Mamma Lorri’s Fudge Perfection: On the 10th Day of Christmas…

…my true blog gave to me a REAL and simple fudge recipe!!

 

So, here’s the deal.  I’ve never been brave enough to make fudge myself.  Everyone made it sound so hard to get it just right.  And I’ve never been the hugest fudge fan.  Well.  Then my mother in law made her famous fudge (that literally people all over town BEG for her to make every year!  She’s famous!!).  She made 4 different kinds:  Peanut Butter, Butterscotch, Milk Chocolate, and Dark Chocolate Walnut.  She was so excited for us to taste them, so I obliged.  And fell in love.   Especially with the dark chocolate Walnut.  Oh.  m.  g.  SO GOOD!!  And my husband, a proud son, went on to explain to me that no one makes fudge like his mom, and that she always gets the texture just right and any one else who tries can’t even compare.  I’ve never really tried any one else’s fudge, but it was so good that I have no reason to doubt him!!  SO since I have been posting so many recipes and traditions from MY family’s side, I decided it was time to share something from his side!!  And what better than Lorri’s fudge perfection?!

The secret is out.  You can now make the perfect fudge.  Join me!!  (PS…as I look at the recipe…it doesn’t sound like it’s too scary to make!!  I have hope!!  Maybe I will join her next year!!!)

 

So, here’s what you need:

  • 5 C Sugar
  • 10 oz Evaporated Milk
  • 24 oz Flavored Chips of Choice (ie…dark chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, etc…your choice!!)
  • 1 Lg Container Marshmallow Fluff
  • 1 Stick Butter or Margarine
  • Dash of Salt
  • 1 tsp Vanilla

 

And here’s how you do it: (For about 5 lbs!!)

  1. Mix sugar, evaporated milk, fluff, butter, and salt in a large sauce pan over medium high heat, until it starts to boil
  2. Gently boil for five minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and add vanilla and chips.  Stir until smooth.  Add nuts if desired.
  4. Spray a pan with cooking spray and pour fudge into it.  Spread evenly and let set up for about two hours!!
  5. Cut into squares, serve, and wow the crowd!!

Yum.  Doesn’t that make you hungry?  I wish I could eat some right now…but it’s all gone.  *Single tear*  Alright, there you go my friends, happy fudge-ing!!

Photo (10)See the dark chocolate one there in the front?!  FAVORITE!!  You can see the chunk I took out of all of them…that’s a lot of fudge.  And yes, yes it is all gone.  Haha!!

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Jesus’ Birthday Cake (Rainbow Poke Cake): On the 8th Day of Christmas…

…my true blog gave to me a refreshing dessert recipe!!

Yes, my family call this Jesus’ Birthday Cake!  I cannot remember a Christmas growing up without this cake.  It’s Uncle Bob’s favorite!!  Really…I think it’s everybody’s favorite!!  Here is a picture that my mom sent me of my brother about to enjoy this cake for his birthday…because it is so good we ask for it more often than just Christmas!!

photo 1 (1)Anyways!!  Back to the holidays!  I have such beautiful memories with this cake.  All the cousins and uncles and aunts would gather in a circle around the little table in my Grandma and Grandpa’s dining room, and we would legitimately sing happy birthday to Jesus, then the youngest kids would blow out the candles.  Then we would all try hard not to clobber each other for the first piece…you know, in the spirit of Christmas and everything.  🙂  Unlike a lot of desserts, this is cool and light and makes your insides feel good instead of heavy.  You gotta try it!  And IT’S BEAUTIFUL!!

Now, if you don’t believe me on the whole…this has been a tradition FOREVER thing, check this out.  I was asking my mom for a picture of this cake because I knew in the madness that is currently my life, I would have no chance to bake one myself.  And this is what she sent me…

photo 5This is the original recipe out of a magazine that my mom got…she believes it is from her FIRST Christmas with my dad.  How precious is that?!  And now you get to share in this!  Welcome to the family 😉

So, here’s what you need:

  • 1 Box Super Moist White Cake Mix
  • 1 (3 oz) Box Raspberry Jell-o (Or your favorite red flavor)
  • 1 (3 oz) Box Lime Jell-O (MY FAVORITE)
  • 2 Cups Boiling Water
  • 1 Container Whipped Cream

