Category Archives: Dessert

Microwave Minute Hot Cocoa (With Dairy-Free Version!)

Microwave Minute Hot Cocoa

As part of our Five in a Row homeschool studies this year, we spent a week learning about France as we ‘rowed’ the book Madeline, by Ludwig Bemelmans.* (I feel so grown up, talking about ‘homeschool studies‘ like we do more than just color and read books.) We read about how French children often enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and a baguette or a croissant for breakfast.
Best plan ever, right?

For our afternoon  snack (slacker mom is no morning person), we drank a cup of rich hot chocolate. However, I bought the wrong chocolate and wasn’t able to use it with Abigail’s milk allergies. Instead, I made her a quick cup of her own hot cocoa. In fact, hers was finished and cool by the time our hot chocolate reached a simmer on the stove.

Yeah. It’s quick.
I think I’ll be using this recipe again.
and again.
and again.
and again.
(No diet comments, mmKay?)

This recipe is perfect for those times when you are out of handy little hot cocoa packets or just need a dairy free option without spending an arm or a leg!

 Recipe from Hershey’s Recipe Collection Cookbook*

Microwave Minute Hot Cocoa (With Dairy-Free Version!)

Microwave Minute Hot Cocoa (With Dairy-Free Version!)

A simple hot cocoa recipe for the microwave!

Notes: If making dairy free version, just replace milk with the non-dairy milk of your choice, such as soy, rice, or almond. We used vanilla soymilk.

If making for young children, only fill the mug half full of milk. After microwaving, top off mug with remaining cold milk to cool down the cocoa.


  • 1 heaping teaspoon Hershey's Cocoa
  • 2 heaping teaspoons white sugar
  • dash of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of milk
  • Milk to fill mug


  1. In a microwave-safe up or mug, combine cocoa, sugar, and salt.
  2. Add 2 teaspoons of cold milk, stir until smooth.
  3. Fill cup with milk.
  4. Microwave for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes until hot.
  5. Stir to blend.

*denotes Amazon affiliate links

Repost: 4th of July Dessert – Strawberry Trifle

4th of July Dessert - Strawberry Trifle
This is a flashback post, originally posted here.

My sister wanted to be cutesy. So she made an angel food cake.
The angel food cake was a bit overdone.
Then she confessed she didn’t even like angel food cake. She wanted strawberry cake.
While this logic may seem lacking to you, it follows perfectly well in my family.

Edit: My sister did want to be cutesy but not by making an angel food cake. She wanted to make a Flag Cake. However, when she asked my mom to pick up a strawberry flavored cake, there was a misunderstanding and an angel food cake mix and strawberries were purchased. She does not now, nor ever like angel food cake nor does she intend to make angel food cake. Crazy enough as that is, the logic was sound. 
I asked if there was whipped cream. There was.
I asked if there was vanilla pudding.
After a moment of rummaging, we found a lone box of sugar free vanilla pudding. Good enough.
I had bought a four pound package of strawberries at Costco that day.
I announced we could fix all dilemmas by making a trifle. 

Wikipedia defines a trifle as “dessert dish made from thick (or often solidified) custardfruitsponge cake, fruit juice or gelatin, and whipped cream. These ingredients are usually arranged in layers with fruit and sponge on the bottom, and custard and cream on top.”
{Or in other words, one of those fancy layered dishes in a clear glass bowl.}

The beauty of this dessert is that it looks pretty but it is so simple.
I’ve made it before and it was very well received. In just a few moments, we had our layered dessert–the most complicated step being “slice the strawberries.”

This is a really fun dessert for the 4th of July–especially if you throw a few blueberries into the mix! Very “cutesy!”

Strawberry Punch Bowl Cake

Strawberry Trifle

Strawberry Trifle


  • 1 angel food cake (homemade, from a box, or store-bought)
  • 1 small package vanilla pudding
  • 2 c. milk
  • 8 oz. carton whipped topping (Cool Whip)
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, washed and hulled.
  • 1 c. blueberries, washed (optional)


  1. Slice strawberries and set aside. Save a few for garnishing the top.
  2. Tear angel food cake into bite-sized pieces.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together vanilla pudding and milk, then mix in whipped topping until creamy.
  4. Layer 1/3 of angel food cake on bottom of trifle bowl.
  5. Top with 1/3 of pudding mixture.
  6. Add about 1/2 your strawberries. I try to make some of the strawberries visible from the outside of the bowl. If using, add about 1/2 c. blueberries.
  7. Layer angel food cake, pudding, strawberries and blueberries (reserve some blueberries for the top).
  8. Add another angel food cake layer, pudding layer.
  9. Garnish with the reserved strawberries and blueberries.

