Archive for the ‘Desserts’ Category

Key Lime Fudge

I got a bottle of Key lime juice and started looking for recipes. The usual pies, bars and ice cream were there but what stood out for me was the fudge. I’d never heard of such a thing, so of course I had to try it. I also found a pumpkin fudge recipe and I thought I’d do a fudge assortment as Christmas give aways to friends and fam. The fact that I had never made a fudge in my life did not alarm me. I had a candy thermometer and I knew how to use it.

First came the lime fudge. The recipe did not list a temperature to reach on a thermemeter, it just said cook and stir for 5 full minutes on the boil. I did so. It set up too soft, sticky even. Not worthy of a Christmas gift. Then I tried the pumpkin fudge recipe, it DID have soft ball stage-235 -listed as the temperature to reach for. My thermometer had no problem until about 230-just shy of destination. And it stopped. As my last attempt had set up too soft, I did not want to repeat the error, so I kept on stirring for another 4 minutes or so before giving up. It was too done-it set up hard and brittle like a bark. Damn. Strike two.

Textures aside, I liked the lime one much better than the pumpkin. Fudge has always been too sweet for me and this was no different but it was damn good.

I would recommend the mini marshmallows over the creme–less $ and easier to throw in–I struggled with a spatula trying to get it all out while the pot was cooling, when throwing in 2 cups of minis would have been a lot faster and melted quicker I believe. I left out the nuts and added a few drops of green coloring. I handed it out to customers of the Christmas tree farm I live on–they didn’t seem to mind the softness. I would just add another minute or two onto the cooking time.


1/4 cup butter or margarine

2 1/2 cups sugar

2/3 cup evaporated milk

12 ounces White Chips

7 ounces Marshmallow Creme or Marshmallow Fluff


2 cups miniature marshmallows

1/3 cup key lime juice

1/2 cup Almonds or Macadamia Nuts (coarsely chopped)

1/4 teaspoon rum extract

1 teaspoon lemon extract


Line a 9″ x 9″ pan with aluminum foil (no stick or heavy duty foil-my regular foil tore a great deal.) and set aside. Place White chips, extracts, and nuts into Pyrex glass dish (or a 3- quart saucepan) and set aside. Set butter aside to warm. Heat milk at Medium setting until warm then add sugar. Bring to a rolling boil (Medium-High) while stirring constantly with a hand mixer (or wooden spoon).

Add marshmallow creme and butter and mix until creamy. Add Key Lime juice. Bring back to a boil for [5] full minutes by clock (start timing once boil resumes). The mixture will start to turn a little brown during boil. If you get brown flakes in mixture then turn down heat a little (e.g. down to Medium from Medium-High) and continue to stir. Remove from heat and pour hot mixture over chips without scraping sides of hot saucepan. Mix until chips are melted then mix in nuts. Pour into prepared pan. Cool at room temperature. Remove from pan, remove foil, cut into squares.


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cc 001Alright. Not a great picture. And these cupcakes are not “pretty” But the cake and frosting recipe is my new current favorite cake recipe. I made them into cupcakes because a friend of my daughter is going to have cupcakes for her wedding instead of a cake so I wanted to make sure the recipe translated into cupcakes well before passing the recipe on. They have no coconut in them, just coconut milk. And zest of limes. They are SO good. Terri ate one with some leftover lemon icing I had hanging out in the back of the fridge and she said it was great that way, too. Recipe courtesy of Doreen Howarth, San Antonio, TX. I tweeked it a bit. Also, try and use limes that have tight, shiney skins–the soft ones don’t give up much rind. I’ve used up to 6 soft ones before to get it limey enough…

Put the Lime in the Coconut Cake


1 cup butter

2 cups sugar

1 tsp. coconut extract (real is best but hard to find-artificial is fine)

4 eggs

zest of 2-3 limes-finely grated on microplane grater

2+1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 cup coconut milk (whole not lite, and shake can REALLY well)


1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup (4 ozs.) cream cheese

1/4 cup coconut milk

1 teaspoon vanilla or coconut extract

zest of 2-3 limes (taste and judge), finely grated

1 lb. +or – powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350. If making this into a cake, grease and flour 3- 8 or 9 inch pans. Otherwise, lay out 2 dozen cupcake holders- I use silicon.

In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter together til fluffy. Add zest and extract, then eggs, one at a time, beating well inbetween. Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl and add alternatly with coconut milk in 3 installments, beginning and ending with dry. 1/3 dry, 1/2 milk, 1/3 dry, 1/2 milk, 1/3 dry. Mix just til combined, don’t overbeat. Cupcakes take about 20 minutes to bake and cakes more like 25.

I think you can figure out how the frosting goes together. Add zest and powdered sugar to taste. I like my frostings not too sweet so i never use the whole pound of powdered sugar but I use xtra zest. You judge. Like most cakes, they are even better the next day.

Also, the lady from Texas whose recipe this is used an additional 1/2 cup of shortening in the frosting  “to keep the frosting from sliding off the cake” in transport (she’s a caterer) in the HOT Texas summers. I eliminated that here for the cupcakes-this makes plenty of frosting for them but if you were filling in between 3 layers plus frosting a full cake, you might consider adding that back in.

