D Is For The Decadent and Delicious Holiday Desserts Recipes We Love To Prepare and Present

D is for the decadent and delicious holiday desserts recipes we love to prepare and present.  These holiday desserts recipes aim to impress the sweet tooth of the gathered together.  Dessert is a four letter word to the calorie conscious crowd, but at Thanksgiving and Christmas (it’s coming!) I offer up a just desserts justification.  The holidays can find the cook, baker, host, hostess and holiday dinner maker stressed.  Stressed spelled backward is desserts.   Stress is bad, dessert is good.  Practice moderation, eat a piece of cake or pie and laisez le bon temps rouler!

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Cranberry-Orange Tart with Browned Butter Crust

Ingredients

16 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

1 ½ cups vanilla wafer crumbs (about 50 wafers)

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt, divided

Cooking spray

¾ cup fresh cranberries

¾ cup granulated sugar, divided

4 teaspoons cornstarch, divided

5 large eggs, divided

2 tablespoons orange zest

1 cup fresh orange juice

2 large egg yolks

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°.   Melt 6 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat; cook 6 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently.   Let cool 5 minutes.   Place wafer crumbs, brown sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in the bowl of a food processor; pulse to combine.   Drizzle melted butter over top of crumb mixture; pulse to combine.   Press crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch round removable-bottom tart pan coated with cooking spray.   Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until crust is lightly browned.  Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Combine cranberries and 3 tablespoons water in the bowl of a food processor; process until smooth. Combine cranberry puree, ¼ cup granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons butter, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil.  Whisk together 1 teaspoon cornstarch and 1 egg in a medium bowl.  Drizzle hot cran­berry mixture into egg mixture, whisking constantly until combined.  Return mixture to pan over medium heat; cook, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes or until mixture thickens.  Pour mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a bowl, pressing on solids with the back of a spoon; discard solids.

Combine orange zest and juice, remaining  ½ cup granulated sugar, remaining 8 tablespoons butter, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Whisk together egg yolks, remaining 1 tablespoon cornstarch, and remaining 4 eggs in a medium bowl.  Gradually drizzle hot orange mixture into egg mixture, whisking constantly.  Return mixture to pan over medium heat; cook 4 to 5 minutes or until mixture thickens, stirring constantly.  Pour mixture through a fine wire-mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing on solids with the back of a spoon; discard solids.  Spread orange filling into cooled crust, smoothing top.  Spoon cranberry mixture over filling; smoothing top.  Let tart cool to room temperature on a wire rack.  Cover and refrigerate 8 hours.

~My Recipes

pumpkin-pie-Southern-Living

Black Bottom Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients

½ cup chopped pecans

1 cup cinnamon graham cracker crumbs

1 cup crushed gingersnaps

½ cup butter, melted

1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels

2 cups whipping cream, divided

2 (1.4-oz.) chocolate-covered toffee candy bars, finely chopped

¾ cup sugar

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

2 large eggs

4 egg yolks

2 cups milk

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste*

½  cup maple syrup

Garnish: semisweet chocolate shavings

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Cool 10 minutes. Stir together graham cracker crumbs, next 2 ingredients, and toasted pecans until blended.  Press crumb mixture on bottom, up sides, and onto lip of a lightly greased 10-inch pie plate.  Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack, and cool completely (about 30 minutes).

Microwave 1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels and ½ cup whipping cream in a small microwave-safe bowl at HIGH 1 minute or until melted, stirring at 30-second intervals. Spoon chocolate mixture over bottom of pie crust; sprinkle candy bars over chocolate mixture.  Cover and chill 1 hour or until chocolate mixture is set.

Meanwhile, whisk together sugar and flour in a heavy 3-qt. saucepan; add eggs, egg yolks, and milk, and whisk until blended. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, 8 to 10 minutes or until a pudding-like thickness. (Mixture will just begin to bubble and will hold soft peaks when whisk is lifted.) Remove from heat, and whisk in pumpkin and vanilla bean paste. Transfer to a bowl. Place heavy-duty plastic wrap directly on warm filling (to prevent a film from forming); chill 30 minutes.  Spoon pumpkin mixture over chocolate; cover and chill 8 to 24 hours or until filling is firm.

