Thursday, December 31, 2009

gingerbread apple upside-down cake

This recipe is now in my top 5 list of favorite desserts! We will be making it again really soon....I just need an excuse....anyone having a party and need me to bring dessert? ;)

4 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
pinch of salt
4 apples (about 1 3/4 lbs), peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch wedges
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 lg. egg
1/3 cup dark molasses
1/3 cup honey
1 cup buttermilk (*see below)
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Make the topping: preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 10 inch cake pan or a 8x11 casserole pan. Melt butter in a small saucepan. Add brown sugar and simmer over medium heat, stirring for four minutes, then swirl in the salt. Remove from heat and pour into the bottom of your prepared pan. Layer on the apples in whatever pattern that pleases you.
Make the batter: Using a mixer, blend 1/2 cup butter and the sugar on medium speed. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, molasses, honey and buttermilk. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon. Alternate mixing the flour and molasses mixtures into the butter mixture, adding the next one after the last has been incorporated.
Pour the batter into the pan. Bake at 325 for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for a few minutes before turning it onto a platter (or a cutting board in my case...I really need some nice serving dishes. It's kind of embarrassing.)
Serve warm or cold with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Serves 12.
*Buttermilk - if you don't have any on hand, which I never do, you can just put a tablespoon of lemon juice into a liquid measuring cup and add enough milk to make one cup. Let it sit for 5 minutes before adding to the recipe. It turns it into sour milk which also works for any recipe calling for buttermilk.

Can't you just see the moistness of this cake?! You will not regret making it.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Reindeer Noses - or Holiday Preztel Treats

I love making these because my little boy can help with them. He can help lay out the pretzels, unwrap the hershey kisses or hugs, and then plop the M&M's on top when they come out of the oven.

What you'll need:
waffle shaped pretzels
Hershey kisses or hugs
M&M candies

1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees. Lay out a single layer of pretzels on a cookie sheet (you can line the sheet with parchment paper if you'd like).
2. Top each pretzel with a Hershey kiss.
3. Bake for 4-6 minutes (watch the Hugs because the white chocolate softens more quickly than the milk chocolate), or until the chocolates feel soft when touch with a spoon.
4. Remove from the oven and quickly press an M&M into the center of each Kiss.
5. Allow the treats to cool for a few minutes and then put them in the refrigerator to set for about 10 minutes.
6. You can bag them up in colorful Christmas bags, place on treat plates or just pop them in your mouth!

Egg Nog Creams

One of my favorite Christmas cookies to make are Egg Nog Creams. They are a basic butter cookie with a tasty egg noggy middle. I had a cookie exchange this year with local family members and some good friends and these are the cookies I brought.

For the cookie:

2 sticks of butter, softened
1 egg
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
vanilla (approximately 1 tsp)
pinch of salt
2 1/2 cups flour (may need more if the dough is sticky)

For the egg nog cream:
1/4 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 TBSP rum (or in my case, 1/2 tsp imitation rum extract - hee, hee)
nutmeg and powdered sugar for garnish

I usually double this, because I like a lot of cream in each cookie and one batch isn't quite enough.

1. Mix first six ingredients. together until well blended.
2. Add in flour until a soft dough forms. Dough will be soft, but should not stick to your fingers.
3. Roll dough into 1" balls. Gently flatten in the palms of your hands. Place at least 1" apart on lightly greased cookie sheet.
4. Using your thumb, gently press an indentation in the center of each cookie.
5. Bake at 350 for about 8 minutes. Remove and gently (using the back of a rounded teaspoon so you don't burn yourself!) re-indent the thumbprints (you'll notice they've risen a bit) and put them back in the over for another 3-4 minutes. Cookies will be light in color, but firm when you touch the top.
6. Cool on wire racks.
7. After cooled, fill with homemade eggnog cream. Sprinkle nutmeg and powdered sugar on top.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Mud Hen Bars

You can't pass these up...I got them from a friend's blog and WOW! Travis said, "They have all the goodness you want in one bar".


