Diana's Desserts Newsletter

Edition Number #11

September 7, 2003

Welcome Home Baker's and Friends,


September is here and the kids are back in school. This gives me the opportunity
to include in this month's newsletter some "sweet snack" recipes for you to make
for your children to bring along to school for a treat, or to make for an
afternoon goody when they arrive home.

In this edition of Diana's Desserts Newsletter, as always a Guest Submitted
Recipe is included, a few recipes for the kids for school, an early Autumn
dessert recipe for Brandied Autumn Apple Cake, and also in this month's section
on Food Tips and Information, the subject is Late-Season Grapes, and a recipe
for Homemade Grape Jelly.

The Diana's Desserts Guest Submitted recipe for September is Irresistible Peanut
Butter Cookies, submitted by Wesley Taylor. This recipe will also be featured as
the Recipe of the Week on Diana's Desserts Website from sunday September 7th
through saturday September 13th.

September's Guest Submitted Recipe


Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookies

Servings: Approximately 3 dozen cookies

These cookies will just melt in your mouth!!

1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup creamy peanut
1/2 cup all-vegetable shortening
3 tbsp. milk
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C). Place sheets of foil on
countertop for cooling cookies.

Combine brown sugar, peanut butter, shortening, milk and vanilla in large bowl.
Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended. Add egg. Beat just
until blended.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt. Add to creamed mixture at low speed. Mix
just until blended.

Drop by rounded measuring tablespoonfuls of dough, 2 inches apart onto ungreased
baking sheet. Flatten slightly in crisscross pattern with tines of fork.

Bake one baking sheet at a time at 375 degrees F (190 C) for about 7 to 8
minutes, or until set and just beginning to brown. DO NOT OVERBAKE. Cool 2
minutes on baking sheet. Remove cookies to foil to cool completely.

Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies.

Source: My mother (Ruby Taylor's) Recipe Collection

Submitted By: Wesley Taylor

Date Submitted: August 8, 2003

"Thank you Wesley for sharing this recipe from your mother Ruby Taylor's Recipe
Collection. I am sure all the peanut butter cookie lovers out there will adore
these goodies, and also they will make a delicious treat for kids to take to
school with them, or to have as an after school snack with a glass of

Click here to view recipe and photo of Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookies on
Diana's Desserts Website.

Back to School Goodies


Cinnamon Apple Chips

These flavorful and crispy Cinnamon Apple Chips are just the right thing for a
healthy snack for the kids during the school day or for an after school snack.
Place some in their lunch box, or put several in a Zip Loc bag for a treat they
can munch on on their way to school or on their way home.

Servings: Makes about 40 chips

2 cups unsweetened apple juice
1 cinnamon stick
2 medium to large
size Red Delicious Apples

In large skillet or saucepan, combine apple juice and cinnamon
stick; bring to a low boil while preparing apples.

With a paring knife, slice off 1/2 inch from tops and bottoms of apples and
discard (or eat). Stand apples on either cut end; cut crosswise into
1/8-inch-thick slices, rotating apple as necessary to cut even slices.

Drop apple slices into boiling juice; cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until slices
appear translucent and lightly golden. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 250 degrees F
(120 C).

With slotted spatula, remove apple slices from juice and pat dry. Arrange slices
on wire racks, being sure none overlap. Place racks on middle shelf in oven;
bake 30 to 40 minutes until slices are lightly browned and almost dry to touch.
Let chips cool on racks completely before storing in airtight container.

Makes about 40 apple chips.

Tip: There is no need to core apples because boiling in juice for several
minutes softens core and removes seeds.

Source: DianasDesserts.com

Click here to view recipe and photo of Cinnamon Apple Chips on Diana's Desserts

Chocolate Pizza

Servings: 8-10

This Chocolate Pizza is something a little different and special to
serve at a children's birthday party. The kids will love it! Also, you can make
this for a special treat to bring to a student-teacher-parents get-togeher. Why
not make two or three Chocolate Pizza's. They're so quick and easy to make, and
everyone will enjoy a luscious slice of this chocolate treat. The kids will be
thrilled helping you decorate the top of the pizza with assorted candies.

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter flavor crisco
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp.
baking powder
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp. butter flavor crisco
2 tbsp. water
Assorted candy for decoration

1). Melt 1 cup chocolate chips and 1/2 cup shortening over hot
water; cool. Stir in flour, sugar, eggs and baking powder with fork; mix well.

2). Spread evenly onto well-greased 12-inch (30 cm) pizza pan.

3). Bake in 375 degrees F (190 C) oven 15 minutes. Cool.

4). Combine 3/4 cup chocolate chips, 2 tbsp. each of shortening and water in
small bowl. Melt over hot water; stir to combine. Spread glaze evenly over
cooled chocolate pizza. Decorate as desired with candies.

