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Cafe Latte's Turtle Cake


Prep: 30 minutes
Bake: 25 minutes
Chill: 1 to 2 hours


Ingredients

*     Unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1    egg, slightly beaten
* 1  cup  buttermilk or sour milk (see note)
* 2/3  cup  cooking oil
* 2  cups  all-purpose flour
* 1-3/4  cups  sugar
* 1/2  cup  unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1  tablespoon  baking soda
* 1  teaspoon  salt
* 1  cup  freshly brewed hot coffee
*     Chocolate Frosting (see recipe)
* 1-1/2  cups  pecan halves, toasted
* 3/4  cup  purchased caramel ice cream topping


Directions

1. Grease three 9-inch cake pans*. Line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper. Grease the paper; dust with unsweetened cocoa powder. Set pans aside.

2. In a small bowl, stir together egg, buttermilk and cooking oil; set aside. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, 1/2 cup cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Gradually add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture, beating with an electric mixer until combined. Gradually beat in hot coffee. Pour batter into prepared pans; spread evenly. (Layers will appear shallow.)

3. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool cakes on a wire racks for 10 minutes. Loosen sides from pans, then invert cakes on racks. Remove cakes from pans. Peel off paper; cool thoroughly.

4. When the cakes are cool, make the Chocolate Frosting. Place 1 cake layer, top-side down, onto a serving plate. Using an icing spatula or wide knife, work quickly to frost the top of this layer with one-third of the frosting, pushing it out slightly from edges to make ripple or petal effect. Arrange one-third of the pecans on top and drizzle with 1/4 cup of the ice cream topping. Top with the second layer, top-side down. Repeat with frosting, pecans and caramel topping. Top with the third layer, right side up. Repeat with remaining frosting, pecans and caramel topping.

5. Chill cake 1 to 2 hours before serving. Makes 12 to 16 servings.

Chocolate Frosting:In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup milk. Add 6 tablespoons butter. Bring to boiling, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add one 12-ounce package (2 cups) semisweet chocolate pieces. Using a wire whisk, mix until smooth. If frosting is too thick or grainy, stir in 1 to 2 teaspoons freshly brewed hot coffee. Makes about 2-1/2 cups.

Note:If you don't have buttermilk on hand when preparing this cake, substitute sour milk in the same amount. For each cup of sour milk needed, place 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar in a glass measuring cup. Add enough milk to make 1 cup total liquid; stir. Let mixture stand for 5 minutes before using.

*If you only have two 9-inch cake pans, refrigerate 1/3 of the batter while you bake the other two layers. Clean and prepare one of the pans as directed, and bake remaining batter.


Pumpkin-Praline Layer Cake


12 servings Prep: 20 minutes
Bake: 35 minutes
Cool: 5 minutes


Ingredients

* 1  cup  packed brown sugar
* 1/2  cup  butter or margarine
* 1/4  cup  whipping cream
* 3/4  cup  chopped pecans
* 2  cups  all-purpose flour
* 2  teaspoons  baking powder
* 2  teaspoons  pumpkin pie spice
* 1  teaspoon  baking soda
* 1  teaspoon  salt
* 1-2/3  cups  granulated sugar
* 1  cup  cooking oil
* 4    eggs
* 2  cups  canned pumpkin
* 1/4  teaspoon  black walnut flavoring (optional)
*     Whipped Cream Topping (see recipe below)


Directions

1. In a heavy saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter, and whipping cream. Cook over low heat until the brown sugar just dissolves, stirring occasionally. Pour mixture into two 9x1-1/2-inch round baking pans. Sprinkle evenly with the pecans. Let the mixture cool slightly.

2. In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt. Set it aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the granulated sugar, cooking oil, and eggs. Add the pumpkin and dry ingredients alternately to the oil mixture, beating until the mixture is just combined. Stir in the black walnut flavoring, if you like.

4. Carefully spoon the batter over the pecan/ brown-sugar mixture in the baking pans. Place pans on a baking sheet. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpicks inserted in the centers come out clean. Cool the cakes in pans on wire racks for 5 minutes. Invert them onto wire racks, replacing any brown-sugar mixture that remains in the pans. Cool before assembling.

5. Meanwhile, prepare the Whipped Cream Topping.

6. To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on a serving plate, praline side up. Spread with the topping. Add the second layer, praline side up. Pipe or dollop with the remaining topping. Sprinkle lightly with some additional pie spice, if you like. Makes 12 servings.

Whipped Cream Topping: In a clean mixing bowl, beat 1-3/4 cups whipping cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form (tips curl). Add 1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla. Beat the topping mixture until stiff peaks form (the tips stand straight).

8. Note: Plan to assemble this cake no more than 1-1/2 hours before serving, so the whipped cream doesn't break down. Keep the cake chilled until it's served.



Old-Fashioned Pound Cake

16 servings Prep: 20 minutes
Bake: 1 hour 30 minutes


Ingredients

* 1-1/2  cups  butter
* 6    eggs
* 1  8-ounce carton  dairy sour cream
* 3  cups  all-purpose flour
* 1/4  teaspoon  baking soda
* 3  cups  sugar
* 1  teaspoon  vanilla
*     Fresh strawberries and blackberries (optional)


Directions

1. Allow butter, eggs, and sour cream to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan. Set aside.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour and baking soda; set aside.

3. In a large mixer bowl, beat butter with a stand mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar, beating about 10 minutes or until very light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

4. Add vanilla. Add flour mixture and sour cream alternately to egg mixture, beating on low to medium speed after each addition until just combined. Spread batter in the prepared pan.

5. Bake in a 325 degree F oven for 1-1/2 hours or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in a pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Remove from pan, and cool thoroughly on a wire rack. If you like, garnish with fresh berries. Makes 16 servings.




Poppy Seed Torte


Chill: up to 2 hours
Stand: 1 hour
Bake: 25 minutes
Cool: 1 hour
Prep: 45 minutes


Ingredients

* 1/3  cup  poppy seeds (about 1-1/2 oz.)
* 3/4  cup  milk
* 1-1/2  tsp.  vanilla
* 5    eggs
* 3/4  cup  butter
* 1-3/4  cups  all-purpose flour
* 1  tsp.  baking powder
* 1  tsp.  salt
* 1/2  cup  sugar
* 1  Tbsp.  cornstarch
* 1-1/2  cups  milk
* 1  tsp.  vanilla
* 1-1/2  cups  sugar
* 1-1/2  cups  whipping cream
* 1/2  cup  sugar


Directions

1. In a small bowl, soak poppy seeds in 3/4 cup milk and 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla for 1 hour. Meanwhile, separate eggs. Let butter and egg whites stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Set egg yolks aside until needed. Grease the bottoms of two 8x1-1/2- or 9x1-1/2-inch round cake pans. Line pans with waxed paper; grease and lightly flour. Set pans aside. In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

2. For filling: In a heavy medium saucepan, combine 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch. Gradually stir in 1-1/2 cups milk and egg yolks. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Pour filling into a bowl. Cover the surface with clear plastic wrap. Chill until completely cooled. Do not stir.