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Peppermint Brownies


I couldn’t figure out what to make for Easter dessert and JoJo said to keep it simple this year-nothing fancy. My daughter Erica, currently living FAR FAR away in D.C. suggested her favorite brownies, the pretty peppermint ones. Works for me and everyone loved them. They are rich, so I cut them small, like bite-sized brownies so they can just be popped in your mouth. If you don’t care for peppermint, you could substitute any other extract of your choice. This is made using a 16 oz. can of Hershey’s syrup. In my local store, it can be found with the other ice cream toppings. If I look in the baking isle, they only have large squeeze bottles of the stuff.

Peppermint Brownies

Brownie layer:

1 stick butter, softened

1 cup sugar

4 eggs

1–16 oz. can Hershey’s syrup

1 cup flour

Cream the butter and sugar, add the eggas, syrup then the flour. Pour into a greased and floured 9×13 baking pan and bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

Peppermint layer:

1 stick butter, softened

2 cups powdered sugar

1 Tbsp. water

3 drops of red food coloring (optional)

1/2 tsp. peppermint extract (I use more like 3/4 tsp)

Beat it all up til smooth. Spread on the cooled brownies and chill in the fridge for about an hour before adding the top layer. If you try and skip that step, then when you pour and try and spread the hot chocolate top layer, the pink will show up in the chocolate layer and look muddy.

Top layer:

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

6 Tbsp. butter

Melt in the micro for about 25 seconds, stir, then another 20 seconds or until all is smooth. Quickly pour and spread over pink layer but don’t work it too much or the pink layer will get swirled into the chocolate. Just get it spread to the edges as best you can, then just gently shake the pan to get it smooth and even on top. The edges of the brownies sometime look a little crispy and curled up but by the time you get both the frosting and the top layer on and chilled for a bit, they soften up. I cut them off to make pretty squares but the kids eat them happily. Also, it’s best to let these sit at room temp for about a half an hour before cutting or serving, so the top layer of chocolate doesn’t crack while slicing.

Miss you, angel, wish you were here to enjoy them. And thanks for the great suggestion.

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My Favorite Apple Pie

And I don’t even care much about apple pies! They are so boring, usually. This is a little xtra work-but oh, so worth it.


The original recipe I got off Allrecipes but I changed a few things.

Best Apple Pie

Preheat your oven to 425.

If you’re doing the xtra step of sealing the bottom crust, do so now.

2 crusts-I cut the top one in strips for lattice.

6-8 apples. 6 if they’re regular sized. 8 if small. Peel and thinly slice.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, mix

1 stick of butter, then stir in

3 Tbsp. flour until smooth. Then add

1/4 cup minus 1 Tbsp. water (I sub brandy for 3 of those Tbsps.

1 Tbsp. vanilla

good dash of cinnamon (like 1 tsp.) or apple pie spice mix

1/2-3/4 cup EACH white and brown sugar, depending on the sweetness of your apples. With Granny Smith apples, I use full amount.

Bring this mixture to a boil, then turn down low to simmer.  Get your apples into the bottom crust. Slowly pour all but  1/4 cup of the syrup over the apples, lay on the lattice and brush with remaining syrup. It gets thick quick, so don’t dally. Bake on a lower rack so crust doesn’t burn. This pie will bubble over in the oven, so put a cookie sheet on a rack underneath it to catch drips. Oven clean-up is no fun. Bake 15 minutes at 425, then turn things down to 350 for 35-45 more minutes, til apples are no longer crispy and crust is a glazed mahogany color.

I recommend that you make this pie the day before. It absorbs all the juices and cuts much nicer. Heat it up with a scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream. Stand back.

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Sticky Toffee Pudding

I have never made a sticky pudding before in my life,  so I figured it was high time. I’m making this for my daughter Erica and son-in-law Sebastian, visiting from D.C.  I don’t get to see them nearly enough.

To cut the dates for this recipe, I used a special Alaskan round knife, called an Ulu.  It’s also GREAT for cutting nuts.sticky-pudding-008







The recipe didn’t state whether to drain the dates after simmering or not–so I guessed not.  I also thought there was way too much sauce, so I have halved it here–feel free to double it back up if you want it DRENCHED.

Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake

1 +1/2 sticks butter (3/4 cup)

1 cup self rising flour

1 cup finely chopped dates or dried apricots

3/4 cup dark brown sugar (1/2 + 1/4 cup, divided)

1 large egg

Simmer dates or apricots in 1 cup of water in a small saucepan with lid, covered for 5 minutes.  Take off heat and let sit for another 5 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour an 8 inch cake pan with 2 inch sides.sticky-pudding-012

For the cake:  Beat 1 stick of butter with 1/4 cup brown sugar for 2 minutes.  Beat in the egg for another minute.  Add flour but mix gently just til combined.  Add fruit plus water, again, mixing gently just til combined.  Pour into pan and bake around 30 minutes, until the toothpick comes out clean-just.  Meanwhile, about 5 minutes before the cake is due to come out of the oven, melt the 1/4 cup of butter in a small saucepan over med-hi heat along with remaining 1/2 cup of dark brown sugar and slightly less than 1/4 cup of water. Bring to a boil and keep stirring for about 2-3 minutes.

When the cake comes out of the oven, grab a chopstick and start poking holes all over the cake. Pour on the syrup, reserving some if you want some to drizzle on the plates.sticky-pudding-015








I found this just for show- the cake was already saturated and didn’t need it. You choose. This cake/pudding/ whatever was best served warm. Reheat, covered in foil, in a 200 degree oven for 10 minutes if made ahead.



toffee-sticky-puddingjpg-1-1Sticky, goooey GOOD!!

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