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.

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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!

 

PEANUT BUTTER CUP CUPCAKES (dairy)

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

 

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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

 

Frosting:

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

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ZUCCHINI AND PISTACHIO CUPCAKES (pareve)

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 about.com

 

GLUTEN FREE CHOCOLATE CREAM CHEESE CUPCAKES (dairy)

 

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

 

CANDIED CUPCAKES (dairy)

 

Topping

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

 

Frosting

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 cup semi sweet chocolate

1/2 cup cream

 

Cupcakes

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.

 

LUSCIOUS LEMON CUPCAKES (dairy or pareve)

 

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

 

FROSTING:

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.

 

 

 

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Fall Fruit is Spelled Nectarine

  Quick foodie question, that you think you should know but will take a moment and say, hummmmm do I really know the answer. Simple question, what’s the difference between a nectarine and a peach? The simple answer is, there really is no difference between the two fruit, it’s just that one has fuzz and the other doesn’t.

Nectarines are a stone fruit (it means they have a pit) that are at their peak in mid to late summer. Depending up on if the pit is free or attached to the fruit, nectarines are classified as (like the peach) free stone or clinging.  Yes, the fruits have slightly different tastes and textures, but it’s really so slight that in a peeled, blind taste test it’s almost impossible to tell the difference. They can be substituted for each other in most any recipe and rather than give you more than the basic facts that the fruit is a good source of  vitamins and minerals, low in calories and great in both sweet and savory dishes I thought I’d just give you bunches and bunches of recipes and let you get started cooking.

 

BROWN SUGARED NECTARINES

 

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

5 large nectarines (about 1 1/2 pounds), or peaches (which must be skinned)

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons brown sugar

Sweetened whipped cream, whipped topping or ice cream (optional)

 

Set a strainer over a bowl and cut the nectarines into slices and place them the strainer. Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. When it is hot add the nectarines and saute them until they start to soften and their juices reduce and begin to thicken, 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the top of them and cook until the juices thicken and the sugar caramelizes slightly, about 1 minute. Add the lemon juice and cook until the juices thicken, then add any of the juice that collected in the bowl. Stir to combine and cook until the juices are very thick, which will take a minute or so. Total cook time should be 5 to 6 minutes. Spoon the nectarines to 4 individual serving dish and let cool for 1 to 2 minutes. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

 

Modified from Epicurious August 2001 by Susan Herrmann Loomis

CHICKEN AND NECTARINE SALSA

 

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 24 (2-inch) pieces

1 large red onion, cut into 32 (2-inch) pieces

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

 

Salsa

2 cups diced nectarine (about 3)

1/2 cup diced red bell pepper

1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 teaspoons minced seeded jalapeño pepper

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup diced peeled avocado

 

In a bowl combine the chicken pieces, brown sugar, lime juice, olive oil chili powder, garlic, salt cumin and pepper. Mix to coat, cover and let sit for 30 minutes. In a large skillet heat the oil and then saute the chicken (discard liquid marinade) and onion for about 10 to12 minutes or until chicken is done, stirring occasionally. While the chicken is cooking in a bowl combine the nectarine, bell pepper, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeno and salt. Mix to combine and then gently stir in the avocado. Place the chicken and onion on a platter and serve with the salsa. Serves 4.

 

Modified from a recipe from Jennifer Martinkus, Cooking Light July 2011

 

BLUEBERRY AND NECTARINE BREAD

 

1 1/2 cups flour, divided

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon allspice or nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup butter or margarine, room temperature

1 teaspoon orange zest

1/4 cup orange juice

2 eggs

2 nectarines

2/3 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

 

Topping:

2/3 cup chopped pecans

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a loaf pan and set it aside. Combine 1/3 cup pecans, sugar and cinnamon.  Set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer or food processor combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice and salt. Mix just to combine and then add in the butter, eggs orange juice and orange zest.  Mix to combine for 2 to 3 minutes but don’t over mix.   By hand, fold in the fruit and remaining pecans. Spoon the batter into a loaf pan and sprinkle the  topping over the top.  Bake 50  to 60 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.  Cool in pan for ten minutes, remove the bread from the pan and then  cool to room temperature on a cooling rack. Makes 1 loaf.

 

Modified from epicurious.com

SALMON WITH FRESH NECTARINE BERRY COMPOTE

 

6 – 5 ounces fresh skinless salmon fillets, about 1-inch thick

4 tablespoons bottled barbecue sauce

3 nectarines, pitted and chopped

1 cup fresh blueberries

1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans

Lemon wedges

 

Brush the salmon with 3 tablespoons of barbeque sauce and season the salmon with salt and pepper. Using a grill pan or grill cook the salmon for 8 to 10 minutes until done. While it’s cooking in a bowl combine the nectarines, blueberries, pecans, and the remaining barbecue sauce. Mix well, mashing the fruit slightly. Season with salt. Serve salmon with salsa and lemon wedges. Serves 6.

 

My files source unknown

 

NECTARINE AND PISTACHIO COUSCOUS

 

1 cup couscous

1 1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon apple cider or rice wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 organic nectarines, diced

1 bunch chopped parsley (stems removed) (about 1 1/2 cups packed leaves)

1/2 cup pistachios, chopped

1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

 

Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in the couscous, cover and remove from heat. Let it stand, covered stand 5 minutes, then take off the top and stir it. In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil and then set it aside. In a large serving bowl combine the couscous, nectarines, parsley, pistachios and green onions and the dressing, toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled. Can be served cold or at room temperature.

 

My file, source unknown

PECAN STUFFED NECTARINES

 

1/2 cup pecan pieces

2 tablespoons sugar

1 large egg yolk

2 nectarines, halved and pitted

1 tablespoon brown sugar

Pinch of cinnamon

Maple syrup

 

Preheat oven to 425. Grease a 9X13 baking pan and set it aside. In the bowl of a food processor process the pecans until they are finely ground. Add 2 tablespoons sugar and the egg yolk and pulse until combined. Arrange the nectarine halves, cut sides up, in the baking pan. Divide pecan/sugar mixture between the nectarine halves, mounding it in center of each half. Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon and then sprinkle it over the top of the nectarines. Drizzle a little maple syrup over the top. Bake, uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes. Don’t let the nectarines get too soft. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled. Great served with whipped cream or ice cream.

