Monday, December 31, 2012

Pumpkin Chili

Week 17 of the NFL season is over, along with 2012, and with it comes my last batch of chili. This chili uses another unusual ingredient, canned pumpkin. In this case, the pumpkin helps to thicken the chili without taking over the dish, while adding a boost of vitamin A. As a matter of fact, if I had not known there was pumpkin in this recipe, I would not have been able to pick it out.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Reindeer Chili

With today being Christmas Eve, reindeer chili just seemed like the right kind of chili to make. OK, maybe not reindeer, but definitely made with deer meat. This chili is a great recipe for hunters looking for a way to use ground venison. As far as the rest of the ground venison goes, make summer sausage and send me some.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Carne Adovada

With only 3 weeks left in the NFL season, I decided to revisit the cuisine of old Mexico. This red pork stew is a simple but classic dish that highlights the taste of the chile. This recipe uses a full cup of chile powder, both to flavor the dish and as a thickener for the stew. Make sure you select a mild variety for this dish. If not, you will definitely regret it later.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Five Alarm Chili

With only four weeks left in the football season, my Colts look like they have a very good shot at making the playoffs. It's amazing what a difference a year can make. Just like the playoffs, this week's chili is one I have been looking forward to for a while. Why? This one is spicy. Not just a little spicy, but kick you in the pants spicy.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Chocolate Drizzled Peanut Butter Cookies

This Former Dessert of the Month is Chocolate Drizzled Peanut Butter Cookies, and combines my son's love of peanut butter with my wife's and daughter's loves of all things chocolate.  These will not last long in my house, nor yours either, I imagine.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Chipotle Chicken Chili

As we enter the last month of the NFL season, I plan on sharing five unique recipes that are among my favorites. This will be the last chicken chili recipe I share, so I wanted to save the best for last.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Leftover Turkey Chili

Three days after Thanksgiving and I still had a bag of turkey left. Most of the white meat had been used up for sandwiches, but there was still plenty of turkey to make something. What better way than to make up a batch of chili to use up the last of the leftovers.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Seven Pepper Chili

Week 11 of the NFL season definitely did not go as well as I hoped. A loss to the New England Patriots did not help the Colts, but they are still sitting in a spot that would put them in the playoffs. At least I had a good bowl of spicy chili to distract me from the pain of a 59-24 loss.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sweet and Spicy Chili

Although this weekend was a  three day weekend for me, I still had a ridiculous number of tasks to accomplish. As a result, I needed a very quick recipe to turn to. This recipe goes together very quickly and only needs a few minutes of simmering time to be ready to eat.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Steak and Beer Chili

Week 9 brings me to the halfway point of this series of 17 different chili recipes. With my team sitting at 5-3, I am definitely enjoying this season more than last year. With the arrival of November, there is a chill in the air that just calls for hearty bowls of chili while watching the game at home or tailgating at the stadium.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Chicken and Sweet Potato Chili

Week 8 of this series brings me back to chicken. Although beef is the traditional meat used in making chili, there are several excellent varieties of chicken chili that can be made. In this dish, the chicken is slow simmered in the chili liquid, then removed and shredded while the sweet potatoes finish cooking in the chili.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Skillet Chicken And Rice

One dish dinners are a staple in our household. This dish is one of those one-pot meals that was originally created out of necessity. In this case, necessity was created by not a lot of food in the house and not enough time to run to the store, get dinner made, and still get to Cub Scouts on time.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Chocolate Chili

Week 7 of the football season brings us to a chili with that uses a couple ingredients that most people would consider a little unusual:  chocolate and coffee. Most people would never think of adding chocolate and coffee to chili. I know I thought it was crazy at first, and when I told my family about it, they were more than skeptical. Then I remembered mole sauce. Mole is a classic Mexican sauce, and this chili borrows its inspiration from that sauce.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pork Chili Verde

Week 6 of the NFL is nearly in the books, and although I did not get to see my team play (which was probably a good thing, they lost 35-9), I still had time to make this slow simmered dish. This chili is very simple to make, but does take time if you want to do it right. When given enough time to simmer, the pork comes out fall apart tender. Combine that with the flavors of roasted peppers, tomatillos, and garlic, and you have a delicious bowl of chili verde, no beans or pasta needed.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pumpkin Latte Turnovers

Every year I look forward to Starbuck's holiday flavored coffees. One of my favorites is the pumpkin latte, and with autumn here (at least on the calendar, it's supposed to be almost 80 in Omaha this week), I can almost taste one right now. This dessert is inspired by the flavors of a tasty fall snack, a warm cinnamon roll and a pumpkin latte.

