Friday, August 30, 2013

Pecan Pie Cupcakes

Pecan Pie is the quintessential dessert of fall. Crunchy toasted pecans and buttery Piecrust Leaves enhance the rich creamy frosting for a cupcake you'll make again and again.

Pecan Pie Cupcakes


Butter Cake:
  • 1 cup butter, softened $
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar $
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose soft-wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk $
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Paperbaking cups
  • Vegetable cooking spray $

Pecan Pie Frosting:
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar $
  • 1 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoon butter $
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 cup toasted pecans

Piecrust Leaves:
  • 1/2 (14.1-oz) package refrigerated piecrusts


  1.     To prepare Butter Cake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla.
  2.     Place paper baking cups in 2 (12-cup) muffin pans, and coat with cooking spray; spoon batter into cups, filling two-thirds full. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely.
  3.     To prepare Pecan Pie Frosting, whisk together first 6 ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Boil, whisking constantly, 1 minute or until thickened. Remove pan from heat; stir in butter and vanilla, whisking until butter melts. Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on surface of mixture (to prevent a film from forming); chill about 3 hours or until thick. Makes 4 cups. Frost each cupcake.
  4.     To prepare Piecrust Leaves, unroll piecrust on a flat surface. Using a 1/2-inch cookie cutter, cut out leaves. Bake according to package directions. Makes about 48 leaves.
  5.     Top each cupcake with toasted pecans and 1 piecrust leaf.

Note: Pecan Pie Frosting is best when made the night before.


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Vanilla Coconut Rice Pudding

I found this on FFFFOOD tumblr page, and it got reblogged again and again. And rightfully so, it was absolutely delicious. Again, one of those things that tastes better the longer it sits in your fridge, I definitely recommend giving this fabulous and ridiculously simple rice pudding a go.

Vanilla Coconut Rice Pudding

  • 1 1/2 cups of cold cooked rice
  • 1 1/2 cups of coconut milk
  • 2 cups of whole or 2% milk
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, insides scraped out


Combine all the ingredients together in a saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat for 40 minutes. Allows to cool and serve.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Haunted Hooting Owl Pretzels

Whoo-oo dare eat this menacing owl? Everyone! Though they look especially spooky, these chocolate-dipped pretzels are a hoot to make.

To make, follow these steps:

  1. Dip large pretzels in melted confectioner's coating. Place the pretzels on wax paper.
  2. As the coating sets, sprinkle with coarse black decorating sugar. Press a black jelly bean to the twist of each pretzel for the nose and small pieces of licorice candy onto the base of the pretzels for the talons.
  3. Separate a sandwich cookie and press the halves onto the pretzel for eyes.
  4. Ice white candy pieces and press onto each cookie eye, then add chocolate chips to them for pupils.
  5. Use black licorice twists as eyebrows.

Revelatory Caramel Cake

This amazing cake comes from chef Ann Cashion of Washington, DC, restaurant Johnny's Half Shell.

Revelatory Caramel Cake

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, softened
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream


Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter three 8-inch cake pans; line the bottoms with parchment paper. Butter the parchment and flour the pans, tapping out the excess.

In a bowl, mix 1/4 cup of the milk with the egg whites and vanilla extract. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, mix the flour with the sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the butter and the remaining 3/4 cup of milk. Beat at low speed until blended, then beat at medium speed until smooth, 1 minute. Beat in the egg white mixture in 3 batches.

In another bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the cream until soft peaks form. Stir one-third of the whipped cream into the batter, then fold in the rest. Divide the batter between the pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Let the cakes cool on a rack for 10 minutes. Unmold the cakes and peel off the parchment. Invert the cakes and let cool completely.

In a saucepan, stir 2 1/2 cups of the sugar with the corn syrup and milk. Cook over moderate heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Keep warm.

Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar in a deep, heavy saucepan. Cook the sugar over moderate heat, swirling occasionally, until an amber caramel forms. Carefully pour the warm milk mixture over the caramel. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the caramel dissolves. Stop stirring and cook until the caramel registers 235° on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat. Stir in the butter, vanilla and 1/4 cup of the heavy cream. Strain the caramel into the bowl of a standing mixer. Let cool for 15 minutes.

Beat the caramel at medium speed, gradually adding the remaining 1/4 cup of cream, until creamy, about 15 minutes.

Set 1 cake layer on a plate. Pour enough icing over the layer to cover the top. Top with a second cake layer and cover it with icing. Add the final cake layer and pour the rest of the icing over the top of the cake, letting it run down the sides. Working quickly, use an offset spatula to spread the icing gently around the cake. Let the cake stand for 2 hours to set the icing before serving.

Cake Tip This cake is even better the day after it's made.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Angel Whispers

These are lemony little sandwich cookies that just melt in your mouth. Have a few with a tall glass of iced tea

Angel Whispers
makes 2 dozen

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter


  1. In a medium bowl, cream together butter and confectioners' sugar until light. Stir in the lemon peel, flour and salt. Cover bowl, and chill for about 1 hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  3. Flatten teaspoons of dough onto cookie sheets, and bake for 5 to 8 minutes, until light brown. Remove from baking sheets to cool on racks.
  4. To make the filling, combine the beaten egg, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and butter in the top of a double boiler. Stir until thick. Sandwich cookies with 1 teaspoon of filling.


County Fair Fried Dough

So, you think you need a deep fryer and some kind of special county fair chef expertise to make fried dough? Think again! This easy version uses a simple baking powder dough, and fries in just 1/4" of vegetable oil — no messy deep frying necessary.

County Fair Fried Dough

Yield:    8 servings

  • 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour*
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, in 1/2" cubes
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water
*See "tips," below, to make this recipe using King Arthur Unbleached Self-Rising Flour.

Peanut oil is our favorite deep-frying oil; it has a higher smoke point, and neutral flavor.
Want to make fried dough with King Arthur Unbleached Self-Rising Flour? Omit the recipe's baking powder and salt; and decrease the water to 1/2 to 2/3 cup, enough to make a soft (but not sticky) dough.


1) Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt.

2) Work in the cold butter, using a pastry blender, your fingers, or a mixer.

3) Stir in the warm water to make a soft dough. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.

4) Divide the dough into eight pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll into a thin 5" round, about 3/8" thick.

5) Heat about 3/8" vegetable oil to 375°F in an electric frying pan, or in a pan over a burner. If you're using a 10" diameter pan, this is 2 cups of vegetable oil. If you're not using an electric frying pan, use a candy thermometer to take the temperature of the oil; or guesstimate it by seeing if the first piece of dough fries nicely in the time specified.

6) Pick up one dough disk, and carefully lower it into the pan. Let it cook for 60 seconds (it'll puff up on top and become light brown on the bottom), then flip it over and cook until light brown on the other side, about 60 seconds. You don't want to cook these too dark; they'll become overly crisp.

7) Remove from the oil and set on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Place in a 200°F oven to keep warm while you make the remaining fried doughs.

8) Serve warm, with maple syrup or cider syrup; confectioners' sugar, or cinnamon sugar; or the topping of your choice — some folks enjoy a savory version, with marinara sauce and cheese.


Friday, August 23, 2013

Coconut Washboards Cookies

This simple yet satisfying coconut cookie recipe has been around for generations. Pressing a fork into the top gives the look of an old-fashioned washboard.

Coconut Washboards Cookies

Yield: 54 Servings

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flaked coconut


In a large bowl, cream butter, shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs. Gradually add water and vanilla; mix well. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Fold in coconut. Cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours.

Shape into 1-in. balls. Place 2 in. apart on greased baking

sheets; flatten with fingers into 2-1/2-in. x 1-in. rectangles. Press lengthwise with a floured fork. Bake at 400° for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool 2 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Yield: 9 dozen.


Bananas Foster Upside-Down Cake

One quick flip and this bananas foster upside-down cake tumbles from the skillet perfectly golden and party ready.

Bananas Foster Upside-Down Cake
Yield: Makes 8 servings

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened and divided
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rum
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose baking mix
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


1. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring once.

2. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a lightly greased 10-inch cast-iron skillet or 9-inch round cake pan (with sides that are at least 2 inches high) over low heat. Remove from heat; stir in brown sugar and rum.

3. Cut bananas diagonally into 1/4-inch-thick slices; arrange in concentric circles over brown sugar mixture. Sprinkle pecans over bananas.

4. Beat granulated sugar and remaining 1/4 cup butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Add milk and next 2 ingredients; beat just until blended. Beat in baking mix and cinnamon until blended. (Batter will be slightly lumpy.) Pour batter over mixture in skillet. Place skillet on a foil-lined jelly-roll pan.

5. Bake at 350° for 40 to 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in skillet on a wire rack 10 minutes. Run a knife around edge to loosen. Invert onto a serving plate, spooning any topping in skillet over cake.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Pineapple Cheesecake

Devil's Food Cake with Black Pepper Boiled Icing



  • 3 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (60%–64% cacao), chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream, divided
  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon cake flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste or vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa nibs
  • 1 tablespoon finely ground espresso beans

  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper



Combine chocolate and salt in a large bowl; place a fine-mesh strainer over bowl and set aside. Pour 1 tablespoon cream into a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over and let stand until softened, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring remaining cream and 1 tablespoon sugar to a simmer in a small saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Whisk yolks and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in hot cream mixture; return to saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens slightly and your finger leaves a path on the back of a spoon when drawn across, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Add gelatin mixture to cream mixture; stir to dissolve. Pour through prepared strainer into chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute; whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Whisk in crème fraîche. Using an electric mixer, beat filling until well blended, about 2 minutes. Press a sheet of plastic wrap onto surface of filling; chill overnight.


Preheat oven to 350°. Coat the bottom and sides of three 9' cake pans with nonstick spray. Line bottom of pans with parchment-paper rounds.

Sift cocoa powder into a medium bowl. Whisk in egg and egg white. Gradually whisk in 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm water; whisk until smooth. In a separate medium bowl, whisk both flours and next 2 ingredients.

Using an electric mixer, beat brown sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, until smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat cocoa mixture into butter mixture. Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Fold in cocoa nibs and ground espresso. Divide batter among pans; smooth tops.

Bake cakes until a tester comes out clean when inserted into center, about 17 minutes. Let cakes cool in pans set on wire racks for 5 minutes. Invert cakes onto racks; remove pans and let cakes cool completely. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap cakes individually in plastic wrap and store at room temperature.

Place 1 cake layer on a plate. Stir filling to loosen. Spread half of filling (about 1 cup) over cake in an even layer. Place second cake layer on top of filling. Spread remaining filling over in an even layer. Place remaining cake layer on top. Chill cake for 1 hour.


Mix 1 tablespoon sugar and salt in a small bowl; set aside. Attach a candy thermometer to side of a small saucepan; add remaining sugar and 1/2 cup water to pan. Stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and boil without stirring, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down side with a wet pastry brush, until thermometer registers 240°, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, place egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat at medium speed until frothy. With machine running, gradually add reserved sugar and salt from small bowl.

Gradually add hot syrup from saucepan to egg whites, beating at medium-high speed and allowing syrup to drizzle down sides of bowl. Continue beating whites until stiff and cool, about 20 minutes. Add pepper; beat until well blended.

Immediately spoon topping onto cake. Smooth over top and sides. Working quickly, swirl icing decoratively. DO AHEAD: Cake can be iced 1 day ahead. Cover with a cake dome; chill. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before serving. To brûlée the icing, use a kitchen torch to toast icing in spots.

Note: Let frosting layers set fully before adding the next layer of cake. You may use an 8' cake pan for thicker layers.

