a little of each

A family's cookbook

Vanilla Sauce for Gingerbread June 2, 2013

Filed under: Desserts — alittlemoreofeach @ 3:45 pm
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January 5, 2017. Today is my dad’s birthday. He would’ve been 68. Should’ve been. Instead he died nine years ago, and it still stinks. I try so hard to remember him outloud. I don’t know that I believe that it keeps him alive, but I will do anything to create him as a full person in the girls’ minds and memories. So we talk about him, how he loved to bake and how they’ve inherited that. How he loved the Boston Red Sox and umpiring and playing golf and the Beatles. I sing Yesterday to them as a (depressing) lullaby and Blackbird. And I tear up. Every single time.

I also talk to them about nutmeg, my dad’s “secret” ingredient. I get to use those irony quotes because it was a secret from no one that he loved nutmeg and would put it in any recipe he thought needed a little special something. It often worked. But sometimes he’d be a little heavy-handed with the powerful seasoning. If someone mentioned, “Maybe there’s a bit too much nutmeg?” he’d take it personally and pout just a bit.  So nutmeg is my dad. After he had his stroke and was in the ICU for nearly two weeks, my sister would bring in whole nutmegs and hold them under his nose. To connect with him, to remind him that we are here, to try to bring him home. As powerful as nutmeg is, it wasn’t up for that job.

I make this dessert because of the nutmeg. It is the star. The gingerbread is nice enough (and often comes from a box – shhh!), but the warmed vanilla sauce with its specks of nutmeg and velvety texture is heavenly. I acknowledge that it could be straight out of a 1960s-era Good Housekeeping cookbook and maybe not the prettiest thing ever plated. But it’s comforting, and it connects us, and it brings me home for just a minute.

 

Ingredients

½ cup sugar

2 Tbl cornstarch

1 cup boiling water

2 Tbl butter

1 tsp vanilla

nutmeg, to taste

 

Directions

Mix sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan. Stir in boiling water and simmer for five minutes or until thickened. Add butter, vanilla and nutmeg. Serve warm.

 

 

 

Sweet Cream with Berries

Filed under: Desserts — alittlemoreofeach @ 3:41 pm
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Stephanie served this simple yet decadent dessert for Easter in 2004. The sweet cream is very similar to the Mock Devonshire Cream, but it is softer and sweeter. The recipe serves four. Or one. It depends.

 

Ingredients

1 cup sugar

1 envelope unflavored gelatin

2 cups whipping cream

2 (8 oz) containers of sour cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

Fresh berries such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries.

 

Directions

Combine sugar and gelatin in a medium saucepan. Stir in whipping cream and let stand one minute. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wire whisk for five minutes or until gelatin dissolves. Remove from heat and cool. Stir sour cream and vanilla into cooled gelatin mixture. Pour into a serving bowl. Cover and chill for three hours or until set. Serve by spooning into dessert dishes. Top with fresh berries.

 

Mock Devonshire Cream

Filed under: Desserts — alittlemoreofeach @ 3:39 pm
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We enjoyed Mock Devonshire Cream with apricot scones before we braved the craft extravaganza that was the 2002 Dade City Kumquat Festival. Makes about 3 cups.

 

Ingredients

½ cup cold water

1 tsp unflavored gelatin

1 cup chilled sour cream

1 cup chilled whipping cream

¼ cup sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

 

Directions

Place water in small saucepan. Sprinkle gelatin over water. Let stand until gelatin softens, about 10 minutes. Stir mixture over low heat until gelatin dissolves. Let stand just until cool but not set, about 10 minutes. Place sour cream in medium bowl. Stir in gelatin mixture. Beat cream, sugar and vanilla in medium bowl until soft peaks form; fold into sour cream mixture in 2 additions. Cover; chill at least 1 hour. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.)

 

Creamy Velveeta Fudge

Filed under: Desserts — alittlemoreofeach @ 3:37 pm
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Don’t let the name fool you or gross you out – this is a wonderful, creamy fudge.

 

Ingredients

1 stick butter

8 oz Velveeta cheese

½ cup baking cocoa

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 lbs confectioners sugar

 

Directions

Melt butter and cheese on low heat. Sift in cocoa and sugar; stir well. Add vanilla and optional nuts. Press into a 9 x 13 pan. Cool and cut into squares.

 

 

Peanut Butter Fudge

Filed under: Desserts — alittlemoreofeach @ 3:33 pm
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Before we realized chocolate was bad for dogs, this was a favorite of Kippy’s, our malamute. When you opened the refrigerator to get a slice of fudge, she would sit next to the fridge at full attention until we gave her a little sliver.

 

Ingredients

1 large Hershey’s chocolate bar

2/3 cup chunky peanut butter

1 stick salted butter

 

Directions

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Heat until all ingredients have melted and the mixture just starts to bubble. Pour into an ungreased pie pan and refrigerate to harden.

