Welcome to Fashion Plate

You've found the home of my fabulous hand-sewn retro Barbie fashions and delectable recipes from my cookbooks, Chocolate Crimes and Five Step to Chocolate Rehab.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year's Eve in the Barbie Nation

Everyone in the Barbie Nation loves ham rolls.  We've been serving them at parties for as long as I can remember.  It is also a great use for some of that leftover holiday ham.
A top five party food!

6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 sticks butter

Cream together butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Stir in flour until thoroughly mixed.

2 cups flour

Store in refrigerator an hour or so before rolling out. Roll about 1/2-inch thick and cut out in a rectangle.

2 cups baked ham, ground
brown sugar
1 cup grated cheese, optional

I grind my ham by cutting it in chunks and then giving it a whirl in the food processor with the sharp blade.  You can also use a meat grinding attachment on the Kitchen-Aid.  Dust the dough lightly with brown sugar. Sprinkle with ground baked ham. If you want cheese, add it now. Roll jelly roll fashion and cut into 3/8 inch slices. Bake 20 minutes at 400˚ on cookie sheet. Serve hot with mustard or just plain.
**If you make them bite-size, cook 13 minutes.**  Divide the dough in half and make two jelly rolls. This makes 60 one-inch rolls that are perfect for an appetizer tray.

Annette lucked out, as usual. She managed to snag this silvery dream of an evening dress AND a spot as a duchess at the Shimmer Ball when one of the participants backed out at the last minute.  She will be among the high-rollers at this event.  She'll probably come home in a Rolls Royce.  It makes playing dumb seem like a smart move.  Unfortunately for Annette, she really is missing some gray matter.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Chocolate Caramel Cookies

This is your little Christmas Bonus from me this year.  I finally worked out this recipe just in time for the holidays. I was looking for something not too chocolate and not mixed with nuts or chips.
chocolate caramel cookies
1 cup (two sticks) butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
Cream the butter and sugars until they are completely combined and fluffy.  Then add:
2 eggs
Continue beating and add:
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
(It takes about 45 seconds in the microwave and then stir until smooth)
Add to mixture until combined.  Then add:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Thoroughly combine and chill 4 hours or overnight.  Allow the dough to warm a little if you cannot easily form it into 1-inch balls.  Make a little nest in each cookies and place 1/2 of a caramel in each nest.
Werther's Original Creamy Caramels - 2 bags or about 40 caramels
Place the cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Only 12 will fit on each sheet, as they spread during baking. Bake at 350 degrees about 12 minutes. Cool on pan until you can remove the entire parchment sheet and allow cookies to cool completely on the parchment. Makes 80 cookies.
While they are cooling, mix up the glaze.
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
Cook the butter in the microwave for about three minutes until the butter solids start to brown.  You can just melt the butter, but the browning adds to the depth of flavor.  Do Not burn the butter! To the butter, add:
2 cups confectioners' sugar
3/4 cup Trader Joe's Fleur de sal Caramel Sauce
1/4 cup heavy cream
Beat until smooth.  Put the glaze in a Wilton Candy making container that looks like a squeeze ketchup bottle.  You need to do this while the icing is still warm.  If it gets too stiff as it cools, just remove the squeeze top and give it five seconds in the microwave. Drizzle over cookies in one direction and then the other.  You will have tons of glaze, so be generous.  After the cookies are cross-hatched with glaze, just raise the height of the squeeze bottle and fling the remainder of the glaze over the cookies in a spider web fashion. (see photo)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Kolaches

My mother-in-law was famous for her kolaches.  This recipe does a good job of replicating her scrumptious treats. My family expects them every Christmas morning. Hope I'm not in trouble...I just made cherry-filled this year.

2 cups milk

Heat milk to 120°. Add butter and allow to soften.

1/2 cup butter

Add sugar and salt.

1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt

Put flour in bowl, add yeast.

4 cups flour
5 teaspoons instant dry yeast

Pour in milk mixture, stir and add eggs.

3 egg yolks

Add flour as needed.

1 cups potato flour
1 cup or less of additional all-purpose flour

Knead until smooth and let rise until double. Knead 10 more times and shape into 1 1/2 ounce balls on greased cookie sheet. Makes 30.

