Semi-Homemade Desserts
By Sandra Lee
Published by Miramax Books
October 2003; $19.95US/$29.95CAN; 140135927-2

Sandra Lee -- author of the New York Time's best-seller Semi-Homemade Cooking -- returns with over 100 quick and delicious recipes for everyone's favorite course -- dessert.

Sandra Lee shares her Semi-Homemade technique of combining fresh ingredients with specially selected store-bought items -- from cake mixes to Cool-Whip. You can now create desserts that are as simple to make as they are sensational to eat. Each Semi-Homemade treat tastes as if it were made 100% from scratch -- but is created in a fraction of the time.

Semi-Homemade Desserts even includes a chapter with fun-to-make recipes from your favorite celebrities as well as a bonus chapter to help you host the most incredibly creative gatherings for your friends and family. The best part is you can do it all in minutes, with products right from your cupboard!

Sandra Lee is an internationally acclaimed author and lifestyle expert with a devoted following in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, Asia, and South Africa. Her signature Semi-Homemade approach to cooking, home decorating, gardening, entertaining, beauty, food, and fashion offers savvy shortcuts and down-to-earth secrets for creating a beautiful, affordable lifestyle. Her first book Semi-Homemade Cooking was a New York Times national best-seller. Sandra has shared her time-saving tips, tricks, and recipes on NBC's Today, Entertainment Tonight, CNN, ABC's The View, and on local news programs around the country. A regular lifestyle contributor to Parade, Sandra has also been featured in such publications as W Magazine, Newsweek, Woman's Day, Redbook, and Readers Digest. She is currently in development for a Semi-Homemade television series. She lives in Los Angeles.

For more information, please visit the author's Web site at: or visit

"Simple and sweet and good as homemade -- baking Semi-Homemade has never been easier. If you love dessert, you'll love Sandra Lee."
--Mary Hart, Entertainment Tonight

--The Today Show

"Fast and fab."
--Reader's Digest

"In Sandra's book, you will always find delicious-tasting shortcuts. Not only do her recipes look good, they taste delicious too."
--Wolfgang Puck

The following is an excerpt from the book Semi-Homemade Desserts
by Sandra Lee
Published by Miramax Books; October 2003; $19.95US/$29.95CAN; 140135927-2
Copyright © 2003 SLSH Enterprises

Pecan Caramel CheeseCake

Pecan pie or cheesecake? Try a bite of both with this no-bake New York-style cheesecake smothered in caramelized pecans. The inspired combination of creamy cheesecake, gooey caramel, and crunchy pecans is a two-in-one treat, perfect for parties, special dinners or starting a new Thanksgiving tradition. Be generous with the caramel -- and don't be afraid to let it drip down the sides. It just looks more homemade.

Serves 12 to 16

2 boxes (11.1 ounces each) real cheesecake dessert mix, Jell-O No Bake®
3/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 1/2 cups cold whole milk
1 cup butterscotch caramel sauce, Mrs. Richardson's ®
1 cup pecans, toasted, chopped
1/2 cup golden brown sugar, packed

Prep time: 10 minutes
Chilling time: 5 hours


Line bottom of 9-inch-diameter springform pan with parchment or wax paper.
Mix 2 packages of crust, melted butter, sugar, and water in large bowl until well blended. Reserve 1 cup of crumb mixture for topping.
Press remaining crumb mixture onto bottom of prepared pan (not up sides).
Combine 2 packages of cheesecake filling and cold milk in another large bowl.
Beat for 3 minutes, or until smooth and thick.
Fold 1/2 cup of caramel sauce into cheesecake mixture.
Pour mixture into crust-lined springform pan.
Mix reserved crumb mixture with 1/4 cup of caramel sauce, pecans, and brown sugar.
Sprinkle atop cheesecake.
Refrigerate cake at least 5 hours, or until set.
Run warm knife around pan sides to loosen cake; remove pan sides.
Transfer cake to serving platter and drizzle with remaining 1/4 cup of caramel sauce.
Serve cold.


Frozen English Toffee Cake

Serves 12 to 16

1 box (18.25-ounce) devil's food cake mix, Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe®
1 1/3 cups water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs

Ice Cream Filling and Frosting:
1/2 gallon chocolate or vanilla ice cream, softened, Breyers® or Edy's®
1 bag (10-ounce) English toffee bits, SKOR®
1 container (8-ounce) frozen whipped topping, thawed, Cool Whip®

Prep time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes
Cooling time: 30 minutes
Freezing time: 3 hours

Cake Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8-inch-round cake pans. Combine cake mix, water, oil, and eggs in large bowl. Beat for 2 minutes, or until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake for 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center of cakes comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans on cooling rack for 15 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and cool cakes completely on cooling rack.

Ice Cream Filling Preparation:

Line three 8-inch-round cake pans with plastic wrap, allowing 3 inches of plastic to hang over sides. Divide ice cream equally among pans. Using rubber spatula, spread ice cream over bottoms of prepared pans, forming smooth, even layers. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of toffee bits over ice cream in each pan. Freeze for 3 hours, or until frozen solid.

