Monday, August 30, 2010

Strawberry Shortcut Cake

1 (18.25-ounce) box strawberry cake mix
3 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
1 tablespoon each apple juice and rice vineger mixed
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (3-ounce) package strawberry flavored gelatin (recommended: Jell-O)
Fresh strawberries, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Follow cake directions as written on cake mix box.

Remove from oven and cool cake completely. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine strawberries, juice mixture and sugar. Let macerate 20 minutes. Invert and release cake onto a decorative platter.

Whip cream with confectioners' sugar and vanilla at medium-high speed until it reaches stiff peaks. Do not over whip.

Mix gelatin as directed on box. Refrigerate gelatin mix but do not let it harden, it should cool to a liquid consistency.

Using a straw, poke holes all over the cake. Pour gelatin into holes and spread over the top of the cake.

Spread layer of macerated strawberries on top of cake. Spread layer of whipped cream on top of the strawberries, making pretty swirls and ripples. Garnish with fresh strawberries. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

S'Mores Granola Bars

4 cups rolled oats (regular- not quick cooking oats)
4 cups Rice Krispies cereal
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
¼ cup water
½ cup corn syrup
1 tsp salt
3 cups miniature marshmallows, divided
1½ cups chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a half-sheet (18×13-inch) pan, or two 9×13-inch pans.
2. Place the oats on the prepared pan(s). Bake for 3 minutes- stir oats- bake for 3 more minutes. The oats won’t brown, but they should begin to smell toasty. Don’t overbake, or the oats will begin to burn. Remove the pan from the oven; transfer the oats to a bowl and add the Krispies. (Keep the oven on).
3. In a large saucepan, combine sugar, butter, water, corn syrup, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil and boil for 5 minutes, or until the temperature reaches 250°F. on a candy thermometer. Remove the mixture from the heat and pour it over the oats and cereal, tossing to combine. Add 1½ cups of the marshmallows, and stir again until well combined.
4. Place the mixture on the prepared pan (the one you used for the oats), patting it flat. Sprinkle with the remaining 1½ cups of marshmallows and chocolate chips. If you grease the bottom of another half-sheet pan, you can use it to press down on the mixture to make it flat and even.
5. Return the pan of bars to the oven for 3 minutes, or until the marshmallows have puffed and are slightly browned. Be careful… the marshmallows will burn if you leave them in too long. Remove the bars from the oven and cool for about 10 minutes on a rack. Cut into squares while still warm- it’s easiest to do this using a baker’s bench knife or a knife with a wide blade.

Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups lightly packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp chocolate extract (Whole foods) or use Vanilla Extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups (12 oz.) peanut butter chips
12 miniature peanut butter cup candies, cut into quarters
1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a 9×13-inch pan with foil; grease the foil.
2. Melt chocolate in glass baking cup in microwave in small bursts of 30 seconds; stir after each burst and remove from microwave when melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
3. In a large mixing bowl, mix butter, peanut butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer. Beat in eggs and chocolate extract. Mix in melted chocolate. Blend in flour. Stir in peanut butter chips.
4. Pour batter into prepared pan. Top evenly with peanut butter cup candy pieces, pressing pieces lightly into the batter.
5. Bake 25 to 35 minutes. Watch closely and remove from oven when toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Let cool completely.
6. Refrigerate until brownies are well chilled- if overnight, cover with plastic wrap. When ready to cut, remove from the refrigerator and turn onto a cutting board. Carefully peel off the foil and use another cutting board to flip the brownies back upright. Use a large, sharp knife to cut into squares.

Lemon Crumb Bars

15 oz sweetened condensed milk
½ cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp fresh grated lemon rind
1 ½ cups flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 cup oatmeal
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In small bowl, mix milk, juice and lemon rind. Set aside.
2. In another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, cream butter and blend in sugar. Add oatmeal and flour mixture and mix until crumbly. Spread half of the mixture in 8×12″ greased baking pan. Pat the mixture firmly into the bottom of the pan. Spread liquid mixture over the top and cover with the remaining crumb mixture.
3. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until edges are browned. Cool in pan at room temperature for 15 minutes.
4. Cut into 2″ squares and chill in pan until firm. Remove squares from pan when firm.
Servings: 24
Yield: 2 dozen

Lemon Bars (easy)

½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 cup flour
2 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbs flour
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
grated zest of 1/2 lemon
powdered sugar to taste
1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
2. Prepare crust: Beat butter and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl until creamy. Add the flour and beat until blended. Pat the flour mixture over the bottom of an 8×8-inch baking pan. Bake 15-20 minutes or until light brown. Maintain oven temperature.
3. Prepare filling: Whisk eggs in a bowl just until blended. Add the sugar, flour, lemon juice and lemon zest and whisk until mixed. Pour the lemon mixture over the hot baked layer. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or just until almost set. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Let stand until cool and cut into bars.


