Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Slow Cooker Beef Stew | Bakewell Junction

Slow Cooker Beef Stew | Bakewell Junction

It’s been pretty cold here in the north east in the past few weeks.  One of the best and warming comfort foods to fight off the cold is beef stew.  I’m always looking for a way to make delicious dishes with a minimum of work.  I found this recipe on and modified it to my liking.  A lot of slow cooker beef stew recipes have have steps that include browning the meat and then deglazing the pan.  If I’m using the slow cooker, I want the recipe to be as simple as possible and I want a one pot meal.

This beef stew recipe is hearty, filling and warming.  I love it and my husband does too.  Don’t you want some?


Slow Cooker Beef Stew


  • 3 sliced onions
  • 3 pounds cubed beef stew meat (beef round or chuck)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1 cup baby carrots
  • 4 large potatoes cubed
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper (optional – I skipped this ingredient)
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 1 ounce package dry onion soup mix
  • 1/4 warm water
  • 2 tablespoons flour


Step 1:  Add the sliced onions, cubed beef, salt, carrots, potatoes, parsley, butter, wine and pepper into a 6 quart slow cooker.  In a small bowl or four cup measure, combine boiling water and soup mix.  After mixing thoroughly, pour the soup mixture into the slow cooker.

Step 2:  Cover and cook on high setting for 30 minutes.  Change heat setting to low and cook for 7 hours or until meat, potatoes and carrots are fork tender.

Step 3:  In a cup, combine 1/4 warm water and 2 tablespoons flour.  After the flour is dissolved in the water, add the mixture to the stew and cook uncovered for 15 minutes or longer until the stew is thickened.  Serve warm.

This recipe stores well in the refrigerator and tastes just as good as left-overs.


Recipe adapted from

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Foodie Friends Friday

Pfeffernusse Cookies

Pfeffernusse | Bakewell Junction

Pfeffernusse | Bakewell Junction

This week I’m sharing a recipe that reminds me of the Pfeffernusse that my sisters and I loved from Stella D’Oro.  The company is still around but it’s been sold at least once and they no longer make Pfeffernusse or at least I can’t find them.  There are other cookies that we remember fondly but I haven’t found recipes for those yet.

Pfeffernusse (which means pepper nut) are a lightly spiced cookie that’s quite delicious.  Be sure to coat with powdered sugar, since the dough isn’t very sweet.  It’s a great bite-sized treat.


Yield:  75 cookies                  Cook Time:  10 – 15 minutes

  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon anise seeds
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or vegetable shortening
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped blanched almonds
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/3 cup brandy
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar for coating


Step 1:  Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, black pepper in a medium bowl.  Add the cloves, cinnamon and anise seeds to the flour mixture and set aside.

Step 2:  In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer.  Add the egg and beat well until light.  Beat in the almonds.  The flour mixture will be added to the butter mixture in three additions, alternating with the remaining ingredients.  Mix in the molasses; then mix in 1/3 of the flour mixture; then mix in the brandy; then mix in 1/3 of the flour mixture; then mix in the honey and lemon rind; then mix in the rest of the flour mixture; finally mix in the lemon juice.  Beat well.  Cover mixture with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Step 3:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare cookie sheet by covering it with parchment paper or cooking spray.  Shape dough into 1 inch balls and place at least 1 inch apart on the cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes.

Step 4:  Place powdered sugar in a small bowl.  While cookies are still warm, roll in powdered sugar until well coated.

Storing:  Store cookies in a sealed plastic container.


Recipe from Barbara Grunes’ Joy of Baking cookbook.

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Foodie Friends Friday

Brown Sugar Caramels

Brown Sugar Caramel by Bakewell Junction

Brown Sugar Caramel by Bakewell Junction

My hubby has been trying to watch what he eats, so I decided it was time to make something he doesn’t like.  I had seen the Brown Sugar Caramels recipe in a guest post Liz from That Skinny Chick Can Bake wrote for Lora from Cake Duchess on December 10th and since my hubby doesn’t like caramels, I made the recipe thinking it would prevent him from being tempted.  He hasn’t been tempted all that much but he did taste them and he really liked them.

While my caramels tasted delicious, they didn’t look as good a Liz’s.  They turned out a little soft too.  This could be because of a few factors.  I didn’t have half and half, so I substituted half with heavy whipping cream and half with whole milk – isn’t that what half and half is?  The 3 quart sauce pan I started cooking in was too small and the mixture was about to boil over, so I had to switch to a 4 quart stock pot when I got to about 225 degrees.  I would recommend making this recipe in a pot that is at least 3.5 quarts.  I also didn’t have non-stick aluminum foil, so I lined the 8 by 8 inch pan with regular foil and sprayed with cooking spray.  Liz’s tips were very helpful and the caramels turned out wonderfully since I’d never made them before.  I’ll enjoy making these again.  You can find the Brown Sugar Caramels recipe on Lora’s site.


