Friday, April 27, 2012

BAVARIAN STRAWBERRY PIE WITH COCONUT CRUST

2 1/2 cups flaked coconut
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 quart fresh strawberries, sliced
3/4 cup sugar
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
2 tsp lemon juice
1 cup heaving whipping, whipped

In a small bowl, combine coconut and butter.  Press onto the bottom and up the sides of a greased 9-inch pie plate.  Bake at 300 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until lightly browned (cover edges loosely with foil to prevent overbrowning if necessary).  Cool on a wire rack.

In a large bowl, combine strawberries and sugar.  Allow to stand for 15 minutes.

In a small saucepan, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and let stand for 1 minute.  Cook, stirring, over medium heat until gelatin is dissolved; stirin the lemon juice.  Stir into the strawberry mixture.  Cool to room temperature.  Fold in the whipped cream and pour the mixture into the crust.

Refrigerate at least 4 hours before cutting to serve.  Fan a fresh strawberry over each slice when serving, if desired.

This is a recipe I got from a Taste of Home magazine years ago.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

CLASSIC DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CAKE

3 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups milk
3-oz dark chocolate, grated

Remove eggs from refrigerator and allow to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Grease three 8-inch round cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper.  Grease the paper then lightly flour the pans; set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

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

In a large mixer bowl beat the butter on medium speed for 30 seconds.  Gradually add the sugar beating on medium speed until well combined.  Scrape down the bowl then beat another couple of minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed after each one.  Beat in the vanilla extract.  Alternately add the flour mixture and the milk, beating on low after each addition just until combined. Beat another 20 to 30 seconds. Stir in the grated chocolate.

Divide the batter evenly between the three prepared pans.  Do not try to bake in two pans.  If you only want two layers, use the remaining batter for cupcakes or another use.

Bake cake layers at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean.  Allow cakes to cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes.  Remove cakes from pans, remove parchment paper if necessary, and cool completely on wire racks.  Place one layer on serving plate, top with your frosting choice, repeat with another layer, add last layer and frost top and sides.  For a pretty presentation, if you use chocolate frosting, sprinkle top with white chocolate curls.  If you use a vanilla frosting, sprinkle top with chocolate curls or mini chocolate chips.

Frost cakes with your choice of frostings.  Personally, I recommend the Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing on this blog but the choice is yours.

Yield: 16 servings
Store any leftovers covered in the refrigerator.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

BLONDIES AL A MODE with MAPLE-FLAVORED SYRUP

3/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups packed brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

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

In large mixer bowl cream the butter and sugar.  Add the eggs, one at a time; beat well after each egg.  Beat in the vanilla extract.

In another bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Gradually add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture.  Stir in the pecans.

Spread the mixture into the prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.  Bake until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool in pan on a wire rack.

Sauce:
1 cup maple syrup
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup evaporated milk
Vanilla ice cream
Coarsely chopped pecans

Combine the syrup and butter in a small saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil and boil, stirring, for 3 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the milk.  Cut the cooled blondies into squares. 

To serve place a brownie square on a dessert plate with a scoop of the ice cream.  Pour sauce over the ice cream and sprinkle with pecans.


Yield: 20 blondies.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

HOMEMADE FROZEN STRAWBERRY YOGURT

2 cups plain yogurt
2 cups pureed strawberries
1 can (14-oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 cup milk
3 tsp vanilla extract

Combine all the ingredients together in a large bowl. 

Fill the cylinder of ice cream freezer 2/3s full; freeze according to manufacturer's directions.  Refrigerate the remaining mixture until ready to freeze.

Let ripen in the ice cream freezer or to firm up in the refrigerator freezer for 2 to 4 hours before serving.  Remove from the freezer 30 to 45 minutes before serving.
Note: Use fat-free yogurt and milks for a tasty light dessert.

Yield: 1 1/2 quarts

Monday, April 23, 2012

UPSIDE-DOWN PINEAPPLE CUPCAKES

1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tbsp butter
1 cup canned, sliced pineapple, cut into small wedges
6 maraschino cherries, cut in half
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup water
dash of salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 egg whites

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Divide the light brown sugar and the 2 tablespoons of butter evenly among 12 muffin cups.  Place in the oven until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves.  Remove from the oven and arrange the pineapple wedges in the muffin tins and place a cherry half in the center of each muffin.  Set aside.

Cream the 1/4 cup butter until fluffy and gradually beat in the granulated sugar,  Add 1/3 cup of the flour to the mixture then half the water, beating after each addition.  Add another 1/3 cup of the flour and the remaining water; beat well.  Add the remaining flour along with the salt and baking powder; beat well. 

