Category Archives: Desserts

Five-Minute Pumpkin Mousse

If you only try one new pumpkin recipe this fall, let it be my Five-Minute Pumpkin Mousse.

Don’t let the word “mousse” intimidate you because this is as easy as it gets: it takes five minutes and has five ingredients. You simply whisk together sweetened condensed milk, canned pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and whipped topping. Then serve it with gingersnap cookies for dipping (although the velvety mousse is delicious on its own).

I’ve created a variety of pumpkin mousse recipes over the years, but this is my best.

I gave my 3-year-old – who is hesitant to try new things – a bite and asked if she wanted another bite. She said: “I want the whole thing,” and promptly took it from my hands. She licked the bowl clean.

My husband said he could bathe in this; my mom said it was better than pumpkin pie. The rave reviews have ensued every time I make it (and I am sure you’ll get the same response).

This recipe will be a winner this holiday season. It’s even better after a few hours of refrigeration, but can be served immediately, too.

This mousse would be great at your Halloween party. Simply carve out a small pie pumpkin and fill it with mousse and serve it with Gingersnap cookies.

Five-Minute Pumpkin Mousse

Makes 20 (2-ounce) servings

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 (8-ounce) tub of whipped topping, defrosted

Mini Gingersnap cookies to garnish

Beat or stir together sweetened condensed milk, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and whipped topping, until combined.

Pour mixture into 2-ounce glasses and top with a gingersnap cookie. Serve immediately.

Other serving options: If you have a smaller crowd and want to serve larger portions, you can serve pumpkin mousse in wine glasses with or without a cookie. You can also crumble cookies and put them on top.

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Pina Colada Trifle

I invented this recipe in honor of the late Floyd Mahon, who was like an uncle to me (me and so many others). Floyd died two years ago from colon cancer.  He was one of the best men I’ve ever known and ever will know; I say that with certainty because he was one of those rare, exceptional people who had the ability to make everyone laugh, make everyone feel special. You didn’t have to know him long to feel like a longtime friend.

He was a character and an excellent cook.

Because of that legacy of a life well lived, his family throws Floyd-fest each year to honor him. This year, the theme was Cancun which was Floyd’s favorite place.

Keeping the Cancun theme in mind, I whipped up this dessert in honor of Floyd. Trifles are one of my favorite desserts because they are easy, pretty, creamy, versatile and feed a crowd. And of course, who doesn’t enjoy sipping a pina colada on a beach in Mexico?  This dessert just seemed like him: fun, sweet, tropical, different. If you make it for adults only, you can double the rum.

Floyd-fest was a blast. About 80 people came throughout the day and night. There was a spread of amazing food and drinks. He sons and son-in-laws made incredible pulled pork, fish, steak and chicken and there was a taco buffet. There was a salsa competition (I took best overall salsa 🙂 ), and his entire family pitched in to make the day special and fun for everyone.

It was quite the effort of love.

Another amazing thing at Floyd-fest was his family releases balloons with a self-addressed postcard attached that tells a little about Floyd and asks whoever finds the postcard to drop it in the mail and tell them where it landed. The postcards have been returned from other states. It’s such a cool idea. As a world traveler myself, I want my family to do this to honor me one day.

If Floyd was alive, I hope he’d say this dish is “El Good-o”, that’s one of his many funny sayings.

I hope you find an occasion to share this recipe. Cheers to Floyd, his family, and his legacy.

pina colada

Pina Colada Trifle

1 white cake made according to package directions

3 tablespoons dark rum or coconut rum (optional)

2 boxes of instant coconut pudding

1 cup coconut milk (use the refrigerated type, not the canned)

2 2/3 cups half and half (can substitute regular milk)

1 teaspoon rum extract

2 1/2 cups finely chopped fresh pineapple

1 tub of extra creamy whipped topping

1 cup shredded sweet coconut

Bake cake according to package directions and 5 minutes after you remove it from the oven, brush it with rum. Set aside.

Empty two packages of coconut pudding and whisk together with coconut milk, half and half and rum extract. Whisk until well combined and cover and refrigerate.

Peel and chop the pineapple into small bits.

To assemble the trifle, break half the cake up and place it in the bottom of a bowl or trifle dish. Top with half the coconut pudding, half the pineapple and a thin layer of whipped topping (using only a third of it).

Then repeat the process to create the second layer of the trifle and top it with remaining whipped topping and shredded coconut. Cover and chill 2 hours before serving.

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Strawberry. Basil Dessert Flatbread

My sweet tooth today has me craving dessert, so I thought I’d make a dessert flatbread. This lovely little dessert has sweetened vanilla cream cheese as a base and is topped with sliced strawberries and basil. Slice of fresh summer peaches would be a lovely substitute for the strawberries. I topped it with fresh basil, which is incredible on strawberries and peaches.

This dessert comes together in minutes and is gorgeous as well as delicious.

I drizzled 18 year old balsamic vinegar on it, but that’s optional. It’s perfectly delicious without vinegar.

Look at that! How pretty

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Strawberry, Basil Dessert Flatbread

1 Stonefire Tandoori Baked Original Naan

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

¼ cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¾ to 1 cup sliced strawberries

Fistfull of basil

Excellent quality aged Balsamic Vinegar (optional)

Bake Naan according to package directions.

Beat together softened cream cheese, heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Spread over the flatbread.

Rinse, hull, dry and slice strawberries. Place berries on the cream cheese. Slice basil and sprinkle over flatbread.

If desired, drizzle a tiny bit of excellent quality aged balsamic vinegar on the dessert. Slice and serve.

Note: If you use balsamic vinegar, make sure it’s excellent quality and you taste it before drizzling any over the flatbread.

