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Category Archives: desserts

Long Distance Grandmothers and Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am a long distance grandmother as I only see my grandchildren two or three times a year.  Sometimes I feel as if I am some kind of misfit when I mention that to a grandmother that lives in the same town or even the same neighborhood as their grandchildren.  That look they give me reminds me of the look I would get from stay-at-home moms when I was a working mom in the 70’s and 80’s. It is almost as if they do not know how to relate to me and sometimes I think they really feel sorry for me. It was very hard for me at first when I realized there were so many everyday things that I would miss.  However, I have accepted this situation and try to make the best of it.  I think a lot of that comes from the wisdom of being 69 years old.  If I whined or complained about the situation, it wouldn’t change a thing.

Our grandchildren came for a visit at Christmas and we had a good time with them.  I have a granddaughter that is five and a grandson that is 8.  We will probably not see them again until sometime next Summer.  We have a good relationship with our grandchildren as we send them packages for holidays when we aren’t together.  We usually Skype with them to watch them open their birthday gifts from us.

I wanted to share a grandmother recipe with you today.  So I tried to think of something I would like to make for my grandchildren if they lived down the street.  I chose this recipe from Miss Kay’s Duck Commander Kitchen for chocolate chip cookies.  Nothing smells any better than chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven and nothing tastes better than warm chocolate chip cookies. Miss Kay is a grandmother too and her children live close to her so I am sure she has made these cookies many times for them.

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I would be thrilled if my circumstances would change and our grandchildren would be nearby.  That isn’t the way things are now and I enjoy watching them grow up from a distance.  Last summer they went on vacation and decided on their on to buy little mementos for me and Mr. D.  And at Christmas my daughter told me she made deviled eggs for Thanksgiving and when my grandson tasted them he said he knew who made the best deviled eggs.  She asked him who was that and he said Grandma.  That made this Grandma very happy.

I am thankful that I have two grandchildren and they live in the US.  My grandson lived in Africa the first two years of his life and my granddaughter was born in France.  However, now I think they will stay stateside so you can see that I am pleased they are somewhere in the USA.  I think being a long distance grandmother helps me to see my grandchildren more objectively.  They are typical normal kids and I try not to put them on a pedestal and I don’t share pictures of them all the time.

However, I do believe pictures are worth a thousand words and here are some pictures of our grandchildren from their last visit. Mr. D got a selfie stick for Christmas and we had fun taking pictures with it.

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Before I post this, I want to say my heart goes out to grandmothers and Grandfathers everywhere that for any number of circumstances are raising their grandchildren.  I see examples of that everyday and I see Grands that have postponed retirement and many other luxuries of retirement because of that responsibility.  They are truly dedicated and wonderful Grands.

Thanks for stopping by.

Chocolate Pound Cake and Carrot Cake

My grandmother and my mother were bakers.  They enjoyed baking cakes for Christmas.  I know it was their way of showing their love for their family.  I have continued that tradition in our family and I have to say my daughters favorite is this chocolate pound cake I am sharing with you today.  It is always something she looks forward to when she visits for Christmas. And yes I made one this year and it is sitting in my kitchen now waiting for me to apply the frosting.

If you are a beginner cook, you may think this is complicated but the good part is you don’t have to worry about stacking layers. The recipe makes a generous amount of frosting.  The frosting is easy to make and you can even out any imperfections of the cake with the frosting.

Chocolate Pound Cake

1/2 pound butter

1 stick margarine

2 and 3/4 cups sugar

5 eggs

3 cups plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

5 tablespoons cocoa

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream butter, margarine and sugar.  Add eggs one at a time and beat well.

Sift remaining dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, cocoa and salt) three times.

Add vanilla to the milk.

Add sifted dry ingredients and milk to creamed batter, alternating drya nd liquid ingredients.  Begin and end with dry ingredients.

Pour  mixture into a greased and floured 10 inch tube pan and bake in a 325 degree oven for one and one half hours or until the cake is done.  ( Do Not Overbake)

Cool and Frost.

Icing

6 tablespoons butter or margarine

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 box or one pound of confectioners sugar

5 tablespoons cocoa

2 teaspoons vanilla

6 tablespoons milk

Cream butter and salt.  Add confectioners’ sugar and cocoa.  Add vanilla and enough milk (gradually add the milk until it is the right consistency) After completely blended and smooth, frost cooled cake.

I usually make two cakes for Christmas and this year I started thinking about carrot cake.  It is one of my favorites and of course Ina Garten is one of my favorites too.  I was browsing through her cookbook, Foolproof,  and found her recipe for carrot cake.  I have never been disappointed with any of her recipes and so I thought this one was a great choice.

Ina’s Carrot Cake

Ingredients
2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 pound carrots, grated (see Cook’s Note)
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts
Ginger Mascarpone Frosting, recipe follows
Crystallized ginger (not in syrup), chopped, for garnish
Ginger Mascarpone Frosting:
12 ounces Italian mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup minced crystallized ginger (not in syrup)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease 2 (9-by-2-inch) round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and grease and flour the pans.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar, oil, and eggs on medium-high speed for 2 minutes, until light yellow and thickened. Stir in the vanilla. In another bowl, sift together the 2 cups of flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ones.
In a medium bowl, toss the carrots, raisins, walnuts, and the 1 tablespoon of flour. Stir into the batter with a rubber spatula. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 10 minutes, lower the heat to 350 degrees F, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 15 minutes, turn out onto a baking rack, and cool completely.
Place one cake on a flat serving plate, rounded-side down. Spread half the frosting on the top (not the sides). Place the second cake on top of the first cake, rounded-side up. Frost just the top of the second cake. Sprinkle with the ginger and serve at room temperature.

