READER RECIPES DESSERTS

COCONUT STRAWBERRIES

2 (3-ounce) packages strawberry gelatin

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (reserve 1 to 2 teaspoons)

16 ounces finely chopped coconut

1 teaspoon lemon juice concentrate

Reserve 2 tablespoons of the gelatin powder.

In a large mixing bowl, combine remaining gelatin powder, sweetened condensed milk and coconut. Chill mix for one hour.

Shape mixture to resemble a strawberry and roll in reserved gelatin powder (can also be rolled in red granulated sugar).

To form stems:

Dip at least 24 toothpicks halfway in green food coloring. Set aside. Let dry on waxed paper.

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1 to 2 teaspoons reserved sweetened condensed milk (additional small quantities may be necessary to create the right consistency)

4 drops green food coloring

Mix powdered sugar, milk and food coloring. Swipe with a spoon on top of strawberry to form a little green top. Insert green toothpick on top.

Let dry for one hour. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Green icing that has been stiffened with extra powdered sugar can be used to create a "hull" on top.

I individually freeze some to use on my strawberry cake recipe. They are great for colorful accents on cookie trays and for wedding and baby showers.

Eileene Krom, Angleton

INTERSTATE 45-MINUTE CREAM CHEESE SQUARES

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, melted

1 egg, beaten

1 box yellow cake mix

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1 cup powered sugar, unsifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Combine melted butter/margarine, egg and cake mix.

Spread mixture in buttered 9-by-13-inch pan.

Combine softened cream cheese, eggs, brown sugar, powered sugar, vanilla and salt and beat until smooth.

Spread cream cheese mixture over cake mixture.

Bake for about 45 minutes or until cake is golden brown on top.

Cut into small squares and sprinkle with powered sugar.

Makes 48 1-inch squares.

Gayla Lyn Parker, West Columbia

GINGERBREAD

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup molasses

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup boiling water

Beat butter and sugar until creamy; add egg and molasses and beat well.

Mix dry ingredients thoroughly.

Add to molasses mixture alternating with boiling water; beat after each addition.

Pour into greased 8x8x2 inch baking dish.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.

Serve warm.

Yields 6 to 9 servings.

Verdell Moon Johnson, Angleton

PECAN PIE TARTS

12 uncooked tart pie shells or one 9" deep dish uncooked pie shell

3 eggs slightly beaten

3/4 cup of light corn syrup

1/4 cup of waffle syrup

1 teaspoon of vanilla

1 cup of sugar

2 tablespoons of melted margarine

1 1/2 cups of chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat the eggs in a large bowl and then add all the corn syrup, waffle syrup, vanilla, sugar and melted margarine (slightly cooled). Mix well. Then stir in the chopped pecans.

Place pie tarts on a cookie sheet and pour mixture into the uncooked pie tarts/pie shell and bake for approximately 30 minutes. Pie shell may take longer. Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

Yields: 12 tarts or 9-deep dish pie

Paula Meyer, Brazoria

HOLIDAY CANDY

2 cups Cap'n Crunch cereal

2 cups Rice Krispies cereal

2 cups pecans, chopped

2 cups pretzel sticks, broken into pieces

1 package (24 ounces) almond bark

Mix the first four ingredients in a large bowl. Melt the almond bark in a saucepan or microwave. Pour the bark over the dry ingredients and mix well. Spread the mixture on wax paper covered cookie sheet.

Refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from refrigerator and break into small bite sized pieces.

Doesn't have to be kept in refrigerator.

Ann Moon Carethers, Angleton

TEA CAKES

1 cup butter, softened

2 cups sugar

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add in sugar, beating well. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until well blended after each addition. Add vanilla and beat until blended.

Combine flour, soda and salt; gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating at a low speed until blended after each addition.

Divide dough in half; wrap each portion in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.

Roll half of dough into 1/4 inch thickness on a floured surface. Cut out with a 2 1/2-inch round cutter; place 1 inch apart on parchment paperlined baking sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until edge begins to brown. Let stand on baking sheet for 5 minutes.

Remove to wire racks to cool.

Repeat procedure with remaining half of dough.

Prep: 20 minutes; Chill: 1 hour; Bake: 12 minutes; Stand: 5 minutes.

Verdell Johnson, Angleton

PECAN PIE DELIGHT

3 egg whites

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup crushed Ritz Crackers

1 cup chopped pecans

1 teaspoon butter flavoring

Cool Whip

Chop pecans.

Beat egg whites until they form soft peaks. Add sugar gradually – continuing to beat. Add vanilla.Fold in crushed crackers and pecans. Press into greased and floured pie pan.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Cool.

Spread Cool Whip over the top. (Do not use the whipped cream in a can unless you plan to eat it immediately.)

Sprinkle pecans on top.

