Easy ideas for award-winning desserts
(Family Features) No matter the season or the reason, no party is complete without dessert. The trick to making the most out of your celebrations is finding ways to trim your kitchen time so you can enjoy the festivities, without sacrificing quality or flavor in your favorite sweet treats.
Many dessert recipes require multiple time-consuming steps, but using canned fruit can help cut down on prep work and provide you and your guests with a refreshing, delicious treat.
Fresh fruits are popular ingredients for desserts, but it can be difficult to know whether you’re choosing a ripe, sweet fruit. For example, pineapples have several potential indicators of ripeness, such as a sweet smell coming from the bottom of the fruit, the rind yielding slightly to pressure or a yellow, golden color rising toward the crown. An alternative such as Dole Canned Pineapple lets you know you’re getting pineapple that is at its sweetest, because the canning process locks in flavor when the fruit is perfectly ripe.
In addition to baked recipes, canned fruit is also well-suited for other desserts, such as fruit salads, baked muffins and breads, or even as a dessert topping. Whether you’re creating a blue ribbon recipe for a local competition – such as one of the most famous award-winning desserts, Pineapple Upside Down Cake – or delivering a delicious dessert to the family table, Dole Canned Fruit is the perfect ingredient.
Find more tips for your next gathering from the expert chefs at Dole Packaged Foods’ test kitchen at dolesunshine.com.
Old-Fashioned Upside Down Cake
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
- 2/3 cup margarine, divided
- 2/3 cup packed brown sugar, divided
- 1 can (20 ounces) Dole Pineapple Slices
- 10 maraschino cherries
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
- 2 eggs, separated
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- In 10-inch cast-iron skillet, melt 1/3 cup margarine. Remove from heat. Add brown sugar and stir until blended.
- Drain pineapple slices; reserve 2 tablespoons syrup. Arrange pineapple slices in sugar mixture. Place cherry in center of each slice.
- Beat remaining 1/3 cup margarine with 1/2 cup granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks, lemon peel, lemon juice and vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Blend into creamed mixture alternately with sour cream and reserved pineapple syrup.
- Beat egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually beat in remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar to make stiff meringue. Fold into batter. Pour over pineapple in skillet.
- Bake 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes then invert onto serving plate. Serve warm or cold.
Chocolate Mandarin Orange Cake
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
- 2 cans (15 ounces) Dole Mandarin Oranges, divided
- 1 box (2 layer) devil’s food cake mix
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 orange, peel grated (optional)
- 1 package (4-serving size) vanilla flavor instant pudding
- 2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate
- Heat oven to 350° F. Spray two (9-inch) cake pans with cooking spray. Drain mandarin oranges, keeping fruit and syrup reserved separately.
- In large bowl, combine cake mix, juice from one can of mandarin oranges, eggs, oil and orange peel; beat 2 minutes.
- Pour cake mix into prepared pans. Layer mandarin oranges from one can over each cake and gently submerge them into cake batter.
- Bake 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pan onto wire rack; cool completely.
- Pour 1/2 cup reserved juice from second can of oranges in bowl with pudding mix; whisk 2 minutes, or until pudding mix is completely dissolved. Remove 12 orange slices from second can and dry with paper towel; set aside. Fold in whipped topping and remaining mandarin oranges. Spread mandarin frosting on top of first layer of cake and out to edges. Place second layer on top of first layer.
- In small saucepan, heat cream until just beginning to steam, but do not boil. Remove from stove and stir in chocolate. Stir until well-blended. Pour chocolate mixture over cake and garnish with reserved mandarin oranges. Refrigerate half hour before serving.
Fabulous Carrot Cake
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
- 1 1/2 cups butter, softened, divided
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 can (20 ounces) Dole Crushed Pineapple, drained
- 4 cups shredded carrots
- 1 cup Dole Seedless Raisins
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Heat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour two (9-inch) round pans.
- In large bowl, beat 1 cup butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs. Fold in crushed pineapple, carrots, raisins and vanilla.
- In medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Gradually add to pineapple mixture and fold until well-blended. Pour into prepared pans.
- Bake 35-40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pans 15 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire racks.
- Beat cream cheese with remaining 1/2 cup butter until smooth. Beat in powdered sugar, lemon peel and lemon juice until smooth. Frost completely cooled cake. Garnish with additional crushed pineapple and grated carrots, if desired.
Note: Cake can be baked in 13-by-9-inch pan. Bake 50-60 minutes at 350° F. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.
(Family Features) Planning ahead for family meals around the holidays can be a headache-inducing practice, but putting to work recipes that everyone can enjoy makes it a much more enjoyable process. By planning out an evening’s worth of courses, you can take care of hungry pre-dinner guests, knock a main dish out of the park and cap off everyone’s night with a spectacular dessert.
These recipes for Culinary Education Center House Fondue, Pan Chicken with Grapefruit Shallots and Mint Sauce, and Chocolate Buttermilk Layer Cake will help keep everybody satisfied throughout the party, from start to finish. Find more holiday recipes at culinary.net.
Fruit and Fowl for Family
Make your meal delightfully tasty with simple-to-create Pan Chicken with Grapefruit Shallots and Mint Sauce. This quick, easy recipe pairs succulent chicken with sweet Texas grapefruit juice, which provides a light flavor enhancement and a fat-free source of beneficial components such as vitamin A, vitamin C and lycopene. Find more recipes that take advantage of grapefruit’s quality and taste at Texasweet.com.
Pan Chicken with Grapefruit Shallots and Mint Sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus additional, to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper, plus additional, to taste
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, halved
- 3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 1/4 cup shallots
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup fresh Texas Rio Star Grapefruit juice
- 1 tablespoon minced mint, divided
- 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
- 4 mint leaves
- Salt and pepper chicken.
- In large skillet, heat half the oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and sear until both sides are browned well, about 3 minutes on each side. Transfer chicken to plate and tent with foil.
- Reduce heat to medium and add remaining oil to pan. Add shallots and crushed red pepper. Cook about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
- In small bowl, whisk together broth, grapefruit juice, half the minced mint and flour. Add to skillet. Cook, whisking until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.
- Return chicken to skillet with juices; reduce heat to low. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes.
- Serve chicken with sauce spooned over. Use remaining minced mint and mint leaves to garnish.
Melted and Amazing
From the presentation to the pairings, it’s easy to make an ordinary spread extraordinary this holiday season. Cheese is a good starting place for properly pairing food and wine to make flavors more vibrant. Take this year’s event to the next level with this Culinary Education Center House Fondue to bring the wow-factor to your gathering by combining three melted cheeses with light wine for an enjoyable appetizer. To find more ways to incorporate cheese into your holiday entertaining, visit rothcheese.com.
Culinary Education Center House Fondue
Cook time: 45 minutes
- 3/4 pound Grand Cru Original, shredded
- 3/4 pound Grand Cru Reserve, shredded
- 1/2 pound Roth Fontina, shredded
- 16 ounces Pinot Grigio or other light- to medium-bodied white wine
- 1 loaf crusty artisan bread
- fresh apples, grapes and pears
- black and white pepper (optional)
- nutmeg (optional)
- In ceramic fondue pot, combine cheeses and wine; stir to combine. Allow mixture to soak 15-30 minutes.
- Heat mixture over low heat, approximately 7-10 minutes, stirring constantly with wooden spoon. Do not allow mixture to boil. When cheese has melted completely, remove from heat and transfer to tabletop burner.
- Serve fondue with chunks of bread and fruit. If desired, provide pepper and/or nutmeg guests can sprinkle onto a plate and use for dipping bread and cheese. Pair with chilled dry Riesling and a shot of authentic Swiss kirschwasser.
