Devil’s Food Cake

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Take a Seat at the Table: Devil’s Food Cake! Sometimes all you crave is a slice of good old-fashioned chocolate cake like your grandma used to make, before Betty Crocker introduced the world to cake mixes. It’s very simple, really. Take a walk down Memory Lane with a recipe that recaptures youthful musings.

DEVIL’S FOOD CAKE

Ingredients:

2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup cocoa

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup salad oil

1 cup boiling water

1 cup milk

2 eggs, beaten

2 teaspoons vanilla

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a bundt pan. Mix together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add salad oil and boiling water. Stir until lumps are gone. Gradually add milk; stir. Add eggs and vanilla; stir. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes. Invert onto serving platter. Cool before frosting or sprinkling with powdered sugar.

Bourbon Balls

Eating My Way Through the Holidays! Festive Foods: Bourbon Balls! Remember the scene from “The Grinch Stole Christmas” where the adults in Whoville are throwing a key party? Well, I’m convinced they may have been nibbling on holiday Bourbon Balls based on the way they were flirting and having a crazy-fun time. Be forewarned. This recipe does contain chocolate and alcohol. You may want to mention it.

BOURBON BALLS

Ingredients:

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels

3 tablespoons corn syrup

1/2 cup bourbon

2 1/2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 cup pecans, finely chopped

Granulated sugar

Instructions:

Pulse vanilla wafers in a food processor to make crumbs. Set aside. Over hot (not boiling) water, melt chocolate morsels; remove from heat. Blend in corn syrup and bourbon. In a large bowl, combine vanilla wafer crumbs, powdered sugar, and nuts. Add chocolate mixture. Blend well. Chill 30 minutes. Using a melon ball utensil, scoop dough into 1″ balls. Roll in granulated sugar. Store in covered container for several days to season flavor.

Nonpareil Thumbprint Cookies

Eating My Way Through the Holidays! Festive Foods: Nonpareil Thumbprint Cookies! Ask my husband what his favorite candy is and without hesitation, he’ll respond “Nonpareils”. Think about it… dark chocolate buttons sprinkled with tiny beads of white candy. And they’re French! With today’s recipe, the nonpareil takes center stage crowned over a dark chocolate thumbprint cookie as rich as a brownie. Dusted in powdered sugar, it’s just the right size for nibbling.

NONPAREIL THUMBPRINT COOKIES

Ingredients:

2 cups flour

1 cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon coarse salt

1 cup butter, softened

1 1/3 cups sugar

2 egg yolks

2 tablespoons heavy cream

2 teaspoons vanilla

3/4 cup powdered sugar for rolling

40 nonpareils

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Sift flour, cocoa powder, and salt into a small bowl. Using a mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Reduce speed to medium, add yolks, cream, and vanilla. Beat in flour mixture just until combined. Roll balls using 1/2 tablespoon sized scoops of dough. Roll each ball in powdered sugar. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Press gently in the center to form an indentation. Bake 10 minutes or until set. Remove from oven. While cookies are warm, place one nonpareil in the middle of each cookie. Let cool before transferring to wire rack.

White Chocolate Cranberry Spice Bars

Eating My Way Through the Holidays! Festive Foods: White Chocolate Cranberry Spice Bars! Like snowdrops over a country field, the white chocolate bits add a sweet creaminess to the crumb bars offsetting the tart tangy taste of cranberry sauce. You may notice a warm sweet-heat every once in awhile. It’s the candied baby ginger infused throughout. I use all-natural crystallized ginger slices and chop them up for added zing. For the merriest of holidays, make a batch of these bite-sized guilty pleasures. Perfect for a cookie exchange.

WHITE CHOCOLATE CRANBERRY SPICE BARS

Ingredients:

2 cups flour

1teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups chunky cranberry sauce

1/4 cup crystallized ginger

1 cup white chocolate chips

1 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Cream together sugar and butter. Mix flour, salt, and baking soda together. Add dry ingredients together. Spread 3/4 of batter into a 9″x13″ greased dish. Gently press down with a spoon to level. Divide cranberry sauce over top. Sprinkle white chocolate chips over cranberry mixture. Fill in with chopped crystallized ginger. Crumble remaining batter on top. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Cool slightly and cut into squares or triangles. To make glaze, mix powdered sugar with milk, stirring until smooth. Drizzle over bars.

Sugar-Spun Sponge Candy

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Appetizers to Desserts: Sugar-Spun Sponge Candy! Take a walk down Memory Lane. Wonderful childhood memories come flooding back with this old-time classic favorite. You will seldom find it in candy stores unless you happen to stumble upon a family-owned place where the bell above the doorjamb jingles as you cross the threshold. Once inside, the glass showcase will feature this honeycomb-type toffee, golden in color, nestled inside a rich chocolate covering. It’s crisp and air-filled with a sponge-like appearance. Once you’ve had it, the memories linger on. Spoil yourself and make up a batch. Just like magic, it can be whipped up in about 15 minutes. Carry on the tradition, or begin your own this year.

SUGAR-SPUN SPONGE CANDY

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar

1 cup dark corn syrup

1 tablespoon vinegar

1 tablespoon baking soda

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate morsels

3 teaspoons vegetable oil

Instructions:

Combine sugar, corn syrup, and vinegar in a heavy-bottomed 3-quart pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Continue cooking about 10 minutes until mixture reaches 300° on a candy thermometer, or a drop of syrup becomes brittle in a glass of cold water. Immediately remove pan from heat and sift in baking soda. Mixture will foam up madly. Stir gently but thoroughly. Pour into well-buttered 9″ square pan. Do not spread. Let cool. Remove from pan and break into pieces over a large bowl. Sugary crumbs will appear all over the counter if the bowl is too small.

