COOK OF THE WEEK RECIPES: Myra Langley

Pecan Clusters
28 ounces Kraft caramels (100 pieces)
1 stick unsalted butter
11⁄2 cups chopped pecans
20 ounces Log House chocolate-flavored candy coating
1 tablespoon Crisco shortening
Spray a heavy saucepan with non-stick spray. Add caramels and butter. Melt over medium-low heat, stirring often, for about 20 minutes. When completely melted, add pecans and remove from heat. Using 2 teaspoons, drop candy pieces onto quick-release aluminum foil. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Melt chocolate candy coating in a double-boiler; add shortening to thin the mixture. Dip each piece of candy into the chocolate using 2 forks. Shake off excess coating. Put on waxed paper to harden. Store covered at room temperature.

Peanut Butter Bonbons
11⁄2 cups creamy peanut butter
11⁄2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 pounds powdered sugar
20 ounces chocolate-flavored candy coating
With a electric mixer, beat peanut butter, butter, vanilla and salt until fluffy. Gradually mix in sweetened condensed milk, then powdered sugar. Shape into 1-inch balls and chill until firm. (They may be frozen in a single layer on a baking sheet, then kept in the freezer in ziptop bags for dipping later.)
When ready to dip, melt candy coating in a double-boiler. Use 2 forks to dip each bonbon into the chocolate. Shake off excess and let harden on waxed paper. Store covered at room temperature.

Aunt Beck’s Cocoons
2 sticks butter or margarine, softened
1⁄2 cup powdered sugar, plus more for coating
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped pecans
Cream butter, 1⁄2 cup powdered sugar and vanilla. Mix in flour and add pecans, mixing well. Pinch off pieces of dough and shape into cocoons. Place on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. While cocoons are still warm, roll in powdered sugar.

Aunt Nell’s Baked Beans
8 ounces bacon
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped bell pepper
3 (15-ounce) cans pork and beans
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans
1 (18-ounce) bottle Bull’s Eye BBQ sauce
Cook bacon and remove from skillet. Crumble bacon and set aside. Sauté onion and bell pepper in bacon grease. Combine beans, onion mixture and barbecue sauce. Pour into a greased casserole. Top with crumbled bacon. Bake at 350 degrees until bubbly.

Mexican Cornbread
11⁄2 cups Sunflour self-rising cornmeal
2⁄3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 (15-ounce) can cream-style corn
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons diced jalapeño peppers
11⁄2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
Combine cornmeal, oil, eggs, corn, milk and peppers. Spray two 10-inch black skillets with non-stick spray. Pour 1⁄4 of batter into each skillet. Top each with 1⁄4 of cheese. Divide remaining batter evenly and pour on top of cheese in each skillet. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top of batter in each skillet. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until browned. Flip each cake of cornbread and return to oven for about 5 minutes more, or until browned.

Mama’s German
Chocolate Cake
21⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup Crisco shortening
13⁄4 cups sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 package Baker’s German’s chocolate
1 teaspoon vanilla

Icing
3 egg yolks
8 ounces evaporated milk
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter
1⁄2 cup chopped pecans
3.5-ounces Baker’s coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla
Spray three (9-inch) round cake pans with non-stick cooking spray and cut parchment paper rounds to fit inside pans.
Sift flour, add baking powder and sift again. Cream shortening and sugar. Separate eggs; beat egg whites. Add baking soda to buttermilk and stir. Add egg yolks, one at a time, to sugar/shortening mixture, mixing well after each addition. Alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk mixture to sugar/shortening/egg yolk mixture. Melt chocolate in microwave. Add melted chocolate and vanilla to batter, mixing well. Fold in beaten egg whites. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. Cake is done when center springs back if lightly touched.