Friday Fun: Dessert Buffet

by Louise

The discussion of cakes – buttercream vs. fondant had me thinking of desserts. My parents used to go to a wonderful restaurant serving continental (French) food and the finale was a dessert cart. There was a chocolate cake, a black forest, a pineapple cake and a chocolate ganache cake. A soufflé and other assorted treats. I would look forward eagerly to dinner there. The restaurant changed over the years and although their food is still good and they serve individual desserts after a meal the dessert cart has vanished into the sunset.

Totebaggers what is your favorite dessert?
Do you have any recipes to share?
Are there any favorite dessert places or treat shops that you frequent. Share with us your dessert haunts.


155 thoughts on “Friday Fun: Dessert Buffet

  1. Totebaggers what is your favorite dessert? Depends on the mood, right? Sometimes just simple vanilla ice cream with Hershey’s chocolate syrup will do. Or Oreos, or peanut M&Ms. For fancier stuff I like boysenberry pie, NY style cheesecake, plain no berries or any other flavoring (think Lindy’s…and I truly dislike Cheesecake Factory cheesecake. Love the chain for their other food, no thanks to the cheesecake), DW’s brownies, yes, with walnuts, but we do not need to replay that recent conversation.
    We do not really go out specifically for dessert. Sometimes to Coldstone, but never to one of those now-ubiquitous soft-frozen-yogurt-mix-your-own-places.

  2. Geez. I can’t remember when I last had desert. Maybe on our last cruise, but that was a cheese sampler.

  3. Ice cream is my favorite (grew up in Massachusetts where there is an ice cream shop on every corner). I also like warm desserts served with ice cream (fruit crisps, pecan pie, malva pudding). I have an awful sweet tooth that I am trying to conquer. I am meh about cakes and pies.

  4. I have the ingredients in the fridge waiting to make a Guinness Float. Have you all tried this?

    I like all sorts of desserts. Some I don’t like are the local frozen yogurt shop that offers umpteenth flavors (all taste about the same just slightly different colors) and traditional Italian cheesecake (heavy and with citron). I much prefer NY-style cheesecake, like Junior’s. Oh, I like soft ice cream from Mr. Softee.

  5. My favorites are the simple classics. Home-made apple pie. Warm brownies with vanilla ice cream on top. Fresh out-of-the-oven snickerdoodle cookies. Nothing exotic, please; just pure comfort food!

  6. Pie.
    Warm apple pie with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce
    Key lime pie
    Chocolate chess pie
    Peanut butter pie with Oreo crust topped with hot fudge
    Lemon meringue pie
    Lemon chess pie
    Cherry pie
    Strawberry pie
    Blueberry pie
    Peach pie
    Blueberry-Peach pie
    Bourbon Chocolate Pecan pie

    BUT NO Pumpkin pie!

  7. Now that it is warming up (don’t laugh, opening day on Monday will be in the 60s), I have to crank up the ice cream machine for my husband’s sugar free ice cream. We tend to do malted milkshakes with it more than eat it straight up. This year I’ll experiment with fruit ices as well. I can do without dessert most of the time – I prefer to use my daily overall calorie and triglyceride increasing allotment on alcohol.

    Rhett – Speaking of Boston, have you seen the Gillette/”Stark Industries” ad campaign? I am not sure it works – the humor is not quite arch enough for me and the Old Spice campaigns set the bar very high – but it is really an amazing departure from the tasteful straight arrow ad philosophies of old Gillette and its current owner, P&G.

  8. CoC, I gotta come down the hill. You guys make the best drink concotions. But I totally disagree on the chocolate thing. Nuts in chocolate totally mess up the mouth feel. I don’t want salty gritty little hard things in my chocolate!

  9. I’m not crazy about really sweet things. IKEA, of all places, has a chocolate & almond torte I really like. Someone at our house eats a lot of Ben & Jerry’s, and I help myself to a bite now & then. Cheesecake is a health food, right?

  10. Best desserts…
    fudge, as made by my sister
    a really nice cheese
    Birthday cake, frosting only
    Lindt chocolate Easter bunny

  11. SWVA — My daughter (age 8) is generally a very picky eater, so it has always surprised me that she really likes pumpkin pie. I’ve always found that that’s one of the harder pies to love. I’ll eat it if it’s served to me, but I would never choose it as my dessert if I had other options available.

  12. yum…pie, any kind of fruit pie (strawberry rhubarb) , also I do love pecan and pumpkin pies, derby pie, chess pie
    cheesecake with fruit on top
    choc chip cookies
    iced sugar cookies
    milkshakes and sundaes
    I have a terrible sweet tooth

  13. I do like some sweet things, but not after a meal. I prefer sweets with coffee in the afternoon

  14. My husband makes the best pumpkin pie. Using fresh sugar pumpkins and a hefty shot of bourbon are the secrets.

  15. I agree with Mooshi on the timing of sweets–with afternoon coffee is best. I like pumpkin pie. I made it from a fresh pumpkin once; the only difference from the canned version was the extra work required. There is also a carrot cake I’ve made that takes something like 1.5 lb of grated carrots. It is also yummy and not too sweet.
    I’m starting to feel like a liar for saying above that I don’t really like sweets. Maida Heater has a recipe for a dry, not sweet chocolate cake that you orange juice onto when it comes out of the oven. Sooo yummy!

  16. S&M, your carrot cake sounds like my kind of thing. Does it have the cream cheese frosting? I like a nice tart cream cheese frosting.

