Kentucky Derby Chocolate Pecan Pie

My Taste Tester and I spent Saturday doing outdoor chores and enjoying the Kentucky Derby. What better way to enjoy the Derby than to make a dessert? We chose a recipe I found on the internet a while back.

I had never made a pecan pie before so I don’t really have anything to compare this one to, but my Taste Tester has eaten several pecan pies in his day and said this recipe is a keeper. The chocolate compliments the sweetness of the filling by adding an extra dimension of flavor. I also added 1/2 cup toffee chips but they were not noticeably detected so I may leave them out next time.

We cheated and used a frozen pie crust (partially baked first) but doing so allowed us to be enjoying this pie in under an hour. I had some extra filling so i filled up a 4 inch ramekin and baked it for about 30 minutes as well.

If you are looking for a great pecan pie this is a keeper with or without the chocolate chips I  am sure. I would suggest eating this pie warm as it is best with the chocolate being melted and gooey.

I rate this recipe a 9

Kentucky Derby Chocolate Pecan Pie Recipe from here

1 10-inch Single Crust Pie Crust
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
1/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup Karo light corn syrup
4 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup bourbon
3/4 cup gourmet chocolate chips
1 1/4 cup toasted pecans, shelled and chopped in half if desired (I used pecan peices)
1/2 cup toffee chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Roll crust out crust and place in prepared pan (fluting the edges) or use a store bought pre-baked pie crust, line a 10-inch deep dish pie pan

In a large mixing bowl, on medium speed with whisk attachment, whip butter, sugars, corn syrup, eggs, vanilla and bourbon together until frothy. Gently fold in the pecans, chocolate chips and toffee if using. Blend well.

Pour into prepared pie crust and bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes or until set

Serve warm

One bowl Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Glaze

I don’t bake cakes too often as you can probably tell by looking through my blog. I like cake but always feels it takes forever to make. I can rarely just make a cake without frosting too, and if I make frosting, then I need to make it look half-way pretty but decorating it. Overall I think cakes take too many ingredients, have too many steps and in the end aren’t worth my effort.

I have had chocolate cake on my mind lately. Not sure why but I can’t stop thinking about it. I gave in and finally paged through my cookbooks only to find this super simple, super quick cake recipe that did not call for ingredients (you know, like cake flour or buttermilk) that I usually don’t buy. Just plain and simple. Plus it came with a very quick ganache recipe to pour on top instead of frosting. SOLD!

What I had after 45 minutes (30 of it baking) was a moist but dense chocoate cake with thick, sweet liquid chocolate fudge (best way I can describe it) on top. Oh my, I was in heaven! Now this is not the best ever chocolate cake in the world but it did more than satisfy my craving and the amount of hands on time it took was so minimal I was in awe at how great it turned out.

I did pour the glaze over the cake while it was still warm and I would do so again in the future. I ate this cake every night for a week, simply nuked for 20 seconds to get the frosting a bit melted and dug in! So yummy!

I rate this recipe a 9 

One Bowl Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Glaze
from Better Homes and Garden Cookbook

1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg

Grease an 8×8 pan,

Preheat oven to 350.

In large bowl mix flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add milk, oil and vanilla. Beat for 2 minutes. Add eggs and beat 2 minutes more.

Pour into pan and bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Chocolate Glaze
4 oz chocolate (I used bittersweet and semi sweet)
3 TBS butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (sifted)
3 TBS hot water or cream

Melt chocolate and butter in microwave (in 20 second intervals) until melted. Beat in powdered sugar and water. Add more powdered sugar or water until pouring consistency.

Pour over cake.

Butterfinger Bars

If you are looking for  a recipe that takes VERY few ingredients, can be made from start to finish in 30 minutes and is super delicious, look no further. I have had this recipe for years, it was in a homemade cookbook that I got from a school teacher with recipes compiled from her students. There is no name or citation to this recipe so I apologize if this is your recipe (just email and let me know and I will give credit).

The base of the bars is a sweet, buttery oatmeal crust topped with a chocolate and peanut butter mixture. The finished product is like a sinful granola bar. I don’t think they taste a lot like a Butterfinger (since they are named that) but I love them none the less.

