Archive for the ‘Misc’ Category

It’s fall festival time and with them come caramel apples.  All year long I look forward to this time of year, the sour tang of the apples mingling with the sweet butter of the caramel…treat of the gods, I swear.

I’ve lost count of how many of these delicious beauties on a stick I’ve made through the years but one thing has always reigned true. I have no luck with pre-wrapped store bought caramels.  Perhaps others do, but for me it always slides down the apple to become a sticky pile at the bottom.  To remedy this I have taken to making my own caramel.

To make your own caramel is amazingly simple, even more so if you have a candy thermometer.

Homemade Caramel Recipe

2 cups brown sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1 cup butter

1 can sweetened condensed milk

2 tsp vanilla

In heavy saucepan, combine brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and condensed milk; bring to boil over medium-high heat.

Cook and stir until candy thermometer reads 248 degrees, this is what is known as firm ball stage.  If you do not have a thermometer, take a glass of ice cold water and drip hot caramel into water. If it forms a stiff ball as it sinks it is ready.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

I do not suggest doubling this recipe, if you need more, make a second batch.

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I love, love, love plums.  They to me are the fruit of the gods. For the holidays however, or really anytime, dressing them up a bit is a pleasant surprise and what better way then with maple syrup and whipped topping?  I’ve served these with pancakes and French toast for breakfast, pork for supper, or just as a side dessert with holiday turkeys and ham. To make them is extremely easy but yet they go over quite big.

Wash and cut your plums in half removing pit.  You can leave them halved or slice them up, however you prefer.  Place them in a casserole dish or cake pan and drizzle with maple syrup to coat.  Bake 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until insides are soft.

You can either serve these as is, or add a vanilla whipped topping to them.  To make the topping, simply stir a cup of Cool Whip style topping in a bowl with 1/4 cup of confectioner (powdered) sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract.  Spoon over top…simple, easy and delicious!

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There was a question posed by a friend about what to do with apples that had lets just say lost their beauty quality.  Either being older and wrinkled, bruised, rodent nibbled or gotten a few worms.  When I was growing up, these apples were the norm and often found littered under my grandparents apple trees. Other then the store bought ones I don’t remember very often seeing what one would deem a “pretty” apple.  Few of these apples however went to waste.  Today I use the same logic and lessons taught me then with my own apple tree harvest.  Nothing goes to waste…and by this I do truly mean nothing.  The good flesh is sliced, diced or mashed to make into pies, pie fillings, cobblers, muffins, pancakes, fritters, cakes, donuts or applesauce.  The skin peeled away and some taken out to the chickens to eat.  Extra skin, seeds and rotten parts get thrown into the worm compost to be turned into good useable soil.

Easy Apple Cobbler

5 cups apples, peeled and sliced

1 cup sugar

2 tbsp cornstarch

1 tbsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp allspice

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1 tbsp vanilla

1/4 cup melted butter

1/4 cup apple cider

Combine in bowl and pour into greased 8×8 cake pan.  In bowl combine following:

1 cup flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup melted butter

1/4 cup milk

1 tsp baking powder

1 egg, slightly beaten

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

Stir together to form a thick (muffin consistency) batter.  Spoon over top of apples and spread out with spatula to cover.

Cook at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.  Check with toothpick test.

**If batter to thin, add more flour…if to thick, add more milk**

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This is an extremely simple dessert to create yet it has big taste sure to please at your next party, holiday gathering, church function or simply the dinner table.

S’more Pudding Dessert.

1 pkg graham crackers (broken with hammer to crumbs)

1 lg package chocolate pudding (or homemade pudding)

1 sm jar marshmallow cream

Layer all but 1/2 a cup of your graham crackers in bottom of baking dish, cake dish or pie pan.

Over top of this spread your pudding.

Gently warm your marshmallow cream until “puffy” and able to be easily spread.  Spread atop the chocolate pudding.

Sprinkle rest of your graham crackers on top and refrigerate at least one hour before serving.

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Tomorrow my son has a parade to attend and I got charged with desserts.  I wanted something that was capable of holding a old fashion charm, easy to eat and easy to carry.  Cookies and cupcakes just didn’t seem proper, though I did use cupcakes to create this.  I’ve made these before and they really are delicious and simple.  You can’t go wrong with that.

1 devils food cake mix

1 can cherry pie filling

1 can Redi Whip

1 jar Maraschino cherries

Chopped peanut or nut topping (optional)

1 case (or more) jelly canning jars

Yes, that is really all that is involved.  Before serving I will offer to add chopped peanuts to the top but that is optional.

1) Mix up your cake mix and follow directions for making cupcakes.

2.) Let cupcakes cool completely and cut them in half, you will use one cupcake per jar.

3.) Place bottom of cupcake in bottom of jar, add a layer of cherry pie filling.

4.) Add a healthy squeeze of Redi Whip on top pie filling.

5.) Add top piece of cupcake, don’t fret if you have to smush it in no one will notice.

6.) Add another layer of cherry pie filling.

At this point for transfer I put the lid and cover on the jar, then bring along Redi Whip, maraschino cherries and chopped nuts.

**Refrigerate jars until ready to serve or transport**


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With the gloom of winter behind us bright, soothing, refreshing desserts are always welcome.  This past week my mother was down for a visit from Michigan, she wasn’t feeling well due to a cold and a case of pink eye so I wished to have a simple yet tasty treat for her to enjoy.  The filling in these little tarts is lemon curd. If you have never made or used lemon curd before you are so missing out.  It is perhaps the most versatile dessert ingredient there is.  Anything from lemon pie to lemon bars, mini tarts to even parfaits.  Course, if you are like me, you can also sit down and just eat it by the bowl full.

