Thanksgiving 2015 Desserts

IMG_7523Complimentary desserts to the standard pumpkin, apple, and pecan pie.

When there are a lot of desserts on a table, guests often like to enjoy a sample of many.  A slice of pie or cake tend to be large servings.  Small pick-up desserts are a nice compliment.  I like to stick to flavors of the season.  The middle plate holds nut crescent cookie, which are filled with a combination nut filling.  Nuts are always in season this time of year.  The bottom plate holds Dulce de Leche fudge.  While caramel apples are about a month past their prime – caramel is usually a welcome flavor.  Finally, the top plate holds oreo truffles – no matter what the season is, chocolate lovers want chocolate desserts.

Oreo Truffles

Grind together 1 package of Oreos and 1 8-oz pkg of cream cheese in food processor.  Roll into balls.  Place in freezer for about 30 minutes.  Dip in chocolate.

Dulche de Leche Caramel Fudge ( recipe from )

3 cups white chocolate (use a good chocolate – don’t use chips)

2 Tbls butter

Melt the above ingredients in microwave (don’t over cook)

Stir in 1 tsp. of vanilla and 14 oz of Duce de Leche caramel (usually found in hispanic section at grocery store)

Pour into foil lined 8×8 pan.  Chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Nut Crescent Cookies

In addition, to the above desserts, I also made:

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Carrot Cake (gluten free)

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Chocolate Loaded Cake (gluten free)







Chocolate Loaded Cake (gluten free)

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I aim to please when making birthday cakes for family and friends.  This cake is dedicated to my daughter that believes chocolate cake lacks enough chocolate.

The bottom layer is a flourless chocolate cake.  The middle layer is chocolate mouse.  And the outside is chocolate ganache.  This cake is absolutely not lacking chocolate!

Flourless Chocolate Cake

  • 1/3 c water
  • 1/3 sugar
  • 1 stick butter (cut up into pieces)
  • 12 oz semisweet chocolate
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/3 c coffee
  • 2 Tbls dark rum
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven 325
  2. Butter 8 in round cake pan and line with aluminum foil
  3. In medium saucepan heat water and sugar over medium heat until simmer.  Add butter and heat until melted
  4. Remove from heat and add chocolate.  Make sure chocolate is submerged.  Let stand for one minute.  Whisk until smooth
  5. In mixer with whisk attachment, beat eggs, coffee, rum and cinnamon until well incorporated
  6. Slowly add chocolate and whisk until well combined.
  7. Pour into prepared pan
  8. Create a water bath for cake pan.  Put cake pan in a larger pan and add enough water to larger pan to reach halfway up side of cake pan.
  9. Bake for 45 minutes or until slightly firm to the touch
  10. Place in refrigerator until cold and ready to proceed with chocolate mouse
  11. To remove from pan, run a knife along edge.  Place pan on hot stove for 7 seconds.  Invert cake and remove foil.

Chocolate Mouse

  • 8 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (Do not use chocolate chips)
  • 1 1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar
  1. Chill a bowl and whisk in the freezer for a few hours.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler until smooth.
  3. In the chilled bowl, whip the cream and sugar until it holds its shape.
  4. Fold half of the cream into the chocolate until incorporated.
  5. Fold the chocolate and cream mixture into the remaining whipped cream, incorporating thoroughly.
  6. Spread on top of flourless chocolate cake.
  7. Freeze for about 15 minutes and shape the mouse on top of cake – repeat again if necessary
  8. Freeze for about 1 hour so that the mouse will hold its shape before ganache is poured on top

Chocolate Ganache

  • 16 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, chopped (use good quality chocolate – it is the essence of the flavor)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  1. Place chocolate in a bowl.
  2. Heat cream over low heat, stirring occasionally, until it starts to simmer.
  3. Pour the cream over the chocolate and stir until well-incorporated.  It should be thick enough that it doesn’t just run down the sides.  Allow to cool a little if not thick enough
  4. Pour warm ganache over the cake
  5. Put in refrigerator for 15 minutes.  Reshape the ganache coating so all the sides and top are smooth.

Keep cake in the refrigerator until ready to serve.


