Brownies 


Good morning! I hope you are having a great week so far. If you live in the Tampa area then you know that Gasparilla is right around the corner and these brownies happen to be from the Gasparilla cookbook!

It is a super easy recipe and they are quite delicious. Perfect for your pirate festivities or a casual ladies night in! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4 1 ounce chocolate squares unsweetened
  • 1 stick margarine
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 well beaten eggs
  • 1 cup sifted all purpose flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Melt the chocolate and margarine over hot water and blend. Gradually add sugar then eggs and beat well. Add flour gradually, mixing just until it disappears. Add nuts and vanilla. Pour into two 8 x 8 2 inch pans which have been greased and paper lined. Cook 25 to 30 minutes at 350. Cut each pan into 16 squares. Let stand for 5 minutes before turning out to cool. Makes 32.

 

Pina Colada Muffins


Living in Florida, we are blessed with so many wonderful summer-like days throughout the year. One of my favorite Junior League of Tampa recipes, the Pina Colada Muffins, taste like a bit of summer – and makes for a perfect party addition at any time of the year!

The recipe itself is very simple, and requires little actual time to prep and cook – I was able to make a batch in roughly 30 minutes from start to finish.

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To start, follow the instructions from the yellow cake mix box. Once you have mixed the cake packet, eggs, and oil, you add the remaining ingredients – the crushed pecans, crushed pineapple, coconut, and the extracts/flavorings. Stir, but be sure not to over mix. Be sure to grease the mini muffin pans, and then fill them ¾ way full. The mini muffins should take between 10-12 minutes to cook – but test them with a toothpick to ensure that they are ready to be taken from the oven. If the toothpick comes out clean, the muffins are ready to cool outside of the oven!

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These muffins are a true hit – my two little boys love them, as well as coworkers when I brought them to a Thanksgiving lunch. You will be sure to love them as well!

Pina Colada Muffins 

The Life of the Party, pg. 69

 

Ingredients

1 box (2-layer) yellow cake mix

1 tsp. coconut extract

1 tsp. rum flavoring

1 cup flaked coconut

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup crushed pineapple

Mini muffin trays

Preparation

Prepare the cake mix according to the package directions. Stir in the coconut extract, rum flavoring, coconut, nuts and pineapple, do not overmix. Fill greased mini muffin cups ¾ full. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Holiday Raspberry Cookies


During the holiday season, I love to bake as gifts for family, friends and coworkers. Everybody loves to receive a tin of beautiful, jewel colored cookies and the Holiday Raspberry Cookies from the Savor the Seasons cookbook are the perfect cookie!

20161217_110926Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream the margarine in a mixing bowl. Beat in the granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla and beat until blended.

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Sift the flour into the mixture and mix well. Roll or pat the dough on a floured work surface. Cut with a cookie cutter and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on the pan for 5 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Spread preserves over half the cookies. Top with the remaining cookies. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.

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Ingredients:

2 cups (4 sticks) margarine, softened

5 cups unsifted all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1 egg yolk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Raspberry preserves

