Coconut & Oatmeal Cookies

Jeff grew up making these cookies and even made them one year for a Christmas cookie auction, so I wanted to preserve it as a family recipe. The shortening makes the cookies nice and chewy. Note that the dough does tend to spread and flatten quite a bit in the oven.

I haven’t made this one gluten free yet, but make sure you use a gluten free flour blend (maybe with a few extra tablespoons), gluten free oats, and uncontaminated other ingredients.

Coconut & Oatmeal Cookies

  • Servings: 2 1/2 doz
  • Difficulty: medium
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Don’t place the dough balls too close together because they will spread in the oven.

Ingredients

  • 2 c. Sugar
  • 3 1/2 c. Flour (or gluten free flour with a few tablespoons extra)
  • 2 1/2 c. Rolled Oats (or gluten free oats)
  • 1 1/2 c. Coconut Flakes
  • 4 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 1/2 c. Shortening
  • 3/4 c. Corn Syrup
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla

Directions

In a large bowl, mix sugar, flour, oats, coconut, baking powder, soda, and salt. Blend in shortening until the mixture is crumbly like pie dough. Make a well in the middle of the mixture and pour in the corn syrup, eggs, and vanilla. Mix well. Roll into balls and place on lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350° for 6-8 minutes. Do not overbake. Cookies should be light golden on the bottom.

 

 


 

Marshmallow & Cream Cheese Dip

Jeff’s family made this all the time growing up, and I love it–especially with apples. You could consider it an appetizer or dessert, since it’s such a sweet and delicious thing to serve with fruit. You can also make it more festive by adding food coloring–we colored it green for St. Patrick’s Day.

And this one is naturally gluten free–just serve it with fruit and stay away from graham crackers.

Marshmallow & Cream Cheese Dip

  • Servings: 8?
  • Difficulty: easy
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Simple, yet incredibly delicious. Just remember to soften the cream cheese beforehand.

Ingredients

  • 1 (8 oz.) pkg. Cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (7 oz.) pkg. Marshmallow Creme
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla

Directions

Blend cream cheese and marshmallow creme until smooth. Add vanilla and mix. Serve with fresh apples, fruit, or sweet crackers.


 

Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Cake

This recipe comes from Valerie Bertinelli from the Food Network. I was excited because I really missed the strawberry shortcake ice cream bars since being diagnosed with celiac disease, and I saw that I could easily make this recipe gluten free if I use the Great Value gluten free golden Oreo knockoffs (just buy two bags). Gluten free or not, this recipe is delicious. It does take a fair amount of time, but you don’t have to cook anything, and everyone loves it. I’ve even made it for a birthday cake.

I opted for using the cheaper Kroger ice cream because the ice cream in the original bars isn’t like a high quality Breyer’s vanilla bean or strawberry. And for the cheapest freeze dried strawberries, I also get them at Walmart. I may also consider doubling the strawberry topping because it’s delicious and my topping doesn’t look as thick as the picture on the Food Network (maybe gluten free golden Oreos are smaller than regular ones).

As I mentioned, if you’re making it gluten free, just use a gluten free version of golden Oreos, such as the Great Value variety. The other ingredients should be gluten free (just check the label in case).

Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Cake

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy-medium
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Let the ice cream cake soften on the counter for a few minutes before eating.

Ingredients

Crust:

Shortcake Crumbs:

Filling:

  • 7 c. Vanilla ice cream (buy 2 containers), slightly thawed in the fridge
  • 3 c. Strawberry ice cream, slightly thawed in the fridge

 

Directions

For the crust: Line the base of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper and lightly spray the pan with nonstick cooking spray.

To a  blender or a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, add the sandwich cookies, slightly breaking them up as you add them. Process until the cookies are completely broken up. While the machine is running, slowly stream in the melted butter. The mixture should now resemble wet sand and should hold together when pressed in your hands. Add the mixture to the prepared pan and evenly spread all over the base and about 1/2 inch up the sides. Place the crust in the freezer for 30 minutes. Reserve the blender to make the shortcake crumbs.

For the shortcake crumbs: To the blender or food processor, add the sandwich cookies, slightly breaking them up as you add them. Add the freeze-dried strawberries. Process the mixture until it’s a very fine, cohesive consistency. With the machine running, slowly stream in the melted butter, then set aside.

