Monday, December 30, 2013

PALEO COCONUT TRUFFLES

For those of you following the Paleo diet here is a candy recipe. Disclaimer: I do not eat paleo because it is not right for my health problems. However, I know many of you do so this recipe is for you. Obviously I have never made this recipe.

  • 4 tbsp coconut butter (or cream), at room temperature (should be soft)
  • 1 cup coconut flakes + 4 more tbsp for coating
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • almonds, halved (optional – stuff them inside the snowballs for a more crunchy texture)

  1. Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend well until creamy.
  2. Put the 4 tbsp of coconut flakes in a small bowl.
  3. Use your hands to roll into little snowballs, using 1 tsp per coconut ball
  4. Optional – add almonds inside the coconut snowballs.
  5. Coat them with coconut flakes
  6. Leave in the fridge for at least 15-20 minutes before serving.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

MAPLE PECAN PIE

3 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup maple syrup
3 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup pecan halves
1 9-inch unbaked pastry shell

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl until smooth.  Add the syrup, butter, and vanilla extract.  Stir in the salt and pecan halves.

Pour pecan mixture into the pastry shell and bake at 375 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.




Saturday, December 28, 2013

BLACK AND WHITE COFFEE CAKE

Filling:
1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 carton (16-oz) sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract

White Glaze:
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp warm water

Chocolate Glaze:
2-oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 tsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 tsp light corn syrup

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Coat a 10-inch Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

In a small bowl, combine all the filling ingredients and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.

In a large mixing bowl, with mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar for 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.  Turn mixer speed to low and beat in half the flour mixture, then the sour cream and vanilla, then the remaining flour mixture.

Spread 1/3 of the batter (about 2 1/2 cups) evenly in bottom of the prepared pan. Spoon 1 cup of the filling mixture over the batter in an even layer. Spread another third of the batter over the filling.  Spoon the remainng filling mixture over that batter and top with the last third of the batter.

Bake cake at 325 degrees for 60 to 65 minutes until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool cake in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Invert pan onto the wire rack. Remove from pan and cool completely on the wire rack.

Transfer cooled cake to a cake plate.

To make the white glaze, whisk the powdered sugar and water until smooth.  Drizzle over cake, letting drizzle drip down sides.  Allow glaze to set.

To make the chocolate glaze, put the chocolate in a small bowl.  Microwave the cream, butter, and syrup in a glass measureing cup for 1 minute on high, or until boiling. Pour the butter mixture over the chocolate and whisk until smooth.  Refrigerate 10 minutes or until thickened. Slowly pour or spoon glaze over and around the vanilla glaze so that both glazes show.

Allow cake to stand until glaze is set before cutting to serve.


Friday, December 27, 2013

CRANBERRY PUMPKIN COFFEE CAKES

1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
3 cups sifted flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp finely ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (canned pumpkin)
2 cups granulated sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

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

Wash and drain fresh cranberries. If using frozen berries, do not thaw; set out while you mix the batter.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, ginger, pepper, cloves, allspice, and nutmeg; set aside.

Put the butter into large mixer bowl and beat around two minutes until creamy. Add the sugar and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating each 30 to 45 seconds before adding the next one. Add the pumpkin puree and vanilla extract; mix until incorporated.  Turn mixer speed to low and gradually add the dry ingredients; mix just until incorporated.  Stir in the walnuts and pecans.

Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans.

CRUMB TOPPING:
1 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
pinch of salt
8 tbsp butter, melted

Mix crumb topping ingredients together to form damp crumbs. Sprinkle evenly over the batter.

Bake cakes at 350 degrees for 60 to 70 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Allow to cool in pans for 15 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

ICING DRIZZLE:
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp milk

Combine the powdered sugar and milk and stir to a drizzling consistency.  Add milk, a drop at a time, if needed.  Drizzle over the cooled cakes.

Note: May top cakes with additional nuts, if desired.



  • SPICED CHEESECAKE

    Chocolate-Ginger Crust:
    12 oz chocolate wafer cookies (approx 53 cookies)
    3 tbsp granulated sugar
    2 tbsp canola oil
    6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
    1 1/2 tsp grated ginger

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack placed in lower third.
    Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with a circle of parchment paper; set aside.

    In food processor crush the cookies and sugar until mixture is fine crumbs.  Stir together the oil, butter, and grated ginger; drizzle into the mixture, pulsing until combined.  Press the mixture into the pan so curst is around 3/8-inch thick on the bottom and goes all the way up the sides.  Set aside while you make the filling.