10 Servings; 1 serving contains:
  • Calories (kcal)t545.1
  • %Calories from Fat 43.4
  • Fat (g)t26.3
  • Saturated Fat (g)15.4
  • Cholesterol (mg)t148.4
  • Carbohydrates (g)t77.6
  • Dietary Fiber (g)t3.5
  • Total Sugars (g)t59.8
  • Net Carbs (g)t74.1
  • Protein (g)t7.9
  • Sodium (mg)t341.0


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Four-Layer Caramel Crunch Brownies

First comes the brownie layer, then the crunchy caramel layer. Next up is a rich peanut butter nougat topped off with velvety melted chocolate. Put them all together for pure dessert bliss. For smooth, smudge-free sides to your bar, hold a thin-blade knife under hot water; wipe the blade dry and cut the bars.

Four-Layer Caramel Crunch Brownies

Yield: 64 brownies

  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 14 ounce bagsvanilla caramels (68 caramels total), unwrapped
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 1/2 cups crisp rice cereal
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 7 ounce jarmarshmallow creme
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 12 ounce packagesemisweet chocolate pieces
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream


1. In a medium saucepan combine unsweetened chocolate and 1/2 cup butter. Cook and stir over low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending the foil over edges of pan. Grease foil; set pan aside.

2. For brownie layer, stir 1 cup of the sugar into chocolate mixture. Add eggs, one at a time, beating with a wooden spoon after each addition just until combined. Stir in vanilla. In a small bowl stir together flour and baking soda. Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture; stir just until combined. Pour batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until edges start to pull away from sides of pan. Cool on a wire rack.

3. For caramel layer, in a large microwave-safe bowl combine caramels, 2 tablespoons of the evaporated milk, and the water. Microwave on 100 percent power (high) about 3 minutes or until caramels are melted, stirring every 30 seconds. Stir in rice cereal. Spread caramel mixture evenly over brownie layer in pan, spreading to edges. Place pan in freezer while preparing nougat layer.

4. For nougat layer, in a medium saucepan combine the remaining 1-1/4 cups sugar, the remaining evaporated milk, and 1/3 cup butter. Bring to boiling over medium-high heat; reduce heat to medium. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in marshmallow creme and peanut butter. Pour marshmallow mixture over caramel layer, spreading to edges. Place pan in freezer while preparing chocolate layer.

5. For chocolate layer, in a small saucepan cook and stir semisweet chocolate pieces, 1/4 cup butter, and whipping cream over low heat until melted and smooth. Pour chocolate mixture over nougat layer, spreading to edges. Cover loosely and chill for 2 hours. Using the edges of the foil, lift uncut brownies out of pan. Cut into brownies. Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


White Christmas Butter Cake

This moist three-layer cake will shine at even the most elegant parties. It's frosted with a mixture of cream cheese and white chocolate.

White Christmas Butter Cake

Servings: 16

  • 3 cups sifted cake flour or 2-1/2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/3  cups half-and-half or light cream
  • 8 egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 recipe Unforgettable White Chocolate Frosting (see recipe below)

White Chocolate Frosting
  • 18   ounces chopped white chocolate baking squares or bars
  • 1  3  ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2  cups butter, cut into pieces


1. Grease and lightly flour three 8x1-1/2-inch or 9x1-1/2-inch round baking pans. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

3. In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add 1 cup sugar and the vanilla; beat until fluffy. Add the flour mixture alternately with half-and-half to creamed mixture, beating on low to medium speed after each addition just until combined.

4. Clean beaters. In another large bowl, beat egg whites on medium to high speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add 1 cup sugar and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Gently fold the egg whites, about 1/4 at a time, into creamed mixture. (If necessary, transfer mixture into a larger bowl.)

5. Divide mixture into prepared pans. Bake in a 350 degree F oven about 30 minutes for 8-inch rounds and about 25 minutes for 9-inch rounds or until a toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean*. Cool layers in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove the layers from the pans and completely cool on wire racks.

6. Frost with Unforgettable White Chocolate Frosting. Cover and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. Makes 16 servings.

Unforgettable White Chocolate Frosting

1. In a heavy saucepan, melt white chocolate over low heat. Cool until slightly warm. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Add butter pieces to cream cheese; beat until fluffy. Gradually add cooled chocolate, beating until well blended.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Healthy Banana Oat Cookies

Many of the breakfast cookie recipes I’ve seen online will have your arteries completely clogged by the very next day.  I really like this one that I modified from the original to be fat free and have a little more flavor. You can also double this for a large batch.

This recipe is extremely healthy and easily beefed up with various add-ins to suit your preferences. It's also a great way to use up those extra bananas in a low calorie way and has absolutely no processed flour.

Here we go: 3 mashed bananas (ripe), 1/3 cup apple sauce, 2 cups uncooked quick-cooking oats, 1/4 cup skim milk, 1/2 cup raisins (or any other dried fruit you want to add), 1 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp cinnamon and 1 tbsp Splenda , sugar or other sweetener.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients in a bowl really well. Let this mixture stand for at least 5 minutes to let the oats become good and hydrated. Heap the dough by teaspoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes and let cool.

Variations: If you add some chopped nuts, you have a grab and go breakfast that includes protein as well as fruits and grains. Dried cranberries are also a great addition if you don't care for raisins, which some people don't. Cardamom fans may want to substitute that spice for the cinnamon.

You can make a huge batch of these and then freeze some, leaving a few to be snagged each morning while you and your other family members are on the way out the door.

It's important to note that this is not a dessert type of cookie, so it will not be what you are used to eating when you think cookie. These are also very moist, due to both mashed bananas and apple sauce being included. It's basically oatmeal with add-ins for breakfast that you can eat from your hand.

This made a huge difference in how well we were able to stay on track nutrition wise. They are a really power-packed cookie (particularly with chopped nuts) that can help you make it through to lunch without binging.

Another bonus? You don't have any oatmeal bowls to wash out in the morning! The dishes for these little babies are done once, when you first bake them. Love that!


