Tuesday, January 31, 2012

COCONUT MOMENTS

One of my favorite things in the world: coconut!

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cups flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Mix the flour, cornstarch, and sugar together in a bowl.  Blend in the butter to form a soft ball.  If this dough is too soft to handle, chill until firm enough to shape.  Shape the dough into balls approximately 3/4-inch in diameter.  Roll balls in the coconut and place 1 1/2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.  Bake at 300 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until ligtly browned.


Yield: approximately 3 dozen

Monday, January 30, 2012

BASIC YELLOW CUPCAKE BATTER

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 large eggs
1 cup low-fat milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners; set aside.

In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter, sugar, baking powder, and salt with the mixer on high speed for 1 minute or until well blended.  Add the eggs to the butter mixture and beat about 2 minutes until fluffy.  Reduce speed to low and beat in the milk and vanilla (it is okay if the batter looks curdled).  Beat in the flour just until blended.  Spoon batter into the prepared muffin cups filling each 2/3 full.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove from oven and cool in the pans on a wire rack for 5 minutes.  Remove from pans and cool completely on the wire racks before frosting.
                                                 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

SO GOOD BLUEBERRY MUFFINS

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled*
1 large egg, beaten
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp low-fat milk
1 cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Line 10 muffin cups with paper liners and set aside. (Leave 2 of the center cups empty and then add a couple tablespoons of water to each.)

Into a large mixing bowl sift the flours, baking powder and salt together.  Stir in the sugar.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter, egg, and milk.  Pour over the flour/sugar mixture and whisk until just blended.  (Mixture will be slightly lumpy.)

Gently stir in the blueberries, just until blended in.

Divide the batter evenly between the 10 muffin-lined cups.  Bake at 400 degrees for 18 to 24 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool. 

These muffins are good anytime but especially good served warm.
*If you use salted butter, cut the salt from 1/2 teaspoon to 1/4 teaspoon.


Friday, January 27, 2012

FUDGY CHOCOLATE LAYER CAKE

1 cup butter
1 cup + 3 tbsp granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup + 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
4 large eggs
3/4 cup very hot water
1/2 pint heavy cream
10.5-oz semisweet chocolate
6-oz white chocolate finely grated for garnish, if desired

Grate the white chocolate so it can chill while you prepare the cake.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly oil the bottoms of two 8-inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper; set aside.

In large mixer bowl combine the butter, sugar, flours, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and eggs.  With mixer on medium speed, beat until smooth.  Continue beat for a couple more minutes until the volume has increased.  Add the hot water and beat to incorporate, about a minute.  Divide the batter evenly between the two pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean.  All cakes to cool in pan for about 10 minutes then gently remove from pans, peel of parchment paper and allow to cool completely on wire racks. 

While cake cools heat the heavy cream just to a boil - do not boil!  Break the chocolate into pieces, adding to the cream and stirring until melted.  Let cool then chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.  Remove from refrigerator and whisk until thickened to a spreading consistency.

To assemble the cake, place one layer on the cake plate and top with 1/3 of the frosting.  Spread the frosting and top with the second layer.  Spread the remaining of the frosting over the sides and top of the cake.  Sprinkle the white chocolate over the top, if desired.

Yield: 8 servings                                       This is a Great American Recipe.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

CARROT-WALNUT ICED COOKIES

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
2 jars (4-oz each) baby-food strained carrots
1 large egg
1 tbsp freshly grated orange rind
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 tsp ground cloves
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup chopped walnuts
4 dozen whole or halved walnuts for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Set out 2 large baking sheets.

In the large mixer bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar together until creamy.  Beat in the carrots, egg, orange rind and juice, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and cloves until blended (mixture may look kind of curdled).

With the mixer at low speed, beat in the flours just until blended.  Stir in the chopped walnuts.  Drop the dough onto the ungreased baking sheets by rounded tablespoonsful 2-inches apart.  Do not crowd cookies, bake in batches if necessary.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes until the tops look dry.  Cool on the baking sheet for a minute or so then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. 