    Filling:
    4 pkg (8-oz each) cream cheese, softened
    1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1 tbsp finely grated ginger
    2 1/2 tbsp all-purpose flour (I always use white whole-wheat flour)
    1 tsp cinnamon
    1/4 tsp nutmeg
    1/4 tsp ground ginger
    4 large eggs
    2 large egg yolks
    4 cups heavy cream
    2/3 cup powdered sugar
    Chocolate curls for garnish, if desired

    In large mixer bowl beat the cream cheese, granulated sugar, vanilla extract, and grated ginger until smooth - no lumps!  Mix in the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.  Add the eggs and the egg yolks, one at a time, mixing each in completely and scraping the sides of the bowl as needed between each addition, until completely combined.

    Place the pan on a foil-lined baking sheet and pour the filling into the prepared crust.  Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees then reduce the heat to 200 degrees.  Loosely cover the cheesecake with greased foil  and cook until the center is just slightly wobbly and the cake is set.  This will take about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completley in pan on a wire rack.  Remove to refrigerator and chill at least 4 hours or overnight.

    Whip the heavy cream with the powdered sugar until stiff peaks form.  Swirl over top of cheesecake and sprinkle with the chocolate curls, if using.


    Yield: 16 servings
    Per serving: 685 calories, 53.5g fat (29.5 saturated), 365mg sodium, 46g carbs, 227 mg cholesterol, 8g protein, 1g fiber

    Note: I got this recipe from Ladies' Home Journal Magazine, Nov 2012

    Thursday, December 26, 2013

    CINNAMON CARAMEL SWIRL BARS

    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup white whole-wheat flour
    2 tsp baking powder
    2 tsp ground cinnamon
    1/4 tsp salt
    1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
    1/2 cup butter, melted
    2 large eggs
    1 tbsp vanilla extract
    1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
    1 pkg (14-oz) caramels, unwrapped
    1/4 cup milk

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    Line a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with foil; lightly grease the foil; set aside.

    Mix the flours, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a small mixing bowl; set aside.

    In a large mixing bowl combine the brown sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla until well blended.  Stir in the pecans.

    Stir the flour mixture into the sugar/egg mixture; reserve 1 cup of this batter.

    Spread the remaining batter over the bottom of the prepared baking pan and bake at 350 degrees 15 minutes or until firm.

    In a microwavable bowl, microwave the caramels and milk together on high 2 or 3 minutes until caramels are melted, stirring often.  Cool around 5 minutes until slightly thickened.

    Pour the caramel mixture over the baked layer in the pan, spreading to within 1/2-inch of the edge.

    Drop the remaining batter over the caramel layer by the spoonfuls. Cut through the batter only with a knife, swirling to give a marbled effect.

    Bake 15 to 20 minutes more or until the center is set.

    Remove from oven and cool in the pan on a wire rack.

    When cooled, cut into 24 bars.


    Saturday, December 21, 2013

    HOMEMADE ORANGE SODA

    This will make about 4 1/2-quarts of soda.

    1 can (12-oz) frozen, pulp-free orange juice concentrate, thawed - do not dilute
    2 bottles (2-liters each) lemon-lime soft drink, chilled
    1 to 2 oranges, thinly sliced

    When ready to serve, stir together the orange juice concentrate and the lemon-lime soft drink.  Serve over ice in individual glasses, garnished with an orange slice.


    Friday, December 20, 2013

    CREAM CHEESE FLAN

    1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
    7 egg yolks (save 4 whites)
    1 can (14-oz) sweetened condensed milk
    1 can (12-oz) evaporated milk
    3/4 cup milk
    1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    1/8 tsp salt
    4 egg whites
    1 block (8-oz) cream cheese, softened

    In a medium size saucepan, cook one cup of the sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes or until the sugar melts and turns a light golden brown.  Quickly pour into a 2-quart flan dish.  Using oven mitts, quickly tilt dish to coat bottom and sides.  Let stand for 5 minutes so the sugar can harden.

    In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks with the milks, vanilla extract, and salt.

    Process the egg whites, cream cheese, and remaining 1/2 cup of sugar in a blender until smooth. Stir the egg white mixture into the egg yolk/milk mixture.  Pour the mixture through a wire-mesh strainer into a large bowl; pour custard over caramelized sugar.