 

Jen’s variations:

Dice up some caramel squares and add them to the still-warm mixture in the pie pan.

Add some miniature marshmallows to the still-warm mixture in the pie pan.

Line bottom of pan with diced nuts and pour fudge on top.

 

 

Candy Bar Chocolate Brownies

Filed under: Desserts — alittlemoreofeach @ 3:31 pm
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Doris saw a tip on “Martha” that would be extremely helpful with this potentially messy dessert: Grease the pan, then line it with parchment paper and grease that as well. When the brownies have cooled, invert the pan on a cake rack and peel off the parchment paper. Normally, these are difficult to get out of the pan neatly even when they are cooled completely, but they are delicious!

 

Ingredients

1 ½ sticks (12 Tbl) unsalted butter, melted

1 ½ cups sugar

2 large eggs (must be at room temperature)

2 Tbl water

½ tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp salt

½ tsp baking powder

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

½ cup all purpose flour

10 mini chocolate/peanut candy bars crumbled (Snickers fun size work well). These must be refrigerated about 20 minutes before crumbling.

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 cake pan (aluminum is fine) with butter. With a spoon, beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until blended. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in water and vanilla. Sprinkle the salt and baking powder over the mixture, then mix in. Do the same with the cocoa, adding it in three separate batches. Finally, stir in the flour until just blended. This is a very oily mixture so a mixer would make it impossible to work with. Using a large chef’s knife cut the candy bars in half lengthwise, then in four cross cuts, and then chop them into a coarse crumble. Fold the crumble into the batter thoroughly. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for about 30 minutes until the center is set, the edges look a bit crusty and the top of the brownies start to crack a little. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

 

Fudgey Peppermint Brownies

Filed under: Desserts — alittlemoreofeach @ 3:30 pm
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From Southern Living,” makes two dozen.

 

Ingredients

1 cup butter
4 (1-oz) unsweetened chocolate squares
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
1 Tbl vanilla extract
1 tsp peppermint extract
20 coarsely crushed peppermint candies
 

Directions

Melt butter and chocolate in heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring until smooth; let cool. Beat eggs at medium speed for 2 minutes; gradually add 2 cups sugar, beating well. Add melted chocolate, flour, and next three ingredients; beat well. Stir in peppermint candies. Pour batter into a greased and floured 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack. Cut into bars and sprinkle with powdered sugar. (You can also cut the brownies into circles with a biscuit cutter for a different look.)

 

Michelle Mitchell’s Cherry Walnut Bars

Filed under: Desserts — alittlemoreofeach @ 3:28 pm
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Michelle and Bill brought these pretty pink bars to mine and Ken’s baby shower in September 2006.  Her maternal Grandmother Choquette found this recipe, and the recipe was passed down to Michelle’s mother who used to make them to everyone’s enjoyment.  Michelle says, “I think that these are worth the extra steps.”

 

Ingredients and Directions

2 cups of flour

1 cup butter

½ cup white sugar

Mix flour, butter and sugar together; the mixture will be crumbly.  Pat into a 9×13 dish and bake for 12-15 minutes in a 350 oven.

 

½ cup brown sugar, packed

2 eggs + 1 egg yolk

¼ cup flour

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

½ cup chopped maraschino cherries

1 cup chopped walnuts

Beat eggs, yolk and brown sugar until fluffy.  Sift flour with baking powder and salt.  Blend into egg mixture.  Stir in cherries and walnuts.  Spread over baked crust.  Bake for 20-25 minutes longer.  Cool.

 

2 cups confectioners sugar

2 Tbl Crisco

3 ½ tsp cherry juice

milk

Beat sugar, shortening, and cherry juice together.  Add enough milk to make the mixture into a spreading consistency.

 

Apple Bars

Filed under: Desserts — alittlemoreofeach @ 3:23 pm
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Ingredients 

Crust:

2 cups flour

½ cup sugar

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

1 cup butter, softened

2 egg yolks

 

Filling:

4 cups Golden Delicious apples, peeled and thinly sliced

¾ cup sugar

¼ cup flour

1 tsp cinnamon

 

Directions

To make the crust, combine all the crust ingredients in a mixer; the dough will be very soft. Divide dough in half and place one half in an ungreased 9 x 13 pan. For the filling, mix the sugar, flour and cinnamon together; add the sliced apples and mix until coated. Spread evenly on top of dough. Crumble remaining half of dough on top of apples. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

 

Lemon Squares

Filed under: Desserts — alittlemoreofeach @ 3:21 pm
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Ingredients

1 cup flour

½ cup butter

¼ cup powdered sugar

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

2 tsp lemon zest

2 tsp lemon juice

 

Directions

Mix one cup flour, butter and powdered sugar. Press into an ungreased 8 x 8 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Beat eggs, sugar, baking powder, salt, lemon zest and juice together until light and fluffy. Pour over hot crust and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Cool completely and cut into squares. Makes 16 bars.