For the filling: When the crust is frozen, scoop on half of the softened vanilla ice cream. Use a small offset spatula to smooth the ice cream into an even layer. Sprinkle about 3/4 cup of the shortcake crumbs over the ice cream, slightly pressing in to adhere. Freeze for 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes, scoop on the softened strawberry ice cream. Use a small offset spatula to smooth the ice cream into an even layer. Sprinkle about 3/4 cup of the shortcake crumbs over the ice cream, slightly pressing to adhere. Freeze for 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes, scoop on the remaining vanilla ice cream. Smooth with an offset spatula and top with the remaining shortcake crumbs. Freeze for at least 6 hours and up to overnight.

To serve, run a knife or offset spatula around the edge of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Remove the springform ring and slice the cake into wedges. Let the wedges sit for several minutes to soften slightly for best results.

 


 

Sweet Potato Casserole

I’m not a huge fan of sweet potatoes, but my daughter loved them when she was a baby, so I looked up something to use them for Thanksgiving. And wow, this is amazing! I guess technically it’s a side dish, but it’s more of a sweet dessert, with all the butter and brown sugar. (For the original recipe, you can find it on Food Network.)

If you’re making it gluten free, just replace the regular flour with gluten free flour like Bob’s Red Mill.

Sweet Potato Casserole

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: medium
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Whether side dish or dessert, it’s perfect for fall and Thanksgiving.

Ingredients

Filling

  • 1 3/4 lb. Sweet Potatoes (about 2-3 large), peeled and cubed 

  • 1/4 c. Melted Butter, plus more for buttering the baking dish

  • 1/4 c. Brown Sugar

  • 1/2 c. Milk
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 2 Eggs

Topping

  • 1/4 c. Melted Butter
  • 1/2 c. Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 c. Flour (or 1/2 c. gluten free flour with xanthan gum)
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 3/4 c. Chopped Pecans

Directions

For the sweet potatoes: Add 1 3/4 pounds peeled and cubed sweet potatoes to a large pot of salted water. Bring to a boil , then lower to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are very tender, 15-20 minutes. Drain and cool, then mash.

For the filling: Preheat to 350° and butter a 2-quart baking dish (11×7). Whisk together the butter, mashed sweet potatoes, brown sugar, milk, salt, vanilla, and eggs in a large bowl. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.

For the topping: Combine the butter, brown sugar, flour, and salt in a medium bowl until moist and the mixture clumps together. Stir in the pecans. Spread the mixture over the top of the sweet potatoes in an even layer. Bake until mostly set in the center and golden on top, 25-30 minutes. Serve hot.


 

Magic Shell (Any Flavor)

When I was growing up, my favorite dipped cone at Dairy Queen was butterscotch. But of course they discontinued it. And they don’t do cherry anymore either. But I’d heard that all you need to make Magic Shell is baking chips and coconut oil. And you know what? They’re right! It’s so easy! If you want to dip, just get a glass and make sure your scoops are secured well before dipping. Hurray for the return of my butterscotch dipped cones!

And luckily this one is naturally gluten free. But if you want to save it for future use, make sure everyone else only uses gluten free ice creams and cones in the dip.

Magic Shell & Dip

  • Servings: 6?
  • Difficulty: easy
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Fun and easy for summer

Ingredients

  • 1 c. Baking Chips (any flavor, like butterscotch, peanut butter, chocolate, mint chocolate, etc.)
  • 3 Tbsp. Coconut Oil (measured when solid or liquid)

Directions

Microwave the chips and oil for 30 seconds in a medium glass, then stir until smooth (microwaving 20 seconds more if needed). Allow to cool for a few minutes before topping your ice cream or dipping. For dips, scoop your ice cream and make sure it’s secure before turning upside down and dipping. Allow the excess to drip off, then flip rightside up again. Store excess at room temperature in a sealed container, then microwave and stir well before using again.

 


 

“Disneyland” Cinnamon Rolls

I’ve never had cinnamon rolls at Disneyland, but a friend posted this recipe from magicalrecipes.net and said they were supposed to be like the cinnamon rolls at Disneyland. In any case, they are the best cinnamon rolls I’ve had (albeit time-consuming), and I’ve made them several times (modifying slightly each time). I think the pudding is what makes it so amazingly moist. And you can make them GIGANTIC or slightly larger than normal. It makes two big pans, so I generally freeze leftovers and then reheat them in the microwave–delicious!

Well, before I was diagnosed with celiac, that is. If you’re looking for a gluten free version, I’d probably try a different recipe. I haven’t tried a gluten free cinnamon roll recipe yet, but it will definitely not be as fluffy as these. Sigh. At least they’ll have cream cheese frosting, one of the best things on earth.

