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.

Crepes

Please Please do NOT judge this recipe by the photos. I think we can all appreciate that light yellow/tan foods do not photograph well unless you play around with retouching the picture. Let’s face it, I have better things to do than retouch my pictures. Like baking. And eating.

On to the recipe. My Taste Tester and I recently went to Europe and fell in love with the Crepes in France. I had been terrified of making them for years but decided after much begging and pleading on the part of my Taste Tester I would give them a go (though I gave no promises as to the end result. I mean I was competing with Paris!). Let’s just say that I had nothing to fear! These were so super simple and a breeze to whip up, no special Crepe pan needed!

A Crepe is basically a very very thin pancake (at least as I see them). They have a mild taste and are not sweet at all on their own. They are really best for filling with a variety of goodies like fresh fruit, peanut butter, etc. Think of them like a tortilla, except not.

Now, I will admit, that I did not follow the directions for making the crepes exactly. I prefer my crepes with a bit of a crispness (not much, but a bit) to the outside so I cooked mine a bit longer than stated. Also, this made them so easy to flip (I used my fingers and it worked perfectly. If you are sensitive to heat you may want to use tongs). We also played around with filling them with a variety of goodies but Nutella was our favorite followed closely by ham and cheese.

We have even had these for dinner some nights, ham and cheese for the meal and Nutella for dessert! YUM. The only downside is that you can really only make 1 at a time so be prepared to keep them in a low heated oven until all are made. Or you will be eating alone :(  These remind us so much of wandering the streets of Paris and are much cheaper than hoping on a plane!

I rate this recipe a 9

Crepes
adapted from America’s Test Kitchen cookbook

1 cup flour
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 eggs
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt

Sift flour and powdered sugar into a mixing bowl.  Add eggs, milk, butter, vanilla, and salt; beat until smooth.  (can chill covered for up to 1 hour at this point)

Heat a lightly greased 6-inch skillet. 

Add about 3 tablespoons batter and tilt skillet so that batter spreads to almost cover the bottom of skillet.  (I did not do this as I used a NON-stick pan, SO easy, and saves calories)

Cook until lightly browned; turn and brown the other side. (after I flip it I then add the fillings like Nutella etc.Then I fold it over in half and let it get nice and melted. I fold one more time, so it is now if fourths before serving. I like to sprinkle the sweet versions with powdered sugar)

Repeat process with remaining batter, grease skillet as needed.


 

Serendipity Deluxe Bars

Do you ever see a recipe and just know that you need to make it ASAP? That is what happened when I saw these over at A Southern Grace. My oh my. These bars are great!

They came together in no time and though there are a few components to the recipe (a pattern with recipes I have been making lately) overall they are a cinch to make.

You start with a shortbread type crust that is then topped by what I can only describe as a fudgey-gooey chocolate layer and lastly topped off with an oatmeal/brown sugar/nut mixture that turns into a caramel like top layer after baking. Each layer of these bars tastes great but together they create a dessert that you will find yourself craving until the pan is gone (which around here was about 2 days).

My Taste Tester loved these bars and could not get enough. He enjoyed them warm, room temperature, with ice cream, plan, with hot fudge, I can’t even name how many times I came into the room to see him eating another bar. That is when you know they are good. 

Next time I may add some walnuts as well, as I actually prefer those to pecans.

Take some time this weekend and make these to enjoy with friends and family. They will thank you.

I rate this recipe a 9

Serendipity Deluxe Bars
as seen here
Crust:
1 cup butter, cold and diced
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Truffle Filling:
1 cup corn syrup
1 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Caramel:
1/4 cup corn syrup
3/4 cup brown sugar, tightly packed
1 cup oats
1/2 cup pecans, coarsely ground
3/4 cup (6 oz) butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 13×9-inch pan.
To prepare the crust, combine all four ingredients in a food processor and pulse until coarse crumbs are created. Press into the prepared pan and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the edges are slightly browned.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling by microwaving together the corn syrup and chocolate chips, stopping to stir occasionally until the chips have melted. Let cool, then add the remaining filling ingredients and beat to combine. Pour over the hot crust and bake for 27 minutes, or until the outer edges are firm and the center is only slightly jiggly.
While the filling bakes, prepare the caramel layer by stirring together all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. When the pan is deemed ready to remove from the oven, let it sit for 10 minutes before dolloping on the caramel layer and spreading it evenly over the chocolate layer. Then return the pan to the oven for another 25-35 minutes, or until the bars are just set. Let cool completely before cutting. 

