Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Uncle Meek's Chocolate Pie

My family comes from a rich tradition of cooking. My grandfather loves to bake especially, and has just recently opened up his stash of recipes to me. But the Beethoven's 9th of our family's recipes is my Uncle Meek's chocolate pie.

My Uncle Meek is actually my grandmother's brother (which would actually make him my great uncle, I think). His name is really Mike, but when I was little I mispronounced it Meek and it just stuck. Uncle Meek lives in Texas and every time I would visit him and my Aunt Carolyn, they would have a plethora of pies on standby, just waiting for me to eat.

He made a great pecan pie, a wonderful chess, but the best of the best was his chocolate pie. Lots of people had his recipe, but nobody made it quite as good as he could. That pie made the thirteen hours it took us to drive to Texas worth it.

I finally got my hands on Uncle Meek's Chocolate Pie recipe and just had to try it out. It's rather an unorthodox pie. You make the filling in the microwave. I was very skeptical of the method and was sure it wouldn't work and that Uncle Meek had been tricking us all these years. But, lo and behold, it was the most delicious pie I think I've ever made.

So, without further ado, the cherished Uncle Meek's Chocolate Pie.

Uncle Meek's Chocolate Pie
Yield: 1 9" pie

2 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 can evaporated milk
Dash of salt
1 1/2 cups water
6 egg yolks, beaten
1 (12-oz.) bag semisweet chocolate chips
1 9" pie shell, pre-baked

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together flour and sugar.
2. Mix in evaporated milk, salt, water, and egg yolks.
3. Microwave on high for 9 minutes, stirring at 8 minutes left, 7 minutes left, 6 minutes left, and 3 minutes left.
4. Strain the mixture over a bowl.
5. Mix in the chocolate chips until fully incorporated.
6. Pour into the prepared pie crust and refrigerate at least 8 hours, or until ready to serve.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sugar Cookies

To my horror, I discovered this week that I don't have a basic baker's repertoire. I can make ice cream and double chocolate gooey butter cake all day long, but I've never even made a chocolate chip cookie from scratch.

I decided that this must end. I need to find my cookie recipes, my brownie recipes. I need to get the old standbys under my belt before I go off and bake crazy six-word things.

This week, I started with the most basic of basics. The sugar cookie. Personally, I like sugar cookies to be nice and soft and chewy. I'm not a big fan of the super crunchy kind. I love the Betty Crocker® mix ones, and so I set out to find a recipe that was similar.

Well, I did. And, yes, they were delicious. Although, they were even better the second day, after they'd had time to soften up in the plastic container overnight.

Sugar Cookies
Adapted from:
Yield: About 2 dozen cookies

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and grease a cookie sheet.
2. Place the butter, egg, and vanilla into the bowl of an electric mixer, and beat until combined.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
4. Mix the dry ingredients in with the wet ingredients until combined.
5. Form into balls and place on cookie sheet.
6. Bake for 9-11 minutes.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Crack Pie

I made this pie for my Dad this past week. I thought it tasted like chess pie, but maybe that's just because I haven't had chess pie in a while.

My parents and my brother all thought it was delicious, though, and apparently "nothing like chess pie."

It was a little work, but everyone loved it so much, the work was worth it!

Crack Pie
Adapted from:

For the crust:
       9 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
       5 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
       2 tablespoons granulated sugar
       1 large egg
       3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons rolled oats
       1/2 cup all-purpose flour
       1/8 teaspoon baking powder
       1/8 teaspoon baking soda
       1/4 teaspoon salt
For the filling:
       3/4 cup sugar
       1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
       1 tablespoon nonfat dry milk powder
       1/4 teaspoon salt
       1/2 cup butter, melted
       6 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
       4 large egg yolks
       1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the crust:
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9x13" baking pan.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine 6 tablespoons butter, 4 tablespoons brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Beat until light and fluffy.
3. Add egg; beat until pale and fluffy.
4. Add oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and beat until well blended.
5. Turn oat mixture out onto prepared baking pan; press evenly to edges of pan.
6. Bake 17-18 minutes, or until golden.
7. Transfer to rack and cool completely.
8. Crumble oat cookie into a large bowl.
9. Add 3 tablespoons butter and 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar.
10. Mix with fingers until fully blended.
11. Press into pie pan.
For the pie:
1. Whisk both sugars, milk powder, and salt in medium bowl.
2. Add melted butter and whisk until blended.
3. Add cream, then egg yolks and vanilla and whisk until blended.
4. Pour filling into crust.
5. Bake pie 30 minutes, then reduce temperature to 325ºF.
6. Bake 20 minutes longer until pie is set, but still jiggles slightly in the middle.
7. Cool pie 2 hours in pie dish on rack, then refrigerate overnight.
8. Serve sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Can be stored up to 2 days, refrigerated.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Fruity Pebbles® Crispy Treats

This recipe was requested by my dad. It kind of surprised me, though.

Dad is a a Rice Krispies® Treats purist. He never wants anything in it, never wants any added flavors. Just plain, old Rice Krispie Treats.

But he wanted the Fruity Pebbles Treats, so I would make them. They turned out really delicious. If you like Fruity Pebbles, you will love these.

