Posts for dessert

Have Your Pumpkin Pie & Drink It, Too!

Beverages, Recipes - Jennifer - November 18, 2011

My son turned 11 earlier this month, and we had the family over for a little pizza party.  We had made pumpkin cookies earlier in the week and still had a half can of pumpkin puree in the fridge, so we tried out this little libation:


1 can pumpkin puree (15 oz.)
1 c. packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 gallon apple cider
2 liters cold ginger ale

Whisk together pumpkin & spices, adding the cider and continuing to whisk until ingredients are smooth and sugar is completely dissolved.  Chill until ready to serve.  When ready, transfer to punch bowl and stir in ginger ale.  Serve over ice.

The above recipe is the kids’ version.  When serving adults, we added in an extra-special, grown-up ingredient:  a healthy splash of Captain Morgan Spiced Rum!  Oh man, was it good!

We’ve already decided that next time we will further customize our Pumpkin Pie Punch by hunting down some cinnamon ice cream for floats.

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Who’s the Boss? You or the Cake?

Cookbooks, Desserts - Jennifer - January 26, 2011

I have a fondness for fun cakes.  I tried to do something special for each of my kids’ first birthdays, even though I sometimes took the easy way out, skipping the baking step and using frozen pound cakes for my medium.  But I have a genuine appreciation for fun, pretty, or inventive cakes, which is why I enjoy TLC’s Cake Boss  so much.  Here are some of my own attempts:


Pound cake regatta


Pound cake fire engine


Sheet cake Larry the Cucumber (Veggie Tales)

Sheetcake graveyard with the Scooby Gang

They’re not perfect, but the kids completely loved them, and that’s what is important to me.  Ever striving to improve my techniques, I thought I’d turn to the Master Baker himself, Buddy Valastro, so I consulted his book  Cake Boss: Stories and Recipes from Mia Famiglia for inspiration.  And inspiration is what I found!  A fourth-generation baker, Valastro tells his tale by way of his parents’ stories and the traditions passed down to him, literally and lovingly, by “hand.”  He rounds out his narrative with plenty of recipes and photos.  I know I’ll never achieve Cake Boss perfection, but it sure is fun to try!

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Quickest, Easiest, Kid-Friendliest Dessert EVER!

Desserts, Recipes - Jennifer - January 4, 2011

I know it’s not really cooking, but I love a quick dessert that basically entails dumping a bunch of ingredients together, mixing and refrigerating.  It’s especially handy to have something you can whip together quickly for those spur-of-the-moment invitations that crop up from time to time.  Here’s my winter stand-by:


1 lg. can of pureed pumpkin (NOT pie filling)
1 sm. package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 sm. tub of Cool Whip
Cinnamon (start with 1 tsp. and add to taste)

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate. Serve with graham crackers or other small cookies for dipping.  We’ve been using Honey Maid Spongebobs and chocolate Mini Teddy Grahams for kid appeal.  And believe me, they belly up to the bowl when Spongebob can go diving into the Pumpkin Mousse!

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