Desserts


Go ahead and add these Coconut Pecan Pralines to your holiday baking list!!! They are sinfully delicious!

coconut-pecan-pralines

My husband and I recently had a dinner meeting with some of our friends. When I asked our hostess what I could bring, she said dessert. Then her daughter chimed in and begged for No-Bake Cookies. Fine by me! I LOVE NO-BAKE COOKIES!

I had seen a new “No-Bake Cookie” recipe on Pinterest a while back. I thought I would try this new recipe along with the old faithful No-Bake Cookies and see what folks thought about them.

two-cookies

I had a little trouble with these new “cookies”…well, at least I thought I had.

They didn’t set up in time for me to take them to the meeting. UGH! I was a little frustrated. So, what else could I do but start eating the gooey cookies right off the waxed paper with a spoon! Oooohhhh! They were so yummy! Still a little warm…WOW!

I looked back at the recipe. I had not let the mixture boil quite long enough. I probably didn’t stir long enough either. The name of these “No-Bake Cookies” was actually Coconut Pecan PRALINES! I have made pralines in the past, successfully and unsuccessfully. The unsuccessful time, the mixture set up way too quickly. Maybe I cooked them too long. I was unable to set out the batch as individual pralines! It did make a fine topping for ice cream though.

As the afternoon went on, and I fixed a second batch of No-Bakes to take with me, I noticed my pralines starting to set. There was still no time for them to be ready for the meeting. So, I took a double batch of regular chocolate peanut butter No-Bakes to my friends’ house. Their daughter was excited that I left a bunch for their kitchen!

Back at home, however, I had a whole batch of Coconut Pecan Pralines! Oh, poor me! Well, it would be “Oh, my poor pants!” if I didn’t get rid of some of them~and fast!

It was just a couple of days later when we learned of my death of my husband’s 92 year old grandmother. You may remember Mamaw and her Lemon Jello Cake  being featured here as a “guest chef”.

cake with milk

Perhaps you remember some of her handiwork…

Chip's Mamaw made this plastic canvas mail box. Katie loves how it really opens.

We have so many special memories of time spent with Mamaw.

I took the Coconut Pecan Pralines to share with family after the funeral. Everyone loved them. I have to think Mamaw would have loved them too.

no-bake-cookies

No-Bake Cookies

2 cups sugar

1 stick of butter

3 Tablespoons cocoa powder

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups oats

Bring first four ingredients to a boil. Stirring to avoid scorching. Boil one minute.

Remove from heat. Add peanut butter and vanilla. Stir until peanut butter melts.

Add oats. Stir.

Spoon onto waxed paper in bite-sized mounds. Work quickly! They set up pretty fast.

plate-of-pralines

Coconut Pecan Pralines

2 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup evaporated milk

1/2 cup corn syrup

1 stick of butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cups chopped pecans

2 cups coconut

Combine the chopped pecans and coconut in a mixing bowl. Set aside.

Bring the first four ingredients to a boil, stirring to avoid scorching. Boil for 3 minutes!

Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and coconut-pecan mixture. Stir until mixture starts to thicken~about 4 minutes!

Spoon onto waxed paper in bite-sized mounds.

A couple of these in a cellophane baggie with a ribbon and you may as well move to the North Pole!

 

 

 

If you have followed this blog for a while, you may have discovered a pattern. I tend to have good ideas that take a while to get accomplished! Well, this post is one of those I’ve-been-planning-to-do-it posts.

Meet Claudia…

Claudia

Claudia and I have been friends for several years. We sang together in Top of the Rock Chorus. Our kids are close in age, so we always had plenty of chatting material.

I love just listening to Claudia speak. Claudia is from Germany. I don’t know if it is a German thing or a Claudia thing, but she seems to use words so eloquently. There are not a lot of “you knows” or “ums” in Claudia’s conversation. It’s not that she over-uses big words or anything like that. She just chooses much more descriptive words. I’m sure I’m not explaining this well–not like Claudia would!

For years Claudia and I have talked about getting together for her to teach me how to make some German cookies. Well, life got busy, as it always does, and we never got together–until now!

