Friday, December 15, 2017

CHOCOLATE AND PEANUT BUTTER TRUFFLES

I am so excited about sharing this recipe with you and what a perfect time, too. I took these Chocolate and Peanut Butter Truffles to an Open House with friends last night. They not only are scrumptious, but so impressive looking. Did I mention how easy they are also? You couldn't find an easier gift for someone and then you get to tell them - you made them.

I intended to take something else to the party, but it didn't turn out well (fortunately that doesn't happen too often with me, but it did this time) and so it was just luck that I ended up making these truffles.

These would be fun to make if you have children (or grandchildren) and you let them roll the "balls" in the coatings. The recipe made exactly (well, there was just a little extra on the sides of the bowl that I got to enjoy) 36 truffles. Don't forget the little mini muffin paper cups if you give them as a gift or take them to a party as I did.

The recipe was from The L.o.V.E Chocolate Cookbook and was in the Best of the Best from Iowa cookbook. Believe it or not I didn't make any changes in the ingredients, just in the time suggested. There was just no way the mixture was ready to work with after being in the refrigerator 2 hours as the recipe said. I just decided to leave it over night which was just perfect. It didn't take that long making the balls and coating them the next morning.



CHOCOLATE AND PEANUT BUTTER TRUFFLES

1        cup peanut butter chips
3/4     cup butter or margarine (I used unsalted butter.)
1/2     cup cocoa powder
1        (14 - ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1        tablespoon vanilla extract

COATINGS: Finely chopped nuts, or unsweetened cocoa, graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar, or chocolate or candy sprinkles


In a heavy saucepan, over low heat, melt chips with the butter.
Stir til melted and smooth.


Stir in cocoa until
smooth.


Add milk and vanilla.


Cook and stir until thickened and well blended, about 4 minutes.
(I cooked mine 5 minutes and decided to stop because the mixture was smooth but not very thick. I didn't want to burn it though.)



Remove from heat.


Transfer to a different bowl and refrigerator overnight.
You want the mixture to be the consistency that you can work with it.
Shape into 1 - inch balls.
(The small cookie scoop works great for this. Mine holds 1 tablespoon of water.)


Roll in any of the toppings suggested or any of your own.




After I rolled the balls, I placed them in a mini muffin paper cup (and then served them in them).

Chill until firm, about one hour. (I rolled mine in the morning and then just left them in the refrigerator all day.)



Store covered in refrigerator.


Thursday, December 14, 2017

SNOWBALLS, AMISH NUT BALLS

The closer it gets to Christmas, the more opportunities we have to eat calorie rich food, aka awesome sweets. We finished the Date Bars and there was nothing else in the house sweet to eat. I don't know if you saw the post for the Date Bars, but they were the best. It took us a few days to eat all of them so the last few were a little dry. All I did was put one on a napkin and heat in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds on HIGH and it tasted like I had just taken it out of the oven. I definitely need to make them again and soon.

Well, I love this recipe I found in my DIL Sara's cookbook called The Amish Baking Cookbook, Plainly Delicious Recipes Oven to Table by Georgia Varozza and Kathleen Kerr. They called it Amish Nut Balls, but I have seen similar recipes in several of my Amish cookbooks and they called them Snowballs. They are also known by many other names.

What I really love about this recipe is it made exactly 23 cookies. They are so good and literally just melt in your mouth. It is really hard to eat just one. (You could always double the recipe if you wanted more.)



AMISH NUT BALLS

2/3       cup butter, room temperature
1          cup ground nuts (I used pecans.)
1          cup flour
3          tablespoons sugar
1          teaspoon vanilla
1/8       teaspoon salt
powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.


Combine all ingredients except the powdered sugar in a large mixing bowl.


Work with fingers until well blended.
(I didn't have a lot of time and I took the easy out and used my mixer.)


Shape balls the size of large marbles.
(I used my cookie scoop that holds 1 tablespoon water. Works great.)


Place balls on ungreased cookie sheet.


Bake 10 minutes. 
While still warm, roll in powdered sugar.










