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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Anyone who knows me well knows I love all things pumpkin!  This is one of my favorite recipes, and I can hardly wait to make it each Fall to celebrate the holidays.  It's so easy, and so yummy, you'll want this recipe for own! 

1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 cups canned pumpkin
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Spray 9x13 cake pan with non-stick spray.  Mix oil, sugar, eggs and pumpkin until smooth.  Sift dry ingredients and mix together with cake batter.  Spread evening into pan. Pre-heat oven to 350F; bake cake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cake.  Cool completely before frosting.    

6 tablespoons for soft butter
4 ounces soft cream cheese
2 cups of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream butter and cream cheese together, add vanilla.  Slowly mix in powdered sugar, until smooth.  May add a little milk if too thick.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sopapilla Cheesecake

Sopapilla Cheesecake
This isn't a new recipe, but has certainly become a favorite over the past year. I get asked to make this over and over, and really, why not?! This dessert is equal parts sublime cinnamon sugar and honey with flaky crust, with a rich sweet cheesecake filling. Easy to make, delicious to eat, what's not love?!   *recipe calls for making this in a 9x13 pan.  I’ve shown it here in a 10 inch stoneware dish.

  • 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (8 ounce) mascarpone cheese, softened *see note below
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 (8 ounce) cans crescent roll dough
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup of honey
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F

Beat the cheeses with 1 1/2 cups of sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon, egg and the vanilla extract in a bowl until smooth. Unroll the cans of crescent roll dough, and use a rolling pin to shape each piece into 9x13 inch rectangles. Press one piece into the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Evenly spread the cream cheese mixture into the baking dish, then cover with the remaining piece of crescent dough.
Drizzle the melted butter evenly over the top of the cheesecake. Stir the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar together with the cinnamon in a small bowl, and sprinkle over the cheesecake.

Bake in the preheated oven until the crescent dough has puffed and turned golden brown, about 45 minutes. Drizzle warm cheesecake with honey.  Cool completely in the pan before cutting into 12 squares.

*note on mascarpone cheese.  Marscapone can be expensive and/or hard to find in some areas.  It's an italian cream cheese that is sweeter and richer than regular cream cheese and it makes a notable difference in recipes that call for it's use.  However, you can absolutely substitute 8 oz of regular cream cheese for the marscapone if you can't find it, or it's too expensive for your budget. 


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Caramel Apples

Caramel Apples
What says Fall better than caramel apples??  It’s so easy; there is really NO reason to buy them! 

1, 14 oz. bag of caramels
6 granny smith apples or any tart crisp apple
1 tablespoon of water
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
6 popsicle sticks
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Insert popsicle sticks through the middle of the apple, stem up.  Refrigerate apples for several hours before making caramel apples.  This helps the caramel firm up more quickly after dipping, and prevents apples from starting the cooking process due to the hot caramel. 

Unwrap caramels (or buy new Kraft caramels in pea sized balls for faster and easier caramel melting), and place in a teflon coated sauce pan, add 1 tablespoon of water.  Melt over medium-low heat, stirring until completely melted.  Add 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract, and stir until complete incorporated.

Lay piece of parchment or wax paper on a flat surface.  Dip each apple, one at a time in the caramel, being sure to roll the apple through the caramel until coated.  Be sure to continue spinning the apple to remove excess caramel.  Roll apple in nuts as they come out of the caramel, if you choose.  Could also dip in chocolate.  Place apple on parchment or wax paper until cooled completely.  Store in air-tight container if any survive the 1st hour.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pistachio Muffins

Pistachio Muffins
Pistachios have recently become a favorite snack, and while looking for something new to make this morning for breakfast, I found a recipe for pistachio muffins that sounded delish. A few adjustments and here's what I came up with. I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy these moist, flavorful muffins as much as I did!

3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 box instant pistachio pudding
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 tsp almond extract
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped pistachios
2-3 drops green food coloring--optional

1/4 cup finely chopped pistachios
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons sugar

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and dry pudding mix.  Combine eggs, milk, food coloring and oil; add to dry mixture and mix until just moistened. Fold in chopped pistachios.  Fill baking cups 2/3 full. Sprinkle tops of muffin with finely chopped pistachios.

Bake 15-18 minutes in preheated 365-degree oven, or until muffins test done.  Let muffins rest for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.  Brush muffin tops with melted butter, and sprinkle with sugar.  Serve immediately, or store in air-tight container.  Serving: 21 regular sized muffins. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Caramel Apple Cake

This warm apple cake is rich and comforting, perfect for fall! 

3 eggs
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
2 cups white sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg
2 apple - peeled, cored, and chopped
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
Caramel Sauce:
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Generously grease and flour a bundt pan.