We finally got together last weekend! Claudia taught me how to make Moklaplätzchen and Weihnachtsschikoli.

We started with the Weihnachtsschokoli since it needed some time in the fridge.

Weihnachtsschokoli

This is a recipe Claudia found when she was a teenager and has been making it since then!

Claudia asked that I bring a pound of butter for our cookie baking. Oh! You know it is going to be something yummy when you need a pound of butter!

As you can see above, all the measurements are in metric proportions. Many cooking show hosts suggest measuring your ingredients by weight. Most recipes, however, only give you the standard measurement. Luckily, Claudia weighed the ingredients then figured out the approximate measurement for me!

Weihnachtsschokoli

made 46 cookies

250 grams unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks + 2 Tablespoons)

100 grams powdered sugar (a scant cup)

1 teaspoon vanilla sugar or 1 German packet of vanilla sugar [approx. 1 Tablespoon]

250 grams cornstarch (2 cups loose)

25 grams flour (1/4 cup)

30 grams dark cocoa powder (1/2 cup)

1 teaspoon cardamom

1 teaspoon cinnamon

I don’t know that I had ever had cardamom before having it in these cookies. I suppose a little goes a long way. I could definitely taste it in the cookies. They were amazing!

•Cream the softened butter

•Blend the rest of the ingredients together. Add to the butter. The mixture will be very dry and crumbly!

•Add 50 grams more of flour (1/2 cup). I know! It seems crazy! It is so dry and you want me to add MORE flour? Yes.

•Use a dough hook or knead by hand until the dough comes together. Claudia turned the dough out on a kitchen towel. She used the towel to smash the dough together.

ingredients on a towel

working the ingredients

If I had not seen it with my own eyes, I don’t think I would have believed the ingredients would actually come together to form a dough!

work dough into a ball

•Roll the dough into logs that are approximately 1 1/4 inch in diameter. Seems like Claudia had three logs.

roll dough into logs

•Place the logs on a plate. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour. This will give the butter plenty of time to chill.

At this point, Claudia and I switched to the other cookie recipe. Makes sense-huh? No need to sit around watching the first batch chill in the refrigerator! To avoid confusion, I will continue with the Weihnachtsschokoli recipe.

•Remove the dough logs from the refrigerator. Slice into 3/4 inch slices.

half-inch slices

slice and bake cookies

•Place a whole hazelnut on top of each slice.

top with hazelnut

•Work the dough around each hazelnut.

working in hazelnuts

surround hazelnut with dough

Claudia said that Trader Joe’s has the best price on hazelnuts. If only Trader Joe’s would put a store in central Arkansas!!!

Trader Joe's hazelnuts

•Once you have all your dough and hazelnuts rolled up, bake at 375˚ for 20 minutes. Cool completely–Claudia recommended cooling on a paper sack or cardboard box.

all rolled up

•While you are waiting for the cookies to cool, melt some chocolate bark–about 4 squares–in the microwave according to the package directions.

chopping almond bark

•Once cooled, use a pastry brush or BBQ brush to paint the chocolate on top of the cookie. I asked Claudia if she had ever tried dipping the tops in the chocolate bowl. The cookies are quite fragile. Remember how crumbly the dough was? Painting was the way to go!

painting with chocolate

cool on a paper sack

•Let the chocolate cool–if you can stand it!

Click here for cookie pronunciation.

Click here for cookie pronunciation.

Next up…Mokkaplätzchen! You can tell by the paper that this is a well-loved recipe by Claudia’s family.

Mokkaplätzchen

 

Mokkaplätzchen

made 56 cookies

120 grams (1 cup) unsalted hazelnuts-measured whole then ground finely. You can roast the hazelnuts for a bit for more flavor. [1 1/2 cups ground]

cup of hazelnuts

2 sticks + 2 Tablespoons  softened, unsalted butter

180 grams (1 heaped cup) sugar

2 eggs

220 grams flour (approx. 2 1/4 cups)

2 Tablespoons instant coffee dissolved in approximately 1/2 Tablespoon hot water

measuring ingredients

•Beat the butter

•Blend in sugar

•Add eggs one at a time-blending after each addition

•Add flour and dissolved coffee–blend

•Add the ground nuts. Mix well.

