Category Archives: Something Sweet

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Cream Cheese Icing

Come to Mamma!

Fall is here and so is the canned pumpkin. My grocery store had it on sale for only a dollar, so the thrifty shopper I am, stocked up! As I stacked the cans in my pantry I delightfully pondered the recipe possibilities.

There were the obvious options of pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake, muffins and bread, but then it occurred to me! Why not pumpkin cinnamon rolls! The project began. I went to my trusty internet and found that other home cooks have shared my thoughts. So began the exciting process of my first cinnamon rolls from scratch and Pumpkin would be the star!

Remember that bread machine long forgotten in the back of the cupboard? Get it out, as it’s going to be your best friend. You are going to use the dough setting to make this recipe so much easier!

Ingredients for dough:

1/4 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)

2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast

1/3 cup warm milk

1 egg beaten

3/4 cup canned pumpkin

1 TBS melted butter

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tsp salt

3/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp fresh ground nutmeg

Set bread machine to dough cycle, and dump the above ingredients in machine, start and forget about it! The dough cycle will mix, knead, and bring you through the first rise. Meanwhile, begin making the filling and icing.

Ingredients for filling:

1 stick butter at room temp.

2/3 cups white sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp allspice

Mix all ingredients together until well blended, set aside.

Ingredients for Maple Cream Cheese Icing:

6 oz cream cheese at room temp.

3 TBS butter (room temp)

1/4 cup Maple Syrup

1/2 tsp vanilla

2 cups powdered sugar

In a medium bowl, mix with electric mixer all ingredients until well blended. Transfer icing to a large ziploc plastic bag (1 gallon size) seal and chill.

When dough cycle is finished, remove dough from bread machine onto a floured surface. With a rolling pin, roll into a rectangle about 9X12. Spread filling mixture over dough (I found that using my hands worked the best) Roll dough from the long side into a log. With a sharp knife, cut into 12 1-inch slices placing into a greased 9×12 baking dish. Cover and let rise again for about 45 min to an hour.  Bake in a 375 degree over for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from oven, let cool slightly. Cut a small hole in the bottom corner of the icing bag and drizzle over the warm rolls.

Enjoy your Ooooeeey-Goooeeey creation warm with your favorite loved ones!


Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Is there anything that says welcome home, and I love you more than the American classic, Chocolate Chip Cookie? With so many variations, chip and nut choices, one could make a hundred recipe versions of this most popular cookie. Adding peanut butter or cocoa powder to the dough can introduce many more options. Crispy or chewy, are also considerations in choosing your favorite recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies.

As the weather has been changing, and the school year has begun, I’ve been experiencing the urge to bake. Some of my favorite childhood memories, were of baking with mom in our home on Podunk. She taught me the basics about measuring, reading the recipe (usually the one right off the bag of chips), creaming the sugars and butter first, then slowly adding the flour mixture. Finally, stirring in the chocolate chips. spoonful, by spoonful, we would carefully fill the cookie sheets, being sure to leave enough room between each little pile of dough. Oh how our old house would smell as the first batch was ready to be cooled for eating. My little brother and father would usually be in the living room anxiously awaiting a plate of our masterpiece. I would proudly deliver the cookies while they were still warm and gooey.

This time in the kitchen with Mom, was time spent bonding and learning about each other. She was the teacher, and I was the student. Now, as an adult, I remember these moments fondly, and want to create the same moments with my boys. Caleb, my 4-year-old, is now in kindergarten and comes home at lunchtime. This leaves us with a few special hours together before his older comes home. We took advantage of this time to “surprise” his older brother by spending the afternoon making Calebs choice of cookies, Chocolate Chip of course.

It was an afternoon spent together, learning, teaching, lots of hugs and I was even told “we are good cookers, Mom”. Caleb was proud of his creations and immediately offered them to his brother, Cody, when he arrived home.

Today, I encourage you to take the time to make a memory and cook with your loved ones. Use your favorite recipe, or feel free to use the following, as I found these to be the perfect classic combination of chewy and slightly crispy on the outside.


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg 1 egg yolk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Orange Cream Cheesecake

Perhaps this indulgent dessert should be named Orange Dream Cheesecake as it is truely Dreamy!

This recipe was completely inspired by my long-time friend who has been obsessed by anything orange-cream related lately. When she is fixated on something, it can last for weeks, even months. Last fall, I believe she ate Caramel Apples daily for 6 weeks. I don’t think that’s what the Doctor meant when he prescribed an apple a day! Back to my friend, Jerri, she has been buying the orange cream dessert from our local deli at a price I refuse to pay (it’s essentially jello, mandarin oranges and maybe pudding). I will not pay $4.99/lb. To her great satisfaction, she recently obtained a homemade recipe for this orange cream “salad”. I’ve been hearing about it for weeks. Once it was suggested that I create a cheesecake with these flavors in it, I only took a week to brainstorm and obsess, myself, on my new adventure. Oh how pleased I am, with the results! First thing this morning, I delivered 1/2 of my new masterpiece to Jerri at work, after taking pictures of course! Now, I am excited to share with you, a cheesecake that will satisfy your orange cravings and delivers a presentation that you will be proud to serve at your next summer gathering.

Ingredients for crust

3 cups Vanilla Waffer Cookies crushed (use food processor, though, I still prefer smashing with a rolling-pin in a large ziploc bag)
5 TBS melted butter
3 TBS sugar

Combine all ingredients, incorporating the butter into cookie crumbs evenly. Press into 8″ spring-form pan that has been coated with cooking spray. Be sure to press firmly to the bottom and partially up the sides of pan. Bake in 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Cool.

