Cupcakes for Chanukah! Recipes and more

Sorry for the lag in posting, lots of travel and family commitments but now, shes back…………………..

cup3 There are times in your life (like after eating a dozen latkes) when you just gotta have that certain something sweet BUT you really don’t want the guilt associated with gobbling up 5 bags of candy coins or a calorie laden mega doughnut topped with chocolate and filled with custard (granted, there aren’t too many times when I DON’T want that kind of doughnut). For me that’s when I reach for a cupcake. Just enough cake and frosting to satisfy but not so much as that I feel like I’ve over indulged and the “oh I blew my holiday diet AGAIN” remorse isn’t omnipresent.

The origin of the cupcake isn’t all that clear. Some historians say it’s because the original recipe contained 1 cup measurements (I cup of flour, 1 cup of sugar etc.) Another source I checked with said that long ago that cake batter was cooked in tea cups, hence the name, cup-cake. Either way it came about I’m just glad the recipes evolved into the sweet treats we love today.

Deciding what type of cupcakes to make and what to top them with can be truly a personal and existential experience. You can fill them, frost them, and dust them with powdered sugar or cocoa. Sprinkles are always nice and so is a couple of pieces of candy or chocolate stuck into the top of the batter just before baking. The possibilities are endless and the results are always irresistible.

With cupcakes you can indulge in your love of lemon, banana, chocolate or vanilla or both at the same time and not have to commit to eating a whole cake. One of the beauties of making cupcakes is that most cake recipes can be converted into cupcakes. There are, however, some exceptions, like angel and sponge cakes, they don’t have quite enough structure to pull off the smaller size, but those to obvious exceptions aside, I say go for whatever recipe you want and see how creative you can get. I prefer to use cupcake liners in my pans as I find it easier to take them out after they’ve been cooked and they help keep all those pesky crumbs from falling all over your lap or shirt.


Just a few cup cake rules before you get started.


1. Always grease or line you baking pan, easier to remove the cupcake

2. Never over fill the pan, it will make an overly large cupcake top

4. Once the pan or pans are full, put them in the preheated oven immediately. The longer they sit out, the less they will rise.

5. Cupcakes should be baked in at least a 350 so that the structure sets quickly and the cake doesn’t dry while it’s baking

3. Make sure you test the cupcake with a toothpick before you remove it from the oven to make sure it cooked throughout.



Depending on how you decorate the following recipe they can be served as a snack or at a formal dinner and are equally at home at a 5 year olds birthday party or a wedding reception. I make the peanut butter ones every Chanukah and decorate them with chocolate candy coins.  Enjoy!



1/3 cup margarine or butter
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
16 miniature peanut butter cups

Preheat oven to 350. Place paper cup cake liners in the muffin pan and set it aside. In a mixing bowl of an electric mixer combine the margarine or butter, peanut butter, and brown sugar.  Mix to combine and then add the eggs and vanilla. Mix to combine. In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Alternate adding the flour mixture to the egg mixture with the milk. Do not over mix or you’ll get air bubbles in the cup cake. Fill each muffin cups about 1/2 full of batter. Place a peanut butter cup into the center of each and push it down so it almost touches the bottom but so there is still some batter underneath the peanut butter cup. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or till toothpick comes out clean (be careful not to test where the candy is, you won’t get a true test of if the cupcake is done). Makes approx 14 to 16



BANANA SPLIT CUPCAKES (dairy or pareve)

2 cups sugar

1 3/4 cups flour

3/4 cup cocoa

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

2 mashed ripe bananas

1 cup warm water

1/2 cup milk or non dairy substitute

1/2 cup oil

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla



8 ounces cream cheese or pareve cream cheese, at room temperature

4 tablespoon soft butter

4 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla


Optional Toppings;

hot fudge sauce,

maraschino cherries


Preheat oven to 350. Grease 20 to 24 muffin cups or use paper liners. In a large bowl combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix to combine. In another large bowl combine the eggs, mashed bananas, water, milk, oil, and vanilla and whisk to combine.  Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling about 2/3 full, and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool on a rack.


In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Gradually add the powdered sugar until blended.  Frost and top with fudge sauce and a maraschino cherry


Modified from the Joy of Baking



This recipe uses self rising flour if you don’t have it for each cup of self rising flour use 1 cup of all-purpose flour and add 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

2 eggs

1 cup oil

1 cup granulated sugar

4 zucchinis, grated

1 cup shelled pistachio nuts, chopped

2 teaspoon lime zest

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups self-rising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup dried cranberries


Preheat the oven to 325. Grease or line 2 12 muffin tin pans. In a bowl combine the egg, oil, and sugar and whisk until combined.  Add the zucchini, lime zest and nuts and stir together until well mixed.  Add the flour, cinnamon and baking powder, into the zucchini mixture and gently fold it in. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans and bake and for 18 to 20 minutes until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool on a rack and then dust the top with powdered sugar. Makes 24.


Modified from




3 tablespoons butter, melted

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup sugar

1 oz cream cheese

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

generous 1/3 cup potato flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon milk


Preheat the oven to 350.  In a bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter and cocoa powder and beat until combined. Add the sugar and beat until combined.  Add the cream cheese, vanilla, milk and eggs and beat to combine.   Add the flour, baking powder, and baking soda and beat until just combined.  Spoon the mixture into the paper liners and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until risen and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool before frosting.


1 oz bittersweet chocolate

5 oz cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


Melt the chocolate in the microwave but don’t over heat it, it should just be soft. Cool for about minutes. Place the softened cream cheese in a bowl and then pour the chocolate over the top. Add the vanilla and mix until the cheese and chocolate is combine. Add the powdered sugar and mix to combine. Frost and serve. Makes 12


Submitted by Roger Mancref and Cheryl Rodrego Naples FL





6 chocolate candy bars, chopped into pieces (your choice)

1, 12 oz bag of any kind of M&M’s you like

Crush, cut and mash into tiny pieces

Mix together in a bowl, set aside



1/2 cup peanut butter

1 cup semi sweet chocolate

1/2 cup cream



12 tablespoons softened butter

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1 cup mini chocolate chips



Make the frosting first. In a microwave bowl melt the chocolate and cream together. Stir until smooth and then add the peanut butter and mix until combined. Cool in the refrigerator and when it is cool beat the frosting until it is spreadable.


Preheat oven to 350. Grease or place paper liners in 24 cupcakes molds. In a bowl combine the butter, white sugar and brown sugar. Mix to combine. Add the buttermilk, vanilla and eggs and mix to combine. Add the salt, baking soda, flour, chocolate chips and mix to combine. Spoon the batter into the prepare tins filling each about 2/3 full. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool before frosting and then decorate with the chopped candy. Makes 24.