Best Carrot Cake

Make this classic favorite for a crowd and you might not have any leftovers to bring home. Simply adding a can of crushed pineapple and the luscious Buttermilk Glaze makes this truly the Best Carrot Cake.

Best Carrot Cake

Yield: 1 (9-inch) cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups grated carrot
  • 1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 (3 1/2-ounce) can flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • Buttermilk Glaze
  • Cream Cheese Frosting


  1. Line 3 (9-inch) round cakepans with wax paper; lightly grease and flour wax paper. Set pans aside.
  2. Stir together first 4 ingredients.
  3. Beat eggs and next 4 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add flour mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Fold in carrot and next 3 ingredients. Pour batter into prepared cakepans.
  4. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Drizzle Buttermilk Glaze evenly over layers; cool in pans on wire racks 15 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks. Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake.


    Apple Pie Cupcakes with a Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting

    There is nothing more autumn like than having a big slice of apple pie. However, making a whole pie can get a little overwhelming at times. So, I took the work out of pie making by giving you all the flavor plus a little more! A classic yellow cupcake has been filled with homemade spice-filled apple pie filling and then topped with creamy cinnamon buttercream frosting. This is the cupcake that will make you a star at your next family gathering!

    Apple Pie Cupcakes

    Yields 24 cupcakes

    • 1 box yellow cake mix
    • 4 medium-size apples (peeled, cored and cubed)
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
    • 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
    • 1 tablespoon cold water
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

    1. Prepare cake mix according to box directions and divide mix into 24 lined cupcake tins. Follow box directions and cook until a toothpick comes out clean.
    2. While cupcakes are baking start to prepare the filling. Add your cut apples to a sided pan and add brown sugar and cinnamon.
    3. Cook till apples are soft and the sauce starts to cook down.
    4. In a small bowl add the cold water and stir with cornstarch. Add to hot apple mixture and cook till it starts to get thick.
    5. Take off the heat and let cool before you fill cupcakes.
    6. Cut a small cone shape out of the middle of the cupcake and fill with cooled apple pie filling.
    7. Top with cinnamon buttercream frosting.

    Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting

    Yields 2 cups

    • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 5 cups powdered sugar
    • 4-6 tablespoons heavy cream or half-and-half


    1. In the bowl of an electric mixer add butter, cinnamon and salt.
    2. Beat until combined and start to slowly add powdered sugar. Once the icing starts to become fluffy slowly add in heavy cream a tablespoon at a time. Beat until desired consistency is reached. Add more heavy cream to thin out icing if necessary.


    Cinnamon Roll Icing

    I wanted something other then the milk/powder suger icing and came across this. And o. m. g. it was soo good! Especially good on cinnamon rolls fresh out of the oven. And just eating by itself! :D

    Cinnamon Roll Icing

    • 6 ounces light cream cheese
    • 3 tablespoons butter
    • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 cup powdered sugar
    • 2 -3 tablespoons milk


    Heat cream cheese and butter in a small microwavable bowl for about 30 seconds *Watch closely*. Once softened, stir to combine.

    Add powdered sugar about 1/4 cup at a time. Add vanilla, milk, and last bit of powdered sugar and stir to combine well.

    Add more milk for a thinner consistency and more sugar for a thicker consistency. Spread/pour over hot rolls.


    Wednesday, August 14, 2013

    Pineapple Pudding Cake

    My mother used to love making this easy dessert in the summertime. It's so cool and refreshing that it never lasts very long!

    Pineapple Pudding Cake

    Yield: 20 Servings

    • 1 package (9 ounces) yellow cake mix
    • 1-1/2 cups cold fat-free milk
    • 1 package (1 ounce) sugar-free instant vanilla pudding mix
    • 1 package (8 ounces) fat-free cream cheese
    • 1 can (20 ounces) unsweetened crushed pineapple, well drained
    • 1 carton (8 ounces) frozen fat-free whipped topping, thawed
    • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
    • 20 maraschino cherries, well drained


    1. Prepare cake mix batter according to package directions; pour into a 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan coated with cooking spray.
    2. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.
    3. In a large bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set.
    4. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in pudding mixture until blended. Spread evenly over cake. Sprinkle with pineapple; spread with whipped topping. Sprinkle with walnuts and garnish with cherries. Refrigerate until serving. Yield: 20 servings.

    Nutritional Facts:

    1 piece equals 131 calories, 2 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 1 mg cholesterol, 217 mg sodium, 24 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 3 g protein. Diabetic Exchange: 1-1/2 starch.


    Fried Chocolate Pudding Hand Pies

    These chocolate pudding pockets will have everyone eating out of your hand!

    Fried Chocolate Pudding Hand Pies

    Makes: 6 servings
    • 2 cups half-and-half
    • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup cornstarch
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 2 cups flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 6 tablespoons shortening, at room temperature
    • 1 large egg, plus 1 beaten large egg white
    • 5 tablespoons ice water
    • 3 cups vegetable oil, for frying
    • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting


    1. In a heavy, medium saucepan, combine the half-and-half, chocolate, granulated sugar and cornstarch. Bring just to a boil over medium heat and cook, whisking, until thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Let cool slightly, then press plastic wrap onto the surface to cover. Refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours or overnight.
    2. In a large bowl, toss together the flour, baking powder and salt. Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, mix in the shortening until coarse crumbs form. In a small bowl, beat together the whole egg and ice water. Stir into the flour mixture with a fork until the dough comes together. Divide into 6 even balls.
    3. On a lightly floured surface, roll each ball of dough into a 6-inch-wide disk. Brush a 1/2-inch border of the beaten egg white around each rim. Spoon 1/3 cup of the chilled pudding in the center of each disk, spreading slightly. Fold the dough over the filling to cover, press the edges to seal, then crimp with a fork. Transfer to a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet and refrigerate until ready to fry.
    4. In a deep, heavy 9- to 10-inch skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it registers 375 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer. Add 2 pies at a time and fry, turning 2 to 3 times, until deep golden, about 3 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes, then dust with the confectioners' sugar.