Ingredients for filling

3 8oz pkgs Cream Cheese softened at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup (8 oz) sour cream at room temperature
Zest of 1 large fresh orange (about 2 tsp)
Juice of 1 large fresh orange (about 4 TBS)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs (also at room temperature)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, blend together cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add sour cream, zest, orange juice and vanilla. Mix well. Slowly, add 1 egg at a time and blend. Add mixture onto cooled crust. Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes or until the center is slightly set. Turn off oven, leaving cheesecake inside to finish cooking and cool for 1 hour, with oven door slightly ajar. Place cooled cheesecake in refrigerator while topping is setting, at least 4 hours, overnight is best.

Ingredients for Topping

2 1/2 cups water
1 small pkg orange jello
1 small pkg cook and serve vanilla pudding
1 large can of mandarin oranges drained and divided
1/2 tub of Cool Whip

In a small sauce pan, bring water to a low boil. Add jello and pudding mixture to boiling water mixing with a wire whisk almost constantly until mixture begins to thicken slightly, about 5-7 minutes. Let mixture cool. Cut 1/2 of the mandarin oranges into small pieces (about 1/4 inch) add to jello/pudding mixture. Cool in refrigerator for at least 4 hours, but overnight is best. Before topping cake, fold in 1/2 tub of Cool whip into jello/pudding mixture. Spread over cooled cheesecake, garnish with remaining oranges of desired.

Note: I did find there was a bit of topping leftover, this can be saved and eaten as Orange Cream Salad!

Amaretto Cherry Cheescake

I made this recipe after staring at my bottle of Amaretto I had purchased for another recipe. I couldn’t waste this sweet almond liquor, but wasn’t sure what I wanted to use it for. I had recently purchased my first springform pan with the intentions of trying to make cheesecake. So, after researching hundreds (yes, I mean hundreds) of cheesecake recipes, I created my own version that includes the yummy Amaretto and almond cookies for the crust instead of the traditional graham cracker ones. I found, in my research, that there are countless cooking methods, temps and times to create the perfect cheesecake without the unsightly cracks. I settled on one from a recipe I found and had to change it a bit to work for this recipe. To my delight, my cheesecake turned out beautiful! No need to cover it’s perfect top with sauces or fruit to camouflage cracking. I did, however have a can of Cherry Pie filling in my cupboard that was begging to become drunk and happy with amaretto and sit so pretty atop my latest dessert creation….these are the results, enjoy!

Ingredients for crust:

1 1/2 cup crushed almond cookies (I used a rolling-pin, but your food processor will work fine without the workout)
4 TBS melted butter
1 TBS sugar

Combine ingredients in a bowl. Press firmly in an 8 inch Spring Form pan.

Ingredients for Filling

2 8oz packages cream cheese (room temperature)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream (room temperature)
1 tsp Vanilla
2 1/2 TBS Amaretto Liquor
3 eggs (also at room temperature)

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.In a large mixing bowl, cream together cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add sour cream, blend on low until mixed. Add Amaretto and Vanilla, mix. With mixer on low, add eggs one at a time. Finish blending until eggs are well incorporated. Pour into pan over crust. bake in oven for 35 minutes. Turn off oven, leaving the door ajar, allow cheesecake to finish cooking and cooling for 1 hour. Remove cheesecake and cool in refrigerator (overnight is best, but this may be too tempting even for the best of us)

1 21 oz can of Cherry Pie filling
2 TBS Amaretto

Mix filling with Amaretto and chill in a bowl with the cheesecake to allow flavors to blend.

Top cheese cake with Cherry filling and garnish with sliced almonds if desired.

Simply Chocolate Brownies

I have made these brownies twice in one week. They were a hit with my family and my guest on another night. No chance at leftovers when you make these perfectly chocolate and light brownies. I found this recipe on a co-bloggers sight, M.A. Eats, and they will now be my standby. I found all of the ingredients in my cupboard and refrigerator, no extra shopping needed. Wouldn’t change a thing about this recipe, although, if you happen to have walnuts or pecans in your freezer, add 1/2 cup chopped nuts if you desire (We did!)

1 stick butter, cut up
6 tbl. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbl. canola oil
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup flour
¼ tsp. salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts if desired

Place rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 325°F. Butter and flour an 8-inch square baking pan, knocking off excess flour.

Melt the butter in the microwave in a medium size (microwave safe) mixing bowl. Add the cocoa and canola oil and stir with a fork or small whisk until well combined. Add the sugar, eggs and vanilla, then beat until well combined. Stir in flour and salt until just combined.

Pour batter into baking pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.

Cool completely in pan, then cut into 16 bars.

Rum Spiked Grilled Pineapple with Toasted Coconut

I have to admit that this is not “MY” recipe but something I found on Cooking light. I was searching for something to compliment my Tropical themed dinner that included BBQ Pineapple and Chicken Skewers with Wild Rice and this really caught my attention. It was an amazing and light dessert. Everyone LOVED it! I will make this again!
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup dark spiced rum (I used Captain Morgan, one of the tiny bottles is exactly what you need)
1 pineapple, peeled, cored, halved lengthwise, and sliced lengthwise into 12 wedges (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 tablespoon butter
4 tablespoons sweetened coconut, toasted
Low-fat vanilla ice cream

In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, rum and butter. Melt for about 30 seconds in the microwave and mix until sugar is disolved and butter is melted. Place pineapple on grill basting with rum sauce turning once grill marks are visible. Pineapple is done when all sides have marks and have been basted. Scoop icecream in dish, place Pineapple in dish and top with toasted Coconut.