cheese crackers

A Cheese Cracker Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook
cheese, glorious cheese!

What would life be without the creamy, gooey deliciousness of cheese?

A ho-hum, dud of a day, that’s what! Grilled cheese sandwiches would be “just toast.” Macaroni and cheese would be macaroni without the sunshine [ insert sad face here ]. Pizza and lasagna? I shutter to think what the absence of mozzarella and ricotta would mean to these dishes!

Just thinking about cheese makes me want to strap on some dancing shoes, grab a top hat, and bust out a few bars and moves to this all-time favorite jingle that would light up eyes and the commercial breaks between television shows of the 1980s:

So the magic ingredient of these crackers is none other than CHEESE! I hope you enjoy this crispy, crunchy, cheddary treat that will brighten any gathering.

foodie tips

  I experimented with forming 1″ balls with my cookie dough scoop and the crackers were large and great. I realized I was blazing through the dough and reduced the size a bit by using a heaping ½ tablespoon of the dough. The end result was more of a bite-sized cracker, which means the more you can make, the more you can eat!

  Don’t be afraid to add the cayenne; it adds a subtle warm note to the cracker and makes everything seem all the better.

A Cheese Cracker Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

i. ingredients

1 ½ cups | flour, sifted
½ teaspoon | salt
1 tablespoon | fresh chives, chopped
½ teaspoon | red pepper (a.k.a. cayenne pepper)
½ cup | room temperature unsalted butter (my Grandmother insisted on falfurrias brand butter)
½ pounds (~2 cups) | sharp cheddar cheese, shredded and at room temperature

A Cheese Cracker Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

ii. what to do

1. Measure then sift the flour into a medium-sized bowl. Add the salt, chives and cayenne.
A Cheese Cracker Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook
2. In a mixing bowl cream the butter and the cheese. Add the flour mixture and mix everything well. The mixture will be coarse and grainy but should stick together in step 4 (below).
A Cheese Cracker Recipe From Betty's Cook NookA Cheese Cracker Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook
3. About this time preheat your oven to 350F.

4. Roll the dough into 1″ balls and place them on a baking sheet. Flatten the balls to 1/4″ thickness by using the bottom of a glass or another flat-bottomed object. Prick the tops with a fork.A Cheese Cracker Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

5. Place your cookies into the oven for 12-15 minutes – do not burn!

Yields up to 5 dozen crackers, depending on the size of the cracker.

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Cheese Crackers Recipe

Hailing from December 1962, this is a scan of my Mom’s cheese cracker recipe. It found its way into her cookbook from Elizabeth Cain, who must have been one of her foodie friends.

A Cheese Cracker Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook


lemon light drop cookies

Lemon Light Drop Cookies From Betty's Cook Nookthe power of lemon

Those who know me well know my love for lemons.

I’ve grown a few lemon trees from seed, I make my own limoncello, and anytime I incorporate the bright, citrusy flavor into food or drink, I’m reminded of its amazing power.

puttin’ on the spritz

After mastering the simple art of the drop cookie, I was ready to raise the bar by trying my hand with my cookie press, which I recently discovered due to this cheese straws recipe.

My Mom “Betty” had a metal cookie press that I remember well, but where do pressed cookies come from? I wasn’t too surprised to learn they originate from Germany… all the way back to the 16th century. Spritzgebäck or “Spritz” cookies are pressed butter cookies that are made by squirting dough through disks that make a variety of cool-shaped cookies. The cookie press is like a baker’s version of everyone’s favorite childhood toy – Play-Doh!

Lemon Light Drop Cookie RecipeHungry for more cookie history? You can learn a lot of interesting facts about the origins of cookies at this website.

foodie tips

  If using self-rising flour, decrease the soda to ¼ teaspoon and omit the baking powder and salt.

  The original recipe (below) makes about 70 2 ½” cookies. That’s right, 70! Since we weren’t having a party I decided to cut the recipe in half, which still yielded over 30 cookies.

  For the second half of my dough I experimented with my cookie press and was able to churn out some fun-shaped cookies*. Whether you try this or go the simple “drop” route, I wouldn’t suggest hand-rolling the dough into balls; these lost some of their charm and looked more like mini biscuits than cookies. So drop or cookie press all the way!

