Archive of ‘Desserts’ category

Coconut Macaroon Nests with Chocolate and Whipped Cream

(more…)

When I first wrote this recipe, I was afraid there were too many steps that would cause confusion rather than delight. I made these treats this weekend and I am happy to report this recipe was so simple and the steps were anything but overbearing. As the macaroon nests bake, the chocolate filling is whipped up. As the nests and chocolate filling cool, the whipped cream comes together. Three components that are so easy yet make such an elegant and light dessert. I guess the best compliment I could get on these is by my husband. He told me they were so good but he didn’t think they were going to be before he tried one! Hmmm…I’ll take it! The coconut macaroon nests make for such an impressive presentation and they are only made of three ingredients! The best part is you can fill them with whatever you want! Just a good ol’ dollop of freshly whipped cream can do the job! I’m tempted to do a lemon curd filling for the warmer months. These would be such a sweet addition to your Easter dessert buffet and not to mention, they are gluten-free! You could also neatly pipe the cream instead of schlopping it on like yours truly. I just hope you enjoy these!

Blood Orange Mousse Trifle

(more…)

This dessert serves 4 people or allows you to go back for seconds on your date night. I like having options, especially when it comes to dessert. I also like having desserts I can make ahead so I don’t kill the mood when I have to leave the couch for 30 minutes to make a dessert. I’m a “throw it together” kind of gal. I do want to warn you, you WILL have leftover caramel sauce so feel free to throw it on your morning pancakes or waffles, stir it into your coffee, or just eat it out of the jar with a spoon. No judgement here. Blood oranges taste pretty similar to regular oranges but their gorgeous, deep purple juice is what sets them apart. This Blood Orange Mousse Trifle is the perfect balance of fresh, sweet, and buttery; the perfect end to a decadent meal! Just the thing to cure our Winter blues!

Tip: If your pound cake looks a little dry, try soaking it in a very sweet wine 10 minutes before serving. Just place the cake in a bowl and drizzle the wine in (about 1/4 of a cup) and let sit for 10 minutes.

Clementine Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

Disclaimer: I made these cookies for Christmas and even had a Christmasy blog post ready for you. BUT, I didn’t get the chance to post so can we just act like it’s 2 weeks ago? Thanks in advance! (more…)

When we were kids, my siblings and I saved the stockings on Christmas morning for last. Although the items inside of them were much smaller than our gifts under the tree, I looked forward to “opening” my stocking the most. When the depression of all the gifts have been opened sets in, it was great to have another something to look forward to. There was never anything of too much value except for some candy and random little gadgets and knick knacks but one thing I always looked forward to was the chocolate orange. You know what I’m talking about. It was an orange, made completely out of chocolate with a hint of orange flavoring. Being a kid with too much adrenaline on Christmas morning, the best part about the orange was that you had to keep it in its orange foil and wack it against something hard. What happened after that was magic. When you tenderly peeled back the foil to reveal the chocolate orange, the orange literally split into clean, perfect slices, like a real orange! Pure, blissful, chocolatey magic!

Maybe that wonderful orange is why I naturally feel inclined to combine refreshing citrus with creamy chocolate at Christmas time. Like citrus, these clementine dark chocolate chip cookies are delicious all year round and you can change which citrus you use! But for me and this holiday season, it’s all about the heavenly combo of clementines and dark chocolate. These cookies are best enjoyed at any party or by a cozy fire.

Our ingredients are gathered. Our basic chocolate chip cookie recipe but with dark chocolate chips and clementine zest. We can hang with this!

Eggs,vanilla, flour, sugar, baking soda, clementine zest (you could use orange here, too!), dark chocolate chips, brown sugar (my nickname for my husband), salt, and butter.

The zest is combined with the granulated sugar first. We really want the oils from the zest to infuse the sugar. This reminds me of a sunset on a snowy winter day. Too much?

The butter is creamed with the sugars. My favorite part!

