February 1, 2011

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Lemon Butter Cookies

December 13, 2011

Cookies that even Santa will find a refreshing change.



What is it about a simple delicate buttery cookie that makes it so wonderful? Is it the contrast with all the rich desserts? And what is it about citrus that is so very refreshing on cold winter days?

Whatever the reason, this cookie is one that all your holiday visitors will enjoy, yes- even Santa. Everyone talks about the texture, the key to a perfect butter cookie, and then they talk about the flavor.

For butter cookies, use real butter. If it fits your budget, the European rich butters will give you amazing results. I am a huge believer in using the best ingredients when I am baking because great ingredients = great results.

Important to note, the flour is the least expensive thing you will purchase and is the main ingredient – so start with the very best. Using Southern Biscuit® All-Purpose Flour for your holiday cookies will give perfect, consistent results every time. Why save a few pennies buying less expensive lower quality flours? The risk of baking failures is just not worth it.

Happy baking everyone!


Lemon Butter Cookies*

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

3 ½ cups Southern Biscuit® All-Purpose Flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

1 ¼ cup sugar

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 egg yolks, lightly beaten

2 teaspoons (packed) grated lemon zest



1 lemon

1 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar

4 tablespoons half-and-half

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt using a wire whisk. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine butter and sugar using an electric mixer set on medium-high speed until light in color, about 3 minutes.

Add egg and mix for 1 minute. Add egg yolks and mix for an additional minute. Stir in flour mixture on low speed just until combined. Fold in lemon zest.

Measure 1 tablespoon of dough onto baking sheet, placing scoops 1-inch apart.

Bake for 15 minutes or until set but not browned.

Place on cooling rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile prepare icing. Heat a pan of water to boil.  Remove zest of lemon using a peeler. Chop the zest in fine pieces rather than grating. Blanch in boiling water for one minute, and using a small sieve, remove and drain zest.  Measure confectioner’s sugar into a bowl, stir in half-in-half and zest. Drizzle onto cooled cookies, making sure each cookie has zest.

* For orange, simply use orange in place of lemon.


Oatmeal Cookies Great for Gift Giving

December 5, 2011

For the holidays, there is no gift appreciated more than simple homemade gifts. Why not get the kids in the kitchen to help, and you have a recipe for holiday giving that is memorable and fun.

Oatmeal cookies are always a favorite, we added chocolate and pecans to a classic. But if that is not the recipe you want, go to www.midstatemills.com for many more recipes or look at last year’s blog entries. We have plenty of cookie recipes that are home economist tested so you know that they will bake up perfectly and that recipes will work.


Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Raisin Pecan Cookies


Makes about 4 dozen


2 cups Southern Biscuit® All-Purpose Flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

½ cup granulated sugar

1 ¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 ½ cup old-fashioned oats

1 cup golden raisins

1 cup chocolate chunks

1 cup chopped pecans, toasted and cooled

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Beat butter, sugar, and brown sugar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed. Add the eggs and vanilla, and mix well.

Stir in the flour mixture, oats, raisins, chocolate chunks, and pecans.

Drop by rounded tablespoons about 2 inches apart.  Bake for 9 to 10 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for 1 minute and remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Don’t overbake, the center will not be set when you remove the cookies from the oven.  They will finish baking on the pan.

Store cookies in an airtight container after they have cooled completely.

Red Velvet Brownies

November 29, 2011


This decedent brownie, as it turns out, is easier to make than the classic red velvet cake.  You can make it in a 9×13-inch pan, but I like them thick so always use a smaller pan.


1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 (1 ounce) bottle red food color

2 cups Southern Biscuit® All-Purpose Flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

¼ cup cocoa powder


Heat oven to 350º F.   Line a 9×9 square pan with aluminum foil.  (The nonstick foil with the nonstick side up works very well.)


Melt the butter.  Whisk brown sugar and granulated sugar into the butter until the brown sugar is smooth.  Whisk in egg, vanilla extract and red food color.  Set aside.


In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and cocoa powder.  Add the butter mixture, stirring just until blended. Spread into the pan.


Bake for 40 to 45 minutes.  A toothpick inserted should be almost clean when removed.  If using a 9×13-inch pan the bake time is about 30 minutes.


Cool on a baking sheet for 20 minutes.  Then remove the brownies from the pan to a cooling rack.  Cool completely before cutting for a prettier cut brownie.


Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting if desired.


Cream Cheese Frosting


8 ounces cream cheese, softened

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

2 cups confectioner’s sugar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


Beat cream cheese and butter until blended.  On low speed of an electric mixer, add the confectioner’s sugar and vanilla extract.  Beat until smooth.

Rich Fudge Brownies

November 29, 2011


Rich Fudge Brownies


Makes about 16 servings


1 cup (2 stick) unsalted butter

1 ½ cups sugar

½ cup firmly packed brown sugar

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2/3 cup Southern Biscuit® All-Purpose Flour

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

½ teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt



Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9-inch square pan with non-stick aluminum foil or parchment paper leaving an overhang at the sides to lift cooled brownies easily from pan.


Melt the butter over low heat in a medium saucepan.  Whisk in the sugars until completely smooth.  Remove from heat and add the eggs gradually, beating constantly using a whisk.  Add the vanilla and stir to combine.


Stir in the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt slowly at first until blended.  Once the ingredients are moistened, beat using a wooden spoon for about 60 strokes or until the mixture is smooth throughout.


Pour the batter into the pan.  Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted is almost clean when removed.  The toothpick should not be wet, but have a few bits of brownie that sticks.

