Archives for posts with tag: dessert

Since Toodlebug is basically allergic to everything except cocoa, it is now medically necessary for us to eat chocolate and lots of it. I found a fudge brownie recipe in my trusty Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. But Toodle can’t have many of the ingredients listed. So I made a few modifications, and the final product turned out divine. Maybe a little crumblier than usual but tasty nonetheless. With the modifications the recipe is wheat free, dairy free, soy free, and nut free.

*Denotes modification to original recipe

Fudge Brownies 2014


  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, solid at room temperature*
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour* (I use Namaste gluten-free flour)
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup nuts* (omitted)
  • Cream cheese frosting* (omitted)


  1. Melt coconut oil and chocolate together in saucepan.
  2. Stir sugar into cooled saucepan and mix with coconut oil and chocolate.
  3. Add eggs to saucepan mixture. Do not over mix.
  4. Stir in vanilla.
  5. In separate bowl mix gluten-free flour and baking soda.
  6. Add dry mixture to saucepan mixture.
  7. Spread into greased 8×8 or 9×9 pan.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 25-30 minutes.


Once I added the dry mixture, the batter became a single blob that slid right out of the saucepan and straight into the baking pan. Although the gluten-free flour makes the recipe a little crumblier, the final product turned out fine. I also erred on the side of a shorter baking time and added minutes as I needed. I think in total, I was just under 25 baking minutes.

This recipe has become a fast favorite in our household. Toodle and Twinkle go nuts over it, and K-Hubs and I need to make our own batch so we don’t have to share. Sharing is caring until it’s about chocolate. And then it’s every man, woman, or child for themselves.


Whenever I had a birthday party, two questions were inevitably asked.  Was The Gram going to attend and was she going to bring her 6-layered yellow cake with homemade chocolate frosting. Yes and yes. My parties were always well attended.

And today I share with you The Gram’s most famous recipe. But here’s the thing, I don’t actually know how to make it. As you’ll see, I tried to make it for K-Hubs’ birthday a while back, but it didn’t quite turn out. I think there are two reasons it’s so famous. It is mind-bogglingly delicious, and no one actually knows how to make it.

I now share my attempt and wish you greater success.

Cake Ingredients

I baked the cake according to package directions using 3 round cake pans. If you are wondering whether to go larger or smaller, I’d say definitely go smaller. You’ll end up slicing each cake in half to achieve the 6 layers you need. They’ll be delicately thin. Smaller and thicker is better (and easier for slicing). I used 8-inch pans and would not go any larger.

One time I helped The Gram bake this and commented there wasn’t much “cake” to the 6-layer cake recipe.  It was all frosting.  The Gram smiled wryly and offered up an, “I know.”

Well played, Gram.  Well played.  Best recipe ever.

I filled each pan about half full.

Batter in the pan

They turned out fine.

Cakes Baked

But slicing them was still tricky. When I said the slices were thin, I meant it. I used a bread knife to slice carefully through each mini cake.

Not Kidding These Slices Are Thin


I like this photo. It looks like I know what I’m doing. So organized.

Frosting Ingredients

I’ve made cakes and brownies before with chocolate chips and egg and so forth, so I thought I’d be a natural with this. I was quickly humbled. The photo below isn’t that great, but since my frosting didn’t turn out, I suppose it’s only fitting. No egg added yet.

First set of directions before egg

Egg yolks are now added but no whites.

Egg Yolks Added

And now we have the “stiff” egg whites (that I apparently didn’t do correctly) and the chocolate pieces.

Chocolate Soup Goop

I think the “stiff” part in The Gram’s recipe was the critical point in the recipe. Except I have no real idea how stiff the eggs were supposed to be. Guess I’ll have to keep making this recipe to find out. Shucks.

I did find this tutorial after the fact.  And this one.

However, I will say the total flop still tasted divine.  I wanted to eat it even though it was a chocolaty goop soup.  Actually, that sounds kind of good. It’s official. I have to make this again. Double shucks.

