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Category Archives: Dessert

“Chocolate Pie Shots” with fresh berries

While I was searching for mini desserts, I came across this recipe on Food Gawker.  It looked right up my alley.  I love chocolate and raspberries together.  The original site said that the recipe was based on the movie “Waitress”, and the story on the blog did make me want to watch it.

The only adjustment I made was to use crushed chocolate cookies instead of chocolate biscotti like the recipe called for.  In the future, I will also adjust the amount of raspberry vodka that I put in in.  I’m all about adding liquor into cooking, but this was pretty strong since it doesn’t have the chance to cook off at all.  I will probably cut that in half next time.

I also doubled the recipe, which made 18 shot glasses.  The amounts listed below however are the original which says it makes 6-8 shots.


About 1/2 cup crushed chocolate cookies1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

3 TBSP light brown sugar

2 TBSP raspberry vodka (I used raspberry Belvedeer)

1 pinch salt

4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup fresh raspberries

1/2 cup fresh blackberries


Crush the cookies or biscotti (I used my food processor) and put a layer in each shot glass.

To make the ganache, bring heavy cream, sugar and sal
t to just to a boil in a saucepan.  Remove from the heat and add in the chocolate and vodka.  Whisk until it’s melted and combined.  Let cool for 5-10 minutes.

Then mash the berries together.  I used my pestal and mashed them by hand.  I wanted to still have chunks of berries.  (I did this step the about an hour before serving).

The original recipe also included fresh whipped cream flavored with flavored with raspberry vodka.  I ran out of time, so I didn’t do the whipped cream, but I’m sure it was an amazing addition!

Once the ganache has cooled a bit, carefully spoon it over the “crust”.  Once you have them all filled, put them in the fridge for several hours or over night.  Once they have had a chance to set a bit, spoon the berries on the top.  If you are doing whipped cream, layer that right on top and enjoy!

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Tres leches soaked almond pound cake

When I was scouring my cookbooks and the internet looking for desserts that could easily be miniaturized, I came across a tres leches cake.  Tres leches just means “three milks”.  I found for a normal tres leches cake, you bake a white or yellow cake (or I guess really any flavor your little heart desires) and then pour a mixture of the milk over top and let it soak over night.  The reviews that I read kept saying how delicious it is, but how rich and sweet it is.  So, it seemed perfect to make as a bite size version!  I used a Tastefully Simple almond pound cake mix for the cake.  It was really very easy to put together and a crowd favorite!

1 box Tastefully Simple almond pound cake mix

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 can evaporated milk

1 can half & half (I didn’t have half & half, but I did have heavy cream and 2% milk so I did half a can of each)

Follow the directions to bake the pound cake (or whatever type of cake you decide to use). Let the cake cool and cut into small bite size squares.

In a bowl, combine the three types of milk.  If you want the mixture to be a little thicker, use a little less of the half & half.  (I will probably do that when I make it next time).

Place the cake cubes in your mini bowls or glasses and pour the tres leches mixture into each bowl or glass.  Let it soak for several hours or up to overnight(covered) in the fridge.

You could definitely do this just as the cake and slice it to serve.  If you do this, poke holes in the cake after it has cooled and then pour the mixture over the cake.  Let it soak overnight (covered) in the fridge.

Enjoy!  My friends really loved this one and drank up every last bit of the milk after eating the cake.

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Complete Magic: AKA Homemade Marshmallow

As I mentioned in my last post, when I opened my professional grade Kitchenaid on Christmas morning all I could think about was making marshmallows!  I had seen many recipes in the past few months, and in pretty much all of them I kept seeing the word “magic”.  You may think that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but believe me…!  With a few beyond simple ingredients and a few minutes ticking by you watch this clear syrupy stickiness into a thick, fluffy white confection.  It is really amazing.  A couple friends came over to help, and a couple minutes after the mixing started one mentioned how they weren’t going to stand and watch the whole time.  About 30 seconds later, the magic started happening!  And we did basically end up watching it the rest of the time.  The mixture grows in volume and gets thick and white and shiny as the whisk does its job.  The end result is (in my book) so much better than store bought mallows.  These are fluffy and spongy and soft  and airy and all together wonderful.  I used vanilla that was called for it the recipe, but I will definitely be adapting this recipe with different extracts and flavors.  Raspberry.  Hazelnut.  Caramel.  Kahlua.  Do you have suggestions of what else I should try?!

