Christmas Kid Friendly Desserts


Just wanted to share this fun segment I did on Fox 29 here in Philadelphia. This is perfect for entertaining guests and the little ones. Below you will find recipes for all the desserts.

Santa Hat 

16 mini brownie bites

16 small strawberries (tops cut off)

Homemade frosting or store bought

Next, place the frosting in a zip lock bag and snip off the corner. Then place a swirl of frosting on top of the brownie.

Finally, put the strawberry on top and added a little dot of frosting on top to complete the Santa hat.

Refrigerate until ready to serve. Best served the same day.

Peppermint candy platter 


To make a 9-inch platter, unwrap about 65 to 70 peppermint candies. (If you want tomake a larger platter, unwrap more candies and use a bigger pan.)


Line the base of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Arrange the candies in the pan, placing them in a circle around the edge about ¼ inch apart from one another. Continue until you’ve filled the pan, trying to keep an even amount of space between the candies. 


Transfer the pan to a preheated 350°F oven, and bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until the candies are melted and flat. Cool the pan and the peppermint platter completely before unmolding.


Unmold the platter, then top it with cookies and candy. Pat yourself on the back.

Pretzel rod wreath 

2 packages (10 to 12 ounces each) white baking chips

1 package (10 ounces) pretzel rods, halved

1-1/2 cups green and red sprinkles

In a microwave, melt white baking chips; stir until smooth. Dip pretzels in chocolate, allowing excess to drip off. Add sprinkles; place on waxed paper until set. Arrange pretzels in a circle on a decorative serving plate.
Melted snowmen 
Line a cookie tray with either a silicon baking mat or wax paper
Melt chocolate according to the directions on the package
Cut the bottom portion of the peanut butter cups off and put them back together, but slightly off alignment (this gives it the “hat” look)



Apple Tart Tatin

Apples are one of Autumn’s staple fruits.  It’s used in so many recipes throughout the holidays.  This recipe will satisfy that sweet tooth.  Instead of making an apple pie, try making an apple tart tatin.  As soon as it comes out of the oven, slice it up, and scoop some vanilla ice cream to serve.  This will make everyone happy. 
1 pepperidge farm puff pastry sheet
4 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and quartered 
1 stick unsalted butter 
1/2 lemon juice 
1/4 cup Apple cider or orange juice 
1 cup sugar 
Vanilla ice cream, for serving 
Preheat oven to 400 F degrees.
Place the apple cider, sugar,  & lemon juice in a 9″ inch cast iron skillet.  Stir to combine.  On high heat bring the mixture to a boil brush down the sides of the pan occasionally with a pastry brush dipped in water.  After 5 to 6 minutes the mixture will begin to turn light brown.  Whisk the mixture a bit.  Cook for another minute or so until you reach deeper amber color.  Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, 2 pieces at a time.  The mixture will bubble up.  That’s normal just be VERY CAREFUL.  Making caramel can be dangerous.  When all of the butter has been melted, start to arrange the apples rounded side down in circles.  Make this look pretty because the bottom will become the top. 
Take the puff pastry & place it on top of the apples.  Trim the edges and tuck it in.  Place in oven for about 20 minutes or until the dough is golden brown and crispy.  Let the tart cool for 10 minutes.  Place a serving platter upside down on top of the skillet and CAREFULLY flip and the pan over.  Let the tart fall gently out of the pan.  Slice and serve with some vanilla ice cream. 

Avocado Bread


Avocados have become the new craze on the Internet.  I had appearances on the Dr.Oz show and Fox 29 here in Philadelphia and they wanted me to prepare different avocado recipes for each.  Being that my dad is a baker I wanted to try what I’d been taught since a child and resorted to baking an avocado bread.   I know it sounds weird but why let all the other fruits and veggies have fun being bread?  Avocados are so versatile and I promise this recipe will not disappoint.

Avocado bread
 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup mashed avocado*
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
 Preheat the oven to 325°F and line a small loaf pan with parchment paper.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
In another bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg and vanilla throughly and then the mashed avocado and lemon juice.
Gently fold in the flour mix, being careful not to over mix.
Spoon the batter (it is very thick) into the prepared pan and bake for 35-45 minutes or until an inserted wooden skewer is clean with a few crumbs clinging. Cool completely, slice and enjoy.

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A Platter of Thoughts · Food!!

S’Mores Cupcakes

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I love making cupcakes. There are so many types that can be created.  The sky is not the limit. I know my kids love smores, so I ran that idea through them about a smores cupcake. I know there are different types of smores cupcakes out there but I wanted mine to stand out. The bottom part of the cupcake is a graham crackers crust, then comes the chocolate cupcake, fillied with chocolate fudge and topped with marshmallow fluff. It came out perfectly and tasted even better. I made the chocolate cake from scratch but I used store bought fudge. Feel free to also use store bought cake if you don’t have time on your hands. 

I’m excited to partner up with OXO on this post to help raise money for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.  OXO will be donating $100 to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer for each blog post dedicated to this campaign in October (up to $100,000 commitment*). What a great way to spread the word on such an amazing cause doing what I love to do most. 


