Pecan Praline Cake

Those of us who live here -
in the south, that is -
take our Pralines very serious!

Every candy store from
Virginia down to Georgia
have their version of this treat...

some are good ...
some are just okay ...
and some are ahhhmazing!

The rich, butter candy
{with sweet hints of vanilla and salt}
are paired beautifully with toasted pecans.


So, naturally, I twisted this
regional delicacy
into a fabulous cake!

{ There's an extra "i" in there to stress the true pronunciation!! Tee hee! :) }

1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk
3/4 cup Butter, unsalted
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

1 box Butter Cake Mix
1 cup Flour, all purpose
1 small box Vanilla Pudding Mix
4 Eggs, divided
1 cup Sour Cream
1 cup Pecans, chopped

1 stick Butter
1/2 cup Powder Sugar
2-4 tbsp. Milk {as needed}
Pinch of Salt
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/4 cup Toasted Pecans {optional topping}

In a small saucepan, combine first 4 ingredients. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture gets bubbly. Reduce heat to low and stir until it thickens and turns a shade or two darker. Set aside.
Preheat over to 325 degrees.
Whip egg whites until they are stiff. Place in fridge until needed.
In a kitchen mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, stir cake mix {I like to use Duncan Hines, but your favorite will work just as well}, flour and pudding mix until incorporated. Add in egg yoke, sour cream, pecans and condensed milk mixture. Spoon out half of the egg whites and add to cake batter. With a rubber spatula, slowly fold in until incorporated. Add in the rest of the egg whites and fold in. {Your arm will be aching at the point, but it's SO worth it!}
Pour into a greased bundt or 9x13 rectangle cake pan and bake until a tooth pick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake, about 40 minutes. {May be a little longer for bundt pan or a little less for the rectangle pan - all depending on how your oven bakes.}
Invert cake onto plate and let cool completely before icing.

To make sauce, place butter into a small sauce pan and cook on medium heat for several minutes. You will notice the butter starting to brown - once you have reached a golden color with brown bits on the bottom of the pan, the butter is ready to remove from the heat. Add in salt and powder sugar and whisk until all lumps are gone. You will need to add in some milk to loosen the icing a bit - start with 2 tbsp. and add more {one tbsp. at the time} until you've reached a thick, but runny consistency. Add in your vanilla and pour over cooled cake.

This cake hits on
every flavor found in
Southern Pecan Pralines!

If you're in a hurry,
the cake can absolutely be served
as is with no sauce...

but, I am telling you
this sauce tops each slice off right
with it's awesome praline flavor!

Bake an extra one
and walk it over to the neighbor's -
what a thoughtful holiday gift!!

It will be their
{and YOUR}

Enjoy and Happy Baking!

Oh yeah!! I partied this week ->
Check out my sidebar to find out where!


Cinna-Bun Cookies

What are your
family's favorite recipe
for Santa Cookies?

There's Chocolate Chip...
Frosted Sugar...
maybe Gingerbread?

I've been trying 
a few NEW recipes
to really stop Santa in his tracks!!

I may have stumbled across a keeper:

{Recipe compiled from several recipes including Baker's Royale and Official Cinnabon Recipe}
2 cups Flour, all purpose
2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 stick Butter, softened
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1 Egg, yoke only
1/4 cup Apple Butter
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Cinna-bon Smear:
{for inside of cookies}
3 tbsp. Butter, softened
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1 1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
1/8 tsp. Salt

Cinna-bon Cream Cheese Frosting:
{to drizzle over cookies}
3 oz. Cream Cheese, cold
2 tbsp. Butter, softened
1/2 cup Powder Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/8 tsp. Salt

In a medium size bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
Cream butter and brown sugar together in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment - add in egg yoke, apple butter and vanilla. Slowly mix in flour mixture until batter is completely combined. Divide batter in two balls and wrap each in plastic wrap or wax paper, rolling up to be as air tight as possible. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

While the batter is chilling, preheat oven to 350 degrees and make cinnamon smear by combining all ingredients in a small bowl.

When batter has chilled, remove from plastic wrap and place on a floured cutting board. Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thickness and evenly spread smear from edge to edge of dough. Starting with one end, roll dough onto itself until a log is formed. {Repeat with second ball of dough.} Cut the very end of each log off, so that you will have an even starting point. Cut the logs in 1 inch pieces and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 8-12 minutes. Cool completely before frosting cookies.

While the cookies are cooling, prepare frosting by creaming the cheese and butter together in a kitchen mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Slowly add in powder sugar, vanilla and salt. Beat until frosting is fluffy and all powder sugar lumps are gone. Spread or pipe frosting onto cooled cookies and serve with ice cold milk!

These cookies are
soft, chewy and loaded 
with cinnamon bun flavor!

And, the creamy frosting
tops them off
perfectly ...

just as the greatest cinnamon bun should be!

Santa will be  pleasently surprised
with a plate of these
come Christmas Eve!

Enjoy and Happy Baking!

Oh, yeah! I partied this week! ->
Check out my sidebar to find out where! 


Cookies and Cream Popcorn

How are your 
plans coming along?

This will be another year of
DIY Christmas Gifts
for my friends and family!

I like to do something
edible for all the
men in my life...

because,  to be completely honest,
that's about all I can come
up with for dude gifts! LOL!

{Recipe adapted from Cooking Classy}
2 bags Microwave Popcorn, salted only
26 Chocolate Sandwich Cookies, crushed
1 package White Chocolate Bark, melted
6 oz. Dark Chocolate, melted

In a double broiler, melt the dark chocolate.
Melt bark in the microwave according to package directions. White chocolate can be very temperamental, so I would melt it in 20 second intervals and stir between each.
Place cookies in a food processor and pulse until they have become crushed. If you prefer a chunkier cookie in your mix, simply crush them with your fingers.
Place popcorn, one bag at the time, in microwave and cook according to package directions. I used a natural popping corn that had only been lightly salted. Once both bags have been popped, pour popcorn into a large bowl {making sure to remove all unpopped kernels} and stir in crushed cookies. Drizzle popcorn mixture with the melted white chocolate bark and stir to coat the entire batch.
Dump coated popcorn onto some wax paper and decorate with melted dark chocolate. Let all chocolate completely harden before placing in bowl, bag or jar. Makes approximately 16 cups and will keep for up to a week.

Helpful Hints:
  • You may want to consider using a store-bought popcorn - it seems to stay fresher and crisper longer. I would stick with a salted only flavor, though - Kettle Corn might be too sweet for some palates. I think this will be my best bet when giving it as a gift since I'm not really sure how quickly my recipient will eat their yummy treat!
  • I also think the best way to store/give this treat as a gift is in a glass jar. The popcorn didn't get soft as fast in the jar as opposed to being stored in a bag.
  • When making a second homemade batch, I poured the crushed cookies over the popcorn while it was still hot. That seemed to somewhat melt the vanilla filling, which I think only helps the white chocolate out in coating the popcorn! :) I will do it this way from now on when making a batch to be eaten the same day.

Oh, Smack-a-doodles!
This concotion is

That salty crunch from the popcorn,
the sweet touch from bark and cookie
and an awesome bitter bite from the chocolate...

Your palate will 
tingle with excitement
from this combination - no doubt!

Everyone on your list
will L.O.V.E. finding gourmet
popcorn in their stocking!

Bag it up with a bow or
jar some up with a cutsie tag!
You can not go wrong!!

Better yet,
turn on "Elf" and eat
handfuls straight from the bowl!

Enjoy and Happy Baking!

Yeah, I partied this week ->
Check out where on my sidebar!