Warm Pears and oranges

Tender pears and Mandarin oranges prove to be a delightful dessert when warmed in a slow cooker.  As I have shared in previous posts, fruit desserts are some of my favorites. Of course, they can also be served with a slice of pound cake, a scoop of vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt, or even vanilla Greek yogurt.  This recipe is one to try before the warmer weather sneaks up on us this Spring.  The comforting flavors of this recipe can be enjoyed throughout the Fall and Winter months.

Here is how I make this recipe–gather these ingredients:  1 can sliced pears with juice, 1 can mandarin  oranges without juice, 3 cinnamon sticks, and 2 fresh Bosc pears peeled and sliced.  Additional fresh pears or canned pears could be substituted for each ingredient.

In a small bowl, combine these ingredients:  1/2 cup dry oatmeal, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 3 Tablespoons maple syrup, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 2 Tablespoons melted margarine.

Place the first set of ingredients in the slow cooker, and then cover with the ingredients from the bowl.  Cook on LOW for 4 hours.  Serve warm. I topped each serving with whipped cream and a sprinkle of powdered sugar.  Yummy.

Chocolate topped ice cream treats

For those of you who love an ice cream treat, but just can’t have a whole bowl, here is a great way to portion out a delicious dessert.  I scoop out Edy’s Vanilla ice cream into eight large cookie balls with my cookie scoop.  Freeze them on a tray and then make a quick ganache topping.  This time I melted 6 ounces of semi sweet chocolate with 4 ounces unsalted butter (or 6 ounces to be able to dip the ice cream balls) and 1 1/2 tablespoons corn syrup in a double boiler on the stove top.  When the ganache is melted and ready, working quickly, pour over the ice cream balls or dip the ice cream into the ganache.

The treats could be topped with sea salt, sprinkles, or chopped nuts.  Return to the freezer immediately until just ready to serve.  They must chill at least 30 minutes to set for presentation.

Book review: Celebrate Everything!

As a brand new grandmother, I am so excited to be able to share some special events with our new grandson in the coming years. This book, written by Darcy Miller is brimming with ideas for every occasion. As a celebrity party planner, she shares many ideas on how to personalize every event and bring every party to life.

Many types of parties are showcased in her book, including everything from an ice cream party to an anniversary party.  Ideas for food and drink, fun and games and even cakes and sweets are delightfully photographed, illustrated, and described.  Recipes, descriptions of meals, suggestions for gifts and even menus are included in the chapters.

Personally I love her sweet table display ideas along with her conversation starters. Just about every idea in the book is fresh and new.  The whole book is cheerful as well as classic.

Memories can be made by reading and exploring the ideas within.  I can’t wait for a chance to plan an occasion with Darcy’s ideas.  She shares her blueprint for success with style and class.

 

Oven Baked Stone Fruit

We have had a Winter warm-up of temperatures in Michigan, which makes me feel like Spring might be on the way. Stone fruit is in the market, with peaches, plums and apricots being my favorites. I decided to bake some peaches and top with some vanilla sugar a few days ago, and they were delicious.

Baked stone fruit is delicious as a warm dessert with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. I sprinkled the sugar, and then added a shave of margarine to the tops of the sliced open fruit.

     

The fruit baked in a pre-heated oven at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. So simple but so tasty. Other options would include adding ground cinnamon or ground nutmeg to taste.

Mocha Chip Meringues

One of my favorite cookies happens to be a meringue.  We loved the taste of these cookies over the Christmas holiday this year.  I used a Martha Stewart recipe and as every one of her recipes, it worked perfectly. These cookies were crispy, but soft inside the center of the cookie.  The chocolate taste was just perfect and not overpowering.  I opted to use mini chocolate chips in the recipe, instead of the full size chips.  I found the substitute to be perfect and a nice improvement to her recommendations.

How to make the mocha chip meringues–gather these ingredients: 3/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 3 egg whites at room temperature, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon espresso powder, 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees with two racks divided within the oven.  Add parchment paper or silpat mats to the cookie sheets.  In a small bowl, mix sugar and cornstarch.

In an electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt until frothy on medium speed.  Then add sugar mixture slowly, 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat about 6-8 minutes until very stiff. I used my stand mixer with the whipping whisk.  Add espresso powder and cocoa next.  Fold in chocolate chips at the end with a spatula.

Drop onto cookie sheets, one tablespoon at a time.  Bake 40 minutes.  Cool for 20 minutes before removing from cookies sheets.  Great recipe and these cookies are light and delicious.

Snowman Chocolate Bark

From another food blogger (theDecoratedCookie.com) comes this great idea for snowman chocolate bark.  The directions were very easy to follow.  And, the result is very cute. Just perfect for the winter season, especially for children of all ages.

Very few ingredients are needed. To make the bark, I used these ingredients: 16 ounces of Ghirardelli dark chocolate melts, 1 tablespoon shortening, Ghirardelli white candy melts, pretzel sticks, white sprinkles and decors, black and orange icing.

Place a silpat mat on a baking sheet.  Melt dark chocolate chips and shortening in the microwave following the directions on the candy bag.  Spread on the silpat mat to fill as much of the tray as possible.  Arrange the white candy melts into snowmen.  Add the broken pretzel sticks for the arms.  Sprinkle the white sprinkles and decor around the bark.  Decorate the snowman heads with the black and orange icing.

Place the baking tray in the refrigerator to set the bark for at least 30-45 minutes.  At that time, the bark can be removed and broken into segments for serving.  Individual bark pieces could be used as a garnish alongside an ice cream dessert.

Snow on the rooftops

Well, it is still winter here in Michigan.  So, here is a fun way to keep the children happy on a cold snowy day.  How about an updated Rice Krispies treat recipe to make and share?  I named this one– snow on the rooftops, since I use butterscotch chips and peanut butter for the color of a brown roof and then, add white sprinkles on top to look like snow. I made them this Christmas and featured them on the top of my cookie plate.

I use a familiar recipe of 3 cups Rice Krispies with 6 ounces of butterscotch morsels mixed with 1/2 cup peanut butter. The cereal is placed in the mixing bowl, while I melt the butterscotch chips and peanut butter in a double boiler on the stove top. Stir together with the cereal, and when fully melted– press into a square pan which has been buttered. Top with white sprinkles.

  

 

I chill these for at least one hour until firm before cutting into squares. Very cute and tasty. Store in the refrigerator to keep firm for several days if desired.