Beat the eggs whites until stiff and then fold into the batter until well mixed.  Distribute the batter evenly over the ingredients in the muffin cups.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cakes test done with a wooden toothpick.  Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes then invert onto a baking sheet or wire rack to cool.


Yield: 12 cupcakes at 255 calories each.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

CHOCOLATE CREAM CHEESE ICING

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
6-oz (2 3-oz pkgs) cream cheese, softened
5 squares unsweetened chocolate,  melted & cooled
2 tsp vanilla extract
6 + cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup cream (or milk)

In a large mixing bowl beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth and creamy.  Add the chocolate and the vanilla extract; beat until well blended. 

Gradually beat in half the confectioners' sugar and the cream.  Beat in enough of the remaining confectioners' sugar to make of spreading consistency.  Use to fill and/or frost your favorite cake.


Yield: 4 cups icing.
Note: This is a BHG's recipe.

Friday, April 20, 2012

FAVORITE APPLE PIE

pastry for 2 crust pie
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
6 cups sliced peeled apples
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp butter

Line a 9-inch pie plate with pastry trimming to a 10-inch overhang.

In a large bowl combine the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, apples, and lemon juice; toss to coat apples.  Spoon the apple mixture into the crust in the pie plate.  Cut the butter into small pieces and dot over the apples.  Top with the remaining pastry, fluted edges to seal.  Cut steam vents into the top by poking with a fork, cutting slits with a knife, etc.  Top with a pastry apple if desired.

Bake at 425 degrees for 50 minutes or until golden brown.  Use a pie shield or make a rim of foil to put over the edge of the crust if it starts to brown too quickly.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

HOMEMADE CINNAMON CHIPS W/CHOCOLATE FONDUE

Chips:
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
6 (8-inch size) flour tortillas
butter-flavored cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.

Thoroughly coat one side of each tortilla with the butter-flavored cooking spray.  Cut tortillas into wedges and arrange single-layer on a large baking sheet with the sprayed side down.  Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture evenly over the tortilla wedges.  Spray with the cooking spray.

Bake tortilla wedges at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until crisp, turning once during baking.

Fondue:
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup whipping cream
3 tbsp taco sauce, your choice of heat

In a small saucepan combine the chocolate chips, whipping cream, and taco sauce.  Cook, stirring, over low heat until chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.  Keep warm and serve with the cinnamon chips for dipping.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

PEANUT BUTTER MARSHMALLOW CREME FUDGE

4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 sticks butter
1 tall can evaporated milk
1 pkg peanut butter chips
1 tsp vanilla
1 small jar marshmallow creme

In a heavy saucepan combine the sugar, butter, and milk; bring to a boil.  Boil the mixture for 15 to 20 minutes; remove from heat and add the chips, vanilla, and marshmallow creme.  Beat well by stirring pour into a buttered 8-inch square pan.


Friday, April 13, 2012

CARIBBEAN WALNUT FUDGE PIE

1/2 stick butter
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 pkg (8-squares) semi-sweet chocolate, melted
2 tsp Instant coffee
1 tsp rum extract* (for a Caribbean taste)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup choppped walnuts
1 9-inch unbaked pastry shell
1/2 cup walnut halves for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl beat the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy; add the eggs one at a time beating after each.  Add the chocolate, coffee, and extract, mixing well.  Stir in the flour and the walnuts.  Pour the mixture into the pastry shell.  Use the walnut halves to decorate the edge of the pie.

Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes in the lower third of the oven.  Cool on a wire rack then refrigerate for at least an hour before cutting.

Yield:  10 to 12 servings
*May substitute vanilla extract but you will lose the Caribbean flavor.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

PB AND CHOCOLATE CHIP BROWNIES

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup butter, melted, divided
1/2 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup Splenda Granulated*
2 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup whole-wheat flour**
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 pkg (11-oz) peanut butter & milk chocolate chips***
1/2 cup chopped pecans, optional

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

In a large bowl stir the cocoa and baking soda together.  When combined, add half the butter.  Add the boiling water and stir until the mixture thickens up.  Stir in the sugar, Splenda, eggs, and remaining butter.

In a small bowl combine the two flours and salt; add to the chocolate mixture.  Stir in the vanilla extract until blended in.  Add the chips and the nuts, if using, and stir to blend.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake brownies for 35 to 40 minutes or until they begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Set the pan on a wire rack and allow brownies to cool completely in the pan.

When cooled, cut into 36 squares for serving.


