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Tag Archives: pecans

Turtle Cookies


Since this is my second cookie post in a row, and I have enough cookie recipes to share every day this week*, I’m officially declaring it “Cookie Love” week on Veronica’s Cornucopia!  Next to dog love, this is the best kind of love there is. ;)

*Except for Thursday, of course, when I will be doing my Thankful Thursdays feature.

These are the cookies I made for The Postcard Project Cookie Swap.  I had purchased a bag of Kraft Caramel Bits on sale, because I couldn’t resist the 75-cent sale price, even if I had no specific purpose in mind for them.  As with the Snickers and the Sneaky Snickers Cookies, thought maybe I could use them in my cookies for the swap.  My first idea was to use them in a vanilla dough with chocolate and pecans, and it turned out to be a great one!  These are now in my top five favorite cookies, for sure.

I based the dough off the recipe for these blue-ribbon chocolate chip cookies and just stirred in chocolate chips, toasted pecans, and the caramel bits.  I was surprised how something so simple (no browning of the butter, no toasting & grinding of oatmeal!) could be so wonderful.  Soft, crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, gooey with caramel and studded with chocolate & pecans.  Just soooo wonderful.  If I do say so myself. :)

Turtle Cookies

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon real vanilla extract
½ teaspoon white vinegar*
2 large eggs
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup caramel bits
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped**

Preheat oven to 350 and line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats to prevent the caramel from sticking.

Cream the butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, and vinegar together until light and fluffy, five minutes. Add the eggs and baking soda and beat until combined. Add the flour and mix just until combined. Add the chocolate chips, caramel bits, and pecans, and either stir them in or beat just until combined.

Using a cookie scoop, portion the dough out onto the cookie sheets, leaving an inch between cookies. Bake for 10-12 minutes or just until the cookies are beginning to get golden brown around the edges. Remove and leave on pan for 5 minutes before removing cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.

*The vinegar helps make the cookies tender. You can not taste it, as the extra baking soda neutralizes its flavor.

** To toast the pecans, place them in a single layer on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between with fingers, until toasted and fragrant, 1-2 minutes total. Set aside to cool. Chop before using in recipe.

***

I wanted to share the cookies I received in this swap like I did yesterday for the ones I received in the blogger cookie swap.  Amber sent me four each of three kinds in a holiday tin (I had no idea you could ship in a tin–very cool!): gingerbread cut-outs, chai snickerdoodles, and spiral slice-and-bake cookies.

And check it out–I even got a stocking with my name on it! :)

The chai snickerdoodles were fantastic–they were (were because they have long since departed this world through my belly) all-butter snickerdoodles and instead of a plain cinnamon-sugar coating, there are other spices in the mix to give them a chai flavor.  I can’t even imagine how great these must be fresh from the oven!  However, despite their yumminess and being Amber’s favorite, I have to say my favorite in the tin was the spiral sliced cookies. I know, I’m so boring, but I just love a good sugar cookie (much like my favorite cake is white with white icing!) and these were perfect–nice and soft with a kiss of almond. Yum! Thanks, Amber!

Katie sent me two kinds of cookies, both recipes from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.  I was so tickled when Katie wrote that is her favorite baking blog because it is one of my favorites too–in fact, I think I trust Mel more than any other food blogger!  Her recipes have never failed me.

Katie sent me cranberry white chocolate cookies that she adapted from Mel’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies with Coconut:

These were nice and soft and chewy and I really loved the white chocolate and cranberry combo.

However, the other cookies Katie sent are the ULTIMATE and my favorite of ALL COOKIES SENT IN BOTH SWAPS.  Yes, I needed caps for that statement, that’s how strongly I feel about these cookies.  These are Mel’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, and they arrived tasting so fresh, I doubt they were any better the day she made them.