ICING:
3 oz cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp butter, softened
1 tsp freshly grated orange peel
2 tbsp fresh orange juice
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Using the mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter, orange peel and juice together until creamy.  Beat in the powdered sugar until well blended and smooth.  Spread approximately 1 1/2 teaspoons on each cookie; top with a whole or half walnut.  Let sit for an hour or two so the icing will set.

Note:  Store in an airtight container with waxed paper between the layers.

Note: file photo

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

NO-BAKE COCONUT-LEMON MOUSSE CAKE

1 can (15-oz) cream of coconut, stirred well in the can
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
1 (16-oz) frozen pound cake, do not thaw
1 carton (12-oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed
11/2 cups flaked coconut
2/3 cup bottled lemon curd
lemon slices for garnish

Coat a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

Scrape the cream of coconut into a bowl.

Sprinkle the gelatin over 1/4 cup cold water in a medium saucepan; let stand for 1 minute, then stir with a heatproof plastic spatula over medium-low heat until the gelatin completely dissolves and liquid begins to steam.  Stir in half the cream of coconut and heat until warm then stir into the cream of coconut still in the bowl.  Refrigerate, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes or until the consistency of egg whites.

While mixture chills in refrigerator, cut the crust off the poundcake so the cake resembles a yellow brick.  Cut the cake crosswise into 18 equal slices.  Cut each slice diagonally to form 36 triangles.  Cover the bottom of the pan with 1/2 the triangles, trimming to fit as needed.

Make a Mousse by stirring a large spoonful of the topping into the gelatin mixture.  Fold in the remaining topping until blended.  Spoon 1 cup into a small bowl, cover, refrigerate and reserve.  Fold the chopped coconut and lemon curd into remaining mousse.  Spoon half the mousse mixture onto the cake in the pan and spread evenly.  Top with the remaining cake triangles, cutting to fit if needed.  Top with the remaining mousse.  Cover the pan and refrigerate at least 5 hours or until firm.

To serve:  Remove side of pan.  Using a wide spatula, lift cake off the cake base and onto a serving platter.  Stir the reserved mousse to soften.  Spread over the cake in a thin layer.  Press the remaining coconut onto the sides and sprinkle over the top; garnish with lemon slices.
                                   

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

CRUNCHY TOPPED APPLE PIE

pastry for a 1 crust pie

TOPPING:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp whole-wheat flour
1/2 packed cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces

Mix the flours, sugars, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl.  Cut in the butter using your fingers or a pastry blender, until the mixture forms moist, coarse, crumbs that clump together easily.  Set aside.

FILLING:

7 medium to large Granny Smith apples
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

Place the oven rack in lowest position.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Line a pie plate with pie crust as the package directs.  Flute or crimp the edge.

Peel, quarter, and core the apples; cut into 1/8-inch thick slices.  Put into a large bowl; toss with the lemon juice until coated. 

In a small bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Sprinkle mixture over the apple slices and toss to coat.  Layer the apples in the pie shell mounding higher in center.  Pat topping evenly over the apples to form a top crust.

Place the pie on a baking sheet and place in the preheated oven.  Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake 45 minutes longer.  (If topping starts to brown too quickly, drape aluminun foil over the pie but don't seal. 

Cool pie completely on a wire rack before cutting to serve.

Excellent served with a scoop of ice cream on top!
                                            

Monday, January 23, 2012

EASY CINNAMON RAISIN COFFEE CAKE

1/3 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 can (8-count) breadstick dough
1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
2 tsp milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix raisins, 1/4 cup chopped pecans, 1/4 cup powdered sugar, butter, cinnamon, and vanilla together in a small bowl.

Without separating, unroll the bread dough onto a work surface.  Spread the raisin mixture evenly to within 1/2-inch of the edges.  From the long side, fold the dough in half; seal edge.  Stretch the dough gently into a 24-inch long strip and twist slightly.  Shape into a circle on an ungreased cookie sheet; seal the ends.

Bake, covered with some foil, for 20 to 22 minutes or just until golden brown.  Allow to cool slightly.

In a small bowl mix the 1/2 cup powdered sugar, milk, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract until smooth.  Drizzle the glaze over the coffee cake and sprinkle with the chopped pecans.