Beat remaining 1 ½ cups cream at high speed with an electric mixer until foamy; gradually add syrup, beating until soft peaks form.  Spread or pipe over pie.

~Southern Living

pecan-pie-bars-b

Easy Pecan Pie Bars

Ingredients

1 can (8 oz) refrigerated crescent rolls

2 Tbsp butter or margarine, melted

¾ cup chopped pecans

½ cup corn syrup

½ cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 egg, beaten

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a 9×13-inch pan with foil, leaving enough for a 2-inch overhang on all sides.  Unroll dough, separate dough into 2 long rectangles and place in 13×9-inch pan; press over bottom and ½ inch up sides to form crust.  Firmly press dough perforations to seal.  Bake 8 minutes.

Combine all filling ingredients except ¾ cups pecans in bowl and mix well.  Stir in pecans.  Spread evenly over hot, partially baked crust.  Bake 18 to 22 minutes or until filling is set and golden brown.  Cool about 1 hour; cut into bars.

~Sugar Apron

holiday-dessertsClick on the links below for full recipe

Cider- Spiked Apple and Pecan Tart

Fantasy Chocolate Pie

Double Chocolate-Espresso Truffle Pie

Pumpkin-Praline Layer Cake

 

enjoy

Crisp Fall Afternoons Are Made For Memories And An Apple Nut Cake Recipe

To kick off the fall baking season, I thought this reader favorite recipe for Apple Nut cake repost worthy.

apples-walnuts-copper1

Apples.

Pecans.

Walnuts.

Cinnamon.

Thought that would get your attention!

Fall is officially here, and although the signs of the season aren’t in full fall reveal, a few brisk mornings have teased the senses turning my thoughts and taste buds to the fall baking season.

rolling-pin-apples-cinnamon

Dave the Builder’s mother introduced me to a delicious way to welcome fall which has become a tradition.  In terms of a wonderful fall culinary complement, there is nothing better on a cool afternoon than a cup of strong Louisiana coffee and a slice of old fashioned Apple Nut cake.  I always think of my dear mother-in-law when the first day of fall comes. It’s been thirty three years since the first time I made this cake as a new bride.  I can see myself standing in the cooking corner of our tiny kitchen pouring the batter into my grandmother’s bundt pan, windows open, flour everywhere and a true autumn nip in the air.  That was many Apple Nut cakes ago, and over the years I have tweaked the Apple Nut Cake recipe to suit my taste.  I think it is an apple nut winner.

bundt-copper

My daddy was my apple peeling, apple cutting sous chef.  He knew the Apple Nut rule and took his apple peeling role seriously.  To enjoy apple nut goodness you must help in the peeling prep.  My mother now stands as the house sous chef.  The family that peels apples together makes memories together.

apples

It’s not really the rule, but more the justification that gets me out of having to peel and cut the apples.  Trust me, this cake is so good I’ve got ’em lining up to peel apples.

Apple Nut Cake

Ingredients

1 cup vegetable oil

2 cups granulated sugar

½  cup brown sugar

2 eggs

½  teaspoon nutmeg

½  teaspoon cinnamon

½  teaspoon ground cloves

½  teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 ½  cups all-purpose flour

1 cup chopped pecans

½  cup applesauce

3 cups fresh apples, peeled and sliced

 

Icing

½  cup firmly packed light brown sugar

¼  cup butter or margarine

3 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup powdered sugar

½  cup chopped pecans

Directions

Peel and slice apples.  Add brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, ground cloves and lemon juice to apples coating well; set aside.  Mix together sugar and oil.  Add the eggs and beat until creamy.  Add vanilla.  Combine salt, baking powder, baking soda and flour together.  Add dry ingredients in small amounts to sugar and oil mixture.  Next, add apples, applesauce and chopped pecans and mix by hand.

pecans-in-cake-batter

Bake in greased and floured Bundt pan in 350 degree oven for approximately 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Well, so much for dirty baking secrets.  Let me put it this way.  Baking is my thing. Oven cleaning is not.  True kitchen confessions shall set you free.

apple nut cake recipe

Feast your eyes on that baked apple nut cake goodness!  This cake is so delicious no icing is required, but hold on to your apples.  The icing is fantastic!