In larger mixing bowl blend eggs, oil, sugar, vanilla, salt, spices, and baking powder until creamy. Add flour, a little at a time. Blend well. Batter will be stiff. Fold in apples, coconut, and nuts.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool 30 minutes in the pan, then remove.  Poke holes all over the top of the cake, with the tines of a meat fork, or other long thin fork tines. 

Caramel Sauce: Melt butter, sugar, and milk in saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in vanilla until bubbles calm down.  Allow to sit for 5 minutes, and then gently spoon the caramel over the cake.  Serve warm or room temperature. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Chocolate Bread Pudding with Nutella

Chocolate Bread Pudding with Nutella

This warm, luscious bread pudding has just enough chocolate to be comforting without being overly sweet.  Truly comfort food! 


1 loaf of stale french bread
2 tablespoons butter, melted
4 eggs, beaten
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup Nutella
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup hot cocoa mix
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Slice 8, ½ inch slices of from loaf, out of the middle. **Tip: A loaf of Jimmy John's day old bread is perfect for this bread pudding!  Cube the rest of the bread.  Add cubed bread to bottom of 9x9 baking dish.  Drizzle melted butter over bread. Spread Nutella over the 8 slices of bread, add on top of cubed bread, with 4 slices Nutella down, the other 4 facing up. 

In a blender combine eggs, cream, milk, sugars, hot cocoa mix, salt, and vanilla. Blend for 1 minute, until fully combined and the milk and eggs are frothy.  Pour over bread, and lightly push down with a fork until bread is covered and soaking up the egg mixture.  Cover with foil, and place a weighted object on top of the pudding, forcing the egg and bread to combine fully.  Wait one hour before baking. 

Preheat oven to 350F.  Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned. 

Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving warm.   

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies
So this was a new recipe, and being a lover of both peanut butter and oatmeal, this was a must try.  It's as good as anticipated!  In reality, you could make these cookies without the filling/sandwiching and they are still terrific.  Very easy to make, quick simple recipe! 

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup quick cooking oats
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
2 1/2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream


In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugars.  Add peanut butter, vanilla, and egg until all is well incorporated. 
Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add these dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Stir. Add oatmeal and stir.
Drop by teaspoons onto a parchment lined baking sheet, and press each mound down with a fork to form 1/4 inch thick cookies. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes, or until cookies are a light brown.
To Make Filling: Cream 3 tablespoons butter with the peanut butter and whipping cream.  Add confectioners' sugar and stir together until a thick filling forms.

When cookies are complete cooled, spread 1/8 inch layer of filling on flat bottom of one cookie, top with a second flat bottom, forming a sandwich. 

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Ok, so this isn't a new recipe, and I'm already "cheating" on this blog's premise, however, these are a fan-favorite, and one my favorite people requested these cookies.  You really can't go wrong with this classic cookie recipe! 
Servings: 36, 3 inch cookies

½ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
½ cup butter flavored shortening/Crisco
1 ½ cups white sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons of white sugar
3 tablespoons cinnamon

      1.      Preheat oven to 375F.

2.      In mixing bowl, cream together sugar, butter, shortening until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Add the flour, baking powder and soda, cream of tartar, cinnamon, and salt. Mix together until fully combined and no flour is showing. 

3.      Mix together the remaining sugar and cinnamon in a rounded plastic dish with a lid, shake until fully combined. 

4.      Refrigerate dough for up to 1 hour to allow the dough to firm up. 

5.      Using a tiny ice cream scoop/disher or a tablespoon, create walnut sized balls of dough, add them 2 at a time to the cinnamon sugar mixture, and shake/roll the dough until completely covered in cinnamon sugar. 

6.      Place dough on a parchment covered cooking sheet, with at least 2 inches in between the cookie dough.  Bake for 8-10 minutes until set, but not too hard.  Remove from the oven; allow to sit on the baking sheet for approximately 2 minutes before moving to a cooling rack. 
7.    Store in air-tight container, if they last that long! 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Lemon Curd Bars

Lemon Curd Bars

1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 (10 ounce) jar lemon curd
2/3 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup toasted and chopped almonds
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a mixing bowl cream the butter. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix until the mixture forms coarse crumbs
Evenly pat 2/3 of the mixture into the bottom of one 10 inch round tart pan. Be sure to push a bit of the crust up the sides to create a rim.  Bake at 375 degrees F for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes.  Crust may appear puffy, but will deflate as the crust cools. 
To the remaining 1/3 of crust mixture, add the coconut and the almonds.  Spread the lemon curd over the baked crust. *Tip: Trader Joe's has a wonderful, inexpensive lemon curd that is perfect for this dessert.  Sprinkle remaining crust/coconut mixutre over the top of the lemon curd.

Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees F.  Bake bars for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.  Allow to cool, cut into 12 even pizza style slices.