I found the recipe from pintest, but it said it was originally from Martha Stewart.  There is a broad who knows what she’s doing!!!

Cooking spray

4 envelopes unflavored gelatin (3 TBSP plus 1 1/2 tsp)

3 cups granulated sugar

1 1/4 cups light corn syrup

1/4 tsp salt

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

Spray a 9 x 13 glass baking dish with vegetable spray.  Line the pan with parchment paper and spray again.  Sprinkle the parchment paper with confectioner sugar.

In a medium sauce pan combine the water, sugar and corn syrup and bring to a boil over high heat while stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Once the sugar is dissolved, cook without stirring until the syrup reaches 238 degrees on a candy thermometer.

While that is cooking, add the gelatin into your mixing bowl and cover with 3/4 cup cold water.  Let it soften for about 5 minutes.  Next time I will probably let it sit a little longer and/or stir it a few times.  Part of the gelatin clumped a bit and it made me nervous that it was going to throw off the whole process.  Luckily, it didn’t matter.  So, if that happens to you, no worries!

Attach the whisk better to your bowl and begin to mix the gelatin on low speed.  Gradually pour in the hot syrup.  Gradually raise the speed up to high.  Beat until the mixture is very stiff; it will take about 12 minutes.  The mixture will really increase in volume and become white a glossy.  It’s just plain beautiful!  Add in the vanilla and beat again until it is combined.  Pour the fluff into your dish and let sit uncovered.  I topped it with more powdered sugar after about half an hour.  I let the fluff set over night.  Cut the set marshmallows in squares.  It helps to spray your knife with a little bit of cooking spray so that it doesn’t stick.  (I actually didn’t have time to cut them in the morning, so I placed another layer of parchment paper on the top and covered it with the lid.)

Place powdered sugar in a bowl or bag and toss the marshmallow square in the sugar to completely cover.  Store them in an airtight container (though they probably won’t last, too long!

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Chocolate Bark

I really like the show Dessert First, I think Anne Thorton is so fun and I think we could be friends.  She made a chocolate bark like this a while back, and I was so excited to try it.  The nice thing about a recipe like this is that it is so quick and easy and can be changed up to your taste.  I will definitely be making this again with other combinations.  It’s the perfect kind of snack to have when you are craving salty and sweet.  I used milk chocolate and a thin layer of semi sweet chocolate (I also think dark chocolate would taste amazing together) and mixed in dried cherries, cashews and pretzels.

about 1 lb. of milk chocolate

1 bag of semi sweet chocolate (or dark)

about 1 cup pretzels chopped in small pieces

1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped

1/2 cup cashews, chopped

Melt the milk chocolate in a double boiler.  While the chocolate is melting, line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper.  When the chocolate is nice and shiny and melted, add in the pretzels, dried cherries and cashews and stir until combined.  Pour that mixture into the lined pan and spread out with a spatula to make an even layer.  I used the same pan to melt the semi sweet chocolate in.  Once the semi sweet is melted, pour it in a thin layer on top of the milk chocolate.  Let it cool.  Once the chocolate has set you can break (or try to cut) the bark into pieces.  Enjoy!

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Chocolate Mousse

This recipe is delicious!  Seriously.  Amazing.  It is a great base recipe that I have adapted in several ways already.  I originally saw this in Bon Appetite magazine and it was part of an Irish Cream Chocolate Mousse cake (which can be found here which was ok.  I found that the mousse was the best part of the cake, and wasn’t thrilled with the outcome of the cake.  It was dense and flat.  But, the recipe for the chocolate mousse made it ALL worth it.  Delicious.  I am posting the regular recipe and will then put the adapted variations that I have also made.

This recipe definitely takes a bit of time and a lot of love to make sure it’s right.  It’s not something that you can rush.  It also takes several bowls, so make sure you have enough mixing bowls available!

4 large eggs

1/3 cup sugar

12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 1/2 chilled whipping cream

1/4 cup Irish cream liqueur

Whisk eggs and sugar in a large metal bowl.  Set the bowl over simmering water (make sure it’s simmering, not boiling!  I ruined the base by having the water too hot once).  And make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water.  Whisk constantly until the candy thermometer reaches 160 degrees, about 5 minutes.  Remove the bowl from the water.  Using an electric mixer, beat eggs until cool and very thick, about 10 minutes.

