Saturday, June 21, 2014

Lemon Bars

Everyone has a recipe for Lemon Bars, I'm sure.  This happens to be our family's recipe, handed down from my Aunt Barb on my dad's side.  They can either be sprinkled with powdered sugar, or they can be frosted with this frosting.  The only change I've made to make these bars extra lemony, is to use lemon extract in the frosting, as opposed to vanilla extract.  You can make the judgment call as to what to use, but they're awfully good with the lemon extract.  That is what I used for our last family gathering.  I doubled the recipe.  These should freeze well.

Printable Recipe

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup flour

Combine the above in a small bowl and mix well.  Pat into an 8" square pan that has been sprayed with Pam.  If desired, you can line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until very lightly browned.

2 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp grated lemon zest and fresh lemon juice  *Note: You will get about 1 tbsp of zest and juice out of a good-sized lemon
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

Combine all of the filling ingredients in a large bowl and beat well.  Our over the partially baked crust and bake an additional 20-25 minutes, or until the filling has set.  During the baking time, turn the pan around a couple of times to ensure even baking.  Do not over bake.  Cool and frost.

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp butter, softened
1 tbsp milk, or more to reach desired spreading consistency (I added more, and I used whole milk)
1 tsp vanilla extract (I used lemon extract)

Combine all of the frosting ingredients in a small bowl and beat until smooth, spread on the cooled bars.  Cut the bars small, and store in the refrigerator.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Printable Recipe

I found this recipe on Go Bold with Butter.

Even though it is a somewhat putzy recipe, it really is quite good - very moist.

Crumb Topping 
1/4 cup butter, softened and cut into small pieces
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp  cinnamon
pinch salt

Cream Cheese Swirl
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Coffee Cake
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups sour cream

To make the Crumb Topping
Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix with a fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Set aside.

To make the Cream Cheese Swirl
In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese and brown sugar until fluffy.  Mix in the vanilla and cinnamon until well combined.  Set aside.

To make the Cake
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9x13" pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating just until combined after each addition.  Mix in the vanilla.

Gradually add the dry ingredients, mixing just until combined.  Stir in the sour cream and mix just until combined.

Spoon into the prepared pan and spread evenly.  Top with spoonfuls of the cream cheese mixture.  Use an up and down motion with a knife to marbelize.   Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the top of the cake.  Bake 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Peanut Butter Cookies

Printable Recipe

These cookies are soft and chewy, and stay that way for several days.  They're very good!

1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup sugar, plus 1 tbsp for sprinkling*
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup peanut butter chips (I did not add)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
     In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and the salt.  Set aside.
In another large bowl, cream the butter, and the peanut butter, until light and fluffy.  Add the sugars, and beat until smooth.  Add the egg, and mix well.  Add the milk and the vanilla.  Add the flour mixture and beat thoroughly.  Stir in the peanut butter chips.  Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving several inches between for expansion.  Using a fork, lightly indent with a crisscross pattern, but do not overly flatten cookies.  Lightly sprinkle cookies with sugar.  Bake 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Do not over bake.  Cookies may appear to be underdone, but they are not. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes on the cookie sheets before removing and the cool thoroughly on a wire rack.  Store the cookies in an air-tight container, and they will keep for several days.

*I use a clean salt shaker filled with granulated sugar to sprinkle the sugar on the cookies before baking, and it works real well.  (Just be sure to label the shaker.) You can lightly tap the edge of the pan over the sink to remove the excess sugar if you wish, but it is not necessary.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Caramel Rolls

This is a recipe that comes from a very good friend of my sister, who got it from this blog; and I have it on good authority that these are excellent caramel rolls!

This is one of those recipes that use Rhodes frozen bread dough for the cinnamon/caramel rolls.  However, one ingredient that is different from all the rest that I've seen is the addition of vanilla ice cream in the caramel sauce.  Sounds good, doesn't it?

I haven't had the chance to make these yet, so until I do, I am just posting the link to them without a photo and once I have the chance to make them, I will post a photo and type out the recipe.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Golden Treasure Meatballs

This is a dish my mother made years ago.  It is sort of reminiscent of Porcupine Meatballs.

Printable Recipe

1 1/2 pounds hamburger
1 1/2 cups soft bread crumbs (bread torn or cut into small cubes)
1/3 cup chopped green pepper
1/3 cup ketchup
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

16 (3/4-inch cubes) American cheese * (see note)
3-4 (8-oz) cans tomato sauce for cooking the meatballs in
about 2 tbsp oil for browning the meatballs in

hot, cooked rice

Mix together the hamburger, bread crumbs, green pepper, ketchup, egg, garlic salt, salt,  and pepper.  Shape into 16 meatballs.  Form around one cube of cheese and set meatballs on a sheet of waxed paper until all meatballs have been formed.