 

My files, source unknown

 

NECTARINE, MANGO AND AVOCADO SALAD

 

1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 head red leaf or romaine lettuce; torn into bite-size pieces

2 to 3 cups fresh baby spinach

4 Nectarines, sliced

2 mangos, sliced

2 avocados peeled, sliced

1/4 cup sliced green onions

Smoked almonds or candied almonds for garnish

 

In a bowl combine the yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar and pepper. Whisk to combine. Cover and refrigerate. In a bowl combine the lettuce, onions, spinach, nectarines and mango. Toss to combine. Gently add the avocado and spoon the dressing over the top. Gently mix to combine. Garnish with the almonds. Serves 8

My file, source unknown

 

SHRIMP AND NECTARINE SALAD

 

1/4 cup oil

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 piece peeled fresh ginger; (1 1/2 inch)

1 1/2 tablespoon honey

1/8 teaspoon hot sauce

1 head red leaf or romaine lettuce; torn in large pieces

1 1/2 lb shrimp, cooked, peeled and deveined

2 to 3 ripe nectarines cut in thin wedges (2 3/4 cups)

1 large ripe avocado; halved, seeded, peeled and sliced thin lengthwise

1/2 cup minced red onion

1 cup fresh basil leaves; cut in thin strips

1 small can water chestnuts, drained

 

In the bowl of food processor or blender combine the oil, lime juice, ginger, honey and hot sauce. Process until smooth and set it aside. In a salad bowl combine the lettuce, shrimp, nectarines, avocado, red onion, water chestnuts and basil. Drizzle the dressing over the top of the salad, toss to coat and serve. Serves 4.

 

Modified from about.com

Super Dupper Ice Box Cake Recipes/Kosher

Anyone who has ever read one of my columns knows I am a huge fan of dessert. In fact, if given the choice, I’ll eat it first. While baking something is my typical motis operandi when the temperature and humidity starts edging toward thermo nuclear meltdown my feelings lean towards less towards cooking and more towards how cold can I make the sweet for the end of my meal.

I suggest we all veer straight towards the quaintly named Icebox cake. For those of us not born before the 1930’s an ice box is the storage unit that was the precursor to the refrigerator where “big blocks of ice” were delivered to the home to place in the “ice box” to keep food cold. Yep, this is how they did it in the olden days when we walked 10 miles to school each day (both ways up hill) and when the Slurpee ®  didn’t even exist.

Ice box cake is a slight misnomer. It’s usually a dessert like recipe that contains layers  of custard or curd or whipped cream layered between, cake, graham crackers, cookies or graham cracker or cookie crumbs. These layers of yummy “rest” or “set up” in the refrigerator (as opposed to the freezer) for a several hours or overnight so that all the ingredients evolve into a single, luscious, creamy cake like dessert that will remind you of an  éclair, cake, cookie and the best thing you’ve ever eaten all rolled into mouth full after mouth full of delicious.

Now for the easy part, putting together you ice box treat. For expediency sake most people usually opt for store bought cookies or cakes for the key ingredient because, like I said, I don’t wanna cook when it’s too hot. Sometimes though, you do have to make the cake or cookie as it’s a key ingredient of the recipe.  That being said I typically make my own, whipped cream, custard, curd or pudding as I’m not a big fan of their “imitation” flavors. I usually avoid recipes that require gelatin as I’m not a big fan of the texture it creates.

Most of the following recipes are quite flexible and forgiving when it comes to the ingredients. You have the luxury, dare I say freedom to interchange most of the ingredients and individualize your creations according to your (or your guests) preferences. Hate strawberries? Use raspberries or blackberries. Don’t like chocolate cookies? Use a vanilla or pecan one. Lactose intolerant?  Get the non dairy whipped topping. Just remember, no matter what you put together, cold in 100 degree weather is always delicious. I am, however, making no comment on the amount of calories you will consume when you decide that leftovers are just not an option.

CHOCOLATE AND CREAM CHEESE ICE BOX CAKE

1 package (18-1/4 ounces) German chocolate cake mix

1 egg

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup chopped pecans

 

FILLING/TOPPING:

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

1 carton (12 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided

3 cups cold milk

2 packages (3.4 ounces each) instant French vanilla pudding mix

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon rum extract

2 tablespoons chopped pecans, toasted

 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9X13 baking pan.  In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, egg, butter and pecans until they form a crumb mixture. Press the mixture  into the prepared pan. Bake  for 15 to 20 minutes . Cool completely.

 

In the bowl of an electric mixer or food processer combine the  cream cheese and sugar and beat or process for about 2 minutes or until combined. By hand, fold in 1 cup of the whipped topping. Spread the mixture over the top of the cooled crust. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

In another large bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft set. Stir in nutmeg and extract. Spread over cream cheese layer. Top with remaining whipped topping. Sprinkle with pecans. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serves 16.

 

Submitted by Irene Koslowski Chicago IL source unknown

 

CLASSIC CHOCOLATE COOKIE ICE BOX CAKE

 

3 cups heavy cream

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 (9-ounce) packages chocolate wafer cookies [or, make your own!]

Unsweetened cocoa (or chocolate shavings)

 

In a large bowl, beat cream, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. On a flat serving plate, arrange 7 cookies side by side in a circle, keeping 1 cookie in the center. Spread with 1/2 cup whipped cream, making a 7-inch circle. Repeat with remaining cookies and cream, making 11 layers of cookies and ending with a layer of cream (there will be a few cookies left over). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. To serve, dust top lightly with cocoa powder or chocolate shavings.

 

Adapted from The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook

STRAWBERRY ICE BOX CAKE WITH FUDGE DRIZZLE

 

2 pounds fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced thin (save 5 or 6 whole ones for garnish)

3 1/4 cups whipping cream, divided (3 cup +1/4 cup)

2/3 cup powdered sugar, divided (1/3 +1/3)

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 sleeves (about 19 ounces, or 24 to 28 whole crackers) graham crackers

2 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped

1 tablespoon butter

 

In the bowl or an electric mixer, whip 3 cups of cream until they form medium peaks. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla and whip to stiff peaks. .

 

Spread a dollop of the whipped cream on the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking pan. Place six graham crackers on top of the whipped cream. Gently spread more whipped cream on top of the graham crackers. Place a layer of sliced strawberries on top. Repeat this process to create three more layers (total four layers of graham crackers and 3 layers of strawberry slices) End with a layer of whipped cream.

 

To make the frosting, in a microwave bowl combine the chocolate butter and ¼ cup cream. Heat just until the chocolate and butter melt. Whisk slightly and then add the remaining powdered sugar. Whisk vigorously to remove any lumps. If there are lumps microwave for at 10 seconds and whisk again. Drizzle the fudge frosting over the top. Refrigerate for at least four hours. Garnish with the whole berries. Serves 10 to 12.

 

My files, source unknown

 

EASY LEMON ICE BOX PIE

 

1 small can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup lemon juice

1 graham cracker crust, readymade is fine

2 to 3 cups whipped topping or whipped whip cream

 

Mix everything together until smooth and pour into pie crust. Refrigerate until set about 1 hour.