1/2 c. butter, soft

1 c. white sugar

3 eggs, separated

1 1/2 c. flour

1 t. baking powder

1/4 t. salt

1 c. chopped nuts (opt)

1/2 c. chocolate chips

1 c. mini marshmallows

1 c. brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Cream the butter and white sugar. Beat in 1 egg + 2 yolks. Mix flour, baking powder + salt together. Stir dry into the wet ingredients. Spread into a 9x13 glass dish. Sprinkle with nuts, chips + marshmallows. Beat remaining 2 egg whites until STIFF, fold in the brown sugar carefully. Spread over top of cake. Bake for 30-40 minutes.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Creamed Corn

This is so different from the canned creamed corn and you can't have just one serving.

1 cup milk
1 cup whipping cream
6 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3-4 cups fresh kernal corn (I use the organic frozen corn from Costco)
3 Tablespoons flour
3 Tablespoons butter (use real butter, not margarine)

In a medium sauce pan combine the first five ingredients and heat over medium-high heat until almost boiling , stirring occasionally. Add corn and continue to cook until mixture comes to a medium boil. Continue to boil stirring more frequently for five minutes. In a pan melt butter then add flour and cook for one minute to cook out flour taste. Add flour paste to the corn mixture and boil another two minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Mixture will thicken upon standing.

I will actually substitute the milk and cream for fat free half & half and it is just as good but I NEVER substitute the butter. Enjoy!!!

peppermint marshmallows

My new addiction.....who knew it was so easy to make your own marshmallows? You can put in any flavor extract, but I think I will stick with vanilla and peppermint. Delicious!

Get everything you need together before beginning.
2 Cups granulated sugar
1/2 Cup plus 2 Tbs. light corn syrup
3 Tbs or 3 envelopes of unflavored gelatin
1 pinch of salt
3/4 Cups water, divided
1/2 teas. peppermint extract
food coloring (if desired)
3/4 C. powder sugar for dusting
1. Coat a 9x13 inch baking pan with cooking spray then dust generously with powder sugar.
2. Pour 1/2 C cold water into a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Stir in the gelatin and let sit for 10 minutes. (It will look kinda's okay!)
3. While the gelatin in sitting - put the 2 C. sugar, corn syrup and 1/4 C. water into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil on high heat. Stir it to make sure the sugar dissolves. Let the mixture boil (bubble vigorously) for approx. a minute to a minute and a half and no more! Remove from heat immediately. With the stand mixer on low, drizzle the hot sugar syrup in a small, steady stream into the gelatin. Add a pinch of salt and gradually increase the speed to medium. When the mixture has begun to froth and stabilize (1-2 minutes) increase the mixer speed to high and beat until fluffy (8 minutes)
4. With the mixer still on high, add the peppermint extract and food coloring and beat for another minute AND NO MORE! (It will cool too much.)
5. Working as quickly as you can, scrape the fluff into the prepared pan. Using slightly moistened hands, smooth the marshmallow down into the pan and let cool for 2 hours. If you are cooling longer than 2 hours then you need to cover it with plastic wrap. Do not let the plastic touch the marshmallows or you may never get it off.
6. When it's ready, use a pizza cutter dipped in powder sugar to cut the marshmallows into 1 inch squares. Roll each square into powder sugar so it wont stick to anything. Store in an airtight container. They will keep for up to a month. Good luck not eating them in less than a week though.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Corn Dog Casserole

This recipe totally brings out the kid in me. I love hot dogs and this was pretty good. The sage in it made it taste a little like stuffing. Delicious!

I didn't take a photo of mine so I'm using the one from
2 cups celery, chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
1 1/2 lbs hot dog, sliced
2 eggs
1 1/2 C milk
1 teas. sage
1/2 teas. black pepper
18 oz. corn bread mix (I couldn't find an 18 oz box so I used one that was a little smaller and it turned out fine)
8 oz. shredded cheese
In a skillet cook onions and celery until tender. Place in a mixing bowl and set aside. Place hot dogs in the skillet and brown them slightly. Mix them with the celery/onion in the bowl. Pull out one cup of that and set aside. In another bowl, combine eggs, milk, sage, and pepper. Add it to the hot dog mixture. Stir in cornbread and 1/2 the cheese. Pour into a greased 3 quart baking dish. Top with reserved hot dog mixture and the rest of the cheese. Bake uncovered at 350 until golden brown. About 30-45 minutes.