Vanessa's Recipes

Archive for the ‘Dessert’ Category

Apple Honey Mini Cheesecakes

Rosh Hashanna is upon us!  (Sept 24, 2014) You know what that means!  Well, I didn’t know what that meant until about a year ago, when we decided to begin attending a Messianic congregation.  While we aren’t Jewish, and many of our congregants aren’t either, some are, and as a whole, we do like to observe and appreciate many Jewish elements of food and Feasts.  I learned that some traditional foods for Rosh Hashanna (which is the Jewish New Year, by the way, Happy 5775!) are apples and honey. 

Since our congregation is on the small side, I’ve learned to make cupcakes instead of sheet cakes for special occasions.  People seem to prefer the individual servings much more than having to deal with slicing and plating a piece of cake.  So, I started making things like meatloaf and cheesecakes in cupcake forms for our monthly buffet style meals.  I am pleased to say the smaller size does seem to be pretty popular.  I almost never have to bring home leftovers.  Smile

I did a lot of searching for recipes that combined apples and honey, that weren’t too traditional.  I opted to do a cheesecake version but all I could find were ones that combined apples and caramel.  So, I improvised. 

I found this recipe below from Paula Deen’s site, and it seemed simple enough.  I omitted the caramel and used honey instead. 

I also made my own crust (recipe at the bottom of the post) and used parchment liners in my cupcake pans.  I found a little custard cup in one of my cabinets and used that to press down the graham cracker mix into the cupcake cups so the bottoms of the cheesecakes would be firm.  You could use a spoon and pretty much get the same result. 20140605_122720

I mashed the apple filling to make it small enough so that there weren’t these huge pieces of apple in the cupcake sized portions.  My old fashioned potato masher worked just fine for this, so I didn’t have to pull out the stick blender or anything electrical.  So much easier on the clean-up! 20140923_154741

The cooking time remained the same.  Took me 35 min to get these mini cheesecakes baked. Then I chilled them overnight in the fridge.20140923_15475220140924_145755

I did choose to use the stick blender to puree the apple/honey mix on the top. 


I opted not to use the pecans on top as a garnish.  We have some elderly folks at our church and I was concerned they wouldn’t want to eat things with tiny nuts. 

All that’s left to do now is eat them! 

Happy New Year!

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Caramel Apple Cheesecake

Recipe courtesy of Paula Deen
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen SHOW:


1 video | Caramel Apple Cheesecake (02:32)

Total Time: 56 min
Prep: 20 min
Cook: 36 min
Yield: 8 servings
Level: Easy


  • 1 (21-ounce) can apple pie filling
  • 1 (9-inch) graham cracker crust
  • 1/4 cup caramel topping
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 12 pecan halves, plus 2 tablespoons chopped pecans


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spoon 3/4 can apple pie filling into the crust. Add the remaining 1/4 can filling to a small saucepan and mix with the caramel. Heat over low heat until melted and spreadable, about 1 minute.

Whip the cream cheese in a large bowl until fluffy. Add the sugar, vanilla and eggs and beat until smooth, a few seconds. Pour this over the pie filling.

Bake until the center of the cake is set, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Spoon the apple-caramel mixture over the top of the cheesecake and spread evenly. Decorate the edge of the cake with pecan halves and sprinkle with chopped pecans. Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve.

From Caramel Apple Cheesecake Recipe : Paula Deen : Food Network


To make your own crust:

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Mix together the graham crumbs, sugar and butter and press into an 8 or 9 inch pie plate, OR 24 cupcake cups. Set aside.



I was bound and determined to make the truffles from Sally’s Baking Addiction.  Sallys Baking Addiction Mint Oreo Truffles. » Sallys Baking Addiction  I love her website.  She makes everything look so amazing and delicious.  I can’t eat any of it, but when I see the pictures, my brain fills in the flavors.  Smile

We had a special day at church this past weekend (Purim), and I wanted to make something special.  Something relatively easy since I knew I had kind of a lot on my plate.  Plus, St Patrick’s Day was coming soon after, and the Irish in me just can’t let that one pass unnoticed.  I even painted the Irish flag on my nails, haha.  Smile

So I made Lemon Truffles, and Chocolate Mint Truffles. 