  17. There are also desserts I do not like
    Key lime pie
    Boston cream pie
    Lemon meringue
    rugelach (but you guys knew that)
    those hard Italian cookies
    oatmeal raisin cookies, especially if I thought it was a chocolate chip cookie and bite into it
    anything that combines chocolate and nuts
    baked apples. I was at my first conference, doing the speakers breakfast before my first ever presentation, and they served baked apples. All I could think was that they looked like those shrunken heads that cannibals collect.

  18. Yum. I don’t like most (or like just a bit) pies or brownies or most of the stuff on the bakery counter. I like but usually don’t crave ice.cream.

    Nothing is more satisfying than a chocolate cake layered with chocolate truffle and chocolate ganache frosting. I crave it all
    The. Time.

    For non chocolate and non gluten deserts, I like Indian deserts. Their carrot halwa is best.

  19. I can’t eat Indian desserts at all. Too, too, too sweet for me.
    I have noticed that desserts do not translate well between cultures. People will happily eat all kinds of Chinese food, for example, but are floored by mooncakes or red bean soup. Chinese people who come here say that they can’t deal with western style cakes and cookies. And Indian desserts are really weird to westerners too, like this one

  20. I like more desserts than I don’t like, but some favorites:
    Purchased from a local bakery – chocolate italian cream cake, fudge cake, and carrot cake
    Homemade – pumpkin turtle pie, layered banana squares (a twist on banana pudding), pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, ginger cookies, ugly duckling cake, 5-flavor pound cake, sour cream strusel pound cake, and my mom’s chocolate pudding.

    I like pies and cheese cake, but am generally bad at making them, so I will order at restaurants:
    Pecan Pie
    Key Lime Pie
    Apple Pie
    Cheesecake – variety of flavors, but prefer the lighter ones.

    Ice cream – prefer malts over shakes, but shakes over ice cream (either with or without toppings or mix ins) I know Blue Bell is having a hard time right now, but love their pistachio ice cream. Went to college close by and you get more variety of flavors closer to them.

  21. Well, I have never had red bean soup, but I like most of the deserts at our local China town or what we ate on our china trip. So one cannot generalize based on own experience.

    Out of curiosity, what other cultures have awesome deserts?

  22. There was something terribly, terribly wrong with my grandmother. She used to make prune pies.

  23. Most times I just want something simple, like good quality ice cream or sorbet.

    My go-to dessert when I’m asked to bring something is a chocolate Heath bar trifle. It looks great with the stacked layers and there’s never anything left, but it’s a bit too sweet for my tastes. Based on a previous post here, I’m going to try making a fresh strawberry trifle with vanilla pudding and angel food cake. Following that, my next creation will be a Black Forest trifle with raspberries and chocolate shavings.

  24. I like a lot of desserts. Cookies! Cake! (neither commercial, except Flour bakery gets a pass, I guess) Ice cream!

    I do not like fruit with chocolate, or fruit with vanilla. Like chocolate covered oranges or strawberry ice cream, BLECH. I also don’t like those hard Italian cookies, or lemon meringue, or key lime pies. Could take or leave carrot cake and all similar ‘healthy’ desserts.

    The one exception to the above rule is this French Strawberry Pie, best made during strawberry season:

    1 baked pie shell (2 c flour, 1 c Crisco, 3/4 tsp salt, ice water, pastry blender, chill and roll, bake at 400 until nicely browned.)
    8 oz cream cheese, softened
    6 T cream
    2 quarts strawberries (can use more, I usually use around 3)
    1 cup sugar
    4 T cornstarch
    1 T lemon juice + water = 1/2 cup
    Mix cream cheese and cream until smooth, spread on pie shell. Mash 1.5-2 cups (I use 2) strawberries. Mix sugar and cornstarch in pan; stir in water/lemon and strawberry mash. Cook on med heat until boiling, boil and stir 1 minute, cool slightly.
    Arrange remaining strawberries in pan and pour cooked strawberries over.
    Cool at least 3 hrs.

  25. I love this topic. Not sure if any of you remember but I used to have a pastry business on the side so obviously I love dessert. This week I made a very simple apple pie that came out well.

    meme- can you share your sugar free ice cream recipe? I’d love to make it for my dad

  26. Oh, man. Anything warm/gooey/chocolately, like fresh-from-the-oven cookies or brownies, or chocolate pudding cake, preferably with ice cream on top and some hot fudge. Or cool-gooey-chocolatey in summer, like chocolate cream pie or chocolate pudding (Woodberry Kitchen makes both a chocolate tart and a chocolate pudding that are to die for), or a chocolate malt made with hot fudge instead of chocolate syrup. Actually, Woodberry Kitchen also has THE best butterscotch pudding I’ve ever had anywhere — I think it’s even better than the chocolate. Which is saying something.

    And any kind of homemade pie. I am a pie slut — even stuff I am not a huge fan of, like nuts and raisins, I will eat if you put it inside a pie crust and top it with ice cream. I also do a lot of fruit crisps and crumbles in the summer, because they’re just so easy and make even plain vanilla ice cream taste good — I love a homemade topping of butter/brown sugar/cinnamon/oats, and if it’s peaches, throw some pecans into the topping as well. Other summer favorites: when the strawberries are really fresh, just drizzle a little plain balsamic over them, or put the combination over vanilla ice cream. Or dip any kind of fresh berries into a mix of yogurt, brown sugar, and vanilla (original recipe is of course sour cream, but yogurt lets me treat it as a “fruit course” instead of “dessert”). :-)

    Alas, our most typical dessert is ice cream — not my favorite, but it is DH’s and the kids’, and we take very seriously our responsibility for sustaining the little shop around the corner. My favorite is a variation of the “dusty sundae” I first had as a kid: moose tracks ice cream, hot fudge, and malt powder sprinkled over the top. Although we do come running whenever they have mint moose tracks in stock — that stuff is awesome. Or chocolate peanut butter — the kind with chocolate ice cream and peanut butter swirls, not the kind with vanilla and peanut butter cups (which is basically a waste of good peanut butter cups).