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Bake white cake mix (as directed)  in two round cake pans.
  2. Let cool for 10 minutes.  Remove from pans and cool completely.
  3. Return cake to pans.  Using a big fork, poke holes all over the cake!!  If you look close at the picture, it says to do this in 1/2 inch intervals.  I’ve never paid that close attention to it (poking the holes was always my job!).  I just poked the poo out of those cakes!
  4. Bring your 2 C of water to a boil.
  5. Pour half of the boiling water over your first flavor of Jell-O and whisk until it is dissolved.  Pour evenly over one of the cakes, so that it can soak down into the holes.  Repeat with other flavor.
  6. Put your cakes into the fridge until Jell-O is set, 3-4 hours.
  7. When ready to assemble, dip the bottom of the pans in warm water for 10 seconds, then gently shake onto a platter.
  8. Put a layer of whipped cream on top of whatever color you want on the bottom (usually raspberry for us), and top with the other.  You may need to slide a few toothpicks in at this point to keep the layers together.  Just warn everybody if you do!  Traditionally, the person that finds the toothpick has to do dishes or make the cake next year 😛
  9. Frost with the rest of the whipped cream and put into your fridge until ready to serve!!  My mom usually put it on a beautiful crystal cake stand, and topped the cake with little fake holly sprigs.  BEAUTIFUL!!

Edit 1/8/14…my mommy sent me pictures of the process just for you, my faithful readers!!  So here ya go!!

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Bake white cake mix (as directed)  in two round cake pans.  Let cool for 10 minutes.  Remove from pans and cool completely.  Return cake to pans.  Using a big fork, poke holes all over the cake!!  If you look close at the picture, it says to do this in 1/2 inch intervals.  I’ve never paid that close attention to it (poking the holes was always my job!).  I just poked the poo out of those cakes!  Bring your 2 C of water to a boil.  Pour half of the boiling water over your first flavor of Jell-O and whisk until it is dissolved.  Pour evenly over one of the cakes, so that it can soak down into the holes.  Repeat with other flavor.  Put your cakes into the fridge until Jell-O is set, 3-4 hours.

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When ready to assemble, dip the bottom of the pans in warm water for 10 seconds, then gently shake onto a platter.

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Place first layer on a cake stand.

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Spread a layer of whipped cream on top…

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Place second layer on top and secure with toothpicks if needed.

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Frost with the rest of the whipped cream…and with something pretty like my mommy does!!

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So pretty!  Place in fridge until ready to serve!

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Doesn’t that look DELICIOUS!

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Feel free to try this with different flavor combos, and celebrate!!  😀

Cheesecake Party Planning (As Promised!)

First of all….Happy 100th post everyone!!!  Can you believe that?!  This little blog has grown so much since November! I am so proud of it, and so thankful to all of you, my faithful followers all the way down to my first time visitors!  What better way to celebrate…than a giant cheesecake party post?!  Are you ready?!  I’m ready!  Let’s DO THIS!

Wow your next party with a spread of mouthwatering sauces that they can smear on top of a slice of cheesecake!  The best part; they all came together much faster than I expected.  Also, I made them all the day before, stuck them in the fridge, then just warmed them up in the microwave for about 30 seconds for the few that had thickened.  It was peeeerfect!  Especially since I worked the day of the party!

So a little disclaimer…this beautiful idea came together for one of my new bestie’s birthday parties, which was glorious…and also happened in the midst of a long streak of MADNESS that is currently my life.  Training at two jobs…its wonderful, I’m thankful…it’s madness.  Because of that fact, I went semi-homemade with this celebration.  I know that making cheesecake can be a delicate process, and also that I wouldn’t have time for mess ups on my first cheesecake adventure.  So I bought my cheesecake this time!  Now I know that may be against the “inner code” of some of you foodies (honestly it was against mine too), but some days you just can’t be Martha Stewart.  But I tell you what.  Spend a much shorter amount of time making these fantastic sauces I will show you, and people will think you ARE Martha Stewart!!  But if you have the time to do it all, I read some crazy good reviews on Ina Garten’s cheesecake recipe on foodnetwork.com!  Check it out!!

 

Sauce #1 Stupid Easy Caramel Sauce

Cheesecake 6

Sorry for the fuzzy nature of the photos. As you can probably tell, this party was happening outside at night, haha!

Yes.  It is that easy.

So, here’s what you need:

  • 1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk

Yes.  That’s it.  Can you believe it?!  Here’s how you do it!!

  1. Fill a medium or large pot with water.
  2. Drop your can, still sealed, into the water and bring to a boil.
  3. Simmer for 2-2 1/2 hours.  Drain water and let cool for a while so you don’t burn your fingers.  If you don’t boil it long enough, it will be more solid than you want.  You can heat it up to thin it, but be careful!
  4. Open your can, and you will have caramel sauce!!  Don’t believe me?!  Google it!  You’ll be amazed!!

