.

The ingredientses:

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Softened butter, vegetable oil, sugar, confectioner’s sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, all-purpose flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar.

That picture reminds me – the other thing that has changed in the past couple of years is that we got new counters and a white cast-iron sink. The cheap white counters that were here when we bought the house always got on my nerves, but it took 8 years for me to get Fred on board with the idea of new counters. I like these counters better, though with them being so dark, it’s sometimes hard to tell when the ant infestation (which happens every spring) is happening.

Step one in making these cookies – put the butter and oil in your mixing bowl. Add your sugars.

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Beat that shit together.

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Toss in your eggs one at a time and beat until well blended. Action shot!

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Combine your dry ingredients, then add them to the creamed mixture. You could do it gradually, but I like to like life to the fullest and just toss everything in there at once.

“BUT WAIT!” you are saying. “ROBYN, WAIT! How, oh HOW, do you stop the flour from flying all over the place? Do you buy one of those pouring shields? TELL ME YOUR SECRET, WISE ONE!”

To this I say, Yes. Yes, you could buy one of those pouring shields, and in fact I HAVE one of them. It works really well – however, it lives up in the cupboard behind a ton of crap, and it’s a huge pain to find and pull out. And then I have to wash it afterward! Instead of doing all that, what I do is wrap a dish towel around the bowl, like such:

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It stops the flour from flying out of the bowl, any residual flour that lands on the dish towel can be shaken off, and then you’re good to go.

Now, listen. You strike me as a bit of a klutz, so it is POSSIBLE that you might accidentally hold the towel so that it gets mixed up with the beater and gets pulled into the bowl. I, myself, have never done that, but that’s because I am careful. So you be careful too – and don’t blame me if you fuck it all up. That’s on YOU.

Once everything’s mixed together, drop the dough onto your baking sheets in 1 teaspoon scoops, and bake ’til lightly browned.

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I determined pretty quickly that if I made these cookies as small as the recipe called for I was going to be there all friggin’ day, so I did half the batch with my teaspoon sized scoop, and the other half with my tablespoon sized scoop. And yes, shut up, I DO have two instruments that are used solely for scooping cookie dough. What of it?

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While the cookies baked and cooled, there was drama in the middle of the kitchen floor.

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When there are kittens around, there’s always SO much drama. Stefan (the big lunk of orange there on the right) would love to play with the kittens. However, he has no idea that he’s six times bigger than they are, so he lunges at them like a puppy, and they react by hissing and falling backward out of their Chewy box. As you do. The drama queen in question this time around is Susie, who has been adopted and will be going home this weekend. God, I love a drama queen kitten.

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“After all that drama, Chef Susie need a nap. You go ‘way and be quiet, now.”

So, the cookies.

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The verdict? Meh. You’d think cookies containing that much butter, oil, and two different kinds of sugar would be irresistible. However, while they were kind of tasty – and I certainly ate plenty of them – I cannot ever imagine someone saying “Oh, bring those fabulous Amish Sugar Cookies to the party. They’re SO GOOD!” I’d eat them if they were in front of me, but I’d never ever request them, and I don’t plan to make them again. That said, Fred did suggest that I freeze the leftovers. Here in this house, we always have cookies in the freezer, usually my favorite Cannoli cookies. They’re the last-ditch “There is nothing sweet in this house, I NEED SOMETHING SWEET!” snack food. It takes about 6 months for us to eat a whole batch of cookies (it is really unusual for us not to have anything sweet in the house because we both have huge sweet tooths. Sweet teeth? You know what I mean.) I’ll be curious to see how long it takes us to get desperate enough to pull these cookies out of the freezer.

I liked the bigger cookies, because they were a little soft in the middle. Fred preferred the smaller ones, because they were firm all the way through. You do what you want; we won’t judge you.

I mean, obviously we WILL judge you, but you shouldn’t care what we think. You do you!

Nance’s Take:

What you’ve missed since we’ve been gone…

Sadly, we lost The Beagle, Sadie and Waldo in the past 12 months.  

My son, Alex, got married and we did the entire wedding at our house.  Robyn came up to help (she was an invited guest, but I put her ass to work in the kitchen) so she was able to see firsthand the insanity that is a Western Pennsylvania wedding (major amounts of real food along with a Pittsburgh cookie table, popcorn, and a nacho bar).  Since we were on a tight budget a lot of the food was made in-house and it took a lot of hands to make it happen.  Which is probably why it’s been so long since we got back to DCEP.  That wedding really took it out of us!

I came across this recipe on my Facebook wall and asked Robyn if she would be interested in doing it for DCEP. She stupidly agreed so here we are!

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When Julie comes around it involves 1 of 3 things…butter, frosting or Doritos®.  Today’s main ingredient was butter and she is all about that shit!

After making all kinds of fancy cookies for the wedding I completely lost interest in cookies (Christmas was a bummer this year because we were so not into baking).  This recipe caught my eye because it was plain.  Sometimes I like a plain, simple cookie.  Nothing fancy, no fillings, no frostings, no chocolate chips.  And I love an Amish sugar cookie.

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In late October we welcomed a puppy into our lives.  Her name is Krissie and she’s an English Mastiff.  Which means she’s going to be really big.

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She currently weighs 102 lbs at 8 months old.  She will definitely be an official taster for DCEP because she loves food. And this is where I recommend to everyone that they not purchase a dark brown rug for the kitchen hallway.  What a pain in the ass it is to keep clean!

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I don’t know that much about Amish people, but I’m pretty sure that they don’t use vegetable oil in their cookies. Unless you pretend that melted lard is vegetable oil. I’m gonna go ahead and call bullshit on this being an actual Amish recipe.  I wonder how the Amish make powder sugar.  If anybody knows, pop the answer in the comment section.

