Friday, March 30, 2012

SO EASY FRESH PEACH CRUMB BAKE

2 cups sliced fresh peaches
1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Arrange peach slices in the bottom of an 8-inch square baking pan or dish.

In a small bowl combine the cracker crumbs, cinnamon, and nutmeg to blend together well.  Stir the melted butter into the cracker mixture.  Sprinkle the crumb mixture evenly over the peaches.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Best when served warm with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

MINIATURE BROWNIE CUPS WITH MOCHA GLAZE

1/4 cup butter
2 egg whites
1 egg
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small saucepan or the microwave, melt the butter and set aside.

In a small mixing bowl beat the egg whites and the egg with electric mixer on medium speed until foamy.  Gradually add the sugar, beating until slightly thickened and light in color. 

Stir the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt together then gradually add to the egg mixture, continuing to beat until blended.  Gradually add the melted butter, beating just until blended.

Spray 24 mini-muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray and fill each 2/3s full of the batter.  Bake at 350 degrees 15 to 18 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

While brownies cool, prepare the following:

MOCHA GLAZE:
1/4 cup powdered sugar
3/4 tsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp instant coffee powder
2 tsp hot water
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
powdered sugar for garnish, if desired

In a small bowl, stir the powdered sugar and cocoa together.
Dissolve the coffee in the hot water and gradually stir into the chocolate mixture, stirring until well blended.  Stir in the vanilla.  Drizzle glaze over the brownies.  Dust with the powdered sugar, if desired.


Yield: 24 mini brownie cups

NOTE: This is my variation of a HERSHEY'S recipe.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

FRESH APPLE CAKE WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups canola oil
2 large eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 cups grated Granny Smith apples
2 cups chopped walnuts, separated
1 pkg (8-oz) cream cheese
1/2 stick butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 lb powdered sugar
3 to 4 tbsp milk

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

In a large mixer bowl combine the sugar, oil, and eggs, mixing well.

In a separate bowl combine the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the sugar mixture.  Add the apples and 1 cup of the walnuts; beat well.  Pour the batter evenly into the 3 prepared pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pans on wire rack for 3 to 5 minutes.  Gently remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks.

While cakes cool, allow cream cheese and butter to soften in a mixing bowl.  Cream the softened ingredients together until blended well.  Add the vanilla extract, blending in.  Add the powdered sugar alternately with the milk until of a spreading consistency.  Stir in the remaining walnuts. 

Place one cake layer on serving plate and cover top with the cream cheese frosting.  Place second layer atop frosting and cover with frosting.  Add final layer; cover top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Sprinkle a few chopped nuts over the top, if desired.

Note: This is a file photo.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

STRAWBERRY PIZZA

1 pkg (20-oz) refrigerated sugar cookie dough
1 block (8-oz) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 tub (8-oz) strawberry (or plain) frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 pint or 2 cups fresh strawberries, halved or sliced if very large

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly grease a 12-inch pizza pan.

Press the cookie dough firmly onto the prepared pizza pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until light golden brown.  Cool in the pan on a wire rack.

In a large mixer bowl, beat the cream cheese with the sugar on high speed until well blended.  Gently stir in the whipped topping and spread the mixture evenly over the cookie crust.  Top with the strawberries.  Serve immediately or cover well and refrigerate until ready to serve.  If you have leftovers, store in the refrigerator.


Friday, March 23, 2012

DOUBLE BERRY BROWNIE TORTE

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup  semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 stick butter
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa
1/2 cup whipping cream
3/4 cup fresh blackberries
3/4 cup fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line a 9-inch round cake pan with waxed paper; grease and set aside.

In a small combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Stir in the chocolate chips and set aside.

In a medium saucepan melt the butter over low heat; remove from heat.  Stir in 1 cup of the sugar, the eggs, and the vanilla.  Add the cocoa, blending in well.  Stir in the flour/chocolate chip mixture.  Spread the batter into the prepared pan. 

Bake torte 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out slightly sticky.  Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.  Invert torte onto wire rack and gently remove waxed paper then turn right side up.  Allow to cool completely.

