Baking Cookies Everyone Will Enjoy

Closeup of a tray of fresh baked cookies, Chocolate Chip, oatmeal raisin Chocolate and white chocolate chip cookies on baking sheet and parchment paper -Baking Cookies Everyone Will EnjoyMost everyone enjoys a good cookie. But if you were to take a poll, and ask people what is a good baked cookie for them? Some might say, a cookie that is thin and crispy, another may say, soft and chewy, and yet another, light and cakey.

Crisp and Thin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Image Credit: Thin & Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies by: Handle The Heat

Do you have cookie lovers in your home who may prefer a cookie that is made the way they like it, that is crispy, or chewy, and possibly light and cake like? We have the solution to please all cookie lovers in your life.

To get a Thin & CrispySoft & ChewyLight & Cakey cookie, you need to make a slight modification to the ingredients in the cookie recipe.

Let’s use a basic Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. The following ingredients do not include the butter and sugar, as these ingredients are what determines what your cookies out come will be.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs, room temperature

12 ounces chocolate baking chips

soft and chewy whole grain peanut butter cookie

Image Credit: Soft & Chewy Whole Grain Peanut Butter Cookies – by: An Oregon Cottage

If you want a Thin & Crispy cookie, you add this amount of butter, and sugar, with the addition of brown sugar.

2 1/2 sticks butter, softened

1 1/4 cups sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

If you want a Soft & Chewy cookie, you add this amount of butter, and sugar, with the addition of brown sugar.

2 sticks butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

soft and chewy whole grain peanut butter cookie

Image Credit: Soft & Chewy Whole Grain Peanut Butter Cookies – by: An Oregon Cottage

If you want a Light & Cakey cookie, you add this amount of butter, and sugar, with the addition of brown sugar.

Take note, that in this adjustment you use unsalted butter.

1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

Baking Cookies 101

How does sugar effect cookies? To answer, we will share a little Cookie 101.  All sugars, either granulated, brown, powder or confectioners, have the ability to attract water. By doing so, sugars attraction of moisture helps keep it away from structure builders of the cookie, like the starch and proteins that are present in the flour and eggs.

The adjustment in the amount of sugar you do or do not put will determine the structure or substance of your baked cookies.

Another suggestion that will help to please your cookie lovers is using room temperature ingredients, particularly the butter and eggs.

How many recipes have you seen that call for room-temperature butter and eggs? Quite a few. Bon Appetit says that it’s a step you should not ignore, as many baked goods start by creaming together butter and sugar, which is made infinitely easier with gently warmed ingredients.

Is creaming the butter and sugar a big deal? Yes it is. Bon Appetit says, “Creaming together butter and sugar with a handheld or stand mixer, for example, should be done before the addition of wetter ingredients, like eggs. Why? The fat in butter holds air, and when whipped, expands. In the creaming process, sharp sugar granules slice through the butter, creating air pockets that ultimately give the pastry lift. Skip that step (or do it half-heartedly) and your end result will be dense and heavy (BonAppetit).

Here is Amanda Grant, editor of The Co-operative Food magazine to show us how to properly cream butter and sugar together.

Now you know how to make a cookie, that all cookie lovers in your life will go for. And you may just become, the Master Baker At Baking The Perfect Cookie.

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National Popcorn Day 2016

Mint cup full of popcorn -  National Popcorn Day 2016Popcorn is an amazingly versatile grain. With a little imagination and some common household ingredients, you can make tasty and original snacks in no time at all.

Popcorn Nutritional Information Infographic

Infographic Shows Using Canola Oil – Here at Splendid Recipes and More we suggest Coconut oil or Olive oil – Read More: Could Canola Oil Be Effecting Your Health

Here are some great reason’s to enjoy popcorn as a healthy snack.

  • Air-popped popcorn has only 30 calories per cup; oil-popped popcorn has only 35 calories per cup
  • When lightly buttered, popcorn contains about 80 calories per cup
  • Popcorn is a whole grain, making it a good-for-you food
  • Popcorn provides energy-producing complex carbohydrates
  • Popcorn contains fiber, providing roughage the body needs in the daily diet
  • Popcorn is naturally low in fat and calories
  • Popcorn has no artificial additives or preservatives, and is sugar-free
  • Popcorn is ideal for between meal snacking since it satisfies and doesn’t spoil the appetite
  • 3 cups of popcorn equal one serving from the grain group
  • Here are some great recipes to try with popcorn

Celebrate National Popcorn Day

Celebrations are a huge part of Mexico’s vibrant and colorful culture. Do a Google search for – Mexican holidays – and you will find fiestas abound throughout Mexico taking place throughout the year.

