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.

Monday, October 26, 2009

♥Spook-tacular Rocky Road Raisin Bars♥

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Quick and easy, what more could you ask for so close to Halloween? Nearly everyone will have the ingredients at hand and a little time to whip up a goodie that is sure to please everyone!


1 pound semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups (about 12 oz.) roasted, salted, skinned peanuts
1 1/2 cups (about 8 oz.) raisins


1. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with waxed paper. Melt chocolate (see Melting Chocolate: Be Gentle,below). With a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon, stir in peanuts and raisins.

2. Scrape mixture onto prepared baking sheet and spread to about a 1/2-in. thickness. Chill bark until firm, about 1 1/2 hours. Break or cut into chunks. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Melting chocolate: Be gentle. Fill a saucepan with 2 to 3 in. of water. Put finely chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl that will fit over pan (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water); set bowl aside. Bring water to a boil, turn off heat, then set bowl over pan. Use a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon to stir the chocolate frequently and encourage even melting. Once the chocolate is melted, stir well and use immediately.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

♥Chocolate Log with a Sweet Surprise♥

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Known as salame dolce (sweet salami), thin slices of this rich treat are great with an after-dinner espresso. Crushed vanilla wafers give it the mottled look of salami. Because the wafers are coarsely crushed, the pieces will vary greatly in size. Since the mixture is uncooked, use a pasteurized egg yolk (look for cartons of pasteurized egg yolks or pasteurized in-shell eggs).


* 1/3 cup sugar
* 1 large pasteurized egg yolk
* 2 tablespoons honey
* 1 tablespoon butter, melted
* 1 cup unsweetened cocoa
* 1 tablespoon hot water
* 2 teaspoons grated orange rind (optional)
* 20 vanilla wafers, coarsely crushed


Place sugar and egg yolk in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed for 3 minutes or until thick and pale. Beat in honey and butter. Add cocoa, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in wine, water, orange rind, if desired, and wafers.

Spoon mixture onto a sheet of wax paper using a rubber spatula (mixture will be stiff). Using moist hands, shape mixture into a 6-inch log. Wrap log tightly with plastic wrap; chill at least 1 hour. Cut log into 1/2-inch-thick slices.

Monday, October 19, 2009

♥Here's Lookin' at You Turkey Patty Melt♥

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Anytime anyone would say the words ground turkey to me my nose would curl, and not in the nicest way, either But one bite of this open-faced sandwich and I was convinced that I had bit into one of the best turkey sandwiches - ever! These are great to make for a crowd - so easy but so pretty, too. I've also used exactly the same idea using ground round. If you do make the beef, be sure you use the ground round. Other cuts of meat are just too greasy. Have fun!


1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup vertically sliced Vidalia or other sweet onion
1/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound ground turkey breast
1 large egg
cooking spray
4 (1-ounce) slices Swiss cheese
4 slices rye bread
1/4 cup country-style Dijon mustard


Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion to pan. Cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned; stir occasionally. Transfer onion to a bowl.

Preheat broiler.

Combine cheese and next 4 ingredients (through egg). Divide turkey mixture into 4 equal portions, shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. Return pan to medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add patties to pan; cook 4 minutes or until brown. Turn patties over; cook 1 minute. Top each patty with 1 cheese slice; cook 3 minutes or until cheese melts and patties are done.

Place bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet; broil 2 minutes or until toasted. Spread 1 tablespoon mustard on each bread slice; top each serving with 1 patty. Divide onion mixture evenly among sandwiches.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

♥Sinfully delicious Molten Lava Cupcakes♥

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The kids will ♥ these but the adults will ♥ them just a little bit more with the coffee ice cream melting down the sides of this sinfully delicious little mountain.


10 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
caramel sauce
coffee ice cream


Heat oven to 325º F. Lightly coat a 12-cup muffin tin with vegetable cooking spray.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a large bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat. In another large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar at medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and melted chocolate. Mix with a spoon until well blended.

