Sunday, December 30, 2012

MOM'S APPLE PIE WITH HER ICE WATER PIE CRUST

This is my late mother's recipe for apple pie  made with her ice water pie crust.

CRUST:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup Crisco shortening
7 to 8 tbsp ice water

Add salt to flour.  Cut shortening into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter or two knives.  Add ice water gradually until the dough reaches an easy to roll consistency.  Form dough into two balls for 2 crusts and roll out on a floured surface.

FILLING:
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp cornstarch
6 cups sliced apples
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp butter

Mix the sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch together.  Toss with the sliced apples and lemon juice.  Line a pie plate with one of the crusts; trim edges.  Place the apple mixture into the prepared pie plate and dot with the butter.  Top with a second crust, seal and crimp edges.  Cut air vents in the top crust.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.  Lower heat to 375 and continue cooking 30-35 minutes until lightly browned and pie is bubbly.  Place a pie shield or folds of aluminum foil over the edges to keep from over browning.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

MINI PECAN PIE MUFFINS

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick butter, melted
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
canola oil cooking spray
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a large bowl combine the brown sugar, 1 cup of chopped pecans, flour, baking powder, and salt; make a well in the center of the mixture.

Stir the eggs, and vanilla into the eggs to combine; add to the well in the brown sugar mixture and stir just until moistened.

Using the canola oil spray, coat 24 mini muffin cups.  Place a teaspoonful of the finely chopped pecans in each of the mini cups.  Spoon the batter over the nuts, filling almost to the tops.  Place in the oven over foil and bake at 425 degrees 10 to 12 minutes.

Place pans on a wire rack and allow to cool for a couple of minutes before loosening muffins with a thin knife and removing to cool completely on the wire racks.

Note: This picture is of the diabetic version I make.  However, they look the same as this version made with sugar.

Friday, December 28, 2012

GLUTEN-FREE BROWNIE MUFFINS

1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
5 squares (1-oz each) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
8 tbsp butter, cut into pieces
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease 16 muffin cups; set aside.

In a bowl, whisk the rice flour, almond meal, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together.

Place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl or in the top of a double boiler, set over simmering hot water.  Let stand until the chocolate and the butter are both melted, stirring frequently.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the cocoa.

In large mixer bowl, beat the eggs and brown sugar on medium speed until smooth.  Beat in the vanilla then slowly add the chocolate mixture.  Beat in the flour mixture.

Fill the prepared muffin cups each 2/3 full.  Bake at 350 degrees approxiately 15 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean.  Remove pans to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes.  Remove from the pans to the wire racks to cool completely.

SALTED CARAMELS

2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups cream
1 cup corn syrup
2 sticks butter
1 tsp vanilla
coarse salt for garnish, if desired

Line a 9 x 13-inch pan with heavy-duty foil, allowing overhangs on both ends.

In a large, heavy-duty saucepan, combine the sugar, half the cream, the corn syrup, and the butter.  Cook over medium heat while stirring until the butter is melted and the sugar is completely dissolved.  Increase the heat to high and bring mixture to a boil.  Cook, without stirring, until the temperature reaches 248 degrees on a candy thermometer.  This will take about a half hour.

Combine the remaining cream and the vanilla; very carefully pour into the caramel mixture.  Watch our as the mixture may bubble up!  Cook about 10 more minutes until the temperature goes back to 248 degrees. 

Pour the hot mixture into the prepared pan and sprinkle with the coarse salt, if using.  Allow to cool slightly then cover with plastic wrap.  Let stand at room temperature for at least 4 hours up to overnight.

Place parchment paper on counter and turn the caramel out onto the paper.  Peel off the foil.



To cut caramel, cut crosswise into 10 strips then cut each strip into 5 caramels.

I got this recipe last year from an all you magazine.  Yummy!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

ICE CREAM BONBONS

1 pint strawberry ice cream
1/4 cup colorful candy decorating sprinkles
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
1 tbsp good quality vegetable oil (I prefer Crisco)

Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop 6 scoops of ice cream on each of the cookie sheets.  Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firm.  This will take at least 6 hours and may be left for 24 hours.

Place the sprinkles in a small bowl.

Combine the chocolate and the canola oil in a small heatproof bowl. 

Place about an inch of water in a small saucepan your bowl can set over.  Place the saucepan over low heat until the water is just simmering.  Place bowl over the saucepan and be sure the bottom does not touch the water.  Cook, stirring often, until the chocolate and shortening are melted and smooth.  Remove the bowl from the pan and set aside until the chocolate is warm, not hot, to the touch.

You have to work quickly on this part so be sure you have everything together and ready!  Using a fork, scoop up one ball of ice cream at a time and hold over the bowl of chocolate.  Spoon chocolate over the ice cream ball to coat, letting excess drip back into the bowl.  Hold the ball over the sprinkles bowl and sprinkle the candies over the top.  Use another fork and gently scoot the completed ice cream ball back onto the cookie sheet.  Repeat with the remaining balls.  Immediately place back in the freezer and freeze for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Notes:
  • It is best to only remove 1 tray of ice cream balls from the freezer at a time.
  • You can choose your color of sprinkles to suit the occasion.  Red and green are great for Christmas, pastels for Spring, the honoree's favorite color for birthdays, the wedding colors for bridal showers, pink and/or blue for baby showers, etc.
  • Use your choice of ice cream flavors.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

CINNAMON GRANOLA BARS

1/2 stick butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
2 tbsp honey
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup raisins

In a large bowl beat the butter and brown sugar two minutes or until crumbly.  Add the egg and beat well.  Stir in the flaxseed and honey.

In a small bowl, combine the oats, flour, cinnamon, and baking soda; stir into the butter mixture just until blended.  Gently stir in the raisins.

Spray an 11 x 7-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.  Bake at 350 degrees for 14-18 minutes or until set and edges are lightly browned.  Cool in the pan on a wire rack.

Cut into 12 bars for serving.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Merry Christmas to all my "Sweet" followers and readers of Ladybug's Sweet Treats.  Wishing you a very happy day with family and friends.  Here is my Texas Christmas Card to you.

Monday, December 24, 2012

PRALINE TOPPED PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE

This is from an old Southern Living Book.  It is very good!

