Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes

We can thank Duncan Hines for this delicious recipe.  I found it last year and have made it several times since.  The center "surprise" is my favorite part.  Well, I take that back.  The homemade cream cheese icing is my favorite.  The frosting is the only alteration we made to these sweet treats.  I just could not imagine putting canned frosting on something this good.  So, I pulled out our tried and true recipe for cream cheese icing and voila!  Perfection...

Creamy Red Velvet Cupcakes
Duncan Hines
  • 1 pkg Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Red Velvet Cake Mix
  • 1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sweetened, flaked coconut (sometimes I omit)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 24 muffin tins or line with paper baking cups.

Prepare batter according to package directions.

Spoon batter into lined muffin cups. In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, and egg; mix until smooth (I use a whisk to break lumps). Stir in chocolate chips and coconut.

Spoon about 1 tablespoon of cream cheese mixture onto batter of each cupcake. (Literally, drop cream cheese mix on top--it seems weird but I promise it will sink down into cupcake while baking.)

Bake 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cupcakes following package directions. Spread cupcakes with frosting (recipe below).

Traditional Cream Cheese Frosting
1 (8oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 - 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Beat cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed with an electric mixer until smooth (about 2 minutes). Beat in vanilla. Slowly add powdered sugar, about 1 cup at a time) and beat until you reach desired consistency. Last night when I made this recipe, it took 3 1/2 cups of sugar to reach spreading consistency. Spread frosting on cooled cupcakes.



Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Chocolate Chocolate (Chocolate) Cake

B and I had my coworkers and their husbands over for dinner at our home about three weekends ago.  I really enjoyed planning and preparing the meal.  And I actually cooked a couple of recipes from Mamas' posts on this blog like Cranberry-Dijon Pork, which I had not tried and it was to die for!  For this particular dinner, I was especially looking forward to making dessert.  We all love chocolate at the office so I knew dessert must consist of just that.  I automatically retrieved Aunt "Skeeter's" cookbook from the shelf in search of the perfect chocolate dessert recipe.  I was not surprised when I quickly found a match--"Chocolate Chocolate Cake".  Oh my! After a phone call to Aunt Skeeter for reassurance and a short trip to Publix, I was ready to make this chocoholic's dream.  And, as if two chocolate components weren't enough, I topped this decadent cake off with a third chocolate--white chocolate morsels.  It was heavenly, every bit of it.  Since then I have made this cake again and for the third chocolate topping I used mini semi-sweet morsels.

For the holidays, I plan on substituting the semi-sweet morsels for the dark chocolate and mint ones.  And maybe if I'm feeling frisky, I'll shave some Andes mints over the icing. We'll see...

Chocolate Chocolate Cake
Marcelle Shelnutt, Niceville, FL
  • 1 pkg. Devil's food cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
  • 1 small pkg instant chocolate pudding
  • 6 oz. of package semi-sweet chocolate chips (about 1/2 of bag)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 - 8 oz container sour cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine all ingredients except chocolate chips.  Mix on LOW with electric mixer until blended then beat on HIGH for 5 minutes.  Stir in chocolate chips and pour into greased tube pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until cake pulls away from the sides of the pan (my oven cooks fast so it takes approximately 50 minutes).  Aunt "Skeeter" says please do not overcook this cake! Allow to cool completely on wire rack.  Make frosting--recipe following.

  • 6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips (about 1/2 of bag)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
Melt chips in microwave, cooking in 30 second intervals then stirring until melted, and cool.  Stir in sour cream and vanilla.  Add sugar and stir until combined.  Pour over cooled cake. 
*To make triple chocolate cake, sprinkle your favorite morsels over frosting.



Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

Sorry to all of you who read our blog more for the stories. I am pretty much storyless tonight. It just dawned on me that I told Mama I would post a recipe today and as I was winding down, getting ready for bed, I all of sudden remembered my promise.

Well, I suppose I can give a brief story about this recipe...

This soup was first made by my mother-in-law shortly after Brandon and I got married. We went to Thomaston to visit one cold, rainy, and, if my memory serves me correctly, snowy/icy weekend. My sister-in-law was sick as a dog and no one wanted to get out of the house, which made for a very lazy weekend. I can remember my MIL saying that she was going to make chicken noodle soup since Hallie was ill and the weather was cold and dreary. Admittedly, my first thought was "Chicken noodle soup--can you really beat Campbells'?!" Although I would never have said that out loud I now can admit that that's the opinion I formed before I even tried it.

