Sweet Treats

Recipe—Banana Cream Pie Dip

Banana cream pie is one of my top 5 favorite desserts, maybe top 3. It was pretty much the only late night craving I had throughout my pregnancy with my son. Maybe it is because it reminds me of the banana shakes my dad used to make me as a kid. That was kind of our thing. Friday nights watching M*A*S*H and drinking banana shakes. That. Was. The. Life!

This dip has everything I love about banana cream pie but in one very addicting easy to make dip. It is perfect for parties or just a random dessert. If you have been following me for a while now you may know I have a thing for dessert dips. I’ve posted recipes for Cannoli Dip, Sweat Cream Dip with Strawberries, Sweet Cherry Chip Dip, Funfetti Cake Batter Cookie Dip, and Toffee Apple Dip

Dessert dips are so quick and easy to make. So many people are intimidated by overly complex desserts but when all you have to do is mix a bunch of ingredients in a bowl, these really are foolproof. 

INGREDIENTS
3.4 oz box instant banana cream pudding
2 c milk
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 c powdered sugar
2 c Cool Whip, divided
Nilla wafers or graham crackers for serving

STEPS

  • In a medium bowl, beat together the pudding powder and milk until well combined and set aside. 
  • In a separate large bowl, use an electric mixer and beat together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until smooth. 
  • Fold the pudding mixture and 1 1/2 cups of the Cool Whip into the cream cheese mixture and stir until it is creamy.
  • Transfer the finished mixture to a serving dish and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of Cool Whip. 
  • Place in the refrigerator and allow to set for 30 minutes or more. 
  • Sprinkle with a few crushed wafers or graham cracker crumbs.
  • Serve with a side of Nilla Wafers or graham crackers.

If you like this recipe, then I highly recommend you check out these other awesome dessert dip recipes!

Cannoli Dip

Cannoli Dip

Cherry Chip Dip

Toffee Apple Dip

Sweet Treats

Recipe—Old Fashioned Strawberry Ice Cream

The other day as we were driving into our subdivision, we spotted a little pop-up fruit stand with the most vibrant red strawberries on the side of the road. They were so fresh and ripe that you could smell the sweet strawberry aroma from over 10 feet away. It literally just drew me in. 

It was the first really warm weekend of the year so making some homemade strawberry ice cream just seemed obvious. Fresh churned old fashioned strawberry ice cream is just an iconic summer treat and the key is ripe fresh strawberries. The kind that you can only find in the warmer months and that are a deep red throughout.

Now the trick to getting a really good creamy strawberry ice cream, is to make it with an egg/custard base. Strawberries have so much juice in them that your ice cream can take on an icy texture if you just use milk and cream. So, this recipe may be a bit more work than others, but it is so worth it. The final product will be so creamy and decadent. Absolutely worth it!

So as the weather really starts to warm up as summer creeps in, and you start seeing your market and fruit stands flooded with ripe strawberries, make sure to keep this recipe in mind. It is the perfect dessert to make this summer.

Note: This recipe requires that you make a custard egg mixture over the stove that needs to be completely chilled before being placed in the ice cream maker. The steps below guide you to put the custard in the fridge for 4–5 hours. However, if you don’t have the time, you can place the bowl of warm custard in a second large bowl filled with ice water and stir frequently. This will allow your mixture to cool within 30–40 minutes. Just make sure to keep it well stocked with ice.

INGREDIENTS
4 large egg yolks
3/4 c sugar, divided
1/4 c  brown sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 c heavy cream
1 cups whole milk
1 tsp vanilla
4 c strawberries, sliced 
1 tbsp lemon juice 

STEPS

  • In large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, 1/2 cup of the sugar, brown sugar, and salt until it is nice and smooth and set aside.
  • In a large saucepan combine the heavy cream, milk, and vanilla and heat over medium heat until it begins to simmer. 
  • Remove the pot from heat and VERY slowly add the egg mixture to the pot while whisking the entire time. (By slowly mixing in the egg mixture and whisking continuously you are tempering the eggs but not cooking them.) 
  • Return the saucepan with the creamy egg mixture to the stove and heat through over medium heat.
  • Stir the mixture frequently until it just starts the slightly thicken. You do not want to overdo it or the eggs will begin to cook/scramble.
  • Once the custard mixture is done, transfer it to a large metal or glass bowl, cover it with plastic wrap or a lid, and place it in the fridge for 4­–5 hours until it is well chilled. 
  • When you are ready to start making the ice cream, combine the strawberries, lemon juice, and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a large bowl.
  • Using a metal masher, break up the strawberries until they are really saturated in their juices.
  • Add the mashed strawberries to the custard mixture, stirring to combine.
  • Pour the final ice cream mixture into your ice cream maker and churn according to your device’s directions. 
  • Transfer the finished ice cream to an airtight container and store in the freezer. 
  • If you like this recipe, make sure to also check out my recipe for Blackberry Ice Cream, another favorite in our house. 
Sweet Treats

Recipe—Lemon Italian Ice

If you think a cold glass of lemonade is refreshing on a hot summer day, wait until you try this frozen treat, Lemon Italian Ice! There is no comparison. This is better, hands down. Your kiddos will think so too.

