Friday, December 11, 2009

Cookies and Cream Fudge

This stuff is addicting. I added sweetened dried cranberries to make it more festive for the holidays. You do not have to add the cranberries if you don't want to. But if you leave out the cranberries, I'd recommend adding a few more Oreos.


3 cups (18 oz - or 1 1/2 bags) white chocolate chips
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
14 Oreos
2/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries

Line an 8x8 square baking dish with aluminum foil. Chop or break Oreos into quarters (cookies will likely break into smaller pieces but that's okay). Shake out broken cookies in sieve or small-holed colander to remove smaller crumbs.

In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine sweetened condensed milk and chocolate chips; stir until chips are completely melted. Remove from heat and stir in cookies and cranberries. Pour into baking dish and refrigerate until firm (at least 2 hours). Pull fudge out of dish and remove foil. Cut into individual-size pieces.

Chili Cornbread Casserole

I adapted this recipe from a box of Stove Top cornbread stuffing mix. I had made the original before and didn't quite like the outcome, so this time I adjusted it a bit. Now, in the recipe I'm posting, I suggest simmering the chili for at least 45 minutes. That's because I don't like chewy ground beef. Simmering it for a while softens the beef and makes it more palatable to me. It also reduces the liquid in the chili. You do not have to do the simmer - but understand that your casserole will be a little more gooey - which is not necessarily a bad thing! Also, you could sub 1 1/2 cups of salsa (for a total of 2 1/2 cups in the recipe) if you don't have the diced tomatoes and green chiles on hand.

This is a great recipe for a cold night!


1 box (6 oz) cornbread stuffing mix
1 1/2 cups hot water
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 can kidney beans, undrained
1 can black beans, undrained
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 cup salsa
2 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. cumin
pepper to taste

In a large skillet, brown ground beef with onions; drain. Add beans, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, salsa, chili powder, cumin, and pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, pour hot water over stuffing and fluff with fork. Pour chili into 9x13 casserole dish. Top with stuffing. Bake for 30 minutes.

Serve with shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies and Frosting

Caralie and I really love these cookies. They taste great and keep their shape when baking. This is the recipe to use if you have cookie cutters with distinct shapes (like an angel) that you don't want to turn into a blob in the oven. I didn't have a problem with the dough being too sticky, but I live in a dry climate. Just use flour on your work surface and rolling pin as needed.


1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder

In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter. Add cream cheese and beat until fluffy. Beat in egg and extracts. Slowly add flour and baking soda, blending well after each addition. Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly flour work surface. Dividing dough in thirds, roll out first third to no less than 1/4 inch thickness. Dip cookie cutters first in flour, and then cut dough. Place cookie shapes two inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until set. Let cool for 3 minutes on sheet then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Repeat until all the dough has been used. Makes about 3 dozen cookies - depending on cutter size.


4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup shortening
5 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
food coloring, as desired

In a medium bowl, beat shortening with 1 cup powdered sugar with an electric mixer. Add milk and vanilla and beat until smooth. Slowly add remaining 3 cups of sugar until well blended. Beat until frosting is stiff (about 3-5 minutes). Add food coloring.

Salsa Chicken Casserole

Again, I found this recipe at You can find it here. Sorry I don't have a photo - I forgot to take one.

I've changed the recipe a little because I think the original calls for too much rice and a bit too much cheese. I also eliminated the onion because there's already onions in the salsa. But that's just my opinion; you can always use the original recipe.


1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
2 cups water
4 cups diced cooked chicken breast
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 1/2 cups mild salsa
3 cups shredded cheese (Mexican blend or whatever)

Place rice and water in saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish. In a medium bowl, combine soups and salsa.

Spread half of rice in bottom of baking dish. Layer half of chicken, half of soup mix, and half of cheese. Repeat layers.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until bubbly. Serve with sour cream.

This could also be a great filler for burritos.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sticky Gingerbread

My mom sent me this recipe. She found it in Reader's Digest this month. I made it and it's very good - super moist. I did not have the exact ingredients called for, namely dark brown sugar and dark corn syrup, so I used their lighter versions but reduced the corn syrup a tiny bit and added a little more molasses. I think that makes up for it...right?

Caralie loves this bread and has had it as her afternoon snack all week.

Anyway, try this recipe - you won't be disappointed. Unless you're counting calories. Oops.


1 stick (1/2 cup) plus 3 Tbsp. butter
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
3/4 cup molasses
2/3 cup packed soft dark brown sugar
2 tsp. finely grated fresh ginger
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. baking soda, dissolved in 2 Tbsp. warm water
2 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cake pan (about 12 x 8 x 2 inches) with aluminum foil or parchment paper (grease foil if using).

In saucepan, melt butter over low heat along with syrup, molasses, sugar, fresh ginger, ground ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Remove from heat, and add milk, eggs, and dissolved baking soda in it's water (mixture will foam a bit).

Measure flour into bowl and pour in liquid ingredients, beating until well mixed. (Batter will be very wet.) Pour into pan and bake for 45-60 minutes (mine was perfect at 45 min.), until bread rises and is firm on top. Do not overbake; it will continue to bake as it cools.

