Tag Archive: Dessert

Pumpkin Spice Caramel Sauce

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Syrup

We’re really spoiled at my office. We have a Keurig machine and 2 Nespressos with a built-in milk foamer; there’s no excuse to go to Starbucks ever.

That being said, there are certain drinks I always crave, like sweet lattes with rich caramel sauce swirls. Even if it’s not worth standing in line 20 minutes and shelling out $5, it’s certainly worth taking the time to make it at home for pennies and an infinite supply.

I’m not a pumpkin-spice fanatic, but I do love the earthy flavors in coffee, especially mixed with rich, buttery caramel. I tried Ina Garten’s caramel sauce last year, loved it, and vowed to make it again and again. This was the first time I made it since then(oops). It’s amazing that a little salt and spice changes the flavors completely. This could go in anything from coffee to oatmeal to even squash. 

Pumpkin Spice Caramel Sauce

I don’t recommend using a candy thermometer for this because by the time you have it calibrated right the caramel will burn. It’s best to just watch it closely, use your judgement, and buy an extra set of ingredients because it’s the easiest thing in the world to mess up the first time(but worth giving it a second try!).

Pumpkin Spice Caramel Sauce(Adapted from this recipe)

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients(Makes about 1 1/2 cups):

  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 1/4 cup heavy cream, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Method:

  1. Combine and mix the sugar and water in a medium-sized pot.
  2. Bring the sugar water to a rolling boil and maintain. Once the water is boiling make sure not to touch it with a utensil.
  3. While the water is boiling, mix the vanilla and cream in a cup.
  4. Watch the sugar water carefully as it changes from white to a soft green to a hazelnut. When it turns a reddish-brown, remove quickly from the heat. Don’t let it get to a solid brown or the sugar is too burnt.
  5. Off the heat pour in the cream and vanilla extract. Stand back as it sizzles and may splatter.
  6. Once the caramel’s calmed, return it to the heat and start stirring as it’s just below boiling point. The caramel will have clumped and hardened.
  7. Continue stirring until the clumps have dissolved into the cream and it’s an even color and consistency.
  8. Remove from the heat and add in the spice and salt. Continue mixing as it cools to get the clumps of spice out.
  9. Once cooled, store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. 

Gluten-Free Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten-Free Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies can be as polarizing as politics. Some like chewy while others like crisp. Should they have nuts in them? Are raisins even a question? Everyone has an opinion.

After Pinterest did a Q&A with me my coworkers were interested to try something gluten-free. One of them asked me if I knew any good cookie recipes for his cousin and it seemed like as good a place to start as any. 

Lucky for me, when I brought them into work they didn’t stir up any chewy vs. crispy debates and they were all gone by lunch time–a success! They’re more chewy than crispy, not too sweet, and just rich enough to hit all the right notes. It’s hard to argue with chocolate chips and shredded coconut.

Gluten-Free Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Probably the best thing to keep on hand for gluten-free baking is a bag of gluten-free all purpose flour you can use in recipes without having to mix ten different flours you’re not familiar with. I like Bob’s Red Mill’s but there are tons of different brands out there; try them out and find your favorite.

Gluten-Free Coconut Brownies

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients(Makes 2 dozen cookies):

  • 1 1/2 cup gluten-free all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Gluten-Free Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together your flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar.
  2. Add in the eggs, vanilla, peanut butter and melted butter and mix.
  3. Add in the shredded coconut and chocolate chips and continue mixing until it forms a thick dough. If your dough is too dry add milk by the tablespoon until it’s just wet enough to stick together.
  4. Put the dough in your refrigerator and preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  5. After 15 minutes of chilling, roll the dough into 1-inch balls.
  6. Put the doughballs onto a non-stick baking tray and bake for 10-12 minutes until the edges brown.
  7. Remove from the oven and let sit for 20 minutes before trying to move.
  8. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Gluten-Free Coconut Brownies

Gluten-Free Coconut Brownies

I’ll look for excuses to make frosting, and they’re not that hard to find.

Cakes are great to make and frost when there’s a birthday, a party, or… a birthday party. But when it’s the weekend and you just want something sweet and fast for me, myself, and I, frosted brownies are the best way to go. 

