Great Grandma’s Rum Cake


  • 1 package Duncan Hines yellow cake mix
  • 1 package instant vanilla pudding mix (3.4 oz)
  • 4 eggs (room temperature)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup rum
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans


  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 oz. rum


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix together first six ingredients for 2 minutes with electric mixer. Sprinkle pecans on the bottom of a greased bundt pan. Pour in batter and bake approximately one hour.

Prepare glaze by boiling butter, sugar, and water for one minute. Remove from heat and add 1 oz. rum.

Remove cake from oven and pierce top thoroughly with cake tester or toothpick. Immediately pour glaze over top of cake. Cool before serving.

Chocolate Toffee Cookies


  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 lb. bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • ½ stick (¼ cup) unsalted butter
  • 1 ¾ cups brown sugar (packed)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 7 ounce chocolate-covered English toffee bars (like Heath), coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • Sea salt (optional)


  1. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in small bowl; whisk to blend. Stir chocolate and butter in top of double boiler set over simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove from over water and cool mixture to lukewarm.
  2. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and eggs in bowl until thick, about 5 minutes. Beat in chocolate mixture and vanilla.
  3. Stir in flour mixture, then toffee and nuts. Chill batter until firm, about 45 minutes or overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment or waxed paper.

    Regular method:
    Drop batter by spoonfuls onto sheets, spacing two inches apart.

    Slice and Bake option:
    This dough is not the easiest to scoop into the right shape, so an alternative is to roll the dough into a log about 1.5 inches thick and chill or freeze. If you’re freezing overnight or just storing (good for up to a month), wrap the log in waxed paper and then two layers of plastic wrap. When ready to bake, just cut off ½ inch slices.

    Sprinkle with a pinch of flaky sea salt (optional). Bake just until tops are dry and cracked but cookies are still soft to touch, about 12 to 15 minutes. If baking dough straight from the freezer, you might need an added minute or two. Cool on sheets.

Honey Ricotta Cheesecake



  • 8 ounces purchased biscotti
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 (12-ounce) container fresh whole milk ricotta, drained
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup orange blossom or clover honey
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 4 large eggs


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Wrap the outside of a 9-inch springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides with 2 layers of heavy-duty foil. Finely grind the biscotti in a food processor. Add the melted butter and process until the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumb mixture over the bottom (not the sides) of the prepared pan. Bake until the crust is golden, about 15 minutes. Cool the crust completely on a cooling rack.
  3. Blend the ricotta in a clean food processor until smooth. Add the cream cheese and sugar and blend well, stopping the machine occasionally and scraping down the sides of the work bowl. Blend in the honey and orange zest. Add the eggs and pulse just until blended.
  4. Pour the cheese mixture over the crust in the pan. Place the springform pan in a large roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake until the cheesecake is golden and the center of the cake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour and 5 minutes (the cake will become firm when it is cold).
  5. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool 1 hour. Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold, at least 8 hours and up to 2 days. Cut the cake into wedges and serve.


Vanilla Bean Cheesecake


  • 1 1/2 cups walnut pieces
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 Tbsps unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 lbs. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp. pure almond extract
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a 10-inch springform pan. In a food processor, pulse the walnuts with 1/ cup of the sugar until finely ground. Add the butter, pulse until the mixture resembles moist sand. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 12 minutes, or until browned around the edges.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the sour cream with 1/4 cup of the sugar and 1 tsp. of the vanilla.
  3. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°. In a standard electric mixer fitted with a paddle or using a handheld electric mixer, beat the cream cheese at low speed with the remaining 1 1/4 cups of sugar and the vanilla seeds just until combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl between additions. Add the remaining 2 tsps. of vanilla and almond extract. Slowly beat in the cream until smooth. Pour the cheesecake batter into the pan and bake for 65 to 70 minutes, until lightly golden and slightly jiggly in the center.
  4. Immediately pour the sour cream topping over the cheesecake and smooth the surface. Return the cheesecake to the oven and bake for 5 minutes longer. Transfer to a rack and let cool to room temperature. Run a sharp, thin-bladed knife around the cake and remove the ring. Refrigerate the cake for 3 hours, then cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight before serving.

Oh Fudge


  • 16 oz. semisweet chocolate (chips or block chopped fine)
  • 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp. table salt
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts


  1. Line bottom and sides of an 8 x 8 baking pan with heavy duty foil, allowing excess to overhang pan sides. Spray foil with non-stick cooking spray
  2. Toss chocolate, baking soda, and salt in medium heatproof bowl until baking soda is evenly distributed. Stir in sweetened condensed milk and vanilla. Set bowl over 4-quart saucepan containing 2 cups simmering water. Stir with rubber spatula until chocolate is almost fully melted and few small pieces remain, 2 to 4 minutes.
  3. Remove bowl from heat and continue to stir until chocolate is fully melted and mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes. Stir in walnuts. Transfer fudge to prepared pan and spread in even layer with spatula. Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours. Remove fudge from pan using foil and cut into squares.


Substitute 18 oz peanut butter chips for chocolate