Tag Archives: Desserts

Pumpkin Mini-Muffins with Spiced Icing

Halloween season brings forth the pumpkin-lovers in most people.  These mini-muffins with a pumpkin spiced buttercream frosting are guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser!

(Note: You can use any size muffin tin and adjust baking time, however, using mini-muffin tins, you’ll get over 70 delicious two-bite iced pumpkin muffins!) (Recipe is modified from  Joy of Cooking)

1 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons double-acting baking power
2 eggs
2 to 4 tablespoons melted butter
3/4 cup milk
1 cup canned (or freshly cooked, cooled and mashed) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 cup golden raisins

Sift together first six ingredients, place aside. Beat eggs, then add butter, milk, pumpkin and raisins. Combine liquid and dry ingredients. Using greased muffin tins, fill 2/3s full and bake 15-20 minutes (up to 30 minutes, depending on muffin size) at 400F. Muffins are done when a tester, inserted in the middle, comes out with just a few crumbs attached (muffins will finish cooking out of the oven. Allow to cook, then remove from pans and prepare icing.

In a mixer bowl, combine:

1 cup (2 sticks) soften unsalted butter
1/2 cup pureed pumpkin (or canned pumpkin, but not pumpkin pie filling)
4 cups powdered (10x) sugar)
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon milk (for thinning icing –  if needed)

Mix until thoroughly combined and whipped. Using an icing bag fitted with either a 2D or star tip, frost muffins.

Chill, serve and enjoy.

Makes 2 dozen 2″ muffins, 48 1″ muffins, or over 70 2-bite mini-muffins.




1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
6 large egg whites
1 tsp. white vinegar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup whipping cream
Fresh raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and/or sliced strawberries, peaches, plums, apricots, kiwi or whatever fruit you like
Additional sugar for tossing with fruit (optional)

Preheat oven to 250° F and line a large baking sheet with foil or parchment. Set aside about a tablespoon of the sugar, and stir the cornstarch into the rest.

In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar mixture, beating until the mixture holds stiff, glossy peaks. Beat in vinegar and vanilla.

To make one large Pavlova, spoon the meringue onto the baking sheet and spread out with the bottom of a spoon to form a 9″-10″ circle with a slight indent in the middle and raised edges, like a nest. To make individual Pavlovas, spoon 8-10 mounds of meringue about an inch apart on the baking sheet. Bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, until crisp but still soft inside. If the meringues aren’t crisp, turn the oven off and leave them inside for another hour.

Transfer Pavlova(s) to a rack and cool completely. Beat the cream with the remaining tablespoon of sugar until soft peaks form. Mound into the middle of the cooled Pavlova(s) and top with fruit.

Serves 8-10


Strawberry Mousse Chocolat

Strawberry Mousse Chocolat

Chocolate Base:
1/2 cup Regular Shortening
3 squares Unsweetened Baking Chocolate
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
2/3 cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1 pkg (425 g) frozen sliced strawberries in syrup, thawed
1 pouch Knox Gelatine
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 cups whipping cream
Fresh strawberries

Chocolate Base: Melt shortening and chocolate in saucepan on low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat. Add sugar, vanilla and eggs. Mix well. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add to chocolate mixture, stirring until well blended. Spread in greased 9″ springform pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes. Cool in pan.

Filling: Drain strawberries. Add water to liquid to make 1 ¼ cups. Combine gelatine and sugar in saucepan. Stir in strawberry liquid and lemon juice. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly to dissolve sugar and gelatine. Remove from heat. Chill until starting to set. Beat 1 1/4 cups whipping cream to stiff peaks. Beat gelatine mixture in small bowl on high speed of electric mixer until light in colour. Fold in whipped cream. Fold in drained strawberries. Spread evenly over base in pan. Chill until set, 1 1/2 hours or overnight.

To serve, beat remaining whipped cream to stiff peaks. To unpan, run a blunt knife all the way around the outside of the dessert prior to releasing the springform pan. Decorate attractively with cream and berries.


Homemade Chocolate Pudding

Chocolate Pudding

5 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 pinch salt
2 cups skim milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place all dry ingredients in a bowl and mix until combined, put in a saucepan and add 1/2 cup milk, stirring to create a smooth mixture. Slowly stir in the remaining milk and cook over medium heat stirring constantly until thickened.

Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla, and pour into 4 dessert dishes and chill until set, about 4 hours. Add a swirl of fresh whipped topping.


Butterscotch Custards

Individual Butterscotch Custards

6 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp light corn syrup
3 tbsp water
1 cup whipping cream, divided
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 1/4 cups whole milk
3 large eggs plus 3 large egg yolks, well beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract

Lightly sweetened whipped cream for topping

Preheat oven to 350 and position rack on middle track. Spray 6 six ounce ramekins with nonstick cooking spray. Lay a tea towel in the bottom of a deep baking dish that will hold the cups closely, but so close that they touch each other. Arrange the cups, slightly separated in the pan.

In a 2 quart saucepan, stir the granulated sugar, corn syrup, and hot water together with a wooden spoon (yes, wooden — wood is a poor conductor of heat). Bring to boil over medium-high heat and stir constantly until sugar dissolves; then cook without stirring (give the pan an swirl every so often, until the colour turns a rich amber shade (4 to 5 minutes). Remove the pan from heat immediately.

Slowly add half the cream, and stir, using a long handled wooden spoon. Stand back to avoid being covered from the “eruption” that will occur. Stir until bubbles cease and mixture is smooth, then incorporate the remaining cream, brown sugar, and salt, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. Whisk in the milk until combined, then whisk in the eggs, yolks, and vanilla. Pour the mixture through a fine sieve into a measuring cup, discarding any solids that may have formed. Pour the custard into the cups until 3/4 full, then go back and top back off each ramekin.

Place the baking dish on the oven rack and add hot water until it comes at least two-thirds of the way up the sides of the cups. (For safety’s sake, do not add hot water prior to placing the dish on the rack!) Bake until the custards appear set (the middle will jiggle when the cups are moved, and a small cake knife inserted halfway between the edge and the center of one of the custard cups will come out clean), about 28-30 minutes. Remove cups from their water bath and allow to cool on a wire rack. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, to overnight. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

Serves 6.


Pecan Pie Bars

Pecan Pie Bars

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into cubes
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 large eggs
2 tsp real vanilla extract
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt

Line 9-inch square metal cake pan with parchment paper.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Form crust by mix flour with brown sugar in a large bowl. With pastry blender (or two forks), cut in butter until mixture is moist and crumbly (it should resemble coarse, wet sand). Press firmly into pan and bake on the center rack of the oven for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with pecans and press lightly; bake for 5 additional minutes.

While the crust is baking, make the topping/filling by beating butter, sugar and corn syrup in a medium until smooth; and eggs and vanilla, beat to combine. Stir in flour and salt and pour over hot base. Bake until darkened and still slightly wiggly when the pan is moved, about 20 minutes. Let cool on rack. Cut into 25 bars.

Serves: Approximately 12.