Wednesday, December 30, 2009

♥Outrageously sinful warm double chocolate pudding♥

Click photo to print recipe 
Custard layer

* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1 large egg
* 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons evaporated milk
* 1 1/2 ounces semisweet baking chocolate, chopped
* Cooking spray

Cake layer

* 3 ounces dark-chocolate candy bar, chopped
* 1/3 cup sugar
* 1 extra large egg
* 1/4 cup applesauce
* 6 tablespoons whipped cream


Preheat oven to 325°.

To prepare custard layer, combine 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup egg substitute, stirring well with a whisk. Cook the milk in a small, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat to 180° or until tiny bubbles form around edge (do not boil). Remove from heat; add semisweet chocolate, stirring until chocolate melts. Gradually add hot milk mixture to sugar mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk.

Pour the hot milk mixture into 6 (4-ounce) ramekins or custard cups coated with cooking spray. Place ramekins in a baking pan; add hot water to pan to a depth of 1 inch. Bake at 325° for 30 minutes or until almost set. Remove from oven; cool in pan 30 minutes. Remove ramekins from pan; drain water.

To prepare cake layer, place dark chocolate in a small glass bowl. Microwave at high 2 minutes or until almost melted; stir after 1 minute. Set aside. Beat 1/3 cup sugar and 1/3 cup egg substitute with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 5 minutes). Add dark chocolate and applesauce; beat until well blended. Pour evenly over the custard layer. Place ramekins in baking pan; add hot water to pan to a depth of 1 inch. Bake at 325° for 20 minutes. Remove ramekins from pan. Top each serving with 1 tablespoon whipped topping.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

♥Gingered Honey-Orange Cornish Hens♥

Roasting at a high temperature and using small Cornish hens means that these fruit-glazed beauties are done after only 40 minutes in the oven. Line your pan with foil for easy cleanup. This recipe is great if you want to serve something special for the holidays but there are only two of you to celebrate. It is pretty and quick and yummy - what more could you want?


3/4 cup fresh orange juice (about 3 oranges)
2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon  soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 (1 1/2-pound) Cornish hens, skinned and halved
Cooking spray
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger


Preheat oven to 450°.

Combine first 4 ingredients in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Combine water and cornstarch in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add to juice mixture in pan, stirring with a whisk. Cook 2 minutes or until thick and glossy, stirring constantly.

Place hen halves, meaty sides up, on a foil-lined jelly roll pan coated with cooking spray; sprinkle hen halves with salt and ground ginger. Spoon juice mixture evenly over hen halves.

Insert a meat thermometer into meaty part of a thigh, making sure not to touch bone. Bake at 450° for 40 minutes or until the thermometer registers a minimum of 180°. If you feel your hens are drying out too much but not cooked through and through, tent them with foil to keep in the tender juices.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

♥Creme filled Cherry Pistachio Cookies♥

Perfect for the holidays and perfect for Valentine's Day - and that's just around the corner, believe it or not! No time to make these now, wait a month, you'll be happy that you took the time to print this out!


3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup finely chopped pistachio nuts
Granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 2 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice
Maraschino cherries with stems (optional)


1. In a large bowl, combine the 3/4 cup butter and the 3/4 cup powdered sugar. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until well mixed, scraping side of bowl occasionally.

2. Add egg; beat until combined. Gradually beat in flour and salt on low speed until well mixed. Cover and chill about 1 hour or until dough is easy to handle.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place pistachio nuts in a small bowl. Shape dough into 1/2-inch balls. Roll each ball in pistachio nuts to coat. Place balls 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Dip the bottom of a glass in granulated sugar and flatten each cookie.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 8 to 9 minutes or just until edges begin to turn golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool.

5. While cookies are cooling, prepare filling: In a small bowl, combine the 1-1/4 cups powdered sugar, the 1/4 cup butter, and the vanilla. Beat in enough of the maraschino cherry juice to make a filling of desired consistency. Reserve about 1/4 of the filling for decorating cookies.

6. Spread about 1 teaspoon of the remaining filling on the bottom of each of half of the cookies. Top with remaining cookies, flat sides down, pressing lightly together. Before serving, spoon a small amount of the reserved filling on top of each assembled sandwich cookie. If desired, press a maraschino cherry into filling. Makes about 21 sandwich cookies.

