Archive for Desserts

Cream Cheese Cookies with Crushed Oreo

½ cups unsalted Butter, Softened
3 ounces Cream Cheese, Softened
1 cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 cup All-purpose Flour
½ cup Chocolate Chips
1 cup Oreo Cookie Crumbs, crushed fine
½ cups White Chocolate Chips, Melted (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and cream cheese using a  mixer until they are well combined.

Add the sugar and vanilla and mix until ingredients are well combined. Add the flour and mix on low just until the flour is incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Form the dough into 1″ balls and roll in Oreo cookie crumbs until cookie is covered. Place covered cookie balls onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the edges are golden and the tops are slightly puffed.

Cool on the pan for two minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Once cool, drizzle cookies with melted white chocolate if desired.


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Pumpkin White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Yield: 3 to 4 dozen cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup butterscotch chips
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter – softened
2/3 cup granulated white sugar
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
2/3 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup chopped white chocolate – (or use chips)
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment.

Put flour and baking soda in bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse to distribute the baking soda evenly. Add the butterscotch chips and process until the chips are ground, with some slightly larger bits remaining. Turn the flour and butterscotch chips out into a large bowl.

In a separate large bowl, cream the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar together for 2 – 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl from time to time, until fluffy. Add the egg and pumpkin puree and stir to combine.

Pour the wet mixture into the flour mixture and stir to combine. Add oats, white chocolate chunks and nuts and stir until ingredients are combined and no flour is visible. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes or overnight.

Use a 1/4 cup measure or ice cream scoop to drop the cookie dough onto the prepared sheets, leaving 2 inches between cookies.

Bake cookies on center rack for 13 to 15 minutes, rotating the cookie sheets halfway through for even baking, until they’re light golden brown and no longer doughy looking. Cool cookies on cookie sheets for 10 to 15 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack or clean surface to cool completely.

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Pumpkin Trifle with Caramel Drizzle

12 gingersnap cookies, crushed into crumbs

2 tablespoons butter, melted

8 ounces cream cheese

1 cup pure pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice *

1 cup cold heavy cream

2 tablespoons sugar


Combine the gingersnap crumbs and butter. Divide the crumbs into the bottoms of your serving dishes ( I use individual, but you may use 1 large).


In an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add pumpkin, vanilla, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice. Beat until well combined and creamy.


Whip cream with the sugar until soft peaks form. Fold half of the cream into the pumpkin  with a spatula. Combine until no streaks remain.


Pipe or spoon a layer of pumpkin mousse onto the gingersnap crust. Follow with a layer of freshly whipped cream. Repeat the layers until they reach the top. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Top with freshly whipped cream, a drizzle of caramel sauce, and additional gingersnap cookie crumbs.


*To make your own Pumpkin Pie Spice combine the following and store in a small container


1 Tbsp. cinnamon, 1-1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon cloves, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon salt


Caramel Sauce

Yield: 4 cups

3 cups sugar

1 cups water

2 cups heavy whipping cream

Combine the sugar and water in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Dissolve the sugar in the water over low heat. Increase the heat to high and cook until the caramel is a golden amber color. Remove the caramel from the heat and slowly whisk in the cream, a few tablespoons at a time. Be very careful, as the mixture will bubble as you add the cream.

Serve the sauce warm or refrigerate for later use. This will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator. To reheat, warm over a double boiler.

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Pecan Sandies

Got a child off at camp? These cookies are great to mail and are a sure hit!! I shared a bag of 5 with the post office lady and scored a thank you note! My brilliant husband asked, “how did she get your address?”

USPS Lady?

Mailing cookies to daughter at camp?

Return address on package?


I guess even Einstein can ask a silly quesiton…


3/4 cups pecans

4 ounces unsalted butter, softened

6 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast the pecans on a jelly roll pan for @ 7 minutes. Pulse them in a food prcessor until finely ground ( or coarsely chop by hand)


In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy; beat in vanilla and salt. With mixer on low, gradually add flour, beating just until combined. Fold in pecans.


Roll dough into 1 1/2-inch balls, and place on two baking sheets, 2 inches apart. With the dampened bottom of a glass, lightly flatten each ball.


Bake until cookies are golden brown, 15 to 17 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer to wire racks, and let cool @ 4 minutes. While still warm, toss them in the sugar bowl to coat them completely.

Return to rack to cool completely.

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Rhubarb Crisp

When using rhubarb in my cooking classes, I am always surprised at how few people have tried much less cooked with rhubarb. I always enjoy the tart crisp freshness of rhubarb in a pie, cobbler, or jam. I have also pureed it and added to brownies and ice cream. Try it this Spring!

Rhubarb is a thick, celerylike stalk that can grow up to 2 feet long.Though rhubarb
is generally eaten as a fruit, it’s botanically a vegetable.Rhubarb is an
extremely tart food with cherry red stalks and green leaves. The peak season for rhubarb is from April to June. Choose crisp stalks
that are brightly hued. The leaves should be fresh-looking and blemish-free. Highly
perishable, fresh rhubarb should be refrigerated, tightly wrapped in a plastic bag,
for up to 3 days. Because it is extremely tart,rhubarb is usually combined with a considerable amount of sugar. It
makes delicious sauces, jams and desserts. A traditional flavor combination is rhubarb and strawberries.

The recipe below uses rhubarb only but you could certainly substitute strawberries or raspberries for a portion of the rhubarb.

Serves 6 to 8

6 Tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
2 1/2 to 3 pounds rhubarb, tough strings removed, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces (@ 5 to 6 cups)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon orange or lemon juice
1 teaspoon orange or lemon zest
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch salt
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup pecans

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
Grease an 8 or 9 inch square baking dish with a little butter
Toss rhubarb with sugar, orange or lemon juice and zest, and spread in a baking dish.

Put the 6 tablespoons butter in a food processor along with the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Pulse for 20 to 30 seconds ~ just until it looks like small peas and begins to clump together.
Add the oats and pecans and pulse a few times to combine.

Crumble the topping over rhubarb and bake until golden and beginning to brown ~ 45 to 50 minutes.

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Fresh Strawberry Cake

My cakes aren’t the “prettiest”around~ but they are good! This one was made for my sister’s birthday ~ Happy Birthday, Laura! Growing up, her favorite birthday cake was a strawberry cake. The one my mother made was what most people think of when they make a strawberry cake – boxed cake mix embellished with strawberry jello.

Several years ago my sister asked me to make her a strawberry cake for a family gathering celebrating her birthday. She wanted it reminiscent of the one she had growing up. Unwilling to settle for a box mix and red food dye, I went on a quest to create a fresh strawberry cake. I think I have a achieved a worthy opponent to the 1970s box cake with jello! Give it a try!

3 cups sifted cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1¾ cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 cups pureed fresh strawberries

Strawberry Cream Frosting
3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup pureed fresh strawberries
4½ to 5 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare three 9 inch round layer cake pans; lightly grease the pans with shortening and dust with flour.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; whisk together to mix. Set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, stir the buttermilk and vanilla together. Set aside.

In a large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add eggs one at a time, beating until thoroughly mixed.

With the mixer on low speed, add about one third of the flour mixture, mix just until the flour is almost completely blended. Scrape the bowl down, and add about one half of the buttermilk mixture, blending just until mixed. Scrape the bowl down again and continue alternating with the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture, ending with the last portion of the flour, and stirring just until blended.

Remove the bowl from the mixer. Gently fold the strawberries into the batter.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the surface with the back of a large spoon. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until a long toothpick, wooden skewer, or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and place pans on a wire cooling rack to cool for 10 to 15 minutes then remove cake from the pans and place the cake on the wire cooling rack to finish cooling.