Here’s a spicy popcorn snack with peanuts and a kicking smoky adobe coating.

Adobo and Roasted Peanut Popcorn

bowl of fresh made Adobo and Roasted Peanut Popcorn on a table4 quarts popcorn, no butter or salt, air popped or see here the perfect way to make popcorn Organic Coconut Popcorn

1/4 cup peanuts

1 egg white

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from one 7-ounce can chipotle chilies in adobo sauce; reserve chilies for other use) or optional to use 1 tablespoon chipotle pepper sauce

1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  Spread popcorn and peanuts onto prepared baking sheet.

In a small bowl, whisk together egg white, sugar, adobo sauce and salt until foamy.  Pour over popcorn and toss to coat evenly.

Bake 20 minutes, stirring once midway through baking time.  Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

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Popcorn happens to be one American’s oldest foods whose roots reach back thousands of years. Some of the oldest ears of popcorn were found in 1948 in west central New Mexico. These ears were proven to be about 4,000 years old.

Early American settlers learned from the natives how to make popcorn. They threw the kernels directly into a fire or heated sand. Once the corn was popped it was pounded into a fine, powdery meal and later mixed with water for eating.

a bowl of Tex Mex Mix PopcornTex Mex Mix Popcorn

2 quarts popcorn popped in oil

2 teaspoons ground chili powder

2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 cup cubed Monterey Jack cheese (about 1/4 inch cubes)

Keep popped popcorn warm. Mix seasonings together and toss with popcorn.

Add cheese and mix thoroughly.

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Here’s a great way to have a healthy snack.

Power Packed Popcorn Cookies with a glass of milk in the back ground on a tablePower Packed Popcorn Cookies

1/4 cup whole wheat or all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup toasted wheat germ

1/2 cup oatmeal

1/2 cup flaked coconut

3 cups popped popcorn

1 cup raisins, dried cranberries or other dried fruit, chopped

1/2 cup sunflower seeds or chopped nuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Lightly spray baking sheets with cooking spray and set aside.

In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, soda and salt; set aside.

Cream butter and sugar together and add egg and vanilla, and mix well. Stir in flour mixture and wheat germ and oatmeal until well blended.

Next add coconut, popcorn, raisins and sunflower seeds, if desired, and mix until well blended.

Drop by rounded teaspoons onto baking sheet, allowing 2 inches between cookies to allow for spreading.

Bake 7–8 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

Allow cookies to cool on pan 5 minutes before removing to racks to cool completely. Recipe yields 4 dozen cookies.

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READ MORE: Smart Snacking For Better Health

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Here’s one for the kids to enjoy.

a dinner plate of Popcorn Crusted Macaroni and CheesePopcorn Crusted Macaroni and Cheese

8 ounces elbow macaroni

4 tablespoons butter, divided

2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 1/2 cups milk

1-8 oz. (2 cups) package shredded sharp cheddar cheese

5 cups popped popcorn

1/2 teaspoon parsley flakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Butter an 8×8-inch baking pan with 1 tablespoon butter; set aside.

Cook and drain macaroni according to package directions; set aside.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

Whisk in flour, mustard, salt and pepper; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Whisk in milk and cook, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens; about 10 minutes.

Stir in cheese until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth.

Stir macaroni into sauce; pour macaroni mixture into prepared pan.

Melt remaining tablespoon of butter and toss with popcorn and parsley flakes.

Spread popcorn over macaroni and bake 10 minutes.

Images and Recipes Adapted From: Popcorn.org giving all people ways and reasons to enjoy popcorn.

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National Gluten Free Baking Week

National Gluten Free Baking Week According to National Day Calendar, December 13th thru the 19th, it’s “Gluten Free (GF) Baking Week.

Gluten is a complex protein found in wheat, rye and barley and for some people that spells trouble.

Why Gluten Free Baking?

Gluten Free Blueberry Lemon Bread

Gluten Free Blueberry Lemon Bread – Click Image For Recipe

GF baking is one that excludes any type of flour that has gluten, which is a particular protein composite found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale.

Without becoming too technical or medical, wheat, rye and barley wreaks havoc on some, if not many individuals their digestive tract.

Gluten free baking doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite traditional desserts. It just means modifying your desserts by using gluten free flour choices.

Gluten Free Flour Options For Baking

Creative minds have discovered ways to bake with GF flours, and such flours can be found at your local market. Let’s examine in short what some of your choices are.

Bean Flours

Including garbanzo bean flour and romano bean flour, these flours are typically high in protein and have a distinct flavor. They are better suited for heartier recipes, such as breads.

