German Chocolate Cake Cookies


German Chocolate Cake Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Cookies, Bakery, Dessert, Snack, Gift
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 24-32 bars
 
The original recipe for these cookies came to me from a summer intern when I was managing a software team. I changed the filling so that it would be more like a real German Chocolate Cake and changed the technique a little. These rich cookies now have a chocolate chip, pecan, coconut caramel filling. Heaven for German Chocolate Cake fans.
Ingredients
Caramel layer
  • 44 caramels ( 1 bag of Brach Milk Maid caramels usually works )
  • 1/3 cup evaporated Milk
Cake
  • 1 German Chocolate Cake packaged cake mix
  • 1/3 cup butter (softened)
  • 1/3 cup Evaporated Milk
Filling
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup broken pecan pieces
  • 1 cup toasted shredded or flaked coconut
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Caramel layer
  1. Heat the caramels and evaporated milk together over low heat, stirring occasionally. Keep the mixture warm so that this is ready to pour over the base later.
Filling
  1. While the caramel is melting, mix the chocolate chips, pecans, and coconut in a bowl.
Cake
  1. Mix the cake mix and butter until no lumps are visible. A pastry blender works well for this. Stir in the milk to make a soft dough. Reserve 1/3 of the dough in the refrigerator. Press 2/3 of the dough in the bottom of a non-stick 13 x 9 baking pan, making a small rim around the edge. Bake for 6 minutes.
  2. Sprinkle the filling evenly over the partially baked dough. Pour the caramel mixture over the top of the filling. Pat the rest of the dough into small flat pieces with your finger tips and distribute on top of the caramel mixture to cover as much of the filling as you can, patching the pieces together if necessary.
  3. Bake again for 18-22 minutes.
  4. When the cookies have cooled a bit and the caramel is set, cut into 24 or 32 pieces. Cutting this into small pieces works because the cookies are very rich. Do not try to cut this before the caramel has set or it will ooze out and stick the cookies back together.

Talley’s Trail Mix


Talley's Trail Mix
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack, Gift
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
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Yield: 5 cups
 
Besides being delicious as a snack and providing energy for athletic endeavors with a healthful amount of protein, carbohydrate, and fiber, this trail mix makes a nice gift when packaged in a pretty airtight can, jar, or gift bag. The flavors can be adjusted to your tastes by changing the ingredients or the amounts of specific ingredients. This version was always a big hit at fund raisers, sold in holiday gift bags tied with colorful yarn or raffia. Thanks go to Talley for sharing her recipe. I use the Pumpkin Pie Spice to make the preparation easier instead of the list of spices she recommended.
Ingredients
  • All quantities are approximate.)
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1 cup walnut pieces or halves (or pecans or combination)
  • 1 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds, roasted
  • 1/3 cup tamari pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup golden raisins (or whatever you have)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon plus 1/8 – 1/4 tsp of each of the following: nutmeg, cloves, allspice, ginger (go easier on the stronger flavors) OR 1 1/2 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice*
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 tsp. water
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F. In a large bowl or gallon zip-top plastic bag, mix all the ingredients together except for the egg white, salt and water.
  2. In a small bowl, beat the egg white and water with an electric mixer until frothy.
  3. Fold the frothy egg white into the nut-fruit mixture gently to avoid breaking up the nut pieces.
  4. Line a 9”x13” baking pan with parchment paper, aluminum foil or a silicone liner, such as Silpat. (The mixture will be very sticky as it bakes.) Spread the fruit and nut mixture into the pan in an even layer, avoiding the pan sides unless you are using a non-stick pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool in the pan on a rack. When cooled, break the trail mix apart into pieces. Store the trail mix in an airtight container until ready to serve.
Notes
*You can use the individual spices or save some time (and possibly some money) by replacing the spices with ~1 1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice.

Streusel Topped Sweet Potato Casserole


Streusel Topped Sweet Potato Casserole
Author: 
Recipe type: Sides
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 18 1/2 cup servings
 
Adapted from Cooking Light.
Ingredients
Potato Mixture
  • About 5 pounds of sweet potatoes
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Cooking spray or oil
Streusel Topping
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chilled butter (1/2 stick), cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place the sweet potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Drain and cool until you can touch them. Gently pull off the potato skins and cut the potatoes into large chunks. Beat at medium speed in the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer until the potatoes are smooth. If you are appliance free, use a potato masher. Combine the half and half, maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, and egg. Add the mixture to the potatoes and mix until evenly combined. Spoon the potato mixture into the baking dish.
  2. To make the streusel, pulse the pecans a few times in a food processor leaving some large chunks and set aside in a small bowl. Pulse the flour and sugar to combine them. Add the chilled butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the pecans and pulse 2 or 3 times until the nuts are distributed. If you don’t have a food processor, chop the nuts with a knife. Mix the flour and sugar. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender, two knives, or a fork. Mix in the chopped nuts. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the potato mixture. Cover and bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 25 minutes or until the topping is browned and the potatoes are thoroughly heated.