Saturday, January 31, 2009

BANANA SPLIT CAKE

This recipe was given to me by a family friend many years ago when my children were young (I now have 7 grandchildren.)

First Layer:
2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs
2/3 cup margarine, melted

Mix together and press into the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan. (A Tupperware oblong pan with lid works great for this.)

Second Layer:
2 sticks margarine, softened to room temperature
2 eggs OR 1/2 cup egg substitute
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Third Layer:
3 large bananas, sliced and dipped in pineapple juice

Fourth Layer:
1 can (16 oz) crushed pineapple, drained - use the juice for the bananas

Fifth Layer:
2 pkgs Dream Whip, prepared according to the package directions.

Sixth Layer:
Sprinkle with chopped nuts and halved maraschino cherries.

Cover and keep refrigerated.


Friday, January 30, 2009

CHOCOLATE CHESS PIE

1 baked 9-inch pie shell
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted
3 eggs
1/4 cup milk
2 tsps vanilla
Whipped cream for garnish

Place oven rack in the lowest position then preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together sugar, cocoa, and flour until it is lump-free. Stir in the melted butter. Mix the eggs, one at a time, into the sugar mixture and mix until smooth. Stir in the milk and vanilla. Pour the mixture into the baked and cooled pie shell. Bake on lowest rack in the 350 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Serve garnished with whipped cream.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

PRIZE WINNING WHITE CAKE

2 cups flour
3 tsps baking powder
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, separated
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla flavoring

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 round cake pans or 1 9x13-inch pan and set aside.

Sift flour and baking powder together into a large bowl. Add the shortening to the flour mixture and cream the ingredients together until light and fluffy. Beat the egg yolks separately and add to the creamed mixture one at a time alternating with the flour mixture and a small amount of the evaporated milk, continuing to cream after each addition until smooth. Beat the egg whites and add the vanilla to them. Combine with the batter mixture and continue to cream until all the ingredients are combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan or pans and bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes (depending on which pans you use) or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool and frost with your favorite frosting.


BOILED CREAMY FROSTING

1 cup milk
4 tbsps sifted flour
8 tbsps butter
8 tbsps shortening
1 cup sugar
2 tsps vanilla
food colors as desired, optional

In a small saucepan, combine the milk and flour. Boil the mixture until it thickens. Set aside to cool. Beat butter and shortening together for 4 minutes until fluffy. Add sugar and beat 4 minutes longer. Add cooled flour mixture and beat another 4 minutes. Add vanilla and beat until it is blended in. Add food colors, if desired. Use to frost your favorite cake.

Note: This is enough frosting to frost a two-layer cake.

Note: This frosting will keep for a week in the refrigerator if you need to make it ahead.


OATMEAL APPLE COOKIES

3/4 cup butter-flavored shortening
1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup peeled, diced apples
3/4 cup raisins, optional
3/4 cup walnut pieces, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease baking sheets and set aside.

Cream shortening, brown sugar, egg, milk and vanilla at medium speed of an electric mixer for 1 1/2 minutes. In a small bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Beat into the creamed mixture with the mixer on low speed until well blended. Stir in the apples, raisins and nuts, if using. Stir in the oats. Drop the mixture by rounded tablespoonfuls on the prepared baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 13 minutes. Cool 2 minutes on the baking sheet. Then remove the cookies to a wire rack to finish cooling. Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

Note: This is a stock photo.

PEANUT BUTTER CREME FUDGE TORTE CAKE

Cake:
1 white or yellow moist supreme cake mix
1 1/4 cups water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs

Filling:
6 tbsps all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla

Glaze:
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/3 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease and lightly flour two 9-inch cake pans. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl at low speed, mix cake mix,water, oil, and eggs until moistened. Beat for 2 minutes at high speed. Pour batter into the prepared pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of cakes comes out clean. Cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove the cakes from pans and allow to cool completely on wire racks.

While the cake is baking, prepare the filling. In a medium saucepan, combine the flour and milk. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, until very thick. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Cool in the refrigerator while cake is baking and cooling. Combine the sugar, butter, peanut butter and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and cream together well. When the milk mixture is chilled, add to the creamed mixture and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Cut the cooled cake layers in half horizontally using a thread or a long sharp knife to form 4 thin layers. Place one layer on the serving plate with the cut side up. Spread 1/3 of the filling mixture evenly over the layer. Repeat with the second and third layers. Top with the remaining layer putting it cut side down.