These bars are not for the calorie conscious but we all need a treat now and again right? The only down side to these bars is they are very crumbly when warm and still slightly crumbly when cooled. I have made these millions of times and can not get them to be less fragile (email if you find the cure). I keep making these because they take care of my sweet tooth with a small bar, so I don’t feel guilty about eating one (or 10).

I have added toffee pieces to the top of the chocolate mixture (while warm) for a bit of a twist.

I rate these bars a 9 (if for no other reason than they are so simple and easy)

Butterfinger Bars
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar (I use 3/4 cup)
1 cup butter (I use 3/4 cup)
4 cups oatmeal (I use quick cooking)
1 cup Peanut butter (I use creamy)
1 cup chocolate chips (about 6oz or a bit more)

Preheat oven to 350.
Grease a baking sheet (for thinner bars) or a 9×13 pan
In a medium bowl mix together the first 4 ingredients until combined and press into the bottom of the pan.
Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden but not brown
Melt peanut butter and chocolate chips (I nuke in microwave stirring after every 20 seconds until smooth)
Poor melted mixture over slightly cooled bars.
Cool before cutting (I LOVE these warm and crumbly so I eat with a spoon in a bowl!)

*I have also halved this recipe and used an 8×8 pan and baked for about 15 minutes.

 

Haystacks

Here is a treat that I have been making since grade school. All you need is a microwave. large bowl and a cookie sheet to whip these up. This is a no-bake treat that you can prep in under 15 minutes making them a perfect snack to make while dinner is cooking!

These are not a gourmet dessert or one to impress your friends but I love them so much that I have made them for many family events. My Taste Tester really enjoys them as well and has been known to hide them in random places in the fridge so I don’t eat them all.

These little treats have only three ingredients, chocolate, peanut butter and chow mein noodles. You decide how big or little to make your haystacks so I am not sure how many you will get. I usually get between 12 and 18. They do get your fingers a bit chocolatey while eating them , but that is the best part.

There are several variations of this recipe I am sure. To be honest I don’t really use a recipe at all, I just go by sight as to how many chow mein noodles to add. Sometimes I like them more chocolatey so I add fewer, other times I just use the entire bag. It is really up to you. I have also added toffee pieces or chopped nuts but to be honest, I prefer just the basic three ingredient haystacks.

I rate this recipe a 9

Haystacks
*All amounts are estimates, add more peanut butter or chocolate chips and noodles to suit your preference in taste and texture.

1 bag chocolate chips (semi sweet)
1/2 to 3/4 cup peanut butter (to taste)
1 bag (or a bit less) of Chow Mein noodles

Line a baking sheet with wax paper.

In a medium microwave safe bowl heat the chocolate chips and peanut butter in the microwave. Stir after every 15-20 seconds until smooth. Don’t overcook.

Stir in chow mein noodles 1 cup at a time until desired consistency is reached. You want the noodles either completely coated or just about. (see photo above) Don’t break them too much.

Scoop them onto a wax paper lined baking sheet and place in fridge until firm. Keep stored in fridge so they don’t melt.

Enjoy

Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Icing

The moment I saw this post, I knew I had to give this a try. After a day at the local apple orchard the Taste Tester and I had a few left over apples and I knew it was fate. I had to make this cake. Who doesn’t love a warm, caramel flavored apple dessert during fall?

This cake is moist, has a dense crumb and the perfect balance of spices. I have had cakes where the cinnamon overpowers the entire cake, not so with this beauty. The icing really does make the cake. It is rich and buttery tasting and is equally good on the cake as it is scooped on some ice cream (yes,I did this).  It may be too sweet for some (not me) but that is why a small slice is enough to  satisfy your sweet tooth.

If you are looking for a fall dessert to please non-chocolate lovers or those who are sick of pie, this cake is a great option.

I would double the glaze recipe and use it on top of some ice cream topped with candied pecans or walnuts. Now that is good!