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
5 tbsp butter, melted
3 tbsp brown sugar
4 pkgs (8-oz each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin, or homemade pumpkin puree
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
Praline Topping (recipe will follow)
Coarsely chopped Pecan Pie Glazed Pecans

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a mixing bowl stir the graham cracker crumbs, third cup of finely chopped pecans, brown sugar,  and the melted butter together; blend well.  Press the mixture over the bottom and 1 1/2-inches up the sides of a springform pan.  Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

In large mixer bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese, granulated sugar, and vanilla until blended and smooth.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating just until blended after each one.  Add the pumpkin and lemon juice; beat until blended.  Pour into the prepared crust.  Yes, the pan will be very full!

Bake cake at 325 degrees for 1 hour to 70 minutes or until almost completely set.  Turn off the oven, leave door closed, and let the cheesecake stand for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and gently run a knife around between the cake and pan.  Leave pan in place!  Set on a wire rack and allow to cool completely, approximately 1 hour.  Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours up to 24 hours.

Remove the sides and transfer cake to serving plate.  Prepare the Praline Topping:

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a one-quart saucepan, bring the brown sugar, shipping cream, and butter to a boil over medium heat while stirring often.  Boil, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute; remove from the heat.

Gradually whisk in the powdered sugar and the vanilla until smooth.  Let stand 5 minutes, whisking occasionally.  Immediately pour slowly over the cheesecake spreading to within a quarter-inch of the edge.  Garnish with the following Pecan Pie Glazed Pecans:

1/4 cup dark corn syrup
2 tbsp sugar
2 cups pecan halves

Stir the corn syrup and sugar together; add the pecans and stir until coated.

Line a jelly-roll pan with parchment paper; spray paper with canola oil cooking spray.  Spread the coated pecans out in a single layer on the prepared pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until the glaze bubbles slowly and thickens; stir every 3 minutes.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack.  Spread the pecans, separating any that have stuck together; cool completely.

Use to garnish the cheesecake.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Whole Wheat Chocolate-Blueberry Cake from BH&G

This cake was a Grand Prize Winner in an old Better Homes & Gardens Magazine Contest.  I choose to publish this recipe since I try to encourage everyone to eat healthier and to replace processed grains with whole ones.

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1 egg
1 cup frozen light whipped dessert topping, thawed
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
Fresh blueberries and/or Blueberry Sauce (see recipe below)                   
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
 
In medium bowl combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
 
In blender combine water, blueberries, and the egg. Cover and blend until smooth. Add to flour mixture. Whisk until well combined. Pour into greased 8x8x2-inch baking pan.
 
Bake 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely on wire rack. Invert onto serving platter.
 
In small microwave-safe bowl combine dessert topping and chocolate pieces. Micro-cook, covered, on 50 percent power (medium) 1 minute. Stir until smooth. Let stand 5 minutes. Pour onto cooled cake, spreading evenly.
 
Cut cake into squares to serve. Top with fresh blueberries. Serve with Blueberry Sauce. Makes 9 servings.
 
Blueberry Sauce
1/2 cup frozen light whipped dessert topping, thawed
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
 
In blender combine dessert topping and blueberries. Cover and blend until smooth.
 
 
     A picture of the cake and of the lady who created the recipe.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Friday, December 21, 2012

OH-SO-GOOD CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH CREAMY FROSTING

2 squares (1-oz each) unsweetened chocolate
1/3 cup water
2/3 cup shortening
2 3/4 cups sugar, divided
2 large eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt, divided
1 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp + 1 tsp vanilla extract, divided
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening

In a small saucepan, combine the chocolate and water.  Cook the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, until the chocolate melts.  Remove chocolate from heat; allow to cool.

Beat the 2/3 cup shortening with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy.  Gradually add 1 3/4 cups of the sugar, beating well.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each.

Combine 2 1/2 cups of flour with the soda and 1/2 tsp of the salt; add to the shortening mixture alternately with the buttermilk.  Begin and end with the flour mixture, mixing after each addition.  Add the chocolate and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla; mix just until blended.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake at 350 degrees 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove from oven to wire racks and cool in pans for 10 minutes.  Remove from pans and allow to cool completely on wire racks.

In a small saucepan, place the 1/4 cup of flour and gradually stir in the milk and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thick.  Remove from heat and let cool completely.

Beat the softened butter and the 1/2 cup shortening at medium speed with electric mixer until creamy.  Gradually add the the remaining sugar; beat well.  Add the other teaspoon of vanilla, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Add the cooled flour mixture; beat until smooth.  Spread this filling between the cake layers, stacking them on a cake plate.  Frost with the Chocolate Frosting recipe
below.

CREAMY CHOCOLATE FROSTING:
3 cups sugar
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup butter
3 squares (1-oz each) unsweetened chocolate
3/4 tsp vanilla extract

In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, milk, butter, and chocolate; cook over low heat while stirring constantly, until the chocolate melts.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture boils.  Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. 

Beat the mixture at high speed with an electric mixer with the pan sitting over ice water.  Beat for 5 minutes.  Remove from the ice water and continue to beat until the frosting is of spreading consistency.  This will take about 20 to 30 minutes.  Spread on the cake immediately.

Yield: Enough to frost 3 layers.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

BASIC CAKE-IN-A-JAR

Fun gifts and/or party cakes.

2 2/3 cups sugar
1 cup butter
4 eggs
1/2 cup water
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
6 or 7 pint canning jars

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and mix well. Add the water and vanilla.  Add the dry ingredients and combine well. 

Pour 1 cup of batter into each of the pint jars.  Bake cakes at 325 degrees for 55 to 60 minutes or until cakes test done.

VARIATIONS:
For BANANA NUT CAKE: add the following to the basic cake mix above and follow the above instructions for baking.
2 cups mashed bananas
1 tsp cinnamon
2/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

For POLKA-DOT CAKE: add 1 cup mini M&M candies to the basic recipe above and follow the basic directions.


YUMMY GRASSHOPPER PIE

1 1/4 cups chocolate wafer crumbs (approx. 32 wafers)
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 pkg (6-oz) chocolate-covered mint wafer candies
4 cups miniature marshmallows
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp butter
1/3 cup green creme de menthe
1 1/2 cups whipping cream, whipped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the wafer crumbs and melted butter; mix well.  Press evenly onto the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate.  Bake at 350 degrees 6 to 8 minutes; let cool completely before filling.

Cut three of the mint candies in half diagonally; set aside.  Reserve ten whole candies for garnish; chop remaining candies and set aside.

In the top of a double boiler combine the marshmallows, sugar, and the 2 tablespoons butter.  Bring water in the bottom to a boil then reduce the heat to low.  Cook mixture until the marshmallows are melted, stirring often.  Remove from the heat and stir in the creme de menthe.  Allow to cool to room temperature.

