If you think the Center For BrainHealth folks just sit around thinking smart thoughts, your thinking is all wrong. They do fun things like Tuesday night’s cooking class with Chef Darren “The Royal Chef” McGrady.
And leave it to Darren to come up with the perfect sweets for the holidays. He’s even shared a couple of ’em just in time for next week’s celebrations.
Warm Gingerbread With Sticky Caramel Sauce
- ¹⁄3 cup butter, cut into small pieces
- ²⁄3 cup hot water
- 1 cup light or dark molasses
- 1 large egg
- 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- Cooking spray
- 1 ½ cups dark brown sugar
- 2 sticks (aka 1 cup) unsalted butter
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Large bowl
- 9 by 9-inch cake pan
- Wire rack
- Heavy-based pan
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Combine butter and hot water in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk until the butter melts. Add molasses and egg, and stir with a whisk until blended. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, salt and cloves. Add flour mixture to the molasses mixture, stirring just until moist.
- Spoon batter into a 9 x 9-inch cake pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Cool gingerbread in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
- Prepare the sauce by adding all of the ingredients into a heavy based pan. Stir over high heat until everything is combined. Bring to a boil and simmer for 4 minutes.
Holiday Chocolate Pecan Fudge Bites
- 6 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 2 (14 ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
- ½ cup butter
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- Heavy based pan
- 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish
- Parchment paper
- Place the chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk and butter into a large heavy based pan. Heat on medium, stirring until the chocolate chips are melted, about 3-5 minutes.
- Stir in the vanilla paste or extract and salt and then the nuts.
- Place parchment paper into a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish and spread the fudge evenly. Refrigerate until set. Cut into squares.
Here’s a thought: Why not get the youngsters in your household to whip up these treats to leave for Santa when he comes down the chimney Christmas Eve?
* Photo collage credit: Bonnie Pitman