dessert recipe

Jim Gibans’ Mother’s Butterscotch Cookies

Butterscotch Cookies

I love these cookies. It’s not often I come across new cookie recipes. Even more special, that I love these cookies as much as I do. My friend Jared, sent me the recipe last week. I made them, and knew right away they were something special. I asked his permission to share the recipe with you.

The cookies aren’t much to look at. Little beige blobs, with a dollop of frosting on each one. Oh, but the flavor and texture are so special. They are like little cakes- soft, really tender, with a little crunch on the bottom. The brown butter icing compliments them perfectly.

The little flecks of brown in my frosting, are because some of the butter solids browned in the pan while I was cooking the butter. I like the flavor they add, so I was sure to get them out of the bottom of the pan. I added the powdered sugar to the saucepan of browned butter and beat it vigorously, to get them incorporated.

I am reprinting the recipe as it was sent to me. The only change I made, was that I baked them at 375, instead of 400. Be sure to grease the baking sheets. Even using a silicone baking sheet, they stuck a  little before I greased the pan.

There are two different ingredient amounts for the frosting. Use the one you prefer. I used the larger amount and had frosting left over. Also, I don’t sift flour normally, and I didn’t sift the flour for this cookie.

Even after chilling, the dough was really soft. I used a cookie scoop to get them on the baking sheet. I got about 6 dozen cookies from the recipe. I used a one ounce scoop.

They are wonderful the first day, but even better the next.

I have no idea how old this recipe is. Jim was born in 1930 and passed recently. This post is dedicated to Jim and his mother, Sylva. I am honored to share her recipe with all of you.


Jim Giban’ Mother’s Butterscotch Cookies


½ cup butter

1 ½ cups brown sugar, packed

2 eggs

2 ½ cups sifted flour

½ tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

1 cup sour cream

1 tsp vanilla

2/3 cups walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 400.

Cream butter, add sugar gradually and cream thoroughly. Blend in well beaten eggs. Sift flour, baking powder and soda, and salt together. Add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream. Blend in vanilla and nuts. Chill. Drop by spoonfuls on lightly greased baking sheets. Leave space for spreading. Bake 10-15 minutes until golden. Cool.


6 Tbs. butter (or 8 Tbs.)

1 ½ cups confectioner’s ‘sugar (or 2 cups)

1 tsp vanilla

Hot water

Melt butter until golden brown. Blend in confectioner’s sugar. Add vanilla. Stir in slowly up to about 4 Tbs of hot water. Don’t add all at once. Just add enough until icing is right consistency to spread smoothly.

(Gram used the larger quantities of butter and sugar, but I find that I don’t need

that much icing).

Frost cooled cookies. Enjoy!

Gram= Sylva Hirsh Gibans mother of James Gibans

Fresh Cherry Cake

Fresh Cherry Cake

This cherry cake is the perfect summer dessert. It is full of fresh cherries and not too sweet. I love to serve it warm from the oven, but even at room temp, it is a crowd pleaser.

The cake is great, just as it is, but can also be dressed up with a scoop of ice cream, whipped cream or a drizzle of melted chocolate.

While fresh cherries are in season, I try to use them in as many dishes as I can. I also pit and freeze some to enjoy later. I used fresh, pitted cherries, but you could use frozen, if you prefer.

The recipe calls for biscuit mix- like Bisquick. You can use store bought, or even make your own. I included a recipe for homemade biscuit mix at the bottom of this post.

So here is the recipe. Enjoy!!

Fresh Cherry Cake

2 c. biscuit mix*

1/2 c. sugar

1/3 c. milk

2 T. oil

1 egg

1½ c. pitted cherries- sweet or sour


Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 9×9-inch pan. Beat all ingredients together, except cherries, for about 30 seconds. Fold in cherries and pour into prepared pan. Bake for about 35 minutes. Cake should be golden brown on top and test clean with a toothpick. Serve warm, if you can.

*You can use Bisquick or Jiffy Mix, or use homemade. Recipe follows.


Pastry Mix/ Biscuit Mix

8 cups sifted, all-purpose flour

1 c. powdered milk

1 c. powdered buttermilk

¼ c. baking powder

1 T. salt

2 c. shortening**

Sift dry ingredients together 3 times. Cut in shortening to resemble cornmeal. Keep in an airtight container.  Store in a cool dry place and use within six months.

**You can use coconut oil, if you prefer. If you do, chill coconut oil before making the mix, and store mix in fridge.


Cherry and Blueberry Clafoutis

Cherry and Blueberry Clafoutis

So what is clafoutis? Clafoutis is a sort of pancake, sort of custard, sort of quiche. It is a lovely dessert for fresh fruit, for sure.

You can serve it plain, or topped with powdered sugar or whipped cream. On a hot day, I like to serve it with a scoop of ice cream.

Clafoutis is really simple to make, too. You start by putting the fruit in a prepared pan. The batter is made in a blender, and takes just a couple of minutes to prepare. You pour the batter over the fruit- and bake.

I used cherries and blueberries in this one, but you can use all sorts of fruits- peaches, plums, raspberries…..

Most people enjoy it as a dessert, but it is also nice with that morning cup of coffee.

I used a combination I thought would make a nice dessert for summer. Blueberries and cherries are in season and so fresh.