In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips and oil. Microwave on medium for 1 to 2 minutes until chocolate morsels are melted. Stir until smooth. Reserve 1/4 cup of the glaze. Spread remainder of the glaze evenly over the top of the cake. Sprinkle with the chopped peanuts. Use the reserved glaze to drizzle over the peanuts and down sides of the cake. Refrigerate until serving time. This cake should be refrigerated at least 2 hours before cutting. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

CHOCOLATE ORANGE MARBLE POUNDCAKE

3 cups cake flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 1/4 cups sugar
6 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup milk
1 tbsp grated orange peel
3 squares (1-oz each) semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly grease 10-inch tube pan with removable bottom and dust with flour tapping out any excess. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer at medium speed, beat together butter, sugar, and eggs until light and fluffy. At low speed, beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk. Beat after each addition until smooth. Place 2 cups of the batter into a small bowl and stir in the orange peel; set aside. Stir melted chocolate into the remaining batter. Spoon a layer of the chocolate batter into bottom of prepared pan. Top with a thin layer of the orange-flavored batter. Repeat with the remaining batters alternating orange over chocolate and chocolate over orange. With a large metal spatula, gently swirl batters together a few times to marble. Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched with fingertip. Cool cake in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Loosen from edge of pan by running a thin knife or spatula between cake and pan. Remove sides of pan. Cool cake completely before removing the center and bottom. Cake is best when allowed to stand overnight before cutting.

SOFT OATMEAL COOKIES

3/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 cup thick sweetened applesauce
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1 cup oatmeal
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and sugar; add eggs and mix in. In another bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon and cloves together. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture alternately with the applesauce. Add the raisins, nuts, oatmeal and vanilla. Drop by teaspoon onto greased cookie sheet about 2-inches apart to allow for spreading. Bake 15 minutes or until done in a 375 degree oven. Makes 4 dozen.

Monday, January 26, 2009

MICROWAVE APPLE CRUNCH

This recipe was in a Women's Magazine many years ago when microwaves were first popular.

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup Graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
3 tbsps packed brown sugar
2 tbsps all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 lbs Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/4 cup sugar

Melt butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Stir in the Graham cracker crumbs, oats, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Stir until well blended; set aside. Put apples and sugar in an 8-inch square microwave-safe dish and toss to mix. Sprinkle the topping mixture from the bowl evenly over the apples. Microwave uncovered on high for 8 to 10 minutes until the apples are tender when pierced with a fork. Use a rotating microwave pad or turn the mixture halfway through the cooking time for even cooking. Remove from the microwave and set on a flat surface for 30 minutes until just warm and topping is firm.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Ms Hazel's Oatmeal Cookies

An old cookbook recipe.

1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup solid shortening
2 eggs
2 cups oats
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the white sugar, brown sugar, shortening and eggs. Mix together until fluffy. Stir in the oats. Sift the flour, baking soda, and baking powder into the oats mixture. Mix well and stir in the vanilla, raisins, and chopped nuts, if using. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minuts or until slightly brown around edges.


CREAM CHEESE BROWNIE PIE

1 9-inch pie crust
8 oz cream cheese, softened
3 tbsps sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
1 pkg (15 oz) Fudge Brownie Mix (with a fudge packet)
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tbsps water
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and 1 of the eggs. Beat the mixture until smooth. Set aside. Reserve the fudge packet from the brownie mix.

In a large bowl, combine the brownie mix, canola oil, 1 tablespoon of the water, and the remaining two eggs. Beat the mixture 50 strokes with a large spoon. Spread 1/2 cup of this mixture over the pie crust. Spoon the cream cheese mixture evenly and carefully over the brownie mixture. Top cream cheese mixture with the remaining brownie mixture. Spread evenly. Sprinkle with the chopped pecans.

Bake pie at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes or until the center is puffed and the crust is golden brown. Place the ingredients of the fudge packet in a small microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir the remaining water into the chocolate. Drizzle over the top of the pie. Cool at least 3 hours before cutting. Store this pie in the refrigerator.

Friday, January 23, 2009

ORANGE CUPCAKES with White Chocolate Frosting

6 tbsps butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp freshly grated orange peel
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 large egg
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup orange juice
1 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use electric mixer to beat the butter, sugar, orange peel, baking powder and baking soda together until fluffy. On low speed, beat in the egg, then sour cream, then orange juice. At this point the batter will look curdled. Beat in the flour to blend. Spoon into the paper lined muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Then frost with White Chocolate Frosting; recipe below.

White Chocolate Frosting:

1 cup white chocolate chips
1 stick butter, softened
2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tbsps orange juice

Melt chips as directed on the package; cool slightly. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the melted chips into a large bowl. Add the butter to the chips and beat with electric mixer to combine. Add the powdered sugar and orange juice. Beat the mixture on low speed until all is blended. Increase the speed to high and beat for about 2 minutes until the mixture is fluffy. Add a few more drops of juice if needed to get the right consistency for spreading. Tint frosting yellow or a light orange, if desired.


BAKED APPLE CRISPS

3 tbsps butter, chilled
1 cup quick oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
6 large Granny Smith apples
2 1/2 tbsps butter
1 cup Caramel Apple Dip
Whipped cream, if desired

To make the Crisp Mixture:

Cut the 3 tablespoons of butter into the oats, sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg until mixture is crumbly. Cut 1/3 off the top of the apples. Core out the center of the apples using a melon baller. Mix the cut-off apple pieces with the crisp mixture. Spread the remaining butter inside of the apples. Fill the hollow of the apples with the crisp mixture, pressing the mixture firmly into the apples. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and top with the caramel apple dip. Return to oven and bake another 20 minutes. Serve topped with whipped cream sprinkled with cinnamon, if desired.


