Saturday, November 30, 2013

Praline Turtle Cake

Praline Turtle Cake

1/2 C Butter
1 C brown sugar
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 C chopped pecans
2 C all-purpose flour
3/4 C unsweetened cocoa
2 C granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1 C sour cream
1/2 C canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. white vinegar
1/2 C fudge topping
1/2 C chocolate chips, melted
*Your favorite chocolate frosting

To make the cake:

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter the bottoms of two 9" round cake pans and fit a circle of parchment paper large enough to cover 1 inch up the side of each cake pan.  Heat the butter, brown sugar and sweetened condensed milk in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat until the butter melts and the sugar is dissolved.  Do not boil. 

Divided the sugar mixture between the prepared pans.  Sprinkle 3/4 cup pecans over sugar mixture and set aside to cool. 

Combine the flour, cocoa, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking sofa and salt together in a large bowl.  Add the eggs, sour cream, oil, vanilla and vinegar and 1 cup hot water and mix with a wooden spoon until the batter is smooth.  Pour the batter into the cake pans---over sugar mixture---and bake until a wooden skewer inserted into the cake center comes out clean, 35-40 minutes. 

Cool cakes in the pans for 10 minutes.  Run a knife around the edge of the pans and turn cakes out onto a cooling rack.  Remove the paper and cool completely.

Assemble the cake:

Spread the fudge topping over the sugar mixture side of one cake layer.  Place the second layer over the first and drizzle with the melted chocolate and the remaining 1/4 cup pecans.  Frost the cake sides with your favorite chocolate icing. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Sparkling Cider Pound Cake

Try this twist on pound cake with a simple sparkling cider glaze~

This is from a Taste of Home magazine....if you don't subscribe, you SHOULD.  Chock full of great recipes each and every issue!  Well worth the money.

Sparkling Cider Pound Cake

3/4 C butter, softened
1 1/2 C sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 C sparkling apple cider


3/4 C confectioners' sugar
3 to 4 tsp. sparkling apple cider

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line bottom of a greased 9" x 5" loaf pan with parchment paper; grease paper.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  In another bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with cider; beating well after each addition.

Transfer to prepared pan.  Bake 40-50  minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

In a small bowl, mix glaze ingredients until smooth; spoon over cake, allowing it to flow over sides.

Makes 12 servings

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Slow Cooker Spiced Coffee

     As we head into the chilly season, here's a recipe you can whip us for guests at upcoming parties or family holiday gatherings.  You may find that those who aren't necessarily fans can change their tune when they get a whiff of this chocolaty coffee drink!

Slow Cooker Spiced Coffee

8 cups brewed coffee
1/3 C sugar
1/4 C chocolate syrup
1/2 tsp. anise extract
4 cinnamon sticks (3 in.)
1 1 /2 tsp. whole cloves
*Additional cinnamon sticks, optional

In a 3-qt. slow cooker, combine coffee, sugar, chocolate syrup and extract.  Place cinnamon sticks and cloves on a double thickness of cheesecloth.  Gather corners of cloth to enclose spices; tie securely with string.  Add to slow cooker.  Cook, covered, on low 2-3 hours. 

Discard spice bag.  Ladle coffee into mugs.  If desired, serve with a cinnamon stick.

Makes 8 servings

Monday, November 11, 2013

Chocolate Chai Snickerdoodles

     Bet you thought that snickerdoodles couldn't be improved upon.....that's true, unless you add some chocolate.  What ISN'T better with chocolate?!  While they're baking, the aromas of chocolate mixed with warming spices will remind you of a cup of hot chai~
     I always give credit where credit is due....I stumbled across these in a Taste of Home magazine I checked out of the library.  I have two sons who LOVE chai tea, so I'm thinking these cookies would be something new I could try during the holidays. 