    Place the flan dish in a large shallow pan.  Add hot water to the pan to a depth of one-third up the sides of the dish.

    Bake flan at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 45 minutes.  Remove dish from water bath; cool completely on a wire rack. Cover and chill at least 3 hours.

    Run a knife around the edge of flan to loosen then invert onto the serving dish.



    Thursday, December 19, 2013

    BLUEBERRY CHEESECAKE

    This is a "lightened up" version of blueberry cheesecake that I have had for ten years. You will never know you are eating a slice of cheesecake with about half the calories and around a third less fat than most cheesecakes!

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    1 cup graham cracker crumbs
    3 tablespoons butter, melted
    1 tablespoon sugar
    nonstick cooking oil spray

    Combine the above ingredients and press onto the bottom and 1 1/2-inches up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan that has been coated with the nonstick cooking spray.  Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

    Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees!

    2 packages (8-oz each) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
    1 package (8-oz) fat-free cream cheese
    1 cup sugar
    3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 large eggs
    2 large egg whites
    1 carton (8-oz) light sour cream
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 tablespoon lemon zest
    1 1/2 cups fresh (or frozen without sugar) blueberries

    With an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat the cream cheeses until smooth.

    In a small bowl, combine the sugar, flour, and salt; add to the cream cheese; beat until well blended.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Add the egg whites, beating until blended.

    Add the sour cream, vanilla, and lemon zest to the mixture; beat just until blended.  Gently stir in the blueberries. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until the center is firm.  Turn off oven but leave cake in oven with the door partially open for 30 minutes.

    Remove cake from oven and cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours.

    Remove from the refrigerator and remove sides of pan.  Make the following topping:

    1 cup fat-free frozen whipped topping, thawed
    1/4 cup light sour cream

    Stir together the topping ingredients and spread over the top of the cheesecake.

    Garnish with fresh blueberries, if desired.


    Slice cake into 12 equal slices.
    Per slice: 315 calories, 33.4 g carbs, 10.2 g protein, 469 mg sodium

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

    CHOCOLATE CHERRY CUPCAKES WITH VANILLA BEAN FROSTING


    1. Heat oven to 350F. 
    2. Line 2 muffin pans with 16 paper liners.
    3. Combine cherries and 1 cup water in saucepan. Bring to a boil. Transfer to food processor. Add cocoa, chocolate, and butter and pulse until combined. Cool 1 minute. Add brown sugar, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt and puree until almost smooth.
    4. Pulse in eggs until well combined. Whisk together flour and baking soda in bowl and add to food processor. Pulse until just combined.
    5. Divide batter evenly among pans. Bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, until top is slightly domed and firm to the touch, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool cupcakes in pans on rack 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on rack.
    6. Scrape vanilla bean seeds into bowl. Add cream cheese and confectioners' sugar and beat well. Pipe or spread frosting onto cupcakes.
    Per cupcake:
    CALORIES218.7 CAL
    FAT9.3 G
    SATURATED FAT4.9 G
    SODIUM169.7 MG
    CARBOHYDRATES30.8 G
    TOTAL SUGARS20.8 G
    DIETARY FIBER3.7 G
    PROTEIN5.2 G


    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

    DRIED CHERRY WALNUT SWEET ROLLS

    1 pkg (25-oz) frozen roll dough, thawed according to package directions
    1/2 cup chopped walnuts
    1/4 cup butter, melted
    1 pkg (3-oz) dried cherries, chopped
    3 tbsp granulated sugar
    3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
    2 cups confectioners' sugar
    3 tbsp hot water

    Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

    Place the dough balls in 2 greased 9-inch round cake pans.  Turn off oven.  Cover dough balls with plastic wrap; let rise in oven 25 to 30 minutes until doubled in size.  Remove from oven; remove plastic wrap and discard.

    In a small bowl, stir together the walnuts, butter, cherries, granulated sugar, and pumpkin pie spice; sprinkle over the dough balls in the pans.

    Bake rolls at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from oven and allow to cool in pans.

    Stir the confectioners' sugar and hot water together to make a drizzle.  Drizzle evenly over the cooled rolls.


    Note: I recommend Rich's Enriched Homesyle Roll Dough but it is your choice.

