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Recipes/ Sweets

Cherry Cream Cheese Hand Pies

Cherry cream cheese hand pies, dessert, valentines day, cherry, cream cheese

The first time I made these little pies was for my husband and I’s first Valentines Day after our daughter was born. We didn’t feel like leaving the house (probably because we were so sleep deprived) and decided to make a nice dinner at home and just relax. We have definitely had our fair share of eating out and dressing up for dinners but sometimes I just love the simplicity of a meal made at home. Now our little ones are 4 and almost 2 and every once in a while we put them to bed and enjoy a late night dinner date at home. These little pies are perfect for these date nights! They’re so easy, you can make them a day ahead of time, they’re even great for school lunch treats! And you really can make with any shape cookie-cutter that you have!

They start off with the cream cheese mixture which is just cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. You cant’ go wrong with that! Cherry Cream Cheese Hand Pies Valentines Day Dessert

The crust is just a store bought pie crust! It doesn’t get any easier than this! They come 2 per box but I just use one of the crusts and freeze the other one for later. You can easily double this recipe and make more pies to share with the kids though! If you’re looking for a heart shaped cookie cutter, HERE’S one that would work great!Cherry Cream Cheese Hand Pies Valentines Day dessert

The pies get filled with your cream cheese filling and some store-bought pie filling. I have made these before with fresh fruit but this is honestly just so much quicker and easier and there’s just something about those store-bought pie fillings that so gooey and delicious! Cherry Cream Cheese Hand Pies Valentines Day dessert

Now before I put the top crust on, I like to take my fingers and just spread it out a little thinner and wider so it will cover over all that filling and still reach the edges. Seal the edges with a little of your beaten egg using your finger, then they get dusted with a little sugar.Cherry Cream Cheese Hand Pies Valentines Day dessert

When they come out of the oven, they will be perfect little crispy pockets of goodness!

Cherry cream cheese hand pies, dessert, valentines day, cherry, cream cheese


Cherry Cream Cheese Hand Pies
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
35 mins
Servings: 6 Pies
Author: Coco and Ash
  • 1 Store bought pie crust (They come 2 per box so you can freeze the 2nd one for later!)
  • 4 ounces cream cheese (softened)
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • A sprinkle of flour for dusting your work surface
  • 3/4 cup canned cherry pie filling (You can sub any flavor!)
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.

  2. In a small bowl, mix together your cream cheese, 2 tbsp of sugar, and vanilla extract. Set aside.

  3. Sprinkle a little bit of flour on your counter or a board large enough to hold your pie crust and unroll your pie crust onto the flour. I only use one of the pie crusts that comes in the box. You can freeze the other one for another time!

  4. I use a rolling pin and roll my dough a little bit thinner. I just like makes the dough a little bit easier to work with. 

  5. Using your cookie cutter, cut out as many pieces as you can. I used a 3" heart for these and I cut out 12 (for 6 total pies). You can keep squeezing together the scraps and re-rolling them to get as many cut-outs as you can. Just make sure you are flouring your surface so the dough doesn't stick. 

  6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicon mats and lay out your cut-outs. 

  7. Spoon 1 tbsp of the cream cheese mixture onto half of them (The other half will be the tops of the pies)

  8. Then take a heaping tbsp of the pie filling and spoon it on top of the cream cheese mixture. Try to stay clear of the edges as best you can. 

  9. I do this next part with my hands because I've found it to be the easiest way. Just take your finger, dip it in the beaten egg and run it around the inside edge of of each pie then place the remaining pie pieces on top to cover and seal each pie. You can either just press the edges tightly together or use a fork to crimp the sides

  10. Brush the tops of each pie with a little bit of the egg wash and then sprinkle each pie with sugar. 

  11. Cut 2 slits in the top of each pie. This lets the steam out as they cook so they don't burst or get soggy. 

  12. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. The filling will be extremely hot so make sure you allow them to cool slightly before eating.  

Coco and Ash

Cherry Cream Cheese Hand Pies Valentines Day dessert

Breakfast/ Recipes/ Sweets

Cinnamon Sugar Banana Donuts

So, these banana donuts are definitely not a recipe that you’re going to whip up on a busy weekday. But take a lazy Saturday morning, put some music on (or cartoons for the kids…yes, my kids watch tv!) and get to work on these while you sip your coffee and you’ll feel so accomplished when you set these in front of your family!

This donut recipe came from an old cookbook that my mother in law let me borrow and it’s filled with recipes that are just classic, simple and delicious! I don’t know about you but I see so many recipes lately that are just weird or over-the-top and it makes me appreciate older classic recipes like these banana donuts so much more! They do take a little time to make but they are not difficult at all! And if you REALLY want to go all out (trust me…you do!), make them with my caramel dipping sauce on the side. (Tip: You can make the caramel sauce and the donut dough the night before!)


