Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I poured the cereal in the pans first to figure how much I needed. It took about a box and a half of Cinnamon Cheerios to fill my two 9x12in cake pans about 1 1/4 inches deep. This made eight bags of six squares, wrapped in pairs in wax-paper, plus a couple to snack on.

To begin with, Pam (though it didn't appear in the ingredients photo) was very handy in this process. Rice crispy treats are so familiar that a lot of you probably already know the recipe by heart, it's also on the marshmallow bag. Warning, sliver the peaches, measure the cereal, and prep your pans while the butter (I used margarine) is melting. To prep the pans, I sprayed some Pam in them, not a lot, since it's only to make the wax-paper stick. I sprayed a smaller amount onto the upper surface of the wax-paper and wiped it around, sticking the wax-paper down smoother and depositing a thin coat of oil to minimize sticking while not making the treats greasy.


Start by melting 1/2 stick of butter or margarine in a fairly big pot. Then add the marshmallows and melt them, on low heat. I added the slivered, dried peaches to the molten margarine/marshmallow mixture and stirred it till the marshmallows got hot again, then added the cereal. Since the dried peaches were already mixed into the marshmallow/margarine mix they spread through the cereal with it for a pretty uniform distribution. After stirring till I was pretty sure that all the peaches and marshmallow had been mixed in, I dumped half into each of my lined, lightly oiled pans.

 Herding the sticky mass around and mashing it into all the corners and maintaining a fairly even thickness was made much easier by a mixing spoon with a little Pam sprayed on lightly then wiped nearly off. When it looks good, cover with non-oiled wax-paper and allow to cool and firm up.

After they cooled, I flipped the pans (one at a time) onto a cutting board. The top wax-paper was now underneath. I peeled the oily wax-paper off and carefully trashed the oily mess. Now the Pam goes on the blade of a fairly big knife. Once again use a bit of paper towel or napkin and spread a thin coat over the blade.

  Even though there's more cereal in these than the recipe on the marshmallow bag called for, they're still sticky. The wax paper makes them easier to eat without getting sticky fingers, and makes them easier to get out of the bag whole.

Mmmm, peachy!

Thursday, March 3, 2011


I know they're not coming out in order, this is actually "Kentucky Cornbread 2.4," but this one couldn't wait. While this was not the most heart-smart cornbread so far. That one didn't get a number, yogurt instead of sour cream, extra virgin olive oil instead of corn oil, yuck, and it took as long as good cornbread dammit. A pound of bacon and its drippings helped to make this one of the most tasty in the "Kentucky Cornbread" series so far. Sauerkraut, banana peppers, and extra sharp cheddar rounded out what turned out to be one of our favorites. The crust was crispy and beautiful, and they all released from the mini-loaf pans perfectly. Like a number of the other first draft recipes I've done, this one had silly illustrations. Anyway, here's a picture of the set of ingredients (turned out I was out of jalapeƱos, but the bacon was cooked, so this picture will have to do for now) followed by Helmut's first draft:

                             Ok, you got the recipe, at least the list part, but when I gave a print-out to a friend I realized that there should be a little more to it. For one thing, the bacon drippings and corn oil should total 3/4cup, you should hold off adding the oil/drippings to the batter till you have used some of it. Add 1/2 to 3/4 of a teaspoon from it to each cell of your pans before preheating them. While the pans are heating up, stir the remaining oil/drippings into the batter. Half fill each cell of the hot, oiled pans with batter and add the bacon, peppers, and cheese.

What the hey, I took more pictures than I thought I'd need, and this was real good cornbread, so here's its baby pictures. The first shows add-in distribution. A pound is a lot of bacon, even counting the nibble factor, but I wanted each one to have a good bit. I went for breaking it up and adding it to each mini-loaf.

The peppers were amazing, and I'm glad I was out of jalapeƱos. The banana peppers were a little lighter, and the sauerkraut and bacon were doing things too good to mask. The ones without peppers were great for breakfast.                        
 Once I was satisfied with the distribution, I mashed everything under the surface as gently as I could with a fork. I tried to keep the cheese away from the edges, but I don't think it really mattered much.                         
The next picture is supposed to show how the edge is browned and has  pulled away, as the slightly shrunken loaves begin to release from the pan. The pull-away, the color, and a toothpick inserted into the center of a loaf coming out dry, are all signs that the cornbread is done. The picture blurred but I was ready to eat and felt silly taking so many pictures of cornbread. (I'll replace it when I can.)
After cooling on racks for 5 min. (in this case, the cake pans they were turned out into next), the mini-loaves were set on edge to continue to cool and dry a little. All too often cornbread is wrapped in foil or placed in plastic bags. This allows the moisture migrating from the interior of the loaves to concentrate at the surface and ruin the crunch. To store them while preserving their crunchy crust, they can be placed in a basket (or bowl, works for me) lined with a clean dish cloth or hand towel and wrapped, separated, and covered with same. It sometimes takes more than one cloth. It works so well that a day or even two days later, cornbread loaves stored this way in the fridge, when placed on a wire rack in the toaster oven and warmed, have a good crunchy crust--almost like they just came out of the pan.