Friday, October 29, 2010

Egg Nog Cake

1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1 cup eggnog
1/4 cups vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, eggnog, oil, eggs, vanilla and nutmeg. Beat at medium speed 3 minutes. Bake in tube pan per instructions on cake mix box.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 lb. confectioners sugar
1 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons eggnog
few drops yellow food coloring (optional)

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Apple Cake "Tatin"

A real tatin is made with puff pastry. This is a "pseudo tatin". If you want the real thing go to Mon Ami Gabi in the Paris Hotel. Best dessert in Las Vegas. Believe it.

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing the dish
1 1/4 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced into 12 pieces
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Confectioners' sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Generously butter a 9-inch glass pie dish and arrange the apples in the dish, cut side down.

Combine 1 cup of the granulated sugar and 1/3 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over high heat until it turns a warm amber color, about 360 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Swirl the pan but don't stir. Pour evenly over the apple slices.

Meanwhile, cream the 6 tablespoons of butter and the remaining 3/4 cup of granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy. Lower the speed and beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Add the sour cream, zest, and vanilla and mix until combined. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and, with the mixer on low speed, add it to the butter mixture. Mix only until combined.

Pour the cake batter evenly over the apple slices and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes, then invert the cake onto a flat plate. If an apple slice sticks, ease it out and replace it in the design on top of the cake. Serve warm or at room temperature, dusted with confectioners' sugar.

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Friday, October 22, 2010

Pumpkin Pound Cake

I made this cake last weekend . . . with a mere 3/4 cup of pumpkin it tastes more like a spice pound cake rather than a full blown pumpkin dessert. It's delicious, especially if you serve it with a cream cheese frosting or the glaze recipe Land O' Lakes recommends.

Pound Cake Ingredients:

3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
6 eggs
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 cup milk

Glaze Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons butter, softened
4-6 teaspoons milk

Heat oven to 350°F. Combine flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.

Combine sugar and 1 1/2 cups butter in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Continue beating, adding eggs one at a time, until well mixed. Add pumpkin; continue beating until well mixed. Reduce speed to low. Beat, gradually adding flour mixture alternately with 3/4 cup milk, until well mixed.

Spoon batter into greased and floured 12-cup Bundt® pan. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan. Cool completely.

Combine powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons butter and enough milk for desired glazing consistency in small bowl. Glaze cooled cake OR dust with powdered sugar.

Like the bundt pan? It's perfect for a pound cake since the extra edges/ridges produce more pound cake crunch. I've also used this one for years as well as this one.

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Apple Crisp

This isn't the apple crisp we all know . . . the one with a nutty oatmeal crust. This is different . . . and delicious. If you can get McIntosh apples, do it. Otherwise a Granny Smith works perfectly.

8 apples
1 cup brown sugar
1 t. cinnamon
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup water

Pare and quarter apples and cut lengthwise into four slices. Put sliced apples in bottom of buttered dish. Add water. Combine sugar, cinnamon and flour and rub in butter to make crumbs. Spread crumbs over apples evenly and bake at 375 for 40 minutes.

If only I could drive to an apple orchard at home to get the apples ...

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Lemon Velvet Cream Pie

I was a little surprised when the November issue of Better Homes and Gardens had a lemon pie recipe buried amongst all their Thanksgiving apple, pear, cranberry and pumpkin recipes. I'm a huge fan of all things pumpkin, but just as much so when it comes to a lemon dessert. Like pumpkin, I developed a taste for lemon desserts rather late in life. I'm trying to make up for lost time...


* 1 rolled refrigerated unbaked pie crust
* 1 tsp. unflavored gelatin
* 2 Tbsp. cold water
* 6 egg yolks
* 1-1/2 14-oz. cans sweetened condensed milk (2 cups)
* 1/4 cup whipping cream
* 1/4 tsp. salt
* 3/4 cup lemon juice
* Whipped Cream
* Thin lemon peel slivers


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Roll out pastry portion on a floured surface to a circle about 12 inches in diameter. Transfer to a 9-inch pie tin or plate without stretching. Trim pastry to 1/2 inch beyond edge of pie plate. Fold under extra pastry. Crimp edge as desired. Prick bottom and sides of pastry with a fork. Place in freezer 10 minutes. Line pastry with foil pie pan (see Blind Baking*); fill with dried beans or pie weights. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet; bake 30 minutes. Carefully remove foil pan. Bake 15 minutes more. Cool on wire rack. (If using rolled refrigerated crust, bake according to package directions.)