My son and I make this during the summer and it is the most refreshing thing I have probably ever had. The lemon mixture with fresh zest is just the perfect amount of tart and sweet and it is crazy how light and fluffy it is! Absolute heaven! 

I absolutely love how easy this recipe is to make. So easy that my 11-year-old does most of the work. I pretty much just zest the lemons and he does the rest. Plus, it is basically 4 ingredients. Fresh lemons, sugar, salt, and water. So simple and relatively healthy compared to other frozen treats.

So as the weather warms up and you are looking for creative ways to cool off, give this a try. It is sure to do the trick!

Notes: 

  • The trick to making this is to work quickly when you are processing the frozen cubes and keep the fluffy ice from melting. We had a container ready to go in the freezer and as soon as I emptied each batch from the blender to the container, it went back into the freezer. This really kept it light and fluffy and it never froze together. 
  • To get 1 1/2 cups of fresh lemon juice, you will probably need between 8–10 lemons.
  • This makes a pretty decent sized batch so you can easily get 6–8 servings out of it. 

INGREDIENTS
grated zest from 2 lemons
1 1/2 c fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 c sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 c water

GARNISHES (optional)
fresh raspberries
fresh mint leaves

STEPS

  • In a medium saucepan, combine the lemon zest, juice, sugar, salt, and water.
  • Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until the sugar is dissolved. 
  • Allow the mixture to cool for about 30 minutes.
  • Pour the liquid into ice cube trays and freeze overnight.
  • Put 6–8 ice cubes at a time into a food processor or blender and pulse until all the cubes are broken up and you have a fluffy mixture.
  • Immediately transfer the “fluffy ice” to serving dishes OR a freezer safe container to be enjoyed later.
  • Repeat this process with the remaining cubes.
  • Garnish your Italian ice with some fresh raspberries and mint sprigs.
  • Store the leftover Italian ice in the freezer in a tightly covered container. 
  • To serve later, remove the Italian ice from the freezer and allow it to sit for 5–10 minutes to help soften it up for scooping. 
Sweet Treats

Recipe—Classic Whoopie Pies

There is something so fun about whoopie pies. That creamy marshmallow filling sandwiched between two fluffy chocolate cakes. Yes, please! 

The other day I saw an article about the history of whoopie pies and it is too cute not to share. According to legend, Amish wives would take leftover cake batter and make the tiny cakes. Husbands and kids would then find the little “pies” in their lunch boxes the next day and would exclaim “Whoopee!” Cute right? That would probably be my reaction if I found one of these in my lunch too.

They may seem complicated but actually are super easy to make. You basically make cookies out of cake batter and just bake them for a few minutes, let them cool, and then fill them with gooey goodness. Oh, and then add a glass of milk or a good stout. 

Notes: 

  • This recipe makes about 10–12 assembled pies. 
  • You can put the marshmallow filling between the cakes just by scooping it on, or I like to use a piping bag with a large tip to get really smooth edges. You can have fun using decorative piping tips too. 
  • Store uneaten whoopie pies in an airtight container in the fridge for best results. Then allow them to come to room temperature for about 10–15 minutes. This will allow the cake to soften back up. My husband and son actually like to keep them in the freezer and they eat them frozen so they are like a super indulgent ice cream sandwich. 

