Fool’s Toffee

If you visited our booth at Hollydays, you may have tasted Fool’s Toffee already and should know how awesome it is!! This is a great dessert for the Holidays or really any occasion!

Saltine crackers may seem like an unusual ingredient to use in a toffee recipe, but do not be “fooled” into thinking this is a mistake. This secret ingredient makes the toffee much lighter and crispier than using graham crackers. Teenagers love to make this candy. Makes a great gift for teachers, coaches and friends.

Ingredients:

  • 36 to 40 saltine crackers (1 sleeve)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter
  • 1 cup of packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 to 1 cup chopped pecans

Instructions:

Line a 10 X 17 inch baking pan with foil and coat the foil with butter. Arrange the saltine crackers in a single layer with sides touching in the prepared pan. Combine 1 cup butter and brown sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil for 4 minutes, stirring constantly.

Pour the butter mixture over the crackers. Using a wooden spoon, spread the mixture evenly over the crackers. Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the chocolate chips and let stand for 2 minutes or until chocolate chips soften. Spread the chocolate evenly over the prepared layers using a knife or metal cake spatula. Sprinkle with the pecans and press lightly. Chill for 30 minutes or until set. Break into pieces and store in a covered container in the refrigerator.

Here are some photos of the finished dessert!

Low-Cal Bread Pudding

Low-Cal Bread Pudding, RRR III, page 231, Photo by Teresa Day

Bread Pudding. So, so yummy. Deep in history as a frugal way of making use of stale bread so there was no waste. That is part of our Creole and Cajun heritage here in Louisiana; make use of everything our bounty has to offer. The outcome are wonderful dishes such as: Gumbo, Jambalaya, Boudin, and Bread Pudding.

Though Bread Pudding recipes date back centuries world wide, Louisiana is renown for its ever so many varieties of the dish. You would be hard pressed to find a restaurant here that doesn’t serve it as a dessert. The variations are endless with fruits, nuts, fruit cocktail, many different sauces, and other spices and indulgences.

In River Road Recipes III: A Healthy Collection, we have a recipe for Low-Cal Bread Pudding, on page 231. It is tempting and delicious without the guilt with only 249 calories per serving! Try our recipe. We are sure that your family and guests will love having a touch of our Louisiana culture served to them with our healthy twist.

We would like to extend a special thanks to the Photographer and Food Blogger, Teresa B. Day, http://www.ieatlouisiana.wordpress.com, for the beautiful pictures.

Low-Cal Bread Pudding, RRR III, page 231, Photo by Teresa Day

Low-Cal Bread Pudding, RRR III, page 231, Photo by Teresa Day

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 slices thin light white bread
  • 1 stick light margarine, melted
  • 1 cup egg substitute
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • Two 12-ounce cans evaporated skim milk
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

Toast bread on both sides and crumble into small pieces. Put the crumbled bread into a 9×13-inch glass baking dish. Pour melted margarine over the crumbs. Beat together egg substitute and sugar; add milk and spices. Pour milk mixture over the crumbs; let stand until crumbs absorb some of the liquid. Stir in raisins and extract. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until light brown and set in the middle. Serve warm with a scoop of light whipped topping or top with a scoop of vanilla yogurt.

Per Serving     249 Cal     5.3 Fat(g)     18% Fat Cal     1 Sat Fat(g)     3 Chol(mg)     218 Sod(mg)

Yields 12 servings

 

Pralines and Bourbon Pecan Tartlets, Louisiana Pecan Treats

Whether you say pee-can or pee-kahn, in Louisiana we love our desserts and treats with pecans. Pecans are the only natural tree nut that grows in North America. Louisiana played a major roll with the development of the pecan industry. French settlers learned of the nut from Native Americans and incorporated it into their cooking. New Orleans, as a prominent international port, helped to establish the pecan trade industry. A famous slave gardener named, Antoine, at Oak Alley Plantation, located on the Great River Road (https://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/louisiana/riverroad.htm), was the first to successfully graft a pecan tree. He created a variety of pecans that could be cracked by hand. Orchards began to be  planted and, from there on, pecans have been part of our culture and cuisine.

The following are two wonderful recipes that include pecans. Both can be made ahead of time and frozen or stored in a container for a days before a party or family gathering. Enjoy a part of our culture and tradition!