A Chocolatey Finishing Touch
There’s no better way to round out a holiday party than with a delicious dessert, especially one packed with everyone’s favorite ingredient – chocolate. This candy-coated Chocolate Buttermilk Layer Cake can put the finishing touch on your holiday celebration. Find more scrumptious dessert recipes at nestle.com.
Chocolate Buttermilk Layer Cake
- 3/4 cup Nestlé Toll House Baking Cocoa, plus extra for coating pans
- 2 1/4 cups cake flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 1/4 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup brewed coffee or water
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups superfine sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2-3 containers (16 ounces each) prepared chocolate frosting, or about 3 3/4-5 1/2 cups homemade
- 1-2 Nestlé Crunch Candy Bars, finely chopped
- 24-36 pieces Nestlé Butterfinger Bites Candy, finely chopped
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- Grease bottoms of three 8- or 9-inch-round cake pans; line with parchment or wax paper circle. Grease parchment then coat lightly with small amount of cocoa, tapping out excess.
- In large bowl, sift together flour, 3/4 cup cocoa, baking soda and salt. In small bowl, combine buttermilk, coffee and vanilla extract.
- In large mixing bowl, beat butter until smooth. Beat in sugar until smooth and creamy. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula; beat again. Alternately add flour mixture in three additions with buttermilk mixture in two additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Scrape down sides of bowl; beat again. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.
- Bake 20-25 minutes, or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Invert each layer onto wire rack; remove parchment paper then invert right-side-up. Cool completely.
- To assemble, level cakes (trim tops off), if desired, using serrated knife. Place dollop of frosting in center of cake pedestal or serving platter. Tear four strips of parchment paper and place in square around outer 3 inches of pedestal.
- Place one cake layer over dollop of frosting. Spread about 1 cup frosting over top; sprinkle top evenly with about 1/4 cup chopped candy bar. Top with another cake layer; spread with about 1 cup frosting. Sprinkle with remaining chopped candy bar. Top with third cake layer. Cover top and sides with thin layer of frosting.
- Refrigerate 15 minutes then cover with remaining frosting. With hands, press chopped candy pieces around sides of cake. After frosting has set, gently remove strips of parchment paper.
- Cut cake into slices to serve.
Source: Texas Sweet, Roth Cheese, Nestle
(Family Features) Even if you’ve mastered the art of a smart workday lunch and can pick the most nutritious items on a restaurant menu like a pro, eating healthy at home is an unexpected downfall many people face.
When you find the chance to take a break from the busy pace of life and spend some time at home, it can be easy to slip into an all-indulgence mindset. Just remember that doesn’t have to mean going all-out on junk food.
Enjoy the comforts of home and keep your eating on track with these helpful tips.
When you’re spending time with family
It’s easy to catch a carefree spirit while you’re running the bases in an impromptu game of backyard baseball or being tempted by yet another imaginary dessert from the kiddie kitchen. When playtime winds down for dinner, there’s no reason for the fun to stop. Have kids get hands-on to help assemble a healthy meal everyone can enjoy. Skip the cutting, peeling and mess by using Dole Jarred Fruit to prepare salads, desserts and even main dishes that satisfy the whole family’s sweet tooth.
When you’re tackling chores
From seasonal landscaping to the myriad projects you’ve been putting off, the list of chores around the house may seem never-ending. Remember to stay hydrated, especially if you’re working outdoors, and be sure you make time to eat, even if it’s just a quick bite to keep you fueled. Air-popped crackers and hummus is a smart alternative to chips and dip, or get your pick-me-up from a handful of nuts and a serving of sweet, juicy fruit.
When you want to be a couch potato
When a new TV season begins this fall, keep your guilty pleasure in check with quick, healthy dishes to enjoy as you binge watch your favorite shows. Keep your kitchen stocked with ingredients such as high quality, ready-to-eat Dole Jarred Fruit so you can create quick and easy snacks with a serving of fruit in between episodes or during a commercial break.