CAKE INGREDIENTS
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa
2 c flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c vegetable oil
1 c sugar
1 egg
1 c whole milk
2 tsp vanilla

MARSHMALLOW FILLING INGREDIENTS
1 c powdered sugar
1/2 c unsalted butter, softened 
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 c marshmallow creme/fluff

STEPS

  • Preheat the oven to 400º. 
  • Line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  • Stir together the cocoa, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. 
  • In a separate mixing bowl, beat together the vegetable oil, sugar, egg, milk, and vanilla extract until well integrated.
  • Slowly add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and beat until just combined. 
  • Scoop large equal sized spoonfuls of batter onto the lined baking sheet keeping them a couple of inches apart.
  • Bake the “cakes” for about 6–7 minutes. Make sure they are puffed up and looked cook through but don’t overcook them.
  • Using a spatula, immediately transfer the cakes to a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely.
  • Prepare the marshmallow filling by beating together all the powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla until nice and smooth. Gradually add the marshmallow creme until it is mixed in. (If the frosting doesn’t seem thick enough, add in a bit more powdered sugar a little at a time. You want it to be about the consistency of frosting.)
  • Take one of the cakes, turn it upside down, and put a nice sized dollop of the marshmallow filling in the center of the underside of the cake. (If your filling is squishing out from the weight of the cake on top, you can place the filling in the fridge for about 30 minutes. The butter chilling will help to thicken it up.)
  • Place a matching cake flat side down on top of the filling and push it down to spread the filling evenly from edge to edge. I like my filling to be about 1/2” thick.
  • Repeat until all the pies are complete!

If you like this recipe, check out my recipe for Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies which are made with a cream cheese marshmallow filling. 

Sweet Treats

Recipe—Craisin White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies (AKA Santa’s Favorite)

Craisin White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

One of my favorite things about Christmas is all the traditions that go along with it. Gingerbread house building, baking, listening to Christmas music, hanging the stockings, you catch my drift. There is just so much magic in the month leading up to Christmas. Well, ever since my son with 10 months old we have taken him for annual photos with Santa. They are all framed and sit in chronological order (have a mentioned I have OCD tendencies before? LOL) along the entertainment center leading up to Christmas.

Santa

This year he is 10 years old and he still wanted to go take a pick with Santa. With COVID I didn’t think we could make that happen but sure enough, we found a place that was doing physically distanced photos by appointment only. Yay! Anyways, ever since my son could talk he would make sure to ask Santa what kind of cookies he wanted us to leave out for Christmas, it never fails, he ALWAYS says oatmeal. Now one thing I will fess up to is that I despise raisins! I cannot eat them! Even as an adult I will pick them out of trail mix. I refuse to contaminate a good oatmeal cookie with raisins! However, I do love me some craisins. So, ever since that first time Santa said he wanted oatmeal cookies, this recipe made it into the baking rotation. These are delicious, buttery, and just the right amount of chewy and sweet. To me, these cookies are the cookie of Christmas and I guarantee you they are Santa approved!

INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c + 6 tbsp butter, softened
3/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3 c oats uncooked
1 c craisins
11 oz white chocolate chips

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugars until creamy.
  • Add eggs and vanilla to the butter mixture.
  • Gradually start to fold in the flour ingredients into the butter mixture.
  • Add oats, craisins, white chocolate chips and mix well.
  • Drop dough by the spoonful onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 8–10 minutes or until light golden brown.
  • Allow cookies to sit on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes before transferring to a cutting board or cooling rack.
Sweet Treats

Recipe—Glazed Lemon Cookies

We are on Day 4 of 5 of my Christmas Cookie Week! That’s right, this week I will be posting 5 of my favorite Christmas Cookie recipes!

Glazed Lemon Cookies

We have the cutest little lemon bush in our back yard and it holds a special place in my heart as it was a housewarming gift from some of our friends when we built our house 6 years ago. Every year come December, it never fails, the lemons are ready for picking. For that reason, these glazed lemon cookies have become a staple in our holiday cookie rotation. They are so soft and light and I just love the zestiness the fresh lemon brings to them. While I love making these around the holidays they are also perfect for spring or summer.

Note: I recommend placing some paper towels or wax paper under the cooling rack before taking the cookies out of the oven. When you do the glazing you will get some drippage and the paper towels or wax paper will help to catch that excess sticky goodness that make cleanup so much easier.  

COOKIE INGREDIENTS
2 1/4 c flour
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c butter, softened
1 1/4 c granulated sugar
zest from 2 lemons
2 eggs
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

GLAZE INGREDIENTS
1 c powdered sugar
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt.
  • In a large bowl beat together the butter, sugar, and lemon zest on medium-high speed for 3 minutes.
  • Add the eggs, lemon juice, and vanilla to the butter mixture and continue to beat until evenly incorporated.
  • Gradually add in the dry ingredients until combined.
  • Form small balls with the dough and place at least 2 inches apart on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 8–10 minutes or until they just start to get a light golden color on the bottom.
  • Allow cookies to sit on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
  • Once the cookies have completely cooled, whisk together the powdered sugar and fresh lemon juice to make the glaze. (You want to be able to drizzle the glaze so add a tad bit more lemon juice or water if needed to thin it, or more powdered sugar if you need it thicker.)
  • Transfer the glaze to a transfer to a piping bag with a very small opening or a Ziploc bag. (If using a Ziplock bag, you will want to cut a small tip off one corner.)
  • Drizzle the glaze back and forth over the cookies.
  • Allow the cookies to rest for at least an hour so the glaze has time to set.
  • Enjoy!
Sweet Treats

Recipe—Cherry Chip Shortbread Cookies

We are on Day 3 of 5 of my Christmas Cookie Week! That’s right, this week I will be posting 5 of my favorite Christmas Cookie recipes!