Divide the batter evenly into 8 muffin tins and bake until the cakes have just cooked through, about 15 minutes. The cakes will still look a bit moist on top. Remove from the oven and let cool 5 minutes. Serve warm with the caramel sauce and ice cream.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

♥Angel Feathers Coconut Macaroons♥

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* 2-1/2 cups flaked sweetened coconut (about 7 ounces)
* 2 cups unsweetened finely shredded coconut*
* 1 cup sugar
* 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 4 egg whites (I will use the yolks to make lemon custard the next day)
* 1 tablespoon honey
* 1 teaspoon vanilla


1. In a large mixing bowl, combine flaked and shredded coconut until evenly mixed. (Flaked coconut should be broken into separate flakes with only a few very small clumps.)

2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine sugar, flour, and salt. Add egg whites, honey, and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Pour sugar mixture over coconut mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon, then use your hands to blend until evenly mixed. Cover with plastic wrap; chill for 30 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Drop batter by rounded tablespoons 2 inches apart onto prepared cookie sheet. Gently pinch mounds into shaggy pyramid shapes. Bake in preheated oven for 17 to 19 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

Place macaroons in layers separated by waxed paper in an airtight container. Store at room temperature for up to two days or freeze for up to one month.

*Look for unsweetened finely shredded coconut in natural-foods stores or in the bulk-food section of your supermarket.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

♥Breakfast, brunch or dessert. Coconut waffles make any time a special time♥

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These gorgeous and yummy waffles are a hit regardless of the season. In the summer I will add fresh strawberries to a mountain of fresh, whipped cream as a topping. Winter brings out the chocolate with a few chocolate jimmies rolling down the pile of whipped cream. Coconut, my favorite and a favorite of my family - there's just something about it that makes any dish feel absolutely special!


* 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 tablespoons sugar
* 1 tablespoon baking powder
* 3 eggs
* 1 14-oz. can unsweetened coconut milk
* 6 tablespoons butter, melted
* 3/4 cup coconut
* 1/2 cup chocolate-flavored ice cream topping
* 1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds
* sweetened whipped cream, powdered sugar, chocolate jimmies, additional toasted coconut (optional)


1. In a medium bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and a dash of salt. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside. In another medium bowl lightly beat eggs; stir in coconut milk and melted butter. Stir in coconut. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be slightly lumpy).

2. Pour 1/2 cup batter onto grids of a preheated, lightly greased waffle baker. Close lid quickly; do not open until done. Bake according to manufacturer's directions (about 3 minutes or until golden brown). When done, use a fork to lift waffle off grid. Repeat with remaining batter. Drizzle baked waffles with topping, sprinkle with almonds, and top with whipped cream or dust with powdered sugar. Serve warm.

Monday, October 12, 2009

♥Halloween S'mores with a little twist of fun and fantasy♥

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Quick, fun, easy, great for an afternoon snack or some Saturday evening fun! Take an old standby and tweak it a little for Halloween - just wait until you see the smiling faces.


* 8 chocolate or regular graham cracker squares
* 4 tablespoons chocolate-hazelnut spread or 2 Hershey bars
* 4 tablespoons marshmallow creme
* chocolate jimmies, Halloween sprinkles, colored sugars, toasted coconut - let your taste buds run wild!


1. Place graham cracker squares on a work surface; spread 4 squares with chocolate-hazelnut spread. Spread remaining graham cracker squares with marshmallow creme. Place graham crackers, marshmallow sides down, on top of chocolate-hazelnut spread. Place on a microwave-safe plate.

2. Microwave, uncovered, on 100% power (high) for 30 seconds. (If you want to heat the s'mores one or two at a time, microwave one s'more on 100% power [high] for 10 seconds or two s'mores for 20 seconds.) Serve at once. Makes 4 s'mores.

3. Peanut Butter S'Mores: Prepare as directed, except use chocolate graham cracker squares and substitute peanut butter for the chocolate-hazelnut spread.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

♥Holiday Pumpkin Nut Gift Bread♥

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This recipe makes two loaves. Freeze the extra bread, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and bring it out when holiday guests drop by unexpectedly. Omit the nuts or substitute chopped walnuts, if you prefer. Check the bread after 50 minutes of baking--you may need to cover the loaves with aluminum foil for the last 10 minutes to prevent overbrowning. You will be able to bake two loaves of the most delicious bread - one for yourself and the other to give as a gift.