Enjoy with a glass of red wine or port.

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Pavlova filled with lemon curd and Grand Marnier soaked blackberries

I love my rotisserie chicken, but I am also a dessert fan.  I have been whipping up these Easter worthy desserts for my columns in the Joplin Globe, MO and Claremore Daily Progress in Claremore, Ok.

I made a Pavlova, which hails from New Zealand.

Pavlova is a meringue dessert named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova (a New Zealand chef created this in her honor). It has a crusty exterior but the center is soft and tastes like a marshmallow. I used vanilla and coconut extract to flavor my meringue, but you can be playful and use anything from almond to raspberry extract (just plan your filling accordingly).

You can fill a Pavlova with anything, too, but I filled mine with store-bought lemon curd, whipped topping and Grand Marnier marinated blackberries. If you don’t have Grand Marnier, it may not be worth buying a bottle because it’s expensive. You could substitute sherry, another orange liqueur, or omit the alcohol and just soak berries in 2 tablespoons orange juice, if desired. This also excellent with blueberries or raspberries or a combination.

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Pavlova’s are light and so even if you’re stuffed after the meal, you can still squeeze in a little dessert.

Enjoy

Pavlova with Lemon Curd and Grand Marnier Soaked Blackberries

For the Pavlova:

5 large egg whites

1 ¼ cups of granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon coconut extract

2 teaspoons corn starch

Parchment paper

For the filling

1 (10-ounce) jar lemon curd

2 cups whipped topping

1 ½ cups fresh blackberries or raspberries

2 tablespoons Grand Marnier

For the Pavlova:

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

Place a large piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet.

Beat egg whites on high speed (or meringue setting if your mixer has one) for 1 minute. Then gradually start adding the sugar, only 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat until stiff peaks form. Then fold in both types of extract and corn starch.

Spread mixture onto parchment paper, making it an 11-inch circle of oval. Shape with spatula; you want the sides slightly higher than the center because you’re going to fill the center.

Bake for 60-70 minutes. Then turn off the oven, but leave the door ajar and leave the Pavlova in the oven another hour.

The center will be collapsed, which is fine because you want to fill it.

While it cools, place blackberries in a bowl and add Grand Marnier. Set aside.

When it’s time to fill Pavlova, fill with whipped topping and spread that in the center. Then take teaspoons at a time of the lemon curd and drop dollops around the center. Cover with blackberries and serve. Note: for the sake of the photo, I left space to see the lemon curd to show contrasting colors, but I would cover the top in berries when serving.

Easter Macaroon Nests

It’s not chicken, but it’s delicious. For the next few days, I am taking a break from my rotisserie chicken and sharing some great Easter desserts with you.

These macaroon nests are the BEST macaroons I’ve ever tried.

Instead of just egg whites, I use sweetened condensed milk. My husband came home the other night and I handed him a cookie and he said “I only want half.” I said “Trust me, you will want the whole thing. I used sweetened condensed milk.” That’s his weakness. He took a bite and said “You’re right. Can I have another?”

If children are going to be part of the celebration, you have to try my macaroon nests. These are absolutely delicious, and so easy for children to make. There’s only five ingredients and you mix it by hand, so you don’t have to mess with a beater and there’s no flour to spill all over the floor.

If the cookies don’t bake up into perfect rounds, when you take them out of the oven, you can shave off any edges and reshape them slightly while still warm. My recipe only makes about 10 cookies, but they are good size and the recipe can easily be doubled if that’s not enough.

Once you’ve filled the macaroon nests with jellybeans or a candy egg of your choice, them place them on a long platter and use it to decorate the center of the table.

If you don’t like the idea of food dye, leave them white.

These are gluten-free!

Macaroon Nests

Makes 10

1 egg white

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup sweetened condensed milk

2 1/3 cups shredded sweet coconut

4 drops green food coloring (optional)

Jelly beans or candy eggs of some sort

Parchment paper

Preheat oven to 325.

In a large bowl, whisk egg white for 20 seconds, until frothy. Whisk in vanilla and condensed milk and food coloring until combined. Stir in coconut until combined.

Spread a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Spoon about 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons onto parchment paper and form a nest. Use your thumb to press gently down on the center to make an indentation so you can fill it later, but be sure not to press all the way through. You just need a little spot in the center. If you press through, the cookie may not hold its shape.

Bake for 18-20 minutes. Cool before placing candy eggs in the nest.

Bourbon Banana Shortcake with Candied Pecans

I am the rotisserie chicken, but there are plenty of days when I want something else.

Something sweet.

I am a big believer that dessert should knock your socks off! It’s not good for us, so it should be divine. This dessert is. I won’t create or share a dessert recipe that isn’t. I created this dish last month for a column I have in the Joplin Globe.  Doesn’t it look delicious? Oh man, it is.

So instead of chicken today, feast on this.

Bourbon Banana Shortcake with Candied Pecans

2 shortcake cake

1 large ripe banana

3 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon sugar

¼ cup bourbon

2 tablespoons heavy cream

Ice cream for serving

Whipped cream for serving

2 tablespoons chopped candied pecans

Peel and slice bananas into quarters and set aside.

Place dessert cups on plate. Make your cinnamon sugar by mixing sugar and cinnamon and set aside.

In a nonstick skillet, heat the butter over medium heat. Add brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon sugar and the bananas. Cook for 3 minutes. Add the bourbon and cook another 3 minute until sauce is thick and most of the bourbon taste has cooked out; then add in heavy cream. Whisk and remove from heat.

Spoon caramel sauce from the pan over the dessert cups. Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and then the bananas. Top with whipped cream and candied pecans. Then, dust the dish with remaining cinnamon sugar and serve immediately.

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