1 cup butter or margarine, softened

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

2 teaspoons lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups sour cream or pareve substitute



3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened

2 1/4 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3/4 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon lemon zest

1 tablespoon milk or pareve substitute


Preheat oven to 350 and grease or paper line 30 muffin tins. Set them aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter and sugar. Mix to combine and then with the mixer running add the eggs. With the mixer still running add lemon zest and vanilla. In another bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  With the mixer running slowly add the flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream. This will be a thick batter.  Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.


In the bowl of an electric mixer or food processor combine the butter and powdered sugar. Mix until combined.  Add the lemon juice, vanilla, lemon zest and milk; beat until smooth. Frost the cooled cupcakes. Makes 30.





Iced Coffee Please/Recipes for Summer Fun

When is it too hot to drink hot coffee? My guess is that most people would say RIGHT NOW. When doesn’t it make sense to pay over $5.00 for an iced coffee drink? Again, my answer would have to be RIGHT NOW when everyone’s budget seems to get tighter and tighter each week. Those points being raised I am by no means suggesting that anyone give up hot coffee forever and/or occasionally stopping by your favorite java joint to indulge in a treat but rather that we take our love for that addictive bitter brew and turn it into something that isn’t making our insides as hot as it is outside and costing us an arm and a leg every time we buy it.

For true iced coffee you do not, I repeat, do not want to just brew up a pot of your regular blend and let it get cold (yes you can use left over coffee but it’s usually pretty “thick” by the time it’s left over. Hot brewed or left over coffee will give you a bitter iced coffee. Rather you want to cold brew your coffee. By cold brewing your coffee base you will get a smoother, less bitter beverage that is perfect for combining with a variety of ingredients.

For the most part you want to use a coarsely ground coffee to make your cold brewed coffee and for those of you with a favorite blend or brand, go right ahead and use it. Caffeine or no caffeine your choice.  However, since most of the time cold coffee is combined with other ingredients you can use a less expensive brand and still have the flavor of the bean come through. The follow recipes can all be made with a dairy free milk substitute if you’re allergic to dairy or have lactose intolerance. I would suggest you use rice milk, almond milk or soy milk rather than the coffee creamers that have additives and chemicals as part of their ingredient list.

The following recipes all have specific amounts for the ingredients but know with a coffee drink some will prefer a stronger coffee tasting beverage and others will like it creamier. Feel free to play with the amounts of milk to coffee to sugar to flavoring if you taste buds tell you the recipe needs a little tweaking. You won’t ruin anything; in fact, you may just invent a new way to serve yourself a cup of Joe.


Note: several recipes call for instant coffee instead of brewed coffee instead of brewed coffee. The taste is a little less robust but it works just fine.



1 gallon cold water

1 lb bag of your favorite coarse ground coffee

Coffee filters



Pour a gallon of water into a large bowl. Add the coffee and stir until the coffee completely wet. Cover and let the mixture sit for at least 12 hours (I always do this early in the evening and it’s ready to go in the morning)


Line your strainer with coffee filters and place it in a large bowl. Gently pour the coffee over the filters, making sure not to have too much of the coffee grounds pour out at once. You may want to do this in stages, replacing the filters once or twice during the straining. When you’re done you can put the cold coffee in a container with a lid and it keeps for up to 4 weeks (it makes A LOT of cold coffee)


My files, source unknown



6 cups cold coffee (stronger is better)

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus additional cocoa powder for garnish

2 cups milk

Can of whipped cream or whipped topping (optional)

Chocolate syrup or cocoa powder (optional)


Fill ice-cube trays with 3 cups of the coffee and freeze it. Place the remaining 3 cups of coffee in blender and process until smooth. Pour into a pitcher and refrigerate. When the coffee cubes are frozen place 1/2 of them in a blender a process until they are crushed. Place the crushed coffee cubes in the pitcher with the coffee and cocoa and mix to combine. Place the remaining coffee cubes in the blender and process until crushed. Divide the crushed ice between 4 glasses and then pour the coffee and cocoa mixture between the glasses. Top with whipped cream and cocoa powder or syrup. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.


Modified from




4 ounces light rum

4 ounces canned coconut cream

2 cups cold black coffee

4 tablespoons pineapple juice

4 slices of fresh pineapple

Crushed ice


Combine all the ingredients in a blender or a cocktail shaker and mix or process to combine. Pour into tall glasses and garnish with the pineapple slice. Serves 4


Modified from


For this recipe you will need hot coffee to start the process


1 1/2 to 2 cups hot coffee (the stronger the better)

1/3 to 1/2 cup caramel dessert topping

2 to 3 tablespoons brown sugar, to taste

ice cubes

1 1/2 cups cold milk

Whipped cream, for garnish (optional)

Ground cinnamon, for garnish (optional)

Extra caramel sauce for garnish (optional)


In a bowl combine the hot coffee and the caramel topping (you can fudge the amounts if you prefer a more caramel or coffee flavor) Add the sugar and whisk to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until the mixture is cold. When you’re ready to serve fill 2 tall glasses with crushed ice and fill each glass about 1/3 full (or more if you prefer) with milk. Then fill the glass with the coffee mixture and stir to combine. You can top with whipped cream, extra caramel sauce or a dash of cinnamon.


My files, source unknown




1 1/2 cups cold coffee (the stronger the better)

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup half-and-half cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla


In pitcher combine the coffee and milk. Whisk in half-and-half and vanilla. Fill 4 glasses with crushed ice and pour the coffee and milk mixture over the ice. Serves 4.


Modified from




2 teaspoons instant coffee

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

sugar to taste (I use brown sugar)

2 teaspoons cold water

1 1/4 cups milk

chocolate sprinkles (optional)


In a blender combine the instant coffee, vanilla, sugar, water and milk. Process until smooth and the pour into a tall glass with crushed ice. Garnish with sprinkles Serves 1 (you can always add the ice to the blender if you prefer more of a slushie.


Submitted by Angie McDonald Kalamazoo, MI




1/2 cup MAXWELL HOUSE Instant Coffee

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

6 orange zest strips (each 2×1/2 inch)

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

8 cups boiling water


MIX all ingredients except boiling water in medium bowl. Add boiling water; stir until coffee granules are completely dissolved and mixture is well blended. REFRIGERATE several hours or until chilled. SERVE over ice cubes in eight tall glasses.


