Bakers Anonymous Thanksgiving: Chapter 1, Dessert First

Happy Thanksgiving my Bakers Anonymous friends! Today is my big day to break out my culinary skills and wow my family with Cornish game hens and spruced-up stuffing. Am I nervous? You bet I am. But I started off my Thanksgiving celebration with a favorie tradition of mine – cookie turkeys. It began nine years ago when, on Thanksgiving, I got it into my head that I wanted to do something special, start a tradition of my own. After a search through the cookbooks under the microwave, I came across the following recipe, which I altered just this year for the sake of time and sanity.

Cookie Turkeys

Ingredients (for 36 turkeys):
2 boxes of Mallomars
1 package of fudge stripe cookies
1 bag of candy corn
1  package of chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Gather up your ingredients and un-box them.

2. Carefully slice the fudge stripe cookies down the middle, doing your best to make as an even a cut as possible.

3. Melt the chocolate (about 1/2 – 1 cup of chocolate chips) in the microwave at 30-second intervals. Stir until smooth. Chocolate chips may retain their shape in the microwave.

4. Take the fudge halves and glue them to the Mallomars using the chocolate.

5. Gently flip the cookie over. Using the chocolate, stick a candy corn to the front of the of the Mallomar.

6. The assembled cookie should like this:

7. Put the cookies (18 to a large dinner plate) in the freezer and chill them until the chocolate sets or until you’re ready to serve. I like them best chilled, but family members have enjoyed them room temperature and I’ve never heard a complaint!

Enjoy your Thanksgiving dinners! I’ll report back tomorrow with details of how my meal went, as well as a few choice recipes prepared for today. And no matter what, don’t forget to give thanks for the blessings in your life.

Advertisements

Bakers Anonymous Thanksgiving: Prologue

Welcome to the first-ever Bakers Anonymous Thanksgiving! This Recipe Roundup focuses on my menu for this Thursday (is it really Thursday? Let the panic attacks ensue). I hope it gives you some ideas on what you’d like to make for your own family!

Photo courtesy of Taste of Home.

My main dish for Thanksgiving this year is Cornish Game Hens. Not only are they the most adorable little bits of poultry in the world, they are also an easy and relatively fast alternative to the traditional turkey. And for me, the woman who’s hosting Thanksgiving for the first time (ever), it’s the less stressful way to go. I’m going to prepare them using the Recipe Inspirations seasoning card from McCormick. I’m obsessed with these cards. They make preparing flavorful meals simple, as well as ensuring that I’ll have all the spices I need when cooking in a kitchen not my own!

Photo courtesy of Taste of Home.

In my family, the second most important dish is stuffing. Usually we go with the boxed version (that we ADORE), but this year, I’m jazzing it up Bakers Anonymous-style and adding sausage, apples and onions (probably no celery, according to this recipe).

Accompanying my stuffing and hens will be red potatoes, my favorite potato to use due to its versatility. I’m adding in Green Giant frozen vegetables of the honey-glazed carrot and spring vegetable variety; olives (green and black both), and yummy Pillsbury biscuits. Grammy is bringing in her usual fruit and vegetable trays (automatic party winner) and I’m bringing, besides everything else, the tried and true pigs in a blanket, made with Pillsbury crescents and Hillshire farm lil smokies (SO GOOD).

Of course there will be delicious desserts, so stay tuned later this week for my Thanksgiving dinner!

P.S. I forgot to mention the family holiday favorite, jellied cranberry sauce! Because who doesn’t love cranberry sauce in a can? It makes serving so much easier.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Filling: Betty Crocker Style

Sometimes here at Bakers Anonymous, we like things to be simple and thought-free. Okay, all of the time, which is why I was so intrigued by the Betty Crocker FUN da-Middles cupcake mix. It may have a terribly cheesy name, but who doesn’t love the thought of a no-frost cupcake? And a cupcake with filling, at that!