3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
2/3 cup water
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
cooking spray
1/3 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350°.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 6 ingredients (through allspice) in a bowl.

Place sugar, egg substitute, oil, buttermilk, and eggs in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until well blended. Add 2/3 cup water and pumpkin, beating at low speed until blended. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture, beating at low speed just until combined. Spoon batter into 2 (9 x 5-inch) loaf pans coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle pecans evenly over batter. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pans on a wire rack; remove from pans. Cool completely on wire rack.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

♥ Homemade Halloween Poppycock, popcorn 'n peanuts 'n chocolate, oh my!♥

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This is so colorful and so darling and so fun to make and to give to friends, family and any little ghoul or ghost that happens to knock at your door. Everyone is going to love this, I promise. Generally when I make this close to a holiday, I use the M&Ms that are specially colored for that season because Christmas and Easter and St. Patrick's Day all deserve a lil' something special! 


* Vegetable cooking spray
* 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
* 1/3 cup popcorn kernels
* 3 tablespoons butter
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 6 cups (12-ounces) mini marshmallows
* 6 fun-size caramel peanut chocolate bars (such as Snickers), cut into 1/4-inch pieces
* 3 (3-inch) chocolate chip cookies, crumbled
* 1/3 cup chopped salted almonds, pecans or peanuts
* 1/2 cup orange and black chocolate candies (such as M&Ms)


Spray the inside of a large mixing bowl with vegetable cooking spray, and lightly spray a baking sheet. Set aside.

In a 3 quart or larger, heavy-bottomed pan, heat the oil and popcorn over medium-high heat. Cover the pan and shake gently. Cook until all the kernels have popped, about 3 minutes. Place the popcorn in the prepared bowl.

In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over low heat. Add the vanilla extract and marshmallows. Stir constantly until the marshmallows have melted and the mixture is smooth, about 5 minutes. Pour the melted marshmallow mixture over the popcorn. Using a spatula, sprayed with cooking spray, stir until the popcorn is coated. Spread the mixture over the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with the chocolate bar pieces, cookies, almonds and chocolate candies. Using a spatula, gently press the toppings into the popcorn. Allow the mixture to dry for 1 hour.

Break into 2-inch pieces and store airtight in a plastic container. For gift giving, place in small plastic bags and seal with curled holiday ribbons!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

♥Heart 'n Soul Warming Chicken Cacciatore♥

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When I was a young cook just the thought of chicken and tomatoes and spaghetti together in a dish made me wince - that is, until I tasted it and then I was sold! This is one of my comfort foods. Something for me to slice and dice in preparation and then to stir during the cooking process with the culmination to sit down and enjoy the fruits of my labor with a nice slice of Italian bread slathered with butter.


1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 package (10 ounces) sliced mushrooms
1 medium green bell pepper, cut into strips (1 cup)
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) stewed tomatoes, undrained and cut up
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning


1. Mix flour, salt and pepper in shallow dish. Coat chicken evenly with flour mixture.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook and stir 7-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove chicken from skillet. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to skillet. Add mushrooms, bell peppers and onions; cook and stir 5 minutes on medium heat or until vegetables are tender.

3. Stir in tomatoes, tomato sauce, garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Bring to boil, stirring frequently. Return chicken to skillet. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 5 minutes or until chicken is heated through. Serve over cooked pasta or rice, if desired.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

♥Winter Clouds German Oven Pancakes♥

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The pancake puffs over the top of the pan ~ it has an eggy-soft middle and browned and crusty on the outside. This is a hit with the big as well as with the little kids! So delicious and one of those dishes that just screams comfort food!


4 eggs
2/3 c. flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup milk
3 tablespoons 100% butter


Butter a heavy 10" oven proof skillet (cast iron)
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees
Beat the eggs with a wire whisk to blend
Slowly add flour, beating constantly
Stir in salt and milk

Pour the batter into the skillet; drop the butter by teaspoonfuls into the batter, spreading evenly
Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes
Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake another 10 minutes
Remove from oven and sift powdered sugar over the top
Serve with heated maple syrup, warm applesauce and chopped pecans, berries - whatever suits your fancy!