    Monday, December 16, 2013

    LEMON KISSED BROWNIE BITES

    • For Brownies:
    • 1/2 cup  Ghirardelli® 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chips
    • 1/4 cup  unsalted butter
    • 1/3 cup  granulated sugar
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 teaspoon  vanilla extract
    • 1/2 cup  all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon  finely shredded lemon zest (divided)
    • 1/4 teaspoon  baking powder
    • For Lemon Frosting:
    • 2 tablespoons  unsalted butter, softened
    • 1/4 teaspoon  finely shredded lemon zest
    • 1 1/3 cups  powdered sugar
    • 3 - 4 teaspoons  fresh lemon juice (divided)
    • For Chocolate Glaze:
    • 1/3 cup  Ghirardelli® 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chips
    • 1 tablespoon  unsalted butter
    • 2 teaspoons  light-color corn syrup
    •  Additional lemon zest for topping (optional)

    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line fourteen 1-1/4-inch muffin cups with paper bake cups; set aside. In a medium saucepan, heat and stir the 1/2 cup Ghirardelli® 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chips and the 1/4 cup butter over very low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in sugar. Add egg, beating with a wooden spoon until just combined. Stir in vanilla. In a small bowl, stir together flour, the 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, and the baking powder. Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture; stir just until combined. Drop a rounded teaspoon of batter into each prepared muffin cup.
    Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove from oven and cool in pan 5 minutes.  Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

    To make the lemon frosting:

    In a small bowl, beat the 2 tablespoons softened butter and the 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest with an electric mixer at medium speed for 30 seconds.  Add powdered sugar and 2 teaspoons of the lemon juice.  Beat until combined.  Beat in enough of the remaining lemon juice, 1 teaspoon at a time, to make a thick frosting. Using a pastry bag fitted with a star tip, pipe frosting onto each brownie. (Or spoon into a small self-sealing plastic bag. Snip off corner. Pipe frosting onto each brownie.) Chill for 30 minutes.
    • To make the chocolate glaze:
    • In a small saucepan, combine the chocolate chips and the butter.  Heat and stir over very low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat; stir in the corn syrup. Let cool for 10 minutes. Spoon glaze over tops of chilled brownies. If desired, top with strips of lemon zest. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour or until glaze is set. May be enjoyed immediately or refrigerated up to 3 days.  May also be wrapped airtight and frozen for 3 months.

    Saturday, December 14, 2013

    BLACK RASPBERRY WALNUT TORTE

    1 lb butter, softened
    2 cups brown sugar, lightly packed
    3 large eggs
    1 tsp almond extract
    3 cups flour
    2 2/3 cups walnuts, finely ground
    1 cup black raspberry jam
    1 cup heavy whipping cream
    1/2 cup powdered sugar
    2 tbsp vanilla extract
    3 cups walnuts, chopped

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    Butter 2 9-inch round cake pans; set aside.

    In a large mixer bowl combine the butter, brown sugar, eggs, and almond extract; beat until fluffy.

    Mix together the flour and ground walnuts; gradually add to the egg mixture until blended thoroughly.  Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans.  Smooth tops with a spatula.

    Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the edges have pulled away from the sides of the pans.

    Turn cakes out onto wire rack and allow to cool completely.

    Place one layer upside down on cake plate.  Spread the jam over the top of the layer.  Place the other layer atop the jam.

    Using electric mixer, combine the whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract; whip until stiff peaks form.  Cover the top and sides of the torte with the mixture and press the chopped walnuts lightly over the top and sides.


    CUTE AND EASY WAY TO DECORATE GINGERBREAD COOKIES


    I saw this picture and thought it would be a cute and easy way to let the kids help you decorate gingerbread boys and girls!

    Friday, December 13, 2013

    HERSHEY'S GONE TO HEAVEN CHOCOLATE PIE

    • Sweetened whipped cream or whipped topping (optional)
    • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
    • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) HERSHEY'S SPECIAL DARK Chocolate Chips, divided
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 4 egg yolks
    • 3 cups milk
    • 2/3 cup sugar
    • 1/3 cup cornstarch
    • One 9-inch pie shell
    • Bake pie shell; cool. Stir together sugar, cornstarch and salt in 2 quart saucepan. Combine egg yolks and milk in container with pouring spout. Gradually blend milk mixture into sugar mixture.
    • Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla. Add 1-3/4 cups chocolate chips; stir until chips are melted and mixture is well blended. Pour into prepared pie shell; press plastic wrap onto filling. Cool. Refrigerate several hours or until chilled and firm. Garnish with whipped cream and remaining chocolate chips, if desired. 6 to 8 servings.