Cherry and Blueberry Clafoutis

2 c. pitted cherries, I cut them in half, but you can leave whole

1 c. blueberries

3 eggs

1 c. sugar

3 T. melted butter

½ c. flour

2 t. vanilla extract

1 t. almond extract

pinch of salt

1 c. half and half

powdered sugar, optional


Grease a 9×9-inch baking dish or pie pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place cherries and blueberries in the prepared pan. In blender, combine eggs, sugar, butter, flour, flavorings and salt.* Blend until smooth. Add half and half and blend again until smooth. Pour batter over the cherries and blueberries. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until clafoutis is browned around edges and puffed up. Allow to cool and dust with powdered sugar, if you like. It will deflate as it cools. Serves 6.


* You can whisk the ingredients together by hand, if you prefer.


Blueberry and Red Grape Sorbet

Blueberry-Red Grape Sorbet

Sometimes accidents are a good thing. I was planning on making a sorbet from frozen blueberries. I had already made a strawberry sorbet and a coconut sorbet. I wanted something “blue” for a red, white and blue dessert.

I grabbed a few containers of  blueberries out of the freezer and put them on the counter to soften for a few minutes. Well, instead of three containers of blueberries I had grabbed one of blueberries and two of red grapes.

I decided to use them together. It really worked out well, because the grapes added a lot of natural sweetness to the blueberries. I added a couple of tablespoons of sugar to the fruit, but in hindsight, I think the sorbet would be sweet enough without any added sugar. I also added a little fresh mint. It really is a light, refreshing dessert. I only wish I had more. With company over the weekend, and hot weather, it is sure to go fast.


Blueberry-Red Grape Sorbet

4 c. red grapes, fresh or frozen

2 c. blueberries, fresh or frozen

sugar to taste- I used a couple of tablespoons

a few sprigs of fresh mint, optional

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. You might have to do this in a couple of batches. Place in a container and freeze until solid. Remove from freezer and allow to soften for about 20 minutes, or even a little less. Mixture should still be frozen, but soft enough to break into chunks. Place in processor and mix again. Mixture will get smoother and softer. You can also do this step in a stand mixer or even with a hand mixer. Return sorbet to freezer, until ready to eat it.

Sweet Potato Pound Cake

Sweet Potato Pound Cake

Sweet Potato Pound Cake

I have posted this recipe before, but I think it is worth posting again. If the only way you enjoy sweet potatoes is as a side at the holidays, or in pie, it is time to expand your thinking about them. In this recipe, the mashed sweet potatoes add both sweetness and moistness to the finished cake. Great plain, or with a dollop of whipped cream and some fresh berries. This cake makes a great dessert or a nice addition to a brunch menu. Also a nice way to use up leftover mashed sweet potatoes, if you find yourself with leftovers.


Sweet Potato Pound Cake

1 1/2 c. cake flour*

1/2 t. each baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg

1/2 c. unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 c. sour cream, room temperature

1 1/3 c. sugar

3 eggs, room temperature

1/2 c. mashed sweet potato

1 t. vanilla

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Lightly oil an 8×4-inch loaf pan. Mix flour with next 4 ingredients and set aside. In large mixing bowl beat together butter and sour cream. Beat in sugar and then beat in eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in mashed sweet potato and vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients and pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until tester comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool in pan 30 minutes before loosening cake sides from pan and removing. After cake has cooled wrap in foil and store at room temperature. Serves 8.

* If you don’t have cake flour you can make your own. Simply measure out a cup of all purpose flour and remove 2 tablespoons of the flour. That is now the same as a cup of cake flour OR remove the 2 tablespoons of flour and replace them with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and sift together to combine. I do the flour/cornstarch mix and keep a batch on hand for when I need it in baking.

Cherry Bombs

Cherry Bombs

Cherry Bombs

These little treats make a great addition to your 4th of July party. They are simple to make, with only three ingredients.  You can throw them together in no time at all. I think of the cherry bombs as a type of candy. A simple, sweet treat that can be served just as they are. They can also be used to top a cake or other dessert. You can even garnish a cocktail with them. I did the same thing with strawberries, but “strawberry bombs” did not have the same ring to it.


To make the cherry bombs, you will need cherries, white chocolate and blue sugar. If you don’t have blue sugar, you can put granulated sugar in a bag, add a few drops of blue food coloring, seal the bag and shake it up. The sugar will turn blue.  Wash and dry off some large, sweet cherries. Melt white chocolate, stirring until smooth. Dip the cherries in the white chocolate, then the blue sugar. Place on wax paper to firm up. Store in fridge.

Chocolate Waffles

Chocolate Waffles

Chocolate Waffles

These are fun because they can be for breakfast, brunch or even dessert.  I like to make a batch and keep them in the freezer. That way I can pop them in the toaster when I need dessert  in a pinch. Topped with a scoop of ice cream and fresh strawberries they make a great dessert for a last minute dinner with friends.

Chocolate Waffles

 2 eggs, room temperature

1/2 stick butter, melted and cooled

1 t. vanilla

1 c. buttermilk

1 c. flour

3/4 c. sugar

1/2 c. cocoa

1 t. cinnamon

1/2 each baking powder and baking soda

1/4 t. salt

1/4 t. nutmeg

Beat first three ingredients until light and foamy, about 2 minutes. Stir in milk. Beat in dry ingredients just until blended.  Bake until waffles are cooked through. Makes 4 cups batter. Serve with whipped butter or sour cream and fresh fruit. I like them just dusted with powdered sugar, too.