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Category: Desserts

Molasses Cookies

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup molasses
1 large egg
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (about 10 ounces)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Combine brown sugar and shortening in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add molasses and egg; beat well. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through salt), stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture; beat at low speed just until blended. Cover and freeze 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375°. Place water in a small bowl. Place granulated sugar in another small bowl. Lightly coat hands with cooking spray. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Dip one side of each ball in water; dip wet side in sugar. Place balls, sugar side up, 1 inch apart, on baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 8 minutes. Remove from pans; cool on wire racks.

Blackberry Sorbet

3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup water
1 lb fresh or frozen blackberries (about 3 cups)
4 tsp lemon juice (1 Tbsp + 1 tsp)
1 Tbsp liquer (triple sec or chambourd)

Combine sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Stirring constantly, let the simple syrup boil for 1 minute then remove from heat, transfer to a mixing bowl, and let chill for 3 hours.

In a blender, puree blackberries and simple syrup for about 1 minute. Use a chinoise or spatula and fine mesh strainer to remove the pulp and seeds from berry mixture. Stir in the lemon juice and liquer.

Place in ice cream maker and follow the directions in the manual (or freeze in a sealed container for a couple of hours). Makes 4 servings.

Poole’s Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie

8 ounces all purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups sifted)
1 tsp salt
4 ounces (1 stick) butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
about 3 Tbsp ice water
5 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp salt
6 Tbsp melted butter
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 bourbon
1 1/2 cups pecan pieces
1 cup dark chocolate chips (65%-70% cacao)

To make the crust, combine flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Using a pastry blender or two forks, cut the butter into the flour mixture. The mixture should have a coarse, sandy texture with some pea-size butter pieces.

Mix in just enough ice water so that the dough forms into a ball. Do no knead the dough. Wrap in plastic and allow to rest in the refrigerator until thoroughly chilled, at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a deep 9-inch pie dish. Place the dough on a floured surface and roll it to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Line the greased pie dish with the dough and trim the edges. Fill the pie with weights (dried beans or rice will work) and bake about 18 minutes, rotating halway through, until the edges of the crust are golden brown. Remove the pie weights and set pie shell aside.

To make the filling, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat eggs with the sugar, brown sugar, salt, butter, vanilla, and bourbon, mixing until thoroughly combined.

Layer the pecan pieces and chocolate chips in the bottom of the hal-baked pastry shell. Carefully pour the filling mixture over the pecans and chocolate chips. Bake until the filling is set (the edges should be firm and the center is still slightly jiggly), checking after 30 minutes and rotating the pie. Continue to check every 5 minutes. Allow pie to cool completely before serving.

Makes 8 servings.
Per serving: 747 calories, 46g fat, 185mg cholesterol, 74g carbs, 4g fiber, 10g protein, 632mg sodium, 48g sugar


Cheese Fondue:

1/2 lb Emmental swiss cheese, shredded
1/2 lb Gruyere cheese, shredded
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 garlic clove
1 cup dry white wine
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp cherry brandy (kirsch)
1/2 tsp dry mustard
pinch nutmeg

In a small bowl, toss the shredded cheese with the cornstarch and set aside.  Rub the inside of the fondue pot with garlic, then discard.  Over medium heat, add the wine and lemon juice and bring to a gentle simmer.  Gradually stir small amounts of the cheese into the simmering liquid.  Melting the cheese gradually encourages a smooth fondue.  Once all the cheese is melted and smooth, stir in the cherry brandy, dry mustard, and nutmeg.  Serve with bread (french, rye, pumpernickel), Granny Smith apple, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, or asparagus.

Asian Beef Broth Fondue:

1 (15oz) can beef broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sherry
3 green onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp ground ginger

Combine all ingredients in fondue pot at medium-high (350 degrees) and bring to a boil.  Serve with thinly sliced steak (filet, sirloin, or flank), potato, broccoli, and zucchini.  As the broth evaporates over time, add equal parts beef broth and water (to avoid too much salt).

Chocolate Fondue:

8 oz dark or semisweet chocolate, in small pieces
1/4 pint whipping cream
1/4 cup caramel topping
2 Tbsp favorite liqueur (Amaretto, Frangelica, kirsch, Bailey’s, etc.)

Place all ingredients to fondue pot over low heat.  Stir constantly until the mixture is melted and smooth.  Do not allow to bubble.  Serve with cheesecake, pound cake, bananas, strawberries, apples, brownie, and other treats.

