Generational holiday desserts from your neighbors

Families in SCV have dessert recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation to keep the recipe's legacy alive. Courtesy.

A delicious homemade dessert for the family to enjoy is the cherry on top of every holiday dinner.

So it comes as no surprise that families pass down different dessert recipes through generations to keep the recipe ‘that grandma used to make’ alive. Though the original creator may not always be there to make it, these recipes continue their legacy. However for others, younger generations are able to work alongside the creator, creating countless memories during the holiday season. Below, Santa Clarita residents have shared some of their own family desserts with the community to try during the holidays. 

Pie is holiday staple dessert similar to Mckellar and Mowry’s recipes. Courtesy.

Grandma Mowry’s Chocolate Pie

Courtesy of Lauren Mowry, of Saugus

“This recipe is near and dear to my family,” Lauren Mowry said. “It was nearly lost because Grandma Mowry did not originally write it down.”

3 Tbsp Hershey’s Cocoa

4 Tbsp flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/8 tsp salt

3 cups Half & Half or Whole Milk

1 egg yolk

1 Tbsp butter

1 tsp vanilla

1 pre-baked pie crust

Stir together cocoa, flour, salt and sugar in large saucepan. Mix together half & half and egg yolk. Combine with dry ingredients. Put over medium heat stirring constantly until bubbly and the mixture thickens. Take off heat. Add butter and vanilla. Stir until almost cool. Pour into crust. Sit for several hours to thicken before cutting. Top with whipped cream. 

Sweet Potato Pie

Courtesy of Renée Mckellar, of Saugus 

“My mom makes this dessert and it tastes so good,” said Mckellar. “I have to wait all year to eat it.” 

4 large sweet potatoes

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup heavy cream 

2 tablespoons agave nectar 

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon almond extract 

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

Pinch kosher salt

Zest of 1 lemon

1 ready-made deep-dish pie crust

1 package ready made pie dough

1 large egg yolk, whisked 

Boil potatoes for 25 minutes. Mash them and add butter, cream, agave, cinnamon, nutmeg, almond extract, vanilla extract, salt and lemon zest. Put it into the pie crust, brush with egg and then bake for 40 minutes.

In Grunwald’s cheesecake recipe, she includes the famous cookie, Oreos. Courtesy.

Chocolate Oreo Cheesecake

Courtesy of Melanie Grunwald, of Newhall 

“I enjoy it because I love chocolate and it is decadent,” said Melanie Grunwald, “and it freezes well, too.”

Graham Cracker Crust:

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 cup butter, melted


3, 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened

1 1/4 cups white sugar

2 tablespoons white flour

4 eggs

2 egg yolks only

1/3 cup whipping cream, kept as liquid and do not whip

2 teaspoons vanilla extract


1 1/2 cup broken Oreo cookies (break each cookie into about 4 pieces)


2 cups sour cream (16 ounce container)

1/4 cup white sugar


1/2 cup whipping cream

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Graham cracker crust:  Mix graham cracker crumbs, white sugar and cinnamon.  Add melted butter and mix well. Press into the bottom of a springform pan. Preheat the oven to 425. 

Batter: It is important to soften the cream cheese well so when you beat it with the other ingredients so you won’t get lumps in the cooked cheesecake.  Unwrap the cream cheese & put them in a bowl, put plastic wrap over top and walk away for 2-4 hours based on the temperature of the house. Do not microwave to soften as it messes up the batter. Put three 8-ounce softened cream cheese, one 1/4 cup white sugar and 2 T white flour in a large bowl.  Using an electric beater, mix well. Add 4 eggs, 2 egg yolks, 1/3 cup whipping cream and 2 tsp. vanilla extract. Beat this mixture on medium.

Filling:  Stir in gently using a large spoon 1 1/2 cups broken up Oreo cookies. Pour entire mixture into the springform pan and place in an oven preheated to 425 degrees.

Bake for 15 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 250 degrees, and bake for another 60 minutes.

Before taking it out of the oven, insert a clean knife in center of cheesecake — if it comes out clean, move to your next step. If not, cook for another 10 minutes. 


When ready, leave it out of the oven and turn the heat up to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, stir two cups of sour cream and 1/4 cup white sugar. Spread mixture over top of cheesecake and bake 7-10 minutes. As the cheesecake cools, sometimes the sour cream topping cracks a little. Don’t worry, the chocolate glaze covers everything. 

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