BANANA-WALNUT MUFFINS

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar (For diabetics, measure 1 tbsp sugar into 1/4 cup measure and finish filling with Splenda or Equal)
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup mashed ripe banana
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 12 muffin tin cups.

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl. Make a well in the center of the mixture. In a small bowl, mix the milk, egg, water, oil, banana and walnuts together well. Pour the milk mixture into the well of the flour mixture. Mix the batter just until all the flour mixture is moistened. Do not overmix muffin batter! Spoon the batter (using an ice cream scoop makes muffins even in size) into the prepared muffin tin cups. Bake at 400 degrees about 15 minutes until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and muffins are golden.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

STRAWBERRIES AND ICE CREAM COOKIE CUPS

1/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted
3 tbsps sugar
1 egg white
2 tbsps flour
1 tbsp butter, melted
1 pint French vanilla ice cream
1 pint fresh strawberries, washed and hulled
1/3 cup seedless strawberry preserves

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a baking sheet.

Process nuts and sugar in a food processor until nuts are finely ground. Beat the egg white with a fork in a small bowl until white is frothy. Add the nut mixture to the white and stir with a rubber spatula to blend. Stir in the flour, then the butter. Invert four, 2 to 2 1/2-inch across the bottom glasses, onto the work surface.

Drop 2 mounds of batter (1/4 of the batter each) 3-inches apart on the greased baking sheet. Spread each mound into a 4 1/2-inch circle. Bake 7 minutes or until brown around the edges. Remove from the pan with a metal spatula. Drape each over one of the glasses. Allow the baking sheet to cool, then repeat the entire process.

Using a small scoop, drop 12 balls of ice cream onto a baking sheet with sides that has been lined with waxed paper. Place the sheet in the freezer.

Into a small bowl, slice the strawberries. Stir in the strawberry preserves. Puree 3/4 cup of the mixture in a food processor until smooth.

To assemble and serve: Divide the puree by fourths onto 4 dessert plates. Place a cookie cup in the center of each plate. Fill each cup with 3 of the ice cream balls and top with remaining sliced berries.

LEMON POPPY SEED BREAD

2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsps vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon extract
2 tbsps poppy seeds
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsps baking powder
1 1/2 tsps salt
1 1/2 cups milk

Glaze

2 tbsps lemon juice
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 loaf pans.

In a large bowl, combine sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla, and lemon extract; mix well. Stir in poppy seeds.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture and milk to sugar mixture alternately, mixing well after each addition. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Loosen edges from sides of pans. Cool loaves in pans for about 10 minutes. Turn out on wire racks.

Make the glaze by blending the lemon juice and confectioners' sugar in a small bowl. Drizzle over the warm loaves.

NOTE: You can make a great spread to use on this bread by combining poppy seeds to softened cream cheese.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

CARAMEL NUT TART

1 1/4 cups Graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 tbsps firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
35 caramels
1/3 cup whipping cream
1 tbsp instant coffee granules
3 cups toasted pecan pieces
1-oz (1 square-) baking chocolate

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Mix Graham cracker crumbs, butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl. Press the mixture firmly onto the bottom and 1-inch up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.

Unwrap the caramels into a large microwaveable bowl. Add the whipping cream and coffee granules. Combine the ingredients and microwave on High for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring every minute, until the caramels are completely melted. Stir in the pecans. Spread the mixture evenly over the crust. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until firm. Melt 1 square of baking chocolate and drizzle over the top before serving, if desired.

Yield: 12 servings.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

STRAWBERRY-ALMOND CRUMBLE

5 cups fresh strawberries, halved*
1 large apple, peeled, cored, chopped**
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsps all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine strawberries, apple, sugar, vanilla, and flour in a large bowl; stir to mix well. Spread mixture into a shallow baking dish and set aside.

*You may substitute unsweetend frozen berries
**In my opinion, Macintosh apples work the best.

Topping:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tbsps butter

Combine flour, oats, almonds, nutmeg, and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it forms coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the crumbs over the top of the fruit mixture. Bake until the topping is light brown, about 25 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 15 minutes.

Serve topped with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired.

NOTE: This recipe can easily be used by diabetics by substituting Splenda for the sugar in the berry mixture (this substitution will go unnoticed in this type of recipe) and replacing the brown sugar in the topping with 2 firmly packed tablespoons of Splenda brown sugar blend.




Monday, January 19, 2009

LUBY'S MISSISSIPPI MUD CAKE

CAKE:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
4 extra-large eggs
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped pecans
1 tsp vanilla

ICING:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
1 3/4 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 cups miniature marshmallows
2 tbsps + 2 1/2 tsps unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup pecan pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 13 x 9-inch baking pan.

