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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

♥ Caramel Tassies ♥

* 1 cup butter, softened
* 2 packages (3 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
* 2 cups all-purpose flour

* 1 package (14 ounces) caramels
* 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons evaporated milk

* 2 tablespoons shortening
* 2 tablespoons butter, softened
* 1 cup confectioners' sugar
* 1 tablespoon evaporated milk

* In a large bowl, cream butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Gradually add flour and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until easy to handle.
* Roll dough into 1-in. balls; press onto the bottom and up the sides of ungreased miniature muffin cups. Prick bottoms with a fork. Bake at 375° for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.
* In a large heavy saucepan over low heat, melt caramels with milk. Remove from the heat; cool slightly. Transfer to a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag; cut a small hole in a corner of the bag. Pipe filling into pastry cups. Cool to room temperature.
* For frosting, in a small bowl, beat shortening and butter until smooth. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar and milk until fluffy. Pipe onto filling. Store in the refrigerator.

Yield: 4 dozen.

~~Caramel Tassies published in Taste of Home's Holiday & Celebrations Cookbook Annual 2007~~

Sunday, November 28, 2010

♥ Calypso Cups ♥

These are great cookies to prepare for parties throughout the year. I simply tint the frosting for the occasion - red for Valentine's Day, pastel colors for baby showers and green for Christmas.

* 1 cup butter, softened
* 2 packages (3 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
* 2 cups all-purpose flour

* 1/2 cup flaked coconut
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
* 1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, undrained
* 1 egg

* 2 cups confectioners' sugar
* 1/2 cup shortening
* 1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
* 3 to 4 tablespoons milk
* Finely chopped walnuts and/or additional flaked coconut, optional

* In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add flour and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until easy to handle.
* Roll into 1-in. balls. Press onto the bottom and up the sides of greased miniature muffin cups. Combine filling ingredients; spoon into cups. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool in pans on wire racks.
* For frosting, combine the sugar, shortening and vanilla until smooth; add enough milk to achieve spreading consistency. Remove cooled cups from pans. Frost; sprinkle with walnuts and additional flaked coconut if desired.

Yield: 4 dozen.

~~Calypso Cups published in Best of Country Cookies~~

Friday, November 26, 2010

♥ Peppermint Meltaways ♥

* 1 cup butter, softened
* 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
* 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 cup cornstarch
* 2 tablespoons butter, softened
* 1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
* 2 tablespoons milk
* 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
* 2 to 3 drops red food coloring, optional
* 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies

* In a small bowl, cream butter and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in extract. Combine flour and cornstarch; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.
* Shape into 1-in. balls. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.
* In a small bowl, beat butter until fluffy. Add the confectioners’ sugar, milk, extract and food coloring if desired; beat until smooth. Spread over cooled cookies; sprinkle with crushed candies. Store in an airtight container.

Yield: 3-1/2 dozen.

~~Peppermint Meltaways published in Simple & Delicious November/December 2008~~

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

♥ Brownie Crackles ♥

* 1 package fudge brownie mix (13-in. x 9-inch pan size)
* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* 1 egg
* 1/2 cup water
* 1/4 cup canola oil
* 1 cup (6 ounces) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
* Confectioners' sugar

* In a large bowl, beat the brownie mix, flour, egg, water and oil until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips.
* Place confectioners' sugar in a shallow dish. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls into sugar; roll to coat. Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets.
* Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until set. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.

Yield: 4-1/2 dozen.

~~Brownie Crackles published in Quick Cooking September/October 2000~~

Saturday, November 20, 2010

♥ Double Decker Pumpkin Bread ♥

* 1/2 of an 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1 8-ounce carton dairy sour cream
* 1 egg
* 2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger
* 3 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking soda
* 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2 cups sugar
* 4 eggs
* 1 15-ounce can pumpkin
* 1 cup cooking oil
* 1/3 cup water

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the bottoms and 1/2 inch up the sides of two 9x5x3-inch loaf pans; set aside. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese and the 1/4 cup sugar. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Add sour cream and the 1 egg; beat until combined. Stir in the crystallized ginger; set aside.

