S’mores Cupcakes

Quiet the s’mores craze right now…cookies, drinks, bread and I even saw a s’mores sweet potato casserole. Yes. And thank you..I will be trying that come Thanksgiving.

What’s there not to love about gooey, warm marshmallow and chocolate? These cupcakes have a marshmallow meringue in place of the marshmallow in or on top.

Graham Cracker Layer:
• 3 cups graham cracker crumbs
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 10 TB butter

Cupcake Layer:
• 10 TB butter softened
• 1 1/2 c sugar
• 3 eggs
• 1 1/3 cup cake flour
• 1/2 cup dutch cocoa
• 2 tsp vanilla
• 1/2 c buttermilk
• 1/2 coffee
• 1/4 tsp baking powder
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1 tsp baking soda

Chocolate Glaze:
• 4 TB butter
• 1/2 cup semi sweet choc
• 2 tsp white karo syrup

Marshmallow Meringue:
• 1 cup sugar
• 4 egg whites

If you follow this link you can see the guide on making them. Which is far easier than reading instructions! Enjoy!!

http://snp.gd/taksuc

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How I make Money Bread

What makes my life easier is making things serving sized and easy for my kids to grab and go. So when I make monkey bread I use cupcake liners and cut my biscuits into halves. Toss in your cinnamon sugar mixture and place 3 cut pieces per serving.

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Make your caramel and spoon atop each and bake. No more unbaked pieces of dough, no more burned tops.

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White Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

When I first started catering, I opened up shop during the holidays. Before I knew it, I had a lot of orders and not a lot of time. I had less children then, but they were young and not such good helpers (like they are now). So, I had to come up with a good cookie base that was versatile, and would make a lot of cookies. And of course, tasted great.

This dough is wonderful with just chocolate chunks (omit the oatmeal) as a chocolate chip cookie. I’ve used it with roughly chopped toffee bars, with nuts and white chocolate; just about anything you like in a cookie, could be used.

You’ll need:

• 1 cup softened butter
• 2 room temp eggs
• 2 tsp vanilla
• 1 cup plus 2 TB brown sugar
• 3/4 cup plus 2TB sugar

Preheat to 350. Beat this until it’s creamed and smooth
Add:
• 1 1/2 c bread flour
• 1 1/2c plus a TB pastry flour (no substitutions)
• 1 cup oats
• 1/2 TB salt
• 1 tsp each: baking soda and powder
• bag of white chocolate chips
• bag of dried cherries

You really shouldn’t make these cookies and use anything but the correct flours. Pastry flour can be found in the organic isle of most grocery stores, everywhere. I’ve made these before with whole wheat in place of pastry and they don’t have the same taste or texture.

Just mix until until this comes together. I use a large scoop for a large cookie and only bake 5,6 per cookie sheet. They need that space to bake evenly

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Then bake for about 12 minutes. I start checking my cookies at the 12 minute mark. About 15,16 minutes is usually when mine are done. And as expensive as it is to make these, you don’t want them to burn.

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Chocolate chip Cheesecake Dip

I am always feeding herds of boys. I have five of my own and a team of boys we adopt every basketball season. I have learned a lot about feeding young men..if you don’t make it simple, they won’t touch it. If you don’t make it easy to pick up and eat, they won’t touch it. And if your fruit doesn’t have some sort of dip; you get the point. They won’t touch it. So after a few functions of buying, preparing and plating this wonderful fruit, then seeing it go to waste I figured I better make an adjustment.
This dip is very versatile. I’ve chopped dried cherries and used as a cheesecake dip for graham crackers. You can add nuts and drained pineapple as a schmear. However, for the boys, like I said I keep it simple.

You’ll need:
• brick of cream cheese
• stick of room temp butter
• 2 TB brown sugar
• 3/4 c powdered sugar
• 1/2 tsp vanilla
• mini chocolate chips

Mix your cream cheese and butter well and add all the rest of you ingredients. I add a little over half the bag of mini chips. And yes, you can chill this but it’s not needed. You can make it and serve there after. I always have strawberries and apples along side the graham squares.

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Spicy Pretzels

A few years ago, my sister introduced me to the best cracker, and they were so good she would mail them to me. All it is, is a saltine with incredible spice..called a firecracker. This is her version of that cracker..only as a pretzel.