Transfer pan to wire rack and let cool before cutting gingerbread into squares.

Crescent Chicken Bundles

I got this recipe from my friend Kay. She found it in an issue of Quick Cooking. I make these for showers and stuff - great for brunch. I also make them as a main dinner course. They can be frozen prior to baking. Just thaw in the fridge when you're ready to bake. I've increased the amount of cream cheese called for in the original recipe as the filling could be a little dry. I don't always use the stuffing topping - it can be messy for a finger food when serving these at a party. But if you're making them for dinner, it adds some nice flavor and crunch.


1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
4 Tbsp. butter, melted, divided
2 Tbsp. minced chives (or chopped green onion if you don't have chives)
2 Tbsp. milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 cups cubed cooked chicken
2 tubes (8 oz each) refrigerated crescent rolls
1 cup crushed seasoned stuffing croutons

In a medium mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, 2 Tbsp. butter, chives, milk, salt, and pepper until smooth. Stir in the chicken.

Unroll crescent dough and separate into 8 rectangles; press perforations together. (I then cut the rectangles in half to make two squares - this makes more bundles - follow directions, but use less filling). Spoon about 1/2 cup chicken mixture onto the center of each rectangle. Bring edges up to the center and pinch to seal. Brush with remaining butter. Sprinkle with crushed croutons, lightly pressing down.

Transfer to two ungreased baking sheets.

(For freezing: cover baking sheet in plastic wrap and freeze until bundles are firm; transfer squares to a covered container. May be frozen up to 2 months. When ready to use, thaw in the refrigerator and bake as directed.)

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

The recipe suggests freezing one baking sheet and baking the other. That way you have another meal ready for a later date. If you make the bundles with a full rectangle of dough, one bundle equals one serving. If you cut the dough in half, like I do, two bundles would equal one serving (or one bundle for a kid). Either way, you serve 4 or 8, depending on whether you freeze half of the bundles or not.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Creamy Pumpkin Pie

I had two different recipes for this pie: all the same ingredients but in different amounts. After making one last night and seeing it fail to set up, I now know the right one to use! So I'm sharing the good recipe. I'd take a photo of the pie I made but it's just too depressing to look at. It still tastes DELICIOUS. Here is what it should look like:

So this is a fast and easy pumpkin pie. Essentially pumpkin pie with the Cool Whip already mixed in. It calls for a graham cracker crust, which is fine, but I think shortbread would be better. Or the best might be a pre-baked pastry pie crust (I like Mrs. Smiths brand best). I also found Pumpkin Spice flavored Jell-o pudding so I used that instead of vanilla. You can find the original source of the recipe here.


1/2 cup cold milk
1 pkg. (6 serving size) vanilla instant pudding (or Pumpkin Spice flavor)
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice*
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 1/2 cups whipped topping, thawed
1 graham cracker crust

In large bowl, beat milk, pudding mix, and spice with wire whisk for 1 minute (mixture will be very thick). Whisk in pumpkin. Fold in whipped topping. Spread in crust. Refrigerate at least 2 hours. Store in fridge.

*or substitute 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ground ginger, and 1/8 tsp. ground cloves

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I don't actually follow a recipe when I make chili. It's more like I dump stuff in the pot and hope it turns out good.

I made some for my in-laws to take to a get-together and apparently it was a hit. So, I'm writing a "recipe" of what I did that time around.


3/4 - 1 lb. lean ground beef, browned and drained
1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 (4 oz) can diced green chilis
2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 small onion, diced
1/4 cup chili powder
1 heaping Tbsp. ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 5-6 hours.

Can also cook on the stove in a large pot - simmer, covered, for 2-3 hours.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Chicken Parmesan

I made this tonight and it was DELISH!! One good thing to remember (which I didn't tonight, of course) is to pound out your chicken breasts until they are an even thickness so they cook evenly. I used Prego's Italian Sausage and Garlic sauce and it was really good.


6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 Tbsp. olive oil
12 oz (or 1 1/2 cups) pasta sauce
6 slices or 8 0z shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Coat bottom of 13x9 baking dish with pasta sauce. In small bowl, beat eggs. In shallow dish, mix Parmesan and bread crumbs. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat.

Dip chicken breasts first in egg, and then coat in bread crumb mixture. Place in skillet and cook for 5 minutes on each side (or until breasts are golden brown and cooked through).

Layer breasts on sauce in baking dish. Place or sprinkle Monterey Jack over chicken breasts. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Oatmeal Molasses Bread

This is a crappy picture. Some day I will be rich and will have a DSLR and take beautiful photos, but for now, you'll have to deal with my flash.

I found this recipe on and thought it sounded good. You can find it here. I made it differently because I had rapid-rise yeast and did not use a breadmaker. I'm learning that I don't really need a breadmaker since I have a Kitchenaid mixer that does the hard work for me. So if you have a stand mixer or want to do this by hand, follow my directions. If you want to make it in a bread machine, use the original. Either way, it's very good.