Modified from




1 ripe banana

2 tablespoons instant coffee powder or 1/2 cup cold coffee (or more to taste)

2 tablespoons instant cocoa mix (or more to taste)

8 to 10 ice cubes

1 1/2 to 2 cups milk


Place all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. You many need to add more milk or ice depending on the consistency you prefer. Serves 2.

Peaches and Cream/Recipes for the summer

Fresh peaches are starting to appear in the produce sections these days and I thought having a guide to help you pick out the very best of the best will set you on the road to delicious.

Peaches have been grown in the United States since the Spaniards brought them to North America in their early explorations. They’ve played an integral  part in making the fruit industry in Georgia, South Carolina and California as successful as has been (just check out the names of a lot of Atlanta streets to see what type of influence the peach has).

You should look for peaches that are unblemished and not to firm. Fresh peaches spoil quickly so don’t buy too many unless you’re going to use them. Peaches don’t get sweeter after they are picked so make sure get the ripest ones you can. If you need to peel your peaches (and you don’t have too, there’s bunches of stuff that’s good for you in the skin) you should blanch them in boiling water for about 1 minute and then drop them into ice water immediately to cool and then peel. The skin should come off easily. Just know that peaches will turn brown very quickly after they are cut so you should sprinkle them with lemon or lime juice if you aren’t going to use them immediately.

The phrase peaches and cream can literally mean eating “peaches” and “cream” together in a dish or pie or cake or whatever way your imagination (or taste buds) desire. The following recipes all combine peaches and some kind of cream or cheese and every single one of them is going to make you say you’all come back and try me again real soon!



3/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 (3 ounce) package non-instant vanilla pudding mix

3 tablespoons butter, softened

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

1 (29 ounce) can sliced peaches, drained and syrup reserved

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon sugar


Preheat oven to 350. Grease sides and bottom of a 10 inch deep-dish pie pan.

In a mixing bowl of a food processor combine flour, salt, baking powder and pudding mix. Process just to combine. Add the butter, egg and milk and process until combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared pie pan. Arrange the peach slices on top of the pudding mixture. Don’t clean the processer bowl. Put the cream cheese in the bowl until fluffy. Add 1/2 cup sugar and 3 tablespoons reserved peach syrup. Process until smooth. Spoon the cream cheese mixture over peaches to within 1 inch of pan edge. Mix together 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and sprinkle it over the top of the peaches. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown. Chill completely before serving. Serves 8.


Modified from a recipe by Debbi Borsick, source unknown, submitted by Tracey Malrick


PEACHES AND CREAM BAKE (dairy or pareve)


1 lb French bread or challah egg bread, cut into chunks

8 large eggs

2 1/2 cups milk or ½ and ½ or non dairy substitute

1/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 15-oz. cans sliced peaches packed in juice, drained

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon


Grease a 9X13 baking pan. Arrange the bread pieces so they fit tightly in the pan. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk, sugar and vanilla and whisk to combine. Pour the liquid over the bread. Arrange peach slices on top of the mixture and sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon over the top. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours. 30 minutes before baking take the pan from the refrigerater. Preheat oven to 350. Bake, uncovered until the top is lightly browned and cooked through, 45 to 55 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Serves 8.


Modified from



3/4 cup self rising flour (yes self rising)

1 pkg. cheesecake or vanilla instant pudding mix (3.4 ounce)

3 tablespoons butter, softened

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

1 large (about 28 ounces) can sliced peaches, drained, save the juice

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar


Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 10 inch deep dish pie plate. In a mixing bowl combine the flour, pudding, butter, egg and milk. Mix to combine. Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Arrange the peach slices over the top of the batter. In the bowl of an electric mixer or food processor combine the cream cheese, sugar and 3 tablespoons peach juice and process for 2 minutes. Spread the topping over the top of the peaches, leaving a 1 inch border. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the top of the cream cheese mixture. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes. Cool and refrigerate. Serves 8.


Submitted by Charlie Aronoes NY, NY, source unknown



2 cups cubed cooked chicken

1 tablespoon herbs de Provence

1 1/2 cups seedless red or green grapes, halved

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted

1 fresh pineapple cut into tidbits

3 to 4 peaches, sliced

1 head of romaine lettuce, shredded

2 cups fresh baby spinach



3/4 mayonnaise

1 teaspoon herbs de Provence

1/2 cup frozen pareve whipped topping, thawed

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons pine nuts


In a salad bowl combine the chicken, 1 tablespoon herbs de Provence, grapes, celery, almonds, pineapple and peaches. Mix to combine. In small bowl combine the mayonnaise, herbs de Provence, whipped topping, salt and pine nuts. Mix to combine. Pour the dressing over the chicken mixture; stir gently to combine. To serve, arrange the lettuce and spinach on a serving platter or individual plates; spoon chicken mixture over greens. Serves 8.


Modified from




1 tablespoon olive oil

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Salt and pepper

3 peaches, cut into wedges

1 shallot or 1 tablespoon onion, minced

1/2 cup white wine

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/2 cup non dairy liquid almond milk or soy milk

1/3 cup snipped chives or green onions


Heat the oil in a large frying pan.  Lightly sprinkle both sides of chicken with the salt and pepper and then cook them just until golden on each side so that it’s just done in the middle 10 to 12 minutes. Immediately remove the chicken from the pan and set it on a plate and set it aside.  After removing the chicken from pan, reduce heat to medium and add the wine. Stir so that the bits on the bottom are scraped up. Add the peaches and onion and stir to coat, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the mustard and no dairy substitute, whisk to combine. Place the chicken into the sauce and cook, uncovered for 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon the sauce over the chicken as it cooks. Season with more salt and pepper if needed. Place on a serving platter and sprinkle the top with chives and serve. Serves 4


Modified From Chatelaine Magazine




1 lb block or ball of mozzarella, cut into slices

5 to 6 ripe Peaches (not too mushy), cut in half, pitted

1 tablespoon minced onion

2 tablespoons oil

1 head each romaine and bibb lettuce, combined

1/3 cup rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Zest of one lime

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 cup olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1/3 cup shredded basil leaves


In a small bowl combine the minced onions and vinegar.  Whisk in the lime juice, zest, honey, salt and pepper. After the mixture is combined add olive oil and whisk to combine then set it aside. Arrange lettuce on a large platter and set it aside.


Brush a  grill pan with oil and then grill the peach halves, cut side down for about 3 or 4 minutes or until there are grill marks and the peaches are warm. Flip them over and grill for 2 to 3 more minutes.  Place the peaches on a cutting board and cut them into thin slices. Arrange the peaches and mozzarella slices on top of green in whatever pattern you like. Sprinkle the shredded basil over the top and then drizzle the dressing over the top and serves. Serves 8.


