Just Like Grandma Used To Bake

Ever discover at the last minute that there's an imminent bake sale/potluck/party at the school/church/rec center nearby and you're expected to produce some cakes/pies/cookies? The editors of Taste of Home magazine have been there, and have come up with some winning bake sale recipes that will be instant bestsellers. File these away for a rainy/snowy/busy day.

All recipes from "The Taste of Home Baking Book." (Reader's Digest, 2007)



Triple Chocolate Quick Bread
(Yield: 4 mini-loaves)


INGREDIENTS:
1 cup (6 ounces) miniature semisweet chocolate chips, melted
1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1-1/2 cups applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

GLAZE:
1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon butter
2 to 3 tablespoons half-and-half cream
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch salt

DIRECTIONS:
In a microwave-safe bowl, melt 1 cup chocolate chips; set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and brown sugar. Add eggs and melted chocolate; mix well. Add applesauce and vanilla. Set aside. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips.

Spoon the batter into four greased 5-1/2-in. x 3-in. x 2-in. loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

For glaze, melt chocolate chips and butter in a saucepan; stir in cream. Remove from the heat; stir in sugar, vanilla and salt. Drizzle over warm bread.




Chocolate Dipped Brownies
(Yield: 3 dozen)

INGREDIENTS:
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
2 tablespoons water
4 cups (24 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons shortening
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted


DIRECTIONS:

In a saucepan, bring the sugar, butter and water to a boil over medium heat; remove from the heat. Stir in 1 cup chocolate chips and vanilla; stir until smooth. Cool for 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour, salt and baking soda; stir into chocolate mixture. Stir in 1 cup chocolate chips.

Pour into a greased 9-in. square baking pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 35 minutes or until set. Cool completely. Place in the freezer for 30-40 minutes (do not freeze completely). Cut into bars.

In a heavy saucepan or microwave, melt remaining chips with shortening; stir until smooth. Using a small fork, dip brownies to completely coat; shake off excess. Place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets; immediately sprinkle with nuts.

Let stand until set. Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place.



Apple Ladder Loaf
(Yield: 2 loaves/10 slices each)

INGREDIENTS:
2 packages
1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees to 115 degrees)
1/2 cup warm milk (110 degrees to 115 degrees)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
4-1/2 to 4-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

FILLING:
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1-1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
4 cups thinly sliced peeled tart apples
1/4 cup butter, softened

ICING:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons orange juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


DIRECTIONS:


In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add the milk, butter, sugar, salt, eggs and 2 cups flour. Beat on low speed for 3 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours; punch dough down. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Roll each half into a 12-in. x 9-in. rectangle. Place each on a greased baking sheet. Spread with butter. For filling, combine the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice in a large bowl; add apples and toss to coat. Spread filling down center third of each rectangle.

On each long side, cut 1-in. wide strips about 3 in. into center. Starting at one end, fold alternating strips at an angle across filling; seal ends. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 45-60 minutes.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. Combine icing ingredients until smooth; drizzle over warm loaves. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store in the refrigerator.



Super Chunky Cookies
(Yield: 8-1/2 dozen)


INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup butter-flavored shortening
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup vanilla or white chips
4 squares (1 ounces each) bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup English toffee bits or almond brickle chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans

DIRECTIONS:

In a mixing bowl, cream shortening, butter and sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Stir in the remaining ingredients.

Drop by tablespoonfuls 3 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for 2-3 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.



FUN MARSHMALLOW BARS
(Yields 3-1/2 dozen)

INGREDIENTS:
1 package (18-1/4 ounces) devil's food cake mix
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup water
1 egg
3 cups miniature marshmallows
1 cup milk chocolate M&M's
1/2 cup chopped peanuts


METHOD:

In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry cake mix, butter, water and egg; mix well. Press into a greased 13 inch-x-9 inch-x-2 inch baking pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Sprinkle with marshmallows, M&M's and peanuts. Bake 2-3 minutes longer or until the marshmallows begin to melt. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars.
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