2. In a small bowl soften gelatin in water 5 minutes. Heat in microwave for 14 seconds; set aside.

3. In large bowl combine egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk. With an electric mixer, beat on high speed for 2 to 3 minutes until well combined. Beat in gelatin, whipping cream and salt on low speed. Add lemon juice and beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Pour into prepared crust (pie will be full).

4. Bake 22 to 25 minutes or until center of pie looks set when gently shaken; cool on wire rack 1 hour. Cover loosely and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

5. Top with whipped cream and lemon peel slivers just before serving. Makes 8 servings.

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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Molasses Crinkles

This is a recipe that belonged to my grandmother . . . I still have the scrap of paper in her handwriting. They are chewy and delicious and remind me of Autumn.

2 cups flour
1 t. baking soda, cinnamon, ginger
1/2 t. salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup molasses

Mix flour, soda and cinnamon, ginger and salt. Set aside. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg and molasses. Stir in flour mixture just until blended. Drop by teaspoonfuls and put on greased cookie sheets 1/2" apart. Bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned.

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Reposted from 11/6/08:

I received the premiere issue of The Food Network Magazine yesterday. Let me just say it's a fun magazine. Believe me, the last thing I need is another magazine subscription . . . but this one is a keeper.

They have a feature article entitled "Copy That!". This month they decided to "reverse engineer" The Cheesecake Factory's pumpkin cheesecake since the restaurant chain has its signature recipes "locked up tighter than a CIA brief". I was excited.

The pumpkin obsession is a new one for me . . . I was never a fan. That all changed when I joined Weight Watchers in 2005 - pumpkin happens to be a "free" food. Sure enough I developed a taste for it. Now I can't get enough. If you're a hater like I was, try to live a little. It's a scrumptious walk on the wild side.

12 T unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 3/4 cups sugar
2 lbs. cream cheese at room temperature
3/4 cup sour cream
1 15 oz. can pure pumpkin
6 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
1 T. vanilla
2 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. ground ginger
1/4 t. ground cloves
2 cups sweetened whipped cream
1/3 cups toasted pecans, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 325. Brush 10-inch springform pan with some of the butter. Stir in the remaining butter with the crumbs, 1/4 cup of the sugar and a pinch of the salt. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the pan, packing it tightly and evenly. Bake until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on a rack, then wrap the outside of the springform pan with foil and place in a roasting pan.

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile beat the cream cheese with a mixer until smooth. Add the remaining 2 1/4 cups sugar and beat until just light, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beaters as needed. Beat in the sour cream, then add the pumpkin, eggs, vanilla and 1 t. salt and the spices and beat until just combined. Pour into the cooled crust.

Gently place the roasting pan in the oven (don't pull the rack out) and pour the boiling water into the roasting pan until it comes about halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake until the outside of the cheesecake sets but the center is still loose, about 1 hour, 45 minutes. Turn off the oven and open the door briefly to let out some heat. Leave the cheesecake in the oven for 1 more hour, then carefully remove from the roasting pan and cool on a rack. Run a knife around the edges, cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.

Bring the cheesecake to room temperature 30 minutes before serving. Unlock and remove the springform ring. To finish, place a dollop of the whipped cream on each slice and sprinkle with the toasted pecans.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Originally posted 10/19/08

Tis the season. These are fantastic. The more traditional whoopie pies reside here. I like the pumpkin version...


1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, 1 stick melted, 1/2 stick softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 cup canned pure pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon plus 2 pinches salt
1 2/3 cups flour
4 ounces cream cheese, chilled
1 cup confectioners' sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in the eggs, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, 1 teaspoon vanilla, the baking powder, the baking soda and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour.
3. Using an ice cream scoop or tablespoon, drop 12 generous mounds of batter, spaced evenly, onto each baking sheet. Bake until springy to the touch, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.
4. Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, cream the softened butter with the cream cheese. Add the confectioners' sugar and the remaining 2 pinches salt and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; mix on low speed until blended, then beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
5. Spread the flat side of 12 cakes with the cream cheese frosting. Top each with another cake.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

October, pink M&M's and absence that just doesn't leave...


