Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

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Ingredients: 

1 cup butter (softened)
3 cups packed brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups sour cream
1 1/3 cup hot strong coffee (or hot water)
Frosting Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter
3 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate (chopped)
3 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate (chopped)
5 cups powdered sugar
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
raspberry jam for layers (small jar)

Directions: 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Grease a 10x15 inch (4-4.5 quart) glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

3. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla extract.

4. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into another large mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the wet mixture and sour cream to the dry ingredients and beat with an electric mixer just until well blended. Add the boiling water then stir until combined.

5. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes until a toothpick or knife is inserted into the center of the cake and comes out clean. Set the cake aside to cool.

6. Start with the bottom layer and using a frosting tip make a ring around the cake with frosting and fill in with raspberry jam. Stack the middle layer on top. Do the same thing with frosting and jam. Third layer goes. on top.

Make your frosting now.
7. Microwave the butter in a microwave safe bowl just until melted. Stir in the semi-sweet and unsweetened chocolate. Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between each interval, until the chocolate is melted.

8. In a large mixing bowl, combine the melted chocolate and butter mixture, powdered sugar, sour cream, and vanilla; beat with an electric mixer until smooth.
Spread the frosting evenly onto the cooled to room temperature cake.

Makes 18 servings. Leftover cake should be covered tightly and refrigerated.

I love this cake, it's my favorite!

Marshmallow Sauce

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Ingredients: 

1 cup corn syrup, light
1 tsp Gelatin, unflavored
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
1 pinch Salt

Directions: 

1) Put half of the water in a large mixing bowl. If you're using a stand mixer like a Kitchenaid mixer, put it directly in the mixer bowl. Rain the teaspoon of unflavored gelatin evenly over the surface of the water and set aside.

2) Put the remaining water, sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a small saucepan and cook over medium-high heat. Don't stir it, just give it the occasional swirl, if necessary. Cook until the temperature reads 240 degrees Fahrenheit (soft ball stage) on a candy thermometer.

3) Pour the hot mixture into the bowl with the gelatin mixture. Whip on a low speed for two minutes, then add vanilla, and whip on high speed for several minutes, until the mixture is thick, white, and fluffy.

Store in jars in your fridge. You can microwave it for 10 seconds at a time to soften it and make it easy to pour or spoon onto your ice cream!

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Easy Christmas Jam

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Ingredients: 

12 oz cranberries, fresh or frozen
1 Orange (if you don't have an orange use 1/2 cup of orange juice)
2 tsp orange zest
1/2 cup water
16 oz fresh or frozen strawberries or raspberries (thaw if you use frozen)
1/4 tsp Allspice
1/4 tsp cinnamon ground
1/4 tsp cloves ground
1 Package Fruit pectin, Powder (if using bulk add about 2 Tblsp)
4 cups of sugar
1/2 tsp butter
1/3 cup lemon juice

Directions: 

Prepare your jars by washing them in hot water with soap. You can place them in the oven to heat them up to sterilize them as well.

Place lids in a small saucepan covered with water. Boil over medium-high heat while you make the jam. Set rings to the side, they don't need sterilized.

Rinse the cranberries and pull any that look bad. Place them in a 5 quart stock pot. Add the orange juice, lemon juice and water, boil for about 5 minutes until you see the skins pop. Do this over med-high heat. Some people like to puree the cranberries to start with, but I like the chunks whole.

Add in the strawberries or raspberries, orange zest and spices. Stir in fruit pectin and add your 1/2 teaspoon of butter (this reduces foaming).

Bring the mixture to a rolling boil over med-high heat, stir often. Boil this once it reaches a rolling boil for 4 minutes.

Add sugar to the mixture. Return to full rolling boil. Boil exactly 4 minutes.

Remove from heat and start filling your jars. Immediately ladle hot jam into prepared jars. Leaving 1/4" headspace. Wipe rims and threads. Center lid. Place ring on just finger tight. I place the jars upside down on a towel on the counter and let it sit for an hour. Turn them back side up and they will start to seal (pop) when cooled. If it does not seal then just store in the fridge and eat!