From my files, source unknown




1 readymade pie crust uncooked

4 cups sliced peeled peaches

2 tablespoons peach preserves

1 cup sugar

1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream

3 egg yolks

1/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon vanilla



1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons chopped pecans

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup cold butter, cubed


Preheat oven to 425. In a large bowl, combine peaches and preserves. Spoon the mixture into the pie shell. In bowl combine the sugar, sour cream, egg yolks, 1/4 cup flour and vanilla. Whisk to combine and then pour the mixture over the peaches. Bake for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the 1/2 cup flour, sugars, pecans and cinnamon. Cut the butter into the mixture until it resembles crumbs. Sprinkle the crumbs mixture over the top of the peaches.


Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean and topping is golden brown. Cover edges with foil during the last 15 minutes to prevent overbrowning if necessary. Cool completely on a wire rack for 3 hours before serving.  Serves 8.


Modified from



You can vary the amount of fruit or onion in this salsa and a few drops of a hot sauce can be added if you like a little kick to your salsa.


1 pkg (8 oz.) Neuchâtel or cream cheese, softened (you can use chive cream cheese)

2 peaches, chopped

2 to 3 kiwi, peeled, chopped

1 red pepper, finely chopped

4 to 6 green onions, sliced thin, green and white parts

2 to 4 tablespoons finely chopped parsley or cilantro

1/2 to 2/3 cup creamy Italian Dressing

Corn chips or crackers


Spread the cream cheese on to the bottom of serving plate leaving about an inch around the edge. In a bowl combine the kiwi peaches, red pepper, green onion, parsley and the Italian dressing. Mix to combine and then spoon the mixture over the cream cheese. Serve with chips and crackers. Serves 8 to 10


My files source unknown


I’m Cuckoo for Cocoa

            When our friends Debbie and Dennis came to visit last year Debbie brought some FABUOLOUS homemade chocolate Mandelbrot/biscotti which I promptly devoured all by my pretty little self. When asked for the recipe she graciously gave it to me and I tried (tried being the operative word here) to reproduce it.  While it was close and really quite good, it just wasn’t “quite” the same deep dark rich chocolaty tasting as hers. Knowing that in the sacred world of “friends exchanging recipes” leaving out an ingredient or step in the instructions is not something she would do I called her and asked what I’d done wrong (yes, even I, the queen of the kitchen occasionally make what are euphemistically called mistakes). Seems I’d used the wrong kind of cocoa powder. I’d used the regular Hershey’s brand and she’d used Dutch Cocoa powder.

So what, you ask, is the difference between cocoa powder and Dutch cocoa powder? Let’s start at the beginning. First there is the cocoa bean. These babies are roasted and then ground to remove the cocoa butter, (that natural fat in the cocoa bean so often found in sun tan lotion).  What remains is a paste called chocolate liquor.  This chocolate liquor is dried and ground to produce cocoa powder.  Dutch cocoa powder is regular cocoa powder that has been treated with an alkali to neutralize the cocoas natural acidity. Regular cocoa powder is acidic while the Dutch variety is neutral.

Because having the right level of acid to alkaline agent is critical when baking you shouldn’t substitute regular cocoa powder for Dutch cocoa powder or vice versa if a recipe calls for a specific type of cocoa powder.



1 1/2 cups flour, plus more for dusting
1 cup ground blanched almonds
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
10 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons milk
1 cup raspberry jam
Powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)


Preheat oven to 350. Put flour, almonds, granulated sugar, cocoa, cinnamon and salt into a food processor and pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal; transfer to a large bowl. In a small bowl, beat together yolks and lemon juice then add to flour mixture along with milk and stir with a fork just until mixture comes together.

Press about 2/3 of the dough into an 8-inch tart pan with a removable bottom or spring form pan to form a 1/2-inch-thick crust. (If using a tart pan, crust should reach the top of the pan. If using a spring form pan, crust should reach about 1 inch up the sides.) Spread jam thickly over the bottom of the crust; set aside.

Working on a well-floured surface, use floured hands to roll remaining dough into 3/4-inch-wide ropes. Press ropes into 1-inch-wide strips and lay across tart in a crisscross pattern to form a lattice top. Bake tart until jam is bubbly and crust is just golden brown around the edges, about 40 minutes. Serve tart at room temperature or chilled, dusted with powdered sugar, if you like.




2 ripe fresh or frozen banana cut into chunks
6 ounces vanilla yogurt
3/4 to 1 cup milk
2 tablespoons ground almonds
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 cup ice cubes


Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and whirl at top speed for about 1 minute or until smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy. When making fruit smoothies, adding ice to the blender is a matter of personal choice. If you are using frozen fruit in place of fresh fruit you may choose to omit the ice.



2 1/2 cups flour

1 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup margarine or butter

1/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 eggs

1 3/4 cups shredded zucchini

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 cup pecan pieces


Preheat oven to 350. Place paper liners in muffin pan. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, ground cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Cut in shortening until flour mixture resembles coarse meal. Slightly beat eggs. Add eggs, milk, lemon juice zucchini, and vanilla. Stir until just combined. Add pecans and mix to combine. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins, filling 1/2 to 2/3 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes and then cool on racks.


2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate squares, chopped
1/4 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup granulated sugar


Preheat oven to 220. Line cookie sheets with aluminum foil and set them aside. In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and cocoa and then set it aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the whites and cream of tartar until it starts to form soft peaks. Increase speed to medium high and slowly, in a steady stream add the sugar. Beat until mixture forms stiff peaks and is glossy. Stop the mixer and by hand with a spatula or wooden spoon, gently fold in the cocoa mixture and chopped chocolate. Try to make sure that the cocoa mixture gets thoroughly mixed in but don’t over mix. Using a tablespoon drop a heaping tablespoon of the mixture 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets. Let meringues sit at room temp for 1/2 hour before baking. Preheat oven to 220. Bake for 1 hour and DO NOT open the oven door. Remove from the oven and let cool on the cookie sheet. When the meringues are cool remove them from the foil. Makes 25 to 30.


2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter, chilled
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2-3/4 cup whipping cream
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup white chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 400. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. With a pastry blender or knife, cut chilled butter into flour mixture to resemble coarse crumbs.In a small bowl, combine egg, vanilla, and 1/2 cup of whipping cream. Stir cream mixture into flour mixture. If needed, add up to 1/4 cup more whipping cream, until mixture is just moistened. Stir in both chips, and than use hands to knead dough about 10 times. Lightly flour a working surface. Pat dough into 8-inch circle. Cut circle into 12 wedges using a sharp knife. Place each wedge 1 inch apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes or until set. Do not overbake. Let stand for 3 minutes before transferring to cooling surface. Makes 12 scones.

