Category: Treats

Crinkle Cookies

1 box (18.25 oz) devil’s food cake mix
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350º. In a large mixing bowl, stir (by hand) dry cake mix, oil and eggs until a dough is formed. Scrape onto parchment paper; wrap and chill for 3 hours. Dust hands with confectioners sugar and roll dough into small balls (+/-1 inch). Double roll balls in confectioners sugar and place spaced about 2 inches apart on uncreased cookie sheets. Bake for +/-7 minutes or until center is just set. Cool for a minimum of one minute before placing on wire racks to cool.

Betty Crocker Super Moist cake mix works best. Larger cookies will crinkle more but will require a longer baking time. Allowing rolled dough balls to sit for a few minutes prior to double rolling in confectioners sugar works best for coating the cookies.

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Zucchini Cake

2 eggs
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup zucchini, grated

1/2 cup butter
4 oz cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar

Beat eggs; add sugar, oil and cinnamon. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add to eggs.  Stir in zucchini.  Place in a 8×8 baking dish and bake at 350º for 30 to 35 minutes.

Use mixer to combine butter, cream cheese and vanilla.  Mix in powdered sugar.

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2 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ginger powder
3/4 cup oil
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses

Combine dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl cream oil and sugar; beat in egg and add molasses.  Pour in dry ingredients and mix well.  Roll dough into small balls and roll in granulated sugar.  Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet (or on release foil) and bake at 350° for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool slightly before removing cookies from cookie sheet.

(Updated 21 Dec 2018)

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Good Chocolate Bundt Box Cake

1 pkg chocolate cake
1 pkg instant chocolate pudding
1 cup sour cream
4 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

1 pkg (8-oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2  cups powdered sugar
1-2 tsp vanilla extract

Mix all cake ingredients except chocolate chips.  Stir in chocolate chips and pour into a greased bundt cake pan.   Bake at 350° for 45-50 minutes.  Cool in pan for 20 minutes before removing.

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Cheesecake (Sous-vide)

This amazingly easy recipe uses a sous-vide bath with a mason jar to cook cheesecake to the perfect temperature. 

32-oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
6 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk

Prepare sous-vide using a pot deep enough to submerge a 1 gallon mason jar; preheat water to 80˚C.

Place cream cheese, sugar and salt into the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth.  Add eggs and vanilla and mix.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and process again until all ingredients are fully incorporated and no chunks remain.  Stir in buttermilk.  Pour contents into a 1 gallon mason jar; hand tighten lid.

Submerge filled mason jar in heated sous-vide bath and cook for 90 minutes; remove from bath and cool.  Spoon into bowls and serve with slightly crushed Golden Grahams cereal and your topping of choice.

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Candied Apples

3/4 cup water
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 tsp red food coloring
1 tsp cinnamon flavoring
6-8 apples

In a saucepan, combine all ingredients except apples.  Bring to boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium-high and boil until temperature reaches 290°.  Push wooden sticks into clean, dry apples and dip apples into mixture to coat.  Place on silpat to cool.

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Zucchini Cobbler

This tastes a lot like apple cobbler and is a great way to use some of the zucchini from the garden.  

12 cups zucchini (seeded, peeled and sliced)
1 cup lemon juice
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp nutmeg

4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups cold butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup pecans, crushed (optional)

In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, cook zucchini and lemon juice for +/-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until zucchini is tender.  Add remaining filling ingredients; cook for five minutes.  Set aside.

Combine flour and sugar; cut in butter.  Stir 3/4 cup into zucchini mixture.  Press half of the curst mixture into a greased 9×13 baking dish.  Spread zucchini mixture over crust.  In remaining crust mixture, stir in pecans (optional) and sprinkle over zucchini mixture.  Dust with cinnamon.

Bake at 375° for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

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Apple Cider Caramels

Caramels1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup light corn syrup
2 cups sugar
6 tbsp butter
3/4 cup apple cider syrup

In a small mixing bowl, thoroughly combine salt, and spices; set aside.