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I am so fancy that I get my vanilla from Mexico. Or I’m not that fancy and I just happen to love Mexican vanilla. It all started when Rick had to go there for work and brought me a bottle back.  This last bottle came from when the kids had their honeymoon in Mexico. I love Mexican vanilla.

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I love it so much that I got a tattoo of the Mexican orchid on my arm (with a couple of helpful reminder words for this ADD brain of mine). Now that’s called dedication!  Untitled

Here’s my perfectly shaped cookie dough that I got by using my fancypants cookie scoop.  I made the wise decision to buy commercial baking sheets a while back and I have yet to regret it.  I use these things for everything (baking chicken, cookies, etc.) and they really take a beating.

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Amish cookies served on Polish pottery.  There’s a joke in there somewhere, but I wasn’t finding it.Untitled

These cookies got a lot of rave reviews on the web site.

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Krissie gave the cookies two paws up, but I was not impressed.  They kind of tasted too flour-y for me to really enjoy.  I’m going to stick with my old sugar cookie recipe that takes sour cream since I know that one turns out every time.

 

Amish Sugar Cookies - Nance and Robyn make the same recipe!
 
Amish sugar cookies. LIKE THE TITLE SAYS
Original Source/Author:
: Cookie
Cuisine: Amish?
Ingredients
  • 1 c. softened butter
  • 1 c. vegetable oil
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 c. confectioner's sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4½ c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, oil and sugars.
  3. Add eggs one at a time and beat until well blended.
  4. Mix in vanilla.
  5. Stir flour, baking soda and cream of tartar together in a separate bowl. Add gradually (or all at once, it's up to you) to the creamed mix.
  6. Drop by small teaspoonsful onto ungreased (or parchment paper-covered) baking sheets. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.
  7. Note: If you don't have all day to scoop out cookie dough, use a larger cookie scoop and cook for a minute or two longer (just keep an eye on the cookies and take them out when they're lightly browned).

 

Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs

I have been meaning to write this post for ages, but as usual the time just got away from me. Now with Easter less than two weeks away, time is of the essence. Y’all have to know how to get perfect hard-boiled eggs, so you can make deviled eggs! And color eggs for the Easter bunny! But most importantly, make deviled eggs!

I usually only have deviled eggs a few times a year, not because I’m not “allowed” to make them (Fred loves them as much as I do), but because I just don’t think to make them. You better believe we’ll be eating deviled eggs on Easter day!

By the way, “hard-boiled” is not an accurate description, because you’re not going to be boiling them in water – you’re going to be steaming them. I happened across this post on HenCam a few months ago and was skeptical because haven’t we all seen posts swearing up and down that the “perfect” hard-boiled eggs are done this way or that? For the past several years I’ve been making my eggs by adding a little olive oil to the water, boiling the eggs for 12 minutes, then adding baking soda to a bowl of water, putting the eggs in the water, and filling the bowl with ice to cool down the eggs.

If this were an infomercial, we’d be cuing the picture of me surrounded by containers of baking soda and bottles of olive oil and dirty dishes everywhere, my hair all frizzy, and looking disgusted and overwhelmed. I’d probably have flour in my hair, too – you know how those infomercials are.

The first time I did this, I took eggs that were less than a day old – some of them only hours old – and gave it a try.

Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs (1)

You don’t need to rinse your eggs – I only did because a couple of them had nasty stuff on the shells, so I went ahead and rinsed them all.

I put the steamer basket in the pot, then added water ’til it came almost to the bottom of the basket. Then put the eggs in it. By the way, there are lots of different steamer baskets out there. This is the one I’ve had for years and use all the time. Can’t beat that price!

Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs (2)

Put the lid on, place the pot on the stove, and then turn the heat on high.

Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs (3)

Once the water starts boiling and things get all steamy, set the timer for 20 minutes.

Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs (4)

It doesn’t hurt to check the water level a couple of times during that 20 minutes just in case, because you don’t want the pot to boil dry, but I didn’t have any problems.

Once the timer goes off fill a bowl with water, add the eggs, and then fill with ice. Give it half an hour or so before you try peeling the eggs, though you could likely do it sooner.

Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs (5)

Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs (6)

As you can see, the eggs aren’t completely perfect, but considering that they’re only hours old, that’s much better than I’ve been able to accomplish in the past. I made egg salad with those eggs, because we love eggs around here (which is a good thing, given the number of chickens we have.)

Though I don’t have pictures, I then “aged” some eggs for a week, and gave it another try. They were completely perfect, with no pulled-off spots, and I made deviled eggs with them.

Since the eggs that you get at the store are about 10 days old by the time they make it to the store (or so I’m told), you should do okay with eggs that you just bought. It doesn’t hurt to let them age for a week, though.

So, to recap: age your eggs about a week, steam them for 20 minutes, cool them down, and peel. The printable recipe is below. Happy Easter if you celebrate it – and happy deviled eggs if you don’t!

Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
: Appetiser (?)
Serves: 7,000
Ingredients
  • Eggs, aged about one week
  • Steamer basket
  • Pot with lid
  • Bowl of ice water
Instructions
  1. Put the steamer basket in your pot, and fill with water to just below the bottom of the steamer basket.
  2. Place the eggs in the steamer basket; put lid on pot.
  3. Put the pot on the stove over high heat. Once the water begins boiling, set the timer for 20 minutes.
  4. (It doesn't hurt to occasionally check the water level to be sure it hasn't boiled dry.)
  5. When the 20 minutes is up, fill a large bowl with water, add the eggs, and then fill the bowl with ice. Let eggs chill for about half an hour before shelling.
  6. Voila! Perfect eggs!