Fold in the chopped candies and the whipped cream.  Spread the filling evenly into the pie shell.  Arrange the reserved candy halves in the center of the pie as decorations.  Cover and freeze until firm.

Make tiny shavings out of the reserved whole candies by pulling a vegetable peeler down the sides.  Use to garnish the pie before serving.



Wednesday, December 19, 2012

APPLE UPSIDE-DOWN SQUARE CAKE

1 stick + 2 tbsp butter, divided
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
3 medium Granny Smith, or other cooking apples, pared and sliced
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 stick butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup buttermilk
whipped cream

Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in a 9 x 9-inch square baking pan.  Spread the 1/2 cup of brown sugar over the butter.  Sprinkle the pecans over the brown sugar and arrange the apple slices over the pecans.

Cream the stick of butter, the 2/3 cup of brown sugar, and the granulated sugar together until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg and vanilla until thoroughly combined.

combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg together.  Add to the butter mixture alternately with the buttermilk.  Spread the batter over the apple slices. 

Bake cake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until done.  

Serve cake warm, cut into squares and top with whipped cream.


Yield: 9 servings.

I Love These Stoneware Bakers & The Price is Great

I have come across a great buy on some stoneware bakers that I really like so I wanted to share this deal with you.  If you are interested, click on the link in the right column and scroll to the bottom of the page.  You will find the bakers there, in various colors.  Unfortunately I just found out about this great price and it ends at the end of the year.  If you are interested, check this out soon!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

BROWN SUGAR APPLE PIE

1 (9-inch) unbaked pie shell
2 cans (20-oz each) sliced apples OR 6 cups peeled, cored, sliced apples
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 tbsp flour
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2/3 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup butter
additional cheese slices, if desired

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a medium to large bowl combine the apples, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, lemon juice, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Arrange the apple mixture in to pie shell.

In a small bowl combine the 1/2 cup brown sugar, grated cheese, and half cup of flour.  Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in the butter to make a crumbly mixture.  Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the apples.

Place pie in the preheated oven and bake at 425 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until the apples are tender.  After about 20-25 minutes, loosely cover the pie to prevent over-browning. 


Serve pie warm with the slices of cheese, if desired.

Monday, December 17, 2012

PIE CRUST MADE WITH PECANS

1 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
2 tbsp sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Combine all ingredients together and press into a 9-inch pie pan. 

Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes.

Allow to cool completely before filling.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

THE LATE VESTAL GOODMAN'S MOLASSES COOKIES

As readers of my blogs have probably guessed, I am a big Southern Gospel Music fan.  I have always loved collecting the recipes of the singers, probably because most of them are just everyday country people like I really am.  Vestal used to make these cookies to share with her family at Christmastime.  She and her family enjoyed spending Christmas at her parents home with extended family.  She has said she loved making these cookies for those times.

1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 cups molasses
4 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cloves
1 cup boiling water

Combine the shortening, sugar, egg, and molasses.  Mix well.  Sift together flour, soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.  Stir into the molasses mixture.  Add water, stirring until smooth.  Drop by teaspoonfuls onto lightly greased cookie sheet.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes at 400 degrees.  After cookies have cooled, ice with the frosting below.

Frosting:
2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp lemon extract
3 tbsp milk

Combine all ingredients together until smooth.


Friday, December 14, 2012

EASY FRIED APPLES

4 large cooking apples
2 tbsp butter
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Core apples and slice crosswise into rings about 1/2-inch thick.

Heat butter in a large heavy-duty skillet; add the apples slices.  Cover skillet and cook approximately 10 minutes until the apples are tender. Remove lid and sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon over the apples.  Cook a few more minutes until apples are browned.

Yield: 4 servings

VANILLA CRUMB CAKES WITH A TOUCH OF CINNAMON

1/4 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp firmly packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, cut-up
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
vanilla/cinnamon glaze (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease or spray 4 jumbo muffin cups; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the granulated and brown sugars.  Add the flour and cinnamon to the sugars, whisking to blend well.

Using a pastry blender cut the butter into the above mixer until crumbly.  Remove a half cup of the crumbly mixture and set aside.

In a separate bowl combine the buttermilk, vanilla extrack, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; whisk in the egg.  Pour the buttermilk mixture over the crumbly mixture; stir with a fork until dry ingredients are moistened.

Evenly divide the batter into the 4 prepared muffin cups; fill 2 more of the cups halfway with water.

Sprinkle the reserved crumb mixture over the 4 cakes and press down gently into the batter.

Bake 28 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean.  Remove from oven and cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes; remove from the pan and cool completely on wire rack.

When the cakes are completely cooled, drizzle with the following glaze:

3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Whisk all glaze ingredients together until smooth and drizzle over the cakes.


Note: The idea for these cakes came from an old Southern Living, with my changes.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

PUMPKIN PIE ICE CREAM CHUNKS DESSERT

1 baked pumpkin pie, frozen for 1 hour
1/2 gallon premium vanilla ice cream
jar of caramel ice cream topping
toasted pecan halves

Remove ice cream from freezer and let set about 10 minutes.

Cut about 3/4 of the pie, if large, all of it if it is small, into 1-inch chunks.

Dip chunks of ice cream into a large bowl; gently fold in the pie chunks until combined.

To Serve: Scoop into dessert dishes and spoon some caramel topping over all.  Sprinkle with the pecan halves.

This is a very yummy idea I got from Southern Living several years ago.  Delicious.


ATTENTION DIABETICS:  I have found this works very well with a sugar-free pie, sugar-free ice cream, and sugar-free topping.  If you don't have SF caramel topping, chocolate works well, too.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

KENNY'S CHRISTMAS WASSAIL

I don't know how many of you are Southern Gospel Music fans, but for those of you who are, this recipe is from Kenny Bishop who used to sing with his dad and brother Mark.  Their group was called The Bishops.  Kenny gave out this family recipe for his family's Christmas Wassail several years ago.

5 quarts of apple cider
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
6 ounces frozen lemon juice concentrate
6 ounces frozen orange juice concentrate
7 1/2 whole cloves and allspice
1 1/4 tablespoons ground nutmeg
30 cinnamon sticks

Put cider, sugar and fruit juices in a large pot.  Tie cloves and allspice in a cheesecloth.  Add to cider with nutmeg.  Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.  Remove spice bag.  Serve hot with a cinnamon stick in each mug.

