Saturday, March 26, 2011

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

2 ccrushed pretzels
3/4 cmargarine, melted
3 Tbspsugar
1 pkgcream cheese (8 oz)
1 csugar
1(8 oz) frozen cool-whip topping, thawed
1 pkgstrawberry gelatin (6 oz)
2 cboiling water
2 pkg(10 oz) frozen strawberries

 Mix crushed pretzels, margarine and 3 Tablespoons sugar together and press into a 9x13 inch pan. Bake at 400 for 8 minutes. Cool.
 Mix softened cream cheese and 1 cup sugar. Fold the 2 cups thawed whipping topping into cream cheese mixture and spread over cooled pretzel crust. Dissolve strawberry gelatin in bioling water and add frozen strawberries. Chill until syrupy, then pour over the cream cheese layer and refrigerate. Ccut into squares and garnish with whipped topping and a whole strawberry. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


½ cup butter
1 oz square unsweetened chocolate
1 cup flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
¾ cup chopped nuts
6 oz cream cheese, softened
¼ cup butter
½ cup granulated sugar
2 Tbs flour
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
¼ cup chopped nuts
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 cups mini-marshmallows
¼ cup butter
2 Tbs milk
1 oz square unsweetened chocolate
2 ounces cream cheese
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 13×9″ pan.
2. Make the Base: In large saucepan over low heat, melt buttter and chocolate, stirring constantly until well blended. Add flour and stir, and then add remaining base ingredients. Mix well. Spread into prepared pan.
3. Make the Filling: In small bowl, combine all filling ingredients excepts nuts and chocolate chips. Beat 1 minute at medium speed until smooth and fluffy; stir in nuts. Spread over base, and sprinkle evenly with chocolate chips.
4. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle marshmallows on top. Return to the oven and bake an additional 2 minutes.
5. Make the Frosting: In large saucepan over low heat, combine butter, milk, chocolate and cream cheese, stirring until blended. Remove from heat; stir in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Pour over marshmallows and lightly swirl to marble with a knife.
6. Refrigerate until firm. Cut into bars.


1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (about 1 large)
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper (or silpat), or spray with nonstick spray.
2. Whisk together flours, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl.
3. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars with an electric hand mixer; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add egg & vanilla; mix until combined. Mix in banana. Add flour mixture; mix just until combined. Stir in oats, chocolate chips and walnuts.
4. Drop dough by heaping Tablespoonful onto prepared baking sheets (or use a cookie scoop), spacing about 2 inches apart. Bake cookies until golden brown and just set, 12 to 13 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks; let cool completely.
Yield: About 3 dozen
*Be sure to use a banana that is well on its way to the trash can. The darker it is, the softer and sweeter it becomes.
*Sub milk chocolate chips for semi-sweet if you’d like.
*To toast walnut, spread on a baking sheet and toast briefly (3-5 min) in a 375 degree oven. Watch closely because they’ll turn into burnt walnuts pretty quickly.
*Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 2 days. They also freeze well.


1/2 cup butter (1 stick), at room temperature
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup milk chocolate chips (plus a few extra for topping, optional)
12 full-sized Reeses Peanut Butter Cups
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat baking mats (or spray with nonstick spray).
2. In a large bowl, use electric mixer to cream together butter, peanut butter and sugars. Add egg and continue to mix until light and fluffy.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add dry mixture to wet mixture. Stir together just until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Stir in 1 cup of chocolate chips.
4. Plan for baking 6 to 8 cookies on a large baking sheet. Scoop out a heaping Tablespoonful of dough and place it on your cookie sheet. Use a sugared fork to make a criss-cross on the dough (to smash it down a bit). Top with a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup. The top with another heaping Tablespoonful of dough (so that the PB Cup is sandwiched between two scoopfuls of dough).  Use a sugared fork to criss-cross the top and make sure the dough is covering most of the PB Cup. Stud a few extra chocolate chips on top. Repeat with remaining cookie dough and PB Cups.
5. Bake for about 12 minutes, until cookies are lightly browned and almost set.
Yield: 12 large (4 to 5-inch cookies)
*A little tip for measuring peanut butter… spray your measuring cup with nonstick spray first, then scoop the peanut butter in to measure. It’ll slide right out of the cup, without sticking!
*These cookies freeze well. Throw individual cookies in sandwich-sized zip baggies and toss them in the freezer for times when the mood for cookies strikes


