Penny's Recipes

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TIP: Do I really have to sift?
I know!  I do the same thing.  The recipe says "sift together" and I just want to get the cookies or cake done!  Sometime, I'll admit, I just put the dry ingredients together and whip with a fork.  Do you really need to sift?  The simple answer is... Yes!  Sifting ensures that all your ingredients are mixed together successfully but most importantly sifting puts air in the flour.  That bag of flour you bought at the store may have sat several months on shelves, boxes or in trucks before it got to you.  Then it sat in your flour container until you needed it.  The flour has settled.  By sifting, as the recipe suggests, you lighten up your flour and put air in it.  This will result in lighter cakes and cookies.So don't stick a fork in your dry ingredients...... go ahead and sift and refresh your flour

1 can (11oz) refrigerated breadsticks (12 breadsticks)

11 slices packaged precooked bacon (from 2.1-oz package). You can also precook your own

Bacon Breadstick Focaccia

bacon to a soft /pliable consistency

1 egg, beaten

1 green onion sliced very thin then chopped

1 Tablespoon shredded cheddar cheese

1 Tablespoon Potato Topping mixture (OR ½ teaspoon fresh parsley; sprinkle of garlic powder; 1 teaspoon bacon bits)

Heat oven to 375°F.

Unroll dough; separate into 12 strips. Starting at center of ungreased cookie sheet, coil bacon slices with dough strips into a loose spiral, pinching ends together securely as strips are added. Drizzle or brush egg over dough, using all of egg to fill crevices. Sprinkle with packaged potato Topping or the parsley/garlic powder/bacon bits. Add chopped green onion and cheddar cheese. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until edges are deep golden brown. Cut into wedges; serve warm.

    As a mother of 6,  grandmother of 12 and great-grandmother of 1, Penny Lofton has spent a lifetime in the kitchen. As a writer, Penny has chronicled her life with her recipes and her journals  and believes that family, friends and food are the three basic ingredients to any celebration.

So come on in and put on an apron, it's time to get cooking!
Orange Pecan French Toast

1 cup packed brown sugar 1/3 cup butter, melted

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

1/2 cup chopped pecans

14 (3/4 inch thick) slices French bread

1 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest

1 cup fresh orange juice

1/2 cup 2% milk

4 tablespoons white sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 egg whites

2 eggs

2 tablespoon confectioners' sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon for dusting

In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, melted butter, and corn syrup. Pour into a greased 9x13 inch baking dish, and spread evenly. Sprinkle pecans over the sugar mixture then arrange the bread slices in the bottom of the dish so they are in a snug single layer. In a medium bowl, whisk together the orange zest, orange juice, milk, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, egg whites, and eggs until well blended. Pour this mixture over the bread, pressing on the bread slices to help absorb the liquid. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour, or overnight. Preheat the oven to 350*. Remove dish from refrigerator at least 20 minutes before cooking. Bake for 35 minutes in the preheated oven or until golden brown. Dust with the confectioners' sugar and cinnamon mixture before serving.


TIP: Parchment vs Washing Pans?

I remember, back in the day, when the cooks in the kitchen used parchment paper when baking cookies.  Some time ago I started using the wonder paper on my cookie sheets.  I knew it made the cookies brown evenly while they baked and they were so easy to take off and put on the cooling rack.  The best benefit of all?  Your time washing the cookie sheets is almost non-existent and your pans will look better too! 
TIP: When your softened butter is frozen!
Do you ever get in the mood to cook and the recipe calls for "softened" butter.   Of course your butter is either in the freezer or in the refrigerator because when you got up this morning you didn't think you were going to cook, right?  This has happen to me many times and here is what I do.  I put the stick of butter, with wrapper on, in the microwave for 5 secs. Then I turn the butter around and micro for an additional 8 secs.  Now, microwaves are different, but play around with it and before you know it...... you'll be cooking!

Tip: Freezing Milk Products

You can freeze buttermilk, eggnog, cream, and milk products for use later. while not desirable to drink, they are fine in cooking. I've even frozen those flavored milk products for coffee like Pumpkin Spice, White Chocolate Caramel, etc. I put them in the snack size baggies, 1 cup to a baggie (be sure to mark it) and then all the baggies go into a large freezer baggie. Because sometimes in want Eggnog Pancakes!