Archive for the ‘Desserts’ Category

Nariah and I were experimenting with pineapples last week and since we had an extra pineapple we were thinking about ideas to use a whole pineapple in a dessert. A up sprung the idea to grill a whole pineapple! This is a dish that can be served in its own bowl, and was just totally amazing. It can be eaten with and without ice cream, but of course, going all out with ice cream makes it a sundae.

  • 1 whole pineapple, not too ripe (with some green still in it. If its too ripe it may end up too sweet and mushy)
  • cinnamon/sugar
  • shredded coconut
  • Vanilla bean ice cream
  • Maraschino cherries

This is very simple and quick. Prep grill for direct grilling. Slice the pineapple from top to bottom down the middle (even thru the leaves). Next, take your knife and cut across the width of the pineapple almost to the skin as if you were cutting out slices. Then do the same lengthwise. This helps make the pineapple easier to spoon out and eat in the end. Place the pineapple halves open side down on the grill for about 5 mins or until it gets seared a bit. Remove from heat and place right side up. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over all of the fruit part of the pineapple. (For an adult dessert I suggest pouring some Malibu or your other favorite rum inside the pineapple.) Next sprinkle the coconut inside the “bowl” and also along the sides. Return to grill, this time right side up and cover. Grill until Coconut starts to get toasted slightly, about another 5-10 minutes depending on how much coconut you used.

Remove from grill and onto your serving plates, top with vanilla bean ice cream and cherries or other toppings you may prefer and enjoy this warm and cold dessert!

Nariah loves The Food Network, and she is always trying to mimic Chopped and Cupcake Wars with Toya. After getting back from traveling for work I promised her I’d make some cupcakes with her before my next trip, but we had to do whatever flavor she came up with.

I want to make red velvet cupcakes daddy
Well you know… they have chocolate in them right?
Yes, I know daddy, but we can make them without chocolate right? I want make it crunchy and then chewy on the inside and then……………. with some mint!
Crunchy, chewy, minty?  That’s…. interesting…..
We can put caramel or something in the middle for a surprise!
What about these Wether’s Original Chewy candies?
Oooh, yeah daddy! And we can put some mint in the icing!

Now, I had really planned to make the velvets from scratch, and substitute something funky for the cocoa. While in Trader Joe’s, I saw Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla cake mix. “Oh my!” I said to self. Yep, I found our “base” for the red velvet cupcakes.

In case you can’t make out the ingredients in Nariah’s video below, (she wanted to tape it like we were on cupcake wars with baby brother and mommy being the judges) they are :

1 stick of butter/margarine melted
1 cup of milk
2 eggs
some vanilla
1 package of Trader Joe’s Madagascar Vanilla cake mix
1 teaspn (or more to your liking) red food coloring drops
Werther’s Original Chewy or other caramel cut into 1cm sized cubes.
(After this initial trial, I would suggest for the future to put the caramels inside it midway through cooking)

And yes… these cupcakes were off the hook!

I’ve seen them all over, but I’ve never actually tried a bacon flavored dessert. Toya convinced me to try one today. Since I was making strawberry swirl cheesecake already, I decided to try a maple bacon cheesecake too.
This is a tweak of a recipe I found here :

This recipe makes 12 mini cheesecakes.

For the each set of crusts:
6 tablespoon butter/margarine softened
1 1/2 cup crushed gingersnaps
1/4 cup sugar in the raw

Blend together and press into mini cheesecake pan. Bake for 10 mins at 350 and let cool.

Maple bacon cheesecake filling:
Blend one 8oz package of cream cheese (make sure its at room temperature).
After blended, add one egg, and 1/4 cup of sugar. 1 teaspoon of vanilla extra, a small handful of fresh crumbled bacon, and about 4-8 tablespoons of grade B dark maple syrup. (the amount of syrup depends on your taste). Mix well. and pour into cheesecake pan.

Strawberry swirl:
Dice 8 strawberries and in small sauce pan, cook uncovered on medium heat with 3/4th cup of water and 3 tablespoons of  agave nectar. You can use sugar or honey, but I prefer agave nectar. Stirring occasionally, cook for about 10 mins until thickened. Remove from heat.
Blend one 8oz package of cream cheese (make sure its at room temperature).
After blended, add one egg, and 1/4 cup of sugar. 1 teaspoon of vanilla extra and mix well. Pour into remaining cheesecake pan.
Scoop tablespoon of Strawberry mixture into each cheesecake and use a toothpick to carefully “swirl” the strawberries into the cheesecake. Do not over-swirl as you do not want to blend in. Also make sure you do not dig into the crust as your swirl.

Bake cheesecakes for 20 mins at 350 degrees. It may take 30-40 mins to set, but I would check it at 20 mins and then monitor at 5 min increment to make sure the middle of the cheesecakes are set.

Let cool and enjoy room temperature or refrigerated.

