Friday, March 30, 2012

No Bake Strawberry Dessert

•1 loaf (10-1/2 ounces) angel food cake, cut into 1-inch cubes
•2 packages (.3 ounce each) sugar-free strawberry gelatin
•2 cups boiling water
•1 package (20 ounces) frozen unsweetened whole strawberries, thawed
•2 cups cold 1% milk
•1 package (1 ounce) sugar-free instant vanilla pudding mix
•1 carton (8 ounces) frozen reduced-fat whipped topping, thawed
•Chopped fresh strawberries, optional

•Arrange cake cubes in a single layer in a 13-in. x 9-in. dish. In a bowl, dissolve gelatin in boiling water; stir in strawberries. Pour over cake and gently press cake down. Refrigerate until set, about 1 hour.
• In a large bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set.
• Spoon over gelatin layer. Spread with whipped topping. Refrigerate until serving. Garnish with chopped fresh strawberries if desired. Yield: 20 servings.

**recipe and picture from Taste of Home

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Chocolate Glazed Coconut Almond Cheesecake

1-1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup flaked coconut
1/3 cup finely chopped almonds
1/3 cup butter, melted

3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon coconut extract
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup flaked coconut

1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Toasted shaved coconut and chopped almonds, optional

Place a greased 9-in. springform pan on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 18 in. square). Securely wrap foil around pan.
In a small bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, coconut and almonds; stir in butter. Press onto the bottom and 1 in. up the sides of prepared pan. Place pan on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in coconut extract. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Fold in coconut. Pour into crust. Place springform pan in a large baking pan; add 1 in. of boiling water to larger pan.
Bake at 325° for 45-55 minutes or until center is just set and top appears dull. Remove springform pan from water bath; remove foil. Cool cheesecake on a wire rack for 10 minutes; loosen edges from pan with a knife. Cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight.
For glaze, place chocolate chips in a small bowl. In a small saucepan, bring cream just to a boil. Pour over chocolate; whisk until smooth. Stir in vanilla. Cool slightly to reach a spreading consistency, stirring occasionally.
Remove rim from pan. Spread glaze over cheesecake. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until set. Top with toasted coconut and almonds if desired. Yield: 12 servings.

** Note: To toast coconut, spread in a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 5-10 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently.

recipe and picture from Taste of Home April/May 2012, p65

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cafe Latte's Turtle Cake

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

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.

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.
Chocolate Frosting


1 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
6 tablespoons butter
1 12 ounce package (2 cups) semisweet chocolate pieces
1 - 2 teaspoons freshly brewed hot coffee

In a small saucepan, combine sugar and milk. Add butter. Bring to boiling, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add semisweet chocolate pieces. Using a wire whisk, mix until smooth. If frosting is too thick or grainy, stir in coffee. Makes about 2-1/2 cups.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Baked Zucchini with Sweet Onion Dip

Zucchini Sticks

3 zucchini
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
Scant ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon mixed Italian herbs
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon butter

Sweet Onion Dip

1 medium sweet onion, sliced
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 cup mayonnaise

Cut each zucchini into 3-inch sticks about the diameter of your finger, cutting each zucchini into 9 sticks lengthwise, then into 3-inch lengths.

Place the zucchini sticks in a colander over a bowl, and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of salt. Let them drain for 1 hour or longer.

While the zucchini are shedding their excess liquid, make the dip. First, melt butter in a medium-sized frying pan over moderate heat, and add the sweet onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, then caramelizes. This should take between 20 to 25 minutes, at medium-low heat. The lower the heat, the longer it takes, but the less likely you are to burn the onions. When the onions are medium brown, remove them from the heat.

Place the caramelized onions, cider vinegar, honey, and prepared mustard in a food processor and process until fairly smooth. Remove from processor and stir in mayonnaise.

Rinse the zucchini and pat dry. Preheat oven to 425°. Line a baking sheet with parchment, and spray the parchment with olive oil.

Combine the panko bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and mixed Italian herb, and mix until thoroughly combined. In a separate dish beat the eggs.