•Scoop onto a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.  Bake in a preheated oven for 8-10 minutes. The recipe says 200˚C. That translates to 392˚F.

scoops of cookie dough

We decided after the first batch got a little dark around the edges that parchment might help.

oops! a little burned

•Cool the cookies completely. Top with Coffee Icing

Coffee Icing

2 Tablespoons instant coffee dissolved in approximately 1/2 Tablespoon hot water

1 cup powdered sugar

•Mix together. Should look like tempered chocolate.

cookie drizzle

•Paint the icing on the cookies using a pastry brush.

painting cookies

•Immediately top with a Mocha Bean

cookie with mocha bean

mocha beans

or dark chocolate chips.

substitute with chocolate chips

Click here for pronunciation

Click here for pronunciation

Thank you, Claudia! I had a fabulous time catching up on chit-chat and baking cookies with you! I’m so glad it finally happened!

by the steps

Are you cooking for a crowd this holiday season?

These Pumpkin Pie Bars will surely be helpful. Rather than baking two or three pumpkin pies, just whip up a pan of Pumpkin Pie Bars! You will get about 24 servings from this recipe. The crust is so yummy you might want to account for 2 servings per person though!

Pumpkin Pie squares

First, mix up the crust–flour, oats, brown sugar pecans and butter–I told you the crust was yummy!

Press into a 10×15 jelly roll pan.

pie crust

Bake for 15 minutes at 350˚.

While the crust is in the oven, mix up the filling–pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, spices and eggs.

pumpkin and spice

Pour over baked crust and bake an additional 30-35 minutes.

Pumpkin pie filling

Pumpkin Pie for a crowd! Whipped Cream is optional but let’s get real…you want it!

Pumpkin Pie squares

 

Pumpkin Pie Bars

Crust:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup oats (quick or old-fashioned)

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup chopped pecans

2/3 cup melted butter

Filling:

4 eggs

2 cans (15 ounce each) pumpkin

2 cans (14 ounce each) sweetened condensed milk

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp salt

*Preheat oven to 350˚F

*Combine crust ingredients. I mixed the dry ingredients together first, then added the butter.

*Press into a 10×15 jelly roll pan.

*Bake for 15 minutes.

*Meanwhile, whisk the filling ingredients together. Be sure your bowl is big enough. I used a 2 qt. bowl and it barely fit!

*Bake 30-35 minutes–until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle. Mine took 35 minutes.

*Cool at room temperature. Cut into squares. Top with whipped topping and, if you are feeling fancy, a pecan half!

 

Is it just my imagination or have apple dishes taken a back seat to pumpkin spiced EVERYTHING over the past few years?! I have always loved pumpkin treats! I have shared that love here many times. I have made pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin waffles, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin pies, pumpkin crisp, and pumpkin fudge. I have decorated with pumpkins. I have dressed my children as pumpkins. I’ve even supported pumpkins for a cause!

So, yes, I guess it is safe to say the apple has taken a back seat to the pumpkin. Let’s not forget this fabulous apple cake recipe or these applesauce cookies with frosting that is to die for! We have also had apples in savory dishes and “craft” projects.

Last fall, I purchased this lovely cookbook. (Ha! It didn’t come with Pork Chop Tuesday on it.)

Fall Baking

The pictures were all so lovely, and the recipes all looked so yummy!

The first one I tried was Cream Cheese Oat Bars. They were delicious! I didn’t think the name was quite right though, so I renamed them Apple Butter Bars. It was nice to have a non-pumpkin fall treat.

Apple Butter Bars

I had every intention to blog about these bars last fall. The above photo is from a couple of weeks ago. I was not happy with the ones I took last year. I tried to be all fancy–like I was a food stylist or something.

acorn plate

hay bales and denim

The lighting wasn’t right. My “props” weren’t quite right. Blah, blah blah!

So, my pictures sat there in my to-do file for a year.

