Chocolate Pretzels

We make these every holiday season and top them with red and green sprinkles. These are also the perfect thing to make with kids. My sister and I made them last week with some friends we were with and it was totally fun.

Pretzels (large, mini, rods)
Chocolate of choice (dark, milk, white, butterscotch)
Mini candies

Line pan with parchment or wax paper. Melt chocolate. Dip pretzels in chocolate. I usually dip only half of each pretzel, but you can dip all of it if you want. Sprinkle with desired toppings.

When dipping pretzel rods, pour melted chocolate in a large glass or mug.
Can do patriotic pretzels with red, white and blue sprinkles or stars.
Can do holiday pretzels with red and green sprinkles.


Creamy Coleslaw

I usually don’t enjoy coleslaw too much, but I love cold spaghetti mixed with coleslaw. 

4 cups cabbage, shredded
1/2 cup carrot, shredded
2 tablespoons onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix vegetables together.
Mix remaining ingredients
Toss dressing with cabbage mixture.

Mini Apple Pies

The pictures were of the batch that actually didn’t work. We tried it twice, the first time we put crust up the sides, but ended up being too dry, way to much crust for filling. We made a different filling that was a little saucier and precooked and just put the crust on the bottom and top. This worked much better! 

2 1/3 cups (or 1 pound) shortening (Crisco)
5 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice
enough water to make 3/4 cup combined with the lemon juice
1 egg
9 cups apples , peeled and sliced in 1/2 -1 inch lengthwise
4 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup cornstarch
5 cups water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine dry ingredients. Blend shortening into dry ingredients until coarse. Add beaten egg and liquid and combine till dough forms. You will have extra crust dough, but just freeze it for a later use.
Toss apples with lemon juice. Combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg in a pot. Add water and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes stirring constantly. Add apples and simmer until apples are tender about 6-8 minutes.
Roll out pie crust and cut out circles just big enough to cover the base of the ramekins or muffin tins. Fill ramekins with cooled apple mixture. Lattice the top.
Bake till crust is golden and filling is bubbly.

Lava Cakes

I love these cakes because I can make them last minute because they’re served warm. Best served with ice cream and fresh raspberries, but caramel sauce, chocolate sauce or any other fruit is also good. 

1/2 cup butter
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.  Butter six 6 ounce ramekins or custard cups and put them on a baking sheet.  (The baking sheet makes it easier to move the ramekins in and out of the oven.)
Melt the butter, unsweetened chocolate and chocolate chips and set aside to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt until thickened and light in color, about 1 minute.  Mix in chocolate mixture a little at a time.  Add flour, mixing just until it is incorporated.
Divide batter evenly among the ramekins, a generous 1/3 cup in each.  Press 1 tablespoon of chocolate chips in the center of each. Use your fingers to press the chips lightly into the batter; it is not necessary to cover the chips.
Bake just until the tops look dry and a crisp top has formed, about 20 minutes.  Let cool for at least 15 minutes.
Top each with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and serve.

Tiramisu Cake

This is a delicious cake made moist by coffee and a whipped cream, cream cheese frosting. I made cupcakes, but the original recipe is for a cake.

1 package white cake mix
1 cup strong brewed coffee, room temperature
4 egg whites
4 Heath candy bars (1.4 oz each) or equivalent Heath candy pieces
4 ounces cream cheese
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup chocolate syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups heavy whipping cream
6 tablespoons strong brewed coffee
1 Heath candy bar (1.4 oz) or equivalent Heath candy pieces

Preheat oven to 350. Grease two 9 inch round baking pans.
In a mixing bowl, beat the cake mix, coffee and egg whites on low speed until moistened.  beat on high for 2 minutes.  Fold in chopped candy bars.  Pour into prepared pans.
Bake at 30 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.  When cool, split each cake into two horizontal layers.
For frosting, in a chilled mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth.  Beat in the chocolate syrup and vanilla.   Add the whipping cream.  Beat on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Place one cake layer on a serving plate; drizzle with 2 T. coffee.  Spread with 3/4 cup frosting.  Repeat twice.  Top with fourth cake layer.  Frost top and sides of cake with remaining frosting.
Refrigerate overnight.  Garnish with chopped candy bar.  Store in fridge.

To make cupcakes:
Pour 1/4 cup of batter into each cupcake liner.


Just the basic cheesecake recipe….

