Diana's Desserts Newsletter
Edition Number #12
October 4, 2003
Welcome Home Bakers and Friends,
In this edition of Diana's Desserts Newsletter, the focus will be on dessert
recipes for the lovely season of autumn and some great little "treats" for
Halloween. I have included in this edition, some delicious desserts I think you
will all enjoy. Also included is a Guest Submitted Recipe for Banana Crumb
Muffins. These delicious muffins are the "comfort food" we are all yearning for
right around this time of year when the cool weather approches; wonderful on a
chilly autumn day.
The Food Tips and Information Section this month is all about Apples and Pears,
which are used so frequently this time of year in pies, cakes, tarts, etc.
Included in this section is a special recipe for Poached Pears with Chocolate
Glaze; a perfect holiday or dinner party dessert.
As always I hope you enjoy the recipes, and that you will let me know how they
turned out if you made any of them.
October Guest Submitted Recipe
Banana Crumb Muffins
Recipe submitted by: Sugar Cookie
Servings: Makes 10 muffins
This recipe yields the most fragrant and delicious crumb topped
muffins your pat of butter will ever glaze!
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
3 bananas, mashed
3/4 cup white
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup brown
1/8 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C). Grease 10 muffin cups.
Beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Add the 1 1/2 cups
self-rising flour. Mix just until combined; do not over mix or muffins will be
Combine the last four ingredients with fork until crumbly. Sprinkle over
muffins. Bake muffins for 18-20 minutes.
Makes 10 muffins
Submitted by: Sugar Cookie
Date September 16, 2003
Thank you Sugar Cookie for the recipe for these wonderful muffins. They are so
nice this time of year, served warm and spread with butter.....Diana
Click here to view recipe and photo of Banana Crumb Muffins on Diana's Desserts
Makes 9 servings
A very warming dessert for a cool, brisk autumn evening. Serve with a
scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.
5 cups thinly sliced, peeled tart apples (such as Cortland, Granny
Smith, Jonathan, or Rome Beauty)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup granulated
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 beaten egg
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/3 cup margarine or
Vanilla Ice Cream or whipped cream (optional)
Lightly grease a 2-quart square baking dish. Spread the apples in
the dish. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the walnuts, the 1/4 cup sugar, and the
cinnamon. In a medium mixing bowl stir together flour, the 1/2 cup sugar, and
the baking powder.
In a small bowl combine egg, evaporated milk, and melted margarine. Stir the egg
mixture into the dry ingredients until smooth. Pour evenly over apples; sprinkle
with remaining walnuts.
Bake in a 325 degree F (160 C) oven for 50 to 55 minutes or until a wooden
toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cut into squares and serve
warm. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream, if
Makes 9 servings
Click here to view recipe and photo of Apple-Walnut Cobbler on Diana's Desserts
Chocolate Pecan Layer Cake
Makes 12 servings
Pecans and chocolate, a wonderful autumn combination! One of the best
cakes I have ever tasted. A favorite of friends and family alike. Serve with
coffee or a big glass of milk for the kids.
2 sticks (1 cup/8 oz.) unsalted butter
1 cup Coca-Cola (or any
other coke-like cola brand)
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract or vanilla flavoring
1 stick (1/2 cup/4 oz.) unsalted butter
2 tbsp. Coca-Cola (or
any other coke-like cola brand)
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract or flavoring
6-8 tbsp. buttermilk
cup pecans, chopped or 1 cup pecan chips
1 package pecan halves for decorating
top of cake (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). Grease and flour 2 or 3
(9-inch) round cake pans.
(Note: I often use "Cake Release" made by Wilton, instead of using flour and
butter or shortening for preparing my cake pans. Just brush it on the cake pan
with a pastry brush, and that's it. It can be purchased through King Arthur
Flour online. Click on King Arthur Flour logo on any page of Diana's Desserts
website to bring you to their website.)
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add Coca-Cola and cocoa
and bring to a boil, stirring often. Remove from heat.
Sift the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt together into the saucepan. Stir
until mixed in well. Add the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla extract and mix well.