This year I had plans to make the photos better, complete with step-by-step photos.

pantry ingredients

chopped cashews

I got as far as the chopped cashews and forgot to take any more photos. I started to scrap the whole post.

The recipe is just too yummy to not share. I hope you will try it along with some of the others listed at the top of this post.

Apple Butter Bars

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups quick-cooking oats

2 cups chopped salted cashews

1 cup sugar

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 cup butter, melted

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 T lemon juice

2 tsp vanilla

2 cups apple butter

•Preheat over to 350˚. Spray a 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray and set aside.

•Stir together flour, oats, cashews, sugar and baking soda. You’ll want to use a pretty big bowl.

•Add melted butter and stir well.

•Set aside 1 1/2 cups of the mixture to used as the topping.

•Press the rest of the mixture into the prepared pan.

•Bake 15 minutes. Cool completely.

•Beat cream cheese and sugar in a medium bowl at medium speed until creamy.

•Add eggs one at a time . Beating well after each one.

•Add the lemon juice and vanilla. Beat to combine.

•Spread apple butter over the cooled crust. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the apple butter. Sprinkle the reserved oat mixture on top.

•Bake until cream cheese layer is set–35-40 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Earlier this month, we had the opportunity to visit our college girl at school on homecoming weekend.

I couldn’t arrive empty-handed!

homecoming basket

Ouachita Baptist University holds a special place in our hearts. My husband and I met there! Now our oldest is a Ouachita Tiger!

Treats for OBU Homecoming HAD to  have a tiger theme!

Tiger Tails were easy to make and yummy to eat!

First, thread three marshmallows onto a bamboo skewer.

marshmallows on a stick

Melt orange candy melts.

Dip the marshmallows into the melted candy. I actually had to spread the melted candy on my marshmallows. Just be sure you get a little of the candy on the bamboo skewer and the under-side of the bottom marshmallow. If you don’t, the marshmallows will slide down the skewer.

orange candy melts

While candy coating is still wet, sprinkle with orange sugar for extra fanciness.

sprinkled with sugar

Stick the coated marshmallows in Styrofoam to dry.

Styrofoam cooling rack

If you ever let your children use your sprinkles, you can expect cross contamination of colors.

orange and blue

I had to pick out all the blue sprinkles. I think this was pay-back for the time I had them separate sprinkles for me.

blue sprinkles

Melt some chocolate chips in a zip top bag. Once melted, clip the corner of the bag. Drizzle the chocolate back and forth over the orange “tails”. Now they really look like tiger tails! Just don’t twirl the skewer. I tried it. The stripes looked like a spiral not a tiger. Carefree and unstructured is the way to go.

tiger tail treats

Of course I had to use cellophane wrappers to make them look more professional.

I thought this would be a good opportunity to practice my decorating skills a little, too.

college gift basket

I packed up the treats in an old purple Easter basket, handle removed, with yellow shredded copy paper. I needed the paper shreds to cover the foam in the bottom of the basket necessary for the tiger tails to stand.

homecoming basket

I happened to have a big cellophane bag that could house the basket and a big purple bow! Perfect!

The tiger tails were a hit! She even shared with the roommate and suite mates!

Today’s lunch was “smorgasbord”. Smorgasbord at our house means move all the leftovers from the refrigerator to the counter–cafeteria style.We have it at least once a month-typically either Sunday or Monday. You see, the garbage man comes on Tuesday. This is the perfect time to clean out those containers that have “science experiments” growing in them.

Leftovers

We always have lots of choices.

Everyone goes through and picks whatever he or she wants to eat. We have to eat in shifts though since we all have to wait to use the microwave.

Today, Katie had butter noodles-leftover spaghetti from Spaghetti and Meatballs.

Megan had the rest of the Tuna Stir-fry–stay tuned for that one!

Chip used some of the leftover brisket to make quesadillas.

I picked through the remains of a bagged salad and used up the last piece of fajita chicken.

Everyone was happy!

In an effort to use up even more leftovers, I grabbed a container of fried apples to use for our dessert– Apple Flautas.

There is nothing fancy about these apples. They are just fried apples from a can.