{Allergy Friendly} ‘Butter’Cream Frosting

Allergy Friendly 'Butter'Cream Frosting

Last week I posted about a delicious vegan chocolate cake that is simple and delicious. However, there is no sense in talking about cupcakes if you aren’t going to mention the frosting. As my dad always says, the cake is just the vehicle to transport the frosting. In other words: it’s all about the frosting!

This is a very easy variation on the American buttercream that I’ve posted about before. The difference being that we’re going to adjust the ingredients to be allergy friendly/vegan, and ta da! We’ll have a great, inexpensive frosting that even the most allergic child can eat.

My frosting is all about the perfect ratio, which is 2:1 powdered sugar to butter. In this recipe, which I’ve halved from the original, you need 1 lb. powdered sugar and 1/2 lb. (2 sticks) of butter. Of course, we can’t use real butter, so use your favorite substite. My favorite is a little hard to find but when I do find it, I stock up on it. It’s called Best Life Buttery Baking Sticks, and I’ve only found it at Walmart. They also sell it as a spread, but don’t use that for baking.

There are other options as well; Nucoa has a mild margarine-y taste (and trans-fat), and I hate the taste of Earth Balance (plus it has flax and my husband is allergic to flax of all things), but if you’re used to the taste, it’s fine to use. I don’t think it looks right, it has this weird transclucent quality… anyway. I’m sure that’s just me. :D {If you don’t have food allergies, just know that finding a margarine without any milk products is hard to do, so when you find one that tastes decent and is safe for your child(ren), it’s blog worthy!} 

Hmm, I got off topic on a margarine rant. Where was I?

Oh yes. The recipe! One of the tricks to any successful butter-based frosting is beating your butter/margarine and powdered sugar together very well. Keep that in mind as you begin. Here’s the recipe!

Allergy Friendly ‘Butter’Cream Frosting

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: Frosts 1 dozen cupcakes liberally

Allergy Friendly ‘Butter’Cream Frosting

A smooth and creamy frosting that NO ONE will guess is dairy-free!


  • 1 lb. powdered sugar
  • 1/2 lb. (2 sticks) margarine substitute like Best Life Buttery Baking Sticks
  • 1/4 c. cocoa powder
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/8-1/4 c. vanilla or *plain soy milk
  • *if using plain soy milk, add 1 t. vanilla
  • Optional: 1/2 c. dairy free semi-sweet chocolate chips (like Guittard), melted and cooled


  1. Add half the powdered sugar and the margarine into a mixer.
  2. Mix on low until the powdered sugar is incorporated, then mix on medium for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the remaining powdered sugar, salt, and cocoa powder; mix on low until incorporated, then medium for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add 1/8 c. of soy milk, mix on low 30 seconds then medium for 1-2 minutes.
  5. If necessary add remaining 1/8 c. soy milk.
  6. Mix on low for 30 seconds then medium for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Pour in cool but still melted chocolate chips. Mix for another 2 minutes until creamy and smooth.
  8. Note: to make this a vanilla frosting, omit cocoa powder and chocolate chips. If desired, substitute white chocolate chips.

{Vegan} Chocolate Cupcakes

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

WAIT! By vegan, I just mean “dairy and egg free.” Don’t run away. Don’t be afraid. This is a NORMAL recipe. It’s got REGULAR ingredients, that can be found in YOUR cupboard. No tofu involved, I swear. Also: easiest chocolate cake recipe ever. And did I mention it’s reallyreally good?

It only figures that I went to all that effort of mastering a delicious chocolate cake recipe, only to have to go back and start learning how to bake for Abigail, with no milk or eggs (and no almonds, thank you). As a young toddler, it wasn’t that hard to trick her into eating something… similiar. I mean, I still give her bagels and call them “donuts” while the rest of us nosh down on the good stuff. But as she gets older, the kid gets wiser.

