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"The joys of (being an SSBBW) is we are more down to earth and more understanding. We know how it is to be avoided and we try not to avoid people because of that and I think we are more beautiful than the skinny women." ~ MeLissa [SSBBW]


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Cherry Beer Cake

3/4 cup (about) maraschino cherries, divided
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup cherry wheat beer, plus 2 Tablespoons (divided)
1 cup powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease and flour a Bundt cake pan. Cut about 16 of the cherries in half lengthwise and arrange them in the bottom and up the sides of each of the small channels in the bundt pan. You should have 8 evenly-spaced rows in spokes going outward from the center tube. Chop enough of the remaining cherries to make 1/4 cup, squeeze dry in paper towels, and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat eggs on high speed until thick and light in color, about 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in sugar 1/4 at a time until combined, then add vanilla extract.
Using a large spatula, fold flour mixture into egg and sugar mixture.
Heat 1 cup of the beer just until bubbles begin to rise around the edge of the pan. Add warm beer along with melted butter to the batter, stirring gently to combine. Pour batter into the prepared pan being careful not to dislodge cherries. (Batter will appear to be thin.) Sprinkle the chopped cherries over the top of the batter (they will sink to the bottom).
Bake 30 minutes. Do not over-bake. Cool on rack for 10 minutes, and loosen cake around the inner and outer edges of the pan with a thin spatula. Invert onto a large platter and let cool to room temperature.
Whisk together confectioners' sugar and 2 Tablespoons of the beer until smooth. Scrape the icing into a zip-top bag and squeeze out the air. Snip a tiny corner from the bottom of the bag and drizzle the icing in between the rows of cherries.

Mud Slide Ice-Cream Cake

1 box chocolate fudge cake mix
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 eggs
2 tablespoons coffee-flavored liqueur or strong coffee
4 cups vanilla ice cream
1 container (12 oz) whipped chocolate frosting
2 tablespoons coffee-flavored liqueur, if desired


Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Grease bottom only of 13x9-inch pan with shortening or cooking spray. In large bowl, beat cake mix, butter and eggs until well blended. Spread batter in pan.
Bake 19 to 24 minutes or until center is set (top will appear dry and cracked). Cool completely, about 1 hour.
Brush 2 tablespoons liqueur over cake. Let ice cream stand about 15 minutes at room temperature to soften.
Spread ice cream over cake. Freeze 3 hours or until firm. In medium bowl, mix frosting and 2 tablespoons liqueur; spread over ice cream. Freeze at least 1 hour.

Bananas Suzette Over Grilled Pound Cake

2 medium ripe, yet firm, bananas
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons orange liqueur
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon butter
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 of 10-3/4-ounce package frozen pound cake, thawed and cut into 4 slices
Shredded orange peel (optional)
Ground nutmeg (optional


1. Peel bananas; bias-slice each banana into 8 pieces. Preheat a heavy 8-inch skillet* on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add sugar, liqueur, juice, and butter.
Cook about 1 minute or until butter is melted and sugar begins to dissolve. Add the bananas and cook about 4 minutes more or just until bananas are tender, stirring once. Stir in the 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg. Set skillet to the side of the grill rack. Add pound cake slices to grill rack; grill cake about 1 minute or until golden brown, turning once halfway through cooking.
2. To serve, spoon bananas and sauce over pound cake slices. If desired, garnish with shredded orange peel and additional nutmeg. Makes 4 servings.

*Note: The heat from the grill will blacken the outside of the skillet, so use a cast-iron or old skillet.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

1-1/2 cups chopped dates
2 teaspoons baking soda
3-1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2-3/4 cups dark brown sugar
3 large eggs
3 cups heavy cream


Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a 12-cup Bundt pan. In a saucepan, bring 1 2/3 cups water, the dates and baking soda to a boil. Transfer to a bowl and let cool.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, ginger, baking powder and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. In another large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together 2 sticks butter and 3/4 cup brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add half of the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Add half of the date mixture and beat until just combined. Repeat with the remaining flour and date mixtures. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake, rotating once, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan, bring the cream, remaining 2 cups brown sugar, 1 stick butter and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes; set aside.
Remove the cake from the oven, leaving the oven on. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, poke holes through the cake and ladle half the toffee sauce over the cake to fill the holes; set aside the remaining sauce.
Bake the cake for 15 minutes more. Let cool in the pan for 1 hour, then invert onto a platter and top with the reserved sauce.