Tickle your taste buds with these tricks that transform a kitchen staple like jarred fruit into a tasty treat:
- Brighten up bland yogurt or frozen waffles with a serving of jarred fruit, such as sliced peaches or mandarin oranges.
- Dip jarred pineapple chunks in melted chocolate and pop them in the freezer until hardened.
- Top a serving of jarred tropical fruit with coconut flakes for an island escape.
For more recipes you can enjoy at home, visit dolesunshine.com.
Total time: 10 minutes
- 1 jar (23.5 ounces) Dole Pineapple Chunks
- 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
- 2 vanilla wafers, crushed
- Measure 1/2 cup drained fruit.
- Spoon pineapple chunks into dessert glass. Spoon yogurt over pineapple. Sprinkle crushed wafers on top.
Tropical Rum Raisin Dessert
Total time: 30 minutes
- 1 jar (23.5 ounces) Dole Tropical Fruit, drained, juice reserved
- 1/2 cup Dole Seedless Raisins
- 1/4 cup spiced or coconut rum
- 2 cups vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt, divided
- 4 teaspoons toasted shredded coconut, divided
- Place fruit in medium bowl and set aside. In small bowl, combine raisins, rum and 1/4 cup reserved juice. Allow raisins to soak at least 20 minutes until plump. Drain off liquid.
- Combine fruit and rum raisins; spoon into serving bowls. Top each bowl with 1/2 cup scoop of ice cream and top each with 1 teaspoon toasted coconut.
Tip: 1/2 teaspoon rum extract and 1/2 cup reserved juice may be used instead of rum.
Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Total time: 15 minutes
- 1/2 cup refrigerated cooked chicken breast strips
- 2 Bibb or Boston lettuce leaves
- 1/2 cup Dole Mandarin Oranges, drained
- 2 teaspoons slivered almonds
- 1 tablespoon light Asian salad dressing
- Divide chicken equally inside two lettuce leaves, making two wraps.
- Add 1/4 cup of Dole Mandarin Oranges and 1 teaspoon slivered almonds into each wrap.
- Serve lettuce wraps with light Asian salad dressing for dipping.
Orange Chipotle Avocado Toast
Total time: 10 minutes
- 1 slice whole wheat bread
- 1/2 avocado, diced or smashed
- 1/3 cup Dole Mandarin Oranges, drained
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped
- 1/4 lime
- Lightly toast whole-wheat bread and top with diced avocado. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- In medium bowl, toss oranges with chipotle peppers.
- Spoon oranges over avocado toast and finish with a squeeze of lime.
Tip: For spicier toast, include pepper seeds. For more mild heat, remove seeds. A sprinkle of chili pepper can also be used to add spice.
Boost every moment with versatile peanut butter
(Family Features) Whether you’re a fitness junkie, busy parent, sleep-deprived student or diehard sweet tooth, peanut butter is an ingredient that sticks for all of life’s moments. With a healthy boost of protein and energy, peanut butter is perfect as an on-the-go snack, fuel for a workout, a reliable family meal or a decadent dessert.
There’s no shortage of delicious ways to pack peanut butter into diverse dishes throughout the day:
- Add peanut butter to your favorite fruit smoothie for a nutty new flavor.
- Encourage children to experiment with the essential spread and go beyond PB and J by replacing fruit for the jelly or stirring peanut butter or peanut butter powder into their yogurt.
- A simple peanut butter and honey sandwich makes a great on-the-go snack you can throw in your gym bag or tuck away in a drawer at work.
- Add peanut butter to a sauce or salad dressing for an extra zip of flavor and protein.
Find more creative ways to enjoy peanut butter with these winning recipes from Southern Peanut Growers’ annual PB My Way recipe contest, and explore additional dishes that celebrate this versatile ingredient at peanutbutterlovers.com.