1 or 2 large cans pie filling:  cherry and/or blueberry

Drain excess filling from fruit by placing it in a strainer.  Season each filling with ½ cup sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Flatten centers of the kolaches with thumb (make a good size hole) and fill with fruit filling. Let rise until double in size. Brush tops with melted butter.
Top with kolache crumble:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla

Cut ingredients together to make crumble and sprinkle on kolaches just before baking. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes. You can also stuff with little smokies sausages instead of fruit filling. 

Let kolaches rise.

Ice with glaze when cooked.

3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup cream (or enough to make smooth glaze)
Betty is ready to get off her feet!
After two shifts at IHop, Betty is just grateful to be sitting down and listening to some of her favorite 45's. The tips are getting better the closer it gets to Christmas.  She is hoping to make enough extra to give her mother, Jolene a new coffee maker. These delicious kolaches demand a really good cup of coffee or hot chocolate.

Friday, December 16, 2011

White Texas Sheet Cake

When the crowd gathers for holiday festivities, there is nothing faster and easier than a sheet cake.  You'll love this for Christmas or ringing in the New Year.
This is very moist for a white cake and it serves a crowd.
Heat butter and water in a glass bowl in the microwave for 2½ minutes.
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 cup water
Stir in following ingredients:
2 cups flour
2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
½ cup sour cream
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
Mix until smooth.  Pour into greased 9x13 inch baking pan.  Bake at 375° for 25 minutes.  Cool for 20 minutes.
½ cup (one stick) butter
cup milk
Microwave the butter and milk for 1½ minutes.  Mix in remaining ingredients.  Spread on warm cake.
4½ cups confectioners’ sugar
½ teaspoon almond extract
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Top with almonds.
2½ ounces toasted almond slivers

Our own snow queen, Lucy, is dreaming of a white Christmas.  She found this little item in one of the local over-priced tourist traps in Aspen.  Cha-ching on the credit card. What guy wouldn't like to find her sitting under his tree Christmas morning? Too bad she can't find someone worthy of the pricey negligee.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thanks to My New Followers

I always love comments and appreciate my followers. It makes me feel connected to my audience. If you would like to become a follower, just sign up at the bottom of the page of blog entries.  It is that simple.  Then you can keep up with Fashion Plate without having to go to the website.
It DOES NOT give me access to your email, so relax and enjoy fashions from the Barbie Nation and delicious recipes from my kitchen and cookbooks and NO annoying ads!
It has been an exciting three months for the blog and I thank you for your interest.  I want to give a special shout out to my newest followers, Love Spirit and Audrey.  Welcome to the family!
Thanks to all of you who have checked out my new store on Etsy, Coco's Cache.  I'm glad you like the smock/aprons.

 Happy holiday wishes to my readers!                                                

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

In Defense of the Fig - Fig Crostada

When it comes to figs, folks are in the love them or leave them category.  If you're not a fan of figs, I think this recipe may convert you.  This was served at the Chocolate Decadence progressive dinner last year and it was a big hit.  I've tweaked the recipe a bit, but it is basically the same yummy appetizer.
Fig Crostada
This is one of the few times I will tell you to start with a refrigerated pie crust.  Enjoy the moment.
1 refrigerated pie crust
Spread the pie crust on a cookie sheet or pizza pan.  Top with:
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
Mixed with:
1 Tablespoon orange juice
Zest of one orange, finely grated
Spread on top of pie crust.  Top with:
(I dig out all the large fig bits and leave the jelly stuff behind.  It will also work if you want to use just one jar and use the entire 13 ounces.)
            2- 13 ounce jars Bon Maman Fig Preserves
            Top preserves with:
             4x6 piece of thin prosciutto, torn into pieces
 Move around the outside edge of the pie crust and fold in the edges just a bit to make a rustic       looking crostada.  Brush the edges of the crust with leftover jelly or a beaten egg, to glaze. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes and cut with pizza cutter into desired sliced or squares.
Lucy is going skiing with her boyfriend of the moment, Kirk, the boys' hockey coach.  He is such a loser, but she won't find out until it is too late.  He has 2 ex-wives and lots of alimony.  Her credit card is already reeling from the purchase of the new ski togs.  Wait 'til she discovers she will be financing most of this trip!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Step-by-Step Directions for the Inflation Bars

Press crumbs into pan. It will seem like there are not enough, but just keep pressing them around.  I lined my pan with foil
and lightly greased the foil because the bars are easier to cut when not in the pan. Bake as instructed.

