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Archive for the ‘Desserts’ Category

This is so simple I’m almost embarrassed to post it. But they’re fun and yummy and everyone needs a little holiday spirit once in awhile. Enjoy!

Fourth of July Cupcakes

Ingredients

One boxed white cake mix + the eggs and oil to prepare it
Red food coloring
Blue food coloring
One tub white frosting
Festive sprinkles

Directions

Prepare batter as directed on package, being sure to use egg whites rather than whole eggs (most boxed white cake mixes give you the option.) Divide the prepared batter into three small bowls. Add red food coloring to one bowl, blue food coloring to another, and don’t add anything to the third. Spoon a layer of each color into lined cupcake tins. Bake according to package directions. Cool, frost and decorate!

Notes

  • The hardest part of this recipe was finding white cupcake papers. I ended up using the liners found between foil cupcake holders. I think the manufacturer expects you to throw them away. But, they are white and work perfectly!
  • Mix and match colors for other holidays!

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With the 4th of July approaching, you might be invited to a picnic or two. And you might be asked to bring something. Instead of stopping by the grocery store for a pre-made cheese tray, wow your guests with something homemade. And, more importantly, simple!

The very simplest of simple:

A touch more effort but you can do it!

The extra work is worth it (and they’re still simple, just a bit more chopping and slicing!):

Enjoy your picnic!

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I have a story about these cookies. Way back when my brother was just starting high school, his German language class was participating in an “Around the World for Lunch” day. Each student was supposed to make and bring a type of food common to whatever language they were currently studying. As usual, my brother waited until the night before to tell anyone about the assignment. So there I sat going through recipe books at 10 p.m. trying to find something 1.) German, 2.) That he (I) could successfully cook, and 3.) Using ingredients we had on hand since there was no time for a trip to the store. Guess what? #1 took a back seat. I found these “Brown Sugar Drops,” decided we would call them “German Brown Sugar Drops” and call it a night. They aren’t the least bit German. But they ended up being the hit of the luncheon and for the next week or two we gave out many copies of the “German Brown Sugar Drops” recipe. Enjoy!

Ingredients

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup water
1 egg
1-3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

In a large bowl, mix brown sugar, shortening, water, and egg. Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt until just combined. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake until almost no indentation remains when touched, 8-10 minutes. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Cool, then spread with light brown glaze (below). Makes 3 dozen cookies.

Light Brown Glaze

1/4 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 2 tablespoons milk

Heat margarine in saucepan over medium heat until well-browned. Stir in powdered sugar and vanilla. Gradually add milk, stirring until smooth.

Notes

  • I’ve tried butter, margarine, and shortening for the cookies and believe it or not shortening is best.
  • But, butter is the best choice for the glaze.
  • The glaze tends to get quite lumpy when adding the sugar to the browned butter. I typically add more milk than called-for, to smooth it out. Then I add more powdered sugar to re-thicken. This process makes it easier to get rid of the lumps. And who doesn’t love extra frosting?!?!? ๐Ÿ™‚
  • A print-friendly version of this recipe can be found here.

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Sometimes you’re just in a rush and only a boxed mix will do. These are quick, simple, and delicious! And the variations are almost limitless. Enjoy!

Ingredients

1 boxed brownie mix (13 x 9 inch pan size)
1 egg
2 tablespoons water
1/3 cup oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix all ingredients in a bowl until just combined. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes. Remove from cookie sheets and cool completely.

Notes

These are delicious as written, but the variations are endless.

  • Add a few handfuls of chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, vanilla chips, peanut butter chips, or mix up the chips in any combination you might like!
  • Add walnuts, peanuts, or coconut.
  • Frost cookies and decorate with sprinkles.
  • Melt chocolate chips (or any flavor) in the microwave with a bit of half-and-half and drizzle over the top.
  • I bet you can think of many more!

A print-friendly version of this recipe can be found here.

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Chocolate Saltines

A fabulous party food: easy to make, perfectly sized pieces, sweet + salty. Give ’em a try!

Ingredients

saltine crackers (about 1-1/2 sleeves)
1/2 cup sugar
1 stick butter
1/2 cup chocolate chips (or any flavor)
1/4 cup butterscotch chips (or any flavor)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange saltines on a cookie sheet. Set aside. In a medium saucepan on the stovetop melt butter over medium heat. Add sugar. Mix well, and cook until the sugar seems fully dissolved. How long? Oh, maybe 5 minutes. Just don’t let it burn. Pour mixture over saltines and spread with a heat-safe spatula. Place try in oven for 8 minutes. Sugar mixture will be very hot andย  bubbly. Remove from oven and sprinkle chips on top. Wait about 2-3 minutes. Chips will not look melted but they are! Spread all around with spatula covering sugar mixture with melted chocolate. Refrigerate until cool, then break apart and serve.

Notes

  • Try different variations: milk chocolate with white chocolate, butterscotch with white chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate with milk chocolate, all butterscotch, etc. You really can’t go wrong!ย 
  • If your cookie sheet is not non-stick, use parchment or a silpat.

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Two favorites in one!!

Ingredients

One prepared 13×9 inch batch o’ brownies
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1 cup chocolate chips

Directions

Prepare your favorite brownie recipe, from scratch or a box mix. Bake as directed and cool completely. Note: This topping goes on top of cooked/cooled brownies. Do not add prior to baking! Combine melted butter with sugars in a medium bowl. Mix well. Add each remaining ingredient one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Spread mixture over cooled brownies. YUM!

Notes

  • Remember, the topping goes on the brownies AFTER they are cooked. If you put it on beforehand, you won’t have chocolate chip cookie dough brownies, you’ll just have chocolate chip cookie brownies. Delicious I’m sure but that’s not the point. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • I like the mini-chocolate chips.

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Nice way to add some bran to the diet! (In other words, a good excuse to eat a cookie!)

Ingredients

2-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup All Bran Original
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional, we skipped them)
1 cup (6 oz. package) semi-sweet chocolate morsels (or butterscotch, or peanut butter)

Directions

Stir together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat well. Mix in hot water. Add All Bran cereal, flour mixture, walnuts and chocolate chips, mixing until combined. Drop by teaspoons onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray (or use parchment).

Bake at 375 degrees about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Yum!

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