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.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Featuring Me

Just in the way of explanation, I passed through puberty before Barbie entered the wonderful world of Mattel. I remember my sister's Barbie and the beautifully crafted handmade clothes my grandmother, Gomie, made for her.  Now that I have a grandchild of my own (code name ONLY), I'm finally getting my chance to play with dolls. 
These lucky inhabitants of my house don't have to settle for fabric scraps and bits of leftover lace.  I SHOP for fabric and embellishments.  Barbie's clothes hang on wooden hangers all the way from Thailand...the postage was more than the hangers.   In other words, nothing is too good for these dolls.
I have enlisted the help of Auntie Susan (in reality my best friend) to handle the knitting.  I can knit, but I'm all thumbs compared to her. So, if you are drooling over anything constructed of yarn, it is all her doing.
In the next week, I'll introduce you to each of my ladies and give you a little background information about them. Then it is back to the fashions, food and life in the 60's.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Revolting Barbies

What happens when you have a room full of women all competing for the glory of being recipe Queen for a Day?  There is just a little tension around the Brune kitchen.  To prevent further chaos, I've developed a plan to give each Barbie her due.  From now on, Barbie will be used only as a generic term; as in American.  Each young women will have her own name and identity. She will be allowed to select her wardrobe and be gainfully employed at the career of her choice. Let's hope this will once again bring harmony to my home. If not, I will send them all off to boarding school and just take photos of the clothes on hangars.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Barbie Loves Odessa Pie

Barbie is living large in Odessa.  Big hair and gold accessories are the calling card, here. Never fear, what passes for leather is really just pleather.

odessa pie 
I found the recipe for the pie crust online.  It came from a family of pecan farmers in Odessa, Texas.  I took the liberty of adding my own filling. (Page 60 Chocolate Crimes)
5 egg whites
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
Gradually add:
1 cup granulated sugar
Whip to stiff peaks.  Fold in:
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans
Butter one large deep-dish pie pan. Scoop the meringue mixture into pan, covering bottom and sides, to form a pie shell.  Smooth with spatula.  Bake at 300˚ for 55 minutes.  Turn off oven, open the door and let rest until cool.

In microwave, melt:
½ cup whipping cream
5 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Cool slightly.  Slowly add:
4 cups whipping cream
Blend well.  Then add:
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Chill at least 4 hours.  Beat mixture on high speed until it forms soft peaks.  Place in pie shell and refrigerate.  Top with whipped cream.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Dulce de Leche Bars

Sometimes brunettes do have all the fun.  Doesn't Barbie look gorgeous in her yellow satin strapless dress?
This is a nice change from your typical bars and this “sweet milk” variety is very yummy.  (Page 69 Chocolate Rehab)
½ cup (one stick) butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
Beat butter and brown sugar until creamy.  Then add remaining ingredients and mix well.
1¼ cup flour
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
¾ cup caramel ice cream syrup or dulce de leche
Pour batter into a greased 9x13 inch pan.  Bake at 350˚ for 29 minutes.  Cool completely.

¼ cup (½ stick) butter
Melt butter in saucepan and cook about 5 minutes until slightly brown.  Cool.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
                                                                                 3 tablespoons milk
                                                                                 Spread over bars.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Baking With Lemons and Limes