To Assemble and Frost:

Cut each cake layer horizontally in half. Working quickly, remove ice cream from pans. Peel off plastic and place 1 ice cream circle on each of 3 cake layers. Stack cake and ice cream layers atop each other on serving platter. Top with remaining cake layer. Frost cake with whipped topping and sprinkle with remaining toffee bits. Freeze until ready to serve. Let ice cream cake stand at room temperature for 5 minutes before serving.


Peanut Butter Mini Mud Pies

Makes 6

6 tablespoons creamy peanut butter, Jif®
6 mini graham cracker crusts, Keebler Ready Crust®
3 1/2 cups (from 1 quart) coffee ice cream, Häagen-Dazs®
1 bottle (7-ounce) milk chocolate shell topping, Hershey's®
1 tablespoon graham cracker crumbs, Nabisco Honey Maid®

Prep time: 10 minutes
Freezing time: 1 hour


Spread 1 tablespoon of peanut butter into bottom of each crust.
Using 1/2-cup or 4-ounce ice cream scoop, place ball of ice cream into each crust.
Freeze for at least 1 hour, or until ice cream and crusts are frozen solid.
Remove pies from foil pie tins; place pies on plates.
Drizzle milk chocolate shell topping over ice cream in crusts.
Immediately sprinkle 11/2 teaspoon of crumbs over each pie and serve.

Variation: To make mini chocolate pie crusts (as shown in the photo), scrape the filling from cookies, then finely grind the cookies in a food processor. Mix the crumbs with just enough melted butter to moisten lightly. Press the crumb mixture over the sides and bottom of mini pie pans.


Cherry Lollipops

These hard candy lollipops are the perfect project for pint-sized chefs. Make them in any color or flavor you want -- even in fun shapes, using metal cookie cutters or candy molds, available at most kitchen stores. To make cute gifts, holiday treats, or party favors, tie colorful ribbons around the sticks and curl the ends by pulling the ribbons between your thumb and the blade of a pair of scissors.

Makes 20 lollipops

Nonstick cooking spray, PAM®
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup, Karo®
1/4 cup butter
1 box (3-ounce) cherry gelatin dessert mix, Jell-O®

Special Equipment:
20 4-inch lollipop sticks
Metal tablespoon-size measuring spoon
Candy thermometer

Prep time: 10 minutes


Spray 2 large baking sheets with nonstick spray.
Arrange 10 lollipop sticks on each baking sheet, spacing evenly apart.
Stir sugar, corn syrup, and butter in small saucepan over low heat until sugar has dissolved.
Slowly bring to boil, stirring frequently.
Continue cooking for 7 minutes, or until candy thermometer registers 275 degrees.
Stir in gelatin until smooth.
Using metal tablespoon and working quickly, spoon syrup over one end of each lollipop stick.
Cool completely.
Wrap each lollipop in plastic wrap and store in airtight container.


Mini Pumpkin Spice Cakes With Orange Glaze

Makes 8

1 box (18.25-ounce) spice cake mix, Betty Crocker SuperMoist®
1 1/4 cups water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs

Orange Glaze:
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 bag (12-ounce) premier white morsels, Nestlé
Red and yellow food coloring

Marzipan Stems and Leaves:
1 package (7-ounce) marzipan, Odense®
Green food coloring

Special Equipment:
Disposable latex gloves, leaf-shaped cookie cutter

Prep time: 20 minutes, baking time: 20 minutes, cooling time: 30 minutes
Chilling time: 10 minutes, decorating time: 15 minutes

Cake Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil and flour 8 mini bundt pans. Combine cake mix, water, oil, and eggs in large bowl. Beat for 2 minutes, or until well blended. Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Bake for 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted near center of cakes comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans on cooling racks for 15 minutes. Invert cakes onto cooling rack and cool completely. Set cooling rack atop baking sheet.

For the Orange Glaze: Heat cream in small saucepan over medium heat until bubbles appear; remove from heat. Add white morsels and stir until melted and smooth. Stir in food colorings, 1 drop at a time, until desired color is achieved. Drizzle glaze over cakes. Refrigerate cakes for 10 minutes, or until glaze is firm. Cover and reserve any remaining glaze.

For the Marzipan Stems and Leaves:
Place marzipan in medium bowl. Using latex gloves, knead food coloring, 1drop at a time, into marzipan until desired color is achieved. Divide marzipan into 2 equal pieces. Roll 1 marzipan piece into 12-inch-long log. Cut log crosswise into 8 equal pieces; set aside to use as stems. Flatten remaining marzipan piece, then place between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Using rolling pin, roll out marzipan to 1/4-inch thickness. Using leaf-shaped cookie cutter or small sharp knife, cut out 24 leaves. Decorate cakes with marzipan stems and leaves. Rewarm reserved glaze. Serve cakes, passing glaze alongside.

Copyright © 2003 SLSH Enterprises

For more information, please visit the author's Web site at: