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Scotcheroo Chocolate Layer Cake

There’s some debate on whether the sticky, peanut buttery, chocolate topped rice krispie bars are called “scotcheroos” or “special k bars.” Personally, I believe they are scotcheroos unless they are made with Special K cereal, and only then should they be called special k bars. Makes sense, right? Regardless of which side of the debate you land on, we can all agree the bars are delicious. This cake is next level play on the famous bars, adding a chocolate cake layer to wow your guests. It’s made in three parts: bar layer, cake layer, and then the frosting and assembly. If you only have one cake pan, start with the bar layer as it can easily be removed from the pan within about a half hour. If you have two pans, start with the cake layer as it can cool while you work on the bar layer. When assembling, keep the bar layer on the bottom as it is heavier and would squash the cake layer when cutting if they were reversed.

Scotcheroo Chocolate Layer Cake

Chocolate Cake Layer Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa, plus more for dusting pan
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 hot coffee, boiling water with instant coffee crystals or reheated coffee from breakfast (haha!)

Instruction:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8″ cake pan with oil (or use butter) and use cocoa powder to dust the inside.
  2. In the bowl of a mixer with the whisk attachment, mix flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix on low to thoroughly combine.
  3. In a separate smaller bowl, add egg, vegetable oil, vanilla, milk, and lemon juice. Whisk together. Slowly pour in hot coffee while briskly whisking so it doesn’t cook the egg.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until just combined, scraping edges of the bowl as needed. It will be very runny.
  5. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 30 minutes, until toothpick inserted at center comes out clean.
  6. Once baked, let cool for about 15 minutes and then flip onto a cooling rack, gently tapping the outside of the pan to release. Let cool completely.

Scotcheroo Layer Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 5 cups Rice Krispie cereal
  • Pinch of salt

Instruction:

  1. Grease an 8″ layer cake pan. Set aside.
  2. Pour corn syrup and sugar into a 4 qt or larger pan. Bring to a boil on medium heat on the stovetop, stirring frequently. (Tip for corn syrup- spray your measuring cup before pouring syrup in. It’ll come out of the cup much easier.)
  3. Remove from heat and add peanut butter and salt, stirring until completely melted and combined.
  4. Add rice krispies and stir until well mixed.
  5. Press into prepared cake pan with greased hands. Smoothing out the top as best as you can.
  6. Let cool about 30 minutes and then flip onto a plate to cool completely.

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5-7 tbsp of milk

Instructions:

  1. Add butter, peanut butter, and vanilla to a mixing bowl with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed until smooth and fully combined, scraping edges of the bowl as needed.
  2. Add powdered sugar, cocoa, and salt and mix in on low speed. It will be very dry and look like coarse sand.
  3. Beat in milk until desired consistency is reached. Beat well so it’s light and fluffy.

Assembly:

  1. Put a clump of peanut butter on the middle of a plate and place the scotcheroo layer on top (this keeps it from moving around). Top with frosting and a few small dollops of peanut butter, if you want.
  2. Place cake later on top. Stick three toothpicks into the cake about 1″ in from the edge (this keeps the top layer from shifting off).
  3. Frost sides first using a frosting spatula and then frost the top. Decorate by pressing rice krispies into the sides of the cake. Enjoy!

Maple Cheesecake Pumpkin Bars

 

Oh boy are these fall treats tasty! The maple syrup adds a great rich touch to the cheesecake layer while the pumpkin is spiced to perfection. The bars would be the perfect snack for a crisp fall day or served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert. We didn’t top these with pecans, but that certainly would be a nice finishing touch. The pumpkin base is like moist cake and rises pretty high, so plan to eat with a fork.