3. For cake: In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add 1-1/2 cups sugar to butter, about 2 tablespoons at a time, beating on medium to high speed until sugar is nearly dissolved. Alternately add flour mixture and poppy seed mixture to butter mixture, beating on low to medium speed after each addition just until combined. Thoroughly wash beaters.

4. In another large mixing bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Gently fold beaten egg whites into batter. Evenly divide batter between prepared cake pans. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 30 to 35 minutes for 8-inch pans or 25 to 30 minutes for 9 -inch pans or until a wood toothpick inserted near the centers of the layers comes out clean.

5. Cool cakes in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans. Cool thoroughly on wire racks.

6. To assemble, carefully split each cake layer horizontally in half. Place one cake layer, cut side up, on a serving plate. Spread with one-third of the filling. Top with second cake layer, rounded (top) side up. Spread with one-third of the filling. Top with 1 more cake layer, cut side up; spread with remaining filling. Top with the remaining cake layer, placing it rounded side up.

7. For frosting: In a chilled large mixing bowl beat whipping cream and 1/2 cup sugar with chilled beaters of an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Spread top and sides of cake with frosting. Chill up to 2 hours, or until ready to serve. Makes 12 servings.



Best Carrot-Pineapple Cake

14 servings
Ingredients

* 2  cups  sifted cake flour
* 1-3/4  cups  sugar
* 1  tablespoon  ground cinnamon
* 1  teaspoon  baking powder
* 1  teaspoon  baking soda
* 1/2  teaspoon  salt
* 1/2  teaspoon  ground allspice
* 1-1/4  cups  finely shredded carrot
* 1  8 1/4 ounce can  crushed pineapple (syrup pack)
* 3/4  cup  mayonnaise
* 4    eggs
* 1  cup  chopped walnuts, toasted
*     Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)


Directions

1. Grease and flour two 8x112-inch or 9x112-inch round baking pans. Set the pans aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt and allspice. Add carrot, undrained pineapple, mayonnaise and eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed till moistened. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. By hand, stir in walnuts.

3. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake in a 350° oven for 30 to 35 minutes or till a toothpick inserted near the centers comes out clean. Cool on wire racks for 10 minutes. Loosen sides. Remove cakes from pans. Cool thoroughly on wire racks.

4. To assemble, place 1 cake layer on a serving plate. Spread layer with about 12 cup of the Cream Cheese Frosting. Top with second layer. Spread top and sides with the remaining frosting. Store, covered, in refrigerator. Makes 14 servings.

Cream Cheese Frosting: In a large mixing bowl, beat one 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened; 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened; and 2 teaspoons vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed till light and fluffy. Gradually beat in enough sifted powdered sugar (about 4 cups) to make a frosting of spreading consistency. Makes 3-1/2 cups.






Pumpkin Pie Cake

12 servings Bake: 1 hour
Prep: 20 minutes


Ingredients

* 1  29-ounce can  pumpkin
* 1  cup  sugar
* 1  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
* 1/2  teaspoon  salt
* 1/2  teaspoon  ground nutmeg
* 1/2  teaspoon  ground ginger
* 3    eggs
* 1  12-ounce can  evaporated milk
* 1  package 2-layer-size  yellow cake mix
* 1  cup  chopped nuts
* 3/4  cup  butter or margarine, melted


Directions

1. In a mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and ginger. Add eggs. Beat lightly until mixture is just combined.

2. Gradually stir in evaporated milk; mix well. Pour into a greased 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

3. Sprinkle cake mix over pumpkin mixture; sprinkle with nuts. Drizzle with melted butter or margarine.

4. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 1 to 1-1/4 hours or until edges are firm and center is almost set. Cool on wire rack. Store in the refrigerator. Makes 12 servings.



Hummingbird Cake

12 to 16 servings Prep: 50 minutes
Cool: 10 minutes
Bake: 35 minutes


Ingredients

* 1-1/2  cups  sugar
* 1-1/2  cups  all-purpose flour
* 1  teaspoon  baking soda
* 1/4  teaspoon�� salt
* 1/4  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
* 1  8-ounce can  crushed pineapple (juice pack), drained
* 1/2  cup  cooking oil
* 4    eggs, lightly beaten
* 1  teaspoon  vanilla
* 1  cup  chopped bananas
* 1  cup  chunky-style applesauce
* 2/3  cup  toasted, chopped walnuts
*     Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)
* 1-1/2  cups  toasted, chopped pecans
* 2  tablespoons  toasted, finely chopped pecans (optional)


Directions

1. Grease and lightly flour two 9x1-1/2-inch round cake pans; set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add drained pineapple, oil, eggs and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer till combined, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Stir in bananas, applesauce and walnuts. Divide batter between prepared pans.

3. Bake in a 350° oven about 35 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Cool cake layers on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool thoroughly on wire racks.

4. Prepare the Cream Cheese Frosting; frost cake. Lightly press the 1 1/2 cups pecans into sides of cake. If you like, sprinkle the 2 tablespoons finely chopped pecans on top of cake. Cover and store in the refrigerator. Makes 12 to 16 servings.

Cream Cheese Frosting: In a large mixing bowl, beat one 8-ounce package cream cheese (softened), 1/2 cup butter (softened) and 1 teaspoon vanilla with electric mixer till light and fluffy. Gradually add 5 cups sifted powdered sugar, beating until smooth and of spreading consistency. Makes about 3 1/2 cups.


Carrot-Zucchini Cake

12 servings Prep: 40 minutes

Bake: 45 minutes

Ingredients

* 2-1/2  cups  all-purpose flour
* 2  teaspoons  baking powder
* 1-3/4  teaspoons  ground cinnamon
* 1/2  teaspoon  baking soda
* 1/2  teaspoon  salt
* 1/2  teaspoon  ground nutmeg
* 1  cup  butter
* 1-3/4  cups  sugar
* 1  teaspoon  vanilla
* 4    eggs
* 1/2  cup  evaporated milk
* 1-1/2  teaspoons  lemon juice
* 1-1/2  cups  finely shredded carrots
* 1-1/2  cups  finely shredded unpeeled zucchini
* 3/4  cup  finely chopped pecans
* 1  recipe  Pecan-Cream Cheese Icing (see recipe below)


Directions

1. Grease and flour a 13x9x2-inch baking pan or two 9x1-1/2-inch round cake pans; set aside.

2. Stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, soda, salt, and nutmeg.

3. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until well combined.