 

My files, source unknown

STRAWBERRY PRETZEL ICE BOX PIE

I saw a version of this recipe in a magazine a few weeks ago and just had to make it. It was AMAZING!

 

2 cups finely crushed pretzel sticks

3/4 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 cups sliced fresh strawberries

1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened

2 cups whipping cream, divided

1/3 cup granulated sugar

 

Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl combine the crushed pretzels, melted butter and brown sugar then firmly press it on bottom, up sides, and onto lip of a lightly greased 10-inch pie plate. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned then let cool completely. In the bowl of a food processor chop up the strawberries, brushing down the sides as needed until they are in smallish pieces but NOT puréed. Remove them from the bowl. Place the sweetened condensed milk and cream cheese in the bowl (you don’t have to clean it out) and process until smooth. By hand, fold in the strawberries. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat 3/4 cup whipping cream until soft peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into strawberry mixture. Spoon the strawberry filling into prepared crust. Cover and freeze 8 to 12 hours or until firm. Beat remaining 1 1/4 cups whipping cream at high speed until foamy; gradually add granulated sugar, beating until soft peaks form. Spread over pie. Freeze 1 hour or until whipped cream is firm. Serves 8

 

Modified from a recipe in Southern Living JUNE 2012

 

CHOCOLATE CRUST LEMON RASPBERRY ICE BOX PIE

 

1 (9 inch) chocolate cookie pie crusts (store bought or homemade)

 

Filling

2 (3 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened (do not use low or no fat)

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla

 

1 1/2 pints fresh raspberry (more for garnish if you like)

1 cup whipping cream

2 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted

 

In a bowl of an electric mixer or food processor combine the cream cheese and condensed milk. Beat or process smooth and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add in the lemon juice and continue beating for 1 minute. Add the vanilla and then spoon the mixture into the prepared pie crust. Cover with and refrigerate for at least 3 to 4 hours or overnight. When you’re ready to serve sprinkle 1 pint of the berries over the top.  Then in the bowl of an electric mixer beat the whipping cream until it has soft peaks. Add in the powdered sugar and remaining raspberries and beat until the mixture has stiff peaks. Gently spread the raspberry whipped cream over the raspberries on the top of the pie. Slice and serve right away, garnishing each slice with additional raspberries.

 

My files, source unknown

 

AMBROSIA ICE BOX CAKE

 

1/2 cup pineapple juice

3 eggs (2 yolks room temperature)

2/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons unsalted butter (cold)

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 pinch fine salt

1 orange

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 tablespoon sweet white wine

1 cup whipping cream

1 tablespoon powdered sugar

18 ladyfingers (soft)

12 cup shredded coconut (sweetened, lightly toasted)

 

In a sauce pan bring the pineapple juice to a simmer. In a small bowl whisk together the eggs, yolks, sugar and cornstarch. Slowly pour the hot pineapple juice into egg mixture, while whisking constantly. Return mixture to pan and cook, stirring constantly, until it boils and coats back of a spoon. Continue cooking about 1 more minute. Remove the  mixture  from the heat and then whisk  in the butter, lemon juice, and salt. Pour the mixture into a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

 

Zest 1 orange and place it in a bowl. Peel and section the orange, then cut the sections into pieces. Combine the pieces and the zest. In the bowl of an electric mixer whip the whipping cream together until it form soft peaks. Fold in the orange and zest. Whip cream and confectioners’ sugar together until soft peaks form and fold into chopped orange.

 

Combine the orange juice and white wine in a bowl. Lightly brush the ladyfingers with this liquid and then press into bottom and along sides of 6 ramekins. Evenly divide the pineapple curd among ramekins. Top each with the orange whipped cream and toasted coconut. Refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours or overnight. Release cakes from ramekins to serve. Serves 6

 

Modified from Yummly.com

Brown Sugar Is the Best

There are those among us carbohydrate addicted sugar junkies that prefer brown sugar to white when it comes to a choice of sweetener. While I know in my head and heart that there is no real difference in calories or sweetness between the two, brown sugar, with its mellow smoky taste is truly my favorite

For the uninformed, brown sugar is just white sugar combined with molasses. Molasses is actually a byproduct of sugar production. Normally, molasses is separated and removed when sugar is created from sugarcane. With brown sugar the molasses is either left in or reintroduced after the white sugar has been created.  Light and dark are the two most common styles of brown sugar. In general, the lighter the brown sugar, the more delicate its flavor. Dark brown sugar has a more intense molasses smoky flavor.

Most of us are familiar with the slightly moist, clumpy kind of brown sugar that turns into a door stop if left out in the air too long. Now a days a dryer granulated brown sugar and a liquid form of brown sugar is available. Be warned however that a 1 cup of the granulated brown sugar weighs about 5 ounces as opposed to a cup of packed regular brown sugar which weighs about 7 ounces.  Makes sure you weigh your granulated brown sugar (as opposed to just using a measuring cup) and your recipe should turn out just fine.

So the next brown sugar question is, have you’ve ever been confronted by a solid brick of brown sugar sweetness?  What looks like a catastrophe is actually a problem with a simple solution. You can re-soften it by including a few slices of apple in the bag of brown sugar and sealing tightly for 1-2 days or you can try microwaving it for about 20 or 30 seconds. You can also substitute 1 cup of packed brown sugar for 1 one cup of regular granulated sugar without any problem (other than a subtle chance of taste) in just about any recipe.

Brown sugar is super in both the main course and dessert sections of your life so it should be no surprise that the following recipes run the gamut from bbq rubs to cheesecakes. Bon Appitit.


WHIPPED SWEET POTATOES WITH BROWN SUGAR TOPPING

 

1 can (approx 22 ounces) red-skinned sweet potatoes or 3 large fresh, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces and cooked for 15 minutes in boiling water
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
6 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Pinch of salt

Topping
1 1/2 cups cornflakes crumbs
1/2 cup (packed) brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
6 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

 

Preheat oven to 400. Peel and cut potatoes into one inch cubes. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the sweet potatoes and butter. Beat until smooth. Add the egg, brown sugar, spice and salt; beat to blend. Transfer the mixture to 8 x 8-inch baking dish. (this can be made 1 day ahead). Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before continuing.) and prepare the topping. Bake potatoes until beginning to brown around edges and slightly puffed, about 25 minutes.