Be prepared: this is a dense bread. I reduced the amount of molasses by half. This way there is just a hint of the molasses flavor. If you want more, use the full amount in the original recipe (1/2 cup). I also switched the flour and used mostly whole wheat flour to make these healthier. And I use a candy thermometer to measure the temp of my water.


1 (.25 oz) pkg. (or 2 1/4 tsp.) rapid-rise yeast, room temp
1 cup quick cooking oats
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup molasses
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 1/3 cups hot water (between 120 - 130 degrees F)
1/4 cup honey

Mix dry ingredients (including yeast) in a medium bowl. In mixer bowl, combine water, oil, molasses, and honey. Pour in dry ingredients. Using dough hook, turn on mixer on lowest setting until all ingredients are incorporated, adding additional flour as needed until dough no longer sticks to the bowl. Increase speed to second setting and let "knead" for 10 minutes (a higher setting can strip the gears in your mixer). Let dough rest for 10 minutes.

Shape dough into a loaf and place in greased loaf pan OR divide dough into 12 rolls and place on greased cookie sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled in size. For loaf, bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. For rolls, bake at 375 degrees for 21 minutes.

I sprayed my rolls with cooking spray and sprinkled them with oatmeal. Most of it fell off, but I liked the way they looked!

Easy Cheesy Chicken Bake

This is a cheater recipe. I got it off a box of Stove Top chicken stuffing. Did you know that each box of Stove Top has 3 recipes on the back? And they're not half bad? I did alter it a little, of course, because I can never leave well enough alone. If you want the original, go buy your own box!


1 pkg (6 oz) Stove Top stuffing mix for chicken
4-5 cups diced, cooked chicken breast
2 cups fresh broccoli florets
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar

Steam broccoli for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare stuffing as directed on package and set aside. Layer chicken in bottom of 9x13 baking dish; top with broccoli. In a medium bowl, combine soups, milk, and cheese; pour over chicken and broccoli. Top with stuffing. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.

Okay, okay. Here's the original recipe, in case you want it instead of my AWESOME version:

1 pkg (6 oz) Stove Top stuffing mix for chicken
1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1" pieces
1 bag (14 0z) frozen broccoli florets, thawed and drained
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare stuffing mix as directed on package; set aside. Mix chicken and broccoli in 13x9-inch baking dish. Stir in soup, milk, and cheese; top with the prepared stuffing. Bake 30 minutes or until heated through.

Here's my problem with the original:
  1. It uses raw chicken and I just don't think 30 minutes would make me feel safe to eat it.
  2. It uses frozen broccoli and no matter what I do (thaw it, drain it) it always manages to be soggy and wet in the dish. Fresh is better!
  3. There is not enough sauce for me: the stuffing dries it up a bit.
I'm lucky in that my mom-in-law cooks massive quantities of chicken breast, dices it, and stores it in the freezer in quart-size bags. So all I have to do is thaw it in the microwave. I will be sad when I have my own house and no one to do that for me! Yes, I'm a spoiled brat.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Pork Tenderloin with Gravy

I wish I could take credit for creating this delicious recipe, but alas I am not that gifted. I discovered it on and here is the link. I'm also posting it on here with my slight alterations. I think this could just as well be made with boneless pork chops. I doubled the gravy because I had two tenderloins, but that makes a lot of gravy. So if you double, be sure to serve this with rice or mashed potatoes to use it up.


1 (0.75 oz) pkt. brown gravy mix
1/2 cup water
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. basalmic or red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (3/4 lb.) pork tenderloin, silver skin removed and cut into 1/2 inch medallions
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 medium onion, sliced into rings

In a small bowl, combine gravy mix, 1/2 cup water, soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic; set aside.

In a large skillet, brown pork in oil on medium to medium-high heat until browned on both sides; remove pork from skillet. Carefully add 1/4 cup water to skillet to deglaze pan. Add onions and cook until translucent. Return pork to skillet and pour in gravy mix. Stir and bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until pork is done and gravy is thickened.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Caramel Brownies

I first made these with my friend Pam in high school. Not sure where we got the recipe from. The original calls for German chocolate cake mix, but I prefer Devil's Food. Up to you!

Once again, these are very good and very bad for you! I think they taste better and cut better the next day. And the day after that, if they last that long.


1 (18.25 oz) pkg. devil's food cake mix
3/4 cup melted butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk, divided
14 oz. bag caramels, unwrapped
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13x9 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine cake mix, butter, and 1/3 cup evaporated milk. Mix well and spread 2/3 of the batter into the prepared pan (batter will be thick). Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool.

In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine unwrapped caramels and 1/3 cup evaporated milk. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, stirring twice. Microwave for additional 30 second intervals until caramel is smooth; pour over cooled "crust."

Sprinkle with chocolate chips and top with tablespoonfuls of remaining batter (it will not entirely cover the top). Bake for another 15-18 minutes; cool. Cut with a wet knife, if necessary.

