Women came to TheMotherhood on March 9, 2011, to chat about a very popular and tasty topic: Sweet Treats!
The class was sponsored by ConAgra Foods and led by food blogger favorites Julie Mastbrook (Mommie Cooks) and Kristen Doyle (Dine and Dish).
Keep reading for mouth-watering recipes for desserts on any occasion!
Desserts: Everyday occurrence or special occasion?
“We have dessert maybe once a week,” said co-host Monet Moutrie, Anecdotes and Apple Cores. “I don’t want to be feeding the family sugary treats all the time, but it is great to have something special during the week.”
On the other hand, participant Brandie and her family “have dessert almost every single night! But sometimes it’s fruit, applesauce, etc … not always cookies or cake.”
Kid-friendly dessert recipes
The hosts, along with many of the co-hosts and participants in the class, provided dessert recipes that are easy and fun for kids to help in creating.
Hosts Kristen Doyle, Dine and Dish, and Julie Mastbrook, Mommie Cooks, shared a recipe for Apple Popcorn Brittle from the ConAgra website: http://www.conagrafoods.com/recipes-Apple-Popcorn-Brittle-3474.html
For nutella crepes, kids “can help spread the nutella and sprinkle powdered sugar,” said co-host Cheryl Sousan, Tidy Mom: http://tidymom.net/2010/nutella-crepes/
“My kids had a ball helping to cut out these doughnuts!” reported host Kristen. http://dineanddish.net/2011/02/selfish-mama-recipe-homemade-yeast-doughnuts/
For making chocolate cupcakes without dirtying every dish in the kitchen, try this recipe from co-host Kaitlin Flannery, Whisk Kid: http://whisk-kid.blogspot.com/2010/02/peel.html “It needs just one bowl!” she said.
Co-host Kim Kopp, Quit Eating Out, suggested peanut butter cup cookies: http://quiteatingout.blogspot.com/2010/12/saturday-swap-peanut-butter-cup-cookies.html “They can roll the cookies and put the candy in the center,” she said.
“Something like these truffles is good because they can roll the mixture into balls … not a lot to mess up, and kids enjoy it because it’s fun and uncomplicated,” said co-host Kristan Roland, Confessions of a Cookbook Queen: http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/2011/03/thin-mint-truffles.html – “Also…no raw eggs or anything so I don’t have to worry about my son licking his fingers or eating any of it!!!”
“Animal crackers are the new favorite in our house,” said host Julie, providing a link to the recipe: http://www.mommiecooks.com/2011/03/04/homemade-animal-crackers/
“My son is an expert cookie-roller, so any time we make Mexican Wedding Cookies, I give him the job of rolling the dough into the little balls, which is perfect since it’s one of the tasks I’m not as fond of,” said co-host Cate O’Malley, Sweetnicks: http://sweetnicks.com/weblog/2008/05/just-desserts-mexican-wedding-cakes/
“We love S’mores cupcakes,” reported Robyn Stone, Add a Pinch: http://addapinch.com/cooking/2011/03/08/smores-cupcakes/
And “my li’l one loves these no bake s’mores,” added participant Prerna Singh: http://www.indiansimmer.com/2010/12/christmas-with-no-bake-frozen-smores.html
Co-host Monet said her “favorite dessert to make with kids are these amazing sour cream cut out cookies. They are HEAVENLY.”
“This is ALWAYS a huge hit,” said participant Dionne Baldwin of her monkey bread recipe. Her daughter has “been making this since she was 5.” http://tryanythingonce.wordpress.com/2011/03/08/theres-a-kid-in-my-kitchen-and-monkey-bread-too/
To round out the list, co-host Kaitlin offered up “a lot of great kid in the kitchen ideas in the newest issue of Sweet Paul.” http://athome.kimvallee.com/2011/03/sweet-paul-magazine-spring-2011-edition/
Desserts on the go
Whether you’re making treats for the classroom in honor of your child’s birthday, bringing desserts to a party or just need a treat to grab and go while running errands with your kids, here are some options for portable sweets.
“Cake pops, cookie pops, anything on a stick is generally loved!” said participant Karyn.
Agreed host Julie, “This year I made a big cookies for Alex’s class party as they don’t really appreciate cupcakes because of the crumbs.”
“I also like to bake a batch of cookies, make a bowl of frosting and let the kiddos spread a thick layer of frosting between two cookies…cookie sandwiches! Yummy and fun!” said co-host Monet. “Here is the recipe that I used for this particular batch, but you can try all different varieties.”
