Archive for Other Desserts

Fruit Pizza with a Sugar Cookie Crust

One of my favorite desserts is a fruit pizza.  My recipe uses a soft sugar cookie crust with a creamy vanilla filling.  Top this delectable dessert with your favorite fruit and voila! ~ you’ll have a dessert that will keep you coming back for more!

Give my recipe a try.  I know you’ll love it! 🙂

Fruit Pizza with a Sugar Cookie Crust

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Ingredients:

Cookie Crust:

Note: This dough makes enough for two pizzas, OR one pizza and a dozen sugar cookies, OR you can make two dozen sugar cookies.

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups white, granulated sugar
  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Filling:

*Note: double the following ingredients for the filling if you are making two pizzas

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup white, granulated sugar
  • 1 large box instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Topping:
  • Any fruit of your choosing, sliced.
  • For this particular pizza (see the photo), I used:
  • 1 can strawberry pie filling (use only the strawberries, not the thick sauce)
  • 2 cans mandarin slices, drained
  • 1 container fresh blueberries
  • 1 container fresh blackberries
Other items needed:
  • Parchment paper, cut to fit the size of your pizza or baking pan (go to Tips & Things for my instructions on how to cut parchment paper to fit your round baking pan)

Directions:

Make the crust:

In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Place the sugar in a large mixing bowl. Break the cream cheese into small pieces then add to the mixing bowl.

Melt the butter; pour into the mixing bowl while still hot. Using a whisk, mix the sugar, cream cheese and butter together until somewhat creamy (the hot butter will melt the cream cheese this is what you want to happen).

Next, add the oil; continue whisking until the mixture is nice and creamy.

Add in the egg, milk, and vanilla extract. Whisk until all ingredients are thoroughly combined and the mixture is smooth and creamy.

Using a spatula or large mixing spoon, fold in the dry ingredients. Stir only to the point where you don’t see any large clumps of the flour mixture.

Line your pizza pan with parchment paper. Using either your fingers or a rolling pin, press the dough onto the parchment paper lined pan, stopping when the dough is about 1 1/2 inches from the edge of the pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until the crust starts to become very lightly browned. Set the crust aside to cool then top with the filling then fruit.

Make the filling:

In a small mixing bowl, use a hand mixer to beat the cream cheese and sugar together until creamy. Mix in the box of instant vanilla pudding mix. Slowly mix in the milk and vanilla extract. Mix on medium speed until there are no lumps from either the cream cheese or pudding mix. Set aside.

Top the pizza:

Spread the filling on top of the cooled cookie crust. Top with your desired fruit slices. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

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NOTE: DIRECTIONS FOR SUGAR COOKIES:

Make small balls (about the size of a ping pong ball) with the dough. Place onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Using a small spatula, slightly flatten the balls of dough (don’t flatten too much; the dough will expand during baking). Sprinkle different colored sugar sprinkles on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 13 minutes or until the edges of the cookies start to brown lightly. After baking, leave the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then remove to a cooking rack to finish cooling.

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Enjoy!

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Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Chocolate Chips

Pumpkin bread, pumpkin turnovers, pumpkin muffins, and now, Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls–with chocolate chips too!  If I didn’t already have you at “cinnamon rolls”, you must surely be hooked now that I mentioned these yummilicious rolls have the added indulgence of Chocolate Chips!

I may have mentioned this in previous posts, but it’s worth repeating–I love anything made with pumpkin! 😀

These rolls are perfect for breakfast, or as an added dessert item on your Thanksgiving menu.

Wait…I forgot that not only are these PUMPKIN cinnamon rolls with CHOCOLATE, these are laced with orange inside and out.  I added orange zest to the filling; I also used orange juice to the glaze (I learned this one from my friend, Vikki Z.).  I have a daughter that doesn’t care for the addition of orange zest in the filling, but I think it takes these rolls over the top and sets it apart from the average cinnamon roll.  You can leave it out, of course, but I like it “in”.

Give my recipe a try.  I think you’ll like it. 🙂

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Chocolate Chips

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Ingredients:

  Yeast mixture:
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 3 packets active dry yeast
  Dough:
  • 1 can (15-oz) pumpkin purée
  • 2 tablespoons good quality honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter (melted and cooled)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 1/2 to 6 cups all purpose flour
  Filling:
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) softened unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • Optional:  1 teaspoon orange zest (or use 1 teaspoon orange extract)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips, about 1 cup
  Glaze:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice

Directions:

1.  Prepare the yeast mixture.

Place the water in a microwave-safe cup.  Stir in the brown sugar.

