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Tasty Desserts Guaranteed to Please

Tasty dessertsTasty desserts are like an exclamation mark at the end of a sentence – a way to finish a meal on a high note, and a last opportunity to make it truly memorable.

While a stand mixer makes the perfect tool if you happen to be baking for a crowd, it can be overkill when tackling smaller, lighter tasks. Who needs the big guns just to whip a little cream for example? That’s where a hand held mixer comes in handy, whether you simply want to mix a single pie crust or make our No Churn Vanilla Ice Cream!

Banana Cream Pie

The perfect ending to a lavish tropical style dinner, this easy banana cream pie recipe is fairly straightforward to make and guaranteed to have your guests in awe. Get ready for an encore!

Prep time: 25 minutes (+time to chill)
Baking time: 40 minutes
Yields 8 slices

Banana Cream PiePie Crust:
1½ cup all-purpose flour (extra for rolling)
½ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup vegetable shortening
3-6 tablespoons ice-cold water

Pie Filling:
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 large eggs
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup cornstarch
1-ounce package unflavoured gelatin
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
4-6 ripe bananas, sliced

Topping suggestion: Whipped cream and sliced bananas

Crust
1. Place top oven rack in center position and preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Using a stand mixer or hand-held mixer, add flour, salt and shortening in a medium-size bowl; mix to combine.
3. Add ice-cold water a little at a time until dough clumps together and can form a ball.
4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 12-inch diameter. Fold dough in half and then in half again; transfer to a 9-inch diameter deep-dish pie plate. Press dough down into the pie pan. Trim if there is more than ½ inch of excess dough hanging over the edges. Fold edges of the dough under, then crimp together with your thumb or a fork.
5. Line pie crust with parchment paper and fill it with pie weights or dry beans. Bake crust in preheated oven for 15 minutes.
6. Remove crust from the oven and remove dry beans or pie weights; set aside.

Filling
1. Combine milk, cream, eggs, sugar, salt, corn starch and gelatin in a large saucepan. Stir until well blended and heat over medium-low heat while whisking often. Once custard has thickened and becomes difficult to stir, turn the heat off and stir in butter and vanilla; set aside.
2. Slice bananas; line pie crust bottom with two layers of sliced bananas. Pour the custard over the bananas and smooth custard out throughout the pie.
3. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F and bake for 20-25 minutes.
4. Remove pie from oven and cool completely before transferring to the refrigerator. Chill for a few hours or overnight before serving.

Apple Pie à la Mode

Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 45-50 minutes
Serves 8

Apple Pie à la ModePie Crust:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1¼ cup vegetable shortening
7-12 tablespoons ice-cold water

Pie Filling:
6 cups peeled and sliced apples
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 or 5 pieces

Note: For a deep dish pie, double the filling ingredients and roll out the bottom crust to a 12-13 inch diameter.

1. Place top oven rack in center position and preheat oven to 450°F.
2. To prepare pie crust, add flour, salt, and vegetable shortening to a large bowl and mix with a hand mixer. Gradually add ice-cold water until dough binds together and can form a ball. Place in the refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, add sliced apples, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg to a large bowl and toss gently to combine.
4. Remove dough from refrigerator and divide into two even sections. Roll out each piece into a 10-11 inch diameter for a 9-inch pie.
5. Line a 9-inch pie pan with one of the crusts. Transfer apple filling to the pie crust.
6. Place top crust over the pie and crimp edges together. Cut 4-5 vents into top crust with a sharp knife and place a small piece of butter in each. Cover edges with foil or a pie crust protector to prevent over browning.
7. Bake for 10 minutes at 450°F. Reduce temperature to 350°F and continue baking for another 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing and topping with a scoop of No Churn Vanilla Ice Cream below.

No Churn Vanilla Ice Cream

No Churn Vanilla Ice CreamThis homemade ice cream with condensed milk does not require an ice cream machine to deliver astonishing results!