For cake: In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugar, and cocoa until smooth and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour, pecans, and vanilla. Mix just until blended. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

For icing: Combine butter, sugar, marshmallows, cocoa, and milk in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat just until marshmallows are melted, stirring frequently. Drizzle over cake. Sprinkle with pecans and cool completely. Garnish each piece with a dollop of whipped cream topped with a maraschino cherry, if desired.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

SHORTCUT WARM CHOCOLATE BANANA CREPES

1 small pkg (4-serving size) Chocolate Instant Pudding Mix
1 1/2 cups milk
6 tbsps butter
6 tbsps brown sugar
3 med bananas, sliced
3 large burrito-style flour tortillas
6 tbsps frozen whipped topping, thawed

In a medium bowl, with a wire whisk, beat the dry pudding mix into the milk. Whisk 2 minutes to thicken; set aside.

In a large skillet, place the butter and brown sugar. Cook mixture over medium heat until butter is melted and the mixture is well blended, stirring occasionally. Add banana slices; cook while stirring for a couple of minutes until heated through. Transfer banana mixture to a bowl and cover to keep warm.

Heat the tortillas, one at a time, in the same pan used above. Remove heat tortilla from pan and spoon about 1/2 cup of the pudding mixture evenly down the center of each tortilla. Top the pudding mixture evenly with the banana mixture. Fold in both ends of the tortilla, then roll up. Cut each tortilla, crosswise, in half to make 6 tortilla "crepes".

Place each half, seam side down on a serving plate. Top each half with approximately 1 tablespoon whipped topping before serving immediately.

NOTE: You can also buy ready-to-use crepes if you don't like tortillas.

CARAMEL-APPLE BARS

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, chilled
1 can (21-oz) apple pie filling
20 caramels, unwrapped
1 can (14-oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour, oats, and brown sugar in a bowl; mix well. Stir in baking soda and salt. Cut in butter until crumbly. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the mixture. Press the remaining mixture over bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes; cool slightly. Spread pie filling over baked crust.

In a medium saucepan, combine the caramels with the sweetened condensed milk. Cook the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, until smooth. This will take approximately 5 minutes. Pour over pie filling. Mix reserved oats mixture and the walnuts in a bowl. Sprinkle over the caramel layer. Bake about 20 minutes until set. Cool. Cut into bars.

SO, SO, EASY BABY STRAWBERRY TARTS

8-oz strawberry light cream cheese spread
1 box (2.1 oz) frozen baked mini fillo dough shells, room temperature
1 pint fresh small ripe strawberries, rinsed but not stemmed

Spoon the cream cheese spread into a pastry bag or a large heavy-duty plastic zip-top bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe the spread into the fillo cups. Pick the prettiest 15 strawberries and slice each berry about 3 times from the tip almost to the stem. Fan the slices and place atop the filling. Serve immediately. Perfect little dessert cups for many different occasions.

Note: These baby berry tarts really add color to a buffet table or dessert table. They are also perfect for bridal showers and baby showers, especially if the baby is a girl.

MINT CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES

1/3 cup semisweet mint-chocolate chips
4-oz Neufchatel cheese, softened
16-oz pkg powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
2 tbsps semisweet mint-chocolate chips

Place the 1/3 cup mint-chocolate chips in a microwave safe medium to large bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute or until the chips are almost melted. Stir until smooth. Set aside to cool.

When chocolate is cooled, add the Neufchatel cheese and beat at medium speed of an electric mixer until smooth. Add the powdered sugar to the mixture and beat until well blended. Press the mixture into a 6-inch square on heavy-duty plastic wrap and cover with additional plastic wrap. Chill at least one hour. Remove the top sheet of plastic wrap and cut truffle into 48 squares. Roll each square into a small ball and place on waxed paper. Roll half the balls in the unsweetened cocoa and the other half in the powdered sugar. Place the 2 tablespoons of the mint-chocolate chips into a heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag. Microwave on high 1 minute or until the chips are softened. Knead the bag until the chips are smooth. Make a tiny snip in one bottom corner of the bag. Drizzle chocolate over the balls that have been rolled in cocoa. Serve at room temperature.

Note: I got this recipe from Cooking Light in 1999.

MUD HENS

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 egg white, reserving 2 egg whites
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix butter, sugar,eggs, flour, baking powder, vanilla, and salt together. Spread very thinly in a greased 9 x 13-inch pan. Sprinkle with nuts. Beat remaining 2 egg whites until stiff and beat in the brown sugar. Spread over the nuts. Bake for 30 minutes. Cut into 24 squares while still hot.

Note: File Photo

Saturday, January 17, 2009

WHITE CHIP APRICOT OATMEAL COOKIES

3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
10-oz pkg Hershey's Premier White Chips
3/4 cup dried apricots

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Beat butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a large bowl until fluffy. Add egg and beat well. Add flour and baking soda; beat until well blended. Stir in oats, white chips and apricots. Loosely form rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 7 to 9 minutes or just until lightly browned. Do not overbake! Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to a wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

Friday, January 16, 2009

VERY EASY BANANA PUDDING

3 cups cold milk
2 pkg (4 serving size each) banana flavor instant pudding and pie filling mix
Approximately 30 vanilla wafers
3 medium bananas, sliced
1 8-oz frozen whipped topping, thawed

Pour milk into a large mixing bowl. Add pudding mixes to milk and beat using a wire whisk for 2 minutes or until well blended. Let stand for about 5 minutes. Arrange half of the vanilla wafers in the bottom and up the sides of a serving bowl. Add layers of banana slices and pudding, ending with pudding. Spread the whipped topping over the pudding. Refrigerate until serving time.