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Heat the water-sugar mixture in the microwave for about 30 seconds.  The liquid must be between 98-105 degrees.  I find it best to use an instant-read thermometer to ensure the liquid is the right temperature.  Too cool and the yeast won’t proof properly.  Too hot and it will kill the yeast.  101 degrees–or somewhere between 98 and 105 degrees–is perfect.

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Once the liquid is at the right temperature, add the yeast.  I’m often asked what a “packet” of yeast looks like.  The photo below shows three packets, which is how they are commonly sold, in a set of three packets.

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Pour the yeast into the warm liquid.  Stir the mixture to dissolve the yeast.

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Let the yeast mixture sit for about 5-10 minutes.  It should get very frothy, like what’s pictured below.

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2.  Prepare the dough.  I suggest measuring out all of your ingredients beforehand.  The yeast will proof quickly on you, so you’ll want all of the ingredients measured out before you start to proof the yeast (in step 1 above).

In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, place the pumpkin purée.  You can also do this by hand, but I prefer to use a heavy-duty stand mixer, like a KitchenAid, which is what I have.

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Add the eggs to the bowl.

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Melt the butter.  Let it cool for a couple of minutes then add it to the mixing bowl.

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Using the paddle attachment of your mixer, mix the ingredients together for a few seconds.

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Add the pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and salt to the bowl.  Mix again for a few seconds.

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By now the yeast should be very foamy — pour the yeast mixture into the mixing bowl; mix to combine.

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Mix in 3 cups of flour.

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After mixing in the flour, take off the paddle attachment and switch to the dough hook.

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Mix in the remaining flour, a half cup at a time.  You might not need all 6 cups of flour.

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Stop adding flour when the dough pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl.  Depending on how humid it is where you live, you might actually need to add more flour (up to a cup more–7 cups total).  The higher the humidity level,  the more flour you may need since flour absorbs liquid in the air (depending on how you store your flour, that is).  Anyhow, 6 cups of flour is about the norm.  If you’re mixing this by hand, do not use more than 7 cups of flour.  The dough will be slightly sticky, but that’s normal.  Too much flour and your bread will be very tough.

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After you’ve mixed in all the flour, set your mixer to low speed.  This begins the kneading process; continue mixing for 5 minutes.  If you’re kneading by hand, knead for 8-10 minutes (resist adding flour while hand-kneading–if the dough is sticking to your hands, lightly oil your hands or spray your hands with cooking spray to prevent sticking).

This is what the dough looks like after 5 minutes of kneading.

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It’s now time to let the dough rise.  Place the dough into a glass bowl that’s been buttered or sprayed with butter-flavored cooking spray.  I also lightly spray the top of the dough (so the plastic wrap won’t stick to it–see below).

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Cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap then place a clean dish towel on top of the bowl.  Place the bowl in a dry, warm place to rise until doubled in size.  The time it takes to rise depends on how warm your rising spot is.  It could take anywhere from 30 minutes to more than an hour.  Patience is key.

I usually turn my oven to the Warm setting right when I begin my kneading process.  After 3 minutes of warming up, I turn the oven heat off and turn the oven light on.  This makes the perfect warm place for rising.  It takes about 30 minutes for my dough to rise in this setting.

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3.  While the dough is rising, make your filling.

In a small bowl, place the softened butter, brown sugar, and optional orange zest.  If you decide to add orange zest, make sure you don’t get any of the white pith–it will make your filling bitter.  Mix to combine.

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Mix in the cinnamon.  Set the filling aside until the dough is ready.

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4.  Fill and roll the dough.

This is what the dough looks like after it’s doubled in size.

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Generously flour a clean work surface.  Place the dough onto the floured surface — do NOT punch down the dough or knead it again.

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Roll out the dough into a rectangle.

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Gently spread the butter-cinnamon-orange mixture over the entire surface of the dough, stopping about a half inch from the edge.

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Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the butter-cinnamon-orange mixture.

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Starting at the long edge, carefully roll up the dough, jelly-roll style.

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Using a sharp knife (dental floss works well too), slice pieces of dough, about the width of your finger.  Place the slices into a buttered pan (you can use butter-flavored cooking spray too).  I recommend placing the slices about 1/2-1 inch apart to allow the dough to rise evenly.