Linda Morgan, Angleton

SHANNON RISINGER'S DIRT IN A CUP

Crush Oreo cookies and line the bottom of a bowl with them.

Make a box of instant chocolate pudding going by the directions on the box.

Pour over smashed cookies and stick in some gummy worms.

George Morgan, Angleton

DOUBLE LAYER PUMPKIN PIE

6 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons milk

1 tablespoon sugar

2 cups frozen non-dairy whipped topping, thawed

1 Keebler Graham Crust with 2 extra servings

1 cup cold milk

1 package (6 serving size) vanilla instant pudding & pie filling

1 package (4 serving size) vanilla instant pudding & pie filling

2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (may substitute 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon)

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves in place of pumpkin pie spice.

2 1/2 cups canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

In medium bowl, whisk together cream cheese, 2 tablespoons milk and sugar. Gently stir in whipped topping. Carefully spread into pie crust.

In large bowl, beat 1 cup milk, both pudding mixes and spices with wire whisk for 1 minute. Whisk in pumpkin (mixture will be thick).

Carefully spread over cream cheese layer.

Refrigerate at least 4 hours or until set.

Refrigerate any leftovers.

Eileene Krom, Angleton

BANANA NUT BREAD

3 eggs

1 cup of oil

1 tablespoon of vanilla

2 cups of flour

2 cups of sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon of cinnamon

1/2 a teaspoon of salt

pecans or walnuts

Liquid Mixture:

Whisk 3 eggs, 1 cup of oil and 1 tablespoon of vanilla together.

Add 2 cups of bananas or fruit or you can use Zucchini (shredded)

Dry Mixture:

Sift 2 cups of flour, 2 cups of sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 tablespoon of cinnamon and 1/2 a teaspoon of salt into liquid mixture.

Add 1 cup of pecans or walnuts.

Spray bread pans and bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes.

Darlene Vickers Cerny, Lake Jackson

SNICKERDOODLE COOKIES

1 cup of margarine

1 1/2 cups of sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons of vanilla

2 3/4 cups of flour

1 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

1 teaspoon of salt

Cinnamon/Sugar Mixture:

1/4 cup of sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons of cinnamon (more if preferred)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape sides of bowl and add eggs and vanilla. Continue until thoroughly mixed.

Stir in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt until combined. Do not over stir or cookies will not be light and fluffy.

Mix sugar and cinnamon together in small bowl.

You may refrigerate the dough for 20 to 30 minutes to let the dough firm up or you can skip this step.

Place parchment paper on the cookie sheet for easy clean up. Using cookie scooper, scoop out dough into approximately 1 inch balls and drop into the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Roll into the sugar mixture with a teaspoon until totally coated. Remove with spoon and place coated dough on the parchment paper on the cookie sheet. You may flatten the dough with a glass, but it is not necessary.

I usually put 3 cookies to a row and rows about 1 1/2 inches apart on the cookie sheet.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes in the oven, but no longer than 11 minutes. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and leave the cookies on the pan so they can continue to cook due to heat of pan. Once cool, remove from the parchment sheet

Paula Meyer, Brazoria

BUTTER BRICKLE AND PECAN COOKIES

2 cups (4 sticks) butter, unsalted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 cups all purpose flour

2 cups powdered sugar

1 (8-ounce) bag Heath English Toffee bits

2 cups pecans, chopped

In a medium bowl, melt butter in the microwave or in a double boiler; stir in vanilla and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and sugar. Stir in the butter mixture; stir in the toffee bits and chopped pecans (mixture will be crumbly). Shape into 1 inch balls and place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet. Flatten slightly.

Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes or until edges begin to brown.

Ann Moon Carethers

GRILLED BANANA FOSTERS

Cut the ends off the bananas.

Split bananas down the middle but leave the peels on.

Put big chunks of butter in the middle and sprinkle cinnamon on it.

Pour a little rum over it and shake some brown sugar on top of the bananas.

Roll bananas and ingredients up in some foil.

Put over fire pit or grill until soft and the butter is melted.

Karen Daniels, Lake Jackson

PECAN BRITTLE

2 cups sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1/3 cup water

3 cups fisher pecans (or any other preferred brand)

2 teaspoons butter

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

Combine sugar, corn syrup and water.

Cook slowly until sugar dissolves and mixture reaches 240 degrees (about 30 minutes).

Add pecans and cook until mixture reaches 295 degrees (about 20 to 30 minutes).

DO NOT allow mixture to boil over. Stir constantly during the following additions.

Remove from heat and add butter. Stir until butter melts completely into sugar.

Add salt and baking soda and stir quickly (the mixture will change color and rise up in the sauce pan).

Pour mixture evenly onto a well buttered shallow baking sheet.

Spread as evenly as possible and work quickly (be careful; mixture is hot).

When completely cooled, break into pieces. Store in covered container (if they last that long!).

Karen Daniels, Lake Jackson

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