The filling for these turnovers is a cooked pumpkin custard. I start with brown sugar, flour, and seasonal spices, to which I add canned pumpkin and milk. Once cooked, I add egg yolks, butter, and coffee extract and let it cool.

The pastry for this dessert could not be easier. It is Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry, and is as simple as thawing it out, cutting into squares, and filling with the pumpkin filling.  Once baked and cooled, I top them with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting.  The final result is a pastry that has all the flavors of a pumpkin latte, but is also reminiscent of pumpkin pie as well.

Pumpkin Latte Turnovers

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 cup milk
2 egg yolks
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 Tbsp coffee extract
1 package Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry

In medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Slowly whisk in pumpkin and milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat. In separate bowl, beat egg yolks. Add 1/2 cup of hot pumpkin mixture to eggs and whisk to combine. Add egg mixture back to pan and boil another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter and coffee extract.  Let cool about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Thaw puff pastry according to package directions (about 40 minutes on the counter). Unfold each sheet and cut each sheet into 4 squares. divide pumpkin filling evenly and spoon onto pastry. Fold pastry in half by taking one corner and folding over to opposite corner, forming a triangle.

Place turnovers on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes, or until tops are golden brown and puffed up. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack at least 30 minutes. If desired, top with cinnamon cream cheese frosting (see recipe below).

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

1 Tbsp butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
2-1/2 cups powdered sugar

In medium mixing bowl, whip together butter and cream cheese. Add vanilla and combine. Gradually add cinnamon and powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until icing is stiff enough to spread. Frost as desired.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Hawaiian Chili

I knew going into this weekend I was going to need a quick chili recipe. I had a lot on my plate and not a lot of time to get everything done, so I went with a chili I could put together in about 30-40 minutes. The end result came out pretty amazing, and my wife said it is the best chili I have made so far for this series (click here to see the other chili recipes).

Friday, October 5, 2012

Apple Dumplings

This is a recipe I shared for the first time ever last fall. I first made this dessert about 16 years ago, and have been asked numerous times for the recipe. I finally decided to share it because it is one of my favorites. Over the years, I have made very minor changes to the recipe, but the basics have stayed the same.

These apple dumplings just scream fall dessert. The apples are wrapped in pastry and baked, then topped with an apple cider sauce and served with either vanilla ice cream or maple whipped cream. They are a bit labor intensive, so they are usually reserved for special occasions in our house. Hopefully you enjoy these as much as my family does. If not, seek mental help.

Apple Dumplings

8 Granny Smith apples
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/3 cup raisins, if desired
1 recipe Basic Pie Crust
1 recipe Apple Cider Sauce (see below)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  In small bowl, mix butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and raisins (if using).  Set aside.

Cut a very thin slice off the top of each apple. Using a melon baller, scoop straight down from top to remove seeds. Make sure you leave the bottom of the core intact or the apple will fall apart. Peel apple, leaving about 1/4 of peel around bottom of apple. Divide butter mixture evenly between apples and stuff into cavity.

Roll 1/2 of dough out to 16x16 inch rectangle. Cut dough into four 8x8 inch squares. Place once apple in center of each square. Fold dough up around apple and, using a small amount of water, seal at top. Repeat with remaining apples and other half of dough. Cut a small slit in top over center of apple to allow steam to escape. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake for another 20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Top each apple with 3 Tbsp of Apple Cider Sauce and return to oven for 5 minutes. Let cool for at least 45 minutes before serving.

To serve, top Apple Dumplings with remaining warm Apple Cider Sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of maple whipped cream.

Apple Cider Sauce

3 cups cups apple cider, divided
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
3 Tbsp cornstarch

In medium saucepan over medium low heat, bring 2 1/2 cups apple cider to a simmer. Stir in brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice. Cook 5 minutes. In a small container with a tight fitting lid, shake remaining 1/2 cup cold apple cider together with cornstarch to dissolve. Slowly pour cornstarch mixture into simmering apple cider, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Bring to a boil and cook 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Cincinnati Chili

Week 4 of my chili series takes me back to the Midwest. My wife and I both grew up in the Indianapolis area, and this type of chili can be found at numerous restaurants around town. This is not surprising, especially considering it originated just two hours down the road in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Roasted Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Soup

To me, autumn does not officially start until certain things are available at the grocery store. This past weekend I saw one of those items, the first pumpkins of the season. They had several varieties available for purchase. There were small decorative gourds, large ones for carving jack-o-lanterns, and sweet pie pumpkins. As soon as I saw these, I knew I wanted to make a pumpkin soup.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Smoky Sausage and Bean Chili

The third installment of my chili series is a chili that combines flavors from multiple cuisines. This chili also represents the area of Texas along the Gulf Coast between Houston and the Louisiana border. It is a slow cooked chili that simmers all day, then is finished in the amount of time it takes to cook a couple cups of rice.

