Friday, December 9, 2016

PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHIP LOAVES

Monday was the busiest baking days I have had in quite a while. Tuesday night we had our annual Ladies Christmas Tea at church and Friend Janice and I hosted a table again (seating 10 ladies). I made two chocolate pecan pies for our table. I also made three dozen cookies to treat the men servers at the tea. I also worked my usual 3-hour shift at the register for Hillcrest Thrift Shop and of course had to make something to take to treat the volunteers.

For some reason it took me longer than normal to make a decision on what to make for the latter. I finally chose this recipe for Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Loaves from my Famous Brand Name Gifts from the Christmas Kitchen cookbook. They had a full page picture of it and it looked really scrumptious with the glass of milk. 

As usual, the complements flowed from the volunteers. When I tell my husband or friends what they tell me, the usual response I get is, "Well, they would probably say that about any thing you brought." I disagree. I can tell if they aren't as crazy about the treat as they usually are.


PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHIP LOAVES

3          cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2    teaspoons baking powder
1           teaspoon baking soda
1           teaspoon salt
1           cup creamy peanut butter
1/2       cup butter, softened (I stick)
1/2       cup granulated sugar
1/2       cup packed light brown sugar
2          eggs
1-1/2    cups buttermilk
2          teaspoons vanilla
1           cup semisweet mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 - inch loaf pans.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl; set aside.

Beat peanut butter, butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in large mixing bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy.

Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down side of bowl after each addition.

Beat in buttermilk and vanilla.

Gradually add flour mixture.
Beat at low speed.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Divide dough evening between prepared pans. (I used one 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 - inch pan and one smaller. I filled the larger one fuller and it took longer to cook. Next time I will just make two the same size.)

Bake 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes before removing to finish cooling completely on the wire rack.

Wrap with foil to keep it moist.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

NUTTY CHOCOLATE PIE

Did I mention earlier this week that the annual Ladies Christmas Tea was happening at our church this week. My friend Janice and I have "hosted" a table for the last several years. It is such a fun evening and the perfect "kick-off" for the holiday season with desserts, singing, and always a moving, inspirational speech. When we first starting hosting, we had a variety of desserts. Then two years ago, we moved to a larger location and the dessert was provided. This year we moved back to our church with the opening of our new worship center that will seat 750. We didn't have too much trouble getting tables set up for almost 500 ladies.

At first Janice suggested a red velvet cake recipe she had, but then decided she wanted something else. Believe it or not, we even considered "buying" cheesecake but I just felt like that would unexceptable with my friends who would be sitting at the table. They all know how much I bake. 

Since I have been craving chocolate pecan pie ever since I made the pecan pie for our Thanksgiving dinner with our younger son and his family, I decided this weekend that that was what I was going to bake. I looked at several different recipes since I couldn't find the one that I used several years ago. 

It is surprising how many different chocolate pecan recipes there are. Since a number of them were different recipes for pecan pies with just the addition of chocolate chips, I considered making my mother's recipe for her No Fail Pecan Pie (the best pecan recipe I have ever eaten) and just add some chocolate chips. Instead though I decided to go by a recipe I had in my recipe box that I first baked in February 1986. (I wonder if this is the recipe I remember from a long time ago. I didn't remember the chips not melting a little but maybe they did back then, but didn't this time because I used the dark chocolate chips - 60% cacao chips. They keep their shape when baked.

This was a recipe from Nestle-Toll House. It is different from another recipe I found in one of my Brand Name cookbooks for a Toll House chocolate pecan pie though.

Well, everyone loved it at the tea even though the chips had not melted. I felt that because the pie is so sweet, that the dark chocolate chips would tone it down a little. The only problem I had was I cut the pies into servings for 6 and I ate the whole piece. (I never eat such a big piece of pecan pie.)



NUTTY CHOCOLATE PIE

3       eggs
1        cup light corn syrup
1/2    cup sugar
2       tablespoons butter, melted
1        teaspoon vanilla
1        cup coarsely chopped pecans
6       oz (1 cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips (I did use the dark chocolate chips)
1        unbaked 9 - inch pie shell

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.


In a large bowl, beat eggs until well combined.
Add syrup, nuts, chips, sugar,. butter, and vanilla;
mix until well blended.
Pour evenly into pie shell.