COCONUT CAKE WITH COCONUT-PECAN ICING

I got both the cake and the icing recipes from an Oxmoor House publication a few years ago.

CAKE:
1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease 2 9-inch round cake pans, line with waxed paper and grease the paper.  Dust lightly with flour; set aside.

Using an electric mixer on low speed, beat butter for 2 minutes or until creamy.  Gradually add in the sugar, beating at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating just until the yellow disappears into the batter.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add to the butter mixture, with mixer on low speed, alternately with the coconut milk.  Add the vanilla and coconut extracts.  Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 23 to 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean.  Cool in the pans on a wire rack for 5 minutes.  Remove from pans, peel away waxed paper and cool completely on the wire racks.

ICING:
1 can (12-oz) evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup butter
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 1/2 cups flaked coconut
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
2 tsp vanilla extract

In a 3-quart saucepan, combine the milk, sugar, butter, and egg yolks.  Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat cooking until thickened, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Stir occasionally while cooking.  Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla, coconut, and pecans.  Allow to cool slightly before frosting cake.

To assemble, place one layer on cake plate and top with approximately half the icing.  Top with the second layer and the remaining icing.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

King Arthur's Gluten-Free Pie Crust

This is a recipe from the folks at King Arthur Flour.  I do not do Gluten-Free as I feel it should only be used by those who suffer from celiac disease or other gluten allergies.  However, many of you have wanted a recipe for gluten-free pie crust so I searched out this one for you.  I have not made it but I have always found recipes from King Arthur to be dependably good ones.
  • 1 1/4 cups King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour or brown rice flour blend*
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Instant ClearJel (optional; not packed in a gluten-free facility)
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar

  • 1) Lightly grease a 9" pie pan.
    2) Whisk together the flour or flour blend, sugar, ClearJel, xanthan gum, and salt.
    3) Cut the cold butter into pats, then work the pats into the flour mixture till it's crumbly, with some larger, pea-sized chunks of butter remaining.
    4) Whisk the egg and vinegar or lemon juice together till very foamy. Mix into the dry ingredients. Stir until the mixture holds together, adding 1 to 3 additional tablespoons cold water if necessary.
    5) Shape into a ball and chill for an hour, or up to overnight.
    6) Allow the dough to rest at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before rolling.
    7) Roll out on a piece of plastic wrap, on a silicone rolling mat, or in a pie bag that's been heavily sprinkled with gluten-free flour or flour blend. Invert the crust into the prepared pie pan.
    8) Fill and bake as your pie recipe directs.
    Yield: crust for one 9" single-crust pie.
     
    Note:  The egg yolk makes this crust vulnerable to burned edges, so always shield the edges of the crust, with aluminum foil or a pie shield, to protect them while baking.

    Monday, December 10, 2012

    KITCHEN SINK BROWNIES

    This is my version of a recipe from a 2007 Oxmoor House Pulication, where by the way, I have gotten a lot of my best recipes or recipe ideas over the years.

    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
    1 cup unsweetened cocoa
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 1/2 cups butter, melted
    1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
    1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar 
    4  large eggs
    1/4 cup brewed espresso or French Roast coffee
    2 tsp vanilla extract
    10 Oreo cookies, chopped (should have 1 cup) 
    4 (1.45-oz each) Hershey With Almonds candy bars, chopped
    1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
    1/2 cup white chocolate chips
    1 cup chopped toasted pecans

    Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

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

    In another bowl beat the butter, granulated and brown sugars together until light and fluffy, at medium speed.  Add the eggs, coffee, and vanilla.  Beat at medium speed just until blended.

    Stir in the cookies, Hershey bars, chips, and pecans. 

    Gently transfer batter to the prepared baking pan and bake at 325 degrees for 55 to 60 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.  Cover the pan and refrigerate for 2 hours before cutting.

    To serve, cut brownies into squares or bars.



    Friday, December 7, 2012

    PARTY MEXICAN HOT CHOCOLATE

    9 cups milk
    1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
    2 (3.5-oz each) bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
    1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    3 tbsp instant espresso powder
    1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    2/3 cup coffee liqueur, optional
    Spray can whipped cream for garnish
    WholeVanilla Bean Pods for stir sticks, optional

    In a Dutch oven combine the milk, brown sugar, bittersweet chocolate, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and cinnamon.  Cook over medium heat, do not boil, for about 10 minutes until the sugar is dissolved and the chocolate is melted.  Stir often during cooking.

    Remove chocolate mixture from the heat and whisk vigorously until you have a frothy hot chocolate.  Pour immediately into mugs and stir in a splash of the coffee liqueur, if using.  Top with whipped cream.  Add a vanilla bean stick to each mug as a stirrer, if desired.  It will release a vanilla taste into the hot chocolate.

    For a decorative touch sprinkle some cinnamon or shaved chocolate over the whipped cream, if desired.



    Thursday, December 6, 2012

    NO BUTTER, ONE EGG GINGERBREAD CAKE

    3/4 cup molasses
    2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
    1/2 cup canola oil
    1 large egg
    2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 tbsp ground ginger
    2 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp ground cinnamon
    1 tsp ground cloves
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 cup hot water
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    2/3 cup water
    2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
    1/2 tsp lemon extract
    powdered sugar
    lemon and/or orange rind, for garnish

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    Spray to thoroughly coat a 10-cup Bundt pan with cooking spray.

    Using an electric mixer at medium speed, beat the molasses, brown sugar, canola oil, and egg together until blended.

    In another bowl, combine the flour, ginger, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt.  Add the flour mixture alternately with the hot water to the molasses mixture; beat on low speed after each addition until mixed.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

    Bake cake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.  Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.

    While cake cools, combine the granulated sugar, water, lemon juice and lemon extract in a small saucepan.  Simmer the mixture over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool 10 minutes.

    Using a skewer, poke holes in the top of the cake.  Pour the sugar mixture evenly over the cake and allow to cool completely before placing on a serving platter.  Lightly sprinkle with the powdered sugar and sprinkle the citrus rind over the top as garnish.

    Tuesday, December 4, 2012

    CHUNKY CHOCOLATE GOBS

    This is a recipe I got from a Southern Living Christmas 2007 book.  Their test kitchen said, "These ultrachocolate cookies are, hands down, some of the best ever to come through our test kitchen."  Let me add, they are delicious.  All you chocoholics will love these cookies (unless you hate coconut - they do contain Mounds bars)!