    • Bake the hand pies in a 375 degrees oven for 25 minutes if you don't want to fry them, then dust with confectioners' sugar.
    • To prevent lumps, mix the cornstarch with the other ingredients before heating.
    • Test your oil temp by dropping in a pinch of dough -- the oil should sizzle immediately.
    • Use shortening instead of butter to make a tender yet sturdy dough that holds up to frying
    • Stir a little cocoa powder into the confectioners' sugar for a chocolatey dusting.


    Strawberry White Chocolate Champagne Cake

    This lighter version was still a hit. I love the combination of strawberries, white chocolate, and champagne, such a romantic cake. Would be absolutely fabulous on Valentines Day or any special date night.

    Strawberry White Chocolate Champagne Cake

    Yield: 12 Servings
    • 1 box Strawberry Cake Mix (I used Betty Crocker Super Moist)
    • 2/3 cup Fat Free Sour Cream
    • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tbs Champagne (I used Spumante)
    • 3/4 cup cholesterol free egg product
    • 12 oz Strawberry Frosting (I used Betty Crocker Strawberry Mist)
    • 2 tbs Powdered Sugar
    • 1 oz. package Sugar Free Fat Free White Chocolate Instant Pudding
    • 1 cup fat free milk
    • 22 Grams White Chocolate chips or Shavings (I used Ghirardelli Sublime White vanilla Dream)


    Preheat oven to 350 F degrees or 325 F degrees depending on type of baking dish you use (refer to back of cake box directions).

    Grease the bottom of your baking dish with a non stick butter flavored spray. I used a 15 inch by 11 inch glass pan. You can use a smaller cake pan if you like and adjust bake time.

    Mix your cake mix with sour cream, eggs, and 1 cup of champagne according to package directions, usually for about 2 to 2 1/2 minutes with a hand mixer.

    Poor into your greased baking dish and bake until the center bounces back to touch and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

    While cake cools, you can prepare your pudding by mixing it with 1 cup of milk and 1/2 cup champagne & whisking for 2 minutes. Cover and leave in fridge until cake is cool.

    When cake is cool take the end of a wooden or plastic kitchen serving spoon and poke holes in the top of cake all over. Now spread your pudding on top of cake spreading evenly. Mix your store bought frosting with 2 tbs. of powdered sugar and 2 tbs. of champagne. Spread on top of cake and pudding. Sprinkle top with your white chocolate. Store leftovers covered in fridge. Optional: top cake with some whipped light cream strawberry flavor as I did


    Millionaire's Pie

    Millionaire's Pie

    Makes: 8 to 10 servings

    • Pastry for Single-Crust Pie
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 cup light-colored corn syrup
    • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
    • 1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 6 - ounce package semisweet chocolate pieces (1 cup)
    • 1 cup flaked coconut
    • 1 cup walnut or pecan pieces
    • Whipped cream (optional)
    • Toasted flaked coconut (optional)


    1. Prepare Pastry for Single-Crust Pie. To transfer pastry, wrap it around the rolling pin. Unroll pastry into a 9-inch pie plate. Ease pastry into pie plate without stretching. Trim pastry to 1/2 inch beyond edge of pie plate. Fold under extra pastry. Crimp edge. (Do not prick.) Set aside.
    2. For filling: In a medium bowl, combine eggs, corn syrup, granulated sugar, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt.
    3. In pastry shell, layer semisweet chocolate pieces, 1 cup coconut and walnut pieces. Pour egg mixture over all, spreading evenly. To prevent overbrowning, cover edge of pastry shell with foil.
    4. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil; bake for 20 to 25 minutes more or until set. Cool completely on a wire rack. Cover and store in refrigerator within 2 hours. If you like, serve with whipped cream and sprinkle with toasted coconut. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

    Pastry for Single-Crust Pie

    • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/3 cup shortening
    • 4 - 5 tablespoons cold water

    In a bowl stir together flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening until pieces are pea-size. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of water at a time over the flour mixture, tossing with a fork until all of the dough is moistened. Form dough into a ball.


      Lemon Icebox Pie

      This Southern pie is named "icebox" because it was traditionally set in the refrigerator rather than baked. This recipe comes from Atlanta's Silver Skillet diner

      Lemon Icebox Pie
      SERVES: 8

      • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
      • ½ cup sugar
      • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
      • 2 cups fresh lemon juice
      • 2 14-oz. cans sweetened condensed milk
      • 2 egg yolks
      • 16 vanilla wafers
      • 1½ cups heavy cream, chilled
      • 1 tsp. vanilla extract


      Heat oven to 400°. Process crumbs, sugar, and butter in a food processor until evenly combined. Transfer to a 9″ deep-dish pie dish, and press into bottom and up sides to create a thick crust; set aside. Combine juice, milk, and egg yolks in a bowl; beat on medium-high speed of a hand mixer for 5 minutes. Pour into prepared crust; bake until crust is browned and filling is only slightly set, about 20 minutes. Place wafers around edge of pie, pushing them gently into filling; let cool. Freeze until set, at least 2 hours, or up to overnight. Whisk cream and vanilla in a bowl until stiff peaks form; spread evenly over pie and refrigerate until ready to serve.


      Wendy's Frosty

      It's easy, fun to make and makes a bunch. I love that it uses only 3 easy to come by ingredients. Great recipe for camping!

      Wendy's Frosty

      • 16 ounces Cool Whip
      • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
      • 1 gallon chocolate milk

      1. Pour condensed milk and Cool Whip in an ice cream freezer.
      2. Fill to"fill line" with chocolate milk.
      3. Stir all ingredients, then turn on machine and let it freeze!


