Scrumptious Caramel Desserts

Which is your flavor of choice – caramel or chocolate? Well, thankfully you don’t have to choose. As you probably know, the delectable caramel flavor is achieved by heating white sugar until it turns brown and produces a nutty flavor. This can also be achieved by caramelizing sweetened condensed milk, also known as dulce de leche. The result is a rich, dark brown confection used to make pie fillings, candy, sauces and toppings.

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A few years ago, we were having a discussion in the test kitchen about recipes using Martha White® Muffin Mixes. We have always loved the ease and convenience of making a simple crust using a muffin mix and someone suggested we make a Banoffee Pie. I don’t think anyone else around the table had ever heard of it. Not being familiar with this pie, we learned that a Banoffee Pie had been created in Sussex, England and was becoming very popular. After having it described to us, I couldn’t wait to try it. It’s basically a pie with a layer of caramel in a pie crust, topped with sliced bananas and whipped cream. Yum!

Double Chocolate Caramel Tart is another delicious recipe using caramelized sweetened condensed milk. You can’t go wrong with a chocolate crust and a chocolate whipped cream topping!

By the way, the method described to caramelize sweet condensed milk is the recommended safest way to make it.

 

Muffin Mix + Sour Cream = Delicious!

Martha White® has always been about making baking easier. The Martha White Self-Rising Flour and Corn Meal products are a blessing to busy cooks who often make biscuits and cornbread. Muffin and cornbread mixes brought even more convenience to a new generation. Whether you are a scratch or shortcut baker, we all have times when we need a delicious treat at the last minute.

You can easily use a muffin mix to make a variety of tasty recipes. In all my years of testing and developing recipes for Martha White, I’ve discovered a secret ingredient – sour cream. By adding sour cream to a muffin mix, you can easily transform the mix into delectable coffeecakes, cupcakes, snack breads and more.

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Sour cream not only lends rich flavor, but also makes the finished recipe moist and delicious. I first realized the beauty of combining sour cream and muffin mixes many years ago when I developed this Blueberry Almond Coffee Cake recipe. Building on the experience, I have incorporated sour cream into many additional muffin mix recipes.

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Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Snack Loaf requires only a few ingredients, most of which you likely have in your pantry or refrigerator. Chocolate Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes are perfect for a last-minute dessert, bake sale or birthday party. Check Visit marthawhite.com for other easy recipes using mixes and sour cream!

Nashville Abounds with Great Food Events

Nashville is currently one of the “in” cities on the food scene as well as the birthplace of Martha White®.  Over one hundred years ago, Martha White began providing Southern cooks with great baking products. In Nashville, we’ve always had wonderful Southern cooks, great “meat and three” restaurants and hot chicken! But now, local chefs are getting national acclaim and celebrity chefs are opening restaurants all over town.

Along with good products, home cooking and great restaurants, there are also food events and tours throughout the city all year long. Each event has its own theme and all celebrate the culinary arts.

Coming up soon, Nashville State Community College Foundation’s annual tasting event – Tennessee Flavors – highlights local food and beverage artisans. Featuring everything from bacon to caviar and candy, this event is an opportunity to taste a wide variety of Nashville’s finest offerings.

In May, we celebrate Nashville Street Food Month. Day after day, Nashville’s famed food trucks are parked and ready to serve their delicious treats. All year long there are fun, interesting and tasty events for you to enjoy like Taste of Music City, Music City Hot Chicken Festival, Nashville Rib and Jazz Festival and on and on.

The Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. lists over 50 events celebrating Nashville’s rich culinary scene. Of course, when in Nashville, you’ll never be far from good food and good country music. These delicious Red Carpet Sweet Potato Cupcakes were developed to celebrate the CMA Awards. Speaking of CMA, there’s still time to enter The Martha White® 2017 Nothing But Country Promotion. Four winners will receive round trip airfare for two to/from Nashville, a five-night hotel accommodation, two 4-day festival passes and more. The promotion entry period ends March 14, 2017. To enter and for Official Rules, visit the Martha White® Facebook page to enter!

Lemon Butter Pound Cake Bars — A Southern Favorite Made Easy

In the South, we love our pound cakes. Big, buttery cakes usually baked in a tube, Bundt® pan or loaf pan can easily span the seasons. We eat slices plain, topped with fruit and sauces, or buttered and toasted for breakfast. Pound cake is a great item to have on hand for company because they just seem to get better a few days after baking.

The classic pound cake consists of butter, sugar, eggs and flour. Over the years, I’ve added sour cream, cream cheese, chocolate, brown sugar, and the list goes on.