We add our eggs and vanilla. Keep mixing!

I mean….

Now, our flour! It’s ok if we make a mess; it’s the way of the cookie.

Chocolate chips are added and stirred in manually. This also allows for you to incorporate any left out flour from the edge of the bowl.

Instant gratification.

These cookies are so good! I can’t believe I didn’t make these many Christmas moons ago! They are crisp but chewy. They have some body but are completely soft. Everything you want in a cookie! Try the clementine dark chocolate chip cookies! There are plenty of snow days ahead to enjoy them! Happy cookie making!

Campfire Bark

Happy National Chocolate Day! I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate my birthday than to celebrate chocolate, too! Lucky me! In honor of the special occasions, I made you some chocolate bark; campfire bark to be exact! Have you ever made candy bark before? I’m addicted. I make a crunchy peppermint dark chocolate bark for Christmas so I thought Fall and Halloween deserved a bark all their own. This bark isn’t for the faint of heart, though. It’s incredibly sweet and chocolatey; a little bite goes a long way. The base is chocolate studded with crunchy cereal then topped with marshmallow and cookie butter. This is better than a S’more. Barks are super simple and fast to make! Plus, YOU get to choose what goes into it! It’s very versatile. I dream about which bark I can make next. Campfire bark is the perfect treat for any Halloween party; the perfect pick up and eat snack. Happy Halloween Week! (more…)

Our ingredient line up:

From Top Left to Right: Golden grahams cereal, cookie butter (this is from Trader Joe’s, if you don’t have a TJ’s near you, look for Speculoos in your peanut butter aisle), marshmallow fluff, and semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Over a make shift double boiler, melt your chocolate. You might be tempted to put your chocolate into the microwave but don’t. There are greater chances of it seizing on you and you will be back at square one. Heating it in a bowl over a pot of simmering water, will allow you to keep an eye on it as it melts. Once melted, mix in the cereal and spread on a baking sheet. Parchment paper or a silpat are key here.

Then, we get real fancy. Our heated marshmallow fluff is plopped down onto the chocolate. We use a tip of a knife to swirl the fluff into the chocolate.

Just when you thought this decadent madness was finished, cookie butter is drizzled over everything. Have you had cookie butter? I never buy it because I could eat it by the jar.

The bark needs to set in the fridge for a bit then we can break it into pieces.

Oatmeal Cookie Apple Crisp

I know you’ve been apple picking and I know you are up to your ears in apples. I’m trying to help you. Just hear me out. Apple crumbles all day. Or apple crisps if you like. Or apple cobbler. Or apple brown betty. It’s up to you! One thing I want to put to rest today, though. The difference between the desserts I just mentioned. When I began my blogging adventure, I wanted to make sure I was being “politically” correct when titling my recipes. I know I wasn’t the only one confused so here ya go! It is one of those things that will be debated until forever but I’m going to stick to this explanation: The difference between cobblers, crisps, and crumbles. But in all seriousness, if you are baking delicious fruit with warm spices and making your house smell amazing, no one gives a rip what you call the thing. Just be sure to serve with ice cream. (more…)

This crisp was such a pretty lady. I took waaay too many pictures but she’s just so photogenic. Like, do you really want anything else? I know this crisp isn’t too original, except for its topping. Instead of the usual streusel topping we all know and love, I decided to melt my butter and make more of a cookie topping. Oatmeal cookies are so comforting and full of flavor, I thought nothing could be better atop bubbling, juicy apples. I had all of the pure intentions in the world of adding dried cherries (instead of raisins) to the topping but realized I had forgotten said cherries on my grocery list. Next time dried cherries. Next time.

Our crisp ingredients (pun intended):

From Top Left to Right: Apples (make sure they are full of flavor and are sweet), sugar, melted butter (maybe my guilt was trying to crop the butter out of the picture), spice mixture #1, walnuts, brown sugar, vanilla, flour, fresh orange juice (trust me), spice mixture #2 (can we pretend I didn’t say #2 on a food blog? K, thanks), and oats.