    Also just had a cake I actually liked on vacation: a variation of tres leches, so very nice and soft and moist, but with coconut and coconut milk. WOW. DS liked it so much he asked the chef for the recipe!

  27. Dell, I don’t know what my grandmother’s problem was, and believe me, nobody would dare ask her.

    I grew up in the era of “you must eat everything on your plate and be complimentary.” There was a lot of silence among my sisters and me after the prune pie came out, but I recall once one of my sisters asking, “Oh! If I plant this pit will it grow?”

  28. I used to live next door to a Chinese bakery so I love Chinese desserts. Especially the bean paste tarts the bakery used to make.
    I love all desserts. All of them. Except peach pie. I don’t know why–I love peaches– but I can’t stand peach pie.

  29. CoC – I want that F-ing float RIGHT NOW!!!

    Mooshi – every dessert you don’t like, I do… so if we are ever in the same place at the same time, I’ll eat them for you…

    I love key lime pie. I will turn on the oven in the dead of summer for this pie. I can thank a former regular on TOS – GAMom for this recipe ( – this was her website).

    lately I’ve been eating cake and drizzled frosting. I had a bundt cake fail (the cake did not release properly), and have been putting some of the crumbs/pieces in a bowl and drizzling it with frosting.

  30. I have a huge sweet tooth. I think I like almost all desserts except cake with fruit or fruit jam. Blech. I hate when the bride and groom ruin a nice wedding cake by adding raspberry jam to it. Ruins the whole reception! I like to bake, so we almost always have something sweet around the house. And in the summer we make tons of ice cream. David Lebovitz recipes are all very good.

  31. NoB – My DD is also 8 and also a very picky eater, and I am disappointed because she will not eat ANY kind of pie. Not chicken pot pie or chocolate pie or pumpkin pie.

    Cat S – I totally agree with you on the raspberry jam in a wedding cake and fruit in a cake in general. Unless it’s lemon cake with lemon curd filling and lemon buttercream frosting – then I’m all over it!

  32. By “hard Italian cookies” do you mean biscotti? I don’t like them much, either.
    I have fond memories of chess pie from my childhood, but I don’t recall seeing it here up north.

  33. Rhode-I love key lime pie. anything type of citrus thing works for me. and chocolate. there aren’t a lot of desserts I don’t like

  34. Oh Cat S, in my opinion, wedding cake is inedible without the jam. Otherwise, it is so dry and sweet. Apricot jam is best. We also used to get a carrot cake from a nearby Italian bakery that put the apricot jam into the space between the layers. Combined with the cream cheese frosting, it was heaven.

  35. Coc, yes, biscotti.
    Do you remember pecan pie, and peanut brittle? Those were southern staples of my childhood. Hated both of them. There was a chain of stores that were on highway exits in the South that specialized in peanut brittle and white chocolate. What was their name?

  36. Oh Mooshi – that cake sounds dreadful. I forgot that cream cheese frosting is another thing that I hate. Cream cheese should be savory, not sweet! It is like adding fruit to cottage cheese. So gross!

  37. I’m sure my identity will be clear, but it would be really special if y’all wouldn’t out me. My reaction to sugar+fat is very heroin-like. It’s hard for me to keep my weight under control because I just eat chocolate, etc., kind of compulsively. It’s not the taste, it’s the high. I believe there are many people who don’t have this reaction to desserts. You know who you are because you all wear size 2. I also am unhappy with my alcohol consumption.

    I recently read an article in the Atlantic about Naltrexone and its use in combating addiction. So I obtained some, and I’m going to be using it late afternoons to see if I can extinguish my chocolate and alcohol reward system. Wish me luck. I’ll keep you apprised of my progress if you’re interested.

  38. I usually prefer a glass of wine to dessert – except for my grandmothers apricot pie. She made it with apricots she canned herself. I have never been able to replicate it or buy one even remotely similar. I miss that pie, she used to make it for my birthday every year. Brownies are something I have a hard time passing up – but since I like them with nuts, and chocolate chips and maybe caramel sauce – and my kids like plain I am able to leave them alone when I make them.

  39. “I usually prefer a glass of wine to dessert”

    How about a glass of Moscato? Or Port?

  40. I love love love apple pie. I also enjoy a good pecan pie, chocolate cake with ganache, gooey brownies, and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (Potbelly’s make a great one). The last two events I’ve been to that served cake the cake was dreadful. So dry and tasteless. Even the frosting was bad too. Raisins and white chocolate ruin desserts for me.

    My DH grew up in a family were homemade dessert was served every night. He can not break that desire to have something sweet after dinner. We now, as a family, have a terrible habit of eating too many sweets. I’ve been known to force cutbacks and give out half a cookie.

  41. “I’m not crazy about really sweet things.”

    As we discussed recently, you might like Japanese desserts. We have a number of Japanese bakeries here (unfortunately, not as many as we used to), and their desserts tend to be quite a bit less sweet than typical American desserts.

    I’m not that picky. I love the sweeter coco puffs as much as the Japanese style cream puffs from Beard Papa.

  42. @Mooshi — is that Stuckey’s? Boy, I used to whine and moan and nag and guilt my mom into stopping there on road trips. Now I think “wtf was I thinking?”

    @Anon — if that works, please let me know! I have a similar reaction, where some foods almost seem to turn off the executive function part of the brain and send me into total id-mode. That’s what was so awesome about the phentermine: it seemed to somehow relieve some of the intensity, so I enjoyed how the food tasted but could still recognize when I had had enough and stop. It was a real “oh, so *that’s* how most people feel” moment.