7. To Store: Layer cookies between waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Friday, December 18, 2009

♥Garlic Herbed New Year's Prime Rib♥

When I was a little girl, prime rib was the meal we ate on New Year's day along with a hefty serving of lobster for my mom and dad. Frankly, I don't "do" crustaceans - never have - never willTo this day, prime rib and I have had a love affair. I am totally besotted with it. Enjoy!


1 (10 pound) prime rib roast
10 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dried thyme


  • Place the roast in a roasting pan with the fatty side up. In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme. Spread the mixture over the fatty layer of the roast, and let the roast sit out until it is at room temperature, no longer than 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
  • Bake the roast for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, then reduce the temperature to 325 degrees, and continue roasting for an additional 60 to 75 minutes. The internal temperature of the roast should be at 145 degrees for medium rare.
  • Allow the roast to rest for 10 or 15 minutes before carving so the meat can retain its juices.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

♥Peppermint Stackers Layer Christmas Cookies♥


1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 cups flour, plus more for rolling
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg plus 2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract, divided
20 to 25 drops red food coloring
15 to 20 drops green food coloring
10 ounce white chocolate, finely chopped
5 ounces peppermint candy canes or peppermint candies, finely crushed


1. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Meanwhile, sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a separate bowl.

2. With mixer running, add egg and yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla. Slowly add flour mixture and beat on low just until combined.

3. Divide dough into thirds. Shape one third into a disk; set aside. Return another third to mixer, raise speed to medium-low, and add 1/4 tsp. peppermint extract and red food coloring; shape into a disk and set aside. Clean mixing bowl and paddle attachment. Put last third of dough in mixing bowl and beat in remaining 1/4 tsp. peppermint extract and green food coloring; shape into a disk and set aside.

4. Draw a 6- by 8-in. rectangle on a sheet of waxed paper. Turn sheet over and lightly flour it. Working with one disk at a time, put dough in center of rectangle. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, your fingers, and a pastry scraper or a ruler, roll and shape each disk to fit rectangle. Layer each dough rectangle between sheets of waxed paper and chill at least 30 minutes and up to overnight. Let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes before continuing.

5. Peel waxed paper from rectangles and put one sheet on counter; discard the rest. Set green dough on waxed paper. Top with red dough, lining them up as evenly as possible, and gently press down. Top red dough with plain dough. Gently roll dough stack with a rolling pin to seal layers, then trim uneven edges with a very sharp knife.

6. Cut dough stack lengthwise into three 2-in.-wide columns. Cut each column crosswise into 1/3-in.-thick pieces. Lay pieces 2 in. apart on 3 parchment-lined baking sheets. Freeze 30 to 45 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°.

7. Bake cookies 7 minutes, then switch positions of baking sheets and bake until bottoms are light golden brown, 7 minutes more. (You may need to bake in 2 batches if your oven won't hold 3 baking sheets; keep cookies in freezer until ready to bake.) Cool cookies on wire racks.

8. Put chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl that will fit over a pot with a few inches of water in it (bottom of bowl should not touch the water); set bowl aside. Bring water to a boil uncovered, turn off heat, and set bowl over water. Stir chocolate until melted and smooth. Dip each cookie about 1/2 in. into chocolate, then dip into or sprinkle with crushed candy. Set on waxed paper to harden (or chill in refrigerator 15 minutes).

Notes: Makes about 70 cookies. Store cookies, peppermint ends up, in an airtight container at cool room temperature or in refrigerator for up to 1 week. Freeze cookies for up to 2 months.

Monday, December 14, 2009

♥Broiled Orange Fennel Salmon♥

I ♥ salmon. Heck, I ♥ fish! But I can really get tired of the same-old-same-old methods of preparation. This recipe combines two of my favorites- salmon and oranges. Try this. I know you will like it, honest!

The mild acidity of fresh orange juice cuts the richness of salmon. Be careful not to marinate longer than 20 minutes - the citrus marinade can "cook" the fish. Crush the fennel seeds with a mortar and pestle, or place them in a zip-top plastic bag on a cutting board and crush with a heavy pan. You can prepare the marinade up to one day in advance and refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use.


2 teaspoons grated orange rind
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets (about 1 inch thick)
cooking spray
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper


Combine first 4 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag; add fish. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 20 minutes, turning once.

