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

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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!

 

 

Agave Fresh Fruit Salsa with Sugar N Spice Chips

My family gets together almost every single Sunday (unless the kids sports prohibits me from being there) for Family Dinner. It’s a tradition that has been going on for as long as I can remember. Nowadays we choose themes for our sunday meals and everyone brings a dish to go with our theme. On this particular Sunday our theme was summer/bbq foods. My mom brought this Agave Fresh Fruit Salsa and we all loved it! What says summer more than fresh, sweet, juicy fruit? This fruit salsa was delicious, light and refreshing. She got the recipe out of the Wholeliving July/August 2012 magazine.

The ingredients are:

  • 1 lb. fresh strawberries
  • 4 apricots or 2 large peaches (mom used peaches)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh, chopped pineapple
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 1/2 TBSP fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup organic light Agave Nectar or 1/2 cup Organic Sugar (mom couldn’t find Agave Nectar so she used Raw Sugar)
  • 1-3 TBSP chili powder
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh mint
  1. Dice strawberries, peaches and pineapple into 1/2-inch pieces. In a large bowl, combine all fruit and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine lime juice and Agave Nectar/Sugar. Add 1 tablespoon of chili powder (increase by teaspoonfuls to reach desired flavor); mix well.
  3. Add agave mixture, cilantro and mint to the fruit, tossing until combined. Serve immediately.

Sugar N Spice Chips

  • 1 bag (8.5 to 10.5 oz) corn tortilla chips
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup Organic Sugar (mom used raw Sugar)
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. chili powder
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Grease two cookie sheets or line with parchment paper. Dip tortilla chips into melted butter. Using a pastry brush, remove excess butter to give each chip a thin, even layer of butter on both sides. Place chips on prepared cookie sheet. In a small bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon and chili powder to taste. Sprinkle over buttered chips, and bake for approximately 5 minutes, or until golden. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes before serving.

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.)

 

No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake

No-bake Strawberry Cheesecake, the perfect summer dessert! Easy, delicious, and I didn’t have to turn on my oven! This is the dessert I made for our kick off the summer family BBQ and we all loved it. Garnish with some blueberries and this would make a perfect red, white, and blue fourth of July dessert! I found the recipe in an old Food & Family magazine (summer 2008).

After a couple small changes from me,the ingredients are:

  • 12 Honey Grahams, finely crushed (about 2 cups crumbs)
  • 6 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 Cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar, divided
  • 4 Pkgs. (8 oz. each) Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1/2 Cup strawberry preserves
  • 2 Cups fresh strawberries, chopped
  • 1 tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip whipped Topping, thawed
  1. Mix graham crumbs, butter and 1/4 cup of the sugar; press onto bottom of 13×9-inch pan. Refrigerate while preparing filling.
  2. Beat cream cheese and 3/4 cup of the sugar in large bowl with electric mixer until well blended. Add preserves; mix well. Place strawberries and remaining 2 Tbsp. sugar in small bowl; mash with fork. Stir strawberry mixture and whipped topping into cheese mixture. Spoon over crust; cover. Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm. Store in refrigerator.

Makes 16 servings

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

 

Strawberry Ice

 

Alright, I know, this picture is horrible! It is not easy trying to take a picture of ┬ádelicate Strawberry Ice on a hot day! In a few more minutes my Strawberry Ice was going to be strawberry soup. I contemplated even sharing this recipe since I didn’t like how any of the pictures turned out (does anyone else do that or is it just me), but this recipe for Strawberry Ice was so good that I had to share it (regardless of the picture).

Talk about delicious and fresh! The strawberries were picked just the day before we made this. It tasted similar to a Fresh strawberry sorbet. I got the recipe out of my cookbook Taste of Home’s Contest Winning Annual Recipes 2006.

The ingredients are:

  • 5 cups fresh strawberries
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  1. Place the strawberries in a blender or food processor; cover and process until smooth. In a saucepan, heat sugar and water until sugar is dissolved; pour into blender. Add lemon juice; cover and process until combined.
  2. Pour into a shallow freezer container; cover and freeze for 4-6 hours or until almost frozen. Just before serving, whip mixture in a blender or food processor.

Yield: 6 servings