In the meantime rinse and drain the blackberries and raspberries.  Pat dry with paper towels.

Beat the whipping cream with the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar until the sugar is dissolved and stiff-peaks form.  Spread over the top of the brownie.  Top with the fresh berries.  Refrigerate until serving time.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Thursday, March 22, 2012

CINNAMON BARS WITH PECANS AND COCONUT

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray a 9 X 13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

In large mixer bowl beat the flours and sugars on medium speed for 30 seconds to blend.  Add the butter to the dry mixture and beat 1 minute or until combined.  Remove 2 cups of the mixture to a medium bowl and stir in the pecans and coconut.

Press the pecan, coconut mixture onto the bottom of the prepared pan.

To the remaining flour mixture add the egg, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt.  Beat the mixture at medium speed a few seconds to combine.  Turn mixer to low speed and add the buttermilk and vanilla beating for 1 minute.  Pour mixture over the crust.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the top springs back when gently pressed.  Cool in the pan on a wire rack for half an hour.

GLAZE:
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp light corn syrup

Beat the powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons of the buttermilk, and the corn syrup in a medium bowl at medium speed until smooth.  Add the additional buttermilk gradually if necessary to reach the desired glaze consistency.  Drizzle over the cooled bars and let stand until glaze is set.

To serve: Cut into 24 bars of approximately 210 calories each

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY TORTE

1 pkg (8 squares) semi-sweet baking chocolate, divided
1 1/2 sticks butter
1 pkg (4 serving) raspberry-flavored gelatin
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans, optional
1 carton (8-oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed
additional chocolate for garnish, if desired
fresh raspberries for garnish, if desired
powdered sugar for dusting, if desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease and lightly flour a 9-inch round cake pan; line bottom with waxed paper; set aside.

In a large microwave-proof bowl, microwave 4 squares of the chocolate with the butter on high for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes until the chocolate is almost melted; stir after 1 minute.  Remove from the microwave and stir until the chocolate is completely melted.  Stir the dry gelatin mix and the sugar into the chocolate until well combined.  Mix in the eggs; stir in the flour and pecans (if using) until well blended.  Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs.  Do not overbake! 

Allow torte to cool in the pan for 5 minutes then run a small knife around the edge to loosen from pan.  Invert onto the serving platter and remove the waxed paper.  Allow cake to cool completely.

While cake cools, melt the remaining 4 squares of chocolate in a large microwavable bowl for 1 1/2 minutes or until melted; stirring after 1 minute.  Stir until the chocolate is completely melted then stir in the whipped topping until smooth.  Frost the cake with this chocolate whipped topping.

Note:  Cut some chocolate into some irregular shapes and use with fresh raspberries for garnish, if desired.  Dust lightly with powdered, if desired.

Yield: 14 servings

Saturday, March 17, 2012

PB BROWNIE COOKIES

1 pkg (19 1/2-oz) fudge brownie mix
1/4 cup butter, melted
4-oz (1/2 8-oz bar) cream cheese, softened
1 large egg
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup chocolate fudge frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

In a medium bowl beat the brownie mix, melted butter, cream cheese, and egg for 50 strokes with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula until well blended.

Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls 2-inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets to make 24 cookies.  Smooth edge of each dough mound to form a round cookie.

In a small bowl mix the powdered sugar and peanut butter with spoon until mixture forms a ball.  Using your hands, roll rounded teaspoonfuls into 24 balls.  Lightly press 1 ball into the center of each mound of cookie dough.

Bake cookies at 350 degrees for 10 to 14 minutes until the edges are set.  Cool on cookie sheets for at least half an hour.  Remove from cookie sheets and spread a thin layer of the fudge frosting over the peanut butter portion of each cookie.

Yield: 24 cookies

Thursday, March 15, 2012

PEACH COBBLER WITH PRALINE BISCUIT TOPPING

1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup water
8 cups sliced fresh peaches
3 tbsp butter, melted
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
2 cups self-rising flour
2 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan; set aside.

Combine the 1 1/4 cup of sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and water in a saucepan; add the peaches.  Bring the mixture to a boil and boil for 1 minute.  Pour into the prepared baking dish and set aside.