For the icing:

In a medium saucepan bring brown sugar, butter, and milk to a boil over medium heat, stirring or whisking constantly.  Boil for one minute continuing to stir or whisk constantly.

My other sous chef (my mother) displaying her mad icing prep skills!

Remove from heat and add vanilla.  Add powdered sugar and stir or whisk until smooth and continue until it begins to thicken slightly.  Immediately drizzle over cooled cake.  Top with walnuts or pecans.

fresh-apple-nut-cake

With Pecans

apple-nut-cake-with-walnut-caramel-icingWith Walnuts

enjoy

 

 

 

Refreshed: Lemon Angel Squares

They say when life hands you lemons you should squeeze the most out of the moment.  In the Places in the Home test kitchen, I take that not only as sound but as delicious advice.  I’m thinking Lemon Angel Squares.

Lemons_(4279536576)via

How do I love thee lemon? Let me count the ways I find to include you in the recipes of our culinary lives.  The citrusy goodness, the tangy zing of the zest and the brilliant flavor notes of fresh lemon juice balances as it brightens.   I prefer substituting a generous squeeze of lemon for salt in several of my recipes. Lemon is simply an essential ingredient favored for flavor by cooks, bakers and chefs in recipes of both the sweet and the savory kind.

Black_Butte_blackberryvia

Fresh in season blackberries and the herb of my heart, fresh mint, round out the flavor of these summer tastes so good treats. What we serve should look as good as it tastes.  The three part harmony on the plated side of a prepared recipe is simple- flavor it up, pretty it up and serve it up.  Aromas entice, but we eat with our eyes first.

Mint,_Puthina,_പുതിന1via

The Places in the Home test kitchen becomes sweet tooth central in the summer months. The is there anything sweet to eat gang prefers lighter desserts big on summer flavor (coconut, tropical, lemony, melons, berries, etc…) over heavier cakes and pies usually associated with cold weather noshing and nesting.  Yes, there is a distinct association between foods and flavors and the seasons. A quick inventory of the sweets shelf resulted in a Duncan Hines Signature Angel Food cake mix staring back at me.   Angel food cake stands on its own as a light dessert, and the fresh blackberries I picked up at the market would only add to the mix, but this dessert combination did not call out to me.  Isn’t it funny how creative one can become when a sweet tooth is involved?  A lone can of lemon pie filling, a gorgeous lemon primed and ready for zest, and a recent rediscovery of  the fresh mint I planted in a window box planter a couple of spring seasons ago filled in the blanks.  Cream cheese and powdered sugar are basic staples around my kitchen so it’s all good.

Duncan-Hines-angle-food-cake-mix

This recipe for Lemon Angel Squares is easy, delicious and a nice choice for a summer treat. The taste is fresh, the bite is lemon bright and did I mention this recipe is easy.  Just add summer.

lemon-ingredients

 

Lemon Angel Squares

Ingredients

1 16 ounce package angel food cake mix

1  21 ounce can lemon pie filling

1 tablespoon lemon zest

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine the angel food cake mix with the lemon pie filling and zest in a mixing bowl; blend until smooth.

lemon-angel-food-batter

Pour the batter into an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake in preheated oven until golden brown and top springs back when lightly touched, approximately 20 to 25 minutes.  Cool in the pan, and cut into squares.

Cream Cheese Icing

Ingredients

3 oz. cream cheese

2-3  tbsp. milk

2 c. powdered sugar

1 tsp. lemon extract

Directions

Beat together all ingredients. It’s that simple!  Generously frost each square with cream cheese icing and garnish with blackberries and mint.

lemon-angel-squares

 

enjoy

Tripping Down Memory Lane Spring Break Trip Report Part III

All good things and great vacations come to an end. Tripping Down Memory Lane Spring Break Trip Report Part III winds down our 2008 spring break trip to Las Vegas in getting back to Vegas basics style.