 

Maple Cheesecake Pumpkin Bars

Cheesecake topping ingredients:

  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Pumpkin cake ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup oil
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree

Instruction:

  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Mix together cheesecake topping ingredients until completely smooth and no clumps remain. Set aside.
  2. Stir pumpkin cake dry ingredients in a large bowl until well mixed.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together all wet pumpkin cake ingredients until smooth.
  4. Pour wet pumpkin cake ingredients into the dry ingredient mixture. Stir until just combined.
  5. Pour pumpkin cake mixture into a 9×9 baking pan. I used a coated USA Pan so I didn’t need to grease the pan. If your pan does not have a non-stick coating, spray with oil or coat with butter.
  6. Spoon cheesecake mixture into pan, on top of the pumpkin cake mixture. Take a knife/spreader (plastic or wood is best to avoid scratching your pan) and swirl through the layers to create a marbled effect.
  7. Bake at 350º for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick entered in the center comes out clean. Let cool slightly before serving, so the cheesecake layer can firm up.

Heavenly Hot Fudge Sauce

 

This is hands down the best hot fudge sauce that has ever existed. No contest. It will set the bar so high that every store bought fudge sauce from here out will taste sour and artificial. So be careful when you make the recipe for the first time; it will change your entire outlook on desserts for the rest of your life. This is my mom’s recipe, best made with her amazing vintage copper and ceramic double boiler. For those of us without that cool equipment, a metal or glass bowl over a pot of boiling water will work just fine.

Heavenly Hot Fudge Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4 oz of unsweetened chocolate
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tall can of evaporated milk (1 2/3 cups)

Instruction:

  1. Melt butter in the bowl of a double boiler. 
  2. Drop in chocolate and allow to melt. 
  3. Add sugar gradually, a few spoonfuls at a time. Be sure sugar is completely mixed before adding more. The mixture will become thick, dry, and hard to stir. Slowly sprinkle in the salt. 
  4. Stir in the evaporated milk, a little at a time. 
  5. Cook, stirring constantly, until desired thickness. Check thickness by how the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Sauce will continue to thicken slightly as it cools. 
  6. When desired consistency, serve hot or cold. When reheating, keep an eye on the sauce as it will boil over quickly in the microwave.

Ginger Pear Cobbler with Caramel Sauce

I count myself lucky to have the kind of friends that give me their extra garden produce. I am especially lucky that one of these friends gave me a bag full of fresh Brookings-grown pears that were already peeled and sliced. Now that is a true friend! (Thanks Sarah!) After a bit of experimentation, I am pleased with this saucy pear cobbler with a not-to-sweet cakey topping. You could easily use apples or peaches in place of pears, though I think the ginger suits pears best. Don’t skip the caramel sauce! It’s from The Pioneer Woman and is so delicious.

Ginger Pear Cobbler

Pear Filling Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 2 lbs peeled and sliced pears, about 4 cups
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp cardamom
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg

Cobbler Topping Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  •  2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 egg, stirred to break the yolk
  • 1 tbsp coarse sugar

Instruction:

  1. Preheat oven to 375º. Pour first 2 tbsp of melted butter into the bottom of a 3 quart dish. Swirl around until the inside of the dish is covered
  2. Mix remaining pear filling ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Stir until sugar dissolves into the pear juice. Pour into the prepared baking dish.
  3. Mix cobbler topping ingredients excluding coarse sugar in a medium bowl. Stir until just combined. Spoon over pear mixture. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.
  4. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until cobbler topping is set and golden brown. You may want to put a sheet pan under the baking dish to catch any drips when the pear filling starts bubbling.

Easy Caramel Sauce – From The Pioneer Woman

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • Pinch of salt

Instruction:

  1. Mix all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-low to medium heat. Cook while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes, until thicker. Turn off heat. Serve warm or refrigerate until cold.If sauce is thin, just continue cooking for a few more minutes.

Chocolate Chip & Peanut Skillet Cookie

I will admit that I typically make a skillet cookie as an alternative to a normal meal on the days when I’d just rather eat a bunch of sugar than an actual dinner. Yes, I know… That’s certainly not healthy nor does it cover any legit food groups. It only happens once or twice a year so don’t get too worried. I have found that using a mini cast iron or stainless steel fry pan is best for a skillet cookie. Anything larger doesn’t bake completely in the middle and usually leaves you with way too much cookie for one sitting (especially since it will get too soggy to save if served with ice cream on top). The peanuts in this recipe give a nice soft crunch and offer a different salty flavor than the more popular walnut/pecan addition.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup dry roasted salted peanuts

Instruction:

  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Rub butter into a 6-7″ cast iron or stainless steel skillet.
  2. In a bowl, beat butter with both sugars until fully incorporated. Add egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips and peanuts.
  3. Transfer to the prepared skillet and smooth out the top. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until tooth pick inserted at center comes out clean. Serve while still warm with a generous scoop of ice cream.