Spicy Pretzels:

• Bag of tiny twist pretzel (they work best)
• 1/3 c canola oil
• 1 pkg ranch dip mix
• 1/2 tsp lemon pepper
• heaping tsp of cayenne
• 1 tsp garlic powder

Mix the spices and oil in a bowl. Pour the pretzels out into a 2 gallon size baggie. Then pour mixture over and zip the top. Shake well, and lay aside for a few hours. I go every so often, and shake well again. After three hours, the oil will have soaked in and dried and they will be ready to serve.

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The Perfect Praline

Firstly, let’s get the pronunciation out of the way. It’s: PRAW-LEANS. The nut is a pray-lean. But that fantastic, caramel fudgey and nutty candy; that’s a praw lean. And it’s all over my beloved south.

For a wedding anniversary, my husband and I spent a week in Kiawah Island. I must tell you, next to our trip to France..this island is our favorite spot. The resort is called The Sanctuary and the Sunday brunch..no joke, those pralines are hard to beat.
But I think I just might have!

The trick to perfecting pralines is the technique. Most recipes are the same; butter, sugars and heavy cream. I’ve found the way to get them not grainy and easy to form.

Pralines
• 2 cups brown sugar
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 2 tsp vanilla
• 5 TB unsalted butter
• 1/4 tsp cream of tarter
• 1/2 tsp salt

In a food processor, pulverize the sugars, salt and cream of tarter. Make sure there are no clumps of brown sugar left. Then add that to a medium sized pot with the cup of cream. Start out on high heat, stirring the ENTIRE time until it starts to boil. Once it begins to boil, turn the heat down to med low, and let it cook undisturbed until a candy thermometer reads about 138 degrees.

While this is boiling, set up your candy shop. Take cupcake liners and line them with crushed pecans. Just sprinkle enough in each cup to cover the bottom. You will need about 24.

Once your candy is heated to 138, remove from heat, add butter and vanilla and allow it to cool until 120 degrees. Once cooled, start beating with a hand held mixer until it starts to thicken like frosting. I stick a spoon in it to test, and if it coats the spoon with very little dripping.. then it’s ready. Now work fast! Drop spoonfuls of the fudge into each cupcake liner. If it starts to get to hard, just add a few drops of water to loosen it up enough to finish.
And having the helper, well, that’s optional.

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Chocolate Blondie Tart

I call this a blondie tart because if you’ve ever made the blondie brownies, then you know that deep flavor and amber color they bake to be. This recipe calls for a caramel sauce that starts out blonde and as it sits to cool, turns that wonderful caramel color. Oh, and that’s just the filling..

Crust:
• 3/4 cup plus 2TB flour
• 2 heaping TB dutch cocoa
• 1 stick room temp butter
• 1/2 cup plus 2TB powdered sugar
• 1 egg yolk

Beat your soft butter with the powdered sugar and yolk. Sift your dry ingredients and add to the butter mixture. Only mix until its just incorporated. Stir by hand to bring together and press into a disc. Wrap with Saran wrap and chill for about an hour.

Filling:
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 3 TB water
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 1/2 stick butter
• pinch of salt
• 1 tsp vanilla

In two separate small pots, warm the cream and butter until that has melted. Add your salt and vanilla, turn heat off. In the second pot, bring the sugar and water to a boil over medium heat. Set your timer for about 10 minutes (but you may need a minute or two longer) If you’ve never worked with sugar before..be very careful. It’s extremely hot and scorches easily. Swirl the pot constantly to prevent any scorching. Once your time is up, remove from heat and keep swirling pot until the sugar syrup looks like it has some color, a very light brown. Add that to your warm milk mixture. Add slowly! This will start to boil up and you will need to whisk quickly so to prevent any of the sugar hardening. Replace on the warm stove and cook on medium heat about another 3-4 minutes. The color will deepen a little. Remove and pour into a bowl to cool. Remember, it may be very thin, once you place it in the fridge and stir every ten minutes, it will thicken. Cool for an hour.

Whipped Topping:
• 3 1/2 ounces semi sweet chocolate
• 2 cups whipping cream
• powdered sugar

Warm up your cream in a small pot. Place chocolate in a bowl and once cream has warmed, pour over chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted and place in the fridge for a few hours. Once chilled, add to your taste to sweeten, enough powdered sugar to the cream mixture. Beat until whipped and top tart.

I have found the cream is beautiful atop the tart, but I prefer it on the side and I use it as people like individually. Top the tart w fruit and cream on the side. The tarts are also perfect as mini tarts and I’ve also used the crust as a dessert pizza as well.

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