Filling In The Vegas Days and Nights: Hotels, Casinos & Restaurants 

Venetian ~

Spending the afternoon at Venetian surrounded by copies of and renditions of famous Italian works and decor was the plan for our Thursday afternoon. The machines, bonus rounds and green felt covered tables will take a backseat to sightseeing and lunch at Grand Lux Cafe at Venetian.

Venetian-domevia

I get into the theme of it all and appreciate it for what it is- a gorgeous imitation of inspired artistic works of architectural wonder.

Venetian-ceilingvia

People often comment negatively in regards to Grand Lux as a dining choice while in Las Vegas.  “It’s a chain. Why in the world are you eating at a chain restaurant?”

Grand-Lux-food

How do we love Grand Lux Cafe?   Let us deliciously count the ways:

The food is always excellent.  See images above.

The menu offers a wide variety of delicious something for everyone dishes.

The dining room design and decor is lovely.

The price is right.

If it ain’t broke…

I did not break with my dining at Grand Lux tradition ordering the seafood salad and a shared order of double-stuffed potato spring rolls. Dave ordered the fish and chips and gave it 4 forks out of a possible 5 review. The casino at Venetian was packed. I played $1 Top Dollar slots with no big wins. Dave didn’t fare too well at the tables so he was in hot pursuit of a $1 Double Top Dollar slot machine to play. We both love Top Dollar and Pinball.  I did not receive an ounce of respect, love or pay from the numerous Top Dollar or Pinball machines I played during this session.  I now fondly refer to them as “sucker machines” and Dave now fondly refers to me as a sore loser.  If it was in the cards for me to be a loser, at least the rocking band playing at La Scena (casino floor lounge that sadly is no more) was churning out some fantastic music.  Win, lose or draw I like to get my boogie on.  We have boogied to really fantastic lounge acts playing the casino lounges. That part of old Vegas is slowly going away too.  My parents tell of the now famous singers they saw years ago in Las Vegas when the entertainers were up and coming lounge acts.

Paris  ~

I got it together earlier than usual so we could be on our way to lunch at the Paris Le Village buffet.

Paris-Las-Vegas-Dining-Buffet-Le-Village-Buffet-1.jpg.stdimg.hd.xlLe Village Buffet at Paris

I knew I would want to play before lunch and also figured the line to be seated could be rather long on a Friday afternoon.  I could not squeak out a win, but left the casino floor for the buffet line even. That’s always a win in my book!  The lunch at Le Village was good, but this is a buffet that shines at breakfast. Dave pointed out the French onion soup and I informed him I had worked the French onion soup enough for a while. However, the crepe station did call out to me and I answered apple with raspberries, blueberries and crème fraîche, se il vous plaît.  5 forks out of 5 very French c’est si bon forks.

Paris-slotsvia

Moving Day: From Treasure Island to Rio We Go

I packed the room up with a cup of in-room brewed strong Louisiana coffee in hand. Traveling with a coffee pot isn’t for everyone, but we do it for two reasons.  In extremely short order after my eyes pop open in the morning and my feet hit the floor or carpet I need coffee- hot, fresh and Louisiana strong.  I also like to have a cup or two in the afternoons or early evening when we are relaxing in the room before dinner or a show or just regrouping.  The other reason is pure economics I swear we would go broke by the third day in town feeding our coffee fix.  A fellow Vegas travel nut cued me in on a coffee pot travel tip.

walgreens

There are several Walgreens and CVS locations up and down the Las Vegas Strip. Pop in a pick up a coffee maker and supplies and ignore the initial sticker shock investment.  It will pay for itself within the first day. If you don’t want to contend with packing it up and carting it home, simply leave it in the room. Easy peasy.  It is ridiculous what hotels charge for coffee ordered from room service or in the coffee shops, and speaking of coffee shops- coffee shops are quickly becoming an extinct dining option on the Strip.  I am not the biggest fan of the buffet, but for breakfast dining the beverage selection and cost included reasons this to be a reasonable option.  Dave went down to visit with the host with positive results. We checked out over the television and said goodbye to Treasure Island.

