The 25 Days of Holiday Goodies Day 10: Funfetti Mug Cake

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Sprinkles.  Cake.  In the microwave.  ‘Nuff said.

Or is it?  Think of a cupcake prepared in a mug in the microwave, start to finish, in under five minutes.  Warm and gooey with frosting, this warm dessert is a perfect treat for one on a cold-ish night or for an impromptu celebration.

Muffin had been bugging me for those (insanely overpriced) microwaveable cake-for-one desserts in the store.  I kept putting him off, knowing I had this recipe in my back pocket to make as a special pre-trick-or-treating Halloween treat.

He…wasn’t as thrilled with them as I thought.  The only thing I can attribute to that is the applesauce meant to replace the oil in the recipe.  It made the texture slightly grainy.

Overall, the texture was better than in other microwave cakes which tend to be bouncy and springy in a bad way, rubbery, almost what I imagine a tennis ball tasting like.

I, personally, loved it, and am stowing it away for the rainy day when I need a pick-me-up.

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Funfetti Mug Cake

Source:  Tablespoon

3 T yellow cake mix (preferably one with pudding in the mix

1 T water

1 T unsweetened applesauce (or vegetable oil)

1 T egg (Next time I will use egg in a carton!)

1 T confetti candy sprinkles and more for garnish

3 T rainbow chip frosting, or 3 T white frosting mixed with additional confetti candy sprinkles

1 maraschino cherry

Lightly spray microwaveable mug (8-10 ounce) with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, beat cake mix, water, applesauce or oil, and egg.  Fold in 1 teaspoon sprinkles; immediately pour into mug.

Microwave, uncovered, on high 1 minute.  Let stand five seconds.  Top with frosting, additional sprinkles, and cherry.  Serve warm.

Note:  The frosting melts and turns into a glaze.  Alternatively, wait for the cake to cool and top with the frosting (piped in even), sprinkles, and a cherry.

What is your favorite type of cake to adapt to a mug?

 

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The 25 Days of Holiday Goodies Day 9: Magic Cookie Bars

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Gooey Goodness!

This recipe came to me from one of my best friends in my writing group.  I have seen photos of them before, and, when it came time to bring something to work or a Thanksgiving potluck, this as my chance to ask for the recipe!

It turns out that the recipe comes from the Eagle Brand website.  Now, what is the est-known Eagle Brand product?

Sweetened.

Condensed.

Milk.

That is the creamy, syrupy substance guaranteed to raise your blood sugar several points and bring a huge smile to your face.

I have never tested this, but my guilty secret is that I would like to sit down with an opened can of sweetened condensed milk and a spoon.

If I’m not going to do that, these bars are a much better choice.

And everyone that tasted the first batch loved them (at work and at home!).  My dad, in particular, really liked them.

I was going to take them to a cookie exchange party today, but Muffin is riding in the local Christmas parade for the cub scouts.

Instead, I will be making a Christmas batch on the 20th during that last flurry of holiday baking activity.

Posting the recipe today should give you ample time to join me in that baking quest that will include candy cane cookies, boeterkoek, and decorated sugar cookies.

Oh, and this hardly goes without saying, but this recipe is completely Muffin Approved!

Muffin Approved

Magic Cookie Bars

Source (original): Eagle Brand

1/2 cup melted butter

1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs

2 cups chocolate chips

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

1 1/3 cup shredded coconut

1 cup chopped pecans (or other nuts)

Set the oven to 350 degrees.

Coat a 13×9 baking pan with nonstick spray.

Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter.  Press into prepared pan.

Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over the graham cracker layer.  Layer evenly with remaining ingredients.  Press down.

Bake 25 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool.  Cut into bars.  Store covered at room temperature.

Note:  My friend recommends chilling the bars before cutting to make cutting easier.  I completely concur!

What is your favorite bar cookie?

The 25 Days of Holiday Goodies Day 8: Caramel Truffles

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I truly am surprised every time I search my blog that I haven’t posted this recipe yet.  In the beginning there were six truffle varieties:  caramel, orange, champagne, mocha, cappuccino, and one more that I cannot remember.

After a couple of years of slaving over them, I asked my family and friends for their favorites to whittle them down to two.

In the end, there were only two:  the orange one and the caramel one.

Full confession:  I am not a dark chocolate person.  So, if I indulge in chocolatey delights, the caramel ones are always my go-to choice.

And, with the advent of the salted caramel craze, frosting the tops of the dipped truffles with your salt of choice makes a delightful contrast (unless you overdo it as I sometimes do).

If you follow along with Taste of Home, where I originally found the caramel truffles recipe, you will note one or two differences.  If you have read this blog for long, you know I do this often.  New readers–I’m sorry in advance!

By the way, Muffin prefers this truffle or “chocolate balls,” as he calls them.  #TeamMilkChocolate!  Oh, and he would want everyone to know that he helped with the truffles.  He unwrapped all 52 Kraft caramels!

(Note:  The caramel truffles are the ones that are light brown in the picture above near the top right/center.)

Caramel Truffles

Adapted from Taste of Home

52 unwapped caramel squares (Kraft)

4 2/3 cups milk chocolate chips

1/2 cup whipping cream

2-3 T shortening

Line an 8-inch square dish with parchment paper; set aside.

In a large Pyrex measuring cup, combine caramels and cream (Ignore the instructions–this works MUCH better!).  Microwave on high, uncovered, or 1 1/2 minutes.  Stir.  Microwave in 15-second increments, stirring after each time, until the caramel is melted and the mixture resembles caramel dip (for apples).