Instructions for Chocolate Coating:

Pour chocolate morsels into a glass bowl. Add 3 teaspoons of vegetable oil. Stir. Place in microwave for 5 minutes on 30% power. Halfway through, stir to blend smooth. Do not over cook. Keep warm on the stovetop over a double boiler. Dip each piece of sponge candy into chocolate. Coat completely or halfway depending on preference. The honeycomb and chocolate look appealing, in my opinion. Place pieces on waxed paper lined sheet pan. Chill to set.

Easy Energy Balls

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Appetizers to Desserts: Easy Energy Balls! Do you ever get those mid-morning blahs where all you want to do is go back to bed? Well, here’s a way to get a tasty boost of energy without the guilt of a candy bar. By choosing pure and organic ingredients, you not only reap the health benefits, but you also gain the satisfaction your tummy needs in order to feel full. Make up a batch in minutes, store in the refrigerator, then Grab and Go!

EASY ENERGY BALLS

Ingredients:

1 cup organic creamy dark roasted peanut butter

2/3 cup pure honey

2 cups flaked coconut

2 cups old fashioned whole grain oats

1 cup organic flaxseed

1 cup dark chocolate chips

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup ground nuts

Instructions:

Warm peanut butter just enough to blend well with the honey. Remove from heat and add coconut, oats, flaxseed, and chocolate chips. Mix well. Sprinkle in cinnamon and vanilla extract. Mix thoroughly. Roll into 30 bite-size balls, coat in ground nuts, and store in the refrigerator in a sealed container.

Yummy Salted Caramel Cookie Dough Bars

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Joy of Eating: Yummy Sea Salt Caramel Cookie Dough Bars! “Honestly, you had me at Salted Caramel”, someone exclaimed to me recently. If you crave chocolate or adore peanut butter, this dessert will grab your attention. Although its golden caramel layer is dotted with mounds of cookie dough infused with white and dark chocolate, underneath lies a layer of peanut butter, oats, and toffee bits. Oh my! You may need a scoop of natural ice cream on top just to cut the sweetness. Trust me when I say, “A little goes a long way!”

YUMMY SALTED CARAMEL COOKIE DOUGH BARS

Ingredients for Cookie Dough:

3/4 cup butter, unsalted

2 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup peanut butter, creamy

2 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1 cup instant oats

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup white chocolate chips

1 cup toffee bits

Ingredients for Caramel Topping:

11 ounce bag of caramels

14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1/4 cup butter

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9″x13″ pan with nonstick oil and line with parchment paper. Using a food processor, cream butter and sugar together. Add peanut butter and blend well. While running, add one egg at a time, thoroughly mixing in each egg. Add vanilla. In a small bowl, combine flour, oats, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add flour mixture to sugar mixture. Fold in chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, and toffee bits. Spread 2/3 of the dough on the bottom of the pan. Meanwhile, unwrap caramels and place in a saucepan with butter and sweetened condensed milk. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until caramels are fully melted. The mixture will be smooth. Slowly pour caramel sauce evenly over dough. Flatten the remaining 1/3 dough like a pancake, cut into squares, roll into balls, and drop randomly over caramel sauce. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle coarse sea salt over all. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

French Silk Pie

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Joy of Eating: French Silk Pie! If you’re a chocolate lover…and I suspect that you are, join me on this decadent chocolate trail of passion. The charismatic power of chocolate may be a mystery to every man out there, but serve up a taste of this incredible creamy silk and others will follow! French Silk Pie has become my Signature Dessert; it’s that legendary!

FRENCH SILK PIE

Ingredients for Crust:

1/4 cup butter, melted

25 vanilla wafers, crushed

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Instructions for Crust:

Preheat oven to 300°. Combine butter, wafers, and pecans until crumbly. Reserve 1 tablespoon for garnish. Press remaining crumb mixture into an 8-9″ pie plate. Bake 15 minutes. Let cool.

Ingredients for Filling:

3/4 cup butter, melted

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

6 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 tablespoons oil

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions for Filling:

For best results, use a food processor to get the luscious results. Cream together butter and sugar. Add cocoa powder and oil. Blend well. THIS NEXT STEP IS CRITICAL. Add one egg and beat for 4 minutes. Add the second egg and beat for 4 minutes. Add the third egg and beat for 4 minutes. Finally add the teaspoon of vanilla extract. Beat 30 seconds. Pour the filling into the crust. Garnish with reserve crumb mixture. Chill before serving.

Confetti Corn Flake Cookies

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Joy of Eating: Confetti Corn Flake Cookies! Who wants to turn your day into a party? Me, that’s who. Have a pinwheel of fun when you make a batch of these crunchy sweet drop cookies that never touch the oven. Cook them on the stovetop in just a few minutes. Make this an after-school game plan with the kids and grandkids. As they lick the chocolate morsels from their nimble fingers, they’ll sing your praises!

CONFETTI CORN FLAKE COOKIES

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Karo syrup*

1/2 cup pure honey*

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups peanut butter

4-5 cups corn flakes

1 cup assorted dark chocolate, white chocolate, and butterscotch morsels

*1 cup of Karo syrup can be used, omitting honey OR 1 cup of honey can be used, omitting Karo syrup. Karo gives the cookies a “glossy/shiny” finish.

Instructions:

Over medium heat, combine the Karo syrup, honey, and sugar in a 4-quart pan. As it comes to a rolling boil, stir vigorously. Remove from heat and add the peanut butter, stirring until smooth. Gradually add corn flakes being careful not to crush them. Mix well. Gently blend in a portion of assorted morsels, saving some to use as topping. Line two baking sheets with waxed paper. Drop cookie mixture onto waxed paper by spoonfuls. Top with assorted morsels. Let cool before serving.