Valentine’s Day Rice Krispy Treat Hearts

  marydukecooks.com Perfect for Valentine’s Day or any day love is in the air… Valentine’s Day Rice Krispy Treat Hearts 4 tablespoons butter 10 ounces miniature marshmallows 6 cups Rice Krispies Pink gel food coloring heart shaped cookie cutters, assorted … Continue reading

Kathi’s Chocolate Mint Brownies

Chocolate Mint Brownies are delicious! This cherished Christmas recipe, from my dear friend and amazing baker Kathi Baty, has the perfect balance of flavors. Mint filling is sandwiched between decadent brownies and rich chocolate glaze! Enjoy! Kathi’s Chocolate Mint Brownies … Continue reading

White Chocolate Speculoos Cookie Butter Balls

White Chocolate Cookie Butter Balls    marydukecooks.com Sometimes you need a candy recipe that looks impressive. White Chocolate Speculoos Cookie Butter Balls are ridiculously easy to make and only have 2 ingredients plus decorating supplies! If you haven’t tried Speculoos, … Continue reading

Toffee Crunch Buckeyes

toffee crunch buckeyes marydukecooks.com

Sometimes it is difficult to decide what sweet treats to make at Christmas. There are so many choices that I get overwhelmed. Toffee Crunch Buckeyes are simple to make yet look impressive. With the addition of toffee, these buckeyes have a sweet candy crunch. This is a great recipe can to make with your children or grandchildren and make a beautiful presentation when boxed and given as gifts. Just in case you would like to keep some for yourself…hide them in the back of the refrigerator! (Don’t tell- that’s what I always do!)

Toffee Crunch Buckeyes

1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch kosher salt
1 ¼ cups powdered sugar
¾ cup toffee bits with chocolate (I use Heath Bits O’ Brickle)
10-12 ounces Candy coating (I use Ghirardelli dark chocolate melting wafers
or Wilton dark cocoa candy melts)
1-2 teaspoons canola oil

With a mixer beat peanut butter, vanilla, and salt. Add powdered sugar ¼ cup at a time. Scrape down sides of bowl and mix again. Mix in toffee bits by hand. Roll into 1-inch balls or use a 1-tablespoon cookie scoop. Place balls on 2 plastic wrap lined plates. Freeze 2 hours or until hard.

In a small bowl, melt ½ bag of candy melts according to package directions. Add 1-2 teaspoons oil. Start with 1 teaspoon and add enough oil until the chocolate flows smoothly in a ribbon when poured from a spoon.

Remove ½ buckeyes from freezer. Place a toothpick in center of each buckeye. Holding toothpick, dip ¾ of each buckeye in chocolate leaving a small circle of peanut butter exposed where the toothpick is. Let excess chocolate drip in bowl. Place buckeyes on a plate lined with clean plastic wrap. If chocolate begins to harden reheat briefly in microwave.

Place chocolate dipped buckeyes in refrigerator to harden. Repeat process with remaining buckeyes and candy melts. Store in refrigerator. Makes around 30 buckeyes. Enjoy!

Published in The News and Neighbor on November 29, 2017

Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Bars

  marydukecooks.com Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Bars These bars are a perfect finger food holiday dessert. Cut the bars into whatever size or shape you prefer. I made several versions of this recipe trying to develop a caramel layer that would … Continue reading

Chocolate Caramel Brownies

                             Chocolate Caramel Brownies marydukecooks.com These bars have a divine, rich layer of caramel between layers of chocolate brownie! Chocolate caramel heaven! Chocolate Caramel Brownies 2 boxes … Continue reading

Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

I can still remember earning enough money to buy frozen treats from the ice cream truck. It would come down our street once a week and you never knew what day or time it would appear. I kept a pile … Continue reading

Black Bear Crumble Bars

When Doc and I travel we stop at roadside produce markets to buy fresh fruit, vegetables and preserves they sell. One of the preserves we buy is called black bear preserves. It is a mixture of berries that black bears love. … Continue reading

Rhubarb Strawberry Upside Down Cake

This is a gorgeous cake! It makes just enough to eat after dinner. The strawberries and rhubarb have just the right amount of sweetness and sauce. The cake is the perfect thickness to get equal amounts of topping and cake … Continue reading

Jane’s Carrot Cake

This is probably the best carrot cake I have ever tasted! It is from my dear friend Jane Howell. She says grating whole carrots instead of purchasing them pre-grated makes this cake exceptional.

Carrot Cake

3 cups grated carrots
2 cups granulated sugar
1¼ cups canola oil
4 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon iodized salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Garnish: 1/2 cup chopped pecans toasted 300ºF
for 7 minutes and cooled for top of cake

Preheat oven to 300ºF. Grate carrots with a box grater using large holes or with a food processor using grater disc, then chop strips of carrot with metal blade. Set aside. With a mixer combine sugar, oil, and eggs. Combine flour, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture. Mix. Add carrots and pecans. Mix.
Pour batter into a 9 X 13 inch pan.

Bake 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven. Cool completely. Ice with Cream Cheese Icing. Garnish with toasted chopped pecans. Slice cake cold and serve at room temperature.

Cream Cheese Icing

8 ounces regular cream cheese, not Neufatchel or low fat, softened
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 (16 ounce) box powdered sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Mix cream cheese and butter together 3 minutes with a mixer on medium speed. Gradually add powdered sugar on low speed mixing 3 minutes or until icing is light and fluffy. Add vanilla. Scrape sides of bowl and mix again.

Variation: Divide cake batter into three 9-inch round pans that have been lined with parchment paper and sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake layers 300ºF for 40-45 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and cool on wire racks. Ice with Cream Cheese Icing between layers and on top and sides. Decorate with a ring of toasted pecans around top edge of cake. Refrigerate. Slice cake cold. Serve at room temperature. Makes one 3-layer 9-inch cake. Enjoy!

Published in The News and Neighbor on April 26, 2017