Barbie is looking extra cool today in her halter-top citrus dress.  It puts me in the mood for something tangy and refreshing.
My mother always made this for her adult company.  It’s straight from the 1950’s. My version of the re-created recipe now serves 16, but I couldn’t change the name.(Page 22 CR)
4 egg whites
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
¾ cup granulated sugar
Whip whites until frothy, add cream of tartar.  Add sugar one tablespoon at a time to form a very stiff meringue.  Spread in a 9x13 glass pan and bake at 300˚ for one hour.  Cool.
18 egg yolks
2¼ cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Cook over medium heat about 5 minutes, until thick. Strain and add:
2 tablespoons butter  
You will need 8 large lemons. Add:
12 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons lemon zest, finely grated
Cool, then put on top of cook meringue and top with whipped cream.  Refrigerate.
I’ve never been that big a fan of Key Lime Pie, but a friend requested a recipe without the sweetened condensed milk.  So, here is my take on key lime that will serve a large group.  This will also freeze well. (Page 107 Chocolate Rehab)
1½ cups granulated sugar
cup flour
4½ tablespoons cornstarch
3 cups water
Combine in saucepan and cook for two minutes.  Blend a little of the hot mixture into:
5 egg yolks
Stir to warm the yolks.  Then gradually add the yolks to the saucepan.  Cook about 8 minutes, until thickened.  Strain the mixture and add:
2 tablespoons butter
cup key lime juice
¼ teaspoon lime oil or lime extract
⅛ teaspoon key lime zest, finely grated
Cool completely.
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 cups granulated sugar
Cream the sugar and butter.  Add eggs one at a time.
4 eggs
3 teaspoons key lime juice
½ teaspoon key lime zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon lime oil or extract
½ teaspoon green food coloring, optional
Add dry ingredients:
2cups flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons buttermilk powder
Combine ingredients and slowly add:
1 cup water
Mix until smooth.  Grease 3 Maryann pans* and divide batter among them.  Bake at 350° for 25 minutes.  Cool for ten minutes and remove from pan.  Allow to cool completely. 
Divide filling equally and place in the indentation on top of each cake.  Refrigerate.
* Maryann pans are available through King Arthur.  If you don't own a similiar pan with an indention formed in the top, you can always use 8-inch cake pans and hollow out about 1/3 inch of the top of each cake, leaving a 1/2 inch border at the full height to hold the filling.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Barbie Bakes Mounds of Brownies

Strapless cotton floral with removable wrap.

Cut these into tiny pieces.  They are so rich—one bite is all you need.  (Page 172 in Chocolate Crimes.)


¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup (one stick) butter
1½ cups granulated sugar

until combined.  Add:

3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt

Beat until smooth.  Add:

1 cup flour

Place in 9x13 inch pan and bake at 350° for 27 minutes.  Remove from oven and top with a mixture of:

14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
2¼ cups shredded coconut

Return to oven and bake 20 more minutes.  Top with chocolate icing.

In microwave, melt:

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate

for 1 minute.  Add:

½ cup whipping cream
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
I have never had anyone refuse one of these.  Mostly folks fight over them. I try to keep a pan of these in my freezer at all times!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Barbie Step Out

Barbie has been having some sleepless nights trying to decided what outfit to wear for the blog launch.  I think her selection of this lovely textured evening gown with satin sash is a perfect choice, as we love chocolate at Fashion Plate.
I thought to dazzle you with an elegant dessert, but I decided that easy and delicious would set a nice precedent for recipes to follow.  The recipes will be from Chocolate Crimes, Five Steps to Chocolate Rehab or a sneak peek from my third cookbook, Is There Life After Chocolate?. You can leave a comment  if you have any recipe or baking questions.
Every entry will feature a new outfit for Babs (there are actually multiple "Barbies" from blondes to brunettes) and at least one scrumptious recipe. Whether you love Barbie, chocolate, baking, sixties fashion or a combination, be sure bookmark Fashion Plate or sign up for "follow by e-mail" at the bottom of the page. Be on the lookout for the upcoming contest and  a chance to win an apron. Also, look for my ad in Taste of the South Magazine, beginning  in October.
You may purchase cookbooks by using the Paypal button on the right.  A portion of the cookbook proceeds goes to The Aphasia Center of West Texas. ( Aphasia is a loss of speech and communication skills often caused by stroke.) So, do your self a favor and help a worthy organization, too.

This won the family Christmas cookie bake-off in 2006. (page 52 in Chocolate Crimes)


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

Bake at 350˚ for 12-14 minutes.  Makes 5½ dozen.
Everyone loves this cookie!  You will be glad you have almost 70 cookies.  It makes sharing a little easier.  I often take these to book signings...it is a very effective sales tool.