Eat Dessert First!
Amish Sugar CookiesI got this recipe from a fantastic pastry chef I worked with at the historic Whitney Hotel in downtown Minneapolis. It is simply the best sugar cookie you will ever have. Must be the butter!
Almost Famous Pumpkin CheesecakeI love the Cheesecake Factory's annual pumpkin cheesecake. But did you know their cheesecakes are made in a central commissary in California? This recipe is so close to theirs, but, in my opinion, is better!
Homemade Fresh Apple PieNothing beats a homemade apple pie! One always makes its appearance on the Fourth of July, in the fall during apple picking season, and, of course, at our Thanksgiving Day feast. For best results, use a variety of firm apples like granny smith, gala, and pink lady.
Black Magic CakeEver since I was little, I've been making "My Favorite Chocolate Cake" (see recipe) for any birthday, because, well, it was my favorite. For my own birthday this year, I decided to try this baked-from-scratch chocolate cake. Dense, rich, and moist, it certainly did not disappoint! It may make it's way as the new family favorite. Don't be concerned about the coffee...you won't even notice it!
Buttercream FrostingExcept for an occasional cake mix, I make everything from scratch. Why? It tastes so much better and I
CheesecakeI got this recipe from my friend Cathy Thornton in Hawaii. It’s smooth and creamy and great with any topping too! It may appear difficult, but it's a really easy recipe.
Chocolate Cheesecake Candy Cane BarsThese dark chocolate cheesecake bars are always on the table at some point of the Christmas season. To serve, cut them into smaller squares because they are so rich.
Fresh Pumpkin PieSome people in my family call me Martha because I like to make everything myself, including roasting a fresh pumpkin for my Thanksgiving pies. You can use canned pumpkin in this recipe and it is delicious, but the fresh pumpkin makes it light and creamy.
Flaky Pie CrustMaking a homemade pie crust can be intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. I use a food processor and it comes together in a couple minutes. Many pie crust recipes often call for butter, but solid shortening will create in the flakiest pie crust.
Chocolate Covered Cherry CookiesI make these often at Christmas. It's like a bon-bon, but in a cookie!
Chocolate Crumb CrustThis takes only a minute to whip up with a food processor, and it tastes much better than the pre-made crusts you can buy.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Bon BonsIf you like Reese's peanut butter cups, these will be a perfect treat for you!
Danish Layer CakeMy mother taught me how to make this cake, which originally came from my Norwegian Great-Grandmother. She was one who told my father, "Eddie, if a recipe calls for one stick of butter, surely two must be better." She lived to the ripe old age of 100. The original recipe had no written measurements, so after several tries, we wrote down what we believed to be accurate. This is a light cake, which we traditionally served on Christmas Eve, but it is also great for other holidays like Easter or special occasions like bridal showers.
Double Chocolate Silk PieI got this from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune in an article about Mrs. Fields, the famous cookie maker. Although she wouldn’t give out her secret recipe for her chocolate chip cookies, she did relinquish this fabulous pie recipe.
Fresh Blueberry Sour Cream TarteThis is another great recipe I got from the former pastry chef at the historic Whitney Hotel in downtown Minneapolis. It has become a summertime family favorite.
Fresh Pineapple Upside Down CakeWe got very spoiled by fresh sweet pineapple when we lived in Hawaii. Although they are flown in from Hawaii, pineapples you buy on the mainland are just not the same. Pineapples are still planted and picked by hand. They plant the crown of the pineapple (the top), which produces about 3 pineapples. The entire process takes 18 to 24 months. Pineapples are picked when they are ripe; unlike some fruits, they do not further ripen once picked—they just get old. According to the Dole Plantation in the middle of the island of O’ahu, here’s how you pick a good one: 1. Look for a uniform shell. The color of the shell (either yellow or green) does not determine the sweetness of the fruit. Also, the “circles” on the shell should be the same size from bottom to top and about the size of a quarter. Smaller “circles” near the crown mean that the pineapple was picked too early. 2. Smell the pineapple. If it has a sweet pineapple fragrance, it is OLD! The fresher the pineapple, the less smell it will have. 3. Look for a fresh-looking pineapple. Contrary to popular belief, the ease with which you can pull out a leaf from the crown does not indicate ripeness of the fruit. Look for a crown with deep green leaves, and fruit that does not look old or bruised. Store fresh pineapples 2-4 days in the refrigerator.
Fresh Strawberry PieFresh strawberry pie is my favorite pie in the summer. This homemade glaze beats any glaze you will find in the grocery store.
Frozen Chocolate CheesecakeThis was one of the first recipes I created when I was a teenager. It is a simple recipe that can be made ahead when you have company coming.
Grandgirl's Fresh Apple Cake from GeorgiaMy favorite apple cake! It's moist and delicious, and I love the addition of coconut.
Lemon Jello CakeThis was another one of my dad's favorite cakes. It is so easy and has a wonderful lemon flavor.
My Favorite Chocolate CakeGrowing up, my sister made this faithfully every year for my birthday party. It originally came from a cookbook from her old elementary school in San Marino. It is still one of my favorites!
Nancy's Christmas Cranberry Cake with Warm Butter SauceEvery Christmas season, this dessert would finish off at least one meal with family and friends. It was originally called Iris’ Cranberry cake, but I didn’t know Iris—I knew it as my mom’s, Nancy’s, hence the name change. It’s a very simple cake. But don’t leave the sauce off! It tastes like candy and it truly “makes” the cake.
Easy Pecan PieThis pecan pie is a cinch to prepare and is the perfect addition to your holiday desserts.
Triple Chocolate DelightThis is another recipe I created in high school. It's rich and chocolatey, and is a perfect dessert to make ahead and store in your freezer until ready to use.
Whipped CreamBelieve it or not, many people don’t know how to whip cream. I once had someone tell me, “Here’s the Cool Whip. It’s the same, right?” Well, not exactly. So for those of you who haven’t ventured out in making your own, here’s the basic recipe. I think you’ll find it much better!
White Chip Macadamia BarsWhile in Hawaii, I tried this recipe I found on the back of the Mauna Loa macadamia nut bag.
Bailey's Irish Cream White Chocolate CheesecakeOh, my! This is such an amazing cheesecake! Smooth and creamy, it is sure to please and impress a crowd. Try it with fresh raspberries or strawberries. This is one of my husband's favorite desserts.
Life is better with dessert. I confess, it's my absolute favorite thing to make. In this cookbook, you will find 42 of my favorite dessert recipes I've collected throughout the years.
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