We had a very snowy 2021 Valentine’s Day. The light and fluffy flakes had been coming down for days and my yardstick inserted in the snow was clocking in at a whopping 17”. We had intended to go out for dinner but decided to settle in at home. I made a batch of these Hazelnut Dump Brownies to have with a scoop of ice cream for dessert. Everything is basically dumped into a bowl, mixed together and tossed in a greased baking pan. Then, the mini chocolate chips are sprinkled over the top… easy enough! This is a super simple recipe with extraordinary results. PS. It’s still snowing! ❄️❄️❄️
Hazelnut Dump Brownies
2 cups sugar 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 cup baking cocoa 1 teaspoon salt 5 large eggs, room temperature 1 cup canola oil 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 cup hazelnuts, chopped 1 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips
In a large bowl, mix in the first 8 ingredients. Pour into a greased 13×9” baking pan. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips.
Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack.
While rummaging through some piles of paper last week, I found a county fair cookbook that I had purchased many years ago. One of the dog-eared pages held this delicious recipe for County Fair Orange Cake. Looking further, I realized it was a cake that I had entered into the fair that year. While It didn’t receive the top prize, it’s always held a blue ribbon in my book. It’s incredibly easy to make and my family loves the bright citrus flavor of the orange juice, pudding mix and glaze. Yep, it’s a winner!
County Fair Orange Cake
1 (15.25-ounce) package yellow cake mix 1 (3.5-ounce) package lemon instant pudding mix 3/4 cup orange juice 1/2 cup canola oil 4 large eggs 2 teaspoons lemon zest
Orange Glaze: 1/2 cup sugar 1/3 cup orange juice 1/4 cup butter 1 teaspoon orange zest plus more for garnishing
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray and dust with flour. In a large bowl, combine cake mix and pudding mix. Add the orange juice, oil, eggs and orange zest; beat with a mixer at low speed to combine. Beat an additional 4 minutes with mixer on medium speed. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour. Transfer to a platter and poke holes all over with a skewer. Carefully, pour warm orange glaze over the cake. Garnish with more orange zest for serving.
For the Orange Glaze: Cook the sugar, orange juice, and butter in a saucepan over medium, stirring, until the butter is melted. Cook 2 more minutes and remove from the heat; stir in the orange zest.
I recently purchased a bag of pears, brought them home and placed them in the fruit bowl on my kitchen table. Those pears sat there all week as the family seemed to choose every other fruit in the bowl when snacking. I watched as the pears began to get overly ripe. Not wanting to waste the fruit, I remembered an apple cake recipe that I frequently make during the fall months. I thought I could easily substitute the pears into the apple recipe. So, I peeled and chopped the remaining pears and tossed them in. I was making a Father’s Day meal and thought this would be a lovely dessert.
Well, I was right… this cake was super moist, and tasted delicious pared with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I’ll definitely be making this one again!
Glazed Pear Cake
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
4 cups pears, peeled and diced (apples work well too)
1 cup chopped walnuts
1⁄2 cup brown sugar
1⁄4 cup milk
1 stick of butter
Preheat over to 350 degrees. Grease a 9X13” baking pan. Mix all cake ingredients by hand in order the listed. Pour batter evenly into prepared pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes; remove.
In small saucepan mix topping ingredients; bring to a slow boil for 3 minutes.
Pour over hot cake and return to oven for 4 minutes. Cool completely before slicing.
Our local market usually has a reduced-priced cart of day old bakery goods situated in the back of the store. I always make a point to stop to see what’s available to perhaps make a batch of fresh bread crumbs, garlic bread, or a bread casserole. Most times, I use the bread for a morning breakfast casserole that includes eggs, milk, sausage, vegetables and cheese. But today, I wanted to make something sweet to accompany a bit of vanilla bean ice cream that I had on hand. I also had a few bananas that were beyond their peak of ripeness.
This recipe is a keeper! Served warm with a few small scoops of ice cream, this has become a family favorite!
Banana Bread Pudding with Chocolate Chips
2 cups milk
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 cups French bread, cubed
2 bananas, sliced (overly ripe, if possible)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 7×11″ baking pan. In a large bowl, combine and mix eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Stir in bread, bananas, and chocolate chips, and let sit for 5-7 minutes for bread to soak up the liquid mixture. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until pudding is golden brown and center is set.
This semi-homemade recipe is a true winner. A few simple ingredients are combined with a basic cake mix for a light and lovely dessert. Oats, brown sugar, and walnuts are combined to make a tasty crumble. While, eggs, sour cream, bananas, and a few extracts are combined with a basic cake mix to form a simple batter. I stock overly ripe bananas in my freezer for just such an occasion. All of these ingredients are layered into a tube pan to make a beautifully textured cake.
Banana Crunch Cake
½ cup flour
1 cup rolled oats
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup margarine or butter
1 ½ cups (2 large) very ripe bananas, mashed
½ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon butter extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 yellow or white cake mix
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10″ tube pan. In medium bowl, combine flour, rolled oats, brown sugar and pecans; mix well. With fork or pastry blender, cut in margarine until mixture is crumbly. Set aside.
In large bowl, combine bananas, sour cream, extracts and eggs; beat at low speed until smooth. Add cake mix; beat until fully combined. Spread 1/3 of batter in prepared pan; sprinkle with 1/3 of brown sugar crumble mixture. Repeat layers 2 more times using remaining batter and brown sugar mixture, ending with brown sugar mixture.