Some people believe using a water-bath is the only way to seal jam, I have been making jam this way for over 15 years and never had a problem. It's so quick and easy!

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Bourbon Carmel Sauce

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Ingredients: 

1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons corn syrup
pinch of salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon bourbon
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions: 

Boil sugar, water, corn syrup, and salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat, swirling occasionally.

Cook until caramel is the color of iced tea, about 10 minutes. Watch it closely. It takes about 10 minutes to get going, but once it does, it can scorch quickly.

Remove from heat and add cream and bourbon (watch out for steam!), whisking quickly to combine. Once the cream is mixed whisk in butter and vanilla.

Transfer sauce to a bowl to cool (and thicken). Store covered in the fridge and reheat slowly in the microwave or over low heat in a saucepan.

Super yummy with apples as a dip.

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Peppermint Patties

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Ingredients: 

1/3 cup Evaporated milk
1/3 cup corn syrup, light
1/4 tsp peppermint essential oil or 1 teaspoon peppermint extract, food-grade
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
7 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 lbs baking chocolate, bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
crushed peppermint candy canes if you want to use them

Directions: 

The peppermint dough for the filling is wonderfully easy to work with and if you have a fork and butter knife handy, the dipping is super easy! These did not last long in our house and will forever be a staple at Christmas time!

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the sugar, milk, corn syrup, coconut oil and peppermint on low speed until combined. Shape the dough into two round circles, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Sprinkle a liberal amount of powdered sugar on a clean countertop. Unwrap one disk of dough and place it on the counter. Sprinkle the top with powdered sugar so it doesn't stick to the rolling pin. Roll the peppermint patty dough to about 1/4-inch thick and cut into rounds with about a 1 1/2-inch or similar-sized cutter.
Reroll the scraps until all of the dough is used. Repeat with second disk of dough. Place the rounds on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until firm, about 30 minutes or overnight.

Melt the chocolate. I use the microwave and cook for 1-minute increments, stirring in between. To thin the chocolate you can always add a spoonful of Crisco. Melt until it is mostly melted but there are still a few small lumps of chocolate. Stir these in until fully melted, then add the crisco if it feels too thick.

Using a fork, dip the frozen patty rounds one-by-one into the chocolate. Tap the handle of the fork on the side of the bowl to drizzle off the excess chocolate, scrape the bottom of the fork on the edge of the bowl and gently place the dipped patties on parchment-lined baking sheets using a butter knife to gently slide the patty off the fork.

Sprinkle the dipped patties with the crushed peppermints if you want. Let the chocolate set, about an hour. Store patties in the refrigerator or freezer.

I loved the peppermint patties with and without the peppermint candies. So try both!

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Montana Salsa

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Ingredients: 

6 Cloves Garlic
1 1/2 cups Green peppers
1/2 cup Jalapenos
2 1/2 cups Onions
8 cups Tomatoes
1 12oz Can Tomato paste
2 tsp Black pepper
1/8 cup Canning salt
1/4 cup Sugar
1/3 cup White Wine Vinegar
1 tsp Cumin
1 Bunch Fresh cilantro

Directions: 

If you have a Food Processor this recipe is so quick to make! You can avoid chopping anything by hand. Do not think the vegetables need to be exact! Be flexible. I ran out of enough red tomatoes to make 8 cups so I chopped up a couple green ones and added them. I did not have any green peppers on hand so I never did add those to one of my batches and it was still delicious!

No matter how many onions, garlic and tomatoes you add I would always make sure to add the cilantro and jalapeños. These 2 fresh ingredients are a must to making a yummy salsa.

1. First take your tomatoes, cut out the stems, then cut into quarters. Place into the food processor and chop it up until it's finely chopped and it will look a little soupy. I found 2 full food processor batches was about 8 cups or a little more. Pour it into a large stock pot.