In a small bowl combine the butter, brown sugar, and pecans; set aside.

In a mixing bowl combine the flour with the 2 teaspoons of sugar; cut in the shortening with a pastry blender or two knives until crumbly.  Add the buttermilk, stirring just to moisten. Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead 5 or 6 times.  Roll dough out into a 12 x 8-inch rectangle; spread the pecan mixture over the dough to within a half inch of edges.  Starting with a long side, roll up the dough.  Cut the roll into half inch pieces and arrange over the top of the peaches in baking dish.

Bake cobbler at 375 degrees for 35 minutes or until lightly browned.

Serves 12.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

STACKED PEANUT BUTTER-CHOCOLATE FUDGE

1 1/2 tsp butter (not margarine!)
2 2/3 cups milk chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter, divided in half
2 tbsp shortening, divided
2 2/3 cups white chocolate chips

Use foil to line a 9 x 13-inch pan; butter the foil and set aside.

In a heavy saucepan over low heat, melt the milk chocolate chips, half the peanut butter, and half the shortening.  Stirring constantly, cook until smooth.  Pour into the prepared pan.  Refrigerate until firm.

Meanwhile, in another heavy saucepan over low heat, repeat the process with the remaining peanut butter, shortening, and white chocolate chips.  Spread this layer evenly over the firmed chocolate layer.  Refrigerate for around 30 minutes until firm.

Use the foil to lift fudge from the pan.  Gently peel off the foil and cut into squares.

Yield: approximately 2 lbs of fudge.


Friday, March 9, 2012

BUTTERMILK PECAN PIE

1 stick butter
2 cups sugar
5 eggs
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup coarsely chopped pecan
1 9-inch deep dish pie shell, unbaked

Cream together the butter and sugar.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.  Add flour, lemon juice, vanilla, and buttermilk; blend well.  Stir in the pecans.  Pour the filling into the pie shell and bake at 325 degrees for 55 minutes.

Note: File photo

Thursday, March 8, 2012

BERRY CITRUS MOUSSE CAKE

2 pkgs (3-oz each) soft ladyfingers
1 pkg (4-serving size) lemon gelatin
1 1/2 cups boiling water, divided
2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 pkg (4-serving size) cranberry or raspberry gelatin

Cut 1-inch from the bottom of each of the ladyfingers.  Arrange cookies, cut side down, around the side of a 9-inch springform pan.  Place remaining ladyfingers over the bottom of the pan; set aside.

Prepare the lemon gelatin as directed using speed-set method, using 3/4 cup of the boiling water.  Remove any unmelted ice cubes.  Fold in 1 cup of the whipped topping until smooth and well blended.  Gently pour into the prepared pan.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until set.

While the gelatin sets, prepare the berry gelatin as directed on package, speed-set method, using the remaining 3/4 cup of the boiling water.  Remove unmelted ice cubes and fold in the remaining cup of whipped topping.  Gently spoon this mixture over the lemon layer.

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or until firmly set before serving.  Remove from pan and garnish with fresh or sugared berries and/or thin lemon slices, if desired.


Yield: 12 servings

How to sugar berries:  Dip berries in water and shake off excess.  Put 1/4 cup granulated sugar in a ziptop bag.  Add the berries, shake to coat and place atop cake, if desired.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

SIMPLE PUMPKIN CAKE

Pumpkin is a healthy food that we should eat year-round.  If you save pumpkin for Thanksgiving and Christmas only, you are leaving a healthy food out of your diet the rest of the year.

1 box (2-layer size) yellow cake mix
2 eggs
1/4 cup water
2 tsp baking soda
1 can (16-oz) pumpkin
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
Powdered sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixer bowl blend the cake mix, eggs, water, baking soda, pumpkin, and spice.  Beat mixture for 4 minutes at medium speed.

Spray a 12-cup Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray and pour the cake mixture into the pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool cake in the pan for 10 minutes.  Remove from pan to a serving plate and dust with powdered sugar.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

DELICIOUS CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES

1/2 cup whipping cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
6 tbsp butter
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla extract
Unsweetened cocoa powder
powdered sugar
finely chopped pecans

In a small saucepan bring the cream, sugar, and butter just to a boil while stirring constantly.  Remove from the heat.