      Blueberry Icebox Pie

      Blueberry Icebox Pie

      Serves: 10

      • Vegetable-oil cooking spray
      • 1 1/2 cups finely ground reduced-fat graham cracker crumbs
      • 4 teaspoons light (reduced-fat) butter, melted
      • 2 cups fresh blueberries (or frozen and thawed)
      • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
      • 2 teaspoons powdered unflavored gelatin
      • 8 oz reduced-fat cream cheese
      • 8 oz fat-free cream cheese
      • 14 oz fat-free sweetened condensed milk
      • Several fresh mint leaves


      Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a 9" springform pan or glass pie pan with cooking spray. Combine crumbs and butter in a bowl and press into pan. Bake 10 minutes. Puree 1 1/2 cups blueberries; mix with lemon juice in a microwavable bowl. Sprinkle gelatin on top and let stand 10 minutes. Microwave on medium 10 seconds to dissolve gelatin, then beat with an electric mixer or food processor at medium speed. Beat in cream cheeses and milk. Pour mixture over baked crust and chill until set. Garnish with mint and remaining blueberries.

      313 calories per serving, 5.9 g fat (3.5 g saturated), 52.3 g carbs, 1.8 g fiber, 11.4 g protein


      Crème Brûlée

      Invest in an inexpensive handheld blowtorch to melt the sugar for the crust on these baked custards; it's an easier and more reliable method than broiling (available at Amazon)

      Crème Brûlée

      SERVES: 6

      • 1 qt. heavy cream
      • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
      • ¾ cup sugar
      • 8 egg yolks
      • Turbinado sugar, for serving


      1. Heat oven to 300°. Bring cream and vanilla bean with seeds to a simmer in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and let sit for 30 minutes; discard vanilla bean. In a bowl, whisk sugar and yolks until smooth. Slowly pour in cream mixture, whisking until smooth; set aside.

      2. Place a paper towel in the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ baking pan, and place six 6-oz. ramekins inside pan. Divide custard among ramekins. Pour boiling water into pan to come halfway up outsides of ramekins. Bake until custards are set but still slightly loose in center, about 35 minutes. Transfer ramekins to a wire rack; cool. Chill until firm, at least 4 hours.

      3. Dab any condensation off surface of custards with a paper towel. Sprinkle turbinado sugar evenly over surface of each custard. Guide the flame of a blowtorch back and forth over surface until sugar caramelizes; let sit briefly until sugar hardens.


      Tuesday, August 13, 2013

      MaMa's Supper Club Tilapia Parmesan

      MaMa's Supper Club Tilapia Parmesan

      Servings: 4

      • 2 lbs tilapia fillets     (orange roughy, cod or red snapper can be substituted)
      • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
      • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
      • 4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
      • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
      • 3 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
      • 1/4 teaspoon seasoning salt (I like Old Bay seasoning here)
      • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
      • black pepper
      • 1 dash hot pepper sauce


      1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
      2. In buttered 13-by-9-inch baking dish or jellyroll pan, lay fillets in single layer.
      3. Do not stack fillets.
      4. Brush top with juice.
      5. In bowl combine cheese, butter, mayonnaise, onions and seasonings.
      6. Mix well with fork.
      7. Bake fish in preheated oven 10 to 20 minutes or until fish just starts to flake.
      8. Spread with cheese mixture and bake until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
      9. Baking time will depend on the thickness of the fish you use.
      10. Watch fish closely so that it does not overcook.
      11. Makes 4 servings.
      12. Note: This fish can also be made in a broiler.
      13. Broil 3 to 4 minutes or until almost done.
      14. Add cheese and broil another 2 to 3 minutes or until browned.
      15. Thank you Mama's Supper Club in Wisconsin.


      Chocolate Chip Cannoli

      This recipe was a LOT of work, but I took it on as a challenge and was happy with the results. It is best for a special occasion, and you do have to plan ahead.

      Chocolate Chip Cannoli

      Yield: 12 servings


      • 1 gallon 1% low-fat milk
      • 4 cups low-fat buttermilk
      • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
      • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
      • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
      • 6 ounces fromage blanc

      • Cooking spray
      • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
      • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
      • 6 (18 x 14–inch) sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
      • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
      • Remaining ingredients:
      • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, divided
      • 2 tablespoons sifted powdered sugar


      1. To prepare ricotta, line a large colander or sieve with 3 layers of dampened cheesecloth, allowing cheesecloth to extend over outside edges of colander, and place colander in a large bowl.

      2. Combine milk and buttermilk in a large, heavy stockpot. Cook over medium heat until a candy thermometer reaches 170°, gently stirring constantly. As soon as the milk mixture reaches 170°, stop stirring (whey and curds will separate at this point). Continue to cook, without stirring, until the thermometer reaches 190°. (Be sure not to stir, or curds that have formed will break apart.) Immediately remove pan from heat. (Bottom of pan may be slightly scorched.) Pour milk mixture into cheesecloth-lined colander. Drain over bowl for 5 minutes, and discard liquid (whey). Gather edges of cheesecloth together; tie securely. Hang cheesecloth bundle from kitchen faucet, and drain 12 minutes or just until whey stops dripping. Scrape ricotta into a medium bowl. Sprinkle with salt, and toss gently with a fork to combine. Cool to room temperature.

      3. Add 2/3 cup of granulated sugar, vanilla extract, and fromage blanc to ricotta; beat with a mixer at medium speed until combined. Cover mixture, and refrigerate.

      4. To prepare shells, preheat oven to 375°.

      5. Cut out 12 (12 x 4–inch) pieces of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Using your index fingers as a guide, loosely roll up each foil piece jelly-roll fashion to form a cylinder with a 1-inch opening. Lightly coat outside of each cylinder with cooking spray. Combine 1/3 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon in a small bowl.