3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup toffee bits
additional sugar
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream butter until pale and fluffy (1 minute). Add in sugars and beat until well combined. Add in egg and vanilla; beat until mixture looks smooth. Add flour; beat until just incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl. Stir in chocolate chips and toffee bits. Gather dough into a ball and refrigerate for an hour or so until dough is slightly firm.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats.
3. Roll dough into 1-inch balls; place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Dampen the flat bottom of a glass cup and dip in sugar. Use the sugared bottom of the cup to press each ball firmly into a 2-inch round. You may need to re-dip the glass in sugar now and then to keep from sticking to the dough.
4. Bake 11 to 13 minutes. Let cookies cool.
5. In a small microwave-safe bowl, microwave the chocolate on high for 20 seconds or so, until partially melted. Stir until smooth. Scoop into a small zip baggie, zip closed and snip and very small piece off of the corner of the bag. Squeeze the bag and drizzle lines back and forth across each cookie. Let sit at room temperature until chocolate is set.
Yield: 28 cookies
*Cookies will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for up to one week or in the freezer for up to 6 months.


1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 pound semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped semi-sweet chocolate
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 Tbsp instant espresso powder
7 large eggs
2 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
2¼ cups granulated sugar
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
12 ounces Twix Bars (chopped)- mini or full size
1 full-size Twix Bar sliced thinly
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 12×18×1-inch pan. Line with foil or parchment that hangs over the sides for ease in getting them out (butter the foil/parchment).
2. In a heatproof, medium-bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, heat butter, and chocolates until melted and smooth; cool slightly.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, espresso powder, vanilla and sugar. Stir the egg mixture into the slightly cooled chocolate mixture. Cool to room temperature.
4. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; add to batter. Stir 12 ounces chopped Twix bars into chocolate mixture. Then pour into prepared baking pan and smooth top with a rubber spatula. Place slices of the full-size Twix Bar onto the top of the brownie batter.
5. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean with a few crumbs attached; do not overbake! Let cool completely, then cover tightly and chill overnight. Chilled brownies are easier to cut.
Yield: At least a couple of dozen, depending on how large you cut your brownies.
Cooking Tips
*These taste better the second day.
**If it’s a warm day inside your house, you might consider chilling the Twix bars before you try to cut them.


1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup butter; at room temperature
1/2 cup shortening
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
4 cups powdered sugar (sift after measuring)
5 Tbsp. milk
food coloring, if desired
1. Prepare bars: In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each egg. Mix in vanilla.
2. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, salt & baking soda. Add to wet mixture and mix just until combined. Spread on a greased, rimmed baking sheet (use a 13 x 18 pan).  The dough will be just like cookie dough- heavy & sticky- so it’s best to spray your hands with a little nonstick spray and use them to help mold the dough into the pan.
3. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 min, until light golden brown or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
4. Prepare frosting: In a large bowl, beat butter and shortening together until smooth and creamy. Mix in vanilla and salt. Add powdered sugar (1 cup at a time) until combined, then add milk & mix until smooth and spreading consistency. Add a few drops of color, if desired. Spread over cooled cookie, then cut into bars.
Yield: 32 bars
*Refrigerate the bars until firm… it will be easier to get nice, clean cuts.


10 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. kosher salt
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 ¼ cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 ¼ cups mini M&M’s
a few extra M&M’s
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 8×8-inch pan with nonstick spray and then line the bottom with parchment paper.
2. Heat butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until it browns and begins to smell nutty (watch it closely so it doesn’t burn). Let the butter cool for a few minutes, until just barely warm.
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the browned butter and sugars. With a wooden spoon, stir in egg, vanilla and salt. Stir in flour, coconut and M&M’s until batter is blended.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle a few additional M&M’s on top. Bake 25 to 30 minutes. Let the blondies cool before turning them out onto a cutting board and slicing into squares (chilling them will make that process even easier).
Yield: 16 squares
*Use chocolate chips in place of M&M’s if you’d like.
*For slightly gooey, underbaked blondies, bake for 25 minutes. For fully baked blondies, bake the entire 30 minutes.