Prepare topping:
Combine all topping ingredients together in medium bowl and mix well. Spoon the topping evenly over potatoes. Bake until golden brown and crisp, about 10 minutes longer. Serves 6

 

BROWN SUGAR FROSTING

 

12 tablespoon brown sugar
4 tablespoon milk
6 tablespoon butter
1 cup powdered sugar (or a little more depending on the consistency you want)

 

Place the brown sugar, milk and butter one in a saucepan and boil for minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and mix in the powdered sugar. Let cool, then beat until smooth. Makes 1 cup

 

BAKED BEANS WITH BACON AND BROWN SUGAR

 

1 (14- to 15-oz) can crushed tomatoes in thick puree
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 (19-oz) cans small white beans, rinsed and drained (4 cups)
1 onion, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
6 bacon slices (1/4 lb)

 

Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl combine the tomatoes, brown sugar, mustard, and salt. Gently stir in beans and transfer to a -quart shallow baking dish. Arrange onion slices in 1 layer over beans, and then cover onion with bacon. Bake, uncovered, until bacon is browned and beans have absorbed most of liquid, about 1 1/4 hours. Serves 6.

BROWN SUGAR STREUSEL PIE

This recipe is by Danielle Nettuno of Titusville, Florida, won the 2008 Junior Chef Division Best of Show in the American Pie Council-Crisco National Pie Championships.

 

Crust
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
3-4 tablespoons water
1-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon sugar

 

Bottom layer
4 ounces cream cheese
1/6 cup brown and white sugar mixed
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 egg

 

Top layer
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/8 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 eggs

 

Crumb topping
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

 

Combine flour, salt and cinnamon sugar in a medium bowl. Cut in shortening until it looks like crumbs. Add in the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough is flaky. Roll out on a floured counter and place in a 13- by 9-inch pie pan.  Fork the pie crust. In another bowl, cream the cream cheese with the sugars, and then add the salt, vanilla and maple syrup. When this is combined, add the egg. Mix until blended. Spread it out evenly on the bottom of the pie crust. Place it in the refrigerator and chill when making the next two layers. Melt butter and brown sugar together in a medium sauce pan until blended. Let it come to a boil, stirring constantly. Let the mixture cook an additional 2 minutes. In a separate bowl, combine cream, vanilla and eggs. Once the butter and sugar is ready, slowly combine the two. Let cool. For the crumb topping, combine brown sugar, flour and oats in another bowl. Cut in shortening. Add walnuts, salt and cinnamon. Slowly pour the brown sugar layer on top of the cream cheese layer (it is okay if it combines). Evenly distribute the crumb topping on the pie. Place in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, checking frequently after 20 minutes.  Take out and let cool, then refrigerate. Serves 10 to 12

 

BROWN SUGAR BANANA POUND CAKE

 

1 pound brown sugar

1 cup sugar

1 pound butter

5 large eggs

2 bananas, mashed

3 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons salt

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup pecan

 

Preheat oven to 350. In the bowl of an electric mixer cream the brown and white sugars with butter until very light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the mashed bananas. Sift flour with baking powder and salt. Mix milk and vanilla together. Add each to the egg mixture alternately. Stir in the pecans. Pour the batter into a 10 inch well-greased bunt pan. Bake for 1-1/2 hours, or until firm. Place upside down on a cake rack; when cool, invert and turn out onto rack. Serves 12

 

BROWN SUGAR SHEESECAKE WITH BURBON SAUCE

A rich cheesecake made with bourbon and pecans

 

Crust

1/3 cup pecans

16 thin chocolate wafer cookies

4 (5 x 2 1/2-inch) graham crackers

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1/4 teaspoon salt

 

Filling
24 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 large eggs
3 tablespoons Bourbon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup packed brown sugar

 

Topping
1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Make crust: Preheat oven to 350. In a baking pan toast pecans in one layer in middle of oven until golden, about 10 minutes, and cool. In a food processor finely grind pecans, wafers, and graham crackers. Add brown sugar, butter, and salt and pulse until combined well. Transfer mixture to a 9 1/2-inch spring form pan and press evenly onto bottom and 1 1/2 inches up side.

 

Make filling: In a bowl with an electric mixer beat cream cheese until fluffy and add eggs, one at a time, beating at low speed until just combined. Beat in Bourbon, vanilla extract and brown sugar until just combined. Pour filling into crust and put spring form pan in a baking pan. Bake cheesecake in middle of oven 35 minutes. Leaving oven on, transfer cake in spring form pan to a rack and let stand 5 minutes. (Center of cake will set as it cools.)

 

Make topping: In a bowl stir together sour cream, brown sugar, and vanilla extract. Drop spoonfuls of topping around edge of cake and spread gently over center, smoothing evenly. Bake cake in baking pan in middle of oven 10 minutes and cool completely in spring form pan on rack. Chill cake, covered, at least 8 hours and up to 4 days. Run a thin knife around inside edge of pan and remove side of pan. Transfer cake to a serving plate and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Serve cake with sauce. Serves 12.

 

Bourbon Butterscotch Sauce
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup bourbon
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter

 

In a dry 3-quart heavy kettle cook sugar over moderately low heat, stirring slowly with a fork (to help sugar melt evenly), until melted and pale golden. Cook caramel, without stirring, swirling kettle, until deep golden. Remove kettle from heat and carefully add water and bourbon down side of kettle (mixture will bubble and steam). Simmer mixture, stirring, until caramel is dissolved. Stir in butter until incorporated and cool sauce to warm. Bourbon Butterscotch Sauce may be made 1 week ahead and chilled, covered. Reheat sauce to warm before serving.

Makes about 1 3/4 cups.

 

Modified from epicurious.com

 

APPLE CAKE WITH COCONUT BROWN SUGAR TOPPING
3/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup vanilla yogurt or sour cream

1/4 cups oil

1 egg

1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ground, divided

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 1/4 cups flour

1 pounds apple, Granny Smith, cored and coarsely chopped (3 cups)

1 cup coconut, flaked

3 tablespoon butter

3 tablespoon sugar, brown (packed)

2 tablespoon milk

 

Preheat oven to 325. Line two 8x4x2-inch loaf pans with foil; coat foil with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.   In a large bowl, stir together granulated sugar, yogurt, oil, egg, the 1 teaspoon cinnamon, the vanilla, baking powder, salt, baking soda, ginger, and nutmeg. Stir in flour just until combined. Fold in apples (batter will be very thick and chunky).  Spoon batter into prepared pans; spread evenly. Bake about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean and tops are browned.  Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine coconut, butter, brown sugar, milk, and the 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Cook and stir over low heat until the butter is melted. Preheat broiler after removing cakes from oven. Gently spread coconut mixture evenly over tops of cakes. Broil 4 inches from heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until topping is bubbly and lightly browned.