    3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
    1/3 cup butter-flavored shortening
    1 cup granulated sugar
    2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
    2 large eggs
    2 tsp vanilla extract
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
    1 tsp baking soda
    1/4 tsp salt
    2 cups (approx. 16 cookies) cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies, ciarsekt chopped
    3 bars (1.75-oz each) Mounds candy, chilled and chopped
    1 to 2 cups (how chocolatey do you want?) semisweet chocolate morsels

    Beat the butter and shortening together at medium speed of an electric mixer until creamy.  Gradually add the sugars to the butter mixture, beating until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs and vanilla, beating until blended.

    In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; gradually add to the butter mixture, beating until blended.  Stir in the cookies, Mounds, and chocolate morsels.  Chill the dough for half an hour.

    drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls 2-inches apart onto parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake at 350 degrees 10 to 12 minutes or until barely set.  Remove from oven and cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

    Yield: Approximately 2 1/2 dozen.

    Note: This is a file photo of this recipe. My picture was too blurry.

    Monday, December 3, 2012

    BUTTERY CINNAMON APPLES

    1/3 cup butter
    1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar (depends on how sweet your apples are)
    2 tbsp cornstarch
    1 1/2 cups water
    1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    4 medium-size apples, cored and cut in half

    Using a 10-inch skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.  Stir in the sugar and cornstarch; mix well.
    Add remaining ingredients.  Cover; cook over medium heat, spooning the sauce over the apples occasionally until apples are fork tender and sauce is thickened (about 15 minutes).  To serve, place 2 apples halves in individual dessert dishes; spoon 1/2 cup of the sauce over each of the 2 apple halves.

    Yield: 4 servings.

    Thursday, November 29, 2012

    FRUIT LOOPS CANDY

    The kids love this one and they can help make it.  But I would recommend it only for special occasions and not a routine treat.

    1 pkg (24-oz) vanilla candy coating (white almond bark), broken up into pieces
    2 1/2 cups Fruit Loops (or similar cereal)
    1 cup thin pretzel sticks, coarsely broken into pieces

    Line a lightly greased jelly-roll pan (15 x 10-inches) with waxed or parchement paper.

    Melt the candy coating in a large microwave-safe bowl according to the package directions.  Gently stir in the cereal and pretzels.  Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared pan.  Let stand 1 hour or until firm (do not refrigerate to speed setting).

    Break candy into pieces and store into an airtight container.

    Yield: 1 1/2 to 2 lbs.

    Note: The idea for this candy came from an old Southern Living Book.  This is an Oxmoor House picture.

    CHOCOLATE!

    For those of you who follow my blogs, you know I love chocolate!  And being a diabetic for the past 5 years hasn't changed that one bit.  It warms my heart to know that my blog readers also love chocolate.  Recipes containing chocolate get many more hits on this blog than any other type.  So if you think I post too many chocolate recipes because that is what I like, you are wrong.  I post so many chocolate recipes because that is what my readers demand.  Way to go, readers!

    Tuesday, November 27, 2012

    COCONUT & CHOCOLATE FILLED PASTRIES

    1/2 block (8-oz size) cream cheese, softened
    1/2 cup powdered sugar
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1 cup flaked coconut
    1 pkg (17.3-oz) frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
    5 (1.55-oz) milk chocolate candy bars, broken into sections
    1 large egg
    1 tbsp water
    powdered sugar for sprinkling

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

    In a medium mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese at medium speed of electric mixer until creamy.  Add the half cup of powdered sugar and vanilla, beating until smooth.  Stir in the coconut.

    Roll 1 sheet of the puff pastry into a 12" x 12" sheet; will be thin.  Cut into nine 4-inch squares.  Stack 2 of the chocolate candy squares just off center of each pastry square; top with 1 heaping teaspoon of the coconut mixture.

    In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and water.  Lightly brush the edges of the pastry squares with the egg mixture.  Fold squares into triangles, sealing the edges with a fork.

    Repeat procedure with the remaining ingredients.  Brush the remaining egg mixture over the tops of the pastries.

    Bake the pastries for 12 minutes or until golden brown at 400 degrees.  Cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.  Sift powdered sugar over the cooled pastries.


    Yield: 18 pastries

    Monday, November 26, 2012

    IMPERIAL HOT CHOCOLATE

    1 cup water
    1/2 cup cocoa powder
    1/8 tsp salt
    3/4 cup granulated sugar
    1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped
    1/2 tsp vanilla
    5 cups hot milk
    8 cinnamon sticks for stirring, optional

    Combine enough water with cocoa, in a saucepan, to make a smooth mixture; stir in the remaining water and add the salt and sugar.  Cook mixture over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved.

    To serve, combine the whipped cream and vanilla into the chocolate mixture.  Divide equally into 8 cups and fill each with the hot milk.  Add a cinnamon stick for stirring, if desired.

    Variation: For the holidays, substitute a candy cane for the cinnamon stick, if desired.



    Yield: 8 servings

    Sunday, November 25, 2012

    INFO ON VANILLA

    Have you ever wondered how to substitute one type of vanilla for another?  If so, here are the substitutions:
    • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste = 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    • 1 whole vanilla bean = 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    You can figure the other variations from there.


    Saturday, November 24, 2012

    STRAWBERRY CUPCAKES

    2/3 cup fresh strawberries, halved
    1/4 cup milk
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1 stick unsalted butter, softened
    1 cup granulated sugar
    1 large egg
    2 large egg whites
    1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
    1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour, sifted
    1 tsp baking powder
    1/4 tsp salt

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    Line 12 muffin cups with paper cupcake liners; set aside.

    Puree the strawberries in a food processor.  Combine puree with the milk and vanilla; set aside.

    Using an electric mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy; gradually add in the sugar, beating well.  Add the egg; beat until blended.  Add the egg whites and beat until blended. 

    Whisk together the flours, baking powder, and salt; add to the butter mixture alternately with the strawberry mixture beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Beat at low speed after each addition.

    Spoon the batter into the prepared pans and bakeat 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until the tops are dry to the touch.  Remove from the pans and allow to cool completely on wire racks.

    Frost the completely cooled cupcakes with the following recipe for Strawberry Frosting:

    1/2 cup fresh strawberries, halved and pureed in food processor
    2 sticks butter
    3 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
    1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

    Reserve 3 tablespoons of the strawberry puree.  Polk a few tiny holes in the cooled cupcakes and drizzle with the remaining puree, if desired.  Otherwise, reserve for another use.