Sometimes the Dulce de Leche is too thick to pour.  Heat in the microwave for about 45 seconds.

It will look like this.

Drop in dollops over the toffee bits or just mix in the toffee bits and spread it around.  It too, will be a very thin layer.

Toffee/dulce de leche mixture.

Smooth melted chocolate/cream over the top. 

Allow to cool and/or chill in refrigerator.  Lift the foil from the pan and cut into serving pieces.  I cut these into 1-inch pieces and it yielded over 140 bites.  These would be great for a cookie exchange.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Inflation Bars Will Sooth Your Economic Woes

These used to be known as millionaire bars, but in a volatile economy, I have elevated them to inflationary status. You need to find Nestle's Dulce de Leche, which is available at WalMart and my HEB.  At WalMart it is on the aisle with Hispanic foods and at HEB it is with the other canned milks.  Beware...Nestle's also make a sweetened condensed milk which is in a very similar can.  You need to make sure you have the Dulce de Leche.  Also, they sell Dulce de Leche in a squeeze bottle, like Hershey's syrup, but this is too runny and will not work in this recipe.
¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter, room temperature
1½ cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cups confectioners’ sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine ingredients in a mixer until they form smooth dough.  Place the dough in a greased, 10x15 inch jelly roll pan.  Press out to form a crust.  Bake at 325° for 19 minutes.  Remove from oven and top with:
1 cup toffee chips
Pour over chips:
13.4 ounces Dulce de Leche
In the microwave, melt chocolate in cream for 1 minute.  Then stir until smooth.
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
¼ cup heavy cream
Pour the chocolate/cream mixture over the top of the bars, smoothing with an offset spatula.  It may take a little work to spread this around without dipping into the caramel layer, but there is plenty of chocolate to accomplish this. Allow chocolate to set before cutting into bars. In a hurry?   Pop these in the refrigerator to harden the chocolate.

Despite Veronica's family wealth, she is a down-to-earth woman and a confirmed chocoholic.  She makes these bars for her friends every Christmas.  She is off to deliver her baked treats decked out in her lovely patterned swing-coat suit.  Of course, the dash of the gold purse adds a little festivity to the ensemble. All of Veronica's friends look forward to the arrival of these delicious bars.  Your family will rave, too.  You'll be happy because they are so simple to make!
(See photos above for step-by step directions for all you neophyte bakers.)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Fudge Toffee Cookies

It is officially the holiday season now that cookie baking has begun.This is our top favorite from all the years of Christmas cookies...my gift to you.


1½ cups semisweet chocolate chips, melted
¾ cup sweetened condensed milk
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Mix until smooth and set aside.


½ cup (one stick) butter
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup confectioners’ sugar


½ cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Set aside. In another bowl, combine:

2¼ cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cream of tartar

Add to creamed mixture. Stir in:

1½ cups toffee bits
⅔ cup chopped pecans

Shape into 1” balls and place on cookie sheet.  Make an indention in the center of each.  Spoon 1 teaspoon of filling into the center. Top each cookie with one of: 

1¼ cups pecan halves (optional)

Bake at 350˚ for 12-14 minutes.  Makes 5½ dozen.

