Allison Sporrer is pictured with her husband, Jeff, who works with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, and their children, Carter (left) and Collin.
Allison Sporrer is pictured with her husband, Jeff, who works with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, and their children, Carter (left) and Collin.
Monday, August 2, 2010

Baking with family has been a tradition in Allison Sporrer’s family for as long as she can remember. She credits her love of baking to her mother, Trudy Wittmaack, of Carroll, whom she describes as a “wonderful cook.” She has fond childhood memories of preparing holiday goodies and other treats with her mother.

Allison, of Carroll, an advertising representative with the Daily Times Herald, is a busy working mother and wife to her husband, Jeff, and sons Carter, 3, and Collin, 8 months, but still finds time to make everyday occasions into special occasions. She said she especially loves making desserts with caramel. She has found ways to take store-bought caramels and caramel sauce and turn them into crowd-pleasing confections.

Allison enjoys watching the Food Network and reading cooking magazines to gather new recipes and ideas. She says cooking is her stress reliever, but says her main reason behind cooking is simply, “I enjoy making things for other people.”

Snicker Cake

This unique cake includes a boxed German chocolate cake mix serving as the top and bottom layers. The middle layer is a concoction of caramel, butter, and pecans. Topping off this twice-baked cake, is a dollop of whipped cream. As a child, Allison’s mother let her choose her birthday cake and this was often requested.

1 pkg. German chocolate cake mix
½ cup oleo
14 oz. pkg. caramels
1/3 cup milk
1 cup pecans
¾ cup chocolate chips

Prepare cake mix as instructed on package.  Pour half of the batter into greased 9x13 pan and bake 20 minutes.  Melt caramels, oleo and milk until smooth.  Pour on top of baked cake layer.  Top with chocolate chips and pecans and dot with remaining batter.  Bake 20 minutes at 250 degrees, then increase temperature to 350 degrees and bake 10 to 15 minutes more.  Serve with Cool Whip.

Cocoa Caramel Delight Cookies

These cookies are a staple at Christmastime for Allison’s family. Each year, she and her mother make ten to fifteen different cookies and candies to share with friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers. They begin with a chocolate sugar cookie base, which is rolled in egg whites and pecans, and topped with a small spoonful of caramel and drizzled with chocolate.

½ cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg, separated
2 T milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup finely chopped pecans
½ cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. shortening
Carmel Filling (recipe below)

In small mixer bowl, beat butter, sugar, egg yolk, milk and vanilla until blended.  Stir together flour, cocoa and salt; blend into butter mixture.  Refrigerate about 1 hour or until firm enough to handle.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease cookie sheet.  Beat egg white slightly.  Shape dough into 1 inch balls.  Dip each ball into egg white; roll in pecans to coat.  Place 1 inch apart on prepared cookie sheet.  Press thumb gently in center of each ball.  

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set.  Meanwhile, prepare Caramel Filling.  Caramel Filling:  In small saucepan, combine 14 unwrapped caramels and 3 tablespoons whipping cream.  Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until caramels are melted and mixture is smooth.  Remove cookies from oven; carefully press center of each cookie again with thumb to make indentation.  Immediately spoon about ½ tsp. Caramel Filling in center of each cookie.  Carefully remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.  Cool completely.  

In small microwave safe bowl, place chocolate chips and shortening and microwave on HIGH 1 minute or until smooth when stirred.  Place wax paper under wire rack with cookies.  Drizzle chocolate mixture over top of cookies.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Turtle Trifle

Chewy fudge brownies, cut into inch cubes, pecans, whipped cream, and caramel are layered in a clear glass dish to create a pretty and delicious dish. Allison says this is a potluck favorite at get-togethers and work. It travels well and has become a favorite at Christmas.

1 (21 oz.) pkg chewy fudge brownie mix, baked according to directions.
2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cup light corn syrup
2/3 cup butter
4 large eggs
¼ tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups pecans (chopped)
1 (16 oz) whipped topping, thawed
1 (12 oz) jar caramel ice cream topping

Cut up brownies into bite size pieces.  In large saucepan combine sugar, corn syrup, melted butter and eggs.  Stir in salt, vanilla and chopped pecans.  Bring to a boil over medium heat; reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Cool completely.  In a trifle dish layer the brownies, pecan mixture, whipped topping, and drizzle of caramel ice cream topping.  Repeat layers.

Caramel Rice Krispie Bars

Allison refers to this as a “kid favorite.” Even her 3-year old son, Carter, is able to help with this treat. He loves to pull up a stool to the kitchen counter to help. It’s a recipe she remembers from her childhood made by her grandmother, Ruth Janssen of Schleswig. It begins with a layer of original Rice Kripsie treats, a sticky layer of melted caramel, sweetened condensed milk, and butter, and topped with another layer of Rice Krispie treats. It does not need to be refrigerated, but if there are children around, they won’t last long.

Melt ¼ cup butter in pan.  Add 3 cup miniature marshmallows.  Stir until melted.  Pour over 5 cups Rice Krispies.  Grease a 9x13 pan and press mixture into pan.  In microwave, Melt 14oz. pkg. caramels, one can sweetened condensed milk and ¼ cup butter.  Stir until smooth.  Pour this over Rice Krispies bars.  Let stand for ½ hour.  Then make another batch of Rice Krispies bars and press on top of the caramel layer.