Yields 8 servings.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

PECAN COATED CHOCOLATE DIPPED STRAWBERRIES

Talk about an easy treat to make; this is it!

Plump strawberries with leaves attached.
Semisweet chocolate chips
Coarsely chopped pecans

Wash berries and dry on paper towels.
Place the chopped pecans in a small bowl.
Place chocolate chips in microwave.  Microwave 1 minute, stir, and continue to microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring after each.  As soon as chocolate is melted, dip the strawberries halfway up in the chocolate.  Immediately dip into the pecans.  Lay out on waxed paper to dry.
                                                  

Friday, January 20, 2012

CALICO QUILT COFFEE BARS

1 tbsp instant coffee granules
2 tbsp boiling water
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 large eggs
1 pkg (6-oz) semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a smaller cookie sheet (Or use a foil cookie pan placed on another sturdy pan for support) with small sides and set aside. 

In a large bowl, dissolve the coffee in boiling water.  Add flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, butter, and eggs.  Beat at low speed until well blended.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Spread the batter evenly in the pan.  Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pan.

Glaze:
6 tbsp butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
3 or 4 tbsp milk

Cream the butter with the powdered sugar.  Add the milk, using as much as needed for spreading consistency, beating until smooth.  Spread the glaze over the cooled cookie.  Immediately cut the cookie into 4 rows and the length into 7 rows.  Sprinkle each square with a different topping, repeating the pattern every 4 squares.  Choose topping of your choice to suit the occasion or your taste.
Yield: 28 bars

Thursday, January 19, 2012

APRICOT PIE FILLING COFFEE CAKE WITH ORANGE GLAZE

4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 cup canola oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 can (20-oz) apricot pie filling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In mixer bowl, beat the eggs until foamy; add sugar gradually, beating until smooth.  Add the vanilla and almond extracts along with the oil and mix well.

Combine the salt, flour, and baking powder; add to the egg batter, mixing well.

Spray a 9 x 13-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Pour half the batter into the pan.  Spread the pie filling over the batter then top with the remaining half of the batter.

Bake cake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.  Serve cake as is or make the following orange glaze and drizzle over warm cake, if desired.

ORANGE GLAZE:
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup orange juice
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Blend the butter and orange juice with enough of the powdered sugar to make the glaze of the consistency you desire.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

APRICOT AND PINEAPPLE JAM

2 pkgs (6-oz each) dried apricots
2 can (16-oz each) crushed pineapple, drained
juice of half a lemon
1/3 tsp grated lemon peel
4 cups sugar

In a bowl cover the apricots with water; let stand overnight.

Place the undrained apricots in a large saucepan and cook, covered, until they are tender.  Remove the apricots to a food processor using a slotted spoon.  Pulse 6 times to chop well then return to the hot liquid.  Add the pineapple, lemon juice, lemon peel, and the sugar.  Simmer the mixture until the sugar is dissolved, stirring often.  Cook over high heat for half an hour or until thickened to the consistency you desire.

Sterilize 4 pint jars and heat the 2-piece lids.

Spoon the hot jam into the sterilized jars leaving a half-inch of headspace in each jar.  Seal with the hot lids and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.  Carefully remove the jars from the hot water.  Lids will pop and indent slightly in the center when they seal.  Be sure to refrigerate any jars that do not seal.

Note: May use clean, hot decorative one-piece lids.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

BASIC ORANGE-FLAVORED CHEESECAKE WITH CHOCOLATE GLAZE

CRUST:
4 whole Graham crackers (2 squares each)
2 tbsp stick butter, melted

Heat oven to 325 degrees.
Coat an 8-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

Crush Graham crackers into fine crumbs using food processor or place crackers in a large ziplock plastic bag and crush with rolling pin until fine.  Place in a bowl and add the melted butter, stirring until blended.  Press the mixture onto the bottom of the prepared springform pan.  Set aside and prepare the filling.

