Sunday, March 18, 2012

Whistle-Stop Apple Crisp

All my life, I've been a dreamer. It usually starts out with something I'm doing or watching or reading and I just start dreaming from there. If I'm cooking or baking something, I picture myself owning my own little deli or bakery in a small town. People saying things like "Tina's cupcakes are to die for!" or "Have you tried Tina's place? Her food is wonderful!". Or, I could be totally into a series of movies or books and dreaming of that... When I started watching the Fast and Furious franchise, I always pictured myself living the sly life in Mexico. Maybe even running into Vin Diesel and Paul Walker in hopes of them asking me to join their crew. Lately, I've been reading and watching The Twilight Saga. So, basically, I'm dreaming of tall, dark and handsome Vampires that ooze sex! No worries, my husband knows all about it. TEAM EDWARD!!!

Anyhoo, yesterday, my husband and I were shopping at the local Farmers' Market shopping for weekend treats. Store-made potato salad, locally grown produce, whatever... My husband came across this box of Whistle-Stop Apple Crisp and asked me if I'd make it. I immediately thought of Idgy in Fried Green Tomatoes! DUUHHH!!! Of course, I'd make it!!!

It was so easy! I love it when I find something so yummy and it's such a breeze to make because the box provides everything for you! All I needed was 4 apples and 5 tablespoons of melted butter. It came with the crumb mix and... VOILA!!!! It was like eating apple pie without all the time and work that goes into it.

I know you're probably thinking to yourself "why is she showcasing a box of Apple Crisp mix on her blog?". Well, this is why...
  1. Not everything can be homemade, right? Well, if you ever come across this mix, buy it! It's so worth it. Passing along a good brand name is just as good as passing along a homemade recipe from your grandmother. Plus, they have COOKBOOKS!!! (Whistle-Stop Cafe Online Store) And...
  2. I spent the weekend making lots of yummy food (from a box AND from scratch) and I thought this would be a good way to get myself back into blogging. By starting off on something easy. Trust me - there's more to come!


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

C'mon Hallmark, Why No Happy Belated Pound Cake Day Card?

What's not to love about a recipe as simple as a pound of butter, a pound of sugar, a pound of eggs, and a pound of flour?  Different sources say that the pound cake was invented in the early 1800's because most people couldn't read recipes so it was an easy way to make a cake.  Even though I can read a recipe (which may be debatable if you see some of my screw ups) I love a poundcake, its something I make when I need to use up eggs or I don't want to make a trip to the store, so I was so happy to see that Pound Cake has its own holiday!!

National Pound Cake Day is officially March 4th, and I had every intention of posting this man-pleasing poundcake on Sunday night, but I was traveling through some icy weather and didn't arrive until entirely too late to start typing - unfortunately Hallmark doesn't make a "Happy Belated Pound Cake Day" card so please forgive me!  Since you get a ton of batter from this pound cake you can make a lot of different things from the batter.  Most people use a traditional bundt cake but for this recipe, I used two thirds of the batter to make 4 mini loaves of pound cake, and I poured the remaining one third of batter into a regular loaf pan to crumble up for the cake pops. 

This cake is a real man pleaser because it is really nice and dense, it looks like bread, it isn't sugary sweet and you can taste the bourbon, which is partly why I decided to make cake pops to give a girly spin to this manly cake. 

Bourbon Pecan Pound Cake
This recipe, slightly adapted from (and by slightly adapted, I doubled the Bourbon)

For the "His" Version
1 ½ cups butter, softened
1 - 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened (I used low-fat and
3 cups sugar
6 eggs
3 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup Bourbon (I highly recommend Woodford Reserve)
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
1 ½ cups pecans, toasted and chopped

Preheat oven to 325.  In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, on medium speed, cream together the sugar, cream cheese, and sugar, stopping to occasionally scrape down the sides until combined.  Turn the mixer on low and add the eggs one at a time.  Sift together the salt and the flour and add a cup of the flour mixture, followed by 1/4 cup of the bourbon, and then alternate until you add the last of the flour.  Stir in the vanilla and the pecans.  Prepare your pans by greasing and flouring them.  Divide 2/3rds of the batter among 4 mini laof pans and pour the remaining 1/3 into a normal sized bread pan or if you prefer more of a traditional pound cake, pour into a 12 cup bundt pan.  Bake for one hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cakes cool completely on a rack.

For the "Hers" Version
Makes 16 cake pops

1/3 of the "His" Version Pound Cake, cooked, cooled, and dark edges trimmed off
1 can Cream Cheese Frosting, I used Duncan Hines
10oz White Candy Melts
1/2 cup Pecans, chopped
16 lollipop sticks

Shred the pound cake until it is the texture of sand, mix in the can of cream cheese frosting until a ball forms and it is the consistency of Play-Doh.  Wrap dough with plastic and chill for an hour.  Divide dough in half, then in half again, half again, and finally one last half again for 16 chunks of dough.  Roll each chunk into a ball. Then melt a handful of the candy melts and dip the lollipop stick into the candy melts, then stick it into the dough ball to secure it, work on a parchment covered cookie sheet so that you can stick all of the pops into the freezer when the sticks are inserted.  Leave in the freezer for 30 min to an hour for the pops to firm up.  Melt the rest of your candy melts, and dip your pops into the candy melts and top with the chopped pecans.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Let's Celebrate National Cheese Doodle Day with Caramel Crunch Cheese Doodles!

Its National Cheese Doodle Day, and no other cheese doodle is closer to my heart than good ole crunchy Cheetos.  The spicy ones are awesome in a bloody mary, and if you have a bag getting stale, throw them in a food processor and they coat a piece of chicken pretty nicely.  I have to admit that I never thought of them as a good partner to a crunchy caramel coating until I stumbled across this recipe on  I was pretty sure this would go into the recipe fail folder, but the ingredients were cheap, and more importanly, already in my pantry, so I gave it a whirl and I am glad I did - the taste reminds me of those popcorn tins you get at christmas with the cheese and caramel popcorn inside - I LOVE to remove the divider and mix the cheese and caramel corn together and this is exactly what it tastes like.  I did mess around with the quantities of the original recipe a little because if a little caramel crunch is good a lot of caramel crunch is better! 

Caramel Crunch Cheese Doodles
slightly adapted from

3/4 Cup  Unsalted Butter
3/4 Cup  Granulated Sugar
3/4 Cup  Light Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup  Clear Karo Syrup
1 tsp  Vanilla
1/4 tsp  Baking Soda
9 oz bag of Crunchy Cheetos

Prehear oven to 250.  Put the butter, sugars, and syrup in a 3qt saucepan over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil.  Once the mixture comes to a boil, stir continously for 5 min and then remove from heat, stir in vanilla and baking soda until combined and add Cheetos to pan, stirring to coat.  Dump the gooey Cheetos mixture out on to a parchment lined cookie sheet spreading into a single layer and put into the oven for 60 minutes, stirring every 20.  Put the cookie sheet on a rack to cool and break into pieces when it is cool to the touch.

I cannot wait for the next movie night to debut this treat, and really who am I kidding, I'll probably sneak a bag of it into the theater to munch on at the Lorax...


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