Brown Rice Flour

This is a supplementary flour, and works great when blended with teff, buckwheat or sorghum flours. It is great for baking those sweet desserts.

Millet Flour

This is a light in color and a drier flour than most other gluten free flours. It is best when mixed with heartier flours, like Teff, Hemp, or almond flours.

Gluten Free Carrot Cake with a Cream Cheese Frosting

Gluten Free Carrot Cake with a Cream Cheese Frosting – Click Image For Recipe

 

Buckwheat Flour

Yes, it has wheat in the title, but this flour is related not to wheat but to the rhubarb plant. It has a distinct taste, which makes it best when combined with other, more bland flours.

This flour alternative for use in muffins, cakes and pancakes. In order to work well with the dough, adding a starch would help, like arrowroot, tapioca, or a nongmo cornstarch.

Sorghum Flour 

Made from sorghum, which is a relative of sugarcane. It’s tender and adds a mild sweetness, but is rarely used alone.

Coconut Flour

This flour lends a pleasant flavor to baked goods. Since coconut flour absorbs moisture more than other flours, it is suggested for recipes that have at least as much liquid as flour required in a recipe. Because this can be a tricky art, it’s suggested that as a beginner, you use recipes specifically designed for coconut flour.

Almond Flour

This is a great choice for baking. Using almond flour to a dessert recipe will add moistness, binding, a light almond flavor, and a good amount of density to cupcakes, muffins, brownies, cookies, breads, and cake recipes.

Keep in mind that any nut flour cannot be substituted in equal quantities for flour, because nut flours are more dense and very high in protein. They can be used to replace a portion of other GF flours, such as Oat Flour, being used in the recipe.

Buying Commercial Gluten Free Flour Choices

Gluten Free Zucchini Cranberry Bread

Gluten Free Zucchini Cranberry Bread – Click Image For Recipe

Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour

Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free is a fine blend using as its base garbanzo beans, potato starch, and tapioca, to name a few of the ingredients. See Bob speaking here about his flour choices, along with nutritional information, reviews, and GF recipes.

King Arthur Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour

King Arthur Flour is a blend of white rice and whole grain brown rice flours, along with tapioca and potato starch. What’s great about this product is that ‘it’s multi-purpose’ and can therefore be used for both baking and cooking, cup-for-cup, the same as any gluten flour product.

Tips For Beginners Of Gluten-Free Baking

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cheesecake

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cheesecake – Click Image For Recipe

Experiment, experiment and experiment. There is a learning curve when you first start with Gluten free baking, but once you get some practice and experience you will become an expert about what works and what dosen’t.

Stay with it and don’t get discouraged. There will be failed recipes because you have to learn which flour combinations work best, but it just takes practice and testing. It’s best to get guidance from recipe books or online guides when first trying your hand at gluten free baking.

Begin with simple baking recipes and learn the basics.

Try some of our gluten free dessert recipes by clicking on the images above that are accompanying this article, or by clicking the links below.

Gluten Free Tropical Carrot Cake

Gluten-Free Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes

Gluten Free Carrot Cake Pancakes with Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce

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National Cocoa Day With A Chocolate Tiramisu

National Cocoa DayA hot cup of cocoa is the same as a hot cup of chocolate. Today December 13th according to National Day Calendar, it is National  Cocoa Day. What a great month to have such a day, as the day are getting colder, and a cup of hot cocoa seems the hot beverage to recognize. Even more so, that it is a wintry windy and rainy morning outside at the moment.

National Day Calendar notes that in their research on this day, they were unable to find the creator of National Cocoa Day.

But hey, what a great excuse to make a Chocolate Tiramisu, while enjoying a cup of hot chocolate or hot cocoa. If you enjoy the traditional tiramisu prepared with espresso, you’ll excite your taste buds with a chocolate tiramisu!

Here is what you will need to prepare your own Chocolate Tiramisu, while enjoying a nice cup of hot chocolate.

Chocolate Tiramisu

1¾ cup heavy cream, divided

1  cup coconut sugar or granulated sugar

16 ounces mascarpone cheese

¼ tsp. Himalayan salt

2 tsp. vanilla extract

6 oz semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped

24-30 lady fingers

2 cups prepared hot chocolate, strong, cooled to room temperature

With an electric mixer, beat whipping cream with sugar on medium speed until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes.

Mix in salt, vanilla, and mascarpone cheese until combined.

Using a pastry bag, pipe a small amount of the cream mixture into the bottoms of 6 – 10 to 12 ounce dessert glasses.

Break lady fingers into pieces first, so they fit, then dip in hot chocolate and place in a single layer over cream mixture. Pipe in some more cream mixture, repeating layers, ending with the cream mixture.