Cherry Chip Shortbread Cookies

If you have been following me for a while now, you know fruit and chocolate are kind of my thing. Bananas and chocolate, strawberries and chocolate, cherries and chocolate… you catch my drift. Add in the melt in your mouth buttery flavor of a shortbread cookie, and you have one of the best tasting cookies ever! Not only do they taste amazing but they are also so pretty! I love the pops of red that the cherries add.

If I will give you any advice about this recipe, it is to double the recipe. One batch for you, and one batch for sharing. They really are that good!

INGREDIENTS
1 c butter, softened
1/2 c powdered sugar
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
2 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 c maraschino cherries, chopped and patted dry
1 c chocolate chips

STEPS

  • In a large mixing bowl beat together the butter, sugar, and vanilla.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the flour and salt.
  • Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the butter mixture until it is all combined.
  • Gently fold in the cherries and chocolate chips until evenly distributed.
  • Lay out a long strip of plastic wrap and form the dough into a log in the middle of it. I try and make my log about 2” in diameter.
  • Wrap the log up in the saran wrap and chill in the fridge for an hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 350º.
  • Once the log has firmed up, remove it from the saran wrap and cut it into approximately 1/3” slices.
  • Place the slices about 1” apart on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Bake the cookies for about 10–12 minutes or until they just start to turn golden around the edges.
  • Allow the cookies to cool for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.
Sweet Treats

Recipe—Butter Pecan Thumbprint Cookies with a White Chocolate Carmel Center

We are on Day 2 of 5 of my Christmas Cookie Week! That’s right, this week I will be posting 5 of my favorite Christmas Cookie recipes!

Butter Pecan Thumbprint Cookies with a White Chocolate Carmel Center

This is probably my most requested holiday cookies and definitely one of my faves. If this cookie is in my house, I will eat it. All self control goes out the window. This is a little more advanced than some of my other cookie recipes just because of the number of steps, but they are so worth it! The primary cookie part is not overly sweet, it has a delicious buttery roasted pecan flavor and where the real sweetness comes in is that creamy white chocolate caramel center. These cookies are a total show stopper. They look so pretty and are perfect for the holiday season!

Note: For this recipe I recommend you put the white chocolate caramel sauce into the center of the cookies using a piping bag or Ziploc. I usually just use a quart size Ziploc and cut the corner of the bag off once I have the sauce in it. I find this to be easiest for me and then I can just toss the sticky bag when I am done. However, you can also use a spoon to fill the cookies with the sauce if that is easier for you. The sauce will be very hot on your hands when it comes off the stove which is why I let mine sit to cool for a few minutes before transferring it to the bag. The sauce will harden up as it cools.

INGREDIENTS
1 1/4 c butter, softened
1 1/2 c pecans, chopped
2/3 c powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 c flour
3/4 c caramel sauce (the kind you would put on ice cream sundaes)
1 1/2 c white chocolate chips

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • Stir together the chopped pecans and 1/4 cup of the butter.
  • Spread the nut and butter mixture evenly on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Bake the pecans for 10–15 minutes making sure to stir them around half way through.
  • Remove the roasted pecans from the oven and allow them to cool.
  • While the pecans are cooling, using an electric mixer, beat together the remaining 1 cup of butter, powdered sugar and vanilla until nice and smooth.
  • Mix together the flour and roasted butter pecans.
  • Gradually add the flour and pecan mixture to the butter and sugar mixture until well combined.
  • Roll the dough into 1 1/2″ balls and place about 2” apart on parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Bake the cookies for 10 minutes and remove from oven.
  • Using your thumb, or something of a similar size (I use the end of a cocktail muddler but the back of a teaspoon would work too) make a deep indentation into the center of the cookie.
  • Place the cookies back into the oven to continue baking for another 6­–8 minutes.
  • Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and allow to cool.
  • In a small sauce pan, heat the caramel sauce over medium low heat.
  • Gradually add the white chocolate chips while stirring with a small whisk or fork allowing them to fully melt. Make sure you do not burn the sauce!
  • Once the chips are fully melted and your sauce is a nice smooth consistency, remove the pan from the heat.
  • Allow the sauce to cool for 5-8 minutes and transfer to a piping bag or Ziploc bag. (If using a Ziplock bag, you will want to cut a small tip off one corner.)
  • Pipe the white chocolate caramel sauce into the center of each cookie making sure not to overfill them.
  • Allow the cookies to rest for an hour so that the filling will fully set.
Sweet Treats