Place the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over simmering water, stir until melted and smooth.  Remove chocolate from water; let cool to lukewarm.

Chill a metal mixing bowl and electric beaters in the freezer for a bit (it helps to speed up the process of making whipped cream).  Combine the cream and Irish cream in the cold bowl; beat to stiff peaks.  Pour lukewarm chocolate over over mixture and fold together.  Fold in the whipped cream.  Cover and chill until set, at least 4 hours or overnight.

The hardest part of this recipe is waiting for it to set up over night!!

Other adaptations I’ve tried are adding about 1 TBS of finely ground instant coffee granules to the melted chocolate (still with the Irish Cream).

Another time I did the finely ground instant coffee granules and used Kahlua instead of Irish Cream (same 1/4 cup).

And the last time I made it I used Chambord in the whipped cream to make it chocolate raspberry mousse.  Delicious!  The little air plane size bottle of Chambord is the perfect amount!

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Brownies with Peanut Butter

This attempt at brownies with a peanut butter swirl didn’t turn out quite as planned, but they were pretty tasty.  The peanut butter swirl was much thicker than intended, so it was almost like brownies with peanut butter cookie globs mixed in.  If I try these in the future, I may try an egg into the peanut butter to give it a more cookie like consistency.

Brownie batter

1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Peanut Butter “Swirl”

1 cup creamy peanut butter

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 TBSP butter

1 tsp vanilla

Heat the oven to 350 and spray an 8 x 8 pan with cooking spray.

Bring water to a gentle simmer in a double boiler.  Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place in a double boiler with the butter.  Melt the chocolate slowly over a simmer.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the sugar, egg, vanilla and salt until well combined.  Whisk in the flour until just combined.  Add in the chocolate chips and give another gentle stir.  Pout the batter into the baking dish.

With an electric mixer, mix together the peanut butter, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla.  It will be pretty thick.  Drop dollops of this mixture onto the top of the brownies.

Bake for about 35-40 minutes until a knife comes out clean.

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Lemon and Raspberry Bars

My friend, Mandy, recently sent me a website called and let me tell you, I took gawking to a new level.  It is completely drool inducing, and really gets me excited to get cooking and baking!  It is a compilation of some of the best food pics out there.  The best part is that it links the picture to the blog, so you can easily get the recipe!  The recipe I kept going back to was for lemon and raspberry bars.  It was posted by a great blog called Live Love Pasta, and I will definitely be checking back often for new recipes and inspiration!

We had a little family picnic on Sunday, and I thought these would be the perfect end to the meal!  Luckily, I had the cutest little helper to make these!  My 2 1/2 year old niece, Claire, helped me crush the crackers and pour them into the bowl.  That did get a little messy more than once, but she did a great job.

The only adaptation I made was doing a bit more graham crackers, because we didn’t have an 8×8 pan so we used an 8×13.  I increased the crust to about 1 3/4 cups or maybe even 2 cups of the itty bitty gritty sweet crumbs.

Make these.  Tonight.  They are simple and amazing!

(I’m posting this with the original recipe measurements)


1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 1 1/2 packs)

6 tablespoons salted butter, melted

1/4 cup sugar

zest of 1 lemon


2 large egg yolks

1, 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (which will probably take 4 or 5 lemons)

1 tsp lemon zest

6 oz fresh raspberries

Preheat your oven to 350.  Spray your pan.  (Don’t forget this step.  I did, but luckily remembered before it went in the oven, so the crumbs went back in the bowl, sprayed and then back to the pan.  If you like to make a simple recipe take longer like I do, follow this step 😉 )Crush the graham crackers and put in a bowl.  Mix in the butter and lemon juice until all of the crumbs are slightly wet.  Press the crumbs into the greased pan and slightly up the side.  Bake the crust for about 10 minutes.  Remove and let cool.

Crack the eggs and place the yolk only in another medium size mixing bowl.  Add the sweetened condensed milk and stir until well combined.  Mix in the lemon juice and lemon zest until slightly thickened.  Gently stir in the raspberries.  Be careful not to break the raspberries, so you have the pretty pops of pink in the yellow and that the pink does not bleed into the bars.

Pour the filling over the graham cracker crust and smooth so it’s evenly covered.  Bake for 15 minutes, or until it’s just set (with no wiggle in the middle).

Cool to room temperature and then chill in the fridge for several hours.  I ended up freezing them for a bit to make sure that they really set.  I didn’t make them far enough in advance to get the right texture just in the fridge.

