Thursday, December 31, 2009

Chocolate Gravy

Want to make your breakfast a bit sweeter? Try topping your biscuits, toast or pancakes with Chocolate Gravy. It tastes a little like a chocolate icing so don't be afraid of what the name of this recipe might conjur up! This recipe was inspired by a similar one I found in the Gooseberry Patch cookbook Comfort and Joy.

Chocolate Gravy

1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
2 tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon salt (a dash)
2 cup milk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon butter

Sift sugar, flour, and cocoa together in saucepan, whisk in salt and milk. Over medium heat stir mixture until gravy thickens. Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla. Serve over warm biscuits or pancakes.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Quick Onion French Bread

I found this recipe on the Gooseberry Patch website when shopping for Christmas gifts a couple of weeks ago. The bread turned out so tasty that I've made twice since!

Tip:If you don't keep mayo around the house or simply don't like it, try using sour cream or whipped cream cheese for similar results.

Quick Onion French Bread

1 loaf French bread, sliced in half lengthwise
1 c. mayonnaise
1/2 c. onion, finely chopped
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
Garnish: paprika

Place bread on an ungreased baking sheet and set aside. Mix mayonnaise, onion and cheese; spread over cut side of bread. Sprinkle with paprika; broil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until golden. Slice and serve warm. Serves 6 to 8.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Parmesan Herbed Potatoes

This recipe comes courtesy of but are almost exactly the same as my version. The biggest difference being that I use red potatoes and add fresh cracked pepper to mine.

Parmesan Herbed Potatoes

2 large russet potatoes diced
2 -3 TBS olive oil 
1 tsp dried dill or parsley 
1 tsp paprika 
1 tsp pepper 
2 TBS grated Parmesan cheese 
2 tsp salt   

Preheat oven to 425 deg.

Peel and wash potatoes. Dice potatoes in small cubes (about 1/2 inch thick).

Place in a medium bowl. Add olive oil and toss to coat all potatoes. Add the rest of the ingredients and toss to mix.

Place potatoes in a single layer in a 13x9 pan.

Bake for 40 -45 minutes or until nicely golden brown. 


Monday, December 28, 2009

Zesty Tortilla Rollups

I found a similar recipe last year on and altered it just slightly. I've had other versions of Tortilla Rollups before but these surpassed them all. These tangy little appetizers are perfect for a New Year's Eve party but I'm sorry to say you probably won't have many leftover once your guests devour them all!

Zesty Tortilla Rollups

12 flour tortillas
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Rotel tomatoes and green chilies
3 tablespoons chopped green onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
10 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, grated

In a medium bowl combine all ingredients except tortillas and mix thoroughly. Spread onto tortillas and tightly roll up, using toothpicks if neccessary to secure. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours. When ready to serve, cut each roll into 1/2 inch slices. Serve with salsa and/or guacamole if desired.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Cranberry-Peach Stuffed Pork Chops

Any leftover cranberries you may have from the holidays will find a loving home in this recipe. These pork chops are a little sweet and a little tart and a lot delicious! I made these around Thanksgiving to wicked acclaim from my picky eater of a husband.
The cranberries and peach preserves blend seamlessly together, one balancing the flavor of the other. The dried cherries add a burst of brightness to the recipe and it all comes together to create a wonderfully elegant sauce.

Tips: For the pork chops you want as thick as you can find since you will be stuffing them. If you're nervous about creating the pocket, ask your butcher to prepare them for you.

Cranberry-Peach Stuffed Pork Chops

2/3 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1/4 cup dried cherries, optional
1/3 cup peach preserves
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
4 thick cut pork chops
6 tablespoons honey, divided
salt and pepper to taste

Place cranberries in a food processor or blender and pulse once or twice. In a medium bowl combine cranberries, dried cherries, preserves, cloves and 2 tablespoons of honey. Cut a slit in each pork chop about 3/4 of the way across, creating a pocket. Stuff each pocket with cranberry mixture. Place the pork chops in a well greased glass baking dish. Season both sides of the pork chops with salt and pepper as desired. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of honey over each chop (you can also top with any additional cranberry mixture you may have leftover).
Bake at 325 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until chops are cooked through.

Cranberries on Foodista

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Savory Pineapple Cheeseball

Merry Christmas Eve!
This is an easy, easy, easy cheeseball recipe I adapted from an old Philadelphia Cream Cheese cookbook.

Savory Pineapple Cheeseball

16 oz. Philadelphia cream cheese, softened

1/2 c. crushed pineapple, well drained
2 tablespoons red bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoons green onion, diced
2 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans, optional

Stir all ingredients together until all ingredients are well incorporated. Form into a ball. Roll in chopped pecans if desired. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for 1-2 hours. Serve with crackers.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Chocolate Mint Crunch Candy

I saw a similar recipe to this in a Taste of Home Christmas Cookies and Candy magazine last month and had to share my version of it. It's so easy and the only "baking" involved is done in the microwave so it's a perfect recipe for kids to make for the holidays. The tastes reminds me so much of the Mint Oreo Bark from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Company and even a little bit like Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream.

For a little extra pizzaz you can divide the white chocolate chips into 2 bowls and prepare half the batch as called for in the recipe below. On the other half use red food coloring and crumble crushed candy canes instead of the Oreos on those (keeping the rest of the recipe the same).

Chocolate Mint Crunch Candy

1 12oz bag white chocolate chips
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons shortening, divided
4-5 drops green food coloring
5 mint flavored Oreos, crushed
2 packages Andes Mint candy, 4.67oz each

In a microwave safe bowl, melt white chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon of shortening and stir until smooth. Blend in food coloring. Pour into miniature muffin cup liners, about halfway up. Sprinkle Oreo crumbs over the tops of each. In a second microwave safe bowl, melt the Andes Mints and remaining 2 teaspoons of shortening and stir until smooth. Pour over the cookie crumbs. Let stand until set (about 15 mins).

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip

I adapted this recipe from one I found online a few years ago to better fit my tastes.  It doesn't exactly taste like chocolate chip cookie dough because of the use of cream cheese but it's close and it's pretty darn good! Preparing the dip takes about 15 minutes from start to finish, so this is great as a last minute take along to a party or meeting. 

Note: Definitely use mini chocolate chips in it, the larger ones are just too big for a dip. 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip

1 stick butter

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup powdered sugar (up to a 1/2 cup if mixture is too thin)
3/4 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips

In a small saucepan, melt the butter with the brown sugar and salt over medium heat. Stir continuously, until the brown sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, whisk in the vanilla and set aside to cool.
Beat the cream cheese with the powdered sugar for 1 minute.
Slowly beat in the cooled butter mixture and continue beating for 1 minute. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand. Spoon or pour into a serving bowl and cover with plastic. Keep refrigerated until 10 minutes before serving. Serve with Graham cracker sticks or N'illa Wafers.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Maple Monday-Maple Fried Apples

This is such an easy recipe that makes a wonderful side dish or dessert topping!

Maple Fried Apples

3-4 apples, peeled and sliced thin or into wedges
2 tablespoons of butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup  brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon  nutmeg

In frying pan, melt the butter and add the apples. Stir and toss until apples begin to soften and turn brown. Add syrup, sugar, and spices, and cook until thickened and bubbly.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Butterfinger Cookies

Butterfinger Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups  peanut butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 regular size Butterfinger candy bars, roughly chopped

In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and both sugars. Add eggs and beat well. Mix in peanut butter and vanilla.
Combine flour, baking soda and salt and add to creamed mixture.  Mix well. Stir in candy bars. Shape into 1 inch balls and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Eggnog Frosting

Eggnog Frosting

1 stick butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup Eggnog

In a medium bowl cream the butter until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and spices and mix until well incorporated.. Beat in vanilla and eggnog for 2 minutes or until frosting is light and airy.