Note: To keep bananas from discoloring, dip in lemon juice or pineapple juice before layering with the pudding.

CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKES

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
3 tbsps unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup light cream or half and half
1 pint strawberries, sliced
Whipped cream

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a medium-large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cocoa, and salt. Stir to blend. Gradually add the cream, mixing with a wooden or large plastic spoon until the mixture clings together. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface for about 1 minute. Pat dough into a 3/4-inch thick rectangle. Cut pastry dough into 6 rounds using a biscuit cutter. Arrange rounds on the prepared baking sheet. Place in oven and bake at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Split the shortcakes in half horizontally. Top half of the rounds with the strawberries, then the whipped cream. Replace the top half and top with a dollop of whipped cream topped with one or two strawberry halves. Serve immediately after assembling.


Cinnamon Carrot Cake

9 oz pkg yellow cake mix
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 egg
1 cup shredded carrots
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, water, butter, and egg. Mix as directed on cake mix package. Stir in the carrots and cinnamon. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

FROSTING:

2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature
3 tbsps milk
1/2 tsp vanilla

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat at medium speed scraping down the sides of the bowl frequently, until creamy. Spread over cooled cake.

Note: For variations you may add 1/4 cup raisins and/or 1/4 cup chopped walnuts to the cake batter.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

RASPBERRY WHITE CHOCOLATE CAKE

6 oz white baking chocolate
1 stick butter
1 pkg (18.5 oz) white cake mix
1 cup milk
3 eggs
1 tbsp Raspberry extract
2 to 3 drops red food coloring
1 cup fresh raspberries, optional

Microwave white chocolate and butter in a bowl, stirring every 15 seconds until blended. Cool slightly.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the cake mix, milk, eggs, raspberry extract, and the butter mixture on low speed of electric mixer until moistened. Increase speed to medium and beat two minutes or until well blended. Pour batter evenly into two greased and floured 9-inch cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans for 10 minutes then remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

FROSTING:
8-oz cream cheese
1/4 cup stick butter
6-oz white baking chocolate, melted
2 tsps raspberry extract
2 cups powdered sugar

Beat cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl on medium speed until well blended. Add while chocolate and raspberry extract; mix well. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until light and fluffy.

To assemble:
Take 3/4 cup of the frosting and add the red food coloring from the cake ingredients. Mix until the color is well blended. Take 1 cake layer and place in the center of the serving plate. Top the cake layer with the tinted frosting, spreading evenly. Place the other layer over top of the frosting. Frost top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. If desired, arrange fresh raspberries around the top edge of the cake and around the bottom. Or put a few berries on the top in the center.

16 servings

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

EASY APPLE COBBLER

8 cups sliced and peeled apples, preferably Granny Smith
1/3 cup apple cider
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp chilled butter, cut into pieces
1 sheet of refrigerated pie dough
1 tsp water
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1 tbsp sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Arrange apple slices in an 11x7-inch baking dish. Drizzle the cider over the apples. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup and level it off with a butter knife. Combine the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Cut the butter into the flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle flour mixture over the apple mixture. Roll dough into a rectangle one inch larger on each side than the baking dish. Place the dough over the apple mixture and fold edges under and flute with your fingers. Cut two or three small slits in the pastry to allow steam to escape. Combine the water and egg whites, stirring together well. Brush the egg white mixture over the dough using a pastry brush. Sprinkle sugar over the top of the pastry. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until the crust is a golden brown.


Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

MACADAMIA BUTTER COOKIES WITH DRIED CRANBERRIES

2/3 cup macadamia nuts
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries, chopped
1 tbsp granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place nuts in a food processor and process until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl once during the process, to make macadamia butter. Combine the macadamia butter, 1/2
cup granulated sugar and the brown sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat mixture at medium speed until blended. Add the vanilla and egg to the mixture and beat well. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg, whisk to blend well. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture; beat at low speed just until combined. Stir in the cranberries. Chill dough for 10 minutes.

Divide the dough into 30 equal pieces and roll into balls. Place the 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar into a small bowl. Lightly press each ball into the sugar then place ball, sugar side up, on a parchment covered baking sheet. Gently press the top of each ball with a fork. Dip the fork in water and gently press each top again to form a criss-cross pattern (like peanut butter cookies). Bake at 375 degrees for 9 minutes or until golden brown. Remove cookies from the cookie sheets and cool on wire racks.


