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Cookies Make Me Happy!

by Jennifer Ranger on 01/30/15

There, I admit it.  I LOVE COOKIES.  Doesn't matter how many years go by, or how many cookies I bake or eat, those are the facts.  Apparently there's nothing I can do about it, nor do I want to try.  There's just something deeply comforting about sinking your teeth into a warm and fresh, chewy little morsel right out of the oven.  Add a big glass of cold milk and that's it for me.  Sigh...

Yes, yes, I understand the problems with eating too many baked goods, and truthfully it's a constant struggle to contain myself from over indulging.  One cookie per day is my rule, and I'm doing pretty well sticking to it.  But if I ruled the world, everybody would be able to eat as many cookies as their little hearts desired, with absolutely no ill effects.

But, as my family occasionally reminds me, I don't rule the world.  So, for now it's "One Cookie Per Day," or sometimes less (sad days indeed), and the satisfaction of creating and baking my favorite recipes for Auntie Jen's Homemade.  Considering all those tasty aromas wafting from my kitchen every day, this is not a bad trade off for a true cookie monster.

Here's one of my all time favorite cookies in all of it's sweet, chocolately glory.  Try this recipe and let me know what you think!

Chocolate Cookies With M&M Candies

1 Cup butter, softened
1 1/2 Cup sugar
2 Eggs
2 Teaspoons vanilla extract
3 1/4 Cups flour
2/3 Cups Cocoa Powder, unsweetened
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
2  Cups M&M Mini Candies
1/4 Cup Milk

1.  Cream the butter and sugar with your electric mixer.  Add the vanilla, milk and eggs, beat for another 30 seconds.
2.  Mix all dry ingredients in a separate large bowl, then combine with the wet.  Mix for about 1 minute.  Gently fold in the M&Ms.
3.  Scoop each cookie out onto a well greased baking sheet using a large scoop.  Flatten slightly with the palm of your hand.  Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 8 - 10 minutes, but no longer than 10.  Cool and enjoy!

Jennifer Ranger
Auntie Jen's Homemade

Hard, Shiny Glaze Recipe for Cookies!

by Jennifer Ranger on 09/17/14

Pass the cookies and get outta my way!

Those that know me understand that I'm the original cookie monster.  The passing of time has done little to diminish my love of all things cookie, and I don't expect the advancing years will do anything but increase my adoration of those little glazed yummies.  Like I said, pass the cookies and get outta my way.

Did you notice my use of the word "glazed" here?  I hope so, because it was very intentional.  Frosting and icing is all well and good, but a really well made glaze drizzled over the top of a freshly baked cookie just can't be beat!  And it should be nice and thick too -  no skimpy glaze for me.

If you've been looking for a delicious, sweet glaze that dries hard and shiny for your next batch of cookies, look no further.  This recipe is simply lovely, easy to use, and much tastier than using royal icing.  If you're planning to decorate your cookies after the initial icing, let them dry for at least an hour before adding the details and be careful not to touch the coating while you work.  After you're finished decorating allow your cookies to dry for 12-24 hours before stacking and packing them to avoid denting the glaze.

Hard Glaze For Cookies
3  Cups  powdered sugar
2  Teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 Cup corn syrup
1/4 Cup water
Food coloring, if desired

Place all ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer.  Use the paddle attachment and mix on low until all the powdered sugar is incorporated into the wet, then use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of your bowl.  Mix on medium speed for about 1 minute to be sure everything is smoothly blended and no lumps remain.

At this point test the thickness of your glaze.  If it's too thick you can add more water, but only a scant teaspoon at a time, and be sure to mix before adding any more water.  Decorating your cookies requires firmer glaze, while coating cookies requires looser glaze that will be thick enough to coat, but thin enough to run over the sides.  Trial and error come into play here...good luck!

Jennifer Ranger
Auntie Jen's Homemade

Announcing the Launch of Auntie Jen's Homemade!

by Jennifer Ranger on 08/19/14

Politics aside, I honestly never imagined I'd want to give Governor Jerry Brown a big hug, but after learning that AB 1616 was signed into law on September 21, 2012, I've got this overwhelming urge to give the man a big old squeeze!  The Homemade Food Act allows certain foods to be made in a private home and sold to the public.  So, what did I do about two seconds after hearing about this from our City Manager?  I went to the LA County website to read all about it and to register Auntie Jen's Homemade!  Governor Brown, look out, ' cause I'm feeling a huge HUG coming on.