(Since I have never made these before, I wasn't sure how soon I should roll the cookies in the sugar. They were a little soft on the cookie sheet, so I took them off the sheet and placed them on a wire rack. After a few minutes, I rolled them in the sugar and placed them on the wire rack to finish cooling. The second pan I removed the cookies to the rack and let them cool longer before I rolled them in the sugar. This way the powdered sugar coated the cookies better. I ended up rolling them all again the second time.


I would recommend that you place a piece of wax paper under the rack because this is really messy.



Wednesday, December 13, 2017

JANICE'S APPLE DUMP CAKE

Saturday night when the Tasty Bunch met for dinner, dessert, and gab, we went to a new Texas Road House that opened  nearby for dinner and a little gab. (It is hard to visit much in a busy restaurant and then of course impossible with 10 people sitting at a long table. That's why we decided to go back to the host/ess home for dessert and a quieter place to visit.) Then we went to Friends Janice and Leon's house for dessert and more gab. 

Janice served her Apple Dump Cake for dessert and, as usual, it was so-o-o-o good. She loves making it and I have been lucky enough to enjoy it on several different occasions. Friend Carol wanted the recipe and asked me if I had it on my blog. I told her I did and I would send her the link. When I got home, I discovered I had shared Janice's Peach Crisp (which is the same recipe as the Apple Dump Cake but just uses peaches/peach pie filling instead.) and had never shared the recipe using apples. The other thing I noticed is the recipe I/Janice shared was not Janice's own version. At first I thought I would just edit the original post, but after thinking about it for a while, I decided to share her version in a new post. I am sorry that I have only one picture (my serving) but I didn't take a picture of the whole cake because I thought I had already shared the recipe. (You can see a picture of the Peach Dump Cake at that original post here.)

Janice likes to make her version when she wants to serves more than a 9 x 13 - inch pan will serves. She has a glass baking dish that measures 10 x 15 - inches that she uses and it makes enough to serve 12.


JANICE'S APPLE DUMP CAKE

Preheat oven to 365 degrees F. Spray a 10 x 15 - inch glass baking dish with non stick cooking spray.

First Layer:

Peel, core, and slice 3 apples and spread over the bottom of the pan.
Spread 2 cans of apple pie filling evenly over the fresh apple slices.
Sprinkle 1/4 cup brown sugar evenly over the pie filling.
Sprinkle a little cinnamon on top.
Carefully pour 1/3 cup water over it all.

Second Layer:

Sprinkle a yellow cake mix evenly over the first layer.

Third Layer:

Prepare topping by combining the following ingredients: 

3/4  cup old fashioned oats
3/4  cup quick oats
3/4  cup brown sugar
1/2  cup chopped pecans

Then sprinkle topping evenly over the last layer.

Melt 2 sticks of butter and drizzle over topping covering it evenly.

Cover pan with foil and  bake for 20 minutes.

Remove the foil and continue baking for 40 more minutes.

Can serve alone, with ice cream, or with whipped topping.

Now if you want to make her Peach Dump Cake, you follow the same directions except you will use a bag of frozen peach slices (10 - 14 ounces) in place of the fresh apple slices and use 2 cans of peach pie filling. She makes a single layer of the frozen peach slices in the bottom of the pan.

Once again, if you would like to see the original post and a picture of the whole cake, check it out here.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

DATE BARS

Last week I started prep work on a crown on one of my back molars. I started taking goodies to my dentist and his staff last year. (I needed another place to bake and take something I wanted to share with you here.) Well, last week I was all consumed with the fire in Ventura, CA and didn't get anything made before I went. (We lived in Ventura for 21 years before we moved to Kansas City 9 years ago. It has just been devastating and so surreal. Three of the teachers I taught with lost their houses in the fire.) I felt badly about my neglect, but then when I lost my temporary and had to go back two days later, I thought I would take them something. (I had told Dee, the receptionist, that I would bring them something when I came back to get my permanent crown.

The important thing is I had good intentions; I just didn't look at the clock when I started them. Turned out, the timer went off like 2 minutes before I needed to leave for the dentist. I had just enough time to remove them from the oven and cut them into bars, but they were too hot to take to the dentist. I did take a picture and showed it to them when I got there. (I know ... that was really tacky of me.) I promised them I would bring something really special when my crown is ready. (I have a recipe for chocolate covered cherries I want to make.