 cokevia

Our host at the Rio met us at VIP-Diamond check in and assigned us a room in the Ipanema Tower.  The room reminded me of the suites at the Stardust we loved. These rooms impress me more in terms of size and layout vs decor. Various tell-tale signs give the age of the property away, but nothing we can’t live with for five nights.  We got our gambling on for about an hour, and finally I declared victory with a $$$ win on a five-line .25 3X  4X  5X machine in front of the performing stage. Cocktail service at Rio was fast and frequent. My server took my Coke order. “Is Pepsi okay?” My “not in this lifetime” answer produced a chuckle on his part. I changed my order to a Shirley Temple (I was on the hard stuff this afternoon) and returned to my play. In a flash he returns with his own version of comedy with a “You had the ice-cold Pepsi?”  I spun my seat around to find him standing there holding my ST with the biggest grin on his face.  We both laughed and he became my cheering section for a big win.  The time clock was ticking for me to be back to the room to get ready for Cher.  Time clocks can be a good thing or a very bad thing when gambling.  It was a good thing this go round and the $$$ win money made it to the room.

Cheesecake-Factory-Forum-Shopsvia

I covered the Cher experience in a previous installment. We hit The Cheesecake Factory in The Forum Shops for our post show dinner of a shared pepperoni pizza, strawberry shortcake and two glasses of Riesling. Very tasty.

strawberry-cheese-cake-grand-lux

Happy Birthday, Dave!  Shopping for birthday gifts and perhaps something new for both of us to wear to the birthday celebration dinner this evening is the plan, and Vegas knows shopping. Dave was a sport and kept me company while I spent the afternoon shopping at the Fashion Show Mall.  Starbucks supplied our very light lunch break of shared pastry and coffees- just a quick bite of something to keep a headache at bay.  Our plan for the birthday celebration evening was for a quiet and relaxing dinner at the Range Steakhouse at Harrah’s (presently Ruth’s Chris). We enjoyed dinner at The Range so much on our last trip.  We were seated by the window and with James as our waiter (requested). His personality and professionalism adds to the evening.  Dave started with the lobster bisque and I selected the blue cheese and fresh apple salad. For our entrees we both ordered the 12 oz. center cut pork chop and shared Yukon gold mashed potatoes.  The manager knew we were celebrating Dave’s birthday and sent over the most fantastic chocolate cake with strawberries and coffee for two.  The food presentation and preparation was done very well.  The service and the wait staff could not have been more professional or friendly, and it all equaled a memorable birthday meal in Vegas.

Rio

We were dressed and waiting in the Rio valet at 8:15 AM Wednesday. Trust me, I am not the up and dressed and ready to greet the day while on vacation kind of girl.  By the time of day and level of enthusiasm, Dave realized I was serious about this slot tournament. I grabbed the keys, gave the valet a good morning hello and it was touchdown Flamingo events area.

Flamingo-hotel-Vegas

The tournament was open to all Total Rewards card holders so Dave put down a few $20’s and we were registered for 10:30 AM, 11:00 AM, 12:00 PM, 12:30 PM, 1:00 PM, and finally 2:00 PM. Wow! That’s a lot of hope and fun packed into a late morning and early afternoon at the dirty bird, and you would think we had a snowball’s chance in the desert of winning. Goodness knows as many times as we entered we sure thought we did! We didn’t even come close to placing, but we had an absolute ball trying.

slot-32

The last day in Vegas gives me a pit in my stomach no words can describe. Staying busy cures it.  Gambling for this trip was officially over.  I had not been able to win enough to make it accumulate over what I started with, and the wins were too far apart from each other to save me.  I find it is easier to swallow if I quit without too much damage to the initial bankroll. The suggestion of In-N-Out Burger for lunch and a business mixed with pleasure venture was met with no complaints. We headed out to dine in style and visit a few design and antiques shops.

