Ginger Cookies

This is one of my most oft requested cookie when I go to a group function. Or for a very special friend who absolutely loves them and steals them whenever he can. ūüôā

I like the fact that the are simple to make, tasty, and still semi-soft compared to ginger snaps. I’m not a fan of overly hard cookies and as long as I don’t over bake these, they turn out perfect!

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Some of the best you'll ever have!
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Ingredients
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350¬įF
  2. Cream butter and sugar until smooth.
  3. Beat in egg and molasses.
  4. Add flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Roll into 1 inch balls.
  6. Roll balls into sugar and place on cookie sheet.
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
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Samoa Bundt Cake

I love Girl Scout cookies. LOVE THEM! And I have been known to order cases at a time because … I’m guilty of gluttony. Thin Mints, Samoas, and Trefoils are my absolute favorites. So when I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try it!

Note – I don’t make things pretty but I did try this time.

 

The taste is what truly matters. And this was pretty damn good! Not *exactly* like a Samoa, but close enough for me to eat more of this cake than I should!

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Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 60 minutes
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servings
Ingredients
Cake
Frosting
Toppings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 60 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Cake
Frosting
Toppings
Instructions
Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a bundt pan.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave until it's smooth when stirred.
  3. Beat the butter and brown sugar together.
  4. Add eggs and beat well.
  5. Add melted chocolate and beat.
  6. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add half to the batter along with half the sour cream.
  7. Add the second half of the flour mixture and sour cream.
  8. Add in the vanilla and hot water, mixing on low speed.
  9. Pour into bundt pan and bake for roughly 60 minutes.
  10. Take out of oven (leave the oven on!) and cool for about 15 minutes, then remove cake from pan.
Coconut Topping
  1. Spread your coconut out on a baking sheet. Pop in oven for roughly 5 minutes, stir and then toast for another 5. Keep an eye on it, as you don't want it to burn. It shouldn't take more than 10 minutes total - but you know your oven better than I do!
Frosting
  1. Beat butter and caramel together until smooth. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar.
  2. Add the cream a little bit at a time to get the consistency you want in the frosting.
Put it together!
  1. Frost the cooled cake. It's easier to pop the cake in the fridge to get it nice and cool before frosting.
  2. Gently pat the toasted coconut onto the cake, a little at a time.
  3. Drizzle it with the leftover caramel sauce and hot fudge sauce.
Recipe Notes

I recommend doing the frosting and coconut on a wire rack that has a baking sheet underneath. This will help you from losing too much coconut when you put it on.

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Poached Pears w/Caramel Cinnamon Sauce

I like pears well enough on their own, but when they are warm like these are, they are even better! For those who don’t like cinnamon (who are you people?!?), you can omit it and just have caramel. Or substitute the cinnamon with something else to flavor. Chili powder, if you like spicy, cardamon, star anise, or just add teaspoon or so of salt for salted caramel!

I made this the other night for the Man and the Girl. She helped with the pears while I did everything else. ūüôā You can use any type of pear you like, I just happened to use Bosc pears.

 

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Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
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Pears
Caramel Cinnamon Sauce
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Pears
Caramel Cinnamon Sauce
Instructions
  1. Peel and core pears, leaving stems in tact. Or, peel and cut in half, then core. Your choice.
  2. In a large pan, combine water, sugar, and lemon juice. Bring to boil
  3. Add pears to the boiling syrup. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Use this time to make caramel sauce! Put sugar in sauce pan. Use a spatula or wooden spoon, stir sugar over medium high heat until a golden color.
  5. Put butter into sugar and keep stirring!
  6. When butter has completely melted, take off heat and add cream a little bit at a time, still stirring.
  7. Toss in cinnamon, incorporating it complelety. Set sauce aside to cool a bit.
  8. Turn pears and let simmer for another 10 minutes, until they are tender.
  9. Remove pears and pour caramel sauce over and serve!
Recipe Notes

The caramel sauce will thicken as it cools. It shouldn't cool too much in 10 minutes, but enough to be able to pour over the pears. If it has thickened too much, warm it up a bit.

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Skillet S’Mores Dip

I love me some s’mores. I always looked forward to summer barbecues as a kid and the chance to make them. ¬†It was such a treat. Now that I’m older, I can make them anytime I want to, but still treat them as special as they were as a kid. I decided to make this tonight, since I’m watching my Patriots in a playoff game (and I have a bottle of champagne waiting if they win) and really need the chocolate!

This is so easy and it can be done in an oven or over a campfire!

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 handfuls of marshmallows ( mini or regular)
  • 1 package of graham crackers for dipping
Preheat oven to 450F. In a cast iron skillet (this recipe is for a smaller one) add chocolate chips first then marshmallows on top. Cover with foil. Bake for 5 minutes then uncover for marshmallows to toast for 2-3 more minutes. Serve with gram crackers!
The bigger the skillet, the more you’ll need and the more friends you’ll need to help you eat it!

Almond Joy Cookies

These are very tasty and can become addictive. My friend Paul, also an awesome chef in the kitchen, made these a couple of weeks ago and I couldn’t stop eating them. ¬†ūüôā

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups shredded coconut
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups lightly salted, dry roasted almonds, finely chopped


Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and mix just until combined. Fold in the coconut, chocolate chips and almonds and stir until just incorporated.

Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons on prepared baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until set.

