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Desserts

Caramel Corn

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Caramel Corn 2

I had a very good friend come over one day and insisted we watch a girl flick together. She seldom comes to visit so when she knocked on my front door one day and brought home a DVD, I was elated. Who wouldn’t be? My best friend and I together again and watching a movie would mean only one thing: Prepare the tissue and some popcorn. It would be a very long night.

That day I made her feel extra special by making her favorite popcorn. Personally, I love mine with salt and extra butter. This friend, however, insists on a caramelized one. But you know me; I just don’t put two things together. I always give it a little extra which is why I added dark syrup and vanilla on the mixture.

With that, every bite is aromatic and deeply sweet to the taste especially if you take the time to coat each morsel of corn with the caramel syrup. Somehow I think this is the reason why she took the time to come here today. I suspect that she’s having one of those cravings. Whatever the case, I appreciate the fact that she picked our favorite movie and brought it to me.

On your family movie time, have this sweet treat. Plain old popcorn can be quite boring and dull. Once you’ve had one to many, you’re going to want something else. Adding some sweet into it and perhaps some nuts (optional), it could elevate the taste. Trust me, it would give you that nice sweet kick!

Ingredients

  • Cooking Spray
  • 4 quarts popped popcorn
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Light OR Dark Corn Syrup
  • 1/2 cup butter OR margarine
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

Description

  1. Preheat oven to 250°F.
  2. Next, prepare a large shallow roasting pan by spraying it with cooking spray. Add the popcorn kernels and cook until the all of them pop.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix brown sugar, dark corn syrup (light is an option), butter and salt. Heat up this mixture until it melts. Stir constantly while bringing this to a boil over medium heat.
  4. Then leave for 5 minutes on a boil without stirring. Remove from heat and add in baking soda and vanilla then mix well.
  5. Take the syrup and pour over the popcorn while it’s still warm. Stir a bit to coat evenly.
  6. Lastly, bake this for 45 minutes on the oven. Stir occasionally and remove. Spread over foil that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
  7. Allow the popcorn to cool down so the caramel would harden. Then break apart and store in a container if not to be served right away.

Chocolate Chips Cookies

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When my kids come home from school mellow and sad, I cheer them up with a glass of milk and chocolate chip cookies. There’s something enigmatic about them that suddenly lifts up their spirits and changes their mood. I never go a week without having baked 2 dozens of chocolate cookies, placed in a jar and ready to eat whenever the mood calls for it.

I eat one a day of it myself. Why not? Their comfort food basically; probably one of the best kinds there is. For the kids, it’s the only way for them to open up any conversation they don’t want to have with me. If you’re a mom, I recommend that you know how to make this classic recipe. All other cookies are great and all for variety purposes. But chocolates are the best because no kid ever refuses chocolate when they’re sad.

So when you see sad little faces at home, just give them 2 cookies and I guarantee you’ll be an instant hit. They won’t forget how thoughtful you are for noticing their frowns. What transpires after isn’t actually due to your comforting words of wisdom but the sensation of these chewy little things melting inside their mouths. Drown it with milk and it’s the best bedtime snack ever made.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons hot water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Description

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F or about 175°C.
  2. Next, take your melted butter, white sugar, brown sugar and blend together until smooth and creamy.
  3. Add in the eggs one at a time and beat the mixture. Stir in the vanilla slowly.
  4. Take a small cup of hot water and dissolve the baking soda. Then add this to the batter along with salt.
  5. Start adding the flour, nuts and chocolate chips. Mix together well. Then start spooning large clumps on top of ungreased pans.
  6. Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes in the oven or until you notice the edges are nicely browned.

Chocolate chips cookies 2


Black Forest Cake

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Perhaps I may have given off the impression that I hated making desserts that needed baking. That’s not what I was aiming for at all. In all honestly, I do prefer no-bake sweets and desserts better. If I did go through the trouble of baking some desserts, there are really special people I wanted to please that day.

Today is one of those special occasions. I have just finished off the last slice of this delicious cake. There are many variations of this recipe and rarely do I find something worth doing again and again. In fact, this cake is so delectable that I always give them out as birthday cakes to many of my adult friends and family.

