Peach Fried Pies!

 
 
 This recipe for fried pies is one from another of my aunts, Aunt Lassie.  For those who are new to "Sweet Tea and Cornbread", my mother has five sisters and they are all really good southern cooks, so I not only get recipes from them, they actually cook them up for me to photograph sometimes also, which is great!   Aunt Lassie is next to the oldest of my mother's sisters and she is quite a character.  I am not allowed to tell you how much of a character, because Mama won't let me, but let's just say she was always the life of the party and still tries to be. She would be the first to say so!  She never meets a stranger, that is for sure and no matter what the adversity of life, has not let it get her down! 
 
The first thing I always think about concerning Aunt Lassie's cooking is how fast she always was in the kitchen.  She used to be like a five foot tall tornado when she got started cooking.  I remember us going to visit her one time, sort of unannounced.  She and her husband were remodeling an old Victorian era house and collecting antiques for it and we went to see it one afternoon. 
 
We had no plans to stay for dinner, but she insisted.  She said I have a good roast thawed out and I will fix that.  It was already like three or four o'clock or so, and I was thinking, there is no way we are eating before seven or eight o'clock.   So, we went to the kitchen to start dinner and she got out this pressure cooker and seasoned up that roast and threw it in there and got out some vegetables, peeled potatoes and started some tea.  She was moving around in that kitchen like a whirlwind.  Within, what must have been less than an hour and a half, we sat down to a full dinner and it was delicious.  When we left, I told Mama I had never seen anybody cook that fast in my life.   She just laughed and said Aunt Lassie had always been fast like that and that cooking in restaurants and such made you get much faster out of necessity.
 
Aunt Lassie also loves kitchen gadgets.  That must be where I get it from.  When we sat down to write up this recipe, she told me she had a food processor before anyone in this area even knew what one was...lol.   The even funnier thing is, she is still using it.   I think she said she saw it at a Montgomery Ward store in either Houston or Dallas, TX.  years ago and she said, I have to have one of those and she bought it and brought it home.   She says it's one of the best kitchen appliances they ever invented.
 
I have posted my mother's fried pies on the site already, but since we used fresh apples for those and not dried fruit, I wanted to also post one with dried fruit.  This recipe is just a bit different overall.   Here is what you will need:
 
3 (6oz.) pkgs. dried peaches (could use dried apricots also)
1  1/4 cups sugar
4 Tbs. butter
1 tsp. vanilla 
1 tsp. cinnamon
1  1/2 cups self rising flour
1/3 cup shortening
1/3 cup milk
shortening or oil for frying
 
Place the dried fruit in a saucepan with just enough water to cover it.  Add the sugar, butter, vanilla and cinnamon.   Simmer, uncovered for about 40 minutes. Once cooked down allow it to cool and then it's best to refrigerate and get it good and cold.   Once cold, Aunt Lassie said she puts the mixture in her food processor and pulses it just a second.  Now you know why I told you the food processor story.   Don't over do it with the food processor though, or you will have peach sauce.  You can also just mash the peaches up with a potato masher while they are warm and before you refrigerate them. 
 
To make your pastry, cut the shortening into the flour, like you would for biscuit dough.  Gradually add the milk to make a soft dough.   It might take a bit more or less milk than the 1/3 cup, just add it a little at a time until the right consistency.    Now, you can roll and cut the pie circles from here or you can refrigerate this dough and get it good and cold and then roll.  It is easier to work with cold.   
 
If you will just cut the dough in equal portions like this and then roll each portion, you will get pies that are all about the same. 
 
 Rolls each portion on a floured surface and then use a saucer or something similar in size to cut out a perfectly round circle.  Place about 1/3 cup filling in the center of each one and fold over.  Using the tines of a fork press to seal all the way around.  Make sure they are sealed well. 
 
 
In a large skillet heat some shortening or oil, place two to three pies in the hot oil and cook just until well browned on each side.  Aunt Lassie says she pricks the pies with a fork as they cook to allow some of the steam to escape.
 
Serve plain or with a sprinkle of powdered sugar!  They are yummy!
 


Mama's Chocolate & Peanut Butter Cake!

