Wednesday, November 30, 2011

APPLE-WALNUT MUFFINS

1 large egg
2/3 cup no-sugar-added apple juice
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cups chopped walnuts
1 apple, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp granulated sugar for topping
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon for topping

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg with the apple juice, oil, and vanilla extract. 

In a medium bowl combine the two flours, both sugars, baking powder and salt; stir into the egg mixture just until the flour mixture is moistened (lumpy batter is okay!)  Stir in the walnuts and apple.

Spray 12 muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray; evenly divide the batter into the cups.

In a cup, combine the topping sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle tops of the muffins with the cinnamon-sugar.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until browned and a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and immediately remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely.




Tuesday, November 29, 2011

PARFAIT PUMPKIN BLOCKS

CRUST:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup melted butter

Mix the above ingredients together until well blended.  Press into the bottom of a 9-inch square baking pan.

FILLLING:
1 can (16-oz) pumpkin
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
dash of ground cloves
1 qt softened vanilla ice cream
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
2 tbsp powdered sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans

In a mixing bowl combine the pumpkin, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.  Fold in the softened ice cream.  Pour the filling over the crust in the pan.  Cover and freeze for at least 2 hours.  Remove from freezer and cut into squares or 'blocks'.

TOPPING:
Before serving, sweeten the whipped cream with the powdered sugar and cinnamon.  Place a dollop atop each block.  Sprinkle the toasted pecans over the whipped cream.

NOTE: This is a great make ahead dessert.  It can be kept in the freezer until 20 minutes before serving time.  Allow to thaw during that time before cutting to serve.


APPLE PIE PHYLLO CUPS

These little phyllo cups are filled with an apple pie type filling.  They are like miniature apple pies.
FILLING:
8 cups peeled, chopped Gala apples
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp butter, cut up
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

To make filling:  In a large skillet over medium-high heat, bring the apples, sugar, water, butter, and lemon juice to a boil.  Stir in the salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Lower the heat to medium and boil gently 20 to 25 minutes or until the apples are tender and the liquid is reduced by half.

Remove from heat and crush apples with a potato masher until they form into a chunky style applesauce.  Allow to cool completely.

CUPS:
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 pkg (16-oz) frozen phyllo, thawed
1/2 cup butter, melted
Powdered sugar for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray 12 muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray.

In a small teacup combine the sugar and cinnamon.

Layer 4 sheets of phyllo dough, lightly brushing each layer with the melted butter.  Cut the stack of dough into 6-inch squares discarding excess dough.  Press each square into a muffin cup and fill each with 1/3 cup of the filling mixture.  Fold the phyllo edges over the filling.  Brush with butter and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture. 

Bake at 350 degrees 30 to 35 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool completely in the pan that is sitting on a wire rack.  Sprinkle with the powdered sugar just before serving.

Monday, November 28, 2011

HOLIDAY EGGNOG PIE

1 1/2 cups cold eggnog
1 1/2 cups cold milk
1 pkg (6-serving size) vanilla instant pudding
1 9-inch pie shell, baked, cooled
whipped cream for garnish
nutmeg for garnish

Combine the cold eggnog and milk in a mixing bowl.  Add the pudding mix and beat with electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute.  Immediately pour into the cooled pie shell.  Chill at least an hour before cutting to serve.

Before serving, garnish each slice with a dollop of whipped cream sprinkled lightly with nutmeg, if desired.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

TURTLE TOPPED BROWNIES

4 oz good quality bittersweet baking chocolate
1/2 cup butter, cut into several pieces
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp whole-wheat flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly butter and dust with flour an 8-inch square baking pan; set aside.

In a 2 or 3-quart saucepan, melt the chocolate and butter together over low heat, stirring just until smooth.  Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

When chocolate mixture has reached room temperature, stir in the brown sugar and vanilla.  Add the eggs and mix well. 

