Category Archives: Desserts

Chocolate-Chip Peppermint Cookies

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Candy canes are only so useful after the holidays have come and gone.  What does one do with hundreds of mini candy canes, individually wrapped, sitting above one’s refrigerator?

Fortunately, the New Yorker has a number of suggestions.  You could, for example, crush them up and use them to salt, er rather, mint your your driveway in advance of wintry weather.  You could use them to pull clumps of hair out of your drain or drag struggling marionettes off stage.  These are but a few of the New Yorker’s (somewhat) humorous suggestions.

Or, you could crush them up and make these cookies.  I have tried, unsuccessfully, to make these in the past.  Too often Continue reading

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Pumpkin Layer Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing

Pumpkin Cake

Oh birthdays!

As a kid, birthdays are amazing spectacles, full of friends, cake, presents, noise-makers, silly hats, and confetti.  Fire trucks, magicians, and even costumed superheroes may make an appearance.  All in the spirit of celebration.

And then, at least for some, birthdays lose their luster.  They cease to be either fun or exciting, but simply mark the inevitable drum beat of time and aging.

I am not there and hope never to be — hiding from my birthday, pretending it has not yet come or gone.  Bring on the birthdays!  And bring on the cake and presents!  Continue reading

Tres Leches Cake with Berries

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In my last post, I bemoaned the fact that I had not been trying out enough recipes from the Barefoot Contessa (a.k.a. Ina Garten).  Well, sure enough, I am back in form, with a second Barefoot Contessa in less than a month’s time.

I had always wanted to make a tres leches cake, having always been eager to order the dessert at the Mexican restaurants we might frequent.  I loved how moist and sweet the cake was.

And as luck would have it, Continue reading

Magically Moist Almond Cake

Magically Moist Almond Cake

It’s funny. Of all the cookbooks, blogs, and cooking shows, sometimes the best recipe is on the box, staring right at you.

In my last post, I vowed to use my cookbooks more often.  Well, here I am, extolling the recipe on the Bob’s Red Mill package.  In fairness, though, as recipe-testing goes, a company’s own recipe must undergo a fairly thorough testing procedure.

A cookbook may have dozens, if not hundreds, of recipes.  Product packaging will have one or two recipes in which to tout Continue reading

Cranberry-Chocolate Biscotti

Biscotti

One of the problems of having a food blog is – quite obviously – making sure that you have food to photograph. This problem is particularly acute when making dinner or when otherwise cooking at night. Photography at night is a no-win situation. There is no natural light, leaving only the harsh glow of the incandescents. When it comes to dinner, there is the option of photographing on long exposures while the meal grows cold, or simply hoping for presentable leftovers. When it comes to other recipes, the challenge is saving enough for a future daytime photograph.

And that’s the rub here. I made these chocolate-cranberry biscotti Continue reading

New Orleans Pralines

Pralines

I will admit that my recipe headline is a bit redundant. When I think of Pralines I only think of New Orleans. I can imagine no other city evoked by these confections. It may, of course, be my own bias, having grown up in New Orleans, and having passed Aunt Sally’s Praline Shop in the French Quarter countless times.

A few weeks ago, Caitlin and some of her fellow bridesmaids hosted a bridal shower.  The bride-to-be was one of Caitlin’s childhood friends and the groom-to-be was another New Orleans boy (we make such good husbands).  With that in mind, the food and drinks for the evening were to have a Maryland (for her) and New Orleans (for him) theme.

Pralines

Among other items, I volunteered to make pralines for our guests.  At first, we had thought about ordering the pralines, but that seemed expensive, not to mention the threat of breakage.  So we transitioned to the plan that had me making several dozen pralines.

And several dozen I made.  My first batch was a complete and total failure.  I Continue reading

Liege Waffles (Gaufres de Liege)

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There are Belgian waffles and then there are Belgian waffles.  The “Belgian” waffles we know and love are, in fact, American — an invention of the late 1950s, which were popularized during the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City.  The Belgian-American waffle, like other hyphenated groups, sits firmly on U.S. soil, but with a firm nod towards his past origin and history.

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Belgium is famous for its waffles.  But in Belgium, the most popular waffle is not the version we know (commonly referred to as the Brussels waffle), with the squared sides, light batter, and deep pockets.  No, the best and most popular waffle is the heralded  Liège waffle, with its caramelized colors, rounded edges, and small, hand-held beauty.  It is absolutely delicious and best eaten piping hot from a street stand, unadulterated by any add-ons.  Unlike the Brussels counterpart, the strawberries, syrup, and whipped cream only detract from its innate flavor.

Continue reading