4950783496_cff6e4382c_bIn-N-Out Burger

We saw parts of Vegas new to us, and I lucked up on a few items I could easily pack. We grabbed a couple of coffees, parked and watched the airplanes landing and taking off from McCarran International.  I must admit after nine full days and nights in Vegas this was a nice change.  We caught a couple of afternoon fountain shows at Bellagio and it was Monte Carlo time.

bellagio-fountains

Dave and I discovered the Wizard of Oz penny slots complete with flying monkeys, the yellow brick road and the wizard himself.  The graphics and sound effects are amazing, and Oz turned out to be a magical place.  I put in a $5 voucher and cashed out with $$$ for a nice win.  The beautiful Glenda appeared to me in bonus round goodness resulting in the big hit.  I could become addicted to these machines with no problem.  There’s no place like home and Vegas on a sunny winning afternoon.

Vegas-sunrise

The Friday going home wake up call came at 5:30 AM with coffee shortly after. We checked out of Rio and at the car rental return by 9:15 AM.  We were through security and to Continental gate D 20 with fifty minutes to spare.  I took in the final sights of the Strip from my window seat on the airplane.  I settled in for the three-hour flight with good tunes, better memories and big plans for our next trip.  Getting home to a full house of family and friends on Hurricane Gustav alert and all he dumped on Central Louisiana naturally put priorities where they should be. Normalcy is back in our reach and has allowed me to share with you my trip report.  The overall casual tone was the right way to go for us this Vegas trip.  It was easy on the schedule, expectations and the wallet. I wasted no time bringing to Dave’s attention with all the money saved this trip it would be stupid not to book another trip out to our desert oasis within the next six months.  My logic has him thinking about it.  Then again, my logic always has me thinking about Vegas.

Thanks to all who have stayed with the reading.

 

images: The Cheesecake Factory, Grand Lux Cafe, Rio All-Suite Hotel, Google

A Most Fetching Friday

fetch·ing

 

/ˈfeCHiNG/

adjective

adjective: fetching

attractive.

synonyms: attractive, appealing, sweet, pretty, good-looking, lovely, delightful, charming, prepossessing, captivating, enchanting, irresistible

 

This week’s A Most Fetching Friday is dedicated to dessert, the art of baking (and no-baking), and the edible works created, admired and deliciously celebrated as the grand finale of the holiday dinner.

Thanksgiving-apple-pastry-package-del1014-lgnWrapped Baked Apple Crumble – Country Clever

beekman-boys-buttermilk-pie-with-pecan-crustButtermilk Pie with Pecan Crust – Country Living Magazine

apple-nut-cake-walnutsApple Nut Cake  with Caramel Walnut Icing

white-chocolate-pumpkin-cheesecakesNo Bake White Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecakes with a Pecan Pie Crust

Butter-pecan-cakeButter Pecan Cake

butterscoth-pudding-Coquette-New-OrleansButterscotch Pudding with Snickerdoodle Cookie Crumbs & Bacon Whipped Cream

I hope you have a most delicious and fetching Friday.

Love your style!

Flavor Additions: Kahlua Coffee Frosting

Engagement festivities reigned supreme this past weekend.  The out of town guests arrived in Louisiana ready to meet and greet our family and to sample the local cuisine.

Gulf-Coast

Boiled crawfish, crawfish étouffée, fried catfish, and Gulf snapper headlined the menu, but it’s important to remember a simple fact of culinary life- Midwesterners can’t survive an entire weekend on Louisiana seafood alone. I’m a born and raised Louisianian, and even I can’t do the crawfish thing too often.

baking coloring page Graphics Fairyvia

It’s not a party until someone bakes, cooks, whips, or stirs! Fresh Louisiana strawberries served with fruit dip, Southern Krispy cheese straws, and dark chocolate brownies with Louisiana pecans threw a culinary life preserver to the anti-crawfish crowd.

brownies with Kahlua Coffee Frosting

To frost or not to frost a brownie is always a consideration. I made a last minute executive chef decision to go with the frosting, scrambling to the grocery store to pick up a can of Duncan Hines home-style milk chocolate frosting. What begins a store bought frosting ends a delicious Kahlua Coffee Frosting delight courtesy of a couple of flavor adjustments and infusions. Things become mighty tasty with the rich flavors of instant coffee granules, Kahlua, Kosher salt, and Hershey’s dark chocolate.

frosting ingredients

Kahlua Coffee Frosting

Ingredients

1 can Duncan Hines creamy home-style milk chocolate frosting

1½  teaspoon instant coffee granules

1 teaspoon coarse Kosher salt

2 Tablespoons Kahlua

6 squares Hershey’s dark chocolate

Directions

Add instant coffee granules, Kosher salt, and Kahlua to frosting. Stir well to blend all ingredients together. The bite of the coffee granules is pitch perfect, the coarse Kosher salt wakes up the flavors, and the Kahlua complements the coffee so well.