Oven Stew

This is currently cooking in my oven and it smells so good. Perfect meal for a cold day - prepare it in the early afternoon and let it bake all day until dinner time. Thanks, Mom, for the recipe!


2 lbs. stew meat, cubed
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 onion, chopped
2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 Tbsp. tapioca (not the pudding)
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
1 can tomato soup + 3/4 can water
1/2 cup frozen peas

Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Place meat in bottom of deep casserole dish. Layer veggies in order given starting with carrots. Sprinkle with tapioca, sugar, salt, and pepper. Pour soup + water over top, cover, and bake for 5-6 hours stirring once or twice. Add frozen peas 30 minutes before end of cook time. Stir and serve hot.

If you are wondering about the tapioca, it's used as a thickening agent. You can find dry tapioca (the little pearls minus the pudding ingredients) in the baking aisle:

This is the brand I use because it's usually the only brand available:

Monday, October 26, 2009

Homemade Noodles/Dumplings

I tried out the recipe found here (or scroll to the bottom of this post). It made decent noodles. Ours were very interesting since I let my 5 year old do a lot of the work. We used a pizza cutter to cut out the noodles - much faster than a knife. And yes, she was supervised during the cutting!

If you decide to go the noodle route, do not do this:

Caralie and I just dumped them all on the cookie sheet and guess what? They all stuck together. So when drying the noodles (which is not really necessary), make sure you spread them apart.


3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg
1 cup milk

In medium bowl, stir flour and salt. Add egg and milk and stir until dough forms. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth. Roll out to desired thickness (thicker for dumplings, about 1/8" for noodles) and cut into desired shapes. Allow to dry as you prepare your broth/soup.

Drop into boiling soup and cook until tender. Time will depend on thickness of dumplings/noodles and how dry they were.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Broccoli Wild Rice Soup

I will probably be posting a lot of soup recipes in the future as it is finally beginning to be fall-like here in AZ and soup is one of my favorite dishes. This one is very thick and filling. When reheating it the next day, be sure to add some water or milk to thin it out a bit. I recently took this to our Relief Society's Super Saturday.


1 pkg. (6 oz) chicken and wild rice mix (ex: Uncle Ben's)
5 cups water
1 pkg. (10 oz) frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
1 medium carrot, coarsely shredded
2 tsp. dried minced onion
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup
1 pkg. (8 oz) cream cheese, cubed

In a large saucepan, combine rice, contents of seasoning packet, and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring once. Stir in broccoli, carrot, and onion. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in soup and cream cheese. Cook and stir until cheese is melted.

Loaded Potato Soup

Threw this together last night. Caralie thinks it's "disgusting" but that's just because she doesn't like potatoes unless they are of the french fry variety. My father-in-law enjoyed it and I rather did too.

When reheating this soup the next day, add milk as the soup thickens significantly once stored in the fridge.


4 cups water or chicken broth
6-8 medium potatoes, peeled and diced*
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
4 cups milk
8 oz (2 cups) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped green onion
6 slices bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. salt

In a medium sauce pot, combine water and potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer 12 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Do not drain.

Meanwhile, in a large stockpot, melt butter over med-high heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium and slowly whisk in milk. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Add potatoes and water, onions, bacon, sour cream, pepper, and salt. Use a potato masher or whisk to blend soup but leave chunks of potato for texture.

*I usually only peel half of the potatoes because I like having some skins in the soup for texture.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Macaroni and Cheese

This recipe will feed a crowd. The pan in the picture is larger than a 13x9 baking dish, to give you an idea of how much it makes. Halve the recipe if you don't want lots of leftovers when feeding a small family. Use lowfat or fat free ingredients if that makes you feel better.


16 0z. elbow macaroni
16 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
24 oz. cottage cheese
16 oz. sour cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup milk
hot sauce
salt and pepper, to taste

Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine cheddar, cottage cheese, sour cream, Parmesan, milk, a dash or two of hot sauce, and salt and pepper. Fold in macaroni. Pour into large baking dish (this will barely fit into a 13x9) and bake for 35 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

I highly recommend the hot sauce. I'm not asking you to make it spicy, just give it a little kick. It brings out the flavor of the cheeses. But know your hot sauce! If it's super strong, just put a little in.

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Bread


1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup applesauce
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 packets instant apple cinnamon oatmeal (single serving size)
2 eggs
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour*
1 apple, peeled and diced
oatmeal for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x5 loaf pan.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Mix in applesauce, cinnamon, and packets of oatmeal. Stir in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the baking soda and flour. Fold in the apple. Pour batter into prepared pan and sprinkle with oatmeal, if desired.

Bake for 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

*I tried 3/4 cup all purpose flour and 3/4 cup whole wheat flour and it turned out great, if you want to health it up a bit.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Chicken and Dumplings

I made this on Sunday and it turned out pretty good. The dumplings are more biscuity than noodley, so depending on how you like your dumplings, you may or may not like this recipe. If you have a good recipe or suggestion on making dumplings, please leave a comment and I'll publish it on this post with your first name to give you credit. As always, share the wisdom!