 
 
 If you are a lover of chocolate and peanut butter combinations, this cake is definitely for you!  It is amazing and I am not exaggerating!   This is one of my mother's creations and she did good on this one!   It's not that difficult to make either.   The frosting is just a simple chocolate, peanut butter cream cheese frosting...need I say more here?  I didn't think so!
 
 Here is what you will need for this cake:
 
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup Sprite (or any clear lemon lime soda)
3/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
3 eggs
6 oz. peanut butter chips, divided
6 oz. milk chocolate chips divided
 
Frosting
1 (8 oz. ) pkg. cream cheese
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 of the peanut butter chips, melted
1/3 of the milk chocolate chips, melted
4 cup powdered sugar
2 oz. milk chocolate bar for chocolate curls to garnish
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
 
In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
 
Add in buttermilk, Sprite, oil and eggs.  Mixing after each addition just until combined. 
 
Melt 2/3 of the peanut butter chips and the milk chocolate chips together and stir.  You can just put them in a bowl in the microwave for a minute or two to do this.  Set the remaining, solid chips aside.
 
Mix 1/2 of the melted chips into the cake batter.   Set the other 1/2 aside for the frosting. 
 
Line two 9" cake pans with parchment or wax paper rounds and spray them liberally with nonstick baking spray.   Do not skip this step, because this cake can stick.  
 
Divide the batter evenly between the two pans.  Sprinkle the remaining chips you did not melt evenly over each layer.    Place on the center rack in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a pick inserted in the center comes out clean.  
 
Remove and allow to stand for about 10 minutes before turning out of the pans.  Place on a wire rack and cool completely before frosting.
 
To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese, peanut butter, salt, vanilla and the remaining melted chocolate and peanut butter chips together.  You will probably have to place the chips mixture back in the microwave for a few seconds to melt it again before using.  Beat in the powdered sugar until it's smooth and fluffy. 
 
Stack on a cake plate and frost!  Make chocolate curls to garnish the top if desired!
 
Slice and eat, because this one won't last long!



Candy Corn Fudge...only 2 ingredients!

 
 
This "Candy Corn Fudge" is a fun little project to make with the children or for the children or for those that still act like children...lol.  I am thinking of myself when I say this.  This is so easy, because I used the old "2 - Ingredient Fudge" recipe and just added food coloring to make the candy corn effect.  I did have to double the usual recipe to get the layers thick enough, but if you have a really small  square dish, I guess you could make less.
 
Now, before someone asks... this does not have actual candy corn in it.  It is called 'candy corn fudge' only because it looks like candy corn and I guess it tastes a bit like it too.  The great thing about this is that it tastes better than candy corn to me!   Here is what you will need for this:
 
 
2  (12 oz.) bags of white chocolate chips
2 (16 oz,)  cans of vanilla frosting (or any white frosting, I used 1 cream cheese and 1 vanilla)
red and yellow food coloring
 
Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave.  Microwave them on high for about 2-3 minutes stirring after each minute.  Add the frosting and stir.  Microwave that for another minute or two.   Stir until it is all well blended and smooth.  You can also do this in top of a double boiler.
 
Line an 8"x 8" baking dish with wax paper or foil.  The Reynolds Wrap nonstick works great for this.
 
Pour 1/3 of the mixture in the dish for the first, white layer.  Place it in the fridge while you color the rest of the mixture.
 
Divide the rest of the mixture in half and tint one orange and one yellow.  
 
Remove the white layer from the fridge and pour the orange next over the white layer.  Pour it in rows, so you don't have to do much spreading it around.  Pour the yellow layer over the orange, last.  If the mixture starts to get too thick to pour, just stick it back in the microwave for a few seconds and stir.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours.
Turn it out on a cutting board and peel the foil off.  With a sharp knife cut it in rows. 
 
Gently lift the piece and turn it on it's side.  Cut in triangle shaped "candy corn' pieces.  You will have to trim up edges of the rows that were on the outside of the baking dish.  Use a dish with the straightest sides if you have one.  Kids and husbands will be more than happy to eat the trimmings!
 
You will notice that every other piece is not in the right color order of white, orange, yellow, but only the pickiest of people will notice that. 
 
The rows are also not real uniform either, but I looked at some pretty upscale candy corn (can candy corn be upscale...lol) and their rows were not so uniform either, so I was ok with it!
 