Cool cakes in pans on wire racks for 45 minutes. Use foil to lift cakes from pans; remove foil. Serve warm. Serves 10 to 12

 

GARLIC BROWN SUGAR CHICKEN

 

1 broiler/ fryer chicken, cut up (3-1/2 – 4 lbs) or about 6 boneless skinless breasts

1 cup packed brown sugar

2/3 cup vinegar

1/4 cup lemon-lime soda (diet is fine)

2-3 tablespoons minced garlic

2 to 3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon pepper

 

Place chicken in a large ziploc bag. Combine remaining ingredients, pour into bag and seal. Shake several times to coat the chicken. Refrigerate 2-4 hours. Transfer chicken and marinade to a large skillet, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes or until juices run clear.

 

BROWN SUGAR SPICE RIB RUB
2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup garlic powder
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup paprika
1/4 cup lemon pepper
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil

In a bowl combine all the ingredients. Rub into both sides of ribs and let marinate. Makes 3 to 3 1/2 cups. Enough for 5 to 6 lbs of ribs

Cupcake VS Muffins You Choose the Winner

It isn’t often in this trouble filled world that a difference of opinion is solved in an amiable manor. The dispute over what or what is not a cupcake (as opposed to a muffin) and be solved in either a simplistic, cupcakes have frosting, muffins do not answer or with a semi scientific response where a basic recipe for both require about 2 cups flour, 2 to 4 tablespoons sugar, 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1
egg, 1/4 cup oil, shortening or butter and 1 cup milk. To turn the basic muffin recipe into a cupcake it to double the shortening, sugar and egg ingredients and voila, the muffin becomes a cupcake.

Seeing that is was about 2 o’clock in the morning when this craving came upon me I of course came up with a few less politically
correct answers for the question “What is the difference between cupcake and muffins?”

1. A muffin is a confused cupcake or vice versa depending on which you like more.

2. If you throw a cupcake against a wall you a gentle “whomp” sound and lots of crumbs as it explodes and falls on the
floor.

3. If you throw a muffin against a wall you get a
“thud” noise and it puts a dent or hole in the wall.

4. Cupcakes are made of cake silly, whereas muffins
typically a quick bread.

5. Muffins are unattractive cupcakes and cupcakes are
pretty muffins.

6. In a cupcake you cream the butter and sugar together
before adding the other ingredient. With a muffin you dump everything in the
bowl at once and hope it doesn’t explode.

7. Most cake recipes can be utilized to make cupcakes
where as you can’t really make a cake out of a muffin recipe.

8. Muffins typically cook at a higher temperature than
cupcakes.

9. While you can/do grease the muffin/cupcake pans before
cooking you rarely use a paper liner for a muffin

10 Who cares, they’re both delicious.

 

Make no mistake; this is an equal opportunity cup cake
and muffin column. It came about when I decided I couldn’t go one more day
without a muffin, or was that a cup cake. I went through my recipe files and
came up with two almost identical recipes but one was called a cup cake and the
other a muffin. Being the curious soul I am, I ended up researching and the
following recipes that could be either muffins or cupcakes are the happy
result. You decide.

 

PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN MUFFINS

 

Topping:

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar, divided

1 can (10 ounces) pineapple slices, drained cut in thirds

 

Muffins:

 

1 1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup oatmeal (not the quick kind)

1 tablespoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs

1/4 cup oil

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple with juice

1 cup shredded carrots

3/4 cup raisins

 

Preheat oven to 400. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan.

 

Make the topping: Sprinkle 1 teaspoon brown sugar into
each prepared muffin cup. Place 2 pieces of pineapple in each muffin cup. Set
the pan aside.

 

Muffins: In a large bowl combine the flour, oats,
cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix to combine and set it aside.
In another bowl combine the brown sugar and eggs and mix well. Whisk the oil,
orange juice and vanilla into the egg mixture and mix until combined. Add the
crushed pineapple, mix to combine and then add the egg mixture to the flour mixture
and stir until just blended. Gently mix in the carrots and raisins. Divide
batter equally among prepared muffin cups. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until tops
are golden and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Immediately
run a knife around edges of cups and turn muffins out onto a baking sheet.
Reposition any stray pineapple pieces. Let cool for at least 10 minutes. Serve
upside down, warm or at room temperature.

 

Adapted from 750 Best Muffin
Recipes by Camilla Saulbury

AFTER THE HOLIDAY SWEET POTATO MUFFINS

Leftovers are the key to this
recipe

 

1 cup mashed sweet potatoes

2 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup oil

1/4 cup water

1 to 1 1/2 teaspoon orange zest

1 tablespoon vanilla

2 cups flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup cranberry sauce

 

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 12 cup muffin pan. In a
large bowl combine the sweet potatoes, eggs, sugar, oil, water, orange zest,
and vanilla. Mix to combine and set aside. In another bowl combine the flour,
salt, baking powder, and baking soda, then add to the sweet potato mixture. Mix
to just combine. Add the cranberry sauce and mix to just combine. Fill the
prepared pan so that the batter fills each muffin cup 2/3’s full. Bake for 25
to 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool the muffins in pan on
a rack for about 5 minutes then remove to cool on a rack. Makes 12.

 

JAM FILLED ALMOND MUFFINS

 

2 1/4 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup orange juice

1/4 cup oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup blackberry, blueberry, raspberry or cherry
jam

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

 

 

Preheat oven to 400. Grease 12 muffin cups with cooking
spray and set it aside. In a bowl combine the jam and almond extract and mix to
combine. Set it aside. In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda
and salt. In another bowl combine the eggs and brown sugar. Mix until combined
and then add the buttermilk, orange juice, oil and vanilla. Mix to combine. Add
to the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix until JUST combine. Do not over
mix. Fill each of the 12 muffin cups ½ full of the batter. Drop a generous
teaspoonful of the jam into the center of each muffin and then top with the
remaining batter, filling each muffin cup ¾ full. Sprinkle the almonds on the
top and then sprinkle the sugar over the almonds. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or
until the tops are golden brown and spring back when touched. Loosen edges with
a knife and remove them from the pan after about 5 minutes. Cool on a rack.
Makes 12

 

Tip: You can substitute 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1
cup milk for the buttermilk.

 

Modified from eatingwell.com

 

 

CREAM CORN AND SALSA CORN MUFFINS

 

1 cup corn meal

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/3 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 cup milk

1/2 cup salsa

1/4 cup vegetable oil or butter

2 teaspoon honey

1 egg

1/2 cup cream style corn

1/3 to 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper

 

Preheat oven to 375. Grease 12 muffin cups and set them
aside. In a large bowl combine the corn meal, flour, baking powder and salt. In
another bowl combine the milk, lemon juice, oil, honey, and egg. Mix to combine
and then add the milk mixture to the flour mixture. Mix to just combine and
then add the corn and peppers. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown on
top. Makes 12.