Makes one 12-inch (30 cm) chocolate pizza, 8-10 servings.

Source: Recipes Plus - Canada.

Click here to view recipe and photo of Chocolate Pizza on Diana's Desserts

Toffee Almond Treats

Servings: Makes 48 treats

These luscious toffee and almond treats have a buttery oatmeal/brown sugar
cookie bottom with a rich almond vanilla filling. Cut into squares, triangles or
bars, and serve them with a warm beverage, or for the kids with a big glass of
milk. Wrap well in plastic wrap and send one or two off to school with your
children for a mid-day treat.

For Crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats (old-fashioned
or quick cooking oats)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup

For Topping:
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
cup whipping cream or evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
1 1/2 tsp.
vanilla extract

For Crust:
Combine all crust ingredients, mixing until crumbly. Press mixture firmly into
13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan. Bake in 350 degrees F (180 C) oven 10 minutes.

For Filling:
Combine corn syrup, brown sugar, butter and cream in medium saucepan. Cook and
stir over medium heat until mixture boils. Remove from heat. Stir in almonds and
vanilla. Pour over crust, spreading evenly. Bake in 350 degrees F (180 C) oven
15 to 20 minutes or until golden. Cool on wire rack. Cut into triangles, bars or
squares. Store in refrigerator.

Make 48 treats.

Source: Recipes Plus - Canada

Click here to view recipe and photo of Toffee Almond Treats on Diana's Desserts

Early Autumn Dessert

Brandied Autumn Apple Cake

Servings: Makes 6-8 servings

This is a lovely little cake that is so light and moist, filled with
bits of sauteed apples throughout the cake. If you need a simple yet special
cake for an afternoon tea that will serve approximately 6 to 8 guests, then try
this delightful apple cake that is flavored with Calvados (apple brandy).

2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 large or 3 medium size Golden Delicious
apples (or other good baking apples), peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped into
very small pieces
1 1/2 tbsp. Calvados Brandy (if Calvados Brandy is
unavailable, you can substitute it with any other apple brandy such as
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2/3 cup plain
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 cup
vegetable oil
3 large eggs

Butter or cooking spray, for greasing cake pan

Garnish: (optional)
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting top of cake

Glaze: (optional)
1 cup confectioners' sugar, or 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
and 1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla or almond extract
1 to 2 tbsp.
milk or water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Generously grease a
9-inch wide x 2-inch high (22.86 cm x 5.08 cm) round cake pan, or an 8 or 9-inch
(20 to 23 cm) bundt pan with butter or cooking spray.

Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the apples,
tossing occasionally, until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the Calvados
Brandy (or other apple brandy, if using), 1 tbsp. of the sugar, and the ground
cinnamon. Set aside.

Whisk together the yogurt and the remaining sugar in a large bowl until very
smooth, about 2 minutes. Combine the flour, the baking soda and pinch of salt;
add to the yogurt mixture; stir well. Add the vegetable oil and eggs to the
mixture, stirring well after each addition. Stir the sauteed apples into the

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly. Set on a sturdy
baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F (180 C) for 55 - 65 minutes, or until a
toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool completely
on a wire rack. Once cake has cooled completely, dust with confectioners' sugar,
or make Glaze and drizzle over cake, if desired.

To Make the Glaze (if using):
Combine all the glaze ingredients, stirring until
smooth and of pouring consistency. Drizzle over the cake and let stand until

This cake is best made several hours before serving, or better yet, the night

Makes 6-8 servings.


1) I made this cake in a 8-inch (approximately 20cm) nonstick bundt pan, and
baked it at 325 degrees F (162 C) instead of 350 degrees F (180 C) for 55
minutes. If you are baking your cakes in dark-colored or nonstick cake pans,
they are going to bake quicker. If this is the case, then it is best to reduce
the oven temperature in a recipe by 25 degrees F, and bake the cake for the
amount of time the recipe calls for, or even a little less time. Always check
your cake for doneness with a toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into the
center of cake about 5 - 10 minutes before the minimum baking time (in this
case, 55 minutes is the minimum baking time, so check at 45 - 50 minutes into
the baking time). If it comes out clean with no crumbs on it, remove cake from
oven; the cake is done. If the cake tester comes out moist, return cake to oven,
and bake another 5 -7 minutes, checking again for doneness at this point.

2) Calvados is an apple brandy, but is sometimes hard to find in the
supermarket. You will most often find Calvados at a liquor store. If you can't
find Calvados, choose another apple brandy for this recipe. One that I recommend
is Applejack, another apple type brandy that is usually easier to find at the
supermarket. If you can't find apple brandy, then use regular brandy in this

Makes 6-8 servings.