 

Sauce #2  Classy Chocolate Sauce adapted from southernfood.com

Cheesecake 5

Sorry for the fuzzy nature of the photos. As you can probably tell, this party was happening outside at night, haha!

Note:  This makes a large batch, so what you are going to want to do is use half for the next sauce, Orange Chocolate Sauce.  Unless you just want a butt load of chocolate.  Sometimes you just need chocolate.

So, here’s what you need:

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1  tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 C Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Mix the sugar, cocoa, flour, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat, adding just enough whipping cream to make a paste so everything gets incorporated and dissolved.
  2. Add the rest of the whipping cream and stir in.
  3. Bring to a boil, stir,  and immediately reduce to low and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in vanilla, pour half of the sauce into a serving container or Tupperware.  Put pot back on burner to make the Orange Chocolate Sauce (my favorite!!).

 

Sauce #3 Rich Orange Chocolate Sauce adapted from Southernfood.com

Cheesecake 3

Sorry for the fuzzy nature of the photos. As you can probably tell, this party was happening outside at night, haha!

I’ll say it again.  This was MY FAVORITE!  I even drizzled it on brownies…and died a little from the happiness.  Orange and chocolate runs in my veins.  I think it’s part of being a Kirkwood (that’s my maiden name) 😉  My sweet grams, before she died, would always have those chocolate oranges that you can smack on the table, unwrap, and you have perfect little slices!!!  We got them for her whenever we came across them.  🙂  Okay.  On to the sauce!!

So, here’s what you need:

  • 1/2 Recipe of Classy Chocolate Sauce
  • 1 Orange, zest and juice

And here’s how you do it:

  1. With your chocolate sauce over low heat, zest the orange and whisk it in.  Squeeze most of the orange juice and whisk in again!  Now taste and adjust.  I kept adding juice until it was pretty well used up!

 

Sauce #4  Creamy Peanut Butter Sauce adapted from Chow.com

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Believe it or not, this was my husband’s favorite sauce, and he doesn’t usually care for peanut butter desserts.  That’s a good sign, right?!  It was super good, not gonna lie!!  Supposedly this is a Friendly’s copy cat recipe!

So, here’s what you need:

  • 1/2 C Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1/4 C + Sugar (The original called for Karo Syrup and sugar.  I nixed the Karo and made my 1/4 C Sugar a HEAPING 1/4 C…then sprinkled a little here and there as I went.  This one you can do to taste, depending on how much you want your Peanut Butter Flavor to shine!)
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/2 C Creamy Peanut Butter

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Toss everything but the peanut butter in a pan over medium heat.  Stir until well combined.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter until creamy and consistent.  See how easy these sauces are?!

 

Sauce #5  Fresh Mixed Berry Sauce adapted from Foodnetwork.com (Ina Garten!)

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Sorry for the fuzzy nature of the photos. As you can probably tell, this party was happening outside at night, haha!

 

The picture doesn’t even come close to doing this sauce justice.  It.  Was.  Gorgeous.  And so easy.  And so flippin delicious.  So delicious in fact that by the time I went to put some on a piece of cheesecake and take a picture for you all…it was done, haha!  Good sign, eh?  I was so intrigued by the idea of this sauce.  I assumed you probably just made sauce like you would pie fillings that I have done before…fresh fruit, sugar, not much else.  So when I came across this recipe and saw Ina’s idea…I simply had to try.  Honestly, I think it was even easier!!  Are you curious?!  Read on!

So, here’s what you need:

  • 1 Cup Strawberry Jelly (Not Jam)
  • 2 C Sliced Strawberries
  • 1 Small Package Raspberries
  • 1 Small Package Blackberries

That’s it!!!  And it’s so good!!

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Put the jelly in a pan over low heat and stir until heated through and melted.
  2. Dump in your berries, stir so everything is well coated, and let cook just for a couple of minutes or so, letting the flavors fuse.  Annnnnd you’re done!!!

 

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Whew!!  How was that?!  Much simpler than you thought?!  Another fun tip for party situations like this…make little cards with labels for your sauces so you don’t have to babysit the table and explain to people what each is!  And as far as presentation goes, people love it!  I get comments on it every time!!  I hope you try all of these sauces, and they change your world!  Or at least your next celebration!! 😀

Cheesecake 9

 

Here is my slice!  It’s Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake!!  Are you drooling?!

 

Gluten Free Nutella Pancakes (Cheat Treat!!)