We mix our apples with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, sugar, flour, orange juice, and vanilla. That’s it for the filling! Wasn’t that easy peasy? You could just bake this if you wanted to without the cookie topping but why would you want to? Why? Oh and do you like how I didn’t peel my apples? I had a hungry husband and mother in law giving me the “if you take one more picture of food…” stare.

Our dry ingredients are mixed then made undry (sooo not a word), by our butter. I use salted butter whenever butter is needed so I didn’t add more salt here. If you use unsalted, add some salt for balance. The dried cherries would want it that way.

Then, all we do is use bowl A to top pie plate B. Get those clean paws ready for some dirty work!

Voila! Isn’t that so dazzling? It was right here I realized I didn’t use the full amounts of brown sugar and granulated sugar the recipe calls for. Wanna see what happens next? Click this link! Jk. Just scroll down.

I literally sprinkled the dang sugars over the cookie topping. What’s a desperate girl to do? Don’t be like me. Use the full amount of everything. Please and thank you. Isn’t it prettier, though? It looks as if it was kissed by a snow angel. Sorry I just said snow. Too soon?

We bake until, you guessed it, hot and bubbling. Use the sharp point of a knife to make sure the apples are soft. Serve in ridiculously adorable plates.

Do you know they make salted caramel ice cream that is sold in grocery stores? Well, I do. Happy crisp making!

Pumpkin Spiced Coconut Macaroons with Dulce de Leche

Did I say macaroon or macaron? If you ever need a conversation starter, you can use this because everyone wonders what the difference is. I’ve done my research so you can look like the Know it All at your next party. Notepad ready? It’s really not that serious, I just get carried away. Macaron is a French sandwich cookie generally made with an almond flour and filled with a cream. Macaroon (what we are making today) is a cookie comprised of egg whites, sugar, and ground coconut. I’m glad I could settle the confusion. Or maybe you weren’t as confused as I was. I dunno. What I do know is that these macaroons MUST go into your repertoire. They are the easiest cookies ever and the different varieties are endless. If I throw in the word gluten free, would that catch your attention? Because they are so you can make them for a crowd and not worry about people’s dietary needs…unless they are allergic to nuts or eggs, then these are out of the picture. (more…)

These macaroons are filled with pumpkin pie spice. If you have one of those plastic jars from the store that says “Pumpkin Pie Spice” toss it and make your own. The best part of making your own is that you control the ratios of spice. Pumpkin pie spice is usually cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Use that as a base and work from that. I like a little clove, cardamom, and allspice in mine. It gives everything a little more depth of flavor.
*Warning: Spice Rant Coming: Spices are one of those things that come in containers that you probably won’t finish by the time they lose their punch or go rancid (yes, rancid). I like to save my little spice jars but get my spices from somewhere where you can choose how much of the spice you want so you don’t have to commit to a whole bottle. My Whole Foods has this option so maybe yours does too. This helps you not spend a ridiculous amount of mulah on a spice you’ll only use once or twice a year. That being said, get yourself fresh spices for the season. It really does make a huge difference! Rant Over.* Thanks for tuning in. Now, pumpkin spiced macaroons!

Our pumpkin spiced ingredients:

From Top Left to Top Right: Egg whites, sugar, salt, sweetened coconut flakes, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice. Once you make your own spice, you will be tempted to throw it in EVERYTHING. Your morning coffee, your ice cream, your oatmeal cookie batter, your pumpkin bread, your apple crumbles, your chocolate mousse, and of course, your pumpkin pie.

Our egg whites, sugar, salt, and pumpkin pie spice are whisked until frothy. Put some muscle into it! I just love the color the pumpkin pie spice adds to this!

The coconut is added. We make delicious little mounds! Have fun with this! The mixture will feel like it’s about to crumble into your hands but with a little tenderness, your mounds will hold! Yes I just naively said tenderness and mounds in the same sentence and am now embarrassed.

