Cheryl’s Crab Appetizers

1 lb. imitation crab meat
1 bar cream cheese, softened
6 green onions, finely minced
1 t. garlic powder
2 t. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper, freshly ground
1 pkg wonton wrappers
2 T. olive oil
butter flavored non-stick cooking spray

Combine crab meat, cream cheese, green onions, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper.
Spray two muffin pans with non-stick spray. Place one wonton wrapper over a well.
Using the tart shaper or fingers, gently push one wonton wrapper per cup. Spoon 2-3 T. of crab meat mixture into each wrapper. Brush edges of wontons with olive oil.
Bake filled wontons in 350 degree oven for 7-10 minutes or until golden brown. Can sprinkle cayenne pepper or ground chipotle on top for spicier appetizers. Our friend Cheryl made this for a choir social and we all felt like kings and queens–it made a wonderful impression on all of us and tasted marvelous!

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2 medium avocados, peeled, seeded and mashed
1/4 c. finely chopped onion
1 bar (8 oz.) cream cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 t. garlic
1 T. lemon juice
1 c. finely chopped tomatoes
1/4 t. hot pepper sauce

Blend all together completely. May leave out tomatoes and onions and cream it all, then stir these in for chunky guacamole or can cream it all together.  This recipe is from my friend Holly S. Hi Holly! Also, it is written on a very, cool sheet of paper from the House of Representatives. 🙂

Serve with chips and enjoy!

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Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

This recipe is from my friend Meredith. She is an excellent cook, and I have made and enjoyed every recipe she shares on Facebook! I have known Meredith since probably the first few days when we moved to Texas summer of 1981. I met her at Vacation Bible School. I doubt she even remembers that. One time in 7th grade she shared a verse that marked my life. I must have been stressed, so she shared these words on a card. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 Also? Meredith worked with Chuck Norris on Walker, Texas Ranger, which I think is pretty cool!

2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (11 1/4 ounces), plus extra for dusting pans
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 large eggs at room temperature
3 large egg yolks at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar (12 1/4 ounces)
2 tablespoons light molasses or mild molasses
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 cup buttermilk , at room temperature

5 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into 5 pieces, softened
1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar (4 1/2 ounces)
8 ounces cream cheese , cut into 4 pieces , softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted (optional)

To save time, let the eggs, buttermilk, and butter come up to temperature while the browned butter and spice mixture cools. Leftover cake can be stored, covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. The cake should be brought to room temperature before serving.

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 13- by 9-inch baking pan. Combine spices in small bowl..

Heat 4 tablespoons butter in 8-inch skillet over medium heat until melted, 1 to 2 minutes. Continue to cook, swirling pan constantly, until butter is light brown and has faint nutty aroma, 2 to 4 minutes. Add spices and continue to cook, stirring constantly, 15 seconds. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. In small bowl, gently whisk eggs, yolks, and vanilla to combine. In standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream remaining 12 tablespoons butter with sugar and molasses at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl twice with rubber spatula. Reduce to medium speed and add cooled butter and spice mixture, ginger, and half of egg mixture; mix until incorporated, about 15 seconds. Repeat with remaining egg mixture; scrape down bowl again. Reduce to low speed; add about one-third flour mixture, followed by half of buttermilk, mixing until just incorporated after each addition, about 5 seconds. Repeat using half of remaining flour mixture and all of remaining buttermilk. Scrape bowl and add remaining flour mixture; mix at medium speed until batter is thoroughly combined, about 15 seconds. Remove bowl from mixer and fold batter once or twice with rubber spatula to incorporate any remaining flour.

Transfer batter to prepared pan; zigzag tip of metal spatula through batter, pulling it to pan edges. Lightly tap pan against counter 3 or 4 times to dislodge any large air bubbles; smooth surface with spatula.

Bake until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 32 to 37 minutes. Cool cake to room temperature in pan on wire rack, about 2 hours.

For the frosting: In bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter, sugar, and reserved 1/2 teaspoon spice mixture at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add cream cheese one piece at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add vanilla and beat until no lumps remain, about 30 seconds. 

Run paring knife around edge of cake to loosen from pan. Using spatula, spread frosting evenly over surface of cake. Sprinkle cake with walnuts, if using. Cut into squares and serve. From my friend Meredith in NYC, who got it from Cook’s Illustrated.

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