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Posts tagged ‘Dessert’

For the Love of Pie:  Sweet Potato Candied Pecan Pie 

Yes, it has been a ton of Sundays since I posted.  I apologize for staying away so long; but I needed to sort some things out while I adjust to my new environment.  Well, now I am fairly adjusted and I am back in the kitchen creating.  In time for the holidays, I bring you pie.  I give to you a recipe that combines 2 of my favorite pies: sweet potatoe pie & pecan pie.  Enjoy 😋

Sweet Potato Candied Pecan Pie

1 traditional pie crust

Candied Pecan Filling:

1 1/2 cup chopped pecans

3/4 cup organic sugar

1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup unsalted butter

Preheat oven at 350 degrees.

ONEAdd sugar, vanilla extract, and butter to a medium sauce pan on medium heat.

TWOTurn heat off.

THREEStir in pecans.

FOURPour pecan mixture into pie shell.

Sweet Potato Pie Filling:

1/4 cup unsalted butter melted

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large sweet potato baked (sppon out inards & discard the skin)

2 tablespoons milk

1/3 cup organic sugar

1 tablespoon flour

1 pinch cinnamon

Little less than 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

ONECombine all ingredients, except for flour, into a food processor.  Blend until smooth.

TWOStir in flour to thicken mixture.

THREEPour, carefully, the sweet potato mixture over the candied pecan mixture.

Pie Layered

Layers of Yummy Goodness

FOURBake pie for about 40 minutes or until pie is done in the middle.

Slice of Happiness

FIVEEnjoy 😋😋😋

NOTEServe with whipped cream or ice cream. For an extra treat, sit some candied pecan filling aside & top pie slices with a dollop of candied pecan filling.

Happy Birthday Stop Three: The Skinny Piggy

My third stop on my happy birthday to me tour was The Skinny Piggy. Yep, you read it right. I skipped over stop number two :-). I will come back to stop 2 another day.

While walking up Taylor Street in the University Village neighborhood of Chicago, there was this green awning that drew me in.

Skinny Piggy

Skinny Piggy Storefront

After I walked in the door, a huge case of naked cupcakes with only a few decorated items captured my attention. I looked around for the menu but could not find one. Turn to your right and there is a wall that will change your life.

Skinny Piggy

The Wall @ Skinny Piggy

This wall helps you get started. At The Skinny Piggy, you get to create your dessert. You choose the base: cupcake, cookie, or brownie. You can fill and top it however you wish. The Skinny Pig has changed the cupcake game in Chicago for me. I am no longer held captive to a menu. I can choose whatever I want.

The first cupcake I created was a lemon cupcake with vanilla cream cheese filling and topped with vanilla cream cheese icing and pistachios.

Skinny Piggy

1st Treat

The second cupcake was a vanilla cupcake with Rumchata filling and topped with vanilla cream cheese icing, crumbled Snickers, and caramel drizzle.

Skinny Piggy

2nd Treat

The Skinny Piggy located at 1214 West Taylor Street is definitely a keeper. I am looking forward to returning just so I can try one of their malts–sipping on ice cream along with your favorite cupcake, cookie, or brownie is right up my alley.

If you want something different in delicious treat offerings, check out The Skinny Piggy. I bet they will change your life 🙂

A Dessert Good for the Soul: Vegan Key Lime Parfait

Back in January, I posted a recipe for a ‘chocolate’ mint shake that replaced ice cream with an avocado to create a thick decadent vegan shake. No, I am not a vegan and nor am I on the road to becoming a vegan. But I am in search of healthy alternatives to the foods that I love.

One thing that I love is key lime pie. I wish I could eat key lime pie everyday. Unfortunately, my body won’t allow me to eat my favorite dessert everyday. Sometimes, if I look at a slice too long, I believe my hips instantaneously get a half inch wider 🙂

I eat key lime pie every now and then. But I found an awesome alternative to conventional key lime pie. I created a reduced fat version that is quick and simple. As long as you have your favorite granola, you can create a quick, simple, and delicious version to satisfy your cravings.