In a small bowl sift together the flours, baking powder, and salt.  Slowly fold the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture and mix together well.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

TURTLE TOPPING:
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1/3 cup light corn syrup
3 tbsp water
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

Once the brownie has cooled, combine the sugar, salt, corn syrup, and water together in a 3-quart saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil until it turns to a golden caramel.  Remove the pan from the heat and slowly add the cream and vanilla.  Quickly stir in the pecans, pour over the brownie layer in pan.  Cool on a wire rack.  When cooled, cover brownies and refrigerate until the caramel is firm.  This will take around 2 hours.

Friday, November 25, 2011

CRANBERRY UPSIDE DOWN RAISIN MUFFINS

1 cup cranberries
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup raisins
1 egg
1 cup low-fat milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Lightly grease or spray with nonstick cooking spray, 12 muffin cups.

Cut cranberries in half; divide evenly among the 12 prepared muffin cups.  Spoon 1 teaspoon of the melted butter into each of the cups, over the berries.  Divide the brown sugar evenly over the berries and butter.

In a large mixing bowl stir together the flours, baking powder, granulated sugar, salt, and raisins.

In a smaller mixing bowl, beat the egg; mix in the milk and remaining butter.  Add egg mixture to the flour mixture, stirring just until moistened.  Spoon the batter evenly over the berries, etc in the muffin cups.

Bake at 400 degrees approximately 30 minutes until golden brown.  Allow the muffins to sit in the pan on a wire rack for a few minutes until the bubbling stops.  Carefully turn muffins out and serve upside down.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

APPLE COOKIES WITH MAPLE FROSTING

1/2 cup butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1 large egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup milk
2 cups chopped fresh apple

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl cream the butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and the egg; blend well.

In a small bowl combine the flour with the baking soda and stir into the butter mixture along with the milk.  Blend together well.  Stir in the apples.

Drop dough onto ungreased cookie sheets by teaspoonsful.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until firm when lightly touched.  Do not over bake.

While cookies bake, make the following GLAZE:
1 tbsp melted butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp maple flavoring
2 to 3 tbsp milk

Stir the butter, powdered sugar, flavoring, and milk together to make a smooth glaze.  Top each of the cookies with approximately a half teaspoonful of the glaze.  Cool.

Allow glaze to dry before storing cookies.  Store in an airtight container.

Monday, November 21, 2011

MINI GINGERBREAD CAKES

1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup boiling water
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp butter, softened
2/3 cup granulate sugar
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl blend the molasses, boiling water, and baking soda; mixture will bubble.

In another bowl mix the flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt together.

In a large mixing bowl beat the butter and granulated sugar for 2 minutes.  Beat in the eggs.  Stir in the flour mixture alternating with the molasses mixture, beginning and ending with the flour.  Pour the batter into jumbo muffin cups that have been sprayed with nonstick baking spray.

Bake cakes at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until the cakes test done.  Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Invert pan and remove from cakes.  Allow cakes to cool completely on the wire rack.

Decorate with green and red icing drizzle, if desired.  To make frosting for drizzle, blend 2 cups of powdered sugar with 3 tablespoons of water.  Add water a drip at a time if too stiff.

TOFFEE AND PECAN MARBLE CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE GLAZE

1 recipe Basic Cake Batter (on this blog)
3-oz semisweet baking chocolate, melted, cooled
1/2 cup toffee bits
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan; set aside.

Prepare the basic cake batter as directed in the recipe on this blog (listed under cakes).

Remove 1 1/2 cups of the batter from the bowl and place in a medium mixing bowl.  Stir the cooled chocolate into this batter.

Stir the toffee bits and the pecans into the remaining original batter.  Spoon half of this batter into the prepared Bundt pan.  Spoon the chocolate batter over this.  Top the chocolate batter with the other half of the toffee/pecan batter.  Run a butter knife through the batters to marbleize.

Bake cake at 350 degrees 40 to 45 minutes until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool cake in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Invert pan onto the wire rack and remove pan.  Allow cake to cool completely on the wire rack.