Although the recipe is fairly straight forward, occasionally you may need to bake something a little quicker. Several years ago, I experimented to see if you could just melt butter and stir in remaining ingredients. To make it even easier, we used Martha White® Self-Rising Flour. I knew this method would not produce a typical pound cake, so I decided to bake it in a 9×13 pan and cut it into bars. I added fresh lemon juice and after a little testing, landed on the delicious result I was looking for.

Pound cakes are one of my favorite “go-to” recipes I keep on hand to share with friends and neighbors. I now have an option of something a little quicker to make that’s just as good, but in a different form. These moist, dense Lemon Butter Pound Cake Bars are perfect for parties, gifting, a pot luck, or to have in the freezer for unexpected guests.

Bundt is a registered trademark of Northerland Aluminum Products, Inc.

Winter Biscuit Shortcake

Several years ago, my friend Mindy (who has graciously written some guest blogs) and I were brainstorming ideas for Martha White® recipes. She had a great idea when she said, “Why do we have to wait for spring strawberries to have shortcake?” I totally agreed, so we came up with some recipes that use seasonal fillings for shortcakes to serve in the winter.

There are many versions of the shortcake itself – the cakey, bready part.  Some folks use cake, but our favorite is made with rich biscuit dough. Using self-rising flour, a little sugar, butter, egg and milk, creates the perfect taste and texture. Similar to scones, these easy, rich biscuit shortcakes hold up to juicy fruit and their slightly salty, buttery flavor is the perfect complement to the fruit’s sweetness.

No need to wait for the seasons to change when there are plenty of options for winter shortcakes. Apple Sausage Shortcakes are perfect for a winter breakfast or brunch. The sweet and savory filling is made with sausage links, sautéed apples and maple syrup. Spooned over a split shortcake, it’s delicious!

You’ll be surprised by the taste of these Apricot Cream Cheese Shortcakes. Dried, cooked apricots and fluffy, sweetened cream cheese in an easy rich Biscuit Shortcake is a great winter option.

Now that you get the idea, you can create your own signature winter biscuit shortcakes all winter long.

Sausage is a Southern Staple

We’ve talked about the humble hog and how it was a main food source through good times and bad for many on small farms. Hogs were easier to raise than cattle and could be smoked/preserved to last through the cold winter months. We often associate ham with hogs, but sausage is certainly a big part of our culinary heritage, too. Any leftover scraps of raw meat would be ground, seasoned and cooked fresh or smoked for later use.

To me, sausage always brings to mind hearty breakfast, eaten with hot biscuits, gravy and eggs. The drippings from cooking sausage was used to make delicious gravy and for seasoning vegetables served for dinner. Judging from the varieties of sausage available in grocery stores today, it obviously continues to be a Southern favorite.

Sausage is not limited to breakfast – we love it in casseroles, combined with ground beef for meat loaf and in little sausage balls served as appetizers. We like to cook, crumble and add it to cornbread, cornbread dressing and dumplings.

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Classic Corn Meal Waffles with Sausage and Gravy is a little different take on the gravy usually served on biscuits. But how could combining these two Southern favorites not be delicious?  Adding cooked and crumbled sausage to dumplings for Chicken Stew with Sausage Dumplings adds delectable flavor to the classic chicken and dumplings.

Polenta: It’s Just Corn Meal Mush

As much as I love corn meal, I have to admit that I did not grow up eating corn meal mush. Made by cooking corn meal with water and a little salt, corn meal mush is very similar to grits – with a little smoother texture. I guess if my mother had ever eaten mush she had settled on grits as her breakfast side dish of choice.  Corn meal mush has been eaten in this country ever since the Native Americans introduced corn to the pilgrims and in many other cultures where corn is a staple.

Often eaten for breakfast as a hot cereal, corn meal mush seems to still be popular in some parts of the country. The mush is sometimes poured into a loaf pan, chilled, sliced and browned in a skillet and eaten with cane or sorghum syrup.

The name, mush, may be off-putting to many who are not familiar with this food item. However, we seemed to have had no problem with the very same thing when it became trendy in the 1980s was called polenta. The Italian name just sounded so much more interesting and acceptable. It’s not surprising that the addition of Parmesan cheese, a savory meat or vegetable topping made this new spin on the image of corn meal mush gain wide acceptance!

It is so easy to stir up a pot of polenta, spread in a pan and chill. Then simply cut into pieces and sauté, fry or bake. Cheesy Polenta Fries is a great recipe idea to get you going.

Did you grow up eating corn meal mush? If so, where did you grow up?  Also, I would love to know how you prefer to prepare and eat corn meal mush.