    Beat the butter with electric mixer until creamy.  Gradually add the powdered sugar at low speed until blended.  Add the vanilla extract and the 3 tablespoons of the strawberry puree and beat just until blended, thick, creamy, and ready to spread.  Pile the frosting atop the cupcakes for serving.


    This is my adaptation of a recipe from Sprinkles cupcakes.

    Thursday, November 22, 2012

    BROWN SUGAR CAKE WITH PEANUT BUTTERCREAM ICING

    1 1/2 cups butter, softened
    2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
    6 large eggs
    3 cups sifted cake flour
    1 tsp baking powder
    1 cup milk
    2 tsp vanilla

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

    Beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy.  Gradually add the brown sugar; beat until fluffy, about 7 minutes.  Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until the yellow disappears after each.

     Combine the flour and baking powder.

    Combine the milk and the vanilla.

    Gradually add the flour mixture and the milk mixture alternately to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with the flour.  Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition.  Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pans.

    Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes then remove from pans to the wire rack to cool completely.  Frost with the Peanut Butter Cream Frosting below:

    9 tbsp butter, softened
    1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
    1/2 cup milk
    1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    5 1/2 cups powdered sugar

    Beat the butter and peanut butter in a large bowl at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended. 

    Combine the milk and vanilla.

    Gradually add the powdered sugar and the milk mixture, one tablespoon at a time, beating until of spreading consistency.

    Frost cake and make a chocolate glaze (below) to drizzle around the edges.

    1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
    2 tablespoons milk
    1 tablespoon butter

    Place all three in a small microwave-safe bowl;  microwave on high for 1 minute.  Stir until smooth.  Drizzle around edges of cake.

    Variation: Crush peanut brittle candy and press onto sides of cake.  Dip the ends of some larger pieces into the chocolate and pile some brittle in center of cake.

    Note: This is a recipe I got years ago from an Oxmoor House cookbook.



    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

    DARK CHOCOLATE BUTTERMILK LAYER CAKE

    1 cup butter, softened
    3/4 cup granulated sugar
    3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
    2 large eggs
    2 squares (1-oz each) sweet dark chocolate, melted, cooled
    1 tbsp vanilla extract
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    1 1/2 tsp baking soda
    1/4 tsp salt
    1 1/2 cups buttermilk

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    Grease two 9-inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper; set aside.

    In large mixer bowl, beat butter and both sugars with an electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each.  Add the cooled chocolate and the vanilla; beat until blended.

    Combine the flour, cocoa powder, soda, and salt; add to the buttermilk alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Beat at low speed after each addition until blended.

    Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 22 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean.  Cool the cakes in the pans on wire rack for 10 minutes.  Remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely.


    Frost with your favorite frosting.

    BAKED HAM WITH A PEACH SAUCE

    I know, you are thinking why a baked ham on a sweets blog!  Well this yummy peach sauce gives this ham a sweet taste so I thought I would share it here.  If you are looking for a different ham for Christmas this year, maybe this is the one.  You obviously love a sweet taste, or you wouldn't be on a "sweets" blog.  But don't worry, the next post will go back to desserts!

    1 (approx 8-lb) fully cooked shank ham
    1 cup peach preserves
    1 jar (7.3-oz) coarse-grained Dijon mustard
    2 cups peach nectar, divided

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    Remove the skin from the ham and discard.  Score the fat 1/8-inch deep in a diamond pattern.

    Place the ham, fat side up, on a lightly greased rack in a shallow roasting pan.  Insert a meat thermometer; be sure it does not touch the bone.

    In a large bowl, stir the preserves, mustard, and 1 cup of the nectar together; pour over the ham.

    Bake ham at 350 degrees, uncovered, for 2 hours and 20 minutes or until the meat thermometer registers 140 degrees; baste with the pan juices every 20 minutes during cooking.

    Transfer to serving platter but allow to stand 15 minutes before carving.

    Make a sauce to serve with the ham by pouring the pan drippings into a large saucepan.  Add the other can of peach nectar and bring mixture to a boil.  Serve with the ham.


    Yield: 8 to 10 servings.

    Tuesday, November 20, 2012

    MILE-HIGH TURTLE PIE

    Great make-ahead dessert as this pie needs to freeze for at least 6 hours but up to 2 weeks.

    2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs
    1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled

    Combine crumbs and butter in a small mixing bowl; mix together well.  Press mixture onto the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.  Bake crust at 325 degrees for 10 minutes.  Allow to cool completely.

    1 1/4 cups sugar
    1/3 cup water
    3/4 cup whipping cream
    1/3 cup butter, cut-up
    1/2 tsp vanilla extract

    In a large heavy saucepan, combine the sugar and water; cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until sugar dissolves.  Increase the heat to medium-high and boil gently, without stirring, until syrup turns a deep amber color; occasionally brush down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush and swirl pan (swirling instead of stirring will cause more even cooking).  Gradually add the cream (the sauce will bubble vigorously).  Add the butter and stir gently until smooth.  Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. 

    2 pints dulce de leche ice cream, softened and divided
    1 recipe of the caramel sauce (above), divided
    1 1/2 cups toasted pecans, divided
    1 pint chocolate ice cream, softened
    1 can (7-oz) whipped cream such as Redi Whip

    Spoon 1 pint of the dulce de leche ice cream onto the cooled chocolate crust; spread evenly.

    Drizzle 1/3 cup of the caramel sauce over the ice cream and sprinkle with 3/4 cup of the pecans, chopped.  Freeze for 15 minutes or until ice cream is almost firm. 

    Repeat the layers using the chocolate ice cream, 1/3 cup of the caramel sauce, and  remaining pecans; freeze until almost firm.  Top with the remaining ducle de leche ice cream and 1/3 cup of the caramel sauce.  Freeze for at least 6 hours but up to 2 weeks.

    To serve; remove sides and bottom of pan, transfer to a serving plate.  Top with the whipped cream.  Place the remaining sauce in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high 1 minute or until warm.  Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the warm sauce over each serving.

    Yield: 12 servings

    Monday, November 19, 2012

    HOMEMADE SPICED TEA MIX

    1 cup Country Time lemonade-flavored tea mix
    1 cup Tang orange drink powder
    1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
    1/2 tsp ground cloves
    1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
    1/4 tsp ground ginger

    Combine all ingredients together well.  Store in a large zip-top plastic food storage bag for home use or put in a pretty glass jar to give as a gift.  If giving as a gift, don't forget to include the instructions for making a cup of tea (below).