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Spray the top of the sliced dough with cooking spray then cover with plastic wrap.  Place the pan in a warm place to rise again, until the slices are touching.

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Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven; let the rolls cool slightly while you prepare the glaze.

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5.  Make the glaze.

In a small mixing bowl, place the powdered sugar.

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Add the milk, maple syrup and orange juice.  Whisk to combine.

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6.  Drizzle the glaze over the top of the warm rolls.  Serve immediately and ENJOY!!

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Fudge Brownie Pizza

Brownies, Sweetened Pineapple Cream Cheese, Bananas, Strawberries, and Chocolate Sauce…need I say more? 😀

This is a delicious dessert pizza that’s sure to be a hit with your friends and family.  It’s so good that one of my daughters asked to have this as her birthday “cake” one year.

You can vary this recipe by adding your favorite toppings.  Sometimes I add chopped peanuts or almonds.  You can also try sprinkling peanut butter or toffee chips on top, or using caramel sauce instead of chocolate (or use BOTH!).  The possibilities are virtually endless.  Come up with your own spin on this recipe, or make it as directed below–it’s so delicious no matter what you add to it.

Give my recipe a try.  I think you’ll absolutely LOVE it! 😀

Fudge Brownie Pizza

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Ingredients:

  • 1 box triple chocolate brownie mix
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained and squeezed (squeeze out as much juice as you can)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Fresh strawberry slices, as much as you like
  • 2 small ripe bananas, sliced
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons milk or heavy cream

Directions:

1.  Mix the brownie batter according to package directions.  Spread the batter onto a small pizza pan.  Bake for 15 minutes for a very moist, fudge-like brownie or 20 minutes for a less-moist, cake-like brownie.  Set aside to cool completely.

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2.  Place the cream cheese into a small mixing bowl…

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…then add the sugar…

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…and crushed pineapple.

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3.  Use a hand mixer to mix the ingredients together.

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Mix until well combined and the mixture is creamy.

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4.  Scoop the mixture onto the cooled brownie pizza.

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Spread the mixture evenly over the entire pizza.

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5.  Place the sliced fruit over the pineapple-cream cheese mixture.

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6.  Place the chocolate chips and milk or cream into a small microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave for 30 seconds.  Stir until smooth and creamy.

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7.  Drizzle the chocolate sauce over the pizza.

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8.  Cut into pieces, serve, and ENJOY! 😀

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Grilled Plantains with a Brown Sugar Butter Glaze

I bought some plantains a little over a week ago and finally got around to making something with it today.

Unless you grow plantains in your back yard (which I don’t), you will usually buy them from the grocery store when they are still green and unripe.  There are lots of great ways to cook green plantains, but I prefer to eat them when they are sweet and ripe.

This is what they looked like when I first bought them.  Notice how green most of them are.

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The photo below shows what they look like several days later.  Plantains are ripe when the skins are a dull yellow and there are several dark brown (even black) spots on them.  The plantains below were sweet, but if I let them sit for a few more days (when there will be even more black spots), they’d be at the peak of ripeness.  I didn’t want to wait that long, however, especially since I’d planned on grilling them — I needed the plantains to be sweet but still firm enough to hold up to the heat without turning to mush.

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At this stage of ripeness, the plantains are perfect for grilling, making golai åppan aga’ (cooked with coconut milk and sugar), or making madoya (battered, fried bananas)

I’m making madoya tomorrow for breakfast (be looking out for my recipe) with a couple of the plantains.  I’m going to make golai åppan aga’ later this week with any remaining plantains.

But for tonight’s dessert, I decided on grilling them, then topping them with a brown sugar, butter and honey glaze (oh, so delicious!).

This is such a simple recipe to make.  Give it a try and let me know how you like it.  🙂

 

GRILLED PLANTAINS WITH A BROWN SUGAR BUTTER GLAZE

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 ripe plantains
  • Vegetable oil (about 4 tablespoons)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (this brings out the sweetness, believe it or not!)

DIRECTIONS:

1.  Slice the ends off the plantains then cut each plantain into thirds.  Slice each third in half, lengthwise, then remove the peels.

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2.  Place 2 tablespoons of oil in a grill pan over medium heat.  Place the plantains in an even layer on the heated grill.

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3.  While the bottom of the plantains are grilling, brush the tops with the remaining vegetable oil.  Grill for about 3 minutes, or until nice grill marks form (you can peek to check).  Flip the plantains over and grill the other side for another 3 minutes.