Five 1.5oz. Kit Kat Bars (or about 14 mini-sized Kit Kat Bars)
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar, measure then sift
1 large egg
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 tsp lemon extract
1½ tsp lemon zest
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
½ tsp additional lemon extract
2 Tbs butter, softened
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Prepare the crust: In the food processor, finely chop the Kit Kat Bars. Spread evenly in the bottom of an 8×8-inch square pan. Bake for 5 minutes. Set aside.
3. Prepare filling: In a large bowl with electric mixer, blend cream cheese on high. Add powdered sugar and egg and beat until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add lemon juice, lemon extract and lemon zest, and mix well. Pour filling evenly over Kit Kat crust.
4. Prepare topping: In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, lemon extract, and softened butter, and blend with a fork until crumbly. Sprinkle topping evenly over lemon bar filling.
5. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, or until topping is lightly browned.


12 whole cinnamon graham crackers
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, slightly beaten
¼ cup milk
½ cup graham cracker crumbs
½ cup chopped pecans
½ cup crushed Heath Bars
2 cups powdered sugar
½ cup butter, softened
milk to moisten mixture
dash vanilla extract
additional crushed Heath Bar bits & pecans
1. Line a 9×13″ pan with cinnamon graham crackers.
2. In medium saucepan, combine melted butter, sugar, egg and milk. Cook over medium-high heat until it reaches custard consistency (thickened). Remove from heat and cool. Add crumbs, pecans and Heath bits. Spread mixture over graham crackers. Top with another layer of cinnamon graham crackers.
3. Combine frosting ingredients, and frost the top of the graham crackers. Sprinkle with more Heath bits and chopped pecans.
4. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Cut into bite-sized pieces.


1 deep-dish rectangular, throw-away foil pan (9×13)
24 store-bought frozen ice cream sandwiches
2 regular-sized tubs of Cool Whip
caramel sauce
chocolate sauce
bag of Heath bits
4 bars Heath or Skor candy bars, chopped
1. Spray pan with cooking spray. Layer 12 ice cream sandwiches side-by-side in bottom of pan.
2. Spread one tub of Cool Whip over the top of the sandwiches. Drizzle caramel and chocolate syrups over the top of the Cool Whip and then sprinkle with toffee bits. Place in the freezer for about an hour.
3. Layer 2nd level of 12 ice cream sandwiches on top of the toffee bits. Spread with 2nd tub of Cool Whip. Drizzle caramel and chocolate syrup over the Cool Whip. Sprinkle Skor/Heath bars over the top. Place in freezer for several hours until firm.
4. When ready to serve, remove from freezer and use sharp knife to cut into squares.

Tomato, Onion, Avocado Salad

3-4 fresh large tomatoes, sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced
2 avocados, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
Red wine vinegar (a good, strong red wine vinegar)
Extra virgin olive oil (the best quality)
Freshly ground black pepper
Place a layer of sliced tomatoes on a large serving platter. Arrange the slivers of red onions and the chunks of avocado over the tomatoes. Sprinkle with parsley, garlic, and oregano. Drizzle red wine vinegar and olive oil over the platter. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Serve immediately. Do not refrigerate.

Nothing Bundt Cake hee hee

1 prepared brownie mix packet of choice
Eggs (slightly beaten)
Butter (in place of oil)
1 cup full fat sour cream
6 ounces white chocolate morsels

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees; prepare bundt pan with oil, butter or cooking spray (your choice).

2. Dump dry brownie mix into a large bowl. Add the eggs (in my case the mix called for 1 egg so I used 2 eggs), melted butter (in my case the mix called for 1/3 cup oil so I used 1/3 cup unsalted butter) and water (in my case the mix called for 1/3 cup of water so I doubled it to 2/3 cup). Stir just until combined.

3. Add the sour cream and white chocolate morsels, stirring to combine.

4. Pour into the prepared bundt pan and place in center of oven. Cook for 45 minutes to an hour or until edges start to pull away from sides of pan and pick inserted in thickest part comes out clean.

5. Invert cake onto rack to cool. Place on plate of choice.

*** NOTE: You may frost this cake or drizzle with glaze, if desired. ***

Coffee Cake

4 eggs
3/4 cup oil
3/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
1 tablespoon butter flavoring
1 envelope Dream Whip
1 pkg yellow cake mix
1 (small) package instant vanilla or butterscotch pudding

1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)

3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon butter flavoring

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease and flour and oblong angel food cake pan. (or use a regular tube/bundt pan and adjust baking time)

In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the cake ingredients. Beat a low speed for 30 seconds to combine, then beat at med/high speed for 6 minutes.

Pour 1/2 the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with 1/2 of the topping mixture. Pour in remaining batter and sprinkle with remaining topping. Cut through the batter with a knife to swirl in the topping. Bake 50-60 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Cool for at least 10 minutes in the pan before removing. Drizzle with glaze, if desired.