Confectioners’ sugar

Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bites


November starts off the holiday season in our home. We already have Christmas music blaring and I can’t wait to start shopping for gifts! To kick off the holiday season, I made Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bites for our local Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony. These delicious little nuggets are full of Christmas spirit and are small enough to not feel too guilty eating. The mix of semisweet mini chocolate chips with peppermint is the perfect blend to get you in the mood for the holidays!
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The first step of baking these scrumptious treats is to make the graham cracker crust. I couldn’t find chocolate graham crackers so I added 2 tsp of cocoa powder to the original graham crackers, butter, and sugar mixture. After blending the ingredients, I pressed the crust into the mini muffin tins and baked the crust for 5 minutes just so it comes together.
Once the crust is nice and hard (don’t burn these!), then it’s time to add the cheesecake filling. I combined the crushed peppermint candies, softened cream cheese, sugar, flour, egg and sour cream in my mixer. I mixed it until it was well blended. Then I stirred in the mini chocolate chips and peppermint extract. Pay attention to how much extract you put in because you don’t want your treats tasting like toothpaste! Yuck!
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After pouring the peppermint chocolate chip cheesecake batter into the already cooked graham cracker crust I baked them until they were crackly on top. In my oven, it took a little longer than 15 minutes, but I just kept checking to make sure they were still doing ok. When they were no longer jiggly, I pulled them out of the oven to cool on a wire rack. Once they were all cooled, I popped those little suckers out of the muffin tin and topped them with cool whip, chocolate sprinkles and crushed peppermint candies. They are super cute and perfect for a dessert buffet or holiday party!
Ingredients:
8 chocolate graham cracker rectangles, crushed (1/3 package)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
6 peppermint candies
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 egg
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2 cup whipping topping
6 peppermint candies, crushed
2 tablespoons chocolate sprinkles
Recipe:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Mix the graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar and the butter in bowl. Press a heaping teaspoon of the crumb mixture in the bottom of each miniature muffin cup coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake for 5 minutes. Process 6 candies, the cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, the flour, egg and sour cream in a food processor until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips and peppermint extract. Pour in the prepared crusts. Bake for 15 minutes or until small cracks form on the tops. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool completely. Top each cheesecake with 1 teaspoon of the whipped topping. Sprinkle with the crushed candies and chocolate sprinkles.
Yield: 2 dozen

Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bread


Happy November! November is pumpkin season  and what better way to celebrate  than by making peanut butter pumpkin bread from the Savor the Seasons cookbook. I made it for our “Friendsgiving” and it was a hit at the party. It is easy to make and tastes delicious! It is also a good alternative to pumpkin pie if you still want to serve something sweet at Thanksgiving.

Ingredients:

3 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups canned pumpkin
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 10oz package peanut butter chips

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger in a medium bowl. Combine the pumpkin, water, oil and eggs in a mixing bowl and beat until blended. Add the flour mixture gradually, beating constantly until blended. Stir in the peanut butter chips. Pour into three greased and floured 5 by 9 inch loaf pans or seven greased and floured miniature loaf pans. Bake 55 to 70 minutes for the standard loaf pans or 45 to 65 for the miniature loaf pans. You will know they are done when you can insert a tooth pick and the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes.

Yield: 3 large loaves or 7 miniature loaves

Bananas Foster 


Are you looking for a perfect dessert recipe for the holidays? Well I found one easy one for you…bananas foster. This classic and delicious dessert is a favorite amongst everyone. 

Who doesn’t like bananas and some rum?! Anyways, here’s the recipe below and the ingredients you’ll need. Most of them you should have at home as well. Enjoy! 

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar 
  • 1/4 cup banana liqueur 
  • 1/4 cup dark rum 
  • Dash of 151 rum 
  • Dash of cinnamon 
  • 4 firm bananas, sliced 
  • Vanilla ice cream 

Steps to make the bananas foster: 

Melt the butter in a skillet. Stir in the brown sugar. Cook until melted and well blended. Add the banana liqueur, dark rum, 151 rum, cinnamon and bananas. Cook until the bananas are warm and softened; do not let bananas get mushy. 

Scoop the ice cream into dessert bowls and top with hot banana mixture. Serve immediately. 

Pulled Party Pork


The Life of the Party cookbook has become my favorite of all the League cookbooks. I especially love the Pulled Party Pork on page 93. It is a super easy recipe. You put the pork butt and water in a crockpot and let it cook while you complete your day. By the time you come home, you shred the meat and add the last few ingredients to complete your dinner. It makes a huge amount. I have taken this to several friends after they have had a baby and always get rave reviews.

Ingredients:

1 (3-pound) pork tenderloin or Boston butt roast

1 cup water

1 (18-ounce) bottle prepared barbecue sauce

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon each salt and pepper

Combine the pork and water in a slow cooker. Cook on High for 7 hours. Drain, reserving 1 cup liquid. Shred the roast in the slow cooker with a fork. Add the remains ingredients. Add the reserved cooking liquid if necessary. Cook on Low for 1 hour. Serve on rolls for sandwiches if desired.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

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Plus, it is kid approved!