As many of you know, I am a nanny to three delightful little ones.  Or was.  Cause they moved.  All the way to California.  And I live in New York.

Sad tears.

But as I type up these food blogs and go through my pictures, it is bittersweet and precious because I come across so many memories…so many moments with “my babies.”  You see…Tabby cooks for people she loves…and Tabby loves “her babies.”  So I made them treats.

These pancakes are one of those treats.

I made them pancakes every Wednesday.  They LOOOOOOOVED pancake day.  Usually they would ask for chocolate chips in them, but the day I created these beauties…they were all out of chocolate chips.  I knew little Eoin would be devastated, so I did some quick thinking.  As I searched the cupboards I found a cup of Nutkao…also know as a different brand of Nutella.  My boss had brought it home one day and as I unpacked her groceries had told me “Yeah…that was an impulse purchase…I dunno.”  There it stood in the cupboard, unused…and so I figured, why not?!  Eoi wants chocolate pancakes, I’ll give him chocolate pancakes!!!

It was sooooo easy.

And super tasty.

Yes.  I cheated.  I took a couple of bites.  I could say it was for the sake of the blog, but really…the big smiles on their faces and the clean plates should have been evidence enough for me 😉

 

So, here’s what you need:

  • 1 C Gluten Free Bisquick
  • 1 C Milk
  • 2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Egg
  • A Big Spoonful of Nutella or Nutkao (Note…I checked online and Nutella is gluten free, but I cannot find any info on Nutkao)

And here’s how you do it (I don’t think I even have to tell ya)

  1. Whisk together all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Cover a pan with a small amount of oil  or butter and turn on medium heat.
  3. Pour small ladlefulls into the pan, cook until it starts to get bubbly and browned on the other side…then flip!
  4. Serve and observe the smiles 🙂

Note: The Nutella/Nutako will change the texture slightly, so don’t wait for them to look exactly like normal pancakes to flip. They are a tiny bit more cakey, but still warm, chocolatey, and delicious 🙂

 

Seeeeeee?

Gather your ingredients!  Nutella or Nutkao, Gluten Free Bisquick, milk, vegetable oil, and an egg…

Nutella Pancakes 6

 

Whisk together in a bowl, and drool at the chocolatey goodness…

Nutella Pancakes 1

Pour into a hot, greased pan in small ladlefulls….

 

Nutella Pancakes 2

 

 

Flip when the edges are crispy and the side facing you starts to get bubbly.  Note…it won’t get as bubbly as normal pancakes so don’t burn them!
Nutella Pancakes 3

 

 

Put on a plate and top as you please…the boys just wanted butter and syrup as always 😉  Can you imagine this with a sprinkle of powdered sugar and a dollop of whipped cream?!  Whaaaaat? I know I’m a healthy food blogger…but I told you we can have cheat treats now and then! 😉

Nutella Pancakes 4

 

So pretty!!!

Nutella Pancakes 5

Now serve and observe those smiles that steal your heart and make it sing!!!  Sweet boys!!!  See what I mean?  They’re precious!!  You probably miss them and you haven’t even met them!  😉  But seriously.  Look at those smiles.  Those smiles say “This Wednesday morning treat is kid approved!!”

Nutella Pancake Smiles

 

Enjoy!!!  Do you have a Nutella creation to share?!  What’s your favorite pancake variation?

 

OH MY GOSH Brownie Surprises! (Cheat Treat!!!)

There is nothing healthy about these.  And I’m not gonna lie.  I am completely unashamed.  I’m not perfect.  And who could resist these?!  I got the idea from a picture I saw on Pinterest…but it was mostly just a picture.  It did mention to use a boxed brownie mix.  No sir.  Those don’t come into my house.  Not after you have been raised on the brownies I was.  Anywho.  Want to know what I am talking about?  Here is a picture of the monster I made!!!

Photo (6)Yeah.  That happened.  Now you know why I call them “oh my gosh” brownies, haha!  See, Mr. Rodgers and his best friend were travelling to speak at a youth rally in Michigan.  I wanted to do something special to let them know they were loved and would be missed, and to make their long car ride more enjoyable 🙂 And so…this beast happened, haha!!  They FLIPPED over these!  And definitely appreciated their “Bromantic Weekend Away” basket 🙂  See?