 

 

Irish Soda Bread – Nance and Robyn make the same recipe

Every week we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Irish Soda Bread. Printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this post. The original recipe was found in the Cooking With Pryde cookbook by Pressley Ridge.

Robyn’s Take:

PLEASE NOTE: NANCE’S PART OF THIS POST WILL BE UP, HOPEFULLY, LATER TODAY. Since it’s an Irish-themed recipe, we wanted to get at least part of it published today in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.

This week’s recipe was another one that Nance found in that old cookbook she’s got,  Cooking with Pryde. I’m in charge of scheduling the recipes, so I scheduled it for today, figuring this would be the perfect day for it.

HAPPY ST. YOU DAY, PATRICK!!!

I’m pretty sure that I’d never heard of Irish Soda Bread before, but in the last few days, I’ve gotten two recipes for it in my email. Neither of those recipes resembled the other – or the one I’m doing today – much at all, aside from the name, and the fact that there’s baking soda somewhere in the recipe.

If I were the sort of gal to have my act together, I’d have made a New England Boiled Dinner (corned beef, cabbage, assorted vegetables) and served this bread with it, to get the whole Irish experience and to have excellent pictures to tease y’all with. However, we only have corned beef and cabbage once a year, because Fred is some sort of freak who thinks that boiled meat is “gross.” (And then he elbows me out of the way to get to the corned beef, because he is strong in his beliefs.) So I will be making corned beef and cabbage for dinner later today, but I will not be taking pictures of it, unless I decide to do so for a post for NEXT year. (Don’t hold your breath.)

So, Irish Soda Bread. Here we go – your ingredients:

Irish Soda Bread (1)

Flour, sugar, salt, baking soda (THUS THE NAME), eggs, buttermilk, melted butter. The recipe lists raisins as an optional ingredient. I opted O HELL NO, because I am no fan of raisins. In my life, there are very limited areas where raisins are acceptable. These places are: cereal. And that’s it. I don’t want raisins in my bread, and I sure as shit don’t want raisins in my cookies. Haven’t we all thought we were getting a chocolate chip cookie, only to realize that those were NOT chocolate chips, they were RAISINS? Blech. That right there is a scarring experience. Scarred FOR LIFE, I was.

If you want to put raisins in your bread, you feel free to do so. Just don’t invite me over for dinner.

First, grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.

Irish Soda Bread (2)

Usually I use baking spray on cake pans, but I decided to go OLD SKOOL, and actually greased and floured the pan.

This is one of those simple recipes where you sift your dry ingredients together, mix your wet ingredients together, and then dump your wet ingredients into your dry and mix ’em up.

Irish Soda Bread (3) Irish Soda Bread (4)

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I imagine that you COULD use a hand mixer to mix everything, but I used a big spoon to do it, and just when I thought that the dough was going to be too dry, all of a sudden it came together.

And I thought “That’s kind of a wetter dough than I was expecting.”

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My first reaction was to think of adding more flour to the mix, but I decided to just go with it as it was, and see what I ended up with. I dumped it into the cake pan.

Irish Soda Bread (7)

You’re supposed to cut a cross into the top of the dough, but – did I mention that it was a pretty wet dough? I cut a cross the best that I could, not that you can really see it.

Irish Soda Bread (8)

On a side note, I read that cutting a cross in the top of the dough wards off evil spirits, but since I feed and scoop the litter boxes of a dozen evil spirits every day, I didn’t think a cross in the top of the bread would do much to banish them, so I wasn’t too hopeful.

The bread was supposed to bake for an hour, but when I glanced at it after 55 minutes, it already looked a little overdone, so I took it out.

Irish Soda Bread (9) Irish Soda Bread (10)

Fred thought it looked like a giant biscuit.

I let it cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then put it on the wire rack to let it cool completely. Then I cut it in half and cut a wedge to give it a try.

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The verdict? It was a nice chewy, dense bread. If I were in the mood for a slightly sweet bread, I’d likely make a loaf of this because it was really easy to make. I think it’ll be good sliced and toasted, with a little butter on it. Fred agreed with my assessment. I might even start making it every year to go with the corned beef and cabbage!

Edited to add: I made this again for St. Patrick’s Day 2015, baked it for 45 minutes, and it was even better!

Irish Soda Bread (12)
Kiss him, he’s Irish.

Nance’s Take:

TO BE ADDED LATER TODAY.

Irish Soda Bread - Nance and Robyn make the same recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
: Bread
Cuisine: Irish!
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 3½ c. all-purpose flour
  • ⅔ c. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ lb raisins (optional)(yuck)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1½ c. buttermilk
  • 2 T melted butter
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Grease and flour a round 9-inch cake pan.
  3. Sift dry ingredients together. Add raisins, if you're using them. (Yuck.)
  4. In a separate bowl mix eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter. Add to dry ingredients and stir until completely mixed.
  5. Pour into your prepared pan. Cut a cross about 1½ inches deep across the top center of the dough.
  6. Bake for 50 - 60 minutes, until the bread is golden brown. (Note: mine took 45 minutes.)
  7. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove to a rack until cool enough to handle.

 

Cannoli Cookies

There’ll be no tandem post this week, but I understand we’ll have a special guest for next week’s post! Nance has been hard at work redesigning the site; doesn’t it look awesome? I haven’t had a chance to poke around as much as I’d like, so I’m sure it’s even more awesome than I realize!