Fruity Pebbles® Treats
Adapted from:
6 tablespoons butter
80 regular-sized marshmallows (about 2 bags)
12 cups Fruity Pebbles® cereal

1. Line a 9x13" pan with tin foil and spray with cooking spray.
2. Melt together butter and marshmallows in a large saucepan on medium-high heat, stirring often until completely incorporated (no white marshmallow spots).
3. Remove from heat, and immediately stir in the Fruity Pebbles®. Try to combine gently so you don't crush the cereal.
4. Press mixture evenly into the 9x13" pan (spraying your hand with cooking spray will help it not to stick).
5. Let sit for at least two hours, cut, and serve.

Can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


My mom asked me to make these cookie bars. I was a little leery at first because, in general, I'm not much of an oatmeal person.

I kid you not, I could eat the cookie dough with a spoon. It was delicious. Cooked, it was even better. It was like heaven. Chewy, chocolate-y, carmel-filled heaven.

Adapted from:
64 caramel squares, unwrapped
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups butter, melted
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 cups flour
2 cups rolled oats
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 (12-oz.) bag semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
2. Melt caramels and cream together in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.
3. Mix until completely smooth; set aside.
4. In a large bowl, combine the melted butter, brown sugar, flour, rolled oats, and baking soda.
5. Pat half of the oatmeal mixture into the bottom of a greased 9x13" pan.
6. Bake for 10 minutes or until edges are slightly browned.
7. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the crust.
8. Pour caramel mixture over chocolate chips.
9. Sprinkle the remaining oatmeal mixture over the caramel.
10. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the edges are slightly browned.
11. Cool completely before cutting. Place in the fridge, if it needs to firm up more.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Chuy's® Creamy Jalapeño Dip

Chuy's is relatively new to our area. It's been around for... a year or so? And it's still the busiest place in town. Unless you eat dinner at 4:30, don't expect to be seated within the half hour on a Friday or Saturday night.

Needless to say, Chuy's' is delicious. But the absolute best thing about it is their Creamy Jalapeño Dip. It's a mix of ranch, jalapeños, and straight-up goodness. I don't like ranch or jalapeños, but somehow this dip has become my new favorite.

Just one problem. They don't sell it. You have to get your fix by scraping the tidbits out of the bowl at the restaurant. This just wouldn't do.

So I made some. And it tastes exactly like it. Maybe even better. Be forewarned, though, this recipe makes quite a bit, almost two quarts. You can cut it in half to make a more "reasonable" amount, if you want. Or just refrigerate it and save it for a tasty snack later. It should last for at least a week.

Chuy's® Creamy Jalapeño Dip
Adapted from:
1 cup mayonaise
3 cups sour cream
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup tomatilla salsa
1 small handful cilantro
3 packets ranch dressing mix
2/3 cups pickled jalapeños

1. Combine all ingredients in a large blender or food processor.
2. Process until smooth.
3. Refrigerate for at least half and hour and serve with tortilla chips.

This dip can continue to be refrigerated, covered, for about a week.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Cookie Dough Dip

Cookie. Dough. Dip.

Need I say more?

I served this delicious dip with chocolate graham crackers to my writer's club yesterday and it was a hit with everyone, even the people who usually don't like dips.

I've had a bunch of just so-so or bad recipes lately, so this dip was like a ray of cooking sunshine.

It really was delicious. Every single bit of it was gone by 10:00. It's quick, easy, and scrumptious - the cooking trifecta.

You really must try it - it's a keeper recipe in my book.

Cookie Dough Dip
1 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup toffee bits
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup chocolate chips

1. Cream together cream cheese and butter.
2. Mix in powdered sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract.
3. Mix in toffee bits and chocolate chips.
4. Serve with chocolate graham crackers (or whatever else you want to dip in it).

This dip can be refrigerated in an air-tight container for up to three days.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Muffins

I'm on a muffin kick these days.

They're just so fantastically easy and convenient. And the fact that you can say you're snacking on a muffin instead of a cupcake makes you feel a little healthier too...

You can make regular or mini muffins with this recipe. I chose mini - more to go around!

Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Muffins
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 cup sour cream
5 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or mini chips, if preferred)

1. Preheat the oven to 350º F.
2. Grease a muffin tin (or mini muffin tin, if preferred).
3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
4. In a separate medium bowl, combine the egg, sour cream, melted butter, and vanilla extract.
5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until combined (be careful not to overdo it).
6. Fill each muffin spot 3/4 full with batter (you will need a spoon; it's a little thick for muffin batter).
8. Bake for 14-18 minutes for regular muffins and 11-12 minutes for mini muffins, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Pumpkin Muffins

Made these for Christmas morning. Strangely, I adore pumpkin bread but hate anything else pumpkin (including the pie). These muffins were enjoyed by pumpkin lovers and haters alike, though! Delicious and easy breakfast recipe!

Pumpkin Muffins
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
3 cups granulated sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon ginger

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease muffin tins of your choice.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin, eggs, oil, water, and sugar until they're well-blended.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger.
4. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until blended (don't over-mix).
5. Put two heaping spoonfuls of batter into each muffin cup.
6. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the top of a muffin comes out relatively clean.

Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 weeks.

Yield: About 30 muffins