FILLING:
3 pkgs (8-oz each) Neufchatel (l0wer-fat) cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/2 tsp finely grated orange peel
1 tbsp orange juice

In a large mixer bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar with mixer on medium speed until smooth.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, just until blended.  Beat in the sour cream, orange peel and orange juice until combined.  Pour the filling over the crust.

Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes or until the edge of the cake puffs slightly and the center still juggles slightly when lightly shaken.  Turn off oven leaving the door closed.  Allow cake to set in the oven for one hour.

Remove cake from oven and gently run a thin knife around the edge to loosen from pan.  Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.

GLAZE:
3 oz (3 squares) semisweet baking chocolate
2 tbsp stick butter
1 tbsp corn syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

In a small saucepan, over low heat, combine all the ingredients and cook, stirring, until smooth.  Remove from the heat and let cool slightly but not completely.

Remove the sides from the cheesecake and place cake on serving platter.  Spread the glaze over the top of the cake using the back of the spoon to make decorative swirls.  Place the cake in a cake keeper or cover with a large bowl or pot.  Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving or can be kept refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Set cake out of refrigerator an hour before serving time.  To make a pretty presentation, garnish with fresh mint leaves and a few fresh berries; I believe raspberries are the prettiest.
    Yield: 12 servings.                                  

Monday, January 16, 2012

SO GOOD COCONUT MACAROONS

2 2/3 cups flaked coconut
2/3 cup granulated sugar
6 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
4 egg whites
1 tsp almond extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Lightly grease 2 large cookie sheets and set aside.

In a large bowl mix the coconut, sugar, flour, and salt.  Stir in the egg whites and almond extract until the mixture is well blended.  Drop by teaspoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets.

Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes or until the edges of the macaroons are golden brown.  Immediately remove from the baking sheets to wire racks to cool completely.

NOTE:  You can make Chocolate Macaroons by melting 2 squares (2-ounces) semi-sweet baking chocolate and stirring into the above mixture before putting into the oven.

Yield: 3 dozen macaroons.  


BLONDIE BROWNIE SNICKERS PIE

1/2 cup butter, cut up
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup (6-oz) semisweet chocolate chips
1 tbsp cocoa powder
13 fun-size Snickers bars
extra cut-up Snickers for garnish
peanuts for garnish

Coat a 9-inch glass pie plate with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

In a large saucepan melt the butter and brown sugar over medium heat until they start to bubble.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

After the butter mixture has cooled for 10 minutes, stir in 1 of the eggs and the vanilla extract until blended.  Stir in the flour and baking powder until smooth. Scrape but don't spread 3/4 cup of the mixture into the prepared pie plate and freeze for 10 minutes.

While mixture is in the freezer, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Melt a half cup of the chocolate chips as directed on the package.  Stir the melted chips, the remaining egg, and the cocoa powder into the remaining batter.

Press the chilled batter evenly over the bottom and halfway up the sides of the pie plate.  Top with the Snickers and then with the chocolate batter.

Bake pie at 350 degrees for approximately 25 minutes until a wooden toothpick inserte in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached.  Sprinkle the other half cup of the chocolate chips in the middle and let stand 5 minutes until softened.  Spread the chocolate to the crust using decorative swirls. 

Garnish the pie with the cut-up Snickers and the peanuts (whatever amount suits you).  Allow to cool completely before cutting into serving wedges.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

VANILLA BUTTER CAKE

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs
4 tsp vanilla extract
1 pkg (2-layer size) yellow cake mix
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk
1 carton (16-oz) prepared whipped white frosting
1/2 cup strawberry preserves
3 large fresh strawberries for garnish, if desired
Sugar sprinkles for garnish, if desired

In a large mixer bowl cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, vanilla extract, cake mix, baking powder, and milk.  Beat on medium speed of electric mixer for 1 minute.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl then beat for 2 more minutes.  Spoon the batter into the prepared cake pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 33 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean.  Cool in pans on wire racks for 15 minutes.  Turn cakes out of pans, right side up, onto wire racks to cool completely.

Place one layer on cake plate and spread with a thin layer of the icing then the preserves. Top with the remaining layer.  Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting.

Decorate by placing the fresh berries in the center of the cake.  Gently press the sugar sprinkles to the sides of the cake, if desired.