Bourbon Pecan Tartlets, RRR IV, and Senator Ellender’s Creole Pralines, RRR II.      Photo by Meghan Poole.

Bourbon Pecan Tartlets

INGREDIENTS

  • 36 frozen minature phyllo pastry shells
  • 1/2 cup (3 ounces) minature semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup bourbon
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

DIRECTIONS

  1. Arrange the pastry shells in a single layer on a lightly greased 10×15 inch baking sheet.
  2. Spoon the chocolate chips evenly into the shells.
  3. Combine the pecans, brown sugar, butter, bourbon and egg in a bowl and mix well.
  4. Spoon the pecan mixture into the prepared shells.
  5. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Remove to a wire rack to cool. store in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 1 month.

Makes 3 dozen tartlets

Senator Ellender’s Creole Pralines Pralines

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar (dark or light)
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons of corn syrup
  • 4 cups pecan halves (If large halves, cut into smaller pieces)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Put all of the ingredients (except for the pecans) into a 3 quart saucepan
  2. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally
  3. After boiling starts, add the pecans and cook the mixture until liquid forms a soft ball. (You can use a cooking thermometer that can indicate the stage of “soft balls”, otherwise, drop a small amount into cold water and verify the stage) 
  4. Stir well and drop by spoonful onto wax paper (you can line a cookie sheet or baking pan with the wax paper)
  5. Let cool until the pralines are set

Another praline version to try is the microwave recipe found in RRR IV.

Microwave Pralines

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 (16-ounce) package light brown sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 2 cups pecan pieces
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine the sugar and heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl and mix well. Microwave on high for 7 minutes; stir.
  2. Add the butter. Microwave on High for 7 minutes longer and stir vigorously.
  3. Stir in the pecans and vanilla.
  4. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Let stand until set.

Serves 12

White Light Night & Healthy Holiday Eating

As the holiday season nears, keeping that resolution of healthy eating can be tough going in Louisiana. River Road Recipes (RRR) is happy to help with River Road Recipes III (RRRIII), A Healthy Collection. Now you can have your cake and eat it too! Each recipe in RRRIII contains the breakdown of calories, fat, cholesterol, and sodium per serving. Check out one of our favorite dinner and dessert recipes from RRRIII below.

Seafood Eggplant Casserole (RRRIII, Page 171)

One 1 1/2 – 2 pound eggplant
4 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup skim milk
1 cup chopped cooked shrimp
1 pound lump crabmeat
1 cup bread crumbs
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1⁄2 teaspoon each basil, oregano, thyme, paprika
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons parsley
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon each pepper and
red pepper

Peel and cube eggplant. Boil in water until tender, drain. Make a roux with the oil and flour. Add milk and stir until thickened. Fold in the eggplant and remaining ingredients. Place in 2-quart baking dish sprayed with vegetable oil cooking spray and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

A few more member dinner favorites: the Carrot Soufflé on page 119, the Blackberry and Port Venison on page 156, the Seafood Paella on page 237, and the Pepper Crusted Red Snapper on page 246.

 

Black Forest Cake (RRRIII, Page 223)

Cake
3⁄4 cup egg substitute or 1 egg and 3 egg whites
1 teaspoon almond flavoring
1 box light chocolate cake mix, preferably devil’s food or fudge
One 18-ounce can reduced sugar cherry pie filling or cherries packed in light syrup

Glaze
1⁄2 cup cocoa powder
1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch

1/3 cup skim or low fat milk
1 tablespoon margarine
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

Beat eggs by hand. Add flavoring. Stir in cake mix and blend well; batter will be thick. Fold in pie filling. Pour into greased bundt pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes. Cool and remove from pan.

Glaze: In a saucepan, mix cocoa, sugar and cornstarch together until well blended. Place over medium heat and gradually whisk in milk. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook for about 2 minutes until thickened; continue stirring. Remove from heat and whisk in margarine and vanilla. Stir until smooth. Drizzle over cake. This cake travels well.