Pour in two cups of chocolate chips.  Stir.  Microwave in 15-second increments, stirring after each time, until melted and incorporated.  Spread into prepared pan.  Refrigerate for one hour or until firm.

Lift, by the parchment, out of the pan.  Pinch of bits and roll into one-inch balls (smaller is okay, too).  Cover and refrigerate another hour.

In another Pyrex measuring cup, melt remaining chocolate chips and shortening; stir until smooth.  Dip balls in chocolate; allow excess to drip off.  Place on parchment.  Allow to set in the fridge.

Muffin Approved

What is your favorite type of chocolate?

The 25 Days of Holiday Goodies Day 7: Velveeta Cheese Fudge

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Today’s “goodie” comes from one of the most hospitable people I’ve ever met.

Back in the early-to-mid 90s, my sister was dating, then engaged, then married to the man who became my brother-in-law.

In the evening of every holiday, we would go to his parents’ house.  Regardless of outside temperature, there was a bonfire outside and a myriad of my brother-in-law’s family.

Inside, the food varied by season.  Summer saw not-quite-mature green tomatoes, breaded and fried to golden perfection, tart and crispy and dunked in ketchup by an awkward and awestruck teen, who had newly discovered that Southern delicacy at my sister’s future mother-in-law’s side.

In wintertime, Christmas meant Velveeta Cheese Fudge, mild in flavor and melty in mouth feel.  During the following years, I must have consumed pounds of both–all prepared by my brother-in-law’s mother’s hands.

Each holiday, she opened the doors to her family–her sisters and their descendants and various spouses–and my family, from the time my sister and now-brother-in-law began dating.

She passed away in 2002, but memories of those gatherings, of her hospitality and her food, live on, for me, in my mind.

Velveeta Cheese Fudge

1/2 pound pasteurized process cheese food, sliced

1 cup butter

1 t vanilla extract

2 pounds confectioner’s sugar

1/2 cup cocoa powder

Spray lightly the bottom of a 9×9-inch square pan with nonstick spray.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the cheese and butter together, stirring constantly until smooth.  Remove from heat and add the vanilla.

In a large bowl, sift together sugar and cocoa.  Pour the cheese mixture into the sugar and cocoa mix and stir until completely mixed.  The candy will be very stiff.

Using your hands, remove candy from bowl an press evenly and firmly into pan.  Blot the top of the candy with a paper towel to remove the excess oil. Place pan in fridge until firm.

Cut into squares to serve.

These, by the way, are completely Muffin Approved!

Muffin Approved

The 25 Days of Holiday Goodies Day 6: Cheesy Snack Mix, My Suite

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My sister requests this snack mix as a gift.  I would like to request a container big enough to mix it all in.  The way I make it, which is an adaptation of a Food.com recipe, is more than my two biggest containers (my fryer/crawfish boiler and my salad spinner bowl) combined.  To say it makes a ton is a huge understatement.

Cheesy Snack Mix, My Suite

Adapted from Food.com

1 (15-16 ounce) bag pretzel sticks

1 box Cap’n Crunch cereal

1 bag cheese curls chips (in the 15 oz. range)

1 (6-8 ounce) bag Nacho Cheese Dorito-style chips

1 bag “orange” cheddar cheese popcorn (the largest I could find of actual popcorn was around 4 ounces)

Combine all ingredients in the largest container you can find.  Store in airtight containers (I use ziptop baggies).

This is great to give as gifts or to munch during at-home movie nights.

The 25 Days of Holiday Goodies Day 5: Microwave Pralines

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I almost want to call this recipe cheater pralines, as it makes way more than a normal batch–and there is no candy thermometer involved.

I have had hate-hate relationships with several candy thermometers of several varieties and styles.

So, this recipe is, by all intents and purposes, superior to my original one…

…With one exception.  The cooking time my need to be divided because otherwise the praline molten lava will boil over outside of the bowl.

But the results are worth having to clean your microwave.

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Microwave Pralines

Source:  Texas Farm Bureau

2 cups pecans, chopped

1 cup sugar

1 cup dark brown sugar, packed

4 T salted butter, cubed

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

2 t vanilla

1/2 t salt

Combine all ingredients in a large glass bowl, Cook the mixture on high in the microwave for 10 minutes, stirring every two minutes with a silicone spatula.

Pour onto a parchment-lined baking sheet in cookie-sized pieces.  Set aside and let cool 2-3 hours.  Peel away from paper and store in an airtight container.

What is your favorite quickie sweet treat?

The 25 Days of Holiday Goodies Day 4: Homemade Quickie Kahlua

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I have previously shared two other liqueur recipes:  limoncello and St. Germain (elderflower liqueur).  I love making liqueurs and cordials to give as gifts–and two use in recipes.

The very first liqueur I ever made was Kahlua, or homemade coffee liqueur.  It was very strong at first sample, so I learned that liqueur recipes must be allowed time to mellow.

You can also use this Kahlua (once it has aged) to make tiramisu.

Homemade Kahlua

Source:  Cooks.com

2 cups sugar

2 cups water

1/3 cup instant coffee

1 cup vodka (but oopsie I added 750 mL)

1 1/2 T vanilla extract

Simmer sugar, water, and instant coffee for 30 minutes.  Cool.  Add vodka and vanilla.  Bottle or jar.

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*Note:  This needs to age at least two to three weeks before consumption!

What is your favorite food gift?