Saturday, September 24, 2011

Pecan Upside-Down Cake

1/2 c. butter, melted
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 c. dark corn syrup
1 1/2 c. pecan halves (I use and prefer chopped)
1 pkg. (18 1/4 oz.) butter pecan cake mix
1 c. sour cream
1/3 c. unsweetened applesauce
2 eggs
2 egg whites
1 t. vanilla

In a small bowl, combine the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and pecans. spread evenly into a 13 X 9 baking pan coated with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; beat with a mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Transfer to prepared pan.

Bake at 350 for 30-35 min. or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 min. before inverting onto a serving platter. Serve warm or room temp. Yields 20 servings.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Double Chocolate Cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
3/4 cup hot water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line standard cupcake pans with paper liners. In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water until smooth. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the butter and the sugar over medium heat. Heat, stirring occasionally to combine, until the butter is melted. Remove the mixture from the heat and transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium-low speed, 4-5 minutes, until the mixture is cooled. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed and beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla and then the cocoa mixture and beat until incorporated. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, beating just until combined.

Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners, filling them about 3/4 of the way full. (You can use the large Pampered Chef scoop to insure even distribution of the batter.) Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, rotating the pans halfway through baking. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the frosting:
14 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
9 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
6 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sour cream

To make the frosting, melt the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Set aside to cool until just barely warm. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Gradually mix in the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Beat in the melted and cooled chocolate and then the sour cream. Continue beating until the mixture is smooth and well blended. Frost cupcakes immediately. Garnish with chocolate shavings if desired.

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes

another one from Dinah's Dishes (and the picture)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Pumpkin Muffins

For the filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
For the muffins:
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
For the topping:
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

For the filling, combine the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl and mix well with a hand mixer until well blended and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log about 1½-inches in diameter. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap. I have found that if you twist the ends of the plastic wrap it will make a smooth log and you can make sure it is even throughout. Place in the freezer and chill until at least slightly firm, about 2 hours.

For the muffins, preheat the oven to 350˚. Line muffin pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, salt and baking soda; whisk to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree and oil. Mix on medium-low speed until blended. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients, mixing until just incorporated (you may need to stop and scrap down the sides once or twice).
To make the topping, combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small or medium bowl; using a pastry cutter or two forks cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is coarse and crumbly.

To assemble the muffins, fill each muffin well with a small amount of batter, just enough to cover the bottom of the liner (1-2 tablespoons). Slice the log of cream cheese filling into 12 equal pieces and then each piece in half to make 24 equal pieces. Place a slice of the cream cheese mixture into each muffin well. Divide the remaining batter among the muffin cups, making sure the cream cheese mixture is covered. Sprinkle a small amount of the topping mixture over each muffin to cover the top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving. You want to be careful the cream cheese is very hot.
This recipe and picture--another from Dinah's Dishes--Very delicious!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sandy's Potato Salad

3 lbs. of russet potatoes, peeled and cubed (approx. 7 medium potatoes)
5 hard boiled eggs, peeled and grated (not chopped)
2 cups of Duke mayonnaise
4 stalks of celery, chopped
3/4 of a jar of Mt. Olive Sweet Salad Cubes
2 small chopped Vidalia onions
1 or 2 TB of regular mustard
2 TB of cidar vinegar

Boil potatoes in slightly salted water until they cut easily with a fork. Drain and cool. While potatoes are cooling, put remaining ingredients in bowl and mix well to create dressing. After potatoes have cooled, mix dressing and potatoes. Chill. Keep away from Rob if you plan to take the salad to an event.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Easy Skillet Apple Pie

2 pounds Granny Smith apples
2 pounds Braeburn apples
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 (14.1-oz.) package refrigerated piecrusts
1 egg white
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Butter-pecan ice cream

1. Preheat oven to 350º. Peel apples, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges. Toss apples with cinnamon and 3/4 cup granulated sugar.
2. Melt butter in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat; add brown sugar, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, and place 1 piecrust in skillet over brown sugar mixture. Spoon apple mixture over piecrust, and top with remaining piecrust. Whisk egg white until foamy. Brush top of piecrust with egg white; sprinkle with 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar. Cut 4 or 5 slits in top for steam to escape.
3. Bake at 350º for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly, shielding with aluminum foil during last 10 minutes to prevent excessive browning, if necessary. Cool on a wire rack 30 minutes before serving. Serve with butter-pecan ice cream.

from Southern Living September 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

1 package (18-1/4 ounces) chocolate cake mix
1-1/4 cups water
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup canola oil
3 eggs
24 miniature peanut butter cups

6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup peanut butter
Additional miniature peanut butter cups, chopped

In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, water, peanut butter, oil and eggs; beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium for 2 minutes or until smooth.
Fill paper-lined muffin cups half full. Place a peanut butter cup in the center of each cupcake. Cover each with 1 tablespoonful batter.
Bake at 350° for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
Place chocolate in a small bowl. In a small saucepan, bring cream just to a boil. Pour over chocolate; whisk until smooth. Stir in peanut butter. Cool, stirring occasionally, to room temperature or until ganache reaches a spreading consistency, about 10 minutes.
Spread over cupcakes; immediately sprinkle with additional peanut butter cups. Let stand until set. Yield: 2 dozen.