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Cinnamon Upside Down Cakes

Cinnamon Upside Down Cakes!!
These little mini cinnamon cakes are the perfect make-ahead treat.  Perfect as dessert and such a sweet and yummy breakfast!  Dripping with sweet glaze, these will be a new family favorite, and the best part?  They use a cake mix and they are SO easy!!!

Ready to make these fun little cakes? Click here for the printable recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups brown sugar (packed)
  • ½ cup butter (melted)
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 36 pecan halves (optional)
  • One boxed yellow cake mix
  • Water, oil and eggs to make mix according to box
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk
  • ½ teaspoon of vanilla

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees
  • Spray two muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray
  • Place brown sugar, cinnamon and melted butter into a small bowl and mix until well combined.
  • Spoon sugar mixture evenly into all 24 cups of the muffin tins.
  • Use a mini tart shaper or a wooden spoon to press sugar mixture flat into the bottom of each cup.
  • Place 3 pecans on top of sugar.
  • Make cake mix according to box instructions.
  • Scoop batter over the top of sugar and pecans.  Fill each cup about 2/3 full.

Cinnamon Upside Down Cakes!!Cinnamon Upside Down Cakes2

  • Bake at 350F degrees for 18-20 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and quickly run a small knife around the edge of each cup.
  • Using oven mitts, place a wire cake rack on top of the muffin tin and flip the pan and rack over so that cakes are upside down on the rack.
  • Gently lift the muffin tin up and allow the cakes to pop out. Some sugar will remain in the bottom of each cup, which is fine.
  • While cakes cool, make a glaze by mixing milk, vanilla and powdered sugar together in a small bowl.  Add extra milk or powdered sugar to make glaze a thick frosting consistency- not very runny.
  • Spoon glaze into a small zip-top bag and seal the top.
  • Clip a corner of the bag and drizzle glaze over the tops of each little cake.
  • ENJOY!

Cinnamon Upside Down Cakes!!
My thoughts: These are really easy little treats and they are gobbled up fast!  I’ve made them twice now and everyone asks for the recipe. I made my second batch without the pecans on half of them.  They were still wonderful and make this recipe yummy for even people who don’t like or can’t have nuts. Keep them covered up and they last a few days- a perfect make-ahead Christmas morning treat!  

Cinnamon Upside Down Cakes!!!
Other yummy ideas from easybaked:

Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake!!Cinnamon Roll Filling in a yummy cupcake!Brownie Oreo Cookie CupSpiced Mocha and Tim Tam Slams!

Opera Creams

Opera Cream Candy These cream-filled chocolates are so smooth and rich you won’t be able to stop at just one!

I work in a genetics lab.  Every year at Christmas my co-worker Gail brings in the most wonderful candy I’ve ever eaten.  Every year I ask for the recipe and she smiles and says that she can give me the recipe but that I’d need to visit and learn the recipe from her.  Now that I’ve made it, I understand.  This is not a typical Easybaked recipe, it’s very involved.  It’s fun and challenging and oh- soooo worth the effort though!

Gail recently retired and about a week ago I visited her in her kitchen to learn how to make opera creams.

This is a recipe passed down to her from her mom, who had all kinds of thoughts about the making of this candy.  My favorite was that the recipe works best on sunny days and if it’s raining you might as well just wait to make it another day.  We had a beautiful sunny December day to make our candy on, so I’m sure she would have approved.

Lets start with the recipe– that’s the easy part.  I’m going to post it twice– once with pictures and videos and once just straight so you can read it easier.

Gail's moms recipe card

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 c. sugar
  • 2 c. heavy cream
  • 1/8 t. cream of tartar
  • 2 T light corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 t. vanilla
  • 1 t butter
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • Chocolate (of your choice) for dipping- we used tempered dark chocolate bits

DIRECTIONS:

  • Put sugar, cream, cream of tartar and corn syrup into a large saucepan and mix well.
  • Use a pastry brush and a little water to brush all of mixture down the sides of the pan to remove any sugar stuck to the sides.

Use a pastry brush to brush water down sides of panGail and her moms candy thermometer

  • Cover pan and bring to a boil.
  • When boiling, uncover and clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan.
  • Bring mixture to 240F degrees
  • (While you are waiting for this to come to temp, butter the bottom and sides of a shallow glass or ceramic dish.)

Bring to 240F degreesDon't stir!!!