Gluten Free Halloween Treats

Gluten Free Halloween Treats

Meringue Cookies in the shape of candy corn and ghosts

(recipe found at

  • 4 Egg Whites
  • 1 1/3 Cup Sugar
  • 1/4 TSP Salt
  • 1/4 TSP Cream of Tarter
  • Orange Gel Coloring
  • Yellow Coloring
  • Parchment Paper
  • Pipping Bag
  • Large Round Tip


  1. Preheat oven to 150-170 degrees. In the bowl of an electric mixer separate egg yolks from egg whites. Let the eggs come to room temp.
  2. Beat eggs until white and foamy. Mix in 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp cream of tarter until soft peaks form.Set timer for 7 minutes. Slowly add in sugar a bit at a time taking the entire 7 minutes to do so.
  3. Divide into three bowl. To make the most meringues put a little more in the orange bowl, and the most in the yellow bowl because you will use the most of these colors.
  4. Add orange to your middle bowl and yellow to the bowl with the most meringue.
  5. Fill piping bags with meringue using a large round tip (I used Wilton #2A). If you only have one tip or one bag just start with yellow and wash in between of course.
  6. On a parchment paper lined cookie sheet pipe yellow dots of meringue about an inch across. Holding the icing bag vertical. Just press gently until you get a nice shape release pressure then pull up. I have found that these bake best when they are no bigger then and inch wide and an inch tall.
  7. Layer an orange dot on top slightly smaller, remember to keep the icing bag vertical it will help loads!
  8. Layer a smaller white dot on top. Pull up as you release pressure to get a nice little tip.
  9. Now bake at a very low heat (about 150-170) for about two hours to two and a half hours until they are nice and crisp. I just checked on mine every so often to make sure they haven’t started to brown. Every oven is different. I have found in the past that a low temp for a much longer time is far better then a higher temp with a risk of browning.
  10. With any left over white batter: swirl and add a couple of mini chips for eyes

Chocolate Coated Marshmallows with sprinkles with gluten free Snyder’s Pretzel handle

This is pretty self explanatory and incredibly easy to make.  They are festive looking and very fun to eat!  The chocolate cools and hardens quickly so it can even be done as a last minute dessert.


Tennis Racquet Cake

Tennis Cake 3

What kind of cake does one make for a 16 year old tennis player?  I’ve already made a cake in the shape of tennis ball.


When I asked him what he kind of cake he wanted, he joking said “my tennis racquet.”

I thought about his request for a few days.  It sounded a bit nuts.  Then, I thought I’m just that nuts to take on this challenge.

Here’s how the project went along.

First, I traced the actual racquet to make a template for cutting out the cake and planning how to plate and store the cake.  Both were a challenge because of the size.  A full size racquet is 27 inches long.  I didn’t have a container large enough to store the entire cake.  I needed to be able to split the cake in order to store in two different containers.  You can see the split I made in the cake plate (pre-cut cake cardboard covered with green paper and wax paper).


I then had to choose an appropriate cake recipe.  I needed one that was dense enough to be cut into sections.  I’ve used a pound cake in the past to cut into shapes, but I wanted to find something different this time.  I found a recipe online that suggested using a cake mix but only using 1/2 the oil and 2 Tbls less of water.  I needed a lot of cake for this project (again a BIG cake).  I used my 12 x 18 inch pan, which requires 2 cake mixes worth of batter.

The cake baked nicely and luckily popped out of the pan without any fuss or cracking.  After the cake cooled, I leveled the cake.  I cut my cake template into three pieces and placed them on the cake.  I cut out each section carefully, making sure to keep my knife perpendicular to the table.  I then assembled the pieces of cake on the cake plate.


Because the strings on a racquet are in the center of the frame, I needed a separate surface for the strings to appear.  I used my cake level to cut the cake in half horizontally.  I cut out the center, leaving just enough cake for the racquet frame.  I then removed the cake.


I also had to cut out the throat of the racquet.  The entire cake then needed to be skim-coated with a thin layer of frosting.  This step seals in the cake for freshness and allows the top frosting to go on smoothly.


I allowed the frosting to dry before placing the two sections in containers for the night.

I wasn’t done for the day, yet.  Dyed frosting needs to sit overnight.  I first whipped up a batch of vanilla white frosting.  I took about a cup of it and dyed it bright yellow-green.  The second batch of frosting, I dyed “tour purple” (which looks like a deep purple or indigo).  This took a lot of purple dye and quite a bit of blue to attain the perfect shade.

Why purple?  The club where my kids practice painted the courts “tour purple” this year.  It allows players to see the ball more clearly because the yellow ball is in direct contrast to the purple.  Here’s a pic of the actual racquet on the actual court.


To end the evening, I whipped up a batch of chocolate frosting and dyed it black.

EXHAUSTED – that’s what I felt like at this point in the project.  I called it a night.

I woke up the next day refreshed and ready to pipe some frosting.  I frosted the racquet face first so that it would have time to dry before I piped the strings.  Then I went to town on the racquet frame.  I started with all the lettering and details and then filled in with the color.  I wanted all the frosting to be a single surface (smooth like a racquet).