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Eggnog Frosting

I adapted this cupcake recipe from a recipe for gingerbread cake on Epicurious. When I first made it I knew exactly what I wanted to serve with it...eggnog frosting! I had never made eggnog frosting before but I figured that I could use a basic buttercream recipe and replace milk with eggnog. Which is exactly what I did (though I aslo added some additional spices ) and it was delicious! I don't think it could gett any more "Christmasy" than this!

Tips: If you don't want to make cupcakes you can make this in a 9x9 baking pan. You could also use a bundt pan and turn the frosting into a glaze by thinning it out with more eggnog. For a more intense flavor use dark molasses and a heaping teaspoon of ginger. For a subtle flavor use light molasses or dark corn syrup and a level teaspoon of ginger.

Gingerbread Cupcakes

2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup molasses mixed with 1 cup hot coffee
Eggnog frosting, recipe below

Sift together flour, baking soda, spices, and salt. Beat together shortening, sugar, and egg in a large bowl with a mixer until creamy, about 2 minutes. In 3 batches, alternately beat in flour mixture and molasses/coffee mixture at low speed until smooth. Spoon batter into a lined cupcake pan, filling each cup 3/4 of the way up. Bake cupcakes in a 350 degree oven for 45 to 55 minutes. Cool cupcakes completely before frosting.

Eggnog Frosting

1 stick butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup Eggnog

In a medium bowl cream the butter until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and spices and mix until well incorporated.. Beat in vanilla and eggnog for 2 minutes or until frosting is light and airy.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Chocolate Chex Caramel Crunch

This recipe is actually from the Chex website but it is sooo good I had to re-post it here. The brown sugar and butter blend together to create a caramel glaze that is just out of this world. When I made this I cut back the Chex from 8 cups to 6 1/2 and added 1 1/2 cups of pretzel sticks. I'm a sucker for that salty/sweet combination!

Chocolate Chex Caramel Crunch

8 cups Chocolate Chex® cereal
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
6 tablespoons butter or margarine
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup white vanilla baking chips

Into large microwavable bowl, measure cereal; set aside. Line cookie sheet with waxed paper.

In 2-cup microwavable measuring cup, microwave brown sugar, butter and corn syrup uncovered on High 1 to 2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute, until melted and smooth. Stir in baking soda until dissolved. Pour over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Microwave on High 3 minutes, stirring every minute. Spread on cookie sheet. Cool 10 minutes. Break into bite-size pieces.

In small microwavable bowl, microwave vanilla baking chips uncovered on High about 1 minute 30 seconds or until chips can be stirred smooth (bowl will be hot). Drizzle over snack. Refrigerate until set. Store in tightly covered container.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Basic Chocolate Glaze

Chocolate Glaze

3 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon butter (real butter, no substitutes)

In a double boiler or a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter together. Pour over brownies or cake and refrigerate 30 minutes or until glaze loses it's gloss.

Mint Frosted Brownies

This recipe is really more of a way to spruce up brownies than for brownies themselves. I'm weird in that I like brownies made from a mix better than home made brownies. I've probably just never found the right recipe but in any case at this time, I like my Duncan-Hines brownies best of all!
No matter what type of brownies you use for a base, these 3 layer minty bars are delicious year round.

Mint Frosted Brownies

1 pan of prepared Brownies

Mint Layer:
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
2-3 drops green food coloring

Fudge Glaze:
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon butter (real butter, no substitutes)

Mint Layer: In a medium bowl beat all ingredients until smooth. Spread over prepared and cooled brownies. Place in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes or until firm.

Fudge Glaze: In a double boiler or a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter together. Pour and spread over mint filling and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until the chocolate glaze is set and looses it's gloss.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Jelly Candy

I decided this last weekend that I wanted to make home-made gumdrops. I scoured the internet searching for recipes, site after site I searched. The few I came across all had so-so or worse reviews. The candy never set up, it wasn't sweet enough, etc. Never one to just let it be, I decided to come up with my own recipe.

I started out with a Raspberry flavor since Raspberry always tastes good and the color is perfect for a Christmas candy. I added unflavored gelatin one packet at a time and after each addition I thought "well that can't be enough", so I added another. I put the dish in the refrigerator and waited. I figured it would take 6 or more hours for it to fully set and began waiting patiently. After a mere 3 hours I decided to check on their progress and lo and behold it was completely ready to go! I took it out and began cutting it into squares and rectangles, playing with the shapes and sizes of each piece. After tasting one oddly cut wedge I was in love! The interior of each piece was silky smooth and had just the right amount of give to each bite to be pleasing to the palate and the raspberry flavor was a knockout. I quickly realized though that these weren't the gummy, sticky gumdrops I was so anxious to try but they were better. I figured I could call them "not quite firm enough gumdrops" or "really good jelly candy". Guess what I picked?

I liked the confection so much I decided to try my luck again and make a second batch, this time lime flavored, just to make sure the end result wasn't a fluke. This second batch turned out even better than the first, due in part to the use of a whisk. The red raspberry and green lime candies look so festive in their little tin and taste even better! I'm going to play around with a few more flavors this week and bring a big, multi-colored mix to Christmas Eve this year and probably for years to come.

This candy will travel and store well so they would make great gifts to give to friends, neighbors or teachers when tucked in a tin with a piece of parchment or even in a pretty glass jar with a ribbon tied around it. Have fun with flavors, colors and shapes and make them your own. This isn't "stick to your teeth" kind of candy, it's much smoother so there is no need to worry about those with braces, crowns or other dental issues.

If you've never made candy what?! These are soo easy to make! No candy thermometer needed. You will need a full day to let them set up properly but as far as actually cooking them, they're a breeze. The best tip I can give you is to use a whisk when adding the gelatin and don't be afraid of some clumps at first. As long as you continue to whisk at a brisk pace and bring the final mixture to a full boil for 3 minutes, the lumps should dissolve.

Jelly Candy

1 1/3 cup applesauce
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 3oz box flavored Jello/gelatin (your favorite)
4 packets unflavored gelatin
Additional sugar for dredging

In a medium saucepan bring applesauce to a boil over medium heat and stir in sugar. Return to a boil for 2 full minutes and whisk in flavored jello and unflavored gelatin, 1 packet at a time. Make sure each packet is blended in before adding the next. Bring back to a full boil for 3 minutes, whisking constantly. Pour mixture into a lightly greased 8x8or a 9x9 baking dish. Let sit on counter and cool for 5 minutes then refrigerate for 4 hours.

Once set, remove candy from pan by gently peeling it back from one corner and running a clean finger or knife around edges. Place on a flat surface that has been dusted in granulated sugar. Cut into small squares (or whatever shape you want, but try to keep them bite sized), dipping your knife periodically in warm water helps make cutting smoother.
Once cut, dredge each square in granulated sugar until all sides are covered. This not only improves the taste and look of the candy but also prevents them from sticking to anything they touch. Arrange cut and sugared candy so they are not touching one another on a baking sheet or large plate and allow to sit out in open air for 24 hours to fully set. After 24 hours store in a covered container.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Peanut Butter "Krispy" Balls

More dipped candy for the holidays!

Peanut Butter "Krispy" Balls

1 pound powdered sugar
2 cups peanut butter
1 cup butter, melted
3 1/3 cups Rice Krispies
1 package chocolate chips, 6oz
4oz semi sweet dipping chocolate or almond bark
1/4 teaspoon vegetable oil (optional)

Stir together powdered sugar, peanut butter, butter and Rice Krispies. Shape into walnut size balls. In a medium, microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips and dipping chocolate until melted (stirring every 15 seconds to prevent scorching). Stir in vegetable oil (this will give chocolate a glossy shine when set) Dip balls into melted chocolate and lace on wax paper. Chill in refrigerator until set.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Caramel Frosting

Caramel Frosting

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup butter (real butter, no substitutes)
1/4 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

In a small saucepan combine brown sugar, butter, milk and salt. Cook over medium heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Stop stirring and let cook for 5 minutes or until mixture begins to bubble and turns amber in color.