My favorite brownie recipes are always on the traditional side. Forget about expensive olive oil and pine nuts; sweetened shredded coconut is in every grocery store and adds just as interesting a flavor and richness. Finish with some good vanilla and you’re good to go. 

Gluten-Free Coconut Brownies

What makes these brownies special besides the shredded coconut and spoon-licking frosting? Absolutely nothing, so if you want to use a quick gluten-free or regular boxed brownie recipe and fancy it up with shredded coconut and this frosting recipe, go right ahead–everyone will be too busy eating to mind.

Gluten-Free Coconut Brownies

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients(Makes 1 8 x 8 pan):

  • 3/4 cup oat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 7 oz bittersweet baking chocolate, divided OR 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup water

For the frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon milk
  • 1/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together the oat flour, salt, cocoa powder, and baking powder and set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, melt together 4 ounces of chocolate or a scant 1/2 cup chocolate chips with the butter.
  4. While the chocolate is melting, beat together the eggs, sugar, shredded coconut, vanilla, and water.
  5. Slowly pour the melted chocolate and butter into the egg/sugar mixture while whisking until fully incorporated. Don’t go too fast so that the raw eggs don’t cook upon contact.
  6. Add the chocolate mixture in with the dry ingredients and mix completely.
  7. Pour the batter in a greased 8 x 8 pan.
  8. Sprinkle the top with the remaining chocolate and gently press it into the batter.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick poked into the center comes out clean. Let these cool completely before frosting.
  10. With a beater, beat together the butter, sugar, and coconut until smooth.
  11. Spread gently and generously over the pan of brownies.
  12. Slice the brownies into even squares and serve within a couple days of baking. 

Trix Cereal-Milk Milkshake

Trix Cereal Milk Milkshake

If you’ve ever had a bowl of cereal, you probably know the best part is the last bit of milk at the bottom(unless the only cereal you’ve ever had is Bran Flakes or Fiber One but that’s a different problem). 

General Mills sent me some of their new Trix cereal to try out which was given a makeover for it’s 60th birthday (!!) to be fruitier than the old recipe. (Spoiler alert: No fruit shapes anymore; all of the pieces are circles) I can’t say I’m a Trix aficionado and remember what the old recipe tasted like but these are definitely fruity and delicious–by far the best lazy-night dinner I have in my cupboard when I get home past 8pm.

Living in NYC there’s no shortage of inspiration for out-of-the-box recipes whether it’s a cronut or a frozen hot chocolate. I’ve heard people rave about the cereal-milk from Momofuku’s and thought it was the perfect grown-up way to enjoy a kids’ favorite cereal. 

Trix Cereal Milk Milkshake

This is just a variation on your standard 2:1 ratio milkshake. Add extra milk or ice cream to make it smoother or thicker.

You can really customize a recipe like this with any cereal–it’s a blank canvas! If Trix aren’t your thing, try Lucky Charms or even Reese’s Puffs with a chocolate peanut butter ice cream.   

Trix Cereal-Milk Milkshake

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 0 minutes

Ingredients(Makes 2 servings):

  • 1/2 cup Trix cereal plus more for garnish

  • 3/4 cup whole milk

  • 1 1/2 cups vanilla ice cream, softened slightly

Trix Cereal Milk Milkshake

Method:

  1. Combine the Trix cereal and milk in a blender or food processor and mix until the Trix has fully dissolved into the milk. The milk should be smooth and darker in color. 

  2. Add in the ice cream and process until creamy.

  3. Pour out evenly into two glasses.

  4. Garnish with a little more Trix and enjoy with a straw or spoon.

4th of July Flourless Chocolate Cake

Gluten-Free Flag Cake

Cake is never my favorite dessert. Brownies, fudge and frosting are. So when I make a cake the fudgier and dense it is the better.

My mom’s made this flourless cake for years. I first had it during passover at a bake sale when it was one of the few flour-free treats people would flock to. Since then it’s been a go-to recipe.