While cake cools, make the following Chocolate Glaze:
1/4 cup heavy cream
4-oz semisweet baking chocolate, finely chopped
2 tbsp light corn syrup
2 tbsp powdered sugar

In a small saucepan bring the cream to a boil.  Remove from the heat and add the chocolate; whisk until all the chocolate is melted.  Whisk in the corn syrup and powdered sugar.  Allow to cool slightly until thickened.  Spoon the glaze over the cake allowing some to run down the sides of the cake.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

BUTTERY ALMOND FLAVORED SPRITZ COOKIES

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp almond extract*
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Have ungreased cookie sheets and a cookie press at the ready.

In a large mixer bowl beat the butter and sugar on high speed of mixer 5 minutes until light and fluffy.  Add the egg, almond extract and salt; beat until blended.  Lower mixer speed to low and slowly add in the flour, beating well.

Follow your cookie press instructions for use pressing out the cookies about 2-inches apart on the ungreased cookie sheets.  Decorate with colored sprinkles, etc as desired.

Bake at 350 degrees 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.  Use a broad, thin spatula to transfer cookies from sheets to wire racks to cool completely.

*May substitute 1 tbsp vanilla extract if desired.


Friday, November 18, 2011

BASIC CAKE BATTER (ALMOND CAKE INSTRUCTIONS INCLUDED)

4 large eggs
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 carton (8-oz) sour cream

In a large mixing bowl with electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the eggs until foamy.  Gradually beat in the sugar, then the baking powder, baking soda, and salt; beat 1 minute.  Beat in the butter, canola oil, and vanilla.  Lower speed to low and beat in the flour in three additions alternately with the sour cream in two additions.  Beat just until blended.

VARIATION AND BAKING INSTRUCTIONS
Almond Cake:
3/4 cup whole natural almonds, chopped
1 tsp almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and lightly flour two 9-inch round cake pans.
Spread the almonds in a singe layer on a baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes to toast.  Allow to cool while making above batter, using almond extract instead of the vanilla.  Sprinkle the almonds evenly between the two cake pans.  Gently pour the batter over the almonds spread in the pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes.  Run a knife gently around edges of cakes and invert onto the wire racks to cool completely. 

Frost cake with your favorite frosting.



Thursday, November 17, 2011

MANDARIN ORANGE-CHOCOLATE CHIP CAKE WITH ICING

CAKE:
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1 1/2 tbsp vinegar
3 1/4 + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
1 3/4 cups + 2 tbsp sugar
4 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp butter flavoring
1 1/2 tbsp chocolate extract
2 tbsp orange extract
1 1/4 cups water
1 1/4 cups mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour 3 9-inch round cake pans; set aside.

In a cup, combine the evaporated milk and vinegar; set aside.
Sift the flour, salt, and baking soda together; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, blend the butter and sugar together until creamy and smoooth.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time and beating well after each addition.  Add the vanilla extract, butter flavoring, chocolate extract, and orange extract; beat well.  Beat in the milk/vinegar mixture.  Alternately add the flour mixture and water, starting and ending with flour.  Add the flour 3 times and the water 2 times, beating after each addition.

Fold the chocolate mini chips into the batter and divide batter evenly into the 3 baking pans.  Gently tap pans on counter to level.  Bake at 350 degrees approximately 30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes.  Remove from pan and cool completely on wire racks before icing.

ICING:
1 block (8-oz) cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp butter flavoring
1 1/2 tsp chocolate extract
2 tsp orange extract
1 lb sifted powdered sugar
dash of salt
1 tbsp water
1 can (8-oz) Mandarin oranges, well drained

Using an electric mixer on low speed, blend the cream cheese with the vanilla extract, butter flavoring, chocolate extract, and orange extract.  Add the powdered sugar, salt, and water and beat until smooth and of spreading consistency. 

To assemble: Place one layer on cake plate and spread icing over the top, place second layer over the iced layer and top with icing.  Place the third layer on top and frost the top.  With all three layers stacked, frost the sides of the cake.  When cake is fully frosted, arrange the oranges on the top as garnish. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

SURPRISE KISSES

1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp cinnamon
25 chocolate candy kisses, unwrapped
1 1/2 tbsp powdered sugar
3/4 tsp unsweetened baking cocoa

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar and butter; beat at medium speed with electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla extract.