Pour batter into 2 or 3, (9-inch) round cake pans (depending on if you want a 2
or 3 layer cake). Bake for 22-30 minutes (depending on whether you use 2 or 3
cake pans) until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cakes
cool completely on wire cooling racks before removing from pans, about 1 hour.
Melt butter in a large saucepan, add cocoa and Coca-Cola, and
heat to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Remove from heat and cool
slightly. Sift in confectioners' sugar and stir until mixed well. Stir in pecans
and vanilla extract. Let cool enough to be fairly thick. Assemble cake layers,
frosting each layer, and top and sides of cake. If desired, decorate top of cake
with pecan halves along the edges around cake, and make a design with pecan
halves in the center of top of cake.
Makes 12 servings
Click here to view recipe and photo of Chocolate Pecan Layer Cake on Diana's
Makes 6 servings
A favorite in the American South, this pie has a filling of
buttermilk, butter, eggs, flour and sugar, plus flavorings like lemon juice,
vanilla and nutmeg. It's similar to but tangier than Chess Pie.
3 large eggs, separated
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 tbsp. vanilla
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 9-inch pie
Grated nutmeg, (optional)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 C).
Beat egg yolks slightly with a wire whisk; add buttermilk and vanilla and mix
together. Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a mixing bowl. Gradually stir
in buttermilk mixture; blend thoroughly and pour into pie shell. Bake at 425
degrees F (220 C) for 10 minutes, then at 350 degrees F (180 C) for 30-40
minutes until knife inserted 1 inch from center comes out clean and center is
partially set. Chill well. Serve chilled with a sprinkle of grated nutmeg on
each slice, if desired.
If desired, serve topped with whipped cream or with a meringue
made of 3 egg whites plus 1/4 cup sugar. Bake meringue in a moderate oven (350
degrees F/180 C) for 12-15 minutes until delicately browned.
Makes 6 servings.
Chocolate Buttermilk Pie
Add 4 oz. melted unsweetened chocolate and increase the
sugar by 1/4 cup.
Lemon Buttermilk Pie
Add 1 teaspoon lemon peel to the dry ingredients and 3
tablespoons lemon juice to the buttermilk-egg mixture, omitting vanilla.
Click here to view recipe and photo of Buttermilk Pie on Diana's Desserts
Chocolate Dipped Caramel Apples for Halloween
Makes 6 Chocolate Dipped Caramel Apples
These are especially fun to make, but of course adult supervision is
needed for making these tasty treats. After dipping in chocolate, if you like,
roll apples in chopped nuts and coconut flakes.......Diana
1 package (14 ounces) caramels
1 tablespoon water
6 medium apples
ounces milk or semisweet chocolate confectionery coating, coarsely chopped
wooden craft sticks
White decorating icing
Line baking sheet with waxed paper. Unwrap caramels. Combine
caramels and water in medium saucepan; cook over medium heat, stirring
constantly, until caramels are melted.
Rinse and thoroughly dry apples; insert wooden sticks into stem ends. Dip
apples, 1 at a time, into caramel mixture, coating completely. Remove excess
caramel mixture by scraping apple bottom across rim of saucepan. Place on waxed
Place semisweet chocolate confectionery coating in small saucepan. Cook over low
heat, stirring frequently, until coating is melted. Dip apples halfway into
coating. Return to waxed paper. After dipping in chocolate, if you like, roll
apples in chopped nuts and coconut flakes.
Use icing to write names on apples. Use small amount of
additional icing to secure desired decorations on apples (if using). Refrigerate
Makes 6 Chocolate Dipped Caramel Apples.
Click here to view recipe and photo of Chocolate Dipped Caramel Apples on
Diana's Desserts Website.
Crispy "Ghostly" Snacks
Makes 10 Crispy "Ghostly" Snacks
Use this popular rice krispies cereal and the helping hands of your
little "goblins" to create a special Halloween treat in minutes.
1/4 cup margarine or butter
1 package (5 cups) miniature
marshmallows or 40 regular marshmallows
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal
Frosting or melted chocolate chips
In large saucepan over low heat, melt margarine. Add marshmallows
and stir until melted and well blended. Remove from heat.
Add cereal; stir until well coated.
