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Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Desserts
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Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Desserts

4.3 6
by Sandra Lee, Mary Hart (Introduction)

  • Recipes for every palate and mood—the Semi-Homemade way creates an inspiring pairing of fresh ingredients and packaged foods.
  • Indulgent dessert creations that are as spectacular in taste as they are in presentation.
  • Unabashedly rich homey favorites, mouthwatering American classics, to-die-for chocolate delicacies, fabulous special


  • Recipes for every palate and mood—the Semi-Homemade way creates an inspiring pairing of fresh ingredients and packaged foods.
  • Indulgent dessert creations that are as spectacular in taste as they are in presentation.
  • Unabashedly rich homey favorites, mouthwatering American classics, to-die-for chocolate delicacies, fabulous special occasion sweets, and festive holiday treasures.
  • Star-studded sweet treats from such celrbrities as Jamie Lee Curtis, Eric McCormack, and Katie Couric.
  • Sandra offers a special chapter of inspiring menus, creative tablescapes, and entertaining hints to make celebrating every occasion a snap!
  • Helpful Semi-Homemade hints and tips ensure success.
  • All-new bonus chapters feature shortcut cookies, light and healthful treats, and dazzling dessert gifts with amazing packaging and wrapping ideas for a "wow!" presentation.
  • Beautiful photo of finished food with every recipe plus hundreds of how-to photos to ensure success

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this newest by Lee, author of the bestselling Semi-Homemade Cooking, a typical ingredients list reads like an index of advertising sponsors-Duncan Hines, Nestle, Carnation. According to Lee, that's the idea. Why buy fresh ingredients when you can buy mixes and prepared foods that allow you to skip a few steps? The gimmick-buy name-brand food items and transform them into glorious dishes-is a good one, but the results are often less than satisfactory. (One additional downside with this approach-aside from the chemical and additives involved-is that many of these dishes emphasize attitude rather than flavor.) Recipes such as Pastel Petit Fours, which are relatively time-intensive, look much better than they taste. This is less true of the Frozen Oreo Cake, but the Easter Bunny Cake (which requires eight name-brand ingredients) is not only overly sweet, but somewhat unattractive. Of course, some of the recipes appeal to the palate by virtue of the ingredients alone. Who doesn't like whipped topping, especially if it's mixed with fruit-flavored gelatin? For the reader who tends to purchase items like the ones used herein, these recipes are sure to appeal. Perhaps unnecessarily, headshots of television stars accompany many of the recipes, something that suggests the recipes either come from or are favorites of well-known people-e.g., there's Sex and the City's Kristin Davis's Savvy-Simple Limewhip Angel Food Cake and Katie Couric's Early Morning Raspberry Crescent Ring. (Oct.) Forecast: This cookbook caters to a very specific, very large niche market-so large that Miramax is backing it with a 100,000 first printing and a $250,000 marketing campaign. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Publication date:
Edition description:
Revised Edition
Product dimensions:
9.10(w) x 9.70(h) x 0.60(d)

Read an Excerpt

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

Meet the Author

Sandra Lee is host of two popular shows on Food Network, Sandra's Money Saving Meals and the Emmy-nominated Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee. A New York Times bestselling author and editor in chief of the Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade magazine, she is the foremost expert on how to make all areas of home life more beautiful and enjoyable for a fraction of the cost and time. For more information and great recipes, please visit the official Sandra Lee website at www.SandraLee.com.

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4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Valentina76 More than 1 year ago
This book is great! Specially if you don't have too much time to spend in the kitchen but also wants to prepared delicious desserts for you, family and friends. Semi-homemade just perfect!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book and very easy for anyone who is busy but would like more variety in desserts. She makes things easy for someone on the go.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have had nothing but success with this dessert book & I entertain often. My husband & I are in business on our plantation so I am 'on view' and Sandra NEVER fails me. I watch her TV shows for inspiration & pick up tips whenever I have the time to tune in. Try her for a very successful and EASY life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wow, I loved this cook book so much. It gave me tons of cute ideas for desserts, and the recipes are so easy to make!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Nothing in this book is created from scratch, all recipes call for boxed cake mixes or refridgerated cookie dough. Baking from scratch is an art and I do not like 'convenience' baking. Baking should take a little time, get your kitchen a little messy, and make your kitchen smell good and make friends and family look foward to things coming out of your oven.