Remove from the heat and transfer to a mixing bowl. Stir in vanilla and allow the syrup to cool to room temperature. Using an electric mixer, beat in powdered sugar a little at a time until frosting becomes thick enough to frost cake with.

Maple Monday-Maple Cake with Caramel Frosting

These are both adaptations of mine from several recipes I've found over the years. I love how well the flavors of maple and caramel blend together so this combination of cake and frosting was a no-brainer for me. If you serve this at Christmas or at a holiday party in the coming days, be prepared to have people request it from you again next year, then the next year and so on until it becomes a tradition of it's own!

Maple Cake with Caramel Frosting

2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter, softened
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla (or maple extract for a more intense maple flavor)
3/4 cup plain yogurt
Caramel Frosting, recipe below

In a large mixing bowl beat together butter, maple syrup and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla (or maple extract) and continue beating.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Slowly stir in the yogurt, a little bit a time. Add this mixture to the maple mixture, beating just enough to combine ingredients thoroughly.
Pour batter into a lightly greased 13x9 cake pan (or glass baking dish). Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Cool completely before frosting (you can remove from pan after 10 minutes and continue to cool on a cooling rack if desired).

Caramel Frosting

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup butter (real butter, no substitutes)
1/4 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

In a small saucepan combine brown sugar, butter, milk and salt. Cook over medium heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Stop stirring and let cook for 5 minutes or until mixture begins to bubble and turns amber in color.
Remove from the heat and transfer to a mixing bowl. Stir in vanilla and allow the syrup to cool to room temperature. Using an electric mixer, beat in powdered sugar a little at a time until frosting becomes thick enough to frost cake with.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Pumpkin Chocolate Truffles

This recipe was adapted from a recipe I found on Diana's Desserts. These are heavenly little bites of holiday spirit. The discrepancy between how odd pumpkin and chocolate sound together and how delicious a pair they really do make is amazing!

Pumpkin Chocolate Truffles

3 cups N'illa Wafers
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
1/3 cup apple juice
Powdered sugar or Cocoa powder to roll truffles in

Place N'lla Wafers in a Ziploc bag and crush to fine crumbs. Combine cookie crumbs, graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl and stir or toss together. Stir in melted chocolate chips, pumpkin and apple juice. Shape into small, bite-size balls. Roll the truffles in powdered sugar or cocoa powder.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Butterscotch Toffee Candy

Years of trying to come up with the perfect fudge recipe have yielded a variety of results...none of them a perfect fudge recipe. I've made pumpkin flavored glop, maple infused rocks and peppermint scented glue. Somewhere along the way, this recipe came about. I was going for Butterscotch fudge and ended up with a cross between a fudge and a caramel. It wasn't too grainy, runny, or any of the other ghosts of candies past. Even the flavor was classic, creamy Butterscotch. I've made this candy a couple times now and enjoyed them so much I'm looking forward to making this "mistake" again!

Butterscotch Toffee Candy

2 lb. brown sugar (2 lb boxes)
1 stick butter
1 cup evaporated milk
1 jar marshmallow creme, 7oz
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups toffee pieces/bits
2 packages butterscotch chips

Combine brown sugar, butter and evaporated milk in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer until soft ball stage. Add marshmallow creme and beat with an electric mixer (while still in saucepan) until mixture is very thick (about 7-10 minutes). Add remaining ingredients except toffee pieces and continue to beat well. Stir toffee into mixture.
Pour into greased baking dish (depending on thickness you want, 8x8 for thick, 9x13 for thinner candy) let sit until firm. Cut into bite sized pieces with a warm knife (dip knife in warm water between cuts). Store in a covered container or wrap individual pieces in saran wrap.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Southern Style Biscuits

My sister Jennifer first made these biscuits for the family a few months ago. We were all completely enchanted with Jennifer's culinary aptitude and these yummy little biscuits. They were light, fluffy and full of flavor. I immediately knew I had to have the recipe and have made them several times since receiving it.

They are delicious with apple butter, jam, gravy or even made into a sandwich with tender pieces of (boneless) fried chicken between a divided biscuit. Easy and quick to prepare and bake, there's no reason to pop open a can of biscuits again!

Tips: You can substitute buttermilk for the milk for a traditional "buttermilk biscuit". For a slightly flakier texture use 1/4 cup of butter and 1/4 cup shortening (in lieu of 1/2 cup butter)and add an additional 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Knead the dough as little as possible for fluffier biscuits, over-kneading will yield a tougher result. To prevent the bottoms of the biscuits browning quicker than the rest of it, line your baking sheet with a baking mat or parchment paper.

Southern Style Biscuits

2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter, plus more for brushing on top
1 egg
2/3 cup milk

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Beat together the egg and milk, stir into dry ingredients until just moistened.

Turn onto a floured surface and knead gently 2-3 times. Roll to 3/4 inch thickness. Cut dough with a floured 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter or cup. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet, brush tops of dough with warm, melted butter. Bake at 450 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Brush again with melted butter. Serve warm.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sugar Cream Pie

This pie is so delicious I can't believe I waited this long to post it! It's almost like an egg-less custard or Bavarian Cream pie. The pumpkin pie spice on top really adds a lovely flavor to what could be a boring pie. I've made this pie with and without spices on top and it's amazing what a difference just a sprinkling can make. If you don't have pumpkin pie spice you can dust the pie with nutmeg or cinnamon.
I really think this Sugar Cream Pie would make a lovely new holiday, baking tradition for any family.

Sugar Cream Pie

1 pie shell, pre-baked
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups cream
5 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 drops yellow food coloring, optional
6 tablespoons butter
pumpkin pie spice

In a large saucepan mix sugars, salt and cornstarch together, stir in cream. Once mixture is blended turn stove top to medium heat and bring to a boil. Add vanilla, food coloring and butter and continue cooking, stirring constantly until thickened, 10-15 minutes. Pour the mixture into pie crust and sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice (not too much, just a dusting). Bake at 325° for 40 minutes or until set and lightly browned. Cool on counter for 30 minutes and serve warm or cover and refrigerate until chilled.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Parmesan Cube Steak

This is a basic variation of Chicken Parm using cube steaks. It's budget friendly and really good!

Parmesan Cube Steak

3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup crackers, finely crushed
1/2 teaspoon basil
1 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon oregano, divided
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese,
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
4 cube steaks

In a large dish or plate combine flour, salt, and pepper. In another plate, combine, beaten egg and water. On another plate combine Parmesan cheese, crackers, and basil. Dip steaks in flour mixture, then egg mixture and then roll in cheese mixture.

In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Brown steaks on both sides. Remove to a lightly greased casserole dish or baking pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Drain any pan juices.

Combine tomato sauce, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon of the oregano. Pour over steaks. Bake 20 minutes longer. Sprinkle oregano, Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese over steaks. Return to oven for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve with your favorite pasta.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Home Made Marshmallows

Yesterday's recipe was for Maple Hot Chocolate so I thought today would be the perfect time to post my favorite recipe for home made marshmallows! I've made these several times over the last three or four years and they always turn out perfectly. The recipe itself is from the amazing, Michelin Star rated chef Thomas Keller and his The French Laundry Cookbook.

There's really no need to improve the recipe itself, as these confections are truly delicious and a true treat all on their own. Half the fun of cooking though is making each recipe your own and creating new versions of classics, so I offer up a couple of variations that scrumptiously accent the marshmallows.

Variations: Try replacing half of the vanilla extract with peppermint extract, add a couple of drops red food coloring (swirling it through out mixture) and press some crushed candy canes into the top for a wonderful holiday version.

For us chocolate lovers, an amazing version I made last year was spreading caramel sauce (or ice cream topping) over each square and then pouring melted baking chocolate over the tops and sides (you can dip them as well, the caramel just makes it slightly more difficult). For added texture you could press some toffee bits onto the tops as well.

This year I may substitute melted peanut butter for the caramel (and still pour melted chocolate over them) for a "fluffer-nutter" style candy!


3 envelopes of unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cups corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
Confectioners' sugar for dredging

In a large bowl sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water. Soak for 10 minutes.