      6. Place 1 phyllo sheet on a large cutting board or work surface (cover the remaining dough to prevent drying); lightly brush with butter. Sprinkle evenly with 2 teaspoons sugar mixture. Repeat layers once. Cut phyllo stack lengthwise into 4 equal strips. Place a foil cylinder at bottom of 1 phyllo strip; roll up jelly-roll fashion around cylinder. Lightly coat with cooking spray. Place on a parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Repeat procedure with the remaining phyllo, butter, sugar mixture, and foil cylinders. Bake at 375° for 12 minutes or until lightly browned; cool completely on a wire rack. Carefully remove foil cylinders from phyllo shells by twisting ends of foil in opposite directions and gently pulling foil from shells.

      7. Finely chop 1 1/2 ounces chocolate. Combine ricotta mixture and chopped chocolate in a bowl. Transfer mixture to a large zip-top plastic bag; snip off 1/2-inch of 1 corner of bag. Pipe ricotta mixture evenly into each of 12 prepared shells (about 1/3 cup). Grate remaining 1/2 ounce chocolate. Dust cannoli evenly with powdered sugar and grated chocolate; serve immediately.


      Sunday, August 11, 2013

      Salted-Caramel Six-Layer Chocolate Cake

      Yes, you read that right: six decadent layers of salted caramel and chocolate. Dive in.

      Salted-Caramel Six-Layer Chocolate Cake

      SERVINGS 12

      • Unsalted butter, room temperature, for pans
      • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
      • 3 cups granulated sugar
      • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
      • 1 tablepoon baking soda
      • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
      • Coarse salt
      • 4 large eggs
      • 1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
      • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons safflower oil
      • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

      For The Caramel:
      •  4 cups granulated sugar
      •  1/4 cup light corn syrup
      •  2 cups heavy cream
      •  Coarse salt
      •  2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
      For The Frosting:
      •     1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder
      •     2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
      •     1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
      •     Coarse salt
      •     1 pound semisweet chocolate, chopped, melted, and cooled
      •     Garnish: flaked sea salt, such as Maldon


      Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the cake: Butter three 9-inch round cake pans, and dust with flour, tapping out excess. Sift flour, granulated sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and 1 1/2 teaspoons course salt into the bowl of a mixer. Beat on low speed until just combined. Raise speed to medium, and add eggs, buttermilk, 1 1/2 cups warm water, oil, and vanilla. Beat until smooth, about 3 minutes.

      Divide batter among pans. Bake until cakes are set and a toothpick inserted into the center of each comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Let cool in pans set on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Turn out cakes onto racks, and let cool completely.

      Make the caramel: Combine granulated sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water in a medium saucepan over high heat. Cook, without stirring, until mixture is dark amber, about 14 minutes. Remove from heat, and carefully pour in cream (mixture will spatter); stir until smooth. Return to heat, and cook until a candy thermometer reaches 238 degrees, about 2 minutes. Pour caramel into a medium bowl, stir in 1 teaspoon coarse salt, and let cool slightly, about 15 minutes. Stir in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Let cool completely.

      Meanwhile, make the frosting: Whisk together cocoa and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water in a bowl until cocoa dissolves. Beat butter, confectioners' sugar, and a generous pinch of coarse salt in a clean bowl with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Gradually beat in melted chocolate and then cocoa mixture until combined. Let stand for 30 minutes before using.

      Trim tops of cakes using a serrated knife to create a level surface. Cut each in half horizontally to form 2 layers. Transfer 1 layer to a serving platter, and spread 3/4 cup caramel over top. Top with another cake layer, and repeat with remaining caramel and cake layers, leaving top uncovered. Refrigerate until set, about 1 hour.

      Frost top and sides of cake in a swirling motion. Sprinkle with sea salt.


      To make this cake ahead of time: The caramel can be refrigerated for up to 3 days; bring to room temperature before using. Cake layers can be refrigerated for up to 3 days (they actually taste better when refrigerated and have a better texture for stacking). When finished, the frosted cake can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.


      Key Lime Bars

      This recipe is based on the famous Key lime pie from Joe's Stone Crab restaurant in Miami Beach. If you can't find Key limes, use regular fresh lime juice

      Key Lime Bars
      Makes about 16

      • 1 cup plus 2 1/2 tablespoons finely ground graham cracker crumbs
      • 1/3 cup sugar
      • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
      • 3 large egg yolks
      • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
      • 2/3 cup fresh Key lime juice (about 23 Key limes total)
      • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces)
      • 1/4 cup heavy cream
      • 2 Key limes, thinly sliced into half-moons


      Make crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a small bowl. Press evenly onto bottom of an 8-inch square glass baking dish. Bake until dry and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. (Leave oven on.)

      Make filling: Put egg yolks and lime zest in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on high speed until very thick, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to medium. Add condensed milk in a slow, steady stream, mixing constantly. Raise speed to high; mix until thick, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add lime juice; mix until just combined.

      Spread filling evenly over crust using a spatula. Bake, rotating dish halfway through, until filling is just set, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate at least 4 hours (or overnight).

      Cut into 2-by-2-inch bars. Put cream in the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the clean whisk attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Garnish bars with whipped cream and a slice of lime.


      Ungarnished bars can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 3 days.


      Friday, August 9, 2013

      Skinny No-Bake Chocolate Nesquik Cheesecake

      This cheesecake is so easy to make. Just a few ingredients and you have an elegant dessert.

      Skinny No-Bake Chocolate Nesquik Cheesecake

      • 1 cup Fat Free Chocolate Flavor NESTLÉ NESQUIK Refrigerated Ready-to-Drink Milk
      • 1 envelope (7 g) unflavored gelatin
      • 2 packages (8 oz. each) 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
      • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
      • 2 tablespoons NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Baking Cocoa
      • 1 prepared (6 oz.) 9-inch cookie or graham cracker crust
      • Fresh berries


      COMBINE Nesquik and gelatin in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

      BEAT cream cheese, sugar and cocoa in large mixer bowl until smooth. Slowly beat in Nesquik mixture. Pour into crust.

      REFRIGERATE for 3 hours or until firm. Garnish with berries.