 

 

CHOCOLATE MUFFINS AKA BREAKFAST CUPCAKES

Great with butter or jam they can also be frosted

 

2/3 cup (2 ounces) Dutch-processed cocoa

1 3/4 cups (7 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached
All-Purpose Flour

1 1/4 cups (9 3/8 ounces) light brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon espresso powder, optional

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup (6 ounces) chocolate chips

2 eggs

1 cup (8 ounces) milk

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 teaspoons vinegar

1/2 cup (4 ounces, 1 stick) butter, melted

coarse pearl sugar, for topping (optional)

 

Preheat the oven to 400. Line a standard muffin pan with
paper or silicone muffin cups, and grease the cups.

 

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, flour,
sugar, baking powder, espresso powder, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips. Set
aside.

 

In a large measuring cup or medium-sized mixing bowl,
whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla and vinegar. Add the wet ingredients,
along with the melted butter, to the dry ingredients, stirring to blend;
there’s no need to beat these muffins, just make sure everything is
well-combined.

 

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tin; the cups
will be heaped with batter, and the muffin will bake into a
“mushroom” shape. Sprinkle with pearl sugar, if desired.

 

Bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake
tester inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove the muffins
from the oven, and after 5 minutes remove them from the pan, allowing them to
cool for about 15 minutes on a rack before peeling off the muffin papers or
silicone cups. Yield: 12 muffins.

 

From the King Arthur Flour website.

 

CHOCOLATE AND PEANUT BUTTER CUPCAKES

Using a mix makes this super easy

 

1 box devil’s food cake mix

1 cup water

1/3 cup oil

4 eggs

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use Combine all ingredients
into a bowl and mix well. Pour into cupcake liners, filling them about 2/3
full. Bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until tooth pick inserted into
center comes out clean. Cool completely.

 

Make the filling

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

1 cup powdered sugar

 

In a glass microwavable bowl combine the butter and
peanut… Microwave for 30 to 45 seconds or until the butter is melted. Stir to
combine and add the graham cracker crumbs and powdered sugar. Mix to combine,
but don’t worry, it will be thick. Refrigerate the peanut butter mixture for 30
minutes to firm. Once cupcakes have cooled completely, use a small paring knife
remove a hole in the center of the cupcake making sure not to go all the way to
the bottom. Make it shallow and wide as opposed to deep. Roll just over a
tablespoon of filling into a small ball and place into center of the whole and
set them aside. (you may have extra filling, it makes a great buckeye candy if
you dip it in chocolate).

 

 

Peanut Butter Frosting:

1 cup butter, room temperature

2 teaspoon vanilla

1 to 1 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

4 cups powdered sugar

3 tablespoon milk

 

In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter and
vanilla and mix to combine. Add the peanut butter and mix until combined. On a
low speed slowly add the powdered sugar in one cup at a time and then add the
milk to give the frosting its desired consistency. Frost the filled cupcakes
being careful as you cover the peanut butter filling. Makes 12. .

 

Submitted by Rhonda Trilalon Detroit MI, modified

I’m Raisin the Roof for Father’s Day!

 

            My dad loves raisins. In cereal, in bread, in cookies, covered in chocolate and even, in a pinch, plain right out of the box. As a kid one of the bestest sweet treats he could give us was mixing up a bowl of sweet black and golden raisins with cashews (he’s a dentist so this was as crazy as he’d go in the sugar department). It was only later when I discovered his deepest darkest secret. While he was passing the bowl of these “good for you” natural treats he was stuffing his face with the chocolate covered ones.

            While I’m planning on giving him a pound or two of the primo milk chocolate ones this Father’s Day I’m also going to go all out and create a couple of other “raisin-centric” recipes just to let him know how much I appreciate all the wonderful stuff he taught me all the years of my life, especially  about sharing.

       

APPLE SAUCE RAISIN NUT QUICK BREAD

 

1 cup applesauce

1 egg

1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon each salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup raisins

3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

 

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9X5 loaf pan. In a large bowl combine the applesauce and egg. Mix to combine. Mix in the melted butter, brown and white sugars and then set the mixture aside.

 

In another bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add flour mixture to applesauce mixture. Mix just until blended. Gently fold in the raisins and nuts. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 to 10 minutes before removing the bread from the pan. Cool the bread on a cooling rack for at least ½ hour before slicing. Makes 1 loaf.

 

RAISIN COFFEE CAKE

 

3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened

2 cups sugar divided

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/4 cups flour

2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup sour cream

1 1/2 cups raisins

2 teaspoons cinnamon powdered sugar

1 cup chopped walnuts

Powdered sugar for topping

 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 9×9 pan.

 

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter. Add 1 1/2 cups of sugar and beat until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until light and thoroughly mixed. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into another bowl. Add to butter mixture one-third at a time alternating with sour cream and beating well after each addition. Mix in raisins.

 

In small bowl mix the remaining sugar with the cinnamon. Spread about 2/3’s of the batter on the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture on top and then top with the remaining batter. Sprinkle the chopped walnuts over the top.

 

Bake in middle of oven 55 minutes to 1 hour until pick inserted into centers comes out clean.  Cool for ½ hour and then sprinkle the top with powdered sugar.

 

Modified and submitted by Arthur Parsons Trenton NJ

 

CASHEW AND RAISIN COOKIE

 

1 2/3 cups flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 large eggs

3/4 cup chopped cashews

3/4 cup golden raisins

 

Preheat oven to 300. Grease a cookie sheet. In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder, nutmeg and baking soda. Mix to combine. In a bowl of an electric mixer combine the sugar, vanilla, and eggs and beat until the mixture thickens. Add the flour mixture, cashews, and raisins to the egg mixture and mix to combine. . Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough 6 or 7 times and then shape it into a 12 to 14 inch roll. Place dough on the prepared baking sheet and then pat the roll down until it’s about an inch thick. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack.

 

Place the cookie roll on a cutting board and cut the roll diagonally into 24 (1/2-inch) slices. Place the slices back on the cookie sheet and bake for an additional 20 minutes (the cookies will be sort of soft in the middle but harden as they cool. Cool on a cooling rack. Makes 2 dozen

 

QUAKER VANISHING OATMEAL RAISIN COOKIES

This is the recipe is the first one I made myself as an 8 year old!!

 

1/2 lb. (2 sticks) butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

3 cups Quaker Oats (quick or old-fashioned)

1 cup raisins

 

Preheat oven to 350. Beat together butter and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; stir together until no streaks remain. Stir this into the butter mixture. Stir in oats and raisins; mix well. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet; remove to wire rack. Makes about 4 dozen.