Vegan Key Lime Pie

Vegan Key Lime Parfait

Key Lime Parfait

2 large ripe avocados
2 tablespoons key lime juice
1 tablespoons agave nectar
1 cup granola NOTE: I used Trader Joe’s Just the Clusters Maple Pecan Cereal
1/4 unsalted roasted pecans, chopped

ONEPeel avocados and remove the pits.
TWOAdd avocados, key lime juice, and agave nectar to food processor or blender.
THREEBlend all ingredients until smooth.
FOURChill mixture for at least an hour.
FIVELayer your favorite cups with granola, then with the vegan key lime mixture, then granola, then vegan key lime mixture, and top with pecans.
SIXServe and enjoy!!

Makes approximately 2 parfaits when each container that holds 9.5 ounces of liquid.

My Side, South Side: Brown Sugar Bakery

Moist. Delicious. Decadent. Delectable. Roll those four words up into one bakery and you have Brown Sugar Bakery located in Chicago’s Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood at 328 E. 75th Street between S. Calumet Avenue and S. Prairie Avenue.

Each bite I took, was filled with love and care. Brown Sugar Bakery made a baby baker like myself pack up her mixer. Why should I work hard at baking when I can go to Brown Sugar Bakery?

There wasn’t anything small about the cake slice and cupcake I purchased. For my cake slice, I had pineapple coconut. For the cupcake, I purchased caramel cream cheese. It took me 4 days to finish both desserts. I placed the leftovers in the refrigerator. When I took either the cupcake or cake out for a bite, the sweet treat retained its moisture.

Pineapple Coconut Cake Slice

Pineapple Coconut Cake Slice

Caramel Cream Cheese Cupcake

Caramel Cream Cheese Cupcake

Visit Brown Sugar Bakery for a wide variety of desserts. They even make custom creations at your request. Pay the bakery a visit to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Memories of Daddy: Bread Pudding with Chai Spice Sauce

If you have read my previous posts, you know that my mother taught me much of what I know about cooking. What you don’t know, is that I had the most fun cooking with my daddy. My dad only cared about flavors. He was not bound by rules of presentation and time and ingredients. This was a man who doused green beans with black pepper and called it cajun.

Yeah, he had some missteps. But he had some hits also. One of the hits that Donald Phillip Pruitt had was his bread pudding. We would make bread pudding on a whim. If we didn’t have raisins, we would throw dried apples into the mix. If walnuts or coconut were available, what the heck, “Let’s see how this is going to taste,” he would say. 🙂

Earlier this week, I had a rough day. I wanted to pick up the phone and call my dad. Yep, sometimes you need someone to tell you to suck it up, the situation isn’t worth your tears, pick your head up, and live to see another day. He passed away in 1994. And yes, I miss him (and my mother) like crazy. Since I couldn’t talk to him, I made bread pudding so I could be close to him.

I bought this lovely loaf of Challah Raisin Bread from Medici. You can use almost whatever you choose. My dad and I would use white bread. You can use wheat, French, and a host of other breads that will work well as a dessert. My dad and I never made sauce to accompany our bread pudding. I figured I would bring the bread pudding into the 21st century. NOTE: If you are not a fan of Chai Tea, exclude the water and replace the tea bags with 2 tablespoons of Pure Vanilla flavor.

Challah Raisin Bread from Medici

Challah Raisin Bread from Medici

Bread Pudding with Challah Raisin Bread

1 loaf of Challah Raisin Bread (approximately 5 cups of bread)(torn in chunks)
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
2 1/2 cups of Milk
1/4 cup of Butter
2 cups of Sugar
1/2 cup of Raisins
1 tablespoon Pure Vanilla
1 teaspoon of Nutmeg

ONEPreheat oven at 350 degrees.
TWOMelt Butter in the Milk over low heat. Allow mixture to cool.
THREEAdd Challah Raisin Bread chunks to large bowl.
FOURPour Milk and Butter mixture over bread chunks. Soak bread chunks for at least 10 minutes.
FIVEAdd the remaining ingredients and stir thoroughly.
SIXPour mixture into a greased 9×13 baking pan or casserole dish.
SEVENBake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Chai Spice Sauce

1 cup of Heavy Whipping Cream
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 cup of Sugar
1/4 cup Butter
2 of your favorite Chai Tea Bags
1/2 cup of Water
1 teaspoon spoon of Corn Starch

ONEHeat water to a boil in the microwave.
TWOAdd the tea bags to the water to extract the Chai flavor. Set aside.
THREECombine remainder of the ingredients in a saucepan.
FOURCook over medium heat for about 10 minutes until the mixture thickens and come to a full boil.
FIVEStir occasionally to ensure the sauce does not burn.
SIXStir in Chai Tea.
SEVENServe over bread pudding.