Making this will require an assistant because it’s more fun that way. Gather up your kids when you’re in the process of whipping up the frosting so that they can lick off the extras on the bowl or spatula. I tell you, baking would be less tedious this way.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 (20 ounce) cans pitted sour cherries
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

Description

  1. Prepare the oven and preheat to 350 °F or about 175°C. Next, grease two 9-inch round cake pans. Dust it with flour and cover each of the bottoms with wax paper.
  2. Combine 2 cups of sugar, flour, cocoa and baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Mix these dry ingredients well. Then add all the wet ingredients: eggs, milk, oil and a tablespoon of vanilla and beat until well blended. Pour this batter into the greased pans.
  3. Place them in the oven and bake for 35 minutes. Another way to test is to thrust a toothpick in the middle of the cake and take it out. When it comes out clean, the cake is done. Let cool for about 10 minutes on a wire rack and then remove from the pan.
  4. Prepare your cherries by draining the syrup and reserving half a cup of this juice. Then in a separate bowl, combine the juice, the cherries, cornstarch and a cup of sugar. Next, pour this over a 2-quart saucepan. Allow to cook over low heat until thickened. Make sure you’re stirring constantly. Then add a teaspoon of vanilla and set aside. Cool this before using.
  5. Take out a hand mixer. In a bowl, combine whipping cream and confectioner’s sugar with the mixer until you see stiff forms appearing.
  6. It’s time to slice a layer of the cake with a long serrated knife. Be careful in doing this because you can’t break off any of the cake layers. Break apart one sliced layer into crumbs and set aside. Reserve 1 and ½ cups of frosting for decorating the cake and set aside. To assemble the cake, start by laying down a base – a sliced cake at the bottom. Spread frosting and top with cherry sauce. And then add another sliced layer and repeat the frosting and cherry sauce mix. On the last layer, use up all of the remaining frosting in order to include the sides of the cake. Pat on some of the crushed crumbs on the side. Spoon the rest of the cherry sauce in a pastry bag and start decorating the top of the cake as you wish. Be generous about frosting the top and the sides of the cake and finish off with the last of the cherry topping. Best served chilled.

Black Forest Cake 2

Banana Crumb Muffins

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Banana Crumb Muffins 2

I wake up earlier than everyone else in mornings because I have to prepare big breakfast meals for the family. I roll out of bed, still groggy and utterly desperate for coffee. Then I decide to warm up yesterday’s banana muffins, poured the fresh batch of coffee and then I’m ready to go to work.

Nothing wakes me up than the site of delicious pick-me-ups like baked goods hot from the microwave. I made these banana muffins yesterday for a bake sale. I bought home some of the extras so I could enjoy my labor of love. Initially, I wanted to secretly stash them away for myself but then again my kids love baked sweets as much as I do.

I heat up the muffins so the kitchen would smell like them when the family comes in to eat. It’s not a bad way to start your mornings. They’re dessert energizers. I can tell you that.

Banana muffins are very light so they’re a perfect starter; a prelude to a full load of breakfast favorites. I start with coffee or tea with this muffin. And when I’m halfway full, I have some bacon and eggs. It’s not entirely bad to start an entire day this way.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Description

  1. Start by preheating the oven to 375°F or about 190°C. And then lightly grease a 10-cup muffin tray or line them up with muffin paper.
  2. Take a large bowl and then mix together 1 ½ cups flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. In a separate bowl, beat bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Next, stir the banana mixture into the flour blends. Mix together into a batter. Spoon the batter into prepared muffin cups.
  3. In another bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon of butter and then add this into the mixture until you see it turn into a coarse cornmeal. Next, sprinkle this topping over the muffins.
  4. Place the batter into the oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes. Insert a toothpick into the center of the muffin. If it comes out clean, they’re ready.

Berry Crisp

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Today is a take it easy kind of day. The kids are off to camp and won’t be home for days. That means I can take it easy on the cooking as well. Except when the husband demands for his own food cravings, then I’m on food patrol again. But I got none of those today. I opened up a food magazine and started reading on berries and get some chill time.

I wasn’t planning on doing some baking, but inspiration hit me with those berries. I figured I really can’t put down my chef’s hat just yet; well, not when my cooking instincts take over me. I would probably end up eating half of this dish myself before the kids could try it. Or, I might just make them a fresh batch. This one’s for the husband and I to enjoy tonight.

But before I go head into the kitchen to do the cooking, I want to share what I read about berries. I believe this is what would convince you to incorporate them more into your diet. It’s really good for the following reasons:

  • Fresh or frozen berries are best. They don’t lose their nutritional value anyway you have it.
  • When used in baking, it mixes well as a garnish in cakes, muffins and cookies.
  • Berries are naturally high in Vitamin C and a rich source of antioxidants. On this case, more of it is better for the body.

Ingredients

  • 4 large cooking apples, peeled and sliced or coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups raspberries
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cold butter, cut in small pieces
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • dash salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2/3 cup quick cooking rolled oats

Description

  1. Begin by preheating the oven to 325°F. Next, rub some butter on a 11 x 17 inch baking dish.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together sliced apples, berries and granulated sugar. Give it a little toss. Add in some small pieces of cold butter. Pour this into the baking dish.
  3. Next, combine the brown sugar, flour, salt, baking soda and rolled oats with the melted butter. Toss this mixture and then sprinkle over evenly over the fruits.
  4. Take the baking dish into oven and bake for 45 to 55 minutes. Check to see if the fruits are tender and the toppings turned brown.
  5. Best served straight out of the oven.