In another medium bowl, combine the flour and cinnamon.  Add the flour mixture to the creamy mixture and mix well to combine.

Shape the dough into 25 1-inch balls then flatten balls to 2-inch rounds.  Place about an inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.  Place a chocolate kiss in the center of each round.  Bring the dough up around the kiss until kiss is completely covered.  Pinch dough to seal.  Bake at 350 degrees for around 15 minutes until bottoms of cookies are starting to get golden brown.

In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar and cocoa powder.  Sprinkle this mixture over the hot cookies.  The warm cookies will absorb this sugar.  Sprinkle again later if you want a decorative coating.  Allow cookies to cool on cookie sheets for 10 minutes then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Yield: 25 cookies


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

OH-SO-GOOD CREAM CHEESE PECAN PIE

1 9-inch unbaked deep dish pie shell
2 pkgs (3-oz each) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped pecans
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
3 tbsp granulated sugar
3 tbsp butter, melted

Place the cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl and beat with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.  Add the half cup of granulated sugar, 1 of the eggs, 1 teaspoon of the vanilla, and the salt and beat just until combined.  Spread the mixture over the bottom of the unbaked pastry shell.  Sprinkle the pecans over the cream cheese mixture.

In a large mixing bowl whisk the 3 remaining eggs lightly.  Stir in the corn syrup, the 3 tablespoons of sugar, the melted butter, and the remaining vanilla.

Place the pie pan on a cookie sheet and set on a partially pulled out oven rack.   Very slowly and gently pour th syrup mixture over the pecans.  Cover the edges of the crust with a foil ring and bake pie at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or more until a butter knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool completely on a wire rack.  When completely cooled, cover pie and place in refrigerator until serving time.

Yield: 8 servings.

Note:  Keep any leftovers refrigerated.


Monday, November 14, 2011

MINI M&M JAR COOKIE MIX

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup mini M&Ms

Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together.

Layer the ingredients in a jar in the following order: flour mixture, brown sugar, granulated sugar, mini-M&Ms, and chopped pecans.

Put a lid on the jar and cover lid with a pretty piece of cloth or small doily tied on with a matching ribbon. Write the following baking instructions on a card and attach.

Mini M&M Cookies
1 jar of Mini M&M Cookie Mix
1 cup butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large mixer bowl cream the butter, eggs, and vanilla using an electric mixer.  Add the cookie mix and stir in until well blended.  Drop the dough by rounded tablespoonfuls on ungreased cookie sheets.  Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.  Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

CRANBERRY-WALNUT PINWHEELS

1 cup cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
1/4 cup water
2/3 cup walnuts, finely ground
2 tbsp butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup butter
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 egg
3 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

To make the filling:
Combine the cranberries, half cup of sugar, and the cornstarch together in a small saucepan.  Add the water; bring mixture to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved.  Gently boil over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring often.  Remove the mixture from the stove.  While hot, press the mixture through a sieve and discard the solid matter.  Cover the surface of the mixture and allow to cool without stirring or bothering.

In a food processor (or blender) after grinding the walnuts, add the 2 tablespoons of softened butter and process until the mixture is smooth and of spreading consistency, stopping to scrape down sides as needed.

To make the dough:
In large mixer bowl beat 3/4 cup of the walnut mixture at medium speed of electric mixer for about 30 seconds until softened.  Add 1 1/2 cups of the flour to the nut mixture and mix just until combined.  Add the 1 cup of sugar, the egg, milk, baking soda, and vanilla extract.  Beat until the mixture is thoroughly combined, scraping down bowl as needed.  Beat or stir in the remaining 1 1/2 cups of flour.  Cover dough and chill for approximately an hour until easy to handle.

