Dessert

Pina Colada Cake

Pina Colada Cake

I BAKED!! I know what you’re all saying…(But you don’t bake!) But I tried yet again, I refuse to give in on this. And it’s not really from scratch, it’s semi-homemade. I added my own touches and it worked! It came out amazing! So moist, rich and tropical! Oh and I even made the frosting from scratch! It was so easy! Go figure!

Rum/Vanilla Frosting

I had this cake mix in my cabinet for months, I bought it online for like a dollar and it was past it’s “best if used by date” by a few weeks so I figured I’d be adventurous. Originally I was going to make cupcakes but I thought I better just stick with a sheet cake this time. I toasted up some sweetened coconut flakes I had in the pantry also (they came out a little darker than I wanted but they taste great so all is well), and topped the cake with them.

Toasted coconut

Toasted Coconut

After tasting a small piece I wanted to eat the whole cake! WOW! Success!! I can bake I can bake I can bake!!!!

 

So without anymore self-praise here is how I did it.

Cake Ingredients:

1 box pineapple cake mix (I used Pillsbury Moist Supreme Pineapple)

1 (8 oz) can crushed pineapple in juice, undrained (I used about 8 ounces of fresh crushed pineapple I had in the freezer and thawed)

1/2 cup butter, melted (1 stick)

1/4 cup coconut syrup (or you can just use water or even coconut water)

3 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon rum extract

Frosting Ingredients:

2 cups confectioners sugar

4 oz butter (1 stick), softened

4 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 teaspoon rum extract

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Extra Ingredients:

1/2-3/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes

Cake Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom of 13 x 9 pan with cooking spray or butter with a dusting of flour.
  2. Beat cake mix, pineapple, butter, coconut syrup and eggs in a large bowl with mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. (didn’t realize how long 2 minutes can be when you’re timing something!)
  3. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  4. Bake for 34-38 minutes. (Check after 30 minutes as all ovens can be different. I took mine out at 32 minutes)IMG_5193
  5. Let cool completely before frosting.
  6. Once cool, frost the cake.

Frosting Directions: (this recipe will frost the entire cake)

  1. In a large bowl beat(cream) the butter and cream cheese.
  2. With the mixer on low-speed add the sugar a little at a time until smooth and creamy.
  3. Add the extracts.

Toasted Coconut Directions:

Place the coconut on a cookie sheet in a 350°F oven for about 2-5 minutes. Check after 2 minutes so it doesn’t burn. It goes quick once it starts to toast. Cool before putting on cake.

Pina Colada Sheet Cake

 

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No-Bake Cannoli Pie

cannolie pie

Everyone who knows me knows I don’t bake. Or I should say, I don’t bake very well. So when I saw this recipe one day for a NO BAKE pie I was determined. I had bought a few containers of Marscapone cheese that I had been making a cannoli dip with and their “best by” dates were coming up soon so I was very happy when I found this recipe. Plus I had all of the ingredients! Well sort of anyway. The crust calls for ground-up cannoli shells. I had a box of sugar cones that we used as dippers when I made the dip so I thought, why not use them instead! And I added some almonds to the mix as well.

I brought the pie to a friend for dessert and it was a hit. Tasted like cannoli!  So how can that be a bad thing! I would definitely make this again. The original recipe, No Bake Cannoli Cheesecake had the ingredients being put into 4 mini tart pans (4″). I don’t have mini tart pans because I don’t bake! But I do have many pie dishes so that is what I used. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 cannoli shells ground fine (or 8 sugar cones ground fine)
  • handful whole almonds ground fine with the cannoli shells/cones
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 15 oz. whole milk ricotta
  • 8 oz. Marscapone cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/8 cup chopped pistachios
  • Fresh whipped cream, Cool Whip or Reddi-Wip

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a small bowl combine the shells/cones/almonds and the melted butter until mixed. Press firmly into bottom and on sides of pie plate. Freeze about 30 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl cream the Marscapone and ricotta cheese. Add in the vanilla and powdered sugar, mix well.
  3. Add the chocolate chips and stir in by hand.
  4. Get the pie plate out of the freezer and carefully fill with the mixture.
  5. If using whipped cream you can decorate the edges, otherwise, add the cool whip etc. when serving.
  6. Sprinkle the pistachio nuts over the top.
  7. Refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight. 