Photo (5)Fun 🙂  So, here’s what you need:

 

And here is what you do:

  1. Follow the directions to mix up Beth’s Brownies.
  2. Line your muffin tins with the foil liners.
  3. Fill the bottom of the muffin tins with a large spoonful of brownie batter.
  4. For each muffin tin, take an Oreo, spread PB on it, top with another Oreo and spread more PB on top of that.
  5. Squish your Oreo sammich down into the batter, so that there is still a layer on the bottom and yet it starts to squish up the sides.
  6. Top with another large spoonful of brownie batter.
  7. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the brownie part comes out clean 🙂
  8. Take a bite while it’s warm!!!  There are few things better than piping hot Oreos!!  Enjoy!!!!

 

 

Beth’s Brownies!!!

I’ve had lots of brownies.  Lot’s of fancy things, with extras added; caramel, oreos, marshmallows, frosting, peanut butter…but let me be honest, none of them cut it for me.  I am ruined.  Totally ruined.  That’s what happens when your mamma refuses to use a box, and puts lots of love in her cooking!  These…are Beth’s Brownies.  No, Beth is not my mom.  Beth is my cousin’s wife’s mom.  Confusing much?  Ha.  But we use Beth’s recipe for brownies, cause it’s heavenly.  It’s what we ate all growing up, probably our most popular dessert!!  Especially topped with vanilla bean ice cream, Mrs. Richardson’s hot fudge….and as many maraschino cherries as the parents would let you take out of the jar!  Oh, and sometimes we’d pour some of the maraschino cherry juice out on top of the ice cream too!!!  Mmmm.  I love family traditions….and even though most of them are full of gluten…I will oblige occasional.  For memory’s sake of course.  Or for an excuse to eat something soooooooooo wonderful.

What’s so great about these brownies?  Well, the chocolate chips make them extra chocolatey…they stay super moist in the middle…and the top gets a great, flaky crust.  Oh my gosssshhhhhhh I wish I could eat them right now.  I took these to a friend’s house for Valentine’s Day…unfortunately in the joy of the evening I forgot to take some pictures of our lovely sundaes…but I got you pictures of them in the pan at least before we left!!!  You will see the yummy crust.  Mmmmmmm.  So you can thank Kirkwood Family Tradition for this BEAUTY!

Note: This is definitely not a gluten free dessert…so if you are looking for a good gluten free dessert, please go visit my new friend at glutenfreegus.com.  Holy cow, they make some phenomenal gluten free treats over there!!!  In fact…give them a follow while you are at it!!  EVERY post I get from them on my reader makes me want to drool!  Like seriously.  Check out this Coffee Crunch Cake they made!  Anyways.  Back to warm, gooey, flaky  gluten-y brownies 🙂

Here’s what you need:

  • 4 Eggs
  • 2 C Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract (or if you are cool like me and run out…1 tsp Vanilla Schnapps bahahahaa!)
  • 1 C Flour
  • 3/4 C Cocoa Powder
  • 1 1/2 Cubes Butter, Melted
  • 2 C Chocolate Chips

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. With an electric mixer, beat the eggs until they are getting fluffy.
  3. While continuously beating, slowly add your sugar until very fluffy!!  This is the secret right here!!  You want to get it as fluffy as you possibly can!!! Don’t rush it, cause you want the wonderful texture 🙂
  4. Add vanilla and mix in.
  5. Stop blending for a second and add in the flour and cocoa.  You are gonna want to mix this by hand a few strokes before you turn the blender back on…or you will be covered in flour and cocoa.  Unless you go for that kind of look 😉  Then mix with the blender until it is well blended.
  6. Blend in melted butter.
  7. Stir in chocolate chips.
  8. Pour into an ungreased 9X13 baking dish and bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out “fairly” clean.  Those are my mom’s words 😉  It can be hard to tell, cause you may have poked a melty chocolate chip, so try a couple spots.  Probably somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes, but I always start checking before that.  I like my desserts a little gooey.  Enjoy!  This is seriously a delicious brownie!!!!

Here’s my eggs and sugar, beating beating beating….IT’S SO FLUFFY I’M GONNA DIE!!! 😉

Beth's Brownies 1Sweet action shot, ha!! 😉  And these are them hot out of the oven!  I was going to take them out and make a pretty little plate for you all to see, but…I have this thing about serving desserts that have already been partially eaten or cut or something.  Not that my wonderful friends, Costa and Karen, would care if one brownie was missing…but I would.  I would.  Plus…let’s just be honest here…it was Valentines Day…I had other things on my mind than getting a good picture of brownies.  Sorry 😉 See my little poke holes where I tested with a toothpick?  It’s vital! 😉  And do you see that crazy, crispy, flaky crust?!  But inside…oh, inside…pure, warm, gooey, delicious, chocolately bliss!!  Ohhhh man you must try this and tell me what you think! 😀 😀 😀

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