Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell

 Chocolate Chess Toffee Pecan Bars, Hawaiian Sweet Potatoes

My sister-in-law, Ruth Bedwell, who lives in Rainbow City, encouraged me to enter the Chocolate Festival Cooking Contest this past Saturday.  I chose my Chocolate Chess Toffee Pecan Bar recipe and much to my surprise; it came in first place.  I met so many wonderful ladies from Rainbow City.  The event was so well organized and the tables were beautifully decorated. Frances Elrod, who is a wonderful cook and a great friend, won second place with her beautifully decorated chocolate cake with candied orange slices.  It was all so much fun! I hope some of you will enter your favorite chocolate recipes next year.

Chocolate Chess Toffee Pecan Bars

1 chocolate cake mix

1 egg

1/2 cup margarine


1 (8 oz.) cream cheese, room temperature

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 box powdered sugar

1/2 package of Bits of toffee chips

1 cup chopped pecans

Put cake mix in your mixer with your egg and melted margarine.Mix well. Pat this in the bottom and about 1/2 inch up the sides of a 9 x 13-inch greased pan. In your mixer, add cream cheese, eggs, vanilla and powdered sugar. After filling is real creamy, add your chips and nuts.  Pour filling evenly over your cake mixture and bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes.  You will want the filling to be a little gooey.

Andy’s Note:  These are so easy to make and so versatile.  You can add the ingredients that you prefer.  They also need to be frozen before you slice into bars.  I made these days ahead and put them in the freezer.  Of course, I had them decorated with a chocolate drizzle and sprinkled with crushed pecans.  I had a cluster of red cherries in the middle of my bars.  Gosh, I love to decorate food!

Hawaiian Sweet Potatoes

3 cups sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup margarine

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 small can crushed pineapple, drained

1 cup flaked coconut

Mix all together and bake in an uncovered pretty casserole dish for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.  Take out of the oven and cover with marshmallows and put back in the oven until they are melted and a little brown.

Andy’s Note:   This recipe brings back so many wonderful and beautiful Easter Sunday meals.  This is another old-time recipe from my mother. The combination of pineapple, coconut, and sweet potatoes blend so well together.  I always decorate with sliced pineapple topped with red cherries.

Next week, I have a special treat for all of you “cake” bakers.  Another friend from Rainbow City, Carolyn Barron, sent me the “best” coconut pound cake that I have ever eaten.  Rainbow City has some wonderful cooks!

Happy cooking to cooks all over Etowah County,

– Andy Bedwell

“Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell” can be purchased at Little Faces Doll Shop, Alabama Gift Company, and the Messenger office on Broad Street. 

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