Seriously, just like with the Sneaky Snickers Cookies, I have been dying to make this recipe ever since I first laid eyes on it over a year ago.  But I was able to steer clear for the sake of my thighs.  Do you even understand how wonderful it was to receive just six of these cookies, the best cookies perhaps of all time, and maybe, just maybe, even better than my favorite cookies, so that I could savor them without risking my health by eating an entire batch made in my own kitchen?!?!?!  Thank you Katie, you rocked my world. :)

I haven’t received my third dozen yet, but as I wait patiently, I have a few cookies stashed in my freezer to keep me happy until it arrives.  See you tomorrow for a cookie that is perfect for shipping!

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Dixie Pie


This is one of the pies my friend, Teri, and I made during our pie-palooza, which is why the pie pictured is so small.  We made each recipe into two small pies so each of us could have one to keep.

This pie was the most popular of the four we served before a Bible study at her house that night.  It was gone in a flash!  It’s similar to a pecan pie, but it has chocolate chips (or raisins, if you prefer) and coconut in it too, so it’s even richer.

Which brings me to the reason I’m sharing it with you now instead of back in July, when we made it.  Something this rich is what I deem a winter holiday dessert, and it certainly fits the bill!  It would be a great addition to your Thanksgiving and Christmas spreads.

*Note:  I cut this pie when it was still warm, hence the gooey runniness.  It will set up nicely if you give it time!

Dixie Pie

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 9-inch pie crust
3/4 cup chocolate chips or raisins
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/4 cup flaked coconut
Whipped cream, for serving

Bake pie crust at 450 degrees F for 10 minutes; remove to cool on a wire rack and reduce oven temperature to 350.

If using raisins, place in a saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, vanilla, and cinnamon until smooth. Drain raisins. Stir Raisins, coconut, and nuts into creamed mixture ( mixture will appear curdled). Pour mixture into crust, and bake for 30-35 minutes or until set. Cool completely, ideally 6-8 hours to allow it to completely set up, before serving. Serve with whipped cream.

Recipe Source: adapted from Desserts In My Kitchen

Cornmeal Griddle Cakes


I recently checked out Baked Explorations from the library and immediately honed in on the Cornmeal Griddle Cakes recipe because I’ve been wanting to try them for a long time.  I think it took me all of two days to get to it.  It was urgent!  And I’m so glad I finally got to try some.

I don’t know if all cornmeal pancakes are this good, but if so, I was really missing out!  Both my husband and I are awfully tempted to call them not just great pancakes but the best. ever.  The best pancakes of all types that we’ve ever had.  But, alas, we can not.  The glorious fluffy buttermilk pancake will always hold the #1 spot, but these are just as good in a different way.

First of all, I was surprised by the texture.  I expected that the cornmeal would make the cakes dry and more dense.  Not so.  They were extremely fluffy, moist and light.  I don’t get it, but I won’t question it.  The corn flavor comes through and just tastes so good with butter, maple syrup and pecans on top.  Seriously.  You must try this!

Cornmeal Griddle Cakes

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk

Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in medium bowl. Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil. Place cornmeal in a large metal or glass bowl. Stirring continuously, slowly pour the boiling water over the cornmeal. Keep stirring until the mixture has cooled to lukewarm, almost room temperature. Add the brown sugar and stir until combined. Whisk eggs until pale yellow in separate bowl. Add buttermilk and whisk until blended. Add flour mixture, alternating with buttermilk mixture, to the cornmeal in three parts (beginning and ending with the flour mixture), stirring after each addition until just combined. Heat a skillet or griddle pan over medium-low heat. Spray with cooking spray and drop batter in 1/4 cup batches onto skillet. Cook until medium-brown, about 3 minutes, and the tops are bubbly, then flip the griddle cakes over and cook the other side for about 2 minutes and serve immediately. Serve with butter, pecans and maple syrup.

Makes 20 small pancakes. Per pancake: 85 calories; 2 g fat; 15.3 g carb; 1 g fiber; 2 g protein

Recipe source: slightly tweaked from Baked Explorations


Cinnabon Caramel Corn


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I suppose I could get in trouble for putting a trademarked name into the title of this popcorn, but the truth is I’m just way too unimportant for Cinnabon to care what I do with their name.  And if they tasted this popcorn, they’d probably consider it a compliment that their name had been ascribed to this tasty treat.