Dip each zucchini stick in the eggs then roll it in the crumbs.
Place the sticks on a baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes or until they start to brown. Remove from oven and flip. Bake for an additional 12 to 16 minutes, until golden brown and crisp.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Oven Roasted Chicken Breast (in Iron Skillet)

First, move the oven rack to the middle or lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Choose an oven-safe skillet with high, straight sides. The high sides will help contain the fat as the chicken cooks and, I hope, prevent smoking and a messy oven.
I prefer my large (10 inch) iron skillet.

Heat a mixture of butter and olive oil in the skillet on top of the stove over medium-high. For 2-4 breasts, I use 1 tbsp. of each. While that’s heating, sprinkle the breasts with paprika, pepper and, onion powder.

Brown the breasts in the pan on top of the oven, skin side down, without disturbing for a few minutes. Then turn them over with tongs so that the skin is on top and move the pan to the oven. Do not cover the pan; the skin will continue to crisp in the oven.

Let them cook for about 15 minutes in the oven, then flip them over again. Start checking for doneness at the 30-minute mark (or sooner, if the breasts are small). It is essential to have one of those nifty instant-read thermometers to determine when chicken is properly done. Stick the thermometer into the meatiest part of the chicken — avoiding the bone — and keep cooking until it registers 160 degrees. Depending on how meaty your breasts are, this may take up to 45 minutes total. Don’t worry, they are going to be juicy and succulent because of the little bit of butter.

Chocolate Velvet Cake

1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (16-ounce) package light brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (8-ounce) container sour cream
1 cup hot water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Melt semisweet chocolate morsels in a microwave-safe bowl at HIGH for 30-second intervals until melted (about 1 1/2 minutes total time). Stir until smooth.
Beat butter and brown sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer, beating about 5 minutes or until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Add melted chocolate, beating just until blended.
Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add to chocolate mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Gradually add 1 cup hot water in a slow, steady stream, beating at low speed just until blended. Stir in vanilla. Use immediately, following directions for desired cake.
The addition of hot water at the end of this recipe makes for an exceptionally moist cake.

Spoon cake batter evenly into 3 greased and floured 8-inch round cakepans. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool in pans on a wire rack 10 minutes; remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire rack.

Spread Cream Cheese-Butter Pecan Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Garnish, if desired.

Cream Cheese-Butter Pecan Frosting

2 cups chopped pecans
1/4 cup cup butter, melted
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 (16-ounce) packages powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Stir together chopped pecans and 1/4 cup melted butter. Spread in an even layer in a 13- x 9-inch baking pan. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until pecans are toasted. Remove from oven, and let cool.
Beat cream cheese and 1/2 cup butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Stir in pecans and vanilla.

Note: To sugar silk ivy leaves, brush leaves lightly with corn syrup, and sprinkle with granulated sugar.

from Southern Living

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Candy Bar Brownies

3/4 cup butter, melted
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup baking cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 Snickers bars (2.07 ounces each), cut into 1/4-inch pieces
3 plain milk chocolate candy bars (1.55 ounces each), coarsely chopped
In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla. In a small bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; set aside 1/4 cup. Stir remaining dry ingredients into the egg mixture until well combined. Toss Snickers pieces with reserved flour mixture; stir into batter.
Transfer to a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Sprinkle with milk chocolate candy bar pieces. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean (do not overbake). Cool on a wire rack. Chill before cutting. Yield: 3 dozen.

Almond Sheet Cake

Bring to boil:
2 sticks butter
1 c. water
1/2 t. almond flavoring

Add to: 2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt

Beat in: 2 eggs
1/2 c. sour cream
1 t. soda

Pour in greased pan--15 X 10 jelly roll pan. Bake 20-22 min. at 375.

Start icing about 5 min. before cake is done.


Bring to boil: 1 stick butter
1/4 c. milk

Add: 1 lb. conf. sugar
1/2 t. almond flavoring

Pour over warm cake.

Texas Sheet Cake

Bring to boil:
2 sticks butter
1 c. water
4 T. cocoa

Add to:
2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt

Beat in:
2 eggs
1/2 c. sour cream
1 t. soda

Pour into greased 15 X 10 jelly roll pan. Bake 20 min. at 400.

Start icing about 5 minutes before cake is done.

Bring to boil: 1 stick butter
4 T. cocoa
6 T. milk
Add: 1 lb. conf. sugar
1 t. vanilla
1 c. chopped pecans (optional)

Spread on hot cake.