Stir in the chocolate chips until completely melted; stir in the vanilla extract.

Pour the mixture into a glass bowl and allow to cool while stirring constantly.

When cooled, cover and refrigerate 6 to 8 hours or overnight.

Shape the chilled mixture into 1/2-inch balls, handling as little as possible; place on a waxed paper covered cookie sheet.  Chill, covered loosely, for several hours.

Roll balls in the cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and/or chopped pecans.

Note: If you prefer, you can make a chocolate coating to dip the balls in by melting 2 cups of semisweet chocolate chips with 2 tablespoons of shortening in a double boiler.  Cool chocolate to 85 degrees on a candy thermometer while stirring constantly then dip balls into the chocolate.


Yield: 2 1/2 dozen truffles

Store in refrigerator in an airtight container.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Multi-Use Cream Cheese Cookie Dough

1 block (8-oz) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda

In large mixer bowl beat the cream cheese, butter, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed of mixer until well blended.  Add the flour and baking soda, mixing well.  Cover the dough.

To Make Pinwheel cookies:  Additional ingredient: 2 squares (1-oz each) semisweet baking chocolate

Divide the dough in half.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave and add to half the prepared dough. 
Divide the white dough into 2 equal pieces and the chocolate dough into 2 equal pieces.

Roll one of the white pieces into a 10 X 8-inch rectangle.  Do the same with 1 of the chocolate pieces.  Place the chocolate rectangle onto the white one and press gently to form together.  Starting at a short side, roll the rectangles into tightly formed log; wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.  Repeat the process with the other pieces.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut the dough into thick slices and place on ungreased baking sheets.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes until lightly browned.

Yield: Approximately 5 dozen cookies.

THUMB PRINT COOKIES:
Additional ingredients: 1 cup finely chopped pecans  and 1 jar of your favorite preserves

Add the pecans to the original cream cheese dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat 350 degrees.
Shape the dough into 1-inch balls.  Place on ungreased baking sheets and indent centers.  Bake cookies for 10 minutes.  Fill each cookie with 1 tsp of the preserves.  Return to oven and continue baking for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.


Yield: Approximately 5 dozen cookies.

CINNAMON PULL-APART BREAD

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 cans (10-count) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1/2 cup butter, melted
Cream cheese glaze (see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 12-cup fluted tube or Bundt pan; set aside.

Cut each of the biscuits into 4 pieces.

Mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a medium bowl.  Roll the dough quarters in the cinnamon mixture.  Place half the biscuit pieces into the prepared pan.  Drizzle half the butter (1/4 cup) over the biscuit pieces.  Top with the remaining biscuit quarters and drizzle with the remaining butter.  Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon mixture over the biscuits.

Bake bread at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and let stand in pan for 5 minutes then invert onto a serving plate.  Spoon the glaze below over the warm bread.

To serve, pull bread apart as desired.

Cream Cheese Glaze:
1/2 pkg (8-oz size) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 to 2 tbsp milk to reach drizzle consistency

In a small mixing bowl combine the cream cheese and powdered sugar with electric mixer until well blended.  Add the milk starting with 1 tablespoon and adding more until you get the desired consistency. 


Spoon the glaze over the warm bread.

Serve 12.

POUND CAKE WITH FRUIT SAUCE

3 cups buttermilk baking mix
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
8 oz cream cheese, softened
6 eggs
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
Fruit sauce - recipe below

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

In large mixer bowl combine the baking mix, flour, sugar, cream cheese, eggs, butter, vanilla, and salt; mix at low speed for 30 seconds.  Beat at medium speed for 4 minutes, scraping down bowl occasionally.  Pour mixture into the prepared tube pan.

Bake cake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes.  Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

To serve, place cake on serving plates with the fruit sauce.

Fruit Sauce for Pound Cake:
1 can (21-oz) apricot pie filling
4 cups chopped fresh pineapple

Combine both ingredients in a large bowl and mix together well; chill until serving time.
Note:  You may substitute any other fresh fruit for the pineapple based on your taste.