Monthly Archives: November 2012

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

I love Thanksgiving.  It is all about family, friends, and food with lots of tradition thrown in.  It’s not as stressful as Christmas.  There’s not a million parties to go to and the stress of finding all the perfect gifts.  I pretty much took Thanksgiving for granted until Jonathan was in high school playing tennis.  He played in Louisville, Kentucky on Thanksgiving Day.  There were not too many places open and the restaurant we chose  was filled with those like us that had no family or friends around.  It was a sad sight and quite depressing. Since then I’m so thankful that I am lucky to have my family and friends to celebrate with.  I hope all of you have a great Thanksgiving with all the ones that you care about.

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Filed under Desserts

Praline-Topped Blondies

I am in love with Real Simple recipes.  I have not made one that was not just over the top. Here is another winner just in time for the holidays.  You are going to love it especially if you a lover of pralines.   They are so easy to make, too!  I was a little skeptical when I was reading the recipe and I saw 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, but with the really sweet topping the balance is perfect.  The recipe calls for an 8 inch square pan, but I used a 9 inch pan with no problem.  I did feel the need to double the topping recipe.  Great idea!  If you don’t want to make a thick topping just make one recipe for the praline topping.  I even put a second recipe on after the first one cooled and it worked fine.
With the Thanksgiving holiday right around the corner if you are like me you are frantically making out your menu and shopping list so  you can get started.  My family will be at my house on Sunday.   This year I am not cooking the traditional turkey and dressing that I usually make because we are traveling to a very special wedding in Greenville, South Carolina on Saturday.  My menu so far is Artichoke Dip that I will be posting next week, baked ham, roasted turkey breast, deviled eggs, Tami’s everything Salad, fresh peas and butterbeans from my freezer, hashbrown casserole, the old green bean casserole, buttermilk biscuits,  pumpkin cheesecake, and a new pecan pie from Marilyn.   I am looking forward to seeing everyone and enjoying our family.   What are your plans?
Here is a step-by-step:
  • Line pan with parchment paper
  • Measure salt, baking powder and flour
  • Melt 1 stick of butter and add 1 cup brown sugar
  • Add 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Add 2 eggs one at a time
  • Add dry ingredients
  • Pour in pan
For the topping:
  • Cook over medium heat 3 tablespoon brown sugar and 2 tablespoons butter until it bubbles
  • Remove from heat.  Add 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 tablespoon water.  Stir.
  • Spread over cooled blondies.
  • Sprinkle with 1/2 cup chopped pecans.

Praline-Topped Blondies   from Real Simple  
Yield: 16 blondies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • Topping:  I doubled the topping recipe for a 9 inch pan
  • 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350° F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.  I used a 9 inch pan.
  2. Line the pan with 2 crisscrossed pieces of parchment, leaving an overhang on all sides.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat.
  5. Remove from heat and mix in the brown sugar and vanilla.
  6. One at a time, mix in the eggs; mix in the flour mixture until just combined (do not overmix).
  7. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it, 20 minutes in a 9 in pan, but longer 25 minutes for an 8 inch pan. Cool completely in the pan.  I put mine in the freezer for quick cooling.
  8. Make the praline topping: In a small saucepan, heat the brown sugar and butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until bubbling, about 2 minutes.
  9. Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla, 1 tablespoon of water, and confectioners’ sugar until smooth.
  10. Spread over the cooled blondies and sprinkle with the pecans.
  11. Let the topping set, 10 to 15 minutes.
  12. Holding both sides of the paper overhang, lift the cake out of the pan, transfer to a cutting board, and cut into 16 squares. Store the blondies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

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Filed under Bar Cookies, Cookies

Meatloaf Muffins

One of my favorite comfort foods is meatloaf and mashed potatoes.  Several meatloaf recipes have made it to this blog and all of them have been good in their own way, but now this one is my favorite.  There is really no special ingredients that are added, but I  think that sauteing the peppers, onion , and garlic makes a big difference in the flavor.  This was not my bright idea although I would love to take credit.  Emeril Lagasse’s recipe for meatloaf kept coming up at the top of my Best Meatloaf search and while his recipe is much more complicated than this simple one he did saute the vegetables first.  So I thought I would give it a try and guess what it works great!  The idea for these Meatloaf Muffins came from Better Homes and Garden’s Make and Take magazine.  I think it is a great idea if you have small children or you do want to take this to a pot luck dinner.  But, I found them to be more time consuming than just the standard free formed meatloaf cooked on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Although the muffins might take a shorter time to cook I found that placing them in the muffin pans took longer to prepare.     This recipe made it to my table three times last month and even the leftovers are grand! Continue reading

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Filed under Main dish