With slightly moistened hands, form warm cereal mixture into ghost shapes, using
a generous 1/2 cup for each. Insert wooden sticks.
Sprinkle with flaked coconut. Create eyes and mouth with icing or melted
chocolate and candies. Cool completely and wrap individually in plastic wrap.
Makes 10 Crispy Ghostly Snacks.
Variation: Omit coconut. Melt about 7 oz. white chocolate wafers or chips. Spoon
over ghosts. Decorate with candies.
In a microwave safe bowl, heat margarine and marshmallows
at HIGH for 3 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes. Stir until smooth. Follow steps
Note: Cooking times are for 700 watt microwave ovens; increase by 15-30 seconds
for lower wattage ovens.
Click here to view recipe and photo of Crispy Ghostly Snacks on Diana's Desserts
Food Tips and Information Section
Autumn Fruits-Apples and Pears
There are so many varieties (over 7,500 in the world) that apples are in season
most of the year, but crispy fall apples are part of the joy of cooler weather.
Whether you need apples for snacks or for baking, there's a perfect apple out
Did you know that apples are about 25 percent air? That's why they float. They
were also a favorite fruit of the Greeks and Romans. And those beautiful bowls
of fresh apples on the kitchen counter may look great, but the best way to store
apples is in the refrigerator.
Apples supply vitamin C, fiber from the skins, some potassium, and a smattering
of other nutrients.
All About Apples
How to Select:
There are many types of apples. Certain ones are best for
For Pies: Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious,
Jonathan, Pippin, York Imperial
For Baking whole: Jonathan, Northern Spy, York Imperial, Baldwin, Golden
Delicious, Red Delicious
For Applesauce: McIntosh, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Rome Beauty, Winesap
How to Store:
Store apples in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator. Keep
apples away from foods with strong odors such as cabbage or onions to prevent
How to Cook:
Peel and/or cut apples just before you plan to use them, since
apples begin to discolor as soon as the flesh is exposed to air. While a sharp
paring knife is the best tool, a vegetable peeler can also be used. Place sliced
apples in a bowl of cold water, adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to each quart
of water to keep them from turning brown.
Tips on Slicing, Coring, Baking and Uses of Apples
Traditional slicing methods call for quartering and coring apples. Another way
is to shave off slices from the outside with a paring knife, turning the apple
in quarter turns. Continue slicing until you reach the core, and then discard
the core. If you need to peel the apple, always do so before cutting up the
If you need to core an apple, a melon baller is the best tool to use. Cut the
apples in half, and then use the large side of a melon baller; it will remove
the core and seeds and leave an even, circular hole. You can also use an apple
corer which can be purchased at most supermarkets and cooking stores.
Prick the skin of apples a few times with the tip of a paring knife before
baking to keep them from bursting. To keep baked apples from shrinking, remove a
horizontal slice of peel from around the middle.
If using apples in fruit salad, combine them with citrus fruits such as oranges.
Squeeze some of the orange juice over the diced apples and then toss them with
the orange sections. The juice will keep the apples from darkening.
Apples keep longer if you make sure they don't touch one another.
A medium apple is about 3 inches in diameter
1 medium apple = 5-6 ounces
pound = 4 small, 3 medium, or 2 large apples = 4-1/2 cups cored and sliced
apples, 3 cups diced apples or 1-1/2 cups applesauce
For one 9-inch pie:
Purchase about 2-1/2 pounds of apples
Because of the many varieties of pears, they are pretty much available
year-round; however, August through October is the height of pear season.
Varieties of pears you're likely to find in your supermarket at this time of
year are Bartlett (called "Williams" in many other parts of the world outside
the USA), Anjou, and Bosc.
Pears, like bananas, seldom ripen on the tree. If tree ripened, the flesh will
become mealy. Therefore, growers pick pears when they are mature but still green
and firm. This way, they ripen in the marketplace or at home. As they ripen,
their flesh gets sweeter, juicier, and softer. Their texture and flavor are best
at cool room temperature. When eaten with their skins, pears are a good source
of dietary fiber and vitamin C.
Pears are also terrific cooked, becoming even creamier and mellower. Cooking
time depends on the type and ripeness of the fruit. Riper pears are best for
sauce or puree, while less ripe fruit will hold its shape and be suitable for
baking or poaching.