Use a smooth edge knife to frost the tops of the brownies. Make dark chocolate curls with a potato or vegetable peeler by running the peeler across the top of the chocolate, allowing curls to fall on the tops of the brownies. Work quickly with the chocolate-it  melts super fast from the heat of  your hand.

enjoy

 

 

 

 

 

While Visions Of Cookie Truffles Danced In Their Heads

How sweet the season is! Delicious delights at this time of year include an ingredient more important than flour and sugar, chocolate or vanilla. As corny as it may sound, the main ingredient of most dishes prepared at the holidays is love ~ plain, pure, and simple. No calories, no guilt, and no nasty aftertaste. Baking is a large part of the holidays at our house. Baking brings us all together, initiates conversation, involves family, friends, and neighbors (in different ways but each of equal importance), and ensures everyone is touched by the meaning behind each dish, cookie, or candy. Dave the Builder is taking two trays to work with him tomorrow, Apple Nut cakes were delivered to two of our neighbors last week, and I’ve spent the afternoon preparing cookie baskets for our other neighbors. Let me share with you an easy, inexpensive, and impressive treat~ Cookie Truffles.

via

Ingredients

1 18-oz. pkg. chocolate sandwich cookies with white filling, finely crushed

1 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened

1 lb. white baking chocolate, melted

sugar crystals, optional

Directions

In large bowl combine crushed cookies and cream cheese.

 Beat with mixer on low speed until well blended. Form 1-inch balls by hand.

Dip balls in white chocolate; place on baking sheet covered with waxed paper. The skewers didn’t work and toothpicks failed me. I used two teaspoons and it worked great.

Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm. To store, cover and refrigerate. Makes 50 truffles.

The crushed cookie merged with the chocolate and produced the perfect Christmas cookie, or so that was what the reviews stated. I thought I would include a pic of the cookie tray made for Dave & Co.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blissfully Delicious Recipe Contest Entry And Winner! Vanilla Bread Pudding With Vanilla Sauce Recipe

Back in May as I was checking the Places In The Home Facebook page a particular post from NESTLÉ Coffee-mate Natural Bliss caught my attention. Coffee-mate was announcing their Publish My Bliss Recipe contest on the Coffee-mate Natural Bliss Facebook page.  The rules for the contest seemed simple enough. The recipe submission must include at least one (1) Coffee-mate Natural Bliss ingredient (all-natural Caramel, Sweet Cream, Vanilla, or Low Fat Vanilla), step-by-step instructions, preparation instructions, cooking time and temperature, and recipe title. The opportunity to have one of my recipes published in the Blissfully Delicious recipe cookbook along with those of celebrity chef Claire Robinson and NESTLÉ Kitchens was very appealing.  I submitted my Vanilla Bread Pudding With Vanilla Sauce recipe with high hopes and fingers crossed.

via

You can only imagine how thrilled I was to receive an email notification stating my recipe, Vanilla Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce, was 1 of 10 selected in the Publish My Bliss recipe contest, and would be included in the cookbook, Blissfully Delicious.

The holidays present the perfect occasion for A game dishes and desserts, and this Vanilla Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce recipe rises to the occasion.

Ingredients

For the Bread Pudding ~

1 loaf (1 pound) French bread

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup half-and-half

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1 cup Vanilla Flavor NESTLÉ Coffee-mate Natural Bliss All-Natural Coffee Creamer

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

For the sauce~

½ cup butter or margarine

½ cup firmly packed brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup heavy whipping cream

¼ cup Vanilla Flavor NESTLÉ Coffee-mate Natural Bliss All-Natural Coffee Creamer

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

 

Directions

For bread pudding:

Preheat oven to 350. Spray 13 X 9-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

Break French bread into small pieces; place into prepared pan. Melt butter or margarine.  Pour over bread. Combine sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract in large bowl.  Add cream, half and half, and Coffee-mate Natural Bliss; mix well. Pour over bread pieces.

