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 27, 2012

Tres Leche Cookies

Tres leches cookies for Margie

If you want to make these for children, omit the liquor and substitute caramel syrup.  For best results, allow them to mature before serving.   They need to be made ahead of time, like rum balls.  Store in freezer until ready to serve.

4 tablespoons butter
½ cup dulce de leche (Nestle)
1 tablespoon vanilla
5 ml (less that ¼ cup) tres leches triple cream liquor
3 cups Vanilla Wafer crumbs (11 ounce box of cookies)
1 ¾ cup (6 ounce bag) pecan pieces
Form into 1-inch balls and flatten to cookie shape, then ice.

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon dulce de leche
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
3-4 tablespoons cream

Drizzle over cookies, top with:
Edible glitter

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Butterscotch Gingermen Cookies

If ginger is not your favorite flavor, try this delicious butterscotch version of the traditional holiday treat.

butterscotch gingermen cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 cup brown sugar
(2) 3.4 ounce packages instant butterscotch pudding
Cream butter, sugar and pudding.  Add:
2 eggs
Beat until combined.  Than add:
3 cups flour
1  teaspoon ginger (optional)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon

I had no trouble rolling this dough, but if it seems sticky, just chill for 30 minutes.  Sprinkle the counter with confectioners' sugar.  Divide the dough into thirds and roll to 1/4-inch thickness, using more confectioner's sugar to keep from sticking.

  I used a 3 1/2 -inch gingerbread man cookie cutter.  It made 55 cookies.

I inverted butterscotch chips to serve as buttons after I saw how menacing the upright chips looked.

Bake the cookies on parchment paper at 350 degrees for 9 minutes.  Cool on cookie sheet and gently peel away from parchment.

Yummy, chewy goodness.  If you like your cookies on the crisp side, let them bake for about another 1 1/2 minutes.
I realize that I have failed to include the Barbie Nation in the last few posts. I'm chalking it up to the holidays. Betty is loving her new job as the weather girl.  Today she is headed out on a PR mission to judge a gingerbread house competition.  She looks as cute as any gingerman I've ever seen.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Recipe for Brownie Ornaments

I made a few with other decorations.

If you are a fan of Pinterest, you have probably seen the "brownie" ornament picture that seems to be all over the Internet.  How the photo was erroneously labeled brownie, I don't know.  It is taken from a Betty Crocker site and is in fact, a fudge filled ornament.  Not to be dissuaded by this, I decided to figure out how to make these ornaments with actual brownies inside. I will warn you that they will not look as smooth as fudge as brownies tend to rise and then fall, forming a lightly flakey crust and tend to sink in the middle.  These shortcomings are well concealed by the addition of icing.

Brownie ornaments
19.8 ounce Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownies (9x13-inch size)
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon mocha powder
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup water
1 egg
Combine ingredients and mix until smooth.  Add:
½ cup Ghiradelli semi-sweet mini chips.
Place 16 (2½-inch ) ornament cookie cutters on parchment lined cookie sheet.  Put 3 slightly rounded cookie scoopfuls of batter in each ornament.  Use a spoon to spread the batter evenly throughout the ornament.  Bake at 350° for 19 minutes.  Cool on baking sheet and iced and decorate as desired.
unbaked brownies

may sink in center

baked brownies

I used the following icing:
1/4 stick butter
4 cups confectioners sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 tablespoons heavy cream
After icing I sprinkled with chocolate jimmies.
Then I wrapped them in this cute packaging I found at WalMart.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Sticky Toffee Pudding

sticky toffee pudding

This recipe was part of my quest to bake all the delicious goodies that seem to be in all the mail order catalogs during the holidays.

Pudding (cake)
8 ounces SunMaid chopped dates
2 cups boiling water
Pour water over dates and set aside to absorb the liquid.

In the mixer combine:
½ cup (one stick) butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time.
2 eggs
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Add dates and any residual water.   Bake in a greased 9x13 glass pan at 350° for 35 minutes.

While the pudding is baking, prepare the sauce.
1¼ cups brown sugar
½ cup whipping cream
¼ cup (1/2  stick) butter
Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Cook for an additional 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in:
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Poke holes in top of cake and pour about half the sauce over the cake, a little bit at a time.   Reserve the other half for serving.  Reheat sauce for serving, if necessary. Serve top with whipped cream, if desired. This is really best served warm, but it holds up to a quick reheat in the microwave, too.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Pie Crust 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.  After pricking the bottom with a fork, 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.  