Pumpkin sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

4 Eggs
1 2/3 C. Sugar
1 C. Cooking Oil
1 (15 oz) can Pumpkin (pure pumpkin)
2 C. Flour
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tbsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Baking Soda

Stir all ingredients together. Pour into an ungreased 11x15 inch pan. Bake 25 min. at 350 degrees or for thicker bars bake in a 13x9 pan for 45 min. Let cool and frost with Cream Cheese Icing

Cream Cheese Icing:
Beat Together
1 (3 oz) pkg. Cream Cheese softened
1/2 C. butter or margarine softened
1 Tsp. Vanilla
2 C. Powdered Sugar

Chocolate-Marshmallow Pillows


1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® double chocolate chunk cookie mix
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons water
1 egg
2/3 cup chopped pecans
12 large marshmallows, cut in half


1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (6 oz)
1/3 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup powdered sugar

1. Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, stir cookie mix, oil, water, egg and pecans until soft dough forms.
2. On ungreased cookie sheets, drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart.
3. Bake 7 minutes. Remove from oven; immediately press marshmallow half lightly, cut side down, on top of cookie. Bake 1 to 2 minutes longer or just until marshmallows begin to soften. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, in 1-quart nonstick saucepan, melt chocolate chips over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat. Add whipping cream, butter and vanilla; blend well. Stir in powdered sugar until smooth.
5. Spread frosting over each cooled cookie, covering marshmallow. Let stand until frosting is set.

Oreo Truffles

1 pkg. OREO cookies, finely crushed
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened (I like to use 1/3 less fat and it works just fine)
1 lb. white chocolate

1. Mix the cookie crumbs and the cream cheese until well blended. Use your hands to form mixture into (1-inch) balls.

2. Dip balls in melted chocolate; place on a baking sheet covered with waxed paper.

3. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm. Store any leftover truffles in tightly covered container in refrigerator.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cakes

Wet ingredients:

1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Dry ingredients:
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces chocolate chips, plus extra for garnish
Creaming ingredients

1 stick butter
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
For the icing:

1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup superfine granulated sugar
1 stick soft unsalted butter
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 335 F. Place the rack in the middle position. Line 14 cupcake cups with liners (split them among two trays). Or, line two 9x2-inch round pans with parchment.
Combine the wet ingredients in a bowl; combine the dry ingredients except for the chocolate chips in another. Set aside.
Using a flexible spatula, toss two tablespoons of the wet ingredients with the chocolate chips in a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup of the dry ingredients. Toss again to coat evenly.
Mix the butter and sugars in the bowl of a standing mixer with a paddle attachment until the combination is well creamed--about 3 minutes.
Add the egg and yolk, one at a time.
Alternately add the dry and wet mixtures, about a quarter each at a time, without pausing between additions. Ease the resistance against the mixer's paddle by lowdering the bowl or raising the mixer's head.
Remove the bowl and fold in the chocolate chips with the flexible spatula, using the handle if necessary. This mixture will be thick--more like cookie dough than cake batter.
Divide the dough into your prepared pans or cupcake cups. If you're using pans, it will be too thick to spread to the edges, but the oven's heat will spread it for you. If you're using cupcake cups, put a heaping spoonful (or ice cream scoop's worth) of batter in each cup.Bake for 20 to 24 minutes for a cake--for cupcakes, I found that about 30 minutes was more like it. The edges will crown slightly, and become crispy. The tops should be evenly browned.
Cool the cakes in the pans to room temperature, then if you're making cakes, invert them, using a small offset spatula to release the edges; if you've made cupcakes, just remove them from the pan.
Prepare chocolate icing.In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream and sugar to a light simmer, stirring occasionally. Place the butter, chocolate, and vanilla in a large bowl. Pour the hot cream over the ingredients in the bowl and let stand for a few minutes to melt the chocolate. Whisk until smooth and set aside to cool, but do not refrigerate. Once the icing has thickened, stir with a flexible spatula until it reaches a spreadable consistency. Choose your adventure on assembly in the next step.
Spread either between cake layers, leaving the top bare or sprinkled with confectioners' sugar and chocolate chips; if you're making cupcakes, spread frosting on top, or remove cupcakes from cups, split in half and fill with frosting and top with confectioners' sugar and chocolate chips as in the case of the cake.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip- Bar Cookies


1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup flour
1/2 jar (about a cup) peanut butter (
1/2 bag (about a cup) milk chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 F.
Mix the butter and sugar thoroughly. Stir in flour. Press and flatten with hand to cover the bottom of a parchment-lined oblong pan, 13x9-ish.
Bake 10 minutes, then spread with the topping (irregularly spooned globs of peanut butter and a sprinkling of chocolate chips).
Return to the oven and bake for 25 minutes more, or until golden brown. Cool slightly, then cut into bars. Makes about 20.