  • Remove from stove and add salt, butter and vanilla– do not stir!
  • Pour mixture into buttered dish (don’t use plastic!) and allow this to cool completely (we put it on the back porch where it was cool and this took 2 hours)
  • Spoon cooled mixture onto clean countertop (it will be like a very sticky caramel)

Pour into a non-plastic dishCooled mixtureKnead into a soft cream

  • Work with hands until firm and creamy- it takes 20-30 minutes and this is pure craziness….here are the stages to expect:
  1. sticky caramel- fairly firm
  2. slimy/ buttery texture– almost like its falling apart
  3. sticky but workable
  4. so sticky that you literally cannot move your fingers and you are sure you will have to get the mixture surgically removed.
  5. no longer sticky- but like playdough with little crumbs falling off at the edges…keep kneading!
  6. Finally creamy and smooth- kneads together in one beautiful dough- like ball.

I filmed Gail as she went through this process.  Click HERE to see the near-miraculous transformation from sticky to creamy smooth!

  • Place this ball of filling in a dish, cover with a damp towel and refrigerate for 2 days….yes. TWO DAYS.
  • Bring cream filling back to room temp and roll into balls.

Roll into ballsDip into chocolate...

  • Dip into melted chocolate and cool.
  • You can mix nuts or coconut into the cream if you like, or just leave them plain.


Opera Cream CandyMy thoughts: amazingly yummy.  The cream is just like no other candy I’ve tried.  It is worth every bit if the effort it took us to make these.  I found myself cringing as people popped them whole into their mouths though…I kept thinking, “SAVOR those!!!  You’ve no idea how hard I worked on them!!!”  So hard, in fact that I took a two hour nap when I got home!

Opera cream CandyNow for the recipe in an easy-to-read format:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 c. sugar
  • 2 c. heavy cream
  • 1/8 t. cream of tartar
  • 2 T light corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 t. vanilla
  • 1 t butter
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • Chocolate (of your choice) for dipping- we used dark tempered chocolate bits

DIRECTIONS:

  • Put sugar, cream, cream of tartar and corn syrup to a large saucepan and mix well.
  • Use a pastry brush and a little water to brush all of mixture down the sides of the pan to remove any sugar stuck to the sides.
  • Cover pan and bring to a boil.
  • When boiling, uncover and clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan.
  • Bring mixture to 240F degrees
  • (While you are waiting for this to come to temp, butter the bottom and sides of a shallow glass or ceramic dish.)
  • Remove from stove and add butter and vanilla– do not stir!
  • Pour mixture into buttered dish (don’t use plastic!) and allow this to cool completely (we put it on the back porch where it was cool and this took 2 hours)
  • Spoon cooled mixture onto clean countertop (it will be like a very sticky caramel)
  • Work with hands until firm and creamy.
  • Place this ball of filling in a dish, cover with a damp towel and refrigerate for 2 days.
  • Bring cream filling to room temp and roll into balls.
  • Dip into melted chocolate and cool.
  • You can mix nuts or coconut into the cream if you like, or just leave them plain.

Opera Cream Candy

A huge “thank-you” to Gail for spending so much time teaching me her family recipe!  We had such a fun day together cooking AND trying lime phosphates while we waited for candy to cool!

Having fun while the candy cools!

Enjoy!!!!!  ~r

Other (easier!) Christmas recipe ideas from Easybaked~ Click on the image to be taken to the recipe:

Chocolate molten lava cupcakesCake balls filled with cream cheese frostingChocolate bonbonsHot Chocolate Pops!

Chocolate Pecan Tart

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This pecan tart with a hint of cocoa was inspired by my recent vacation to South Carolina.

I just got back from a trip to my cousin’s wedding in Raleigh and a family vacation in Myrtle Beach.  Besides the pralines (MUST learn to make these), I was tempted by all the varieties of pecan pies in each restaurant we visited (bourbon, chocolate chip, caramel, cheesecake….)