Top with a dusting of unsweetened cocoa powder, and top with shaved dark chocolate or real chocolate sprinkles.

Enjoy at room temperature or chilled.

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National Candy Corn Day

National Candy Corn DayEvery Halloween, bags of triangle-shaped, yellow, orange and white candies fill trick-or-treat bags all over the country. If you guessed “Candy Corn” as the candy, you are right.

Every October 30th is “Candy Corn Day.” The candy is basically made of sugar, corn syrup, confectioners wax, artificial coloring and binders.

Candy corn has been around for more than 100 years. George Renninger of the Wunderlee Candy Company invented the candy around 1880, and was originally popular among farmers.

Jelly Belly candy corn

 Jelly Belly – Candy Makers

The Goelitz Candy Company started making candy corn in 1900 and still makes it today, although the name has changed to the Jelly Belly Candy Company.

Most candy company’s will say candy corn is only five calories a piece and zero fat.

When people see a food being described as zero fat, it has to be good for you. But the fact is, that is NOT TRUE.

Corn syrup has been linked to weight gain.  A recent study (June 2015) at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois found that, matched calorie for calorie with the simple sugar glucose, fructose (Corn syrup is a fructose sugar derived from corn) causes significant weight gain, physical inactivity, and body fat deposition (Science Daily).

Another study in 2011 at the Oregon Health & Science University used functional MRI images to gauge responses to fructose and sucrose alike on the brain. They used nine human volunteers, all who were of normal weight. They found in the part of the brain that controls responses to food, that there was a reaction to glucose that was opposite that of the reaction to fructose. The scientists stated that these results support previous research on animals and link fructose to obesity (Natural News).

But enough of the “Bearer of Bad News.” If you eat a healthy diet every day, a little candy corn will not hurt you to enjoy it this day, National Candy Corn Day.

Here are a few ways to enjoy the candy.

Candy Corn MartiniFor those of you who may through an Adult Halloween Party, here is a  Candy Corn Martini by Whiskey Blue in West Los Angeles.

They say candy corn is a Halloween staple, and while enjoying munching on everyone’s favorite Halloween treat try sipping on this martini.  Find the martini recipe by Linking Here.

If you go elaborate at giving out goodies to children who arrive to your door the early evening of Halloween, then here are some great cupcake ideas using candy corn.

Candy Corn Cupcakes

               Image Credit: The Sugar Turntable

 

 

Candy Corn Cupcakes – These celebratory cupcakes by The Sugar Turntable are easy to make.

Find the step-by-step instructions by Linking Here.

Candy Corn Cupcake

          Image Credit: Your HomeBased Mom

 

 

Your HomeBased Mom has a delectable recipe as well for candy corn cupcakes.

She says, Candy Corn Cupcakes are sure to be the hit of any Halloween Party you have been invited to attend. Get the recipe by Linking Here.

 

 

 

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Enjoying Flourless Baking

Enjoying Flourless Baking

At the end of our featured article there is a recipe: Simple Almond Cookies (baked without flour)

Many people have gone flourless for specific health reasons. Some do so because they the gluten in flour aggravates other medical conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis or asthma. Others believe avoiding flour can help them feel better.

Celiac disease is one of the main reasons for going flourless. It is one of the most common autoimmune diseases. In fact, in the last 50 years, one in 133 people have been diagnosed with the disease. Another reason for eliminating flour in your baking is to reduce carbohydrates. White flour is high in carbs, though 100% whole wheat flour has less.

Removing flour from your diet can improve your health. Going with an all-natural diet like the Paleo Diet, can help free the body from chronic diseases such as:

  • Obesity
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Type II diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Autoimmune diseases (multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, etc.)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Acne
  • Myopia (nearsightedness), macular degeneration, glaucoma
  • Varicose veins
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Diverticulosis, gastric reflux
  • Gout

Other reasons to go flourless could be due to an allergy to wheat or gluten. You may want a more natural diet that reduces many diseases and health problems. Maybe you just want to reduce the amount of carbs you take in every day. Going flourless may be very beneficial and just what the doctor ordered.

Tips for Flourless Baking

Flourless baking can be a real trial-and-error process. Flour, when used in baking, adds body, structure, texture and flavor to baked goods. It often acts as a binder, attaching ingredients together. When you remove the flour, you have to add something else in its place that will perform the same function.

Here are some tips to help achieve better baking results when going flourless.