  43. Raisins and white chocolate ruin desserts for me.

    Seriously, I don’t get the point of white chocolate. So you take chocolate and remove the chocolatey taste. Uh, okay.

    Raisins have very limited uses. I like them better in savory dishes.

  44. I really only “like” raisins in oatmeal or cream of wheat. Passable/tolerable in sticky buns.

  45. “So you take chocolate and remove the chocolatey taste.”

    More like, “so you take chocolate and remove the chocolate.”

    Thanks, but I prefer my plain cocoa butter in my sunscreen.

  46. I like white chocolate. It’s got the feel of chocolate and the taste of vanilla, which I love. And the white chocolate peppermint M&Ms Target has during the holiday season are the best!

  47. I think we need to form a group and divide up our desserts. SWVA can have all of my white chocolate. We’ve already determined that Mooshi and Rhode make a good dessert team. I think PTM might be all alone over there with his prune pie though.

  48. I’m not usually a fan of white chocolate or fruit in chocolate, but bananas with white chocolate fondue is heaven

  49. lagirl – If you already have a custard ice cream base you swear by, use the proportions of liquid to yolks and richness of cream that you already like. This is sugar free, not low calorie. I can’t make it successfully without a custard base. I customized mine for my specific ice cream machine, a Wynter (sp?) – freon type with a smallish container. The sugar free part is splenda and liquid sugar free Monin Vanilla syrup – this brand really makes a difference. If you want straight vanilla ice cream, either heat the cream with vanilla beans or add high end vanilla extract to the final product – beyond taste (it loses flavor when frozen).

    In a heavy saucepan, heat 2 cups of half n half or light cream, 1/2 cup of dry milk solids, 1/2 cup splenda until throughly dissolved. If you prefer heavy cream omit the milk solids and add a pinch of salt (and stir a bit more). (If you are going to steep vanilla beans or herbs or tea, this is the time.) Add 5-6 yolks slightly beaten – heated up first with some of the hot cream, then poured back in. Stir constantly until custard coats the spoon, approx 170 degrees or just before the eggs scramble. Pour custard through a sieve into a bowl. Add another 1/2 cup to 1 cup of cream and 1/2 cup of the sugar free syrup. Stir in additional vanilla or other flavor as needed.. Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours, adjust the flavor level again, then process according to machine directions.

    It is hard to put even small fruit chunks into sugar free ice cream because the interaction of sugar itself with the fruit is what keeps the chunks from freezing tooth-cracking hard. That’s why infusing the cream or adding sugar free syrups or even moderate amounts of liquor works best.

  50. Ooo, Mémé, I’m going to try that for DH. I’m going to make coffee extract and add it. (I make coffee extract all the time anyway because it keeps the acid in the coffee to a minimum.)

  51. My three favorite cakes are Coconut Pound, Red Velvet and Queen Elizabeth (all of them have to be home made.

    My kids like my Back to School Brownies (blondies) and my husband loves my chocolate with walnuts brownies.

    We like all kinds of cookies and candy.

    My mother always said if you are going to eat candy, pay the price and eat good candy. Really funny coming from my mom who could make the buffalo squeal on a nickel.

    Love pies, particularly pecan.

    I also like a true fruitcake – made with real dried fruit and nuts and soaked with bourbon or brandy for at least six weeks.

    Ice cream – again a good quality ice cream.

    When it comes to chocolate, I love dark chocolate not milk.

    Basically, I will eat anything that is sweet!

  52. Yes, Stuckey’s. They were awful. The white chocolate tasted like wax. And the peanut brittle was just something I was never going to eat.

    I have never had prune pie, but can I admit that I actually like prunes? And no, not for any digestive benefit. I just like them.

  53. The apricot pie mentioned above sounds really good. I am not generally a fruit eater, but I make exceptions for three fruits: grapefruit, raspberries and apricots. I will eat apricots any way that they come.

  54. I’m clearly on team MM when it comes to desserts/afternoon coffee accompaniments, right down to the jam in wedding cake.

    Now I’m curious, in a laughing way, how this divide lines up with other times there has been a clear split in the group.

  55. I like prunes too. The other day I made this sous vide recipe where you coat lamb chops with ras el hanout seasoning, put them in the foodsaver bag, add prunes and a little honey, seal and sous vide for a couple of hours at 134, then grill them up quickly to give a nice crust. Came out fabulous.

  56. White “chocolate” just needs another name. Why can’t they call it “hardened -coco -milk -that’s -had -too -much -sugar -added -to -it -and -maybe -stabilizer -to -make -it -hard -& -waxy”?
    For promo purposes, they could shorten the name to the last 3 words and drizzle it over a guy. A very good-looking guy, who has taken precautions so as not to get his clothes sticky.

  57. I like plums, so why not eat dried plums?? I like putting them in granola bars with dried cranberries and cherries.

    I’ll eat almost any sweet you put in front of me. But I’m a salt loving person. Keep the potato chips, crackers, popcorn, or anything else salty away from me if you want some. If you want it to magically disappear, hand it over. I’ll regret it later, but that’s my problem!

    My lunch desserts were a fruit cup and popcorn ball… Now I want more salt and there’s nothing in my office. Damn maternity leave… I took home all my goodies.

  58. Ha, I didn’t actually mean biscotti, I meant the cookies that they keep behind the counter near the cannoli, frequently yellow or neon colored. Yuck.

    I like raisins in granola and sometimes in oatmeal. Oatmeal raisin cookies are pretty good as a picnic food, but they must be nice and chewy, never dry, or it is like eating sawdust. However, I only ever eat them when there is nothing chocolate available or if the chocolate chip cookies are even worse.