In a large skillet, working in batches, brown the meatballs in hot oil, being careful not to break them apart, until they are browned on all sides.  Once all the meatballs are browned, place them all in the skillet and pour the tomato sauce over all and cover the skillet and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until they are cooked through, maybe up to 25 minutes, depending on how lean your meat is.  Be careful not to overcook them, or they will become dry and tough.  You want them to be tender and the cheese to melt.  Serve over hot rice.

* You can find American cheese in 8-oz packages vacuum sealed like you would find Mozzarella, or Colby cheese.  You don't have to use something like Velveeta anymore.

Printable Recipe

Monday, August 12, 2013

Muddy Buddies using Vanilla Chex cereal

Printable Recipe

I've adapted this recipe from Housewife 2 Hostess

Naturally, any flavor of Chex cereal will taste good, but the Vanilla Chex is very good.  So far, that is the only variety I've used.  The added vanilla is very good, but not necessary.  The milk chocolate chips, in my opinion, are better than the semi sweet that the original recipe calls for.

7 cups Vanilla Chex cereal
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Put the cereal in a large bowl and set aside.  In a microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan over low heat, melt together the chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter until smooth.  Stir in the vanilla extract and our over the cereal, stirring until well coated.  Stir in the powdered sugar until the cereal is well coated.  Sometimes I add some extra powdered sugar.  Chelsey advises spreading the Muddy Buddies onto a large cookie sheet and placing in the freezer.  She says it keeps the powdered sugar nice and white.  Each time I've made these, I've done so.  I put them in an extra large cake pan, and place a sheet of waxed paper on top, before placing in the freezer.  She says to keep them in the freezer for 5 minutes, but I always seem to get busy and lose track of time, so they end up staying in there for about an hour.  If that happens to you, no worries, they will be fine.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Grilled Hawaiian Chicken Sandwiches

Printable Recipe

There is a real good restaurant close by that makes a Hawaiian Chicken sandwich, and I wanted to try to replicate it at home. I found this recipe on AllRecipes.  I changed a few things, and I'd have to say that it comes pretty close.

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups bottled Teriyaki sauce (I use Kikkoman)

3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
a few drops Worcestershire sauce

mixture of cornstarch and water, stirred

6 slices pineapple (use fresh, if you're able, otherwise, canned will work fine)
thinly sliced Monterey Jack cheese
9 or 12 grain bread, buttered on one side

Pound the chicken breasts between sheets of waxed paper or in a heavy-duty ziplock plastic bag to an even thickness.  Marinate the chicken in the Teriyaki sauce in ziplock bags placed in a large glass bowl or cake pan, for up to 8 hours.

I usually use chicken that I've bought from Sam's club, and since they are so huge, I make additional sauce.  I like to have some to dip the sandwiches into on the side, too.  You just want equal parts of the brown sugar, soy sauce and pineapple juice.  I add a few drops of Worcestershire to cut down on the sweetness from the sugar and the juice.  A few drops is all you need, or else you will change the flavor of the sauce too much.  Bring the sauce to a boil and stir in the cornstarch mixture and cook until it has nicely thickened.

Preheat the gas grill to 350 degrees and oil the grates, if desired.  With the lid closed, cook the chicken about 4-8 minutes per side, depending on the size of the chicken breast.  Baste with the sauce starting right away.  Since it cooks for such a short time, you can put some on the top of the chicken when you first place it on the grill and then again when you flip them halfway through.

At some point, if you're using fresh pineapple slices, place those on the grill to sort of caramelize them.  Just before you pull the chicken off the grill, turn the gas off and place a slice of pineapple on top of each piece of chicken, and top with some Monterey Jack cheese.  Baste with some more sauce.  Close the lid again and let stay in there for a few minutes until the cheese has melted but has not browned.

Meanwhile, fry up the bread on the stove in a dry skillet on one side.  You can either serve the bread on the side, or serve the chicken on the bread, sandwich style.  Be sure to serve a bit of the sauce on the side to dip your chicken or bread into.

This is a great summer meal served with fresh fruit.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Chocolate Steamed Pudding

This is a moist, dense, chocolate cake. It is a very good, and an old-fashioned recipe. It is my dad's and brother's favorite dessert, and usually, someone will make it for them on their birthdays. It requires the use of a 4-cup mold of some sort. You can use one like is in the photos, or you can simply use a small casserole dish. You will want to cover it with a double layer of heavy-duty foil if you don't have a cover for the mold, so no steam gets inside.

Place the mold on top of a rack, inside a large stock pot. I used a metal steamer basket.