Monday, January 12, 2009

TRIPLE LAYER CHOCOLATE BARS

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup cocoa, divided
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup chopped nuts
2 cups (12 oz pkg) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, stir graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup of the cocoa and the sugar together. Stir butter into mixture, blending well. Press mixture firmly onto bottom of ungreased 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan.

In a small bowl, beat sweetened condensed milk, flour, egg, vanilla, baking powder and the remaining cocoa. Stir nuts into the mixture. Spread evenly over prepared crust. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Bake in 350 degree oven for 25 minutes or until set. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Cut into 24 or 36 bars depending on the size you want. Store in a tightly covered container at room temperature.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

DROP SUGAR COOKIES

2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar + additional sugar for topping
2/3 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well. In a large bowl, using a wire whisk, whisk eggs until blended. Add sugar, oil, vanilla, and lemon zest; mix well. Stir the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until well blended. Chill, covered, for at least 30 minutes. Drop cookie dough by rounded teaspoonfuls about two inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Mist the bottom of a 3-inch flat-bottom glass with water and dip glass in additional sugar. Press tops of cookies lightly with the glass, misting with water and dipping into sugar for each cookie. Bake cookies until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Cool on baking sheets for two minutes then remove to wire racks to finish cooling. Store in an airtight container.


Note: These cookies freeze well.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

DONNA'S ITALIAN CREAM CAKE

This recipe is from an old fire department cookbook.

5 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 stick butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 can of coconut
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream the sugar, shortening, butter and vanilla together. Separate eggs and set whites aside. Add egg yolks and mix in with the creamed mixture. In a small bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt together. Add to the creamed mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Add the coconut and nuts. Beat the egg whites and fold into the batter. Pour into 3 8-inch cake pans that have been well greased and floured. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

GRANDMA'S CINNAMON BISCUITS

2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 stick butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom
1 cup milk, optional

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda; mix well. Stir in the vegetable oil. Add buttermilk and stir just until blended. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Roll dough into a 15 x 8-inch rectangle. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch round cake pan.
Spread the butter over the dough. In a small bowl, combine the granulated sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom and mix well. Sprinkle this mixture over the butter. Roll up the rectangle, jelly roll style, starting from one of the long sides. Pinch the seam to seal. Cut the roll into 1 1/2-inch slices. Arrange the slices, cut side up, in prepared cake pan. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and pour the milk over the top, if desired. Serve hot.

Note: You may omit the cardamom if you wish. The cardamom adds a Swedish touch to these tasty breakfast treats.

SURPRISE RED VELVET CUPCAKES

24 Hershey's Kisses or Hugs

Batter:
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp liquid red food coloring
2 tsp white vinegar
2 1/2 cups cake flour

Frosting:
2 (8 oz each) blocks of cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Garnish:
Colored sugar sprinkles to suit the occasion.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffin tin cups with pretty paper liners. Unwrap the candy and put one in the bottom of each lined muffin tin. Set aside.

To make the cakes:
In a large mixing bowl with mixer on a medium-high speed, beat butter, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and vanilla for 2 minutes or until creamy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until blended. In a two cup measuring cup stir the buttermilk, food coloring, and vinegar until well blended. With mixer on low speed, beat in flour in thirds, alternating with the buttermilk mixture in two additions. Beat just until blended. Put a scant 1/4 cup of the batter over the candy in each muffin cup. Pour gently so the candy stays in the center. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes before removing from pan. Then remove the cakes from the pan and allow to finish cooling on the wire rack.

To make the frosting:
Beat the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with the mixer on medium speed until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Reduce the speed to low and add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Increase the speed to high and beat until smooth and fluffy. Frost cupcakes and sprinkle with candy sugars or other decorations to suit the occasion. Refrigerate until serving.


Friday, January 9, 2009

HEALTHY CRANBERRY-WALNUT MUFFINS

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp grated orange peel
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, oats, baking powder, sugar, and cinnamon. Mix together well. Make a well in the center of the mixture.

In a small bowl, beat egg, orange peel, orange juice, and applesauce with a spoon until combined. Add this mixture to the flour mixture. Mix just until moistened. Fold in the cranberries and walnuts. Fill muffin tin cups 3/4 full. Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.



Note: Do not over mix the batter. Over mixing will cause tough, dry muffins that won't rise properly. Batter is not supposed to be smooth. It should have a lumpy appearance.

APRICOT COFFEE CAKE

1 box white cake mix
1 pkg instant vanilla pudding mix (4-serving size)
1 cup sour cream
4 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup apricot preserves
small jar maraschino cherries, chopped

TOPPING:

1 cup sugar
1 tsp cocoa
1 cup chopped pecans or toasted almonds

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, eggs, apricot preserves and cherries. Grease and flour a Bundt pan. Pour half the cake mix mixture into the pan. Top with half the topping mixture. Repeat the process with the other halves. Cut a knife through the batter to make a swirl. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Options: Make a simple glaze of powdered sugar and milk mixed together until of drizzle consistency. Drizzle over the top of the cake and top with maraschino cherry halves and chopped nuts, if desired.