The dough will be a little sticky when you first take it out of the fridge so just sprinkle flour all over it when before you go to roll it out.

Cinnamon Sugar Banana Donuts breakfast dessert easy

Now I don’t own a donut cutter or even a tiny circle cutter so I just used a spice container lid. If you want to get a donut cutter, here’s one that looks like it’d be perfect for the donuts and the holes!Cinnamon Sugar Banana Donuts dessert breakfast easy

Cinnamon Sugar Banana Donuts dessert breakfast easy

These little guys only cook for about 45 seconds per side. And all you have to do to flip them is use a spatula to tap one side of the donut and they’ll easily flip right over!

Cinnamon Sugar Banana Donuts dessert breakfast easy

Cinnamon Sugar Banana Donuts dessert breakfast easy

Believe me when I tell you…you HAVE to make them with my caramel sauce!! Cinnamon Sugar Banana Donuts dessert breakfast easy

Thanks to my husband Matt for being my hand model! 🙂

Banana Donuts

I know it seems like this has recipe has a lot of steps but I wanted to make sure that I explained everything thoroughly so these are as easy as possible! They do take a little time but they're so worth it!

This recipe makes about 50 donut holes or 4 dozen regular donuts. 

  • 5 tbsp softened butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 small bananas)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (or regular milk with 1 tsp lemon juice added)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Canola or vegetable oil for frying (I used 6 cups)
  • "Coco and Ash" caramel dipping sauce
Cinnamon Sugar Coating
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
For the donuts
  1. Either in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl, add your butter and sugar and beat together until light and fluffy.

  2. Then add in your mashed bananas, eggs, vanilla, and buttermilk. (If you don't have buttermilk, just add 1 tsp of lemon juice to regular milk). Stir until combined. 

  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt. 

  4. Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet mixture. I like to add about 1/3 at a time and mix in between. If you're doing this by hand and not in a stand mixer, you're welcome for the arm workout 🙂 

  5. leave the dough in the bowl and pop it in the fridge for 1 hour. 

  6. After your dough has been chilled, sprinkle a board or your counter top with a little flour and plop the dough on top. You may want to sprinkle some flour on the top of the dough too if it seems sticky. 

  7. Knead the dough for just a second to bring it all together. (No need to any fancy kneading techniques, just squeeze the dough together a few times so it comes together). If you have any sticky spots, just sprinkle with more flour. 

  8. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to about 1/2 inch thick. 

  9. Cut out your donut holes. I don't have a fancy donut cutter so I just used the lid of a spice container. 

Frying the donuts
  1. Make your cinnamon sugar mixture and set it aside right next to where you are frying. 

  2. Add your oil to a pot so that it's at least 2 inches deep. 

  3. Heat the oil to 375. I use a candy thermometer but you'll know when your oil is ready when you drop a little bit of flour in the pan and it sizzles. I like to add in just one donut as a test and see how it does, if it browns quickly and the inside is raw, lower the heat. if it doesn't sizzle, raise your heat. I keep mine burner on medium pretty much the whole time. 

  4. So once you have your oil at the right temp, you can cook the donut holes in batches. I do about 5 or 6 at a time and cook them for about 45 seconds per side. 

  5. As soon as you pull them out of the oil, drop them into the cinnamon sugar mixture and roll them around until they are coated. If you go through a few batches and notice that the sugar has stopped sticking to the donuts, it's just because a lot of oil that's gotten into the cinnamon sugar mixture. Just add in some more sugar and cinnamon and keep going. 🙂 

  6. Enjoy!!! These are SO GOOD dipped in my brown sugar caramel sauce!

Cinnamon Sugar Banana Donuts dessert breakfast easy

Recipes/ Sweets

Easy Caramel Sauce

easy caramel sauce dip brown sugar dessert

Does caramel ever really need a lengthy introduction? I mean, it’s CARAMEL…we already know it’s amazing right?! This one however is made with brown sugar instead of white so it’s rich and tastes amazing on pretty much anything….seriously anything! I’m a huge caramel fan and I kid you not, the first time I made this I was just eating it straight out of the jar…with my fingers…like a savage (no shame). It doesn’t even compare to a store-bought sauce. I am all for convenience but Caramel is one of those things that just tastes so much better when you make it at home. You can also store it in the fridge for a couple of weeks. (Not that it’ll last that long!)

You start by adding the sugar, butter and water to the pan. How could anything that starts with those ingredients taste anything but great right?!