    Now I will need to make chocolate cookies or cake for dessert tonight!

  59. I can’t think of many desserts I actually dislike, as long as they’re made well. But that lets out most supermarket bakery desserts, prepackaged stuff, etc. I don’t generally cook with cake/pudding mixes myself but I’m not going to get on my high horse and disdain them because some of those mix-based concoctions are pretty good, like that bundt cake that has vanilla pudding mix added in and bourbon or rum poured over.

    I am pro-Key Lime Pie. But I’m not going to try to list all my favorite desserts because it would start to sound like a cookbook index.

    Ironically, I don’t actually eat dessert that often anymore. Time constraints with the weekday dinner, plus a focus on using the limited cooking time available on dinner for the ravenous hordes.

  60. the cookies that they keep behind the counter near the cannoli, frequently yellow or neon colored

    The pignoli are really good, though.

  61. OTOH, I can’t stand raisins in chicken curry or anything else savory (quinoa or couscous, etc.). Nor will I abide fruits in main-dish meat meals, with an exception for apples – those can go well with chicken curry or with pork (Epicurious has a yummy pork and apple pie that is great for a fall dinner).

  62. I’m curious about the prune pie. Prune cake is a good thing ( ) but it doesn’t sound like the prune pie was a winner with PTM and sisters. Was it just stewed prunes in a crust, or what?

    Prune mui is a popular homemade gift here, supposedly dating from WWII when crack seed became unavailable.

  63. I know that the reason Grandma ate prunes on oatmeal every morning was to keep her regular, but I think it’s good. I often eat them that way, or I put raisins & cinnamon on my oatmeal.

  64. MM I know, apricots and raspberries are my favorite – my mom makes a raspberry rhubarb pie that is very good. And she makes a lamb curry that we always put dried apricots on – my favorite childhood meal.

  65. RMS – that is perfect. I would add a shot of Kahlua for a little extra, unless your DH can’t have any sugar at all, or maybe some Irish whiskey. You still need the sugar free vanilla syrup since more Splenda doesn’t work out ( trial and error). Torani or Starbucks brand would probably do as well – no need to order Monin special from Amazon – it is a very large bottle. We also use the syrup in Ice Cream sodas and the malteds. Ginger and cardamom is another nice flavor profile.

  66. I agree with HM–I really can’t list all of the desserts I like because it is basically everything. I even like certain storebought things–like the grocery store cake from the chain grocery store in my hometown. I wouldn’t want it to be the only dessert I eat but I still enjoy it.

    And I agree with L–I don’t really enjoy fruit in main dishes. I don’t think it tastes bad, but it is not my preference and I would never choose to make a main dish with fruit. Same with green salads–not a fan of adding fruit, although I don’t dislike it per se.

    Also agree with those who like the taste of prunes!

  67. I also like Sanders Bumpy Cake (Ris might now what I’m talking about). But I think my love for it might be based strictly on memories of years past. Sanders was a soda fountain chain and I have fond memories of going there with my parents for a special treat (we did not eat out a lot) and sitting at the counter.

  68. Lemon, that would be Guava Dee Lite cake for me. I like it just fine now and in fact I used to get it as my go-to kid birthday cake back when they had parties that required ordering a quarter-sheet with themed decorations, but back in the day it was SO SPECIAL. This recreation recipe looks about right: . I remember trying to recreate it myself when I was on the East Coast for school.

  69. I used to love black & white cookies. It is a classic for kids growing up in NY. I didn’t eat them for at least 20 years until I met my DH and I learned it was one of his favorites. The bakery in his town still uses the same recipes, so we’ve passed down this tradition to our DD. I haven’t found any good B & W cookies near my home. This is good news because we can still have these as treats several times a year without the calories all of the time.

    We love almost anything chocolate in this house, but classic choc chip cookies and Ghiradelli brownies are favorites. We love pie and my favorite is cherry.

    I had a cake at work that someone brought back from a visit to Greggs in Rhode Island. It is called Death by Chocolate. I loved it.
    I do NOT like custards, cheesecakes, creme brulee, flan….anything with that type of texture.

  70. yes, but the version in your picture looks very dry!
    A lot of the bakeries in NY metro still make them fresh each day, but some of the delis around NYC sell them in plastic wrap and they’re gross. Some people love the chocolate side, and others love the vanilla. A few bakeries will make all one color or the other, and some places will do green and white for St Patricks Day etc.

  71. I’m extremely picky with desserts, in a nostalgic sort of way. I rarely like cookies or cakes unless they are either my mom’s recipes or from one of a couple of local bakeries where I grew up. I usually go with popsicles when I’m craving something sweet, since I love fruity things and live in a warm climate. Lest I sound overly healthy, I prefer more savory dietary vices.

    Interesting point about culture and desserts, Mooshi. I’m extremely adventurous with international flavors but now that you mention it I rarely like the sweets. A colleague brought moon cakes in for the Mid-Autumn Festival and it took all of my strength to avoid gagging. Salted duck egg and red bean paste just don’t do it for me.

  72. RMS, I’ll try to get my grandma’s prune pie recipe from a sister. She is like a family Smithsonian. She has everything. Furniture, recipes, books, artifacts. I’m not sure she’ll give it to me, though. I’m sure she’d think I would serve it to Junior which I most definitively will not do. I’m not that mean.

    If I recall correctly. and I probably don’t, the prune pie was very, very sweet. Almost like pecan pie, which is another thing I cannot stand.

    I am about to hit another birthday tomorrow. Oh, my. I am old! My only solace is that my sisters are older, and I think I’ve laughed hard pretty much every day of my life so I don’t begrudge the days that have passed.