The trick to great pie crust is not to work the dough too much, or add too much flour.  Rolling it out on waxed paper makes it extra easy.  I make large batches of dough and freeze them in single crust servings.  It really speeds up the pie making process.
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
⅔ cup Crisco
2 tablespoons Crisco
Mix flour and salt, cut in shortening with pastry blender.
3 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Sprinkle with water and lemon juice.  Add only enough to moisten dough.  Form into ball and divide in two. Roll half of dough on floured waxed paper until 1 inch larger than inverted pie pan. Use a little extra flour if the dough is too sticky. Gently turn dough over and set in pan, peel waxed paper off. Pop it in the freezer while you prepare the filling.
Fill the pie and make top in same way. Fit over filling, seal edges and flute. Bake as directed for the filling. If you love the flavor of butter, just use 2 tablespoons of butter in place of the 2 tablespoons of Crisco.  You get the same tender, flakey crust. Or add 1 tablespoon granulated sugar for sweeter dough.

1 cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
cup Crisco
1 tablespoon Crisco
Mix flour and salt and cut in Crisco with pastry blender.
1 tablespoon cold water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
(continued next page)
Sprinkle on water/juice as needed and mix well. Roll out dough. Place in pan and flute edges and prick bottom of pastry or use pastry rocks. Chill for 20 minutes. Bake 475° for 8-10 minutes. Cool and fill as desired.

This year, instead of cutting in the shortening by hand, I made the dough in the food processor.  It was  very fast and efficient.  I did not need to use as much water, so add this sparingly.
My all-time favorite pie tip is to make one additional single recipe of dough per 2-3 pie crusts.  Then you never need to worry about having rolled out dough that is not a wide enough circle. 
I have purchased enough glass pie pans so that I can roll out all the dough and form crusts and freeze them in the pan.  If you don't mind disposable tins, that works, too.  You can also just freeze the dough in flat discs. Wrap these for the freezer.  I wrap the dough or loaded pie pans in plastic wrap and then double bag them in polypropylene bags.  (I don't use Ziplocks or Baggies because I think they make the food taste funny.)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Trufflelicious Chocolate Tart

Just mentioning the word “truffle” causes the mind to conjure up all sorts of delicious thoughts.

In a mixer, combine:

⅔ cup flour
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
½ cup tiny pecan pieces
6 tablespoons (¾ stick) butter, softened
⅓ cup cocoa powder

until blended.  Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch tart pan (with removable bottom).  In a pinch you can use a deep dish pie pan, but you will have to serve it from the dish.  Bake at 350˚ for 13 minutes.  Cool thoroughly.

In the microwave, heat:

1¼ cups heavy cream
¼ cup granulated sugar

until just starting to boil.  Add:

2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons seedless raspberry jam

Let the mixture sit until chocolate melts.  Stir until smooth and refrigerate for one hour.  Remove from refrigerator and beat for thirty seconds.  Spoon filling into cooled crust.  Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours.  Serve with whipped cream and raspberries.

You know that after consuming all this chocolate, you will be awake all night, but it is a good time to start your holiday list making. 
Ginger is cuddling up in her warmest pajamas because it is near the freezing mark here following temperatures in the 80"s.  

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Do Blondies Have More Fun?

Try this and see if blondes really do have more fun.


⅓ cup butter
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract


1 egg

Continue beating. Stir in:

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder


1 cup white chocolate
½ cup chopped macadamia nuts

Bake in a 9x9 inch glass dish at 350˚ for 28 minutes.  Cool and cut into squares.  Makes 16 bars.
One of our favorite blondes, Betty, is moving up in the world.  After paying her dues doing bit parts and dishing hash at IHOP, she is now the CEB 7 weather girl.  Along with a hefty increase in pay, Betty has also had a significant upgrade in wardrobe.  Looking like the celebrity she is in her starry silver and white ball gown, Betty is bound to make a big splash at the upcoming Snow Ball.  The divorcee is finally back into the world of dating and did she jump in with both feet...her escort for the evening is basketball dreamboat, Kevin Trip.  The rest of the Barbie Nation is slightly green with envy.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Hen Party

Gidget is hosting a hen party today.  The featured foods are chicken and eggs.  The chicken sandwiches are a family favorite.