Coat a 9-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and line with parchment, leaving an overhang on opposite sides to lift the caramels out. Spray the parchment as well.

In a 4+ qt saucepan, combine the heavy cream, corn syrup, sugar, butter and apple cider syrup.  Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally.  Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat and continue cooking without stirring until the mixture reaches 248˚; remove from heat and stir in spice mixture.  Pour caramel into prepared pan; cool completely at room temperature.

Remove caramels from pan and cut into squares; wrap in parchment paper to store.

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Lemon Meltaways

1 lb butter
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 1/4 cup cornstarch
2 cups flour
2 cups confectioners sugar
juice of 1 lemon (about 1/3 cup)
zest of 1 lemon

Cream together butter and 1 cup confectioners sugar; add cornstarch and flour and mix until combined.  Chill dough in mixing bowl 30-60 minutes.  Roll into a 1 1/2 -inch round; wrap in wax paper and chill overnight.  Slice into 1/4-inch rounds; bake at 350º for 10-12 minutes or until golden on edges.  Combine 2 cups confectioners sugar with lemon juice and stir until syrupy; add zest.  Brush glaze over cooled cookies.

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Muddy Buddies

SONY DSC9 cups Rice or Corn Chex
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Place cereal in a large bowl; set aside.  In another bowl combine chocolate chips and peanut butter; microwave for 1 minute; stir.  Microwave another 30 seconds and stir unit mixture is smooth; stir in vanilla.  Pour over cereal, stirring until evenly coated.  Pour mixture and powdered sugar into a Ziploc; shake to coat.

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Marshmallow Fondant

1 pkg  (16 oz.) white mini marshmallows
2+ tbsp water
2 lbs confectioners sugar, sifted
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening

Place marshmallows and 2 tablespoons of water in a mixing bowl.  On high, microwave in 30 second increments for approximately 2 1/2 minutes (or until marshmallows are melted), mixing well after each 30 seconds.  Pour about 3/4 of the confectioners sugar over the melted marshmallows; fold into the marshmallows (if you would like to add any flavoring or color, it should be added at this point).  Place shortening in a large mixing bowl.  Grease your hands and the countertop liberally: pour marshmallow mixture onto the countertop.  Knead the mixture.  Continue to knead, adding additional confectioners sugar and re-greasing countertop (and hands) to keep fondant from sticking.  If it tears easily, add water (about 1/2 tsp at a time, up to a total of 5 tsp).  Knead until fondant forms a firm, smooth, elastic ball that stretches without tearing, about 8 minutes.  Wrap fondant securely and allow to rest overnight.  Knead fondant until smooth; roll out to 1/8″ thick.

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Sticky Rice with Mango

2 cups sweet rice
31⁄2 cups water
3-4 ripe mangos, cut into bite-size pieces or 2 pkgs frozen mango
1⁄2 cup + 2 tbsp brown sugar
2 cans coconut milk
1⁄2 tsp salt
4 tsp coconut flavoring
2 tsp vanilla
4 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 2 tbsp water

Soak the sweet rice in 2 cups water for 20 minutes, or up to 1 hour. The sticky rice can be steamed or made in a pot. To make it in a pot, do not drain. Add 11⁄2 cups (more) water to the rice, plus 1⁄2 can coconut milk, 1⁄2 tsp salt, 2 tsp coconut flavoring, and 2 tbsp brown sugar. Stir this into the rice, lifting any rice grains that have stuck to the bottom of the pot. Bring to a gentle boil, then partially cover with a lid (leaving some room for steam to escape). Turn the heat down to medium-low (#2.5 to 3 on the dial). Allow to simmer for 20 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed by the rice. Remove the pot from the heat, place the lid on tight, and leave to “steam” cook for 5-10 minutes.

Make sauce and serve the dessert right away, or store the rice (covered) in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.

