Kroppkaka

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Kroppkaka is old-school Swedish food and one of my very favorite family food traditions. It’s basically a potato dumpling stuffed with bacon and allspice. It can be eaten plain but is much yummier cut in slices and fried in (lots and lots of) butter. We don’t get kroppkaka very often — maybe once every couple of years — because it’s really labor-intensive. (The recipe that I’ll give uses frozen hashbrowns, which really cuts down on the preparation time because the biggest task was always to grind potatoes.)

I can no longer even think about kroppkaka without telling the story of Jason’s first experience with it. Poor guy. When Jason and I were dating I took him over to my aunt’s house for kroppkaka. I knew by this time that Jason liked butter and bacon, so I really, truly thought he might be one of the rare people who just love it on first try. Wrong. So so very wrong.

I hadn’t prepared Jason at all, and to make a long story short, he didn’t know what it was made of and mistook it for basically fried lard. Oh dear. Keep in mind that it was the first time that he met any of my aunts or my grandma. He was so polite about it, but I’m pretty sure it must have been about the worst thing he’d eaten up to that point.

My grandma and my aunt made kroppkaka for Christmas this year, and Jason even agreed to give it another try (he is a saint). He did, and he still didn’t love it or really even like it, but he was at least better informed this time. Simon, on the other hand, showed that he is a good Swedish boy and eagerly ate it up. (He also liked potato sausage, the other traditional Swedish food we had this year.)

So now that I’ve scared away pretty much everyone except my own family, who already love it, I give you the recipe.

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Ingredients

  • 1 26-ounce bag frozen shredded hashbrown potatoes, thoroughly thawed
  • 2 ¾ cups flour
  • 1 ¼ cups water
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 2-3 pounds bacon, cut into small bits (my dad bought bacon ends, which are considerably less expensive than regular bacon — they come in a box, and 3 pounds is something like $5.99)
  • allspice

Directions

  1. Combine the hashbrowns, flour, water, and salt to form a dough.
  2. Combine the bacon with enough allspice to coat it all.
  3. Form the dough into an oval about ½-inch thick and about the size of your hand.
  4. Add a tablespoon or so of the bacon and allspice mixture, and fold the dough around it to make a ball. Make sure all the bacon is sealed in, or the kroppkaka will fall apart.
  5. Lower the balls (kroppkakor) into pots of boiling water, and boil for about an hour.
  6. Gently remove the kroppkakor with a slotted spoon (they will be extremely delicate at this point), and allow to cool for several hours or overnight.
  7. When ready to serve, cut the kroppkakor into ½-inch slices and fry in butter until the bacon is done and the potato part is golden brown.
  8. Serve with more butter and salt to taste

You can find more information about kroppkaka here.

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Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Shelli and Neil made these cupcakes for their son Ezra’s first birthday this weekend (minus the raisins and walnuts for the little guys, Ezra and Simon). They were delicious, and I’m already thinking about when I can make them myself. (I took the recipe directly from the Barefoot Contessa’s website.)

2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
3 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour plus 1 tablespoon
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 pound carrots, grated
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts

For the frosting:
3/4 pound cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 pound confectioners’ sugar, sieved

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line muffin pans with paper liners.

Beat the sugar, oil, and eggs together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light yellow. Add the vanilla. In another bowl, sift together 2 cups flour, the cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Toss the carrots, raisins, and walnuts with 1 tablespoon flour. Add to the batter and mix well(I use my hands—it works best!).

Scoop the batter into the muffin cups until each is almost full. Bake for 10 minutes, then lower the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack.

For the frosting, mix the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until just combined. Add the sugar and mix until smooth.

Papa Morehead’s Cinnamon Rolls

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What you are about to read is one of the great treasures of the Morehead estate. Ever since I was a kid, my father — who gave us permission to post this recipe — has made a batch of these cinnamon rolls for special occasions (e.g., Christmas, Thanksgiving).

He’ll usually do all of the preparation the night before, sometimes even after everyone else has gone to bed, and then get up early the next morning to throw the rolls into the oven, thus ensuring that we have nice, warm — and very gooey — cinnamon rolls waiting for us when we wake up.

And yes, there really is a secret ingredient in the “goop”, but no, I don’t know what it is. My father has an odd sense of humor, and has entrusted this hidden knowledge to his daughters-in-law but not to his very own sons. Renae isn’t talking, so your guess is as good as mine.

Ingredients – Dough

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup warm water (105 – 115 degrees)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 3 1/2 – 4 cups all-purpose flour

Ingredients – Filling

  • 1/2 cup softened butter or margarine
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • Raisins (optional, should be mandatory)

Ingredients – Goop (aka, the best part)

  • 1 stick butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup evaporated milk or cream
  • Secret Ingredient

Ingredients – Icing (Optional, we never add it, FWIW)

  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons warm milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