To tide you over ’til next week, here’s a recipe. I found this recipe for Cannoli cookies somewhere online (I suspect Pinterest), and have made multiple batches since then. In fact, I like them so much that I’ve always got a few in the freezer, because they freeze beautifully and they’re small so they thaw out quickly (not that I always wait for them to thaw out, you understand.)

The taste reminds me very much of Terry’s Chocolate Oranges – they’re orangey and sweet, but not overly so. They aren’t my very favorite cookies – I have a Cooking Light chocolate chip cookie recipe that will forever be my favorite, and a scan through the site shows me that I actually haven’t posted that recipe here, which gives me an excuse to make a batch of them so I can do so – but they’re a very close second.

The original recipe came from FineCooking.com.

Your ingredients:

Cannoli Cookies (1)

All-purpose flour, baking soda, salt, softened butter, ricotta (whole-milk, not any of that reduced-fat nonsense), sugar, grated orange zest, vanilla, an egg, and chocolate chips. Sometimes I use mini chocolate chips, and sometimes I use regular sized ones because that’s  the kinda wild gal I am.

You know how to make cookies – I KNOW you do! – so this will all seem old hat to you. And it is. There’s nothing confusing or baffling about this recipe.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl, until well blended.

Cannoli Cookies (2)

With a mixer – whether stand or hand-held, makes no nevermind to me – beat the butter and ricotta on medium speed ’til it’s well-blended and fluffy, 2 – 3 minutes. Add sugar, orange zest, and vanilla, and beat another 3 minutes. Scrape the bowl down, add the egg and beat it. Just beat it.

Add the flour mixture and beat on low so that you don’t end up like this.

mixer
(Image source: imgur)

 

When the flour is almost completely blended in, add your chocolate chips and mix for a minute longer so that the chocolate chips are distributed evenly.

Cannoli Cookies (3) Cannoli Cookies (4)

Scrape the dough down from the sides, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and then refrigerate ’til the dough is slightly firmer. It takes about half an hour if you’re in a hurry, but I usually leave it for an hour or more.

When the time is up, line your cookie sheets with baking liners or parchment (I always use parchment) and drop the batter by rounded tablespoons about 2 inches apart. I use my handy-dandy cookie scoop. I love that thing.

Cannoli Cookies (5)

Okay, listen. If you get hungry and pop one of those little balls of cookie dough right into your face, I’m not telling anyone. And you should, salmonella be damned, because it is SO FREAKIN’ GOOD.

I get around three dozen cookies from each batch.

Cannoli Cookies (6)

And as mentioned, they freeze wonderfully. I’ve still got six cookies in the freezer from this batch, which I made at the beginning of January. In fact, they’re calling my name, so SEE YA. I’ve got cookies to thaw out!

Cannoli Cookies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Original Source/Author:
: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Italian?
Serves: 36
Ingredients
  • 2 cups (9 oz) all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 oz (1/2 c.) unsalted butter, softened
  • ¼ c. whole-milk ricotta, at room temperature
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp finely grated orange zest
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 lg egg, at room temperature
  • ¾ c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.
  2. With a stand or hand mixer, beat the butter and ricotta on medium speed 2 - 3 minutes, until fluffy.
  3. Add the sugar, orange zest and vanilla, and beat another 3 minutes.
  4. Add the egg and beat until blended. Scrape the bowl.
  5. Add the flour mixture and mix on low. When it's almost completely blended, pour in the chocolate chips and mix just until combined.
  6. Scrape the sides of the bowl, cover with plastic, and refrigerate 30 - 60 minutes.
  7. Heat the oven to 350ºF. Line cookie sheets with silicon pan liners or parchment paper.
  8. Drop the batter by rounded tablespoons about 2 inches apart onto the line baking pans.
  9. Bake until the cookies are light golden, about 15 minutes (the cookies don't spread out very much).
  10. Let the cookies cool on the sheets on racks for 5 minutes, then transfer them to racks to cool completely.
  11. Store at room temperature or freeze in an airtight container. I freeze mine in a single layer, in a very large Ziploc bag.

 

Salted Caramel Sour Cream Cake – Nance and Robyn make the same recipe

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Every week we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Salted Caramel Sour Cream Cake. Printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this post.  The original recipe can be found over at Oh, Bite It!.

Robyn’s Take:

I don’t remember exactly how this recipe came to my attention, but in my notes I’ve mentioned Connie and Kelly. What I THINK happened is that months and months ago, Connie or Kelly posted the link to the recipe on Facebook with a suggestion that we give it a try, and then Kelly or Connie seconded that motion. So I added it to the list and now we’re finally getting around to it.

Amanda will extra love this recipe because it starts with a boxed cake mix and includes a jar of caramel sauce and frosting from a container.

Your ingredients:

Salted Caramel Sour Cream Cake (1)

White cake mix, caramel sauce, white frosting, sour cream, and salt.

Step one, make the cake following the directions on the back, and then add in 1/2 cup of sour cream.

Salted Caramel Sour Cream Cake (2)

Step two, eat some damn batter as you’re pouring it into your 9×13 baking pan. What would be the point of making a cake if you can’t eat some of the batter?

Salted Caramel Sour Cream Cake (4)

Bake the cake according to the directions on the box.

Salted Caramel Sour Cream Cake (3)
“I just keep this bag warm ’til the cake is ready.”

When the cake is done, let it cool. Then, using a fork, poke some holes in the cake. First I tried using a regular fork, but the cake kept apart where I’d poked the holes. So then I tried using a serving fork, and same thing. Finally, I decided that “fuck it” was the order of the day (“fuck it” is pretty much ALWAYS the order of the day around here), so I jabbed a bunch of holes in the cake and called it good enough.

