Copycat Desserts from Home

You had to know I was going to do this column if you have followed this column at all.  I am all about the desserts so when making a series of columns with one theme, some will always be dessert!  I also decided to broaden my parameters.  Why use JUST restaurant when there are so many sweets out there!

We all have our favorite desserts.  Whether it be a candy bar, ice cream or a good snack cake, there are some out there that are good.  Well, I don’t like snack cakes, but I can make my own version!  I let the boys have some fun and pick out a couple recipes this week too!  Have you ever had an Otis Spunkmeyer cookie or even their muffins? They are really good!  Adrian loves the shamrock shake from McDonald’s and Jordan insisted on the Twinkie.  Have you ever tried the Coca Cola cake from Cracker Barrel?  Oh my, it is so delicious!  

Make your grocery list and skip the candy and cake aisles!  Join me in the kitchen for some easy desserts that are sure to have you baking at home to enjoy the tastes you love!  

Strawberry Shortcake Cookies

½ cup shortening

½ cup unsalted sweet cream butter, room temp.

¾ cup sugar

¾ cup brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp 100% pure vanilla

2 ¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 ½ cups white chocolate chips

1 cup dried strawberry flavored craisins

½ cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350°F.  In stand mixer, beat shortening, butter and sugars until light and fluffy, approx. 10 minutes. Beat in eggs and vanilla.  In medium bowl combine flour and baking soda and whisk.  Slowly add flour mixture to creamed mixture.  Next, stir in vanilla chips, dried strawberry craisins and dried cranberries.  Shape cookie dough into approximately 1 inch balls. A cookie scoop is great for uniform cookies.  Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes or until edges are slightly brown. Remove cookies from oven and let set on baking sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to cooling rack. Store in sealed container or freeze in Ziplock bags for later use.

Recipe adapted from


Homemade Twinkies

½ cup sifted cake flour

½ tsp baking powder

tsp salt

3 eggs, separated

¼ tsp cream of tartar

½ tsp pure vanilla extract

3 Tbsps. granulated sugar

4 Tbsps. unsalted sweet cream butter, softened

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2-3 tsps. milk 

For this recipe, if you want to be authentic, there is a pan you can purchase that will make the cakes shaped like Twinkies.  If you don’t want to purchase the pan, feel free to make cupcakes instead. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray or grease pan. In medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt.  In small bowl, whip egg whites with electric mixer until foamy.  Add cream of tartar and whip until stiff but not dry.  In large bowl, whip egg yolks 1 minute.  Add vanilla and gradually add sugar, whipping until mixture is pale yellow and doubled in volume.  With rubber spatula, fold of egg whites into yolks to loosen.  Fold in remaining whites until nearly combined.  Add flour and fold in well. Fill cavities ¾ full with batter.  Bake 6-8 minutes or until top is lightly browned and center springs back when touched. Cool in pan for about 5 minutes.  Gently lift from pan and cool completely.  Slice excess from bottom. To prepare filling, beat butter and sugar in large bowl until well combined, scraping down bottom and sides of bowl.  Add vanilla and milk and beat until light and fluffy.  Using a piping bag and tip with a small hole, pipe filling into the bottom of cakes in 3 spots equally spaced.

Recipe adapted from


Shamrock Shake

3 cups vanilla ice cream

1 cup whole milk

¼ tsp mint extract (not peppermint)

9 drops food coloring

whipped cream

green sanding sugar

maraschino cherries

Mix the ice cream, milk, extract and food coloring on high in your blender.  Top with whipped cream, sanding sugar and a cherry.

Recipe adapted from


Homemade Candy Dots

Mom used to love these!

3 Tbsps. meringue powder

4 cups powdered sugar

6 + Tbsps. water

½ tsp cherry extract (or any flavor you enjoy)

Gel food coloring

In large mixing bowl, beat together meringue powder, powdered sugar, water and extract until stiff peaks form and icing loses its sheen (about 10 minutes). Divide into separate containers, depending on how many colors you plan to use. Mix in food coloring with rubber spatulas. Add more water, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, to thin each color out so that when it drops off the spatula it quickly dissolves back into the remaining icing within 10 seconds. (But, thick enough to pipe and hold it's shape.) Add powdered sugar if need to thicken. Keep covered until ready to use.  Prepare piping bags with small round tips. Place each color of icing into one bag each. Now if you want authentic, just pipe onto printer paper.  Do you remember eating little bits of paper with some cause I sure do.  Sometimes paper came off with the candy.  Otherwise, pipe onto parchment paper for easy removal.  Pipe dots in rows as desired. Since you are making them, they don’t even have to be dots.  You can make shaped dots!  Let stand for 2 minutes, then carefully remove strip of paper and set aside on wire racks to dry completely. Repeat as needed until all frosting is used. Allow dots to dry overnight in the open air.  Then enjoy!

Recipe from


Double Fudge Coca-Cola Cake Recipe

½ cup unsalted sweet cream butter

½ cup vegetable oil

1 cup Coca-Cola

2 cup sugar

2 cup flour

2 eggs

¾ cup cacao powder

1 tsp baking soda

½ cup buttermilk

2 tsps. pure vanilla extract 


3 cups powdered sugar

½ cup unsalted sweet cream butter, softened

¼ cup Coca-Cola

½ cup cacao powder

¼ cup chocolate syrup

2 tsps. pure vanilla extract

Grease and flour a 13x9 cake pan.  Preheat oven to 350°F.  In saucepan, bring ½ cup butter, 1 cup Coke, and oil to a boil.  Combine flour and sugar. Add to saucepan and beat.  Remove from heat.  Add remain cake ingredients. Mix well and pour into prepared pan.  Bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cream butter and ½ cup cacao in a large bowl.  Add in ¼ cup Coke, chocolate syrup, and 1 tsp vanilla.  Beat in powdered sugar ½ cup at a time, scraping down the sides frequently.  If frosting is too dry, add a little Coke to thin.  Frost the cake while it is warm but not hot.  Serve with vanilla ice cream and choice of toppings liked whipped cream, sprinkles etc.  Store in fridge.

Recipe adapted from


Arby’s Apple Turnover

1 pkg puff pastry sheets

4 large cooking apples

½ cup sugar

1 Tbsp cornstarch

1 tsp lemon juice

½ tsp ground cinnamon

Sugar Drizzle

½ cup confectioners' sugar

1 Tbsp water

Peel, core and slice apples. In medium saucepan over low heat, cook apples with sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and cinnamon, stirring frequently, until apples are tender. Refrigerate until cool.  Thaw pastry sheets at room temperature 20 minutes.  Preheat oven to 400°F.  Unfold pastry on lightly floured surface. Roll each sheet into a 12-inch square and cut into four 6-inch squares. Place 1/4 cup apple mixture in center of each square. Brush edges with water. Fold to form triangles, seal edges firmly with a fork.  Place on 2 baking sheets. Bake 25 minutes or until golden. Cool on wire rack.  For Sugar Drizzle: In small bowl, mix together confectioners' sugar and water. With spoon, drizzle on turnover, allow to set before serving.  The best part about this is YOU control the drizzle.  If you like more, go for it.  Prefer it without? Go ahead and leave it off!


Recipe adapted from