Combine sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil hard for 1 minute. Pour boiling syrup into gelatin and mix at high speed. Add the salt and beat for 12 minutes. Add vanilla and blend into mixture. Scrape into a 9 x 9-inch pan lined with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with non-stick spray and spread evenly. (Note: Lightly oil hands and spatula or bowl scraper as well). After pouring marshmallow mixture into the pan, take another piece of plastic wrap and press mixture into the pan.

Let mixture sit for a few hours to set. Remove from pan, dredge the marshmallow slab with confectioners' sugar and cut into 12 equal pieces with scissors (the best tool for the job) or a chef's knife. Dredge each piece of marshmallow in confectioners' sugar, coating each side.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Maple Monday-Maple Hot Chocolate

This delicious hot chocolate warms you up from head to toe with it's almost toffee like flavor. If you've never had maple and chocolate together, now is your chance and you won't be sorry!

This time of year I like to top warm drinks with Christmas themed "Peeps" brand marshmallows. They come in cute shapes like snowmen, reindeer and Christmas trees. They add a festive touch to any drink!

Maple Hot Chocolate

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 (1 oz) square semi-sweet chocolate or 2 tablespoons chocolate chips
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter
3 cups milk, whole or 2%
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 teaspoons maple syrup
1/3 cup marshmallow cream

In a large saucepan bring hot water to almost a boil. Add butter and stir until melted. Add the sugar, cocoa and salt; stir and bring to a low boil. Add the semi sweet chocolate (or choc. chips) milk, cream, maple syrup, vanilla and marshmallow cream. Simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes or until the chocolate and marshmallow cream are melted and mixture is heated to desire temperature. Serve warm with whipped cream or marshmallows.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Cheesy Ranch Potatoes

Whether you tote this to a potluck, a holiday party or a simple family dinner, these potatoes are sure to stand out! Even my husband who typically doesn't like "Ranch" flavored anything, devours this dish! I like to make these with anything from the grill (hamburgers, steak, etc), fried chicken and even certain types of pork chops. Though I would imagine they would pair well with many other meals.

Tips: This recipe makes enough to serve 8-10 but can easily be halved for smaller gatherings or week-night dinners.
I've added cooked and crumbled bacon to this dish before and it turned out amazing
as well (has the addition of bacon ever made anything worse? No!). If I had to estimate the amount of bacon to use, I would say about 2 to 3 strips per pound of potatoes used. (

Cheesy Ranch Potatoes

4 pounds potatoes, cut into small cubes (about 1/4 inch)
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/3 cups shredded Colby-Jack cheese
1 bottle Ranch dressing, 8 oz

In a medium skillet heat olive oil and add diced onion, cooking until translucent. In a small bowl combine the melted butter, chili powder, seasoning salt and pepper.
Lightly grease a 9x13 glass baking dish and add cubed potatoes and onions. Drizzle with butter/spice mixture, turning potatoes to coat. Cover with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour. Remove from oven and stir in ranch dressing and cheese, combining well. Return dish to oven (uncovered) and continue baking for 15 minutes.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Pineapple Squares

This recipe came from the back of a Fleischmann's Active Dry Yeast packet. It turned out so delicious that I just had to re-post it here.

Note: I added a 1/4 cup packed brown sugar to the glaze and thinned it out with a little more milk as needed (about 1 additional tablespoon). Brown sugar pairs so well with pineapple.

Pineapple Squares

1/2 cup warm water
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 envelope Fleischmann's Active Dry Yeast
1/2 cup warm milk
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
3 3/4 to 4-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 egg yolks
Pineapple Filling (recipe follows)
Powdered Sugar Frosting (recipe follows)

In large warm bowl, dissolve 1 teaspoon sugar in warm water. Sprinkle in yeast; stir until dissolved. Add warm milk, butter, and 1 cup flour. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Add egg yolks and 1/2 cup flour. Beat 2 minutes and stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough.

Divide dough in half. Roll each half on floured surface to fit a jelly roll pan. Transfer one layer to a lightly greased jelly roll pan. Spread with Pineapple Filling. Top with remaining layer of dough. Seal edges together. Cut/Score the surface of the dough with a knife to let steam escape (I made 6 scores, about 2 inches each). Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Bake at 375°F about 35 to 40 minutes, or until done. Let cool in pan. Drizzle with Glaze while warm. Cut into squares to serve.

Pineapple Filling:
In a saucepan, mix 1/2 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons cornstarch, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir in 1 slightly beaten egg yolk and 1 can (20oz, or 2 1/2 cups) undrained crushed pineapple in heavy syrup. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Cool.

Powdered Sugar Glaze:
In small bowl, combine 1 cup sifted powdered sugar, and 1 to 2 tablespoons milk. Stir until smooth.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Cottage Casserole

It's nice to have an easy and tasty casserole to go to when things get hectic. I try to always have one in my freezer that I can just pull out and pop in the oven. It's so relaxing this time of year, when you've been out Christmas shopping all day and you know that dinner is already put together. No need to pick up burgers or walk in the door and immediately start cooking.

Cottage Casserole is one of the "regulars" in my freezer. The addition of cream cheese and cottage cheese really makes the sauce sing, as strange as it may sound. If you do freeze it, don't add the shredded cheese on top until you're ready to bake. Also add an additional 15-20 minutes to the cooking time for a frozen casserole. For families of more than 4, make a double batch and stick one in the oven and one in the freezer. Families of 4 or less, divide the batch into 2 8x8 casserole dishes, keeping the cooking times the same.

You can check out more of my casserole recipes HERE

Cottage Casserole

1 package egg noodles
2 tablespoons olive oil
1lb Ground Beef
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cans tomato sauce, 10 oz (or 2 1/2 cups)
1 4oz package cream cheese, cubed
1 cup green pepper, chopped
1 cup cottage cheese
2 cups Colby-Jack Cheese, shredded

Boil noodles according to package instructions. Drain, toss with olive oil and set aside. Brown ground beef and onions in a large saute pan, drain as needed. Stir in tomato sauce, salt, pepper, garlic powder, cottage cheese, cream cheese and green peppers. Cook over low heat until cream cheese has melted and incorporated into tomato sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Spread half of cooked noodles in a lightly greased, large glass baking dish, cover with half of the beef sauce. Top with remaining noodles and sauce. Sprinkle Colby-Jack cheese over sauce.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, remove foil and continue cooking an additional 5 minutes.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls

Christmas is nigh and it's time to begin baking cookies and making candy. What a perfect excuse to try out all those sweet recipes you've been stashing all year! This is a really fun candy recipe that requires very little "cooking" at all. There are no eggs in this mock cookie dough so it's safe (or very dangerous!) to eat raw.

Tip: For a tasty variation try replacing the vanilla with peppermint extract and add a couple of drops of green food coloring to the dough.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon water
1 package mini chocolate chips, 6oz
8oz chocolate for dipping (Almond Bark, semi-sweet Baker's chocolate, etc)

In a large bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Add vanilla, salt, flour, water and chocolate chips. Stir together until well combined. Roll into balls. Place balls on a cookie sheet that's been covered with parchment or wax paper and freeze for 30 minutes or until firm. In a double boiler (or microwave) melt dipping chocolate. Using a fork, dip each ball in chocolate and replace on cookie sheet. Return pan to freezer for another 30 minutes or until chocolate is firm. Store in resealable container or bag in refrigerator.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Bacon Cheddar Dill Puffs

Served with soup or salad or as an appetizer, these little puffs are flavorful additions to any table.

Tip: I've found the bottoms tend to brown a little quicker than the rest of the puff, so I use parchment paper on the baking sheet to prevent this.