One time The Gram made it and it turned into chocolaty goop soup. After scooping it out of the refrigerator, everyone at the party ate it. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with this one. Because even the goop soup is tasty enough for The Gram to have put her reputation on the line by serving the mishap to friends and family.

Eventually, I just used store-bought frosting. Except I didn’t buy enough (you’ll need two cans on back-up duty), so I had to make a second trip to the store. And frosting between layers? I need to go back to home ec to learn that skill.

A Second Can of Frosting Will Be Needed

Nailed it.

Unlike those who attended my birthday parties, people near this version won’t come running, willing to risk their intestinal balance for a chance at The Gram’s frosting with raw egg in it. In spite of my attempt’s many shortcomings, K-Hubs, Toodlebug, and I still devoured it inside of 24 hours. It is also an excellent breakfast if you don’t have a party on the calendar.

Cake is Finally Frosted

Ingredients for cake

  • One box yellow cake mix, prepared according to directions and divided into 3 8-inch shallow cake pans

Ingredients for frosting

  • 1 1/2 cups butter – oleo
  • 2 cups powered sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 8 oz. chocolate (6 oz chips and 2 oz unsweetened chocolate)
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Directions (emphasis The Gram’s)

  1. Cream butter and add sugar. Cream good.
  2. Add egg yolks one at a time and beat well.
  3. Beat in melted chocolate and vanilla.
  4. Add stiffly beaten egg whites and beat again until completely blended.

The recipe ends there. Either we’re supposed to know what to do next or she missed steps. But I think you either chill the frosting for a while or if your frosting is stiff enough, you can frost your cooled cake. In the words of The Gram, “I haven’t a clue.” But I am going to make this again. Did I mention double shucks?


Yesterday I featured four recipes with three ingredients or fewer.  Except when I cheated.  Today I’m featuring recipes for the holidays with just two ingredients.  Except when I cheat.

Big-Time Punch

Big Time Punch

I have loved this recipe for what seems like decades.  Perhaps I love it because it is inherently good, or maybe I love it because I love the family who first introduced me to it.  You know how you have your own biological family, and then as you develop friendships over the years you become a part of your friends’ families?  Well, the Big Times are a second family to me.  And I have nothing but fond memories of growing up around them with this recipe at the center of every celebration.

When I was looking for a nonalcoholic punch to serve at Toodlebug’s birthday party, this is the one I served.  It makes enough to fill a small liquid dispenser.  I found one at Costco that looks like this but for a fraction of the price shown.

I have a smaller batch pictured above in carafe also purchased at Costco.  I got a package of two for less than $20.  The silverware caddy in the background of the picture is, you guessed it, also from Costco.


  • 4 liters Ginger Ale
  • 1.75 liters nonalcoholic Margarita mix


Mix ingredients in large liquid dispenser or large punch bowl.


I borrowed a little ginger ale ahead of time and froze it into cubes.  Then I added them to the punch to keep it chilled during the party.  You could also do the same thing with an ice ring if your serving container is large enough.

Rolo Pretzel Bites

Rolo Pretzels First Layer

I have seen these topped with M&Ms, and K-Hubs’ sister tops hers with pecans.  To die for.  You’ll always know where to find me at family events.  This time, I topped with another pretzel, and it tasted wonderful.


  • Small pretzels (double the quantity of Rolos), set half your quantity aside for after baking
  • Rolos (1/2 the quantity of pretzels)


  1. Set oven to about 300 degrees (I have seen anywhere from 300-400 degrees).
  2. Lay pretzels on baking sheet and top with Rolos.
  3. Bake for about 3-4 minutes until the Rolo is soft but not melted.
  4. Pull out of oven and top immediately with remaining pretzels.

Rolo Pretzel Closeup

No-Bake Oreo Snowballs

Size of Oreo Snowballs

A former neighbor served these during a baby shower.  She had dyed the almond bark to a pale blue and topped with chocolate sprinkles.  They were delicious and looked professionally created.  I remember thinking I would do that one day and maybe do each color in my box of food coloring.  I’d get really creative and top these with all kinds of decorations, drizzling amazing concoctions over the tops of each like she did.