I love to bake. But it’s got to be easy, no fuss, and I don’t want to do it twice if I can avoid it.
And it has to be delicious.
Otherwise, what’s the point?

I won’t waste time mentioning how many dozens of cupcakes I threw away, trying weird variations of recipes. Finally my sister in law brought this ‘vegan cupcake’ to a family party for my sister and her milk-allergic dad. It’s so simple. By far my easiest cake recipe. Just dump in the dry ingredients, follow with wet.

Unfortunately I didn’t think ahead to measure my ingredients for the strawberry frosting. It’s basically my recipe for Rich Chocolate Frosting, but I omitted the vanilla and cocoa. I used strawberries as my liquid instead of milk and just added strawberries until it looked about right. :D

The recipe comes from the amazingly fantastic

{Vegan} Chocolate Cupcakes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 24 Cupcakes

Serving Size: 24

{Vegan} Chocolate Cupcakes


  • 3 c. white flour
  • 2 c. white sugar
  • 1/2 c. cocoa powder
  • 2 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. salt
  • 2/3 c. vegetable oil
  • 1 T. vanilla extract
  • 2 c. water
  • 2 t. white vinegar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line cupcake pans with 24 liners.
  2. Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add the oil, vanilla, vinegar and water. Mix together until smooth.
  3. Pour into prepared cupcake liners and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Frozen Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Frozen Cookie Dough

For the sake of people in my life who think that eating raw cookie dough is akin to ingesting toxic waste, I will not tell you about my love for cookie dough. I will also not tell you about how weird some people are. :)

But I will tell you that having frozen cookie dough in your freezer is the best.thing.ever. You want a midnight snack with no effort? Pop a couple of cookies in the oven. Because eating them raw is delicious nasty.

Quick family home evening treat? Bake up a whole tray. Unexpected visitors? Throw some in, and look like the star hostess you aren’t. Perhaps they will overlook your messy living room if you serve them cookies fresh from the oven. It’s worth a try, right?

I’m not going to hash over how to make cookies. In fact, I already have. You can check out my favorite cookie recipe, as well as the dairy and egg free version. I will tell you that the dairy and egg free version doesn’t work quite as well in the freezer (Egg Replacer works best immediately), but it’ll do okay in a pinch.

Today we’re going to talk more about the technique to perfect frozen cookie dough. Not only am I a bit of a cookie dough fanatic (not to eat… just to look at… and smell… or something) but I did a short stint as a baker for Lion House Bakery. They bake cookies, but they also freeze a lot of cookie dough to send out at their cafes in Deseret Book. Hence that fresh-baked-cookie-smell once you walk in the door that encourages you to buy more books!

The trick, as with almost all frozen foods, is flash freezing. You don’t need any fancy equipment for this, just a freezer, a cookie sheet, and a *cookie scoop if you have one. (If you don’t, it’s no big deal, trust me.)

Mix up your cookie dough. I like to do a double batch because that means some to bake and eat, and some to save for later! Then you’re going to scoop up your cookie dough and put it on your cookie sheet. I like to have parchment paper on my cookie sheet, but I was out, and it works either way.

Don’t spread your cookies out like you’re going to bake them, put them right up close to each other. I scoop my dough out in 4×3 rows, to get a dozen in each little section. If you just scoop your cookie dough into a Ziploc bag, the dough will freeze into one big lumpy ball. Trust me, that will not bake well.

Then put your cookie dough, as is, in the freezer. You can throw some plastic wrap over it if you want, but I usually don’t bother. Keep it in there for a few hours or overnight. Try not to forget it like I have done on occasion. :)

The next day, pull out your cookie sheet.
(If it’s been in a deep freezer, I recommend using hot pads to grab the pans, those metal pans get cold!)
Pull the cookie dough off the cookie sheet and throw them in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag. Then place them back into the freezer, and they’ll be ready when you need them.

When you are ready to bake, just pull them out of the bag and place them on a cookie sheet 2 inches a part. Oh, preheat your oven first. :) 350 degrees. The best part of these cookies is that they bake up fine even frozen. Keep an eye on them and bake them for about 15-20 minutes. Pull them out when they are just starting to get brown on the bottoms. The tops can even look a little jiggly still, but the sides should be set. Let them sit on the pan for about 5 minutes, then move them to a cooling rack until cool.

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