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brown sugar pudding
carrot cake
coffee mousse
creamy strawberry parfaits
creme de menthe balls
easy peanut butter cookies
orange and pine nut thumbprint cookies

 
BROWN SUGAR PUDDING

This pudding is really more like raisin-nut dumplings in brown-sugar sauce.  Mix some up, toss it in the oven, and listen to your family rave about the ncredible new dessert you've added to their repertoire.  Serves 6-8

Dumplings:

1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon butter, at room temperature

Sauce
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups water
1 teaspoon butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix dry dumpling ingredients; add milk and butter, stirring just until moistened.  Stir in nuts and raisins.  Set aside.

Put sauce ingredients in a flat baking pan and bring to a boil on the stove.  Drop dough into boiling sauce by rounded tablespoonfuls.

Bake for about 15 minutes.  Serve warm.

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CARROT CAKE

Do not preheat oven

Batter:

2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/4 cups oil
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
3 cups grated carrots
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 Tablespoon vanilla

Frosting:

1 box confectioner's sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 stick butter or margarine
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 8-ounce package cream cheese

Prepare three 8-inch round or square cake pans using your favorite method; lining with wax paper, grease and dusting, or spraying with non-stick spray.

Sift together dry ingredients.  Add oil, eggs and vanilla and mix well.  Add carrots and stir.

Divide the batter into the prepared pans and bake about 45 minutes to 1 hour at 325 degrees.  Set pans on cooling racks and allow cake to cool thoroughly.

To prepare the frosting, place the butter and cream cheese into a bowl and let them get very soft.  Add the sugar, small amounts at a time, and mix well.  When thoroughly mixed, add vanilla and mix in well.

Assemble layers of the cake, putting a thin layer of frosting between each.  Frost the sides and top of the cake, then sprinkle pecans to decorate.

Note:  some people prefer to mix their pecans into the frosting itself.

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COFFEE MOUSSE

1 cup strong coffee
1 cup milk
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup heavy cream, well chilled
4 teaspoons minced semisweet chocolate

Combine the coffee and milk in a heavy saucepan and heat until hot but not boiling.  Meanwhile, place the egg yolks, 1/2 cup of the sugar and the cornstarch in a large bowl and whisk until pale and creamy.  Slowly whisk the hot milk into the egg mixture until blended, and return to the saucepan, setting aside the bowl.  Whisking constantly, bring the mixture to a boil.  Boil 1 minute, whisking often.  Pour into the bowl, then whisk in the butter.  Cover by placing plastic wrap directly on the custard to prevent a skin from forming.  Refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours.

The custard will now be firm, so whisk gently to smooth and lighten it.  Whip the cream with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar until stiff but not buttery.  With a rubber spatula, fold the cream into the custard until evenly incorporated.  Spoon half the mousse into four 8 ounce dessert goblets (or 6 smaller goblets).  Divide half the minced chocolate among the portions.  Spoon the remaining mousse on top of the chocolate, and sprinkle the remaining chocolate on top of each portion.

Chill 30 minutes before serving.  Cover each dish with plastic wrap if chilling longer.  These can be stored in the refrigerator up to 24 hours.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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CREAMY STRAWBERRY PARFAITS

3 cups sliced fresh strawberries
3/4 cup no-sugar-added all-fruit strawberry spread
6 Tablespoons low-fat sour cream
6 Tablespoons reduced-calorie frozen whipped topping, thawed
3 cups strawberry low-fat frozen yogurt

Combine fresh strawberries and strawberry spread; stir well, and set aside.   Combine sour cream and whipped topping; stir well, and set aside.  Spoon 1/4 cup frozen yogurt into each of 6 (8-ounce) parfait glasses; top each with 1/4 cup strawberry mixture and about 1 Tablespoon sour cream mixture.  Repeat layers with the remaining ingredients; serve immediately.

Makes: 6 servings.

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CREME DE MENTHE BALLS

These minty treats are a cross between a cookie and a candy.  They make a delicate end to a heavy meal or fit beautifully on a tea table of sweets.  Store in tight container.

1 cup vanilla wafer crumbs
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1 cup confectioner's sugar
2 Tablespoons white corn syrup
1/3 cup white creme de menthe

Mix all ingredients together thoroughly.  Form into 1-inch balls; roll in additional confectioner's sugar.  Cover with waxed paper and chill overnight.

Makes 4 dozen

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EASY PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 Tablespoons butter or margarine
1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons applesauce
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
dash of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

With an electric mixer on medium speed, combine peanut butter, butter/margarine, and applesauce in a mixing bowl.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.   Roll dough into 1-inch balls and arrange 3 inches apart on nonstick cookie sheets.  Using a fork, press a crisscross pattern on cookies.  Bake until golden, about 10-12 minutes.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Makes 5 dozen

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ORANGE AND PINE NUT THUMBPRINTS

3/4 cup pine nuts, finely chopped
3 Tablespoons honey
1 Tablespoon orange juice
1/2 cup butter, softened (using unsalted butter will give a creamier taste)
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg yolk
1 cup all-purpose or unbleached flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup orange marmalade

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Place pine nuts in a small bowl.  In another small bowl, combine honey and orange juice; blend well.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine butter and brown sugar; beat at medium speed until fluffy.  Add orange peel, vanilla and egg yolk; beat well.  Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off.  Add flour and salt to the bowl; beat at low speed until dough begins to stick together.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls.  If necessary, flour hands for easier handling.  Roll balls in honey mixture, then roll in pine nuts.  Place 2 inches apart on parchment-lined cookie sheets.  With your thumb, make an indentation in the center of each cookie.

Baket for 9 to 12 minutes or until cookies are set and edges are golden brown.  remove parchment paper with the cookies from the cookie sheets; place on wire racks.  Fill each cookie with 1/2 teaspoon orange marmalade.  Remove cookies from paper.

Makes 2 dozen.

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