Lots of different activities happen at the Boyd County Public Library, and recently the main branch hosted a Holiday Recipe Exchange, which drew a number of good cooks.
Amanda Clark, events coordinator for the library, led the session, at which she shared an important organization tip. She said instead of keeping every magazine she reads, she tears out the sheets and organizes the information in binders. She said she keeps binders for each season and within the binder, has sections on décor, party theme, recipes and other categories that interest her.
Clarke provided this recipe from Taste of Home.
1 package (18¼ ounces) spice cake mix or 1 package (18 ounces) carrot cake mix
2 cups chopped, peeled tart apples
3 tablespoons milk
1 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted
12 Popsicle sticks
Prepare cake batter according to package directions; fold in the apples.
Fill 12 greased or paper-lined jumbo muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
In a saucepan, cook caramels and milk over low heat until smooth. Spread over cupcakes. Sprinkle with pecans. Insert a wooden sick into the center of each cupcake.
Makes 1 dozen.
Clark also brought Pumpkin Torte, a recipe she brought at last year’s exchange, but it’s so delicious and beautiful, it’s worth publishing again. It also is from Taste of Home.
1 package yellow cake mix
1 15-ounce can solid-pack pumpkin, divided
½ cup milk
1⁄3 cup canola oil
1½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, divided
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 16-ounce carton frozen whipped topping, thawed
¼ cup caramel ice cream topping
1⁄3 cup chopped pecans, toasted
In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, 1 cup pumpkin, milk, eggs, oil and 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice; beat on low for 30 seconds, then on medium for two minutes. Pour into two, greased and floured 9-inch round baking pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the confectioner’s sugar and remaining pumpkin pie spice; beat until smooth. Fold in whipped topping.
Cut each cake horizontally into two layers. Place bottom layer on a serving plate; spread with a fourth of the filling. Repeat layers three times. Drizzle with caramel topping; sprinkle with pecans. Store in refrigerator. Makes 10 to 12 servings.
MANDARIN ORANGE FLUFF
2 small cans of mandarin oranges
1 15-ounce can of crushed pineapple
1 eight-ounce container sour cream
1 package of miniature marshmallows
½ small container of Cool Whip
Mix mandarin oranges (drained), crushed pineapple (with juice), sour cream, miniature marshmallows and Cool Whip. Store in refrigerator overnight to let flavors combine.
PUMPKIN PIE DIP
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
½ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
½ teaspoon ground ginger
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and confection’s sugar until smooth. Beat in pumpkin, sour cream, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and ginger until blended. Serve with gingersnap cookies. Refrigerate leftovers. Yields 4 cups.
(Also good with pear or apple slices and graham crackers.)
Suzanne Smith, former environmental health superviser of the Ashland-Boyd County Health Department, attended the recipe exchange and reminded everyone about food safety during the holidays.
One interesting fact: Don’t wash your hands in the kitchen sink. Restaurants have hand-washing sinks separate from sinks where food is prepared. At home, it’s recommended cooks wash their hands in the bathroom sink.
Ask.com explains hand cleaning this way:
Never use the kitchen sink to wash your hands after you have been doing something in another area of the house and enter the kitchen to start cooking. Of course, after you have washed your hands and started the cooking process, you will rinse and wash your hands many times throughout the cooking of a meal. The kitchen sink can become contaminated if you wash your hands there after using the bathroom. The bacteria can then be introduced to foods such as lettuce and tomatoes that may be placed in the sink. Make it a household practice to wash your hands in the bathroom sink before starting the cooking process.
During food preparation, your hands can become soiled and wet. Always wash them when they become soiled and especially after handling raw meat or poultry. Dry your hands with a towel for hand drying only. Do not use the same towel that you would use to dry clean dishes or to dry the counter. A damp, hand-drying towel may contain bacteria that can grow to millions after several hours.
Smith brought these cheese puffs to share.
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups flour
2 sticks oleo
2 cups Rice Crispies (mashed)
Mix and roll into small marble-sized balls. Slightly mash down with a fork. Bake for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool and store in air-tight container.
One box of any flavor cake mix
Container of frosting, any flavor
1 pounds of candy coating (melting chocolate)
Bake cake as directed on box in 9-by-13 pan. Let cool completely.
Finely crumble cake into large mixing bowl. Add container of frosting and mix well.
Roll into 1½-inch balls and place on waxed paper-covered baking sheet.
Cover with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for several hours or place in freezer for 15 minutes. Balls need to be firm but not frozen.
Place candy coating in microwave-safe bowl. Melt according to instructions on package. Take a few cake balls at a time and dip one at a time into candy coating. Place on waxed paper and let sit.
If you have extra coating, place into zip-lock bag and drizzle over cake balls to decorate.
Makes about 48 balls.
While I don’t claim to be an expert cook, I do like to cook and love to eat. Readers are encouraged to send questions about food and cooking; I’ll try to find the answers. Also, if you’re looking for a specific recipe, send your request, or if you can offer a recipe to someone looking for something specific, please send e-mail to email@example.com.