Candy Pizza

1.75 cups white chocolate chips
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 cups crispy rice cereal
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 cup red and green candies
1/4 cup shredded coconut


Start by covering a large baking sheet with foil and set it aside for now.

Set aside 1/4 cup of white chocolate chips in a plastic bag, and combine the semi-sweet chocolate chips with the remaining 1.5 cups of white chocolate chips into a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave the chips together in short bursts until they’re melted, stirring often to keep them from overheating and burning.
Once the chips are melted and smooth, add the rice crispy cereal and stir until it starts to get incorporated, then add the miniature marshmallows, stirring until everything is coated with the chocolate and there are no dry spots remaining.
Scrape the candy onto the prepared baking sheet and spread it into a thin circle using a spatula or the back of a spoon.
Try to make the pizza as large as possible, while still trying to keep it somewhat round on the baking sheet.
Sprinkle the red and green candies on top of the wet chocolate—these are your vegetables. It’s a good world where M&Ms count as vegetables, right?
Next sprinkle the shredded coconut all over the top of the pizza. Press down gently on the coconut and candies to get them to stick to the chocolate.
Take your 1/4 cup of white chocolate chips in the small plastic bag and microwave it until they are melted, about 30-45 seconds. Squeeze the chocolate in the bag with your hands to get all of the chips melted and smooth. Cut off a small corner of the bag, and drizzle the melted chocolate all over the top of the pizza in random patterns as a finishing touch.
Refrigerate the pizza until the chocolate is completely set, about 45 minutes. To serve, cut or break it into small pieces.
Of course it looks cute if you cut it into wedges, but these are kind of monster servings, so you can always cut it into small shards or squares instead.

This is a great candy to serve at the end of a pizza party, and because all the cooking happens in the microwave, it’s a perfect candy to make with kids.

Candy Sushi

4 tbsp butter
4 cups miniature marshmallows
6 cups crispy rice cereal
20 gummy worms
12 green-colored Fruit Roll-Ups
30 fish-shaped gummy candies


We're going to make two different kind of candy sushi, so get two baking sheets ready by lining them with waxed paper and spraying them with nonstick cooking spray.
Now combine the butter and marshmallows in a large microwave-safe bowl and microwave them in 30-second intervals until they're melted. It will probably take 2 or 3 sessions in the microwave, but keep going until the marshmallows are puffy and totally melted into the butter. Add the rice cereal and stir until it's completely coated with the marshmallow and everything is one big homogenous mess. This may not be easy, but it'll be worth it.
Pour about half of the cereal mix onto one of the baking sheets. No need to be precise, you can just eyeball it.
This first sheet will be the fish-topped nigiri sushi, so you want to press it into a thicker layer—aim for about ¾ of an inch thick. You'll be cutting it into squares, so don't worry if the edges aren't precise. Just aim for that even thickness. Now set that aside and scrape the second half of the rice crispies onto the other baking sheet. This is going to get rolled, so we'll press it much thinner. Basically you're trying to press it as thin as you can while preventing big holes from forming. You'll probably end up with a layer that's about 1/4 inch thick.

For the filling, place a pair of gummy worms an inch from the edge of the rice crispies. Place another pair below them, and then a third, until you have a line of gummy worms stretching across the baking sheet. Roll the cereal mixture around the gummy worms. If it helps, you can use the waxed paper underneath to help you roll it around. Now, this is the most important part: press really firmly and squeeze the roll together, to make a tight, solid roll that won't fall apart when you cut it. Take a large, sharp knife and cut the roll away from the rest of the rice crispies. Move it off to the side, and repeat, adding more gummy worms and making more rolls until all of the crispy mixture is used. Take a log and slice it into 1-inch rounds until all of your sushi is formed. The final step is to roll them in green fruit-roll ups to resemble the seaweed.

Now here is the truth about fruit roll-ups: it is hard to find plain green ones! The best found are only half green, but we'll make it work. If you cut away the second color, you're left with only green candy. Trim it into a 1-inch ribbon, then roll it around the sushi so it sticks to itself.

The nigiri is even easier to make. We'll just cut the square of rice crispy treat into small rectangles, then cut the fruit roll-up into thin 1/2-inch ribbons.
Top the rice crispy square with a gummy fish, then wrap the thin ribbon all the way around, tying the whole thing up like a package.
This candy sushi is so cute, it's perfect for parties, and kids love to help make it too.

Deep-Fried Candy Bars

Up to 8 full-size candy bars
2 quarts of vegetable oil
1.5 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
2 tbsp white vinegar
You will also need a candy/deep fry thermometer


Before you fry the candy bars you want them really cold, so unwrap them and place them on a baking sheet and freeze them for at least 3 hours.
When you're ready to fry, get the oil ready. Pour it into a heavy-duty pot over medium-high heat and insert your candy thermometer. You want the oil to come to 375, which takes a while. Keep one eye on the oil while you get the rest of the ingredients ready.
Place ½ cup of the flour on a plate or in a pie tin, and set it aside. Place the remaining cup of flour in a medium bowl, and stir in the baking soda and salt.
Combine the milk, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and mix it together. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk them until it's really smooth and there aren't any lumps.
Once the oil is at 375, it's time to start dipping. If you have a huge pan you can probably do several at once, but it's easiest to just fry one at a time.
Roll a candy bar in the flour then dip it in the batter, making sure that it’s completely covered. Carefully lower it into the hot oil--you don't want to get too close and burn your fingers, but be carefully not to throw it in and cause oil to splatter. Use a slotted spoon to push down on the candy bar and keep it submerged in the oil so it cooks evenly.
Once it's a beautiful, golden brown color, remove the candy bar from the oil and place it on a plate covered with paper towel to soak up the excess grease. Repeat the battering and frying process with the remaining candy bars.

After your candy bars are fried, let them cool slightly, then dust them lightly with powdered sugar and serve while still slightly warm. The outside is crisp but the insides liquefy and become this awesome gooey, chocolatey, caramel heaven.
They are outrageous!

Dessert Ravioli

8 ounces of chopped semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 sheets of frozen puff pastry, defrosted
1 egg


Start by making the ravioli filling, which is a simple chocolate ganache. Place the cream in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and bring it to a boil. As soon as it boils, take it off the heat and pour it over the chopped chocolate. Gently whisk the chocolate and cream together until the heat has melted the chocolate and the mixture is smooth and shiny. This is your beautiful ganache.
Place cling wrap on top of the ganache and refrigerate it for several hours, until it holds its shape when scooped but isn't rock hard.

About 30 minutes before you're ready to assemble the ravioli, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and take the puff pastry out of the freezer to defrost. When it's cool but supple, place one sheet on a floured surface and sprinkle the top with flour. Gently start rolling it out, making sure to flour underneath and on top consistently so it doesn't start to stick.
Turn it occasionally so you roll it out fairly evenly. You want to end up with a square approximately 16 inches across.
Don’t worry if it's not that exact size or if it's not quite a square. Cover the first square with a towel so it doesn’t dry out, and roll the second piece of puff pastry out to the same size.
Mix the egg with a spoonful of water, and brush this egg wash all over the first pastry sheet. This is the base of your ravioli.
Scoop small spoonfuls of the ganache and place them in the middle of the pastry sheet counting out squares. Don't make the scoops too big, because you need to leave room at the sides or else the pastry won't seal together and the filling will squirt out.
Once all the chocolate is scooped, gently place the second piece of puff pastry on top. Use your hands to press down in between the rows and columns. The egg wash will help the pastry stick together. Make sure you have a good seal around each individual ravioli, then use a pastry wheel or pizza cutter to cut them apart.