4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.

5. Stir together the milk and lemon juice. Add dry ingredients and milk mixture alternately to beaten mixture, beating on low speed after each addition, just until combined.

6. Stir in the carrots and zucchini and fold in the nuts. Pour batter into the prepared pan(s).

7. Bake in a 350 degree F oven 45 to 50 minutes (about 40 minutes for 9-inch pans) or until a toothpick inserted near the center(s) comes out clean. Place 13x9-inch cake in pan on a wire rack and cool thoroughly. Or for round layers, cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans; cool on wire racks.

8. Frost top of cake in 13x9-inch pan or fill and frost 9-inch layers with Pecan-Cream Cheese Icing. Makes 12 servings.

Make-Ahead Tip: Prepare and frost cake; cover and chill up to 24 hours.

Pecan-Cream Cheese Icing: Combine two 3-ounce packages softened cream cheese, 4 teaspoons milk, and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Beat until smooth and fluffy. Gradually add 4-1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar to creamed mixture; beat until smooth and fluffy. Stir in 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans. If necessary, add additional milk to make frosting of spreading consistency.




German Chocolate-Nut Cake

Prep: 30 minutes
Bake: 30 minutes


Ingredients

* 1-1/2  cups  broken pecans
* 3/4  cup  sugar
* 1/3  cup  coarsely chopped sweet baking chocolate
* 1/4  cup  Dutch processed or unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1  tsp.  baking powder
* 1/4  tsp.  baking soda
* 5    eggs
* 1-1/2  tsp.  vanilla
*     Toasted Coconut-Pecan Caramel Sauce (recipe follows)


Directions

1. Grease a 9x1-1/2-inch round cake pan; line bottom with waxed paper. Grease waxed paper; set pan aside. In a blender or food processor, combine pecans, sugar, chopped chocolate, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda. Cover; blend or process till nuts are ground. Add eggs and vanilla. Blend or process till nearly smooth.

2. Spread nut mixture in the prepared pan. Bake in a 350 degree F oven about 30 minutes or till a toothpick inserted near center of cake comes out clean.

3. Remove from oven. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan; cool completely on wire rack.

4. To serve, cut into 16 wedges. Place 1 wedge on each dessert plate, drizzle with sauce. Place another wedge on top at a different angle. Drizzle with more sauce. Makes 8 servings.

Toasted Coconut-Pecan Caramel Sauce: Spread 1/2 cup flaked coconut and 1/2 cup chopped pecans in a thin layer in a shallow baking pan. Bake the coconut and nuts in a 350 degree F oven for 6 to 8 minutes or till the coconut is toasted and the nuts are golden brown, stirring once or twice. Remove from oven. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 12.25-ounce jar caramel ice cream topping (room temperature), coconut and pecans. Serve immediately or heat slightly in microwave before serving. Makes about 1-1/2 cups.




Sweet Potato-Cranberry Cake


Prep: 35 minutes
Bake: 55 minutes
Cool: 15 minutes


Ingredients

* 3  cups  all-purpose flour
* 2  tablespoons  ground cinnamon
* 1  tablespoon  baking powder
* 1  tablespoon  baking soda
* 1-1/2  teaspoons  ground ginger
* 1  teaspoon  salt
* 1/2  teaspoon  ground cloves
* 1/2  teaspoon  ground nutmeg
* 2  cups  cooked, mashed plain sweet potatoes*
* 1-1/2  cups  cooking oil
* 4    eggs
* 1-1/2  teaspoons  vanilla
* 1-1/2  cups  sugar
* 1  cup  chopped walnuts and/or pecans, toasted
* 3/4  cup  chopped cranberries
* 4  ounces  semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
*     Powdered sugar (optional)


Directions

1. Grease and lightly flour a 10-inch fluted tube pan; set aside. In a large bowl combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, salt, cloves, and nutmeg. Set aside.

2. In a very large bowl beat sweet potatoes and oil with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Beat in eggs and vanilla until well combined. Beat in sugar. Add flour mixture, beating until combined. Fold in walnuts and cranberries.

3. Transfer 1/3 (about 2-1/2 cups) of the batter to a large bowl; stir in melted chocolate. Spoon half of the remaining plain batter into the prepared tube pan. Spoon chocolate batter atop batter in pan. Spoon remaining plain batter atop chocolate batter. Using a thin metal spatula, swirl batter slightly to create a marbled appearance.

4. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 55 to 65 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes; invert cake onto a wire rack. Cool completely.

5. If desired, sprinkle top of cake with powdered sugar just before serving. Makes 16 servings.

Tip:>B>This cake makes a great morning coffee cake. If serving it in the morning, make it the day before. Wrap and store the cooled cake overnight for easier slicing.

*Note:For 2 cups mashed, plain sweet potatoes, peel 1 pound sweet potatoes. Cut into 2- to 3-inch pieces. Cook potato pieces, covered, in enough boiling water to cover for 20 to 25 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain well. Mash with a potato masher or beat with an electric mixer until smooth.
Sweet Potato-Cranberry Cake



Prairie State Oatmeal Cake

16 servings Prep: 45 minutes
Bake: 30 minutes


Ingredients

* 1  cup  quick-cooking rolled oats
* 1-1/2  cups  boiling water
* 1-1/2  cups  all-purpose flour
* 1-1/2  teaspoons  ground cinnamon
* 1  teaspoon  baking soda
* 1/2  cup  shortening
* 1  cup  granulated sugar
* 1  cup  packed brown sugar
* 2    eggs
* 6  tablespoons  butter
* 1  cup  coconut
* 2/3  cup  packed brown sugar
* 2  tablespoons  milk
* 3/4  to 1 cup  chopped walnuts
* 1/2  teaspoon  salt


Directions

1. Grease a 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Set aside.

2. In small bowl, combine oats and boiling water; let stand 20 minutes. In medium bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.

3. In large bowl, beat granulated sugar, the 1 cup brown sugar, and the shortening on medium speed of electric mixer until combined. Beat in eggs. Beat in oatmeal mixture.

4. Gradually add flour mixture, beating until combined (if necessary, stir in last portion by hand). Turn the batter into prepared pan.

5. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Place pan on wire rack.

6. In saucepan, combine butter, coconut, the 2/3 cup brown sugar, and the milk Cook and stir until boiling. Stir in walnuts. Spoon over hot cake. Cool. Makes 16 servings.