    To make a cup of hot tea: Place 2 heaping tablespoonsful of the mixture into a cup or mug.  Add 1 cup boiling water and stir gently.

    Yield: 2 cups of mix

    Homemade Spiced Tea Ready for Gifting
     
    Note: This is my version of an old Southern Living Recipe

    Saturday, November 17, 2012

    WHITE CHOCOLATE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

    This frosting is so good and it really adds to chocolate cakes!  I have had this recipe for some time.  I believe I got it from a Southern Living Christmas Book years ago.

    1 1/2 pkg (8-oz each) cream cheese, softened
    1/2 cup butter, softened
    2 (4-oz each) white chocolate baking bars, melted & cooled
    1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
    2 tsp vanilla extract
    2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

    With an electric mixer at medium speed, beat the cream cheese and butter together until fluffy.  Add the cooled chocolate and beat until well blended.  Gradually add the powdered sugar while continuing to beat until smooth.  Add the vanilla and lemon juice; beat until well blended.

    Cover icing and refrigerate until of spreading consistency, about 45 minutes.  This makes enough to fill and ice a two layer cake.

    Friday, November 16, 2012

    PUMPKIN NUT LAYER CAKE WITH GINGER CREAM CHEESE ICING

    1 stick butter, softened
    1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
    2 large eggs
    1 cup canned pumpkin
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    2 tsp baking powder
    2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 cup buttermilk
    2 tsp vanilla extract
    2 tsp minced fresh ginger
    1 cup chopped nuts, toasted (I prefer pecans, walnuts work well, too)
    Ginger Cream Cheese Icing, recipe below

    Beat the butter and sugar in large mixer bowl with mixer at medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each until blended.  Add the pumpkin and beat until blended.

    In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, pie spice, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

    In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, vanilla, and ginger; set aside.

    Add the flour milk to the butter mixture alternately with the buttermilk mixture beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Beat at low speed after each addition until well blended.

    Fold the nuts into the batter.  Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans and bake at 350 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean.  Cool cakes in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Remove cakes from pans and allow to cool completely on the wire racks.

    To assemble cake, place one layer on the cake plate.  Spread top with icing; place second layer atop the icing.  Spread the top and sides with the remaining icing.  For best results, cover cake and refrigerate overnight.

    GINGER CREAM CHEESE ICING:
    1 1/2 blocks (8-oz each) cream cheese, softened
    1/2 cup butter, softened
    1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
    4 cups confectioners' sugar
    1 tsp vanilla extract

    Beat the cream cheese, butter, and ginger with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating until smooth.  Add vanilla and beat until smooth.  Chill for a half hour to reach spreading consistency.

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

    DELICIOUS CARAMEL CHESS TART

    I believe I first got this recipe several years ago from a Southern Living Book

    pastry for a 1 crust pie*
    1/2 cup butter, softened
    1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
    3 large eggs
    1 tbsp flour
    1/4 cup buttermilk
    2 tsp vanilla extract
    powder sugar for dusting, optional
    whipped cream for garnish, optional

    Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

    Fit the pastry into a 10-inch tart pan with a removeable bottom; bake at 450 degrees for 7 minutes.  Use pie weights or line with aluminum foil and fill with dry beans to keep flat and in place during baking.  Remove from the oven and cool in the pan on a wire rack.

    Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

    In large mixer bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar at medium speed until fluffy; add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one.  Stir in the flour and the buttermilk.  Add the vanilla, stirring well then pour mixture into the cooled pastry shell.

    Bake tart at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until almost set.  Cool completely on wire rack.  When completely cooled, remove the pan rim and transfer the tart, still on the pan bottom, to a pretty serving plate.  Dust with the powdered sugar, if desired.


    Serve each slice with a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

    EASY ROYAL ICING

    6 tbsp warm water
    3 tbsp powdered egg whites or meringue powder
    1 pkg (16-oz) confectioners' sugar
    paste food colors of your choice

    Beat the warm water and powdered egg whites together in a medium-size mixing bowl until frothy.    Gradually add the confectioners' sugar and beat for 8 to 10 minutes or until shiny, smooth and of a good spreading consistency.

    Divide icing into small bowls to add colors as desired.

    This icing is great for decorating cookies and other decorative purposes.

    This cookie picture is from a 12-year-old Good Housekeeping magazine.

    STRAWBERRY-RICE PUDDING

    3 1/2 cups milk
    1/2 cup long-grain white rice
    4 teaspoons sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 pkg (10-oz) frozen sliced strawberries with syrup, thawed
    1 1/4 cups vanilla frozen yogurt, slightly softened

    In a 3-quart saucepan, heat milk, rice, sugar, and salt to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 50 to 55 minutes, stirring occasionally, until rice is very tender and mixture is creamy.  Pour rice mixture into large bowl; refrigerate until well chilled.

    Meanwhile, drain syrup from strawberries; reserve for use later.  In a blender at medium speed or in a food processor with a knife blade attached, blend strawberries until pureed.  Pour puree into a small bowl. Stir 2 tablespoons of the frozen yogurt into the strawberry puree. 

    Stir the remaining frozen yogurt into the rice mixture.  Spoon the strawberry mixture evenly into six 8-ounce dessert glasses or bowls.  Top with the rice pudding mixture. Refrigerate if not serving right away.

    BROWNIE BISCOTTI

    2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 1/3 cup sugar
    3/4 cup cocoa
    2 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 stick butter, melted
    3 large eggs
    2 tsp vanilla extract
    1 cup almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
    4-oz semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

    In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

    In a large bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat butter, eggs, and vanilla until mixed.  Reduce speed to low; gradually add the flour mixture and just beat until blended.  Using your hands, knead in the almonds and chocolate until combined.

    Divide the dough in half.  On a large ungreased cookie sheet, shape each half into a 12-inch by 3-inch log.  Place logs about 3-inches apart.  Bake logs for 30 minutes at 325 degrees.  Remove from oven and cool on the cookie sheet that is placed on wire racks.

    When logs are cool, place on cutting boards and cut each log crosswise, using a serrated knife, into 1/2-inch thick diagonal slices.  Using a long metal spatula, place slices, top side up, 1/4-inch apart, on the same cookie sheet.  Bake slices 20 minutes at 325 degrees to dry out.  Remove from oven and cool completely on cookie sheet on wire rack.  The biscotti will harden as it cools.
    Yield: 36 cookies
    Store the cooled biscotti in a tightly covered container at room temperature up to 2 weeks.  May be kept in the freezer to to 6 months.

