Category Archives: baking

Winter Macarons – Mexican Hot Chocolate

I’ve really been enjoying making macarons lately, but my most recent attempt needs some slight tweaking (I didn’t even take pictures). But I thought I would share it with you anyway

Using the recipe that I previously posted, I modified the cookie ingredients to achieve the Mexican Hot Chocolate Flavor. For those of you that don’t know what Mexican Hot Chocolate is, click here. I would highly recommend trying some. And for those of you in Chicago, Xoco (a Rick Bayless restaurant) has STELLAR Mexican Hot Chocolate.

Ingredients (for cookies)

  • 1/2 cup ground almonds (or almond flour…I used Red Mill)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 3 large egg whites (at room temp.)
  • 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, or seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean

Combine the ingredients using the recipe linked here, including the cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and cocoa-powder in the sifting process.

I think that I added too much cayenne, but everyone in my office really liked them and thought it was ok. The next time I make these, I’ll probably be doing 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne.

All in all, the macarons paired really nicely with the bittersweet ganache that is listed in the recipes linked. (I love that ganache). I think that a light vanilla cream would also work well.

Any suggestions on the next flavor pairing?


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The Ultimate Gluttony: Oreo-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

The other day, one of my favorite people ever, Leslie author of Little Miss, sent me an email with a link and the question “Does this constitute as food porn?” The answer was a definitive yes because the link was an article by Bon Appetit of a recipe originally posted by Picky Palate of what could be called “The Ultimate Gluttony Cookie: Oreo-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies”.

Somehow this seems like the most American recipe I’ve seen in a long time and the Weight Watcher in me knew it was risky for me to make, but let’s face it: Oreos and Chocolate Chip Cookies? Together? Sign me up!

It was very easy to make the cookies, because it involves making chocolate chip cookie dough and molding it like play-doh around an oreo. (My play-doh skills came in handy!) I used the cookie dough recipe listed below, but it was a little dry for my tastes (I’m a chewy, gooey cookie person). Next time, I’m going to try a different dough recipe.

Word of Warning: the cookies are HUGE! I made 18 using double-stuffed oreos, so next time I’m going to try regular oreos and swapping regular chocolate chips for minis or small chunks. But the cookies were AMAZING!


  • 2 sticks softened butter
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 10 oz bag chocolate chips
  • 1 pkg. double stuffed Oreo cookies (at least 18 cookies)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream butter and sugars together with a mixer until well combined.  Beat in eggs and vanilla.



In a separate bowl mix the flour, salt and baking soda.  Slowly add to wet ingredients along with chocolate chips until just combined.

Using a cookie scoop take one scoop of cookie dough and place on top of an Oreo Cookie.  Take another scoop of dough and place on bottom of Oreo cookie.  Seal edges together by pressing and cupping in hand until Oreo cookie is enclosed with dough.

Place onto a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet and bake cookies 9-13 minutes or until golden brown.

Let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.



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Chocolate-Espresso Mousse Torte

Yet another Now We’re Cookin recipe…yum yum!


  • 1 recipe Basic Ganache
  • 1 tablespoon Softened Unsalted Butter
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso granules
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter/grease a 9″ spring form pan, and wrap bottom and sides in heavy foil, sealing well. Ready a roasting pan to create a water bath.

With ganache in food processor, add eggs one at a time, processing 10 seconds each. Add the espresso, sugar, and flour, and process until well combined.

Pour the batter into the spring form pan. Set in the middle of the roasting pan and place on the oven rack. Pour water in roasting pan until it comes up about 1″ around the cake pan. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until cake starts to pull away from the pan (the center may be slightly soft).

Remove from oven and take cake out of water bath. Place on a rack and cool completely (at least 3 hours, or refrigerate) before removing from pan.

Just before serving, stir together the confectioners’ sugar and cinnamon. Unmold cake and sprinkle cinnamon mix over the top. Serve at room temperature.

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Basic Hot Fudge Sauce

This is another recipe that I got while at Now We’re Cookin’ while making chocolate truffles.


  • 1/2 Recipe Basic Ganache
  • 1 Tablespoon Light Corn Syrup
  • 2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter, softened

Make Ganache. Add corn syrup, vanilla, and butter to the warm ganache still in the food processor. Process until smoth, about 10 seconds. Serve immediately over ice cream, or transfer to a container, cool, cover, and refrigerate for up to 1 week. To reheat, pour into a small saucepan and warm over medium-low heat. Add hot water if the sauce needs to be thinned, stirring well.

(Makes about 6 servings)

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The World’s Best Banana Bread…I am NOT joking

I love banana bread and have been recently tweaking my favorite recipe just to spice things up. I found the recipe originally in my Fast, Easy, Fresh Bon Appetit cookbook (one of my absolute favorites!) and anytime I have bananas in the house, I end up whipping up a loaf or two. The best part of this recipe is that it is SO EASY! In my first apartment, the only tools in my kitchen were a bowl (not a mixing bowl mind you, a serving bowl), a spatula, and a loaf pan. No mixer required!

Something you should know about me: I LOVE BANANAS…but I don’t like them once they start to get any sort of brown spot. So needless to say, I get to make banana bread quite often, which is always cause for a smile 🙂

This time I made a couple of slight changes to the recipe, including adding chocolate chips. I’m a firm believer that chocolate chips are a good addition to pretty much anything. Ben prefers the banana bread without the chocolate chips, so I make it both ways. Enjoy!


  • 2 ripe medium bananas, mashed (I wait until the bananas are ENTIRELY brown…they have the most banana flavor)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (optional) (I used Ghirardelli chips)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk (I used Skim Milk this time around…still delicious)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour 9x5x3 in metal loaf pan. (I used PAM.) Whisk bananas and eggs in large bowl to blend. Add all remaining ingredients and stir to blend well. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake bread until top is golden brown and splits slightly and tester inserted into center comes out clean, (about 1 hour 20 minutes). Cool pan on rack 20 minutes. Turn bread out onto rack and cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

NOTE: Recipe doesn’t double very well. To make multiple loaves, you’ll need to make multiple batches of batter.

Slight cracking on the top!


(Weight Watchers 10 PointsPlus per slice assuming 12 slices per loaf)


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More Macarons – Girl Scout Remix

More Snow Day fun, this time with macarons. As I mentioned earlier, I took full advantage of my snow day and baked up a second blizzaster in my kitchen! (For real…there was powdered sugar everywhere!)

I made more macarons because I just couldn’t get enough, but this time I wanted to go for something a little more decadent. Enter peppermint extract.

I used the same recipe as before, but made the following substitutions:

  • 1/2 cup ground almonds (or almond flour…I used Red Mill) –> change
  • 1 cup powdered sugar –>change
  • 3 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder –> addition (remove cinnamon)
  • 3 large egg whites (at room temp.) –> same
  • 5 tablespoons granulated sugar –> same
  • 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract –> addition (remove vanilla)

While my macarons didn’t turn out as pretty as last time, they were still delicious!

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Basic Chocolate Ganache


  • 2 heaping cups of chocolate (I used Baker’s Bittersweet Chocolate which is 64% cacao, but you can use semisweet if you are looking for something a little lighter.)
  • 1 cup Heavy Whipping cream

Grind the chocolate in a food processor or chop it (with a serrated blade…trust me!) until it’s the consistency of coarse meal. Bring the cream to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. (Don’t scald). Add the cream to the chocolate in the food processor or a stainless steel metal bowl and mix until smooth and shiny. Let the ganache cool until room temperature, or a little cooler.


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