Options:  Use raspberry preserves and fresh raspberries to decorate.  Use orange marmalade instead of the preserves and top with well drained and dried mandarin oranges, or use your imagination to please your taste.

Friday, January 13, 2012

CRAZY FOR CHOCOLATE PIE

1/2 cup pecan pieces, toasted and coarsely chopped
1 (6-oz) ready-to-fill chocolate crumb crust

Caramel Layer
3/4 cup (5-oz) indiviually wrapped caramels, unwrapped
1/4 cup canned evaporated milk (NOT sweetened condensed milk!)

Truffle Layer
1 1/2 cups (9-oz) semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream (whipping cream)
3 tbsp stick butter

 For garnish: Sweetened whipped cream

Sprinkle the pecans on the crust. 

Caramel Layer: Heat the caramels and evaporated milk together in a heavy saucepan over low heat or in a bowl in the microwave.  Stir often until the caramels melts and the mixture is smooth.  Pour over the pecans.

Truffle Layer: Heat the chocolate chips, cream and butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat or in a bowl in the microwave, stirring until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth.  Pour over the caramel layer and refrigerate around 4 hours until set.

To serve: Pipe or spoon on whipped cream arranged ners the crust edge of the dessert. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

YUMMY BROWNIE SUNDAES

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with foil allowing the foil extend over the pan on two sides (for lifting out later).  Grease the foil in the pan.

In medium mixing bowl with electric mixer at medium speed beat the butter, sugar, vanilla, and baking powder until fluffy.  Beat in the eggs until blended.  Lower mixer speed to low and beat in the flour and cocoa.  Spread mixture into the prepared pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in the pan on a wire rack.

While brownies cool, make the following FUDGE SAUCE:
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup half and half cream
1/4 cup light corn syrup
3 tbsp butter, cut up into pieces
2 tsp vanilla extract
dash of salt

In a saucepan whisk the cocoa powder and sugar together to blend.  Stir in the half and half, corn syrup, butter, vanilla, and salt.  Bring to a boil, whisking occasionally until smooth.

2 pints vanilla ice cream
whipped cream
maraschino cherries with stems still attached

To assemble the sundaes: Lift brownies out of the pan and cut into 9 squares.  Place each square in a dessert dish with a side.  Top with a scoop of ice cream, hot fudge sauce, whipped cream, and a cherry.    

CAPPUCCINO PECAN PIE

There are so many recipes for pecan pie.  But coffee lovers, this may very well be your favorite!

1 unbaked pie crust in a 9-inch pie pan
1/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 jar (16 to18-oz) caramel sauce
6 tbsp instant cappuccino coffee mix
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups pecan halves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Crumble the brown sugar in an even layer over the bottom of the unbaked crust; set aside.

In a large bowl lightly whisk the eggs to break up and blend somewhat.  Stir in the caramel sauce, cappuccino mix, and the cinnamon until well blended.  Stir in the pecans.  Pour the mixture over the brown sugar layer in the crust.

Bake pie at 350 degrees until the center of the filling is just set.  This will take about 45 to 50 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.  Refrigerate 3 to 4 hours until the pie is firm.  Allow to come to room temperature before serving.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

CRUNCHY CEREAL COOKIES

2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp grated orange rind
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3 cups corn flake type cereal
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly grease a cookie sheet; set aside.

In a large mixer bowl beat the sugar and butter together until creamy.  Beat in the egg, milk, and orange rind.  Mix baking powder with the flour and stirinto the creamed mixture.  Add the cereal and nuts, mixing well.

Drop dough by level tablespoonfuls about 2-inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheet.  Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned.  Let stand on cookie sheet for 1 minute before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.  If you are repeating the process with the same cookie sheet, allow the sheet to cool before putting the next batch of cookies on it.

Yield: 36 cookies

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL CHEESECAKE

1 1/4 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1/4 cup melted butter
3 blocks (8-oz each) cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
chocolate curls for garnish
large stemmed maraschino cherry for garnish
whipped cream for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small mixing bowl combine the vanilla wafer crumbs, powdered sugar, and the 1/3 cup cocoa.  Add the melted butter and mix together well.  Press over the bottom an 1/2-inch up the side of a 9-inch springform pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.

Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees.

In a large mixer bowl combine the cream cheese, granulated sugar, 1/4 cup cocoa, sour cream, and vanilla extract.  Beat at medium speed until smooth.  Add the flour and eggs; mix together well.  Pour the filling into the prepared crust.

Bake for 10 minutes.  Decrease oven temperature to 250 degrees but do not open the oven!  Bake another 30 minutes.  Note: The cheesecake may not appear set in the center.  Turn off the oven.  Let cheesecake stand in the oven for 30 minutes before opening oven.

Remove cheesecake from oven and loosen from side of the pan.  Cool on a wire rack.  When cooled, refrigerate, covered, to chill.

To serve cheesecake; Remove side of the pan.  Garnish with chocolate curls in the center with the maraschino cherry at the direct center.  Dollop each wedge with whipped cream, if desired.

Yield: 12 servings

BASIC WALNUT FUDGE BROWNIES WITH ADD INS

4 squares (1-oz each) unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup butter
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts (may substitute pecans, if desired)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees for a metal baking pan or 325 for a glass baking dish.
Grease a 13 x 9-inch pan and set aside.

In a large glass mixing bowl melt the chocolate and butter together in the microwave on high for 2 minutes or until butter is completely melted when stirred.  Stir until the chocolate is totally melted.

Stir the sugar into the chocolate mixer until completely blended.  Mix in the eggs and vanilla extract.  Stir in the flour and the walnuts until well blended.  Spread the mixture into the prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out with fudgy crumbs attached.  Be careful not to overbake!  Cool in the pan on a wire rack then cut into 24 squares.

Add ins to make CREAM CHEESE BROWNIES
1 pkg (8-oz) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tbsp all-purpose flour

Prepare the above recipe as directed above but use 4 eggs instead of 3!  Spread in 13 x 9-inch greased pan as above.

Beat the cream cheese, sugar, egg, and flour in the bowl you just mixed the brownies in.  Beat until well blended.  Spoon the cream cheese mixture over the brownie mixture in pan and swirl with a knife to marbleize.  Bake 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

Add ins to make WALNUT CRUNCH BROWNIES
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
2 eggs
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups chopped walnuts

Prepare brownies as directed above in original recipe but use 4 eggs instead of three and omit the walnuts.  Spread the batter in greased 9 x 13-inch pan.

Microwave the brown sugar and butter together in a small to medium glass mixing bowl.  Microwave on high for 1 minute or until the butter is melted.  Stir in the eggs, flour, and vanilla extract until well blended.  Stir in the chopped nuts and spread the mixture evenly over the brownie batter in the pan.  Bake for 45 minutes.

Monday, January 9, 2012

DELECTABLE CRESCENT COOKIES

1 stick butter, softened
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour*
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
additional confectioners' sugar for coating
3 squares semisweet chocolate, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Set out two ungreased cookie sheets.

In a 2-quart mixing bowl, mix the butter, sugar, and vanilla together until blended.  Gradually stir in the flours and the walnuts.  Shape into crescents** and place on the ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake cookies in the upper part of the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until firm but not browned.  Remove cookies from the cookie sheets and gently roll in the additional confectioners' sugar.  Cool on wire racks.  When completely cooled, drizzle the melted chocolate over the cookies and allow to stand until the chocolate is firm.

Yield: 2 dozen


*Or just use 1 cup of the all-purpose flour.  It is just healthier to combine some whole-wheat with the all-purpose.
**You can shape into 1-inch balls instead of crescents, if desired.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

PISTACHIO FUDGE TARTS

pie pastry for a 1-crust pie
2 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup light corn syrup
3 tbsp melted butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted
1 cup coarsely chopped pistachios

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Roll out the pastry and cut out 4 6-inch circles.  Fit each circle into a 4-inch tart pan; trim edges; set aside.

In a bowl combine the eggs, corn syrup, melted butter, sugar, and vanilla extract; mix well.  Stir in the melted chocolate and 3/4 cup of the pistachios.