The cake is just eggs, sugar, chocolate, and butter; it can’t get any simpler than that. For the frosting I used a basic vanilla buttercream and fresh berries to make it festive. When adding berries to baked goods you make the shelf life much much shorter, so add them at the last minute and make sure to eat it up fresh!   

Flourless Flag Cake

If you do prefer a lighter and cakier base, try this gluten-free recipe using almond and coconut flours. 

4th of July Flourless Chocolate Cake

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 40 minutes

Ingredients(Makes 20 servings):

For the cake:

  • 1 stick butter, melted

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 6 eggs

  • 1 cup chocolate chips OR 8.5 oz chocolate, melted

For the frosting:

  • 1 stick butter, room temperature

  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 Tablespoons milk or cream

  • 1 pint strawberries, sliced

  • 1 pint blueberries

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Beat together the butter and sugar, adding in eggs one at a time until all of them are incorporated. The batter should be smooth and ribbony.
  3. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or microwave.
  4. Slowly temper the melted chocolate into the batter until it’s completely mixed in.
  5. Grease a 9-inch cake pan and pour the batter in.
  6. Bake for 40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Remove the cake and let it sit undisturbed until it cools to room temperature. It should deflate as it cools. Don’t worry if the top cracks since it will get covered eventually.
  8. To make the frosting, whip together the butter, sugar, vanilla, and milk until smooth.
  9. Lightly dust the top of the cake with powdered sugar to make sure the frosting doesn’t pull crumbs.
  10. Spread the frosting on gently and evenly.
  11. Arrange the strawberries and blueberries however you’d like right before serving. Store leftovers in a air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.  

4 Memorial Day Dessert Recipes

When the Summer comes around, it makes me realize how boring the Winter was. Every weekend someone’s having a picnic or a party or a birthday. It’s a really good problem to have.

Assuming you have one(or all) of those lined up for Memorial Day weekend, I wanted to share 4 of my favorite recipes to celebrate the warmer weather(of course if it’s too warm and chocolate starts melting, then it’s a travesty).

Any of these are a great way to finish off a picnic or a backyard barbecue depending on what your mood is. Each recipe is also gluten-free or easily tailored to be. 

Gluten-Free Chocolate Flag Cake

Gluten-Free Chocolate Flag Cake–Because every memorial day needs some patriotism. The great thing about cake is that it can’t melt, so if it’s hot out you can still have a tasty time. This cake defies normal gluten-free cakes with a super moist base and a rich vanilla frosting. You can’t really go wrong.

Chubby Hubby Cheesecake

Chubby Hubby Cheesecake is on my short list of recipes to make soon. It’s pretty much a home run with any crowd with good taste. It’s easy to make gluten-free, too, by using gluten-free pretzels or even vegan with dairy-free substitutes.

Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

Chocolate Covered Strawberries are of course a classic dessert for any Summer party. As long as it’s not too hot out, these are a refreshing way to cool down. Create a variety by using milk, white, and dark chocolate.

Red White and Blue Stuffed Strawberries

Red, White, & Blue Strawberries take the chocolate covered strawberry idea and flip it inside out(literally). These take a little more time and skill but they’re worth the effort. If you’re up for a challenge and ready to impress, give these a go.

Happy Memorial Day!

Banana White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Banana White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Bananas get a worse rap than any other fruit. You never hear of people who refuse to eat blueberries or mangoes; what makes the banana so loathable?

If you do love bananas then this is the right cookie recipe. They aren’t overly cakey or fruity–they’re just right.

The flour I used was Betty Crocker’s gluten free baking flour. It’s mostly rice based which keeps the cookies light and airy. If you use wheat flour I’d suggest all-purpose or cake flour.

Banana White Chocolate Chip Cookies

I made mine with coconut oil and the flavor was even better. If you don’t have coconut oil, try adding shredded coconut.

Banana White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 12 minutes

Ingredients(Makes 18 cookies):

  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup oil(coconut oil works well here)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup white chocolate chips 

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the banana, eggs, oil, and vanilla. 
  3. Add in the baking powder, sugar, flour, and salt and mix well until it makes a soft dough.
  4. Fold in the white chocolate chips evenly. 
  5. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and flatten them to about 1/2 inch thickness before putting them on a nonstick baking tray. 
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the bottoms begin to brown and the top is crispy. 
  7. Remove from the oven and let cool. Store in an airtight container for up to a week. 