Mixed & Uncooked

Mixed & Uncooked

Bread Pudding with Chai Spice Sauce

Bread Pudding with Chai Spice Sauce

I Am A Believer: Decadent Chocolate Cheesecake

During the holidays, I decided to surf the web for cheesecake recipes. I tried a few recipes. One recipe found online stood out above the rest.

I am not a fan of too much chocolate. I like hints of chocolate. I like chocolate swirls and minimal chocolate chips. I like chocolate frosting with yellow cake. I need peanut butter, nuts, and coconut to break-up taste of chocolate.

I found a chocolate cheesecake recipe on Mel’s Kitchen Café blog that made me believe that too much chocolate can be a great thing. This recipe has 3, yep 1-2-3, layers of chocolate. The topping, filling, and the crust are filled with chocolate. I went into this recipe thinking that all I wanted to do was bake this recipe, taste a slice, and take the cheesecake to the office for my coworkers to devour.

Decadent Chocolate Cheesecake

Decadent Chocolate Cheesecake

I followed recipe to the last instruction minus the chocolate curls for garnish. I even used Ghiradelli Bittersweet Chips just as the recipe suggested. I was inspired to accentuate the chocolate filling. To accomplish this, I added a teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper. The cayenne pepper didn’t over power the recipe. I accomplished what I set out to do and more. I reserved 4 slices of cheesecake for myself. I packaged up the rest of the cheesecake and took it work. The cheesecake was a hit. I didn’t even have to add garnish. The next time I make this cheesecake recipe, I will add crushed pecans and caramel drizzle.

Below is the modified recipe courtesy of Mel’s Kitchen Cafe:

Decadent Chocolate Cheesecake

NOTE: This cheesecake needs to be chilled overnight so plan ahead! The good news is this cheesecake can be made all the way through the topping, covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days before serving. It is preferable to let the cheesecake stand at room temperature 1-2 hours before serving.

9-ounce package of chocolate cookies (such as chocolate wafers, graham crackers or teddy grahams)
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted

ONEPreheat the oven to 350°F.
TWOButter a 9-inch springform pan with 3-inch-high sides (or use a 10-inch springform pan with 2-inch sides).
THREEProcess the chocolate cookies in a food processor (or the old-fashioned way with a bag and a rolling pin) until they are finely ground.
FOURTransfer them to a small bowl and mix in the sugar.
FIVEAdd the melted butter and mix until well combined.
SIXPress the crumbs evenly onto the bottom only of the prepared pan.
SEVENBake just until set, about 5 minutes.
EIGHTCool while preparing filling.
NOTE:Keep the oven heated at 350 degrees.


10 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chips were used)
4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (Optional, I added to this recipe.)

ONEMelt the 10 ounces of chocolate in the microwave or in a double boiler until melted and smooth.
TWOCool the chocolate until lukewarm but ensure that it is still warm enough to be pourable.
THREEIn a large bowl (or with a stand mixer), blend cream cheese, sugar, cayenne pepper, and cocoa powder until smooth.
FOURBlend in eggs one at a time.
FIVEMix in lukewarm chocolate.
SIXPour the cheesecake filling over the crust; smooth the top.
SEVENBake until the center is just set and just appears dry, about 1 hour.
EIGHTRemove the cheesecake from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
NINERun knife around sides of cake to loosen.
TENLet the cheesecake cool to room temperature.
ELEVENCover lightly with plastic wrap and chill overnight.