Divide the dough in half.  Place in half between two sheets of waxed paper and using a rolling pin, roll each half into a rectangle about 16 x 12 inches.  Spread half the filling mixture over each rectangle.  Starting at a short side, roll rectangles up jelly-roll style.  Remove the waxed paper as you roll.  Moisten the edges and pinch together to seal filling inside.  Wrap each roll securely in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours but up to 2 days.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut the rolls into slices 1/4-inch thick.  Place cookies on lightly greased cookie sheets about 2-inches apart.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or till the edges are firm and the bottoms are just lightly browned.  Remove cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

Yield: 96 (8 dozen) cookies

Saturday, November 12, 2011

NO BAKE CARAMEL PECAN PUMPKIN PIE (DIABETIC INSTRUCTIONS INCLUDED)

1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
1 Graham cracker pie crust (or regular deep-dish baked pie shell)
1/2 to 3/4 cup large pecan pieces
1 cup milk
2 pkgs (3.4-oz each) vanilla instant pudding and pie filling mix
1 cup canned or cooked pumpkin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 container (8-oz) frozen whipped topping mix, thawed
2 tbsp caramel ice cream topping, for garnish
2 tbsp pecan pieces, for garnish

Pour the caramel topping over the bottom of the Graham cracker crust; sprinkle the pecans over the caramel.

In a large mixing bowl, using a wire whisk, beat the milk with the pudding mix, pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg until the mixture is blended well.  Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the thawed whipped topping.  Spread the mixture over the pecans in the crust.

Refrigerate pie for at least 1 hour before serving.

To serve, top the pie with the remaining whipped topping and sprinkle with the garnish pecans.  Drizzle the garnish caramel over all.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings.

NOTE: You can easily make this a diabetic-friendly pie by using a regular sugar-free baked pie shell, sugar-free caramel topping, pudding mix, and frozen whipped topping.  For diabetics I would cut the pie into 10 wedges as portion control is important for all diabetics!



Friday, November 11, 2011

CHOCOLATE TANGERINE JUMBOS

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened baking cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp finely grated tangerine rind*
1 pkg (12-oz) white baking chips
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp granulated sugar for garnish

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Line cookie sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl beat the butter and shortening with an electric mixer on low speed for about 30 seconds to blend.  Add the 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar and the brown sugar.  Beat until the mixture is combined well, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed.  Beat in the eggs and vanilla until combined.  Beat in as much of the flour mixture as you can.  If it becomes too hard for the mixer, use a large wooden spoon or silicone spatula to stir in the remaining flour mixture and the tangerine peel.  Stir in the two types of chips.

Drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets by 1/4 cupfuls 4-inches apart.  Sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons of sugar.  Bake at 325 for 15 to 17 minutes until lightly browned.  Cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes then remove to cool completely on wire racks.

Yield: 2 dozen cookies

*You may substitute orange peel for the tangerine if desired.

Note: This recipe is a past winner of the GREATAMERICAN BAKE SALE Domino Sugar Recipe Contest.  It was created by a Ms Ginsberg.

MOLASSES PECAN PIE

3 eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 cup molasses
3/4 cup corn syrup
2 tbsp melted butter
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp flour
1 cup whole or coarsely chopped pecans
1 unbaked pie shell

In a mixing bowl combine the eggs, molasses, corn syrup, butter, salt, and vanilla and mix together well.  In a cup or small bowl, mix the flour with a small amount of the egg mixture until well blended then stir into the rest of the egg mixture.  Stir in the pecans.  Pour the pie filling into the pie shell.  Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour or until the center is firm.

Note:  If the edge of the pastry starts to get too brown, cover edge with foil.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

RICH FUDGE SAUCE (PERFECT FOR GIFTING)

This lusciously rich fudge sauce is great at home or make a batch, put it in pretty glass jars, tie a ribbon around the neck and give as a delicious gift.

1 cup whipping cream
3/4 cup granulated sugar
8-oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
1/3 cup clear corn syrup
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
dash of salt

In a heavy saucepan combine the cream and sugar.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Stir in the chopped chocolate, corn syrup, and butter.  Lower heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is completely melted and ingredients are blended.  Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and salt.  Allow sauce to cool to room temperature then pour the sauce into a jar with a tight-fitting lid and store in refrigerator.  Or as suggested above, pour into small jars with tight-fitting lids, decorate with a pretty ribbon and a label to give as gifts. 