Prepare broiler.

Remove fish from bag, reserving marinade. Place fish, skin sides down, on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Bring reserved marinade to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes. Serve sauce with fish.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

♥Peppermint Patty Meringue Clouds♥

If you're watching your calories these delicious and light-as-air cookies were made for you. If you're not counting calories, these light-as-air cookies are perfect for you when you sit down at the end of a long day with a cup of  your favorite tea or coffee. Any way you look at these - they're perfect☺

2 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 peppermint candy canes, crushed

Preheat oven to 225 degrees F (110 degrees C). Line 2 cookie sheets with foil.

In a large glass or metal mixing bowl, beat egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar to soft peaks. Gradually add sugar, continuing to beat until whites form stiff peaks. Drop by spoonfuls 1 inch apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Sprinkle crushed peppermint candy over the cookies.

Bake for 1 1/2 hours in preheated oven. Meringues should be completely dry on the inside. Do not allow them to brown. Turn off oven. Let meringues sit in the oven overnight. Loosen from foil with metal spatula. Store loosely covered in cool dry place for up to 2 months.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

♥Death by Chocolate Triple Threat Chocolate Cookies♥

Unbelievably rich and loaded with chocolate. If you are counting calories - don't ask - just enjoy! This cookie is a remarkable treat with vanilla bean ice cream and a cuppa your favorite brew. Once you have one of these - well, you'll never forget your first bite☺


10 ounce bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. sugar
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 tablespoons flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup finely chopped toasted pecans
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream


1. Make cookies: Put chopped chocolates and butter in a medium metal bowl and set bowl over a pan of simmering water. Cook, stirring, until melted, then remove from heat and let cool slightly.

2. Whisk eggs, sugar, espresso powder, and vanilla into chocolate mixture. In another bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir into chocolate mixture until evenly mixed, then stir in chocolate chips and pecans. Wrap dough airtight and chill until firm enough to hold its shape, 50 to 60 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, make ganache: Put chopped chocolate and cream in a medium metal bowl and set bowl over a pan of simmering water. Cook, stirring, until melted, then let cool. Cover and chill, stirring occasionally, until firm enough to spread, about 1 3/4 hours and up to 2 days. If ganache becomes too firm to spread, transfer to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for a few seconds to soften, then stir.

4. Preheat oven to 350°. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop 2-tbsp. portions of dough onto sheets, spaced about 1 in. apart. Press dough to flatten into even 1/2-in.-thick rounds. Bake until cookies no longer look wet and you can feel a slight crust on top, about 10 minutes (don't overbake); switch position of baking sheets halfway through. Let cookies cool on sheets on racks.

5. Generously spread flat sides of half of cookies with ganache and top with remaining cookies. (You may have a little leftover ganache.)

Make ahead: Chill filled cookies airtight up to 2 days, or freeze. Serve at room temperature.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mile High Gingerbread Star Tree


1-1/3 cups packed brown sugar
1-1/3 cups molasses
2 cups cold butter, cubed
2 eggs, lightly beaten
8 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons ground ginger
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground allspice
2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cardamom

7-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, divided
6 tablespoons meringue powder, divided
10 tablespoons warm water, divided
Edible glitter
Candy of your choice
Dark chocolate and white candy coating, melted

Waxed paper
Cookie cutters—round (2-1/2 inches, 2 inches and 1-1/2 inches) and star-shaped (3 inches, 2 inches and 1 inch)
#101 petal pastry tip


To create star templates: With a pencil and ruler, draw five-pointed stars on sheets of waxed paper, labeling each template with its dimensions. Draw an 8-1/2-in. star, 8-in. star, 7-1/2-in. star, 7-1/4-in. star, 6-3/4-in. star, 6-in. star and 4-1/2-in. star. Cut out with scissors and set aside.