To make the sauce, warm the rest of the coconut milk together with 1⁄2 cup sugar, a pinch of salt, 2 tsp coconut flavoring (optional) and 2 tsp vanilla flavoring over medium heat (5 minutes). Add cornstarch (dissolved in the water) to the sauce and stir to thicken it slightly. As it thickens, turn heat to low. When thickened, remove from heat. Tip: Try not to boil the sauce, or you will lose that wonderful coconut flavor. Before serving, taste-test the sauce for sweetness, adding more sugar if desired. If too sweet for your taste, add a little more coconut milk.

Place scoops of the sticky rice in bowls (Note that sticky rice can be served cold, warm, or at room temperature, as desired). Ladle a generous amount of warm coconut sauce over the rice (creating an “island” of sticky rice). Add slices/pieces of ripe fresh mango. (If using frozen mango, be sure to give it enough time to thaw before serving.)

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Sesame Glutinous Balls

My first experience with Sesame Glutinous Balls was at a restaurant in Singapore.  The centers can be filled with just about anything.  The sweetened sesame is a nice contrast to the more savory glutinous exterior.  

4 tbsp black sesame seeds (OR 1 package prepared black sesame seed paste)
2 tbsp water
1⁄2 tsp salt
1⁄3 to 1⁄2 cup brown or white sugar

1 cup glutinous rice flour
1⁄2 tsp salt
1⁄2 can coconut milk
1⁄2 cup dry roasted peanuts, or cashews, crushed; or sesame seeds, roasted (optional)

Place black sesame seeds in a spice grinder. Grind for about 30 seconds, or until sesame seeds break down into a thick and glossy powder.

Place ground seeds in a sauce pan over medium to medium-low heat. Add water, salt, and sugar. Stir constantly until the sugar melts and a thick, black sauce forms (like melted chocolate in consistency) about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and taste-test for sugar, adding up to 1⁄4 cup more sugar if not sweet enough. Tips: The black sesame seed paste needs to be quite sweet in order to balance out the savory glutinous rice dough that will surround it. Place the sweetened paste in the refrigerator to cool.

In a mixing bowl, add rice flour and salt; stir to mix Add coconut milk and stir to form a stiff dough. More flour or coconut milk may be required, depending on how thick or thin the coconut milk is. Dough should be pliable (like play dough) and shouldnʼt be too sticky.

Roll individual balls of dough. Place the balls on a clean, dry surface.

Using your index finger, indent each of the balls. Remove the black sesame paste from the refrigerator – it should have thickened (almost like taffy in consistency). Spoon some of the paste into each ball (about 1⁄2 tsp).

Use thumb and fingers to flatten out the sides, then close the dough over the paste. Reshape the dough back into a ball, rolling it between your palms as before. Place the finished balls on a clean, dry plate. If balls are sticking, lightly oil the plate.

Drop the sticky rice balls into a pot of boiling water. At first they will drop to the bottom of the pot. Allow them to boil for 6-8 minutes, or until they begin to float in the water. Drain and set the sticky rice balls on a clean surface.

Optional: Spread crushed nuts or roasted sesame seeds on a plate. Roll the sticky rice balls in the nuts and place on a serving plate.

Serve the sticky rice balls warm or at room temperature. To store, cover the balls, but don’t refrigerate, as this will harden the glutinous rice dough. Consume within 24 hours, or wrap in plastic and store in the freezer.

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Popcorn Balls

Grandma Honey makes these popcorn balls every Halloween to give to friends and family. Occasionally, friends from the old neighborhood will make the trek to Grandma Honey’s new home on Halloween, knowing that popcorn balls will be there waiting.

4 qt Popcorn, popped
1 cup sugar
1⁄3 cup white corn syrup
1⁄3 cup water
3⁄4 tsp salt
1⁄2 cup margarine
1 tsp vanilla

In a saucepan, melt margarine; add sugar, corn syrup, water and salt. Stir to combine. Once the mixture comes to a boil do not stir. Cook to soft-ball stage. Remove from heat; add vanilla. Pour over popcorn. Mix and form into balls.