Because there is no tooth behind the molar, Dr. G told me the temporary might come off again. I hope not. I told him I didn't plan to eat on it like I did before. I'm hoping the permanent crown will come back earlier than my appointment and they can schedule me to come in later this week. It is not fun eating everything on one side of the mouth.

Since I didn't take any to my dentist office, I gave four bars to Friends Janice and Leon when Janice and I went out shopping Friday. She was going to stop me at two, but decided she wanted one to eat with her coffee the next morning. Later that night as I was enjoying one, I found a small date pit in the bar. I sent Janice a text to warn her to eat softly just in case and she said all was well and they had already eaten them all. Guess she didn't get to enjoy one with her coffee Saturday morning. Saturday night when our Tasty Bunch met, the first thing Leon told me was how much he enjoyed those date things I made.

I found the recipe in Louise Durman's Just Desserts, a  compilation of recipes from the Knoxville News - Sentinel. They were really, really good. I am sorry I didn't start them early enough to take some to Dr. G and his staff.



DATE BARS

3/4       cup sifted flour
1/2       teaspoon baking powder
1/2       teaspoon salt
1          cup brown sugar (I removed 6 teaspoonfuls)
1/4       cup shortening, melted (I used canola oil instead)
2          eggs, beaten
1          cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
1          cup chopped dates

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or spray a 7 x 11 - inch pan.


Sift flour and
then measure,
add baking powder and salt and sift the three ingredients together.


Combine sugar with the flour mixture.
(I removed 6 teaspoons of brown sugar from the cup.)


Mix melted shortening (or oil) with beaten eggs then
combine the mixture with the dry ingredients.
Mix in nuts and dates.
Pour into pan and
bake for 30 minutes.
Cut bars while still hot with a sharp knife.



Monday, December 11, 2017

PIGOUT CAKE

Are you ready for a most unusual cake? This is not your regular chocolate cake. I took the cake to Hillcrest Thrift Shop to share with the volunteers last Tuesday. One of the volunteers came out of the community room eating a piece and said, "I don't know who made this but this is delicious!" Another volunteer told her I had made it. Then I told her what it was called - Pigout Cake and she laughed and said, "Well, that is what I am doing...pigging out on it."

I have never seen a cake made like this using a cake mix. The water gives it a different, more dense texture, but oh so good. Then add the frosting, and omg...perfection. In fact, Volunteer Roger came by the register and told me I had outdone myself on the dessert.

The recipe in Best of the Best from Iowa was from the cookbook Home Cooking with the Cummer Family. This cookbook contains over 400 recipes from 89 different cookbooks that they call the best of Iowa. As of 1998 there were 24 Best of the Best cookbooks from 23 different states (Texas has two.) I have one or two of them. I haven't really done them justice checking them out, but I must. Until then... I hope you will give this Pigout Cake a chance.

I used some sugar free products when I made the cake. I didn't use a sugar free yellow cake mix but could have reduced the calories even more if I had.



PIGOUT CAKE

1       yellow cake mix (You could use a sugar free yellow cake mix)
1       package instant (milk) chocolate pudding (4 serving size) (I used a sugar free mix)
2       cups lukewarm water
2       egg whites, slightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or spray a 9 x 13 - inch pan.


Combine cake mix and pudding in a large mixing bowl.


Add water and egg whites. (Just whisk the egg whites til lots of bubbles.)


Mix well.


Pour batter in cake pan and spread out evenly.


Bake for 25 to 35 minutes. 

Cool cake slightly in pan on wire rack.






Remove from pan and place on serving plate or covered plastic container.

Frost with frosting when completely cool.

FROSTING

1/4     cup softened butter
1        cup powdered sugar, sifted
1       (8 ounce) container of whipped topping (I used a sugar free one)

Heath or Skor candy bar, crushed (I used a little toffee brittle bits)


Beat butter and powdered sugar together until nice and smooth. (Make sure butter is soft.)


Fold in whipped topping.


Spread frosting on top and sides of the cake.


Sprinkle crushed candy bits on top.

Store in the refrigerator, covered.