Raw Chocolate Fudge Pie

Rich raw chocolate fudge pie

If there’s any way to make peace after 2 weeks of not posting it’s this recipe.

Spending the weekend with friends or family is great but usually leads to a week without recipes. Last weekend was the exception. My friend Eury visited and stayed with me and insisted(she’s going to hate that word–“suggested”) we make the raw fudge pie recipe she’s been working on.

Whether you’re gluten-free or gluten-full, vegan or a meat lover, there’s no denying raw desserts are just better than regular ones. They’re always fudgier, creamier, more flavorful, and easy to convince yourself they’re healthy so you can go back for seconds.

Rich raw chocolate fudge pie

With permission I’m sharing Eury’s recipe which’ll easily win over the staunchest crowd. The cashew filling has the same taste and texture as any milk chocolate fudge.  If you do not care about the health benefits of eating raw and only make this because raw desserts have amazing flavors and textures, feel free to substitute the maple syrup for honey, corn syrup, or simple syrup. 

Raw Chocolate Fudge Pie

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 0 minutes

Ingredients(Makes 16 servings):

For the crust:

  • 3/4 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the filling:

  • 2 cups cashews
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Method:

  1. Pulse the almonds and walnuts in a food processor until finely chopped.
  2. Add in the syrup, cocoa powder, and vanilla for the crust and continue processing until it forms a mixed dough.
  3. Press the dough into a 9-inch pan until the bottom’s about 1/4-inch thick.
  4. For the filling, process the cashews into a fine powder. Make sure not to over blend them into cashew butter.
  5. Add in the maple syrup and water and continue blending until smooth.
  6. Add in the rest of the ingredients and process until it forms a smooth liquid filling.
  7. Pour the filling over the crust and spread into an even layer.
  8. Refrigerate for ~4 hours until the center has set. Cut with a sharp knife into servings. Refrigerate when not enjoying.

Peanut Butter Buttercream

Peanut Butter Buttercream

These are not the best cupcakes I had for my birthday. In fact, the cake part didn’t come out all that well since I made them on the fly without measuring anything(only to be surprised Saturday night with a batch of homemade banana cupcakes with Nutella frosting). But they were entirely edible if only because of the frosting.

This frosting though was just right. It’s sweet and vanilla at first with a nutty peanut butter finish. It’d be great on just about any cake or cupcake, and it’s easy to decorate with chocolate chips or Reese’s Puffs.

For this recipe, look for natural peanut butter without any added oils or stabilizers. It’ll mix in with the other ingredients the easiest and have a better, stronger flavor.

Peanut Butter Buttercream Unfrosted

Peanut Butter Buttercream

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 0 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 6 Tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 Tablespoons all natural no oil peanut butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-2 Tablespoons cream or whole milk

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the butter, sugar, peanut butter, and vanilla with an electric beater.
  2. Slowly add just enough milk until the ingredients make a thick but smooth buttercream.
  3. Scoop into a pastry bag and use immediately.

Loaded Peanut Butter Cookies

IMG_6470

It’s a good think I never made a resolution to eat less sugar because if I did I’d be doing horribly at it.

I always like to have something sweet after dinner, whether it’s part of a chocolate bar or just a handful of chocolate chips. That’s probably why I buy a bag and end up finishing it before actually making a recipe. Oops.

These cookies are simple because all I had this weekend in my pantry was simple ingredients. But simple can be all you need.

IMG_6456

Loaded Peanut Butter Cookies

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients(Makes 18 cookies):

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup cane sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter chips

IMG_6467

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the peanut butter, sugar, egg, vanilla and baking soda.
  3. Fold in the chocolate and peanut butter chips evenly.
  4. Roll the dough into 1-ounce balls. Lightly press down on the balls with a fork in a criss-cross pattern to flatten it to about 3/4-inch thickness.
  5. Bake for 12-14 minutes until the tops are firm to the touch and the edges begin to brown.
  6. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool before moving to a separate plate.