* Note: To get my cookie press to best form the dough, I chilled the dough-filled press in the freezer for a few minutes to stiffen the dough. I clicked the cookies onto an ungreased cookie sheet and voilà!

i. ingredients

to grease cookie sheet | shortening or cooking spray
1 ½ cups | sugar
1 cup | shortening, at room temperature
1 tablespoon | lemon peel, freshly grated
| cage free eggs
1 cup | sour cream or lemon yogurt (I used sour cream, my childhood BFF)
1 teaspoon | lemon extract
3 ½ cups | Pillsbury brand all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons | baking powder
½ teaspoon | baking soda
½ teaspoon | salt
to sprinkle | sugar

ii. what to do

0. Preheat oven to 350°F.

Lemon Light Cookie Dough

1. Let’s make the dough! In a large bowl, cream the sugar, shortening, and lemon peel until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat well. Add the sour cream (or yogurt) and lemon extract mix well. Lightly spoon the flour into a measuring cup; level off. To the batter add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Blend well.

Lemon Light Cookies Going Into The Oven

2. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle the cookies with sugar before placing them into the oven.

3. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until a light golden brown around the edges.

Enjoy!

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Lemon Light Drop Cookie Recipe from Betty's Cook Nook

Lemon Light Drop Cookie Recipe

A Scan Of Mom’s Recipe Clipping

Here are some vintage Play-Doh commercials from me to you!


cheese straws

A Cheese Straws Recipe From Betty's Cook NookCheese? Yes, Please!

Candy cigarettes aside, the first straw-like food object I can remember from my childhood are Pixy Stix.

The brightly colored straws have origins to the 1940s and were filled with a sweet n’ sour powdery candy that jettisoned my energy levels into outer orbit! #OffDaCharts! If I cough-choked while inhaling the sugary straws, I knew I was having a good time.

A Vintage Pixy Stix Print AdFlash forward quite a few years: These cheese straws are a savory treat that were surprisingly delicious to me – they have a nice buttery-cheesy taste and a few seconds later I enjoyed the warm – not spicy – flavor dismount, compliments of the cayenne pepper.

Younger foodies will enjoy helping you make these straws – they’re perfect for your game day lineup or any day you’d like an extra-special pick-me-up beyond the usual potato or tortilla chips.

foodie tips

  Per the recipe card below… “Cookie press?” “Star plate?” Yeah, this is why this recipe wasn’t one of the early chosen ones I’ve made here at Betty’s Cook Nook – I had no clue what these items were! After some online research I realized a cookie press is a quite popular semi-automatic weapon for cooks! I ran to my nearest store and scored this new kitchen gadget which is a foodie essential for making these cheese straws.

Driving home I remembered that Mom had a cookie press, too! It was an all-metal version and it had lots of extra parts that were kept by its side. Funny how certain things can conjure up *almost* forgotten memories!

  These straws are delicate so handle with TLC. No worries – even if they break they still taste the same: AWESOME!

i. ingredients

1 teaspoon | red pepper (a.k.a. cayenne pepper)
1 cup | sifted flour
½ teaspoon | baking powder
1 cup | cheddar cheese, grated
½ cup | butter (go big with unsalted Falfurrias Brand)
3 tablespoons | cold water
special kitchen utensil | a cookie press (see tip above)

ii. what to do

0. Preheat oven to 375°F.

1. Sift together the red pepper, flour, and baking powder.

2. Cut in the cheese, butter and then add the water. Mix well.

3. Insert the cheesy dough into your cookie press and squeeze it into your desired length, then cut to free it from your foodie gun. Note: If you find that the dough is too thick to easily come out of the press you can remove it, add a little bit more water and reload.

4. Bake on a greased cookie sheet for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

Yield: About 2 dozen straws

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

 

A Cheese Straws Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

A Cheese Straws Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

cheese-straws-recipe

Here’s A Scan Of Mom’s Original Cheese Straws Recipe.
I’m not certain who penned this recipe, but the handwriting looks like that of Betty’s Sister, “Delores.” :)


marion’s brownies

Marion's Brownie Recipe from Betty's Cook NookThe Real Deal

Back in a time before baking on the quick, folks made things from scratch.

Sure, it takes a little more time but you might just find that the food tastes better – especially since you’re in full control of what goes into your creation. And more importantly, what goes into your belly!

All Aboard The Chocolate Choo Choo

As one who loves chocolatey greatness, my earliest creations used Hershey chocolate powder mixed into a cold glass of milk. But it wasn’t until the likes of Messy Marvin kicked his way into my life when my sights on chocolate really took off. Before we dive into Marion’s recipe let’s have a peek at some of my favorite vintage chocolate TV spots from the 50s – 80s:

So what’s makes these brownies so good? Real chocolate made with TLC. Thanks for the tasty treat, Marion! If you make a batch of these, let me know how you liked them. :)

foodie tips ~

  Don’t forget to let the chocolate cool after melting.