Cool completely on a cooling rack.  To remove from pan, lift on the foil or parchment paper.


Chocolate Brownie Bites

November 29, 2011


For the holidays, dress up brownies to make them special or serve them as is, in all their chocolate glory. We perfected a brownie recipe for perfect rich flavor and a fudgy texture. Then we expanded the idea to bite size treats.

Here are a few tips for perfect brownies:

–          Use Southern Biscuit All-Purpose Flour, it is a blend of soft wheat and hard wheat so you have a brownie texture that is dense and fudge-like.

–          Use real butter.

–          Add a bit of brown sugar, it brings out the chocolate flavor.

Rich Fudge Brownies


Makes about 30 servings of bite-size brownies.

1 cup (2 stick) unsalted butter

1 ½ cups sugar

½ cup brown sugar

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2/3 cup Southern Biscuit® All-Purpose Flour

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

½ teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

8 ounces chocolate for coating

Food coloring

Mini chocolate chips

Chopped nuts

Pop sticks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9-inch square pan with non-stick aluminum foil or parchment paper leaving an overhang at the sides to lift cooled brownies easily from pan.

Melt the butter over low heat in a medium saucepan.  Whisk in the sugars until completely smooth.  Remove from heat and add the eggs gradually, beating constantly using a whisk.  Add the vanilla and stir to combine.

Pumpkin Hand Pies

November 24, 2011

If you can’t get enough pumpkin pie, then you will love this twist on tradition. A hand pie as they are called here in the south or fried pie or pocket pie if you prefer, is easy to make.

The dough is simple, just like making an extra firm biscuit.  They don’t fall apart and yet they are flaky and tender.  When you use Southern Biscuit® All Purpose Flour, you have just the right combination of soft southern wheat with a touch of hard wheat that holds these pies together.  I wouldn’t use anything else to make this recipe, I am just not sure it will work.

The filling is simple when using canned pumpkin.  However, if you have leftover pumpkin roasted for a pie, this is a perfect use for it.

You might consider using leftover sweet potatoes, that half bag of chocolate chips left from another recipe, or other leftovers from the holiday meal to fill these as well.  The dough can go with sweet or savory foods so use this recipe to create your own fillings.

 Biscuit Dough

2 cups Southern Biscuit® All Purpose Flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup vegetable shortening

¾ cup milk, plus additional for brushing

Vegetable oil


2 cups (16 ounces) pureed pumpkin

1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Cinnamon Sugar

¼ cup sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Prepare filling:

Combine the pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg using a wire whisk.  Set aside.

Prepare biscuit dough:

Combine flour, baking powder and salt using a wire whisk.  Cut in shortening until the pieces are slightly smaller than pea size.

Add the milk and combine. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead the dough by pressing dough to flatten and then folding the dough.  Turn and repeat about 8 times or until the dough is smooth and not sticky.  It will feel more firm than biscuit dough.

Roll the dough to ½-inch thickness and cut using a 2-inch biscuit cutter.  Roll each “biscuit” into a thin round that is about 5 inches.

Spoon a heaping tablespoon of filling into the center of the dough.  Brush around the edges with the additional milk. Fold in half and press firmly to seal.  Use the tines of a fork (a very small fork works best) to seal and then turn.  Seal the other side with the tines of the fork.  Press lightly to distribute filling throughout pocket.

In a heavy large skillet with deep sides, pour in about ¼-inch of vegetable oil.  Heat over medium heat to 365 degrees.  Gently add the pies, only 3 at a time to allow plenty of space between each to cook. (The oil should come about half way up the pies.) Cook for 3 minutes, turn and cook for 3 minutes or until both sides are golden brown.  Remove from the pan, drain on a rack or paper towels.

If desired sprinkle the tops with cinnamon sugar.  Allow at least 10 minutes before eating, they will be hot!

Cornbread Sausage Dressing with Apples and Dried Cranberries

November 15, 2011

Cornbread and Thanksgiving belong together but this dressing is awesome with any poultry dish. Cook the cornbread a day in advance and let it dry out overnight. It will hold up better and have a more pronounced taste. The apples and cranberries get a special sweetness and texture. We bet you’ll be eating any leftover dressing as a meal it’s so very good.

2 pounds country breakfast sausage (extra sage flavor is best)

2 cups yellow onions,  roughly chopped

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

3 tart cooking apples, cored and chopped into chunks

9 cups Tenda-Bake Southern Cornbread using recipe on package, in 1-inch cubes

2 teaspoons dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried sage

¼ cup chopped Italian parsley

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup low-sodium chicken or turkey broth, plus additional as needed.

In a 12-inch frying pan, cook the sausage, crumbling as it cooks, until just no longer pink. Drain and reserve the fat. Place the sausage in a very large (bread-size) mixing bowl. Return the fat to the frying pan. Heat the sausage fat, add the onions and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Pour in with sausage. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in the frying pan.  Add apple chunks and cook slowly until slightly soft, about 10 minutes. Combine with sausage and onions.

Start adding the cornbread to the bowl, a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. (You might not need all of the bread.) Stir in thyme, sage, parsley and cranberries. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a 15-by-17-inch or a 9-by-13-by3-inch casserole with cooking spray (not necessary, but helps with clean up). Pour the dressing into the casserole. Cut remaining butter into small pieces. Dot dressing with butter. Pour 1 cup broth over the dressing. Cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring and adding broth and butter every 10 minutes to keep the dressing moist, if necessary. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Variation: Substitute 4 tablespoons duck fat for the butter used to dot

dressing before baking.

Makes 12 servings.


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