Cranberry Oat Cereal Bars

Nonstick cooking spray
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 bag (10 ounces) marshmallows
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 cups toasted oat cereal
1 cup dried cranberries, or raisins

Spray a 10-by-15-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Line with waxed paper; spray paper with cooking spray, and set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add marshmallows and salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until marshmallows have melted, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in cereal and dried cranberries.

Immediately transfer mixture to prepared baking sheet. Using a spatula (or your fingers) coated with cooking spray, press in quickly and firmly. Let cool, about 1 hour; cut into 24 bars (3 rows lengthwise by 8 rows crosswise).


Despicable Me – Minion Cake

minion cake


1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® butter recipe yellow cake mix
Water, butter and eggs called for on cake mix box

1 container Betty Crocker® Whipped whipped cream frosting
Golden yellow food color

1 tube (4.25 oz) Betty Crocker® blue decorating icing

7 pieces (12 inches each) black string licorice

1 chocolate-covered peppermint patty (1.4 oz), unwrapped

3 milk chocolate candy drops or pieces, unwrapped

5 pieces (1 inch in diameter) chewy chocolate candies, unwrapped

1 teaspoon corn syrup

1 oz silver decorating sugar
Betty Crocker® Easy Flow black decorating icing (from 6.4-oz can)


1 Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pans). Line large cookie sheet with cooking parchment paper or waxed paper. Spray bottom only of 13×9-inch pan with baking spray with flour.

2 Make and bake cake mix as directed on box, using water, butter and eggs. Cool 10 minutes in pan on cooling rack. Turn cake out onto paper-lined cookie sheet. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

3 With serrated knife, trim off square corners of cake, creating oblong shape. Trim 1 short side flat to make bottom of cake.

4 Spoon three-fourths of the container of frosting into medium bowl. Stir in yellow food color. Frost cake with thin coat of yellow frosting. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

5 Remove cake from refrigerator. Frost cake with final coating of yellow frosting. Refrigerate until frosting is firm, about 15 minutes.

6 Use off-set spatula to make an upward curving line in frosting about 4 inches from bottom of cake. Place blue decorating icing in small bowl; stir until smooth. Frost bottom (including bottom edges) of cake with blue icing up to curved line. Use 1 licorice string to cover line; if needed, use kitchen scissors to snip away excess licorice. Refrigerate cake 30 to 45 minutes.

7 For eye, frost mint patty with thick layer of remaining white frosting. Place 1 of the chocolate candy drops, pointed end down, into frosting; set patty aside.

8 Knead together chewy chocolate candies. When completely combined and malleable, roll candy between palms into a rope. Press rope around plastic tumbler with 3 1/4- to 3 1/2-inch diameter rim; press loose ends together to secure. Gently lift tumbler away from candy. With pastry brush, coat chocolate candy ring with a little corn syrup (you may not need all of the corn syrup). Place silver sugar in shallow dish; dip chocolate ring into sugar to coat.

9 Remove cake from refrigerator. Gently peel cake away from paper; place cake on cake board or serving platter. Place eye towards top center of cake. Place silver ring around eye.

10 Press 2 chocolate drops into blue portion of cake just under licorice string to create buttons on jumper. Arrange 4-inch piece of licorice onto cake a few inches below eye in a half-curve to create smile. Cut 2 licorice strings into 3-inch pieces; insert into top of cake to create hair. Use more licorice strings to outline jumper.

11 Attach plain tip (provided) to Easy Flow icing nozzle. Draw 2 lines of icing about 2 inches apart on either side of silver eye ring. Fill in lines with more black icing; smooth icing with small knife or spatula. Store cake loosely covered.

Banana Muffins


2 cups self raising flour
½ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1 cup mashed banana
12 pecan halves


Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 12 hole muffin pan or line with paper cases. Sift flour into a large bowl of an electric mixer. Add sugar and beat briefly to combine. In a glass measuring jug, pour in milk (up to 1 cup), oil (up to 1 1/3 cups) and add eggs, whisk to combine. Pour milk mix and bananas into dry ingredients, beat with until just combined. Spoon into muffin pans and top with a pecan half (if using) and bake for 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool slightly, then place on rack to cool completely.