Bacon Cheddar Dill Puffs

1 cup water
1/2 stick butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 cups flour
3 eggs, beaten
5 strips crisply cooked bacon, crumbled
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped

In a medium saucepan, combine water, butter, salt and garlic powder over medium heat and bring to a boil. Once the butter has melted, add flour and continue to simmer. Stir constantly until the dough forms a ball, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add eggs one at a time, beating well until the mixture is glossy. Stir in bacon, shredded cheese and freshly chopped dill. Drop batter by the teaspoon on greased baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Butter-Rum Glaze

A yummy bundt cake is the perfect thing to bring with you to a holiday party or pot luck. This pumpkin cake with a butter rum glaze is so good you may not want to give it away though!

Pumpkin Bundt Cake

1 box yellow cake mix
1 package instant butterscotch pudding mix (3.4 oz)
4 eggs
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

In a large bowl combine all ingredients and beat on medium for 2 minutes. Pour into a greased and floured bundt or tube pan. Bake at 350° for 50-55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing, invert and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Butter-Rum Glaze

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon rum extract

In a small sauce pan combine butter, brown sugar and milk. Bring to a full boil. Add powdered sugar and rum extract. Beat until smooth. Add more milk if needed. Pour or drizzle over cooled bundt cake.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Maple Monday-Baked Maple Custard

A good custard is one of life's true pleasures. The silky texture, the creamy taste, the little jiggle it gives on the spoon, it's all part of the experience. Custard, pudding or flan, they all achieve the same effect. There's such an elegance in their simplicity.

This maple flavored custard won't disappoint. If you don't have custard cups or large ramekins then a small to medium casserole dish will do. Whatever you use make sure it will fit inside another larger dish so you can make the water-bath for it to cook in.

Baked Maple Custard

2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a medium saucepan warm milk and cream to almost boiling (medium heat for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally). In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, maple syrup, vanilla and salt. Slowly pour in hot milk mixture and whisk together. Ladle into lightly buttered custard cups about 3/4 of the way up.

Place the cups in a large glass baking dish and pour 4 cups of boiling water into the pan surrounding the custard cups. The water should come about halfway up the outside of the cups.

Bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes or until a knife inserted in center of one of the cups, comes out clean. Cool in water bath for 30 minutes, then remove from water and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in refrigerator for 3 hours before serving.

Click any of the colored links above for information on gadgets, tools, utensils or cookware mentioned in this post. To find additional cooking and baking supplies shop my Amazon store by clicking -->HERE<--

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Pork Tortilla Casserole

I found this recipe on another blog (Lynn's Kitchen Adventures) and my husband and I both really liked it. For no other reason, I decided to share it here.

Pork Tortilla Casserole

1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 cups chicken broth
1 can rotel tomatoes, any variety
4 or so cups tortilla chips (about a third of a bag)
4 cups cooked shredded pork
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Mix together soups, broth, and tomatoes until combined. Grease a 9×13 pan. Place a layer of chips in the bottom on the pan. Layer 1/2 of meat on top of the chips and pour 1/2 of the both mixture over top. Sprinkle with 1/2 of the cheese. Repeat layers. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until bubbly.

Friday, November 27, 2009

After Thanksgiving-Creamed Turkey in Stuffing Casserole

I found this recipe at and it's a delicious way to use up leftover Thanksgiving turkey and dressing (stuffing). I made this last year and used 1 cup of evaporated milk and 1/2 a cup of leftover gravy and omitted 1/2 a tablespoon of flour, I also topped the dish with leftover mashed potatoes. If you do this you may need to add another 5-10 minutes to the cooking time.

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Creamed Turkey in Stuffing Casserole

2 cups leftover stuffing
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 1/2 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 tablespoon flour
1 1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 1/2 cup cubed cooked turkey
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon thyme
1 dash poultry seasoning

Preheat oven to 350F. Press stuffing in bottom of a greased baking dish. Saute onion and celery in butter. Stir in flour until well mixed.

Gradually stir in evaporated milk over low heat until sauce thickens. Stir in remaining ingredients; mix well. Spoon on top of stuffing and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

After Thanksgiving-Pumpkin Cornbread

The subtle pumpkin flavor in this recipe adds a wonderful richness to the cornbread. My husband says I can find a way to add pumpkin to anything and this dish proves it! Perfect for any leftover pumpkin in your pantry.

Pumpkin Cornbread

1 cup yellow corneal
2/3 cup flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons cup butter, melted

Combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl stir together pumpkin, eggs, milk and syrup or honey. Add to first mixture. Swirl melted butter in a 8x8 or 9x9 glass baking dish to grease. Add pooled butter to batter. Pour batter into dish and bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until done.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving-Brined and Roasted Turkey with Garlic Herb Butter

Brining your turkey before cooking is the best way to infuse flavor and guarantee a moist bird. I've tried a few different brine recipes over the years and some are better than others so I'm offering you up two different ones. The first is Alton Brown's recipe, his brine has a lot of loyal followers who swear it's the best. This was also the first brine recipe I ever tried, I didn't love the ginger or allspice flavor it gave (although the flavor was subtle). The second brine recipe is my own. The liquid smoke and beer infuse just a hint of "something different". Try one at Thanksgiving and if you don't like it, try out the other one at Christmas. The directions for preparing are the same for both brines (for ease, I used Alton's directions).

Below the brine instructions you will find my recipe for aromatics to stuff the turkey with and Alton Brown's directions for roasting the turkey. I've also included an easy recipe for a garlic and herb butter to rub under the skin of the turkey. It's just another layer of flavor and helps to keep the turkey moist.

Alton Brown's Turkey Brine

1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1/2 tablespoon allspice berries
1/2 tablespoon candied ginger
1 gallon iced water


Andrea's Brine

1 1/2 cups kosher salt
3/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 gallon chicken stock
1 bottle beer/ale (your favorite, I use Guinness)
2 tablespoon liquid smoke
4 cloves of garlic
3 bay leaves, chopped
4 sprigs of thyme, chopped or crushed
2 tablespoons black peppercorns

Combine all brine ingredients (from ONE of the above recipes), except ice water, in a stockpot, and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve salt and sugar, then remove from heat, cool to room temperature and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

Early on the day of cooking, (or late the night before) combine the brine and ice water in a clean 5-gallon bucket or ice chest. Place thawed turkey breast side down in brine, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area (like a basement or cool garage) for 6 hours. Turn turkey over once, half way through brining.

Andrea's Aromatics

1 tart apple, sliced
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
2 cups water
4 sprigs rosemary
6 leaves sage
2 bay leaves

A few minutes before roasting, heat oven to 500 degrees. Combine the apple, onion, garlic, celery and 2 cups of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 6 minutes.

Remove bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard brine.

Garlic and Herb Butter

2 sticks butter, softened
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced herbs (thyme or rosemary)

In a medium bowl combine softened butter with minced garlic and herbs. Rub this butter under the skin along the thighs, breasts and legs of turkey. Tuck back wings and coat whole bird liberally canola oil.

Roasting the Turkey

Place bird on roasting rack inside wide, low pan and pat dry with paper towels. Add steeped aromatics to cavity along with rosemary, sage and bay leaves.

Roast on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F. for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cover breast with double layer of aluminum foil, insert probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and return to oven, reducing temperature to 350 degrees F. Set thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let turkey rest, loosely covered for 15 minutes before carving.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving-Cran-Raspberry Relish

This is an easy, make ahead recipe for a cran-raspberry sauce/relish. The addition of chopped apples and orange marmalade is what really makes this dish stand out. You can prepare this up to a week ahead of time.

Cran-Raspberry Relish

1 lb fresh cranberries, finely chopped
2 cans whole cranberry sauce
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled,cored and chopped
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1 package frozen raspberries, thawed and drained (10 ounces)
1/4 cup white grape juice (can substitute apple juice)
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Combine all ingredients and blend together in a food processor for 15-25 seconds or until well blended. Chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving/Maple Monday-Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes

I never really liked sweet potatoes in the past but after some urging from my mom recently, I relented and tried them again. It turns out I actually do like sweet potatoes! It had been so long since I last tried them my taste buds must of changed since then.
A few days ago I cooked with these orange tubers for the first time and they turned out really delicious! I found a recipe for mashed sweet potatoes on and I spruced the recipe up a little by adding maple syrup and a little apple butter to the potatoes before mashing them together.