The box comes with a package of mix and a packet of thick filling. There are three different varieties of the mix: chocolate cupcake with vanilla filling (which you see here), vanilla with chocolate filling, and vanilla with vanilla filling (apparently people like vanilla more than chocolate. So sad!).

According to the packaging, there are many great features of this cupcake mix!

Ah, natural and artificial flavorings. Yum. Note the warning in the corner - don't eat the raw batter! Like that's going to stop me.

The ingredients are the same as any other cake mix – eggs, water, and oil. The filling is pre-made, so there’s nothing to add to it. This mix only produces 12 chocolate cupcakes.

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place in the paper baking cups.

2. Prepare the mix according to the directions.

3. Carefully fill each of the cups about one-third full, making sure the entire bottom is covered.

4. Squeeze the filling package about 20 or so times to warm up the filling and make it squeeze-able. Evenly distribute the filling between the 12 cups, making sure that it DOES NOT touch the sides.

5. Layer the rest of the batter on top of the filling, and then bake for about 35 minutes.

6. Let the cupcakes cool before you bite into them. THE FILLING WILL BE EXTREMELY HOT. (Speaking from experience, here.)

These cupcakes are actually very moist and the cake is delicious, but while they may look like Hostess cupcakes minus the chocolate frosting and little white squiggly on top, the filling isn’t anything amazing or true vanilla tasting. I’d give these three stars for the ease of baking and the ability to taste delicious even without frosting!

Niki’s Note: I don’t think these Betty Crocker commercials have ever aired, but be sure to check out all three videos. They sure are weird!

Recipe Roundup

Welcome to Bakers Anonymous’ first-ever Recipe Roundup, where we here at Bakers Anonymous search out delicious recipes for some of our most favorite ingredients. Today’s featured ingredients have similar flavors, but can be incorporated into a variety of baked goods:

Mint Chocolate M&M's

Candy Cane Hershey Kisses

The mint/peppermint flavor is my most favorite holiday flavor. I just think it encompasses everything wintery and happy, don’t you? When I think of Christmas, I think minty treats. Check out these recipes for great ideas involving these chocolates!

Marbled Brownies – These marbled brownies would be a great canvas for the minty M&Ms. Cheesecake and mint M&Ms? Yes, please!

Mint Chocolate M&Ms Cookies – These simple cookies are made with devil’s food cake mix, a great way to make cookies without making a batter from scratch.

Kisses Candy Cane Blossoms – Not only are these cookies beautiful to look at, but also they are quick to make, quick to bake, and quick to enjoy!

Festive Candy Cane Kiss Centered Brownie Bites – Don’t be fooled by the long name. There are minimal steps in this recipe, but they create a beautiful finished product.

And don’t think these are the only recipes coming out featuring these beloved treats of mine. After I come up with a recipe for my Andes Mints, I will head out to the store to buy a pair of these chocolates.

-Niki

Bakers Anonymous asks: What’s for dinner?

For me, there is nothing more quintessential Italian than lasagna. I can remember my Grandma Ciraolo making it from scratch, her arthritic hands carefully crumbling the ground beef, layering the cooked noodles and spooning out the pasta sauce. It was a treat when we had it because my grandfather preferred spaghetti on Sundays. I think it’s old man thing. 🙂 So when we here at Bakers Anonymous thought it was time to make our foray into the world of savory, we couldn’t pass up the chance to make this baked dinner. The following recipe is a modified version of this one from Southern Living.

Easy Lasagna Dinner

Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 45 mins
Serves: 6-8 (for me it made leftovers!)

Ingredients:

1/2 lb of lean ground beef
(I used 85 percent lean)
1/2 lb of ground sausage
2 jars of pasta sauce (I ended up using Francesco Rinaldi’s Mushroom and Pepper)
15 oz container of ricotta cheese
1 package of shredded mozzarella
Ground Parmesan cheese
No-cook lasagna noodles (truly the best invention ever)

Continue reading