With the birth of Auntie Jen's Homemade comes the fun and excitement of doing exactly what I always do anyway, but now I can sell the delicious goodies from my own kitchen directly to my customers.  Since my family and I have owned our own retail store in Old Town Monrovia for over 23 years, finding great customers is no problem.  With the display built, and fresh delicious goodies gracing the shelves, the sales have begun, or I should say that sales have taken off like a shot.  Really, really good sales.  Happy.  Success really is sweet!

Sincere thanks to all of our loyal customers for their overwhelming support of  Auntie Jen's Homemade treats and tasty goodies.  Developing new and exciting products in my kitchen for your enjoyment is my pleasure and joy.  Watch for fresh baked goods, jams, jellies, marmalades & preserves, candies, gourmet popcorns & lots more, 7 days a week.  Available in our family store.  Call to see what's new!  (626) 357-1091.

Jennifer Ranger
Auntie Jen's Homemade

Quick & Tasty Meatballs

by Jennifer Ranger on 07/12/14

Does this scenario sound familiar?  It's about noon on a hot summer day, dinner time will be fast approaching and somebody's got to cook something but you're dreading heating up the kitchen to get the job done.  The answer?  Slow cooker to the rescue!

While most folks relate the slow cooking crock to cold winter days, the truth is that these great inventions are super convenient year 'round, and they don't heat up your house like using the oven does.  Throw in a few ingredients, cover, turn it on high and you'll have a nice tasty dinner waiting for you in just a few hours.  Try our easy recipe for Quick & Tasty Meatballs and you'll see what we mean!

Quick & Tasty Meatballs
1  Pound of lean ground beef
1  Onion, diced
1  Egg, beaten
1/2 Cup milk
1  Cup plain bread crumbs
1/2  Teaspoon salt (more if desired)
1/4 Teaspoon black pepper
1  Teaspoon powdered garlic
1  Teaspoon ground cumin
1  Cup barbeque sauce
1.  Preheat your cooker on high while preparing the meatballs.
2.  Place all ingredients except the barbeque sauce in a medium bowl and combine very well. Roll the mixture into 1" balls and carefully place them, side by side, in the crock.  Cover and cook on high for 4 hours.  Serve with your favorite potatoes or rice and a crispy green salad, and get ready to hear lots of compliments from your happy family!

Homemade Peachy Marshmallows

by Jennifer Ranger on 06/22/14

Making marshmallows at home is so easy, you'll wonder why you've never done it before!  It takes only a few minutes to create your own batch of light, puffy marshmallows, and they make a great gift too!  Give my recipe for Homemade Peachy Marshmallows a try and let me know what you think.  Have fun, and don't lick your fingers!

Peachy Marshmallows
1  Pack unflavored gelatin
3  Tablespoons peach flavored jello powder
1  Cup cold water
1 1/2 Cups sugar
1  Cup light corn syrup
Pinch of salt
2  Cups powdered sugar
2  Cups corn starch
Note:  Have a 9 x 13 inch pan ready before you begin.  Spray it lightly with a non stick coating, then generously coat the entire inside with the combined corn starch and powdered sugar.
1.  Combine the gelatin pack & the jello powder into the bowl of your stand mixer and pour 1/2 cup of the water over it.  Set aside.
2.  Combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt and remaining water in a small sauce pan, cover, and heat over a medium flame until the mixture reads 240 degrees on a good candy thermometer.  Don't stir.  Remove it from the heat immediately when it reaches the proper temperature.  Be very careful with the hot syrup!
3.  Turn your mixer on the low setting and carefully pour the hot syrup down the sides of the bowl.  Next, turn the mixer to high and beat air into the syrup for 12-15 minutes.  Use a rubber spatula to transfer the  mixture into your pan.  Lightly dampen your hands to help pat out the marshmallows into the pan and spread it into the corners.  Sift the powdered sugar & cornstarch over the top and allow to cool for at least 8 hours before cutting into squares using a pizza cutter.  Sprinkle all sides again with the powdered sugar mixture.  Seal in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to a month.

Jennifer Ranger

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 Toll Free 1(877) 365-5744
Announcing Auntie Jen's Homemade!

We're excited to announce the launch of our very own line of gourmet homemade foods!  

Auntie Jen's Homemade brings you the best in baked goods, jams, jellies, marmalades, candies and other treats, direct to you from Jennifer's California Health Dept. registered kitchen.  

Call to order today: (626) 357-1091.

Left: M & M Chocolate Cookies