Mother’s Day Truffles


Quick Mother’s Day food thought. This year, instead of fighting the crowds for a mediocre buffet or making the same pancakes, waffles and burnt toast breakfast in bed is your present mistake, why not put a little extra effort (and chocolate) into the food portion of your present and makes truffles and/or fudge for your favorite mom. Ok, so you may need to add a little  bling bling to round out the specialness of the day but you’ll be surprised at how easy (and fun) it is for the family to create confectionary masterpieces for mom.

A truffle is an intensely rich ganache (a chocolate/cream mixture) covered with chocolate and fudge is, well, fudge You can use milk or bittersweet chocolate for either and both the truffles and fudge  can be combined with “extra ingredients” like cocoa powder, candied fruits,  coconut, or chopped nuts or what ever your mom likes best.

Most people assume that truffles are complicated and fudge is easy to make. They couldn’t be more wrong. Truffles and fudge are actually the perfect candies for kids to test their kitchen skills. Unlike a lot of commercially made chocolate candies, homemade chocolate truffles and fudge don’t necessarily require tempered chocolate (temperature controlled melted chocolate). In fact, you won’t need a candy thermometer at all for any of these recipes. All you need to create gourmet tasting candy is time and the best-quality chocolate you can find. I like Ghirardelli, Godiva, or Callebaut. Yes they are a little harder to find and cost a more than Hershey but the taste of the truffle (and mom) are worth the bigger bucks.

The Great White Chocolate Debate

Because it doesn’t contain any part of the cocoa bean except the fat, white chocolate is not actually chocolate! If you’re going to use white chocolate be sure to use one where the only fat in it is cocoa butter

Quick Tip

I form my truffles with a melon baler but you can use a small ice-cream scoop just roll the centers between the palms of your hands

Truffles are best when served at room temperature



11 ounces chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
 cocoa powder for dusting (or another top-quality cocoa)

Finely chop 8 ounces of the chocolate and put in a bowl. Bring heavy cream to a boil in a small heavy saucepan. Pour the cream over the chocolate, mashing any big pieces with a wooden spoon. Then stir with a whisk in concentric circles, starting in the center and working your way to the edge, until the ganache is smooth. (Don’t beat, or you’ll incorporate air.) Let the mixture stand at room temperature until thick enough to hold its shape, about 1 hour. Cover the bottom of a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Using a melon baller scoop out balls of the chocolate mixture and place them on the prepared cookie sheet. If the mixture starts sticking to the melon baller dip it in the cocoa powder before scooping out the balls.  Freeze the chocolate balls until firm, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt 3 more ounces of the same chocolate and smear some your hand (you can use disposable plastic gloves if you prefer) gently rub a chilled truffle in the melted chocolate to coat lightly. Toss the truffles in unsweetened cocoa powder (a fork is the best tool for tossing truffles in cocoa). Shake truffles in a sieve to eliminate excess cocoa.  Repeat until all the filling is gone.  You can store truffles in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for 2 to 3 months. Makes about 60 truffles.


10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/4 cup rum
1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa powder

 finely chopped nuts, and/or toasted coconut, for coating truffles
8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine

Place the 10 ounces of chocolate and butter in a medium size glass mixing bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds. Remove and stir, and repeat this process 1 more time. Set aside. Heat the heavy cream and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Remove from the heat and pour the mixture over the melted chocolate mixture; let stand for 2 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, stir gently, starting in the middle of bowl and working in concentric circles until all chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth and creamy. Gently stir in the rum. Pour the mixture into an 8 by 8-inch glass baking dish and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Using a melon baller, scoop chocolate onto the prepared cookie sheet pan for 30 minutes.

Place the cocoa powder, nuts, and/or toasted coconut each in its own in pie pan and set aside. In the meantime melt the 8 ounces of chocolate and remove the truffle mixture from the refrigerator. Using a melon baller scoop out balls of the chocolate mixture and place them on the prepared cookie sheet. If the mixture starts sticking to the melon baller dip it in the cocoa powder before scooping out the balls. Shape into balls by rolling between the palms of your hands. Use powder-free vinyl or latex gloves if desired. Then place the truffle into the dish with either the cocoa powder, nuts or coconut. Move the truffle around to coat; leave truffle in the coating for 10 to 15 seconds before removing. In the meantime, continue placing the chocolate-coated truffles in the cocoa or other secondary coating. After 10 to 15 seconds, remove the truffle to a parchment lined sheet pan. Repeat until all truffles are coated. Allow to set in a cool dry place for at least 1 hour; or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Makes 50 to 60 truffles.


Because the flavors need time to mellow these truffles taste best if you make them at least 3 to 4 days before you want to serve them.

6 squares (6 oz.) white chocolate
8 oz. pecans, about 2 cups, ground
1 cup finely ground vanilla wafer crumbs
1/3 cup orange liqueur
finely grated peel of 1 orange
powdered sugar

Melt the white chocolate in microwave or in top of a double boiler. Stir the pecans into the melted white chocolate. Add 1 cup of the cookie crumbs, liqueur and peel. Mix well and let set until firm. Cover the bottom of a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Using a melon baller scoop out balls of the chocolate mixture and place them on the prepared cookie sheet. Roll the balls in powdered sugar. Store, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for at least 1 week before serving, so flavors blend.  Truffles will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Makes 40 to 50 truffles.


1 cup peanut butter chips
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup cocoa
14 oz Can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 tablespoon vanilla

optional coatings:

chopped Nuts, milk chocolate, graham cracker crumbs, confectioner’s sugar

In heavy saucepan, over low heat, melt chips with the butter. Stir in the cocoa and mix until smooth. Add sweetened condensed milk and vanilla. Cook, stirring constantly until the mixture is thickened and blended, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Chill for at least 2 hrs. or until firm enough to handle. Cover the bottom of a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Using a melon baller scoop out balls of the chocolate mixture and place them on the prepared cookie sheet.  Roll the balls in any of the above coatings. Chill until firm; about 1 hour. Store covered in the refrigerator. Makes 40 to 50 truffles

12 ounces of bittersweet chocolate
7 ounces of apricot jam (the highest quality with the least sugar)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
enough bittersweet chocolate to use for covering the truffles (12 to 14 ounces)

In a bowl combine the cream, jam and vanilla. Whisk well to combine. Melt the 12 ounces of chocolate. Stir in the cream mixture and blend. Chill the mixture for an hour. Cover the bottom of a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Using a melon baller scoop out balls of the chocolate mixture and place them on the prepared cookie sheet and chill for an hour. Melt the rest of the chocolate in a bowl, and dip each of the truffle centers and return to the waxed paper and chill until hard. Makes 40 to 50 truffles.