1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder

1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda 

3/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup vegetable oil 

1/2 cup milk 

3/4 cup warm water 

2 large eggs, room temp and lightly beaten 

1/3 cup unsalted butter, room temp 

3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract 

1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers 

1 cup fudge, more if desired for filling

2 cups marshmallow fluff 

Hershey bars, garnish topping 


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Grease 12 cupcake tins or line with cupcake liners. Pour about 1 or 1 1/2 teaspoons per tin with crushed graham crackers. Set aside.

Sift all of the dry ingredients into a large bowl.  Stir in warm water, milk, butter, eggs, oil and vanilla. Stir until smooth consistency. Fill each tin about halfway. 

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until toothpick comes out clean and dry. Let cool for about 10-15 minutes. Using my oxo Baker’s Silicone Decorating Bottle Kit I filled it with fudge. Inserting fudge into the middle of each cupcake. 

Next using my oxo cupcake Icing knife I spread the fluff on top. Using my little torch gun I roasted the marshmallow fluff until golden brown. Topped with a Hershey’s piece of chocolate.  Enjoy! 

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 Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is a recognized 501c(3) public charity duly incorporated under the laws of the state of New Jersey. Your donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law. 100% of proceeds raised by Cookies for Kids’ Cancer fund pediatric cancer research.

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Oxo products used were: 

Non-Stick Pro 12 Cup Muffin Pan:

–        Cupcake Icing Knife:

–        4 Piece Baker’s Silicone Decorating Bottle Kit:

Note: I have not been compensated by OXO for this post.


Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan glaze

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Holidays are in full effect. I have been testing lots of recipes. This was a huge hit on my thanksgiving table this year. I love a good New York cheesecake but wanted to try creating a pumpkin cheesecake with a pecan glaze. If you’re planning on bringing anything special to a holiday party or even if you just want to have something sweet at home, this is the perfect dessert. Enjoy!


3 (8oz) packages cream cheese
1 (15oz) can pumpkin purée
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 (14oz) can of sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
Pinch nutmeg
Pinch salt

Pecan glaze:

1 cup heavy cream
2/3 cups pecans, chopped and some whole
1/3 cup maple syrup

Crust preparation:

2 cups Keebler graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoons sugar

Crust preparation:

In a medium bowl toss together crumbs, butter and sugar. Pour the mixture in a 9 inch springform pan. Press down and to the sides of the pan. Chill for 20 minutes in the refrigerator.

Pumpkin cheesecake preparation:

In a large bowl with an electric mixer  beat the cream cheese on medium to high speed until smooth and fluffy. Next slowly add the eggs one at a time. Add in the pumpkin puree, sweetened condensed milk and maple syrup. Now add the pumpkin spice, nutmeg and salt. Beat the mixture for about 3-4 minutes until well incorporated. Pour the pumpkin mixture into crust.

Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, until nearly set, but jiggles a bit in the center. Cool for 1 hour. Chill  for 6 hours or overnight.

Pecan Glaze:

In a small saucepan on medium to low heat take heavy cream and maple syrup and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally so it doesn’t overflow. Cook for about 15-20 minutes until sauce becomes thickened. Add pecans and stir. Place to the side to cool. Once set pour on top of cheesecake.


Upside down Caramel Apple Walnut Cake

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Well it’s about that time for apples to shine again, now that fall is here.  I love to cook and bake with apples. One of the treats I enjoy around this time of year are caramel apples. I wanted to turn this into an upside down cake and instead of peanuts (that you would use on a caramel apple) I used walnuts in my batter.  The finished product turned out amazing. For the sauce I made my homemade caramel sauce. When this came out of the oven it went great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Plus it makes the house smell amazing.


3 cups cake flour
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups light brown sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
1 1/4 cup milk
3 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 apple, sliced
1 cup caramel sauce, homemade or store bought


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9 inch round baking pan. Add caramel and arrange sliced apples to the bottom of the pan.

Sift flour into a large bowl.  In another bowl cream butter with electric mixer. Slowly add sugar to butter until creamy and fluffy. Sift flour again along with baking powder and salt into butter mixture. Next add one egg at a time to mixture. Then slowly add milk and extract. Finally add walnuts and fold them in with a spatula. Do not over beat cake batter or it will become a dry cake.

Slowly add batter to the pan without shifting apples and caramel.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes. Take a large plate and place on top of pan and slowly flip over. Tap on the bottom of pan and remove.

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Pumpkin Whoopie Pie

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The weather here in Philadelphia the last couple of days doesn’t really feel like Fall. Mother nature needs to get with it.  Anyway I am ready for comfort food.  Filling the house with warmth and delicious baking and soups.  I started by making out some pumpkin cookies, but it just looked so boring (haha).  So I went ahead and jazzed it up with a cream cheese filling.  To make it a little more fall like I added a couple drops of food coloring and even some sprinkles.  You can make these as small or as big as you want.  This would work great for kids birthdays or even those bake sales at school.  Enjoy!



