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Cold Desserts


Guy’s birthday was dampened this year not only by the global pandemic but by a historic week-long winter storm that many Texans weathered without heat, electricity, water, and groceries. We were lucky to have power and food, but had to boil all of our water and deal with a back injury. Once on our feet again a week later, we celebrated his birthday with an old friend and barbecue on the patio, alongside this tiramisu. It was so good even our dog Oscar stole a bite or two.

Yield: 6 servings Total time: 5 hours

Brownie Cookies

I love brownies but always feel like I over- or under-bake them. These cookies always come out perfect.

Total time: 1 hour

Gingersnap Pumpkin Pie

This is an intensely flavored pie, from the gingersnap crust to the well-spiced, concentrated pumpkin filling. It’s so much more than the recipe found on the canned pumpkin.

Yield: 8 servings Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cold Desserts

Blueberry Yogurt Popsicles

Full-fat, wholesome popsicles are a delicious treat, especially if you’re trying to help a kid put on a little weight.

Yield: 6 popsicles Total time: 5 hours

Buttermilk Back-to-School Cake

School is virtual this year, so instead of anticipating packing new school supplies, finding a new classroom, and meeting new friends, we’re navigating online class passwords, connectivity challenges, and learning how to avoid accidentally un-muting at the wrong time.

Back-to-school cake is needed now more than ever. It’s been chocolate in prior years, but this moist, delicious buttermilk cake is more to Leo’s taste.

For a chocolate cake, substitute cocoa powder for 1/2 cup of the flour.

Yield: 9 generous servings Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Super Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you have any nostalgia for soft grocery store cookies (think Chewy Chips Ahoy) from childhood but tend not to have cookies on your grocery list anymore, these cookies are for you. They’re simple to make and evoke those packaged cookies from childhood.

Yield: 3 dozen cookies Total time: 1 hour

Strawberry Cake Mix Brownies

My son doesn’t love chocolate (I’m sorry, what?). Given the choice, he will pick gummies over chocolate every time (I don’t understand). He told me this month that he doesn’t like chocolate cake (I. can’t. even.). His favorite cake, and his birthday request every year, is strawberry cake. I knew when he saw this easy recipe for “brownies” that he’d love it.

Yield: 16 brownies Total time: 2 hours

Rock Candy

When life hands you lemons in the form of a global pandemic and sudden unexpected virtual schooling from home, trying to make lemonade can be a nice distraction. Our opportunity came when I overheard Leo’s science class on crystals and decided it’d be fun to make rock candy. The process is easy, as long as you fully dissolve the sugar, and has a tasty reward.

Yield: 4 sticks of candy Total time: several days

Sugar Cookie Bars

Our Sunday friends have fallen in love with Lofthouse cookies, a very soft sugar cookie frosted with colorful icing found in the baking section of most grocery stores. I’m looking for a great recipe for homemade Lofthouse cookies, but this version caught my eye because they’re made in bar form. If you need a sweet treat for a kid’s school party or to feed a crowd, these are great. Customize the color of the icing and the type of sprinkles for any theme.

Yield: 12 to 15 bars Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Chocolate Back-to-School Cake

Our son started Kindergarten this year, and I was excited to adopt a tradition of Joanna Goddard’s – celebrating the beginning of the school year with a cake.

This single-layer 8-inch square cake serves a small family a treat the night before school starts with enough leftover for the next night as well. It’s an easy recipe to make on a weeknight and is absolutely delicious. Rainbow sprinkles add a sweet touch of celebration.

For a non-chocolate option, try Buttermilk Back-to-School Cake.

Yield: 8 servings Total time: 1 hour 20 minutes