    Wednesday, December 11, 2013

    THE CUTEST SNOWMAN COOKIES!

    Thanks Anna DeLong for sharing this recipe.  These are just too cute!

    Snowman Cookies 

    Ingredients
    1 cup butter, softened
    1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
    2 cups sugar
    1 Eggland's Best Egg
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/4 teaspoon almond extract
    1/4 teaspoon coconut extract
    3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    Miniature semisweet chocolate chips and green and red M&M's Minis

    FROSTING
    1 cup confectioners' sugar
    1/8 teaspoon coconut extract
    1 to 2 tablespoons milk
    Red and/or green food coloring
    Miniature milk chocolate kisses, unwrapped

    Instructions
    In a large bowl, cream butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and extracts. In another bowl, whisk flour and baking powder; gradually beat into creamed mixture. Refrigerate, covered, overnight.
    Preheat oven to 325°. Shape dough into thirty 1-in. balls, thirty 3/4-in. balls and thirty 1/2-in. balls. On ungreased baking sheets, place one ball of each size, side by side, for each snowman.
    Bake 18-20 minutes or until light brown. Remove from oven; immediately add chocolate chips for eyes and M&M's for buttons. Remove carefully from pans to wire racks; cool completely.
    For frosting, in a small bowl, beat confectioners' sugar, extract and enough milk to reach a piping consistency. If two colors of frosting are desired, transfer half of the frosting to another bowl; tint with food coloring.
    Cut a small hole in a corner of a food-safe plastic bag; fill with frosting. Pipe scarves on snowmen. Use frosting to attach chocolate kisses for hats. 


    Yield: 2-1/2 dozen.

    PECAN RAISIN MINI TARTS

    1 cup sugar
    1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
    2 large eggs, lightly beaten
    1 tbsp white vinegar
    1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
    1 cup golden raisins
    1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
    3 (2.1-oz each) packages frozen mini phyllo tart shells
    Whipped cream for garnish
    Ground nutmeg or cinnamon for garnish

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

    In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, butter, eggs, vinegar, cinnamon, and nutmeg; stir in the raisins and pecans.  Spoon the mixture into the frozen tart shells that have been place on a large baking sheet.

    Bake at 325 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

    Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of nutmeg or cinnamon before serving.


    Tuesday, December 10, 2013

    TURTLE CAKE

    Make caramel filling before starting on cake.  Caramel filling recipe is below the cake recipe.

    1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
    1/2 cup butter, softened
    1 pkg (16-oz) light brown sugar
    3 large eggs
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 carton (8-oz) sour cream
    1 cup hot water
    2 tsp vanilla extract
    Caramel Filling (recipe below)
    1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
    Chocolate Ganache (recipe below)

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

    Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl at high for 30-second intervals until melted. Stir until smooth.

    In large mixer bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar at medium speed for about 5 minutes until well blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.  Add the melted chocolate, beating just until blended in.

    Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually add to the chocolate mixture alternately with the sour cream.  Begin and end with the flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Gradually add the hot water in a slow steady stream, beating at low speed just until blended. Stir in the vanilla extract.

    Spoon the batter evenly into the three prepared pans and bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until a wooden toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean.

    Cool cakes in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pans to cool completely on wire racks.

    To assemble cake: Place 1 cake layer in the center of a serving plate or platter. Spread 1 cup of the caramel filling over the top and sprinkle with 1/3 cup chopped pecans.  Repeat procedure with the remaining cake layers, caramel filling, and pecans. Spread the Chocolate Ganache around the edges of the cake.

    Make CARAMEL FILLING.
    1 cup butter
    2 cups sugar
    2 tbsp corn syrup
    1 cup whipping cream

    Melt the butter in a heavy 3-qt saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar and corn syrup; cook, stirring constantly, 6 to 8 minutes until the mixtures turn a deep caramel color. Gradually add the cream and cook, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes or until smooth.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool.  Chill about 2 hours or until thickened and of spreading consistency.

    Note: Filling may be made up to 3 weeks ahead and refrigerated.  Let stand at room temperature 1 hour or more to be of spreading consistency.

    CHOCOLATE GANACHE
    1 bag (12-oz) semisweet chocolate chips
    1/2 cup whipping cream
    3 tbsp butter

    Microwave chocolate and whipping cream in a 2-qt microwave-safe bowl at medium power until the chocolate begins to melt (2 1/2 to 3 minutes). Whisk until chocolate melts and is smooth. Whisk in the butter; let stand 20 minutes.  Beat at medium speed 3 to 4 minutes or until the mixture forms soft peaks.