Prep time: 10 minutes
Chill time: 4 hours
Yields 4 cups

1 vanilla bean
2 cups heavy cream
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
Topping suggestions: Whipped cream, maraschino cherries, chopped nuts

1. Cut vanilla bean in half lengthwise and carefully scrape out the seeds with a sharp knife; set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat heavy cream at high speed until stiff peaks form. Add sweetened condensed milk and vanilla bean seeds; stir to combine.
3. Pour mixture into a bread pan or freezer-safe container. Cover and freeze for 4 hours or overnight.
4. To serve, remove from freezer and let soften for a few minutes before transferring to individual serving bowls.

Classic White Layer Cake

Classic White Layer CakePrep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 30-35 minutes
Yields: 10-12 slices

Non-stick cooking spray
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup vegetable shortening
2 cups granulated sugar
8 large egg whites, room temperature
1 tablespoon real vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk

1. Place top oven rack in center position and preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare two 8-inch round cake pans by spraying with non-stick cooking spray and lining the bottom with parchment paper; set aside.
2. Cream butter, shortening and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add egg whites and vanilla; mix until smooth.
3. In a separate large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet; mix to combine. Add milk and continue mixing until smooth.
4. Divide cake batter evenly between prepared baking pans; place in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Frosting the Cake with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (recipe below):
1. First level the top of each cake layer by carefully slicing the rounded portion of the cake off. With the levelled side down on a cake plate, add a thin layer of the buttercream frosting to top of cake.
2. Add second cake layer, levelled top side down. Add remaining frosting to the top of the cake, slowly working it around from the middle of the cake top to the edges. Scrape some of the frosting over the edges and apply a thin layer of frosting to the sides of the cake.
3. Slice and serve immediately.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Note: This vanilla buttercream frosting recipe allows for a thin layer of frosting on the sides of the cake for a trendy, modern look. Increase the frosting recipe by one half for thicker frosting layer. Top with berries for a fresh look.

Buttercream FrostingPrep time: 10 minutes

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
¼ cup whole milk

1. Cream butter in a large mixing bowl with a hand-mixer until perfectly smooth.
2. Sift in powdered sugar and continue mixing until smooth.
3. Add vanilla and mix to combine.
4. Slowly add milk one tablespoon at a time while mixing until you reach desired consistency.

Lemon Poppy Seed Coffee Cake

Prep time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 45-50 minutes
Serves 8

Lemon Poppy Seed Coffee CakeNon-stick cooking spray
1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1¼ cup granulated sugar, divided
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup lemon juice
¾ cup sour cream
4 cups flour
1¼ teaspoon baking soda
1¼ teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 tablespoon lemon zest, preferably organic
Non-stick cooking spray

Lemon Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1/8 cup whole milk*
1 T. fresh lemon juice
*Add extra milk a little at a time if necessary to reach preferred consistency.

1. Place top oven rack in the center position and preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a standard-sized Bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.
2. Cream butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add vanilla, eggs, lemon juice and sour cream; mix until smooth.
3. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, poppy seeds and lemon zest in a separate bowl. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients slowly and mix until smooth.
4. Transfer cake batter into prepared Bundt pan. Place in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
5. While the cake is baking, prepare lemon glaze by blending the ingredients in a medium bowl until smooth; set aside.
6. Remove from oven and place hot pan on a wire rack to cool for 30-40 minutes. Remove cake from pan and slice. Drizzle with lemon glaze right before serving.

Chocolate Walnut Brownies

Prep time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 22-26 minutes
Yields 12-16 brownies

Chocolate Walnut BrowniesNon-stick cooking spray
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sweetened ground cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts

Frosting:
½ cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
1-1½ cup powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons whole milk

1. Place the top oven rack in the center position and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.
2. Cream butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs and vanilla; mix until combined.
3. Add flour, cocoa powder and salt to a large bowl and stir to combine. Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet until just combined, making sure not to over mix, causing brownies to become cakey.
4. Stir chocolate chips and walnuts into batter; transfer to prepared baking pan. Spread into an even layer; transfer to preheated oven.
5. Bake for 22-26 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Brownies will still be soft and will finish setting while they cool.
6. To prepare frosting, mix butter with cocoa powder and 1 cup powdered sugar. Add one tablespoon of milk at a time until desired consistency is reached. If necessary, add the remaining ½ cup powdered sugar to thicken.
7. Once cool, spread frosting on top of brownies before slicing and serving.

Creamy Chocolate Mousse

End a fancy dinner with panache by simply adding a teaspoon of organic orange zest to this decadent chocolate mousse dessert for a lovely pop of flavor. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and some mandarin orange slices.

Creamy Chocolate MoussePrep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Chill time: 2 hours
Yields 6 servings

2½ cups heavy cream, divided
8 ounces high-quality semi-sweet chocolate chips or baking chocolate
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs

1. Heat 1 cup of the heavy cream with chocolate chips over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until chips have melted; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, beat eggs and sugar with a hand-held mixer for 3 minutes at medium speed.
3. Continue mixing while slowly adding melted chocolate mixture to the egg mixture. Stir in the optional orange zest. Once combined, pour back into the pan used to melt chocolate. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened.
4. Remove from heat and cool slightly before transferring to the refrigerator to chill for 2 hours.
5. Once chilled, whip remaining heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold chilled chocolate into whipped cream until thoroughly combined; the mixture should have a fluffy consistency.
6. To serve, spoon chocolate mousse into a piping bag and pipe into small dessert dishes. Top with whipped cream and maraschino cherries or mandarin oranges.

Spicy Cookies with Powdered Sugar

Prep time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 10-12 minutes
Chill time: 1 hour
Yields 2 dozen cookies

Powdered Spice Cookies¾ cup unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1/8 cup molasses
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup powdered sugar

1. Cream butter, shortening and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs and molasses; mix to combine.
2. In a separate large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and spices; stir to combine. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix on low speed until thoroughly combined.
3. Transfer dough to the refrigerator and chill for one hour.
4. When ready to bake, place top oven rack in center position and preheat oven to 375°F.
5. Remove dough from oven; use a 1-inch scoop to scoop dough. Roll dough in your hands to form a ball and set on baking sheet with an inch or two inches between each cookie.
6. Place baking sheets in preheated oven and bake for 10-12 minutes or until cookies are nicely browned and cooked through. Remove from oven and let cookies cool for several minutes.
7. Working in batches, transfer cooled cookies to a Ziploc bag filled with powdered sugar. Seal tightly and gently turn until cookies are thoroughly coated. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container until ready to serve.

Chewy Gingersnap Cookies

Chewy Gingersnap CookiesPrep time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 8-11 minutes
Chill time: 1 hour
Yields approximately 4 dozen cookies

½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
½ cup molasses
2 large eggs, room temperature
4½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon salt

1. In a large mixing bowl using a hand-held mixer, cream butter, shortening, brown sugar and ½ cup granulated sugar.
2. Mix in molasses; add the eggs and mix to combine.
3. In a separate large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and spices. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Transfer dough to the refrigerator and chill for one hour.
4. While dough is chilling, place top oven rack in center position and preheat oven to 375°F. Line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat® baking mat and set aside.
5. Remove dough from refrigerator and form into 1-inch balls. Roll balls of dough in remaining ½ cup granulated sugar until coated.
6. Place balls of dough onto prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches in between. Place in preheated oven and bake for 8-11 minutes or until cookies are nicely browned and cooked through.
7. Remove cookies from oven and cool on wire rack before serving.

Chunky Peanut Butter Cookies

Chunky Peanut Butter CookiesPrep time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 10-12 minutes
Chill time: 1 hour
Yields 18-36 cookies

1 cup unsalted butter
1½ cup chunky peanut butter
1½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup unsalted peanuts, divided

1. Place the top oven rack in center position and preheat oven to 375°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat® baking mat and set aside.
2. Cream butter, peanut butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs and vanilla extract; mix to combine.
3. In a separate large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and 2/3 cup unsalted peanuts. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet and mix until just combined.
4. Transfer dough to the refrigerator and chill for one hour.
5. Once chilled, divide dough into equal-sized balls and arrange on prepared baking sheets, leaving two inches between each ball. Press dough down with a fork in a crisscross fashion to flatten. Top with remaining chopped peanuts; press peanuts down into cookies.
6. Place baking sheets into preheated oven and bake for 10-12 minutes or until cookies are golden brown on top and cooked through.
7. Remove from oven and let cookies sit for 2-3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool before serving.

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