The area along the coast of Texas is a huge melting pot of cultures. Many people moved to this area of Texas when oil was found. As a result, numerous influences can be seen in this part of the country, especially in the cuisine. While there is definitely a strong Mexican heritage in this area, there are also influences from Cajun, French, southern, and Eastern European cuisines.

This chili draws from the Mexican, Cajun, and Eastern European cuisines (specifically Polish, Houston has the 13th largest Polish population in the United States). The base flavoring of the chili is onions, cumin, oregano, and chilies, but the traditional beef is replaced by two kinds of sausages, Polska kielbasa and andouille sausage. These ingredients are combined with beans and slow simmered until everything is tender and the flavors come together. The chili is fairly spicy due to the use of the chili powder, chipotle peppers, and andouille, especially if you use hot andouille like I did, but the heat is cut by topping the chili with rice, a la gumbo style.

The end result is a spicy, hearty meal perfect for week 3 of the NFL season.

Smoky Sausage and Bean Chili

2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 large white onion, diced
2 red bell peppers, seeded and diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp oregano
14 oz polska kielbasa, sliced
14 oz andouille sausage, sliced
1 lb navy beans, rinsed and soaked overnight
3 cups chicken broth
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp liquid smoke flavoring
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, seeded and minced
2 Tbsp tomato paste
Cooked rice
Green onion, for garnish

In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Saute onion and red pepper until softened, about six minutes. Add garlic and saute 30 seconds more.  Add chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Cook one minute, or until fragrant. Transfer to slow cooker.

In same skillet, saute kielbasa and andouille until lightly browned and heated through. Transfer to slow cooker.

Add beans, chicken broth, soy sauce, liquid smoke seasoning, and chipotle to slow cooker. Stir to mix well.

Cover and cook on high for two hours. Reduce heat to low and cook for six hours longer (or leave on high and cook a total of five hours), stirring every two hours. Thirty minutes before serving, stir in tomato paste to thicken. Serve with rice.

Next Week:  Cincinnati Chili

Friday, September 21, 2012

Jamie's Dream Cake

A couple weeks ago, my wife was telling me about a dream she had. During the dream, for some reason, she was eating a slice of cake. She could not tell me why, only that it was the best cake ever. As she started to explain the cake (knowing her, I was expecting a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting), she told me the cake seemed weird to her. She then proceeded to describe the cake as a blueberry cake with cream cheese frosting. I kind of perked up at that moment, then she said she hadn't told me the weird part yet.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

French Bread

To me, French bread is perfect. Nothing makes better garlic bread than a loaf of fresh French bread. At the same time, nothing is simpler to make than fresh French bread. In fact, it is nothing more than flour, water, yeast, salt, and sugar. The key is in the preparation.

Monday, September 17, 2012

White Chicken Chili

Week 2 of the NFL season means the second of seventeen chili recipes. This week's recipe is loaded with chunks of chicken and cannellini beans. It is a hearty, meaty chili that looks nothing like traditional red chili. It is, however, a nice change of pace from the ordinary. I use two Anaheim chilies and two jalapenos in this recipe, but I treat them both the same way. I roast them, remove the skin and seeds, and chop them. Combined with cumin and oregano, the chilies give the dish the majority of its flavor. 

The secret to this chili is the chilies. Or more specifically, roasting the chilies. There are multiple ways to roast chilies, so use whatever method works for you.  The first method is using an open flame. If you have a gas stove, you can roast the peppers by turning the burner on to medium and placing the peppers right on the burner. This method is pretty quick, but you have to turn them often and be careful not to burn the peppers. A second method involves placing the peppers in a heated iron skillet and dry roasting them. The third method is to spread the peppers on a baking sheet and place them under the broiler. Regardless of method, the key is to char the peppers all over and then place them in a paper bag. Placing the peppers in a paper bag for about 15 minutes allows the steam to loosen the skins of the peppers. Once removed from the bag, the peppers can be seeded and skinned by pulling off the top and rinsing the skin and seeds away.

Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I enjoyed watching the Colts get their first win of the season!

White Chicken Chili

2 Anaheim chilies
2 jalapenos
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1 large white onion, chopped
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1/2 Tbsp oregano
1/4 to 1/2 tsp ground red pepper
4 cups chicken broth, divided
3 cans (15 oz) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15 oz) white cream corn
2 Tbsp cornstarch
Avocado, cheese, and sour cream for garnish, if desired

Roast the peppers according to one of the methods listed above. Remove seeds and skins. Chop roasted peppers roughly and set aside.