Blueberry Muffins

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I have to participate in a bake sale in a few days due to my daughter accidentally signing me up in her school as the main proponent for this project. I’ve never done the baking and the selling part in bakes sales before because I’ve just always been the kind of mom that buys the goods and eat them. I will no longer be that mom pretty soon.

But since I am doing this, I am planning to impress my daughter by baking two kinds of muffins. I decided to showcase both banana and blueberry muffins.  This is my practice run. I got my blueberries fresh this morning. So they are ripe and ready. I always make sure to wash these and dried on paper towels. This way I won’t get water in during the baking process.

My kids love blueberries and I am hoping this would be a hit that day (fingers crossed). But if not, it wouldn’t be a total loss. I figured that if I don’t sell them all then I can take the left overs home with me. This way I would have pre-breakfast muffins probably all week with my early morning cup of coffee. Now that sounds like a plan.

I am using this classic muffin recipe and gave it a little twist. This used to be a secret but now I am choosing to share it to you. I am hoping this one gets you through many bake sales too.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Directions

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 400°F or about 200°C. Next, degrease your muffin tray with oil or line them up with muffin paper cups.
  2. Then, in a large bowl, combine 1 ½ cups flour, ¾ cup sugar, baking powder and salt.
  3. Place the vegetable oil into a 1-cup measuring device and add the egg and enough milk to fill up the cup.
  4. Pour this into the flour mixture. Next, fold in the berries slowly. Then, spoon in the batter to fill the muffin tray to the top and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.
  5. For the crumb topping mixture: mix together ½ cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, ¼ cup butter and ½ teaspoon cinnamon.
  6. Mix these ingredients with a fork and use it to sprinkle on top of the muffins before baking.
  7. Place the muffin tray into oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. When done, take them out to cool down.

blueberry muffins 3

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

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Desserts have quite an appeal on women. They are very typical of aphrodisiacs. Give some chocolate to the woman you love and she’ll never forget how sweet you are. Any chocolates will do the trick. However, there are some desserts that when combined with fruit, would rattle your world in a totally different way.  I’ve got three words for you: chocolate covered strawberries.

Now tell what you think about when you hear those words. Personally, I would think of how to add some nuts into the chocolate dip. I would imagine biting into that strawberry and hear the crunch of the crushed walnuts in my mouth. For some people, this recipe would bring out their sexy side. I won’t blame you if you offer this up as a gift when you run into problems with your better halves.

On this recipe particularly, you can’t use small strawberries because it would lose the appeal. You have to carefully pick out the large sweet ones though. Typically, strawberries can be on the sour side. Some sourness may not be masked fully by the chocolate. If the fruit is already ripe and on the sweet side, you wouldn’t have to worry about the tanginess at all.

Also, this is pretty easy to make. It’s literally a matter of dipping the fresh strawberries into the chocolate and then letting it dry out. As an option, you could also use white chocolate on this instead of the plain one. I’ve even tried adding some crushed macadamias and mixed in the dip.. I’m telling you, you have other options. If not, it’s perfectly okay to have it plain and simple. So if you’re planning to have this for dessert later, make sure you’re all set for a good time. Good luck ladies!

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces milk chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 1 pound fresh strawberries with leaves

Description

  1. Start by preparing the double broiler. Pour in the chocolate and shortening and allow this to melt while stirring occasionally. Blend until smooth.
  2. Insert a toothpick in the center of the strawberries from the top. Hold strawberries by the base of the toothpick and dip into the chocolate mixture.
  3. Turn the toothpick upside down and insert into a Styrofoam base that is sturdy enough to hold all of them. This will allow the chocolate to dry.
  4. Once dried, they’re ready to be served. You may use white chocolate as an alternative to this.

Cheesecake with Raspberry Swirls

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Cheesecake with Raspberry Swirls 2

One of the hardest choices I could make in life is to choose which cheesecake variety to eat with my coffee. Don’t laugh but I just find it really hard to select one flavor over the other. My mind tells me to pick one from strawberries to plain and chocolate, even peanut butter. But my heart tells me to wrap them all up and take them home.

I know you’re smiling just about now. Have you had one of those dilemmas? I have those every time and wish I could just make my life a little simpler for myself. Husband says that making my own cheesecake would tell me for sure which ones to become my favorite. I love cheesecakes period. But to choose a topping would mean selecting a variety – all of them are pretty darn good.