    Note: This is an old Southern Living recipe.


    Monday, December 9, 2013

    PECAN PRALINE CHEESECAKE

    1 1/2 cups crushed gingersnaps (about 2 dozen cookies)
    1/2 cup butter, melted and divided
    5 (8-oz each) packages cream cheese, softened
    1 cup granulated sugar
    6 tbsp all-purpose flour, divided
    4 large eggs
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
    1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

    Heat oven to 300 degrees.

    To make the crust, stir the gingersnaps with half (1/4 cup) butter; press mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.

    In large mixer bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and 2 tablespoons of the flour at medium speed of mixer for 2 minutes. Add the eggs, vanilla, and salt; beat for 3 more minutes. Pour the batter onto the prepared crust; set aside.

    In a small bowl, stir the brown sugar, pecans, and the remaining 4 tablespoons of flour, and the remaining 1/4 cup of butter together until crumbly.  Sprinkle mixture around the edges of the cream cheese mixture.

    Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until the center is firm.  Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake in oven for another 30 minutes.

    Remove cheesecake from oven; cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes.  Cool and chill for 8 hours before removing sides to serve.


    Sunday, December 8, 2013

    ORANGE-CHOCOLATE BREAD PUDDING

    Butter to butter a 3-quart rectangular baking dish

    8 cups 1-inch cubes of French bread
    4 cups milk
    1 cup sugar
    6-oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
    8 eggs, lightly beaten
    1 tbsp finely shredded orange peel
    1 tsp vanilla
    1/8 tsp salt
    Whipped cream for serving, optional
    Cocoa powder for dusting, optional

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
    Butter the baking dish; set aside.

    In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, sugar, and chocolate; cook over medium heat until chocolate melts, whisking often.  Remove mixture from the heat.

    In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, orange peel, vanilla, and salt; gradually whisk in the chocolate mixture.  Pour mixture evenly into the prepared baking dish. Using a large spatula, press down lightly to moisten all the bread.

    Bake at 325 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or until evenly puffed and set. Cool in pan on wire rack for 30 before serving warm.

    Garnish each serving with a dollop of whipped cream dusted with cocoa powder, if desired.





    Saturday, December 7, 2013

    PECAN PIE BROWNIES

    This is a recipe from Mr. Food's website.

  • (18.3-ounce) package brownie mix
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9- x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
     
  • In a large bowl, prepare brownie mix according to package directions. Pour into prepared baking dish. In a medium bowl, combine corn syrup, butter, vanilla, brown sugar, and pecans; mix well. Drop the pecan mixture by spoonfuls into the batter.
     
  • Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out dry. Cool, then cut into squares.

  • Friday, December 6, 2013

    YUMMY BANANA SPLIT CAKE

    1 cup butter
    4 large eggs
    3 cups all-purpose flour
    2 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp baking soda
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    1 large banana (approx 1/2 cup)
    1/2 cup sour cream
    1/2 cup milk
    1 tsp vanilla
    1/2 cup strawberry preserves
    Few drops red food coloring
    1/2 cup presweetened cocoa powder (not low-calorie)
    1 cup chocolate fudge ice cream topping
    Fresh strawberries, optional
    Maraschino cherries, optional
    Whipped cream for garnish

    Let butter and eggs stand at room temperature for half an hour.

    Grease and flour a 3-quart rectangle baking dish or pan.

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

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    In a large mixer bowl beat the butter with electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add the sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, beating until well combined scraping down sides of bowl.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition until combined.

    In a small bowl, combine the banana, sour cream, milk, and vanilla.  Alternately add the flour mixture and the banana mixture to the sugar mixture beating on low speed after each addition just until combined.

    In another small bowl, stir together 1 cup of the batter, the strawberry preserves, and the red food coloring.

    In another small bowl, stir together another 1 cup of the batter and the cocoa powder.  Spoon the remaining plain batter into the prepared pan.  Spoon the chocolate and strawberry batters into small mounds randomly over the plain batter.  Use a metal spatula to gently swirl  the batters.

    Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.

    Before serving heat the ice cream topping in a small saucepan until of drizzling consistency.  Stop with the whipped cream and the strawberries and/or cherries, if desired.