Chocolaty Caramel Thumbprints

Chocolaty Caramel Thumbprints


1 egg
1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
16 vanilla caramels, unwrapped
3 tablespoons whipping cream
1 1/4 cups finely chopped pecans
1/2 cup (3 ounces) semisweet chocolate pieces
1 teaspoon shortening


Separate egg; place yolk and white in separate bowls. Cover and chill egg white until needed. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add sugar and beat well. Beat in egg yolk, milk, and vanilla.

In another bowl stir together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and beat until well combined. Wrap the cookie dough in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours or until easy to handle.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. In a small saucepan heat and stir caramels and whipping cream over low heat until mixture is smooth. Set aside.

Slightly beat reserved egg white. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls. Roll the balls in egg white, then in pecans to coat. Place balls 1 inch apart on prepared cookie sheet. Using your thumb, make an indentation in the center of each cookie.

Bake for 10 minutes or until edges are firm. If cookie centers puff during baking, repress with your thumb. Spoon melted caramel mixture into indentations of cookies. Transfer cookies to wire racks; cool. (If necessary, reheat caramel mixture to keep it spoonable.)

In another saucepan heat and stir chocolate pieces and shortening over low heat until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Let cool slightly. Drizzle chocolate mixture over tops of cookies.*

Let stand until chocolate is set.

Makes 36 cookies.

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies – 01/24/14

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies
Yield: 9 large brownies

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 3 hours


For Brownie Base:

1/3 cup dark or dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup vegetable oil, divided
1/4 cup boiling water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
For Peanut Butter Swirl:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-by-8-inch square or round baking pan with parchment paper; butter parchment.
In a large bowl, sift together the cocoa powder and baking soda. Add boiling water and half of vegetable oil and stir until mixture forms a thick paste. Mix in the sugar, egg, and remaining oil. Finally, add the flour, vanilla, and salt and fold until flour is just incorporated, taking care not to overmix.
For the peanut butter swirl, combine peanut butter, butter, and vanilla in a bowl and stir until smooth. Add the confectioner’s sugar and salt and stir until smooth.
Pour chocolate batter into prepared pan, then drop dollops of peanut butter filling on top. Use a butter knife to gently swirl the peanut butter into the batter. Since the peanut butter mixture is quite thick this won’t be perfect, just run your knife through it a few times and let it be.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool to room temperature. For best results, refrigerate brownies a few hours or overnight before serving.

Strawberry Fruit Roll-Ups

  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled
  • 3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 1/2 lemon)


  1. Cut the strawberries in half or quarters, depending on size, and mash roughly with a potato masher in a large bowl. You should have about 2 cups mashed berries. Stir in the sugar and lemon juice and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to break down the berries slightly. Stir once or twice while they sit to dissolve the sugar.


  2. Pour the strawberries and their natural syrup into a blender and blend for 1 minute, until a smooth purée forms. Pour into a high-sided pan or Dutch oven (the wider the better, to help the liquid evaporate evenly) and bring to a low boil over medium heat.


  3. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring often. Visual cues are your best friend when you’re cooking fruit: the liquid will foam, then clarify as the bubbles slow and the purée thickens. At the final stage, the purée will be consistently thick and almost opaque, and it will “mound” slightly instead of immediately seeping back when pushed across the bottom of the pan with a spatula.


  4. Preheat the oven to 175°F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat liners.


  5. Divide the cooked fruit between the baking sheet and use an offset or silicone spatula to spread evenly into as thin and wide a rectangle as possible. The jam should be no more than 1/8 inch thick but still as evenly opaque as you can manage; thinner, more translucent spots will harden into brittle.



    Heat in the oven for 5 to 6 hours, or until the fruit feels slightly tacky but no longer sticky. The timing will depend on the humidity level; a rainy day makes for a longer set.