Disneyland Cinnamon Rolls

  • Servings: 24?
  • Difficulty: hard
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Moist, huge, and delicious, but very time-consuming and uses lots of flour

Ingredients

Dough
  • 1/2 c. Warm Water
  • 2 pkgs. Yeast
  • 2 Tbsp. Sugar
  • 1 (3 1/2 oz.) pkg. Instant Vanilla Pudding
  • 2 c. Milk
  • 1/2 c. Butter, melted
  • 2 Eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 8 c. Flour

Filling

  • 1 c. Butter, softened
  • 2 c. Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. Cinnamon
Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1 8-oz. pkg. Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1/2 c. Butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 3 c. Powdered Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. Milk

Directions

For the dough, in a small bowl, combine water, yeast, and sugar and stir until dissolved. Set aside. In large bowl, mix pudding according to package instructions with milk. To this add 1/2 cup melted butter, egg, and salt. Mix well, then add yeast mixture and blend well. Gradually add flour and knead until smooth. Place in a very large greased bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in size.

Punch down and let rise again for a second time.

Roll dough on a very large floured surface. Dough should roll out to a long rectangle, about 34 x 21 inches in size.

For filling, spread the soft butter over the dough. In small bowl, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon, then sprinkle over the buttered dough. Roll dough up tightly like a jelly roll.

Measure dough every 2 inches and cut with a knife or dental floss. Take each roll into the palm of your hand and gently pack the roll (this keeps it from coming apart during baking). Place each roll in a buttered baking pan and allow to rise in a warm place for about 20 minutes.

Bake at 350° until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.

For cream cheese frosting, combine all ingredients in mixing bowl and mix until smooth. Spread on slightly warm rolls.


 

Churros

Man, I love churros. They could basically work as a side dish for Mexican food, dessert, or even a bread I guess. I even bought a huge piping tip to try to make the thicker ones, like the churros at the fair or Sam’s Club cafe. Haha. If you’re using a huge tip, sometimes the middle of the churro is a little wetter (like they could cook a little longer), but they’re still delicious in any case. You can also use a smaller tip and make mini churro bites.

I’ve made these with regular flour and gluten free flour, and they’re great. This is from a Food Network recipe that also includes chocolate dipping sauce in the original recipe. But I find the cinnamon sugar so amazing that it doesn’t need dipping sauce. Also, I love to make big batches and freeze extra for later. Then I just take them out of the freezer, warm them up in the oven at 350 for a few minutes, and roll them in more cinnamon sugar. Just like fresh made.

If you’re making these gluten free, I do like to add a little extra cup for cup flour and cook them a little longer (that seems to be fairly standard when making a gluten free version–adding a little extra and cooking a little longer). These are amazing as gluten free, and I would’ve had no idea. Although, when you’re mixing the choux dough, it looks more like oatmeal than smooth dough–but they cook just fine. And the picture below is of a gluten free churro.

Churros

  • Servings: 6?
  • Difficulty: medium
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Warm and soft in the middle, with a slight crunch on the outside.

Ingredients

  • 1 c. Water

  • 1/2 c. Butter

  • 1/4 tsp. Salt

  • 1 c. Flour (or 1 1/4 c. gluten free flour with xanthan gum)

  • 3 Eggs, beaten

  • Vegetable oil, for frying

  • 1/4 c. Sugar

  • 1/4 tsp. Cinnamon

Directions

In a heavy saucepan, bring the water, butter, and salt to a boil over high heat. Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour. Reduce the heat to low and stir vigorously until the mixture forms a ball, about 1 minute (gluten free will look more like oatmeal). Remove the dough from the heat and, while stirring constantly, gradually beat the eggs into the dough. Make the cinnamon sugar by combining the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl large enough to fit a churro, then set aside for later.

Heat about 2″ of oil to 360. Spoon the dough into a piping bag fitted with a large tip (I find the silicone bags work great and don’t break). Pipe lengths of dough into the oil, about 4″ long. Fry each churro until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side, flipping halfway through. Then drain on a paper towel-lined cookie sheet. When the churros are just cool enough to handle, roll them in the cinnamon sugar.


 

Apple Crisp

I love this recipe, and it comes from Allrecipes. I’m just including it here for my own reference because I use it so often. Also, if we have an apple tree produce lots of apples (even if they’re very small apples), I’ll cut up the apples and make several apple crisps to put in the freezer. If I have lots of tiny apples, I peel and cut them into slices, and weigh them out so I get 2 pounds.

It’s so wonderful to have apple crisps on hand in the freezer, able to throw it in the oven on a cold day for a very satisfying, warm dessert.