Bake for 50 to 60 minutes. (Filling should be slightly less set in center than around the edges. I took mine out of the oven at 50 minutes.)

Cool completely.

Here is a picture of the ladies at our table last night 



and here is one more of my two friends (that I talk about a lot here on this blog) .... Fran, Janice, and me



and here is a picture of our table....



Tuesday, December 6, 2016

CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY CAKE

Last Thursday our quilters' canasta group met at Friend Ellen's for an afternoon of cards. We play twice a month and have so much fun. We jokingly say we have a lot of fun if we are on the winning side. Friends Janice and Dorothy and I were on the winning side this time. Dorothy was especially glad as she said she has not been very lucky lately. 

Ellen told me while we were playing that she had made a new dessert. That made me very happy. She is always good about sharing her desserts with me, in fact, everyone in the group is. Sometimes Ellen makes one of "my" desserts. She especially likes the strawberry upside down cake and has served it several times.

This chocolate cake was especially good and enjoyed by everyone.

The interesting thing was how Ellen got the recipe. Ellen wanted to give her daughter's best childhood friend a shower but was told she didn't really need anything. Still wanting to do something, Ellen decided to have a Recipe Shower. Everyone brought a favorite recipe. This was one of the recipes brought. I think that is a marvelous idea for a shower. I would have a hard time picking just one recipe though.


CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY CAKE

1       devil's food cake mix
1       cup sour cream
3      eggs
1/2   cup oil (Ellen used coconut oil)
1       12 - oz package frozen raspberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the bottom of a 9 z 13 - inch baking dish.

Mix all of the ingredients together and blend til smooth.

Pour into cake pan.

Bake according to the directions on the cake mix box.

Cool completely before frosting.

CHOCOLATE FROSTING

3/4      cup whipping cream
1           12- ounce package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1           teaspoon vanilla

Scald the whipping cream over med-low heat (film forms on top and bubbles appear around the edges).

Add the chocolate chips and stir until completely melted.

Add the vanilla.

Pour over the cake if layered.

Cool frosting, then whip the mixture until it is thick. Then frost the cake. (This is what Ellen did. She waited until the pan was cool before doing this.)

Store in the refrigerator.


Serve alone....


Or with a scoop of ice cream.


Monday, December 5, 2016

MIRIAM GOOD'S GERMAN CHOCOLATE PIE

December is here already. Christmas will be here probably before I am ready. I have already done some of my Christmas shopping so it probably isn't as bad as I may think. Last year I think I ordered almost everything from online. This year I have actually gone to some stores and purchased some things. I missed it last year. I love going to the stores and singing along to the Christmas music being played. Not sure the other shoppers enjoy hearing my contribution, but I surely do enjoy it. 

One thing that will probably be the same again this year is I will have recipes that I wanted to make that I won't find the time to make. Why do we have to have recipes that we only think of making during the month of December? Don't be surprised if you see some of those treats after Christmas.

This German Chocolate Pie is not a recipe that you would feel like you could only make it during December. I wanted to make something sweet for us and was craving chocolate. Later today I will be making two chocolate pecan pies for the Women's Christmas Tea at church Tuesday night. Ever since I made the pecan pie for our Thanksgiving dinner with our younger son and his family, I have wanted to make (and eat) a chocolate pecan pie. I hope the other ladies at our table also is craving chocolate pecan pie also.

But for now, let's talk about Miriam's German Chocolate Pie. This recipe came out of Phyllis Pellman Good and Kate Good's Mennonite Recipes from the Shenandoah Valley cookbook. I had checked it several months ago but just never got around to trying it. Yesterday (actually Saturday night) I decided it was time. As I usually do (especially if it is something I'm not really sharing with others), I tried to reduce the sugar calories as much as I could - without ruining the taste of the treat. First I used my sugar/stevia blend which meant I only needed to use a half cup instead of a full cup of sugar. I also used organic unsweetened coconut for the coconut. 