Allow cake to cool for about 10 minutes inside the mold, then remove it and allow to cool on a wire rack.

See how creamy the hard sauce gets? I don't know why it is called hard sauce, because it is actually a very thick frosting - almost tastes like the frosting on wedding cakes. At any rate, this stuff is so good!

Printable Recipe

1 egg
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp butter, softened
2 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup milk

Cream the egg, sugar, butter and chocolate, until fluffy. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, soda and cream of tartar. Beat into the chocolate mixture, alternately with the milk. Beat until smooth. Pour into a greased 1 - quart mold, or casserole dish.

Cover the mold or casserole dish, very tightly, with foil, Place inside a large pot, on top of a rack. Add enough water so that it is halfway up the mold. Bring water to a quick boil, then reduce heat to low, cover the pot, and steam for 2 hours. You may have to check to make sure there is still water in the pot, during the cooking time. When done, loosen the edges with a knife, and cool in dish for at least 10 minutes. Remove and cool on a wire rack. Serve with Creamy Hard Sauce.

This doesn't make a whole lot, so you might want to double this

Creamy Hard Sauce

1/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup pwd sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp milk

Cream the butter, thoroughly. Slowly add the pwd sugar, and beat until it is as light as whipped cream. (Note: this will take a while, and you might think it will never fully incorporate, but it will, with time.) Beat in the vanilla and milk, drop by drop, until light and fluffy.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Peppermint Pattie Brownies

Printable Recipe

I found this recipe on How Sweet It Is.  The pictures on Jessica's site are gorgeous, and I knew mine would pale by comparison, but I was pretty sure that they would taste almost as good as hers looked ... and I was right.  The filling is downright velvety, smooth and just melts in your mouth and the ganache is scrumptious, too.

I probably over baked the brownies somewhat, so next time, I will take them out of the oven just as soon as they are set.  Otherwise, you can't really go wrong with this recipe.  Thank you Jessica, because of you, I have found a new family favorite!

This recipe is made in an 8 x 8" baking pan, but I doubled the recipe, making it in a 9 x 13" pan.

Brownie Layer
 1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup chocolate chips (I used semi sweet)

Peppermint Pattie Layer
2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tbsp butter, softened
3 tbsp evaporated milk
1/4 tsp vegetable oil
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp peppermint extract

Ganache Layer
 3 1/2 oz dark chocolate, finely chpd (since I doubled the recipe, and I used a 4 oz bar of dark chocolate, I also used 3 oz of semi sweet mini chocolate chips)
2 1/2 tbsp heavy cream

To make the brownies
 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease an 8 x 8" baking pan. (Next time I will line the pan with parchment paper, as well.)

In a large bowl, combine the melted butter, sugar, and vanilla extract and using a whisk, combine until almost smooth.  Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, and whisk until completely smooth.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder salt and baking soda.  I would suggest sifting it all together first.  Stir into the batter with the whisk, just until combined.  Using a rubber spatula, stir in the chocolate chips.  Spread into the prepared pan and bake 350 degrees, 25 - 30 minutes until set.  Let cool.

To make the peppermint pattie filling
Combine the powdered sugar, butter, milk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and peppermint extract and beat with an electric mixer until smooth.  Add more evaporated milk if desired. Spread evenly over the brownies.  Chill in pan in the refrigerator until set, about 30 minutes.

To make the Ganache
Place the chopped chocolate in a glass bowl.  Heat the heavy cream and pour over the chocolate, stirring for a few minutes until smooth.  Spread evenly over the peppermint pattie layer.  Refrigerate until the chocolate is set.  I stored these in the refrigerator.  These were gone in just a couple of days!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Homemade Almond Joy Candies

So, here are the Almond Joy Candies.  Sorry that this picture isn't the greatest, but it will give you a closer look.  


Years ago, my aunt Dorothy made candies similar to these.  They were lovingly named Do-Do Balls, and she was quite famous for them.  She rolled them into balls, rather than forming them into logs.  I don't recall that they had almonds in them.

These candies are so good and taste much like the real thing, only better, since they are so FRESH!  I found the recipe at Cooking with K

I admit that they are time consuming, since they make a lot of candies.  The somewhat difficult part it dipping them in the chocolate.  I would advise that you keep a bowl of the chocolate over very warm, simmering water, to keep the chocolate melted so that it does not cool off so much that it begins to set up.  I found a tip on Pinterest, suggesting that when dipping candies in chocolate, that you heat up water and then put it in a crock pot and set the bowl of melted chocolate over that.  I don't know if you'd want to set it to high, or low, but that would probably be a good idea and is should keep the chocolate melted the entire time.  I will try it the next time I make these.