Chocolate Chai Snickerdoodles

2 1/4 C sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cardamon
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1 C butter, softened
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/4 C all-purpose flour
1/2 C baking cocoa
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients.  Remove 1/2 cup sugar mixture to a shallow dish. 

Add butter to remaining sugar mixture; beat until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs and vanilla.  In another bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, cream of tartar, baking powder and salt; slowly beat into creamed mixture.

Shape dough into 1 1/2-inch balls.  Roll in reserved sugar mixture; place 2-inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.  Flatten slightly with bottom of a glass.  Bake 10-12 minutes or until edges are firm.  Remove to wire racks to cool.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Strawberry Lemonade Smoothie

     Some of you may know I'm a BIG smoothie fan......I'm always looking for new recipes that I might like to add to my repertoire.  Personally, I prefer ones with only a few ingredients, and mostly berry based. 
     This one is going on my list to try immediately!

Strawberry Lemonade Smoothie

2 C lemonade (freshly made, or store purchased; I will leave that to you)
3/4 C (6 oz.) lemon yogurt
12 tsp. vanilla extract
2 C frozen unsweetened Strawberries

Place all ingredients in a blender; cover and process 15 seconds or until blended.  Embellish with sliced strawberries or other berries of your choice.  Pictured here are banana slices and shredded coconut.  Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Gift-worthy Snack Mix

     Sugary cinnamon meets salty pretzels in this super-easy snack mix which would be PERFECT as holiday gifts~ 
     And don't you just LOVE this unique way of packaging this (or any other snack!)?  The "bow" is a kitchen towel, twisted into a spiral and then attached to the cellophane bag.  Extra nice because it gives the recipient a "keepsake" after the goodies are gone!

Cinnamon Pretzels

2/3 C vegetable oil
1/2 C sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 (16 oz.) pkg. small pretzel twists

In a large roasting pan, stir together vegetable oil, sugar and cinnamon.  Add the pretzels; toss well to coat with cinnamon-sugar.  Bake, uncovered, in a 300 degree oven for 30 minutes, stirring twice.  Spread on waxed paper to cool.  Store in an airtight container.  Makes 12 (1 cup) servings.

Microwave directions:  In a very large bowl, stir together vegetable oil, sugar and cinnamon.  Add pretzels; toss well to coat with cinnamon-sugar.  Place half of the pretzel mixture in a large microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave on 100% power (high) for 3 minutes, stirring every minute.  Spread on waxed paper to cool.  Repeat with the remaining pretzel mixture. 

Monday, November 4, 2013


     It's not too soon to start thinking about baking holiday cookies.  I always like to try at least one NEW cookie recipe for the season & this year might I suggest we all dust off our waffle irons to bake these?
      This recipe is for just basic waffle cookies, but these are SO versatile!  Add chocolate chips to the batter, raisins or nuts.  Instead of dusting with powdered sugar when they are done, whip up an easy glaze and drizzle the cookies with a glaze.  These would be fun (and easy) to make with kids, too.

Gadettes or "Waffle Cookies"

1/3 C butter, melted
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. bourbon or brandy (optional....either IN the cookie recipe or a shot while making
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/2 C granulated sugar
1/3 C packed brown sugar
1 C all-purpose flour
Dash salt
Powdered sugar (optional)

In a large bowl, place melted butter and let cool.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating with electric mixer after each addition.  Beat in bourbon, if you like, and vanilla.  beat in sugars until well combined.  Gradually beat in flour and salt until combined. 

Cover and chill dough at least 2 hours or until firm enough to scoop.

Preheat waffle iron.  Drop dough from a small 1 Tbsp. cookie scoop or a rounded teaspoonful into center of each waffle grid; close lid.  (Make about 4 cookies at a time, leaving about 2 inches between dough mounds).  Bake on medium heat about 3 minutes, or until cookies are golden brown.  Using a fork, transfer cookies to a wire rack; cool.  Repeat with remaining batter.   If you like, sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. 

Makes about 25 cookies.