For the sake of holidays the recipe below is double of what I made so it should serve about 10.

Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes

8 medium sweet potatoes, about 4 pounds
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons apple butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
cinnamon, to taste
1/4 cup milk

Cook sweet potatoes in boiling water until tender. Let cool slightly and then peel. Mash together with salt, butter, apple butter and maple syrup. Add cinnamon to taste then Continue to mash with the milk, adding a little at a time, to desired consistency. Garnish with a sprinkling of brown sugar. Serve warm.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thanksgiving-Italian Style Green Beans

If you ever get tired of traditional green beans or green bean casserole, this Italian inspired dish is a wonderful change of pace. Not only are these green beans delicious served with turkey but the dish also provides wonderful green and red colors to your holiday table.
The recipe should yield about 8-10 servings.

Italian Style Green Beans

1 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 can stewed tomatoes (14 1/2 oz), chopped
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt (+ more to taste as desired)
1/4 teaspoon pepper (+ more to taste as desired)
3 cans Italian style green beans (15 oz)
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese

In a large skillet heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until tender and almost translucent. Add the tomatoes, water, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Continue cooking on low heat for an additional 10 minutes.
Place the green beans plus the liquid from 2 of the cans in a large saucepan. Add the onion/tomato mixture and simmer over med-low heat for 20-30 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by about half. Add additional salt and pepper if needed.
Remove from heat and garnish with Parmesan cheese.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thanksgiving-Pumpkin Biscuits

I found this recipe in the Taste of Home Thanksgiving issue. The biscuits turned out buttery and perfect with just the right amount of pumpkin flavor. I added 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and a tablespoon of white sugar to half the dough and they tasted like a completely different recipe, yet just as delicious. I served both versions with maple butter and it really made them sing! Whether on your Thanksgiving table or used for turkey biscuit sandwiches the next day, these biscuits are a delightfully tasty and quirky addition to your holiday weekend!

Note: Try to handle the dough as little as possible for the best results. Depending on what size biscuit cutters you use this recipe only makes about 6-8 biscuits. You can easily double the recipe as needed.

Pumpkin Biscuits

1 3/4 cups flour
1/4 brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup + 1 1/2 teaspoons butter, cold and divided
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup buttermilk

In a large bowl combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Cut in 1/2 cup butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a separate bowl combine pumpkin and buttermilk, stir into crumb mixture until moistened.
Turn onto a lightly floured surface, knead 8-10 times. Roll out to 1 inch thickness, cut with a floured biscuit cutter, re-roll and repeat with additional dough. Place 1 inch apart on a greased baking sheet.

Bake at 425 degrees for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown. Melt remaining butter and brush over top of biscuits. Serve warm.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thanksgiving-Rhonda's Dressing

I call this Rhonda's Easy Dressing since it was my Aunt Rhonda who gave me the recipe. She actually received it from a co-worker, whom I assume never called it "Rhonda's Dressing"!

I love to have this with chicken as a main course or without chicken as a side throughout the entire year. It would also make not only a tasty addition to Thanksgiving dinner but an easy one as well. You could also make this after the holidays and add leftover turkey for something a little different yet completely familiar. Somehow the combination of flavors just blend together perfectly to create a wonderfully rich dressing. When serving as a side I will sometimes amp up the flavor even more by adding a tart, diced apple to the mixture before baking. It adds just the right amount of sweetness.

Rhonda's Easy Dressing

1 package Stuffing, Chicken Flavor
1 package Stuffing, Cornbread Flavor
1 can Cream of Celery Soup
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 can French Onion Soup
1 can Evaporated Milk

Make stuffing according to directions on the box/s. In a large bowl combine all three soups and evaporated milk. Stir in stuffing. Add to a large, lightly greased baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes.

As a main dish you can add 4-5 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed and follow the above directions.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thanksgiving-Mashed Potatoes Supreme

These potatoes are so incredibly good you won't ever want to make regular mashed potatoes again! I received this recipe from my Grandma and think of her whenever I make them. My mom also makes this dish every year at Thanksgiving and other various gatherings throughout the year. It never fails that the next day someone will be staring in the refrigerator and yell out to no one in particular "Where are the leftover potatoes?". The answer is always the same "There weren't any left, we ate them all last night"!

Mashed Potatoes Supreme

9 large Russet Potatoes, peeled, boiled and drained
1 8 oz package Cream Cheese, softened
1 8 oz container Sour Cream
1 stick butter, divided
2 teaspoons onion powder
Salt and Pepper to taste

Mash the potatoes as normal. Blend in the cream cheese, sour cream, 1/2 stick butter, onion powder. Salt and pepper as needed. Mix well. Pour the mashed potato mixture into a large, lightly greased baking dish. Cut up remaining 1/2 stick of butter into 4-6 "pats" and place on top of potatoes. Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until the top is slightly browned.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thanksgiving-Creamy Corn

Over the next few days I will be posting recipes appropriate for your Thanksgiving table. Most of these dishes will be a slight variation on classic turkey day sides.

Take this version of creamed corn for example, it's a little sweet and little savory. The cream cheese acts as thickener in place of flour and creates a tangy and creamier sauce. The chives are also an unexpected addition though they add a brightness in flavor and nice subtle contrast to the rest of the dish. You can make the sauce as thick or thin and as salty or sweet as you want by the amount of milk, salt and sugar you add. I suggest using this recipe as baseline and go from there.

Creamy Corn

2 1/2 cups corn kernels (2 10oz frozen packages work well)
3/4 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
6 ounces cream cheese, cubed
2-3 tablespoons chives, snipped

In a large saucepan, combine milk, sugar, salt and butter. Stir over medium heat until sugar is disolved and butter is melter. Add corn and simmer until corn is tender, about 10 minutes. Turn down heat to low and stir in cream cheese. Continue stirring until cream cheese is fully incorporated and sauce has thickened (you can add more milk if you desire a thinner consistency). Remove from heat and season with additional salt if desired. Gently fold in chives, reserving some for garnish.
This dish serves 6-8 people.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pumpkin Chocolate Tart-100th Post!

Today I celebrate my 100th posting here at Pumpkin Tart! It's not always easy coming up with new recipes, trying out ones I find and tweaking ones I already have but I love it. It's brought variety to my kitchen table and my life. Thank you for your support of this blog and me. I hope you have all found something on here that you have enjoyed making, eating or just reading about. If there are any recipes out there you want me to try and post about let me know! Leave a comment below or on any other posting and I will do my best to blog about it! I will try to continue posting everyday through the end of the year and will be a 200 postings before you know it!

In honor of this occasion I decided (with the help of a suggestion from my mom) that the recipe I share today should be what else but a pumpkin tart recipe! As you may remember my very post was also for a pumpkin tart, so for the sake of something different this one contains an ingredient that makes everything better...chocolate. I use Nabisco chocolate wafers in this recipe which you can usually find on the cookie aisle of most stores, though I have seen them with ice cream toppings for some reason as well. If you aren't able to find them you can use Oreo cookies (minus the filling of course) instead.

Pumpkin Chocolate Tart

20 chocolate wafers
2 tablespoons sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate (or chocolate chips)
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin puree
1 egg
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt

Add chocolate wafers and 2 tablespoons of sugar to a blender or food processor and pulse 4-5 times until cookies are finely ground. Add melted butter and pulse repeatedly until the crumbs are moistened. Lightly grease the bottom of a tart pan (or a spring-form pan) and press crumb mixture into it to create the crust (you can use the bottom of a drinking glass to help even it out if needed). Place the pan on a cookie sheet (this makes it easier to move the pan bottom around) and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
In the microwave or a double boiler, melt the semi sweet chocolate and pour over crust, carefully spreading to the edges with a spatula. Place in refrigerator or freezer for 10 minutes or until the chocolate sets.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together pumpkin, egg, cream, brown sugar, maple syrup, pumpkin-pie spice, and salt. Grease sides of tart/spring-form pan and replace on top of crust (which should still on the cookie sheet). Pour pumpkin mixture over crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until set. Cool and refrigerate for 2 hours. Remove sides of pan before serving.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Maple Monday-Maple Glazed Carrots

Perfect for Thanksgiving, this recipe from Bon Appetit serves 8-10. A sweet side that pairs well with just about any meal.