If you don't want to worry over cutting these candy corn shapes, cut it in squares and slap a piece of candy corn on top and it's still cute!
 
 
 



Aunt Ann's Sweet Potato Bars!

 
 
This is another of my Aunt Ann's recipe creations, so you know it's gonna be good!  She had a bumper crop of sweet potatoes this year so she has been cooking up sweet potatoes in all sorts of new  and delicious ways.  These "Sweet Potato Bars" are sort of a sweet potato cheesecake bar and they are scrumptious.  If you like sweet potato pie, you will love them.  Here is what you will need:
 
1 yellow cake mix
4 eggs, divided
1/2 cup butter, 1 stick
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
2 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
1 (3.4 oz.) pkg. instant vanilla pudding
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
1  (8 oz.) container of frozen whipped topping, thawed
additional cinnamon for garnish
 
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
 
Combine the cake mix, 1 egg and 1 stick butter.  Press into the bottom of  a 9"x13" pan.
 
Beat the cream cheese, brown sugar, 3 eggs, sweet potatoes, dry pudding mix, cinnamon and vanilla until smooth.   Pour over the cake mix crust. 
 
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or unit a pick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove and cool completely.
 
When the bars are cool, spread the whipped topping over the top and sprinkle with just bit more cinnamon for garnish.   Refrigerate.   


Redneck Caviar!

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 As I have confessed in my post for "Hoppin John", I am not all that crazy about the taste of black eyed peas, unless they are jazzed up a little bit with some other spices.   This black eyed pea salsa does just that and it's so easy to throw together.  It's one of my favorite ways to use the homely little black eyed pea.   It completely changes the taste of them to something very light and fresh tasting.  Here is what you will need for this:

2  15oz. cans black eyed peas, rinsed and drained.
1 can Rotel tomatoes and green chilies
1/2 cup sliced green onions, including some of the green blades
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 red or yellow bell pepper, diced
2 Tbs. minced pickled jalapenos
1 Tbs. minced garlic
1 pkg dry Italian dressing
1/3 cup olive oil
2 Tbs. vinegar
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. Cajun seasoning (I use Tony Cachere)
dash of black pepper
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup chopped parsley

Combine the drained black eye peas, Rotel tomatoes, green onions, bell peppers, jalapenos and minced garlic.  Whisk together the Italian dressing mix with the olive oil, vinegar, cumin, Cajun seasoning and black pepper.  Pour over the other ingredients.  Add the fresh cilantro and parsley and mix well.  Cover and refrigerate for several hours before serving.  Serve with tortilla chips or Fritos Scoops.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Broccoli Cauliflower Salad!

 
 
This is a great salad if you are just tired of the usual tossed salad.  It goes great with just about anything and you can prepare it ahead of time.  It's especially good for the holiday menu if you add the dried Craisins to it for that pop of color.  Here is what you will need for this one:
 
2 cups of broccoli florets, chopped in bite size pieces
2 cups cauliflower florets, chopped in bit size pieces
1 small red onion, diced (can use a sweet onion like a Vidalia or similar)
1 cup sunflower shelled sunflower seeds
1/2 cup Craisins or raisins (optional)
1 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup real bacon bits (can use bacon fried crisp and crumbled)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
 
In a salad bowl mix the broccoli, cauliflower, onion, sunflower seeds and Craisins, if using them.
 
In a separate bowl stir together the mayonnaise, vinegar and sugar until the sugar dissolves.  Pour over the salad ingredients and toss.  Refrigerate until time to serve.
 
 
Right before serving sprinkle the top with the bacon and shredded cheese.
 

 
 



Caramel Apple Salad!

 
 
If there is one thing I love about Fall, it's caramel apples, so this salad was right up my alley.  It's so easy to make with a few simple ingredients and it's pretty enough to serve for even your special holiday meals.  This salad goes so well on a Fall menu.  Another bonus is that kids love this one!  You can also adapt this to make it practically sugar free and low fat.   This is what you will need:
 
1 (20 oz.) can of crushed pineapple with the juice
1 (3 oz.) box of instant butterscotch pudding mix
3 large apples, cored and diced, leave the peel on
8  oz. frozen whipped topping, thawed
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
 
Mix all ingredients except the peanuts.  Chill for at least 1 hour. 
 