Easy Caramel Sauce

Once melted, you boil that for 5 minutes. It’s going to bubble like crazy but it’s totally fine. Just stir it to keep it from burning on the bottom.Caramel sauce dipping dessert

After the 5 minutes, take it off of the heat and add in your evaporated milk and vanilla and stir until it stops bubbling and is completely smooth. caramel sauce dipping dessert

That’s it!


5 from 2 votes
easy caramel sauce dip brown sugar dessert
Easy Caramel Sauce

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup evaporated milk depending on the consistency you want
  1. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, add your butter, brown sugar, water, and salt.

  2. Bring to a full boil for 5 minutes while stirring occasionally. 

  3. in a separate cup, add the vanilla extract to your evaporated milk. That way you can add it all in to the pot at once. 

  4. Once your mixture has been boiling for 5 minutes, remove it from the heat and slowly pour in your evaporated milk/vanilla mixture. It's going to bubble up like crazy but just keep stirring until it all comes together. 

  5. Make sure you cool it down before serving so it's not piping hot! 

Recipe Notes

I like to start with adding only about 1/3 cup of the evaporated milk at first and then going from there. The sauce will thicken up as the caramel cools down. (in the pictures from this post, I used 1/2 cup of the milk)

You can keep this in the fridge and just warm it up for about 20-30 seconds in the microwave when you're ready to use it. 


Caramel sauce easy dip dessert brown sugar

Cuban Food/ Recipes/ Sweets

Flan Cake

Flan Cake

As some of you know, I come from a large Cuban family so we are big fans of flan! Most people have tried regular flan at some point but this FLAN CAKE really takes it up a notch! It’s part cake and part flan and has a caramel sauce that soaks into everything! When my family asks me to bring a dessert, it’s usually flan cake! It has a few steps but nothing is difficult and trust me, it’s worth it!! If you’re not familiar with flan or you’ve never tried it, it’s has a custard consistency and is dense and rich with a vanilla caramel taste. What’s not to love about that right!?


Here’s what you need for the flan cake:

  • 1 box of yellow cake mix and ingredients to make (Usually eggs, oil, water)
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 1 (12 ounce) can of evaporated milk
  • 1 (14 ounce) can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 ounces of cream cheese at room temp
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Pre-heat your oven at 350 and go ahead and make the yellow cake batter as directed and set it aside.Flan Cake

In a blender, add in your evaporated milk, condensed milk, cream cheese, eggs, vanilla, and cinnamon. Blend until smooth. So far pretty easy right?! Go ahead and set this aside too.Flan Cake

Next is the part that makes this flan cake so delicious!! The caramel sauce! In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, add your 1.5 cups of sugar. You’re going to continue to cook this while stirring every few minutes, until the sugar is completely melted and a caramel color. It takes about 10 minutes. It’s done once all the lumps are gone and the sugar has completely liquified and caramelized. it can burn quickly after this point so just make sure to keep an eye on it 🙂  Here’s the stages the sugar will go through:Flan CakeNow this is very important…once your sugar has caramelized, make sure you put on some good oven mitts! Trust me when I say, the bundt pan will get super hot from the hot caramel and you don’t want to drop that when you’re in the middle of coating your pan. (And don’t try to stick your finger in the caramel to try it…not that I’ve done that or anything!)

Ok so you have your oven mitts on so go ahead and pour your hot caramel sauce into the bundt pan and continue to swirl it around the pan, coating as much as you can until the caramel starts to solidify. I also sprayed the center post with a little cooking spray AFTER the caramel had hardened. Flan Cake

Now, once your pan is coated, you can pour in the cake batter. (I sometimes leave a little out just to make it only come up half way. Just a personal preference though)flan cake

Pour the flan batter over the cake batter. I pour it all around the cake batter as best I can. It’s ok if it’s not perfect. It will spread out and even on its own. Flan Cake

Now, place your bundt pan inside of another bigger pan and add in enough water in the large pan to come up half way up the outside of the bundt pan. I used a slightly larger round pan but you can use any pan that the bundt pan can sit inside of. Flan Cake

Cover the bundt pan with foil and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. When it comes out, you’ll notice that all the cake has floated to the top and the flan has made an even layer on the bottom (which will be the top when you flip it over.)