To make dough: In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring brown sugar and molasses just to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat; stir in butter until melted. Stir in eggs until blended. Combine the remaining dough ingredients; stir into brown sugar mixture. Divide dough into four portions.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out each portion to 1/4-in. thickness. Using templates, cut one 8-1/2-in. star, two 8-in. stars, one 7-1/2-in. star, two 7-1/4-in. stars, one 6-3/4-in. star, two 6-in. stars and one 4-1/2-in. star. Place on greased baking sheets. Bake at 325° for 12-15 minutes or until set. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Cut two circles using a floured 2-1/2-in. round cookie cutter. Cut 12 circles using a floured 2-in. round cookie cutter. Cut two circles using a floured 1-1/2-in. round cookie cutter. Cut remaining dough using floured star-shaped cookie cutters. Reroll scraps. Place on greased baking sheets. Bake at 325° for 10-12 minutes or until set. Remove to wire racks to cool.

For one batch of icing: In a large bowl, combine 3-3/4 cups confectioners' sugar, 3 tablespoons meringue powder and 5 tablespoons water; beat on low speed just until combined. Beat on high for 4-5 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Keep icing covered at all times with a damp cloth. If necessary, beat again on high speed to restore texture.

To assemble: With icing and round cookies, make six large sandwich cookies and one small sandwich cookie. Let stand for 15 minutes or until set.

Place the 8-1/2-in. star on a serving plate. Spread a small amount of icing onto center of star; top with an 8-in. star. Spread a small amount of icing onto center of star; top with a large sandwich cookie. Spread a small amount of icing onto sandwich cookie; top with remaining 8-in. star. Let stand for 15 minutes or until set.

Repeat with remaining icing, sandwich cookies and stars, building tree using the largest stars and sandwich cookies first. After each star is added, let stand for 15 minutes or until set.

To decorate: Prepare a second batch of icing. Cut a small hole in the corner of a pastry or plastic bag; insert #101 petal tip. Fill bag with icing. Decorate tree as desired with icing, edible glitter and candy. Decorate a 2-in. star cookie as desired; secure on the treetop with icing.

To decorate small star cookies: Dip cookies in melted candy coating; place on waxed paper and let stand until set. Sprinkle white cookies with edible glitter. Leave some cookies plain if desired. Gently place cookies onto tree branches and on the serving platter. Yield: 1 gingerbread tree and 3 dozen small star cookies.

Note: Meringue powder and edible glitter are available from Wilton Industries. Call 1-800/794-5866 or visit

Monday, December 7, 2009

♥Spiced milk punch - your newest family holiday tradition♥

No doubt about it - this is rich and thick and DELICIOUS and - yes - full of calories. But, heck, it's the holiday season and we can always begin our diet on January first, right? Make this punch this year and I guarantee you that it will become a favorite family tradition. One of those goodies that the kids will ask about when they return home for the holidays after they have set out to make their way in this world.


8 cups vanilla ice cream
1 cup whole milk or half and half or Egg Nog
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 teaspoons bittersweet chocolate, grated


Combine first 5 ingredients in a blender; process just until smooth. Pour 1/2 cup ice cream mixture into each of 12 glasses; sprinkle each serving with about 1/4 teaspoon chocolate. Serve immediately. Serves 12.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

♥De-Frosty the Desperate Snowman♥

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This wistful snowman appears to be going the way of winter or possibly a January thaw (a phenomena that happens every year in my neck of the woods).  It will either begin to snow again to give him new life or he'll soon disappear altogether. Made from a puddle of vanilla candy melts he's quick and easy to make and oh, so much fun for little hands to help create! De-Frosty is also adorable made of strawberry melts with just a sprinkling of crushed peppermint for garnish or chocolate melts with a little green colored coconut to mimic the grass peeking through the snow. Use your imagination - I'm sure you will be able to come up with oodles more ideas! 


White candy melts or white chocolate chips (one 14-ounce package makes 16 snowmen)
Mini chocolate chips
Light cocoa candy melts
Rolos Caramel Candy
Candy corn (hope you saved some from Halloween)


For each snowman, you'll need 6 mini chocolate chips, a light cocoa candy melt, and a Rolo. To make the nose, cut the orange section from a candy corn, then slice it in half lengthwise. Roll the piece between your fingers to form a carrot shape.

To assemble your snowman, melt the white candy in a bowl according to the package instructions, then scoop a rounded tablespoon onto a sheet of wax paper. With the back of a spoon, smear the candy into a puddle. Working quickly, stick on the light cocoa candy melt, add a dot of white melted candy, then place the Rolo on top. Finally, add the candy corn nose and mini chocolate chip eyes and mouth.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

♥Quick 'n easy Pecan Toasties♥

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Each cookie is filled with the subtle flavor of toasted pecans, and since the cookies freeze well, they'll be ideal for constant entertaining. These are one of my most favorite cookies to bake. The base is a pecan paste made from toasted pecans* that is so easy to make, yet very unique. This dough is great to make ahead and freeze. The cookies themselves freeze well, too. I hope you'll give them a try! They are delicious.