Bake for 40 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Sprinkle with ground cinnamon.

For sauce:

Combine butter or margarine, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cream, and Coffee-mate Natural Bliss in small saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until mixture thickens and comes to a full boil.  Remove from heat.

Stir in vanilla extract.

Serve warm with bread pudding.

 

 

You can view the entire Blissfully Delicious recipe e-book here.

Enjoy!

Fruit Melange With Honey, Almond, And Vanilla Yogurt Sauce

Planning  holiday meals often involves the search for at least one new recipe to bring to the holiday table.  It’s a holiday tradition at Places In The Home to have a fresh fruit melange. Some of my family members  insists a fruit melange balances out the calories of the rich meal, appetizers, and desserts. This recipe will definitely keep ’em happy while tipping the scales of culinary and caloric justice in favor of holiday “this is delicious!” harmony.

Fruit Melange with Honey, Almond, and Vanilla Yogurt Sauce

Ingredients

1 cup vanilla yogurt

3/4 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons  honey

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 apple, chopped

2 oranges, peeled, seeded, and sliced

juice from one orange

1 banana, sliced

1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced

1 bunch seedless green grapes, halved

Directions

In a mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, sour cream, honey, and almond extract and set aside.

Slice the banana and squeeze the juice of one orange over the sliced bananas. Add the apple, orange strawberries and halved grapes and gently mix together.

Spoon fruit  into individual serving bowls and drizzle with yogurt sauce.

Enjoy!

 

Chocolate Chip Drop Cookies

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of NECTRESSE™Sweetener. All opinions are 100% mine.

Summer salads are so good, but a sweet treat is the way to go with this week’s recipe.  There are times when you’ve just got to have a cookie, and a cookie with less sugar and less guilt is what I’m baking about.  This Chocolate Chip Drop Cookies recipe is made with a new product that cuts a few hundred calories.  Now that is a welcomed treat!

Have you heard of or tried NECTRESSE™Sweetener from the maker of Splenda® Sweeteners? I’m a harsh critic of the ingredients I use in my recipes. NECTRESSE™Sweetener  is both baking and tasting friendly, and it proved to be a perfect choice as a substitute for sugar. It derives its natural sweetness from the monk fruit, and is the only 100% natural sweetener made from fruit-monk fruit extract. 

 Lisa Ling is the NECTRESSE™ Sweetener spokesperson. Like me and so many others, due to a family history of diabetes she has always been cautious about her sugar intake.  She relied on no calorie sweeteners to satisfy her sweet tooth,  but she hasn’t liked any as much as NECTRESSE™.   I’m with Lisa on this!   Give this video from her a look for more information.

I used NECTRESSE™Sweetener to sweeten the cookies without the calories of sugar.  It proved to be a perfect choice as a substitute for sugar for baking. The sweetener is 150 times sweeter than sugar, and can be used in cooking and baking to add natural, zero calorie per serving sweetness. Dave the Builder, who serves as both taste tester and the official Places In The Home food critic,  ranked the cookies “coffee worthy”- in other words, the perfect treat to complement the all important afternoon cup of coffee. He even used a packet of  NECTRESSE™Sweetener in his coffee. My dad is a Type 2 diabetic. He was surprised at how good the cookie tasted. He asked me again, “These cookies are made with sweetener?”   Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner!

Chocolate Chip Drop Cookies

Ingredients
  • 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter or margarine, softened
  • 16 packets NECTRESSE™Sweetener  *** 1 packet of NECTRESSE™ Sweetener is equal to the sweetness of 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 1 ½  teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup premier white chocolate chips
Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and NECTRESSE™Sweetener until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Add vanilla.

Blend in the sifted ingredients to form a soft dough.

Stir in the semi-sweet and premier white chocolate chips.

Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls approximately 2 inches apart onto an ungreased baking sheet.

Bake for 8 to 11 minutes in preheated oven, or until light golden brown.  Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet before removing with spatula.

Enjoy!