3 cups all-purpose flour      

1 teaspoon salt      

1 teaspoon baking powder      

1 teaspoon baking soda      

2 cups firmly packed dark-brown sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon      

1 teaspoon ground ginger      

1 teaspoon ground cloves           

1 cup vegetable oil      

1 15oz can of  organic  pumpkin puree     

2 large eggs, room temperature      

Ingredients Cream Cheese Filling:

3 cups confectioners’ sugar      

8 ounces cream cheese, softened   

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened     

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 to 3 drops of food coloring of choice, optional

Sprinkles of choice, optional


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place parchment paper on 2 baking sheets

In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves; place to the side. In another bowl, whisk together brown sugar and oil until well incorporated. Add pumpkin puree and whisk together. Next add eggs and vanilla. Mix 1/2 of  flour mixture over pumpkin mixture and whisk, then take the other half and do the same. Fold and mix everything together until everything is well incorporated.

Take a tablespoon or in the case I used an ice cream scoop. Drop onto baking sheet.  Bake cookies until they crack on top and a toothpick comes out clean when placed in the middle of the cookie. Should take about 15 to 20 minutes.  Let cool on rack before filling with cream cheese.

While the cookies are cooling you can start your filling.

In a medium bowl using an electric mixer mix butter until smooth.  Add cream cheese to butter and beat. Sift confectioner’s sugar and beat again. Add food coloring now if you would like and mix.  Once done you can start to fill cookies.

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Banana and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookie


As I have mentioned before I am a big sweets fan.  I always need something sweet after dinner and sometimes even lunch.  I had some really ripe bananas and I didn’t want to just toss them.  There are so many things you can do with them from ice cream to banana bread.  This time I wanted to make a cookie.  As soon as these cookies came out of the oven my kids were all over them.  I really think these cookies are by far the best cookies I have made.  I made them pretty big, but you can make them any size.  As soon as they come out of the oven you can either enjoy it with a cup of milk, coffee or a scoop of ice cream.  Enjoy!


1/2 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup of  dark brown sugar

1 egg, room temperature

2 large mashed bananas

1 teaspoon of baking soda

2 cups of flour

pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

pinch of ground nutmeg

1 cup of dark chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Blend with mixer ,butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and continue to beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.

In a medium bowl, mash the bananas and baking soda together.  Let sit for about 2 minutes. The baking soda will react with the acid in the bananas which will give the cookies a lift and rise.

Mix the banana mixture with the butter mix. Then sift  the flour, salt, and spices into the butter and banana mix and fold until just combined.

Fold into the batter the chocolate chips. Either use an ice cream scooper for big cookies or a tablespoon for smaller cookies. Place them on a baking sheet.  Bake for 12-15 minutes or until nicely golden brown. Let cool on racks

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No Flour Peanut Butter Cookie


We love cookies in our house; especially the kiddies.  I wanted to try something different and see if a cookie without flour would taste as good as a original.  They came out so delicious: Creamy, moist and crunchy.  These were fun cookies to make with the kids too; super easy and fast. This cookie went great with a cup of coffee or with a nice cold glass of milk.  Enjoy!

This recipe can be found in my new cookbook.  Purchase your copy here: or if you have any questions please feel free to email me.



Brownie cup with Peanut Butter and Pretzels


It’s crazy, but a lot of ideas come to me when I am in bed getting ready to sleep.  When that happens I have to get up and write  my ideas down.  A lot of people love brownies, peanut butter and pretzels so why not incorporate everything together.  I love things that come with a sweetness, but also that little pinch of saltness.  It just works like a dream. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


Brownie Cup:


makes 12 cupcakes

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melt in microwave

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

3/4 cup all-purpose flour


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. grease the tin muffin pans.

Melt butter in the microwave in a large safe bowl. Mix in sugar and stir until smooth. Whisk in the vanilla and eggs. In a separate medium bowl, mix together the salt, baking powder, cocoa powder, and flour. Slowly add to the dry ingredients and whisk.

Fill the muffin tins ( I used an ice cream scooper) fill about half way or so. Bake for about 8-10 minute (you can use a toothpick to check if it comes up dry then your good to go). Allow to cool completely before filling.




 5 Tablespoons of unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup creamy peanut butter ( you can use chunky if you would like)

1 cup powdered sugar


While the brownies are cooling, prepare the topping. Beat the butter and peanut butter with a mixer at medium speed until blended. Reduce the speed to low and gradually beat in the powdered sugar. Increase the speed to high and beat for 3 minutes, until smooth and fluffy.

Using a small knife and cut a little circle around the brownie cup.  I used a sandwich bag and filled it with the filling and cut the tip of the bag so it would be easier for filling the cups.  You can put as much or as little topping as you would like.  Top it with some crumbled pretzels sticks.  Enjoy!

 Brownie Cups:IMG_20130118_111410IMG_20130118_111240IMG_20130118_111131