*FYI: To toast the pecans, I use the basic process of baking in a shallow baking pan at 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes until golden brown, stirring/shaking once or twice and let cool.


1 1/2 cups toasted pecan pieces*
1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces (no substitutions)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour


1. Place nuts in food processor container; cover. Process by pulsing with on/off action until paste forms (will appear grainy).
2. Add butter, sugars, baking soda, and baking powder; process until just combined. Add egg and vanilla; process until just combined. Add flour. Process by pulsing until just combined. Transfer to large bowl. Cover; refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour or until firm
3. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
4. Shape dough into 1 inch balls (or cookie scooper of your choice; Makes lovely mini cookies, too). Roll in additional granulated sugar. Place about 2 inches apart, on ungreased cookie sheets. Flatten slightly with bottom of glass. I dip the glass in sugar in between each cookie to prevent sticking and for extra sugar sparkle.
5. Bake 7 to 9 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheets. Cool on wire racks. Makes approximately 48 cookies.

Friday, December 4, 2009

♥Snow on Mount Rainier Butter Macaroons♥

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From Seattle to Tacoma-and sometimes even as far away as Portland-Mount Rainier stands as a prominent landmark in the Northwest. It's the inspiration for these coconut classics. Butter and coconut form a luscious foundation that is topped with bittersweet chocolate and a festive white chocolate snowcap.

3 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 7-ounce bags sweetened coconut flakes
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup flour
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup white chocolate chips

Whisk eggs and sugar together in large saucepan until mixture thickens. Add butter slowly, whisking to blend. Gently mix in coconut and vanilla extract with wooden spoon. Sprinkle flour evenly over mixture and blend well.

Place pan over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick and dry, about 10 minutes. Transfer mixture to large bowl, cover and refrigerate until cool; 3 to 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Shape about 2 tablespoons of dough into small "mountain" shapes and place on parchment-lined cookie sheets. Bake 18 to 22 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking, until lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Melt bittersweet chocolate in small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Dip pointy ends of macaroons in chocolate, leaving small area around the bottom exposed. Place cookies on wax paper and let stand until chocolate is firm. Melt white chocolate over low heat in clean saucepan, stirring constantly. Dip top points of each cookie into white chocolate to add "snow cap." Allow white chocolate to set at least 3 hours.

Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

♥Nutter Butter 'n Scotch Biscotti Sticks♥

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Peanut butter and chocolate - a winning combination. Toss in a dab of butterscotch and you'll have them swooning and begging for more! These keep very well and look absolutely gorgeous on a holiday tray! I'm sure this recipe will become one of your favorites that is called for over and over each year.

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup butter
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups uncooked regular oats
1 (12-oz.) package semisweet chocolate morsels
1 cup butterscotch morsels
2 tablespoons shortening
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup coarsely chopped peanuts


Stir together brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup in a large saucepan; cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves and butter melts. Remove from heat. Stir in 1/4 cup peanut butter and vanilla. Gently stir in oats. Press into bottom of an ungreased 13" x 9" pan lined with aluminum foil. Bake at 375° for 20 to 22 minutes or until browned.

Melt together chocolate morsels, butterscotch morsels, and shortening in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until smooth; stir in 1/2 cup peanut butter. Spread over baked cookie crust; sprinkle with peanuts. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 20 minutes. Cover and chill 2 to 3 hours or until firm. (Or pop them in the freezer to speed cooling. Just be sure to let them stand 5 minutes at room temperature before cutting.)

Lift uncut cookies out of pan using foil as handles. Cut crosswise into approximately 1"-thick sticks using a large chef's knife. Wrap in cellophane bags or plastic wrap for gift giving.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

♥Rich 'n creamy holiday fudge sauce♥

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The holidays are upon us. Guests will arrive unexpectedly, possibly with a gift in-hand and this rich, thick and delicious sauce is perfect to keep on hand for those moments. At this time of year I generally make a couple batches of chocolate sauce - one to keep and another to share. Place in small, quilted jars, tie with a festive ribbon, attach the recipe and you will never be caught again with a little egg on your face. Instead you will have chocolate on your nose and a happy sweet tooth☺


1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons corn syrup
12 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 teaspoons vanilla


In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream and corn syrup to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk in the chocolate until melted. Stir in the vanilla.