Types of Pears
Here are some of the more common pear varieties sold in the United States.
This pear of French origin is green or red-skinned and nearly egg-shaped
in appearance, with a round heavy bottom that gradually tapers off at the top.
It has a medium sweet, juicy flavor and makes a good eating or cooking pear.
Anjou's are available September through July, it does not turn color as it
Bartlett pears descended from an English seed. Green ones ripen to a
golden color and red ones turn a dark crimson. A classic bell shape, Bartletts
are known for their strong "pear" taste, aromatic quality and buttery texture
when cooked, making them a natural for canning. Currently about 70 percent of
Bartlett pear production is used for canning. They are sometimes called the
Williams pear. Available August through December.
With a long curved neck and full round base, the Bosc is the most elegant
of the pears. Claimed by both the French and the Belgians, it has an earthy
brown cinnamon-color with a firm, dense flesh that makes it best for baking,
broiling and poaching. Available September through April.
The sweetest and juiciest of all the pears, Comice are a favorite in
holiday gift baskets. They are full and round with a short neck and a
yellow-greenish color, kissed with a reddish blush. Buttery soft in texture it
is best served with cheese or eaten out of hand. Comice pears bruise easily.
Available September through March.
French Butter Pear
The French Butter pear has a juicy, buttery flavor and only
recently arrived on the market. In the past it was used mainly in baby foods.
A small German pear with extraordinary beauty, Forelles have a brilliant
yellow blush with pronounced red freckles. They have a sweet, juicy flesh and
are ideal for salads and fruit and cheese platters. Available September through
A sturdy winter baking pear, Nellis are small with brown russeting over a
light yellow-green skin. Taste is both sweet and spicy. Available October
The smallest of the commercially grown pears, Seckles are a dark maroon
or olive-green color. Sweet and spicy, they are small enough to be canned whole
and are ideal sliced in half as an attractive plate garnish. Available September
Poached Pears with Chocolate Glaze
Makes 6 servings
Here's a beautiful and delicious dessert for your next party or
holiday dinner; sweet, chocolatey, and refreshing. If possible use Bosc pears
for making this mouthwatering dessert. Bosc pears tend to stand up very well for
this type of dessert. My second choice would be the Bartlett pear. Bartletts are
great, as they are an all-purpose pear. Whichever type you choose, make sure the
pear is ripe, but still somewhat firm.
3 cups water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 lemon peel twist (2-inch)
fresh ripe Bosc pears, or other ripe firm pears (such as Bartlett)
(best quality) semi-sweet baking chocolate
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
Combine water, sugar and lemon twist in a large saucepan; bring to
a boil. Peel pears and trim slightly to level bottom; remove core from blossom
end, leaving stem intact. Add pears to poaching liquid; reduce heat. Cover and
simmer gently about 8 to 10 minutes or until tender when pierced with tip of
sharp knife; turn and baste occasionally. Remove pears from liquid; stand on
flat dish. Cool. Melt chocolate and shortening over very low heat. Dry pears
with paper towels. Holding each pear carefully by the stem, spoon chocolate
mixture over pear to coat. Let stand in cool pace to set chocolate. Arrange
pears on serving dish.
Makes 6 servings
Click here to view recipe and photo of Poached Pears with Chocolate Glaze on
Diana's Desserts Website.
Until Next Month
November is a very important and festive time for us in the United States.
Thanksgiving falls on November 27th this year, and this special day starts off
the "Holiday" season. Chanukah, Christmas and Kwanzaa follow in December, and
then of course New Years on January 1st.
I will be including in November's edition of Diana's Desserts Newsletter several
recipes for Thanksgiving desserts, and also information on the types of foods
served for this wonderful family holiday.
I wish you all a great October, and for those of you (and your children) who
celebrate Halloween, have a fun time.
Please submit your favorite dessert recipes to Diana's Desserts for the Holiday
Season. I know guests to Diana's Desserts website would appreciate some new and
fresh dessert ideas for Thanksgivng, Christmas, etc.
Click here to Submit a Recipe to Diana's Dessert Website.