 

cannoli pie

 

 

 

It’s Not Just For Christmas Fudge

(I am reposting this from a few years ago, still LOVE this fudge!)

I used to make this recipe for fudge quite a bit for the holidays when I worked at WLNY in New York. I remember CJ asking for it quite a bit! It’s simple and pretty fool-proof. I could eat the whole pan if it were left in my vicinity! Fudge is good any time of year not just for the holidays so make a batch today and take a break from the diet. If you are allergic to nuts, leave them out. Have fun!

INGREDIENTS:

3 (6 oz.) packages semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

pinch of salt

1 cup chopped walnuts (or other favorite nuts)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Line an 8″ square baking pan with waxed paper or aluminum foil.

2. In a heavy two-quart saucepan, combine chocolate chips, condensed milk, and salt.

3. Cook over low heat until chips melt. Remove from heat. Stir in nuts and vanilla.

4. Spread mixture evenly into lined pan. Refrigerate for two hours or until firm. Cut into squares and enjoy!

Makes 36 pieces

Strufoli (Italian honey balls)

 This is a reposting of a previous blog from last year! Still a timeless treat no matter what the holiday is, and this time it’s for Easter! So give them a try! They are not hard to make, honest!!

This is a recipe that my grandmother (Nana) used to make for us years ago, usually around Easter. Though they are good at any time of the year for any occasion. The first time I made these it took me forever to roll each little ball. Then I talked to my Italian Aunt Rosie about making them and she laughed when I told her I rolled each little ball individually. She said that took way too long! She told me to roll the dough into long strips like giant pretzel rods and just cut them! Simple! These little honey balls are really good and bring back so many childhood memories. They stay fresh for a very long time and you can even freeze them for another time! (Without the honey of course!) They really are simple to make and always a hit.

Strufoli (Honey Balls)

INGREDIENTS:

4 eggs

¼ cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon butter

2½ cups flour

½ cup honey

vegetable oil

colored nonpareil (confetti)

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a large bowl, mix together eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, sugar, and butter. Add flour, 1 cup at a time. The last ½ cup of flour can be added if necessary to make a smooth dough. Let dough stay in bowl, covered with a dish, for ½ hour.

2. Roll out portions of dough. Cut dough into strips, rounded like pretzels, then cut into ½-inch pieces.

3. Heat about 2½ inches of oil in the bottom of a pan or deep fryer. Fry the pieces of dough, a handful at a time. If you can do this in a frying basket, it will be easier to take them out. Place pieces on paper towels to drain.

4. Heat honey until just under the boiling point. Place strufoli in a bowl and drizzle honey over them, gently tossing. Arrange on a large platter and sprinkle with the nonpareil (confetti). You can shape into a mound on a large flat dish or into a wreath.


Makes about 150 little strufoli

Tropical Pudding Shots

Yes pudding shots! I know you’ve all heard of jello shots. I also think it’s time for me to serve them at my next party. But pudding shots are almost the same but with pudding! This recipe calls for sugar-free fat-free pudding but if you’re not watching calories just use the regular pudding. I actually have not made them yet but I plan to soon! They sound delicious! This recipe also only makes 8 servings so if you have a huge crowd  adjust the amounts accordingly. And since I am allergic to the aspartame in the sugar-free jello puddings (and jello) I will have to find one with Splenda or just use the regular kind. Have fun and enjoy the weekend!

INGREDIENTS:

4 ounces fat-free milk (I will probably use fat-free half-and-half)

1 small (4 serving) package Jell-O Sugar Free Fat Free Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix (or any other kind you want)

3 ounces coconut rum

1 ounce lime juice

½ cup canned crushed pineapple in juice, not drained

1 cup Cool Whip Free, thawed (or regular if you wish)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Combine milk and pudding in a bowl and whisk or mix until smooth. Add the rum, lime juice and pineapple. Stir well.