Pour into jars and cool completely before covering or refrigerating (otherwise the sauce will become granular). Keeps up to 1 month in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

♥Sour Cream Cranberry Oatmeal Bars♥

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4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons orange juice
Cooking spray

1 1/3 cups dried cranberries (about 6 ounces)
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind
1 large egg white, lightly beaten

1. Preheat oven to 325°.

2. To prepare crust, weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through cinnamon) in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Drizzle butter and juice over flour mixture, stirring until moistened (mixture will be crumbly). Reserve 1/2 cup oat mixture. Press remaining oat mixture into the bottom of an 11 x 7–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

3. To prepare filling, combine cranberries, sour cream, granulated sugar, and remaining ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring well. Spread cranberry mixture over prepared crust; sprinkle reserved oat mixture evenly over filling. Bake at 325° for 40 minutes or until edges are golden. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

Cherry-Oatmeal Bars: Substitute dried cherries for the dried cranberries and lemon rind for the orange rind in filling.

Monday, November 23, 2009

♥Caramel Pecan Cappuccino Bars♥

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* 3 cups rolled oats
* 2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 cup chopped pecans
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup butter, softened
* 2 cups packed brown sugar
* 2 eggs
* 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder or instant espresso powder
* 2 teaspoons vanilla
* 3/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
* 1/2 cup chopped pecans
* Coffee Glaze (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 15x10x1-inch baking pan; set aside.

2. In a large bowl stir together oats, flour, the 1 cup pecans, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar and beat until combined, scraping the sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs, 1 tablespoon coffee powder, and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the oat mixture as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining mixture with a wooden spoon. Reserve 2 cups of the mixture for the topping.

3. Using floured hands, press remaining oat mixture evenly into bottom of prepared pan. Spread caramel topping evenly over crust to within 1/4 inch of edges. Drop spoonfuls of reserved topping mixture over caramel topping; sprinkle with the 1/2 cup pecans.

4. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until edges are set (do not overbake). Cool in pan on a wire rack. If desired, drizzle with Coffee Glaze. Cut into bars. Makes 48 bars.

Coffee Glaze: In a small bowl combine 2 tablespoons very hot milk and 1 teaspoon instant coffee powder; stir until dissolved. Stir in 1 cup sifted powdered sugar until smooth. Drizzle over bars in pan. Let stand 15 minutes to set glaze.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

♥It will be CHECK & MATE when you serve French Vanilla Banana Pudding♥

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1 12 ounce container frozen whipped topping thawed, or equal amount sweetened whip cream
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
2 cups milk
1 5 ounce box instant French vanilla pudding
6 8 bananas, sliced
2 bags Pepperidge Farm Chessmen cookies


Line the bottom of a 13x9x2-inch dish with 1 bag of cookies and layer bananas on top.

In a bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix and blend well using a handheld electric mixer. Using another bowl, combine the cream cheese and condensed milk together and mix until smooth. Fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and stir until well blended. Pour the mixture over the cookies and bananas and cover with the remaining cookies. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Yield: 12 servings

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

♥Ultimate Pecan Cranberry Pumpkin Pie♥

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For the crust:

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
5 teaspoons sugar
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

For the filling and topping
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs, plus 1 egg white
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup pecans
1 cup fresh cranberries, or frozen, thawed and drained
1 2.3-ounce package amaretti cookies (about 12)


Make the crust: Combine the flour, sugar and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Mix in the cold butter with a pastry blender or your hands until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Work in 3 tablespoons ice water until the dough holds together without being too sticky. If it's still crumbly, add more ice water, 1 teaspoon at a time. Form into a ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

On a floured surface, roll out the dough into an 11- to 12-inch circle with a floured rolling pin. Ease into a 9-inch pie pan; press firmly into the bottom and sides. Trim the excess dough, then pinch the edges. Refrigerate until ready to fill.