“Chocolate pumpkin muffins are a big hit here,” added co-host Cheryl. http://tidymom.net/2009/flavor-of-the-month-pumpkin/
But for co-host Cate, “cupcakes are usually my go-to treat of choice, because with those cupcake carriers, it’s super simple to carry in. One of our favorites are these Malted Ball Cupcakes.” http://sweetnicks.com/weblog/2009/04/malted-milk-ball-cupcakes/
Co-host Kaitlin had a great suggestion for a cupcake carrier: http://www.amazon.com/Cupcake-Courier-36-Cupcake-Plastic-Container/dp/B000XPOPXA
And Kristen remembered “in 3rd grade, a classmate’s mom brought in cupcakes in an ice cream cone. Those made quite an impression!”
On the other hand, “we can only bring store bought desserts for my son’s class, and now they want them to be ‘healthy’ – any good ideas for that?” asked participant Mandy.
Co-host Robyn Stone, Add a Pinch, said she had a similar experience, and “the moms set up a smoothie station and helped the kids make their own versions. They had a blast!”
Desserts “lightened up”
When you feel like something sweet without the calories (and the guilt), there are plenty of places to turn.
For desserts calling for whipped cream, Cooper Munroe, TheMotherhood, noted that fat-free Reddi-wip is a great option.
A number of participants also raved about the way mashed frozen bananas taste like ice cream, and participant Kayla S. said she loves adding Peter Pan peanut butter to the mix for protein.
“When the weather gets a bit warmer, I’m all over sorbet,” added host Julie. “Sweet and delicious with none of the guilt!” She provided this recipe for blackberry and blueberry sorbet: http://www.mommiecooks.com/2010/06/09/blackberry-blueberry-sorbet/
And “popsicles, homemade and store-bought, are a hit all year long” in participant Anti-Supermom’s house.
For baked goods recipes, “I try to remove some of the guilt by using greek yogurt in any recipe calling for sour cream or heavy cream,” said co-host Dennis Littley, More Than a Mountfull.
“Another great tip to lighten up recipes, is to prepare you muffin tins and cake pans with PAM instead of butter,” noted co-host Robyn.
“I love using raw sugar and agave nectar, too, to move away from white sugar,” added co-host Jennifer McGlinn.
Some participants suggested using applesauce as a healthy replacement for part of the butter or oil in a recipe, but Monet had a more unique tip: “One of my favorite ways to lighten desserts is to sub avocado for butter!”
Kaitlin at Whisk Kid agreed, “I love avocado!” and provided a recipe for cupcakes that use avocado: http://whisk-kid.blogspot.com/2010/05/green.html
“I haven’t experimented much with substituting with sweets so we just have smaller portions,” said participant Dionne Baldwin. “Or even a chocolate cupcake with applesauce and no frosting, now THAT I have done. The kids love it. They say it tastes like there is frosting inside!”
“My husband and son LOVE this” lighter recipe for chocolate cheesecake squares, according to co-host Bridget Edwards, Bake at 350: http://bakeat350.blogspot.com/2011/01/lightish-chocolate-cheesecake-squares.html
“And these low fat apple cakes taste like mini apple donuts. So good!” added co-host Monet: http://anecdotesandapples.weebly.com/1/post/2010/02/low-fat-apple-cakes.html
“Lately, I’ve been making yogurt parfaits with apples and pears that I’ve sauteed a bit with cinnamon and maple syrup,” suggested co-host Cate. “Layer it with vanilla yogurt and granola and it’s a healthy, guilt-free dessert!”
“Here’s one of my fave light and healthy recipes: Mini Chocolate Chip cookies (1 WW PointsPlus per cookie),” said co-host Kim: http://quiteatingout.blogspot.com/2011/03/ww-mini-chocolate-chip-cookies.html
But sometimes, when a light dessert just won’t satisfy your sweet tooth, it’s necessary to break out the “indulgent” dessert recipes.