 

BROWNIE SELECTIONS


Caramel Blonde Brownies

Ingredients

* 1  14-ounce  package vanilla caramels, unwrapped (about 48 caramels)
* 3  tablespoons  milk
* 1-2/3  cups  all-purpose flour
* 1-2/3  cups  rolled oats
* 1-1/4  cups  packed brown sugar
* 3/4  teaspoon  baking soda
* 1  cup  butter or margarine, melted
* 1-1/4  cups  milk chocolate pieces


Directions

1. In a heavy medium saucepan, combine the unwrapped caramels and the milk. Cover and cook the mixture over low heat for about 15 minutes or until the caramels melt, stirring the mixture occasionally.

2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together the flour, rolled oats, brown sugar, baking soda and butter or margarine till well combined. Reserve about 1 cup of the oat mixture. Press remaining oat mixture into bottom of a 13x9x2-inch baking pan to form an oatmeal crust.

3. Bake the crust in a 350 degree oven for 8 minutes. Remove pan from oven.

4. Spread the melted caramel mixture evenly over crust in pan. Sprinkle with the milk chocolate pieces. Sprinkle with the reserved oat mixture.

5. Return to the 350 degree oven and bake for about 15 minutes or till the top is golden. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool well. Cut into bars. Makes 32.


Brownie Bombs


16 servings Bake: 32 minutes
Prep: 25 minutes


Ingredients

* 4  ounces  unsweetened chocolate
* 1/2  cup  butter or margarine
* 1-2/3  cups  sugar
* 1/2  teaspoon  vanilla
* 3    eggs
* 3/4  cup  all-purpose flour
* 1  8-ounce package  cream cheese, softened
* 4  teaspoons  all-purpose flour
* 1    egg
* 1/4  teaspoon  vanilla
* 1/2  cup  semisweet chocolate pieces


Directions

1. In a saucepan, melt the unsweetened chocolate and butter over low heat. Remove the mixture from the heat.Stir in 1-1/3 cups of the sugar and the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Cool the mixture for 15 minutes. Beat in the 3 eggs and the 3/4 cup flour.

2. In a mixing bowl, mix the remaining 1/3 cup sugar, the cream cheese, the 1 egg, the 4 teaspoons flour, and the 1/4 teaspoon vanilla.

3. Coat an 8x8x2-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Spread 2/3 of the chocolate batter in the pan. Spoon cream cheese layer over batter. Dollop with remaining chocolate batter.

4. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with chocolate pieces. Bake for 12 minutes more. Cool. Cover; store in the refrigerator. Let the chilled dessert stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to serve. Makes 16 servings.



Cream Cheese Brownies

16 brownies Bake: 30 minutes
Prep: 20 minutes


Ingredients

* 3  ounces  sweet baking chocolate
* 3  tablespoons  butter or margarine
* 1  3-ounce package  cream cheese, softened
* 2  tablespoons  butter or margarine
* 1/4  cup  sugar
* 1  tablespoon  all-purpose flour
* 3    eggs
* 1-1/2  teaspoons  vanilla
* 3/4  cup  sugar
* 1/8  teaspoon  almond extract
* 1/2  cup  all-purpose flour
* 1/2  teaspoon  baking powder
* 1/4  teaspoon  salt
* 1/2  cup  chopped nuts
*     Chocolate Frosting (optional) (see recipe below)


Directions

1. In a small heavy saucepan, melt sweet baking chocolate and the 3 tablespoons butter over low heat, stirring occasionally. Let cool.

2. For the cream cheese layer, in a small mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and 2 tablespoons butter until combined. Beat in the 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, one egg, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla until combined.

3. For chocolate layer, in another mixing bowl, beat together the 3/4 cup sugar and two eggs. Beat in the melted and cooled chocolate, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and the almond extract.

4. Add the 1/2 cup flour, baking powder, and salt, beating mixture just until combined. Stir in the nuts.

5. In a greased 9x9x2-inch baking pan, spread half of the chocolate mixture. Evenly spoon all of the cream cheese mixture over the chocolate layer, spreading evenly. Dollop remaining chocolate mixture over cream cheese layer. Swirl layers with a knife or spatula.

6. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 30 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack.

7. Frost brownies, if desired. Store, covered, in the refrigerator. Makes 16.

Chocolate Frosting: In a mixing bowl, beat together 1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar, 1 ounce melted and cooled sweet baking chocolate, and 1 tablespoon butter or margarine until smooth. Beat in 1-1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar and enough milk (about 2 tablespoons) to make a spreadable frosting.


Magic Brownies

15 servings Prep: 25 minutes
Bake: 30 minutes


Ingredients

* 13  tablespoons  butter (no substitutes)
* 6-1/2  ounces  unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
* 1-1/2  cups  sifted cake flour or all-purpose flour
* 3/4  teaspoon  baking powder
* 1/2  teaspoon  salt
* 4    eggs
* 2  cups  sugar
* 1-1/4  teaspoons  vanilla
* 1-1/4  cups  coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted


Directions

1. Grease a 13x9x2-inch baking pan; set aside. In a heavy small saucepan, heat the butter and chocolate over low heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate is melted and smooth. Set aside to cool. In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs and sugar with an electric mixer on high speed for 5 minutes or until lemon-colored and fluffy, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Add cooled chocolate mixture and vanilla. Beat on low speed until combined. Add flour mixture. Beat on low speed until combined, scraping sides of bowl. Stir in walnuts. Spread the batter in the prepared pan. Bake in a 325 degree F oven for 30 minutes or until brownies appear set.

3. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Makes 15 servings.



Elves' Best Brownies

16 bars Prep: 20 minutes
Bake: 25 minutes


Ingredients

* 1/2  cup  butter
* 3  tablespoons  unsweetened cocoa powder
* 2    eggs
* 1  cup  sugar
* 1  teaspoon  vanilla
* 3/4  cup  all-purpose flour
* 1/2  cup  chopped walnuts or pecans
*     Chocolate Frosting (see recipe below)


Directions

1. Grease an 8x8x2-inch baking pan. Set the baking pan aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, melt butter and unsweetened cocoa powder over low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove the mixture from the heat.

3. Stir in the eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Using a wooden spoon, beat lightly until just combined. Stir in flour and nuts. Spread butter in prepared baking pan.

4. Bake in a 350 degree F oven 25 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack and spread with frosting. Makes 16 bars.