Maple Glazed Carrots

4 lbs carrots, peeled, cut on the diagonal into ovals (about 11 cups)
10 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/4 sticks)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
6 tablespoons pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped (optional garnish)

Combine 4 1/2 cups water, carrots, 4 tablespoons butter, sugar, and coarse salt in heavy large pot. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until carrots are just tender when pierced with knife, about 10 minutes. Drain. (Can be prepared 3 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)
Melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add maple syrup and brown sugar and stir until sugar dissolves. Add carrots and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
3Transfer carrots to large bowl. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pumpkin Hot Chocolate

This warm pumpkin drink is a festive way to fight the November chills. It's like a mug of pumpkin pie!

For a party try serving a frosty version of this drink (blend with ice or ice cream in a blender until frothy) in martini glasses. Dip the rim of the martini glasses in water and then in graham cracker crumbs, garnish drink with a dollop of whipped cream and a cinnamon stick!

Pumpkin Hot Chocolate

2 cups whipping cream
6 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 12 oz package of white chocolate chips
1 15 oz can of canned pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Blend together the whipping cream, milk, vanilla, pumpkin and spices in a crock-pot or stock pot until the pumpkin filling is well blended. Add white chocolate chips and stir to combine.
Cook on low for 2 hours, stirring occasionally until the mixture is hot and the chocolate has fully melted.
Garnish with whipped cream sprinkled with additional pumpkin pie spice if desired.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Bacon Cheesy Breakfast Bake

With the holidays coming up and guests arriving, everyone needs a good make-ahead recipe for breakfast. This recipe makes enough for 3-5 people depending on appetites, though it can easily be doubled to serve more.

For extra flavor, try using a teaspoon of the grease left over from the bacon to grease the baking dish instead of flavorless non-stick spray.

Cheesy Bacon Breakfast Bake

6 slices of bacon
4 pieces of white bread, crusts removed
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon snipped chives (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Cook bacon crispy and drain on a paper towel. Place bread slices in a greased 8x8 baking dish, pressing seams of bread together. Meanwhile combine eggs, milk, mustard powder, cayenne, chives, and salt and pepper (as desired); beat all ingredients together. Pour egg mixture over bread in baking dish. Crumble the cooked bacon over entire dish, cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove from refrigerator, uncover and set on counter while oven heats to 350 degrees. Bake for 20 minutes, add cheese and bake another 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Buttscotch Toffee Bars

These bars are great to tote with you to holiday parties and the upcoming cookie exchanges throughout the season.

Butterscotch Toffee Bars

1 box spice cake mix
2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup oil
1 tablespoon butter, softened
2 eggs
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup toffe bits
1 cup butterscotch chips

Cream together oil, butter, eggs and water. Beat in cake mix and brown sugar. Stir in toffee bits and butterscotch chips.
Pour batter into a greased 13x9 baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until middle has set. Don't overbake. Cool and cut into bars.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pepper Jack Potato Puffs

These potato puffs are delicious not just as appetizers but as a side dish too. I often make extra mashed potatoes just so I have enough left over to make these puffs the next night! Of course I could make mashed potatoes just for the purpose of making this dish but since the potatoes can't be hot or even warm, I find leftovers are easier. Plus we get 2 nights worth of potatoes for only 1 night's work!

As I mentioned earlier, make sure your mashed potatoes are not hot when putting this dish together since it prematurely "cook" the eggs.

You can substitute creamy horseradish for the sour cream if you want a little extra kick!

As a variation try them fried! Just follow the directions for combining the ingredients below, then roll the mixture into 2 inch balls, dip each one in an egg wash (1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons of water)and roll in bread/cracker crumbs. Deep fry in hot oil for 3-4 minutes.

Pepper Jack Potato Puffs

3 cups mashed potatoes (cold or room temp)
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 egg + 1 egg white, separated
3/4 cup pepper jack cheese
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon chives, snipped

Separate egg yolks and whites, reserve 1 yolk. Beat both egg whites until stiff and set aside. In a large mixing bowl combine mashed potatoes, milk, 1 egg yolk, cheese, cayenne and chives. Gently fold in egg whites. On a greased cookie sheet place large dollops (about 3 tablespoons each) of potato mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are puffed and lightly golden.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Molasses Cookies

I found this recipe in an Amish cookbook that I inherited from my great-aunt Jean a few years ago. The little cookbook was published in the mid 1950s and contains some amazingly delicious recipes (like these cookies) and some recipes that give me nightmares (Rabbit Kidney Stew!). Old cookbooks are often like that though, filled with sweet samplings reminiscent of grandmother's kitchen and peppered with the horrors of a VERY different time and culture. I love visiting second hand book stores and flipping through those old recipe troves. You never know what unexpected treasure might find it's way to your hands. Dishes that have been published, handed down and cooked by generations of women all with one common purpose, to nourish their family with something they can look forward to.

These molasses cookies must have been a special treat for children at one time. I always try to remember that when I bake them, and even though I can have these cookies or others any time I want, somehow these still seem special because of that.

I updated this particular recipe a little bit to work in modern kitchens and made them a tad bit sweeter to appeal to modern tastes. Take note that the dough will be softer than you would expect so no need to panic over it.

Molasses Cookies

4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 1/4 teaspoons allspice
1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup molasses
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar

Stir together flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, allspice and cinnamon. In another bowl beat together butter and 2 cups sugar until fluffy. Add molasses and eggs and beat until well combined. Gradually add in flour mixture, continuously beating.

Form dough into balls and roll in remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. Arrange on lightly greased cookie sheets about 4 inches apart and flatten slightly with bottom of a glass dipped in sugar. Bake cookies in batches at 325 degrees for 13-15 minutes, or until lightly puffed and golden. (Cookies should be soft).

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Beef Enchilada Casserole

I came up with this recipe one night when I was craving enchiladas and realized my husband had been snacking on the tortillas and had left me with only one. I simplified my enchilada recipe into a casserole and my craving was satisfied.

You can substitute the white rice and Rotel in this recipe with cooked Spanish rice. I usually make this using Uncle Ben's Ready Rice-Spanish Rice that comes in a pouch and you microwave for 90 seconds. It is surprisingly good and not just for microwaved rice, but just good in general (some of the other flavors don't fare half as well). This easy dish tastes like a lot more work than it is, thanks to the flavorful enchilada sauce and nacho cheese soup.

Beef Enchilada Casserole

1 pouch of Uncle Ben's Ready Rice-Spanish Rice (cooked)
1 1/2 cups white rice, cooked
1 can Rotel Tomatoes with Green chilies

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 lb Ground Beef
1 can Enchilada Sauce
1 can Nacho Cheese Soup

In a skillet, heat olive oil and saute onion until transparent. Add ground beef and brown, season to taste. Add enchilada sauce to skillet and cook over low heat for 3 minutes. Meanwhile in a medium bowl toss together the rice and Rotel (or prepare Ready Rice according to package). Add rice to a medium size casserole dish. Spoon ground beef mixture over rice and pour Nacho Cheese Soup on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Maple Monday-Maple Syrup Pudding

This is a pudding in the sticky, spongy British sense not in the creamy, custardy American sense. I always think of this dish as falling somewhere between a coffee cake and a bread pudding.

You can add raisins, currants, cranberries, dates or nuts to the batter and make this recipe even richer!

