I really enjoy hosting and attending parties and it seems this is the time of year for lots of parties! If you have been to my house (or I’ve been to a party at your home), then you may have tasted one of these tried-and-true recipes. For SUPER EASY and SUPER YUM, I’d recommend the "Fiesta Dip" and "The Great Pumpkin Dessert." I always have the ingredients on hand to make these two recipes. While I do not care for the taste of pumpkin, I love the smell! The pumpkin recipe bakes for an hour and makes the house smell heavenly…better than any candle! It is worth finding the Fiesta Ranch dressing mix for the "Fiesta Dip." Where I live, I can find it with the salad dressings at Jewel, but it’s not carried in Dominick’s or Wal-Mart.
Because I love baking and entertaining/hospitality, recipes and I carry on a certain love-affair. I’m the nerd who likes to read cookbooks. I own the Food Lover’s Companion, and I buy new ingredients just to try them. (Another one of my new favorite cookies is made with a syrup from London. I originally bought the syrup from a specialty shop while on vacation in Florida only because I love anything having to do with England! Then I had to search for a recipe that used this syrup. I guess I’m also the one who likes to visit non-chain grocery stores and markets while on vacation…..) Along the way, I have stumbled across some fantastic recipes that I tweak to my liking, then I use my friends and family as taste-testing guinea pigs. These recipes have passed all taste-testings!
Enjoy and let me know if you have any specific questions about any of the recipes. Be SURE to let me know if there’s a typo!
1 ¼ c. flour
½ c. cornstarch
1/3 c. powdered sugar
¾ c. butter, softened
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. grated lemon peel (opt)
frosting: 2 ½ c. powdered sugar
¼ c. butter, softened
2 - 3 Tbsp. lemon juice, more as needed for desired frosting consistency
With mixer, combine all cookie ingd. Beat at low speed, scraping bowl often til well mixed. (2 – 3 min) Divide dough in half. Shape each half into 10" long roll (approx.) so that it’s about 1" in diameter. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate til firm, about 2 hours.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. With sharp knife, slice each dough roll into ¼" thick slices. Place 2" apart on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (or, just place directly on baking sheet) Bake for 10 – 12 min or til set. Cookies will not brown. Bottoms of cookies should be slightly browned. Cool completely.
With mixer, blend all frosting ingd, adding lemon juice as needed for consistency. Blend til fluffy. A thicker frosting is best. Frost cooled cookie.
**cookies can be made in advance and frozen if NOT frosted**
GREAT PUMPKIN DESSERT
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk (I use fat free)
1 c. sugar
4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 box (18 oz) golden butter recipe cake mix (or use yellow)
1 stick butter, melted
chopped walnuts (opt)
Oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9 x 13 pan with Pam. Whisk together pumpkin, canned milk, eggs, sugar and spice. Pour into pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix over pumpkin. DO NOT STIR OR BLEND. Drizzle with melted butter. DO NOT STIR OR BLEND. Top with chopped walnuts, if using. (I usually top half the dessert with walnuts.) Bake 1 hour or til set and golden brown on top. Serve warm with whip cream. Store leftovers in fridge.
BUTTER ALMOND CAKE
1 ½ c. sugar
3/4 c. butter, melted
1 ½ tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1 ½ c. flour
1/4 c. sliced almonds, lightly toasted
2 tsp. sugar (for topping) or use lg. granulated decorator sugar
Oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9" round cake pan with PAM and dust with flour. Blend melted butter and 1 1/2 c. sugar. Beat in eggs. Blend in extracts. Add salt and flour and mix well. Spread batter into pan. Sprinkle with sugar and toasted almonds. Bake 30 - 35 min. or til edges are lightly browned.
(also known as "Jenni Dip" in my house, since she introduced us to this treat!)
1 – 16 oz. container sour cream (I use low fat)
1 dry package Fiesta Ranch dressing mix
1 can (about 15 oz) petite diced tomatoes with green chilies, well drained
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese (I prefer sharp cheddar in this recipe)
Mix all ingd together. Chill at least 2 hours before serving. Serve with thin wheat crackers or tortilla chips. Can be made a day before serving.
1 unsliced round loaf sourdough bread (about 1 lb.)
16 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, sliced thin (2 "bricks" of cheese)
½ c. butter, melted
½ c. green onion, chopped
3 tsp. poppy seeds
Cut the bread lengthwise and crosswise without cutting through the bottom of the loaf. Be sure to use a good, sharp knife. I do 6 to 7 cuts each way, to create a checkerboard look. Insert the cheese into all the cuts, stuffing the cheese as deep as possible. The bread will now be bursting with cheese and the more cheese that is deep in the bread, the better. Combine the melted butter, green onion and poppy seeds and drizzle over bread. Cut 2 sheets of foil and lay them on a baking sheet like a plus sign. Place the cheese stuffed bread in the center of the foil and bring the foil up the sides of the bread. Cover the top with another piece of foil. Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 min. Uncover and bake another 10 – 15 min. more or til cheese is melted.