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.
PECAN TOFFEE TASSIES
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
(Source: Paula Deen)
DECADENT BROWNIE SWIRL CHEESECAKE
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
1 cup milk chocolate chips, melted
Whipped cream and miniature chocolate kisses, optional
(Source: Taste of Home test kitchen)
Nonstick cooking spray
1/2 cup butter
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
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
(Source: Martha Stewart)
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.