 

Modified from the Quaker Oats web site

 

OATMEAL CHOCOLATE AND RAISIN MUFFINS

 

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup white sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup raisins

1 cup milk or non dairy substitute

1 egg

1/4 cup oil

 

Preheat oven to 400. Grease a muffin pan or line with 12 paper muffin liners. In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder. Add the oats, sugar, raisins and salt.  Add the milk, egg, and oil, mix until just blended. The batter will be lumpy. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, about 2/3’s full. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from muffin cups to cool on a wire rack. Makes 12

 

RUM RAISIN CHOCOLATE BROWNIES

 

1 cup raisins

1/4 cup rum

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate

2 cups sugar

4 large eggs

3/4 cup flour

1 cup semisweet or milk chocolate chips

 

Place the raisins in a bowl and pour the rum over them, let them sit for 1/2 hour. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 13×9 baking pan. In a sauce pan combine the butter and unsweetened chocolate and heat, stirring until the chocolate and butter melt together.  Let the mixture cool for about 10 minutes. Whisk in the sugar and eggs. Mix in the raisins (with the remaining liquid) and then add the flour and chocolate chips. Spoon the batter to pan. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached. Cool brownies in pan on rack. Cut into squares. Makes 8 to 12

 

Modified from Bon Appétit | December 1999

 

CURRY AND RAISIN VEGGIE SALAD

 

1 head broccoli, chopped

1 head cauliflower, chopped

1/2 pound bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled

1 cup Sun-Maid Natural Raisins

1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced

2 shredded carrots

1 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup plain yogurt

1/3 cup sugar

3 tablespoons apple cider or rice wine vinegar

2 teaspoons curry powder

1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted

 

In a bowl combine the broccoli, cauliflower, shredded carrots, bacon, raisins and onion, mix and set aside. In another bowl combine the mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar and curry powder. Mix to combine and then pour the dressing over the vegetable mix. Mix to coat, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Makes about 12 cups.

 

Modified from sunmaid.com

 

Yo Yo Yogurt

           
After watching Jamie Lee Curtis touting the benefits and joy of regularity that comes with of eating of Activia ® I was filled  with a fair amount of trepidation (and a few really good one liners) as I approached this column about yogurt. I figured I’d take a pass on the gas jokes and just get down to the basics of writing about the benefits and good stuff that comes from consuming of good old fashioned yogurt.
So what exactly is yogurt? While some of the less informed may immediately think of the creamy sweet stuff in little plastic tubs with fruit on the bottom or the frozen custard like stuff with flavors like caramel crème and chocolate mousse plain yogurt is actually milk that has had bacteria added to it. This good for you bacteria causes the milk to ferment and thicken. This fermented thick mixture is strained and the liquid is drained off. The end result is a tangy creamy mixture that has the consistency of sour cream. Besides being delicious yogurt is also full of calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. Regular yogurt is strained once or twice, the new kid on the block, Greek yogurt is, however, strained three times (or more) making for a much thicker and denser consistency.
           Which yogurt is better for you to utilize when climbing the food pyramid, you ask? On one hand Greek yogurt has almost double the protein and fewer carbohydrates than regular yogurt. However, regular yogurt has three times the calcium as the Greek variety so choose which ever one works best for you. Finally, it’s really a tossup when it comes to calories (watch what you add to it) and if price is your only concern the Greek yogurt is typically far more expensive.
On the technical side, I prefer to use Greek yogurt to replace cream cheese, sour cream, or ricotta cheese in baking or cooking. The regular yogurt tends to curdle more than the Greek variety when you cook with it.  I gravitate towards regular yogurt when I’m making dips, salad dressing, smoothies, desserts and sauces. When you add fresh fruit either variety works great.
So if there was a smack down cooking cage match between regular yogurt and Greek yogurt which should you bet on and buy? The answer is that it’s a draw you win with both and whoever gets to eat what you make takes home the prize.
   
Yogurt Tips:
1. Use yogurt as a substitute for mayonnaise or sour cream to reduce calories and fat.
2. Add yogurt to your marinades. Its high acid content is a great tenderizer.
3.  Add yogurt near the end of the cooking process to prevent curdling.
4. Use yogurt as a substitute for buttermilk, sour cream, or butter to reduce calories and fat in baking.
5. Don’t use aluminum pans when cooking with yogurt, the acid could cause a negative reaction.
YOGURT MASHED CAULIFLOWER

2 heads of cau¬li¬flower (flo¬rets only)
6 oz con¬tainer of Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons but¬ter
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1/2 to 1 tablespoon mince garlic
2 tablespoons chopped onion
2 to 3 chopped green onions for gar¬nish
Salt and pep¬per to taste

In a medium pot, bring the water to boil. Add the cau¬li¬flower flo¬rets to the boil¬ing water and let then cook it for about 8 min¬utes or until they are soft. Remove the florets from the heat and drain then in a colander. In a food proces¬sor, com¬bine the cau¬li¬flower with the yogurt, but¬ter, gar¬lic and minced onion and process with pulses until you have a con¬sis¬tency you like. Add the salt and pep¬per to taste. Immediately spoon the mixture into a serving bowl and mix in the parmesan. Top with green onions and serve immediately. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

GREEK YOGURT BERRY PIE
You can use a readymade pie crust if you like

Crust
1 cup flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 tablespoons water

Yogurt Cream Cheese Filling:
6 oz. Mascarpone cheese
8 oz Greek yogurt
4 oz cream cheese
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

2 to 3 cups mixed berries
3 tablespoons raspberry jam
In a mixing bowl combine the flour and brown sugar. Using a pastry cutter or 2 knives cut the butter in the flour mixture. Add the water the mixture. Mix with a fork until the dough is just moistened. Shape crust dough into a ball with your hands, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour. Roll out the dough into a 12 inch circle and then fold it in half then in half again. Place it in a tart pan with a removable bottom and unfold.  Press the dough evenly onto the bottom and sides of a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10 to15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool the crust completely on a wire rack.

In the bowl of a food processor combine all the ingredients and process until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. When ready to assemble the pie spread the cream cheese filling evenly over the tart shell. Sprinkle the berries over the top of the filling. In a glass bowl heat the jam slightly and then drizzle the warm jam over the top of the berries. Serve immediately. Serves 8.

