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Traditional Polish Paczki


Hello Friends,Today I share the traditional Polish Paczki.  Pronounced "Poonch - kee", these delights are often made on Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras which is the day before Ash Wednesday that marks the beginning of the Lenten fast.Soapsmith's Traditional Polish Doughnut Paczki1 1/2 cups warm milk - 110 degrees is ideal for the yeast to bloom2 packages active dry yeast  1/2 cup sugar1/2 cup of room-temperature butter 6 egg yolks room temperature2 tablespoons brandy  1 tablespoon lemon or orange rind1 teaspoon salt4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flourVegetable oil for deep frying. Powder or granulated sugar for dustingOptional fillings - vanill... » Read More

Soapsmith's Homemade Pierogi


Hello friends, We make these traditional delights without a formal recipe.  I have estimated the amounts to give you a good starting point.  As with most ethnic foods, the recipe is very forgiving.  Feel free to substitute to meet your own tastes.  Makes 4 to 5 dozen. Dough: 4 cups flour – plus extra for rolling 1 teaspoon salt ¼ cup sour cream 2 tablespoons melted butter 6 egg yolks 3/4 cup lukewarm milk or water Combine all ingredients.  You can work the dough with your hands or start... » Read More

Polish Nut Rolls - strucla orzechami


Hello friends, Today's post is my recipe for classic Polish nut rolls.  These have been a family favorite for generations.  You can fill them with a variety of ingredients like apricot or poppy seed but in our family, we always make them with ground walnuts. Here is our family recipe: Soapsmith's Nut Rolls 5 1/2 cups of flour 1 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons of sugar 1 1/2 cups of cold butter Mix and blend until crumbly like cornmeal Then add: 1 pkg dry yeast dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water 1 1/4 cup room temperature milk 7 egg yolks Work the dough until smooth, separate into 6 equal parts.  F... » Read More

Soapsmith's Christmas Cookies


Hello friends, This week is cookie baking week at Soapsmith's.  I gift homemade cookies to many friends, family and co workers each year at Christmas.   This tradition began decades ago.  As a single Mom of 3 boys with limited income, I was blessed by a large group of benefactors who came to my aid that first Christmas until I was able to secure a strong financial status. During the holidays, I wanted to thank those who were so generous. I used to bake cookies for weddings so I have a great spacious kitchen and professional equipment.  I put that to good use returning the favor to my extended family, especially my f... » Read More

Homemade Gourmet Salts and Herbs


Hello friends,My herb garden again provided an abundant harvest bountiful enough to share with family and friends.  Homemade infused sea salts and herb spice mixes makes marvelous holiday gifts that are always appreciated.I dry my herb harvest through out the growing season.  My final picking this year was in November while a light snow was falling.  If you don't grow your own herbs, you can certainly utilize purchased herbs, just be sure you use the finest ingredients.  Your final product is only as good as the individual components.I made herbal bread dipping mixes to use with olive oil, herbs de provence, pink Himalayan sea salt inf... » Read More

Pennsylvania Sweet Corn


Hello Friends,   Oh yes, fresh Pennsylvania butter and sugar sweet corn, the summer delight is ready for harvest.  There is nothing like this mid summer treat.  Farmers and gardeners set up their roadside stands, selling their wares from the farm trucks. The Amish country side is dotted with farm stands brimming with fresh vegetables. This great antique Massey Ferguson tractor is still a workhorse on Tom's White Bridge Farm. This morning, my son went out to his buddy's farm, Baker's Farm in Hollidaysburg, and picked the corn direct from the field.  You can't get any fresher. Cocoa, our chocolate la... » Read More

Strawberry Time!


Hello friends,Our local farms offer pick your own strawberry fields, I can't resist.  Each  June, my Mom and I took my sons to pick berries fresh from the farm.  My Mom is no longer able to go but I still enjoy the experience.   Nothing can beat that sweet juicy tangy aroma and taste.  These are such a treat compared to the flavorless supermarket berries that are shipped in from other states.Acres of fields of glossy red beauties, filling the air with fragrance, shining in the summer sun ready for harvest.I picked 16 quarts, it only took a little while.  I was home by 10 AM.We always have homemade strawberry shortcake w... » Read More

Sun Pickles


Hello Friends, The vegetable garden is in full production mode. Look at what I harvested this morning! Today I would like to share with you a simple recipe for delicious, crispy, dill pickles made with solar power.  This is a great fun project to do with the children. The containers are filled with an abundance of pickling cukes and fragrant dill from my herb garden.  The pungent aroma of the dill fills the air in the afternoon sun.   Soapsmith's Sun Pickles   Makes 1 gallon. You can use pints, quarts etc.   Wash jars well with hot soapy water, rinse with hot wat... » Read More