  I like my brownies soft and chewy. So if you’re making me a batch, you know what to do!

  A cold glass of milk or some ice cream is brownie’s BFF. Just sayin’.

i. ingredients

¾ cup | flour, sifted
½ teaspoon | baking powder
½ teaspoon | salt
1 cup | sugar
½ cup | shortening
| cage free eggs, unbeaten
1 teaspoon | vanilla
2 squares (2 ounces) | unsweetened baking chocolate, melted and cooled
1 cup | nuts. And in Texas “nuts” = pecans.

Marion's Brownie Recipe from Betty's Cook Nook

ii. what to do

0. Preheat oven to 350°F.

1. In a large bowl sift together the first 4 ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt and sugar).

2. Add the next 3 ingredients (the shortening, eggs, and vanilla). Beat for 1 minute, making sure to scrape the bowl to ensure a smooth blend.

3. Add the cooled and melted chocolate and the pecans. Beat for 30 seconds longer.

4. Pour the brownie mixture into a greased pan (about 8″ x 8″) and bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes.

Cut brownies into squares while they are still warm. 

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Marion's Brownie Recipe

Who is “Marion” 

After checking-in with my brothers, Tim and Roger, Tim knew who Marion was. Her name was Marion Praino Sands and she was married to Bob Sands.

I did some Googling and found recent obituaries for both. After reading a bit more into their lives I learned that they lived a few minutes from me where I lived in Dallas for 20 years! My heart sunk knowing that Marion’s brownie recipe was sitting in Mom’s cookbook within reach. And if I had researched this post a little sooner our paths may very well have crossed.

My hunch is that Marion and Bob met my Mom and Dad when they lived in San Antonio. The connection didn’t end there – I learned that Marion was a member of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Dallas for over 50 years. And if memory serves correctly my Mom was a member of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in San Antonio, where I was born… and I believe how I came into my name.

 

 


chicken breasts au vin

Chicken Breasts Au Vin From Betty's Cook Nook

This recipe is dedicated to the Bauml Family. 

You were more than just neighbors… you’re like family in many, many ways! 

~   ❤   ~

“Au vin” is French for “with wine”

Chicken with wine? What can be better?!? Chicken with more wine! Oui! Oui!

Growing up I was a huge animal fan. I still am! I raised more than my fair share of pets – two toy poodles, fish, zebra finches, a cockatiel named “Sam,” and I raised quail from eggs with the help of an incubator and lots of patience. My passion was more like an obsession and Mom and Dad seemed not to notice as I begged them to let me also have a bantam chicken. This was a critical link in my transformation into a bona fide farmer! :)

A Buff Cochin ChickenWith 30+ quail living in our back yard I really didn’t need a chicken but our family’s friend Mr. Bauml had some chickens with feathers on the legs and toes that I thought were really cool and before anyone knew it, a butterscotch-colored chicken was living in our backyard pen.

Make no mistake – the quail and the chicken were not to be eaten – they were my pets and were to be admired with the eyes and the heart. They could also be hugged or high-fived, if desired.

Chicken is the hero of this meal and partnered with its sidekicks wine and brandy, I hope you’ll find the end result a tasty twist on your typical poultry dish.

foodie tips ~

 For small white onions I suppose you can use pearl onions as the recipe doesn’t say to chop them. I didn’t have any pearls on hand so I used chopped white onions.

 Setting brandy on fire is fun! For another one of Mom’s recipes that will impress your guests, try Betty’s brandied pumpkin flan recipe. It’s always a hit at the holidays!

i. ingredients

| chicken breasts, boned and split
¼ cup | flour
1 teaspoon | salt
⅛ teaspoon (I used more) | fresh cracked black pepper
½ cup | butter (my grandmother insisted on Falfurrias brand butter)
¼ cup | brandy
2 cups | dry red wine
½ pound (2 cups) | small white onions, peeled
¼ cup | parsley, chopped
| bay leaf, crumbled (I left mine whole for easy removal)
1 clove | garlic, crushed (or pressed)
½ pound | fresh mushrooms

ii. what to do

0. Preheat oven to 375°F.

1. Dust the chicken breasts in a mixture of the flour, salt, and pepper. In a skillet, sauté the breasts in the butter.

2. Warm the brandy and set a match to it – no worries, it will be unlikely that you will cause a culinary explosion! Pour the flaming brandy over the skillet chicken. Shake the skillet until the flame dies away.