Place a baking sheet on the bottom oven rack and preheat to 375. Make the filling: Whisk the pumpkin in a bowl with the butter and a pinch of salt. Whisk in 3 eggs and the sugar.

Stir in the cream, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour the mixture into the pie shell. Lightly beat the egg white, then brush onto the pastry edges. Carefully place the pie on the preheated baking sheet, lower the oven temperature to 325 and bake until the pie is set but still jiggles slightly, about 50 minutes. Let cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the topping: Toast the pecans on a baking sheet in the oven for about 10 minutes; cool. With a knife or food processor, coarsely chop the pecans, cranberries and cookies; sprinkle over the cooled pie.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

♥Crockpot Sugar 'n Spice Applesauce with Raisins♥

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Who says you can't make homemade applesauce and still be a busy mom? This recipe is easy, quick and literally makes itself for you. All you have to do is load your crockpot with the ingredients and walk away! Your home will be filled with the aroma of fall and there will be happy tummies thanking you for all of your hard work and effort☺ This spicy, rich sauce is so delicious you could serve it over ice cream or for dessert in a small pot.


10-12 apples (use several varieties for a more robust flavor)
lemon juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoons cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
1/4 cup raisins
Replace two apples with pears for a little more spice and variation


Peel and core apples (use Granny Smith and Gala apples)
Cut apples in chunks, douse with lemon juice.
Add to crockpot with water. Add sugar, vanilla, raisins.
Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.

Stir lightly for a chunky sauce.
Add spices at end of cooking. Serve warm or cold.
Makes about 2-1/2 cups

Friday, November 6, 2009

♥Pear, Apple and Walnut Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette♥

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Crisp, good for you and delicious, this fall salad not only looks like a piece of art, it tastes like a million bucks! This recipe is for four servings; however, it will easily double for a crowd - or for second helpings!

1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup cranberry juice
1/4 cup minced dried cranberries
1 tablespoon minced shallot
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons olive oil
Cracked pepper
1 pear
1 apple
1 lemon, cut in half
1 endive, sliced crosswise
5 cups mixed salad greens
1/4 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped

1. Combine the rice vinegar, cranberry juice, cranberries, shallot, sugar, rosemary, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Let the dressing stand for the flavors to meld.

2. Meanwhile, cut the pear into quarters then core and slice. Place the slices in a shallow dish filled with water and the juice of half a lemon; the liquid should cover the fruit. Cut the apple into quarters, core and slice. Place the slices in a shallow dish with water and the juice of the remaining lemon half to cover.

3. Just before serving, drain the pears and apples. Toss together in a large bowl with the endive and salad greens. Arrange the salad on a platter and sprinkle with the toasted walnuts. Serve the dressing alongside.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

♥Mile High Pumpkin Cake with a Peanut Britlle Cream Cheese Blanket♥

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Loaded with full bodied Fall aroma and appearance, this pumpkin cake is one of those goodies that people will be talking about long after the last piece has disappeared. The cake is moist, rich, and delicious with crisp pecan brittle providing a crunchy texture. To contrast the rich flavor the creamy frosting is not sugary sweet.


3 cups granulated sugar
2 cups pecans (about 8 ounces)
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups packed brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup milk
Grated zest of 1 orange
One 15-ounce can pure pumpkin puree
1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, at room temperature
3 cups heavy cream, chilled
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Butter two 8-x-2-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper and butter the parchment. Flour the pans.*

2. In a large skillet, melt 2 cups granulated sugar over medium-high heat until light amber, about 7 minutes.

3. Reduce the heat to low, add the pecans and quickly stir to coat. Transfer the pecans to the prepared baking sheet and, using a metal spatula, spread in a single layer to cool completely.

4. Place the praline in a sturdy resealable plastic bag and crush into pieces; set aside.

5. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a bowl, sift together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

6. Using an electric mixer, beat together the butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar and the remaining 1 cup granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

7. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until combined.

8. Beat in the flour mixture in 3 parts alternately with the milk and orange zest on low speed until just combined.

9. Add the pumpkin puree and beat until just combined.

10. Divide the batter evenly between the 2 prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Transfer the cake layers to a rack to cool, about 10 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans, invert and peel off the parchment paper. Let the cakes cool completely on the rack, about 45 minutes.