 Sprinkle the top with the chopped peanuts before serving.  You can also garnish with a few apple slices to  make it pretty.
 



Slow Cooker Barbequed Roast!

 

 
 
This "Slow Cooker Barbequed Roast" is so easy, I almost didn't even post it, but then I realized that some of the most popular recipe on this site, so far are some of the easiest!   Also, it makes use of a product not really marketed for a barbequed beef roast. 
 
This is how this recipe, came to be...one day I had a taste for a meatloaf.  For those of you who have been on here for a while, you remember my sister-in-law's Perfect Meatloaf Recipe.   You can click right there on that link that is in blue to see that one!  If you have seen the recipe or made it, you know that I use Hunt's tomato sauce for meatloaf in it.  It used to be called Hunt's Meatloaf  Fixin's and then they changed the name and caused all of this confusion for us.  Now it's called Dinner Starters Seasoned Tomato Sauce for Meatloaf and it looks like this:   
 
 
This is the sauce that makes the meatloaf, in my humble opinion.  You can see where this is going, I had the sauce, but I didn't have any ground chuck thawed out.  What I did have was a nice beef chuck roast, so I decided to experiment.  The results were delicious. It didn't really taste like meatloaf, but it was still really good!  Here is what you will need for this Barbequed Roast:
 
3-5 lb. beef chuck roast
1 large onion, diced (about 1 cup)
1 tsp. seasoned salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. Cajun seasoning  (I use Tony Cachere's)
1 Tbs. minced garlic
1 can Hunts Seasoned Tomato Sauce for Meatloaf (If you can't find this, just use a seasoned tomato sauce)
1/2 cup barbeque sauce of your choice
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
dash of hot sauce (optional)
1/2 cup water
 
Sprinkle the chopped onion over the bottom of the slow cooker you have sprayed with nonstick spray.  Place the chuck roast on top of the onion.  Sprinkle with seasoned salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning, and the tablespoon of minced garlic.
 
Mix the tomato sauce with the brown sugar, barbeque sauce,  Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce if you are adding it.  Pour this mixture just on top of the roast. Pour the 1/2 cup of water around the edges of the roast on the bottom.   Cover with lid and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. 
 
Slice and serve as a main course or shred and serve on buns for sandwiches!
 
 




Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili!

 
  When that first chill gets in the air here in southern Kentucky, I start to think about things like this "White Chicken Chili"!   I usually make this on the stove top, but this is a great recipe to just throw in the slow cooker and forget it until time to eat also.  The great thing is that you probably already have the ingredients on hand.  Here is what you will need for this:


4 cups cooked chicken breast, shredded or diced
1 medium sweet onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
2 cans white beans (navy or great northern)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
 2 tsp. cumin 
 1 tsp. oregano
pinch of cayenne pepper
3 Knorr chicken bouillon cubes (if you use another brand of the small square ones use about 6)***
5-6 cups water (depending how thick you like it)
1/4 cup chopped jalapenos (can substitute a small can of mild green chilies if you don't like too much heat)
dash of hot sauce to taste (I use Tabasco, but this is optional)
8 oz. cream cheese
2 cups shredded Monterrey jack or pepper jack cheese
 
Garnishes
green onions, chopped
Monterrey Jack and Cheddar cheeses
jalapeno pepper rings
 
***you can substitute 6 cups of chicken broth for the water and bullion cubes if desired
 
 
Combine all of the ingredients in the slow cooker, except the cream cheese and Monterrey Jack or pepper jack cheeses.   Set the slow cooker on low and cook for 5 to 6 hours. 
 
The last hour add the cream cheese, cubed and the 2 cups Monterrey Jack or pepper jack cheese.  Stir about halfway through just to blend as it melts.  
 
Serve with the garnishes of your choice!  This is great with tortilla chips or Frito Scoops!
 
 
 


Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie!