I was almost able to use up the last of the tortillas, too!

Fried Apples

I’ve never made Apple Flautas. I didn’t even bother looking up a recipe. Mom used to get them from Schwan’s when we were kids. Too bad they don’t carry them any more.

While assembling my Apple Flautas, I had a little vegetable oil heating in my pan. Of course, if you have a deep fryer that works great, too.

I spread a little butter on my tortilla, then added the apples.

The canned fried apples were already sweetened, so I didn’t add any extra sugar.  I did, however, add a little cinnamon.

In the picture below, you see that the fruit is in the middle of the tortilla. I realized after I took the picture that that would not work. I turned the plate and scooched the fruit to the bottom 1/3 of the tortilla.

apple flauta

See now why the fruit needs to be on the bottom 1/3?! If it is right in the middle, you don’t have anywhere to go when you are rolling your tortilla.

roll the tortilla

Fold in the sides of the tortilla. This helps hold the fruit inside the tortilla while frying. Yes, do this to both sides. I could only fold and hold one side while I took the picture.

fold in sides

Continue rolling up the tortilla.

rolled tortilla

I placed my rolled apple flautas seam-side down in the hot oil. It seemed like they would hold together better that way.

frying

Cook until golden. Flip the apple flautas over and cook the other side. I also held them on their sides to get the browning all the way around. If you are using a fryer you don’t have to worry about this.

**Note: You need to turn the heat down a little on the second batch. I turned mine down, but I guess it wasn’t enough. With the pan and oil already hot, the second batch browned up A LOT faster. Just so you know!

fried tortillas

Look! Another leftover item from the fridge!

This caramel dip is so yummy!

Caramel is my favorite topping! There is just something about the rich, buttery flavor of caramel.

Marzetti's caramel dip

I added a few more apples on top along with the caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream and a little shake of cinnamon/sugar. I would have used a bigger scoop of ice cream, but we finished it off, too! There was barely enough to go around.

Apple Flautas

There you have it. Apple Flautas! Not bad for leftovers.

Critics’ Corner

Chip: Like an apple chimichanga with ice cream on the side. I really liked it.

Megan: I thought it was really, really good but needed more filling.

Katie: A wrapped up bundle of awesomeness!

 

When life gives you rotten bananas–make banana bread!

Rotton Bananas

Okay, that doesn’t flow quite like the lemons to lemonade quote.

The only time life has given me rotten bananas was the time the grocery store bought too many. They were selling bags of black bananas dirt cheap!

We buy bananas on a fairly regular basis around here. Folks like them in cereal or smothered in peanut butter.

When they start to go to the “dark side” I usually chop them up and freeze them for smoothies. Sometimes I squish them up and freeze them in a baggie.

Usually, they get black and leaky and I end up throwing them away! Wasteful!

This time I actually had time to make banana bread. Not just ordinary banana bread–

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread!

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Banana Bread

I made it to eat for breakfast. The kids ate it as a dessert and a snack. The loved it!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mashed, ripe bananas (about 2 bananas)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter ( I used crunchy Jif.)
  • 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup chocolate chips, divided (I used semi-sweet.)
  • 1/3 cup chopped peanuts

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

Spray the bottom of a loaf pan with cooking spray.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. I find that using a whisk to combine dry ingredients works well.

Add bananas, milk, peanut butter, oil and egg. Stir until moistened.

Stir in 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips.

Spoon batter into prepared pan.

Sprinkle chopped nuts and the rest of the chocolate chips on top of the batter. I press the topping into the batter a little.

Bake about 60 minutes. After checking with a toothpick, mine took a bit longer.

Cool in the pan 10 minutes. Loosen sides from pan-remove to a cooling rack. Cool completely.

YUM!

Critics’ Corner

Chip: Simply fantastic. I’ve always been an advocate for putting peanut butter on bananas. This bread does it for you — plus it has chocolate, too.

Megan: If this stuff was illegal, I would be incarcerated. Seriously-it’s that good!

Katie: This bread is INSANELY EPIC! If people were immune to sickness, I would strongly consider eating it All.Day.Long. (and then some!)

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