GERMAN CHOCOLATE PIE

1      cup sugar (or 1/2 cup sugar/stevia blend)
2     tablespoons flour
1      tablespoon cornstarch
3     tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4  teaspoon salt
2     eggs, slightly beaten
2/3 cup milk
1      tablespoon vanilla
3     tablespoons butter, melted
2/3 cup coconut (unsweetened coconut works)
1/3  cup chopped pecans
1      9 - inch unbaked pie crust

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.


In a bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and salt.


In another bowl, beat eggs slightly. Then add milk, vanilla, and butter. 


Add wet mixture to dry mixture. Mix well.


Add coconut.


Pour into pie shell.


Sprinkle nuts on top.


Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. (In my new gas oven I am finding myself cooking the full length of baking time.)


Cool on wire rack.

Serve.








Friday, December 2, 2016

LEMON PECAN COOKIES

Well, are you ready for another fabulous cookie recipe? Like I said in Wednesday's post for the Double Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Cookies, I was sharing it first only because I made them first. Trust me, these cookies are also a winner!

I have to admit that the cookies were supposed to be Orange Pecan Cookies, but I didn't have any orange flavoring. I had just about every other flavor flavoring, but decided to stay with a citrus flavor and chose lemon. I admitted to some of the other SAM singers and after taking a bite or two, they told me they loved the lemon flavor. In fact, preferred it over the orange flavoring.



LEMON PECAN COOKIES

1       (17.5 ounce sugar cookie mix
1/2   cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1       egg
1       teaspoon lemon extract
1/2   cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.


Combine the cookie mix, butter, egg, lemon extract, and pecans.
Mix well. (I did decide to use my electric mixer.)






Using a cookie scoop, drop dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. (Forgot to take a picture, but as you can see in the next picture, they flatten out nicely.)


Bake for 12 to 13 minutes, or until lightly browned around edges.


Remove from oven and let cool on sheet for 1 minutes before removing them to finish cooling on wire rack.


Makes a little over 3 dozen cookies.



Wednesday, November 30, 2016

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT CRUNCH COOKIES

Monday after spending the morning bringing the Christmas decorations down from the attic, I had to take a break and make some cookies. 

I recently joined the SAM (Senior Adult Ministries) choir at our church and we have been presenting a Christmas program at 6 different senior living facilities nearby on Tuesday afternoons. Because of a conflict at the church, we decided to gather this Tuesday for a little party back at the church and invited the church's staff to join us. Our director said he would have cookies and drinks for us to enjoy. I offered to help out and he said I could bring a dozen cookies. SO I had those to make plus Tuesday morning is my normally scheduled volunteer day at Hillcrest Thrift Shop. I hadn't planned to make cookies to take to Hillcrest, but after successfully trying a new recipe, I thought, Why not make some cookies to take to the volunteers at the thrift shop.

It has been hard to decide which recipe to share first. The volunteers at Hillcrest loved the Dark Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Cookies and the fellow choir members and church staff really liked the Lemon Pecan Cookies. AND I loved both of them. 

I finally just decided to share them in the order that I made them. That doesn't mean I liked the chocolate ones better than the lemon ones. They are both definitely winners. I think the Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips are a seasonal item so you might want to buy an extra bag for later in the year.


DOUBLE CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT CRUNCH COOKIES

1         cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
2        cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4    cups special dark cocoa
1/2     teaspoon baking soda
1/2     teaspoon salt
1         cup packed brown sugar (I used 1/2 cup brown sugar/stevia blend)
1/2     cup granulated sugar (I used 1/4 cup sugar/stevia blend)
2        large eggs, room temperature
1         teaspoon vanilla extract
1         package (10-ounces)  Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips
1         cup chopped pecans or walnuts (I used a mixture of English walnuts and black walnuts)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt the butter in the microwave.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. (I sifted the ingredients twice.)

Beat butter with the sugars and vanilla in a mixing bowl til smooth and creamy.

Beat in the eggs.

Gradually add the flour mixture and stir on low just until blended.

Add the chips and nuts.

With a cookie scoop (1 tablespoon size), drop dough on an ungreased cookie sheet or one lined with parchment paper about 2 inches apart. (Cookies do not spread but you don't want to overload the cookie sheet.)

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Leave on cookie sheet for 1 minute
before you remove the cookies to finish cooling on wire rack.



Hope you will check back tomorrow for the recipe for the Lemon Pecan Cookies.