3. Transfer the chicken and the pan juices to a casserole dish. Add the wine, onions, parsley, bay leaf, and the garlic clove. Cover tightly with foil then with the lid. Cook for 30 minutes.

4. Add the mushrooms and cook for 15 minutes.

I hope you enjoy this dish au vin! I partnered mine with some creamy four cheese Rice-A-Roni, the San Francisco treat!

Serves 6 – 8 humans

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

 

Chicken Breasts Au Vin Recipe

A scan of Mom’s original recipe

 


onion lover’s twist

Onion Lover's Twist Bread RecipeAre You Bready For This?

After setting my appetite on making this twisted bread, I realized that Mom’s cut-out recipe had a seriously odd shape and some of the article was missing (see the original far below). I flipped the time-worn clipping over and realized that Mom must have really cut out the recipe on the reverse as the shape and article size were spot on. Finger to forehead!

An Artist's Rendering Of The 1968 World's Fair in San Antonio

An Artist’s Rendering Of The 1968 World’s Fair in San Antonio

What was on the back, er front, of the recipe? A 1970s story about NIOSA which included a recipe for Quiche Lorraine – a dish that garnered serious street cred at the 1968 World’s Fair held in my hometown of San Antonio. H.R. Pufnstuf debuted at the fair – something I just learned!

A few words about this recipe: I was super-surprised to learn that the recipe’s creator – Mrs. Nan Robb – won $25,000 for the recipe … in 1970!

$25,000 is a lot of money today. So while I joked about eating $25,000 bread, today I found out that after inflation, in 2015, $25,000 of 1970 money is really worth about $155,000! For real!

So now you have a funny story to serve along with this bread!

 

Patrick's Bucket List. I'm Honing In On SNL, The Lotto, Ellen And Oprah!foodie tips ~

❤  I’ve had a few foodie fails here at Betty’s Cook Nook. My first attempt at making the dough for this recipe is one of them! Turns out the yeast I had on hand was old and after mixing everything together I think the bread actually fell rather than rose. LOL. So make sure and score some fresh yeast from the store to ensure your bread will rise to the rooftops.

  Feeling a little insecure about my ability to rise bread, I resorted to some online research to look for tips. Warm ovens and heating pad suggestions aside, I netted out with boiling some water in a glass measuring cup to warm my microwave. I covered my dough-filled bowl with a towel, inserted it into the microwave along with the water and let it do its thing for an hour. The dough more than doubled in size. Magic!

  You can easily half this recipe. What I wound up with was about the size of a boogie board. You can also make two “half-sized” loaves by cutting the dough strips in half before braiding – what better way to give a $12,500, er $77,500 gift (post inflation) to a friend?!

  I’m not going to point out the obvious but since I obviously pointed something out … you can introduce any of your favorite ingredients into the filling for this twisted bread recipe. I’m thinking of ham and cheese or bacon and maybe a little scallion.

i. ingredients

for the dough:
1 package | active dry yeast
¼ cup | warm water
4 cups | flour (separated into two 2 cup piles)
¼ cup | sugar
1 ½ teaspoons | salt
½ cup | hot water
½ cup | whole milk
¼ cup | butter, softened (Mom’s Mom “Nanny” always insisted on Falfurria’s brand butter)
| cage free egg

for the filling: 
¼ cup | butter (you know what to do)
1 cup | onion, finely chopped (we used yellow)
1 tablespoon | parmesan cheese, grated (we used 2-3 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon | sesame seeds or poppy seeds (we used sesame)
1 teaspoon | garlic salt
1 teaspoon | paprika

ii. what to do

1. Grease a large cookie sheet and set aside. That was easy!

2. In a large mixer bowl dissolve the yeast in warm water. There’s no need to sift the flour – add 2 cups of the flour to the yeast mix (reserving the 2 cups of flour for later), and add the sugar, salt, water, milk, butter and egg. Blend at low speed until moistened then crank up the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes. By hand, stir in the remaining 2 cups flour to form a soft dough. Mix it well! Cover the dough and let it rise in a warm place until light and it has doubled in size, about 45-60 minutes.

Onion Lover's Twist Bread Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook3. While the dough is doing it’s thing let’s make the filling. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the remaining filling ingredients above and mix well. Let rest.

4. After the dough has risen, stir it down. Transfer from bowl then toss it around on a floured surface until no longer sticky. Roll the dough out to a 18″ x 12″ rectangle. Cut the dough into three 18″ x 4″ strips.