    Junior keeps asking what we are doing for the birthday. I’ve told him that after 5 days of getting up before dawn to get him to school on time, I don’t want him to wake me until church on Sunday.

    Thanks to this discussion today, I think I’m going to reverse course. I want cakes! When I was a boy, I loved the Sara Lee processed to hell, white cake with frosting. How that didn’t send me into toxic shock at age 6 is beyond me. I also love those horrid cakes that Publix bakes. I think I’ll buy one of those. Preferably one that didn’t get picked up today. “Happy Birthday, Mona” sounds appropriate. Now that I’m on a roll, there is a bakery that sells white chocolate cake. That would be good. A good, moist chocolate cake is to die for in my book. For desert, a tort.

    I am just insane enough to buy myself 5 cakes. As I said earlier, though, I am not a big fan of deserts. In that case, people at our church coffee hour on Sunday are going to go home with a righteous sugar high.

  73. I think my earlier post got eaten. We used to have about a 90-ft pecan tree at our first house, so I used to make pecan pie (and banana nut bread) all the time, but haven’t made it in over 15 years now. Our (the adults in the house) favorite holiday dessert is a sweet potato pecan pie with bourbon sauce from a local restaurant. No two people in the family like the same things, so we don’t bake much dessert. My favorites are anything lemon, good, deep-dish applie pie, or French Silk Pie. I’m trying to stick with just fresh fruit, or maybe fruit with a small dollop of whipped cream, if I want a sweet. Not nearly as good as pie.

    Wine – re: your work shower and cake, my work was having a chili cook-off today, so beer! I’m not in the office, though, so am not able to partake.

  74. One of my favorites is chocolate cake or any kind of petit fours from Moeller’s bakery in Houston. MBT, Houston or WFI (or anyone else who lives in Houston) have you tried them?

    I also love ice cream but don’t eat it very often.

  75. MBT, if you’re ever here, you should try at least one of the variations of sweet potato pie from Ani’s bakery. I love their sweet potato haupia pie with macadamia nut crust.

    Do you use purple sweet potatoes?

  76. WCE, I ought to be sitting with you in the post-baby stewed tomato corner, but after reading this I went and had ice cream.


  77. Delicious and funny discussion today. I like the idea of desert tort. Maybe Ptm will share? I imagine it will be painfully delicious.

    Count me among those who love white chocolate. Chocolate or white chocolate and orange is my hands down favorite combo. Hmmmm maybe. I will bake an orange chocolate upside down cake and drizzle it with white chocolate.

  78. I think, thanks to this discussion, I’m going to do the five cakes thing tomorrow. I’m going to put those sugary frozen strawberries on the Sara Lee white toxic shock cake.

    Junior is used to my short bursts of something. On weekends we did the three best pizzas in Miami (we didn’t find any), three best loaded nachos, three best Caribbean Islands. (In reverse order, Aruba, St. Thomas and St. John). One 3-day weekend, I decided we needed fine, historic hotels. We started with the Ponce De Leon in St. Augustine, the Breakers in Palm Beach and the Pier House in Key West. Hands down favorite: the Pier House, although that isn’t historic, but has a fabulous party atmosphere.

    So five different cakes is an idea that appeals to me, and will make Publix euphoric.

  79. Happy bday, PTM. This decade ain’t so bad. Now that I am retired and play bridge in the mornings, I am usually one of the three youngest people in the room, but in this pastime not ever the sharpest knife in the drawer. I will save the x number of cakes for my next milestone – since I don’t even like cake, maybe I’ll go for pie. Or an assortment of mini tarts for the aged tart.

    I should remember not to post after being rolled back up the hill from the 500 feet door to door sushi joint. They fly in fish from Japan for the weekend – flying fish, Japanese squid (amazing), and baby red snapper were tonight’s fare, plus their killer sake-tini and fried green tea ice cream in honor of today’s post.

  80. Happy birthday, old man!

    And Meme, “an assortment of mini tarts for the aged tart.” is great–I’ll have to remember that.

  81. There are quite a lot of Indian desserts, made at home which are less sweet – because you can control the sugar.
    The desserts one gets at a sweet shop one generally doesn’t make at home.
    The sweet shop, sweets are quite sweet. If you visit a sweet shop, there is a savory section which may be more to people’s taste.
    Carrot halwa, Pumpkin halwa, kheer are some desserts which people make at home. For carrot halwa my family uses red carrots, instead of orange carrots.
    Here is one simple semolina sweet.

    I love Key Lime Pie – my family does not – so I get a slice and eat it myself.

  82. Oh, I forgot about the fact that dh took a cooking class and now will whip up chocolate soufflés any time we want them! He worked on the recipe to get it just right for our tastes and to just make a couple. They are wonderful, right out of the oven with a little whipped cream (or not whipped if we are lazy). We also rationalize that they don’t have that many calories – what – a few eggs, milk, sugar and chocolate – compared to other desserts.

  83. @Louise: any chance you can recommend a good recipe for ras malai? That is my #1 favorite (and I include savory dishes and breads in that list!).

    @PTM: happy birthday! FWIW, DH and I once rationalized 4 desserts by calling the first two our “fruit course.” Torts and tarts – I love it. If we had more time, we should have organized a PTM cake brigade — happy to offer my pie-making skills, such as they are, for Meme’s next Significant Date. :-)

  84. Louise- Carrot halwa and Ras Malai sound good. I’ll have to try Indian desserts next time I’m in the right part of town.

    Saac- how was the party?

  85. PTM- happy birthday!!

    Lauren- Gregg’s is fantastic. I think they are known for their death by chocolate. The regular food is just meh.