I’m visiting dear friends tomorrow afternoon and since I’ve been obsessing over pecan pies I thought I’d better give in and make one tonight to share with them.  I really think you’ll love this recipe.  The tart pan makes it beautiful and the cocoa makes it so rich and flavorful.  Plus it is really easy.  Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:

  • Refrigerated pie crust (or your own favorite recipe!)
  • 4 T. butter
  • 2 T. cocoa powder
  • 1 c. corn syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 c. dark brown sugar
  • 2 T. vanilla
  • 2 c. pecans (one cup chopped, one cup halves)

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Lightly grease a 9 inch tart pan with removable bottom.  Line the pan with your crust, pressing it into the bottom and sides of pan and pricking the bottom a few times with a fork.
  • Melt butter on the stove in a saucepan.
  • Turn heat off and add the cocoa and corn syrup.
  • Lightly beat the eggs with the sugar and vanilla.
  • Stir egg mixture and one cup of chopped nuts into syrup.
  • Pour into crust and arrange the remaining pecans over the top.
  • Bake on a cookie sheet for 35-40 minutes (until the filling is just set).
  • Serve warm (with ice cream, I think!) or at room temperature.


My thoughts:  This is a quick dessert and it is SO yummy!  I’m laughing a little about how I have to cut a piece out of everything I make (for photography purposes, of course…) and how nothing I bring to share at a dinner ever looks pretty anymore.  My friends look at my chopped up dessert, roll their eyes and say– oh yeah….BLOG photos…  I hope you enjoy making this recipe.  I’ll leave you tonight with a couple of beach photos.  Enjoy!

My favorite pier at sunset….happy moment….

Appreciating the beach. Enjoy your week, friends!

Seven Layer Cookie Cups

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Confession:  I’ve never had or made 7 layer bars.  But ever since I created the salted caramel cookie cup recipe, my friend Dawn (and her husband Rex!) have been asking me to try a cookie cup filled with 7 layer bar ingredients.

Now that I’ve tried them, I am in love with 7 layer bars.  The bars are very easy to make and there are tons of recipes online for them.  There are many variations of ingredients, but I made my cups with Dawn’s favorites.  The cups are a little more time consuming than plain bars– but very, very fun!  The cookie cup holds all the yummy ingredients together and adds a dense sweet layer to the typical bar recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tube of refrigerated sugar cookie dough
  • 1c. of finely crushed graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 c. chopped pecans
  • 1c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4c. butterscotch chips
  • 1c. shredded coconut
  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk

(yep, thats 7 ingredients!)

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Using clean hands, knead together graham cracker crumbs and cookie dough until all crumbs are incorporated.
  • Divide dough evenly among 12 (standard size) muffin cups.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 14 minutes
  • Press centers of baked cookies in, forming a cup. I use a mini tart shaper for this and it makes it SO easy- you can use the end of a wooden spoon too, if you want.  The inside of the cookies might still be a little undercooked at this point — that is ok!
  • Layer the remaining dry ingredients in each cookie cup, saving some coconut aside.
  • Place sweetened condensed milk in a zip top bag, clip a corner and drizzle the condensed milk into each cup over and around all the ingredients.  I went to each cup twice, as the liquid seeped down into all the layers there was room for more on top.
  • Sprinkle top with shredded coconut and place back in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes.  Watch for your coconut to brown on top– that is your cue to pull them out!
  • Cool completely in pan.  
  • Use a small knife to run around edge of each cup and pop it out of pan when cooled.

My thoughts:  I love them!  You could experiment with ingredient variations to this if you don’t like nuts or coconut for example. I like them as is.  Since I’d never had a 7 layer bar, I was depending on Dawn and Rex to judge the taste- they give them a thumbs up!  If you want gooey chocolate and coconut then this is YOUR dessert!  Enjoy!


Pecan Pie Cookie Cups

Dark chocolate and pecans baked in a soft sugar cookie cup–yum!

INGREDIENTS:

  • One tube of Pillsbury Refrigerated Sugar Cookie Dough
  • About 2 cups of pecan halves
  • 2/3 c. dark chocolate chips (I use the Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chips)
  • 1 T. corn syrup
  • 1/4 c. heavy whipping cream

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spoon about 1 T. of cookie dough into a ball in 24 mini-muffin cups.
  • Press into bottom and sides of cup (I use a Mini Tart Shaper )
  • Place one pecan half in the bottom of each cup.
  • Chop one cup of pecan halves into tiny pieces.
  • Mix together chopped pecans, corn syrup, whipping cream and melted bittersweet chocolate.
  • Use a zip-top bag to pipe pecan mixture into cups (just clip a nice big corner off so that the pecan pieces can fit through!)
  • Top with another pecan half
  • Bake at 350 degrees for about 16-18 minutes.
  • Allow cups to cool completely in pan.
  • Once completely cool, twist each cup a bit to free it from the pan and removeMy thoughts:  I usually love my experiments…but I didn’t really like these (just being honest here…)  My friends and co-workers LOVED them though…  I think I just needed milk chocolate instead of the bittersweet.  I need my sweet!  These were a huge hit though- so the bittersweet apparently works for most people.  ENJOY!!

