Wednesday, October 08, 2008

October is...

... Adopt A Shelter Dog Month, Antidepressant Death Awareness Month, (World) Blindness Awareness Month, Celebrate Sun Dried Tomatoes Month, Celiac Sprue Awareness Month, Celebrate The Bilingual Child Month, Children's Magazine Month, Christmas Seal Campaign, Church Library Month, Church Safety and Security Month, Class Reunion Month, Co-op Awareness Month, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Dyslexia Awareness Month, Eat Better, Eat Together Month, Emotional Intelligence Month, Emotional Wellness Month, Energy Management is a Family Affair-Improve Your Home Month, Gay & Lesbian History Month, German-American Heritage Month, Global Diversity Awareness Month, Go Hog Wild - Eat Country Ham, Halloween Safety Month, Head Start Awareness Month, Health Literacy Month, International Starman Month, International Strategic Planning Month, Long Term Care Planning Month, Lupus Awareness Month, National Animal Safety and Protection Month, National Bake and Decorate Month, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, National Caramel Month, National Chili Month, National Chiropractic Month, National Crime Prevention Month, National Dental Hygiene Month, National Depression Education & Awareness Month, National Disability Employment Awareness Month, National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, National Down Syndrome Month, National Ergonomics Month, National Family Sexuality Education Month, National "Gain The Inside Advantage" Month, National Go On A Field Trip Month, National Kitchen & Bath Month, National Liver Awareness Month, National Medical Librarian Month, National Orthodontic Health Month, National Physical Therapy Month, National Popcorn Poppin' Month, National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, National Reading Group Month, National Roller Skating Month (This is for you, Smarty Pants, in honor of your stellar performance on skates at your mom's birthday party, which by the way, ROCKED!), National RSV Awareness Month, National Sarcastic Awareness Month, National Seafood Month, National Spina Bifida Awareness Month, National Window Covering Safety Month, National Work and Family Month, National Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Awareness Month, Organize Your Medical Information Month, Pastor (Clergy) Appreciation Month, Photographer Appreciation Month, Polish American Heritage Month, Positive Attitude Month, Raptor Month, Rett Syndrome Awareness Month, Right Brainers Rule! Month, Self-Promotion Month, Spinach Lovers Month, Squirrel Awareness Month, Stamp Collecting Month, Talk About Prescriptions Month, Vegetarian Month, Wishbones for Pets Month, Women's Small Business Month and Workplace Politics Month.

But the one I'm going to focus on is National Dessert Month. I feel I have a little knowledge on the subject because (1) I've made my share of desserts in my time and (2) I have a recipe in a cookbook put out by a major publishing house. Wikipedia defines dessert as "a course that typically comes at the end of a meal, usually consisting of sweet food but sometimes of a strongly-flavored one, such as some cheeses. The word comes from the Old French desservir, 'to clear the table.'"

Growing up, we didn't have dessert at every meal. Cakes, pies and cobblers were usually saved for special occasions. My grandmother Ballenger baked a mean pound cake and I can remember some absolutely lip-smacking blackberry and peach cobblers from my mother's oven. She also made a strawberry custard pie that was to die for. And she has a banana pudding recipe that goes way beyond my easy version using bananas, vanilla wafers and vanilla pudding.

I'm sure every family has a dessert recipe that is the family specialty. It's that treat you beg someone to make for family gatherings and the recipe for it is carefully filed away in your recipe box or taped into the front of your favorite cookbook.

I didn't much know how to cook when the DH and I got married, so most of my efforts in the kitchen were to learn how to please his meat-and-potatoes palate. I did learn pretty quickly that I could put a scoop of vanilla ice cream and sliced strawberries on a slab of pound cake (hello Sara Lee!) and top it with frozen whipped topping and he'd be as happy as a pig in slop.

I'm no gourmet cook now, but I've moved beyond Hamburger Helper and Minute Rice. And we still don't have dessert much because most of them just have too darned many calories. At Thanksgiving I'll bake the requisite pumpkin pie, and for Christmas I have a candy recipe that involves graham crackers, melted butter and sugar and a package of chocolate chips. If I'm in the mood for fresh-baked cookies, God bless Pillsbury for coming out with slice and bake cookie dough. And even better is the kind you just break apart and bake.