3/4 cup whipping cream
6 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar

ONEOne hour before serving (or up to 3 days ahead of time), stir cream, 6 ounces chocolate, and sugar in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until smooth.
TWOCool slightly. Pour over the center of the cheesecake, spreading to within 1/2 inch of edge and filling any cracks.
THREEChill until the topping is set, about 1 hour.
FOURWhen ready to serve, release the springform pan sides.
FIVETransfer the cheesecake to a platter.
SIXTop with topping of choice.
SEVENIt is preferable to let the cheesecake stand at room temperature for 1-2 hours before serving.

When You Don’t Need a Whole Cheesecake: Individual No-Bake Cheesecakes

I am amazed by and in awe of people who love to bake.  Baking is an exacting science that I have not mastered.  With that said, I choose to stay in my lane and bake on occasion only when I have a recipe.  I will buy cookies, cakes, and pies.  If I assemble any dessert on a reguIar basis, it is banana pudding, yogurt parfaits, no bake cheesecakes, or some type of doctored up fruit.

One Saturday, while watching a movie that didn’t hold my interest, my mind drifted to how was I going to satisfy my sweet tooth.  It didn’t help that an orange juice commercial came on showing different uses for mason jars.  Before the commercial break was over, I looked in the refrigerator to see one package of cream cheese, whole strawberries, and sweet potatoes. The wheels began to spin.   I sliced the strawberries up, added a tad bit of key lime juice, and some agave nectar.


The next day I turned on package of cream cheese into two different no bake cheesecakes.


The one thing I would change is the simulated graham cracker crust layer in the bottom of the jars.  I would either use mini vanilla wafers, crumbled graham cracker pieces, or simply not add the layer to the bottom of the jar.


Cheesecake Mixture:
1  8oz container Cream Cheese
2 Vanilla Beans (or 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract)—I prefer Vanilla Beans
2 tablespoons Agave Nectar (or Pure Cane Sugar)—I prefer Agave Nectar
1 pint Heavy Cream (or 1 cup)

ONEAdd Cream Cheese to bowl.

TWOSlice each bean in half & scrape its contents into the bowl (discard outer pod unless you want to use it to infuse your favorite oil or liquor).

THREEAdd Agave Nectar. 

FOURMix well.

FIVEAdd Heavy Cream and mix until smooth.

Sweet Potato:
2 medium Sweet Potatoes
2 tablespoons Butter
2 tablespoons Agave Nectar
1 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
2 Stars of Anise

ONEBake sweet potatoes for 30 minutes or until done (Wrap each sweet potato in aluminum and poke holes in each potato with a fork).

TWORoast the Star of Anise in a sauce pan on low heat for 5 minutes.

THREEAdd butter to sauce pan.
FOURRemove star of anise from butter.

FIVEWhen sweet potatoes are fully cooked, allow to cool (I removed the foil and ran under cold water for a quick second.

SIXMash sweet potatoes in a bowl.

SEVENAdd nutmeg, cinnamon, agave nectar, and seasoned butter.

EIGHTMix well.

NOTEIf you would like a smoother texture to the sweet potato mixture, add a ¼ cup of milk of choice.  Add mixture to food processor.  Mix until smooth.

1 pound of fresh Strawberries
1 teaspoons of Key Lime juice (lemon or regular Lemon Juice will work.  I ran out of both.)
1 teaspoon Agave Nectar

ONEClean and slice strawberries (Remember to discard the green tops).

TWOAdd Key Lime juice and Agave Nectar.

THREECover strawberries and place in refrigerator until chill (I prefer to let the juicy goodness of all fruits to sit overnight.)

Graham Cracker Layer:
2 cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
1 tablespoon Butter
¼ Sugar

ONEMelt Butter in microwavable bowl.

TWOAdd Graham Cracker crumbs and sugar.

NOTEClean 4 pint size mason jars.  Ensure the mason jars have tops.

Assemble Cheesecakes:
ONELayer the bottom of each jar with Graham Cracker mixture.

TWOPress until firm (mixture will still be somewhat loose).

THREEAdd Cream Cheese mixture and then add Strawberries to 2 of the jars.

FOURContinue to layer Cream Cheese and Strawberries.

FIVEComplete the layer process with the Cream Cheese mixture and Sweet Potato mixture to the remaining 2 jars.

SIXPlace jars in refrigerator and allow to chill of at least 3 hours.