Does it taste like a Cinnabon?  I have no idea.  I think it does, but I’ve only had 1/4 of a single Cinnabon in my entire life, and that was four years ago and as far as I recall, it did not have pecans in it.  I do know, however, that it reminds me of a cinnamon roll and it is crazy delicious and I just really like calling it Cinnabon Caramel Corn (versus the official name: “Cinnamon Caramel Corn with Pecans and White Chocolate”–way too many syllables to pronounce when I could be stuffing my face with popcorn exactly eight syllables earlier.).

This would make a great food gift this holiday season and stays fresh in an airtight container for at least a week (based on reports from recievers of portions that were mailed).  Ours did not survive more than an hour after it had cooled.

OK, fine.  We ate half of it warm.

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Cinnabon Caramel Corn
Recipe by Our Best Bites
(My notes are in parentheses. (I like parentheses.))

12 C popped popcorn (about 1/2 C kernels)*
1 C roughly chopped pecans
1 C brown sugar
3/4 t cinnamon
1/4 C Karo syrup (or honey makes a good substitution)
1 stick real butter (1/2 C)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
3 squares almond bark

*You can use air popped or microwave popcorn. If using microwave, anything works, but I prefer a “natural” flavor that’s low in butter and salt.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Place popcorn and chopped pecans in a large bowl and set aside. (I personally divided the popcorn & nuts between two ginormous bowls, which I would recommend so you have room for lots of stirring.)

Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a 2 liter capacity microwave safe bowl. Mix well. Chop butter into chunks and place on top of sugar mixture. Pour corn syrup over the top of everything. Microwave on high for 30 seconds and then stir to combine. Return to microwave and heat for 2 minutes. Remove and stir and then microwave for 2 minutes more.

Remove from microwave and add in vanilla and baking soda. Stir to combine. Mixture will foam and rise. Pour caramel mixture over popcorn and pecans and stir very well so everything is well coated.

Spread popcorn mixture onto a foil-lined jelly roll pan. (I had to use a jelly roll pan & a 9×13 pan–I think 2 jelly roll pans would be best.) Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. (I thought the popcorn wasn’t quite crisp enough after it cooled and will try baking it 10-20 minutes longer next time. I usually bake caramel corn for an hour and found it odd this one only called for half the time.)

Remove from oven and spread out on a large piece of parchment, waxed paper, or foil.

Melt almond bark according to package instructions. Drizzle over popcorn mixture. (I dipped a fork in it and swirled it all over.) When almond bark is hardened and popcorn is cool, break into chunks and enjoy!

Secret Recipe Club

Dulce de Leche Bars


I came up with this recipe for the “mix it up” contest at the fair.  You could either use a mix for something it wasn’t intended for or make a cake with a mix and put a twist on it.  I went for the former and used a cake mix for the base of these indulgent treats.  Although they didn’t place, the judges wrote “Very good–wonderful flavor!” in the notes on my eval sheet and everyone I’ve served them to agrees.  My favorite thing about them is that you can whip them up and have them in the oven in less than 10 minutes.  Perfect for us busy people!

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Dulce de Leche Bars

1 (18.25 oz) Golden Butter Recipe cake mix
1 egg
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 (13.4 oz) can Nestle Dulce de Leche (or 1 cup homemade)
1 cup pecan pieces
½ cup sweetened shredded coconut
1cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup Heath candy baking bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease the bottom and sides of a 9×13 pan.

In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, egg & butter.  Beat on medium speed until well mixed.  Shape the dough into a ball and, using your hands, press it out into the bottom of the prepared pan until it is in an even layer & reaches the edges.

Spread the dulce de leche over the cake mix layer, all the way to the edges.  Sprinkle the remaining ingredients over the top, layering half of each and then repeating, and bake for 35 minutes.  Remove from oven and give it a few hard taps against a heat resistant surface to settle any puffiness.  Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before cutting.

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