Strawberry Cream Frosting:
In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, and vanilla; use an electric hand mixer or wooden spoon and beat together until mixture is smooth. Stir in pureed strawberries. Add 4½ cups powdered sugar; beat until frosting is smooth and creamy. Add additional ½ cup powdered sugar if necessary to make frosting a good spreading consistency. Use an offset spatula to spread frosting between layers and over top and sides of cake.

Garnish cake with fresh strawberries.

Cover frosted cake and refrigerate until ready to serve. Refrigerate Leftovers.

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Brownies with Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Icing

Yield: 32 brownies

For the Brownie:
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup butter (salted or unsalted), at room temperature
2 cups light brown sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour

For the Cookie Dough:
¾ cup butter (salted or unsalted)
¾ cup light brown sugar
¾ cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons whole milk
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ cups mini chocolate chips

Prepare the Brownies: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 9×13-inch pan with foil, with enough to hang over all four sides. Butter the foil. In a medium glass bowl, melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30-second increments, stirring after each, until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly. In a large mixing bowl, mix the butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract, scraping the bowl as needed. Mix in the melted chocolate until combined. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour and mix just until combined (don’t over-mix). Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 25 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely.

Prepare the Cookie Dough: In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer on medium speed to combine the butter and both sugars. Add the milk and vanilla and mix until combined. Reduce the speed to low and mix in the flour just until combined. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the chocolate chips.

Spread the cookie dough over the cooled brownies. Refrigerate until the dough is firm, about an hour. Use a sharp knife or a pizza cutter (my favorite way to slice brownies!) to cut the brownies. Store the brownies in an airtight container at cool room temperature or in the refrigerator.

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Devils Food Cake with strawberry Buttercream Frosting

Devils Food Cake with strawberry Buttercream Frosting

3 cups of flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
3 large eggs, separated
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) butter, softened
2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
8 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
2 cups milk
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and lightly flour 3 9-inch cake pans. Line with waxed paper
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and the salt. Set aside.
Lightly beat the egg yolks until thick and lemon colored, about 2 minutes.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolks, beating well until combined. Add the chocolate and mix well. Add the dry ingredients in thirds, alternating with the milk and vanilla. Beat after each addition. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites on the high speed of an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gently fold into the batter. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the enter comes out clean. Let cakes cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks. When the cake has cooled. Ice between the layers, then ice the sides and top.

Strawberry Frosting

½ cup fresh whole strawberries
2 tablespoons strawberry or raspberry liqueur or syrup
1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
16 ounces cream cheese
3 sticks unsalted butter
31/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla

Place strawberries, liquer and lemon juice in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir mixture and reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool then puree until smooth. Set aside

In a mixer, cream the butter and cream cheese. Slowly add the confectioners sugar and mix until combined. Add the strawberry puree and mix.

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Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches

Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches

You can design your own sandwich combinations by choosing the ice cream and picking your favorite garnish.
Makes12 ice-cream sandwiches, each 2-3/4 inches square.

For the soft chocolate cookie:
5-2/3 oz. (1-1/4 cups) all-purpose flour
1-1/2 oz. (1/2 cup) unsweetened, natural cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. table salt
3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup cold milk
For assembly:
1 quart or 2 pints ice cream
1-1/2 cups garnish of your choice

To make the cookie:
Position a rack on the center rung of the oven. Heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease the bottom of an 18×13-inch rimmed baking sheet. Line the pan with parchment to cover the bottom and the edges of the pan’s longer sides. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; whisk to blend. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with a hand-held electric mixer on medium high until well blended and lightened in color, about 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. Add about a third of the flour mixture and beat on medium low until just blended. Pour in half the milk and beat until just blended. Add another third of the flour and blend. Pour in the remaining milk and blend, and then beat in the remaining flour.