Modified from about.com

SEAFOOD LASAGNA

1 large egg, beaten to blend
salt and pepper to taste
12 to 15 lasagna noodles, cooked
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. butter
6 tbs. all purpose flour
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
3 cups Stonyfield Farm Lowfat (1%) Organic Milk
2 cups Oikos Plain Greek Yogurt (or substitute with yogurt cheese)
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
1 1/2 cups shredded gruyere
1 lb. lobster meat (slightly undercooked if possible), coarsely chopped
1 lb. small shrimp (uncooked)
1 lb. small scallops (uncooked)

Whisk flour in heavy medium saucepan to remove any lumps. Gradually add 1 cup milk, whisking until smooth. Add remaining 2 cups milk and nutmeg; whisk over medium heat until mixture thickens and boils, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in Parmesan, egg and butter. Season with salt and pepper. Can be made 1 day ahead, just cover and refrigerate. Reheat over low heat until heated through before using; do not boil. Preheat oven to 350. In a mixing bowl combine lobster, shrimp, and scallops together In a separate bowl fold together 1 1/4 cup gruyere, 1 1/4 cup mozzarella and yogurt. In 8 1/2 by 11 inch baking dish, start by coating the bottom of the dish with a thin layer of white sauce; next add a layer of lasagna noodles placing tightly together, cut to fit if necessary. Spread 1/3 of yogurt and cheese mixture, and sprinkle with 1/3 seafood. Repeat layers 2 times ending with lasagna noodles. Finish the top with white sauce and sprinkled with remaining cheese. Cook for 35 minutes on top of sheet pan in case it bubbles over

From stoneyfield.com

ZUCCHINI GRIDDLE CAKES WITH YOGURT SAUCE

3 to 4 medium zucchini, shredded
Salt and pepper
3  eggs, beaten
1/2 cup  flour
1 tablespoon  olive oil
1 cup shredded mozzarella
3 green onions, finely chopped
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh dill or 2 tablespoons dried
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 to 6 tablespoons oil (or more as needed)

Yogurt sauce
2/3 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons minced cloves garlic
3 tablespoons chopped cucumbers
1/2 teaspoon salt.

Place the shredded zucchini in a colander over a bowl or in the sink and mix it with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Drain for five to 10 minutes and then place the zucchini in a towel and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Try squeezing it a second time just to make sure you got all the liquid out. Put the zucchini in a bowl and add the eggs. Mix to combine. Add the flour, salt, olive oil, mozzarella, green onions dill and pepper. Mix and add the baking powder. Mix to combine. Place the griddle on the heat and brush 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil on the surface Spoon heaping tablespoons of the batter several inches apart so they have room to spread (don’t make them too big). They may need to be flattened slightly. Cook until they are golden on one side (3 to 4 minutes) and then flip them and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes on the other side. The griddle cakes should be crispy. You can make them up ahead of time and keep them warm in the oven. Serve hot. Makes 12

For yogurt sauce: In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, garlic, cucumber and salt. Mix well, and serve on the side or on pancakes.

Submitted by Brian Zimmerman NY, NY

APPLE AND CARROT YOGURT SALAD

1 cup yogurt
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
4 carrots, peeled and shredded (3 1/2 cups)
2 apples, cored and cut into 1/4-inch sticks (3 1/2 cups)
1 cup shredded jicama
1 head red leaf lettuce, torn in to bite size pieces
1 cup chopped pecans

In a salad bowl combine the yogurt, vinegar, pepper, salt and parsley in a bowl. Add the carrots, apples, jicama and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours to soften the vegetables slightly. Place the lettuce on a platter and then spoon the apple mixture over the top.  Sprinkle the pecans on the top and serve. Serves 6
 
.
AVOCADO AND MANGO WITH SPICY TAHINI YOGURT DRESSING
I
1 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup tahini
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
3 ripe avocados, peeled and sliced
3 mangos, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted

To make the dressing combine the yogurt and tahini in a bowl and whisk them together until smooth. Add the cumin, coriander, garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper and cayenne and whisk to combine. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Divide the avocado and mango slices between 6 plates. Spoon the dressing over and sprinkle with almonds.

Modified from Taste of Israel by Avi Ganor and Ron Maiberg

.
FRESH HERB TUNA PASTA WITH YOGURT DILL SAUCE

1 cup orzo pasta
3 green onions (sliced thin tops included)
1 green bell pepper (minced fine)
1 red bell pepper (minced fine)
2 tomatoes (diced)
1/2 cup black or kalmata olives (finely diced)
2 eggs (hardboiled finely diced)
2 teaspoon fresh dill (finely minced)
1 tablespoons dill (fresh, finely minced)
2 teaspoons celery seeds
2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped)
2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup plain yogurt
6 oz water (tuna, drained)
1 cup Parmesan cheese (freshly grated)
 salt
 pepper

Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain, and rinse under cold water to quick chill, drain well and pour into large mixing bowl.  Stir in green onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, olives, egg, fresh herbs, mustard, and parsley; mixing well.  Add the lemon juice, yogurt, tuna and cheese, mix well; add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with a sliced bell pepper slice, sliced tomato or additional cheese if desired. Serves 4 to 6.

Submitted by Sharon Barlone West Bloomfield MI
RIGATONI WITH YOGURT LIME SAUCE

4 cups cooked rigatoni pasta
2 cups frozen peas
1 red pepper diced small

Sauce:
2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 teaspoon minced garlic
Zest of lime
Lime juice to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
4 green onions, sliced thin
Parmesan cheese to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions.  While pasta is cooking, in a bowl combine the yogurt, garlic, and lime zest. Mix to combine and add the lime juice, salt, and pepper to taste.  Stir well and set aside.

Just before draining pasta add the diced pepper and peas to the pot and let cook for 1 minute. Save 1 cup of the salted pasta water and then drain the rest.  Return pasta and peas to pot.  Stir in yogurt sauce.  Add the saved pasta water slowly mixing until you get the desired consistency for the sauce.  Serve immediately, topped with green onions and Parmesan. Serves 4

CHICKEN AND CHICKPEA CURRY

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 1/4 lb. package ground chicken or turkey
1 large onion, chopped in medium dice
2 tablespoons sweet curry powder
1 can petite dice tomatoes with juice (14.5 oz.)
1 can chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans, 15.5 oz. can)
12 oz. Greek yogurt
salt and black pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped parsley for garnish, optional

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a heavy frying pan, add ground chicken or turkey, breaking it apart with the turner and sauteing until it is well cooked and lightly browned about 8 to 10 minutes.

Push the chicken or turkey to one side of the pan, add the 1 teaspoon olive oil, then add the chopped onions and cook 3 to 4 minutes, until onions are just starting to get some color. Sprinkle onions with the curry powder and cook about 2 minutes more, turning a few times, then stir the onion mixture into the chicken. Add the tomatoes with juice and drained chickpeas and let simmer about 5 minutes, or until some liquid has evaporated and flavors are well blended. Turn heat to low, stir in yogurt, and simmer about 3 minutes more. (Don’t let it come to a boil after the yogurt has been added.)

Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Serve hot, sprinkled with chopped fresh parsley or cilantro if desired. Serves 4.

Modified from Chicken Chickpea Curry Bowls by Rachel Ray

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