So are you a dessert person? What special dessert does your family beg you to make? My daughter-in-law made Better Than Sex Cake when I babysat last week. Oh my gawd was it good!

Share your recipe in the comments tail and one lucky cook will win a free book from my stash.


Smarty Pants said...

Go National Roller Skating Month! :)

Now on to the recipe...these little candies are quick and easy treats. And highly addictive, I must say...

White Chocolate Crunchies

24 oz White Almond Bark
1/2 c Peanut Butter
1 1/4 c Miniature Marshmallows
1 1/4 c Dry Roasted Peanuts
1 1/4 c Rice Crispies

Melt Almond Bark and mix all ingredients together and drop by teaspoonful onto cookie sheet covered with wax paper. Refrigerate until set. Store in air tight container.

Instigator said...

I love sweets. They're my weakness. But I don't usually take the time to make them (because I don't usually have the time to make them).

I do however love to make fudge. I don't have the recipe with me but it's on the jar of mashmallow fluff. And it is sooooo easy (thank you Kelley St. John for sharing the family secret :-)) You can sub peanut butter chips for the chocolate ones and have yummy peanut butter fudge - my favorite!


Playground Monitor said...

Here's the Chocolate Bark Candy recipe:

Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil and put down a layer of graham crackers.

Cook 2 sticks of margarine and 1/2 cup of sugar for 2 minutes. Pour over the graham crackers and bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

Sprinkle with 6 ounces of chocolate chips and smooth when melted. Put in the freezer to set and then break into pieces.


Lynn Raye Harris said...

This is gonna sound weird, I know, but I'm not much of a dessert person. I'll have a slice of that cake the host or hostess worked hard to make, but please make it a small one. French vanilla ice cream with caramel on top is a favorite. I like brownies too (put a warm brownie on a plate, top with a scoop of vanilla and drizzle with caramel -- that's great!).

Most desserts are just too sweet for me. I can only take a little bit before I'm done. I think I'm lucky that way -- because if I loved dessert, I'd be even bigger than I am already!

Smarty Pants said...

I can't believe that someone that can make (was it butterscotch?) a cheesecake like you can, doesn't like sweets. That's sacreligious.

I really wish I didn't like sweets. Life would be so much easier.

PM's Mother said...

PM, just add a little sour cream and cool whip to your vanilla pudding mix and your banana pudding will taste like mine.

I don't have a favorite dessert recipe, but if I have fruit that is getting too ripe I will make the easy kind of cobbler. I make it with strawberries and it is delicious. Blackberries and peaches are good also. I've never tried to make it with apples, but it should be tasty if you add a little cinnamon to your apples.


Set oven to 350 deg. F

1/2 stick butter
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 cup milk
2 cups sweetened fruit. (Fresh or canned)

Melt butter in 9" x 9" baking dish.

Mix dry ingredients in large bowl, add milk. Let mixture stand for 2 to 3 minutes. Pour evenly into melted butter. Spoon sweetened fruit evenly over batter and bake for 30 to 45 minutes until top is brown and center is set.

Serve warm with or without ice cream. It is good cold also.

Claire Winston said...

Oh yum! I lurk a lot but thought I'd share today.

Here's a Cranberry-Orange Nut Bread recipe I got off the internet. It's great for the holidays and if you spread a little softened cream cheese on a slice, it's just heavenly.

1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 c. butter, softened
Juice and grated peel of 1 orange
1 egg
1 c. cranberries, chopped
1/2 c. chopped nuts

Heat oven to 350°F.
Grease bottom of loaf pan.

Mix dry ingredients. Stir in butter until mixture is crumbly. Stir in orange peel, the juice of 1orange and 1 egg. Stir only until the flour is moistened. Stir in cranberries and nuts. Spread evenly in pan.

Bake for 55 to 65 minutes. Check with a toothpick.

Remove from the pan (you might have to run a spatula around the edges). Let stand at least 8 hours before slicing.

The only bad thing is you can only get fresh cranberries around here in November and December. So if you want this year-round, buy up cranberries and freeze them.


Anonymous said...

Well I love just about any dessert. My family favorite is either cheap fruit cake or vanilla wafer cake. I don't have access to either as they are at home and I am at work. I can post them tomorrow if anyone is interested. And, yes, my family loves fruitcake. And I love Pillsbury, Duncan Hines and all those other companies that make my life easier with their quick mixes and such.
ps... word verification - coinu

CrystalGB said...