Chocolate Frosting: In a mixing bowl, mix 3 tablespoons melted butter, 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons milk, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Add 2 cups sifted powdered sugar and beat with an electric mixer until the frosting is spreadable.
Elves' Best Brownies

 

 

Awesome Chocolate-Peanut Blowout Cookies

about 30 cookies Bake: 10 minutes per batch
Prep: 30 minutes


Ingredients

* 1/2  cup  unsalted butter or regular butter, softened
* 1/2  cup  peanut butter
* 1/2  cup  packed brown sugar
* 1/4  cup  granulated sugar
* 1  teaspoon  baking soda
* 1/4  teaspoon  salt
* 1    egg
* 1/4  cup  milk
* 1  teaspoon  vanilla
* 2  cups  all-purpose flour
* 3/4  cup  semisweet chocolate pieces
* 3/4  cup  honey-roasted peanuts
* 3/4  cup  coarsely chopped bite-size chocolate-covered peanut butter cups (about 15)*


Directions

1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and peanut butter with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add the sugars, baking soda and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of the bowl occasionally.

2. Beat in egg, milk and vanilla. Using the mixer, beat in as much of the flour as you can. Stir in remaining flour by hand. Stir in the chocolate pieces, peanuts and peanut butter cups.

3. Drop by generously rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake the cookies in a 350° oven for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Makes about 30 cookies.

Note:If you like, for easier chopping, freeze miniature chocolate-covered peanut butter cups in their wrappers for 1 hour. Remove frozen candies from wrappers before chopping.




Our Own Dream Cookies

about 24 large cookies
Ingredients

* 1/2  cup  shortening
* 1/2  cup  butter, softened
* 3/4  cup  packed brown sugar
* 3/4  cup  granulated sugar
* 1/2  teaspoon  baking powder
* 1/4  teaspoon  baking soda
* 1/4  teaspoon  salt
* 2    eggs
* 1  teaspoon  vanilla
* 1-1/3  cups  all-purpose flour
* 1/3  cup  unsweetened cocoa powder
* 2-1/2  cups  regular or quick-cooking rolled oats
* 1  cup  semisweet chocolate pieces
* 1  cup  white baking pieces or peanut butter-flavored pieces
* 1  cup  chopped macadamia nuts or pecans


Directions

1. In a large mixing bowl, beat shortening and butter with an electric mixer 30 seconds or until softened. Add sugars, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Beat mixture until combined.

2. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat thoroughly. Beat in flour and cocoa powder at low speed until just combined. By hand, stir in the oats, chocolate pieces, white baking pieces and nuts.

3. Using a 1/4-cup dry measure, drop dough onto a greased cookie sheet. Press dough into a 3-inch circle. Repeat with remaining dough, placing cookies 3 inches apart on cookie sheets.

4. Bake cookies in a 350° oven for 12 to 14 minutes or until just set. Let stand 1 minute on a cookie sheet. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

5. Store cookies in a container in the freezer up to 3 months. Makes about 24 large cookies.



Gingersnap Gems

about 45 cookies Bake: 8 minutes per pan
Prep: 20 minutes


Ingredients

* 2  cups  all-purpose flour
* 1  teaspoon  baking powder
* 1/2  teaspoon  baking soda
* 1  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
* 1/2  teaspoon  ground cloves
* 1/2  teaspoon  ground ginger
* 1/4  teaspoon  salt
* 1  cup  sugar
* 3/4  cup  shortening
* 1/4  cup  molasses
* 1    egg
*     Sugar


Directions

1. In a bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and salt. Set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the 1 cup sugar and shortening with an electric mixer until well combined. Beat in molasses; beat in the egg. Add the flour mixture and beat until combined.

3. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in sugar and place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

4. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are set and tops are crackled. Cool on a cookie sheet for 1 minute. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 45 cookies.
Gingersnap Gems



Double Chocolate-Cherry Cookies


72 Bake: 14 to 16 minutes

Ingredients

* 1  cup  butter, softened
* 1-1/3  cups  granulated sugar
* 2/3  cup  packed brown sugar
* 1  teaspoon  baking soda
* 1/4  teaspoon  salt
* 2    eggs
* 1-1/2  teaspoons  vanilla
* 3  cups  all-purpose flour
* 2  cups  dried tart cherries
* 1-1/2  cups  chopped walnuts
* 1-1/2  cups  semisweet chocolate pieces
* 1  cup  white baking pieces


Directions

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer 30 seconds. Add sugars, soda and salt. Beat till combined.

Beat in the eggs and vanilla till mixture is smooth. Using the mixer, beat in as much of the flour as you can. Stir in remiaining flour by hand. Stir in cherries, nuts, chocolate and white baking pieces, (Dough will be stiff.)

Drop from rounded tablespoons 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake in 325° oven 14 to 16 minutes or till golden. Cool a few minutes; remove to a wire rack to cool.
Double Chocolate-Cherry Cookies


Fantasy Chocolate-Caramel Delights

36 Prep: 30 minutes
Bake: 10 minutes/batch
Stand: 30 minutes
Chill: 2 hours


Ingredients

* 1/2  cup  butter or margarine, softened
* 2/3  cup  sugar
* 1    egg
* 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  semisweet chocolate pieces (3 ounces)
* 1  teaspoon  shortening


Directions

1. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add sugar and beat well.

2. Separate egg, setting the egg white aside to use in step 4. Beat in egg yolk, milk and vanilla. In another bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and beat till well combined. Chill the cookie dough in plastic wrap for 2 hours or till easy to handle.

3. In a small saucepan, heat and stir caramels and whipping cream over low heat till mixture is smooth. Set aside.

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

5. Bake in a 350 degrees F oven about 10 minutes or till edges are firm. Spoon some melted caramel mixture into indentation of each cookie. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool. (If necessary, reheat caramel mixture to keep it spoonable.)

6. In another saucepan, heat and stir chocolate pieces and shortening over low heat till chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Let cool slightly. Transfer the chocolate mixture to a self-sealing plastic bag. Close bag and cut a small hole in one corner of it. Drizzle cookies with chocolate mixture. Let stand till chocolate is set. Makes 36 cookies.



Kansas Sunflower Cookies

60 cookies Bake: 8 minutes per batch
Prep: 25 minutes


Ingredients

* 1-1/4  cups  all-purpose flour
* 1  teaspoon  baking soda
* 1/2  teaspoon  baking powder
* 1  cup  butter, softened
* 1  cup  granulated sugar
* 1  cup  packed brown sugar
* 2    eggs
* 1  teaspoon  vanilla
* 2  cups  quick-cooking rolled oats
* 1  cup  shredded coconut
* 1  cup  shelled sunflower seeds


Directions

1. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda and baking powder.

2. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add the sugars and beat till combined.

3. Add the eggs and vanilla to butter mixture, and beat till combined. Using the mixer, beat in as much of the flour mixture as you can. Stir in any remaining flour mixture by hand. Stir in the oats, coconut and sunflower seeds.

4. Drop the dough by slightly rounded tablespoons about 3 inches apart on several lightly greased cookie sheets lined with foil.

5. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 8 to 9 minutes or till lightly browned. Let cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool. Makes 60 cookies.
Kansas Sunflower Cookies
tai2090632 says:
I've made these many times and they always get compliments. Sunflower seeds are an unexpected surpri...... more
I've made these many times and they always get compliments. Sunflower seeds are an unexpected surprise.



Dream Jumbles

about 36 cookies Prep: 20 minutes
Bake: 8 minutes


Ingredients

* 1/2  cup  butter
* 1/2  cup  granulated sugar
* 1/2  cup  packed brown sugar
* 3/4  teaspoon  baking soda
* 1/4  teaspoon  salt
* 1    egg
* 3/4  teaspoon  vanilla
* 1-1/2  cups  all-purpose flour
* 1  cup  raisins
* 1  cup  large semisweet chocolate pieces
* 3/4  cup  coarsely chopped pecans
* 3/4  cup  slivered or sliced almonds


Directions

1. In a large bowl, beat butter for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt; beat until well combined. Beat in egg and vanilla.

2. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with a mixer; stir in any remaining flour. Using a wooden spoon, stir in raisins, chocolate, pecans, and almonds. Drop by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

3. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are light brown. Remove cookies from cookie sheet; cool on wire racks. Makes about 36 cookies.



Lemon-Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Prep: 25 minutes
Bake: 18 minutes


Ingredients

* 1-1/4  cups  all-purpose flour
* 2  Tbsp.  finely chopped pecans or walnuts
* 3  Tbsp.  sugar
* 2  tsp.  finely shredded lemon peel
* 1/2  cup  butter


Directions

1. In a bowl, combine flour, nuts, sugar and lemon peel. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs and starts to cling (dough will still be crumbly). Knead until smooth and form into a ball.

2. On lightly floured surface, roll dough until 1/2 inch thick. Using a 1-1/2-inch to 3-inch scalloped cookie cutter, cut into rounds. Place 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

3. Bake in a 325 degrees F oven for 18 to 20 minutes for small cookies or 20 to 22 minutes for larger cookies or until bottom starts to brown and center is set. Remove and cool on a wire rack. 20, 1-1/2-inch cookies or 5, 3-inch cookies
Lemon-Pecan Shortbread Cookies
linw10 says:
I really resent having to sign up for the magazine in order to print the recipes. I am a subscriber...... more
I really resent having to sign up for the magazine in order to print the recipes. I am a subscriber now, but I will not renew.



Hazelnut-Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Prep: 25 minutes
Bake: 12 minutes/batch


Ingredients

* 3  cups  all-purpose flour
* 3/4  tsp.  baking powder
* 1/2  tsp.  baking soda
* 1/2  tsp.  salt
* 1  cup  butter, softened
* 1/2  cup  shortening
* 1  cup  granulated sugar
* 1  cup  packed brown sugar
* 2    eggs
* 2  tsp.  vanilla or hazelnut liqueur
* 1  12-oz. pkg.  miniature semisweet chocolate pieces
* 6  oz.  premium white baking chocolate, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
* 1  cup  hazelnuts, toasted, skins removed, and chopped or 1 cup chopped pecans


Directions

1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.

2. In a very large mixing bowl, beat butter and shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat until combined. Gradually add flour mixture, beating on low speed just until combined (dough will be stiff). Using a wooden spoon, stir in semisweet chocolate pieces, white baking chocolate chunks and hazelnuts.

3. Drop dough from a rounded measuring tablespoon 2-inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.

4. Bake in a 325 degree F. oven for 12 to 14 minutes or until edges are light brown (do not overbake). Cool on cookie sheets for 1 minute. Transfer to wire racks and let cool. Makes about 60 cookies.
Hazelnut-Chocolate Chunk Cookies



Chocolate Waffle Turtle Cookies


Prep: 15 min.
Cook: 2 min. each batch


Ingredients

* 1  cup  butter or margarine, melted
* 1-1/2  cups  granulated sugar
* 4    eggs, lightly beaten
* 1/2  cup  unsweetened cocoa powder
* 2  tsp.  vanilla
* 2  cups  all-purpose flour
* 1/4  cup  butter
* 3  Tbsp.  water
* 3  Tbsp.  unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1-1/2  cups  powdered sugar
* 1  tsp.  vanilla
* 1/2  cup  caramel ice cream topping
* 1  cup  chopped toasted pecans (optional)


Directions

1. Preheat waffle iron. In a large bowl stir together melted butter, granulated sugar, eggs, 1/2 cup cocoa powder and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Add flour; stir just until combined.

2. Drop heaping teaspoonfuls of batter into center of each waffle grid. Cook on medium-high heat about 2 minutes, adjusting heat as necessary. Using a fork transfer cookies to rack; cool. Repeat with remaining batter. When cool, mound cookies on a platter. Makes about 48 cookies.

3. For glaze: In a small saucepan heat 1/4 cup butter and water over low heat until melted. Add the 3 tablespoons cocoa and stir until smooth. Remove from heat. Beat in powdered sugar and the 1 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in additional hot water, if needed, to reach drizzling consistency. Drizzle over cookies along with caramel topping. Sprinkle with pecans, if you like.



Chocolate-Cranberry Biscotti

Ingredients

* 1/2  cup  butter, softened
* 2/3  cup  sugar
* 1/3  cup  unsweetened cocoa powder
* 2  tsp.  baking powder
* 2    eggs
* 2  cups  all-purpose flour
* 1/2  cup  semisweet chocolate pieces
* 1/2  cup  dried cranberries or dried cherries
*     Powdered Sugar Icing (optional; recipe follows)


Directions

1. Lightly grease a large cookie sheet; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add sugar, cocoa powder and baking powder. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. Stir in chocolate pieces and dried cranberries or cherries.

2. Divide dough in half. Shape each dough portion into a 9-inch-long roll. Place rolls on prepared cookie sheet, 5 inches apart; flatten logs slightly until about 2 inches wide.

3. Bake in a 375 degree F oven about 20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on cookie sheet for 1 hour. (For easier slicing, wrap cooled rolls in plastic wrap and let stand overnight at room temperature.)

4. Use a serrated knife to cut each roll diagonally into 1/2-inch slices. Place slices, cut sides down, on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a 325 degree F oven for 8 minutes. Turn slices over and bake for 7 to 9 minutes more or until dry and crisp. (If baking slices after cooling the logs only 1 hour, you may need to bake 1 to 2 minutes longer per side.) Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

5. If you like, drizzle cooled biscotti with Powdered Sugar Icing. Makes about 28 cookies.

Powdered Sugar Icing: In a small bowl, combine 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until icing reaches a drizzling consistency.