Salted Caramel Sour Cream Cake (5)

Dump half the jar of caramel sauce on top of the cake, and spread it evenly-ish across the top. Then let it sit for 5 minutes, to let the sauce sink in. Meanwhile, prepare your frosting.

Salted Caramel Sour Cream Cake (6)

To prepare your frosting, dump the frosting into a bowl and mix it with the remaining caramel sauce.

Salted Caramel Sour Cream Cake (7)

Frost the cake.

Salted Caramel Sour Cream Cake (8)

Sprinkle your salt evenly over the top of the cake. The original recipe really didn’t give any guidance on this, but I can tell you that I used about 1/4 teaspoon of salt over the whole cake.

Salted Caramel Sour Cream Cake (9)

Take a terrible picture of the cake.

Salted Caramel Sour Cream Cake (10)

(Confession: that picture was actually taken after I’d put the cake in the fridge overnight. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have been nearly as neatly cut. It’s a really soft cake, so if you’re insistent on getting pretty, neatly cut pieces of cake, you’re going to need to refrigerate that bad boy.)

The verdict? A resounding “meh.” I like caramel, and I REALLY like salted caramel, but this just didn’t do it for me. Fred rated it a “meh” as well, and I’m not going to make it again.

I do think that if I’d made a buttercream frosting from scratch and used that instead of that nasty canned shit (I’m a frosting snob, I admit it!), it would have been much improved. But I’m not going to bother experimenting, because life’s too short to fiddle around with a recipe that didn’t blow you away.

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Nance’s Take:

“This is my favorite cooking blog, because y’all hate what you make a good percentage of the time, and I like that. Well, that and I’ve been following you two on the internet since the days of coal-burning web browsers.” – Patrick

Ohhh, you don’t even want to know how pissed I am because I really wanted to prove to him that we don’t hate everything and now I’m screwed.  I hated this GOD DAMN CAKE so bad that there are not enough swear words on Urban Dictionary.com to describe it.

Caramel Shit Cake

Let’s start with this hot mess first. Why do I need to use motherfucking parchment paper?  That shit is expensive and I try to save it for jelly rolls and certain cookies.  Trying to press this into a cake pan was a freaking pain in my ass. And yes, I used the grease the pan first method. Still a pain in my ass.

Caramel Shit Cake

Cat was very interested. I did not care because I was still mad about that parchment paper.

Caramel Shit Cake

Julie decided it wasn’t worth her time and by the end of this hot mess I was wishing I followed her lead.

Caramel Shit Cake

I didn’t even bother with a mixer because my time is precious.

Caramel Shit Cake

I decided to use a big fork because I could and also because I wanted to make sure the holes were big enough for the caramel to go through.

Caramel Shit Cake

Action shot.

Caramel Shit Cake

Rick loves caramel better than chocolate so he was all about this cake. I was dubious because cake, caramel, and frosting are all so full of sugar that I thought this might be some serious goddamn overkill.

Caramel Shit Cake

I don’t know, man. I just don’t know.

Caramel Shit Cake

You could smell the fucking sugar.

Caramel Shit Cake

Artistic shot of the salted shit storm.

Caramel Shit Cake

Robyn’s going to shit, but I’m about to blow this motherfucker up.  This is exactly what I dislike about some food blogs. The enticing description, food styling and photography dazzle all of us so much that nobody ever thinks of the reality. The ingredients and photographs, combined with the blog entry, make for a beautiful looking dessert that everybody wants to make.  But the reality is that it’s so fucking sweet it makes your teeth hurt. The ingredients blend with one another so that all you have is a fork full of sugar mixed with a sugar syrup. Absolutely disgusting.

Everyone tried it, nobody would finish their piece, and the entire cake ended up in the garbage can. Total waste of food, money and time. There are times when people are selling you a dream that you need to wake the fuck up and realize that it’s bullshit. Bullshit, coated with more bullshit, and wrapped up in a pretty bullshit picture.

Beware of bullshit.

Salted Caramel Sour Cream Cake - Nance and Robyn make the same recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
: Dessert
Cuisine: CAKE
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 1 box of White Cake mix
  • 1 - 12 oz. jar of caramel sauce (ice cream topping)
  • 1 - 16 oz container of vanilla frosting
  • ½ c. sour cream
  • salt for sprinkling (1/4 - ½ tsp)
Instructions
  1. Following the directions on the back of the cake mix, mix the batter and then stir in ½ c. sour cream. In a greased 9x13 baking dish, pour the batter and bake according to the directions.
  2. Let cake cool and then poke holes in it with a fork.
  3. Spread half of the caramel sauce evenly over the top of the cake. Let sit for 5 minutes while preparing frosting.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix frosting and the rest of the caramel sauce until well combined.
  5. Frost cake evenly with frosting, and then sprinkle about ¼ tsp of salt over the top.
  6. *This is a soft cake, so won't cut in neat slices - if neat slices are important to you (you weirdo), refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.

 

Chicken Dumpling Casserole

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The tandem post will be up later this week. To tide you over ’til then, I’m posting the recipe for Chicken Dumpling Casserole, which was submitted by reader Elaine. She said that if her son had his way, she’d make this three times a week, and he’d have the leftovers the other four days. Nance wasn’t up for giving this one a try, so I went it alone!

The original recipe came from The Shady Porch; adapted recipe can be found at the bottom of this post.