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About 3 or 4 months ago we went to Outback and they had this dessert, the strawberry waffle shortcake and it was soooooooooooooooooooo good! I mean I tweeted about it immediately after the first bite. It really didn’t make any sense how good it was. Well Toya and I had a taste for that dessert and so we went to outback for dinner.

Are you guys ready to order?
Ummm, not yet. I do have a question though, you guys still have that strawberry waffle shortcake thingy right?
I’m sorry sir, that was a short time special… I hear it was very good though.
What?!?!?! Why would that be limited time? It was by far the best dessert you guys have! Who do I need to call, corporate offices or something? That was the reason we came tonight
I’ll come back in a few to take your order

Nevermind the fact that she ignored my request for “who do I need to contact about getting this item back on the menu”, (I’m not above doing that as I’ve contacted Cici’s Pizza about some changed menu items that didn’t make any sense on this living planet). I turned to Toya : “Sooo, you ready to go to Longhorn steakhouse then? At least the steaks are better there

Toya declines and says we’re already there so lets eat and I sigh heavily with defeat. I want that dessert. Oh well, I guess I’ll have to make it myself tonight. To show how clueless this experience started I asked 2 different waiters/waitresses what was in the dessert. I received ice cream, strawberries, almonds, and waffles as the first answer (not enough ingredients), and then almond filling, strawberries, waffles, whipped cream, and some chocolate bar shavings as the second answer. Chocolate bar shavings? On a strawberry shortcake? Who does that? Let alone the fact that I’m allergic to chocolate and I definitely would’ve known if chocolate was in it. So… here we go, Toya and I have to do this off a 3 to 4 month one time experience memory.

Turns out after research it did have a cream cheese filling in between the belgian waffle layers and not an ounce of ice cream at all. I didn’t research it till after we made it so below is the recipe that Toya and I came up with and not a true representation of the dish. The only thing that’s missing is the fact we forgot to buy the “strawberry topping”. But in the end, our version was awesome and we liked the ice cream over the cream cheese filling, gives it a great hot/cold contrast sensation.

Since I don’t have a belgian waffle maker (can you believe it?) we used frozen waffles, any of your favorite brands will work, just don’t toast til you’re ready to serve this dish. You want the waffle hot. You can also make your own waffles, but then we start to get away from this being a quick and easy dessert

1 or 2 waffles or 2 sections of a belgian waffle
1 1/2 tablespoon almond extract
2 scoops of  vanilla bean ice cream
Tub of cool whip, extra creamy
About 3-4 strawberries per serving, sliced
Sliced almonds (don’t really know how to “measure” sliced almonds to sprinkle on top)
Strawberry topping/sauce (again, I didn’t get to use this step this time)

Stir almond extract into cool whip. Toast waffles and either break up into large pieces or lay a waffle into bowl. Place two scoops of ice cream on top. Layer the extra waffle (or pieces) on top of ice cream. Toss in strawberries and then the topping/sauce. Top with almond cool whip and almonds. Serve and enjoy.

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Nariah saw some brownies in Cici’s pizza the other day and told mommy, “Daddy doesn’t like chocolate… I know, how bout we make daddy some vanilla brownies!!!!??!?!?!

Well, since she came up with the banana cobbler and that was good, why not make some vanilla brownies? Keep in mind these are not to be confused with blondies which are made with white chocolate chips, I actually found vanilla chips. (I’ll have to get that banana cobbler recipe up here too one day)


1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 bag (10 oz) white vanilla baking chips (1 2/3 cups)
1 1/4 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup chopped nuts (i used pecans)
1-2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs


1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla (or about a shot of NaVaN if this is for adults)
2 tablespoons warm water or milk

1. Heat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour 13×9-inch pan. In 2-quart saucepan, heat butter and baking chips over low heat, stirring frequently, just until melted. (Mixture may appear curdled.) Remove from heat; cool.

2. Stir in remaining brownie ingredients until well blended. Spread evenly in pan.

3. Bake 25 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely.

4. In medium bowl, mix all glaze ingredients until smooth and spreadable. Spread glaze over brownies. For brownies, cut into 8 rows by 4 rows.

****I have since found cinnamon, caramel and cherry baking chips at walmart and so far have made “Rubies” with the cherry chips and I must say…. OMG! The particular ones I found were of the Log House Brand (<— go ahead click it… looks so good) and we baked them the same way just used the cherry chips instead. The other chips will definitely get their trials soon! Pics have been added to the slideshow below.****

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I saw some cedar wraps from on sale and thought “Man, I gotta try these”.  For those that don’t know what they are here’s a link from amazon:
Click me for cedar wraps…

Another key ingredient, agave nectar, to be used in place of syrup or honey, all natural too.
Click me for agave nectar…


Lime juice
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Agave nectar
Old bay seasoning to taste
Baby carrots sliced lengthwise
Chopped chives.