Lucy just added to her credit card debt by purchasing this lovely knit dress for the holidays.  Her kind heart gets her in trouble in more ways than one. Not only is she always adopting some stray man, she thinks she needs to buy a gift for everyone she knows. You'd think she'd take a look at her father and realize even the best woman can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Visit Coco's Cache at ETSY

Today, the Barbie Nation is celebrating the grand opening of my ETSY.com store, Coco's Cache, featuring my reversible smock/aprons.  I have yet to make them in Barbie size, so you'll just have to put up with a real person size photo. I featured the apron/smock entitled, Chocolate Garden, because you know how much we LOVE chocolate!
Check out the other apron/smocks at Coco's Cache at Etsy.  You can check out securely with PAYPAL or credit card, all handled by Etsy. It is a super, one-of-a-kind gift for cooks, new moms or teachers.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Raspberry Vanilla Bread Pudding

The ladies and I tried Bobby Flay's Pumpkin Bread Pudding for Thanksgiving, but I like this bread pudding, better.

4 cups bread, French or challah, in ½ inch cubes (five to six thick slices)

3 large eggs, beaten

in microwave of 30 seconds and stir until smooth.  Drop by teaspoonfuls into the bread, making little pockets of raspberry.
Place in oven and bake at 325° for 45 minutes.


1 ounce white chocolate

over waxed paper on a fine micro file. Set aside.

For Betty, it was just another weekend of slinging pancakes at IHOP...lots of travelers and skimpy tips.  Sunday provides a day off and a blind date.  She doesn't expect much from the date, but she is looking forward to Mexican food and Margaritas.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pie Baking Tips

get pie with a little help from your friend     

If you run screaming to the grocer’s frozen food section rather than face making a pie crust from scratch, this is for you.  Don’t believe the propaganda that has been spread about making pastry.  It only takes a few ingredients and no special appliances.  If you have a $7.00 pastry blender, you’ll be making pie crust with the master chefs. Just remember KISS:
Keep it cold: water, shortening and butter
Indulge in pastry flour
Save the counter.  Use waxed paper.
Store the crust in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before rolling.
You can also freeze butter and solid Crisco.  Then you can chop the required amount into tiny pieces or grate them on a cheese grater.  Pop this back into the freezer until ready to use.
Pastry flour (available from King Arthur Flour) makes a big difference in your final product.  You can use regular flour, but if you are into pie making, I’d order some pastry flour.
I always roll out my pie crust on floured waxed paper.  Then I just have to flip it into the pan and peel the paper off the dough.  It is much easier to handle.  I’ve tried folding it in fourths and all the other tricks, but the waxed paper works the best.  Roll your dough from the center, out.  Don’t roll off the edges.  Work the rolling pin in all directions, keeping the dough in a circular shape.
If you are making a fluted edge on the pie, allow about 1 inch of dough overhang.  If you’re not into fancy edges, just trim the dough (with a sharp knife) even with the edge of the pie pan and mark the edge with a fork imprint.
Store you piecrust in the freezer while preparing the filling.  If you are making a pre-baked pie crust (referred to as blind baking), place the crust lined pan into the freezer for 30 minutes before baking.  I usually put a liner of foil against the bottom and sides of a pre-baked pie crust to keep the sides upright.  Place in oven to cook. Remove the foil for the last few minutes of baking. 
If you are making a pie that will not have a pre-baked crust, then put the fully assembled pie in the freezer for 30 minutes before baking.  All this chilling of the dough makes for a more tender and flakey crust.
Slits and cutouts help release the steam from the baking pie.  Every pie with a top crust should have slits or cutouts.  I like to brush the unbaked top crust with milk and then sprinkle it with coarse sugar crystals. If you are making a custard pie, brush the bottom crust with a beaten egg before adding filling. No one likes a soggy bottom, and neither does your pie.  Don’t place hot filling into your pie crust. 
When I make an apple pie, I always cook the apples and sugar in the microwave for about 8 minutes to determine how much liquid it will make.  Then I can add the appropriate amount of flour so it will thicken.  If there is way too much liquid, I can discard part of it.  This method works well with other fruits fillings.  If you want to be extra cautious, sprinkle the bottom of the crust with 1 tablespoon flour mixed with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. 
This year I found Pyrex deep-dish pie pans with extended sides.  Anyone who has wrestled with removing a pie from the oven without crushing the crust will appreciate this improvement! Cooling on my counter right now, is a chocolate pecan pie...oh yum!!! (Horsey Pie page 104 in Chocolate Rehab) Can I possible wait until Thanksgiving?  As soon as it is cooled, I will wrap it in plastic wrap, then foil and finally in a plastic bag and pop into the freezer.  It will thaw in about three hours, just resting on the counter. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Brandied Cranberries

brandied cranberries
A.J.’s sister, Joan, brought this for Thanksgiving one year and it has become a favorite. I have made a few changes to the original recipe, but it is a winner.  I make this in big batches and freeze it to last through the year.  It is great with any type of poultry.