Source: DianasDesserts.com

Click here to view recipe and photo of Brandied Autumn Apple Cake.

Food Tips and Information Section - Late-Season Grapes with Homemade Grape Jelly

Some of the best known grapes ripen in early fall. Look for Thompson Seedless,
Sultana, Concord, Coronation, Fredonia, Muscat and Ribier, to name only a few.

Blue-Black Concord grapes are the variety used to make the grape juice and grape
jelly so familiar to kids, but they are delicious fresh too. Concords are known
as slip-skin grapes, because the grape can be pinched so that the inner flesh
slips easily out of its thick skin, which many people find bitter and prefer to
discard. The flavor of Concord grapes (as well as Catawbas, which also ripen
late) is described by wine lovers as foxy -- the tart, musky sweetness that is
definitive for juice and jams is often considered a fault in wines.

For as long as people have grown grapes, they have preserved the fruit by drying
it into raisins. Thin-skinned, golden Thompson Seedless, also known as Sultanina
(the American offspring of the Turkish Sultana grape), is the variety most often
used for this today. Golden raisins, the so-called Sultanas, are actually also
made out of Thompson Seedless grapes. The difference is that they are treated
with sulfur to preserve the light color and retain a moister texture before
being dried under artificially produced heat. The darker raisins are sun-dried.
(Incidentally, the fresh green grapes you buy at the grocery store are probably
Thompson Seedless.) Currants -- the dried kind, not the fresh fruits related to
gooseberries -- are made from the tiny Black Corinth grape. Seeded green Muscat
grapes are also commonly found dried. They produce particularly sweet, large

Although it is certainly possible to eat wine grapes fresh, as well as to make
table grapes into wine, for the most part, grapes have been cultivated for
either one purpose or the other. Wine grapes must have a fairly high sugar
content, because the sugar is broken down during fermentation, and there must be
enough of it to carry out that process.

Homemade Grape Jelly

Makes 8 cups of grape jelly

When Fall arrives, there's no better way to capture the autumn experience than
through a wild-grape outing in beautiful surroundings and the cozy inside work
that follows making delicious home-made jelly. Whether you make grape jelly just
for personal enjoyment or as gifts, you will re-live the adventures of September
when you taste the results!

3 1/2 pounds of grapes (I recommend Concord grapes, if possible)
1 package of
fruit pectin
7 cups of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of margarine
8 canning jars with lids
and rings (or the equivalent of 8 cups)

Boil the jars and lids at least 10 minutes, then let stand in the hot water
until you're ready to use them. Pleace the grapes in a saucepan and cover with 1
1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. Strain the juice
from the seeds into a kettle. To get all the juice, use a spoon and press the
grapes against the sides of a strainer. You should have about five cups of
juice. Add the pectin and margarine to the juice and stir well. Bring the juice
to a rolling boil. While you stir, have an assistant pour in the sugar. Boil one
minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and skim off foam.

In the meantime, use tongs to remove and drain the jars and lids from the hot
water. With a ladle, fill the jars to 1/4 inch from the top. Wipe the rim, place
the lids on the jars and screw on the rings. Turn the jars over for five
minutes, then turn them upright. Check the seal by pressing down on the center
of the lid. It shouldn't spring back.

Cool the jelly completely and rinse the sides of the jar.

Storing Jars of Jelly or Jams

Wipe jars of cooled jams and jellies with a clean, damp cloth before storing.
Label jars with flavors and dates. Store unopened jars in a cool, dry, dark

Use unopened cooked jams and jellies within 1 year of making. Once jar is
opened, store in refrigerator and use within 3 weeks.

If a jam or jelly has mold on it, discard contents of entire jar.

Makes 8 cups of grape jelly.

Source: Article and Recipe adapted from CuisineNet Diner's Digest. Some
additional information from Diana's Desserts.

Click here to view recipe and photo of Homemade Grape Jelly on Diana's Desserts

Until Next Month

I hope you enjoyed this month's edition of Diana's Desserts Newsletter, and that
you try some of the goodies included in it. Please let me know how you liked the
Back to School recipes, and if you made any of them for your children.

For all of you who live in the United States, I hope you had a great Labor Day
Holiday, and that you had a safe and enjoyable time with friends and family.

I want to thank all the guests to Diana's Desserts Website that submitted their
recipes in August. I really enjoy receiving them and if I have the time, I try
to make most of them if possible. Please keep those wonderful recipes coming!

October's newsletter will focus on recipes for Halloween and other Autumn
desserts and treats. I will also include information on fall fruits and their

Have a great month, and Happy Baking!!

Sincerely, Diana

Diana's Desserts
A Website Dedicated to Home Bakers

Web site: http://www.dianasdesserts.com
E-mail: diana@dianasdesserts.com