Chocolate Lovers' Oatmeal Delights

48 cookies Bake: 10 minutes
Prep: 25 minutes

Ingredients

* 1-1/4  cups  all-purpose flour
* 1/3  cup  unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1/2  teaspoon  baking soda
* 1/2  teaspoon  salt
* 1  cup  butter, softened
* 1-1/2  cups  sugar
* 1    egg
* 1/4  cup  water
* 1  teaspoon  vanilla
* 3  cups  quick-cooking rolled oats
* 1  cup  semisweet chocolate pieces
* 1  cup  peanut butter flavored pieces


Directions

1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

2. In a very large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds.

3. Add the sugar and beat mixture until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg, water, and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour mixture as you can.

4. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour mixture and the rolled oats. Stir in chocolate pieces and peanut butter flavored pieces.

5. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until the edges are set. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and cool. Makes 48 cookies.




Triple-Flavored Big-Batch Cookies

Prep: 25 minutes
Bake: 12 minutes/batch
Cool: 1 minute/batch


Ingredients

* 3  cups  unbleached or all-purpose flour
* 2  cups  rolled oats
* 3  Tbsp.  unsweetened cocoa powder
* 2  tsp.  baking soda
* 1/2  tsp.  salt
* 2  cups  butter, softened
* 1  cup  chunky peanut butter
* 1-1/2  cups  granulated sugar
* 1-1/2  cups  packed brown sugar
* 3    eggs
* 2  tsp.  vanilla
* 3  cups  semisweet chocolate pieces


Directions

1. In a large bowl stir together flour, oats, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside

2. In a very large bowl beat butter and peanut butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Beat in as much of the flour mixture as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour mixture. Stir in semisweet chocolate pieces.

3. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 12 to 14 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and set. Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute. Transfer to wire racks to cool. Makes 10 to 11 dozen cookies.

Make-Ahead Tips: To store dough, place in an airtight container; cover and chill up to 1 week. Or, place in a freezer container; freeze up to 6 months. To use, thaw in refrigerator.
Triple-Flavored Big-Batch Cookies



Chocolate-Caramel Pecan Clusters

18 to 20 large or 30 to 35 small candies Cook: 35 minutes
Prep: 40 minutes


Ingredients

* 4-1/2  cups  pecan halves (1 pound)
* 2  cups  sugar
* 2  cups  whipping cream
* 3/4  cup  light-colored corn syrup
* 1/2  cup  butter
* 1/8  teaspoon  salt
* 1  cup  semisweet chocolate pieces (6 ounces)
* 1  cup  vanilla baking pieces
* 1/3  cup  semisweet chocolate pieces (2 ounces)
* 1  teaspoon  shortening
* 1/3  cup  vanilla baking pieces
* 1  teaspoon  shortening


Directions

1. In a shallow baking pan, spread pecan halves in a thin layer. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 5 to 10 minutes or until pecans are a light golden brown, stirring once or twice. Remove from oven. Set aside. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or greased foil.

2. For caramel mixture, in a 3-quart saucepan, combine sugar, 1-1/2 cups of the whipping cream, the corn syrup, butter, and salt. Cook and stir over medium-high heat to boiling.

3. Keeping mixture boiling, very slowly add remaining 1/2 cup whipping cream. Clip a candy thermometer to side of the pan. Reduce heat to medium-low; mixture should boil at a moderate, steady rate over entire surface.

4. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture reaches 244 degree F (firm-ball stage). Keep an eye on the mixture so it doesn't boil over. Remove from heat immediately. Remove candy thermometer. Pour into a 4-cup glass measuring cup.

5. For large candies, mound pecans in 20 groups, 3-1/2 inches apart on the baking sheets. For small candies, arrange 3 or 4 pecan halves 2 inches apart.

6. Quickly pour half of the caramel mixture over pecans. (If caramel is very hot, it will run more. Just push caramel back to pecan mound with a small spatula.) Repeat with remaining caramel mixture. (Caramel will have cooled enough to mound.)

7. In a small saucepan, melt the 1 cup semisweet chocolate pieces over low heat. In another small saucepan, melt the 1 cup vanilla baking pieces over low heat. Spread half of the caramel mounds with semisweet chocolate and the other half with vanilla baking pieces.

8. Using the same small saucepans, melt the 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate pieces and 1 teaspoon shortening in one saucepan and the 1/3 cup vanilla baking pieces and 1 teaspoon shortening in the other. Drizzle semisweet chocolate over vanilla-frosted candies; drizzle the melted vanilla baking pieces over the semisweet chocolate-frosted candies. Drag a toothpick through the drizzle, if you like. Let stand until set. Makes 18 to 20 large or 30 to 35 small candies.

Note: Vanilla baking pieces are the same size and shape as the familiar semisweet chocolate pieces.
Chocolate-Caramel Pecan Clusters



Caramel Apple Cookies

Stand: 2 minutes/batch
Bake: 10 minutes per batch
Prep: 45 minutes


Ingredients

* 1/2  cup  butter, softened
* 1-1/4  cups  packed brown sugar
* 1  tsp.  baking soda
* 1  tsp.  apple pie spice
* 1/4  tsp.  salt
* 1    egg
* 1/2  cup  apple juice or milk
* 2-1/4  cups  all-purpose flour
* 1/4  cup  whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour
* 1    large tart apple (such as Granny Smith), peeled, cored, and coarsely shredded (about 1 cup)
* 1/2  cup  packed brown sugar
* 3  Tbsp.  butter
* 3  Tbsp.  apple juice
* 2-2/3  cups  powdered sugar
* 1/2  cup  finely chopped pecans, toasted


Directions

1. In a large mixing bowl beat 1/2 cup butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add 1-1/4 cups brown sugar, baking soda, apple pie spice, and salt. Beat until well combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg until well combined. Add 1/2 cup apple juice; beat on low speed until combined (mixture will look curdled). Beat in as much of the flours as you can with the mixer; stir in any remaining flour. Fold in apple.

2. Drop dough by slightly rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto parchment paper-lined cookie sheets. Bake in 350 degree F oven about 10 minutes or until tops are lightly browned. Let stand 2 minutes on cookie sheets. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool.

3. In a small saucepan heat and stir 1/2 cup brown sugar, 3 tablespoons butter, and 3 tablespoons apple juice over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Whisk in powdered sugar. Spread frosting on cooled cookies and immediately sprinkle with pecans. If frosting begins to harden, stir in a small amount of apple juice to make spreading consistency. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.
Caramel Apple Cookies
crichton1 says:
From Midwest Living: We love these kitchen-tested cookies! Just made them again. Delicious! Dough is...... more
From Midwest Living: We love these kitchen-tested cookies! Just made them again. Delicious! Dough is soft but easily manageable, and the frosting and nuts add sweetness and crunch to the top.