To serve:  Spoon into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave at 15 second intervals, stirring after each, until sauce is pourable.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

DAIRY PRODUCTS AND BAKING

In most cases, for optimal results, you should set your eggs, butter, and other dairy products out at room temperature for about 30 minutes prior to using.  There are times, however, that your recipe will call for cold butter, ice water, etc.  So check out your recipe first.  If your recipe does not call for these items to be cold, go ahead a set them out a few minutes ahead of time so they reach room temperature.



Tuesday, November 8, 2011

DELICIOUS CARAMEL WHIPPED CREAM FROSTING

1 cup butter
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp whipping cream
2 tsp vanilla
3 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar

In a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter; add the brown sugar.  Bring the mixture to a boil while stirring constantly.  Stir in the cream and the vanilla; return to a boil.  Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool for an hour.

Transfer the caramel mixture from the saucepan to a mixer bowl.  Sift the powdered sugar into the caramel mixture and beat on high speed until creamy and of a spreading consistency.

Yield: Almost 4 cups; enough to fill and frost a 4-layer cake.


Monday, November 7, 2011

SWEET BISCUITS WITH CHOCOLATE CHIPS AND PECANS

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour*
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, cut-up
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 egg
1 cup heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
additional cream, optional
additional sugar, optional

In a large bowl combine the flours, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in the chocolate chips and the pecans.

Whisk the egg, cream, and vanilla together with a wire whisk.  Stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture using a fork.  Stir only until the dry ingredients are moistened and mixture resembles a dough.
Place dough onto the prepared baking sheet/s using a 1/3 cup measure.  If desired, brush additional cream over the top and sprinkle lightly with additional sugar. 

Bake at 425 degrees 17 to 20 minutes until golden brown.  Best when served warm (reheat any leftovers for a few seconds in the microwave).

Sunday, November 6, 2011

MARSHMALLOW FILLED DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
4 eggs
6 squares (1-oz each) unsweetened chocolate, melted, cooled
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
dash of salt
1 cup lowfat buttermilk
1 jar (7-oz) marshmallow creme
Your favorite chocolate fudge frosting*
Colored sugars for decorating

Preheat oven to 350.
Line 20 muffin cups with paper liner; set aside.

In a large mixer bowl beat the butter at medium speed of an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add the granulated and brown sugars gradually, beating well.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each egg is added.  Add the melted, cooled chocolate and the vanilla; mix well.

In a smaller bowl combine the all-purpose and whole-wheat flours, baking soda, and salt.  Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture alternately with the buttermilk.  Begin and end with flour.  Mix at low speed after each addition until mixed together well.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups filling to the tops of the liners.

Bake at 350 degrees 15 to 18 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Allow to cool 3 to 5 minutes in the pan then remove from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

Remove a plug from the center of each cupcake.  Go almost to the bottom but not quite.  Save the plugs.  Spoon the marshmallow creme into a pastry bag or a ziptop-type plastic bag and cut a hole in a corner.  Squeeze marshmallow creme into the center of each cupcake.  Take the plugs and cut off enough of the tops to replace over creme to mend top of cupcakes so they have smooth tops.  Very gently frost the cupcakes with the fudge frosting.  Sprinkle with colored sugars or other decorations you desire.

*A can of prepared fudge frosting works just fine.


Friday, November 4, 2011

BLUE RIBBON COOKIES

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white whole-wheat flour
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp baking soda
colored sugar sprinkles

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large mixer bowl combine the butter and the confectioners' and granulated sugars together.  Beat mixture on medium speed until creamy; scrape down the bowl while beating.  Add the egg and vanilla extract and continue to beat until mixture is well combined. 

Reduce the speed to low and add the two types of flour, cream of tartar, and baking soda beating until the dough forms a ball.