  1. To increase the nutrition value, substitute up to 1/4 cup ground flaxseeds plus 1/4 cup water for 1/4 cup flour in a recipe (flax will absorb more moisture).
  1.  To add more moisture to your recipe, add gelatin, extra egg or oil. Honey or rice malt syrup helps retain moisture.
  1. Substitute brown sugar for white for more moisture.
  1. To enhance the flavor of flourless foods, add chocolate chips, dried fruits or nuts and double the amount of spices called for.
  1. For better structure, add dry milk solids or cottage cheese to the recipe. Replace evaporated milk for regular milk.
  1. Add extra egg or egg whites if your recipe is too crumbly.
  1. Don’t overbeat since the kneading time is shorter with no gluten to develop.
  1. You can use ground oats in place of flour, but you need ingredients like banana or eggs to bind the ingredients together.
  1. Eggs can replace many functions of gluten such as binding enhancing texture setting the structure of the recipe. Two other starch-based products you can use to bind and thicken are guar gum and xanthan gum. They are interchangeable and used in small amounts.

The key to flourless baking is to experiment. You may have to try different ingredients or amounts to get the flavor and texture you want.

 

simple almond cookies

Image Credit: Recipe.com

Simple Almond Cookies

Makes 32 cookies

 

Nonstick cooking spray, optional

2 1/4 cups whole almonds

3/4 cup sugar

2 egg whites (video included, showing a simple way to separate whites from yolks)

1 teaspoon almond extract or vanilla

32 almond slices (2 tablespoons)

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Spray two large cookie sheets with cooking spray or line with parchment paper (best choice). Set aside.

Finely grind whole almonds and sugar in food processor.

Add egg whites and almond extract and process until mixed well.

Shape a large measuring teaspoonful of mixture into crescent shapes or balls. Arrange 1 inch apart on cookie sheet. Top with an almond slice.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until just brown on the top

Cool on wire racks.

When cool, drizzle tops of cookies with melted chocolate.

 

See our article: Healthy White Flour Substitutes 

 

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Peach and Pecan Cake

Peach Pecan Cake

This dessert is delectable, and will bring a bang to your palate and satisfaction to your tummy. There is no added white or whole wheat flour to this cake., but rather ginger snap cookies, processed in to crumbs.

Ginger is beneficial for many things. Ginger has been studied and reported as having positive results for people who suffer from insomnia and nightmares caused by anxiety. The study was published in 2010 stating, “Positive results have shown that ginger binds to some serotonin receptors. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that affects overall mood and anxiety levels”.

Ginger is also good for cold and flu prevention and treatment, migraine relief, menstrual cramp relief for women, as well as prevention of diabetic nephropathy or kidney damage. Ginger also aides in the digestion processes.

As good as this dessert my be, and it has ginger in it, you will not get any of the above mentioned results. Ginger snap cookies only have a less than 2% ginger root in the cookie. I am not really sure how they even get away with calling them ginger snap cookies!!

But if you wish for the results of what fresh ginger root can do for your health, then purchase it on your next grocery shopping day.

For more information about fresh ginger root, read this article: Benefits of Ginger.

Now for our featured recipe: Peach and Pecan Cake and here is what you will need:

Ingredients for Peach Pecan cake

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
cup packed brown sugar
4 eggs
1/2 cup half-and-half
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup gingersnap crumbs
1 (6-ounce) package almond brickle chips
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup coconut flakes
1 (16-ounce) can sliced peaches, well drained and chopped (not shown on cutting board)
Whipping cream to garnish (optional)

Picture of 9 - inch Square Pan and Parchment Paper

Preheat your oven to 350°F.  Next line the bottom of a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, and set aside.

Picture of Chop Peaches and Process Ginger Snap Cookies

Next open the can of peaches and drain off the juice. Empty the can of peaches and chop them into one inch pieces and place them in a medium bowl and set aside. Place the ginger snap cookies in a food processor and process them to almost flour like texture, then pour the crumbs into a small bowl and set aside.

Picture of Processing Cream Cheese, Brown Sugar and Eggs

Now add room temperature cream cheese and sugar to a food processor and process until well blended and creamy. Next add eggs, one at a time, mixing in after each addition.

Picture of Vanilla and Half & Half

Blend in half-and-half and vanilla.

Picture of Cookie Crumbs, Toffee, Pecans and Coconut

Add ginger crumbs, toffee chips, pecans and coconut, and process on mix for thirty seconds.

Picture of Mix in Peaches

Pour mixture into a large bowl and stir in chopped peaches.

Picture of Pouring Cake and Placing into Oven

Next pour cake mixture into the 9 – inch square prepared pan. Place the cake into the heated oven and bake 35 to 40 minutes or until center is firm (checking with a knife, insert and should come out clean) and edges are golden brown.

Peach Pecan Cake

Plate and serve warm or chilled. Garnish with peach slices whipped cream, and mint or basil, if desired.

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