After the soup was cooked and it came time to eat, I looked into the pot and had a second, very different thought. "Hmm, this doesn't look much like the canned chicken noodle soup I'm used to eating." Well, folks, my MIL proved wrong! In fact, it wasn't anything like Campbell's chicken noodle soup. It was ten times heartier and richer and mmm, mmm good!

Last night, another cold December night, I made and served this same soup to our Bible study group. It was just as delicious as the first time I ate it. Please try this recipe and I promise you won't be disappointed. And don't omit the lemon zest because you think it's adds a wonderful flavor and compliments the chicken and vegetables very nicely.

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup
Kathy Berryhill

1 Tbsp butter or margarine
1 large onion
3 cups chopped cooked chicken (~3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts)
3 (14 1/2 oz) cans chicken broth
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 (8 oz) pkg spaghetti, broken into 2-inch pieces (I used Garden Delight fettuccine as that's what I had on hand)
7 celery ribs, diced
6 medium carrots, diced
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp grated lemon rind
2 cups milk
2 cups (8 oz) shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat (I used a large pot.); add onion, and saute` until tender. Stir in chicken and next 9 ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes. Stir in milk; return to simmer. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes. Sprinkle each serving with cheese.
Yield:  12 cups



Friday, December 9, 2011

Sausage Biscuit Treats

My friend, Jennifer, and her family are truly some of the sweetest people I know.  Her entire family is sweet as honey; they are caring, kind, and loving.  Brandon and I were so blessed to have Jennifer and Barrett as our first friends when we moved to Augusta (thanks, Laurie!).  And we love their two-year old so very much.  Last November, the week of Thanksgiving, I stayed the night at Jennifer and Barrett's house while our house was being used by our neighbors during a tragic time in their lives.  Jennifer and Barrett were gracious enough to allow me to stay with them while their family was in town for the holiday.  "Mimi", Jennifer's mom, offered me breakfast--"sausage biscuits" she called them-- as I was leaving for work the next morning.  Sure, I'd take a sausage biscuit.  A Bojangles, McDonalds, or Burger King kind of biscuit was what I expected to find...boy was I wrong!  As I was driving to work, I opened the paper towel that the biscuit was wrapped in.  What I found was no ordinary sausage biscuit.  This biscuit was done up right with cheese and egg and other goodness.  Oh, it was so, so yummy!

Mimi and Jennifer graciously shared the recipe with me and I have made these many times since.  Supposedly, the original recipe was taken from an Upson Regional Medical Center cookbook; however, the author is unknown.  We will just let Mimi and Jennifer take the credit for this one...Enjoy!

Sausage Biscuit Treats
Miriam Elsey, Jennifer Hayes

1 can Grand Flaky biscuits, 8 count (Jennifer says be sure to use name brand)
2 eggs, beaten
1 lb sausage, cooked and drained
1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Separate biscuits in half by layers. Place each half in a muffin tin which has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Press and form into cups.
Add eggs and cheese to sausage and mix well.  Spoon mixture into open cups of muffin tin.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Yields:  16 muffins



Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Fudge Pecan Pie

I am a recipe clipper. Nary a label, box, bag, or advertisement escapes me. I have found some keeper recipes that way and Fudge Pecan Pie is one of them. I came across it years ago, probably during the holidays when you find recipes attached to coupon pages in the newspaper. The pie is easy and quick to assemble and I usually have all of the ingredients on hand, especially this time of year. WARNING! This is a very rich pie so small servings are more than enough to satisfy even the most devout chocoholic. Serve slices with a tall glass of milk or a cup of coffee. Oh my, I feel a craving comin' on!

Fudge Pecan Pie
1/2 cup butter
3 tablespoons cocoa
3/4 cup hot water
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 small can evaporated milk
1 cup chopped pecans
1 frozen deep dish pie crust shell
whipped topping, if desired
Preheat oven and cookie sheet to 350F. In medium saucepan, melt butter. Add cocoa and stir until dissolved. Add hot water and stir again. With wire whip blend in sugar, flour, salt, extract, and evaporated milk. Stir until batter is smooth. Mix in pecans and pour into pie shell. Bake on preheated cookie sheet for 50 minutes or until knife inserted 1 inch from the edge comes out clean. Serve cooled pie with whiiped topping if desired.