    Thursday, December 5, 2013

    APPLE DUMPLINGS

    1 cup white whole-wheat flour
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 tsp salt
    1 1/4 cups vegetable shortening
    1 egg, lightly beaten
    1/4 cup cold water
    1 tbsp vinegar
    8 small cooking apples
    3/4 cup packed brown sugar
    1/2 cup butter, cut up
    1 cup whipping cream, divided
    2 tbsp corn syrup
    1 tsp vanilla extract

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    Grease a 15 x 10 x 1-inch baking pan; set aside.

    To make pastry:
    In a large bowl combine the flours and salt.  Using a pastry blender, cut in the shortening until pieces are the size of small peas.

    In a small bowl combine the egg, water, and vinegar; stir into the flour mixture until all the dough is moistened.  Form the dough into a ball. Cover and allow to rest for 10 minutes. (This dough will be slightly sticky.)

    Divide dough in half. Turn one half out onto a well-floured surface; roll to form a 12-inch square. Using a sharp knife or a pastry wheel, cut into 4 6-inch squares.

    Place an apple on each pastry square. Fold the corners over the apple to center of each square. Pinch edges to seal.  Repeat the process with the other half of the dough.

    Place the dumplings into the prepared baking pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or until the apples are tender and the pastry is golden brown.  Allow to cool at least 10 minutes.

    While dumplings cool, make a caramel sauce by combining the brown sugar, butter, 2/3 cup of the whipping cream, and the corn syrup in a medium saucepan.  Bring to boiling, stirring occasionally; reduce heat to medium and boil gently, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

    Remove sauce from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Transfer sauce to a bowl, cover, and allow to cool slightly.

    In a small chilled bowl, whip the remaining 1/3 cup whipping cream to soft peaks.

    Serve the dumplings with the caramel sauce and topped with a dollop of whipped cream.



    Tuesday, December 3, 2013

    FRUIT COOKIES FROM ALASKA

    This is the Alaska cookie recipe in my Capitol Cookies book.  This was submitted by a lady in Juneau.

    2 pounds dates, chopped
    1/2 pound candied pineapple, diced
    1 pound or 4 cups pecans, chopped
    1 cup butter
    2 eggs
    1 1/2 cups flour
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    2 teaspoons vanilla
    1/2 pound candied cherries (red and green), chopped
    1/2 pound or 2 cups walnuts, chopped
    2 to 4 tablespoons rum or brandy OR 2 to 4 tablespoons rum extract
    1 cup flour
    1 1/2 cups brown sugar
    1 teaspoon soda

    Dredge fruit and nuts in 1 cup of flour. Cream the butter and brown sugar.  Add eggs and beat until fluffy.  Add 1 1/2 cups flour, sifted together with the soda and cinnamon.  Add vanilla. Combine with fruit mixture.  Bake in slow oven 325 to 350 degrees for 15 minutes.



    Sunday, December 1, 2013

    CINNABON CINNAMON ROLLS COPYCAT RECIPE

    For those of you who love these rolls and want to try your hand at making them, here is a recipe my friend shared.
    makes 12 cinnamon rolls

    Rolls
    2 ¼ teaspoons yeast
    1 cup water warm (110-120)
    ½ cup granulated sugar
    ¼ cup buttermilk
    2 eggs
    7 tablespoons butter, divided
    5 ½-6 cups all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons kosher salt

    Filling
    ½ cup butter, softened
    1 ½ cups light brown sugar, packed
    2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
    1 teaspoon cornstarch

    Frosting
    4 ounces cream cheese, softened
    ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
    1 cups powdered sugar
    ½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    ½ teaspoon kosher salt

    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook; add water, sugar and yeast.  Swirl to combine.  Allow yeast to bloom, about 5-7 minutes.  

    In the meantime:  melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a microwave safe bowl.  Combine buttermilk, eggs and butter. Beat with a fork until eggs are mixed.

    Once yeast mixture is bubbly and frothy, add buttermilk mixture to bowl of stand mixer.  Mix on low and add 4 cups of flour, one cup at a time.  Add salt.  Once flour is mixed in, add remaining flour slowly until dough becomes a ball and completely pulls away from the walls of the mixer.  Your perfect dough ball will clean the bowl.  Mine takes 5 ½ cups total.  Knead dough on medium-high for 5 minutes.

    Lightly dust countertop with flour.  Turn dough out onto countertop.  Knead a few turns, shape dough into a ball.  

