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The Best From Scratch Dessert Recipes

Christmas is just around the corner. You may already have the menu planned for Christmas dinner, but in case you need some sweet new ideas to finish off your holiday meal, here are some of our favorite go-to dessert recipes for holidays and special occasions.

Classic Apple Pie


Pie dough:

  • 2 ½ cups flour

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 ½ sticks of very cold butter

  • 8 Tbs ice water


  • 2 ½ pounds granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced

  • ¾ cups sugar

  • 2 Tbs flour

  • ½ tsp salt

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • ¼ tsp nutmeg

  • ½ lemon

  • 1 egg, beaten

  • 1 Tbs sugar


  1. In a medium sized bowl add the flour and salt and mix.

  2. Cut the cold butter into small cubes and add to the flour. You can use a pastry cutter, fork, or your hands to work the butter into the flour. Mix until you have lumps about the size of small peas.

  3. Add the ice water 1 Tbs at a time, mixing thoroughly until the dough beings to form into a ball. You may not need all 8 Tbs to accomplish this. If you use all the water and your dough is still dry, add a little more. The dough should not be too sticky or wet

  4. Work the dough into a ball, wrap with plastic and place in the fridge.

  5. Peel, core and slice the apples.

  6. In a bowl, add the apples, sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and the juice from half a lemon. Mix until all the apples are coated, then place in the refrigerator.

  7. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

  8. Remove the dough from the fridge. On a floured surface cut the pie dough in half and roll out both halves until round and about 1/8 inch thick.

  9. Place one of your dough circles into a pie dish. Gently press the dough into the bottom of the pan. Your dough should still hang over the sides of the pie dish. If it doesn’t, you can trim some sides that are longer and place them in the deficient areas.

  10. Pour the apple mixture into the pie pan.

  11. Add the top layer of dough. Trim excess dough from the sides and pinch the top and bottom crusts together to create a crimp. Make sure the edges are sealed together.

  12. Brush the pie with the beaten egg and sprinkle sugar on top.

  13. Cut four slits in the top crust to create a vent

  14. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and no greyish or undercooked pastry remains.

  15. Allow to cool completely before slicing.

Don’t want the hassle of making a pie crust? Try this Dutch apple pie instead!

Dutch Apple Pie


Crust & Topping:

  • 2 cups flour

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar

  • ½ cup quick oats

  • ¾ cup butter, melted


  • 2/3 cup sugar

  • 2 Tbs cornstarch

  • 1 ¼ cups cold water

  • 4 cup peeled, cored and chopped granny smith apples (about 2 large)

  • 1 tsp vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Mix flour, brown sugar, oats, and butter. Reserve ¾ cups of this mixture for the topping. Press remaining mixture into the bottom and sides of an ungreased 9 inch pie plate.

  3. In a large saucepan mix sugar, cornstarch, and water until smooth. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, add apples and vanilla and stir to coat.

  4. Pour into crust. Crumble topping over filling.

  5. Bake until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly about 40-45 minutes. Cover edges with foil the last 20 minutes to prevent over browning. Allow to cool on a wire rack before serving.

Lemon Poppyseed Squash Bread


  • 1 cup melted butter

  • 2 cups granulated sugar

  • Juice and zest of 2 small lemons

  • 1 tsp almond extract

  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

  • 3 large eggs

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • ½ tsp baking powder

  • 3 cups flour

  • 2 cups grated summer squash

  • 1 Tbs poppy seeds


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease or line 2 bread loaf pans and set aside.

  2. Place melted butter, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, almond extract, and vanilla in a large bowl. Cream together until fluffy and light in color, about 1-2 minutes

  3. Add the eggs one at a time and mix in each egg thoroughly before adding the next.

  4. Evenly sprinkle salt, baking soda, and baking powder over the mixture. Mix well.

  5. Add the flour a half cup at a time, mixing thoroughly between additions.

  6. Fold in the squash and poppy seeds. Divide the batter between the loaf pans. Bake 1 hour until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

Now, obviously, if you’re going to make these cinnamon rolls, you’ll need a sourdough starter. I like sourdough cinnamon rolls over regular yeast rolls because there is more flavor in the dough. This recipe does take some forethought and planning because you need to start it about 30 hours before you want to serve them, but it is SO worth it. So if you don't have a sourdough starter, find a friend does and ask them to give you a little bit so you can try this recipe!


Sweet Stiff Starter:

  • 90 grams white flour

  • 40 grams water

  • 30 grams sourdough starter

  • 30 grams sugar


  • 130 grams scalded milk

  • 86 grams butter, cubed

  • 120 grams sugar

  • 10 grams salt

  • 6 grams vanilla extract

  • 190 grams sweet stiff starter

  • 450 grams white flour

  • 50 grams whole grain flour

  • 3 eggs

  • Cooking oil or butter, for greasing.


  • 70 grams butter

  • 200 grams light brown sugar

  • 16 grams ground cinnamon

  • 1.5 grams salt

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 227 grams cream cheese (8oz), softened

  • 57 grams butter, softened

  • 240 grams powdered sugar

  • 2 grams vanilla extract

  • 1/8 tsp salt


  1. About 6-12 hours before you mix up your dough, build the sweet stiff starter.

  2. Mix the flour, water, starter, and sugar in a small jar and scrape down the sides of your jar with a spatula

  3. Take the start our of the jar and briefly knead it to fully incorporate the ingredients.

  4. Return the start to the jar, cover, and let it double in size.

Dough Mixing:

  1. When your sweet stiff starter is ready, scald the milk by warming it to 160 degrees in the microwave or on the stove.

  2. Remove the milk from the heat and add the butter, sugar, salt and vanilla to cool down the milk.

  3. Tear the sweet stiff starter into 5 or 6 pieces and put them in the bowl of the stand mixer. Add the flours, eggs, and milk mixture to the bowl.

  4. Mix on low speed with a paddle attachment until the dough begins to come together, then switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for 10-15 minutes.

  5. Scrape the dough into a medium bowl, cover, and let rise until it has grown by at least 75%. This takes 6-12 hours depending on the ambient temperature. Aim to keep this dough at warmer temperatures, above 75 degrees if you can.

Filling Prep: