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Alligators and Beans

TIMES STAFF WRITER

DEAR SOS: I’d love the recipe for Gelson’s Alligators. What do you think?

--ALLY

DEAR ALLY: Gelson’s credits Viktor Benes Bakery for the pecan alligators sold at the Gelson’s in Encino. The home recipe will be very close to the professional counterpart but don’t expect to exactly duplicate the crispy crust. Still, all who tasted the recipe tested in The Times Test Kitchen thought it was a great treat. Pull up your sleeves and be prepared for a good half-day’s work. It’s worth it.

GELSON’S ALLIGATORS

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1/2 package dry yeast

1 cup warm milk (105 to 110 degrees)

3 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

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Butter

2 1/2 cups flour, about

1 egg, beaten

Alligator Filling

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60 to 80 pecan halves

Maple Icing

Mix yeast with about 1/2 cup warm milk. Add sugar, salt, 3 tablespoons melted butter, remaining 1/2 cup warm milk and flour. Mix well. Knead to make smooth dough 6 to 8 minutes. Let dough rest 30 minutes. Roll out on floured board into large rectangle.

Spread top with 1/4 cup softened butter. Fold dough into thirds. Repeat 3 more times, using 1/4 cup butter each time, and allowing dough to rest 30 minutes before filling.

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Divide dough into 2 equal portions. Using 1 portion at time, roll dough as thinly as possible into 18x12-inch rectangle.

Spread 1/2 Alligator Filling on entire surface of dough, then fold lengthwise in thirds. Place on lightly greased baking sheet and brush with beaten egg. Decorate top with about 30 to 40 pecan halves. Let rest 15 minutes.

Bake at 375 degrees 20 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. While still hot, drizzle top with half of Maple Icing. Repeat with second portion of dough. Makes 2 alligators.

Alligator Filling

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1 cup sugar

1 (7-ounce) package (3/4 cup) almond paste

3/4 cup butter

1/4 cup honey

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1 tablespoon flour

1 1/2 cups ground pecans

Blend together sugar, almond paste, butter and honey to form smooth paste. Fold in flour, then pecans. Makes about 2 cups.

Maple Icing

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1/2 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup butter

2 cups sifted powdered sugar

Heat maple syrup and butter in small saucepan until butter melts. Add sugar, blending until smooth. Makes about 1 cup.

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DEAR SOS: I would appreciate a recipe for Love’s baked beans or something like them.

--JACKIE

DEAR JACKIE: How about something like them? We have not been successful in obtaining a recipe from Love’s, which wants to keep it secret. But we have numerous bean recipes that look and taste almost like them, including this one.

POLLY’S BEANS

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3 (1-pound) cans pork and beans

1 cup brown sugar, packed

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons chili powder

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1/4 cup dark molasses

1/2 cup bottled chile sauce

2 tablespoons vinegar

Combine pork and beans, brown sugar, Worcestershire, chile powder, molasses, chile sauce and vinegar in bean pot or crock pot with lid. Mix well. Cover and bake at 400 degrees 1 hour for thin bean mixture or 1 1/2 to 2 hours for thicker bean mixture. If desired, sprinkle with crumbled bacon bits to serve. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

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DEAR SOS: I’ve lost my favorite no-bake chocolate cookie recipe, which I believe came from The Times Food Section years ago. I’d be so happy to have it again.

--PAT

DEAR PAT: We’re happy to provide the recipe for Mud Balls, again. They make an excellent treat for children too.

MUD BALLS

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3 cups quick-cooking oats

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup dry milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

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1 cup raisins

1/2 cup chunky peanut butter

1/2 cup honey

2 teaspoons vanilla

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Combine oats, cocoa powder, dry milk and salt in large bowl and mix well.

Fold in raisins, peanut butter, honey and vanilla and mix well. Mixture will be sticky, so use 1 hand to mix thoroughly. Form tablespoonfuls into balls. Place balls on platter and serve. Store in refrigerator in covered container. Makes about 7 dozen.


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