Transfer the ravioli to an ungreased baking sheets and freeze them for 15 minutes, until firm. Brush the tops with egg wash and put the ravioli in the preheated oven and bake for about 15-17 minutes, until the ravioli is puffed and has a beautiful golden brown crust on top.

Let them cool slightly before serving, but you definitely want to serve these warm so the chocolate filling oozes out of the crackly pastry. You can serve these with a raspberry sauce, but they're also good with chocolate, caramel, or even dusted with powdered sugar.

Meringue Ghosts

2 egg whites, room temperature
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp flavored extract, like vanilla or almond
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate
toasted nuts, coconut, or sprinkles (optional)


1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Place the room temperature egg whites in the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. (Alternately, you can use a large bowl and a hand mixer with whisk attachments.)
2. Turn the mixer to medium-high speed and beat until the egg whites are foamy. Turn the mixer off, add the cream of tartar, and continue beating on medium-high until the whites have turned an opaque white color and hold soft peaks.
3. At this point, start adding the powdered sugar a few spoonfuls at a time with the mixer running. Once all of the sugar has been added, add any extracts you are using and turn the mixer to high speed. Continue to beat the egg whites until they are very thicky, glossy, and a shiny white color. When you stop the mixer and lift the whisk out of the whites, the whites should have a very stiff peak. This process will take about 7-12 minutes in a stand mixer.
4. Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop your meringue mixture into a piping bag fitted with a ½ inch round tip, or if you don’t have this, into a large Ziploc bag with a ½ inch hole cut in the corner.
5. Pipe your meringue into ghost shapes about 1-1/2 inches wide and 2 inches tall. You can either do this by squeezing the bag and pulling up gradually, making one big “blobby” ghost, or by making a series of concentric circles spiraling upward. Pipe 12 ghosts onto each baking sheet, for a total of about 2 dozen meringue ghosts.
6. Bake the meringues in the preheated oven for an hour. After an hour, open the oven door and continue to cook for 30 minutes, then turn the oven off, close the door, and allow the meringues to sit until completely cool, about 1 hour.
7. Once the meringues are crisp and room temperature, melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl, stirring after every 30 seconds to prevent overheating. If you want to coat the bottoms in crushed nuts, sprinkles, or toasted coconut as well, place those toppings in small, shallow bowls nearby.
8. Dip the bottoms of the ghosts in the melted chocolate, and scrape the bottoms against the lip of the bowl to remove excess chocolate. If you’re dipping them in other toppings, immediately press the bottom of the ghost into the bowl of toppings so they adhere to the wet chocolate. Replace the dipped ghost back on the baking sheet and repeat with remaining ghosts and chocolate. Dip a toothpick in the remaining melted chocolate and give each ghost two dots for eyes and, if you desire, a mouth or other features.
9. Refrigerate the ghosts to set the chocolate, about 5-10 minutes. Do not refrigerate them any longer than absolutely necessary, as they will absorb moisture from the refrigerator and lose their crispness.
Store Meringue Ghosts in an airtight container at room temperature.

Caramel-Cinnamon Apple Cheesecake

3 medium apples, peeled, cored and sliced
3 tbsp butter
1/8 cup (2 Tbsp.) granulated sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
12 caramels, unwrapped
2 tbsp heavy whipping cream
1 8-oz pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
1 9-inch graham cracker pie crust
2 tbsp finely chopped peanuts


In a small frying pan, saute apples in butter, sugar and cinnamon until tender but not mushy, then remove from heat and allow to cool. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt caramels with cream for 1 minute, adding 30 second intervals if needed, then stir until blended; set aside. Beat cream cheese, condensed milk, lemon juice and vanilla in mixing bowl until combined then pour into crust. Drizzle with about HALF of the caramel mixture.
Spread cooled apples over cheese, push down gently into crust. Sprinkle with peanuts and drizzle with remaining caramel sauce. Chill 5 hours or until completely set.

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