    I originally got this recipe from an old Good Housekeeping Magazine.  The author said the recipe was an old family favorite her aunt baked for the whole family ever since she could remember.  She said they were dessert cookies at family gatherings and also eaten with morning coffee and afternoon cappuccino.

    Monday, November 12, 2012

    GLUTEN-FREE ANGEL FOOD CAKE

    1 1/2 cups egg whites (about 10 eggs)
    3/4 cup + 1/2 cup sugar, divided
    1/4 cup cornstarch
    1/4 cup white rice flour
    1/4 cup tapioca flour
    1/4 cup potato starch
    1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
    3/4 tsp salt
    3/4 tsp vanilla extract
    Assorted fresh berries for garnish, if desired

    Place egg whites in a large mixer bowl and let stand at room temperature for half an hour.

    Sift the 3/4 cup of sugar, cornstarch, rice flour, tapoica flour, and potato starch together twice; set aside.

    Add the cream of tartar, salt, and vanilla to the egg whites and beat on medium speed until soft peaks form.  Gradually add the half cup of sugar, only a couple of spoonfuls at a time, beating on high speed until stiff peaks form.  Gradually fold in the flour mixture, approximately a half cup at a time.

    Gently spoon the batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan; cut through the batter with a knife to remove any air pockets.  Bake on the lowest oven rack at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or until lightly browned and the entire top appears dry.  Immediately invert pan; cool completely.  It will take around an hour to cool.

    To remove from pan, run a knife around the side and center of the pan to loosen.  Remove cake to serving plate and top with the fresh fruit if desired.  Also good with a chocolate sauce, etc.

    This is an old Healthy Cooking Taste of Home Recipe

    Saturday, November 10, 2012

    CHUNKY PECAN PIE BARS

    Crust:
    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup butter, softened
    1/4 cup packed brown sugar

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

    Beat the flour, butter, and brown sugar together in a small mixer bowl until crumbly.  Press into the bottom of the pan.  Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

    Filling:
    3 large eggs
    3/4 cup corn syrup
    3/4 cup granulated sugar
    2 tbsp butter, melted
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1 3/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chunks
    1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans

    Beat the eggs, corn syrup, sugar, butter, and vanilla together in a medium mixing bowl using a wire whisk.  Stir in the chocolate chunks and the pecans.  Pour evenly over the baked crust.

    Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until set, at 350 degrees.  Remove from oven and set pan on a wire rack to cool.  Cool completely before cutting into 36 bars.



    DARK CHOCOLATE CHUNK CHERRY CAKE FROM SOUTHERN LIVING 2006

    Unsweetened cocoa
    1 box (18 1/4-oz) yellow cake mix with pudding
    1/2 cup sugar
    1 box (3.8-oz) devil's food instant pudding mix
    4 large eggs
    3/4 cup vegetable oil
    1/2 cup water
    1 carton (8-oz) sour cream
    1 tbsp vanilla extract
    5 bars (3-oz) dark chocolate bars, divided (Ghirardelli works well)
    1/2 cup coarsely chopped dried cherries
    1 tbsp butter
    1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

    Grease a 12-cup Bundt pan, dust with the unsweetened cocoa and set aside.

    In a large mixing bowl combine the cake mix, sugar, and pudding mix together; set aside.

    With an electric mixer at medium speed, beat the eggs, oil, water, sour cream, and vanilla together until blended.  Gradually add to the cake mix mixture and beat for 2 minutes.

    Coarsely chop 3 of the chocolate bars and fold, along with the cherries, into the cake batter.  Pour batter into the prepared Bundt pan.

    Bake cake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.  Remove from pan, cool completely on wire rack.

    Coarsely chop 1 chocolate bar; place in a small bowl with the butter.

    Bring the whipping cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.  Remove from heat and immediately pour over the chocolate and butter; whisk until smooth.  Cool for 3 minutes or until slightly thickened.  Drizzle chocolate over the cake. 

    Coarsely chop the last chocolate bar and sprinkle over the cake.

    Yield: 12 servings

    Note: For the holidays, I like to place some well-drained maraschino cherries over the top.

    Thursday, November 8, 2012

    OLD-FASHION BANANA-HONEY CAKE

    This recipe is so old my picture of it is an old black & white.

    1 cup honey
    1 tsp baking soda, divided
    1 cup rolled oats
    3/4 cup butter, softened
    1/2 cup sugar
    2 eggs
    1 cup mashed bananas
    1 1/2 cup sifted all-purpose flour
    3/4 tsp salt
    3/4 tsp baking powder
    2 pkgs (3-oz each) cream cheese, softened
    1 1/2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
    1 firm ripe banana, sliced for garnish, if desired
    lemon juice for dipping the banana slices

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    Grease and line 2 8-inch round cake pans; set aside.

    Bring the honey to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.

    Pour the oats into a small bowl.  Add 1/2 teaspoon of the baking soda to the honey and pour over the oats.  Stir to blend well, cover, and let stand for 10 minutes.

    In a large mixing bowl cream the butter adding sugar gradually; beat until light and fluffy.  Blend in the eggs.  Add the oatmeal and bananas and beat until blended well.

    Sift the flour into the above mixture, add the salt, baking powder, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda; mix together well.  Divide evenly into the two prepared cake pans.

    Bake cakes at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Place pans on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.  Remove cakes from the pans and cool completely on wire racks.

    To make the filling/frosting, beat the cream cheese in a bowl until fluffy; add the confectioners' sugar and bueat until of a spreading consistency. 

    To assemble the cake, place 1 layer on a cake plate; top with half the filling/frosting.  Set second layer atop the filling and frost top with the remaining filling/frosting.  If desired, dip banana slices in the lemon juice to keep from discoloring and place in a decorative circle around the top of the cake.

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

    BUTTERMILK PECAN PIE II

    1/2 cup butter, softened
    1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
    3 large eggs
    2 tsp vanilla
    3 tsp all-purpose flour
    1/4 tsp salt
    1 cup buttermilk
    1 cup pecans

    Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

    In a 2-quart mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar together unil light and fluffy; add the vanilla.  Add the eggs, one at a time and mix in gently.  Blend in the flour and salt; add the buttermilk slowly mixing gently as you add.  Do not beat hard as this will cause the eggs to toughen. 

    Sprinkle the pecans over the bottom of a 9-inch pie crust shell.  Slowly pour the creamy mixture over the pecans.

    Place pie in oven and bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until done.

    Note: File Photo