Category Archives: desserts

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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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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SNOW DAY = Baking

Snow Day? Really? I felt like I was 8 years old again. When I got the call that I didn’t have work last Wednesday, I was literally giddy with excitement and anticipation for the day of baking that lie before me. But what oh what to bake?

Thanks to Fresh and Foodie and Smitten Kitchen I settled on vanilla marshmallows, because is there anything better than a cup of hot cocoa after shoveling snow or making snow angels? No…there isn’t.

Home-made marshmallows are a BAH-ZILLION times better than store bought, so if you haven’t ever tried them, you MUST!

Springy, Fluffy Vanilla Bean Marshmallows

The recipe makes about 100 marshmallows, depending on how large you cut the marshmallows (I cut mine into rectangles.)


About 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 1/2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold water, divided
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Oil bottom and sides of a 13″ x 9″ x 2″ rectangular metal baking pan and dust bottom and sides with some confectioners’ sugar. I like PAM (so easy) and make sure that you dust the pan very well (so important).
  2. In a large heatproof bowl, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold cold water, and let stand to soften. (Beware: plain gelatin smells kind of gross as it softens.)
  3. In a 3-quart heavy saucepan cook granulated sugar, corn syrup, second 1/2 cup of cold water, and salt over low heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to moderate and boil mixture, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer registers 240°F, about 12 minutes. (Just like Fresh and Foodie, I don’t have a candy thermometer. 12 minutes was the right amount of time for me as well. Carefully watch the pan to make sure that it doesn’t boil over.) Remove pan from heat and pour sugar mixture over gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin is dissolved.
  4. With a mixer (hand-held or stand) beat mixture on high speed until white, thick, and nearly tripled in volume, about 8 to 10 minutes.  (If you’re using a stand mixer, this will take less time — approximately 6 minutes.) (It will start to look like marshmallow fluff.)
  5. In separate medium bowl, beat egg whites until they just hold stiff peaks. (I did this while waiting for the candy mixture to cook. You will need to use separate beaters (or wash the originals) from earlier. If you chose to beat the egg whites while the candy mixture is cooking, make sure to briefly re-beat it before mixing it with the candy/sugar mixture.) Beat whites and vanilla bean into sugar mixture until just combined.
  6. Pour mixture into baking pan and sift 1/4 cup confectioners sugar evenly over top. The marshmallows should be entirely covered (It looks like SNOW!) Let marshmallows rest uncovered at room temperature for at least three hours before cutting.
  7. Run a thin, sharp knife around the pan, loosening the marshmallow. Carefully invert the pan over a cutting board, and using your fingers, start to pull the marshmallow away from the corner of the pan. Work your way across until the entire marshmallow is released from the pan and is on the cutting board. (Beware: this is a messing process!)
  8. Sift more powdered sugar on top of the marshmallows before cutting. Using a greased pizza wheel (or a long knife), cut marshmallow into 1-inch cubes or so. (I opted for 1.5 inch strips.) Return cut marshmallows to the pan and toss with an additional sifted confectioner’s sugar until well coated. Store marshmallows in a sealed container for up to one week.
  9. Enjoy with a yummy mug of hot cocoa (some milk with basic ganache or this recipe from Martha Stewart).


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