As our macaroons bake, our dulce de leche thickens. Add a little cream to make it drizzable (sooo not a word). I let my macaroons cool on a rack and placed a sheet pan underneath so the pan catches the drizzles and not my dining room table.

These are sweet with that warm spice from the pumpkin pie spice. The dulce de leche makes these feel a little more indulgent. These macaroons are perfect for the season! And they are literally ready in a snap! Happy macaroon making!

Mango Pistachio Bread Budding with Coconut Syrup

One summer, some years back, I traveled the world. The first half of that summer was spent in Northern Ireland, where I ate chips and gravy for every meal and Flake bars for every dessert. I came home and immediately flew to Kona, Hawaii for a girls trip with my mom and two sisters. To say I was jet lagged is an understatement but when you’re touring amazing volcanoes and eating at ridiculously good farmers’ markets, then jet lag is your last problem. One of my favorite memories of food in Kona was our breakfast. Every morning, we would go to this quaint, open, set right on the beach little restaurant. It was always a buffet and my favorite part was the waffle station. You had your choice of maple syrup, macademia nuts, coconut flakes, and coconut syrup. I would forego every other station just so I could pile my plate high with fluffy waffles and fill their cute little crevices with coconut syrup and nuts. Boy, life was so simple then. And that coconut syrup? The answer is always yes. (more…)

This bread pudding is a vacation all its own. It’s for those days you see your friends at the beach but you’re stuck in an icy cold cubicle with a cup of coffee that is no longer warm. It’s for those days when you already took your vacation at the very beginning of summer and August feels like it could go on forever. And if that doesn’t entice you, then hopefully the buttery croissants will! I think you deserve this dessert. And invite some friends over, too!

Our ingredient line up:

From Top Left to Right: Croissants, sugar, vanilla, half and half, toasted coconut, eggs and egg yolks, pistachios (I bet you didn’t see that one coming), lime zest, and mango.

We take our lovely green pistachios and throw in them into the food processor. Add our lime zest and pulse. You could also do this by hand with the pistachios in a ziplock bag using a heavy object. Just stir in zest when done. That’s literally the most difficult step in this bread pudding.

A little bit of egg yolk, a little bit of half and half, and we got ourselves the makings of a luscious custard. Remember that exhausting pistachio mixture? Throw it in and forget the amount of work it took to get here. Whisk! Whisk! Whisk!

Croissants are torn apart and placed into a baking dish. The custard mixture is poured on top. Mango is sprinkled. Now take those delicate paws of yours and press down on the puddin’. Everything needs to be submerged. If you eat croissants in torn bite size pieces, then it takes around 50 to equal one croissant, right? Right?!

We bake then sprinkle with the toasted coconut.

Our coconut syrup is two ingredients: coconut milk and sweetened condensed milk. Just cook until thick and blended. We got ourselves an all purpose syrup! Pour this onto the bread pudding then save some and pour on your leftover mango. This could go on pies or ice cream or a tropical fruit salad. Don’t put yourself in a box with this syrup!

Serve this bread pudding warm with the coconut syrup. This dessert feels light like it won’t weigh you down while you’re swimming in the pool or hitting the beach volleyball courts. Or whatever you do in the summer. You wanna know what I do? I drink PiƱa Coladas until the leaves start to change.

And for those picky eaters? My husband despises fruit desserts and mango. This is what his plate looked like after I plopped a mound of bread pudding down. Taste testing is hard work! He went back for seconds. Happy puddin’ making!