Bake for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool upright in pan 15 minutes. Remove cake from pan; place on serving plate, crumble side up. Cool completely before serving. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.
While on our annual spring break visit to Disney World, we passed many bakery style shops displaying an assortment of carefully prepared baked goods and other sweet treats. Most items were meticulously iced with a thick layer of frosting representing the familiar red, yellow, black, and white colors that Mickey and Minnie traditionally wear. For my family, this thick layer of icing is a bit too much; the “sweet” on top of the “sweet” is more than we can take. Especially when there are so many other treats that entice us throughout the parks.
This year, as we were checking out the shops, my oldest daughter spied a scrumptious square of deliciousness that reminded her of my traditional blondie recipe. Unfortunately, a layer of icing donned the top. In a disappointed tone, she asked if I might bake some blondies when we returned home. She also requested the addition of butterscotch chips. Here is my traditional recipe with a twist of butterscotch and walnut flavors.
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups butterscotch chips
1 cup walnuts, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13 x 9″ baking pan.
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and water; beat well. In a medium bowl, Combine flour, baking soda and salt; add to butter mixture, mixing well until completely combined. Stir in butterscotch chips and nuts. Batter will be thick. Spread into prepared pan.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until top is golden brown and center is set. Cool completely. Cut into 1 1/2″ bars.
I did a kitchen cupboard inventory yesterday. On one of the upper shelves, I found a can of Solo Cake & Pastry Filling. I pulled back the label of the almond flavored can and noticed a recipe for a Bundt cake. Who doesn’t love the aroma of almonds and butter baking in a cake batter? I immediately pulled out a few sticks of butter to soften on the counter and waited in anticipation for a beautiful baking experience. Here’s the recipe:
The cake turned out divine! Just as I had suspected… A moist and flavorful mixture of goodness!
This past holiday weekend was mild and breezy…the perfect opportunity to head up the road to a local farm to purchase some plump, ripe blueberries. The trip was inspired by my niece who had been “baking up a storm” to celebrate her mother’s (my sister’s) birthday. My sister celebrates her birthday on Independence Day so her daughter prepared a few festive goodies for the occasion. After seeing a few pictures of the table setting for the party, I was inspired to uncover our vintage Mustang convertible and take a drive down the country road to pick up a five-pound box of freshly picked berries. This is one of my favorite pie recipes as it is super simple, made with fresh, bright flavors and ingredients. There is nothing like sharing a piece of blueberry pie after dinner on a Sunday evening with the family before starting another busy work week.
Blueberry Pie with Oat Crumble Topping
1 pre-made pie crust
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
5 cups fresh blueberries
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
6 tablespoons butter
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Press the pie crust into the bottom and up the sides of a 9″ pie plate. In a large bowl, stir together the sugar and flour, lemon zest and lemon juice. Gently stir in the blueberries. Carefully, pour blueberry mixture into the pie crust.In a medium bowl, stir together the brown sugar, oats, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix in butter using a pastry blender or fork until crumbly. Spread the crumb topping evenly over the pie filling.
Bake for 40-45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until browned on top. Cover with foil if crust starts to get too dark before baking is complete. Cool before slicing.
I was looking for a refreshing, lite dessert this past Halloween weekend and I remembered this four-ingredient, low-sugar treat that everyone seems to enjoy. I usually store the finished product in the fridge for a grab-and-go snack, but it’s also crazy delicious frozen.
If freezing this treat, dump the mixture into a 13X9 baking dish, spread evenly and freeze. Then, slice it into squares before serving. (I use the sugar-free ingredients to assemble this recipe but using the “regular” ingredients will work just as well.)
Refreshing Whipped Jello Dessert (low-sugar)
1 (8 ounce) container Cool Whip, sugar free
1 (16 ounce) container cottage cheese
2 (3 ounce) packages orange sugar-free Jello
1 can Del Monte Mandarin Oranges (no sugar added), drain well
In the order provided, mix all ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.
There are very few recipes that I bake where I don’t use oatmeal as an ingredient in some form or another. I often stir a handful of oatmeal into the batter for cakes, cookies, and muffins. Or, I might sprinkle oats over the top of the batter just before popping pans into the oven. I even stir oats into my ground beef when making meatloaf, hamburgers, or meatballs. I’m a big fan of the flavor, texture, and health benefit that oats can bring to many recipes.
This Oatmeal Snack Cake is chocked full of flavor and is great with a cup of coffee, packed in the lunchbox for a mid-day treat, or served with a scoop of ice cream after an evening meal. The sweet glaze drizzled over the top of the cake is optional but it dresses things up a bit. Mostly, I just bake the recipe the way it’s written, slice it after cooling, pack it into a Tupperware container, and wait for it to disappear.
Oatmeal Snack Cake
1 1⁄4 cups boiling water
1 cup old fashioned oats
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1⁄3 cups flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cups walnuts, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13X9″ baking pan, set aside.
Pour boiling water over dry oatmeal; set aside for 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix the flour, soda, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate mixing bowl, combine sugars and oil until well blended. Add eggs, vanilla, and cooled oatmeal, mix thoroughly. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Stir in raisins and nuts. Pour into prepared baking pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Cool completely before slicing. Drizzle with icing or sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.