HERSHEY'S CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups (12 oz pkg) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla until creamy. Add eggs; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, beating well. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts, if desired. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly on pan then remove to wire racks to cool completely.


Yield: Approximately 6 dozen cookies

To make bar cookies, prepare as above but spread dough into a greased 15 1/2 x 10 1/2 x 1-inch jelly-roll pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars.

EAGLE'S PERFECT PUMPKIN PIE

2 cups canned or cooked pumpkin
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 (9-inch) unbaked pie shell (deep dish shell works best)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a medium mixing bowl with a wire whisk, beat together pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Pour pumpkin mixture into the prepared crust. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking 35 to 40 minutes or until a knife inserted 1-inch from the crust comes out clean. Cool before cutting. Serve topped with whipped cream.


Variation: Streusel Topping: Combine 1/2 cup packed brown sugar and 1/2 cup unsifted flour; cut in 1/4 cup cold butter until crumbly. Stir in 1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts. After the pie has baked for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, sprinkle the mixture over the top of the pie and bake an additional 10 minutes.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

EASY DESSERT: PEACH MELBA

1 cup frozen raspberries, thawed
1 cup + 1 tsp sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
3 cups water
1 tsp finely grated lemon peel
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 fresh peaches
4 cups peach ice cream (or vanilla if you prefer)
4 tbsp whipped cream
4 tbsp chopped pecans

Combine the raspberries, the 1 teaspoon of sugar, and the cornstarch in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat until thickened. This should take about ten minutes. Strain mixture through a fine sieve and allow to cool.

Heat the 1 cup of sugar, water, lemon peel and vanilla extract in a large saucepan over low heat until the sugar dissolves. This should take about five minutes. Add the peaches and cook about ten minutes or until the m\peaches are tender. Chill.

Drain the peaches and peel. Cut peaches into halves from top to bottom; discard the pits. Place a peach half in each of 4 dessert dishes. Place 1 cup of ice cream in each peach half. Drizzle the raspberry sauce over the ice cream. Garnish with whipped cream and chopped pecans. Serve immediately.

Variation: If you prefer almonds over pecans, just replace the pecans with toated sliced almonds and the vanilla extract with almond extract.

OATMEAL RAISIN CINNAMON COOKIES

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsps vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
1 pkg (10 oz) cinnamon chips (I prefer HERSHEY'S)
3/4 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla; beat well. In a small bowl, combine the flour and baking soda. Add to the butter mixture, beating well. Stir in the oats, cinnamon chips, and raisins. The batter will be stiff. Drop by heaping teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool 1 minute on the cookie sheet before removing to cool completely on wire racks.


Yield: Approximately 4 dozen

CHOCOLATE CITRUS CAKE

1 box (18 1/4 oz) chocolate cake mix
1 orange, zested and juiced
2 pkgs (2.8 oz each) dark chocolate mousse mix
1 carton (12 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare cake mix according to the package directions, adding 2 teaspoons of the orange zest. Divide batter into 3 8-inch round cake pans. Bake around 15 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan about 5 minutes then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Place both packages of mousse mix in a medium mixing bowl. Add 1/4 cup orange juice. Beat mixture for 2 minutes. Fold in the whipped topping. Chill frosting until ready to layer the cake. Put one layer on a serving plate. Top with 1 cup of the frosting. Add second layer and repeat, add third layer. Using the remaining frosting, completely frost the top and sides of the cake. If desired, use thinly sliced orange slices arranged in the center of the cake for garnish.

NOTE: Did you know that oranges may help to lower blood cholesterol? They contain terpenes that reduce serum cholesterol levels and they are high in LDL-lowering fiber.

Replacement for Sour Cream in Baking

If your recipe calls for sour cream and you don't have any on hand, try this substitution: Mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice with enough evaporated milk to make 1 cup. This should work the same as sour cream in your recipe but I wouldn't want to use it as a substitute on a baked potato.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

APPLE PIE POCKETS

1 pkg refrigerator pie crust
3 apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbsps flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp butter
milk
1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon combined in a small bowl

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut each circle of pie crust into four wedges. Mix together the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Toss apple slices with the mixture in a medium sized bowl. Place 6 to 8 mixture-coated apple slices on half of the pie crust wedge. Dot with a bit of butter and fold pie crust over top of apples. Seal around the open side edges with a fork dipped in milk. Slit top with a knife in a few places to make air holes. Bush with a little milk and sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Repeat the process with the remaining wedges. Bake on a lightly greased cookie sheet until golden brown or about 15 to 18 minutes. Great served warm with ice cream.