Divide the filling evenly between the 4 tart shells.  Evenly sprinkle the remaining pistachios over the tarts of the tarts.

Bake at 375 degrees for approximately a half hour or until the tart centers are set.  Cool on wire rack.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

CHOCOLATE CARAMELS

2/3 cup butter
1/2 cup unsweetened baking cocoa powder
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light cream or evaporated milk
1 cup clear corn syrup
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, optional

In a heavy 3-quart saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Blend in the cocoa powder and remove from the heat.  Add the sugars, cream, and corn syrup; mix together well.

Cook the mixture over medium heat until the sugars are completely dissolved; stirring constantly.  Using a candy thermometer, cook to 240 to 248 degrees, stirring occasionally.  (If you don't have a candy thermometer, that temperature is the firm ball stage.)

Pour the caramel into a 9-inch square dish* that is lined with a piece of well buttered aluminum foil.  Sprinkle the pecans over the top, pressing down lightly so they will stick.  Allow to cool overnight or all day.

Remove the caramel to a cutting board; carefully peel away the foil.  Using a sharp wet knife, cut caramel into small squares.  Wrap each caramel individually in plastic wrap.

*If you prefer thinner caramels, pour the hot mixture into a 9 X 13-inch pan instead of a 9-inch square pan.

Yield: 3 lbs caramels

Note: This is a file photo.

Friday, January 6, 2012

CANDY CHOCOLATE CLOUDS

3 egg whites, room temperature
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp unsweetened baking cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

In mixer bowl beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks (tops curl over when mixer is lifted) form.  Gradually add the sugar and the vanilla, continuously beating until stiff peaks form.  Sift the cocoa powder over the meringue and gently fold in.  Fold in the chocolate chunks.

Drop meringue by heaping tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets.  Bake at 300 for 35 to 45 minutes or just until meringues are dry.  Carefully peel clouds off the parchment paper and cool completely on a wire rack.  May be stored, covered, at room temperature.

Yield: Approximately 30 clouds

Thursday, January 5, 2012

BUTTERSCOTCH CAKE WITH ORANGE GLAZE

1 pkg (2-layer size) yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water
1 pkg (3-oz) butterscotch instant pudding mix
Orange glaze; recipe below

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and lightly flour a bundt pan; set aside.

In mixer bowl combine the cake mix, eggs, oil, water, and pudding mix; beat at low speed until moistened.  Beat at medium speed 4 minutes.

Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Make the orange glaze and drizzle over the cake.

Yield: 12 servings.

Orange Glaze:
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup orange juice
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Blend all the ingredients together to make a thin glaze.  Drizzle over the above cake or use for other cakes, cookies, etc. For a thicker glaze use approximately a tablespoon less orange juice.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

ELEGANT LIME TART

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp chopped pecans
1 jar (7-oz) marshmallow creme
1 cup sour cream
3 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp grated lime rind
3 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed
6 tbsp chopped pecans
1 lime, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a mixer bowl cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the flour and mix well.  Press mixture over the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.

Bake until light brown; approximately 12 to 14 minutes.  Sprinkle the two tablespoons of chopped pecans over the baked crust.

In a bowl combine the marshmallow creme, sour cream, lime juice and rind; mix well.  Fold in the whipped topping.  Spoon batter into the pan over the baked crust.  Freeze until firm.  Place on a serving plate then remove the side of the pan.  Allow to stand for 15 minutes before cutting to serve.  Sprinkle the 6 tablespoons of chopped pecans over the top.  Garnish each piece with lime slices.

Yield: 10 to 12 servings.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

EASY BAVARIAN MINTS

2 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 tbsp butter
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp peppermint extract*

In the top of a double boiler over hot water, melt the baking chocolate and chocolate chips together, stirring often to mix well.  Remove from the heat.

Add the butter, condensed milk and peppermint extract; beat until smooth and creamy.  Drop by teaspoonsful onto waxed paper covered baking sheet.  Refrigerate until firm.

You may substitute vanilla extract or flavorings such as orange, butter, etc to suit your taste.