The truth is, I will never do that.  Ever.  I’m lucky, as you’ll see, if I can make it all the way through the recipe without a mishap.  Truthfully, the recipe isn’t that complicated, but in spite of it’s amazing taste, I manage to find out each time I make them what not to do!

Oh, and I’m cheating again.  I forgot the almond bark.  So we’re going to call it 2.5 ingredients.


  • 1 package Oreos
  • 1 package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 package almond bark, melted


  1. Crush Oreos in sealed plastic bag (I use a small can or a rolling pin).
  2. Knead crushed Oreos by hand into softened cream cheese.
  3. Roll into small balls.
  4. Place in freezer to set (I did mine for an hour and they worked really well when it came time to dip into the almond bark).
  5. Melt almond bark according to package directions.
  6. Dip each Oreo snowball into the almond bark and place on sheet of wax paper.*
  7. Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.

*I have tried different dipping techniques over the years with this recipe and found that fondue tongs work well.  Otherwise the snowballs break apart as you try to dip them in the almond bark.  My neighbor said she used a fork with hers, but that never worked for me.  Shocker, I know.  I think another crumble-prevention technique is to evenly knead the cream cheese and Oreos, avoiding excess crumbs around the outside of the ball before freezing.

It’s also a good idea when placing them on the wax paper to make sure they are far enough apart so they don’t melt back together as evidenced by this photo.  In spite of the mishap, K-Hubs and I went on to enjoy them just the same.  Melted back together, frosted in pastels, or however you choose to serve them, they taste wonderful!

Finished Oreo Snowballs

Stay tuned because while some people choose to run marathons or climb mountains, I dared myself to do seven Pinterest projects before the holidays.  And starting tomorrow, I’m going to show you the results of my endeavors.  Seven Pinterest projects over seven days.  Yep, the good, the bad, and the very, very ugly!

I’ve mentioned before that my oldest daughter, Toodlebug, is a discerning eater.  I deem her readiness to eat Muffin Puffs proof of their worthiness. If you’re still unsure, let me just say when we made these, Toodlebug asked for them at each meal, again before bed, and first thing the next morning.  K-Hubs was even worse.  They are that good.

Earlier this week, we went back in time to 9th grade science class where my good friend, Gail, and I first met.  Today, we’re going back to 8th-grade home ec.  I hadn’t met Gail yet, but I was just as silly.

The teacher, Mrs. Whosit, was formal and prim.  She knew her subject well, but our class was um, colorful, not formal.  And certainly not prim.  She was saddled with class clowns and social butterflies.  As classmates we got along great.  A little too great.  Most of the time someone had a crush on someone else.  And then we dished about it during class.

The course consisted of cooking and sewing.  Mrs. Whosit didn’t like me much, yet, coincidentally, I love to sew and cook.  Ha!!!!!  We didn’t get along for two very specific reasons.  One, I was a chatterbox.  And two, I snapped the tray holding the sewing machine.

See, Mrs. Whosit told our class in no uncertain terms that we should never pop the tray as we pulled it out from our cupboard.  It was on hinges that allowed you to push it down or pull it up and out.  Each tray held its own sewing machine and if you snapped the tray, you ran the risk the machine and tray would separate and the tray would then separate from its hinges and everything would go flying.

She gave us all a practice run, and, well, I tried conscientiously not to snap my tray.  But…I totally snapped my tray.  Nothing went flying, however there was a loud popping sound, and I became the class example of what not to do.  The clowns and the butterflies thought it was hilarious.  Mrs. Whosit did not.  I wasn’t sure what to think.  But I thought it was safe to say, in spite of the fact that I usually got along very well with my teachers, she and I were never going to be buddies.

At least her recipes were good.  And that’s what I’m sharing with you today.  Muffin Puffs at their greatest.

You’ll need melted butter and a cinnamon sugar mixture.  You’ll actually need the butter for two separate steps.