2. Fold in the Cool Whip. Once mixture is smooth throughout, divide it among 8 small cups.

3. Place in fridge until ready to serve, at least 30 minutes. Use a spoon to eat!

Makes 8 servings

Pumpkin Carrot Bars

Yes I am still in Fall mode. Trying to pretend it’s cooler outside and that the leaves are changing here. But then I look outside and see nothing but green palm trees, green leaves on the maple trees, green everywhere! Ok, so the leaves really don’t change here. They do fall on some trees but they aren’t pretty about it. Oh well, the sacrifice for living in the Sunshine State. Maybe they change in northern Florida? And right now the temperature is still 79 degrees. It’s 7pm! But I did buy a couple little pumpkins at Walmart yesterday! I will use them for pies or something later in the year. They actually last a long time after the fall! I’ve had pumpkins that lasted till April!

Well I found this recipe and changed it a bit to make it a little less fattening. I substituted Splenda and Splenda Brown Sugar Blend for the sugars and I use light cream cheese in place of regular. As always, feel free to use the real stuff if you want. I was also very happy to hear that the pumpkin shortage is officially over as well. Last year I had stocked up on the canned pumpkin when I found it. It was like gold! But the crop was good this year and we can all breathe easily now! Whew!

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups flour or whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup granulated Splenda (sucralose)

1/3 cup light butter/margarine, softened

½ cup Splenda Brown Sugar Blend

2 eggs

2 large egg whites

1 can (15 ounce) pumpkin

1 cup carrot, finely shredded

Cream Cheese Topping/Icing:

4 ounces light cream cheese, softened

¼ cup Splenda

1 tablespoon fat-free half-and-half (or whatever milk product you want)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350º.  Grease a 15 x 10 jelly roll pan. (or similar pan)

2. In a small bowl combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and baking soda.

3. In a larger bowl, beat together sugar (1 cup), butter and brown sugar until crumbly. Add eggs, egg whites, canned pumpkin and carrots. Beat until well blended. Add flour mixture and mix until well blended. Spread into greased pan.

4. Mix together cream cheese, sugar (¼ cup) and milk until thoroughly blended.

5. Drop teaspoonfuls of topping over pumpkin batter and swirl mixture with a butter knife.

6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. Cool in pan completely on wire rack before cutting into squares.

Makes 48 squares.

Skinny Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie is my favorite pie. But I could do without all the extra calories in it. This recipe is lower in calories and fat but still tastes great. If you don’t care about your calories/fat use the regular versions of the ingredients. Key Lime Pie also should NOT be bright lime green in color! It should be an almost pale yellow to very faint green. All those other pies that glow in the dark have food coloring added. You don’t need it! Honest! This recipe is also very easy to make and takes more time to chill and set than it does to prepare and bake. If you are ever in Key West though, try their frozen chocolate covered key lime pie on a stick! OMG! Talk about sugar coma! But it is so incredibly delicious and  heavenly. The last time I had it I shared it with my husband and stepson and we had a hard time finishing it. So worth the extra calories and fat every so often!

INGREDIENTS:

2 large eggs

2 large egg whites

½ cup Key Lime juice (such as Nellie & Joe’s Famous Key West Lime Juice)

1 teaspoon lime zest (if you can find a key lime use that instead)

1 (14 ounce) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk

1 (6 ounce) reduced-fat graham cracker crust

1½ cups frozen reduced-calorie whipped topping, thawed

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350º.

2. Beat eggs and egg whites at medium speed on an electric mixer until well-blended.

3. Gradually add the lime juice, zest and condensed milk into the egg mixture, beating until well-blended.

4. Spoon mixture into pie crust and bake at 350º for 20 minutes or until almost set. (The center will not be firm but will set up as it chills.)

5. Cool on a wire rack. Cover loosely and chill for at least 4 hours. Spread whipped topping evenly over filling. Serve!

Makes 8 servings


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