Just desserts- recipes for anytime, anywhere


Dessert is the best. Hands down, no questions. Sure, watching somebody bake cookies from a perfect birds-eye-view on Instagram is great, but nothing compares to sticky-fingered, batter-in-hair, who got chocolate on the ceiling, baking. And as the holiday season is officially upon us, it’s time for dinner parties, cookie exchanges, and sweet treats. So weather you’re feeding all 30 cousins or just yourself, here are some amazing dessert recipes.

Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts with Buttermilk Glaze

Yields 12 medium or 24 mini doughnuts, and because these doughnuts are baked instead of fried, you will need ether 2 standard doughnut pans or 2 mini doughnut pans.

(Or, if you don’t have doughnut pans because you’re not MasterChef (like me), you can roll the dough into doughnut shapes and stick an oven-safe object in the middle- I recommend tinfoil. Or just shape the dough however you want. Make some twists! It tastes the exact same, I promise.)


  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (or just used the ground kind)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground gloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil, plus more for the pans
  • 3 cups pumpkin puree
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Glaze:
    • 1 1/2 cups confectioner sugar, sifted
    • 3 tablespoons buttermilk


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease 2 doughnut pans and fit a large pastry bag with a 1/2 inch round tip, and set aside.
  • To a large bowl, add flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices. Stir together and set aside.
  • To a medium bowl, and sugar, oil, pumpkin puree, eggs, and vanilla; whisk to combine. Add wet mix to the dry and fold into a smooth batter using a silicone spatula. Transfer batter to prepared pastry bag and fill each doughnut cavity halfway full with batter.
  • Bake until the doughnuts spring back when lightly touched (10-12 minutes). Remove from oven and invert doughnuts onto a wire rack placed over a rimmed baking sheet.
  • To prepare the glaze, add confectioner’s sugar and buttermilk to a bowl; whisk until smooth.
  • When the doughnuts are cool, spoon the glaze on and allow it to set for about 20 minutes before serving. Or don’t, they’re best warm and messy.

Scandinavian Cookies

Next up are these Scandinavian Cookies. The recipe came into our family through my mom’s friend’s mother’s friend. Try saying that three times.  Regardless of how we acquired them, my mom swears by these because they are so. Darn. Good.


  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • l/2 cup brown sugar
  • l cup flour
  • l egg separated
  • Strawberry (or your preference) Preserves


  • Cream butter, add sugar, egg yolk, beat until light.
  • Blend in flour.
  • Roll dough in small balls, dip in egg white then roll in chopped nuts.
  • Place on cookie sheet and make depression in center for jelly.
  • Bake l5-l8 min @ 350 degrees.
  • Cool the cookies and drop in jelly in  center.

Volcano Cake

This was another one of my Grandmother’s recipes, and it’s highly contested in my family because it never came out as anyone remembered it. So hopefully, it works out better for you!

Grease and flour a 9′ square pan, then sift together:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 cups of sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

After this add:

  • 1/3 cup soft shortening
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat this  mixture for 2 minutes. Following this add:

  • 1/3 cup of milk
  • 1 egg

Beat for two more minutes. Then bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes.

Sour Cream Date Cookies

These cookies are from an old recipe page somebody kept. It is almost 4 pages of just cookie recipes! I had to pick only one though, and this one looks divine.


  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2  cup shortening
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 1/3 cups sifted all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup chopped nuts


  • Cream butter, shortening, and sugar together. Add eggs and beat until light and fluffy. Add vanilla.
  • Sift flour with baking soda, salt, and baking powder. Add nuts. Add this to the first mixture, alternating with sour cream. Drop mixture using a teaspoon onto a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with granulated sugar and top with half a date. Bake at 375°F  for 15 minutes.

Milk and Honey Cake 

Next up is from the “Fabulous Favorites” Cookbook. It’s a recipe book put together by my family containing all of the best recipes through the years. It’s got everything from Granddad’s Christmas cookies to cousin Kate’s trail mix. But this is one of the top recipes in the whole book. Delicious, easy, and made to share, the Milk and Honey Cake is a classic.


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla


  • Grease and  flour a 9x9x2 pan.
  • Mix flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside.
  • Cream other ingredients, except milk.
  • Add flour mixture and milk, alternately, to creamed mixture, beating after each addition.
  • Bake at 350°F  for 30-35 minutes. Add maple frosting!

Maple Frosting


  • 1/4 cup butter and margarine
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of milk (about)
  • Few grains salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple flavoring

BONUS! In my mother’s handwriting, in the margin is the recipe for

Fluffy Maple Frosting 


  • 2 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup


  • Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry.
  • Boil syrup up to 240°F .
  • Carefully pour syrup over egg whites with beaters on first speed.
  • Beat until light and of spreading consistency. Yields enough frosting for one layer.