 

Other great entertaining menus from River Road Recipes IV :

Graduation Dinner, page 126 – includes a Seafood Lasagna and Red Velvet Cake
Bundle of Joy, page 223 – include a full delicious menu of food and dessert for the whole family and their new additions
Family Reunion, page 267 – southern style reunion
After the Hunt, page 216 – the sportsman’s paradise of recipes

 

White Light Night: RRR & Laura Bellone

River Road Recipes will join Laura Bellone, the artists for RRR III, this Friday, November 17th at White Light Night. We will be at Booth #30. Stop by to pick up a copy of your favorite RRR books for a friend and local artwork. Be sure to see more of Laura’s work at Petite Louisiane.

Lemon Drop Cookies

This delicious, lemony dessert is found in River Road Recipes I on page 195. You can find lemon drops on the candy aisle of your grocery store or even at the gas station.

lemon-drop-cookies-1-e1474465270146.jpg

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Level of Difficulty: Medium

Servings: 3 dozen cookies

KITCHEN TOOLS:

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Wooden spoon
  • Mixing bowl
  • Electric mixer (optional)
  • Food processor
  • Mortar and pestle (optional)
  • Sifter
  • Cookie sheet

INGREDIENTS:

lemon-drop-cookies-ingredients-e1474465324371.jpg

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

  • 1/2 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups sifted flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup finely crushed lemon drops

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Gather kitchen tools and ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease cookie sheet. Using a food processor, process the lemon drops as much as possible. Use a mortar and pestle to grind the processed lemon drops further if necessary. Sift the flour.
lemon-drop-cookies-crushed-lemon-drops-e1474465291328.jpg

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

lemon-drop-cookies-flour-sift-e1474465314445.jpg

Sifting the flour allows you to use less flour overall and makes for a lighter, fluffier cookie! Photo by Lauren De Witt.

2. Cream (mix) butter and sugar together using an electric mixer or by hand.

3. Add egg and lemon juice.

4. In a separate bowl, mix together the sifted flour, baking powder, salt, and lemon drops.

lemon-drop-cookies-dry-ingredients-e1474465304599.jpg

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

5. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and mix together.

6. Drop by 1/2 teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet.

7. Bake about 10 minutes, until sides begin to brown.

8. Cool slightly and remove from pan.

lemon-drop-cookies-2.jpg

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

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Photograph by Don Kadair

Lemon Cream Pie

The temperatures are rising, the days are getting longer, and invitations to barbeques, brunches and afternoon gatherings are in abundance. Nothing says summer quite like a lemon cream pie.   Bright, sunny and deliciously tangy, I really can’t imagine a better dessert to compliment a barbeque feast or a weekend brunch. Make this pie your own by embellishing the top with lemon slices or wedges to make the perfect springtime statement.lemon-cream-pie-horizontal-edit.jpg

Lemon Cream Pie, (RRR IV-Warm Welcomes pg. 261)

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3½ tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup (1/2 stick) margarine, melted
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 baked (9 inch) pie shell
  • 1 cup whipping cream, whipped
  • 4 lemons, thinly sliced and twisted

Combine the sugar, cornstarch and lemon zest in a saucepan and mix well. Stir in the milk, lemon juice, and egg yolks. Cook over medium heat until thickened, stirring constantly. Stir in the margarine until blended. Let stand until room temperature.lemon-cream-pie-edit-1.jpg

Add the sour cream to the lemon mixture and mix well. Spoon into the pie shell and spread the whipped cream, sealing to the edge. Top with the lemon twists. Store, covered, in the refrigerator.

Photos by Aimee Broussard

Rosemary, Raspberry, and Coconut Lime Shortbread Cookies – Oh My!

I’ll admit it, I have never been a fan of Shortbread Cookies. I thought them plain and boring, a little dry and crumbly. That is, until my sister-in-law revolutionized my thinking! This simple cookie actually provides an elegant backdrop for a wide variety of flavors. With a few tricks and a little creativity, the Shortbread Cookie can be dressed up or down to fit any occasion, and might very well become your new favorite!

The Basics- Scotch Shortbread Cookies, River Road Recipes I, p. 199

This recipe from River Road Recipes I is the basic Shortbread Cookie that we are all familiar with.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sifted all purpose flour
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

Directions

  1. Sift flour; cream butter; gradually work in confectioners’ sugar, again creaming thoroughly. Sift in flour a little at a time, mixing quickly and lightly.
  2. Chill dough for thirty minutes in refrigerator.
  3. Roll out dough to thickness of 1/2 inch on lightly floured surface.
  4. Cut shortbread with deep cookie cutter and place cookies on ungreased baking sheet.
  5. Prick surface of cookies with prong of fork.
  6. Bake five minutes at 325°, and then turn oven down to 300° and bake 20-30 minutes longer.
  7. Cookies should be light in color, not brown at all – slightly tan on the bottom.
  8. If seasoned for a week or so in covered tin box and stored in cool spot, they become much better. Will keep indefinitely.