Classic Pumpkin Pie

3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt
1 (12 oz) can evaporated low-fat milk
2 large egg whites
1 large egg
1 (15 oz) can unsweetened pumpkin

1 refrigerated pie crust dough

1/4 cup whipping cream
1 Tbsp amaretto
2 tsp powdered sugar

Position oven rack to lowest the position and preheat oven to 425.

Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Add pumpkin, and stir with a whisk until smooth.

Roll dough into an 11-inch circle and fit into a 9 inch pie plate coated with cooking spray.  Fold down or trim off excess dough then flute the edges (pinch with your fingers).

Pour pumpkin mixture into the crust.  Place pie plate on a baking sheet on lowest oven rack.  Bake at 425 for 10 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 and bake an additional 50 minutes or until almost set.  Cool completely on wire rack.

For the topping, use a mixer at high speed to whip the cream to stiff peaks.  Add the amaretto and powdered sugar and beat until blended.

Peanut Butter Pie

1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 (8oz) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1 (14oz) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
12 oz frozen fat-free whipped topping, thawed
2 (6oz) reduced-fat graham cracker crusts
20 teaspoons Hershey’s chocolate syrup

Combine powdered sugar, peanut butter, and cream cheese in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth.  Add milk; beat until combined.  Fold in whipped topping.  Divide mixture evenly between crusts; chill 8 hours or until set (pies will have a soft, fluffy texture).  Cut into wedges; drizzle with chocolate syrup.

Peaches and Cream

3 peaches, halved and pitted
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
3 cups vanilla ice cream or frozen custard
1 cup pecans, crushed

Place peaches, cut side up, on a baking sheet. Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Sprinkle evenly over peaches. Broil the peaches for 2-3 minutes. Serve with ice cream over top and sprinkle with pecans.

White Chocolate Cheesecake with Cranberry Sauce

For the crust:
9 ounces vanilla wafers, crushed
1/2 cup butter, melted
For the filling:
16 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
32 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup cream
2 Tbsp vanilla
For the sauce:
12 ounces fresh cranberries
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup cranberry cocktail juice
1/4 cup water

Make the crust:
Position rack in center of oven, preheat to 325 °F. Butter 10-inch spring-form pan, wrap the outside of pan with foil. Finely grind cookies in a processor, add melted butter, process again until crumbs are moist.
Press crumbs onto bottom, and 2 inches up sides of pan. Bake crust until set, about 12-15 minutes.

Make the filling:
Stir white chocolate in top of double boiler set over barely simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Cool to lukewarm, continuously stirring. Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese in large bowl until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Gradually add sugar, then salt; beat until smooth. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add sour cream, whipping cream, and vanilla; beat until well blended. Gradually add melted white chocolate, beating until mixture is smooth. Pour filling into crust. Bake until center still moves slightly when pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Open oven door slightly; turn off oven. Leave cake in oven for 30 minutes. Chill cake uncovered overnight.

Meanwhile, make the cranberry sauce:
Stir all ingredients in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat; boil 3 minutes. Press mixture through a sieve set over large bowl, pressing firmly on solids. Set aside.

Run small knife between pan sides and cake before releasing the springform. Spread cranberry sauce over top of cake. Cut into wedges and serve.

Peanut Butter Fudge

1 cup butter, plus more for greasing pan
1 1/4 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 pound confectioner sugar

Heat peanut butter and butter in double boiler until thoroughly mixed and heated through. Add vanilla and confectioner sugar to peanut butter mixture and stir to combine with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat. Pour into a buttered 8×8 or 9×9 pan lined with waxed paper. Place a second piece of waxed paper on the surface of the fudge and refrigerate until cool. Cut into 1-inch pieces and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Note: Alternately, you can microwave butter and peanut butter for 2 minutes on high. Stir and microwave on high for 2 more minutes before adding the sugar and vanilla.

Earl Grey Tea Truffles

16 oz dark chocolate, chopped
14 oz cream
2 bags Earl Grey tea
1 Tbsp butter
cocoa powder, sifted
coconut flakes, toasted
walnuts, toasted and crushed
almonds, toasted and crushed

Bring cream to a boil and remove from heat. Add the tea bags and allow to steep for several minutes. Remove the tea bags.

Bring the cream to a boil again and pour over chocolate and butter in a separate bowl. Whisk until smooth (be careful not to incorporate air). Set aside to cool.

Use a spoon or melon baller to make small uneven balls of chocolate. Roll the truffles in the desired toppings or dip into pure melted chocolate. Chill.