Marinated Berries with Shortcake and Whipped Cream

 

This dessert is perfect for using up berries that are a little past their prime. The balsamic vinegar hides any berry imperfections while providing a tangy sauce to contrast the sweet whipped cream. We used sliced strawberries and whole raspberries, but this recipe can easily work for blueberries and blackberries too. Mint adds depth and color for the perfect summer treat.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package Cannon River Traditional Shortcake Mix
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sugar
  • 1/4 cup Coteau des Prairies 18 Year Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 sprigs of fresh mint, minced (about 1 teaspoon when minced)
  • 2 cups berries of your choice, sliced (fresh or thawed from frozen)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Instruction:

  1. Make shortcakes according to package instructions by combining mix with 1 stick melted butter and 1/2 cup water. Place nine spoonfuls on baking sheet and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake at 375º for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven, let cool for a few minutes, then move shortcakes to a rack to cool completely.
  2. While shortcakes are baking, prepare the marinated berries. In a medium bowl, mix together balsamic vinegar, granulated sugar, vanilla, and minced fresh mint. Stir until combined. Add berries and stir to completely coat. Place in fridge for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
  3. To prepare whipped cream, beat heavy whipping cream with an electric mixer on medium high speed until fluffy. Add powdered sugar at the very end, beating until just combined.
  4. To assemble, cut shortcakes in half. Add a dollop of whipped cream and a scoop of berries. Drizzle with balsamic mixture if more sauce is desired. Top with other shortcake half. Garnish with a fresh mint sprig.

Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce

Bread Pudding:

  • 1 Cottleston Italian Loaf
  • 4 tbsp butter, melted
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • .5 tsp cardamom
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Pull the loaf of bread into small chunks and place in a greased 4+ qt dutch oven or a greased 8.5×11 glass baking dish. Pour meted butter over the bread pieces and gently mix.
  3. Whisk together eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, and vanilla. Pour over bread mixture and gently mix until most of the bread is moist.
  4. Cover cooking vessel with lid or foil and bake at 350º for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake for an additional 20 minutes. Remove when top is toasted and pudding no longer jiggles when shook. Serve warm with caramel sauce.

Caramel Sauce:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla
  1. Add all ingredients to a 2+ quart sauce pan on medium low heat. Whisk together. Stir occasionally until butter is melted and mixture is smooth.
  2. When butter is melted, increase heat to medium and whisk until the sauce thickens.
  3. Serve warm or refrigerate till cold. Sauce will thicken a bit as it sits.

Caramel Sauce recipe adapted from Pioneer Woman’s “Easy Caramel Sauce.”

Pumpkin Bread

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As the weather cools down, the stock of pumpkin in my pantry goes up. Pumpkin pies, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin everything! I don’t need a Pumpkin Spice anything. Give me that straight pumpkin flavor!

And nothing screams “FALL” to me more than pumpkin bread. My mom has only ever made one recipe, and she makes it several times a year. It makes two loaves, but with five people in the house, you would be hard pressed to find any after the first week. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I bring this to lots of potluck events in the fall and winter, and I ALWAYS get asked if it’s homemade. It’s just that good!

pumpkin-bread2

First start with 3 1/3 cups of flour in a large mixing bowl. Like, really large…

Add to that, 2 tsp. of baking soda,

1 1/2 tsp. salt,

1 tsp. cinnamon,

1 tsp. nutmeg (or 1/4 tsp. ground cloves)

and 3 cups of sugar.

Use a whisk to carefully mix the dry ingredients together. And then use your hands to create a well in the center.