5. Spread each strip with the filling mixture, making sure to leave about a half inch around all edges filling-less so you’ll be able to pinch and seal the edges together (you’ll want them sticky). Start with the 18″ side and roll each strip up and press/seal the edges together so the filling is safe inside the doughy roll-up.

6. On your prepared cookie sheet, braid the 3 rolls together. Cover and let it rise in a warm place until light and doubled in size, about 45-60 minutes.

7. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown.

I loved this bread warm and fresh out of the oven. You could also slice it to make a savory sandwich bread.

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Here’s a scan of Mom’s original recipe.
I joked above about the odd shape of this cut out. Here’s another Betty’s Cook Nook recipe with a funky shape!

A Scan Of Mom's Onion Lover's Twist Recipe

Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner!

It’s not a chicken dinner per se but today is your lucky day – I’m posting the reverse side of the Onion Lover’s Twisted Bread recipe! Go on, click on it for a larger view of what’s coming next to Betty’s Cook Nook!

Special Preview : A Scan Of Mom's Coveted Quiche Lorraine Recipe


mississippi mud pie

From MS to TX. With Love.
A Mississippi Mud Pie Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

This recipe is dedicated to Lou Bodin and Louis Kiker.
I wish y’all had met in person.

~      ~

In this crazy world there are few things that shake the heart in a great way.

This recipe is one of them.

My sister-in-law’s sister-in law “Dollie” may sound like a far distant relative but I can assure you she is loved family through the heart. And through this recipe.

Dollie gifted me one of the most amazing presents ever – a handmade cookbook of her Mother-in-Law’s recipes. Each page of the cookbook was made with the beauty only time and artistic grace can create – picture recipes and family photos adorned with layers of shiny jewels, custom cutouts, ribbons and more surprises with every turn of the page. The cookbook sits on my highly coveted shelf of Betty’s Cook Nook recipes.

What I find amazing is that Dollie really had no reason to make me a cookbook but as she crafted some books for her family she included me, which means a lot. Her prized recipes helped bolster the family recipes I have from my Mom “Betty” so a new culinary door has been opened!

This pie? I think of it like a super tasty brownie with a magical middle. We ate every last bit of it! If you like chocolate and marshmallow, scroll down now and get started!

Lou Bodin's Cookbook Made By Dollie Bodin

Lou Bodin’s Cookbook Lovingly Made By Dollie Bodin

foodie tips ~

  In Texas, “nuts” is an abbreviation for pecans. If you think I’m joking, just ask the squirrels. They are crazy for ’em as our doggies Boomer and Harley.

  Butter vs. margarine differences aside, my Grandmother Nanny insisted on Falfurrias brand butter so it’s a staple in my kitchen. I have 3 boxes in my fridge right now – just so I don’t accidentally run out. :)

i. ingredients

for the cake

| cage free eggs
2 cups | sugar
2 sticks | butter, melted
1 ½ cups | flour
⅓ cup | cocoa
1 teaspoon | vanilla
2 cups | nuts, finely chopped
1 cup | coconut (optional and suggested)
1 jar | cream of marshmallow

for the icing

1 stick | butter
6 tablespoons | milk
⅓ cup | cocoa
1 teaspoon | vanilla
1 box (1 pound) | powdered sugar
2 cups | nuts, finely chopped

ii. what to do

1. Heat It Up: Preheat your oven to 350°F.

2. Make Dough:
 Beat eggs until “lemoney.” Add sugar, a little bit at a time, and beat two minutes with an electric mixer. Add to this the two sticks of melted butter.

3. Mix It Up: Sift the flour and cocoa together. Add gradually to the egg-sugar mixture. Add the vanilla, nuts, and lastly the coconut (if used). PS ~ I used coconut!

4. To Bake: Pour the dough into a greased and floured 9″ x 13″ pan (or close to that size). Bake your preheated oven for 30 minutes. While still warm, spread the marshmallow cream over the top of the cake. Oooey gooey awesomeness!

5. To Frost: Mix together the butter and milk and warm it all together. Add the cocoa. Gradually add the powdered sugar and the vanilla. Top with the nuts.

Serves: 18 or more servings, depending on the size of your cut 

Thank you, Lou, for this recipe! And thank you, Dollie, for your generous gift!

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Here’s a scan of Lou’s recipe that Dollie included in her cookbook gift – click the image to zoom-in on detail of the recipe instructions … and the crafting skills of Dollie. :)

A Scan Of Lou Bodin's Mississippi Mud Pie Recipe

 If you’re still reading why not check out another recipe of Lou’s? Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls!