Archive | Desserts

Holiday Bake Recipe: Sugar and Spice Cookies

One of Grandma’s greatest hits, this simple drop cookie delivers a properly spicy, crunchy, melt-in-your-mouth burst of holiday goodness. Make sure your spices are fresh and, in the case of pepper and cloves, freshly ground.

Makes 4 dozen cookies

12 oz. (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup molasses

4 cups unbleached white flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Powdered sugar for dusting


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add molasses and beat well.

Sift together dry ingredients. Add at low speed to butter and sugar mixture and beat just until combined.

Drop batter by rounded spoonfuls onto baking sheet 2 1/2 inches apart – cookies will spread. Bake 9 to 11 minutes, rotating cookie sheets from back to front once midway through baking. Cookies should be golden brown and slightly darker around the edges when done. Watch carefully during final minutes of baking because they … Read More

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Tablet Pistach

This is the Haitian version of peanut brittle, one of the treats on HistoryMiami’s tour of Little Haiti. Other foods on the tour include Haitian bread (dense, doughy and faintly sweet) and Kremas Mapou, a mixture of condensed, evaporated and coconut milks, spices and rums, from
Mapou Bookstore.


¼ cup water

¾ cup light brown sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon grated ginger

2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon grated nutmeg

½ teaspoon star anise extract

½ teaspoon salt

¼ cup roasted peanuts

Large nonstick saucepan

Parchment paper

Add the water, sugar, vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise and salt to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the peanuts and boil for 10-15 minutes or until mixture has thickened. Remove the pan from heat and continue to stir until the liquid has evaporated and the mixture is sticky. Using a spoon, place 6 large cookie-sized amounts on parchment paper. Place the pieces in a cookie jar when cool.

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Chocolate Coffee Angel Pie

Serves 8-10 | Angel pies – meringue shells piled high with whipped-cream fillings – are popular entries in regional cookbooks and home cook repertoires. This version, adapted from Miami Beach dessert maven Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Chocolate Desserts, is filled with (what else?) rich, creamy semisweet chocolate. Photo: Alfredo Añez

Meringue Shell
4    large egg whites, room temperature
¼     teaspoon salt
¼     teaspoon cream of tartar
¾    cup superfine sugar
½    teaspoon vanilla
Butter for pie plate

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Butter a 10-inch glass pie plate. Beat egg whites in an electric mixer until foamy. Add salt and cream of tartar and beat for one minute at medium speed. When the egg whites start to hold a shape, begin to add the sugar slowly, one spoonful at a time. Add vanilla and beat at high speed for about 6-8 minutes, until very stiff. Use a spatula to spread meringue on bottom and sides of the pie plate. It should be one inch thick and extend about ¾” above the rim. Bake for 1¼-1½ hours until the meringue is very lightly colored. Turn off the oven and let the meringue cool in the oven.

Chocolate Mousse Filling… Read More

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Cuban Coffee Doughnut 
Bread Pudding

Serves 6-8 | Have your cafe con leche and doughnut all in one! Dark cafe cubano cuts the sweet edge on this creamy dessert. Slightly stale glazed doughnuts work the best. Photo: Alfredo Añez

1    dozen day-old glazed doughnuts
3     eggs + 1 egg yolk
2½    cups light cream or half-and-half
½    cup unsweetened brewed Cuban coffee
½    teaspoon salt
1    teaspoon vanilla
¼    cup dark rum

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter 9×13″ pan. Cut doughnuts in quarters and arrange in an even layer in pan. In a large bowl, lightly beat eggs and yolk to combine. Add cream, coffee, salt, vanilla and rum and beat to combine. Pour mixture over doughnuts and let sit 10 minutes. Bake for 45 minutes. Cool and serve warm.

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Quick Fruit Crisp

Some call this Dump Cake, but that seems like an unsavory name for this super-easy, rich dessert that is perfect for a last-minute potluck invitation.

Serves 8-10

2 cans prepared cherry filling

1 box Duncan Hines Classic Yellow Cake Mix or Golden Butter Cake

1 cup pecans, chopped coarsely1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, melted

Good-quality vanilla ice cream or whipped cream (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 13x9x2-inch pan.

Pour pie filling in pan. Pour dry cake mix on top. Sprinkle nuts evenly on top. Pour melted butter evenly over all. Bake 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Variations: Use apple pie filling and walnuts. Replace one can of pie filling with one can crushed pineapple and juice (don’t drain it). Add grated coconut atop walnuts.


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Orange Ginger Cookies

About 30 cookies | Tangy orange and peppery ginger – fresh and candied – pair perfectly in these chewy cookies. Recipe by Maria Anselmo.

1½ cups all-purpose flour

1     teaspoon baking powder

½    teaspoon salt

½   cup unsalted butter, softened

1      cup granulated cane sugar or turbinado sugar

2      egg yolks

1     teaspoon freshly squeezed orange juice

1     tablespoon orange zest

1    teaspoon grated fresh ginger root

¼ teaspoon orange extract

½     teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3   cup candied ginger, chopped finely


Sift together flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl; set aside. Using electric mixer on medium, beat butter and sugar in large bowl until creamy and light, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg yolks one at a time. Add orange juice, zest, ginger and extracts; mix thoroughly to incorporate. Add flour mixture in two additions, beating on low speed just to blend between additions. Fold in minced candied ginger. Cover bowl in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours or overnight.

To bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment. Form dough into 1-inch balls, and place at least 1½ inches apart. Use a fork to flatten each ball. Bake for 10 minutes, or until … Read More

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Plum and Apricot Rugelach

Betsy Mateu wowed the judges with her Plum and Apricot Rugelach at the recent Jewish Museum–FIU’s recipe contest.

Plum and Apricot Rugelach

Apricot or Dried Plum Lekvar

3          cups apricots or prunes

¼       cup sugar

2          tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed

Place all ingredients in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a simmer and slowly cook until the fruit breaks down. When cool, strain fruit and then puree using enough water until it has the consistency of thick jelly. Cool and place in an airtight container in the fridge.


12        oz. cream cheese

12        oz. butter

¼    cup sugar

½       teaspoon salt

3          cups flour

Blend cream cheese, butter, sugar and salt using a stand mixer. Incorporate flour and mix just until dough forms. Divide dough in half and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight


½       cup chopped walnuts

½       cup chopped almonds

½      cup raisins

¼  cup sugar mixed with 1/4 cup brown sugar

Roll one piece of dough into a rectangle on a well-floured cold surface. (Keep the other piece of dough in the fridge until ready to use.) Spread lekvar thickly. Sprinkle sugar mixture followed by nuts and raisins on the … Read More

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Harvest Plum Cake

Plum Cake

Plums are not local to Florida, but this heirloom recipe highlights these tasty tart stone fruits available in many markets in late summer and early fall. Italian prune plums – small, deep purple fruits found only for a few weeks in September – are the traditional choice, but you can use any ripe fruits. This also works with peaches and nectarines. Taste the fruit before baking. If they’re very tart, increase the amount of sugar you sprinkle over the top before baking. It’s better to err on the sweet side.

1 1/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup sour cream

1 1/2 pounds Italian prune plums, black plums or red plums


Juice from 1/2 lemon

1/4-1/2 cup sugar

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon butter


Preheat oven to 350º. Butter 8×8-inch pan.

Prepare stone fruit: Wash and cut in half, removing pits. If fruit is small, cut each half in quarters. If it’s large, cut each half in 3-4 thin wedges. Set aside.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

In mixing bowl, cream butter and … Read More

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Queen of All Pudding

Queen of All Pudding

Serves 8-10 This meringue-topped bread pudding uses Cuban bread or Uneeda crackers, sweetened condensed milk and guava (not to be confused with Guava Duff, a Bahamian dessert also seen in local cookbooks). This recipe, reprinted with permission from Native Fuel, makes a homey and very sweet dessert best served warm from the oven with Cuban coffee.

2               loaves Cuban bread
4            eggs
1            can evaporated milk
1             can sweetened condensed milk
1             teaspoon vanilla
1             block guava paste
1             can whole guavas or 2 cups fresh guavas, cut into small pieces
½          cup sugar

Preheat oven to 375º. Butter a sheet pan.

Break up all bread by hand in a large pot. Add evaporated milk and mix well. Separate yolks from whites in two large bowls. Add sweetened condensed milk and vanilla to yolks and mix well until eggs are smooth and pale yellow.

Add egg mixture to bread. Place over low heat and stir. When bread starts to brown on the bottom, it’s done. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, place guava paste in a frying pan. Add a little water to loosen mixture. You can cut it up a bit. Cook until it softens. Add … Read More

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Beijinhos de Coco

1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

6 ounces unsweetened shredded coconut (if you can’t find unsweetened coconut, you can use sweetened), plus extra to roll in

1 tablespoon butter, plus extra for your hands

Fluted paper candy cups (available at cake supply stores)


Combine milk, coconut and butter in a saucepan. Cook over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid scorching, until thick – mixture will form a mass. Let it cool until you can handle it. Place extra coconut in a flat tray and have paper cups ready. Using buttered hands, take a marble-sized piece of the mixture and roll between your palms into a uniform ball. Roll in shredded coconut and place in cups. Store at room temperature.

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