Butter and Cinnamon Sugar Mixture

Any crescent rolls will do.  Depending on the shape and size of your marshmallows, you might have to lay them horizontally instead of upright.  You might also have to fight a little harder to close the seams once you wrap the crescent around the marshmallow.

Marshmellows on crescent rools

You can use a muffin tin if you have one.  Or if you don’t, foil baking cups will do the trick, too.  NOTE:  line your baking sheet (if you use foil cups) with foil or lay foil underneath your muffin tin.  These puffs are delicious, but they’re also messy.

Line baking sheet with foil

Once you have wrapped the crescent rolls around the marshmallow, dip them in the butter again before baking.

Dip wrapped marshmellow back in butter mixture

Depending on the size of your marshmallow, you may get an ooey, gooey center like the picture below.  Or sometimes, the marshmallow adheres to the crescent and the center appears hollow.  I’ve experienced both and, although the texture is different for each, the overall taste is the same.

Oooey Gooey Goodness

This time the marshmallow stayed in the center.  It also doesn’t look like it exploded in its tin, but that is a common occurrence.

Dish Delish

I’ve got these served and ready to go on china (I think Mrs. Whosit would be proud).  But I will also tell you, we’ve served these up for food day at K-Hubs’ work and as tailgate treats on chilly Saturday mornings. Muffin Puffs are versatile.

And look!  I have the original 8th-grade recipe, Magic Marshmallow Crescent Puffs.  K-Hubs and I kept mispronouncing them Puff the Magic Marshmallow Crescent Puffs.  So, he changed it to Muffin Puffs.

The original Muffin Puff Recipe

And Mrs. Whosit thought I wasn’t paying attention in class.  Look who’s blogging now!


5 tbsp sugar
2-3 tsp cinnamon
16 crescent rolls
16 large marshmallows
4 tbsp butter, melted
5 tbsp chopped nuts, if desired


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Combine sugar with cinnamon.
  • Dip marshmallows in butter and lay them on individual crescent rolls.
  • Wrap crescent around each marshmallow, closing all seams.
  • Dip in melted butter and place buttered-side down in deep muffin cups.
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Serve warm.

Note to self:  If you take pictures of food, it might be worthwhile to find out if your camera has a food option in its menu.  Well, life is full of discoveries, and my camera does indeed have a “take photos of food” option. So, here’s hoping yellow foods won’t always look orange, red foods won’t always look blue, and white foods will be discernible in future pictures.

I’ve heard people say they are a little pumpkined out with all the recipes floating around the Internet for Halloween and Thanksgiving.  I can’t say I blame them.  We’re not even halfway through November, and, yes, a little pumpkin goes a long way.

But, I came across this awesome pumpkin parfait recipe by chance when Toodlebug and I attended a kids’ cooking class at our local zoo.  And it has the word “parfait” in it, so you know it has to be good.  It’s so high brow.  So high society.  Parfait.  You can wow your guests this holiday season with references to parfait and palate and delicious and addicting and whatever else strikes your fancy.

Toodlebug has a “discerning” palate, so, naturally, she didn’t try it.  This was the turning point because had she eaten it herself, I would never have known the joy that is a pumpkin parfait.  I mean, it was just sitting right there, looking at me in all its cookie goodness, so I had to eat it. Sure, it was for kids, but let’s be honest with ourselves, some of the best snacks in the world are supposedly for kids.  Like Nilla Wafers and vanilla frosting.  You’re welcome.

After inhaling it and holding myself back from licking the little container it was in, I found I was thinking about it the rest of the afternoon.  The next day just happened to be grocery day, so I stocked up on ingredients to make this as often as K-Hubs and I wish.  However, I did forget the gingersnaps, and I will say the parfait is better with them.  K-Hubs says it’s like eating pumpkin pie.  I would agree.

Parfait Final Product


¼ AND ¼ cup pumpkin, keep separate
½ AND ⅓ cup vanilla yogurt, keep separate (depending on size of your container, you could make each portion ½)
⅛ AND ⅛ tsp cinnamon (adjust up or down for personal preference), keep separate
3-4 graham cracker wedges
3-4 gingersnap cookies

Top with graham crackers, gingersnaps, or your favorite cookie, crumbled.