To make your own lemon curd you will need:

3/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 tbsp grated lemon zest

3/4 cup sugar

3 eggs

1/2 cup unsalted butter

Using a saucepan, combine your lemon juice, zest, sugar, eggs and butter.  Cook the curd over LOW heat, stirring frequently to keep from burning.  You want this process to be SLOW to heating and thickening.  It should take 10-15 minutes to thicken and may take upwards of 20 minutes.  When the curd is thick enough to hold marks from the whisk, and bubbles that form on surface, it is ready to be removed from heat and let to cool and set for several minutes.

**If your eggs scramble, you are cooking at to high a heat and not whisking frequently enough.**

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This week is time to replenish the freezer breakfast meals. Earlier this week I made a double batch of bread just for this occasion as French Toast Sticks and French Toast Bars were first on the order.   These are so simple to make and so easy to reheat in microwave.  They freeze nicely but also are delicious fresh from oven.  I’ve taken them to brunches, used them for desert dishes as well as for quick breakfasts around there.  They are not overly sweet, the sweetness is given from the bites of fruit more then from sugars and additives. You can choose to serve them as are, using powdered sugar, maple syrup or a fruit sauce poured over top.  These particular ones are blueberry and cream cheese, but you might also choose peaches, apricots, pears, cherries, strawberries, cranberries, insertion of coconut or nuts.  Again options truly are endless so long as you know the basic construction.

Fruited French Toast Bars

9×9 cake pan

2 cups bread, cubed  (You can remove crust if you want, I don’t.)

4 eggs, beaten

2 cups milk

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

4 tbsp maple syrup

3 tbsp brown sugar

1/2 bar cream cheese, softened and cubed

1 cup fruit of choice

1/2 cup additions (nuts, coconut)

Prepare your pan, you can choose to butter it (what I do) or use Pam style cooking spray.

Put your bread cubes in a bowl, add the cream cheese cubes and stir to combine.  In a second bowl add your eggs, beat well.  Then milk, maple syrup and spices.  Stir well and pour over the bread cubes.  Let bread sit in the liquid for 15 -30 minutes to absorb.

Pour the entire contents into your prepared pan.  Sprinkle/or lay pieces of your fruit of choice on top, same with your additions.  Bake  uncovered in a 375 degree oven for 35 minutes or until it no longer wiggles in center.

Remove and let sit for 10 minutes to set before cutting and serving.

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Took most the morning, but I have finished the decoration on 17 boxes of chocolate-mint chocolates. (Picture shows content of one box worth.) Now just to get them packaged and on to the cookies.

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I needed to do something special for a holiday brunch, and had run out of ideas.  I happened upon a old recipe I had for a copycat Krispy Kreme style donut and figured I would give it a shot.  They were easy to make and made a lot for the money.  I honestly don’t remember the source for the recipe, but they deserve the credit in this.  The donuts were light, airy and nearly melted in your mouth.  For the frosting it is just a very thick confectioner sugar frosting drizzled on the donuts.

MYO Krispy Kreme Donuts

2 cups scalded milk.

1/2 cup butter

2/3 cup sugar

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp active yeast

4 eggs (beaten)

1/4 tsp nutmeg

7 cups flour

Melt butter in milk and add salt and 1 tsp sugar.  Let cool to room temperature.

Beat in yeast, eggs, nutmeg, rest of sugar, and 3 cups flour to milk/butter mixture.

Add rest of flour (it will be a sticky batter, it’s ok.)

Knead for 5 minutes and let rise for 1 1/2 hours.

Roll out dough, cut into shapes using either a donut cutter or a glass + a pop bottle lid to make center hole.

Let rise 40 minutes.

Fry in 365 degree oil for 1-2 minutes per side.   (Cook donut holes first, then donuts.)

Let cool on paper towel before glazing.


(this is basics, add as you need for more, also add more liquid if wishing thinner, more sugar if thicker)

1 cup confectioners sugar

2 tbsp milk or water

1/4 tsp vanilla, lemon, or other extract flavor.




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It was promising to be a busy day and one in which the kids would have more work then fun, I decided to start their morning off on a bright note by making Apple Turnovers.  These can be used by using store-bought croissant rolls and canned pie fillings or jam, or you can make your own fillings. I prefer to use pie crust rather then croissant rolls personally, but have made my own croissant rolls as well.  While I have many recipes for pie crusts and fillings, I must say for this one Paula Dean makes the perfect combo with just enough sweetness to make it a perfect breakfast treat.


Turnovers (Apple)

First make your crust. These can be prepared ahead of time and stored in refrigerator or freezer.

Paula Deans Flaky Pie Crusts (2 Crusts)

2 1/2 cups flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp baking powder

12 tbsp cold unsalted butter

1/4 cup vegetable shortening, cold

3 tbsp sugar

Cut your butter and shortening into your flour, add rest of ingredients and mix until it resembles cornmeal in texture.  Divide into two balls and place between parchment sheets. Roll until 1/8 inch thick circles.  Chill until ready to use.

Paula Deans Apple Pie Filling

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup flour

3/4 tsp cinnamon

nutmeg to taste

7 medium apples, peeled and sliced

1 lemon, zested and juiced

Combine all in bowl and mix well.

To make Turnovers place your pie crust on cookie sheet or cutting board.  Spread your in center working to outside.  Using a sharp knife of pizza cutter cut into wedges.  Roll the wedges as you would a croissant roll and put on greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.


2 cups confectioner sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2-3 tbsp water

Combine and stir well until a thick liquid icing.  Place in ziploc bag with tip cut off one edge.  Drizzle on top of turnovers.

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