  1. Soften yeast in warm water with sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Scald milk and let it cool to 110 degrees. Add in sugar, shortening, and salt.
  3. Beat eggs in a separate bowl.
  4. Mix 1 cup of flour and the milk mixture in a large mixing bowl for 2 minutes.
  5. Add beaten eggs and mix on “High” for 2 minutes.
  6. Add softened yeast and mix gently with spoon.
  7. Gradually mix in remaining flour to form a soft ball of dough.
  8. Cover mixing bowl and let dough rise until it’s doubled in size (approximately 1 1/2 – 2 hours)
  9. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and spread it into an 18″ x 10″ rectangle with a rolling pin.
  10. Spread softened butter/margarine over the dough, followed by brown sugar, cinnamon, and raisins. (Make sure the dough is thoroughly covered, so use more butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and raisins if necessary.)
  11. Roll up the dough tightly from the long side.
  12. Cut into 1″ thick slices.
  13. Place slices cut-side down in a greased 13″ x 9″ plan and let them rise until double in size (approximately 30-40 minutes).
  14. Preheat oven to 350 degrees while waiting for slices to rise.
  15. To prepare the goop, melt the butter/margarine, brown sugar, white sugar, evaporated milk/cream, and secret ingredient together in a large saucepan until the sugar is dissolved. Do not let the mixture boil.
  16. Pour goop over the raised slices.
  17. Place slices in oven and let them bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.
  18. Remove rolls from pan immediately when done: to do so, place the pan upside down on a foil-lined cookie sheet and let rolls slide out.
  19. To prepare the icing, whisk confectioner’s sugar, warm milk, and vanilla together in a bowl until the mixture is smooth.
  20. Drizzle icing over the cooled rolls.

Pork Tenderloin

porktendA favorite from the old Zion Cookbook  — this was our Christmas Eve dinner.

Ingredients

  • 3-4 pounds pork tenderloin
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon dill weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Directions

Combine all ingredients and rub onto meat. Marinate overnight.  Place meat in a baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes per pound. Internal temperature should be 160 degrees.

Seasoned Oyster Crackers

crackers

Adapted from several recipes found on allrecipes.com.

Ingredients

  • 1 (12 ounce) package oyster cracker
  • 1/4 cup oil (vegetable or olive)
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons dry Ranch-style dressing mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl or bag, toss together the crackers and oil until completely coated.
  3. Add dressing mix, lemon pepper, dill and salt and toss until evenly covered.
  4. Bake in a single layer for 12 to 15 minutes
  5. Store in a zip lock bag or other air tight container.

Spiced Chili

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Good for a cold winter’s night. Taken from
The Taste of Home Cookbook, recipe by Julie Brendt of Antelope, California. Note that the title could more accurately read: Spicy Chili.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 C chopped onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cans (16oz each) kidney beans, rinsed drained
  • 2 cans (15oz each) tomato sauce
  • 2 cans (14.5oz each) stewed tomatoes, cut up
  • 1 C water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 C chili powder
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1 T dried basil
  • 1 T Italian seasoning
  • 1 T dried thyme
  • 1 T pepper
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • 1 t dried marjoram

Directions

  1. In a Dutch oven, cook the beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.
  2. Stir in beans, tomato sauce, tomatoes, water and seasonings.
  3. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Discard bay leaves. If desired, serve in bread bowls and garnish with cheese and onions.

Yield: 12 servings (about 3 quarts)

**I thought the recipe called for FOUR cans of beans, so we have quite the bean fest going on at our house. (Oh dear.) I also added some tomato sauce–and almost two cups of water–and then used diced tomatoes as I’m not a fan of hunky mouthfuls of cooked tomato in my chili. No basil, no marjoram because we’re out. I balked at the full tablespoon of salt and hesitated with portions of both chili powder and pepper. I should’ve hesitated more because the chili turned out hotter than expected. Once amended with spoonfuls of sour cream, and a few tall glasses of milk on the side, the chili was enjoyed by my entire family.

Best White Cake Ever

A guest post today from Lindsey, who made this cake for a first birthday party (and some delightful little butterflies for the birthday girls).

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White Butter Cake:

1 3/4 cups sifted cake flour*

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup granulated white sugar, divided

2 large eggs, separated

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup milk

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 – 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature

2 1/2 cups confectioners’ (icing or powdered) sugar, sifted

zest of 1 lemon**

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in center of oven.  Grease and flour two – 8 inch round cake pans.   Line bottom of pan with parchment or waxed paper and grease and flour paper.  Set aside.

White Butter Cake: Separate egg yolks and whites, place in bowls and allow to come to room temperature (about 30 minutes).  In a mixing bowl sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

In bowl of electric mixer, beat the butter until soft.  Add 3/4 cup of the sugar and beat until light and fluffy.  Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.  With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.

In a clean bowl of your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until foamy.  Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form.  Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.  With a rubber spatula gently fold a little of the whites into the batter to lighten it, and then fold in the remaining whites until combined.  Do not over mix the batter or it will deflate.

Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans and smooth the tops with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon.  Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 20 – 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  Do NOT overbake.  The tops may not be brown and they may look not quite done, but remove as soon as toothpick comes out clean.

Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Place a wire rack on top of the cake pan and invert, lifting off the pan.  Once the cakes have completely cooled, wrap in plastic and place the cake layers in the freezer for at least an hour. (I put waxed paper on a plate, then wrap plastic wrap around it all, rather than try to handle the cake layer itself, and possibly break it.  (This is done to make filling and frosting the cakes easier.)

Cream Cheese Frosting: Cream the butter and cream cheese together until nice and smooth with no lumps.  Add the confectioners’ sugar, one cup at a time, beating well after each addition.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add the zest and vanilla extract and beat on high speed until the frosting is light and fluffy.

Makes one – 8 inch two layer cake (you can make 1 1/2 times the recipe for a 3-layer cake)

* Cake flour is essential if you want a lighter, fluffier cake.  All-purpose flour will make it much more dense (which is not bad either)
** You can add less than this.  I frosted my cake the night before, and the lemon intensified a bit overnight.  It was still delicious, but I would have preferred there to only be a hint of lemon, as is the initial flavor.  Do not skip the lemon if you can however, since it really takes the frosting from boring to awesome.