  7. Transfer the parchment or Silpats to wire racks and cool completely then transfer the fruit leather to sheets of waxed paper large enough to leave overhang on all sides. Use kitchen shears to cut the fruit leather from each pan into 6 (5 by 5-inch) squares. Fold the extra waxed paper over the edges before rolling so they won’t fuse. Store the Roll-Ups at room temperature in an airtight container for up a week.



  • Cheese Curls
  • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons yellow cornmeal
  • 4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, finely shredded (about 1 cup)
  • Cheese Coating
  • 2 tablespoons Cheddar cheese powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon buttermilk powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch


  1. Make the cheese curls: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, salt, and garlic powder at medium-low speed for 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the flour, cornmeal, and shredded cheese. Stir together at low speed until a firm dough forms. Shape into a disc and place on a large sheet of plastic wrap; wrap tightly and refrigerate for 1 hour.

  2. 2

    Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat liners.


  3. Pinch off small pieces of the chilled dough and gently roll between your palms and fingers to form lumpy logs roughly 2 to 2 1/2 inches long and 1/4 to 1/2 inch across. Place on the prepared baking sheets—you can space them fairly close together because they won’t puff up while baking.

  4. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the pieces are no longer shiny and are just beginning to brown around the edges. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

  5. Add the coating: Place the cheese powder, buttermilk powder, salt, and cornstarch in a spice grinder or mini food processor and whir for 10 to 15 seconds to blend evenly.

  6. Transfer to a large zip-top bag. Add the cooled Cheetos, seal, and shake gently to coat evenly. Store the coated cheese curls at room temperature in an airtight container for up to a week.


  • Cake:
  • 16-ounce box golden pound cake mix
  • 4 egg whites, beaten until stiff
  • 2/3 cup water
  • Filling:
  • 1/3 cup vegetable shortening
  • 2 teaspoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 drops lemon extract


Faux twinkie cakes: Fold each piece of foil in half with the nonstick side out. Then fold in half again. Roll foil pieces around the spice bottle to form a tube. Fold down edges to seal, leaving one end of the tube open to be filled with the batter. Remove the spice bottle. Spray the insides with vegetable oil and set each tube open-end-up in a muffin tray.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Beat cake mix, whipped egg whites, and water on medium speed until completely blended, about 2 minutes. Carefully fill the foil tubes, leaving 3/4-inch headspace. Bake about 30 minutes until golden and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cakes cool, then remove foil. Use a toothpick to make 3 holes along the length of each cake. Wiggle the toothpick around the center to make room for the filling, taking care not to poke through to the other side.

Filling: Cream shortening and butter together in a medium bowl. With mixer running on medium speed, add powdered sugar and granulated sugar, a little at a time, until smooth. Add vanilla and evaporated milk, and lemon extract. Continue mixing until fluffy.

Spoon filling into a pastry bag with a No. 5 tip. Inject filling into each of the 3 holes in each faux twinkie cake and place hole-side-down on a serving platter or store in a covered container.

Nacho Cheese Doritos


canola or vegetable oil for frying

1 package corn tortillas

1/2 cup cheddar cheese powder

1 tablespoon butermilk powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder, kosher salt, granulated sugar, and cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon citric acid

1 pinch cayenne pepper

heat a least 2 inches of oil to 350F in a n electric deep fryer or large, high sided pot. line a baking sheet with paper towels and an upside down wire colling rack.

cut each tortilla into 8 triangles.

grind all the remaining ingredients together in a spice grinder or mini food processor. pour the powdered mixture into a gallon size zip loc bag.

fry the chips in batches until golden brown. should not take up to 4-5 minutees per batch. transfer to the lined baking sheet with heat proof tongs or a metal skimmer or mesh strainer to cool completely.

once all the chips are cool, place in the zip loc bag and shake to coat lightly with the seasoning powder. remove chips from he bag and return to he  wire rack, shaking gently to remove excess powder if necessary.