Soak cedar wrap planks in liquid for at least 20 mins, I used apple juice.  If you’re using 6X6 wraps, you’ll get about 4 shrimps per wrap.

Shell and devein a pound or more of jumbo shrimp.

Mix in bowl the cilantro, baby carrots, chopped chives, soy sauce, olive oil, a few shakes of old bay, a few squirts of lime juice, and a few squirts of agave nectar.

Add shrimp and toss, let sit for 20 mins in fridge.

Line up shrimp in the middle of wrap (make sure to include some of the marinated chives and carrots, or add any other veggies you may like), wrap and tie lightly with green onion or butcher string.

Grill indirect for 6-10 mins until shrimp looks pink.  If you want to try with fish, like tilapia or grouper, just cook about 5 mins longer.

Serve hot right on the plate and eat food out of wraps.

Peaches and pears, (wrapped): 

Two to 3 cups of peaches and pears, cut into bite sized pieces

1/4-1/2 cup of your favorite baking  liquor, i used naVan and amoretto

2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons vanilla bean sugar

Flaked coconut.

Mix all ingredients except coconut in bowl and let sit for 20 mins.  Take four peaches (depending on the size) and lightly roll in coconut until covered.  Line up fruit in the cedar wrap (pre-soaked in apple juice), wrap and then tie with butcher string or clip with metal paper clip.

Repeat with pear and remaining fruit.  Grill indirect for 10-15 mins until coconut looks nice and toasted on the edges.  Serve hot on plate in wrap along with ice cream or whipped cream.

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Due to evil mean people, I’m forced to post this recipe for fear of my family’s life. LOL
This is a tweak of the recipe I found here :

First you need a mini cheese cake pan such as the link below where the bottom pops out with a lil metallic disks :

Click me! I’m the mini cheesecake pan he’s talking about.

Preheat oven to 350.

About half a bag of ginger snap cookies (if you can find vanilla snaps, use those, they are the bomb!)
1/4 cup of turbinado sugar
1/2 stick of butter softened

Crush gingersnap into small crumbs. mix ingredients together, spray cheesecake pan with pam, press mixture into bottom of pan for about 1cm layer of crust. more if you like it “crusty”. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until its browned and firm somewhat. You don’t want to burn it or cook it till completely done here. Remove and set to the side
(You may want to put a pan underneath the cheesecake pan as some of the butter may drip through the round disks)


1 pkg soften cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 banana cut up
about 1/3 cup of cream de banana (or some other banana flavored alcohol that you like)

Blend ingredients until smooth. Add or subtract banana liquor to your tasting. The 1/3 cup I used was enough to know its banana, but not overpower it. The more you add, the longer it cooks too, keep that in mind. Pour batter over crust in pan about 2 cm deep. If you have left over, just spread it out to the rest of the cheesecakes. Bake for about 15-20 mins, and check status every 5 mins afterwards. The amount of liquor offsets the cooking time for a little longer. When the top looks solid and slightly browned, remove from oven. Let cheesecakkes cool a little and then after they’ve “shrunk”, take a knife and go around the edges to loosen them from the sides. You will want to do this while they are still warm. After cooling complete, pop out cheesecakes and lay on wax paper. Serve room temperature or chilled.

Extra credit:

If you want strawberry marbled, do this before making the crust. Take some fresh strawberries, and depending on how sweet they are, add sugar to taste, and then a lil water. sautee on hi heat in a sauce pan stirring constantly, adding a lil flour to thicken up and mushing the strawberries in process. After its thickened to a nice consistency, let cool and then do everything from above, instead of pouring all the cheesecake mixture, pure half the amount. Then pour a small layer of strawberry “stuff”, then cover with the other half of cheesecake mixture. Take a toothpick, and “marbleize” the cheesecake by swirling designs into it. Proceed with cooking. 🙂

Now this cake isn’t supposed to “look” good, it was made as a joke for a friends bday who’s getting “old”, lol. but it tastes yummy! I’m not putting the whole recipe, you guys can follow the back of the cake box I’m sure, I’ll just add the “tweakings”.

Use your favorite White cake mix

Additional items:
Disaronno Amaretto
NaVan (vanilla flavored grand marnier)
black food coloring
one box Jello instant pudding (i used french vanilla, try whichever flavor you like, this make the cake moist)
your favorite icing

Follow instructions on box of cake. Before pouring mix in bundt pan, add box of instant pudding, a “shot” of amaretto, and a few drops of the black food coloring to get it to the grey coloring you like. blend again until smooth and grey. Bake as instructed on the box.
After removing from the bundt pan and cooled, use fork to carefully poke holes in the top and pour NaVan over top, let sit lightly covered, and pour again after a few hours. Depending on how “Old” you want it, keep the process going. (I did it twice on my first stab at this)

For icing, add the food coloring a little at a time and stir to get the desired grey look. I left the cake in the microwave overnight uncovered to allow it to soak up and “un-sog” itself before adding the icing.