Lately I have been making this recipe I found on and my family has loved it.

Apple Pound Cake

2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups chopped, peeled tart apples
1 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup apple cider or apple juice
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter or margarine

In a mixing bowl, combine sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla; mix well. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg; add to egg mixture and mix well. Stir in apples, almonds and raisins. Pour into a greased and floured 10-in. fluted tube pan.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan to a wire tack to cool completely.
In a saucepan, combine glaze ingredients; cook over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Prick top of cake with a fork; drizzle with glaze.

Anonymous said...

This is the only recipe I have that I can actually prepare in the time it takes the oven to preheat and add to that it is so delicious.

Easiest Ever Peach Cobbler

1 cup buttermilk baking mix
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 cans undrained sliced peaches
1/2 melted butter or margarine

Butter a 13x9x2 inch pan. Preheat over to 350 degreesI

Mix together baking mix, water and sugar. Pour in pan. Arrange peaches over top of batter. Drizzle peach juice over all. DO NOT STIR. Drizzle with melted butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 to 60 minutes or until baking mix has risen to top and formed a brown crust.


Anonymous said...

I absolutely LOVE my desserts, chocolate, cheesecake, fruit any variety of cake except for Angel Food Cake or sugarless.

Pat L.

Anonymous said...

Will have to dig up a good recipe. I make a mean pecan pie and a chocolate fruit cake - that from one of Deb Macomber's books.

Ladies, your recipes look awesome.
Pat L.

ArkieRN said...

This is one recipie that my family and I love! And it's very easy.

Coconut Cream Meringue Pie

2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 cup flaked coconut, finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (9 inch) pastry shell, baked

3 egg whites
6 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup flaked coconut

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Stir in milk until smooth.
Cook and stir over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat.

Stir a small amount of hot filling into egg yolks; return all to pan, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat.

Gently stir in chopped coconut, butter and vanilla until butter is melted. Pour hot filling into crust.

For meringue, in a small mixing bowl, beat egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form.
Gradually beat in sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, on high until stiff glossy peaks form and sugar is dissolved.

Spread evenly over hot filling, sealing edges to crust. Sprinkle with flaked coconut.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 12-15 minutes or until the meringue is golden. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour.

Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving. Refrigerate leftovers.

Jane said...

I found this recipe recently.

Almond Butter Oatmeal Cookies

10 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup almond butter
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
3/4 cup coarsely chopped cashews

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Beat butter and almond butter until light. Add brown sugar and sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir in oatmeal and cashews. Drop batter by tablespoons onto cookie sheets. Bake 10 to 15 minutes. Makes 24 cookies.

catslady said...

I have the easiest receipe ever and everyone loves it.

1 cake mix - mix as instructed and put in 11 x 13 (or whatever)
1 can pie filling (cherry, apple etc.) - pour on top
1 stick butter - melt and drizzle on top (you can use less if you want).

Bake 350 'til done - that's it.

Virginia said...

Pecan Pie

1/4 cup butter
1/2cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup pecans
1 9 inch frozen pie shell thawed

Cream together butter and sugar, beat in eggs one at a time and beat well. Beat in corn syrup and stir in pecans and pour in to pie shell and bake at 350 for one hour.

Virginia said...

Just thought of another one.

5 min fudge,

1 bag chocolate chips
1 can of chocolate cake frosting

Place in med size micro wave safe bowl and stir togetter. Place in micro wave and cook for 5 min. stiring every 2 mins. Beat a little and pour in to a buttered 9 inch square pan.

Very quick and easy. I have also used peanut butter chips but two bag and vanilla frosting and cook just a little longer about a min or two and made peanut butter fudge.

Amy S. said...

Peanut Butter Cookies

3/4 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1/2 cup All-Vegetable Shortening
1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 3/4 cups self rising flour


HEAT oven to 375°F. Combine peanut butter, shortening, brown sugar, milk and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended. Add egg. Beat just until blended.

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt. Add to creamed mixture at low speed. Mix just until blended. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 2-inches apart onto greased baking sheet. Flatten slightly in a crisscross pattern with tines of fork.

BAKE one baking sheet at a time 7 to 8 minutes, or until set and just beginning to brown. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet. Remove cookies to cooling racks to cool completely.