I rate this recipe a 9

Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Icing
from here
Apple Cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped apples (I used a mixture of granny smith and gala)
  • 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped (optional) (I used about 3/4 cup of toasted walnuts)

Brown Sugar Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 Tablespoon heavy cream

For the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350. Grease an 8-inch pan (I used square) and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.Stir with a whisk to mix everything together.

In a large bowl, mix the eggs with a hand mixer til light in color and foamy. Add the oil and vanilla and beat well.

Stir in the flour mixture with a spoon and continue stirring the batter til the flour disappears. Add the apples and nuts (if using) and stir to mix them into the batter.

Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Place the hot cake on a wire cake. While it’s still hot, prepare the glaze.

For the glaze:
Combine all the ingredients into a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the mixture comes to a gentle boil. Cook for 3-5 minutes.

Spoon the hot glaze over the still hot-from-the-oven cake.

*I sprinkled walnuts over the cake before the glaze set.

Let the glazed cake cool completely before serving straight from the pan

Caramel Pecan Sticky Rolls

My Taste Tester and I love ooey gooey caramel rolls though I had never made them up to a year ago. One lazy Saturday he suggested I bake some up. I had saved a recipe for the dough for some time but it called for a bread maker. I adapted it to use my KitchenAid and the results were fantastic. I used a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated cookbook for the pecan caramel topping. The end results were better than I had hoped. They definitely have made there way into our monthly baking rotation.

The recipe takes some time but most of it is waiting for the rolls to rise. Overall it is pretty simple, especially if you are familiar with working with yeast. I have killed my yeast a time or two when making various breads but this recipe has always worked for me. I usually buy my yeast and use it right away to ensure freshness.

If you are looking for a great weekend baking project, these rolls will be sure to please you! They are soft, tender and the topping is thick and rich. So perfect for the upcoming cooler months.

I rate this recipe a 9

Caramel Pecan Sticky Rolls
adapted from here

1 cup warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup margarine, melted
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast
1 cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup sugar packed
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup corn syrup
1 TBS milk or cream (my addition)
3/4 cup pecans

Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in a large bowl. Mix in the sugar, margarine, salt, and eggs. Add flour and mix well. Knead the dough into a large ball, using your hands dusted lightly with flour. Put in a bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

After the dough has doubled in size turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, sugar and cinnamon.

In saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter  and syrup and milk or cream. Cook until sugar is dissolved. Pour into bottom of a greased 9×13″ pan. Sprinkle pecans evenly over top.

Roll dough into a 16×21 inch rectangle. Spread dough with 1/3 cup butter and sprinkle evenly with sugar/cinnamon mixture. Roll up dough and cut into 12 rolls.

Place rolls prepared  9×13 inch baking pan. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Bake rolls in preheated oven until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.

Allow to cool in pan for about 20 minutes, turn over onto a foil lined baking sheet. Best served same day.

Keep stored in an airtight container. If reheating in microwave do not overheat or the dough will become tough and the caramel may burn.

Peanut Butter Cookies

Today I share with you the very first recipe my Taste Tester ever made for me. We had only been dating about a month and he surprised me with these when I stopped by to visit one rainy afternoon. After the first bite of these warm and gooey cookies, I knew, he was a keeper.

I ate far too many of these that afternoon. This recipe produces big, soft chewy cookies with a nice peanut butter flavor. He found the recipe in some old church cookbook his mom (now my mother in-law) had purchased for him. Little did she know it would help him snag a wife :)

Whenever I have a bad day, or if he just wants to cheer me up, these are cookies he makes for me and they always bring a smile to my face. If you are looking for a great basic peanut butter cookie recipe, here is one to try!

I rate this recipe a 9

Peanut Butter Cookies
no author

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup butter flavor Crisco (or butter)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup peanut butter (smooth)
1 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Reese’s Pieces (as many as you want)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly spray mini muffin pan with cookie spray

In a large bowl, mix together the brown sugar, sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla. Continue mixing until incorporated. Slowly add the flour, salt and baking soda. Mix until combined. Stir in Reese’s Pieces.

Using a cookie scoop, scoop out about 2 TBS of dough, shape into a ball. Slightly press down on baking sheet.

Bake for about 8-12 minutes or until golden. Do not overbake.

.Remove from oven to cool.