Archive for the ‘Desserts’ Category

Thank you to

Tea Lady

for choosing this delicious recipe

from Dorie Greenspan’s wonderful cookbook entitled: 

Baking From My Home to Yours.


This cheesecake is smooth and lucious.  It is a short cheesecake and the graham cracker crust was taller than the cheesecake itself, and was a little messy and caused the surface of the cheesecake to not be smooth like most cheesecakes are. 

If I were to make this cheesecake again, I would add a little more melted butter to the crust recipe, so that it would hold together better, as it was very crumbly.  I also would add more chocolate to this recipe, as 4 ounces of melted bittersweet chocolate didn’t seem to be enough to give this cheesecake’s name justice.



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Thank you to

Beth from Someone’s in the Kichen with Brina

(another person who lives in Baltimore)

who chose the recipe for this week’s “Tuesdays with Dorie”


This pie is very good and presents itself very nicely.  However, it took additional time to bake, I am assuming because of the chocolate? 

I baked this pie for an additional 30 minutes and it still “jiggled” when I took it from the oven.  I allowed it to cool, took some pictures of the whole pie and then sliced into it, and oh no!  It was so runny and the chocolate, sugary filling came oozing out and did not look appealing.  So, that is the reason that I am only including a picture of the entire pie, prior to slicing. 

Overall, the addition of the espresso powder was a very nice spice to add, as this seemed to cut the sweetness of the “usual pecan pie.”  The addition of the chocolate seemed to take away from the original pecan pie taste for me.  So, the next time I bake this pie, I will add only 1 teaspoon of the espresso powder and will leave out the chocolate.



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(Jelly Doughnuts)
It’s Chanukah!  I would dearly love to make some jelly doughnuts for Ken! 
This recipe looks interesting and since I have time to use yeast, I thought I would give this recipe a try.  
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
4 tablespoons sugar, plus sugar for rolling
3/4 cup lukewarm water or milk
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted
2 large egg yolks
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter or pareve margarine, at room temperature
Vegetable oil for deep-frying
1/2 cup plum, strawberry or apricot jam
1. Sprinkle the yeast and 2 tablespoons of the sugar into the water or milk and stir to dissolve.
2. Place the flour on a work surface and make a well in the center. Add the yeast mixture, egg yolks, salt, cinnamon, butter, and the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Knead well, about 5 minutes, working the butter or margarine into the dough and kneading until the dough is elastic. You can also use a food processor fitted with a steel blade to do this, processing about 2 minutes.
3. Put the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rise overnight in the refrigerator. (I placed the dough in an oven that had been heated to 175 degrees and then turned off, so that the oven would be warm for the dough to rise.  The dough was nearly doubled its size within 45 minutes.
4. Sprinkle flour on the work surface. Roll out the dough to an 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 2-inch cookie cutter or floured drinking glass, cut out circles. Let the dough circles rise 15 minutes more.
5. With your hands, gently form the dough circles into balls.
6. Pour 2 inches of oil into a heavy pot and heat until very hot, about 375 degrees.
7. Slip the doughnuts into the oil, 4 or 5 at a time, using a slotted spoon. Turn them when brown, after a few minutes, to crisp on the other side.
Drain on paper towels.
8. Using a cake decorating bag and a large star tip, inject about teaspoon of jam into each doughnut. Then roll all of them in granulated sugar  or powdered sugar and serve immediately. You can make larger sufraniyot if you like.


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Chocolate, Peanut Butter Cake with Chocolate Ganache 

This cake is so delicious! 

If you love peanut butter and chocolate together, then this is the cake for you.   This cake bakes up really well into a moist and dense cake that will surely please all of the chocolate and peanut butter lovers you know.   

The assembled cake presents itself best when kept in the refrigerator right up to slicing.   Be certain to use a very sharp knife with each slice, as the layers will be precise and beautiful and will show off the different colours of dark brown from the chocolate to the light brown, creamy texture of the peanut butter/cream cheese filling.   Garnish each slice with chopped peanuts or a little bit of chopped peanut brittle.  



2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup canola oil
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs 

Peanut Butter Frosting: 

Makes about 5 cups 

10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter 

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners sugar — 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Continue to beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.

 Chocolate-Peanut Butter Ganache

(I didn’t add the peanut butter to this ganache)
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter (Optional)
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup half-and-half (I used heavy whipping cream)

In the top of d double boiler or in a bowl set over simmering water, combine the chocolate, peanut butter, and corn syrup. Whisking often, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the half-and-half (or heavy whipping cream), beating until smooth.

Use while still warm.


Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grease the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and grease the paper.

Wisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl.  Add the oil and sour cream and whisk to blend. Gradually beat in the water. Blend in the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and be sure the batter is well mixed. Divide evenly among the three prepared cake pans.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely. (note: These cakes are very, very soft. I found them a lot easier to work with after firming them up in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Assemble the Cake:

To frost the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or large serving plate. Spread 2/3 cup of the Peanut Butter Frosting evenly over the top. Repeat with the next layer. Place the last layer on top and frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting.

