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Kraft's Striped Delight (Sorry, I didn't snap my own picture...we ate it too fast!)

I love Striped Delight.  Ever since Mom discovered the recipe on the side of a Cool Whip container decades ago, it has pretty much been my favorite dessert.  I’ve been wanting to try taking it to the next level by making the various components from scratch, and finally did it Sunday for our Mother’s Day dessert.  It was awesome.  The chocolate pudding had a deep, rich chocolate flavor that Jell-O instant pudding can’t come close to, and the real whipped cream was heavenly.

The idea of doing Striped Delight from scratch came when I was making a filling for Amie and Aubrey’s birthday cakes, and realized that it was essentially the same as the bottom layer of Striped Delight, except that I used real whipped cream instead of Cool Whip.  We had started using real whipped cream recently, when Amie had made a fresh strawberry pie, and we had no Cool Whip on hand but did have some leftover cream from something else Amie had made.  Real whipped cream is sooooo much better than Cool Whip.  The superior taste and texture of real whipped cream was compounded by a question that had been nagging me: we know what Cool Whip isn’t (non-dairy), but what exactly is it?  The answer I found was somewhat disturbing, and since the article pointed out that you can whip real cream yourself for about half the price of Cool Whip, there’s no looking back for us.  Maybe it’s a bit disloyal to cut out Cool Whip when they were the source of the original recipe, and I am certainly grateful for the concept, but the benefits of making it with real ingredients are more than worth it.  Sorry, Kraft. Read the rest of this entry »


Toffee Crunch Grahams

12 whole graham crackers, broken into 48 quarters

1 1/2 cups butter (no substitutes)

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup sliced almonds

Line a 15 x 10 x1″ baking pan with foil.  Line crackers in the bottom of the pan.  It will be a tight squeeze and the crackers will be touching.  In a saucepan, combine butter and brown sugar; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Do not biol too long or the syrup will harden.  Carefully pour this syrup over the graham crackers, spreading to cover the crackers.  Sprinkle with sliced almonds.  Bake at 400 degrees for 6-8 minutes or until the syrup is bubbly.  Remove from the oven and carefully lift the foil lining onto a wire rack.  Let cool completly and break apart.

These are very similar to the treats Grandma Johnson makes with club crackers and a syrup of butter and white syrup.  When I made these I had both regular and cinnamon graham crackers so I tried both to see which we liked better.  Dad and I have voted so we will be eager to see which you like better if you try them.  These were fast and easy and they got gobbled up fast.  Enjoy!


For Valentine’s Day this year I made cookie bouquets for Aubrey and Isaac’s teachers.  They were relatively simple and looked cute.  I made Grandma Rolfe’s sugar cookies which are always yummy.  (You can find the recipe in the cookbook that Mom made.)  I rolled them out a little bit thicker and slid a skewer through the bottom.  Make sure that the skewer is in the cookie well.  I then baked them for the usual time.  Wait until they are cooled to frost them.  I actually made mine a couple of weeks early and froze them, and frosted them while they were still frozen.  Allow time for them to dry before the next step.  I bought a simple clay pot from Wal-Mart for $0.75.  I got some foam from the silk flower department and some paper stuff to cover the foam.  Cut the foam to fit the pot and hot glue the paper on top of the foam to hide it.  Then insert the sticks into the foam. 

I thought that this would be something fun to do with the kids, but they were a little too fragile.  So I gave them some regular sugar cookies to decorate while I worked on mine.  Hope you all have a great Valentine’s Day!

Guys, make this for your sweethearts.  You can thank me later.  These molten chocolate cakes from Mark Bittman’s Bitten blog are amazing, and amazingly easy to make.  A couple of tips:

  • Salted or unsalted is not a big deal, but please use butter, not margarine
  • Use a bar of quality chocolate, the darker the better.  I’ve used Ghirardelli’s 60% Cocoa with good results.
  • Butter the ramekins well.  I’ve had some problems with them sticking (but you can hide it under whipped cream if they don’t come out perfectly)

Some whipped cream or cool whip is nice to balance the intense chocolate flavor, but if you really want to knock it out of the park, try serving these with some sliced macerated strawberries (raspberries would be nice, too) and this cream cheese whipped cream (below).  NOTE: you’ll want to eat these molten chocolate cakes straight out of the oven, so start macerating the strawberries and make the whipped cream before you bake the cakes.

Cream cheese whipped cream:  In bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whisk 4 oz. cream cheese, 1/3 c. confectioners’ sugar, and a pinch of salt at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Add1/2 tsp. vanilla and beat at medium speed until combined, about 30 seconds; scrape down bowl. With machine running at low speed, add 1 c. heavy cream in slow steady stream; when almost fully combined, increase speed to medium-high and beat until mixture holds soft peaks when whisk is lifted, another 1-2 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed.

Samoas Bars

Homemade Samoas Bars

It’s Girl Scout cookie season!  I think we can all agree that there are two varieties of Girl Scout cookies worth buying (though Tagalongs are okay if you’re into peanut butter).  While some of you may reasonably claim Thin Mints as your favorite, Somoas are the ones that do it for me.  Unfortunately, the availability of Girl Scout cookies is fleeting, the price is a bit steep for what you get, and they are made with some ingredients (like hydrogenated oils) that you might prefer to avoid.  So why not roll your own?  This recipe for homemade Samoas bars comes from Nicole Weston’s The Baking Bites Cookbook, which Kristin gave me for Christmas (thanks, Kristin!).  We tried them last night, and they were (to quote U2) “even better than the real thing.”

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