2. In another medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, the ground ginger, the nutmeg, and salt; set aside.

3. In a large bowl, combine the 2 cups sugar, the 4 eggs, the pumpkin, oil, and water. Beat on low speed until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Gradually add flour mixture, beating until combined.

4. Spoon 1-1/2 cups of the pumpkin batter into each of the prepared pans. Divide the cream cheese mixture between pans, spreading evenly. Spoon the remaining pumpkin batter onto cream cheese mixture, spreading evenly.

5. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove bread from pans. Cool completely on wire racks.

6. Wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight before slicing. Store any leftover bread in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Makes 32 servings.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

♥ Pumpkin Bread Pudding ♥

* Butter
* 1-1/4 cups whipping cream
* 1 cup milk
* 4 or 5 large croissants or 10 oz. egg bread, torn (about 6 cups)
* 1-1/4 cups roasted, shelled chestnuts, crumbled, or one 8- to 10-oz. can chestnuts, drained and crumbled
* 3 large eggs
* 1 egg yolk
* 1 cup granulated sugar
* 1 cup packed brown sugar
* 1 lb. roasted pumpkin flesh or hard squash flesh, mashed (2 cups) or one 15-oz. can pumpkin
* 1-1/4 cups dried currants or golden raisins
* 3 Tbsp. butter, melted
* 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
* 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
* Seeds of one vanilla bean* or 2 tsp. vanilla extract
* 1 recipe Molasses Cream (recipe below)
* Fresh thyme (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 2-1/2- to 3-quart casserole; set aside. In large bowl combine whipping cream and milk. Add torn croissants and chestnuts. Gently press until everything is covered by the milk mixture. Let stand while preparing custard.

2. For custard, combine eggs, egg yolk, sugars, pumpkin, currants, melted butter, spices, and vanilla in the top insert of a large double boiler (or in a large heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water). Place double boiler over medium heat and stir constantly until warm mixture is warm and sugars have dissolved. Fold into croissant mixture. Pour all into prepared casserole. Bake, uncovered, 50 minutes or until set. Serve warm with Molasses Cream and thyme. Store any remaining bread pudding in refrigerator up to 2 days.

Makes 12 servings.

Molasses Cream: In large bowl whisk 1 cup whipping cream until it starts to thicken. Gradually whisk in 1 tablespoon molasses, sorghum or honey. Serve at once.

Roasting Chestnuts: Cut an X on flat side of each chestnut. Place in baking pan. Roast at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes, tossing occasionally. Peel chestnuts while still warm.
Roasting Pumpkin or Squash: Wash, halve lengthwise, and remove seeds of pie pumpkin or hard (winter) squash. Place halves, cut sides down, in baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 to 55 minutes or until tender; cool. Scrape flesh from shell with a spoon.
*Kitchen Tip: To remove seeds from vanilla bean, use small knife to split bean in half lengthwise. Using tip of knife, scrape out the small black seeds from each half, discard pod.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

♥ Pumpkin Tiramisu ♥

* 1/4 cup pure maple syrup or maple-flavor syrup
* 1 tablespoon bourbon
* 1/2 of a 15-ounce can (3/4 cup) pumpkin
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup whipping cream
* 1/4 cup granulated sugar
* 1/2 of an 8-ounce container mascarpone cheese, softened
* 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
* 1/2 cup whipping cream
* 1 3-ounce package ladyfingers, split
* Ground nutmeg or freshly grated nutmeg

1. Line a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap; set aside. For syrup, in a small bowl, combine maple syrup and bourbon. Set aside.

2. For filling, in a small bowl, combine pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. In a small mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup whipping cream and granulated sugar. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gently fold whipped cream into pumpkin mixture.

3. For topping, in another small mixing bowl, combine mascarpone cheese and powdered sugar. Beat on low speed until combined. Gradually beat in 1/2 cup whipping cream just until thickened (do not overbeat).

