New Year's goodies: Columbus cook shares one of her go-to recipes for sweet bites

December 26, 2012 10:14:18 AM

Jan Swoope - [email protected]


Barbara Patterson never met a cookbook she didn't like. Her Columbus home has a big bookcase dedicated to them. 


"And she knows when we've messed with them," her daughter, Carol Boone, smiled. "When she goes to yard sales, she goes straight for the cookbooks -- the older the better. 


"Mom's funny," Boone continued. "She'll text out pictures of what she's made, and we text back 'What time should be we there.' ... And you should see her Super Bowl spread!" 


Patterson describes herself as a "country cook." Her family describes her as a great cook, with certain recipes her audience keeps bringing back by "popular demand" on special occasions. 


One of those is Paula Deen's pecan toffee tassies, one of Patterson's go-to treats for holiday celebrations. They're a burst of pecan pie-goodness, well-suited for a New Year's Eve gathering. 


"Most of my family loves pecan pie, so these go over well," explained Patterson. "And if you take it for a dessert or snack for church, you've got a little bite-sized pecan pie." 


The recipe is fairly simple to make, said the experienced cook, whose family got hooked on tassies when she first served them seven or eight years ago. 


Patterson encouraged novice cooks to be willing to try new recipes and to take culinary mistakes in stride. 


"I don't know how many batches of fried rice I threw away before I got it right," she chuckled. "You just have to keep trying ... you'll get there." 


Keep reading for a few more suggestions for your New Year's Eve -- like recipes for speedy-crust brownie swirl cheesecake and even spicy sweet gingered nuts. And remember, you can make the simplest dessert, even plain ice cream, into a countdown event by serving it up in stemmed glassware with a sparkler. 


Whether your New Year's Eve is simple or elaborate, spent with a few family members, a host of friends, or even in reflective solitude -- here's wishing you a healthy and blessed 2013. May all your surprises be good ones. 






Makes 4 dozen 


Prep time: 30 minutes 


Cook time: 25 minutes 




1 (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie crusts 


1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted 


1 cup firmly packed brown sugar 


2 tablespoons all purpose flour 


2 large eggs, lightly beaten 


1 teaspoon vanilla extract 


1 cup finely chopped pecans 


1 (10-ounce) package Heath chips 




  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 


  • Unroll pie crusts onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into 2 (15-inch) circles. Cut out 48 circles using a 1 3/4-inch fluted or round cookie cutter, re-rolling dough as needed.  


  • Place in 1 3/4-inch muffin pans, pressing on the bottoms and up the sides of each of the mini-muffin cups.  


  • Combine the melted butter, brown sugar, flour and eggs in a large bowl, mixing well. Add the vanilla. Stir in the pecans and Heath chips. Spoon the pecan filling evenly into the pie shells. 


  • Bake for 25 minutes, or until filling is set and crust is lightly browned. Cool in pans on wire racks. 


    (Source: Paula Deen) 






    Serves 8-10 


    Prep time: 10 minutes 


    Bake time: 50 minutes, plus chilling 




    1 package (8 ounces) brownie mix 


    2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened 


    1/2 cup Imperial Sugar® / Dixie Crystals® Granulated Sugar 


    1 teaspoon vanilla extract 


    2 eggs 


    1 cup milk chocolate chips, melted 


    Whipped cream and miniature chocolate kisses, optional 




  • Prepare brownie mix according to package directions for chewy fudge brownies. Spread into a greased 9-inch springform pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes (brownies will not test done). Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack. 


  • Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. 


  • Pour over the brownie crust. Top with melted chocolate; cut through batter with a knife to swirl the chocolate. 


  • Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until center is almost set. Run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool completely.  


  • Remove sides of pan; refrigerate for at least three hours. Garnish with whipped cream and chocolate kisses if desired. 


    (Source: Taste of Home test kitchen) 










    Nonstick cooking spray 


    1/2 cup butter 


    2 eggs 


    1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour 


    1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder or unsweetened cocoa powder 


    1 teaspoon baking soda 


    1/2 teaspoon baking powder 


    1/2 teaspoon salt 


    2/3 cup granulated sugar 


    2/3 cup packed brown sugar 


    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla 


    1 cup buttermilk  


    2 cups raspberries 


    Chocolate Truffle Icing 






  • Let butter and eggs stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees, Lightly coat 24 2-1/2-inch muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. 


  • In a medium bowl, stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, combine granulated sugar and brown sugar. Set aside. 


  • In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar mixture, about 1/4 cup at a time, beating on medium speed about five minutes or until light and fluffy, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. 


  • Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Beat on medium to high speed for 20 seconds more. 


  • Divide half of the batter among the prepared muffin cups. Divide the 2 cups raspberries among muffin cups, adding 3 or 4 berries to the center of each cup. Spoon the remaining batter over berries in muffin cups. 


  • Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the centers comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for five minutes. Remove cupcakes from pans; cool completely on wire racks. 


  • Prepare Chocolate Truffle Icing. To glaze cupcakes, invert one cake at a time onto a slotted spoon. Hold the cake over the bowl of icing and spoon icing over cake, allowing excess to drip down side. Place glazed cakes on a wire rack set on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Chill about 20 minutes or until icing is set. If desired, garnish cakes with additional raspberries. 






    Serves 16 




    1 pound unsalted mixed nuts (3 cups) 


    3/4 cup minced candied ginger 


    1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 


    2 teaspoons coarse salt 


    1/4 teaspoon ground pepper 


    2 tablespoons sesame seeds 


    1/4 cup sugar 


    1/4 cup water 


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine nuts, candied ginger, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper and sesame seeds. In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water over medium-high. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves, three minutes. 


  • Pour sugar syrup over nut mixture and toss well to combine. Arrange in a single layer on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake until nuts are golden, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool completely on sheet on a wire rack before breaking into bite-size pieces. 


    (Source: Martha Stewart)

    Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.