The ingredients:

Chicken Dumpling Casserole (1)

The recipe calls for 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, boiled and shredded. I opted, instead, to boil a whole (small) chicken, then debone it and shred it. I think I ended up with about the right amount of chicken. Other ingredients are chicken stock (from boiling the chicken – if you use canned chicken or a rotisserie chicken, you can use canned broth instead), a stick of butter, Bisquick (or self-rising flour), 2% milk (I suspect that skim milk would have worked okay, too), cream of chicken soup (the original recipe highly recommends the herbed cream of chicken soup; I only had the regular kind on hand), instant bouillon (or cubes), sage, salt, and pepper.

In a 9×13 casserole dish, melt 1 stick of butter. I did this by throwing the butter in the baking dish, and sticking it in the preheating oven ’til the butter was melted.

Chicken Dumpling Casserole (2) Chicken Dumpling Casserole (4)

Spread your shredded chicken over the butter. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and sage over this layer.

Chicken Dumpling Casserole (5)

Mix your Bisquick (or self-rising flour) and milk together in a small bowl, and slowly pour over the chicken.

Chicken Dumpling Casserole (7)

Chicken Dumpling Casserole (8)

In a medium bowl, whisk together chicken stock (strain it first, if you need to), chicken granules/bouillon, and soup. Once blended, slowly pour it over the Bisquick layer.

Chicken Dumpling Casserole (9)

DO NOT STIR THIS TOGETHER, MUCH AS YOU MIGHT BE TEMPTED TO.

Bake ’til the top is golden brown, 50 – 60 minutes.

Chicken Dumpling Casserole (11)

Chicken Dumpling Casserole (10)

The verdict? Man, this stuff is GOOD. I liked it a lot, and Fred liked it even more. The sauce reminded me very very much of the sauce in a frozen chicken pot pie, so I initially told Fred that next time, I should add a layer of vegetables. But to be honest, we both liked this so much as is, that I fear adding a layer of veggies wouldn’t be as good.

This is absolutely going into regular rotation. The only change I might (I say MIGHT) try next time would be to maybe take the butter down to 1/2 stick instead of a whole stick.

Thanks for the submission, Elaine!

Chicken Dumpling Casserole
 
Original Source/Author:
: Entree
Cuisine: Southern!
Ingredients
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, boiled and shredded (alternately, you could use the meat from a rotisserie chicken or canned chicken; I boiled and deboned a whole (small) chicken)
  • 2 c. chicken stock (from boiling the breasts, or from a can)
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 2 c. Bisquick or self-rising flour
  • 2 c. milk (I used 2%, but am sure that skim or whole would work as well)
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 3 t. chicken bouillon granules or 3 bouillon cubes
  • ½ t. dried sage
  • 1 t. black pepper
  • salt, as desired
Instructions
  1. Place boneless, skinless chicken breasts in sauce pan with enough water to cover the chicken. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat; cover your pot and let sit for 10 - 15 minutes to finish cooking. Remove from stock (reserve stock) and allow to cool, then shred the chicken.
  2. (Alternately, use the meat from a rotisserie chicken, canned chicken, or boil a small whole chicken.)
  3. ------------------------
  4. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  5. In 9x13 casserole dish, melt 1 stick of butter (place butter in baking dish and place in preheating oven until butter is melted.)
  6. Spread shredded chicken over butter. Sprinkle black pepper, salt, and dried sage over this layer. (If you want to make a pot pie, add a layer of vegetables over your chicken.)
  7. In a small bowl, mix milk and Bisquick/self-rising flour. Slowly pour over chicken.
  8. In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 c. chicken stock (strain it first, if you need to), chicken bouillon granules/cubes, and soup. Once blended, slowly pour over the Bisquick layer.
  9. Bake time varies; bake until the top is golden brown, 50 - 60 minutes.
Notes
Notes from Elaine (who submitted the recipe):
I use black pepper and poultry seasoning on the chicken before I add the flour/milk layer.
I use the Better than Bouillon chicken base that I buy at Costco. Lower in sodium and I think it has more chicken flavor.

 

Chinese Sweet and Sour Cabbage – Nance and Robyn make the same recipe

Heads-up:  In the interest of full-disclosure this recipe came from a book that I found at a thrift store.  I like recipes that don’t force me to lose my mind trying to track down special ingredients.  And I don’t like recipes that use a bunch of difficult or time-consuming steps. I just want to try new recipes and make food that I think my family will enjoy. Thankfully, Robyn feels the same way so we’re going to switch the recipes up a bit and see how it all plays out.  

I’ve been scanning recipes and sending them to Robyn for her approval (like she’s the boss of me) and we’re hoping to bring more relatable recipes to the site.  We still want your recipe submissions, but please keep in mind that we’re not guinea pigs and we’re really not pretentious food bloggers.  Ain’t nobody got time for recipes that takes 15 different ingredients and 8 hours in the kitchen before it can be served.  -nance

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Every week we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Chinese Sweet and Sour Cabbage from the Cooking With Pryde cookbook by Pressley Ridge. Printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this post.

Robyn’s Take:

This week’s recipe was one that Nance found in a cookbook and I am ALL about the Chinese food (AS YOU KNOW) and I love cabbage, so I couldn’t wait to try this. Fred, being all clueless-like, said “I don’t see what’s particularly Chinese about it”, so I pointed out the vinegar. I mean, DUH.

Your ingredients:

Sweet and Sour Cabbage (1)

Bacon, brown sugar, cornstarch, vinegar, cabbage. Not shown: water, and chopped onion (because I didn’t notice the onion listed in the recipe the first 30 times I looked it over.)

I used store-bought bacon for this recipe because generally when a recipe calls for bacon, it’s expecting the smokey flavor of cured bacon. We don’t cure the bacon from the pigs we raise (because I think uncured bacon is THE BOMB), so I keep bacon in the freezer for just such an occasion.