Cinnamon-Cardamom Crisps

42 cookies Bake: 10 minutes
Prep: 20 minutes


Ingredients

* 1-2/3  cups  all-purpose flour
* 2  teaspoons  ground cinnamon
* 1-1/2  teaspoons  ground cardamom
* 1/2  teaspoon  baking powder
* 1  cup  butter, softened
* 1/2  cup  sugar
* 1    egg
* 1/2  cup  ground almonds
* 1    slightly beaten egg yolk
* 1  tablespoon  water
*     Sliced almonds


Directions

1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the all-purpose flour, cinnamon, cardamom, and baking powder.

2. In another bowl, beat butter, sugar, and egg with an electric mixer until thoroughly blended. Add flour mixture and ground almonds; beat well. Cover; chill dough 2 hours or until easy to handle.

3. Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. Flatten the balls slightly. Combine egg yolk and water. Brush the tops with egg mixture; sprinkle with sliced almonds.

4. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and cookies are set. Remove and cool on a wire rack. Makes 42 cookies.

Note: Add some color to these cookies by drizzling them with melted pastel candy coating, confectioner's coating, or almond bark. Add 1/2 teaspoon shortening to the mixture for easy drizzling.
Cinnamon-Cardamom Crisps


Peanut Butter Temptations

54 Prep: 30 minutes
Bake: 8 minutes


Ingredients

* 1/2  cup  butter
* 1/2  cup  peanut butter
* 1/2  cup  granulated sugar
* 1/2  cup  packed brown sugar
* 1    egg
* 1/2  teaspoon  vanilla
* 1-1/4  cups  all-purpose flour
* 3/4  teaspoon  baking soda
* 1/2  teaspoon  salt
* 54  bite-size  chocolate-covered peanut butter cups
*     Melted semisweet chocolate


Directions

1. In a large bowl, beat butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Add egg and vanilla; beat well.

2. Stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to peanut butter mixture. Beat on low speed just until combined.

3. Shape into 1-inch balls. Place in greased 1-3/4-inch* muffin pans. Bake in a 350 degree F oven about 8 minutes or until lightly browned on top.

4. Meanwhile, unwrap peanut butter cups. When cookies are done, remove them from the oven and immediately press a peanut butter cup into the center of each. Cool in a pan on a wire rack. Drizzle with melted chocolate. Makes 54.

*Note: If you don't have small muffin pans, place balls on greased cookie sheets. Don't flatten. Bake in a 350 degree F oven about 8 minutes or until golden. Immediately press a peanut butter cup upside down into each cookie. Remove and cool cookies on wire racks.



Oatmeal-Cherry Cookies

about 60 cookies Cool: 1 minute/batch
Prep: 30 minutes
Bake: 12 minutes/batch


Ingredients

* 1  cup  butter, softened
* 1  cup  packed dark brown sugar
* 1/2  cup  granulated sugar
* 1-1/2  teaspoons  baking powder
* 1  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
* 1/2  teaspoon  salt
* 1/2  teaspoon  baking soda
* 2    eggs
* 1  teaspoon  vanilla
* 2  cups  all-purpose flour
* 2  cups  rolled oats
* 1  cup  snipped dried red cherries (6 ounces)


Directions

1. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in the remaining flour. Stir in oats and dried cherries.

2. Drop the dough by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake in a 350 degree F. oven about 12 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheets for 1 minute. Transfer to wire racks and let cool. Makes about 60 cookies.


Lemon Walnut Biscotti

Chill: 15 minutes
Bake: 25 plus 12 minutes
Prep: 40 minutes
Cool: 45 minutes


Ingredients

* 3  cups  all-purpose flour
* 1  tsp.  baking powder
* 1/2  tsp.  salt
* 1/4  tsp.  baking soda
* 10  Tbsp.  butter, softened
* 1-1/3  cups  granulated sugar
* 4-1/2  tsp.  finely shredded lemon peel
* 2    eggs
* 3  Tbsp.  lemon juice
* 2  cups  chopped walnuts
* 1    egg white, lightly beaten
* 3  Tbsp.  turbinado sugar


Directions

1. Lightly grease 2 cookie sheets or line with parchment paper; set aside. In bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.

2. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar and lemon peel. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl. Beat in the 2 eggs, one at a time, until combined. Beat in lemon juice until combined. Beat in as much of the flour mixture as you can with the mixer. Using a wood spoon, stir in remaining flour mixture. Stir in walnuts.

3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; divide into three equal parts. Shape each portion into a 10-inch-long loaf about 1-1/2 inches wide. Place loaves about 3 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets; flatten loaves slightly until about 2 inches wide. Brush loaves with egg white. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Place cookie sheets in refrigerator and chill for 15 minutes.

4. Bake in a 325 degree F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until firm and light brown. Cool on cookie sheets for 45 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F.

5. Transfer loaves to a cutting board. Use a serrated knife to cut each loaf diagonally into 1/2-inch slices. Put slices on cookie sheets, cut sides down. Bake about 7 minutes, or until lightly browned. Turn the cookie slices over; bake for 5 to 6 minutes more or until lightly browned, crisp and dry. Remove and cool on wire racks Store in an airtight container at room temperature, or freeze the biscotti for up to 3 months. Makes 50 cookies.




Delectable Date Cookies

 

about 30 cookies Bake: 25 minutes
Prep: 35 minutes
View Nutrition Facts
Ingredients


* 1/2  cup  water
* 2  tablespoons  sugar
* 2  teaspoons  cornstarch
* 1  cup  snipped pitted dates
* 1/2  cup  butter, softened
* 1/3  cup  shortening
* 1-1/3  cups  sugar
* 1-1/2  teaspoons  baking soda
* 1/2  teaspoon  salt
* 2    eggs
* 2  tablespoons  honey
* 4  cups  all-purpose flour


Directions

1. For the date filling: In a medium saucepan, combine water, 2 tablespoons sugar and cornstarch. Add dates. Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat; let the filling cool.

2. In a mixing bowl, beat butter and shortening with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add 1-1/3 cups sugar, soda and salt; beat well. Add eggs and honey; beat till well combined. Beat or stir in flour till combined. Divide in half.

3. On a lightly floured surface, roll one portion of the dough into 1/8-inch thickness. Cut the dough into rounds, using a 2-1/2-inch cookie or biscuit cutter. Place the rounds 2 inches apart on an ungresed cookie sheet. Spoon 1 teaspoon of the date filling into the center or each round.

4. Roll and cut out the remaining dough. Using a 3/4-inch cutter, cut a hole in the center of these rounds, if you like. Place over cutouts with date filling and press edges with fork to seal.

5. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 7 minutes or till edges are firm and bottoms are browned. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 30 cookies.
Delectable Date Cookies

 
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