This recipe for fudge is a tad more complicated that most but the end results is worth the extra time you need to make it.
Bottom Layer:
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup butterscotch chips
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

1/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups marshmallow cream
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups chopped salted peanuts

Caramel Layer:
14 oz pkg. caramels
1/4 cup whipping cream

1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup butterscotch chips
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Bottom layer: Lightly grease a 9X13 pan. In a sauce pan combine the 1 cup milk chocolate chips, 1/4 cup butterscotch chips and 1/4 cup peanut butter. Over a low heat cook, stirring until melted and smooth. Spread the mixture onto the bottom of the prepared pan. Refrigerate until set.

For the middle layer: Melt the 1/4 cup butter in a heavy saucepan. Add the cup of sugar and 1 1/2 cup milk. Bring the mixture to a boil. Boil and stir constantly for 5 min. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the marshmallow creme, peanut butter and vanilla. After the ingredients are combined add the peanuts. Mix to combine and spread the mixture over first layer. Refrigerate until set.

Top Layer: In a sauce pan combine the caramels and cream. Heat over a low heat, stirring until melted and smooth. Spread the mixture over the filling. Refrigerate until set.

In another saucepan, combine 1 cup chocolate chips and 1/4 cup peanut butter; Heat until melted and smooth. Pour the frosting over the caramel layer. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Cut into 1 inch squares. Store in the refrigerator


Easy chocolate fudge made in the microwave oven.

3 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup cocoa

1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup butter

1 tablespoon vanilla

1/2 cup chopped pecans, optional
Grease an 8 in. pan and set it aside. In a bowl combine the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa, milk, and butter. Cook on high power until butter is melted, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir until smooth. Blend in the vanilla and pecans. Spread the mixture into the prepared pan and refrigerate until firm. Cut fudge in 12 to 16 squares.


4 1/2 cups sugar

2 tablespoons butter

 pinch of salt

10 to 12 ounce can evaporated milk

12 ounces semisweet chocolate

12 ounces German sweet chocolate

1 cup marshmallow cream

2 cups chopped nutmeats

In a sauce pan combine the sugar, butter, salt, and evaporated milk. Cook over a low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring the mixture to a boil and boil for 6 minutes then remove it from the heat. Put in the semi sweet chocolate, German chocolate, marshmallow cream, and nutmeats in a bowl. Pour the boiling syrup mixture over the chocolate in the bowl. Stir until the chocolate is all melted, then pour the mixture in a 9X13 pan. Let stand for a few hours before cutting into 24 squares

Pancakes & Waffles Anytime You Want Them

There is definitely a time to make pancakes. If my nephew is to be believed, it’s anytime he come to my house because, according to him, his mom only buys the ready made frozen ones. Not to knock my sibling but frozen pancakes, really, come on, frozen ones?? How hard is it to make the real ones?  All ya gotta do is mix a bunch of dry ingredients together (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt) and then a bunch of wet ingredients (milk or buttermilk or sour cream, eggs, melted butter), and then you add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Voila pancakes or waffles. Ok, so sometimes it’s a tad more complicated and I add a mystery ingredient, like chocolate chips or bananas and pecans or wait for it…… blueberries. According to my nephew, I’m a culinary genius.

Waffles are almost as easy as pancakes. To my nephew waffles are kind of a mix between pancakes and cookies because they’re crunchy and sweet and he can eat them with his hands (ok, don’t anybody tell my sister I let him do that).
He loves the grids and pokes his fingers through them. Yes, I know, I’d never let my  21 and 24 year old sons do it but hey, this is my 9 year old nephew and I get to send him home after he’s done eating.

The following recipes are a great mix of easy and a little bit more complicated. Some call for buttermilk. Use it if you can. It gives a wonderful rich flavor to the pancake or waffle. You can, of course substitute milk or 1/2 and 1/2 but the flavor will be different. You can use almost any pancake batter for waffles, just reduce the liquid by about 1/4 to 1/3 cup. Some of these recipes use ready made baking mixes and others are from scratch. Don’t worry, they’re all delicious and kid friendly, even if the kid eating them is your 56 year old husband who’s wresting his 9 year old nephew for the last one on the plate.

NOTE: please do not write, email, text or otherwise let me know that the frozen pancakes and waffles have a place in this world. I do know they serve a purpose for those whose schedules are jam packed so just ignore that part of the column and just skip to the recipes.



2 cup Bisquick baking mix

1 egg

1 1/2 cup milk

2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 (29 oz.) can sliced peaches, drained

3/4 cup whipping cream, whipped (you can use the stuff from the can)

In a bowl combine the baking mix, egg, milk, brown sugar and cinnamon. Whisk to combine. Pour by scant 1/4 cupfuls onto hot griddle (grease griddle if necessary). Cook until pancakes are dry around edges. Turn; cook until golden brown. Top with peaches and whipped cream.


2 cups flour

6 tablespoons (packed) brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 2/3 cups buttermilk

3/4 cup canned solid pack pumpkin

3 large eggs

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted

4 tablespoons (about) butter

maple syrup

Preheat oven to 250. In a bowl combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cloves and salt. In another bowl whisk together the buttermilk, pumpkin, eggs and melted butter until well blended. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, drop batter by 1/4 cupfuls into skillet. Cook pancakes until bubbles form on top and bottoms are golden brown, about 2 1/2 minutes. Turn pancakes over. Cook until bottoms are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer to baking sheet; place in oven to keep warm up to 20 minutes. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more butter to skillet as necessary for each batch. Serve pancakes hot with maple syrup. Serves 4.


1 large Granny Smith apple
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Lemon juice
Confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 450 and place rack in center of oven. Peel, core and slice apple. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, flour and vanilla until smooth. Melt butter in a 10-inch cast iron or other ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Spread apples in pan and cook for 4 minutes. Turn apples and continue cooking 3 minutes. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon over apples and cook another minute or until sugar begins to melt. Remove pan from heat, stir apples lightly to coat with sugar, and then top with batter. Bake 15 minutes or until mixture puffs up and turns golden brown around edges. Remove from oven and cut into four wedges. Sprinkle with lemon juice and serve with a sprinkling of confectioners’ sugar. Serves 4.