They were delicious!  A perfect sweet and tart summer dessert!

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Almond and cherry cupcakes

My brother-in-laws birthday was on Sunday.  I also work with him, so I decided to make cupcakes to take to the office on Monday.  I decided to go a little bit Sandra Lee on the cupcakes, and just got a box of white cake mix and spruced it up with almond extract and chopped maraschino cherries.  The almond flavoring made a HUGE difference!  I will never make a plain boxed cake without adding it.

1 box white cake mix

3 eggs

1 and 1/3 cups water

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 or 1 1/2 tablespoon(s) almond extract

1/4 cup or so maraschino cherries, chopped

1 tub store bought vanilla frosting

Prepare the cake mix according to the instructions.  Add in the extract and chopped cherries.  Divide the batter into the lined cupcake pan and cook according to the package directions.  Test by sticking a tooth pick or a piece of spaghetti into the center.  They are done when it comes out clean.  Let the cupcakes completely cool before icing.  I did half of the cupcakes with plain vanilla frosting and topped with a cherry.  I mixed half of the frosting with about 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of the cherry juice.  It gave it great flavor and a fun color.


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Cherry Clafouti

I saw this recipe in my latest edition of Bon Appetit magazine and knew I had to make it.  It looks (and I found, smells) like summer.  It is the perfect recipe to have it your summer rotation, especially if you like to entertain.  It uses simple, fresh ingredients, is very quick to prepare and really just offers that simple fresh summer taste that is unbeatable.  I already have a list of other seasonal fruits to adjust the recipe with, so stayed tuned soon for black raspberry clafouti, peach clafouti, raspberry and mint clafouti, blueberry clafouti… I actually cut the original recipe in half when I made it, so you will see that it made 4 individual servings in ramekins for me.  If you follow the recipe below don’t be surprised when it makes a full cake or numerous ramekins, be delighted!

1 pound fresh cherries, steamed and pitted

1 cup whole milk

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

4 large eggs

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 tsp finely and freshly grated lemon zest

3/4 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp kosher salt

powdered sugar (to dust after baking)

You will need a 10″ spring form pan or 8 ramekins

Preheat the over to 375.  Butter pan or ramekins.  Spread the cherries in a single layer in the pan or dishes.

Combine milk and cream in a small saucepan; bring just to a simmer over medium heat. Set aside. Combine eggs, flour, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl; whisk to blend. Gradually whisk in hot milk mixture; whisk until custard is smooth. Pour custard evenly over cherries in pan. If necessary, gently shake pan to allow custard to settle.

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Bake clafouti until custard is set and top is golden brown, about 30 minutes for ramekins and 45-55 minutes for cake pan. Let cool 3 minutes, then run a knife around pan sides to loosen clafouti (if using a cake pan). Dust top with powdered sugar; cut into wedges and serve.

Raspberry Cheesecake- Marbled Brownies

What could be better than brownies and cheesecake baked together to form a  mouthful of absolute pure bliss.  Oh yeah, adding raspberry to the party!

I found this recipe while recently exploring one of my favorite cooking blogs, Smitten Kitchen.  I upped the yumm factor a bit by adding in seedless raspberry fruit spread into the cheesecake batter.  These were a big hit with all who ate them.

Despite the recipe being a few different steps and using a few bowls (which is probably only a big deal to a dishwasherless person like me) it was very simple to make.

Brownie batter
1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup all-purpose flour

Cheesecake batter
8 ounces cream cheese, well softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I used mini chips)

For the brownie batter:

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Heat butter and chocolate in a 3-quart heavy saucepan — though I did mine double-boiler style, placing the mixing bowl I was using over simmering water, thereby creating one less dirty dish and melting the chocolate more gently — over moderately low heat, whisking occasionally, just until melted. Remove from heat and whisk in sugar, eggs, vanilla, and a pinch of salt until well combined. Whisk in flour until just combined and spread in baking pan.

Whisk together cheesecake batter ingredients in a small bowl until smooth.  Mix in about 3 heaping spoon fulls of the raspberry fruit spread.  Dollop over brownie batter, then swirl in with a knife or spatula.

Use the tip of a knife to swirl the cheesecake batter into the brownies.

Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top.

Bake the pan full of heaven for about 35 minutes, until they are set and the cheesecake seems a bit puffy.