Variations

These variations to the above Scotch Shortbread Cookie recipe will take your shortbread cookies to new heights! I haven’t included specific measurements below as these variations are the result of trial and error, so just use your own judgment on what you think will taste good. Don’t be afraid to experiment!

Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

Add a rustic touch to the original Scotch Shortbread Cookie recipe by adding in several tablespoons of fresh chopped rosemary to the dough prior to chilling. Follow the remaining instructions as before.

Raspberry Thumbprint COokies

Make the scotch shortbread recipe as before, but instead of rolling thin and using a cookie cutter to form the cookies, roll the dough into small balls, then press your thumb into the middle of the ball to create an indentation. Spoon raspberry jam into the thumbprints and bake. After removing from the oven, mix a little confectioners’ sugar with water to make an icing and drizzle the icing over the top!

Coconut Lime Shortbread Cookies

This is probably my favorite variation, and the one my sister-in-law introduced me to. Follow the directions as before, but add coconut flakes to the dough prior to chilling. While the cookies are baking, mix confectioners’ sugar, water, and lime juice to taste together to make icing. The icing should be somewhat thick, so add additional confectioners’ sugar as needed in the event the icing becomes too watery. Once the cookies have cooled, spread the icing over the top. Finish by sprinkling lime zest over the tops of the iced cookies!

Easter Dessert: Coconut Cake

Ham, deviled eggs, Spinach Madeleine (of course), perhaps even a congealed salad are all Southern staples for an Easter lunch. For dessert, however, we suggest our Coconut Cake from River Road Recipes I! The light coconut flavor and the delicate frosting makes this a gorgeous as well as tasty end to this celebratory meal with friends and family. With the addition of a few flowers, it can even serve as part of your tablescape!

Photo by Don Kadair.

Coconut Cake, RRR I, p. 179

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs (separate yolks and whites)
  • 2 2/3 cup cake flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup sweet milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

  1. Grease and line 3 8-inch cake pans.
  2. Set over for 375°.
  3. Cream butter and sugar well.
  4. Add egg yolks.
  5. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together and add alternately with the milk.
  6. Add vanilla.
  7. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into mixture.
  8. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, then allow to cool completely.

Coconut Filling, RRR I, p. 179

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup milk or part coconut milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 grated coconut

Directions:

  1. Mix together all ingredients except coconut and cook in double boiler over low heat until thickened.
  2. Cool partly, then add coconut just before icing the cake!

Happy Easter from all of us at River Road Recipes!

Miss Congeal-iality: Raspberry Salad

I know what you’re thinking: “A congealed salad? How 1960s.” But fear not! Just like those flared jeans you’ve been hiding in your closet since the early 2000s, the congealed salad is making a comeback. Even Southern Living agrees! So break out that jello mold and make sure your next dinner party is on the cutting edge with a course featuring this latest culinary food trend. And if anyone looks at you funny, tell them those boring kale salads are so last year.

Photo by Don Kadair.

Photo by Don Kadair.

Raspberry Salad, RRR I, p. 28

With it’s beautiful pale pink contrasted against the bright green of butter lettuce leaves and lime wedges, this Raspberry Salad from River Road Recipes I will make the perfect addition to your Easter table this year! The best part? It doubles as the salad and the dessert, so feel free to have two helpings, guilt free!

Ingredients

  • 1 10-ounce package marshmallows
  • 1 package frozen raspberries
  • 1 small can evaporated milk (chilled and whipped)
  • 2 3-ounce packages cream cheese
  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise

Directions

  1. Melt marshmallows in double boiler with raspberries.
  2. Let cool; add cream cheese blended with mayonnaise.
  3. Add whipped milk to raspberry mixture.
  4. Place in tray and freeze.
  5. Unmold on lettuce leaves and enjoy!

Serves 12.

Recipe by Mrs. William Adams of Tallulah, Louisiana.