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Unique ideas to spice up your cooking life. Today is Thursday, April 27, 2017

Big Mac Cake


OMG, this is just tooooo cute.

•2 boxes (16 oz each) poundcake mix
•1 can (16 oz) plus 1 cup vanilla frosting
•Red and brown paste (icing) food color*
•Tomato slices: 5 plain flat round cookies (3-1/2 in. across)
•Cheese: 4 orange Air Heads bars
•Lettuce: 10 pieces green fruit chews (Jolly Ranchers)
•Onion rings: 10 white spice drops
•2 Tbsp sugar (for rolling)
•Olive: 3-in. piece red Fruit by the Foot, 2 thin pretzel sticks, 2 large green gumdrops, 1 red LifeSaver gummy
•Eyes: 1 large marshmallow, halved crosswise and 2 brown M&M’s
•1 can (16 oz) milk chocolate frosting
•1 cup crushed chocolate cookies (Famous chocolate wafers or Oreos without cream)
•2 Tbsp pine nuts (pignoli)
•You also need: 2-, 1-1/2- and 1-in. round cookie cutters (for onion rings)


1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease a 2-1/2-qt ovenproof glass bowl and two 8-in. round cake pans; line bottom of pans with wax paper.

2. Prepare both cake mixes in one bowl as pkg directs. Divide batter evenly between prepared bowl and pans. Bake bowl 35 to 40 minutes, pans 25 to 30 minutes until cakes are golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in bowl and pans on wire racks 15 minutes. Invert on racks; cool completely.

 3. Tomato slices: Put-2/3 cup vanilla frosting in a 1-cup glass measure; tint red with food color. Place round cookies on wire rack over wax paper. Microwave red frosting 5 seconds or until texture of slightly whipped cream. Pour over cookies, coating evenly. Let dry at least 30 minutes.

4. Cheese: Microwave orange Air Heads 2 to 5 seconds to soften slightly. Place side by side on plastic wrap, overlapping slightly. Roll out to a 9-in. rectangle. Cover with wrap until assembly.

5. Lettuce: Microwave green chews 2 to 5 seconds to soften slightly. Place each piece on plastic wrap; roll out to a 3-in. strip. Trim one edge with pinking shears to look ruffled. Cover with wrap until assembly.

 6. Onion rings: Press 2 white spice drops together. Sprinkle work surface with some of the sugar. Roll out drops to a scant 1/4 in. thick. Using cookie cutters, cut out onion rings.

7.Olive: Fold Fruit by the Foot in half lengthwise. Cut slits 1/8 in. apart for tassel. Wrap around end of a 2-in. piece of pretzel. Trim slice from bottom of green gumdrops; press cut ends together. Cut LifeSaver in half; press into end of olive for pimiento. Insert whole pretzel into olive; press pretzel with tassel into other end.

 8. Eyes: Use a dot of vanilla frosting to glue M&M’s on each marshmallow half.

9. To assemble: Tint remaining vanilla frosting with brown food color until shade of lightly toasted bun. Trim cakes to level tops. Place 1 layer on serving platter; coat top and sides with bun frosting. Arrange lettuce on top, overlapping and pinching candies together for a ruffled look.

10. Place other cake layer on wax paper. Coat top and sides with milk chocolate frosting; press on crushed cookies. With broad spatula, place on lettuce on bun. Top burger with the cheese, hanging over slightly, then the tomato and onion rings.

11. Place the bowl cake, cut side down, on wax paper; frost with rest of bun frosting. Place on top of burger. "Glue" eyes on with icing. Press pine nut "sesame seeds" on top of bun; insert olive.

12.*Available in stores selling crafts or cake-decorating supplies and many supermarkets.


No Bake Mom Cake


This cake doesn't have to have the word MOM on it, but its a great cake that requires no baking


1 (10 3/4-ounce) pound cake
1 (3 1/8-ounce) box of instant pudding
1 cup whipped topping
Fruit (we used 2 bananas and 4 large strawberries)
Mint sprigs (optional)
Chilled chocolate syrup





Slice the pound cake into several horizontal slices about an inch thick.
Prepare the pudding according to package directions. Mix the pudding with the whipped topping.
Chop up the fresh fruit you've chosen.

  1. Cool Cake for Mom - Step 4 Layer the cake, fruit, and a little less than half of the pudding mixture in a loaf pan. Then top the cake with the remaining pudding.
  3.  Put the cake in the fridge for a couple of hours. When it's chilled, decorate it; we topped ours with trimmed strawberries and mint sprigs.
  5. Squeeze on a greeting with chilled chocolate syrup. Then serve Mom a sweet treat on her special day.


