Tag Archives: sweets

It’s the bomb: Get a sweet buzz from this Chocolate “Bomb” Stout Float

It’s the bomb: Get a sweet buzz from this Chocolate “Bomb” Stout Float

Believe it or not, beer and chocolate make a great pair. Better yet, beer and chocolate ice cream make an amazing pair. The inspiration for this boozy treat came from a drool-worthy photo of a similar recipe in Bon Appetit of a tall glass oozing over with ice cream, stout and chocolate syrup. But never being able to follow a recipe, I decided to put my own spin on it. Thus the Chocolate “Bomb” Stout Float was born.

I’m sure many of you are familiar with the libation often knocked back at (American) Irish pubs, the “Irish Car Bomb” — the drink and its inappropriate name being an American invention, of course. It’s served as a glass of Guinness draft and a separate shot glass filled with Irish whiskey and Bailey’s Irish Cream. The drinker drops the shot glass into the beer and quickly guzzles it down until the drink is gone — and before the Bailey’s curdles.

Then it hit me: Guinness plus chocolate ice cream plus Irish whiskey could potentially equal something awesome. And sure enough, this float is great when first served but gets even better when the ice cream melts and mixes with the roasty stout, the toasty whiskey and the rich chocolate sauce.

If Guinness is too bitter for your tastes, I recommend using Young’s Double Chocolate Stout, Brooklyn Brewery’s Black Chocolate Stout (though watch out for the 10% ABV) or any stout or porter brew with notes of chocolate and/or espresso. As for the ice cream, I prefer using a rich, chocolatey one, like Blue Bell’s Dutch Cocoa, but you could also experiment with coffee ice cream as well as it would mingle well with the flavors in the beer.

As for the liquor, I’d advise a sweeter whiskey, like an Irish style, over a smoky or peaty-flavored one. You could also use bourbon, espresso liqueur (Patron XO is amazing in this) or blackberry brandy for a take on the traditional “Guinness and Black” drink.
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Move over Godiva!: Easy and decadent homemade Chocolate-Rum Truffles

Move over Godiva!: Easy and decadent homemade Chocolate-Rum Truffles

Forget buying overpriced chocolates and goodies for your sweetie or friends this Valentine’s Day. Why not give them a more personal way of saying “You’re Special” by making them a sweet gift yourself? These rich and decadent chocolate truffles are sure to please any chocolate lover.

Believe it or not, chocolate truffles are not difficult to make. I decided to take on the challenge for the sake of this post and prove that it can be easily accomplished (you’re talking to Miss Anti-Pastry, remember?). So what if they don’t look as perfect as those expensive Godiva ones? They taste amazing and they’ve got a whole lot more love in them than anything you could buy in the store.

For this recipe, I decided to flavor mine with dark rum. I suggest using good quality chocolate (for taste) and chocolate chips in a bag will suffice just as well (go for Ghirardelli or other fancy brand, if you do). Indulge, enjoy, and have a happy Valentines Day!
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Freakin’ adorable: Apple-pecan-bourbon hand pies

Freakin’ adorable: Apple-pecan-bourbon hand pies

Autumn and winter are the only times of the year when you’ll catch me baking. I’ve been known to over-bake, over-whisk and over-mix many a dessert, and I have little to no patience for exactly measuring out ingredients. But the chillier months surrounding the holidays always get me in the mood to bake cookies and pies utilizing the bounty of fruits and spices available at this time of year.

A self-proclaimed “anti-pastry chef,” when I do take on the oven and create sweets I opt for simple baking recipes. I weaned myself off boxed mixes (it’s just plain cheating), but I’m still a fan of pre-made pie crusts and dough found in the freezer aisle at the grocery store. They’re very versatile, and defrosting them makes a smaller mess than making it from scratch — though more power to you if you’re into that.

My newest baked concoction (created with the help of a friend) is a play on the traditional apple pie that many folks enjoy during the holidays. These mini apple-pecan hand pies are a cinch to throw together and a great (and easier) alternative to making one huge pie.

The hand pie recipe uses puff pastry dough — often used in turnover pastries, strudel and for covering Beef Wellington — which can be found in your grocer’s freezer and creates a light, flaky crust when baked. The apple filling is sautéed in a pan first for a softer filling, but feel free to leave your apples raw if you want a crunchier texture. Just remember: If you don’t cook your apple filling first, you can’t pour bourbon in it and set it on fire (aka: flambéing) — which is the best part about making these.

As for apples, take your pick and go with your taste preference. I love the sweet taste of Galas and Comice apples, so that’s what I used in this recipe. For a tangier filling, opt for Granny Smiths.

Feel free to get creative with this recipe, and play with different spices, use an alternate filling — pears, chocolate, berries — or add mix-ins to your crust, like grated sharp cheddar, ground spices and nuts.
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Margarita Mama Cheesecake: Booze and cream cheese combine to make one fabulous treat

Margarita Mama Cheesecake: Booze and cream cheese combine to make one fabulous treat


I have a special place in my heart for margaritas, probably due to the fact that I have a fondness for tequila. The palate-pleasing combination of flavors in the drink are what makes this my go-to cocktail on a warm summer day, or at a Mexican restaurant, or during Happy Hour, or when recuperating after a long and stressful day, or … you get the point.

But cheesecake is another story. I prefer cream cheese spread on a bagel, not in a heaping mouthful, and oftentimes I’ve found many cheesecakes to taste like a block of straight-up cream cheese. Needless to say, it’s the one menu item I always pass up.

So where’s the segue from margaritas to cheesecake, you’re asking? Margarita cheesecake, my friends! This cheesecake single-handedly changed my mind about cream cheese-laden desserts.

The cake combines the sweet, sour and slightly salty flavors of a margarita with the tanginess of cheesecake, creating a marriage made in dessert heaven. And the best part? There’s tequila in it! But don’t worry about getting too buzzed from indulging in a slice — most of the alcohol is burned off during baking.
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Score some points on Valentine’s Day with this strawberry “tiramisu” trifle

Score some points on Valentine’s Day with this strawberry “tiramisu” trifle

Trifle 4_smWhen you think about Valentine’s Day, what first comes to mind? For most people, it evokes images of roses, Champagne, and chocolates in heart-shaped boxes. But for some, the first thing that comes to mind is a decadent dessert. (Well, for me at least.)

I know this is hard to believe, but there are many people out there who don’t like chocolate. When brainstorming up a Valentine’s Day dessert recipe, I wanted something simple to prepare but still classy-looking like a dessert you might see at a restaurant, not to mention something that could please almost anyone’s palate (chocolate haters included).

Tiramisu seems to be a favorite confection for many, but making it can be somewhat complicated and time consuming in the preparation — and not all of us are skilled pastry chefs here. I did want to utilize the ladyfingers, mascarpone cream and liquor-infused elements of the dish, though. And then it hit me — trifle! One of the easiest, throw-together desserts man (and woman) has ever created. Trifle is also a great quick-fix for a make-ahead or last-minute treat as the the components are simply layered atop one another, traditionally in a clear glass container to give it a nice presentation.

This Hallmark holiday is a great excuse to indulge your sweet tooth, and with this easy and elegant recipe (below) you’ll be able to impress your special guest(s) with a swanky-looking final course that you spent practically no time preparing — and they’ll be none the wiser. The ingredients are also pretty inexpensive, and because it’s strawberry season here in Florida, you can pick up a pint of them for a few bucks.
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