1 3/4 cups (24 squares) graham cracker crumbs, finely crushed
1/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon lemon peel, optional, finely shredded
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375.
Set ingredients at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.
For crust, combine crushed crackers, walnuts and cinnamon.  Stir in butter.  Press mixture onto bottom and about 2 inches up sides of an ungreased 8 or 9″  springform pan.  Set crust aside.
For filling, in a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese and sugar together well.  Add flour, vanilla and, if desired, lemon peel and beat until combined, but don’t over beat.  Add eggs and egg yolk all at once, beating on low speed just until combined.  Stir in milk.  Pour filling into crust-lined pan.  If desired, sprinkle with reserved crumbs.  Place in a shallow baking pan in oven.  Bake for 45-50 minutes or until cheesecake as reached the internal temperature of 160 degrees. This won’t look done, but will continue to set after removing from oven.
Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes.  Loosen crust from sides of pan and cool 30 minutes more.  Remove sides of pan and cool 1 hour.  Cover and chill at least 4 hours.  Overnight is better.

To make individual:
Cook in water bath for about 20 minutes or until temperature reaches 160.
Use the same crust as the Key Lime Pies if making the Key Lime at the same time.
Makes 16 individual.

Greek Macaroni Salad

Summery and deliciously easy, this salad is perfect with hamburgers, hot dogs or any other summer meal. It is ten times better if it melds overnight. 

1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni, cooked, drained and rinsed in cold water
4 medium plum tomatoes, chopped
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 medium (or less) onion, chopped
1 medium English cucumber chopped
1 can whole olives, drained
1 4 ounces package feta cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice

In a large bowl, combine macaroni, tomatoes, beans, onion, olives, feta cheese, salt, pepper and garlic.
In a small bowl, whisk oil and lemon juice.  Pour over salad and toss to coat.
Cover and refrigerate until chilled.
Stir before serving.

Dad’s Cookies

These cookies have a simple, but delicious flavor. The crispy-around-the-edge and chewy center makes these cookies a perfect addition to ice cream or tea.

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups oats
3/4 cup coconut
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda

Cream sugars, butter, egg and vanilla.
Add oats and coconut.
Mix flour, baking powder and baking soda.  Add to creamed mixture and blend just until mixed.
Form dough into walnut sized balls.  Place on greased baking sheet.  Press with a fork.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Cadet Dessert

This has become a favorite around our place. It is so simple to make, just make sure to make it 12 hours before serving so the ice cream isn’t soft. Here’s a quote from the lady I got the recipe from:
“I served this to cadets during the 4 years we were stationed at West Point and it became known as “THE” dessert. Cadets would walk into our quarters and ask if I was serving “THE” dessert they had heard so much about form the previous cadet guests! There was never a single piece left over!” ~Susan Bowen

1 1/2 lb.pkg Oreo cookies (about 40 cookies)
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream (soften if spreading)
salted peanuts , optional
1 jar hot fudge sauce

Crush Oreo cookies in Ziploc bag very well.  Pour melted butter into bag and re-seal bag.  Mix butter and cookies in bag with hands until thoroughly mixed.  Pour cookie mixture into ungreased 9×13″ pan and press onto bottom of pan evenly.
Spread softened ice cream over top of cookies.  (Or take generic ice cream block, slice and layer over cookies.)  Cover and freeze for three hours.
Spread unheated fudge sauce over ice cream.  (Or fill pastry bag with cold fudge sauce and criss-cross over ice cream)
Sprinkle with peanuts.
Store in freezer.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin cookies are not my favorite cookie because I don’t care for raisins. Last time I made them, I used white chocolate chips and dried cranberries instead and they were so delicious!

1/2 cup plus 6 Tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups oats (old fashioned is best, but quick would work)
1 cup raisins

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars on medium speed until creamy.  Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.  Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well.  Add oats and raisins; mix well.
Drop by rounded tablespoons (#40 – 1.5 T disher) onto ungreased cookie sheet or Silpat.
Bake for 8-10 (our oven took 10-11) minutes or until light golden brown.  Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack.  Cool completely.  Store tightly covered.
To make into bar cookies:  press dough onto bottom of ungreased 9″ X13″ pan.  Bake 30-35 minutes or until light golden brown.  Cool completely in pan on wire rack.  Cut into bars.  Store tightly covered.  Makes 24 bars.
Variations:  Stir in 1 cup chopped nuts, Substitute 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or M & Ms for raisins; omit cinnamon.  Substitute 1 cup diced dried mixed fruit.

Makes 4 dozen cookies (less with bigger disher).

Can substitute dried cranberries for raisins. Add white chocolate chips.