This picture was taken in July, 1959. That is me on the far left at 3 years old, my sister Marianne in the middle, 2 years old, and my Mum. In her 20's.

They're both gone to that disease everyone talks about in October. Breast cancer charities are supported with sales revenue from pink M&M's, pink Hershey Kisses, even some special menus at restaurants you frequent. Maybe someday there will be a cure. In the meantime, eat a pink M&M.

If it wasn't for Breast Cancer Awareness Month my sister wouldn't have stopped what she was doing when she heard a medical professional (on Good Morning America) describe her lump. She wouldn't have heard why she needed to be proactive, despite the fact that her doctor told her it was nothing. And so it goes. In three days the diagnosis was real, the breast was gone and lives changed dramatically. We managed to be gifted with six years. Thank goodness for that six years. Gratitude.

Eat something pink this year, would you? I really miss them both.

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

King's English, movies, seafood cocktail . . .

We finally found this little Salt Lake City bookstore. It was heaven. While browsing the travel section (packed with Fodor's travel guides covering every corner of the universe) my spouse called over to me . . . "Let's get this . . .". We Christmas shop all through the year. That is when I said it. "I can buy that on Overstock." An instantaneous image of Meg Ryan playing Kathleen Kelly (owner of The Shop Around the Corner) came to mind. I felt awful. Go to King's English next time you're in Salt Lake City. I don't want them to go anywhere.

Friday my spouse and I met up for a sushi lunch. We glanced at our respective calendars and realized following October 9th we had exactly one completely free Saturday for the remainder of 2010. How does this happen in life?

Saturday we took action. We spent a very warm October Saturday afternoon in a movie theater. Not one movie, but two. Theatre 16 for It's Kind of A Funny Story at 1:55 p.m. and Theatre 17 for The Social Network at 4 p.m. I love Aaron Sorkin and yes, I miss The West Wing. We left the movie theatre and went directly to Los Tacos, our newest Las Vegas obsession. Seafood cocktail, anyone? I wish I could explain the crunch of the vegetables, the hot spicy bite to the shrimp . . . the lime juice. Spectacular.

We headed home full and watched, yes, another movie. Babies. Watch it. Little bit anthropology, little bit funny, lots entertaining.

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Conference Weekend...

We spent last weekend in Salt Lake City . . . a quick flight up early Saturday morning and home late Sunday night.

First stop? Mrs. Becker's. Yes, we stop at the bakery the minute our plane lands. No matter where we are. I've written about Mrs. Becker's before. It's been there since 1941.

The pastries are old fashioned . . . they were exactly what he wanted.

Afterwards we headed over to the Diners, Drive-ins and Dives place we've been wanting to try for a while, Lone Star Taqueria. The food was good. Really good.

The company was awesome... Bridget, Phil, Cam, Lauren and Landon. We had so much fun.

Afterwards we went to the Sweet Tooth Fairy for some cupcakes and cake bites.

That vanilla cupcake (named after Stephanie Nielson) was everything I thought it would be. Yummy.

Our Conference tickets were for Sunday morning and yes, as I was walking someone yelled out my name. I love those Seminary kids. We heard President Monson's talk on gratitude . . . it was perfect. After hearing him speak the week before I was ready to hear more. Really. We said goodbye to Bridget and Phil . . . not enough time.

See Cam's blog here . . . comment if you're so inclined. It's a school project.

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Heath Bar Blondie

1 pound (4 sticks) butter
1 1/2 lbs. brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla
5 cups flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips, divided
1 cup chopped Heath Bars

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease a 9x13 baking dish. In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt to combine well. Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating to combine well. Stir in 1 cup milk chocolate chips and the chopped Heath Bars. Spread batter into greased pan and top with 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips.Bake nearly 1 hour until a tester inserted into the center of the pan comes out clean. Let cool before cutting into 3-inch squares.

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