Next, I piped the racquet handle to look like it was wrapped in a grip.


I even piped the end of the racquet to replicate the Head logo.


Lastly, I needed to pipe the strings.  The problem?  Strings on a racquet are woven.  A fact I know all too well because I string my kids’ racquets.  How did I do this with frosting?  I piped every other main (black) string first.  Then I piped every other  cross string (white).  I finished piping the black mains.  Then I finished with the white crosses.  Thus, most of the strings actually appear to be woven.  I could have used a basket weave technique, but the breaks in the piping would have detracted from the overall appearance.


Here are a few more close up photos of the cake:



Tennis Cake 2

Head Tennis Racket Cake


Chocolate Ombre Cake

Chocolate Ombre Cake

Ombre cake for a chocolate lover.

For this style cake, I coated the entire cake with a regular chocolate frosting (as seen on the top of the cake).  I made three other chocolate frostings: one with hardly any chocolate, one with some dark chocolate cocoa powder, and one deep rich dark chocolate.  I place numerous dots of the lightest chocolate frosting at the top third of the cake.  Placed an equal amount of dots of frosting of the 2nd kind of chocolate frosting in the middle third.  Then, I placed dots of the dark chocolate at the bottom.  Before the dots had time to dry, I took a spatula and lightly spread the dotted frosting around the cake.  The love how the texture of the underneath chocolate bled through the top dotted frosting.

I used a simple tie-dye technique for the top decoration, using same three levels of chocolate frosting that I used for the side of the cake.  I placed all three frostings into one piping bag and went to town on the top of the cake.

Inside Chocolate Ombre

The inside of this cake is a layer of whipped chocolate ganache.  It has the intense chocolate flavor of ganache with the lovely texture of frosting.

With multiple kinds of chocolate, it’s a chocolate lover’s dream cake.

See Other Ombre Cake Post

Ambre cake

Ombre Frosting

See Other Tie-Dye Post

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Tie-Dye Cupcakes


Lemon Bar Cupcake with White Truffle Frosting

Lemon Bar Cupcake

There’s bite-size lemon bar surprise inside each cupcake.  The lemon pairs flawlessly with white chocolate.

Shhh!  This is a relatively easy cupcake to make, but it will have guests thinking that you labored endlessly to make gourmet cupcakes.

First, start with the lemon bars.  Yes, I could have made these from scratch but a mix will do nicely because it isn’t the sole flavor in the cupcake.  Make these lemon bars the night ahead so that they cut cleanly.  I used an 8×8 pan and cut into 36 small squares.  This was the perfect size to place in a regular sized cupcake.

Second, any white cupcake will do the job.  While I used a recipe that used a white cake base, I added vanilla pudding which turns the mix more yellow than white.  The recipe is rich and moist and tastes great, but hides the lemon bar inside.  (which is why I didn’t photograph a split-in-half cupcake)  It may look better if you use a true white cupcake.  Place about a Tablespoon of batter in each paper cupcake holder, making sure the entire bottom is covered.  Press a lemon bar square into the batter.  Cover the lemon bar with more batter.  Reduce the normal bake time for the cupcakes.  I baked mine for 17 min. at 350.

I used a white chocolate cream cheese frosting.  This is a substantial flavor in the cupcake.  Quality counts.  I used Lindt White Chocolate Truffles instead of standard white chocolate.  Remember, don’t use chips instead of chopping up white chocolate bars.  It very much affects the consistency.

Directions: Cream together: 1 lb cream cheese (room temperature) and 1 stick of butter (room temperature).  Add 12 oz melted white chocolate and 2 tsp vanilla and mix thoroughly.  Slowly add and mix in 5 cups of powered sugar.   Allow to cool and firm up in the refrigerator until stiff enough to frost the cupcakes.  (not too long or the frosting will become hard)

Store completed cupcakes in the refrigerator.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies (gluten free)


What’s your comfort food?

In general, I don’t care to repeat recipes.  I get a lot of pleasure from finding new combinations of flavors and textures.  There’s also a bit of a thrill in finding new desserts that dazzle and impress.

But then there are some days where I find myself craving certain flavors and no new recipe attracts my attention.  Those are the times when I know I need to hit up one of my favorite recipes.  This is the dependable kind of recipe that is guaranteed to satisfy.  It’s also relatively easy to make; a recipe that requires a ton of effort zaps all the comfort.

Here’s my comfort dessert.  They’re not fancy.  They’re easy to make.  And the flavors are perfectly comforting.