Ginger Mascarpone Frosting:
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the mascarpone, cream cheese, confectioners sugar, cream, and vanilla together for about 1 minute, until light and fluffy. Add the crystallized ginger and salt and beat for 30 seconds more. Yield: frosts one 9-inch cake
Grate the carrots by hand on a box grater; if you grate them in a food processor, the carrots will be too wet and the cake might fall.

I made the cake this morning and it was an easy recipe to follow.  I did not like chopping and peeling the carrots but that is just part of the process.  I will frost the cake this afternoon and my house smells wonderful from the aroma of the cake. I am really looking forward to using the mascarpone and crystallized ginger in the frosting.  I think that will make this cake extra special.

Well, I think it is time to end this post and let the frosting begin.  I hope these cakes will inspire you to start a family tradition of baking in your home too.

Merry Christmas to you and I hope it is a very special day for you and your loved ones.

 

 

Low Sugar Coconut Pie

As Mr. D is diabetic, I know how difficult it is to find a recipe for a dessert that he can eat.  I saw this one the other day and I think it is a good choice.

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This recipe is from Hungry for Home cookbook by Amy Rogers. I love the idea of using sugar free shortbread or oatmeal cookies for the crust.  That is a great alternative for a diabetic and another plus of this recipe is it is easy to make.

I know this recipe will go into my file “things to make for Mr. D.” Thanks for stopping by.

Christmas Cookies – Day 3

Today I am sharing Southern Living Christmas at Home Magazine’s cookie recipes of the 80’s.  I especially like the Shortbread Cookie Crumbs cookie.  It only has three ingredients and looks very easy to make. The Amaretto Dessert Truffles look good too.

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This magazine is a keeper for sure and I have read over it from cover to cover several times over the last couple of weeks. I hope you have enjoyed these recipes as much as I have enjoyed sharing them with you,

Thanks for stopping by.

Christmas Cookies – Day 2

70s-cookiesToday, I am sharing cookie recipes.  These are from the 70’s and are also from the Christmas At Home Magazine by Southern Living. My favorite on this page has to be the peanut butter creams.  They are no-bake cookies and you could prepare them while you are baking a batch of brownies in the oven.

Happy Cookie Baking and thanks for stopping by.

Cookies for Christmas

My Mother and Granny were cooks.  They loved to bake at Christmas; however, neither one of them ever made Christmas cookies that I can remember.  Maybe it is because they grew up living on farms and did their Christmas baking from whatever was growing on the farm.

I love to bake at Christmas too but I really love to make candies and cookies.  I can really get carried away with that tradition of Christmas. Over the next few days I will share cookie recipes with you.  I love to browse through magazines and find new cookie recipes to try each year.  Today, I am sharing recipes from the Southern Living Christmas at Home magazine.

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These cookies are featured in the magazine from the 2000’s. Looking at the recipes I can see how our culture has evolved because the Chai tea and the bacon probably would not have been so popular in the 70’s.  My favorite has to be the coconut snowballs.

I will continue to share cookies this week and I hope you have some time over the Christmas season to bake cookies.  Even if you use the refrigerated cookie dough, I think your family and friends will enjoy them.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

Easy Chocolate Cherries

It has been a tradition in our household to eat chocolate covered cherries while we decorated our Christmas Tree.  I really think my love for chocolate covered cherries came from my Daddy.  I remember his excitement of getting them for Christmas and my Granny (my Mother’s mother) gave him a box of them every year.  She must have thought it was a “man” thing because she gave Mr. D and my brother-in-law a box of the cherries every year for Christmas.

When Mr. D was diagnosed with Diabetes we thought that tradition was over with.  We did find sugar free cherries to purchase from Swiss Colony and from a candy store in Virginia (Nancy’s Candy Store in Meadows of the Dan).  However, we realized that the ingredients in the candy upset his stomach and made him feel bad.

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Last year, I had a light bulb moment and decided I could dip Maraschino cherries in melted milk chocolate and they would be similar to the cherries that you purchase.  They aren’t quite as sweet as the boxes of cherries you see in the store but Mr. D loves them.

Here is how I made them.

1 jar of Maraschino cherries well-drained

1 12 ounce package of milk chocolate chips

Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave in 15 second intervals until melted.  Be sure to stir the chips at each interval.

When melted, dip the drained cherries into the chocolate with toothpicks.  Place on parchment paper until completely hardened.

There probably isn’t an easier candy or cookie that I make for Christmas.  I don’t think there is anything I could make that would be appreciated any more by Mr. D or me for that matter.

I plan to share some cookie recipes with you but I have looked at so many that I am totally confused at the moment.  Stay tuned. Who knows what I will come up with.

Thanks for stopping by.

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