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Pisang Goreng

Zr. Volder, a sweet little Indonesian oma, taught me how to make these traditional Indonesian treats in her little kitchen in Delft, The Netherlands.  I have great memories of Zr. Volder, including two books she gave to me when I left Delft.  One she inscribed with her name and a message that makes me smile to this day.  The second is a photo book of the city of Delft, circa 1960.

12 ripe bananas
1⁄2 cup rice flour
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1⁄2 tsp salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup thick coconut milk
1 cup water

Peel bananas, cover and set aside. Beat together the remaining ingredients, except oil. Let stand for about 25 minutes.

Heat oil to smoking point, then reduce heat slightly. Dip the bananas, one at a time, into the batter, then slide into the oil. Do not fry more than three at a time or the oil temperature will drop too much, making the batter oily. Cook until golden brown, turning once or twice. Lift out and drain. Serve hot.

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Chocolate Mint Truffles

1 pound dark, bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate (high-quality!!)
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp peppermint extract
cocoa, as needed

Chop chocolate into 1⁄2” pieces. Heat cream to boiling and pour over chocolate; wait 60 seconds and add mint extract. Using a whisk, slowly stir the center until the mixture begins to come together. Continue to stir. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue to stir. When all of the mixture is consistent, place in refrigerator for at least one hour. Form into balls and roll in cocoa.

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Kooky Kids Corn Puffs

8 cups corn puffs
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup pecans
1 1⁄3 cup sugar
1⁄2 cup light corn syrup
1 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp coconut flavoring

Place corn puffs, almonds and pecans in a large mixing bowl. Heat sugar, corn syrup and butter to soft ball stage; stir in vanilla and coconut flavoring. Pour over corn puff mixture and mix. Cool on a cookie sheet

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Gạo Nếp Man (Sticky Rice with Coconut Sauce)

1 1⁄2 cups sticky rice (gao nep)
1⁄4 tsp salt
1 can (19 oz) unsweetened coconut milk
2 mangoes, peeled and sliced
1⁄4 cup sugar

In a large bowl, combine the rice and enough water to cover by 2 inches. Soak for at least 6 hours or up to 24 hours. Drain.

In a wok, place a bamboo steamer and line steamer with parchment paper. Add enough water to come up just below the bottom steamer rack (1 to 1 1⁄2 inches) Bring water to a biol. Add the rice to the steamer and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and steam until rice is tender (20-25 minutes). Remove from heat and transfer to a rice bowl.

Open coconut milk and skim the thick cream from the top into a small saucepan. Add sugar and salt and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring until the sugar dissolves (about 1 min). Pour over rice, mix well, cover and set aside until liquid is absorbed (about 30 min).

Serve at room temperature with mango slices.

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Bananas Foster

BananasFoster2 tbsp butter
1⁄4 cup brown sugar dash cinnamon
1⁄4 cup crème de banana
3 tbsp Grand Marnier
1 banana, sliced
3 tbsp rum
vanilla ice cream

In a sauté pan, melt butter; add brown sugar, cinnamon, crème de banana and Grand Mariner. Bring to boil. Add banana and cook for +/-3 minutes. Away from flame add rum; ignite. When flames die down, return to cook top and simmer until raw alcohol flavor is gone. Serve over vanilla ice cream.

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Coconut Tapioca with Mango

Jane and I had a similar dessert at Kao’s, a great little Thai restaurant on Oahu. This was my attempt to replicate that dessert.

1 pkg (+/-14 oz) large pearl tapioca
1 can young coconut (optional)
1 can (15 oz) cream of coconut
fresh mango, sliced

Bring water to boil; add tapioca (proportion should be about 7:1 boiling water to tapioca). Boil for about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand covered for about 30 minutes. Tapioca should be completely translucent. Stir in some cold water and pour tapioca into a colander. If necessary, place tapioca back in the pan and cover with about 2 inches of water; swirl tapioca to remove excess starch and drain again in colander.

Return tapioca to pan and add cream of coconut (instead of cream of coconut, you can also use coconut milk sweetened to taste with palm sugar [or regular sugar]). Heat mixture over low heat. Garnish with sliced mango (and young coconut). Serve hot.

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