April Fool's Chicken "NOT" Pie




1 (4 1/2-inch) aluminum foil potpie tin
1 refrigerated piecrust (most 15-ounce packages contain 2 crusts, enough for 6 of our pies)
Aluminum foil
1 egg (makes enough for 6 pies)
2 tablespoons water
1 (3.4-ounce) box instant vanilla or white-chocolate pudding (1 box makes enough for 3 pies)
1 yellow and 2 orange Starburst candies
1 green Chewy Jolly Rancher candy or green Tootsie Roll candy (we found the green Starburst candies to be too pale)
1 banana (makes enough for 6 pies)
1 to 2 dried apple rings or a 4-ounce bar of white chocolate (1 bar is enough for 6 pies)




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  1. Chicken Not-Pie - Step 1 Bake the crust:Heat the oven to 450°. Unroll or unfold a piecrust on your work surface. Using the upside-down potpie tin as a guide, cut a circle of dough about 1/2 inch larger than the tin. (If you're making more than one potpie, simply cut another circle from the dough. Reroll the scraps to cut out a third.) Crumple a piece of aluminum foil into a 1 1/2-inch ball and set it in the potpie tin. Cover it with a layer of foil to create a smooth mound, then lay the circle of dough on top. (A)
  2. Chicken Not-Pie - Step 2 Now press the tines of a fork around the edge of the dough to crimp it, then use the fork to gently poke a few holes in the crust. (B)
  3. Beat the egg with the water, then brush the mixture over the dough.
  4. Set the pie tin on a baking sheet and bake the crust for about 10 minutes. Let it cool completely.
  5. Make the filling:Prepare the pudding according to the package directions and refrigerate until serving time.
  6. Create the faux chicken and vegetables:To make the Starburst or Tootsie Roll candies easier to work with, place them unwrapped on a paper plate and warm them in the microwave just until they're slightly softened, about 12 to 15 seconds. (The Jolly Rancher candies will soften from the warmth of your hands.) Once you've shaped them, lay the candies on waxed paper or a paper plate, set apart from each other so they won't stick together.
  7. Chicken Not-Pie - Step 7 Corn kernels: Roll the yellow candy between your hands or on a clean work surface to create a 4-inch-long rope, then use kitchen shears or a sharp knife to cut the rope into 1/4-inch pieces. With your fingers, form each piece into a kernel by flattening one end and pinching the other.
  8. Chicken Not-Pie - Step 8 Chicken: Use kitchen shears or a knife to cut the apple rings into 1/2-inch-wide pieces. If you're using white chocolate, chop or break it into roughly 1/2-inch-wide pieces.
  9. Chicken Not-Pie - Step 9 Peas: Roll the green candy into a 5-inch-long rope. Cut the rope into 1/4-inch pieces, then roll each piece into a ball.
  10.  Potatoes: Peel the banana, slice off three 1/4-inch-thick pieces, then cut each piece into small cubes.
  11.  Cubed carrots: Cut each orange candy into 4 squares.
  12.  Assemble the pie:Just before serving time, spoon about 2/3 cup of the pudding into the pie tin.
  13.  Add the candies and the fruit to the pudding, then set the piecrust on top.
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Red & White Scoops with Blueberries and Shooting Stars


Active Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 50 minutes

4 burrito-size (8-in.) flour tortillas
3 Tbsp stick butter or margarine, melted
1⁄4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 pint coconut gelato
1 pint strawberry sorbet
1 cup (1⁄2 pint) fresh blueberries
Garnish: mint sprigs


1. Heat oven to 425°F. Have baking sheet(s) ready. Trace outline of Shooting Star and cut a pattern from cardboard.

 2. Working with 1 tortilla at a time (keep rest covered to prevent drying), use pattern to cut out 4 shooting stars from each tortilla. Place on baking sheet(s); brush both sides with butter.

3. Bake 3 to 4 minutes per side until golden and crisp (be careful, they overbake quickly). Remove to a wire rack; immediately dust with confectioners’ sugar stirred through a strainer. Let cool completely.

 4. To serve: If needed, lightly dust with sugar again. Scoop gelato and sorbetinto 8 individual dessert dishes (preferably stemmed glass); sprinkle with blueberries. Place a shooting star on top of each. Garnish with mint. Planning Tip: The Shooting Stars may be made up to 1 week ahead. Store airtight with wax paper between layers at room temperature.


Peep Peep Cupcakes



This easy-to-make Easter chick perched on a grassy coconut knoll will sweeten anyone's holiday.


2 tablespoons of shredded coconut
Green food coloring
1 cupcake
Green frosting
2 plain doughnut holes
Yellow frosting
1 orange gumdrop
Black decorators' gel



1. Place the coconut in a resealable plastic bag with a few drops of green food coloring. Shake the bag to color the coconut. Then transfer it to a bowl. 2. With a paring knife, remove a quarter-size portion of the center of the cupcake top. Frost the cupcake green, including the indentation. Dip the frosted cupcake into the coconut and add a dollop of yellow frosting to the indentation. 3. Trim a small slice off the doughnut holes so each has one flat surface. 4. Skewer a doughnut hole on a toothpick, frost it with yellow frosting, and place it in the cupcake indentation flat side up. Use the same technique to frost the second doughnut hole. Stack it on the first hole flat side down. 5. Cut a small beak from the gumdrop and push it onto the chick's head. Finally, add 2 black gel eyes and watch your guests chirp with pleasure!

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