11. Meanwhile, make the frosting. Using a standing mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the cream cheese and cream on medium speed until soft peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes.

12. On low speed, gradually beat in the remaining 1 1/2 cups brown sugar and the vanilla until stiff peaks form. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

13. Assemble the cake: halve each cake layer horizontally with a serrated knife. Place 1 cake layer on a platter. Spread the whipped cream frosting on top about 1/4 inch thick; sprinkle with about 1/2 cup crushed pecan praline. Repeat with three more layers, saving enough frosting for the cake sides and reserving the last layer of praline. Spread the remaining frosting evenly on the sides of the cake and sprinkle the reserved pecan praline on top. Refrigerate the cake for at least 1 hour before serving.

Monday, November 2, 2009

♥Chocolate Lemon Creme Candies with White Chocolate Stripes♥

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The holiday season is just around the corner so it's not too early to be thinking about what special goodies you'll be making to tuck into pretty boxes for friends and neighbors. These look difficult to make but, honest, they really aren't and once you get the hang of it - they are a lot of fun! So be creative and have a good time


2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons grated lemon rind
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
12 (2 ounce) chocolate candy coating squares
2 (2 ounce) white chocolate squares

  • Beat first 5 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth; cover. Freeze 2 hours.
  • Shape cream cheese mixture into 1-inch balls, and place on a wax paper-lined baking sheet; cover and freeze 1 hour. Let stand at room temperature 10 minutes. A melon baller really works nice for consistently sized candies.
  • Microwave chocolate candy coating in a 1-quart microwave-safe bowl at HIGH 1 1/2 minutes or until melted, stirring twice.
  • Dip balls into coating; place on wax paper. Let stand until firm.
  • Place white chocolate in a zip-top plastic bag. Seal and submerge coating in warm water until melted. Snip a hole in 1 corner of bag, and drizzle coating over chocolates.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

♥Turn 'em inside out - CARROT CAKES♥

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These individual-size cakes have all their frosting in the middle, making them easy to eat (and pack up for school lunches). The kids really get a kick out of an inside out cake! This recipe can easily be doubled, and may also be baked as cupcakes (you'll get about 7 cupcakes): Pour batter into lined, 1/2-cup muffin tins and bake at 350° for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in tins 5 minutes, then turn onto a rack. Frost the cupcakes once they're completely cooled.


3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for cookie sheets
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon freshly, finely grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon freshly, finely ground black pepper
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup sour cream
3/4 teaspoon vanilla, divided
1 1/2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded on the fine side of a box grater (to yield 1 cup)
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded dried coconut
5 ounces cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon heavy cream or milk


1. Preheat oven to 350°. Put a dab of butter in each corner of 2 large baking sheets and line with parchment.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. In a large bowl, whisk together oil, brown sugar, egg, sour cream, and 1/4 tsp. vanilla; stir in dry ingredients with a wooden spoon until well combined. Add carrots and coconut, stirring until just combined.

3. Drop 1-tbsp. circles of batter onto baking sheets about 1 in. apart. Bake until cooked through and browned slightly, 14 to 18 minutes. Cool on baking sheets.

4. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat cream cheese until very soft. Add butter and beat until smooth and well blended. Add powdered sugar a third at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Beat in cream and remaining 1/2 tsp. vanilla.

5. Flip cakes over and spread about 1 1/2 tbsp. frosting on half of them. Top each with a remaining cake, flat side down, to sandwich the frosting.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

♥ Walnut Pumpkin Muffins♥

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There's just something about the aroma of pumpkin when it is baking. Rich, robust and powerful enough to evoke strong memories of childhood holidays. These little beauties will make you want to close your eyes and remember the time your grandma brought over the best pumpkin pie ever for Thanksgiving using the recipe she used to win first place at the county fair.


3/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more for pan
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour, spooned and leveled
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons more for sprinkling
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts
12 muffins


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush 12 jumbo muffin tins (each with a 1-cup capacity) with oil; set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk flours, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and baking soda; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk oil, pumpkin puree, yogurt, eggs, and 1 cup sugar to combine; add 1 cup walnuts and reserved dry ingredients. Mix just until moistened (do not overmix).
  • Divide evenly and spoon batter into muffin tins; sprinkle tops with remaining walnuts and sugar. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool 5 minutes in pan.