Monday, October 5, 2009

♥Ham Swiss 'n Potato Confetti Casserole♥

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It's always so nice to have a hearty - but quick - breakfast ready to pop into the oven during the holidays. Your guests will love this, just add a glass of OJ, V8 or tomato juice along with a cup of tea or coffee and you've just been crowned Queen of the Kitchen! Make this the night ahead so all you have to do is set the breakfast table and bake - well, take the credit for a lovely mean, too☺

1 bag (32 ounces), shredded hash brown potatoes
2 cups (about 8 oz.) cooked ham, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 can (12 fluid ounces) evaporated milk
1 can (10 ounces) cream of mushroom soup
1 tablespoon Dijon or yellow mustard
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pkg. (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed of moisture
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese

Directions PREHEAT oven to 375º F. Grease 2 1/2- to 3-quart casserole dish.

Combine potatoes, ham, evaporated milk, soup, mustard and pepper in large bowl. Pour half of potato mixture into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with spinach and top top with remaining potato mixture. Sprinkle with cheese.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until heated through and lightly browned. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

♥Nutty Pumpkin Cream Cheese Log Roll♥

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Not only is this little gem delicious - it is adorable, too! A lovely presentation during the holidays for gift giving or to bring out with coffee or tea after a meal with treasured guests. You can purchase the adorable ribbon here! 

Cake Ingredients
3 eggs, slightly beaten
2/3 cup canned packed pumpin
2/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoons nut
1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Instructions: Line jelly roll pan with parchment paper and lightly grease and dust with flour. Preheat oven to 375.

Beat eggs and sugar until fluffy. Add pumpkin and beat well. Sift dry ingredients and fold into mizture. Pour mixture into prepared pan and spread carefully. Sprinkle with chopped nuts. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.
Loosen cake from pan and flip over on a towel lightly dusted with powdered sugar. Remove parchment. Roll cake and towel together. Place seam down and allow cake to cool. After cake has cooled, unroll and spread with cream cheese filling (recipe below). Re-roll cake and refrigerate until serving.

Cream Cheese Ingredients
1 cup XXX sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
6 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoons vanilla

Blend ingredients together until smooth. Spread over cake roll.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

♥Rich n' Nutty Chocolate Caramel Thumbprint Cookies♥

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There is no doubt about it - this is a new twist on an old favorite but, oh, what a twist! If you ♥ chocolate and you like a little crunch and you like to putter in the kitchen these guys are for YOU! I promise, they will be delicious with a cup of coffee, a cup of tea or a tall, ice cold glass of milk!


1 egg
1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
16 vanilla caramels, unwrapped
3 tablespoons whipping cream
1-1/4 cups finely chopped pecans
1/2 cup (3 ounces) semisweet chocolate pieces
1 teaspoon shortening


1. Separate egg; place yolk and white in separate bowls. Cover and chill egg white until needed. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add sugar and beat well. Beat in egg yolk, milk, and vanilla.

2. In another bowl stir together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and beat until well combined. Wrap the cookie dough in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours or until easy to handle.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. In a small saucepan heat and stir caramels and whipping cream over low heat until mixture is smooth. Set aside.

4. Slightly beat reserved egg white. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls. Roll the balls in egg white, then in pecans to coat. Place balls 1 inch apart on prepared cookie sheet. Using your thumb, make an indentation in the center of each cookie.

5. Bake for 10 minutes or until edges are firm. If cookie centers puff during baking, repress with your thumb. Spoon melted caramel mixture into indentations of cookies. Transfer cookies to wire racks; cool. (If necessary, reheat caramel mixture to keep it spoonable.)

6. In another saucepan heat and stir chocolate pieces and shortening over low heat until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Let cool slightly. Drizzle chocolate mixture over tops of cookies.* Let stand until chocolate is set. Makes 36 cookies.

*Tip: If desired, transfer the warm chocolate mixture to a resealable plastic bag. Cut a small hole in one corner of the bag. Drizzle cookies with chocolate mixture.