Rosemary Peach, Strawberry, and Lemon Cookie Crumble

Herbs in desserts. Let’s discuss. I know it might be making you feel a leetle uncomfortable and even doubtful that something as delicious as fruit desserts really need an extra punch. But trust me, friend. This is a a world undiscovered. A wonderland unknown. And I want to explore this place with you. Is that weird? Adding herbs to sweet treats has become trendy BECAUSE IT’S GOOD. You could do basil here if you wanted. You could do mint. Nothing says “adventure conquering” quite like rosemary in a dessert, though. And to top it off (literally), we add lemon cookie crumbles to our crisp topping. (more…)

I made this guy for my house warming party but didn’t put it out since there was already so much food for my guests. By the end of the night, my friends had found this beauty on my counter top and dug in. It wasn’t hot or fresh out of the oven. They didn’t even have the decency to add ice cream. But they loved it. Best. Compliment. Ever. If you aren’t into making complicated desserts then you have come to the right place. The most strenuous part of this crisp is waiting for it to bake!

Our delicious ingredient line up:

From Left to Right Clockwise: Brown sugar, peeled peaches, lemon cookie crumbs, granulated sugar, strawberries, butter, fresh rosemary, flour, lemon, cornstarch, and vanilla. I think salt got lost somewhere between cookie crumbs and sugar.

Not pictured: blanching rosemary for 30 seconds. We just bring water to a boil and place our rosemary sprig in for 30 seconds. Take out and mince. By blanching our herb, it takes away the very strong flavor of rosemary and makes it deliciously palatable for our crisp. Take rosemary, peaches, strawberries, lemon juice, cornstarch, granulated sugar, vanilla, and salt place in a mixing bowl. Let’s combine this yummy nonsense and move on. We place the mixture in a buttered baking dish. A deep pie plate works too! I like to keep you on your toes.

In another mixing bowl (I’m so unpredictable), we combine flour, brown sugar, lemon cookie crumbs, and melted butter. And by combine, I mean take those pretty paws and jump in! Look at those glorious clumps! Bet you never thought clumps could be glorious and said so on a food blog.

We just take the yummy, lemony cookie topping and sprinkle it over our fruit mixture. Doesn’t it already look like it has baked? Please exercise some self control and wait to dig in AFTER a trip to the oven. Those sweet juices over ice cream are all you need in life. Pinky promise.

This is lemony, this is peachy, this is herby. Word to the wise: that rosemary sprig is just for decoration, don’t actually bake it on top of your crisp. There is such a thing as too much rosemary (I know, I used to be in denial too). Serve this hot with any ice cream you like! I definitely do not discriminate against ice cream here. Happy crisp making!

Sophisticated S’mores

Let me tell you a story about a girl. A girl who has no concept of time and has to be at a family BBQ in 3 hours. A BBQ that is an hour away and she wants to make cheesecake. Cheesecake that has to set for at least 2 hours or else she will have a chocolate mess on her hands. She decided to take her precious, Saturday morning time going to yoga. She needs to gather herself for the day. She goes home and starts to make her cheesecake. She’s calm and collected and isn’t even worried about her time allotment. Do you want to know how this story ends? It ends with a girl, frantically cutting and trying to pose chocolate that is literally melting in front of her. Don’t worry there’s a happy ending and it’s 50 people at a BBQ who don’t care what the food looks like as long as it tastes great. Lucky me, I mean her. Gosh, the nerve of some people. She needs to get her act together. I present to you: Sophisticated S’mores. (more…)

Here’s the ingredient line up:

From Top Left to Right: Eggs, melted butter, vanilla, heavy cream, marshmallow fluff (organic, of course), sugar, graham cracker crumbs, toasted coconut, greek yogurt, semisweet chocolate, and cream cheese.

We pulse our graham crackers until they are crumbs. We add our melted butter and some vanilla. Pulse again.

Place the graham crumbs in a 9×13 pan, lined with buttered foil (you’ll be thanking me later), and evenly press the crumbs into a crust like so. Finger outlines=homemade.

Now, for the reason we are all here: cheesecake! Cream the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, fluff, and yogurt. Add the eggs, one at a time. We got ourselves a filling! Pour onto the crust and bake. And whatever you do, do NOT open that oven door! Your cheesecake depends on it!