The round ones are the lemon, and the square ones are chocolate mint.  I had zero room in my freezer so I thought if I made bars instead of balls, they’d be a bit flatter and maybe I could sneak them in somehow.  I had success in that area, but I think being flat and not totally covered by the candy melt made them a bit messier, although as you can see from the leftovers, the bars did much better than the balls, lol.  People love their chocolate!

Sally’s recipe is pretty easy and simple, and mine turned out not bad looking despite being a rush job.  People raved, so I’ll be making these again.  Just not lemon, lol.  Fortunately, Oreo’s come in lots of flavors, and Wilton makes lots of candy melts colors.  The possibilities are practically endless!  Winking smile

Have you ever tried making these truffles?  How did yours turn out?

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Devil’s Food Cupcakes & Buttercream Frosting | Your Lighter Side


Devil’s Food Cupcakes & Buttercream Frosting


Yes, please. Copyright Candice Wong.

The combination of rich, robust chocolate (coffee? Yum!) and the sweet coolness of a buttercream is such perfection, you might have to make sure to share with neighbors or freeze the batch so you don’t eat them all in a sitting. For Birthday parties, school functions, bake sales and other gatherings where a deliciously rich, gluten-free, sugar-free confection is desired, these clock in at only 5.7 net carbohydrates for a treat you can truly enjoy.

Re-blogged from: Devil’s Food Cupcakes & Buttercream Frosting | Your Lighter Side

You want the recipe.  I know you do.  I can see it in your drool. 

Mine too!  LOL

But you have to ask Jamie, over at Your Lighter Side.  Don’t worry, she’ll share, she’s really nice like that!  Smile  So click the link and go!  Devil’s Food Cupcakes & Buttercream Frosting | Your Lighter Side


[tweetmeme source=”DarcsFalcon” only_single=”false”]

Low Carb Desserts

Every so often we get that taste for something sweet.  Satisfying that while living a sugar-free lifestyle might seem a bit daunting, but I have a couple of simple, and EASY recipes to make something sweet when you just have to have it.  Smile  Personally, I’m not really into trying to figure out how to use non-flour stuff to bake things.  Just give me easy and familiar and we’ll be just fine.  Winking smile

First up, if you’ve got 5 minutes, I can give you Chocolate Mousse!  I kid you not!  I got this one from my husband, actually.  Just take a small box of sugar-free Jello instant pudding and 2 cups of heavy whipping cream.  Use the cream instead of milk, and follow the package instructions.  And make sure it’s the instant pudding!  I don’t know if this would even work with the pudding mix you have to cook, lol.  You can do this by hand with a wire whisk.  I have one of those little Gizmo things that I picked up a few years ago at Walmart.  I don’t know if they still make them, but I’m sure you could find something similar.  Just a simple little tool but great for small jobs like this one.  Smile 

All told there are maybe 8 carbs in the whole thing, depending on what flavor of Sugar-free Jello you use.  It’s a great chocolate fix!  And of course, with all the flavors, you can have lots of variety if chocolate’s not your thing.  I think it’s a great alternative to ice cream.  Smile



This one I call Jello-Whip Delight.  I actually got this recipe when I was a kid, from an elderly relative who was on a tight budget but still wanted to have a little something sweet.  She used regular Jello and Cool Whip back then, but today I can use sugar free for both and seriously cut back those carbs.  Still have to be careful though!  In truth, the sugar free Cool Whip is actually higher in carbs per serving than the regular version, but there is no High Fructose Corn Syrup.  You’ll have to decide which you want to trade – carbs or HFCS?  Either way, still use the sugar free Jello.  With regular Cool Whip, you’ll get about 50 carbs for the entire thing, and about 75 with the sugar free one.  If you divide the bowl into 5 servings, that’s 10 and 15 carbs per serving, respectively.  Smaller portions will be even fewer carbs, so you’ll have to decide how much you want to eat to satisfy that sweet tooth.

This is great any time of year, but especially in the warmer months.  You can use any flavor Jello that floats your fancy, too!  Just make according to package directions and chill.  I’ve found about 4 hours works well.  Once it’s set, I pull out my handy-dandy little Gizmo and beat it until it’s almost liquid again.  Once that’s done, I mix in the Cool Whip thoroughly and let it chill again for a little bit, maybe 30-60 minutes.  Once it’s set, you’ll have a pudding-like dessert in almost any fruit flavor under the sun.  Jello is great about having lots of flavors.  Smile 



If you try ‘em out, let me know what you think!