 2 cups chicken breasts, poached and ground*

This may be done in a mini-chopper.  You want finely chopped meat.  This should look like a spread rather than a chicken salad when completed.  Add the mayonnaise slowly.  You want it to be a thick, spreadable paste rather than being able to see mayonnaise.

1/2 cup mayonnaise or less
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt and pepper

bread rounds

Mix ground chicken with mayonnaise and seasonings. Spread on buttered bread and garnish with parsley. Makes about 3 dozen.  Or, top with an additional slice of buttered bread and cut into finger sandwiches. 

*You can also use the breast meat of a pre-roasted chicken or bake chicken breast that are still on the bone.

Instead of deviled eggs.  Gidget has stuffed the hard boiled eggs with her favorite egg salad recipe and added crispy, crumbled bacon. 
For dessert...white cupcakes with strawberry icing, topped with bird nests filled with jelly belly eggs. The nests were created by mixing yellow candy melts with crispy oriental noodles and shaping them in a mini muffin tin.
Gidget isn't too happy with the entire male world, so her door made it clear...

Friday, October 19, 2012

White Chocolate Orange Mousse

While the rest of your witches and goblins are eating cookies and cupcakes, the adults can enjoy this delicious dessert.

white chocolate orange mousse 

This is easily made ahead and can even be used as the filling for a chocolate crumb crust pie.

Dissolve gelatin in warm orange juice.
3 tablespoons orange juice
1¼ teaspoon unflavored gelatin powder
Stir and set aside.
6 ounces white chocolate, chopped
¼ cup whipping cream
Carefully melt white chocolate in microwave for 40 seconds.  Stir until it is smooth.  Add gelatin mixture and flavorings.
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon orange oil
Set aside and beat:
2 cups whipping cream
until it is firm.  Fold into gelatin mixture.  Pour into 12 individual dessert dishes or chocolate shells.  Refrigerate.  Serve with candied orange peel.

candied orange peel (optional)
⅔ cup water
2 cups sugar

Boil sugar and water, then lower heat to simmer.  Add orange peel and cook for 40 minutes.  (It is easy to peel an orange by using a vegetable peeler or a bar tool that is made to produce thin peels.)
zest strips of two oranges
Remove from sugar syrup with tongs and place on parchment paper to harden.  Store peels in an airtight container.  You can save the sugar syrup to moisten cakes or in making fruit based drinks.

Lucy is considering this outfit for her Halloween party. Now all she has to do is find a place to store her mean cat, Ethel, during the event.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Caramel Apple Trifle

Apple Trifle
This was my experiment a few weeks ago.  It is a great fall treat and serves a crowd. You can also make this in individual dessert dishes.

7 large Apples (Pink Lady)
Peel and dice apples into ¼ by ½-inch slices.  Place in 2 ½ quart bowl.  Add:
1 teaspoon cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
Cook in microwave oven for 13 minutes.  Drain and reserve juice.  Chill apples.

Apple basting sauce
Juice from baked apples
1 ½ cups frozen apple juice concentrate
1 cup brown sugar
Put the ingredients in a 4 cup microwave safe container.  Cook for 4 minutes, stirring at two minutes. Stir when done and chill.
You only need about ¼ cup of this for the trifle, but you can use the rest for flavoring hot tea or cider.

2 (4 ½ cup serving size) French vanilla instant pudding
3 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Beat until smooth.  Refrigerate.

Whipped cream
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
Whipped cream stabilizer (The amount varies by brand.  Mine called for 4 tablespoons per 2 cups of cream.)
Set aside 1½ cup for topping the trifle.  Fold the rest into the chilled pudding.  Refrigerate.

1½ loaves Sara Lee Family Size pound cake
Trim all the brown outside edges off the cake.  Slice the cake into thirds horizontally and then baste all surfaces with the apple basting sauce. Then cut the long cake layers into ½-inch thick “fingers”.