I suggest making them small.  When pressing the almond on top before dipping, don't press down too hard, because you want to be able to see the almond underneath the chocolate.

Printable Recipe

2 (14-oz) bags sweetened shredded coconut
4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp vanilla extract

2 (24-oz) packages chocolate almond bark
1 - 1 1/2 cups whole almonds, roasted (I used Blue Diamond Roasted Salted Diamonds)

In a large bowl, blend the coconut, powdered sugar, butter, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract until thoroughly combined.  You can do this with a heavy-duty spoon or you may have to actually combine it by hand.  At Cooking With K, she uses a stand-up mixer with the paddle attachment and combines the ingredients a little at a time.  The mixture will be thick.  Chill it for about 30 minutes or more for easier handling.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Remove the coconut mixture from the refrigerator and form them into logs, about 2 inches long and 3/4 of an inch thick.  I actually prefer them smaller than that.  Press the coconut mixture together well, so that they don't fall apart or crack while being dipped.  Place the candies on another parchment-lined cookie sheet and continue until all the coconut mixture is gone. You will need to periodically rinse off your hands as they will get sticky from the mixture.  Press an almond in the center of each candy, but not down too far, because you want the almond to be visible underneath the chocolate.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave or in the top of a double boiler until it is completely melted and smooth.  Place a candy on a meat fork and dip the bottom into the chocolate.  Using a spoon, scoop the chocolate over the candy until covered.  Gently tap the fork onto the sides of the bowl to release the extra chocolate.  Using a toothpick, gently slide the candy off of the fork and onto another parchment-lined cookie sheet.  Chill once again until the chocolate is hardened.  If the chocolate sets up too much and hardens, place the bowl into the microwave for about 20-30 seconds.  As I suggested in my notes above, place the bowl of chocolate over a crock pot of very warm to hot water and set the crock pot to low (or high) to keep the chocolate melted during the entire process.  When I made these, I did not do this, and I had trouble keeping the chocolate melted long enough.  I will try this trick the next time.  This is the part of the process that is so time consuming, but be patient and get someone to help you if you can.  They are very worth all the work.

Store at room temperature in an airtight container with waxed paper separating the layers.  They also freeze well.

Reese's Peanut Butter White Chocolate Bark

I made all of these candies for Christmas gifts, and still had plenty left over for dessert (this doesn't even show how much I put away in the freezer).  I made Reese's Peanut Butter White Chocolate Bark, Homemade Almond Joy Candies and Nut Goodie Bars.  I will be posting the rest of the recipes over the next few days.

Let's start with the Reese's Peanut Butter White Chocolate Bark.  I found this recipe on Sally's Baking Addiction.    It's very easy to make and goes together quickly.

Printable Recipe

1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt

16 oz white almond bark

1/2 cup Reese's Pieces candies
1/4 cup peanut butter chips

Line a 9x13" pan with parchment paper and set aside.

In a ziplock bag, crush the Reese's Pieces and peanut butter chips with a rolling pin and set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together the peanut butter, powdered sugar, butter, vanilla and salt until smooth and creamy.  Set aside.

In another bowl set over a bowl of simmering hot water, melt the white almond bark until melted and smooth.  Pour half into the parchment-lined pan and spread out evenly.  Chill for a few minutes until set.  Spoon the peanut butter mixture over the bark layer and spread evenly.  Pour the remaining white bark over on top and spread evenly.  Sprinkle with the crushed candies and peanut butter chips.  If desired, if you have any leftover melted bark, drizzle over on top of the candies.  Chill until set and cut up into pieces.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Egg Bake

This is fresh out of the oven.

My sister Sandy, made this Egg Bake for our family's breakfast on Christmas Day.  It is delicious, and the recipe is pretty versatile.  For any vegetarians, you can easily leave out the meat.  For any that don't like cheese, that can be left out, as well.

1 pkg Jimmy Dean Sausage (cooked, crumbled and drained)
green and/or red bell pepper, diced, and cooked along with the sausage
onion, diced, and cooked along with the sausage
4 cups cubed, day-old bread
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
10 eggs, slightly beaten
4 cups milk (my sister used 2 cups skim milk and 2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 tsp onion powder (my sister did not add, since she used fresh onion)

Place bread in a well-buttered 9x13" baking dish.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Combine the eggs, milk, dry mustard, salt, pepper and onion salt, if using and pour over the bread and cheese.  Sprinkle with the sausage, pepper and onion mixture.  Cover and chill overnight.

The next morning, preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Bake, uncovered, for about 1 hour, or until cooked all the way through in the center, and the center is set.  Tent baking dish with foil, if the top browns too quickly.

Remove from the oven and allow to set up for easier cutting, about 10 minutes.  Serve.

See how deep and velvety it is?