4. To assemble, arrange half of the ladyfingers in a single layer in the bottom of the prepared pan. Drizzle evenly with half of the syrup. Top with half of the filling, spreading evenly. Arrange remaining ladyfingers in a single layer over filling. Drizzle with remaining syrup and top with remaining filling. Dollop topping over filling. Using the back of a spoon, carefully spread topping evenly over filling. Cover and chill for 8 to 24 hours.

5. Use the plastic wrap to lift tiramisu out of pan. Place tiramisu on a serving platter. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Carefully cut the dessert crosswise into slices.

Makes 6 servings.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

♥ Chocolate Chip-Cherry Biscotti ♥

Perfect for dunking into a cup of coffee or tea. Swap dried cranberries, chopped dried strawberries or apricots for the cherries.

2 spray(s) cooking spray
2 cup(s) all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp table salt
1 Tbsp canola oil
2/3 cup(s) sugar
1 large egg(s), beaten
2 large egg white(s), beaten
1/2 cup(s) mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup(s) dried cherries
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour, for rolling out dough

* Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

* In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

* In another large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together oil, sugar, egg and egg whites until well-combined. Add flour mixture to egg mixture, a little at a time, beating with each addition (dough will be stiff); fold in chocolate chips and cherries.

* Working on a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 13- X 1 1/2-inch log and place on center of prepared baking sheet; bake for 25 minutes.

* Reduce heat to 350°F and remove baking sheet from oven. Cool dough long enough to cut into twenty-four 3/8-inch-thick diagonal slices. Lay slices on their sides on same baking sheet; return to oven. Bake for 10 minutes; flip and bake until lightly browned, about 5 to 10 minutes more. Yields 1 cookie per serving.

Notes: Store extras in an airtight container for up to 10 days.

WW POINTS® Value: 2
Servings: 24

Friday, November 5, 2010

♥ Pumpkin Gingerbread ♥

* 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 2/3 cup butter
* 3/4 cup chopped pecans
* 3/4 cup buttermilk (or sour milk)*
* 1/2 cup molasses
* 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
* 1 egg
* 1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 recipe Caramel Sauce, recipe below (optional)
* Vanilla ice cream (optional)
* Chopped pecans (optional)

In a large bowl combine flour and sugar. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the 3/4 cup pecans. Press 1-1/4 cups of the crumb mixture into bottom of an ungreased 2-quart square baking dish. To remaining crumb mixture, add buttermilk, molasses, pumpkin, egg, ginger, soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt; mix well. Pour over crumb mixture in baking dish. Bake in a 350 degree F oven about 50 minutes or until center tests done. Cool 30 minutes. Serve warm with Caramel Sauce, if desired. Top with ice cream and additional pecans, if desired.

Makes 9 servings.

Caramel Sauce: In a saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter; stir in 1-1/4 cups packed brown sugar and 2 tablespoons light-colored corn syrup. Cook and stir until boiling. Stir in 1/2 cup whipping cream; return to boiling. Serve warm.

*Note: To make sour milk, place 2 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar in a glass measuring cup. Add enough milk to make 3/4 cup total liquid; stir. Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes before using.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

♥ Pumpkin Cheesecake in Gingersnap Crust ♥

* 1 1/2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs
* 3/4 cup ground hazelnuts
* 3 tablespoons brown sugar
* 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
* 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
* 1 cup brown sugar
* 1 1/2 cups canned solid pack pumpkin
* 1/2 cup heavy cream
* 1/3 cup maple syrup
* 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
* 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
* 4 eggs


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9 inch springform pan.
2. Using a fork, combine gingersnaps, hazelnuts, 3 tablespoons brown sugar and melted butter. Press mixture onto the bottom and two inches up the sides of the pan to form the crust.
3. With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the pumpkin. Mix in the cream, maple syrup, cinnamon, allspice and vanilla. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing until smooth.
4. Pour batter into prepared crust. Bake in the preheated oven for 90 minutes, or until center of cheesecake is set. Allow to cool in pan for 30 minutes, then refrigerate overnight.