      Ultimate Ginger Cookie

      Ultimate Ginger Cookie

      Makes 16 cookies
      • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
      • 1 teaspoon baking soda
      • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
      • 1½ teaspoons ground cloves
      • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
      • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
      • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
      • 1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
      • ¼ cup vegetable oil
      • 1/3 cup unsulfured molasses
      • 1 extra-large egg, at room temperature
      • 1 ¼ cups chopped crystallized ginger (6 ounces)
      • Granulated sugar, for rolling the cookies


      Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.

      In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and salt and then combine the mixture with your hands. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the brown sugar, oil, and molasses on medium speed for 5 minutes. Turn the mixer to low speed, add the egg, and beat for 1 minute. Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula and beat for 1 more minute. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the crystallized ginger and mix until combined.

      Scoop the dough with 2 spoons or a small ice cream scoop. With your hands, roll each cookie into a 1¾-inch ball and then flatten them lightly with your fingers. Press both sides of each cookie in granulated sugar and place them on the sheet pans. Bake for exactly 13 minutes. The cookies will be crackled on the top and soft inside. Let the cookies cool on the sheets for a minute or two, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.


      Tuesday, August 6, 2013

      Frozen Banana Bites

      A simple dessert that people love! You can use anything you want in place of the toffee: sprinkles, nuts, cookie crumbs, or whatever! This is also really good with dark chocolate.

      Frozen Banana Bites

      makes 48 servings
      • 1 cup peanut butter
      • 4 bananas, sliced into 1-inch rounds
      • 8 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate
      • 1 tablespoon shortening
      • 1/3 cup toffee baking bits


      1. Cover a baking sheet with waxed paper.
      2. Spoon a thin layer of peanut butter on top of each banana slice. Insert a toothpick through the peanut butter layer into the banana. Place banana bites onto the prepared baking sheet; freeze for 30 minutes to overnight.
      3. Melt chocolate and shortening in the top of a double boiler over simmering water, stirring frequently and scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula to avoid scorching.
      4. Cover another baking sheet with waxed paper.
      5. Remove 2 to 4 banana bites from the freezer at a time; coat each bite with chocolate mixture. Place coated banana bites on the second baking sheet; sprinkle each with toffee bits. Repeat until all the bites are coated. Return banana bites to freezer until set, at least 1 hour. Allow bites to sit in room temperature for about 15 minutes before serving.


      Marinated Grilled Chicken

      This recipe can be used for inexpensive chicken pieces or to grill a whole chicken. The Italian salad dressing gives the dish some zing!

      Marinated Grilled Chicken
      makes 4 servings
      • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
      • 1 (16 ounce) bottle Italian-style salad dressing
      • 1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
      • salt to taste


      Rinse chicken and pat dry. Place in a shallow glass bowl and pour 1/2 bottle of salad dressing over it. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

      Lightly oil grill and preheat to medium high.

      Remove chicken breasts from marinade. Season with lemon pepper and salt to taste. Grill over medium high heat for 10 to 15 minutes on each side, or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear.


      Monday, August 5, 2013

      Triple-Layer Carrot Cake

      This cake is jam-packed with carrots, fruit and peel. The secret ingredient in this recipe is one whole orange. Hand-finished with cream cheese frosting and a sprinkling of crunchy walnuts, this delicious triple-layer cake will tantalize all your senses!

      Recipe >> Triple-Layer Carrot Cake @

      Thursday, August 1, 2013

      Seafood Pasta in Lemon Butter Sauce

      Seafood Pasta in Lemon Butter Sauce
      Serves:            4
      Prep Time:    5 Min
      Cook Time:    10 Min

      • 1 lb pasta of choice
      • 1 medium onion, chopped
      • 4 oz butter
      • 1/3 c olive oil
      • 1 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
      • 1/2 lb small raw scallops (or large cut in half)
      • 2 Tbsp minced lemon zest
      • 1/4 c lemon juice
      • 1/4 c white wine
      • salt and pepper to taste
      • 1/4 c toasted pine nuts (or pinole nuts)
      • grated romano or parmesan cheese, to taste


      1. Pour a glass of wine for the cook, saving 1/4 cup for the recipe ;-)
      2. Cook pasta in salted water till it's al dente. I make the sauce while the water is coming to a boil because the sauce is very quick.
      3. Saute onions in butter and olive oil on medium high heat until tender. Add shrimp and scallops and saute until shrimp just starts to turn pink and is almost done, but not quite. Overcooking the shrimp and scallops makes them very tough. Also the giant scallops take a long time to cook so I cut them in half to match the cook time of the shrimp if I can't find smaller ones.
      4. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, white wine, salt and pepper and cook for a few more minutes till bubbly and seafood is done.
      5. Pour over drained (NOT RINSED) pasta and toss with grated cheese and pine nuts. Serve and enjoy.
      6. Trader Joe's market has their frozen seafood blend of peeled raw shrimp, scallops, and calamari that I normally use. If you can find a combo bag of shellfish like this at your local market it is both super delicious and easy, just defrost and pour in.


      Butter Snow Flakes

      A wonderful Spritz cookie with cinnamon in it. These freeze very well.  I followed the recipe exactly and they turned out exactly as I hoped. I will definitely be making more of these! It is definitely my "go to" spritz recipe.

      Butter Snow Flakes

      • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
      • 1/4 teaspoon salt
      • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
      • 1 cup butter
      • 1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
      • 1 cup white sugar
      • 1 egg yolk
      • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
      • 1 teaspoon orange zest


      Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour, salt, and cinnamon; set aside.

      In a medium bowl, cream together butter and cream cheese. Add sugar and egg yolk; beat until light and fluffy. Stir in the vanilla and orange zest. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Fill a cookie press or pastry bag with dough, and form cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet.

      Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the cookies are golden brown on the peaks and on the bottoms. Remove from cookie sheets at once to cool on wire racks.