Pumpkin Nut Cups

I got the cutest cookbook from my sister-in-law last year (thanks again Lisa), Gooseberry Patch Taste of Autumn. In this cookbook are so many delicious looking Autumn recipes! This is where I got this recipe for Pumpkin Nut Cups. I served these for a fundraiser I hosted at my house for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). We all loved these! They would be perfect for the holidays as well. I made some with Pecans and then made smaller ones in my mini muffin pan without nuts. This is a very versatile recipe, that can be changed and adjusted to fit anyones taste! The ingredients are:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed and divided
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 T. half-and-half
  • 1 T. plus 4 t. butter, melted
  • 1/4 t. rum extract
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 1/8 t. cinnamon
  • 1/8 t. nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, blend 1/2 cup butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until well blended; stir in flour. Divide dough into 24 balls, one inch in diameter, and press the dough evenly into the bottoms and up sides of twenty-four, 1-3/4 inch muffin cups. Bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes.
  2. Combine 1/2 cup brown sugar, pumpkin, egg yolk, half-and-half, 4 teaspoons butter, extracts, cinnamon, and nutmeg; spoon evenly into warm dough cups. Stir together nuts with remaining brown sugar and butter; sprinkle over pumpkin mixture. Bake for 25 additional minutes. Cool in pans for 10 minutes; loosen and remove from pans. Serve warm or cool.

Makes 2 dozen

Ghost Brownies

Here is a super fun and easy dessert to make for Halloween! It’s so easy you don’t even really need a recipe. Just make a 9 x 13 pan of your favorite brownies (boxed or homemade it doesn’t matter). Cut them into squares, unless you have a brownie pan like me and then it does that for you (thanks dad I love my brownie pan)! Place a large marshmallow on top of each square. Get a container of vanilla frosting, take the tops off and microwave for 20 seconds. This makes the frosting looser so that you can drizzle it over the marshmallow. Drizzle about a tablespoon of frosting over the marshmallow. Allow frosting to set for about 10 minutes and then with black decorating gel pipe on eyes and mouth. That’s it, nothing fancy. The kids were so excited when I brought these over to dinner the other night. they loved them!

 

Apple Pie Bars

I made these yummy Apple Pie Bars the other night when the family came over for dinner. I found the recipe in an old Taste Of Home magazine. It won the grand prize for their Dessert bar contest and I definitely now know why. These Apple Pie Bars had all of the delicious goodness of a home-made apple pie in the form of a bar cookie. This is a very good way to serve apple pie to a larger crowd. My very bad picture-taking skills does these no justice, (to dark) sorry! Anyway……. Here’s the recipe..

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 8 to 10 Tablespoons cold water

Filling:

  • 7 cups finely chopped peeled apples
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • dash ground nutmeg

Glaze:

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon milk
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  1. In a bowl combine flour, salt and baking powder. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks, lemon juice and water; gradually add to flour mixture, tossing with a fork until dough forms a ball. Divide in half. Chill for 30 minutes.
  2. Roll out one portion of dough between two large sheets of waxed paper into a 17-in. x 12-in. rectangle. Transfer to an ungreased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Press pastry onto the bottom and up the sides of pan; trim pastry even with top edge.
  3. In a bowl, toss the apples, sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg; spread over crust. Roll out remaining pastry to fit top of pan; place over filling. Trim edges; brush edges between pastry with water or milk; pinch to seal. Cut slits in top. Bake at 375 for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Combine glaze ingredients until smooth; drizzle over bars before cutting.

Ricotta mini cakes

These are called mini cakes but are definitely a cookie. We all loved these! My mom said that my Italian great-grandmother used to make something like this, but she thinks that she used almond extract instead of vanilla. I wish I had all of my great grandmas recipes written down by her, for me to treasure forever but I don’t. So it leaves me searching. In my search I came across this recipe in an old Family Circle magazine and I knew that I had to try it. I might try almond next time but the vanilla is delicious! I added sprinkles to some of the cookies while the frosting was still wet, just for fun. Enjoy!

The ingredients are:

Cookies

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Glaze

  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons milk

Cookies:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 2 baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together; set aside.
  2. Beat butter and granulated sugar together until blended. Add egg, ricotta and vanilla, beating until combined.
  3. On low-speed, add flour mixture and beat until blended. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto prepared pans. Bake at 350 for 13 minutes or until lightly browned around edges. Let cool on sheets 3 minutes, then remove to rack to cool completely.

Glaze:

  1. Beat cofectioners’ sugar and milk together until well blended. Dip tops of cookies into glaze and set aside (this is when I put on the sprinkles) until glaze has hardened.

One-Bowl Brownies

 

 

 

I was searching for a lactose free dessert when I came across this recipe for One-Bowl Brownies in my Taste of Home 30-Minute Cookbook. Not only were these brownies delicious, they were so easy to make. Just as easy as a boxed mix, and these my grandma could eat since they are lactose free. This brownie recipe is the perfect recipe to have on hand, you could add to it for different flavor combinations. My mom made them and added marshmallows, I just sprinkled powdered sugar on the tops of these ones. I think next time I might try a peanut butter or caramel combo.

The ingredients are:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-1/3 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Add oil, eggs and vanilla; stir just until moistened. Do not overmix.
  2. Spread in a greased 13×9 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Yield: 2 to 2-1/2 dozen

This is the same recipe with marshmellows!