Recipe—Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Here we go! We are on Day 1 of 5 of my Christmas Cookie Week! That’s right, this week I will be posting 5 of my favorite Christmas Cookie recipes!

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Every year I pick one day in December and spend the entire day just baking up a storm and listening to Christmas music. I typically bake 4–7 different types of cookies and then make assorted platters to share with coworkers and friends. This is a tradition I picked up from my mom who was also big on spreading holiday cheer in the form of baked goods.

I love these mint chocolate chip cookies for many reasons but the top reason is because they are like eating my favorite type of ice cream (mint chip) in a cookie form. There is just something about the combination of mint and chocolate that does it for me. Plus, mint and Christmas just go hand in hand, do they not? I also love that these add a nice little pop of color to my assorted cookie platters. This recipe is very straight forward and easy to make, so what’s not to love?

Note: If you don’t have Andes chocolate mints you can absolutely substitute chocolate chips in this recipe. You will get enough of the mint flavor just from the extract alone. I personally just love the way the Andes look in the cookies.  

INGREDIENTS
2 3/4 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 c butter, softened
1 1/2 c sugar
1 egg
1 tsp mint extract
10–15 drops green food coloring
4.67 oz pack of Andes mints (unwrapped and chopped)

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt
  • In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth.
  • Add the egg and mint extract to the butter mixture.
  • Gradually start to fold in the dry ingredients.
  • Add green food coloring five drops at a time and mix until it has reached your desired shade of green.
  • Fold in the chopped Andes.
  • Form small balls with the dough and place at least 2 inches apart on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 8–10 minutes or until they just start to get a light golden color on the bottom.
  • Allow cookies to sit on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes before transferring to a cutting board or cooling rack.
Sweet Treats

Recipe—Individual Pumpkin Pie Mousse Cups

Pumpkin Pie Mousse Cups

As soon as the summer heat starts to die down and mornings become cooler, my body literally craves pumpkin spice. Yes, I am a pumpkin spice loving, leggings, Ugg, scarf, and sweater wearing, momma. I can’t help it! There is just something about indulging in all things pumpkin that allows me to fully transition into fall.

While I absolutely love a homemade pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, I don’t always have the time, energy, or space in my oven, to make anything besides the turkey and all the fixings. I absolutely love this dessert because it is quick, easy, and no bake! You get all the flavors of pumpkin pie with the pumpkin puree and pumpkin spice but it is a creamy, light, and fluffy mousse! Plus, you can make it a day or two in advance so you have one less thing to deal with on the big T-Day.

If you are making dessert and then going somewhere one of the most cumbersome tasks is transporting a pie. It slides everywhere and I hate covering pies with foil because it never fails, when you go to uncover it, your crust becomes a crumbly mess and never looks as good as when it came out of the oven. These are great because you can assemble them in mason jars, leave a little air space at the top, and just screw on the lid. Easiest dessert for traveling ever! If you are making these to be served in your home, they look super cute in wine glasses too.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 c graham crackers
4 tbsp butter, melted
3/4 c granulated sugar, divided
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c powdered sugar
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 c pumpkin puree
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

STEPS

  • Prepare the crust by stirring together the graham crackers, melted butter, and 1/4 c of the granulated sugar in a small mixing bowl until well combined.
  • Set aside 1/4 cup of the graham cracker crumb mixture to serve as your garnish.
  • Distribute the remaining graham cracker crumbs evenly among 6–8 individual serving dishes.
  • Using the back of a spoon, gently press the graham crackers down into the bottom of the dishes.
  • Combine the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a mixing bowl and beat until the whip cream thickens up.
  • In another mixing bowl blend together the cream cheese, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and the remaining 1/2 cup of granulated until well-integrated.
  • Fold in 1 cup of the whip cream into the pumpkin mixture.
  • Evenly distribute the pumpkin mousse into each of the dishes.
  • Garnish each cup with the remaining whip cream and top with the graham crackers crumbs you previously set aside.