First step: brown your bacon. I made my bacon in the oven, like such.

While the bacon was baking, I shredded my cabbage in the food processor.

Sweet and Sour Cabbage (2)

And then I chopped up an onion, because I realized the recipe called for it. The recipe calls for 2 Tablespoons of chopped onion, but my small chopped onion added up to 3 Tablespoons, so I threw it all in because I am SUCH a rebel. No use in wasting perfectly good chopped onion. (I don’t actually throw extra chopped onion away; I have a bag of it in the freezer, and if I have more chopped onion than I need, I toss the leftovers in the bag.)

Sweet and Sour Cabbage (3)

When the bacon is done, drain it on paper towels and let it cool.

Sweet and Sour Cabbage (4)

I’m only mentioning this because I KNOW HOW Y’ALL ARE, and SOMEONE will notice – the recipe calls for 6 slices of bacon, but I had 8 in the freezer so used them all. Shut up, they were small pieces!

Measure out 3 Tablespoons of bacon grease, and put them in a medium pan. Or, if you fried your bacon on top of the stove, use that skillet. Try not to slip on the grease that splattered all over your floor because you were too hoity-toity to fire up the oven to make bacon.

Sweet and Sour Cabbage (5)

Look at that lone tiny piece of bacon, swimming in a sea of bacon grease. Yummmm.

Toss your onions, sugar, cornstarch, water and vinegar in the skillet. Cook over medium heat “until it is thick and clear”, according to the original directions. What I did was simmer it for about 10 minutes, until it looked syrupy to me.

Sweet and Sour Cabbage (8)

While that was going on, I crumbled up my bacon.

Sweet and Sour Cabbage (11)
The kitchen troll was played by Loony Jake this week. Loony Jake was pretty excited about the bacon portion of the recipe, but REALLY annoyed that once again I was making something with onion in it, which meant he couldn’t have any. SUCKS TO BE YOU, Loony Jake.

Sweet and Sour Cabbage (7)

Remove the syrupy dressing from the heat, and let cool. I let it cool for about 5 minutes, and since the original recipe didn’t say exactly when to add the crumbled pieces of bacon, I just stirred it right into the dressing.

Sweet and Sour Cabbage (9)

Then dumped it over the shredded cabbage.

Sweet and Sour Cabbage (10)

Mixed it together well, put a cover on top of the container, and put it in the fridge. You’re supposed to let it sit for at least 2 hours before eating it, but I ate a spoonful before I put it in the fridge, and really liked it.

Two hours later, I liked it even more.

Sweet and Sour Cabbage (12)

This recipe gets two thumbs up from me, and two thumbs up from Fred. We both liked it a lot (Fred said “It’s kinda like sweet coleslaw”), and the chickens aren’t getting any of it. I’m definitely making this again. Good choice, Nance!

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Nance’s Take:

Sweet And Sour Cabbage

The Beagle is only here because she smells bacon.

I have no idea what made me pick this recipe because I do NOT like anything with fresh cabbage in it.  That shit needs to be cooked (haluski) or pickled (sauerkraut) before I’ll partake. I think the words Chinese, Sweet, and Sour threw me and I just didn’t notice the word Cabbage.  Yeah, I’m aware that this is another recipe with Asian flair…anything to keep that Robyn happy!

Sweet And Sour Cabbage

It starts out with bacon which is always a good thing. True confession: I seldom make bacon. Someone else usually makes it because I have the attention span of a gnat. But Rick was in Louisiana and Shirley was tackling the damn cabbage so I got stuck with the shit job of frying it.  Boo!

Sweet And Sour Cabbage

The recipe called for shredded cabbage and this is where I think my mother lost her mind. We have a food processor, but for some reason Shirley got the grater out. I was too busy burning the bacon, making a taco casserole, and frying some chicken breasts (all at the same time) to care. When I realized that I was taking multi-tasking to the idiot level, I quit for the night.

Sweet And Sour Cabbage

We started bright and early the next day. If by bright and early you mean after lunch. The Beagle was bored with the whole cabbage situation before it even began.

Sweet And Sour Cabbage

The recipe said to use your bacon drippings for the sauce. Since I had made my bacon the night before I had to use my dirty little secret.

Sweet And Sour Cabbage

This ugly beat-up container sits in the back of my fridge.

Sweet And Sour Cabbage

Old school bacon grease. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it and OMG, fry some motherfucking potatoes in it!

Sweet And Sour Cabbage

She who keeps a container of bacon grease in her refrigerator will not use her hands to crumble bacon. I’m a walking contradiction.

Sweet And Sour Cabbage

I was so pissed that I had to cut this onion up just to get two tablespoons of chopped onion. The good news is that it can be chopped up and frozen. I learned that from Fred Anderson (Robyn’s husband) when he blogged about buying frozen chopped onions at the grocery store. Back when he use to write about normal things and not horrifying, scary things.

Sweet And Sour Cabbage

The sauce was easy. You just throw everything in there and cook it until it thickens.

Sweet And Sour Cabbage

Action shot! Once it has thickened a bit you dump it over your cabbage and mix it up.

Sweet And Sour Cabbage

The recipe says to wait a couple hours before serving. I actually took a spoonful (knowing full well that I hate raw cabbage) while it was warm. It was delicious and tasted nothing like the shitty raw cabbage that I expected. I tried it after it cooled and it was still delicious.

Sweet And Sour Cabbage

Since I knew this was raw cabbage and I have a hatred, I made this with the intention of sending it off with my mother to her card party. Bye-bye fabulous sweet and sour cabbage. Bye-bye. :sob:

Everyone at the card party liked it, too. It’s a keeper for me!