Homemade Caramel Turtles

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Soft creamy caramel tops chocolate and pecans– a quick and easy treat.

INGREDIENTS:

  • about 2 cups of whole pecans.
  • 12oz (one bag) of Wilton Dark Candy Cocoa Melts
  • 32 Kraft caramels (unwrapped)
  • 1/2c. butter
  • 1 (14oz.) can of sweetened condensed milk

DIRECTIONS:

  • Line pecans  up in squares on parchment paper

  • Melt candy melts in microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between until smooth.
  • Spoon chocolate over pecans, filling in the center space and spilling it over about half of each pecan.
  • While this hardens, make caramel sauce (this recipe makes more caramel than you need, but you can refrigerate the rest and use as an ice cream topping later…or you can cut this part of the recipe in half- you will just have 1/2 a can of sweetened condensed milk left…?)
  • Melt unwrapped caramels, butter and sweetened condensed milk over the stove until smooth.
  • Spoon caramel into the center of each turtle (try to keep as much as you can on the chocolate- it will harden some, but it is a soft caramel)
  • Allow these to harden (refrigerate if necessary) and ENJOY!!!!!


My thoughts: Easy and yummy!  I was surprised at how good the candy melts tasted in this- obviously using real chocolate would be a bit fussier and probably a much better flavor- but everyone loved these and I think the melts worked just fine.  These are messy looking turtles- I wouldn’t fuss over making them look perfect- I think the messy look makes them fun and DEFINITELY home-made!!!! 🙂

This recipes was shared on these wonderful blogs: The Girl Creative, Sweet as Sugar Cookies, Bacon Time with the Hungry Hypo, This Chick Cooks, At Home With Haley, Cupcake Apothecary

 

German Chocolate Disaster.

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I like recipes— love them in fact!  I usually prefer to create my own recipes, but once in awhile someone will recommend a recipe so highly that I simply have to try it.  This was the case with this german chocolate cake.  It is from allrecipes.com and you can click here to get the original recipe.  The friend who recommended it (Spencer) is a chef and literally everything he makes is amazing– so here goes:

The cake is incredibly time consuming in my opinion….MUCH too time consuming for a blog called EASYbaked anyway 🙂 ….I made this crazy from-scratch cake and had all three pans stick (I should have added a circle of parchment paper to the bottoms….) and fall apart.

only two 1/2 layers were useable- saved the rest for a trifle

The recipe involves separating eggs and whipping into stiff peaks and melting german chocolate and adding buttermilk and cake flour…….yeah- buy a german chocolate cake mix– the cake was good- probably one of the best scratch cakes I’ve made- but it was not quick or easy….your call 🙂 .  The icing, on the other hand, was TO DIE for!  I will never buy German chocolate frosting again— easy and quick and soooooo good!!    so….

 

 

 

 

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 German chocolate cake mix (with oil and water to make according to box) -or be brave and make it from scratch (it is really yummy)- remember the parchment paper!!!
  • FROSTING:
  • 1c. sugar
  • 1c. evaporated milk
  • 1/2c. butter
  • 3 egg yolks (beaten)
  • 1 1/3c. flaked coconut
  • 1c. finely chopped pecans.
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • GANACHE:
  • 1/4c. whipping cream
  • 1/2c. semisweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:

  • Prepare cake mix as directed, baking in two 8 or 9 inch round cake pans (or make cupcakes even— the star of this show is the icing!)
  • FROSTING :  In saucepan combine sugar, evaporated milk, butter and egg yolks.  Cook over low heat (stir constantly!) until this thickens considerably (took me about 8 minutes).
  • Remove from heat and stir in pecans and coconut.
  • Chill until thick enough to spread.
  • Slice each cake in half, forming 2 layers.
  • Layer cake with icing.
  • GANACHE: Heat whipping cream in a small saucepan until bubbling at edges (about 30 seconds).  Add chocolate chips, cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes.  Stir until smooth.  Pour over top of cake and allow this to drizzle down the sides.
  • ENJOY!!!

YUM!

This recipe was shared on these wonderful blogs: 

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