Buttercream Frosting

This is the recipe I learned long ago in a cake decorating class. I love it because it doesn’t taste like shortening, and it dries firmly (without getting hard) when you decorate cookies or cake.

1/2 C. milk
1/2 C. softened butter (no substitutes)
1/2 C. shortening
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. lemon flavoring
6-8 C. (about a pound) confectioners sugar

In a mixing bowl, blend the milk, butter, shortening, and flavorings. Blend in the sugar a cup or two at a time, scraping the bowl, until the frosting is thick and forms peaks.
For colored frosting, use paste coloring to maintain a thickness that will hold its shape during decorating. Makes enough to decorate/frost 6 batches of sugar cookies, or a cake.

Kitchen Hint: I divide my frosting into 4 or 5 plastic containers and color one batch with deep pink, one batch with yellow, one with green, one with sky blue and I leave some white. Then I get out my pastry bag and decorating tips, the sanding sugars, jimmies, and miniature M&Ms, and I PLAY! Let the decorated cookies dry/set up before you store or freeze them.

Chocolate Date Nut Bread

This dense, sweet bread is a wonderful addition to any goody tray, and great for breakfast, too! Serve with strawberry cream cheese for a real treat.

3/4 C. boiling water
1 C. sliced dates
1 C. chocolate chips
1/4 C. butter
1 egg
3/4 C. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 C. flour
1 C. chopped nuts
1/3 C. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda

Preheat the oven to 350º. Combine the water and dates and set aside. Melt the chocolate chips and butter, and set aside. In a large bowl, mix the egg, milk and vanilla, then stir in the chocolate, the date mixture, and the remaining ingredients.

Pour the batter into a 9×5” loaf pan that’s been sprayed or greased. Bake for about an hour (start checking for doneness in the center after 45 minutes). When a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, take the bread from the oven. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes before removing it to cool completely.

Hannah’s Perty Pink Stuff

I knew as soon as I spotted this recipe I would have trouble not eating the whole bowl before I got it to the table! It’s one of those “salads” that’s really more of a dessert, but whatever you want to call it, it’s really a nice addition to a holiday meal. It would also be yummy made with different flavors of pie filling.

8 oz. cream cheese
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 20 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained well
1 can cherry pie filling
8 oz. tub of whipped topping

Cream the cream cheese, then add the sweetened condensed milk. Next stir in the pineapple and pie filling, then stir in the whipped topping. Pour into a large glass serving bowl and chill for several hours.

Raspberry Walnut Brownies

Oh, but these dense, moist brownies are the best chocolate fix! The layer of raspberry jelly between the brownie and the velvety chocolate frosting adds a sweet, tangy surprise as you bite into one.

6 squares/6 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 C. shortening
6 eggs
3 C. sugar
3 tsp. vanilla extract
2 C. flour
3 C. walnuts, chopped

1/2 C. seedless raspberry jam/jelly

Velvet Chocolate Frosting
2 squares/2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
4 T. each butter and light corn syrup
2 C. powdered sugar
2 T. milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325º and spray/grease a 9×13” pan. Melt the chocolate with the shortening in a double boiler over warm water or in a microwave-safe bowl for about a minute, stirring. Cool slightly. Blend eggs, sugar, and vanilla, add the melted chocolate, and then stir in the flour and walnuts. Spread batter evenly in the prepared pan and bake about 40 minutes, until center is firm. Carefully spread the jelly to cover the brownies. Let cool.

For the frosting, melt the chocolate, then stir in the butter and corn syrup. Mix in the remaining ingredients until smooth and velvety. Spread on the cooled brownies. Cut in 6 columns by 8 rows to make 4 dozen sinfully rich brownies.

Kitchen Hint: These freeze well, but unfortunately they get messy when you pack them and mail them—NOT that anyone receiving them has ever complained!

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

What a yummy way to enjoy cranberries! This coffee cake can also be served as a dessert, but I love it warm for breakfast. The cornmeal cake is dense and satisfying. My husband likes to put his serving in a bowl, warm, and pour milk over it.

½ stick (¼ C.) butter or margarine
¾ C. packed brown sugar
1 bag of fresh or frozen cranberries
½ C. golden raisins (regular raisins are fine, too)

Cornmeal Cake
1 stick (1/2 C.) butter or margarine (not spread), softened
¾ C. packed brown sugar
1 T. vanilla extract
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
2 large eggs
2/3 C. milk
1 ¼ C. flour
1/3 C. yellow cornmeal

Preheat the oven to 350º. Spray an 8 or 9-inch round cake pan. For the topping, put the butter in the cake pan and melt it in the oven, tilting the pan to spread it evenly and coat the sides. Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly on the bottom, then add the cranberries in one layer. Scatter the raisins over top of the berries.

For the cake, cream the butter, brown sugar, vanilla and baking powder until well blended. Beat in the eggs (mixture might look curdled). On a lower speed, mix in the milk, flour, and cornmeal just until blended. Spread batter over the topping. Bake about an hour, until top is browned and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with moist crumbs. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. Serves

Kitchen Hint: The cooled cake keeps well for a couple of days at room temperature, or it can be wrapped well and frozen. Rewarm in the oven or microwave.

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