1 pkg. fresh or frozen cranberries (16 ounces)
2 cups sugar (yes, the berries are VERY tart!)
1/3 cup brandy (I used cherry brandy on the last batch.)
¼ cup orange juice
orange zest from one orange

Mix in 9x13 pan. Bake at 350˚ for one hour. Stir every 15 minutes.  Chill overnight.
I make 64 ounces of cranberries at a time and cook in a 12x18x2 pan.  I've tried reducing the sugar in the larger batches, but you really need this much or it is very bitter.
Lucy is listening to her 45's and packing for her trip home.  Her mean cat, Ethel, is going to the Vet's for the holiday because no one will volunteer to feed the vicious beast . 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Veronica's Sausage Stuffing

I have to admit, I spent my first twelve years in New England, where stuffing was dry crumbly stuff.  It wasn't until I moved to Texas that I discovered "wet" stuffing.  This recipe evolved from my husband's Thanksgiving dinner tradition. 

sausage stuffing

1 small onion, chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
¼ cup butter
Sauté in butter until tender

12 ounces light pork sausage, cooked and drained
8 ounces herb dressing (Pepperidge Farm)
8 ounces cornbread dressing
2 cups giblet liquid, cooked with vegetable bouillon

Mix all ingredients together and bake in casserole at 350° for 30minutes.  You may add more liquid as needed depending on whether you like a wet or drier stuffing.

Veronica has selected her one-piece palazzo pants for cooking up a Thanksgiving storm.  Conveniently, it comes with an expandable belt to compensate for those extra five pounds that miraculously appear between Turkey Day and New Years. She is spending Thanksgiving with her parents, Mary Nell and Beau.  You can just be that table will be brimming with Southern tradition.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Torte


pumpkin pie torte

This recipe evolved when I was trying to come up with something for Thanksgiving dessert that could be made ahead and frozen and that wasn’t pumpkin pie…not one of my favorites.
Start with a 10 inch round by 3 inch high cheesecake pan.
In the food processor, chop:
1 pound ginger snaps (you will have leftovers)
Set aside.
2 ½ cups ginger snap crumbs
1/3  cup butter, melted
Combine crumbs and place in bottom and slightly up the sides of the cheesecake pan.  Bake at 375° for 7 minutes.
While crust is baking, process:
 1 cup butterscotch chips
 Set aside ½ cup for filling and ¼ cup for topping
½ cup butterscotch chips
Spread over warm crust and allow crust to cool.  Set Aside.
2 (3.4 oz.) packages instant butterscotch pudding
1 ½ cups heavy cream
Beat until smooth.  Set aside.
15 ounces pumpkin
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
½ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla
Dash of salt
Beat until smooth and add to butterscotch pudding.
Whipped cream
2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons whipped cream stabilizer (or according to directions on stabilizer)
1 teaspoons vanilla
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
Beat until smooth and stiff.  Fold ½ of the whipped cream into the butterscotch/pumpkin mixture. Place filling in cooled crust and top with remaining whipped cream.
Decorate the top with the reserved ¼ cup of processed butterscotch chips and 1/3 cup of the ginger snap crumbs. Refrigerate.  This may be frozen and thawed overnight in the refrigerator.

Ginger is looking pretty snappy in her two-piece ensemble.  Please notice the tiny buttons on the jacket and the pockets on the dress...oh, so hard to make!  If it is November, you can be sure Ginger is about to set her boyfriend loose.  She cannot deal with commitment during the holidays or maybe it is just that she has no intention of dragging anyone home to meet her long-suffering mother, Kay and alcoholic father, Roger.  From mid November until December 26th, she will be playing the field, but don't underestimate her.  By the time the ball falls in Time Square, she will have a steady boyfriend.