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My Favorite Caramel SauceMy Favorite Caramel Sauce

My Favorite Caramel SauceMy Favorite Caramel Sauce

INGREDIENTS  1/2 cup water  1 cup sugar  1 cup heavy cream  1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)  3/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste*  1/2 teaspoon lemon juice InstructionS In a 2-quart heavy-bottomed sauce pan,** add the water. Add the sugar to the center of the water. […]

Asian Pork Tenderloin with Ginger Glaze (Slow Cooker)

Asian Pork Tenderloin with Ginger Glaze (Slow Cooker)

INGREDIENTS For the rub  1 tablespoon brown sugar  2 teaspoons salt  1 teaspoon powdered ginger  1/2 teaspoon cinnamon  1 teaspoon garlic powder  1/2 teaspoon powdered cloves  1/4 teaspoon black pepper  1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper  2 pounds pork tenderloin For the glaze  1/2 cup brown […]

The Softest Chocolate Sugar Cookies

The Softest Chocolate Sugar Cookies

INGREDIENTS

  •  3/4 cup (1 and 1/2 sticks) salted butter, softened
  •  4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  •  1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  •  1 egg
  •  2 and 1/2 tablespoons vanilla
  •  1/2 teaspoon coconut extract (optional)
  •  1 teaspoon salt
  •  3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  •  2 and 1/4 cups flour, spooned and leveled

For spider web cookies

  •  black decorating icing
  •  #1, 2, 3, or 5 tip

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until it is soft and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the softened cream cheese and continue to beat for 1 minute, until well incorporated. Scrape the sides and bottom.
  3. Add the sugar and beat well, 1-2 minutes, until fluffy.
  4. Add the egg, vanilla, and coconut extract. Beat well. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula. This is my spatula that I love and use for every baking project.
  5. Add salt , cocoa, and flour, and beat until just barely combined, scraping the sides and bottom again. Do not stir too much or you will make your dough tough. The dough is pretty sticky!
  6. Scrape the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap (or into a ziplock or tupperware). Cover or wrap tightly and put it in the fridge for 2 hours (or overnight) or in the freezer for 1-2 hours. (If I am in a hurry I will split the dough in half and wrap separately so that it will chill faster.)
  7. When the dough is completely chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  8. Line 2-3 baking sheets with silpat baking mats or parchment paper.
  9. Prepare a work surface by spraying your counter lightly with nonstick spray. If you have extra silicone mats, roll the dough out on those and skip the spray. You don’t want to roll these out in flour, because you will see white flour on your cookie when it’s baked. You can also try rolling it out between two sheets of parchment paper.
  10. If you have not already split the dough in half, do so now. Put any dough that you are not working with in the fridge.
  11. Spray your hands if necessary and flatten out the dough, then use a rolling pin to roll it and smooth it out a little bit. Don’t go too crazy here, remember we want the cookies to be THICK, about 3/8 inch. I actually busted out the measuring tape for this step. No crisp cookies, please.
  12. Lightly dust your chosen cookie cutters with cocoa powder, if necessary. (I skip this step unless I am using a very small or intricate cookie cutter.)
  13. Press firmly into the dough, utilizing your space wisely. Use your finger or a knife (depending on the shape) to wipe away the excess cocoa/dough on the outer edge of the cookie cutter before pushing them out onto the pan. This helps you get clean lines.
  14. Place the shaped dough on the prepared baking sheet. If you are using multiple cookie cutter shapes, bake all of the same shape on the same pan. Otherwise your smaller cookies will get over baked. Leave at least 1 inch in between each cookie.
  15. If you’ve taken long enough that your shaped cookies are no longer chilled, place the baking sheet in the fridge or freezer for a couple minutes. It’s really important that they go into the oven cold. Even 5 minutes in the fridge makes a difference.
  16. Scrape together the excess dough and knead it together once or twice (as little as possible), then roll it out again to 3/8. Don’t overwork the dough! (It will get tough.) Continue until the dough is gone. Refrigerate the dough as necessary. They should go into the oven cold.
  17. Bake the shaped cookies at 350 for about 9 minutes for smaller cookies, and about 10-11 minutes for larger cookies. Do NOT over bake. Take the cookies out of the oven when the shine on top of each cookie has just barely disappeared.
  18. Leave the cookies on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack for a couple minutes before moving to a tupperware. Cover until they are completely cooled and you are ready to frost.
  19. Frost cookies with buttercream icing! << this recipe calls for a few different kinds of extracts, but since there is already so much flavor in a chocolate cookie, I just used an equivalent amount of vanilla (2 teaspoons).
  20. For the Spider Web Cookies: Attach a tip to black decorating icing and draw the webs according to the photos shown above. (Or you could make your own chocolate icing.) For the thinner looking webs shown above, I used a #1 tip. For the thicker webs, I used a #5 tip.
Overnight Biscuits and Gravy Casserole