Triple Chocolate Cake 

Another great cake from the fabulous favorites!


  • 1 package devil’s food cake mix
  • 1 package (4 1/2 oz) chocolate instant pudding and pie filling
  • 1 package (6 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs


  • Heat oven to 350°F. 
  • Mix all ingredients in an ungreased oblong pan (13x9x2) with a fork, scraping corners frequently, until moistened.
  • Stir batter vigorously with a fork for 1 minute, then scrape sides with a rubber spatula.
  • Spread batter evenly in the pan.
  • Bake until top springs back when touched lightly in the center (about 40-45 minutes). Cool. Loosen cake from sides, cut and serve directly from pan. Store remaining cake loosely covered in the refrigerator.

Mexican Chocolate Pudding with Cinnamon-Sugar Tortilla Chips

This one is one of my personal all time favorites, and that’s a big achievement. I’m a self-appointed chocoholic with a weakness for dark chocolate. This pudding recipe has it all; a rich, creamy pudding with crispy, sweet chips. A true flavor experience.

Yield: 4 servings


  • Pudding:
    • 1/4 cup cornstarch
    • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
    • 2 cups whole milk
    • 6 oz Mexican chocolate, chopped (Mexican chocolate has cinnamon and sugar added to it. If you don’t have Mexican chocolate, you can mix 6 oz of semisweet chocolate with 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder)
    • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  • Cinnamon-Sugar Tortilla Chips:
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 5 flour tortillas


  • In a medium saucepan, combine the cornstarch and the sugar. Slowly add the milk while whisking constantly. Add the chopped chocolate.
  • Set the pan over medium heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is beginning to boil. continue whisking and boil one minute. Then, using pot holders, remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter.
  • Carefully pour the pudding into serving bowls and cover each one with plastic wrap. Press the wrap directly onto the surface to prevent a “skin” from forming. Refrigerate until cold (about one hour).
  • To make the chips: heat the oven to 375°F . In a small bowl mix sugar and cinnamon. In a small bowl or saucepan, melt butter. Arrange the flour tortillas on a work surface, brush evenly with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar. Cut into wedges and arrange on baking sheets. Bake until golden-brown (abut ten minutes). Cool completely and serve with the pudding.

My final recipe is from the Sur la Table cooking classes I took on school breaks when I still did camps on school breaks. Now I study and sleep, but c’est la vie! Alright, enough French. I was incredibly picky as a kid and would not eat most fruit, but these tarts were a tiny loophole. They seem complex, but they are so worth it!

But what’s a tart without a good crust?

Perfectly Flaky Crust 


  • 1 1/4 (6 1/4 oz) cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tick (4 oz) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup ice water


  • Place flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor or large mixing bowl.
  • By pulsing or using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour until the butter is the size of peas.
  • Sprinkle ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, over the flour mixture. Pulse or stir mixture until large clumps form.
  • When enough water has been added to allow the dough to hold together, transfer to a lightly floured work surface.
  • Press the pieces of dough together to form a ball.
  • Flatten the dough into a disk about 6 inches wide, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes before rolling

Cranberry-Apple Tartlets


  • 1 recipe Perfectly Flaky Crust (See above)
  • 12 oz (about 2 medium) crisp-tart apples (Fuji, Honeycrisp, or Granny Smith) peeled, cored, and thinly slice
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon grand cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus more for dusting
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg, beaten


  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Prepare 4 (4 1/2 inch) individual tart pans.
  • Generously flour a work surface and place the chilled dough disk on the flour.
  • Dust the top of the dough with flour.
  • Using a rolling pin, roll chilled dough into a circle, turning and flipping the dough as needed, until the circle measures 14 inches wide and 1/8 inch thick.
  • Using a paring knife or a 6 inch round plate or bowl, cut four pastry disks and transfer them into tart pans.
  • Gently press the dough into the bottom and sides of pans, then press to release extra dough from the sharp edges.
  • Chill shells until ready to be filled. Gather up dough scraps and roll out into a circle. Use 1 1/2 inch cookie cutters to make about 12 cutouts and refrigerate.
  • To prepare filling:
    • In a medium bowl add apples, cranberries, cinnamon, lemon juice, vanilla, sugars, salt, and cornstarch.
    • Use a spatula to toss the fruit utility evenly coated.
    • Fill the tart shells, slightly mounding the filling in the center and leaving about 1/4 inch space from filling to the top of sides of the tart shell – to prevent filling from boiling over during baking.
    • Dot the tops of the tarts with pieces of butter.
  • Arrange pastry cutouts to partially cover each tart, brush these with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.
  • Bake tartlets until crust is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling – 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer tartlets to a rack to cool for 15 minutes. Serve warm.