Veggie Sammies with Peanut Butter Satay Sauce
Recipe courtesy of Ben M., San Francisco, California
- 4 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 tablespoons water
- 4 teaspoons hoisin sauce
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons sriracha
- 2 French baguette rolls (6 inches each)
- 1/2 cup sliced cucumber
- 1/2 cup white onion
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup purple cabbage
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
- In small bowl, combine peanut butter, lime juice, water, hoisin sauce, soy sauce and sriracha. Mix well.
- Spread sauce on both sides of bread then layer with cucumber, onion and bell pepper. Top with cabbage and cilantro leaves.
Graceland Mini Cupcakes
Recipe courtesy of Linda D., Coconut Creek, Florida
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 ripe bananas
- 1/2 cup light sour cream
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 large egg white, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Peanut Butter Filling:
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 4 slices bacon
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 8 ounces low-fat cream cheese
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- Heat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake tins with paper liners and lightly spray with cooking spray.
- To make batter: In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Stir to combine and set aside.
- In small bowl, mash bananas and add sour cream. Mix well and set aside.
- Using electric hand mixer, beat butter, oil and sugar until incorporated, about 3-5 minutes. Add eggs, egg white and vanilla. Mix until combined. Slowly add half the dry ingredients and mix until almost incorporated. Add sour cream and banana mixture and gently fold into batter. Add rest of dry ingredients until combined.
- Spoon batter into lined cupcake pans. Bake 18-20 minutes and let cool.
- After cooling about 30-45 minutes, use paring knife to cut small circle in middle of top of cupcakes and remove plug, creating a well about halfway down cupcake. Add peanut butter to piping bag and fill each hole. Set aside.
- In medium bowl, dredge both sides of bacon slices in brown sugar. Place on foil-lined baking sheet; bake 10 minutes. Flip and bake another 6-8 minutes. Remove bacon from oven and place on plate to cool. Once cool, chop bacon and set aside.
- To make frosting: In large bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, peanut butter and vanilla extract. Mix until combined. Add confectioners’ sugar and mix until well-combined.
- Add frosting to piping bag. Pipe a dollop of frosting onto each cupcake and sprinkle with candied bacon pieces.
Peanut Apple Chicken Curry
Recipe courtesy of Jess A., Berkeley, California
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1/4 cup scallions, chopped
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 3/4 cups apple juice
- 1 3/4 cups coconut milk
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch strips
- 1 medium apple, peeled, cored and chopped
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- cooked rice (optional)
- To make sauce: In medium to large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic, curry powder and scallions. Saute 1 minute.
- Add peanut butter, vinegar, apple juice, coconut milk, brown sugar and cayenne. Bring to simmer, reduce heat and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, about 10-15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in large skillet, heat oil. Add onion and stir fry about 2-3 minutes until onions start to become opaque.
- Add chicken and apples, and stir until chicken is cooked completely. Add peanut sauce and cook until heated evenly, about 2-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve warm over rice, if desired.
Source: Peanut Growers
- 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen red raspberries in syrup, thawed, divided
- 2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 (14-ounce) can Eagle Brand Low Fat Sweetened Condensed Milk (NOT evaporated milk)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice from concentrate
- Red food coloring, optional
- 1 (8-ounce) container frozen light whipped topping, thawed
- In saucepan, combine one package undrained raspberries and cornstarch; cook and stir until thickened and clear. Chill while making mousse mixture.
- In blender, combine remaining package drained raspberries, sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice; blend until smooth. Place in bowl; stir in small amount of food coloring if desired. Fold in whipped topping.
- Spoon half mousse mixture into dessert dishes; top with equal portions of raspberry sauce then remaining mousse mixture. Chill at least 1 hour. Refrigerate leftovers.
Makes 12 servings
Notes, Tips & Suggestions
*Option: Use Eagle Brand Fat Free instead of Eagle Brand Low Fat Sweetened Condensed Milk
Replace frozen raspberries with strawberries or blueberries.