Overnight Biscuits and Gravy Casserole

INGREDIENTS For the sausage gravy  1 pound bulk breakfast sausage, hot or mild  1/3 cup flour  4 cups whole milk  1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt  1 and 1/2 to 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper For the egg mixture  6 eggs  1/2 cup milk  3/4 teaspoon […]

Chilled Pineapple Apple Cider

Chilled Pineapple Apple Cider

INGREDIENTS 6 cups apple cider 6 cinnamon sticks 3/4 teaspoon anise seed 46 ounce can of pineapple juice pineapple spears, for garnish; optional INSTRUCTIONS In a large saucepan combine cider, cinnamon, anise, and pineapple juice; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. […]

PUMPKIN PIE CHEESECAKE BARS

PUMPKIN PIE CHEESECAKE BARS

INGREDIENTS

Crust:
  •  2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  •  1/2 cup butter, melted
Cheesecake Layer:
  •  2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  •  1 cup sugar
  •  2 eggs
Whipped Cream:
  •  1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  •  1/2 cup powdered sugar
  •  1 teaspoon vanilla
Pumpkin Pie Layer:
  •  (5.1 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding
  •  3/4 cup milk
  •  1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
  •  1 teaspoon nutmeg
  •  1 teaspoon cinnamon
  •  (optional) chopped pecans

INSTRUCTIONS

For the Crust:
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs and butter. Press into a 9×13 baking dish. Chill in the fridge while prepping the next step.

For the Cheesecake Filling:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and sugar. Add the eggs and mix to combine. Pour over the graham cracker layer and bake for 20 minutes or until set. Let cool completely.

For the Whipped Cream:
  1. Place cream and sugar in a chilled mixing bowl and mix on high for 1-2 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat for an additional 1-2 minutes or until soft peaks have formed. Don’t whip too much or you will end up will cottage cheese looking whipped cream. Set aside for later.

For the Pumpkin Pie Layer:
  1. In a large bowl, mix the milk with the pudding. Add the pumpkin and the spices. Fold in 1/2 of the whipped cream. Spread over the cooled cream cheese layer.

  2. To serve: Top with the remaining whipped cream. Garnish with pecans if desired. You can either spread the whipped cream over the entire pan or individually. Slice into squares and serve

 

Carmelitas

Carmelitas

INGREDIENTS  1 cup flour  1 cup quick cooking oats (also works with old-fashioned oats)  3/4 cup brown sugar packed  3/4 cup butter melted  1/2 teaspoon baking soda  1/2 teaspoon salt  1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (6 ounces)  1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional) Caramel Sauce:  1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping (see note)  3 tablespoons flour INSTRUCTIONS Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 8″ or 9″ square baking dish. An 8″ […]

Sesame Chicken Dip

Sesame Chicken Dip

INGREDIENTS  2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce  4 teaspoons sesame oil (no substitutions)  2 garlic cloves minced  4 cups shredded cooked chicken breast  3 (8 ounce) packages reduced-fat cream cheese (see note)  1 (10 ounce) jar sweet-and-sour sauce  2 cups chopped fresh baby spinach  1 cup thinly sliced green onions about 8  1/2 cup chopped salted peanuts  Sesame rice crackers (must use these) INSTRUCTIONS Mix soy sauce, sesame […]

Apple Crisp Cheese Danish

Apple Crisp Cheese Danish

INGREDIENTS

Cream Cheese Filling:

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 1 (21 ounce) can apple filling

Crumble:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • (optional) caramel for drizzling
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INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 15″ pizza pan or stone with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Unroll the crescent dough into triangles. Reserve 4 triangles for later. Arrange the triangles on the pizza pan or stone with the points pointing towards the center. Press seams together to form a circle. Using the bottom of the glass, cut a circle in the center and remove circle of dough.
  4. Spread the cream cheese mixture on top of the crescent dough leaving a margin on the edges.
  5. Spoon the apple filling evenly on top of the cream cheese filling.
  6. Take reserved 4 triangles of crescent dough and cut each into 3 strips lengthwise. Take each strip of dough and twist it and drape it over the the filling connecting it on the center of the ring to the outside of the ring. Please note that this does not have to be exact. I had to use an extra triangle for my crescent circle so I only had 3 triangles to split up. Have fun and use your creativity.
  7. For the crumble: Combine the flour, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon, and butter in a bowl. Mix well. I like to use my clean hands to get in there and mush it together until it’s the texture of wet sand. Sprinkle topping evenly over the apples.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until crescent dough is nice and golden.
  9. Cut into slices and serve warm. Place a ramekin of caramel in the center for drizzling on top if desired.
BANANAS FOSTER FRENCH TOAST

BANANAS FOSTER FRENCH TOAST

INGREDIENTS  1 cup brown sugar  1/2 cup butter, melted  1/2 cup chopped pecans  2 bananas, sliced (about 2 cups)  1 (12 ounce) loaf French bread, cut into 1-inch slices  6 eggs slightly beaten  1 cup milk  1 tablespoon vanilla extract  1 teaspoon cinnamon INSTRUCTIONS Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, butter, and pecans. Spread mixture […]