5 ounces Trader Jacques fleur de Sal Caramel Sauce

Layering the trifle:
Start with a layer of the custard.  Lay cake fingers over that and then add a layer of the apples.  Top that with a drizzle of caramel sauce.  Continue in this manner until the ingredients are gone.
Top trifle with a layer of the reserves whipped cream.  If desired, you can garnish with chopped pecans or toffee bits.

Yes, it is finally Fall.  Put the blanket back on the bed and restock the hot chocolate!
Maryanne is looking soigne in her gorgeous apple red satin gown.  She is attending the opera tonight and wishing she was the one singing on stage.  

Monday, October 1, 2012

Pink Lemonade Cake

It is that time of year again...the Barbie Nation wants to remind you ladies to get your annual mammogram. Once again, the girls are going pink for the cure.

To get you in the spirit, this week's recipe is Pink Lemonade Cake...fresh from my experiments in the kitchen.

Pink Lemonade Cake
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1¾ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream until light and fluffy.  Then add one at a time:
5 large eggs
Beat about one minute after each egg is added.
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
A pinch of salt
.23 ounce package unsweetened Kool-Aid Pink Lemonade(*Reserve ½ tsp for syrup.)
5 drops soft pink food coloring
Combine until thoroughly mixed.   Bake at 350° in a greased 9x13 pan for 33 minutes.  Let cool for one hour.

While the cake is baking, you can mix up this syrup.
½ cup water
½ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon unsweetened Kool-Aid Pink Lemonade*
Cook in the microwave oven for 2 minutes, until stir is dissolved.
When the cake is fairly cool, either poke holes in the cake with a wooden skewer and slowly pour syrup over cake.  Do this in 5 minute intervals so the syrup will have time to be absorbed. Or, you can just inject the syrup with an injector, plunging it into the cake and lifting it up as you push the plunger. 
Allow cake to fully cool.  

Then ice with the following frosting.
4 cups confectiones’ sugar
¼ cup (4 tablespoons) butter
Beat butter and sugar.  Add coloring and slowly add cream until frosting is desired consistency.
¼ cup or more of cream
One drop soft pink food coloring

Monday, September 24, 2012

Chocolate Macaroon Muffins

Who said chocolate wasn’t a breakfast food?


1 cup coconut
¼ cup condensed milk
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Set aside.


2 cups flour
½ cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoon cocoa
3 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Set aside. Combine

1 cup milk
1 egg
⅓ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

add to dry ingredients just until moistened. Spoon 2 tablespoons of batter into each muffins cup. Add 2 teaspoon filling, but do not spread. Top with remaining batter. Bake at 400˚ for 20-22 minutes. Makes 12

I could have used some of these chocolate bombs this morning.  I've been fighting a cold for the past few days and I need some real power to get me going.  I just hope this sinus business doesn't spread to all the Barbie Nation.  I am in no mood to take care of seven prima donnas.
Annette looks like she escaped from a chocolate shop today.  Her tiny dot cotton dress is accented by a contrasting yellow collar and detachable apron.  If she could cook the way she looks...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Cranberry Orange Pound Cake

When you are entertaining that rare breed of folks who claim they don’t like sweets, this cake may tempt their taste buds. Make the glaze a day ahead!

½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup water
Bring to a boil and add orange peel.
peel of two oranges, sliced in strips
Cook 10 minutes. Remove from hot liquid and set on parchment paper to cool. 
To the remaining liquid, add:
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
½ cup orange juice concentrate
Set aside to cool and dry completely. Allow 24 hours.

1½ cups (3 sticks) butter
1½ cups granulated sugar
Beat until creamy.  Add eggs one at a time.
4 eggs
Stir in dry ingredients.
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon orange oil or extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup orange juice concentrate
Combine until smooth. Add:
1 cup dried cranberries, diced and tossed with 1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons candied orange peel, very finely processed

Stir and place in greased Bundt pan and bake at 350° for 57 minutes.  Allow to cool for ten minutes and then remove from pan.  Place some waxed paper under a wire rack.  Place cake on rack and pour glaze over warm cake.  Place back in pan and pour the remaining glaze on top and let it run down the sides.  Wait 20 minutes and invert on plate to cool.

Veronica is looking great in her gray floral.  It is difficult to dress for fall when it is still 90 degrees, but she carries it off with panache. We hear rumors that she is working on a novel.  Can't wait to read it!