Almost finished. Top with graham crackers, gingersnaps, or your favorite cookie, crumbled.


  • Mix ¼ cup pumpkin and ⅛ tsp cinnamon, set aside
  • Repeat with remaining ¼ cup pumpkin and ⅛ tsp cinnamon, set aside
  • Pour ¼ cup pumpkin mixture into glass
  • Pour ½ cup vanilla yogurt on top of pumpkin mixture
  • Pour remaining ¼ cup pumpkin mixture on top of yogurt
  • Top with remaining ⅓ cup yogurt
  • Decorate or serve with graham cracker wedges and gingersnap cookies

Yields one parfait


  • Add dash of ground cloves for flavor
  • Add sugar to cinnamon (I didn’t do this but found I needed to really watch how much cinnamon I added to the mixture because when mixed with the pumpkin it was a little tart.)
  • Eat layered as it is or crush the crackers and combine all ingredients (The latter is an especially good choice if the cinnamon is too strong for your liking – the vanilla yogurt tames it)
When I make this now, I combine the cinnamon with the pumpkin.  It gives it an even flavor.  If the vanilla yogurt doesn't sweeten it enough, add a little sugar.

When I make this now, I combine the cinnamon with the pumpkin (unlike what you see in this photo). It gives it an even flavor. If the vanilla yogurt doesn’t sweeten it enough, add a little sugar.

The Gram was a fabulous cook.  My mother was a terrible cook.  And I’m somewhere in the middle.  Whereas Gram could bake a 6-layer cake with her eyes shut and one hand tied behind her back, Mom found herself in the great pumpkin-pie debacle of the 1970s.

The story goes that she tried to bake a pumpkin pie for my dad not long after they were married.  With good intentions she plopped the pumpkin filling in the crust and shoved it in the oven.  That’s right.  No spices, no other ingredients.  Just the crust and the filling.  She served my dad a slice, and he ATE IT.  Well, the part that wasn’t burned.

Since I’m an average cook, I need repetition to get a recipe right.  And one of my favorite recipes also stems from one of the best summers I spent with my dad sometime during the early ‘90s.

He taught me to bake an apple pie.

And it’s only taken me about 20ish years to get it mostly right.

NOTE:  You’ll need more than crust and apples for this to work.


  • 6 Granny Smith apples
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Cinnamon (welcome to my dad’s cooking – no actual measurements – spices are “to taste”)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 pie crusts (If Gram were here, she’d be appalled I’m not making my own crust.  But to save on time and sanity, I confess I use store-bought crusts and hope for the best.)

Apple Pie Drifts and Plateaus


  1. Peel and cut apples and put in a large bowl.
  2. Mix cinnamon, sugar, and flour together.
  3. Add dry mix to apples.
  4. Press one pie crust in greased pie pan (Dad diligently greases with a stick of butter, followed by a light dusting of flour – I use a spray can).
  5. Pour apple mixture into pie pan and form a hill with the apples.
  6. Cut off excess crust around edges of pie pan.
  7. Lightly pinch the crust edge to pan (this always trips me up – my crust usually looks a little haphazard).
  8. Put four slabs of butter on top of apple mixture.
  9. Place second crust on top of apple mixture, maintaining the shape of a hill (again, always trips me up since my hill turns into a plateau or bumpy drifts – as evidenced by the photo).
  10. Slice in bird feet in second crust.
  11. Repeat steps 6 and 7.
  12. Put foil around the edge of the pie pan.
  • For the first 25 minutes of baking, keep the foil on.
  • For the last 25-30 minutes of baking, remove the foil.
  • Bake for a total of 50-55 minutes at 375 degrees.

As for the leftover crust that was trimmed off?  Well, we don’t waste things on either side of my family.  We also don’t believe in foodborne bacteria.  So, germs be damned, we’re eating that raw crust with the leftover cinnamon/sugar/flour mixture.  We’ll have digestive systems like steel and be ready for the apocalypse.  What are dads for, anyway?