Distribute the dough evenly over the prepared pan in small dollops. Using one hand to anchor the parchment, spread the dough with a spoon or spatula. Drag a rectangular offset spatula over the dough to smooth it into an even layer, rotating the pan as you work. Brush or spray a sheet of parchment the same size as the pan with oil, and lay it, oiled side down, on the dough. Roll a straight rolling pin or a straight-sided wine bottle over the paper (or swipe it with a dough scraper) to level the batter. Carefully peel away the parchment. Bake until a pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 10 to 12 minutes. Set the pan on a wire rack and let cool to room temperature.

Layer the cookie with ice cream, then chill.
Lay two long pieces of plastic wrap in a cross shape on a baking sheet. Slide a knife along the inside edge of the pan containing the cookie to loosen it. Invert the cookie onto a large cutting board. Peel off the parchment. Using a ruler as a guide, cut the cookie crosswise into two equal pieces. Place one layer, top side down, in the middle of the plastic wrap (a wide, sturdy spatula will help the transfer).

Remove the ice cream from the freezer and take off the lid. It’s important to work quickly from this point on. (If the ice cream gets too soft, pop it onto a plate and back into the freezer to harden up.) Using scissors or a sharp knife, cut the container lengthwise in two places and tear away the container, as shown below.

Set the ice cream on its side. Cut the ice cream into even slices, 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick, and arrange them on top of the cookie layer in the pan, pairing the smallest piece next to the largest. Using a rubber spatula, gently yet firmly smear the ice cream to spread it evenly, as shown below. (It helps to put a piece of plastic wrap on the ice cream and smear with your hands; remove the plastic before proceeding.)

Position the remaining cookie layer, top side up, over the ice cream, as shown below. Press gently to spread the ice cream to the edges. Put a clean piece of plastic on top and wrap the long ends of the bottom sheet of plastic up and over the cookie layers and ice cream. Put the baking sheet in the freezer and chill until the sandwich is hard, about four hours and up to two days.

Cut and garnish the sandwiches:
Take the baking sheet out of the freezer. Lift the package from the pan, transfer it to a cutting board, and line the pan with a fresh piece of plastic. Peel the top layer of plastic off the sandwich (you can leave on the bottom layer.)

Working quickly, use a ruler and a long, sharp chef’s knife to score the cookie, dividing it into twelve: three across the short side and four across the long side. Cut the sandwiches as shown below, wiping the blade clean as needed. (If your kitchen is very warm, put the pieces back into the freezer to firm, or work with one strip at a time, keeping the rest in the freezer).

Garnish the sandwiches, if you like: Fill a small, shallow bowl with your chosen garnish and set it next to your work surface. Press some of the garnish onto some or all of the sides of the sandwich. Set the sandwiches back on the baking sheet and return to the freezer immediately. Once the sandwiches are hard, wrap them individually in plastic and store in the freezer.

Garnish ideas: finely crushed peppermint candies, finely chopped or grated bittersweet chocolate, minced crystallized ginger, finely chopped toasted pecans, crushed toffee chips, toasted sweetened coconut flakes, crushed amaretti cookies.

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Obsessed with Chocolate Cake!

1 pound good-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
6 eggs
¼ teaspoon salt
freshly grated zest of 1 small orange

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8 -inch round springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.

In the top of a double boiler over simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs and salt for 6 minutes, or until the eggs triple in volume. Fold in the chocolate mixture, stirring by hand until completely blended. Stir in the orange zest.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes. The center will still be a little soft. Set the pan on a wire rack to cool for at least 30 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen. Release and remove the pan sides. Refrigerate if not serving immediately.

The cake can be refrigerated for 2 to 3 days.

Return the cake to room temperature before serving.

Dust with confectioners’ sugar or serve with freshly whipped cream!

Garnish with chocolate curls!

Block of good quality semisweet chocolate, slightly warmed (microwave for a few seconds on low power) Line a baking sheet with waxed paper or parchment.

With a very sharp knife or vegetable peeler, scrape the warm chocolate at a 45 degree angle. Apply sufficient pressure to bring up enough chocolate to hold a curl.

Gently remove each curl to the prepared baking sheet.

Refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap, until ready to use.

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