I don’t expect everyone to know what that’s like but I followed my husband’s advice and decided to create my version of a raspberry cheesecake with a twist. Instead of just pouring this topping all over the cake, I incorporated it as a swirl. Sounds interesting right? Get ready then, this will be quite a handful to make.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup finely ground graham crackers
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 6 ounces raspberries
  • 32 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • Boiling water, for roasting pan

Description

  1. Begin by preheating the oven to 350°F. Prepare a 9 inch springform pan and wrap it with foil including the base. Set aside for the meantime.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, mix cracker crumbs, melted butter and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Pour this mixture on the pan and press this crumb mixture firmly onto the bottom of it. Take this into the oven and bake until it sets. This takes about 10 minutes. When done, remove from oven and let it cool on a wire rack. Then, reduce the oven temperature to about 325 °F.
  3. Take out your food processor. Process the raspberries until it becomes smooth. That only takes about 30 seconds. Then pour the puree through a fine sieve into a small bowl and throw away the solid particles. Next, whisk in 2 tablespoons of sugar and give a little whisk. Set aside.
  4. Now, attach the paddle into the mixer and pour cream cheese in the bowl. On medium speed, mix until the cream cheese turns fluffy. That takes about 3 minutes. Then reduce the speed to lowest setting, and then add in the remaining 1 and a half cups of sugar. Let it mix on a slow stream. Next, add the salt and vanilla then mix well until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix them well but don’t overdo it. Then, pour in the cream cheese filling over the cooked crust.
  5.  Next, use a teaspoon and drop in the raspberry sauce. With a wooden skewer or a small stick, swirl the sauce into the filling slowly making sure the color doesn’t combine into the white fluffy cream mixture.
  6. Take a large shallow roasting pan and set in the cake pan and slowly transfer them into the oven. Using a ladle to scoop water, carefully pour in the water into the roasting pan until it reaches half way up the sides of the cake pan. Let this bake for 60 to 65 minutes. This should leave the center of the cake wobbly.
  7. Remove from the oven and transfer cake pan to a wire rack. Let this cool completely. Place this into the refrigerator uncovered for 6 hours or overnight. Run a knife around the cake and then unmold into a serving place. Slice according to desired cuts. Best served chilled.

Grandma’s Apple Pie

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grandmas apple pie 2

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 8 Granny Smith apples – peeled, cored and sliced

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste.
  3. Add water, white sugar and brown sugar, and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce temperature and let simmer.
  5. Place the bottom crust in your pan.
  6. Fill with cut up apples, mounded slightly.
  7. Cover with a lattice work crust.
  8. Gently pour the sugar and butter liquid over the crust.
  9. Pour slowly so that it does not run off.
  10. Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven.
  11. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F.
  12. Continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes, until apples are soft.

Chocolate Roll Cake

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Chocolate Roll Cake 2

I don’t know about you but whenever I bring home cake I always get excited. But then again, I’m always in a good mood when desserts are on the table. I am never in a bad mood when making them or when buying from the cake shop. What’s not to like about cakes, right?

They come in all shapes and sizes. They’re both colorful and delicious; it’s what makes significant moments like birthdays and weddings more special. I can’t imagine ever celebrating anything without a cake present. It’s absurd to me.

At home I always celebrate small milestones especially when my kids make them. And every time we celebrate that, I always have this cake prepared for them. It’s the no non-sense cake. It’s made out of chocolate and comes in a roll. My entire family adores chocolates and cakes; so this is just the perfect recipe that gives us the best of both worlds. It’s a bit tricky to make but all worth it in the end. I know you might have other chocolate roll cakes in your life, but you haven’t had one like this.

Ingredients

  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream, whipped
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar for dusting
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Description

  1. Begin by preheating the oven to 325°F. Next, take a parchment paper and place it on a 15 and a half by 10 and a half inches jelly roll pan. Grease and flour slightly.
  2. Next, separate the eggs. Then beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until they stiffen. Gradually add in ½ cup of sugar.
  3. Then, sift the remaining sugar, cocoa and flour together in a large bowl. Beat the egg yolks and fold it into the dry (flour) mixture.
  4. Next, add the vanilla. Knowing that the egg yolk mixture would be stiff, carefully fold it into the beaten egg whites.
  5. Pour this batter into the jelly roll pan and spread evenly.
  6. Place the pan into the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Let the cake cool for another 5 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and turn over into a paper towel sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar. Then peel off the parchment paper and roll the cake up with the towel.
  8. Allow the cake to cool off completely. Unroll the cake and then spread the whipped cream. Then, roll it again back into shape.
  9. You have two sauce choices to serve the cake with; Foamy Butter Sauce or Fudge Sauce.
  10. For variation, you can add 2 tablespoons of rum or your favorite liqueur to the whipped cream. This serves 8.
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