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4.  Meanwhile, melt the butter and honey in a microwave-safe bowl.  Stir in the brown sugar and apple cider vinegar. Top each plantain with the brown sugar-butter mixture.  Remove from the heat when the brown sugar-butter mixture starts to melt and drip down the sides of the plantains.

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5.  Serve while warm.  Top with vanilla ice cream (optional).  ENJOY!

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Pedro “PoP” Aguon’s World Famous Bread Pudding

Pedro Aguon, affectionately known to his family and friends as “PoP”, was a decorated Navy veteran and a Pearl Harbor survivor.

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Pedro "PoP" Aguon

Pedro “PoP” Aguon

According to PoP’s daughter, Arlene Sablan Aguon, “PoP was a personal Master Chef for 11 Navy Admirals. One of the admirals was James Morrison (yep, the father of Jim Morrison of the Doors).  This was Jim’s all time favorite dessert that PoP would spoil the family with.  It is famous wherever it is served.  Word has it that a chef in New Orleans actually has PoP’s World Famous Bread Pudding on his 5 Star Restaurant Menu.”

PoP was an inspiration to many, not just for his service to our nation, but for his love of life.  This recipe posting is dedicated to PoP’s memory, and to his desire to keep the Chamorro culture alive through the sharing of one our island’s treasures ~ our food.

Rest in Peace, PoP.  You are greatly missed.

 

PoP Aguon’s World Famous Bread Pudding

Recipe by Pedro “PoP” Aguon
as shared by his daughter, Arlene Sablan Aguon
PoP Augon's World Famous Bread Pudding

PoP Augon’s World Famous Bread Pudding

 

PoP’s daughter, Arlene, says this about making PoP’s World Famous Bread Pudding:

“Please note that my father DID NOT measure his ingredients, so I am attempting to record what I saw.  He usually prepared a huge banquet sized pan of pudding for our gatherings so you can downsize as needed.

An IMPORTANT PoP Aguon SECRET:  for 1 cup of cubed bread, use 1 cup whole milk, 1 egg, 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.  This will be the foundation for your bread pudding custard base.”

INGREDIENTS:

1 loaf of FRESH bread (white, wheat, whole grain, according to your taste).  Break it down to small 1/2 inch cubes or torn pieces.  Lay the bread pieces in a prepared buttered or Smart Balance/Pam sprayed heavy pan.  (One loaf = 12 cups of bread pieces).

Bread Pudding Base:
  • 12 cups of cubed/torn bread (layered loosely in your pan)
  • 12 large eggs
  • 12 cups of whole milk
  • 1 cup of butter or margarine
  • 1 cup of sugar or more to your taste
  • 1/4 cup of pure vanilla extract (don’t use imitation)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Custard Topping:
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of cornstarch
  • 6 cups of milk
  • 1 cup of softened butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • Cinnamon or nutmeg
Directions for Bread Pudding Base:

1.  Slowly beat your eggs, butter, salt and gradually add your milk and mix until fully incorporated.  Add your vanilla.  Gently pour your wet custard solution over your bread in the pan.  IMPORTANT:  Do not push down the bread.  Let the bread NATURALLY soak up the wet mixture for at least 15-20 minutes.

2.  Place the pan in a pre-heated oven set at 350 degrees.  Bake for an hour and a half.  Your bread pudding base will puff up to a soufflé texture.  DO NOT PIERCE OR TOUCH!  The soufflé texture will be jiggly.  Remove and set on a rack to cool.  As the bread base cools the soufflé texture will start to compact and settle.

Directions for Custard Topping:

1.  Whip the eggs, sugar, cornstarch, 1 cup of milk, butter, and salt in your blender or with an electric mixer.  Meanwhile, in a heavy saucepan on low heat, warm the rest of your milk on a low setting (DO NOT SCALD your milk on a high setting).  Gradually add your mixture into the warm milk and constantly stir, so your eggs will be tempered.  Stir from the sides and bring to the middle of your saucepan to prevent lumping.

2.  Once the custard starts to thicken and bubble, cook to the desired consistency. PoP did not make his custard thick like Latiya.  He made it a little runny so it will seep into every nook and crevice of the bread pudding base.  Remove from heat and add your vanilla extract.  Cool for at least 15 minutes then pour the custard over the bread pudding base.  Sprinkle the top with cinnamon and ENJOY.

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