Homemade Vanilla Extract


Hello friends,Homemade vanilla extract with its smooth, rich flavor profile is a wonderful addition to your spice cabinet and an appreciated gift for your favorite baker or gourmet. The process is simple with great results.  As with any cooking project, always choose quality ingredients.  A finished product is only as good as its components - inferior ingredients will yield a lesser quality extract.  I am using Indian Vanilla Beans from my friend, Gabi.  She lives in India and is able to source only the finest spices and botanical finds.You want beans that are fresh, plump and fragrant with abundant, glossy seed interiors.    ... » Read More

Silver Platter Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls


Hello friends,Oh my, warm, spicy, gooey fresh homemade caramel pecan cinnamon rolls so perfect they deserve your best silver platter! I have been making these for my family since the 1970's, we love them.  It takes a little effort but it is so worth it.Here's how:Ingredients:1 package of dry yeast dissolvedin 1 cup warm water (Be sure the temp is between 120 and 135 degrees,the yeast will be inactive at 140 and if it is too cool the yeast will not dissolve and rise)3  1/4 cups of flour (I use Robin Hood brand or best for bread)1/4 cup sugar1 teaspoon salt2 tablespoons of melted butter 1 eggCombine all the ingredients and mix, turn o... » Read More

Soapsmith's Homemade Fudge


Hello friends, To continue with my homemade Christmas cookies posts, today -  instructions and recipes for homemade fudge.  I always include homemade fudge with my cookie deliveries.  I make the classic Chocolate Walnut Fudge,  my own formulated Peanut Butter Fudge and Peanutbutter Meltaway Fudge. To make fudge from scratch, there are techniques that I use for that perfect creamy delicious fudge.  These procedures can be used with any fudge recipe you want to use.  The results will always yield success. Tips for perfect fudge: -Always use a candy thermometer.  You cook the fudge to soft ball stage, which i... » Read More

Cookie Delivery Day!


Hello friends, Today was cookie delivery day.  This is a busy day with stops to all the local recipients of my cookies.  The mailed cookies were sent out on Monday.  While it takes all day, I truly enjoy visiting friends and family and bringing a little Christmas cheer along with the goodies.  My sons deliver the cookies to their places of employment as well. Todays recipes are Classic Sand Tarts, Tassies and Chocolate Crinkle   Pecan Tassies Dough: 6 ounces of cream cheese 1 cup of butter 2 cups of flour 1/2 teaspoon of salt Combine together to form dough, similar to pie crust. Filling: 1 1/2 cups brow... » Read More

Soapsmith's Homemade Cheese Balls


Hello friends, Homemade cheese balls are a real treat.  These delicious savory delicacies are wonderful for holiday gatherings, drop in guests or a welcome hostess gift when you visit friends and family. The simple recipe is easily adaptable to your tastes by mixing up a big batch of the base and adding a wide variety of flavorings to create many variations.   Soapsmith's Cheeseball Recipe All ingredients should be room temperature.  If you have a larger mixer, you can easily double this for a very large batch. 1 8 oz brick of cream cheese 1 stick of butter 24 oz of very sharp soft cheese spread - I use Black Diamon... » Read More

Halushki Polish Cabbage and Noodles


Hello friends, Polish halushki or haluski is a simple delicious traditional dish.. I serve this every year at our Christmas Eve Polish Dinner. I will share my recipe for homemade haluski but it can be made easily with any purchased pasta - egg noodles, bow tie, egg farvel or what ever shape you choose.Of course, the made from scratch dumpling like pasta is the best but it is still good with the short cuts. Ingredients: 3 eggs5 tablespoons milk2 cups of flour plus enough to stiffen1 teaspoon salt1 head green cabbage1 to two sticks of butterone medium yellow onionsalt and pepper  Using a fork, slowly pull ... » Read More

Fluffy Whipped Summer Cheesecake


Hello friends,    This fluffy cheesecake has been a family favorite since the 1960's. This is not the typical heavy, rich New York style cheesecake.   Light, cool and refreshing - this recipe is sure to be a hit at all your summer gatherings.     The best results are achieved by using a powerful mixer such as a Kitchen aid with the whisk attachment.  You can make this recipe with a regular mixer but the signature whipped, airy texture will be diminished. Ingredients:  2 small packages of lemon jello                    2 cups of boiling w... » Read More
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