After the 3 annoying steps to bake this thing, your cheesecake should look (somewhat) like this. Let that creaminess cool completely. Please and thank you.

As you wait for the cheesecake to cool and you haven’t picked a leetle piece from one of the corners to sample, we can make our other additions that make this dessert something special. We toast our coconut in a dry pan over medium low. Keep an eye on those suckers. They want to burn so badly. Once they are golden brown, take them off the heat.

This is where our cheesecake goes from dessert to sheer decadence. Two words: chocolate ganache. It sounds so fancy but is only two ingredients. Chop your chocolate so it will melt easily and place in a heat proof bowl.

Put your heavy cream in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour over chocolate and whisk until melted. As the chocolate cools, it gets thicker. Look at that shine! No, this isn’t a shampoo commercial.

All we need to do is combine the trifecta! Pour that chocolate over the cheesecake and make sure it’s evenly distributed. Sprinkle with the coconut.

You will have something that looks like this. But here is where I made the biggest mistake. Instead of saving some extra fluff to drizzle on top, I thought eating it with extra graham crackers was a better idea. Save some fluff to heat up and drizzle on top of this goodness. You’ll be glad you did.

Like I said in my little story, I didn’t have time for my cheesecake to set before I had to cut it. That’s why the bars are dripping with chocolate. Make sure you allow yourself at least 2 hours for them to have fridge time. These take a little work but are soooo worth it. They are S’mores with a cheesecake twist. Sometimes, it’s good to be an adult. Happy sweets making!

Amaretto Peaches and Cream

I have a dear friend who is a missionary in New Zealand. She was back in town a few years ago and I got the pleasure to see her weekly. One simple detail I remember her talking about the beautiful country was whipped cream. She said whenever there is a get together, even if it’s very casual, someone always makes fresh whipped cream. It’s like an unspoken rule. One time my friend asked someone why they do that and they said because it’s so simple, why not. I absolutely love that logic! Let’s start that social tradition here! Pretty please? Seriously, who would get mad if you showed up to a party with a bowl of sweet, freshly made whipped cream? I know if it were my party, I’d welcome you with a hug and a spoon!
I made this Amaretto Peaches and Cream for the 4th of July. It tastes like the freshness of summer with the comforting fluffiness of homemade whipped cream. If you make this, definitely take the extra 3 minutes it takes to make your own whipped cream. Really, it’s a win, win.

(more…)

Let the ingredient line up commence!
(1)
From Left to Right: Amaretti cookies, ripe peaches, Amaretto liqueur, vanilla extract, heavy cream, and brown sugar.

Cut all of your peaches in bite size bits. They don’t have to be perfect or peeled. Place in a bowl.

Now, pick up your Amaretto and take a swig. I’m only kidding if you’re kidding. Pour the rest of the Amaretto over the peaches and sprinkle with the brown sugar.

Mix it up and let it sit for 30 minutes at room temperature. The peaches are soaking up the sweet flavors of the liqueur and the brown sugar. Let them soak.

Now, take very, very cold heavy cream and put it in a big mixing bowl. Add the vanilla. This is where YOU have the control. You can add as much white sugar as you want to make it as sweet as you want. Or you don’t have to add any sugar. See, I’m very lenient. I added about 2 tablespoons of sugar and the cream was barely sweet. Take your electric mixer and beat the cream until slightly stiff peaks form. Taste to see if the sweetness is where you want it to be and then taste it again for good measure (you’re welcome).

Place your amaretti cookies in a plastic Ziplock bag and use a heavy mallot, rolling pin, or empty wine bottle (again, you’re welcome) to crush the cookies into crumbs like so.

Where we go from here is totally up to you. You can drain the peaches and mix them into the whipped cream then top with the cookies. Or you can do what I did, and make a little parfait with peaches topped with whipped cream and cookies. Make this for a party, make this for a casual dessert. Either way, make this. You won’t regret it!