I work for my parents at a place called Jenfab Inc. (Yes, it is named after me and yes, my parents are still business partners even though they’re divorced). It’s a really fun job. I work in the office part-time doing odds and ends and help out the other office workers.
Every year Jenfab has a Thanksgiving dinner for employees. It’s always catered, but this year I decided to make a cake and take it to the dinner. It was a huge success! The entire thing was gobbled up really quickly. Plus, I got to practice my cake decorating skills which always makes me happy.
– 1/2 c shortening
– 1 1/2 c sugar
– 2 eggs
– 1 t vanilla
– 1/2 c + 1 T water
– 2/3 c cocoa
– 1 3/4 c AP flour
– 1 t baking soda
– 1 t baking powder
– 1/2 t salt
– 1 c sour milk (1 c milk + 1 T vinegar)
Grease bottoms and sides of 2 9-inch layer pans. Cream shortening and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition; blend in vanilla. Stir hot water into cocoa to form a smooth paste; gradually add to creamed mixture. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; add alternately with sour milk to creamed mixture. Pour batter into pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until take tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely. Frost with homemade frosting.
Homemade Chocolate Frosting
– 1/2 c butter, room temperature
– 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
– 1/2 c baking cocoa (here’s where I mucked with the recipe a little. I didn’t have 1/2 c of baking cocoa left, so I filled the 1/2 cup measuring cup about 3/4 full and then filled it the rest of the way with hot cocoa mix. It turned out perfect.)
– 1 t vanilla
– 4 c powdered sugar
Place butter and cream cheese in a mixing bowl. Beat until combined – about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and add cocoa and vanilla. Mix until combined. Add powdered sugar and mix until well combined. Beat for an additional couple of minutes. The texture becomes lighter if you beat for a few minutes.
Every year my mom’s side of the family has Thanksgiving dinner together on Thanksgiving day. The location varies, but this year it was at my Granny’s house. I volunteered to bring desserts…shocking.
I decided on these desserts for a couple of reasons: 1) every Thanksgiving dinner needs a pecan dessert and an apple dessert. 2) no Thanksgiving dinner is complete without a pie of some sort. 3) I recently discovered my uncle has a peanut butter obsession just like my mom and I.
The entire peanut butter dessert was scarfed down. It.Was.Amazing. I ate so much of it that everyone thought I was going to be sick.
My aunt said, “you should do this for a living…these are amazing!” If only I could…
The highlight of everything occurred after the dinner, though. My granny asked me for the recipe for my pecan squares. I almost fell in the floor. My granny is the stereotypical perfect-baking-everyone-asks-HER-for-recipes type granny. Her asking me for a recipe was the ultimate compliment.
I love the holidays!
– 2 c AP flour
– 2/3 c confectioners sugar
– 1 1/3 plus 1 T butter, divided
– 1/2 c packed brown sugar
– 1/2 c honey
– 3 T whipping cream
– 3 1/2 c pecans, coarsely chopped
Sift together flour and powdered sugar. Cut into 3/4 cup softened butter using a pastry blender or fork, just until mix resembles coarse crumbs meal. Pat mixture on bottom and 1 1/2″ up sides of lightly greased 13×9 baking pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until edges are lightly golden. Cool. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring brown sugar, honey, 2/3 c butter and whipping cream to a boil. Stir in pecans and pour into prepared crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into 2-inch squares.
Apple Crumb Pie
– 1 c AP flour
– 1/2 t salt
– 1/3 c plus 1 T shortening
– 2-3 T cold water
Mix flour and salt in medium bowl, cut in shortening, using pastry blender or crisscrossing 2 knives, until particles are size of small peas. Sprinkle with cold water, 1 T at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost leaves side of bowl (1-2 t more water can be added if necessary).
Gather pastry into a bowl. Shape into flattened round on lightly floured surface. If desired, wrap flattened round of pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes to firm up shortening slightly, which makes the baked pastry more flaky and lets the water absorb evenly throughout the dough. If refrigerated longer, let pastry soften slightly before rolling.
Roll pastry on lightly floured surface, using floured rolling pin, into circle 2 inches larger than upside down pie plate. Fold pastry into fourths and place in pie plate. Unfold pastry and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and side and being careful not to stretch pastry, which will cause it to shrink when baked.
– 3 lbs granny smith apples
– 2/3 c light brown sugar
– 2 T flour
– 1 t cinnamon
– 1/2 t ground nutmeg
– crumb topping:
- 3/4 c flour
- 1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/3 c softened butter
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, combine apples (pared, cored, and thinly sliced) with sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Place in prepared pastry shell, mounding in center.
Prepare crumb topping. In a small bowl, combine crumb ingredients and blend with fingertips until crumbs are formed. Sprinkle evenly over apples.
Place pie in lower third of the oven. Bake 50-60 minutes. Cool. If desired, dust with confectioners sugar.
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Trifle
Prep: 10 minutes. Total: 2 hr 50 min. Makes 12 servings.
– 1 pouch Betty Crocker peanut butter chip cookie mix
– 1/3 c vegetable oil
– 1 T water
– 1 egg
– 1/2 c butter
– 1/2 c packed brown sugar
– 1/2 c creamy peanut butter
– 1 1/2 c whipping (heavy) cream
– 4 T chocolate syrup
– 2 T chocolate covered peanuts
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Makes cookies as directed on pouch, using oil, water, and egg. Bake and cool as directed. Cut each cookie into fourths.
Melt butter and brown sugar in 1-quart saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture is smooth. Stir in peanut butter until well blended. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
Beat whipping cream in chilled medium bowl with electric mixer on high speed until soft. Fold whipped cream into peanut butter mixture.
Place half of the cookie pieces in bottom of 2-quart glass bowl. Drizzle cookies with chocolate syrup. Spoon half of peanut butter mixture over cookies. Top with remaining cookies, chocolate syrup, and peanut butter mixture. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours but no longer than 12 hours. Sprinkle with peanuts.