Taste the Rainbow Cake

For my daughter’s birthday, by special request, I made a rainbow cake.  It turned out really well.  I followed the directions I found over on this blog:

how to make a rainbow cake!


I didn’t use the diet recipe because my 6 year old isn’t on a diet but that recipe does look super simple.  Smile  I just followed the standard directions on the box mix I used. 


Mixing the colors was fun.  Finding enough bowls to mix them in was a pain!  LOL  I didn’t mix the basic cake mix much at all, just a rough mix, since I knew the batter was going to get a longer mixing once I added in the colors.  Then I divided into 6 roughly equal portions.  I ended up with about 1 and 1/3 c. of batter per color.  I used about 24 “dots” of gel for each color as well.  The orange and purple you have to design yourself but I found that about a 3-1 ratio of yellow to red made a good orange, and the same for blue to red made a decent purple.


I followed the recipe creator’s instruction to use a greater amount of the bottom colors first, and also to reverse them in the pans.


I needed to bake mine a little longer than the box called for (about 5-8 min), probably because I was using 2 boxes of cake mix, like the recipe called for.  My cakes seemed more brown than the creator’s did, but I also used the egg whites and oil in mine so that may account for some of that golden color too.


Once it was done though, and we cut into it, the vibrancy of the colors really came through! 


The pudding/Cool Whip frosting mix tasted really good but it was just a tad sticky to work with.  I recommend pushing the frosting.  It’s a technique I was taught many years ago.  You put a big glob of frosting on the middle of your cake and then spread it by gently pushing small areas of the glob away from the center rather than adding small globs a little at a time and pulling them toward you.  Don’t try to “smear” the frosting or you’ll tear your cake.

Also, I opted to simply invert my bottom layer when I assembled it, rather than slicing some off to make it level. 

It was so much easier than I thought it would be, the hardest part really was just mixing the colors over and over because that got a little old and repetitious because I did it by hand but otherwise, it was lots of fun, and the “ooh!” factor from my kids was the best part.  Open-mouthed smile

Okay, I “oohed!” too.  Winking smile

Cross-posted at At Grandma’s Table

Cake-Pie with no name

Begin the day before as this needs to chill overnight and you’ll need time to cool the crust also.

You will need:

  • 13×9 glass pan

Layer 1:

  • 1 c. flour
    ½c margarine or butter
    1 c. chopped pecans – or any nuts but walnuts aren’t very good in this recipe, and neither are peanuts.  An almond/pecan mix is pretty good, and my husband thinks hazelnuts might be good too.  

Layer 2:

  • 1 c. sugar
    8 oz. cream cheese
    (half of) 1 lg container of Cool Whip (12 or 16 oz)

Layer 3:

  • 1 lg pkg Jell-o instant chocolate pudding
    1 lg pkg Jell-o instant vanilla pudding
    3 c. milk

Layer 4:

  • remaining half of Cool Whip
    Hershey chocolate bar, plain

To begin:

Layer 1

  • Preheat your over to 350° – this is the only baking you will do for this recipe.
  • If you have a food processor you can use that, or a hand mixer will work great too.  Mix the nuts, butter, and flour to a paste.  It will be lumpy because of the nuts, you’re not looking for nut dust or anything.  Press this mix into the cake pan and bake for 20 min.  Allow to cool completely before adding the other layers.

Layer 2

  • Cream together the cream cheese, sugar, and half of the Cool Whip.  Pour onto the cooled crust and spread evenly.

Layer 3

  • Don’t begin this step until you are ready.  If you make it too far in advance, the pudding will set and be very difficult to spread over the previous layer.
  • Combine the pudding mixes with the milk and mix.  Don’t follow the box directions, just pour the dry mixes into a lg bowl, add the milk and mix together.  Before it sets, pour it over the cream cheese layer, and smooth it out evenly.  Allow to set.  Since it’s instant pudding, this will only take a few minutes.  When it’s chilled, go on to the next step.

Layer 4

  • Spread the remaining half of the Cool Whip over the pudding layer.
  • Chill overnight in the fridge.  Just before serving, you can grate (part of) a plain Hershey bar over the top to make little chocolate curls for decoration, or you can add sprinkles of some type but keep in mind they will probably bleed into the topping after a while.  If that is important to you. 
  • Now, eat and gain weight.  🙂

If you can think of a name for this, let me know!  I was thinking Chocolate Snow Pie, but I’m no good with such things.  🙂

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