Sunday, October 30, 2011

{31 Days} Cooking from Scratch: Desserts

Raise your hands if you like dessert!  If you are anything like me, your hand went flying into the air – even though you’re sitting at your computer.  Don’t worry – you are in good company. 

From my experience, most people bake cookies from scratch: the classic chocolate chip cookie, or gingerbread cookie, perhaps.  But have you tried your hand at ice cream? Brownies? Hot fudge? Cheesecake? Fudge?  

Doesn’t making desserts from scratch take time?

Boxed brownie mixes or slice and bake cookies may be tempting – but truly, with a few simple tips, you’ll be making homemade dessert in no time.  And, your family will thank you!

Tips for making homemade desserts

(1) When you make a batch of cookies, only bake what you’ll eat fresh right away. 

Freeze the remaining cookies by placing balls of dough on a cookie sheet, placing the cookie sheet in the freezer for 30 minutes and then transferring the cookie balls to a freezer-safe storage container.  Then, whenever you want homemade cookies, just grab a few out of the bag, pop on a lightly greased cookie sheet & bake in a pre-heated oven according to the cookie recipe directions.  You may need to leave the cookies in the oven just a few minutes longer than the recipe calls for because you are baking them frozen. 

(2)   Prepare fruits – like apples – in bulk & freeze them! 

Apple slices are one thing we have in the our freezer all.the.time.  Slice up the apples, lay them out on a cookie sheet, flash freeze ‘em.  Then, they are always ready for apple crisp, naturally sweetened apple pie, or other yummy goodness – like this crockpot apple cake

(3) If you have an ice cream maker, store the bowl in the freezer! 

If you don’t have an ice cream maker – check garage sales, or add it to your “wish list”!  This is one of our most-used, most-loved kitchen appliances.  While there are ways to make ice cream without an ice cream maker (see our recipe for homemade FroYo), having a machine is so slick!  You can even make yummy desserts like homemade ice cream cake that way. 

(4) Making your own desserts allows you to control the fat, sugar content & whole grain component

You can make lots of “tweaks” to dessert recipes that make them significantly better for your than the store-bought variety.  For example:

  • Substitute applesauce for oil/butter
  • Reduce the butter or oil in a recipe – you can usually omit about 1/8 C without too much of a change in the recipe.
  • Reduce the sugar.  I’ve cut out 50% of the sugar in some recipes!
  • Use white whole wheat flour to increase the whole grains in dessert

(5) Keep your pantry stocked – essentials include cocoa powder, butter, sugars/sweeteners, flours, chocolate chips, whipping cream, half & half, buttermilk (or milk + vinegar), eggs and vanilla. 

By keeping these staples on hand, you’ll have all the basic ingredients to make just about any dessert you wish. 


Our Favorite DIY Desserts 

In case you need one more dessert idea – here’s the link to all our desserts!

What are your favorite DIY desserts?  Do you make all your desserts from scratch? 


  1. My mouth waters every time I look at your blog. I have made many of your desserts and I can't get enough!

  2. Once when I was a young teenager visiting my grandmother, she asked me to make a cake and handed me a cake mix. I remember holding it in my hand and asking her "What do you want me to do with this?" I had never used one before and couldn't understand why you would make cake from a box if you had eggs, flour, butter and cocoa in the house!:) It is the only time in my life I have ever made cake from a mix... As for favourites, carrot cake is a birthday staple around here, as is apple crisp, homemade ice cream (I found my ice cream maker brand new at a local flea market!) and an old family cookie recipe we call "100 year old cookies" because the recipe is over 100 years old. Desserts were the first thing I learned how to cook and still one of my favourite things to whip up in the kitchen.

  3. I don't remember the last time I bought a cake mix, brownie mix or muffin mix. I love spending the time with my kids when we bake together. I also love my time baking alone. It is so therapeutic.

  4. I have actually been putting my baked cookies in the freezer (instead of setting them out on the counter). I pull a couple out when I want to eat them and either let them thaw all the way or only slightly...I like the texture. My mom used to do that to keep them fresh so I think it reminds me of my childhood...cold cookies! :-)


Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear from you; especially how you're finding JOY in your kitchen.

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