“This Deep Dark Chocolate Cake is about as perfect as it can be,” said host Kristen. http://dineanddish.net/2009/10/dealing-with-postpartum-depression-recipe-deep-dark-chocolate-cake/
Co-host Cheryl shared this recipe for Gooey Upside Down German Chocolate Cake: http://tidymom.net/2010/gooey-upside-down-german-chocolate-cake/
“Ice cream is my biggest weakness,” admitted co-host Kaitlin. “I really love this Coffee Crunch recipe.” http://whisk-kid.blogspot.com/2010/06/add.html
She added, “but I like this raspberry one when I’m in the mood for something ‘lighter.’” http://whisk-kid.blogspot.com/2010/08/make-raspberry-ice-cream.html
“This caramel apple cake does it for me every time,” said host Julie. http://www.mommiecooks.com/2011/02/11/family-friendly-fridays-caramel-apple-cake/
“And red velvet cake!!!” said co-host Robyn. http://addapinch.com/cooking/2010/11/07/red-velvet-cake/
“Cheesecake cupcakes are a nice treat,” noted co-host Dennis. http://www.morethanamountfull.com/2011/03/mini-lemon-cheesecakes-and-ask-chef.html
But, he added, “for a truly decadent easy dessert that screams americana, you can’t beat bread pudding.” http://www.morethanamountfull.com/search/label/Bread%20Pudding
Desserts to wow the crowd
When you have guests coming, but not a lot of time, you can still knock their socks off with these simple desserts that look like they took hours to create.
“Trifles… any kind of trifle! So pretty and beyond easy!” said host Kristen. “One of my faves – Strawberry Cheesecake Trifle.” http://dineanddish.squarespace.com/dine-and-dish-blog/2007/4/9/a-dessert-worth-destroying.html
“Definitely my Layered Walnut Pumpkin Pie,” said co-host Cheryl. http://tidymom.net/2009/love-the-pie-party-giveaways/
“This dessert takes you to the tropics!” added co-host Robyn of her caramelized bananas with coconut rum cream. “So EASY!” http://addapinch.com/cooking/2010/08/26/easy-banana-dessert-recipe-caramelized-bananas-with-coconut-rum-cream/
“I don’t know if this looks like I’ve been slaving away in the kitchen, but it’s EASY and decadent!” said co-host Bridget of her no-baking-no-mixing ice cream sandwich layered dessert. http://bakeat350.blogspot.com/2009/08/no-baking-no-mixing-no.html
Co-host Kim offered up a recipe for “super easy pound cake.” http://quiteatingout.blogspot.com/2010/08/chocolate-chip-pound-cake-ii.html
And if you have a little extra time, for a truly crowd-wowing dessert, try creating a six-layer rainbow cake like co-hosts Cate O’Malley, Sweetnicks, and Kaitlin Flannery, Whisk Kid. http://whisk-kid.blogspot.com/2009/08/say-it-with-cake.html
How to make a cheesecake
Making cheesecake can be a delicate operation, since cheesecakes are prone to cracking. Co-host Julie Mastbrook, Mommie Cooks, provided her top three tips for a foolproof cheesecake.
Tip 1: Letting your cream cheese reach room temperature before making the cheesecake will help avoid air bubbles in your cheesecake and ensure even mixing.
Tip 2: Place a pan filled with water on the oven shelf below your cheesecake. Adding water to the oven will help prevent your cheesecake from cracking. You can also place your cheesecake in a water bath if you prefer.
Tip 3: DON’T open the oven while the cheesecake is cooking or cooling. As tempting as it may be, opening the door will cause a quick change in temperature, which can cause your cheesecake to crack.
Rolling out cookie dough for shaped cookies (from co-host Cheryl): http://www.universityofcookie.com/2010/06/rolling-cookie-dough-video-tutorial.html
Decorating with royal icing (from co-host Kristan): http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/2010/12/cookies-with-royal-icing.html
Making your own sprinkles (from co-host Kaitlin): http://bravetart.com/recipes/RainbowSprinkles
Cookie decorating (from co-host Bridget, who advises watching the video demonstrations): http://www.universityofcookie.com/
Cake decorating (from co-host Cheryl): http://tidymom.net/2011/how-to-decorate-birthday-cake-with-butter-cream/
Thanks to our wonderful hosts…
Julie Mastbrook, Mommie Cooks
Kristen Doyle, Dine and Dish
Our talented and amazing co-hosts…
Cheryl Sousan, Tidy Mom
Kristan Roland, Confessions of a Cookbook Queen
Bridget Edwards, Bake at 350
Faith Gorsky, An Edible Mosaic
Monet Moutrie, Anecdotes and Apple Cores
Dennis Littley, More than a Mountfull
Kim Kopp, Quit Eating Out
Naomi Robinson, Bakers Royale
Robyn Stone, Add a Pinch
Rebecca Spivack, Let It Marinate
Kaitlin Flannery, Whisk Kid
Cate O’Malley, Sweetnicks
And, of course, a BIG thank you to ConAgra Foods for partnering with TheMotherhood and all of our amazing bloggers to bring us Cooking Connections!
See the original Talk here: http://tmotherhood.wpengine.com/talk/show/id/62136