2. Take your onions, garlic and jalapeños and chop those up all together in the food processor, then add to your pot.

3. Add 1 teaspoon of cumin, 2 teaspoons of black pepper, 1/8 cup of canning salt, and 1/3 cup of vinegar. (you can use Apple Cider Vinegar)

4. Mix in 1 (12oz) can of tomato paste. (Use 2 cans if they are the small 7 oz ones.)

5. Mix all ingredients together and boil for 20 mins on low heat once it starts to boil.

Fresh Salsa: If you're just wanting fresh salsa, then after the 20 minutes, let cool, then store in your refrigerator. This does make a huge batch so if you don't want to can any of it you may want to cut the batch in half.

Canned Salsa: If you're canning the salsa then seal in jars and cook in a hot water bath for 20 mins.
1. Make sure your jars have been washed in super hot soapy water and well rinsed.
2. Boil the lids for 5 minutes to soften the rubber rings before using them.
3. Fill your jars to about 1/4" from the top, then take a clean wash cloth and wipe off any salsa that may have dripped on the rim off the jar.
4. Place the lid on the jar and screw on the ring until slightly tightened.
5. Make sure your water bath canner has hot boiling water before starting to fill the jars. You want the salsa to be nice and hot when placed into the jars so it does't cool off the canning water. If your water is not ready turn the pot of salsa as low as it will go and wait to fill the jars until your water is boiling.
6. Boil the jars in your hot water bath for 20 minutes.
7. Remove the jars from the water bath and place them on a dishcloth to cool.
8. Before storing salsa make sure the lid has sealed.
Canned salsa will last a couple years in the jars.

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Montana Cowboy Casserole

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Ingredients: 

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
2 c. of frozen corn, defrosted or 2 cans of corn
2 cans of diced tomatoes
1/2 c. sour cream
1 1/2 c. cheddar cheese, divided
1 tsp. salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 bags (16 oz) frozen tater tots
1 tbsp. Chopped Parsley, for garnish

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 375°.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add onions and cook until soft and slightly translucent. Next add beef. When it is no longer pink, drain off some of the fat and push meat and onions to the outer edge of the skillet. Add garlic, chili powder and cumin. Stir and cook until garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Add corn, tomatoes, sour cream and 1 cup of cheese. Cook stirring regularly, until cheese is melted and sour cream is incorporated. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour mixture into a 9x13" baking pan. Top with all the tater tots and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until cheese is melted and tater tots are hot and golden. Garnish with parsley and serve.

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Oyster Stew

Ingredients: 

4 8 oz cans of oysters in water
3 tbsp butter
4 cups half & half
4 cups milk
4-5 large red potatoes cut into 1 inch size chunks
2 tblsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried parsley
1 can of sweet corn or small bag of frozen corn

Directions: 

Take all your ingredients and place them in a large stock pot. It really doesn't matter what order. Place the heat on med high until it starts to boil. Stir frequently so your milk doesn't burn. When it's boiling turn it down to medium heat and a gentle boil. Boil for about 20 minutes until potatoes are cooked.

Serve and enjoy!

Cherry Pie Bars

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Ingredients: 

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. almond extract
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 (21 ounce) cherry pie filling (use 2 if you like cherries)
Glaze:
1 cup powder sugar (use a bit more if you need to thicken the frosting)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 tbsp. milk

Directions: 

Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat well. Then mix in the 2 extracts. In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients. Grease (I use Pam baking spray) a 9x13 inch baking pan. Spread about half the batter in the bottom of the pan. The spread the cherry pie filling over the batter. Drop remaining batter with a spoon onto the pie filling.

Bake at 350° for 30-35 minuets or until a toothpick comes clean. Combine glaze ingredients and when bars are cool, drizzle over the pie bars.
Enjoy!

Snickerdoodle Blondie Bars

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Ingredients: 

1 cup unsalted butter or margarine
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup lite brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
Topping:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9x13 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Lightly grease exposed parchment paper and pan. (I use the baking Pam spray)

In a large bowl or mixer, cream together butter and sugars. Mix in eggs and vanilla followed by dry ingredients. Mix until smooth and no streaks or lumps remain. Lightly grease hands (I use the Pam spray again), press mixture into an even layer in prepared baking pan.

Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar topping, then bake for 25-30 minuets until a tooth pick comes out clean. Let cool, then enjoy!

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