In the Kitchen with Brian and Lisa: Delicious Desserts

by | Dec 31, 2015

December 2015 Master OverviewWRAL reporter Brian Shrader and our own Lisa Prince feature seasonal recipes in their weekly Local Dish Cooking segment. This month Brian and Lisa are featuring delicious desserts starring sweet potatoes, peanuts, apples and pecans.

Sweet Potato Pie doughnuts placed first in the N.C. Sweet Potato Commission’s cooking contest at the N.C. State Fair. Melissa Ubbens of Cary submitted these light and fluffy baked doughnuts.

Sweet Potato Pie Doughnuts


  • 1⁄2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1⁄2 cups sugar
  • 1 1⁄2 cup N.C. Sweet Potatoes (baked and mashed without skin)
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 3⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder

Pecan Crunch Topping:

  • 1⁄2 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1⁄4 cup loosely packed brown sugar
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup coarsely ground roasted pecans

In a mixer, beat together the oil, eggs, sugar, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking powder. Once mixed, slowly add the flour. Fill doughnut pan ¾ full with batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes, cool completely before topping with pecan crunch.

Mix melted butter and maple syrup together and brush on doughnut. Mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans. Sprinkle the pecan topping onto the doughnut with your hands, placing the pecans if necessary. Drizzle syrup/butter mixture over the pecan topping to help stick to doughnut.

The next recipe is for a little mini pecan pies, which were a favorite Christmas treat growing up for Lisa. She said it’s hard to eat just one.

Pecan Tassies



  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 1⁄2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted


  • 3⁄4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon margarine or butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1⁄2 cup pecans, chopped
  • Pinch of salt


Cream together the cream cheese and the butter. Add the flour until combined. Chill for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a mini-muffin pan, fill each cup with a pinch of the dough to create a small pie shaped crust pushing the dough up the sides. Stir together all the filling ingredients and spoon into the dough until it is level with the top of the crust. Bake for about 10 minutes.

Makes 20-24 depending on how full you fill the crust

Gretchen Van De Carr, of Durham took first place in the N.C. Peanut Growers Association’s PB&J contest at the fair with this creative PB&J appetizer. Lisa likes the fact that they stay crunchy and are baked. Leftovers will keep for up to a week. These treats are savory, sweet and spicy all in one bite.

PB&J Wontons


  • 1 cup unsalted, unsweetened peanut butter
  • 1 cup pepper jelly (as hot as you like it!!!)
  • 36 wonton wrappers
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Course sea salt and cracked pepper to taste.


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay out wonton wrappers on parchment paper leaving a little room to work between each. Place 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of peanut butter in the center of each wonton. Place 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of pepper jelly on top of the peanut butter in the center of each wonton. Get a small bowl of water.

Dip your fingers in the water and run them along all edges of a wrapper. Then fold that wrapper into a triangle and press edges together. I like to use a fork to help press edges (optional, but pretty).

Repeat with the rest of the wonton wrappers.

Brush the tops of the triangles with olive oil. Sprinkle wontons with course sea salt and fresh cracked pepper.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool for at least 5 minutes. Enjoy warm or cold.

If you are looking for a delicious traditional dessert with a twist this year, look no further. James Halley won first place in the N.C. Apple Growers Association Apple Recipe Contest at the N.C. State Fair with this moist cake that is filled with North Carolina-grown apples.

Fresh Apple Pecan Raisin Cake with Honey Bourbon Glaze


  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1⁄2 cups coconut oil
  • 4 cups peeled, cored and chopped apples (Granny Smith or another firm tart variety)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon allspice


  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1⁄4 cup brown sugar
  • 1⁄4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1⁄3 cup bourbon (Glaze, substitute 1 part vanilla plus two parts water for ea. tablespoon of bourbon)


Mix ingredients until well combined. Spray Bundt pan with cooking spray. Spoon batter into the pan and tap on counter a couple of times to settle the batter and remove air pockets. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Take out of oven, let cool, turn upside down onto flat serving plate and remove pan. Drizzle with glaze.

Melt butter in saucepan. Then add brown sugar, honey and vanilla. Remove from heat and stir in bourbon. Carefully light fumes above sauce using a long match or lighter. Let stand until flames disappear.