This post may also be entered in the following linky party.  Click the buttons below to see the other great posts in the blog hop.

Foodie Friends Friday

Struffoli (Fried Italian Honey Balls)

Struffoli by Bakewell Junction

Struffoli by Bakewell Junction

I have another recipe that you just gotta try.  This recipe is a Neapolitan favorite.  There are similar recipes in other regions of Italy but this is the best.  My husband’s family had a recipe but it just wasn’t quite right, so I was thrilled a few years ago when I found this one.  There are many similarities between this recipe and last week’s post but I always make both because I can’t make just one.

Since this recipe is a little finicky, here are a few detailed tips.

Add the dry ingredients to a large bowl and set aside.

Struffoli2 by Bakewell Junction

CuStruffoli3 by Bakewell Junctiont in the butter.

Add the vanilla and the first two eggs.

Struffoli4 by Bakewell Junction

Once combined, then repeat with the next two eggs and again with the last two eggs.

Struffoli5 by Bakewell Junction

Knead dough for 5 minutes and form into a ball.

Struffoli6 by Bakewell Junction

Place the dough on floured cutting board and lightly flour the top.

Struffoli7 by Bakewell Junction

After the dough has rested, begin forming the balls by rolling the 1/2 inch strips and cutting into 1/2 inch balls.

Struffoli8 by Bakewell Junction

A quarter of the dough formed into balls looks like this.

Struffoli9 by Bakewell Junction

After 3/4 of the dough balls have have been formed, begin heating the oil to 375 degrees.  Fry the balls in batches.  To ensure the cookies cook evenly on all sides, I shake the basket to turn them.

Struffoli9 by Bakewell Junction

Just to give you an idea of how much the little balls puff up.

Struffoli11 by Bakewell Junction

Move drained fried balls to a large bowl lined with paper towels.

Struffoli12 by Bakewell Junction

After all the cookies are fried, heat the honey in a medium sauce pan.

Italian Wine Cookies12 by Bakewell Junction

Add the cookies to a rubbermaid container and pour the warm honey over the cookies and turn them to coat.

Struffoli13 by Bakewell Junction

Great for gifts in ziploc containers.

Struffoli14 by Bakewell Junction


Yield:  too many to count                  Cook Time:  90 minutes


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or vegetable shortening
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 large eggs
  • oil for deep frying (I use olive oil)
  • 40 ounces honey or more to taste, slightly warmed


  • Non-pareils
  • White candy coated almonds (Jordan Almonds)


Step 1:  Combine sugar, flour and baking powder in a large bowl.  Using a pastry blender or fork, cut in the butter until the butter is completely combined.  Mix in the vanilla.  Mix two eggs at a time.  The batter will look like a very thick cookie dough.

Step 2:  Knead the dough for 5 minutes.  Flour hands when the dough is sticky.  Form the dough into a ball and set the dough on a floured cutting board.  Dust the dough with flour, cover with a clean cloth and let it rest for at least 1/2 hour.

Step 3:  Divide the dough into quarters for easier handling.  Roll each quarter into 1/2 inch logs.  Cut into pieces that are about half of my pinky fingernail or 1/2 inch.  This will make a whole lot of little balls.  Be sure to keep them small as they will grow to 2.5 times the size as they cook.  Repeat with all the remaining dough.

Step 4:  When about 3/4 through forming the dough pieces, heat oil to 375 degrees in a sauce pan or a deep fryer.  I use a cast iron deep fryer with a basket.  Deep fry dough pieces about 2 to 3 dozen at a time depending on space until golden brown and cooked through (this works best if one person rolls the dough and another fries them).  Ensure the cookies are cooked on all sides evenly by shaking the basket to turn them or use a fork.  Place fried cookies in a large bowl lined with paper towels to drain.

Step 5:  Once all the cookies are fried and there is no more dough, transfer them to a large Rubbermaid container.  Heat honey in a sauce pan for at least 5 minutes on medium to high heat until it thins out and is quite warm.  Pour warm honey over fried cookies while they are still warm.  Stir cookies carefully (so they don’t get mashed) to ensure they are all covered with honey.

Step 6:  Place the cover on the container and flip the container upside down.  Repeat flipping the container every 30 minutes or so to ensure the cookies are well coated.  The cookies will soak up most of the honey as they are coated and recoated by flipping the container over and over.  Before serving sprinkle the cookies with hard candy colored balls (nonpareils) for decoration and add the candy coated almonds also.  Try not to eat them all.

Storing:  Store cookies in a sealed plastic container.  The cookies are fine for many days when stored this way.


Recipe from Elodia Rigante’s Italian Immigrant Cooking cookbook.