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Cooking with 'Friends': Sandra Lee's Mother's Day Brunch

DATE TOFFEE COFFEE CAKE
Makes 10-12 servings
Ingredients:
1 package coffee cake mix
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 c. sour cream, room temperature
1 package dates, coarsely chopped
1 c. walnuts, chopped

PECANS STREUSEL TOPPING
Ingredients:

1 pouch Pecan Streusel Topping
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 pouch Cinnamon Swirl Filling
2 Heath Bars, finely chopped
¼ c. walnuts, chopped

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray an 8” square pan or 8” round pan with nonstick cooking spray.
To make the Pecan Streusel Topping: Empty topping and Heath Bars into a small bowl. Melt the unsalted butter and pour over the walnuts.  Use a fork (or a very clean hand) to work the melted butter mixture into the topping until moist clumps form. Set aside.

To make the cake: Chop the dates and walnuts. In a bowl, lightly whisk the eggs. Whisk the eight tablespoons melted butter until the mixture starts to thicken slightly.
Sprinkle ⅓ of cake mix over the mixture and whisk until just smooth.  Gently whisk in half the sour cream.  Sprinkle another ⅓ of the cake mix over the batter, followed by the remaining sour cream, followed by the remaining cake mix – whisking gently after each addition.  Gently fold in the dates and walnuts to the mixture. Scrape down to ensure the batter is well combined.
Using an offset spatula, spread two-thirds of the batter into the prepared pan.  Sprinkle the dry cinnamon swirl filling evenly over the batter, then carefully spread the remaining batter over the top, covering all of the filling.  Sprinkle the streusel topping over the batter.
Bake the coffee cake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes, rotating the pan 180° halfway through the cooking.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the coffee cake cool for at least 30 minutes before serving
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CHOCOLATE ON CHOCOLATE FLUFF CUPCAKES
Makes 16-20 cupcakes
Ingredients:
1 package Dark Chocolate Cake Mix
2 large eggs, room temperature
6 tbsp. unsalted butter
3 tbsp. sour cream
2 tbsp. chocolate milk

CHOCOLATE FLUFF FROSTING
Instructions:

1 packet Chocolate Frosting Mix
1 package Marshmallow Fluff
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tbsp. chocolate milk, plus more if needed

Instructions:
To make the cake: Preheat oven to 350°F and line the cupcake tin with paper liners.
Melt 6 tablespoons of butter and allow to cool.
In a large bowl, whisk eggs until blended. Whisk in melted butter until the mixture is slightly thickened. Blend in the sour cream until smooth. Carefully whisk in half of the dry cake mix, then gently stir in chocolate milk until smooth. Stir the rest of the cake mix. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tin
Bake 12-14 minutes.  Cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Carefully remove from pans and allow to cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting: Cream butter in mixing bowl until smooth. Add chocolate frosting mix plus 2 tablespoons of chocolate milk.  Beat on low speed until fully creamed. Fold in marshmallow fluff until completely combined and frosting is creamy and smooth

Tip: If frosting is too stiff, add more chocolate milk, 1 teaspoons at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
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CHOCOLATE-COVERED BACON
Instructions:

1 lb. thick cut bacon
12 oz. Guittard Organic Milk Chocolate Baking Wafers
12 oz. Guittard Organic Dark Chocolate Baking Wafers

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 375°F. Place bacon on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a half sheet pan fitted with a cooling rack. Bake in the oven until bacon is cooked (15 minutes for soft bacon, 20 minutes for crispy bacon). Let bacon cool on the pan for 5 minutes then transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.
Meanwhile set up a double boiler by heating a large saucepan filled with water over high heat until boiling. Reduce heat to a simmer. Set a heatproof bowl over the simmering water. Add milk chocolate and stir with a rubber spatula occasionally until smooth and completely melted. Remove bowl and set aside. Add a second heat-proof bowl over the simmering water. Repeat process with dark chocolate
Cover another baking sheet with parchment paper. Using tongs, carefully dip half the bacon into the melted milk chocolate turning to coat all sides in chocolate. Transfer to the clean sheet of waiting parchment paper. Repeat with the remaining slices of bacon, dipping them in the melted dark chocolate.
Reserve a few slices of bacon, crumble them, and sprinkle them atop the dipped bacon pieces.
Let chocolate set at room temperature or refrigerate until chocolate is hard.
Consume within a few days.