2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 cans (or approx. 3 cups) chicken broth (preferrably low sodium)
1 cup milk
1 small onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 med. carrots, peeled and chopped
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp. dried basil (optional - I like it but others don't)
ground black pepper to taste.

1 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, combine soup, broth, and milk. Add onion, celery, carrots, chicken, basil (if using), and pepper; bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 30-45 minutes. Remove chicken from pot and shred or chop into bite-size pieces; return to pot.

At this point the sauce is runny like a soup. If you like it thicker like a stew (like I do), you can thicken it with a mixture of equal parts cornstarch and water. Just don't make it too thick, because the dumplings will absorb much of the liquid.

To make dumplings: In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, mix together the 1/2 cup milk and vegetable oil; pour into the dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened.

Drop tablespoonfuls (I use a small cookie scoop) of the dumpling mixture into simmering chicken stew. Cover pot tightly and bring to a boil. Simmer for another 12 -15 minutes. Serve hot.

Pumpkin Spread

I found this recipe in our newspaper today. I think it sounds delish, so I thought I'd share.


8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
15 oz. can solid-pack pumpkin
2 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice

In a large bowl, blend cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add pumpkin and spice and blend thoroughly.

Serve with sliced apples or pears, graham crackers, gingersnaps, or sugar cookies. Can be spread on bagels or toast. Refrigerate leftovers. Makes approximately 4 cups.

Taco Soup

This morning was a cool 69 degrees, so I decided to pretend that fall was here in Arizona and make one of my favorite soups:


4 cups water
3-4 cups diced, cooked chicken breast*
1 small onion, chopped
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can white beans (ex: navy or great northern), rinsed and drained
1 can corn, drained
2 (10 oz) cans diced tomatoes with green chiles (Rotel)
1 (1.25 oz) packet taco seasoning (I prefer Old El Paso)

Combine all ingredients in large stock pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Top servings with shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream.

*Option: Cook 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the 4 cups of water until done and shred or dice. Return to cooking water and add remaining ingredients...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hot Fudge Sauce/Fondue/Dip

Another great recipe from a lady I used to work for. This is not good for you, therefore it tastes divine.


1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
1 tsp. vanilla (optional)

Use a large saucepan to prevent boiling over. Melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in remaining ingredients except vanilla. Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, if desired.

If sauce is not creamy and smooth, poor hot mixture into a blender and blend for 2-4 minutes, with the lid vented to allow steam to escape. Store in the refrigerator.

This is great hot fudge sauce for ice cream. Warm, it's a great fondue for fruit and pound cake. Cold, it's a great dip for fruit. Or whatever else needs some chocolate!

Making Rice-a-Roni Go Farther

Just a few suggestions to get more out of your box of Rice-a-Roni. You can do one, some, or all of the following:
  • Add 1/3 - 1/2 cup chopped onion while you saute the rice in butter.
  • Add 1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds while you saute the rice in butter.
  • Add 2-3 stalks of celery, chopped, when you add water to the rice.
  • Add 2 cups diced cooked chicken or browned ground beef when you add water to the rice.
  • Add 1 cup fresh broccoli florets during the last five minutes of cooking.
You may have to adjust cooking time when adding the celery - sometimes I've found that it needs a couple more minutes to simmer.

I haven't tried adding carrots yet, but I bet if you chopped them small enough or shredded them it would work.

Please comment with any tricks you have used with the San Francisco Treat and I'll add them to this post so we can all benefit from your excellent wisdom!


My friend, Becky, suggested browning the rice minus the butter to save on calories. Good tip!

Easy Black Forest Cake

Okay, so I need to work on my presentation skills. Clearly I don't know how to drizzle glaze like Martha Stewart. The cake still tastes wonderful. I found this recipe online (as is the case with most of my recipes - I'm not that gifted, myself). I'll be bringing this beaut to the family party on Sunday, in case any of you were wondering.


1 pkg. any flavor chocolate cake mix (preferably one with pudding in the mix)
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp. almond extract
1 (21 oz) can cherry pie filling
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
1 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. milk
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together cake mix, eggs, water, almond extract, pie filling, and 1 cup chocolate chips. Stir until just combined. Pour batter into a greased 9x13 baking dish. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove cake from oven and let cool.

Heat 1/2 cup chocolate chips, butter, and milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once chips are melted and mixture is combined, stir in powdered sugar. Drizzle glaze over cake.

  • Now I made this in a bundt pan and I only baked it for 40 minutes and it was just right. If you do go the bundt route, make sure you grease the pan well with shortening. Nobody likes their cake to stick to the pan!
  • I didn't put the 1 cup of chocolate chips in the cake because I accidentally forgot on purpose (I don't like chips in cake). Still tasted delish. I'll put them in for the family party, though.
  • Do make sure you add the full tablespoon of almond extract because that is what makes this cake!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Soft Drop Sugar Cookies


2/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/3 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl or mixer, cream together the shortening, butter, and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until well blended.

Roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls and roll in remaining 1/3 cup sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. (To make the cookies look like mine above, flatten balls with a glass).

Bake 10 -12 minutes. Allow to cool on cookie sheet for 3 minutes before transferring to wire rack.

Barbecue Meatballs

This is one of Caralie's all-time favorites. Probably because ketchup is involved.


2 lbs lean ground beef
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup quick cooking oats
7 oz. evaporated milk
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1/4 cup dried minced onion

2 cups ketchup
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. liquid smoke

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix beef, egg, oats, evap. milk, and spices. Form into 2 inch balls (I just use an ice cream scoop) and arrange in a single layer in a shallow baking dish (I usually need one 9x13 and one 8x8 glass baking dish). Bake in oven for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare sauce. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. When meatballs are finished baking, pour sauce over meatballs. Return to oven for 15 more minutes.


So here it is - my new blog in all it's resplendent glory. I've copied all of my recipes from The Tall Family blog and put them over here. Every recipe is labeled and if you look to the right of the screen, you'll find your search criteria.

More recipes to come soon!

Thanks for stopping by.

Black Bean Soup

Tonight I tried a new recipe for Black Bean Soup that I found in the March issue of Good Housekeeping. Here is the recipe as printed in the mag:


1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 med. carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 lg. onion, chopped
1 med. red bell pepper, chopped
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
2 c. water
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14-14.5 oz) reduced sodium chicken broth (1 3/4 c.)
1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

In 6-qt. saucepot, heat oil on medium until hot. Add carrots, garlic, onion, and pepper; cook 12 - 15 minutes or until vegetables are lightly browned and tender, stirring occasionally. Add cumin, crushed red pepper, and 1/2 tsp. salt; cook 1 minute.

Stir in water, beans, and broth; heat to boiling on med-high. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes to blend flavors.

Ladle 3 cups soup into blender; cover, with center part of cover removed to allow steam to escape, and blend until pureed. Stir puree into soup in saucepot; heat through on medium. Stir in cilantro and lime juice, serve. Makes 6 servings.

I had more than 6 people to serve so I used 3 cans of beans, more carrots, more water and broth, more spices. I also added 3 cups of diced cooked chicken after making the puree to beef it up a bit, and the juice of one whole lime. I recommend adding a tsp. of chili powder. This is a good soup, and apparently it's good for you - it's part of Good Housekeeping's "Anti-Aging Diet."

German Pancake

This next recipe is not like a fluffy buttermilk pancake, but is dense and almost custard-like. It expands up the sides of the baking dish, making this a fun recipe to make with kids:


1/4 cup butter, melted
6 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
4 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread melted butter in bottom of 9x13 baking dish. Combine remaining ingredients in a blender and pulse until well mixed (you may need to scrape the sides of the blender with a rubber spatula to get all of the flour mixed in). Pour batter into 9x13 and bake for 20-25 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Serve warm, sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Angel Chicken Pasta


3-4 cups cooked diced or shredded chicken
1/4 cup butter
.7 oz package Italian dressing mix (such as Good Seasons)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/4 c. chicken broth
1/2 c. milk
8 oz. cream cheese with chives, cubed*
1 lb. angel hair pasta (or spaghetti)
Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange chicken in bottom of large casserole dish. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in Italian dressing mix, soups, broth, and milk and bring to a boil. Add cream cheese and stir just until melted. Pour sauce over chicken in casserole. Bake for 30 minutes.

While sauce is baking, prepare pasta according to package directions. Serve sauce over pasta and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Makes 8 servings.

*You could also use regular cream cheese and add 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh or dried chives.

Grilled Bruschetta Chicken

I have made it many times now and love it more and more each time. Nothing beats fresh basil! It's so refreshing in the summertime. Find the recipe here.

Apple Cake

recipe courtesy of the town of Ellijay, Georgia

3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup vegetable or canola oil
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 cups peeled, diced apples

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat eggs well. Add sugar 1/2 cup at a time, beating well. Add vanilla and oil. In a medium bowl, sift dry ingredients together. Add flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time, until fully incorporated. Fold in apples. Bake in a greased bundt or tube pan for 1 hour. Cool in pan for 15 minutes and then transfer to wire rack.

Margherita Pizza

Margherita Pizza!

You will need:
  • A 1 lb. bag of pizza dough from Fresh & Easy (or check the refrigerated section of the bakery in your local grocery). Much better than that Pillsbury junk. Just make sure to let the dough come to room temp before trying to roll it out.
  • pizza sauce
  • 2-3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and sliced
  • sliced fresh mozzarella
  • 3-4 fresh basil leaves, torn (or if you can't find fresh basil, use pesto instead of pizza sauce)
Just follow the pizza dough directions for baking temp and time. If you want it a little heartier, add some diced chicken.

Next time I'm going to try grilling it!

Peanut Butter Cookies - Improved

Want to know an easy way to fancy-up some plain-jane peanut butter cookies? Well, too bad - I'm going to tell you anyway.

Dip 'em in chocolate!