    Today was BIL’s birthday. We had ice cream cake and angel food cake with those sugary frozen strawberries. I never realized how sugary they were until PTM mentioned them tonight. No wonder I only ate one… (I can polish off a quart of fresh strawberries in the blink of an eye)

    I’m also curious about the party. Saac do tell…

  86. I had the HI guava cake when a colleague had a bday while we were on assignment in HI years (ok at least a decade+) ago- wonderful! Nothing since comes close.

  87. Living the Rhett dream this morning – new house to airport, checked a piece of luggage, went through security and now waiting at the gate, 22 minutes from my driveway. First class upgrade, new book on the iPad, and sleep coming soon.

    On topic, love desserts, all of them (except tomatoes and cheese). We eat too much evening ice cream. Watching an old West Wing episode the other night where a celebrity chef is cooking in the White House and makes a signature dessert that involves tomatoes cooked in caramel with raisins. The caramel made it sound good.

  88. To the anon who posted about naltrexone, I am fascinated by the idea. I would love an update on how it goes. Good luck.

  89. Slightly related to the topic – I saw the movie “Cake” starring Jennifer Ansiton.
    Although it got mixed reviews I liked it and was surprised by Jen’s acting.

  90. Alas! Due to lackluster rsvps (one boy declining “because there was no reason like a birthday for the party” Really?!), a migraine, and the coup de grace, a non-functional garbage disposal which backs the sink up, the party was canceled. I think I was more disappointed than my son.

  91. Hi, Jack–

    Anyone have any recommendations for somewhere to open a Roth IRA with about $400? DS had a paying job last year, and that’s about what he earned. We’d like to put that money in a Roth IRA, but the first two places I looked at (Vanguard and Schwab) both have a $1k minimum initial investment.

  92. We use Fidelity for Roth IRAs but I don’t recall the minimums. I will say the hassle factor with Fidelity has been low.

    Saac, I was sorry to hear about the party. I found it to be “fun for no reason”, a treasured category in the A parent way of thinking.

  93. I think TD Ameritrade has no minimum to open a Roth, but I do not know their fee arrangement for low balance accounts.

  94. @SM – maybe you can try the Peep party for end of school.
    The Huffington post article was funny….

  95. Finn, and anyone else looking for low-minimum investment funds for their children — Homestead Funds.

    I’m also interested in further reports on naltrexone.

  96. And appropriately enough, the ice cream shop opened this weekend — huzzah!

    @Finn — I’m with Milo.

  97. The same da*n kids. Horrifying!

    A Parent, thanks! I’m with you on that, which is one of the reasons I was excited for the party. I’m trying to keep my nose out of my kids business with the invites, but I’m afraid such a lousy reason means the friendship thing isn’t going so well at school.

  98. What’s crazy is that they took the kids into custody without immediately calling the parents and saying “we have your kids in custody.”

  99. The Maryland kids issue makes other parents fearful of letting their kids walk anywhere unaccompanied.
    I have to request the school to let DD walk by herself home next year. It is so close and she can do it but a tiny part of me is afraid. I can’t believe this – because I walked much much further at her age, in a city with millions of people to get to school and back.

  100. Some other parents must have it out for that couple. Good grief!

    I took the kids out for a walk/bike and to the playground yesterday. Why do they not put porta-potties in playgrounds if they are next to a school? I can only stay there for a while before I have to go home!

  101. I think those parents are terrible. They are using their kids in some sort of crusade. And it isn’t safe for kids to walk down Georgia Ave.

  102. Finn – It is possible to open a Roth IRA with less than 1000 at BOA (and I expect at online banking sites with no fee), but the money is not “invested” – just in a MM, and as the amount increases in a CD. If Finn Jr only earned 400 last year at what, 15, maybe it is okay to wait another year to start the process of parental Roth gifts. An alternative is for you to set aside a hypo 400 in your own after tax investment account, and keep track of it on his behalf. Milo, the Roth contribution is capped at earned income. I think Finn is planning to let the kid keep his money but to prime a Roth on his behalf with parental funds.

    I had to do DD’s taxes with a Roth withdrawal for down payment. She had no good records but we were able to fill out the form in such a way to comply with the law, which allows her to withdraw an amount equal to all her contributions plus 10K of earnings, tax and penalty free. If she had ever taken anything out previously, or rolled stuff over from her Roth 401k, it would have required requests for ten years of back statements from Fidelity. Younger people who move frequently and who don’t use Mom and Dad’s house for storage don’t usually keep years of financial records. That does not mean that early retirement savings are a bad idea, just another illustration of the fact that a system that is hard for UMC-NMSF types to get just right is not a reasonable system for for the average citizen.

  103. Finn – You could check ETrade as well. They have some no transaction fee funds that have a small minimum investment in an IRA account and they don’t charge an account fee for a small account (at least they didn’t when my account there was very small). Some of the decent funds have a $500 minimum though.

  104. Cat S — I agree. I don’t know enough about Baltimore to say whether it is a good idea to let kids play in that park by themselves. However, I do know that you don’t use your kids as a pawn to prove a point.

    I imagine from the time the police collected the children (5p) until they were returned to their parents (10:30p) was pretty frightening for the kids. On the other hand, one wonders if the kids were instructed to say nothing to the police and if that delayed parent notification. Interested in hearing the rest of the details.

  105. My daughter lived a few blocks from that playground about five years ago, so I am not using the Silver Spring of my youth as a benchmark or the parenting practices of one or two generations ago. I don’t think it is nearly as dangerous as Cat S, but reasonable people may differ. My issue with this family is the burden being placed on the older one day in and day out to supervise the six year old. InMyDay® there were many school aged children at the playground or park during the afternoon (5 would be getting a bit late because the other kids and most family adults will all be inside) with one or two random local parents milling around or grandparents on the porch on the same block. It definitely was like a village. Kids walked to and from school in groups, and a ten year old might have a six block responsibility to escort a compliant younger sib home, but normally was not expected to provide one on one supervision in the house or an empty playground.