Peanut Butter Torte

Once again, I turned to Dorie’s book for a no-bake sweet to satisfy my summer dessert cravings. I just hate using the oven and heating up the house when it is over 90 degrees outside! After paging through, I knew I had found gold when I read the words “Peanut Butter’. Yes please!

If you love peanut butter and want a rich, creamy dessert but either don’t want to bake a cheesecake or are scared to try. You must make this recipe!

Don’t be scared by the (once again) LONG recipe. This dessert has a few steps but none are difficult at all! I will warn you though, the torte is best after chilling for a few hours so plan ahead.

I adapted the recipe slightly as typed below to suit our personal tastes. Instead of an Oreo crust I used Nutter Butters (as you know my Taste Tester does NOT like Oreos). I also omitted the peanuts in the filling as I don’t like chunks in what I feel should be smooth and creamy desserts. Since I am not a fan of cinnamon with peanut butter, I left that out as well. For the topping I tossed some peanuts in melted butter and then in brown sugar. I baked unitl they were golden and allowed them to cool before garnishing the top with the ganache and nuts.

With my modifications I must say that this was a hit! It was perfectly smooth and creamy, much like a cheesecake but a bit lighter and not so dense. The crust paired perfectly with the filling and the candied nuts really rounded out this recipe.

I love taking a great recipe and with a few tweaks making it suit our preferences. Feel free to play around with the recipe and make it your own. I bet Reese’s Peanut Butter cups chopped up would be perfect on top of this great treat!

I rate this recipe a 9

Peanut Butter Torte
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan

1-1/4 c finely chopped salted peanuts (for the filling, crunch and topping)
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp instant espresso powder (or finely ground instant coffee)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (I DID NOT USE)
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (I DID NOT USE
1/2 cups mini chocolate chips (or finely chopped semisweet chocolate)
24 Oreo cookies, finely crumbed or ground in a food processor or blender (I USED NUTTER BUTTERS)
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Small pinch of salt
2-1/2 cups heavy cream
1-1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
12 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature (I USED 1/3 LESS FAT)
1-1/2 cup salted peanut butter – crunchy or smooth (not natural)
2 tbsp whole milk
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I USED SEMI-SWEET)

Getting ready:
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9″ Springform pan and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.

Toss 1/2 cup of the chopped peanuts, the sugar, espresso powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and chocolate chops together in a small bowl. Set aside. (I USED SOME CANDIED PEANUTS I MADE AS MENTIONED ABOVE)

Put the Oreo crumbs, melted butter and salt in another small bowl and stir with a fork just until crumbs are moistened. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the Springform pan (they should go up about 2″ on the sides). Freeze the crust for 10 minutes.
Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then transfer it to a rack and let it cool completely before filling.

Working with a stand mixer (fitted with the whisk attachment) or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, whip 2 cups of the cream until it holds medium peaks. Beat in 1/4 cup of the confectioners’ sugar and whip until the cream holds medium-firm peaks. Scrape the cream into a bowl and refrigerate until needed.
Wipe out (do not wash) the bowl, fit the stand mixer with the paddle attachment (if you have one), or continue with the hand mixer, and beat the cream cheese with the remaining 1 cup confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until the cream cheese is satiny smooth. Beat in the peanut butter, 1/4 cup of the chopped peanuts and the milk.
Using a large rubber spatula, gently stir in about one quarter of the whipped cream, just to lighten the mousse. Still working with the spatula, stir in the crunchy peanut mixture, then gingerly fold in the remaining whipped cream.
Scrape the mousse into the crust, mounding and smoothing the top.

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight; cover with plastic wrap as soon as the mousse firms

To Finish The Torte:
Put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Leave the bowl over the water just until the chocolate softens and starts to melt, about 3 minutes; remove the bowl from the saucepan (I heated my chocolate in the microwave in 30 sec. intervals).

Bring the remaining 1/2 cup of cream to a full boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and, working with a a rubber spatula, very gently stir together until the ganache is completely blended and glossy.

Pour the ganache over the torte, smoothing it with a metal icing spatula. Scatter the remaining 1/2 cup of peanuts over the top and chill to set the topping, about 20 minutes.

When the ganache is firm, remove the sides of the Springform pan. It’s easiest to warm the pan with a hairdryer, and then remove the sides, but you can also wrap a kitchen towel dampened with hot water around the pan and leave it there for 10 seconds.

Refrigerate until ready to serve