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Into the “well”, add one can or 2 cups of canned pumpkin

4 beaten eggs

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2/3 cup of water

1 cup of vegetable oil

Then start stirring! Be sure to really scrape the bottom of the bowl while stirring, to get all of the dry ingredients incorporated into the pumpkin mixture

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Spray two loaf pans well and divide the batter equally into both.

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Then, bake at 350 for one hour. If a toothpick or knife inserted in the center doesn’t come out clean after that, it might need 10-15 more minutes in the oven.

Then, remove from pans and allow to cool on cooling racks before plastic wrap. Or, if you’re like me, the smell is too tempting, so just dive in & slather a slice with some butter… Yum!!

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While it’s delicious on its own, another way I like to serve it is French toasted at breakfast. I make the loaves a day or two ahead of time, and I don’t wrap them very tightly. Slightly stale bread is best for this. Then I make my regular French toast batter (eggs and milk or cream), and dip cut sides of the bread quickly in it. Then I scrape off the excess and toast on a skillet until both sides are golden brown. It’s pretty rich, but so delicious! Serve with the cinnamon syrup recipe found this site. (Those pumpkin pancakes are pretty amazing, too!)

The printable version is below. Leave a comment if you try it, and let us know how it tastes!

Homemade Plum Cake

My sister loves to bake, but she is a gluten-free non-dairy type of girl.  So, needless to say she takes recipes that appeal to her and turns them around to suit her needs.  She does an amazing job and I wanted to share her latest with you!   Especially since Plums are here!

 

Recipes

Pumpkin Bread

dsc02523

As the weather cools down, the stock of pumpkin in my pantry goes up. Pumpkin pies, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin everything! I don’t need a Pumpkin Spice anything. Give me that straight pumpkin flavor!

And nothing screams “FALL” to me more than pumpkin bread. My mom has only ever made one recipe, and she makes it several times a year. It makes two loaves, but with five people in the house, you would be hard pressed to find any after the first week. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I bring this to lots of potluck events in the fall and winter, and I ALWAYS get asked if it’s homemade. It’s just that good!

pumpkin-bread2

First start with 3 1/3 cups of flour in a large mixing bowl. Like, really large…

Add to that, 2 tsp. of baking soda,

1 1/2 tsp. salt,

1 tsp. cinnamon,

1 tsp. nutmeg (or 1/4 tsp. ground cloves)

and 3 cups of sugar.

Use a whisk to carefully mix the dry ingredients together. And then use your hands to create a well in the center.

dsc02490

Into the “well”, add one can or 2 cups of canned pumpkin

4 beaten eggs

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2/3 cup of water

1 cup of vegetable oil

Then start stirring! Be sure to really scrape the bottom of the bowl while stirring, to get all of the dry ingredients incorporated into the pumpkin mixture

dsc02510

Spray two loaf pans well and divide the batter equally into both.

dsc02511

Then, bake at 350 for one hour. If a toothpick or knife inserted in the center doesn’t come out clean after that, it might need 10-15 more minutes in the oven.

Then, remove from pans and allow to cool on cooling racks before plastic wrap. Or, if you’re like me, the smell is too tempting, so just dive in & slather a slice with some butter… Yum!!

dsc02527

While it’s delicious on its own, another way I like to serve it is French toasted at breakfast. I make the loaves a day or two ahead of time, and I don’t wrap them very tightly. Slightly stale bread is best for this. Then I make my regular French toast batter (eggs and milk or cream), and dip cut sides of the bread quickly in it. Then I scrape off the excess and toast on a skillet until both sides are golden brown. It’s pretty rich, but so delicious! Serve with the cinnamon syrup recipe found this site. (Those pumpkin pancakes are pretty amazing, too!)

The printable version is below. Leave a comment if you try it, and let us know how it tastes!

Homemade Plum Cake

My sister loves to bake, but she is a gluten-free non-dairy type of girl.  So, needless to say she takes recipes that appeal to her and turns them around to suit her needs.  She does an amazing job and I wanted to share her latest with you!   Especially since Plums are here!