To decorate with the Chocolate Ganache, put the cake plate onto a large baking sheet to catch any drips. Simply pour the ganache over the top of the cake, and using an off-set spatula, spread the ganache evenly over the top —  just to the edges so that it runs down the sides of the cake in long drips. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes to allow the ganache and frosting to set completely. 


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Thank you to

Lauren from I’ll Eat You 

for choosing this recipe from

Dorie Greenspan’s wonderful book entitled: 

“Baking From My Home to Yours” 

Please visit Lauren’s site for the recipe

or purchase this book from Amazon.com

This tart was fun to put together

and made for a beautiful presentation.   

I didn’t know what kind of pears to buy for this tart, so when looking at all of the pears, I looked for the ones that were most ripe. 

Here is some information on types of pears:

What are Pears?

Pears (Pyrus communis) are a pome fruit relative of the apple. One of the earliest written histories or records comes from Homer’s reference to them as “Gifts from the Gods.” The first pears arrived in the United States by European settlers in the 1700s. Pears rank second to the apple as the most popular US fruit. They can be eaten and used in a lot of the same ways as the apple. One distinct feature of the pear besides the shape is the soft texture. This soft texture is the result of the starch converting to sugar after being picked from a tree to ripen.

Over 3,000 Varieties

Did you know that there are over 3,000 varieties of pears? Of those, only a few are grown commercially and the pears available to you may depend on where you live and the time of year.

Pear Varieties and Cultivars

Pear Health Benefits

They have no cholesterol, sodium, or saturated fat. They offer a natural, quick source of energy, due largely to high amounts of two monosaccharides: fructose and glucose, plus Levulose, the sweetest of known natural sugars, found to a greater extent in fresh pears than in any other fruit. A pear is a nutrient dense food, providing more nutrients per calorie, than calories per nutrient. Carbohydrates make up 98% of the energy provided by a pear, and carbohydrates are helpful in weight reduction diets because they contain half as many calories as fat.

Fresh pears offer dietary fiber, much of it in the form of Pectin. A pear weighing 166 grams provides 2.32 grams of crude fiber, and 4 grams of dietary fiber, of which 41% is pectin. Fiber contains no calories, and is a necessary element of a healthy diet, helping to sustain blood sugar levels and promoting regularity. High fiber diets may also help reduce the risk of colon cancer and can help reduce serum cholesterol. Pears are a good source of natural fiber.

Fresh pears offer potassium; 210 mg in a medium size pear. Although it is an element lost easily through dehydration or perspiration brought on by active lifestyles or strenuous exercise, potassium is necessary for maintaining heartbeat, muscle contraction, nerve transmission, as well as carbohydrate and protein metabolism. Replenish potassium by eating fresh vegetables, fruits or legumes containing high potassium content – pears are an excellent choice.

Vitamin C
Fresh pears contain Vitamin C. One medium size pear provides 7 mg, or 10% of the RDA for Vitamin C. As one of the antioxidant vitamins, Vitamin C is essential for normal metabolism and tissue repair, helping prevent free radical damage the destructive by-products of the body’s metabolic process. Vitamin C improves the immune system and promotes healing of cuts and bruises and guard against a number of infectious diseases. Fresh pears are a good source for Vitamin C.

I looked at the Bartlett, as they were the ones with the name that I recognized most, but decided on the Comice.  What a wonderful choice!  These pears were soft and ready for adorning the tart.

I peeled the pears and placed them into a pot and poured a mixture of cranberry juice and maraschino cherries, which turned the pears into a nice rosy colour.  Beautiful!  I sliced the pears and set them aside.

Making the pastry cream was easy, however, I decided to add some heavy whipped cream, as the pastry cream seemed to be too thick.  The cream lightened up the mixture and was ready for the baked tart crust. 

Carmelizing the pistachios was very easy and really added the finishing touch to the tart. 




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I absolutely LOVE cherries!  Ken absolutely LOVES chocolate! 

We do not LOVE cherries and chocolate together!

I made the brownie layer and placed it in a prepared springform pan.  I baked it and allowed it to cool and then prepared the marscapone/cheesecake layer and placed it over the top of the brownie layer. 

Ken and I thought this dessert needed a little something else. 


I made a chocolate ganache that consisted of semi-sweet chocolate chips, heavy whipping cream, light corn syrup and vanilla.  This ganache was easy to prepare and when I poured it over the white and creamy layer of cheese, I knew it would be a winner!

And, what a winner it is!

Thank you to Short & Rose for choosing this recipe.  Please click onto this link or purchase Dorie Greenspan’s delectable book:  Baking, From My Home to Yours!

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