Shape dough into balls about an inch in diameter and place about 2-inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.  Using the bottom of a glass that has been dipped in granulated sugar, press each ball to about an inch and a half in diameter.  Sprinkle tops with the colored sugar sprinkles and bake at 375 degrees for 7 to 9 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. 

Allow to cool on the baking sheet for around a minute then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Yield: 72 cookies

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

CLASSIC CINNAMON ROLLS

DOUGH:
1 cup milk
1 envelope (.25-oz) active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm (100 to 110 degrees) water
3 tbsp granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 stick butter, melted
4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
FILLING:
1 stick butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
GLAZE:
2 cups powdered sugar
1 to 3 tbsp milk

To make the dough, heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat just until it begins to boil.  Remove milk from the heat and let stand until it has cooled to room temperature.

In a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water.  Add 1 tablespoon of the sugar and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.  Beat in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, the eggs and the melted butter.  Beat in the cooled milk.

Gradually add 4 cups of the flour along with the salt, scraping down the side of the bowl, until a soft dough forms.  Turn dough onto a floured work surface and knead as much of the remaining flour as necessary into the dough, adding more if dough is too sticky.  Knead for about 10 minutes until smooth.  The dough will be soft.

Grease a large bowl and place the dough in the bowl, turning over to grease the top.  Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size.

Coat 2 9-inch round baking pans with nonstick cooking spray.  Line the bottoms with waxed paper and spray the paper.

Prepare the filling:  In a medium bowl, mix the butter, both sugars, and cinnamon together.

Punch down the dough and roll out to a 18 x 12-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface.  Spread the butter-sugar filling mixture over the dough and sprinkle with the chopped pecans.  Starting on a long side , roll up the dough jelly-roll fashion; pinch seam with fingers to seal.  Cut the roll into 12 even pieces (around 1 1/2-inch each.  Arrange 6 rolls in each prepared pan.  Cover with plastic wrap, set in a warm place and allow to double in size, about 30 to 45 minutes.  (If you want to bake in the morning, cover and place in the refrigerator overnight.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Uncover pans and bake rolls until they are golden brown and the filling is bubbly, about 30 to 40 minutes.  Transfer pan to a wire rack and allow to cool for 10 minutes before adding the glaze.

To make the glaze:  Mix the powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon of the milk, adding more as needed to reach a glazing consistency.  Drizzle the glaze on top of the rolls.

Delicious served warm.

Yield: 12 rolls

APPLE AND PECAN CHEESECAKE

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 tbsp packed brown sugar
4 pkg (8-oz each) cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup sour cream
4 eggs
4 cups peeled and chopped apples
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Line a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with foil.

Combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and the 2 tablespoons of brown sugar; press onto the bottom of the pan.  Bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes.

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, 1 cup of the brown sugar, and the vanilla until blended.  Add the sour cream and blend in.  Add the eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition just until blended.  Pour the mixture over the crust.

Mix the remaining half cup of sugar, the apples, pecans, and cinnamon together; spoon over the batter.

Bake 1 hour to 1 hour 5 minutes.  Cool.  Refrigerate at least 4 hours before cutting to serve.  Use the foil to lift from the pan before cutting.

Yield: 16 servings


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

PEANUT CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup finely chopped peanuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together; set aside.

In a large mixer bowl beat the peanut butter and butter together on medium speed for a couple of minutes until creamy.  Add the brown sugar and the quarter cup of granulated sugar; beat 2 minutes.  Beat in the milk, egg, and vanilla.  Beat in the flour mixture just until combined.  Stir in the mini chips and the peanuts.  Cover dough and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Roll 2 teaspoons of dough into a ball for each cookie.  Place balls 2-inches apart on the cookie sheets.  With a fork, flatten each ball into a 1 1/2-inch round cookie, making a criss-cross pattern on top.  Sprinkle a small amount of the remaining tablespoon of sugar over each cookie.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges.  Allow to cool on the cookie sheets 1 minute then remove to wire racks to cool completely.


Yield: 60 cookies
Approximate 50 calories per cookie.