*May use an additional cup of granulated sugar instead.  Using the Splenda will cut back the sugar content of your brownies without changing the taste.  No one will know the difference!
**May use an additional 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour, if desired, instead of the whole-wheat.  Using whole-wheat will add fiber without really changing the brownies.  Again, this is a healthy tip that will go unnoticed in the finished product by 99.5% of those eating the brownies.
***If your store doesn't carry the mixed chips, use 1 cup peanut butter chips and 3/4 cups milk chocolate chips.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

MASTER PIE CRUST

For those of you who have trouble with pie crust, here is a recipe that always turn out well.
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup vegetable shortening (personally, my favorite is Crisco for pie crust)
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. sugar
1 tbsp. kosher salt

 Process the flour, butter, vegetable shortening, sugar, and salt in a food processor until butter resembles tiny pebbles, about 25 seconds.  Transfer to a large bowl.  Gradually add 3/4 cup ice water, using a fork to stir until dough is a mixture of clumpy wet pieces and sandier pieces, adding more water by tablespoonfuls if dry.  Press plactic wrap over surface of dough.  Chill in the bowl at least 1 hour or overnight.

Divide dough in half.  Platten each half into a disk.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 disk into a 13 to 14-inch round.  Roll over rolling pin and transfer to the pie dish.  Pick up the edges and allow dough to slump inside the dish.  Trim, leaving about 1-inch overhang.  (For single-crust pie, fold overhang under and crimp edges).  Chill at least 1 hour or overnight.

For filled pie, follow pie recipe instructions for baking.

For a baked empty crust preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Prick the chilled crust in pie dish all over with a fork.  Line crust with foil or parchment paper.  Fill with dried beans or pie weights.  Bake 25 minutes.  Remove from oven; lift out foil and weights.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.  Return crust to oven and bake, using fork to prick any bubbles that have formed and pressing back down with the back of fork, until the crust is a golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes longer.  Let the crust cool completely before adding any filling.

Yield: 2 crust = 1 filled pie or two unbaked pie shells.

Note: File Photo

Thursday, April 5, 2012

EASY MOUSSE SQUARES

48 Vanilla Wafers
3/4 cup boiling water
1 pkg (3-oz) lemon-flavored gelatin
1 cup ice cubes
1 pkg (8-oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp lemon zest
1 carton (8-oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed and divided
1/3 cup raspberry preserves
1 1/2 cups fresh fruit & berries

Line an 8-inch square baking pan or dish with plastic-wrap and stand 16 of the vanilla wafers on the edge inside the plastic lining. 

Stir the boiling water into the gelatin mix and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.  Stir in the ice until melted.

Beat the cream cheese, sugar, and lemon zest in a large bowl until well blended.  Gradually beat in the gelatin then whisk in 2 cups of the whipped topping.

Pour half the mixture into the pan covering the bottom; cover with 16 wafers.

Microwave the raspberry preserves on high for 15 seconds until melted and brush over the wafers.  Top with the remaining gelatin then the remaining wafers.

Refrigerate the mousse for at least 4 hours or until firm.

To serve, invert the mousse onto a plate, peel away the plastic wrap, and top with the remaining whipped topping and the fruit and berries.
Yield: 9 or 12 squares.
Note:  A Kraft Foods Recipe

DIABETICS, you can easily change this to a diabetic-friendly recipe by using sugar-free vanilla wafers, sugar-free gelatin, Splenda Granulated instead of sugar, and sugar-free whipped topping and raspberry preserves.

Monday, April 2, 2012

TROPICAL MERINGUE-TOPPED DESSERT SQUARES

CRUST:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 stick butter, softened

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper; set aside.

Combine the flour, powdered sugar, and butter until crumbly.  Press the mixture onto the bottom of the parchment-lined pan and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes; remove from the oven and set aside.

FILLING:
1 cup granulated sugar
6 tbsp key lime juice
6 large eggs, separated (save 3 of the whites for the meringue)
1/4 cup butter, softened

While the crust bakes combine the sugar, juice, egg yolks and butter in a medium saucepan.  Cook the mixture over medium heat, while whisking often, 8 to 10 minutes until thickened.  Remove from heat; set aside.

MERINGUE:
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut
(The 3 saved egg whites)

Combine the egg whites and cream of tartar in a medium mixing bowl; beat on high speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.  Continue beating for about 2 minutes while gradually adding the sugar until stiff peaks form; set aside.

Spread the filling over the baked crust then spread the meringue evenly over the filling.  Sprinkle with the coconut and return to the oven and bake 10 to 13 minutes or until the coconut is browned.  Remove the dessert from the oven and and cool completely on a wire rack.

Use the parchment paper to lift the dessert from the pan and place on a cutting board.  Cut into 16 squares.  Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Note: I got this recipe a few years ago from Reynold's Wrap!