Yield 8

PEANUT BUTTER CARAMEL BARS

1 pkg (18 1/4 oz) yellow cake mix
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg
20 miniature peanut butter cups, chopped
2 tbsps cornstarch
1 jar (12 1/4 oz) caramel ice cream topping
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup salted nuts
TOPPING:
1 can (16 oz) milk chocolate frosting
1/2 cup chopped salted peanuts

In a 2-quart mixing bowl, combine the dry cake mix, butter and egg; beat until no longer crumbly, about 3 minutes. Stir in the peanut butter cups. Press into a greased 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 18 to 22 minutes or until lightly browned. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine cornstarch, caramel topping, and peanut butter until smooth. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a boil, about 25 minutes. Cook and stir one to two minutes longer. Remove from the heat and stir in the peanuts. Spread evenly over the warm crust. Bake 6 to 7 minutes longer or until almost set. Cool completely on a wire rack. Spread with frosting and sprinkle with chopped nuts. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cutting. Store in the refrigerator.


TEN MINUTE FUDGE

3 cups (18 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips (or milk chocolate, if you prefer)
1 can (14 oz) Sweetened Condensed Milk
dash of salt
1/2 to 1 cup chopped nuts, optional
1 1/2 tsps vanilla extract

In a heavy saucepan, over low heat, melt the chocolate chips with the milk and salt. Remove from the heat and stir in the nuts, if desired. Stir in the vanilla. Spread evenly into a waxed paper lined square pan. Chill two hours or until firm. Turn out onto a cutting board, remove the waxed papper and cut into squares. Store covered in the refrigerator.

Variation: You can make Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Fudge by replacing the nuts with 3/4 cup peanut butter chips.

RASPBERRY SNOWBALL CAKE

1 pkg (18 1/4 oz) white cake mix
3 cups flaked coconut, divided
6 squares (1 oz each) white baking chocolate
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar

Prepare cake mix according to the package directions. Fold 2/3 cup of the coconut into the cake batter. Pour batter into two 9-inch round cake pans that have been greased. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes for until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pans. Cool completely on wire racks.

Using a microwave-safe bowl, combine the cream with the white chocolate. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 1 minute or until chocolate is almost melted. Stir the mixture until smooth. Cool to room temperature. In a small bowl, combine the raspberry (or substitute your favorite flavor) jam and 1 cup of the coconut. Spread over one of the cake layers and top with the other layer.

In a small mixing bowl, cream butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the white chocolate mixture. Spread over the top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle the remaining coconut over the cake top and sides. Garnish with a few fresh raspberries in the center if you like. Add a sprig of fresh mint to the berries for even a more colorful presentation.


Note: If you don't mind giving up the snowy look, you can toast the cococnut before covering the cake.

EASY TIRAMISU

2/3 cup strong black coffee
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup maple syrup
16 ladyfingers, split
3 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
12 oz frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

In a small bowl, combine the black coffee and the third cup maple syrup; blend well. Spoon this mixture over the ladyfingers on the "split" side. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square dish with the ladyfingers putting the "split" coffee mixture sides to the inside. Combine the cream cheese, sour cream, and the half cup maple syrup together in a bowl. Beat until smooth then fold in the whipped topping. Spoon the creamy mixture over the ladyfingers. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Remove plastic wrap and sift the cocoa over the top just before serving.

You can lighten this recipe by using low-fat cream cheese and sour cream. You can also use the lite whipped topping.

This is a good "make ahead" recipe as you can make it early in the day, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until time to serve.

If you want more coffee flavor in your Tiramisu, add a quarter cup of espresso to the creamy mixture.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

MICROWAVE CARAMEL DIP

1 pkg (14 oz) caramels
20 large marshmallows
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Unwrap caramels and place in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Add the marshmallows and microwave for another minute to melt marshmallows. Stir occasionally during the melting of the marshmallows. Whisk in the butter and cream until well combined. Serve with apple slices, hot soft pretzels, etc. Leftovers should be refrigerated


DECADENT LAYERED MUD PIE

3 squares semi-sweet chocolate, melted
1/4 cup canned sweetened condensed milk
1 chocolate crumb pie crust
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 cups cold milk
2 pkgs (4-serving size each)Chocolate Instant Pudding and Pie Filling Mix
1 tub (8 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed

Mix melted chocolate and sweetened condensed milk until well blended. Pour into crust and sprinkle the chopped pecans over the top. Pour milk into a large mixing bowl and add the pudding mixes. Beat with wire whisk for 2 minutes or until well blended. Spoon 1 1/2 cups of the pudding over the pecans in the crust. Add 1/2 of the whipped topping to the remaining pudding and stir with the wire whisk until well blended. Spread over the pudding mix in the crust. Spread the remaining whipped topping over the top of the pie. Chill 3 to 4 hours before serving.

CHOCOLATE-PECAN COOKIES

4 oz unsweetened chocolate
12 oz semisweet chocolate
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tsps vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the unsweetened chocolate, semisweet chocolate and butter in a double boiler over hot water. Heat, stirring often, until melted and well blended. Carefully pour into a bowl. Add the sugar and mix well. Add the eggs to the chocolate mixture, 1 at a time, mixing in well after each one. Beat in vanilla. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt; mix well. Stir in pecans. Line cookie sheets with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls onto the cookie sheets about 2-inches apart. Bake for about 12 minutes or until firm. Cool about one minute before removing to wire racks to cool completely.