1-1/2 cups flour

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup Hershey’s Cocoa

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups buttermilk

2 eggs, beaten

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons oil

your choice of sliced strawberries, sliced almonds, mandarin orange segments, sliced kiwi fruit, pineapple chunks, and maraschino cherry halves

Frozen whipped topping, thawed
In a bowl stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda. In another bowl combine buttermilk, eggs and oil and whisk to combine. Add the liquid mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened. Pour about 1 tablespoon batter onto preheated, lightly greased griddle or non-stick skillet. Cook over medium heat until bubbly surface on top; turn and cook just until set.  Serve each pancake topped with heaping teaspoonful whipped topping, topped with selection of fruits. About 40 small pancakes or 10 large ones.

Modified from the Hershey’s web site


These pancakes are more nutritious than your typical pancakes.

2/3 cup quick cooking rolled oats

1 1/4 cup buttermilk

2 large eggs, separated

3/4 cup flour

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 large apple, peeled and grated

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1/4 cup pecans (optional), chopped

In a large bowl, mix together the oats and buttermilk. Let stand for 10 minutes. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk together the egg yolks, brown sugar, and melted butter. Add this to the oats and buttermilk. Stir in the grated apple. Slowly add in the dry ingredients until just incorporated. Stir in the pecans. Whip the egg whites until soft peaks are formed. Fold the egg whites into the pancake batter. Heat up a large fry pan or griddle over medium high heat. Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil to the pan. Ladle the pancake batter into the hot oil. Cook each side until browned (about 3 minutes). Serve with maple syrup. Serves 4 to 5


1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups milk
1/4 cup oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1 rounded cup semisweet mini chocolate chips

Whisk together all ingredients except chips until just combined. Heat a griddle over medium heat until hot and lightly brush with additional oil. Working in batches, pour a scant 1/4 cup batter per pancake onto griddle and sprinkle each pancake with about 1 1/2 teaspoons chips. Cook until bubbles appear on surface and undersides are golden-brown, about 1 minute. Flip with a spatula and cook other side, about 1 minute more. (Lightly oil griddle between batches.) Makes 4


For the honey-cinnamon butter
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the sweet-potato pancakes
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk, plus more if necessary
2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup store-bought pancake mix
1 small pinch ground nutmeg
1 small sweet potato, boiled, peeled, and mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)

Beat together the butter, honey, and cinnamon until smooth. Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and oil. Stir in the pancake mix and nutmeg until just combined. Fold in the sweet potato. If the batter seems too thick, add more buttermilk until it reaches the desired consistency (it should be thick but still pourable). Place a large, greased griddle or pan over medium-high heat. Working in batches, spoon the batter onto it and cook until the surface of the pancake is covered with bubbles, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook the other side until golden, 1 to 2 minutes more. Serve, topped with the honey-cinnamon butter and a little maple syrup. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Tip: As a time-saver, substitute 3 ounces of sweet-potato baby food for the cooked sweet potato (try the organic sweet-potato blend from Plum Organics, available at most Whole Foods stores). And if you don’t have time to make the honey-cinnamon butter, serve the pancakes with plain unsalted butter and dust them lightly with confectioners’ sugar.



1 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Sliced strawberries (about 1 cup)

In a bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl combine the eggs, sour cream, water, and vanilla and whisk to combine. Whisk in the melted butter. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir until moistened. Fold in sliced strawberries. Preheat griddle skillet over medium heat; grease lightly. Pour about 1/4 cup butter onto hot griddle for each pancake. Cook until tops of pancakes are bubbly; turn and cook until browned. Serves 4 to 6.


1 egg

1 cup milk

1 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon melted butter or margarine

2 cup Bisquick baking mix

6 cooked and crumbled bacon strips

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat waffle iron. In a medium bowl, beat together 1 egg, milk, sour cream, melted butter or margarine. Stir in the Bisquick and mix well. Fold in the crumbled bacon and cheese. Mix to combine. Spoon the batter onto a hot, greased waffle iron and cook until golden brown. Serve with maple syrup. Serves 4.

Submitted by Archie Davis age 10 Detroit


1 cup flour

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg — separated (beat egg white until stiff)

1 cup sour cream

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup butter, melted

1 banana, mashed

Preheat waffle iron. In a bowl mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In separate bowl whisk together egg yolk, sour cream, milk, butter and banana. Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients, stirring just until blended. Fold in beaten egg white. Pour batter from cup or ladle onto center of hot waffle iron. Bake about 5 minutes or until steaming stops. Remove waffle carefully. Makes 4.

Mash and Smashed Potatoes are both Great for Thanksgiving

While the prevailing thought that Thanksgiving dinner should be all about the turkey, in my house, it’s about the mashed potatoes. We have the same argument, year after year after year. Smashed verses mashed verses roasted versus candied. Everyone has their favorite AND THEY ARE ALL DIFFERENT.    


            Lobbying starts early. My youngest son is forthright and always polite and truthful: “Mom, if you need me to run to the grocery to get the marshmallows for the sweet potato casserole I’ll be happy to be of service to you, oh queen of the kitchen and she who must be obeyed (sometimes I like him best). Oh, and if you need anything else I’ll pick that up too.” The oldest is a tad more crafty, actually offering to do more than just show up and eat. “Hey mom, how about I take care of setting the table, vacumning AND peeling the potatoes” thinking I’ll be so stunned by is offer to actually “work” that I’ll make the potatoes the way he wants. My husband, on the other hand, is a bit more subtle, “what ever YOU want to make is fine by me, BUT, if you’re asking, I prefer that casserole with the fried onions BUT only if its not too much trouble and I’ll eat what ever you make, as long as it’s the casserole.” I usually end up making a sweet and regular potato side dish just to keep the peace and make sure there are leftovers for weekend overeating.

            I have discovered that the real trick to creamy, buttery, luscious potatoes is to use the Yukon Gold potatoes instead of Russets or Idaho that most people seem to use. That’s really all there is to it (along with adding, butter, and cream/milk/broth, salt and pepper etc). Potatoes should be cut into approximately the same size so that it cook evenly and placed in a pan with cold salted water. Cook until soft. After draining, return potatoes to pot and shake them over a medium heat to remove any remaining moisture before mashing.
         It’s important to mash your potatoes to the desired consistency BEFORE adding any liquids. Once you add liquid, it sets the texture of your mashed potatoes. Never, repeat never, over-beat or use a food processor. You will end up with glue. Use an up and down motion rather than a stirring motion to keep from turning the potatoes into a gummy paste (paste/glue, you get the picture).

 A final mashed potato note: If you want to add a little zing to your mashed potatoes know that most root vegetables are great candidates for combining with your mashing potatoes. Try adding cooked and mashed yams, parsnips, rutabagas, turnips, celery root, carrots, onions, garlic or whatever sounds good to you. You can combine them totally or swirl them together in the serving bowl for a colorful and delicious dish.