Let the flan cake completely cool to room temp or you can refrigerate it and then carefully flip it onto a large dish. Make sure that your dish has a lip so the caramel won’t run off the edges! Flan Cake

Note: if you have some caramel stuck in your pan after you flip the flan over, take your bundt pan and warm it over your stove top until that caramel melts. Then you can pour that over the flan as well. I always do this because I hate to waste a drop of that caramel! Flan Cake

Flan Cake
  • 1 box of yellow cake mix and ingredients to make (Usually eggs oil, water)
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 1 ounce can of evaporated milk 12
  • 1 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk 14
  • 4 ounces of cream cheese at room temp
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees,
  2. Prepare the cake mix as directed on your box and set the batter aside.
  3. In a blender, add the evaporated milk, condensed milk, cream cheese, eggs, vanilla, and cinnamon.
  4. Blend until smooth.
  5. In a sauce pan, add your white sugar. (Make sure to keep a close eye on this step since sugar can burn quickly!)
  6. Cook the sugar over medium high heat until it's completely liquified and caramel colored. (stirring occasionaly)
  7. Remove it from the heat.
  8. Put on oven mitts and pour the caramel into the bundt pan.
  9. With your oven mitts on, swirl the caramel around the inside of the bundt pan to coat as much of the surface as you can.
  10. Keep swirling until the caramel is no longer moving.
  11. Spray any uncoated parts of the pan with cooking spray.
  12. Pour the cake batter into the pan.
  13. Pour the flan batter into the pan.
  14. Take your bundt pan and place it inside of a larger pan that it can sit inside of.
  15. Fill the larger pan with water so that it comes about half way up the outside of the bundt pan.
  16. Cover the bundt pan with foil.
  17. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  18. Let it cool completely or refrigerate it over night.
  19. When you're ready to flip it. Place a large platter over the top of the bundt pan and carefully flip it upside down. Jiggle the pan until you're sure the cake is loose.
Recipe Notes
Note: Make sure you flip your flan cake onto a plate that has a lip on it so the caramel won't be running off the edges. Another note: If after you flip your flan cake, there is still some caramel stuck in your pan, you can heat your pan over a stove burner on low to loosen that caramel and then pour it over the flan cake 🙂

Flan Cake

Appetizers and Sides/ Breakfast/ Recipes/ Sweets

Sweet Cinnamon Applesauce

Sweet Cinnamon AppleSauce

This sweet cinnamon applesauce actually came about a couple of years ago. Around this time of year we took a family trip to Michigan and as you know, Fall in Michigan means APPLES everywhere! We went apple picking, bought apples at the grocery store, and came home with a so many apples!


Sweet cinnamon applesauce

This was 2 years ago so “Coco” is a little older now and I was actually pregnant with “Ash”.

So what’s the perfect way to use up a bunch of apples…applesauce!! This applesauce is SO GOOD!! It almost tastes like an apple pie filling! It has brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and is really easy to pull together too!

Here’s what you need:

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 water
  • 1 cup apple juice or cider
  • 10 small apples (I use McIntosh)
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

First go ahead and peel your apples and cut them into about 1″ chunks and set them aside just for a few minutes. sweet cinnamon applesauce


Then using a pan large enough to hold all of your apples, add your brown sugar and water. Cook until the brown sugar has dissolved (about 3-5 minutes).sweet cinnamon applesauce

After dissolving the brown sugar, you can add in the rest of the applesauce ingredients (apples, cinnamon, juice, nutmeg).sweet cinnamon applesauce

Now you’re just going to let these simmer on medium heat, uncovered for 30 minutes. Make sure you stir them around every few minutes. sweet cinnamon applesauce

Now after the 30 minutes, it’s time to get the applesauce texture how you like it. You can either blend it until completely smooth, leave it just how it is, or (and this is what I do) you can mash it down with either a potato masher or a pastry cutter. (Note: if you used larger apples and your sauce seems a little dry at the end, just add in some more apple juice) 🙂sweet cinnamon applesauce

Now I like to eat this applesauce while it’s warm. I like to eat it on vanilla ice cream, I like to eat it on pancakes…I like to eat it on everything! It’s taste almost like an apple pie filling! I hope you enjoy it!sweet cinnamon applesauce

Sweet Cinnamon Apple Sauce
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 water
  • 1 cup apple juice or cider
  • 10 small apples I use McIntosh
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  1. Heat brown sugar and water over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. (about 3-5 minutes)
  2. Add in the rest of your ingredients: apples, juice, cinnamon, nutmeg.
  3. Cook over medium heat, uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Prepare according to the consistency of your preference. Either, leave extra chunky, mash with a potato masher or pastry cutter, or blend.
  5. Enjoy!
  6. I like to eat mine plain as a side dish, on pancakes, on vanilla ice cream. Let me know how you like to serve yours!
Recipe Notes
(Note: If you used larger apples and your applesauce seems a little bit dry at the end, just add in some apple juice) 🙂

sweet cinnamon applesauce