I just melt semi-sweet chocolate chips with a little shortening an dip half the cookie. Then I place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet and sprinkle chopped nuts on the chocolate. Refrigerate the cookies to get the chocolate to set faster.

Ta-da! Fancy schmancy cookies! You'll look so gourmet.

Roasted Chickpeas


2 cans garbanzo beans (chick peas) rinsed, drained, and dried with a paper towel
2 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a jelly roll pan with aluminum foil. In a medium bowl combine all ingredients until chickpeas are well coated. Spread evenly in pan. Roast for 30 minutes. Remove pan from oven, stir chickpeas, and return to oven and drop temperature to 375. Stir again after 15 minutes. Roast 15 minutes more (total of 1 hour) watching carefully to make sure peas do not burn; remove from oven and allow to cool completely before storing in a Ziploc or other airtight container.

  • You will most likely have a couple of exploding peas. Just be sure to pick them out of your oven once it is cool.
  • The peas start to lose their crunch after the first day (especially in a humid climate), so eat fast.
  • These are like corn nuts and are a great topper for salads. High in fiber and protein and not a lot of fat - excellent healthy snack.
  • If you live in a humid climate I would recommend omitting the oil or only using 1 tsp.
You can use whatever seasoning you prefer. Online people have suggested cinnamon sugar, cajun seasoning, sea salt, etc.

Easy Peach Cobbler


4 Tbsp. butter
3/4 c. flour
3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
3 c. fresh peaches, peeled and sliced (about 4 peaches)
1 Tbsp. sugar

Move oven rack to upper middle position. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter in 8x8 or 9-inch round baking dish in oven. Mix dry ingredients in medium bowl then whisk in milk and vanilla until well blended. Pour batter in dish and scatter fruit on top. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. sugar. Bake 50-60 minutes or until batter browns and fruit bubbles. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.


Double the ingredients to make a 9x13 pan.

Use 3 cups any fresh fruit such as blueberries, raspberries, nectarines, etc.

Could also use frozen or canned fruit. Thaw frozen fruit before baking. Drain liquid from canned fruit.

Loaded Potato Salad

This is my favorite potato salad (and I don't like potato salad).


6 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped green onions or chives
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup real bacon bits or chopped, crisp-cooked bacon
ground black pepper to taste

Place potatoes in a large pot and fill with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook for about 8-10 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender. Drain, then cool potatoes in fridge.

In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Fold in the potatoes. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Can be garnished with a sprinkling of cheese, bacon bits, and chopped green onions.

Best Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe submitted to by "ElizabethBH"
(posted here with some alteration by me).
Photo submitted by "Linda."

These are the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever had. They look like the ones you buy at the bakery but taste better. They are good for the first three days, but shouldn't be kept longer than that (they probably won't last past day two). I highly recommend using parchment paper on your cookie sheets - cookies won't stick and you don't have to wash your cookies sheets after baking. Less dishes - yay!


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or 2 cups if you like a lot of chocolate)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips. Refrigerate dough for 15 minutes. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time (or use a large cookie scoop) onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.

Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 18 large cookies.

Play Dough Cookies

Here is a recipe that Caralie and I made for her preschool class. You can make them into cookie-pops if you want to by inserting lollipop sticks into the cookies before you bake. Mostly these are cool-looking cookies, not the most tasty ... though I haven't met a kid yet that doesn't like them!


3/4 cup butter, softened
3 ounces cream cheese
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
assorted colors of paste or gel food coloring
(optional: lollipop sticks or sugar sprinkles)

In a large bowl cream butter, cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and almond extract; beat until smooth.

In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Stir until soft dough forms. Divide dough into fourths. Tint each with a different food color.

"Mommy! I'm stirring with all my might!"

Roll each color into small, 1 inch balls. Combine balls into batches of four and press together to make one large ball. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll each ball into a 12 inch long rope and, starting at one end, coil rope to make a 3-inch round cookie. Place cookies 3 inches apart on a lightly greased baking sheet (or use parchment paper). Sprinkle with sugar sprinkles or insert lollipop sticks.

Caralie used sugar sprinkles to make them "pretty."

Bake cookies for 8 - 10 minutes or until centers of cookies are set. Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container. Makes a dozen cookies.

Pumpkin Bread

Since it's officially fall I decided to make my favorite autumn treat. The sisters I visit teach will be enjoying this tomorrow. I've always received many compliments on this bread, but I can't accept them because the recipe is not my own. It is from the original Joy of Cooking cookbook.


1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/3 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 cup cooked or canned pumpkin
1/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
(optional: 1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts
and/or 1/3 cup raisins or chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cloves. In a large bowl, beat sugar, shortening and eggs until light and fluffy. Add and beat in pumpkin. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk and vanilla. Do not over-beat between each addition. Fold in the optional nuts/raisins/chocolate chips. Pour batter into pan and bake about 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Remove loaf from pan and wrap with plastic wrap to prevent drying out.

Fudgy Oat Drops

I got this recipe out of The Friend magazine a couple years ago. These are my favorite no-bake cookies. Use only milk chocolate chips, not semi-sweet. For some reason these only turn out with milk chocolate.


1 cup milk chocolate chips (no substitutions)
1/3 cup butter or margarine
16 large marshmallows*
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup flaked coconut
1 tsp. vanilla

Place chips, butter, and marshmallows in a large sauce pan and melt over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Mix in oats and coconut. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls (I use a cookie scoop) on waxed paper and cool. Store in an airtight container.

*16 large marshmallows = 208 miniature marshmallows (or approximately 2 1/2 cups)

Mandarin Orange Cake

Caralie says this cake smells even better than my armpits.

She likes my "armpit cleaner" (deodorant).



1 (18.25 ounce ) box yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup oil
2 (11 ounce) cans mandarin orange segments, drained, with juice reserved
1 tsp. orange extract (optional, but recommended)

1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, with juice
1 (3.5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 9-inch round cake pans.

In a large bowl, combine cake mix, eggs, oil, orange extract, and juice from mandarin oranges. Beat with an electric mixer at low speed for 30 seconds, then medium speed for 2 minutes. Fold in mandarin oranges. Pour batter evenly into 2 pans.

Bake for 35 - 40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow to cool. Remove from pans.

To make topping: In a large bowl, beat pineapple with juice and dry pudding mix until well blended. Fold in whipped topping. Spread between cake layers and on top and sides of cake. Store in refrigerator.


Popcorn Balls


5 quarts popped popcorn
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup margarine or butter
2 tsp. cold water
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 5/8 cups powdered sugar
1 cup marshmallows
food coloring (optional)

Here's what I do: I use my air popper and a large bowl. A quart of popcorn is 4 cups. Typically a 1/4 cup of kernels will yield 4 cups of popped popcorn. As the popcorn falls into the bowl, I scoop it loosely with my fingers (to remove un-popped, tooth cracking kernels) and place the popcorn in my 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup. Then I dump that into my large roasting pan. Once I have all 5 quarts, I put the roasting pan in the oven on "warm."

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the corn syrup, butter, cold water, vanilla, powdered sugar, and marshmallows. Heat and stir until the mixture comes to a boil (stir in food coloring, if desired).

Take roasting pan out of the oven (use mitts!) and pour syrup mixture over popcorn. Stir until every kernel is coated.

Spray a 1-cup measuring cup and your hands with cooking spray. Fill measuring cup with coated popcorn (mine were heaping cup-fulls). Remove from cup and firmly press to form a ball. (This way, they are all the same size). Place on waxed paper to cool. Repeat (adding cooking spray as needed). Makes 15 - 20 popcorn balls, depending on size.

Caramel Apples

This is a recipe for REAL caramel apples. As in, you make the caramel vs. melting a bunch of hard little cubes. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the cubes ... but for me I only use them when I make my "gourmet" caramel apples (ie: caramel, chocolate, and peanut apples) because the caramel hardens faster. But when it comes to plain caramel apples, I like home-made because you get a stronger butter and vanilla flavor. Mmmmm!

I got the idea to make them after someone at the family Halloween party (was it you, Kim?) made some killer home-made caramel apples. I ate two in one sitting. I only had 1 cup of cream, so I halved the recipe, but if you follow the recipe as is you can get 8 - 10 apples out of it (depending on size).

Now, when it comes to choosing apples, I prefer Fuji apples for their crispness and almost cinnamon-y flavor. I typically don't like Granny Smiths because they can be too tart for me, but I understand why many people prefer them - the tart of the apple cuts the sweet of the caramel. I am tempted to try Golden Delicious because they have the thinnest skins and would therefore be the easiest to eat. But ultimately, just use whatever apple floats your boat.

To spear the apples you can use several different things: popsicle sticks, lollipop sticks, wooden dowels, etc. When taking a gourmet caramel apple class, I was taught to use wooden dowels (you can buy them in the cake decorating section) that were sharpened into a point with a pencil sharpener. This time around all I had were extra-long lollipop sticks. Whatever your weapon of choice, make sure the apples are:

1. Clean and dry
2. Room temperature
3. Padded underneath (place the apple on top of a folded towel, for example) to prevent bruising

I use a meat mallot to tap the dowel/stick into the center of the apple. Tap it gently and try not to go further than half-way into the apple. Now you're ready to make the caramel!


8 - 10 impaled small-medium sized apples
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp. salt
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a large, heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, syrup, and salt. Over med-low heat, bring mixture to a boil and heat to 240 degrees.

Stir in butter and cream (the mixture will bubble up). Add vanilla.

Return to a boil and continue cooking until mixture returns to 240 degrees (soft-ball stage).

Remove from heat and let cool to 200 degrees before coating apples.

Place apples on heavily buttered dish or cookie sheet. Refrigerate until firm.

I later cut the sticks because they were much too long and looked pretty dumb. Don't you love how "straight" they are? This is why I prefer dowels!

I only had 4 Fuji apples, so I poured the leftover caramel into a bowl and used it as a dip. Super yummy!