One pound or 3 medium-sized potatoes will make 2 cups mashed potatoes.

Use some of your mashed potatoes as a decorative tasty garnish for your vegetable casseroles. Add a lightly beaten egg to the mashed potatoes and, using a pastry bag, pipe a decorative border around the edge. Bake at 375 just until the potato garnish starts to brown.


2 pounds small red potatoes

4 cloves garlic, peeled, sliced

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons butter

1/4 to 1/2 cup milk or half-and-half

Salt and pepper, to taste

Scrub potatoes and cut into small chunks. Put potatoes and the sliced garlic in a medium saucepan; cover with water and add salt. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and drain well. Pour into a bowl and mash with the butter and milk or half-and-half. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4 to 6.


Deluxe mashed potatoes, with cream cheese, sour cream, butter, Cheddar, and seasonings.

8 to 12 medium baking potatoes, (about 3 to 4 lbs)

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

8 ounces sour cream

6 to 8 tablespoons butter

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 to 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Peel and quarter potatoes. In a large saucepan, cook potatoes in enough water to cover for 20 to 25 minutes or until tender. Drain off liquid. In a large mixing bowl, combine the potatoes, cream cheese, sour cream, butter, garlic powder, and pepper. Beat the mixture with an electric mixer till fluffy. Turn mixture into a buttered 2-quart casserole or baking dish. Top with the shredded Cheddar cheese. Cover and bake in 350° oven for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes longer. Serves 8 to 10.


3 tablespoons olive oil
4 heads garlic (12 to 14 oz. total)
6 pounds Yukon gold or russet potatoes
1 1/2 cups (a 3-oz. and an 8-oz. package) vegetable cheese (I like Boursin)
About 1 cup chicken broth or milk
Salt and pepper

Pour olive oil into a 9- to 10-inch square pan. Cut garlic heads in half crosswise through cloves and lay cut sides down in pan. Bake in a 375° oven until garlic is golden brown on the bottom and oozing sticky juices, about 35 minutes. Slip a thin spatula under garlic to release from pan. Reserve 1 half-head of garlic; pluck or squeeze cloves from remaining garlic. Meanwhile, rinse and peel potatoes. Cut into 2-inch chunks. Boil in salted water until soft. Transfer potatoes to a large bowl. Add loose garlic cloves and cheese. With a potato masher or mixer, mash potatoes, adding enough broth to make them as soft and creamy as you like. (If you plan to serve potatoes as soon as they are mashed, heat broth before adding.) Season to taste with salt and swirl into a shallow 2 1/2- to 3-quart casserole. Sprinkle with pepper. Serve with a garnish of reserved roasted garlic. Serves 10 to 12.


5 to 6 large sweet potatoes

1/2 cup softened butter

1 cup cream or half and half

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

2/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 1/4 cup chopped pecans

2 eggs, beaten

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place sweet potatoes onto the prepared baking sheet, and bake in preheated oven until soft, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before peeling and placing into a large bowl. Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 2 quart casserole dish. Mash the warm potatoes along with butter, cream, vanilla extract, brown sugar, salt, 1/2 cup maple syrup, 1 cup chopped pecans, and eggs. Spread mashed sweet potato into the prepared baking dish, and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, and 1/4 cup of pecans. Bake until thoroughly hot, 30 to 35 minutes. Serves 6 to 8


3 to 4 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

1/2 cup toasted, ground hazelnuts

1/2 cup cream

1/3 cup sour cream

1/3 cup apple cider

salt and pepper to taste

Place the sweet potatoes into a large pot and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and allow to steam dry for a minute or two.

Mash the potatoes until smooth, then stir in the hazelnuts,cream, sour cream, and apple cider. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serves 6 to 8


2 2/3 cups chicken broth

2/3 cup milk

1/4 cup butter or margarine

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 2/3 cups instant mashed potato flakes

1/3 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1/3 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

1/3 cup shredded pepper jack cheese

2 tablespoons snipped chives

1/4 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 1 quart baking dish and set aside. In a large saucepan, combine the broth, milk, butter and pepper; bring to a boil. Remove from the heat; stir in potato flakes. Let stand for 30 seconds; fluff with a fork. Transfer to prepared baking dish. Top with the cheeses. Bake, uncovered,  for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with chives. Serve with sour cream if desired. Serves 6. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.


4 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered

1 (15 ounce) can artichoke hearts in water, drained

1 teaspoon minced garlic, or to taste

1/2 cup hot milk

1/4 cup softened butter

salt and pepper to taste

Place potatoes in a large pot with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until tender, 15 to 20 minutes; drain. Meanwhile, puree the artichokes and garlic with the milk until smooth. Place drained potatoes in a mixing bowl and mash with a potato masher until smooth. Stir in softened butter and artichoke puree until the butter has melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serves 4 to 5. This recipe can be doubled or tripled. You can also sprinkle Parmesan cheese lightly on the top and bake it for 5 minutes at 375 for a fun crunchy topping.


A non traditional recipe that’s really really delicious

3 eggs, separated
2 to 3 cups cooked mashed potatoes
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon finely chopped green onion
2 tablepoons finely chopped sweet red pepper
Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400.  Separate the egg whites and egg yolks. Set the egg whites aside. In a medium to large bowl, beat egg yolks by hand or with an electric mixer until lemon colored.  Add the mashed potatoes, cheddar cheese, green onion, red pepper, salt, and pepper and beat until mixed. In a separate mixing bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into the potato mixture. Add salt and pepper. Place in a greased 1-1/2 quart baking dish. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Serves 4 to 6.


5 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

1 tablespoon(s) salt

3 large leeks, about 1 1/2 pounds

1/2 cups (1 stick) margarine or butter

1 3/4 cup milk, warmed

1 container (8 ounces) sour cream

1/4 cup chives, chopped

In 6-quart saucepot, place potatoes, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and enough cold water to cover potatoes. Set aside. Cut off root and dark-green tops from leeks. Discard tough outer leaves. Cut leeks into 1/4-inch-wide slices. Rinse leeks in large bowl of cold water, swishing to remove sand; transfer to colander, leaving sand in bowl. Repeat several times. Drain. In nonstick 12-inch skillet, melt margarine over medium heat. Add leeks and cook 20 minutes or until golden and very tender, stirring occasionally. Stir often during last 5 minutes to avoid overbrowning. Meanwhile, heat saucepot of potatoes to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 10 to 12 minutes or until potatoes are very tender. Drain. In saucepot, with potato masher, mash potatoes until smooth. Stir in milk, sour cream, chives, leek mixture, and remaining salt. Reheat. Serves 6 to 8.

 Modified from