German Chocolate Cookies

I have this friend, who absolutely loves anything to do with German Chocolate. ¬†Cake, cupcakes, brownies, etc., pretty much anything you can come up. ¬†So, cookies were mentioned and I offered to take up the mantle to try. ¬†I searched for a good recipe and you’d be amazed at how many sites offered “German” Chocolate cookies that contained NO German chocolate. ¬†*eyeroll*

Found this one and tried it.  They turned out kind of dry but am planning on making them again Рwith the most delicious coconut/pecan frosting on top.

As for my friend, I’ve apparently been given the job of feeding his German Chocolate addiction. ¬†I don’t mind. *grin*

Ingredients:

  • ¬Ĺ cup butter, softened
  • ¬Ĺ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ¬ľ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 4-oz. bar German‚Äôs sweet chocolate, melted
  • 1-1/4 cups flour
  • ¬ľ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¬ľ teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats.
In a large bowl beat butter and sugars with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and stir until combined. Add the melted chocolate and stir until combined.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add to the butter mixture, beating until combined. Stir in the coconut and pecans. Drop batter by tablespoonfuls onto the cookie sheet.

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Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cookies are set in the center. Let cool on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I marred my ex-husband in September of 1998. ¬†That Christmas, my now ex-mother-in-law sent a care package, containing the best banana bread I’ve ever tasted, pumpkin bread, bon bons, and the ultimate pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. ¬†She was kind enough to send me the recipes for all of them, minus the banana bread. ¬†Wench.

I made these recently for a bunch of friends and they couldn’t get enough. I understand that. ¬†ūüôā

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup pumpkin (*not* pumpkin pie filling!)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • OPTIONAL: 1 cup nuts

Preheat over to 375. ¬†Cream butter, sugar, vanilla, and pumpkin. ¬†Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and chocolate chips (and nuts if adding.) Drop on greased baking sheet about 2″ apart.

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Bake about 15 minutes. Makes roughly 4 dozen … depending on how big you make them.

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Sticky Rice with Mango

Growing up, I wasn’t a fan of any Asian foods except a little Chinese. ¬†Pork Fried ¬†Rice is still a favorite. ¬†As I’ve aged, I’ve branched out with Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, etc. ¬†I keep finding new things that I end up adoring.

One of those things has been Thai Sticky Rice. ¬†I’d had plenty of Thai food, but have always skipped dessert. ¬†Usually because I’m too damn full, but rice for dessert never sounded appealing. ¬†Then a friend had me try it a few years back and I realized …

I was an idiot.  A HUGE idiot.

I’m very lucky that I have two Asian markets not far from my house, so finding sticky rice (or sweet rice) wasn’t a problem. ¬†This is one of the easiest, tastiest, completely awesome-est desserts you can make. ¬†I crave this stuff too much to always eat out, so I’m happy this is so easy to make.

 

Ingredients:

1 cup Sticky Rice

1 cup Coconut Milk

2 tbsp Sugar

Pinch of salt

Now, I do not have a rice cooker. ¬†But this can easily be made in the microwave and doesn’t take a lot of time.

Put the rice into a microwavable bowl. ¬†Cover the rice with about a cup or so of warm water (water level should be above the rice) and let this soak for at least 10 minutes. ¬†After it’s done soaking (and don’t skip that step!), put in the microwave, cover with a plate or whatever, and cook for 3 minutes on high.

Take out and stir it well.  Put it back in for another 3 minutes.  Keep cooking at 3 minute intervals until all the rice is cooked Рlooks translucent.

While that’s cooking, you can prepare the coconut milk. ¬†Usually found in cans, shake it up a bit first. ¬†Pour the coconut milk into a small saucepan, on medium heat. ¬†Add the sugar and salt and allow to cook for a little bit. ¬†DO NOT BOIL.

When the rice is done, pour the coconut milk in with the rice. ¬†It’ll absorb quickly and be a bit mushy. ¬†This is what you want it to look like.

I like it with mango, but feel free to add whatever or nothing at all.  This is so easy and so awesome.

Cheesecake with champagne raspberry sauce

I love me some cheesecake. ¬†I try not to eat a whole lot of it because, well, I don’t need all the calories! ¬†But this is a very tasty recipe that got the compliment that I should be selling it. ¬†I’ll take that!

This was the first time using my spring-form pan, which worked beautifully. ¬†Be sure to read through thoroughly and at then end, you’ll find tips on how to keep your cheesecake from cracking in the middle – a very common problem for everyone.

Ingredients for Cheesecake:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 – 8oz packages of cream cheese
  • 1/2 pint heavy cream
  • 8oz sour cream
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp flour

Ingredients for Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups of graham crackers, crushed
  • 6 tbsp melted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 325¬į. ¬†I’ll say here that having a standing mixes is much easier than using any other method. ¬†Also, this recipe will fill a 9″ diameter, 3″ deep spring-form pan. ¬†If you are going to use something smaller, like a standard round cake pan – divide the recipe in half, or make mini cheesecakes in a muffin tin with the excess.

TIP:  Use room temperature ingredients, especially the cream cheese and eggs.

Mix together the cream cheese, sour cream, heavy cream, sugar, flour, and vanilla extract.  Once it becomes smooth, add the eggs Рone at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl.  Try to avoid beating air into the mixture.  At the end, mix in the juice of the lemon.

It should look pretty much like this:

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