 

 

Breakfast Buns

I was looking for something to make for breakfast when I came across this recipe in an old Taste of Home magazine. This is an old-fashioned recipe said to be more than 70 years old. These Breakfast Buns are similar to a scone and are very good! Even the kids and husband who complained at first that there were raisins in them, loved them. I served them warm with butter.

The ingredients are:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 3 Tablespoons cold butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup raisins (I only used a 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, 1/2 cup sugar and baking powder; cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  2. Beat eggs, milk and vanilla; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Add raisins. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet. Combine the cinnamon and remaining sugar; sprinkle over buns.
  3. Bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until light golden brown. Serve warm.

Yield: 16 servings.

The Chocolate Chip Cookie Showdown

Last month was my son’s birthday (I know I’m a little bit behind on posting my recipes). I asked my son what treat did he want to bring in to his class to share for his birthday and his reply was chocolate chip cookies. So I thought to make this even more fun for him we would have a chocolate chip cookie showdown. I chose two new chocolate chip cookie recipes, baked up a batch of both and he got to choose which ones were best and those would be the ones he would bring in to his class. Can you tell that our favorite shows in this house are Chopped, Iron Chef America, and Cup Cake Wars? Only my son would say to me after I made him homemade belgium waffles with strawberries and whipped cream for breakfast…”Mommy…. You could so win Chopped with this recipe!” Love it! So.. anyway back to the chocolate chip cookie showdown. The two recipes I chose were McCormick’s Vanilla Rich Chocolate Chip Cookie and the Food Network Magazine’s recipe for Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. And the winner was………and it was unanimous……McCormick’s Vanilla Rich Chocolate Chip Cookie! Not that the Food Network’s Chewy Chocolate chip cookie wasn’t good, it was, those stayed at home and we polished them off. It’s just that everyone including the birthday boy thought that McCormick’s was better. So here is the recipe for McCormick’s Vanilla Rich Chocolate Chip Cookies:

  • 3 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/3 cups butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tsp vanilla
  • 1 pkg. (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (I did not use)
  1. Mix flour, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Beat butter and sugars in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low-speed until well mixed. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.
  2. Drop by rounded tablespoons about 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets.
  3. Bake in preheated 375 F oven 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets 1 minute. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. Makes 5 dozen (I must have made mine bigger because I didn’t get that many.)

 

Strawberry Lovers Pie

Well, here is the last of our fresh picked strawberries! Sitting on top of a cream cheese filling with semisweet chocolate drizzled on top of them. This pie was delicious! As I’m sitting here thinking of how to describe to you the taste of this pie this is what comes to mind, a chocolate covered strawberry with a little cream filling, oh and throw in a bit of a flakey crunch from the pie crust! That is how it tasted to me. Everyone loved this pie and it did not last long. I will be making this many many more times. I adapted the recipe from my cookbook Taste of Home’s Contest Winning Annual Recipes 2006.

The ingredients are:

  • 3 squares (1 ounce each) semisweet chocolate, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 pastry shell (9 inches), baked
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 4 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 to 4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled
  • 1/3 cup strawberry jam, melted
  1. In a saucepan, melt 2 ounces chocolate and butter over low heat, stirring constantly; spread or brush over the bottom and up the sides of pastry shell. Chill.
  2. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Spread over chocolate layer; cover and chill for about 1 hour.
  3. Arrange strawberries, tip end up, atop the filling. Brush jam over strawberries. Melt the remaining chocolate and drizzle over all.

Yield: 6-8 servings

 

Olive Oil Cake

This Olive Oil Cake was so good. It was moist and the orange zest gave it a light fresh taste. I found the recipe in an old BonAppetit magazine ( september 2009) but it says in the magazine that the recipe is from Abraco Coffee Shop in Manhattan. Normally I would have been thinking of a way to make this dessert more decadent, by adding a glaze over the top, but I really enjoyed the simple fresh taste of this cake. I had another piece this morning with my coffee, YUM!

The ingredients are:

  • 1-1/2 cups organic unbleached white flour
  • 1 cup organic sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 2 large organic eggs
  • 3/4 cup organic whole milk
  • 1/2 cup mild-flavored organic olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel

(I did not have all organic ingredients and substituted them for what I had on hand and my cake still turned out great so don’t worry if you don’t have organic ingredients it will still turn out fine.)

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Oil and flour 9x5x3-inch loaf pan.
  2. Whisk first 5 ingredients in large bowl. Whisk eggs, milk, olive oil, and orange peel in medium bowl to blend. Gradually whisk egg mixture into dry ingredients. Transfer to prepared pan.
  3. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 60 to 65 minutes. Cool in pan on rack 20 minutes. Invert pan to remove cake. Cool completely, top side up.

 

Cream Cheese Sheet Cake

The family got together for a wonderful Mothers Day BBQ to honor all of our wonderful Mommies. My grandmother being the first, my mother and aunts being next and then me! It was a great day with lots of delicious food (of course)! I woke up mothers day morning wanting to bake, so I made three desserts to take to the BBQ. This Cream Cheese Sheet Cake was one of them. The cake was so moist and the thin layer of chocolate frosting was perfect! I got the recipe out of my Taste of Home’s Contest Winning Annual Recipes 2006.

The ingredients are:

  • 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2-1/4 cups sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2-1/4 cups cake flour

Frosting:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter, cream cheese and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add flour; mix well. Pour into a greased 15-in. x 11-in. baking pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely.
  2. For frosting, combine sugar and milk in a saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover and cook for 3 minutes (do not stir). Stir in butter and chocolate chips until melted. Cool slightly. Stir; spread over cake.

Yield: 24-30 servings