Maple Syrup Pudding

2 cups flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup milk (whole or 2%)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup water

Stir together flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and brown sugar. Beat in milk, vanilla and melted butter. Pour batter into a greased 8x8 glass dish. In a medium saucepan, bring maple syrup and water to a boil. Pour syrup mixture over the batter (it will soak in during baking) and bake in 350 degree oven for 40 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream if desired.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Chocolate Toffee Truffle Pie

This is the type of pie that people will ask where you picked it up at. It looks and tastes like a bakery or restaurant style dessert. The total prep time is about 10 minutes and it's easily worth twice that. You can use any flavor dairy coffee creamer (the liquid kind NOT the powdered) for this recipe. Hazelnut, Irish Cream, Peppermint-Mocha and Italian Sweet Cream all taste great as well.

Chocolate Toffee Truffle Pie

10 squares semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
4 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup Toffee flavored coffee creamer
Powdered sugar and toffee pieces for topping (optional)

Melt together chocolate and whipping cream in a double broiler or in the microwave(in 30 second increments, stirring in between). Once chcolate is completly melted, whisk in eggs, sugar, flour and creamer. Pour mixture into a lightly greased pie plate. Bake at 325 degrees for 35 minutes. Let cool and dust with sifted powdered sugar and sprinkle with broken toffee pieces. Serve with whipped cream if desired.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Sweet and Sour Pork Chops

Sweet and Sour Pork Chops

1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/3 cup of cider vinegar
6 tablespoons of canned pineapple juice
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of corn starch
2 teaspoons of soy sauce
8 boneless pork chops
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium saucepan combine the sugar, vinegar, pineapple juice, garlic, corn starch and soy sauce. Bring to a boil, turn down heat and simmer until sauce beings to thicken.

Lightly brown the pork chops on stovetop, seasoning with the salt and black pepper. Arrange chops in a large baking dish and pour sauce over them. Cover dish with foil and bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Brown Sugar Buttercream Frosting

This frosting is a sumptuous addition to a spice cake, apple dump cake and even a plain, old yellow cake. The brown sugar helps elevate it beyond a basic buttercream and adds a definite fall flavor.

Brown Sugar Buttercream Frosting

5 egg whites
1 2/3 cups brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 sticks butter, softened

Create a double broiler by placing a large glass bowl over a pan of boiling water (water should be at a slow boil or simmer). To the top bowl combine egg whites, brown sugar, and salt. Continuously whisk mixture for 4 minutes.

Remove from heat and beat with a mixer on high until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 6 minutes. Add butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating on medium speed after each addition (the mixture will deflate slightly as butter is added). Beat until frosting is smooth and glossy, 3 to 5 minutes.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Honey Barbecue Cups

I believe this is a variation on a old Pillsbury recipe but it's very good. These cute little "cups" make great appetizers or a tasty meal.

Honey Barbecue Cups

1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon honey
1 can refrigerated biscuits (12 oz)
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar

Brown and drain ground beef (season to taste). Stir in barbecue sauce, onion and honey. Continue to cook for another 3 minutes, then remove from heat.

Lightly grease a muffin pan. Separate dough into biscuits and place 1 biscuit in each muffin cup. Firmly press in bottom and up sides. Spoon about 1/4 cup beef mixture into each biscuit-lined cup. Sprinkle each with cheese.

Bake at 400 degrees 10 to 12 minutes or until edges of biscuits are golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from muffin cups.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Chocolate Flan Cake

Today is my seventh wedding anniversary and I think it's a good day to relate this story and recipe with you. My husband my not be super handy when it comes to cooking in the kitchen, but he is super handy in dealing with the fall-out of ME cooking in the kitchen!

I saw a recipe for a Chocolate Flan Cake online a few months ago that piqued my interest, so I copied down the recipe and tucked it away. Last week while going through my recipe box I stumbled upon it and couldn't believe it had taken me so long to try it out. I decided I would rearrange and substitute a few ingredients and techniques that made better sense to me and better suited my tastes so I wrote my notes in the margin of the recipe and went to work. Little did I know what I was in for.

First, I began to pull out all of the ingredients I would need. Gathering eggs, milk, vanilla, and so on I felt very organized and ready to go. As I reached into my French pantry to retrieve a can of evaporated milk, one of my dogs brushed up behind me and I faltered and knocked over a full jar of raspberry jelly. Broken glass and crimson jam speckled my kitchen floor...and my bare feet. I called for my husband to help me clean up the mess before the dogs began gulping down shards of raspberry flavored glass. We spent a good 10 minutes on our hands and knees sweeping up the jar fragments and the sticky jelly, and another 5 minutes mending my cut up feet.

Once we finished, I sent my husband away thanking him for his services and started again on the dessert. Making the cake batter went smoothly and it was on to the flan mixture. Since my mixing bowl still had the batter for the cake in it, I decided I would combine the flan ingredients in the freshly cleaned blender that was air drying near the sink. I added in my eggs, 3 types of milk and vanilla and blended away, feeling a little cocky at my ingenuity. I hit the pulse button one last time and removed the blender pitcher from it's base. Suddenly, the contents contained within came flowing out the bottom of the container in one big gush. Apparently, the piece that screws into the bottom wasn't tightened after it cleaned and I had missed it. Now I had an eggy mess all over my counter, my floor, and my cut up feet. A frustrated yelp and a few choice words brought my husband out of hiding and back into the kitchen. Dutifully, he was on his hands and knees again helping me wipe up my second mess of the day.

Exasperated and on the verge of tears from the clean up and hassle, I decided to give it one last go. I remade the flan mixture and went on my way. All I had left to do was put everything together in the bundt pan that sat in the back of one of my cabinets. Easier said than done. I reached into that cabinet and felt a sharp pain on the tip of one of my fingers. Quickly, I pulled my hand back to reveal a large laceration and blood pouring down my hand. Looking into the darkness of my cupboard, I noticed a glass baking dish that I frequently used was mysteriously broken in two. I obviously sliced my finger on it's rough edge. For the third time in an hour, I called for my husband. He helped me doctor my finger and wipe up the blodd that had stained my arm all the way up to my elbow. Before I made it back to the kitchen I already needed a new bandage since the finger was bleeding so profusely. We cleaned it up a second time and re-bandaged it, crossing our fingers that I wouldn't need stitches (well, I might of needed them but I never did get them).

At this point I was ready to give up on my adventure in baking. It seemed the fates didn't want me to complete this cake. After standing in the middle of the kitchen, staring up at the ceiling for a couple of minutes I came to the conclusion that I had gone through so much by then that I just couldn't quit yet. I knocked on wood figuring it couldn't hurt and set back to task. I was able to get through the rest of the process unscathed and the cake came out perfect. I literally shed blood, sweat and tears to make that dessert happen and I think it really did taste sweeter because of it.

After all of that, I would still recommend this divine confection. It is one of the moistest and most unique cakes I've ever had and worth every bit of trouble I went through!

Chocolate Flan Cake

1 box Devil's Food cake mix
1 can Cola (Coke, Pepsi, RC, etc)
1 can Evaporated Milk (12 oz)
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk (14 oz)
2 Tablespoons Milk (whole or 2%)
4 Eggs
1 tablespoon Vanilla
1 cup Dulce de leche or Caramel Sauce(like Smuckers ice cream topping)

Make cake according to package directions, substituting cola for water. Set aside.
In a large bowl combine evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, milk, eggs, and vanilla. Beat for 1 minute.

In a greased bundt pan, pour in the caramel coating the entire bottom. Add the cake batter then slowly pour the milk and egg mixture down one side of the pan. Set the bundt cake pan inside a larger one (a roasting pan works well), and add enough hot water to come about a third of the way up the bundt cake. This is a water-bath to help cook the custardy-flan evenly.

Place pan/s in oven and bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until the cake begins to pull away from the side of the pan.

When done cool the cake for 30 minutes and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. When ready to serve, run a knife around edges of pan loosening the cake. Place a serving platter or plate on top and invert cake pan. The caramel and flan will now be on the top and the cake on the bottom. The caramel will drip down the sides of the cake, this is normal. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator, though after a night or so of being inverted the flan may begin to fall off the top of the cake.

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