    Add 1 tablespoon butter to bowl and heat in microwave until melted.  Place dough into bowl upside down, flip dough over and cover loosely with plastic wrap and drape bowl with a towel.  Set bowl in a warm place in your kitchen.  Allow dough to rise for 60-90 minutes until nearly doubled in size.

    Meanwhile combine light brown sugar, cinnamon and corn starch in a medium bowl.  Stir with as fork until combined.  Set aside.

    Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead the dough a few turns, then using a rolling pin, roll out into an 18” tall  x 24” wide rectangle.  Spread softened butter around dough leaving the bottom 1” uncoated.  

    Sprinkle buttered dough with brown sugar mixture, leaving the bottom 1” uncoated.  Press sugar mixture into dough by gently rolling with your rolling pin.

    Starting at the top, tightly roll dough toward you, using the last 1” to seal roll.  Cut dough roll in half and then cut those halves in half, giving you 4 pieces.  Cut each of those pieces into 1/3rd.   You will have 12 pieces.

    Grease (2) 9”x13” baking dishes.  Place rolls in pans evenly spaced out, 2 rows of 3 rolls in each.  Make sure to put the end pieces upside down.  Loosely cover with plastic wrap and drape a towel over pans.  Set pans in a warm place and allow rolls to rise another 60-90 minutes until rolls have doubled in size and are touching.

    Preheat oven 350°F.  

    Bake for approximately 20 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.  Halfway through baking time rotate the pans.

    In the meantime prepare frosting; add cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl.  Beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add sugar, lemon juice, vanilla and salt.  Beat until mixture is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Set aside.  

    Remove rolls from oven.  Spread ¼ of frosting over each pan of rolls.  Allow to cool slightly and repeat.  Serve and enjoy!

    Saturday, November 30, 2013

    TIRAMISU BREAD PUDDING

    1 1/3 cups milk
    1 1/4 cups whipping cream
    2 tbsp instant coffee crystals
    6 eggs, lightly beaten
    2/3 cup granulated sugar
    1/3 cup packed brown sugar
    2 tsp vanilla extract
    8 cups torn white bread slices
    3/4 cup whipping cream
    1-oz cream cheese, softened
    1 tbsp granulated sugar
    1/3 cup powdered sugar

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    Set out 8 ungreased ramekins or custard cups.

    In a large mixing bowl stir the milk, 1 1/4 cups whipping cream, and the coffee crystals together until the coffee crystals have dissolved.  Reserve 1 tablespoon of the mixture; set aside.

    Stir the eggs, 2/3 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract into the remaining milk mixture.  Stir the bread pieces into the mixture until moistened.  Divide the mixture evenly into the 8 ramekins or custard cups, filling each one almost full.  Place on a 15x10x1-inch baking pan.

    Bake puddings at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until puffed, set, and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.  NOTE: The puddings will fall some as they cool - this is normal.

    In a medium mixing bowl beat the 3/4 cup whipping cream, cream cheese, and granulated sugar on medium speed of electric mixer.  Beat until soft peaks form.

    In a small bowl combine the powdered sugar and the reserved 1 tablespoon of the milk mixture until smooth. Drizzle over the puddings and add a dollop of the whipped cream cheese mixture to each pudding.  Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon, if desired.


    Note: This is an old Family Circle magazine recipe.

    Friday, November 29, 2013

    HEALTHIER MOLASSES OAT BRAN COOKIES

    Note: This chewy molasses cookie is cholesterol free and lower in fat and calories than the average cookie. Each of these cookies is approximately 60 calories.

    1 cup sugar
    3/4 cup canola oil
    1/4 cup cholesterol-free egg product
    1/4 cup molasses
    1 1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour
    1 1/2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
    1/2 cup oat bran
    2 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp ground cinnamon
    1/2 tsp ground ginger
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp ground cloves
    Nonstick cooking spray
    Sugar

    In a large bowl, combine the sugar, oil, egg product, and molasses; mix together well.

    Lightly spoon the flour into a measuring cup and level off.  Stir the flour, oats, oat bran, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and cloves into the sugar mixture until well blended.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    Spray cookie sheets with nonstick cooking spray.

    Shape the chilled dough into 1-inch balls and roll in sugar. Place balls 2-inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets.  With the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar, flatten balls slightly.

    Bake at 375 degrees for 7 to 10 minutes or until the cookies are set and the tops are cracked.

    Cool for 1 minute then remove from cookie sheets to wire racks to cool completely.

    Yield: Approximately 5 dozen.