In large stockpot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and onion and cook until onions are softened and chicken is no longer pink, stirring often. Add chilies, cumin, oregano, and red pepper. Stir and cook one minute, or until spices become fragrant.

Add 3-1/2 cups chicken broth to pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for one hour.  Remove lid, raise heat to medium and add corn and beans. Dissolve cornstarch in remaining 1/2 cup broth and stir into chili.  Continue cooking until chili is thickened and beans are heated through, about 30 minutes.  Garnish and serve.

Next week:  Smoky Sausage and Bean Chili

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Liquid Laundry Detergent

About a year and a half ago, my sister posted a recipe for homemade laundry detergent on her Exceedingly Blessed blog. Her version was a powdered detergent, and my wife has never been a big fan of powdered laundry detergent. We didn't really give it a second thought again until around Thanksgiving when we were at the local Walmart. We were in the detergent aisle and I pointed out the supplies my sister used in her recipe. My wife still had no desire to use powdered detergent, but she asked me if it was possible to make liquid laundry detergent. I told her I would look into it (code for "whatever"), so she took it upon herself to find out how to make it.

At the same time, my son was having problems with eczema, so my wife was willing to try anything at that point, especially if it was hypoallergenic. She found this recipe, and we decided to try it. We decided to go with a soap we knew was a mild enough to not make our son's eczema worse. The first time we made this was right before Christmas last year, and last week we finally had to make some more. That's right, almost nine months without buying laundry detergent. Hopefully the next batch lasts as long.

I make this in a five gallon bucket in the tub, then dilute it in an old liquid laundry detergent container for use. Half a cup will do a medium sized load, while 5/8 cup is plenty for a full load. Based on the full load size, this will do approximately 250 loads of laundry. Not bad for less than $10. As far as additives, with our kids being in school, we decided to add some tea tree oil to keep to help prevent them from having to deal with lice (so far, it has worked like a charm).  You can add whatever scent you like (lavender would be great).  If you do add essential oils, 5-6 drops per gallon is about the right amount.

Liquid Laundry Detergent

2 1.75 oz bars Dove soap
1 cup washing soda (NOT baking soda)
1/2 cup borax
Essential oils, if desired

Heat about six cups of water to a simmer in a large pot. Grate soap bars and add to water. Stir until all soap is melted (if needed, add a little more water to make sure all soap melts).

Fill a five gallon bucket about half full with hot tap water. Add washing soda and borax, stir to dissolve.  Pour in melted soap. Mix, then fill bucket to one inch from top with hot water. Let set overnight (mixture will thicken). Add essential oils to thickened liquid, if using. Stir well.

To use, mix equal parts water and detergent mix in a separate container suitable for pouring (we use an old liquid laundry detergent jug). Shake well prior to each use.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Vegetarian Chili

The first weekend after Labor Day means one thing....the start of the NFL season. I am a huge football fan. My favorite team is the Colts, and I like watching them as much as I like to cook.  To me, one of the foods that is synonymous with football is chili.  Whether watching the game at home or tailgating at the stadium, nothing tastes as good as a piping hot bowl of homemade chili.

This season, I plan to take my love of football and chili to the extreme. I will make a different batch of chili every Sunday and share them all with you. That's right. Seventeen weeks of football, seventeen batches of chili. From now through December 31, every Monday I will share a different recipe for homemade chili. There will be all different types of chili. Some with beans, some without. Some spicy enough to make you think twice about a second bite, others milder.  Some with pasta, some without.  Some with ingredients you normally would not think of for chili.  Some pork, some chicken, some beef, and even some with no meat whatsoever. Seventeen different chilies. Seventeen weeks. This is going to be a good season. I can feel it.

The first chili of the season is a vegetarian chili. Much of the produce I use in this chili is from the Omaha Farmer's Market. Portabella mushrooms, zucchini, and corn combine with beans, tomatoes, and traditional chili seasonings to make a thick and zesty chili that will please even the most carnivorous of football fans. Additionally, this is a good way to get some vegetables in at a time normally reserved for hot wings, pizza, and beer.

Vegetarian Chili

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
3 jalapenos, seeded and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 small zucchini, diced
1 1/2 lbs baby portabella mushrooms, chopped
3 ears corn, husked and removed from cob
3 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1/2 Tbsp salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 cans (15 oz each) diced tomatoes
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
2 cans (15 oz each) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup water
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

In Dutch oven or large stockpot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onions, bell pepper, jalapenos, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until soft, about 4 minutes.