14 ounces caramels, unwrapped
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup + 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 cups granulated white sugar
4 large eggs
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup milk (skim is okay)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 9×13-inch pan generously with cooking spray.
2. Prepare caramel: In a medium saucepan over low heat, place caramels and sweetened condensed milk. Stir often until caramels are melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and let sit while you prepare the brownies.
3. Prepare brownies: Melt butter in a pyrex cup in the microwave. Set aside and let cool.
4. In a large bowl, beat together sugar and eggs. Add cocoa powder and milk. Slowly mix in melted butter.
5. In a separate bowl, sift flour, salt and baking powder. Whisk dry ingredients into the chocolate mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.
6. Pour two thirds of the batter into prepared pan. Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes.
7. Carefully remove the brownies from the oven and pour cooled caramel over the top. The caramel will appear heavy compared to the brownie batter, and it will appear to sink to the bottom of the pan in some places- this is normal. Drop spoonfuls of the remaining batter over the caramel. Use a knife to gently swirl it into the caramel.
8. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 25 to 30 more minutes. Brownies should feel springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted in center shouldn’t draw out raw batter. Remove from oven and let cool on rack for about an hour. Cover with foil and place the pan in the refrigerator overnight- these must be chilled very well before you cut into them.
9. When you’re ready to serve these, you’ll need a sharp knife, a metal spatula and some cooking spray. Use the sharp knife to cut around edge of pan. Wipe the knife with a paper towel. Cut through brownies to make rows, wiping knife clean with a paper towel after eat cut. Spray a metal spatula with cooking spray and use it to scoop out the brownies. The brownies will be ooey gooey, so be sure to wipe the spatula with a paper towel after you remove each brownie.
10. The best way to serve these ooey gooey brownies is to place them on individual cupcake papers and just set the papers on a tray. Stick a plastic fork into the top of each one and they’ll be ready to eat.
Yield: About 24
Cooking Tips:
*Note: If you love fudgy brownies, and if you’re an avid eater of caramel, you’ll enjoy this brownie. They’re gooey and delicious, but they must be eaten with a fork- they’re not a good one for eating out of hand. They’d be extra good with vanilla ice cream!


1 pound package Oreo cookies
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Three (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup (5.25 ounces) granulated sugar
3/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a 9 x 13-inch pan with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides (I spray mine with cooking spray).
2. Make the crust: Place 28 Oreos in a food processor and process until finely ground. Pour into a large bowl, add the melted butter, and stir with a flexible spatula until all crumbs are moistened. Place the cookie-crumb mixture in the lined pan and, using your fingers, press the mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom. Bake 10 minutes, then remove to a wire cooling rack (leave the oven on) while you make the filling. Snap the remaining Oreos in half, put them in the food processor, and turn on and off quickly a few times, just until the cookies are roughly chopped.
3. Make the filling: In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese and sugar until well blended, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a flexible spatula and beat again until uniform. Beat in sour cream, vanilla and salt. Scrape down the bowl and mix again. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. After beating in the last egg, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and beat one more time, to make sure the mixture is fully combined. Stir in chopped Oreos with the same spatula.
4. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the baked cookie crust, smooth the top with the spatula, and bake for 40 minutes, until the filling is set around the edges but still slightly wobbly in the center when you gently shake the pan. Remove the pan to a wire rack to cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. When cool, cover it with foil and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 3 hours. (I chill mine overnight)
5. To cut, use the foil overhang to lift the cheesecake out of the pan and place on a large cutting board. Use a sharp chef’s knife to cut the cheesecake into bars, rinsing off the knife with hot water and wiping it dry between each cut. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
Yield: 24 bars
Cooking Tips:
*These work best served on flattened out cupcake papers w/ a fork stuck on top.


1 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
2 large egg yolks
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter
3 Tbsp dark corn syrup
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
1 large egg white, slightly beaten
1. In large bowl, beat 1 cup butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add ½ cup corn syrup and egg yolks; blend well. Stir in flour; mix well. Cover with plastic wrap- refrigerate 1 hour for easier handling.
2. In small saucepan, combine powdered sugar, 1/4 cup butter, and 3 Tbsp. corn syrup; bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in pecans. Refrigerate at least 10 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease cookie sheets or line w/ parchment or silpat mats.
4. Shape dough into 1 ½” balls. Place 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheets. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven. Brush tops of partially baked cookies lightly with egg white. With small spoon, carefully scoop about 3/4 tsp. of the filling in the center of each cookie; pressing down slightly.
5. Return to the oven and bake an additional 6-9 minutes, or until light golden brown.
6. Cool for 2 minutes and then remove from cookie sheets. Cool completely.
Yield: 3 dozen cookies
*To toast pecans, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. and place pecans on small baking sheet.  5 minutes in the oven should be enough to get them a little bit toasted.  Much longer than that and they’ll start to burn!