    However, these parents are choosing to defy the norms of their current “village” and they simply need to find a more congenial living situation, maybe an apartment complex with several playgrounds, a pool, and tennis courts on the grounds. I spent my years from 7 to 13 in one about ten blocks from their current location.

  106. Is it not reasonable to expect the state legislature to pass clear laws about what age a child must be to 1) be unsupervised at home/in public, 2) care for X number of younger children at Y ages?

    The problem is that we’re relying on judgment of busybody neighbors, 22-year-old police officers who aren’t parents, and CPS workers.

  107. Milo – Maryland CPS rules are clear – not law, but it is written down somewhere, at least. The issue is the care of the six year old, not the free range ten year old.

    Maryland Child Protective Services Procedures (SSA95-13) define an “unattended child” as:
    A child under eight left alone or in the care of a person who is not reliable or who is under 13.
    A child aged eight through 12 left alone for longer than brief periods without support systems which should include phone numbers of parents, other family members or neighbors, information about personal safety, and what to do in an emergency. Children in this age group may not be left to care for children under the age of eight.

  108. At 6, my kid would’ve been entirely able to go to the park alone, and did occasionally go places by himself on his bike or walking–sometimes with permission, sometimes without. My point is that the 10 year old probably didn’t have very heavy supervisory responsibilities. As far as “something” awful happening, most awful things can happen with a parent there or to a 10 year old too, at least as far as falling off the climbing set or getting beaned by a ball go. If you mean being kidnapped, it’s probably more likely now that the kids’ whereabouts have been advertized.
    As I’ve said before, I think that so many kids are abused and neglected that it really is awful for CPS to waste time harassing this family.
    As for using the kids as pawns, I think the parents are saying that kids at this age can and should be in charge of themselves because that is what they truly believe. It is not as if the point were abstract or unrelated to the children. After the slight brushes with the CPS that I’ve described before, I know the parents must be living in fear of what could happen next. I find that horrifying.

  109. Louise, I think that parents being afraid to give their kids any room to roam at all is exactly what the people who have it in for these folks are hoping for. Please don’t give in to that! Let your daughter walk home exactly as you have planned.

  110. Meme – Then it sounds pretty clear cut. Their finding should not have been “unsubstantiated.”

    Otherwise, I kind of agree with saac.

  111. Even if agree that the area is suitable for a six year old to walk through on his/her own, I think it is ridiculous that the parents, after being investigated by CPS for the very same activity, continue to encourage their kids to do this. Of course someone is going to call. And of course CPS is going to come. I just don’t understand parents who willingly subject their kids to something like that. Find a different way to make your point.

  112. I don’t agree with the assumption that a six year old can handle going where he/she wants to go on their own. We have had a number of neighbor kids over the years (all boys) who seem unable to control the impulse to cross the street when they decide they need to. They would run directly in front of my car, while making eye contact with me the whole time. I know enough about them to know this is what they were going to do, even though they gave the impression that they saw my car and were waiting on the sidewalk. It always terrified me as to what was going to happen when an inattentive driver or inexperienced teen would be the one behind the wheel when they made their mad dash. Sure- there are six year olds who could handle the walk without a parent, but I don’t think it’s safe to make that a blanket generalization. I think a 10 year old can handle a compliant sibling just fine – I was babysitting for neighbors at 10. But a 10 year old could not manage a younger sibling with behavior issues.

  113. Mémé, your guess is correct– I plan to fund DS’ Roth IRA, but I can only contribute up to his earned income. At that level of income, opening a deductible IRA doesn’t change his tax liability, so a Roth is a no-brainer.

    I looked at the fine print at Schwab, and that says the $1k minimum can be waived if we set up an automatic monthly transfer of $100 through direct deposit or Schwab MoneyLink. So I think we will go that route; he’s been earning about that much, and already has a few hundred that he’s earned this year, so we’ll probably dollar cost average into a low cost index fund. We’re cutting the timing very close, so having an existing Schwab account from which we can fund the IRA is important.

    We’ve also be very pleased with the service we’ve received there, and I was especially impressed that my FIL was pleased with the service there.

    Thanks for all the replies.

  114. MBT, if their parents taught them to cross the street properly, you don’t think average 6 year olds can handle it? From what’s been published about them, I expect the parents have spent time training both kids carefully.

  115. Saac, sure,some six year olds can handle it. I think you overestimate the power of what their parents taught them always being followed. Don’t you have incidents in Isaac’s past where he behaved in a way that was contrary to what you had taught him? I know I certainly have that with my kids. I think some six years are consistently reliable in their behavior, and many aren’t. (“But there was a bunny in their yard!!”) I can tell you that I talked to my son scores, if not hundreds, of times about gun safety and to immediately leave the room and get an adult if a friend tried to show him a gun. I could tell you with almost 100% certainly that at certain ages if a friend had wanted to show him a gun he would have been all over it. Sometimes their impulsiveness overrides what their parents have taught them.

  116. “Not to be confused with KY jelly.’

    Finn- have you heard the one about the person who uses kentucky jelly on their toast?

  117. I think it should be up to the parents to determine whether their particular 6 year old and 10 year old are capable of making the walk safely together. People should be able to draw a distinction between “I wouldn’t let my own kids do that” and “this is worthy of a call to CPS.” Agree with Saac at 11:04; CPS needs to save its resources for kids who are actually being abused and neglected. Lord knows they let so many of those situations fall through the cracks.

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