If you’re making this one gluten free, it turns out great with gluten free oats and replacing the flour with gluten free flour or cornstarch.

Apple Crisp

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: medium
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Freeze some and warm in the oven for an easy, delicious dessert.

Ingredients

  • 6 Apples, peeled, cored, and sliced (about 2 lbs. apple slices)
  • 2 Tbsp. Sugar
  • ½ tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 c. Brown Sugar
  • ¾ c. Oats (or gluten free oats)
  • ¾ c. Flour (or gluten free flour)
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • ½ c. Cold Butter

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°. Toss apples with sugar and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon to coat. Pour into greased 9×13 pan. For topping, combine rest of ingredients in a bowl and then use a pastry cutter to cut and mix until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Spread the mixture over the apples to the edge of the baking dish. Pat the topping gently until even. (If freezing a pan, cover with foil, label, and place in freezer.) Bake until golden brown, sides are bubbling, and apples are tender to your preference, about 45 minutes


 

Buttercream Frosting

There are lots of buttercream frosting recipes out there. But I loved the frosting on Harmons cakes and celebration cookies. Luckily the Harmons chefs shared the recipe with me (which I’m sure has changed by now anyway), and I’ve used it many times. I’ve even used it as a base for flavored buttercreams as well.

And thank goodness this one is naturally gluten free.

Buttercream Frosting

  • Servings: 12?
  • Difficulty: easy
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Perfect for cakes or sugar cookies.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Butter (aka 1 box)
  • 2 lb. Powdered Sugar (aka 1 large bag)
  • 1 Tbsp. Vanilla
  • 1/4 c. Water

Directions

Beat butter well. Slowly incorporate sugar. Scrape down, then mix in vanilla. Then mix in water. (For strawberry buttercream, replace the water with 1/2 c. fresh or frozen strawberries, pureed and strained.)


 

Glazed Donuts

Haha, I flip-flop on whether I spell it “doughnuts” or “donuts”–but I don’t flip-flop on how amazing hot donuts are. If you’ve ever seen 30 Rock, you may remember when Liz Lemon says that a microwaved donut is the best dessert in the world.

I swear that Liz Lemon and I are nearly the same person, and that's scary.  | Expensive chocolate, 30 rock, Vanilla bean ice cream

And we’re not talking cake donuts. We’re talking fluffy like a cloud, soft, melt-in-your-mouth, hot doughnuts. These are of course best eaten when warm, but you can always microwave them if they cool down. Because these take so long to make, I generally make them only once every year or two, sometimes for Valentine’s Day or Halloween with festive sprinkles. But they’re amazing.

If you’re making this one gluten free, I haven’t tried it–but I imagine it won’t translate well with just swapping the flour for the cup for cup gluten free flour. Because this one is so light and airy like a bread, I imagine gluten is integral to its structure. But if I ever try it, I’ll let you know how it goes.

Glazed Donuts

  • Servings: 12?
  • Difficulty: hard
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Takes lots of work and flour, but SO delicious.

Ingredients

Donuts

  • 2 pkgs. Yeast (4 1/2 tsp. total)
  • 1/4 c. Water
  • 1 1/2 c. Lukewarm Milk
  • 1/2 c. Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 c. Shortening
  • 5 c. Flour
  • Canola Oil for frying

Glaze

  • 2/3 c. Butter
  • 4 c. Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. Vanilla
  • 1/2 c.+ Hot Water

Chocolate Frosting (if desired)

  • Same as regular glaze, plus 8 oz. milk or semisweet chocolate chips, melted

Directions

Dissolve yeast in warm water in bowl of stand mixer. Add milk, sugar, salt, eggs, shortening, and 2 c. flour. Beat on low for 30 seconds, scraping constantly. Beat on medium for 2 minutes, scraping occasionally. Stir in remaining flour until smooth. Cover and let rise until double, about an hour (dough is ready when indentation remains when touched). Turn dough onto floured surface, and roll around lightly to coat with flour. Gently roll dough 1/2″ thick with flour rolling pin. (Don’t roll too thick or doughnuts will get very thick and kind of dry like grocery store donuts). Cut with flour donut cutter. Cover and let rise until double, about 30-40 minutes. Heat oil in deep fryer to 350°. Slide donuts into hot oil with wide spatula. Turn donuts with chopstick as they rise to the surface. Fry until golden brown, then remove and drain.

For glaze, melt butter, then stir in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Stir in water 1 Tbsp. at a time until it’s the desired consistency. (For chocolate frosting, melt butter and chocolate together, then add powdered sugar and vanilla.)