 
 
 This is a great pumpkin pie recipe if you are looking for something a little different from the traditional baked pumpkin pie!   It's also a really good pumpkin dessert for those people who think they don't like pumpkin.  Even the kids will love this one!   It's sort of pumpkin pie meets cheesecake.   Here is what you will need for this one:
 
1 large graham cracker crust (the one that says 2 extra servings or if you make your own, make a deep dish crust)
1 (8 oz.) pkg. of cream cheese, softened
1 cup, plus 1 Tbs. milk, divided
2 Tbs. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 (8 oz.) container frozen whipped topping, thawed and divided
2 small (3 oz.) boxes of instant French vanilla pudding (be sure to get instant)
1 (15 oz.) can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
 
Beat cream cheese with 2 Tbs. powdered sugar, 1 Tbs. milk and vanilla until smooth.  Fold in 1/2 of the frozen whipped topping.   Pour into the graham cracker crust and smooth to the edges.
 
Beat the remaining 1 cup milk with the pudding mixes. Beat in the pumpkin, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice.  Spread over the cream cheese layer.  Refrigerate for 3-4 hours before serving.  
 
Serve topped with a dollop of the remaining whipped topping, sprinkled with a little pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon!




Apple Pie!

 
 
 
 
There is nothing more down home and comforting than "Apple Pie".  I guess that is where the saying "It's as American as Apple Pie" comes from!  It's really a fairly easy pie to make, but I do get asked about a recipe for it quite a bit, so I guess it's not something everyone already has.  This is my mother's recipe that she has made for years and it's got just the right blend of seasonings.   Here is what you will need:
 
 
Pie pastry for a two crust pie (use refrigerated or make your own)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of salt
6 cups apples, peeled and thinly sliced (preferably Gala apples)
4 Tbs. butter
1 egg white
1 Tbs. sugar mixed with a pinch of cinnamon
 
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
 
Mix sugar, flour, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt in a mixing bowl.  Add in the apples and toss together. 
 
Line a pie plate with one of the crusts.  Add the apple mixture.  Dot the top with the butter cut in thin slices.  
 
A lot of apple pie recipes call for Granny Smith apples, but we prefer a little sweeter baking apple like the Gala.  It still holds up for baking, but doesn't require as much sweetening.  If you do use Granny Smith's which are more tart, you might need to add a little more sugar.
 
Roll the other crust out and cut into 1/2 inch strips for making a lattice top crust.  Make sure to crimp the top crust pieces down to the edges of the pie plate so they don't rise up and come loose during baking.
 
Brush the top crust with egg white.  Sprinkle the top of the pie crust with the 1 Tbs. sugar mixed with the pinch of cinnamon.  Place on a cookie sheet for baking. 
 
Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350 and bake for 30 more minutes. 
 
The top crust should be nice and brown. 
 
Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!



French Onion Soup Dip!

 

If you have been looking for something a little different for game day, movie night or to serve at your annual Halloween gathering, this French Onion Soup Dip might be your answer.  It's always one of the first things to go at any party!   I love a good French Onion soup myself so I knew this dip would be a keeper for me.   It's also fairly easy!   Here is what you will need:
 
1 (10.5 oz.) can of condensed French Onion soup
2  (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup  mayonnaise
2  1/2 cups shredded Swiss Cheese, divided
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
 
Blend the cream cheese, mayonnaise and French onion soup together until smooth.  Add 2 cups Swiss cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce and garlic powder. 
Pour into a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish you have sprayed with nonstick spray.  Sprinkle the top with the other 1/2 cup of Swiss cheese. 
 
Place in a 375 degree oven for 35-40 minutes.  It will be hot and bubbly and just starting to brown.

Serve with crackers, tortilla chips, slices of French bread, or I like it with bagel chips!  If you have any leftover, it's even better the next day! 


Orange Glazed Sweet Potatoes!

 
 
I love sweet potatoes just about any way you cook them, so I am always interested in a new sweet potato recipe.  They are so good for you also.  My mother came up with this "Orange Glazed  Sweet Potato" recipe and the addition of the citrus orange flavor really makes them special.  They would be perfect for the holidays or anytime.  They also smell wonderful cooking!   Here is what you will need for these:
 
3 lbs. sweet potatoes, cooked, peeled and sliced
1 cup brown sugar
5 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup hot water
2 tsp. grated orange zest
1 Tbs. vanilla
2 Tbs. butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans
 
 Place the sweet potatoes in a 9"x13'' baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. 
 
