Braille Monitor                                                 June 2012

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This month’s recipes are from members of the NFB of Illinois.

Peanut Blossoms
by Liz Bottner

Liz Bottner and her guide dog.Liz Bottner serves as the current president of the Illinois Association of Blind Students (IABS) and has also been active at various times in the Delaware and Pennsylvania NFB affiliates. She just recently graduated from Northern Illinois University with her master’s degree in rehabilitation teaching of blind adults with a specialization in assistive technology. Liz has taken a job in Atlanta, Georgia, as an assistive technology instructor for the Center for the Visually Impaired. Some of her hobbies include reading, technology, traveling, and drinking tea.

48 Hershey's Kisses
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup Reese's Creamy Peanut Butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Granulated sugar

Method: Heat oven to 375 degrees. Remove wrappers from chocolates. Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar and beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk, and vanilla and beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar and arrange on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake eight to ten minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack and cool completely. Makes about four dozen cookies.

by Liz Bottner
1 cup sugar
2 cups cornstarch
4 cups flour
pinch salt
1 pound butter

Method: Since this recipe makes a large batch of cookies, start with a large mixing bowl. The cornstarch is the key to this recipe. Combine all ingredients and beat. When you think the ingredients are well integrated, place the crumbly mixture on a baking sheet. I used a half-sheet pan (16-by-11 inches), and it worked perfectly. Bake for forty minutes at 325 degrees, then reduce heat to 300 degrees and continue baking for twenty minutes. When they come out of the oven, dust with granulated sugar. Wait about five minutes before cutting the shortbreads.

Pecan Cinnamon Shortbread Bars
by Constance Canode

Connie Canode is an active member of the Chicago chapter.

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped

Method: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom only of 13-by-9-inch baking pan. In a large bowl combine butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in egg. Add flour, cinnamon, and vanilla; mix well. Stir in half a cup of the pecans. Press dough in bottom of pan. Sprinkle remaining half cup pecans over dough and press in lightly. Bake at 350 degrees for thirty to thirty-five minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Magic in the Middles
by Constance Canode

Dough Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar (and extra for dipping)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg

Filling Ingredients:
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar

Method: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease (or line with parchment paper) two baking sheets. You can also use silicone baking sheets. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. In another medium bowl beat together the sugars, butter, and quarter cup peanut butter until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and the egg, beating to combine. Then stir in the dry ingredients, blending well. To prepare filling, in a small bowl stir together the 3/4 cup peanut butter and confectioner’s sugar until smooth. With floured hands roll the filling into twenty-six one-inch balls. Break off about 1 tablespoon of the dough and with your finger make an indentation in the center large enough to press one of the peanut butter balls into it. Bring the dough up and over the filling, pressing it closed completely. Roll the cookie in the palms of your hand to smooth it out. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Dip the top of each cookie in granulated sugar and place on the prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Grease the bottom of a drinking glass and use it to flatten each cookie to about half an inch thick. Bake the cookies for seven to nine minutes, until they are set. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack.

Praline Brownies
by Constance Canode

1 (20-ounce) box chewy fudge brownie mix (like Duncan Hines)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water

Praline Topping Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, packed
1 1/4 cups pecans, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
Method: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom only of a 13-by-9-inch baking pan. Place brownie mix in a large bowl. Stir in eggs, oil, and water; mix until well combined. Spread evenly over bottom of baking pan. In a separate bowl mix together praline topping ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the top of batter. You may leave a small corner uncovered by the topping as a spot to test for doneness. Bake twenty-eight to thirty minutes; do not overbake. Check corner with a toothpick for doneness; it should come out clean with no crumbs attached.

Layered Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge
by Constance Canode
1 8-ounce package semi-sweet chocolate
3/4 cup canned sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup cocktail peanuts, chopped
1 6-ounce package white chocolate squares
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter.

Method: Microwave semisweet chocolate and sweetened condensed milk in microwave bowl on high for two minutes or until chocolate is almost melted, stirring after one minute. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in peanuts and spread onto bottom of foil-lined eight-inch square pan. Microwave white chocolate in separate microwavable bowl on high for one and one-half minutes or until chocolate is almost melted, stirring after one minute. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Add peanut butter and stir until melted. Spread over semisweet chocolate layer. Refrigerate for two hours or until firm. Cut into squares. Store in air-tight container.

Pumpkin Bread
by Constance Canode

1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 teaspoon baking powder
Method: Combine pumpkin, oil, and eggs. Sift together dry ingredients. Combine the two mixtures, blending thoroughly. Pour into 2 greased 9-by-5-inch loaf pans and bake at 300 degrees for one hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Place pan on wire rack to cool. Remove from pan after about five minutes and cool completely.

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