Chinese Sweet and Sour Cabbage - Nance and Robyn make the same recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Original Source/Author:
: Side dish
Cuisine: Chinese, OBVIOUSLY
Serves: 12?
Ingredients
  • 6 slices of bacon
  • 2 T. chopped onion
  • ½ c. firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • ¼ c. water
  • ⅓ c. vinegar
  • 1 head of cabbage, shredded
Instructions
  1. Brown bacon; drain and cool; crumble.
  2. Reserve 3 T of bacon drippings; add to skillet. Add onions, sugar, cornstarch, water, and vinegar. Cook over medium heat until dressing is thick and clear (about 10 minutes).
  3. Cool for about 5 minutes.
  4. Mix crumbled bacon into the dressing, mix well, and then pour over shredded cabbage. Mix well, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

 

Vanilla Extract!

SONY DSC

The tandem post will be up later this week. I told Nance to just back off, because I’ve been meaning to put up a post about making your own vanilla extract for a really long damn time, and I need to just get it DONE. But making your own vanilla extract is so so so easy, you need to do it! Like, right now!

What you need:

DSC05815

You need to ignore how shitty these pictures are, for one. I threw my bottle of vanilla extract together in 5 minutes this morning, and wasn’t very careful about making things look pretty, so. Just deal with it.

I make my vanilla extract in bulk because I have plenty of room to store it, making it in bulk ensures that I’ll always have some on hand, and if I make it in bulk, I don’t have to do it again any time soon. So I use a 750 ml bottle of vodka, and a 375 ml bottle of dark rum. I got Absolut vodka and Bacardi rum. Are these good brands? I have NO clue. It wasn’t overly expensive, and that’s what matters – those are the brands I always use, probably because I recognize the names.

Also, obviously, you need vanilla beans. They don’t show up in the picture very well, but I got my beans – they’re Madagascar Vanilla Beans – from Olive Nation. They shipped quickly, arrived in a vacuum-sealed bag, and were nice, big fat vanilla beans. You can find perfectly good vanilla beans for less if you Google around, I’m sure, but that’s what I used and who I plan to use again in the future. You need 12 vanilla beans per 750 ml bottle. (Penzey’s is also a good place to get your vanilla beans.)

First thing, although I didn’t get a picture of this, you’re going to need to make room in the vodka bottle for the vanilla beans. So I dumped about 1/2 cup of the vodka into a (clean) canning jar which I covered and put in the cabinet, because I didn’t want to toss it or use it for cleaning (did you know you could use vodka for cleaning? That’s what I hear!) or give it to the cats (oh, cool your jets. I’m not feeding alcohol to my cats. They’re mean drunks.)

Next thing, using a sharp knife and a cutting board, cut your vanilla bean down the center, leaving it attached at the top.

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Then pop it in the bottle.

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Do the same with the remaining 11 vanilla beans.

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If you want to (and don’t want to buy the bottle of rum), you could stop here. I like adding a bit of rum to the bottle, though, because it makes it a bit darker. I mean, your extract is going to get dark on it’s own as it ages, but it doesn’t hurt to have the rum add a bit of color to the whole shebang. All I did was fill the bottle the rest of the way up with rum. How much you add is up to you, but I’d guess that I added around 1/4 c, maybe a little less.

DSC05828

Then shake your bottle, mark the date on it (I use a sticker on the bottom), and put it in a cool, dark place. Every time you happen to catch sight of the bottle (or every few days), grab it, shake it up, and put it back. In two months, you’ll have the perfect bottle of vanilla extract! You can leave it in the big bottle (like I do) or you can divide it up into smaller bottles. Whatever works for you works for me!

This is the bottle I’m currently using, and according to the sticker on the bottom I made it in February 2011. I go through vanilla fairly quickly, though, so I’m sure the only reason I’m still using a bottle I made 3 years ago is because I made several bottles at once.

DSC05830

So, there you go. That’s how I make it – you don’t have to use vodka and rum, you could use bourbon or brandy or even just all rum. The vodka/rum combo is what I always use, because it’s what I like.

I’ll include the proportions so that you can make a 2-ounce bottle of vanilla extract, if you prefer. I know not everyone goes through vanilla as quickly as I do!

Vanilla Extract!
 
: Extract!
Ingredients
  • Making a 2-ounce bottle:
  • ¼ c. (less 2 T.) vodka (use the full ¼ c. if you're NOT using the rum)
  • 2 T dark rum (optional)
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • ---------------------------------
  • Making a 750 ml bottle:
  • 750 ml vodka
  • 375 ml (or less) dark rum (optional)
  • 12 vanilla beans
Instructions
  1. Making the 2-ounce bottle:
  2. Pour your vodka into a small jar or bottle
  3. Cut your vanilla bean in half, leaving it attached at the top
  4. Place cut vanilla bean in jar with vodka
  5. Add rum (if you're using it)
  6. Shake well, keep in a dark, cool place, and shake every time you see/think of it. Let age for about 2 months before using.
  7. --------------------------------------------------------
  8. Making the big bottle:
  9. Remove ¼ - ½ c. vodka from the 750 ml bottle, to make room for the vanilla beans; set aside.
  10. Cut all 12 vanilla beans down the center, leaving them attached at the top.
  11. Place the vanilla beans in the bottle of vodka
  12. Fill the bottle the rest of the way up with dark rum, if you're using it. Otherwise, fill it up with the vodka you set aside.
  13. Shake well, place in a dark, cool place, and shake it every time you see the bottle, at least every few days.
  14. Let age for 2 months before using. (When it's done aging, you can leave the extract in the big bottle or separate it into smaller bottles.)