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies



3 cups old fashioned oatmeal (not instant oatmeal or quick oats)

2/3 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)

2 cups sugar

1/3 cup cocoa

1/2 cup milk

2 tsp. vanilla


  1. Cover 2 cookie sheets with wax paper
  2. Place oatmeal and peanut butter in bowl to later add to hot ingredients.
  3. Place butter, sugar, cocoa, and milk in saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a boil.  Remove from heat.
  4. Immediately add oatmeal, peanut butter, and vanilla.  Stir until completely incorporated
  5. Spoon batter onto cooking sheets covered in wax paper.  Allow to air dry (about 1 hour)


Like many, my kids’ comfort food is chocolate chip cookies.  One kid likes the cookie dough and the other one likes the warm cookies.


Chocolate Banana Bread

Chocolate Banana Bread

There’s always a recipe to find when you have a few simple ingredients in your house.  This time, I had some left over sour cream from a cake that I made a few days ago and a few bananas that were past their prime.  I wanted a new recipe so I went to one of my favorite sites:


I really like this site because you can input a few ingredients and it will pull recipes that incorporate them.  That is how I found this recipe for Chocolate Banana Bread.  In addition, you can bookmark favorite recipes by adding them to your “YUM” list.

See Related Posts:

unnamed Banana Crumb Muffins

Healthy Banana MuffinsHealthy Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins (gluten free)

Nutella Banana Bread Nutella Banana Bread


Snickerdoodle Cupcake – comfort food for all the senses

snickerdoodle cupcake

For me, cinnamon is synonymous with comfort food.  The aroma in the kitchen while I bake something with cinnamon makes me happy.  The day I made these, it was a cold rainy morning, which called for something comforting.  Also, I hadn’t baked in about two weeks – I was practically going through withdrawal.

This is a well-rounded cupcake.  The buttery texture of a snickerdoodle melts in the mouth.  The yellow cupcake balances the sweetness of the cinnamon and sugar of the cookie.  The creamy feel of the cinnamon buttercream is a perfect compliment.

Here’s a snickerdoodle cupcake.  I can’t deny that it is a little cumbersome to make because essentially you’re making two desserts and combining them.


First, I baked a batch of snickerdoodles (any recipe will do).  I baked the cookies until they were done but still on the moist side – only 10 minutes.  Then, I cut 12 cookies into quarters.

Second, I prepared cupcake batter (I used a regular yellow cake mix).  I place a scoop of batter in each of 24 cupcake papers.  Then I place 2 quarters of the snickerdoodle cookies in the cake batter.  I covered the cookies completely with more batter.  I baked the cupcakes for only 18 minutes.

I made a Wilton Buttercream frosting and mixed in 1 tsp of cinnamon.  I decorated with a simple swirl.  I was sure to add enough to support a cookie topper.

You should have 24 leftover pieces of cookies to top off the cupcakes.

And, as added bonus you’ll have more whole Snickerdoodle cookies to enjoy.


Oreo Lover’s Care Package

Oreo tray

Image above: Oreo brownies, Oreo chunk cookies, and Oreo bars

It’s that time of year when the college kids go back to school.  They get to meet new people and start new classes.  It’s a lot of change and it can be stressful.  I find that baked goods are excellent for stress.  This care package was inspired by my nephew who likes Oreos.  I have done other cupcake recipes with Oreos hidden inside, but I didn’t think the buttercream was a good idea for shipping.  Hopefully, I packed the container well enough that he won’t be receiving a box of crumbs.

Oreo Brownies:  This recipe is pretty straight forward.  Double-up any brownie mix.  Place half of batter in a pan, place a layer of Oreos, and then pour the rest of the batter on top of the Oreos.  Found recipe at

Oreo Brownies

Oreo Chunk Cookies: This is a very simple recipe.  The base of this recipe is similar to most whoopee pie recipes that I’ve seen: cake mix, one stick of melted butter, one egg, and vanilla.  See the exact recipe for full details.  I deviated from the recipe in that I only choose to use only Oreos as my add-ins.  I didn’t want to use chocolate chips.  I used a combination of Oreo chunks and ground Oreos.  Found recipe at

Oreo Cookies

Oreo Bars: These bars are similar to rice krispie treats.  However, instead of using cereal there are chopped up Oreos.  Make sure you use a large enough bowl to melt the marshmallows and butter.  I had a bit of explosion in the microwave.  Found recipe at

Oreo Bars

See Other Oreo Related Posts:

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Oreo Cupcakes

oreo cupcake

Oreo in a Cupcake

Slutty Brownies

Slutty Brownies, for a Chocolate Whore