In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, cornstarch, salt and cinnamon then stir in the orange juice, water and orange zest.  Bring to a boil stirring constantly.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in butter, vanilla and pecans. 
 
Pour over the sweet potatoes.  Bake at 350 uncovered for 25 minutes.   
 
 Spoon the glaze back over the sweet potatoes before serving!
 
 



Fudgy Caramel Pie!

 
 
This "Fudgy Caramel Pie" is another of my Aunt Ann's creations.  She makes pretty food that tastes really good also.  Have you ever seen pretty food and then tasted and it and it's not as good as it looks?  That's not  the case with this one.  It tastes every bit as good as it is pretty!   It's also two of my favorite things...chocolate and caramel in one pie.  How could that be wrong?  Here is what you will need for this one:
 
2 squares (1 ounce each) semi sweet chocolate
1 Tbs. butter
1 (9 inch) pie shell, baked
 
Caramel Layer
20 caramels
1/3 cup heavy cream
1  1/2 cups salted peanuts
 
Chocolate Layer
6 squares semisweet baking chocolate
2 Tbs. butter
1 cup heavy cream
2 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbs. confectioner's sugar
 
Topping
5 caramels
1 Tbs. cream
1 Tbs. butter
whipped cream and salted peanuts (optional)
 
For the first layer, melt the chocolate and the butter, stir.  It's easy if you microwave this for 1-2 minutes in the microwave.   Spread on the bottom and up the sides of the pie crust.  Refrigerate to set.
 
For the next layer, melt the caramels and cream, stirring until smooth.  It's easiest to microwave for 1 minute intervals, stirring after each minute until melted.  Stir in the peanuts.   Spoon into the pie shell.
 
For the chocolate layer, melt the chocolate with the butter and stir in a saucepan or in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.  Let cool for about 15 minutes.  In a mixing bowl, whip the cream, vanilla and confectioner's sugar until soft peaks form.  Gently fold the whipped cream into the chocolate.  Spread over the caramel layer.  Refrigerate until set for several hours.  
 
To garnish, melt the remaining caramels with 1 Tbs. butter and Tbs. cream and drizzle over the top. You can also garnish with whipped cream around the edges and peanuts as shown here.
 
 
 
 

Peachy Caramel French Toast Bake!


 
I love to do breakfast casseroles that can be prepared the night before for the weekends or during the holidays.  It just makes having breakfast much more enjoyable if all you have to do is make the coffee, put a casserole in the oven and maybe fry some bacon or sausage.   This French toast bake, is so good.  It sort of makes it's own sauce as it bakes. Here is what you will need for this one:
 
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1  1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tbs. water
2  (15 oz.) cans sliced peaches, drained  (can substitute an equivalent amount of fresh peaches)
6 slices thick white bread (I used Texas Toast, Italian is good also)
6 eggs
1  1/4 cups half and half cream (can substitute whole milk)
pinch of salt
1 tsp. cinnamon, divided
1 Tbs. vanilla
1 Tbs. maple syrup
1/2 cups chopped pecans
4 Tbs. butter
 
Place the 1/2 cup butter and granulated sugar in the microwave for 1 minute, stir.  Add the brown sugar and microwave for another minute. 
 
Add the water and microwave for about 2 minutes or until the mixture bubbles and foams.  Stir.

Spray a 9"x13" baking dish with nonstick spray.  Pour the caramel sauce in the bottom.  Allow the caramel sauce to cool a bit, about 5 minutes or so.
 
Layer the  drained peaches over the caramel sauce and then the bread slices on top of the peaches.
 
Whisk the eggs, cream, salt, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, vanilla, and maple syrup.  Pour evenly over the bread.  Sprinkle with pecans and dot with the other 4 Tbs. of butter.  Sprinkle with the other 1/2 tsp. cinnamon.  Cover and refrigerate overnight. 
 
Place in a 350 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes.  If this starts to brown too much just cover loosely with foil.  I have never had that happen, but all ovens cook differently.
 
This makes it's own syrup in the bottom of the dish or you can add additional maple syrup.  If you feel really decadent add a dollop of whipped cream!