Add zucchini, mushrooms, and corn. Continue cooking until mushrooms begin to soften and give off a little liquid, about 6-7 minutes. Add chili powder, cumin, salt, and cayenne. Stir and cook until spices become fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans, and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro. Garnish with sour cream, cheese, and additional cilantro, if desired.

Next week:  White Chicken Chili

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Red Chicken

Today I have been asked to not only share my recipe for Red Chicken with you, my loyal readers, but also with the followers of The Sexy Single Mommy. She has just re-launched her blog with a whole new format, so show her some love and visit her new and improved site.

In our house, weeknight dinners need to be fast. Between homework, extracurricular activities, and squeezing in time to relax, there just isn't a lot of time for cooking. This recipe is perfect for nights when dinner has to be on the table in a hurry. From start to finish, this chicken dinner can be prepared in under 30 minutes using fresh ingredients, rather than reaching for a box of Hamburger Helper or heading to the drive-thru.

I call this dish red chicken because everything that goes into the pan (with the exception of the chicken) is red. Red bell pepper, red onion, and red wine vinegar make a flavorful topping for the chicken, while the red pepper flakes add a little bit of heat in the background. Even my picky daughter likes this, and that says a lot. I like to serve this with buttered noodles or Oven-Roasted Potatoes and a green vegetable.

Red Chicken

1 1/2 lb boneless chicken tenders
2 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup red onion, sliced thinly
3/4 cup red bell pepper, sliced thinly
2/3 cup red wine vinegar
Pinch of red pepper flakes

In large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and brown on each side, about 3 minutes each.

Add onion, bell pepper, and red pepper flakes. Continue cooking over medium high until onions and peppers are softened, about 3 minutes.

Add red wine vinegar to pan and reduce heat to medium. Simmer until chicken is cooked through and vinegar is reduced and thickens to form a sauce. Serve immediately.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Breakfast Danishes

Breakfast in my house is usually very rushed. I have to be at work, the kids have to go to school, and my wife has to referee any fights that occur during this time. Everyone is pulling in a different direction, which makes it difficult to have anything more for breakfast than a bowl of cereal or oatmeal on most days. On occasion, though, I like to make up a batch of danishes. These danishes are in no way the healthiest breakfast you can have, but they are a nice change of pace. They also freeze well, allowing me to make a dozen and freeze them in bags of four. Then all I have to do is lay them out the night before and we have some lovely pastries for breakfast.

The dough for these is a basic yeast dough that needs to rise, then is rolled out and topped with butter. It is then folded over and rolled out again several more times to create multiple flaky layers. This may seem like a lot of work, but it is necessary to create all the layers. The danishes are then shaped, topped with a little jam, and baked until golden brown and delicious. At that point, they can be served, but I like to finish them off with a drizzle of lemon flavored icing.

As far as the filling goes, my favorite is my homemade Triple Berry Jam, but you can also use any flavor of homemade or store bought jam you like. Some other favorites are strawberry, apricot, blackberry, and blueberry.

Breakfast Danishes

1 1/3 cup warm water (100-110 degrees F)
4 tsp yeast
6 1/2 oz cake flour
14 3/4 oz bread flour
1/2 Tbsp salt
4 1/2 Tbsp sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups butter (3 sticks), divided
3/4 cup fruit jam
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and stir to dissolve. Leave for 15 minutes or until foamy. Place the flour, salt, sugar, and 2 Tbsp of the butter in a large bowl. Add the foamed yeast and egg. Mix together to for a sticky dough, then turn out onto a floured work surface. With floured hands, knead for five minutes. Place in mixing bowl and cover with a towel. Let rise in a warm place (75-80 degrees F) for about 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Punch down dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Roll dough out into 12 x 18 inch rectangle. Slice remaining butter into very thin slices and arrange in single layer over 1/2 of the rolled out dough.

Fold dough over to cover butter. Fold dough in thirds and wrap in plastic. Return to refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out into a 12 x 18 inch rectangle. Fold in half, then in thirds again. Wrap and return to fridge and chill 30 minutes. Repeat this step two more times.

Roll dough out into 14 x 18 1/2 inch rectangle  Trim edges to make 13 1/2 x 18 inch rectangle. Cut into 12 4-1/2 squares. Fold edges up to form danish shape. Place danishes on baking sheet and cover with a towel. Let rise 40 minutes. While dough is rising, preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Divide jam evenly among danishes. If desired, brush tops of pastry with melted butter. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown and delicious. Let cool at least one hour.

In small bowl, stir together powdered sugar and lemon juice. If needed, add up to one extra tablespoon of lemon juice to bring icing to a good drizzling consistency. Drizzle icing over top of cooled danishes. Serve with coffee, if desired.

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