Posts in SWEET THINGS
Icelandic Chocolate Cake

The recipe is simple and like all good food, the quality of the ingredients determines the outcome of the finished cake. Do splurge on the chocolate and the Irish butter. Shhh--only the baker needs to know that this is a melt-in-the-mouth, six ingredient, ten minute to mix cake. 

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Blueberry Cassis Galette

A specialty of Burgundy, France, crème de cassis is a blackcurrant liqueur made from crushed woodland blackcurrants that are mixed with sugar and left to infuse in a neutral tasting spirit such as vodka. Natural companions, think of blueberries and cassis as the melody and harmony in this not too tart, just sweet enough galette.

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Veronica's Thyme Peanut Chocolate Bark

Taking inspiration from her organic kitchen garden in the verdant Portuguese countryside, Veronica sprinkles organic bittersweet chocolate bark with lemon thyme and hand harvested sea salt. An after dinner treat featuring a delicate texture and gentle saltiness, this is a decadent, grown-up and nostalgic sweet thing.

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Strawberry Rhubarb Hazelnut Crisps

It was only a matter of time before a kitchen goddess figured out how to tame the mouth puckering sourness of rhubarb's celery like stalks. When cooked with strawberries and a bit of sugar, rhubarb is a soul satisfying ruby red spring dessert. Crisps are the rustic, no nonsense cousin of the pie--they take less time to bake and the streusel topping lacks the fussiness of rolling and pinching a perfect crust. Enjoy this vibrant pairing only in spring when strawberries and rhubarb are at there peak.

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Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sour Cherries

These are grown up cookies. Rich and not too sweet, the bittersweet chocolate pairs beautifully with a sparkling summer cava. Sour dried cherries from Michigan, the cherry capital of the world, add a variation in texture and an edgy punch to this chocolate connoisseur's dream cookie. Take the whole cookie up a notch and use to make ice cream sandwiches--it hardly gets better when Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream is smooshed between two of these decadent cookie slabs.  

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Rustic Strawberry Rhubarb Tart

Heart shaped, juicy and sweet when ripe, strawberries are nature's candy. Nearly everyone enjoys this darling of late spring. When paired with one of the garden's tartest companions, strawberry and rhubarb morph into a rosy twosome.

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Emily's Blackberry Sorbet

One of the most wonderful ways to preserve and intensify the flavor of one of nature's most perishable fruits is to make a limited ingredient sorbet. Refreshing with the perfect sweet tart balance and twice as many blackberries as most sorbet recipes, Emily's blackberry sorbet elegantly preserves the fruit in icy dessert form.  

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Yummy Chewy & Flat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hands down this is the best chocolate chip cookie: impressive size, crispy edges and a chewy, gooey center. Let's face it, chocolate chip cookie dough is just as good raw (some hungry husbands believe better) as it is cooked--go ahead, double the batch. The first time these cookies end up on a serving platter, nay a morsel will remain. Three half sheet baking trays insure that  all 18 cookies in the recipe may be cooked at once--only six per tray, or the result will be one gigantic melted cookie--albeit a delicious treat nonetheless. Restaurant supply stores sell commercial grade half sheet pans for under $10. They are heavy gauge, easy to clean and outperform their more than double the price specialty store cousins. High quality chocolate and a pure vanilla extract make these worthy of serving to guests---a trip down memory lane for many who crave their mama's baking. Make sure there is milk in the refrigerator when these babies come out of the oven.

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Easter Madeleines

An "exquisite pleasure" made famous by the cookie lover and 20th century novelist Marcel Proust, madeleines may just be the perfect tea-dipping, spongey shell shaped miniature pound cakes to find a permanent place in a baker's repertoire. Light as a feather and delicate, this is more of a buttery mini sponge cake than a cookie. The classic scallop shaped cups of a madeleine pan are essential and the baking pan is easy to find online or in specialty cookware shops. The chocolate and floral embellishments in this recipe contribute to a lovely Easter spring themed tablescape.

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Rustic Pear Tart

Pears are gorgeous out of hand eating fruit. If you just can't wait until the fruit is ripe, however, slightly hard pears are perfect for tarts. A bit of sugar and butter is all you need to coax them to perfection. The crispy crunch of the crust paired with the smooth velvet texture of the baked pears is divine. 

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Pumpkin Spice Tart with Maple Whipped Cream

Chemists and anthropologic scientists study the American obsession with pumpkin spice. It turns out that there is a complex physiological and emotional response to certain smells and tastes that takes both branches of science to fully comprehend. First, the science behind aroma explains the important relationship between food and taste. Second, nostalgia and the association of pumpkin pie with America's beloved Thanksgiving traditions help clarify the emotional response to the complex sweet savory combination of roasted squash, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice.

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Angel Cake with Meringue Frosting

Versatile and simple to make, this light and airy cake is delicious with or without the frosting, drizzled with chocolate, or served with macerated strawberries and lightly sweetened whipped cream. It looks rustic right from the pan and elegant dressed with seasonal flowers. 

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Heavenly Angel Cake with Little Devil Frosting

For my son Brady's 10th birthday we travelled to Washington, D.C. He had been dreaming about the flight simulators at the Air & Space Museum. Clearly exceeding his expectations, and such fun, he stood in line three times to enjoy the experience. The first thing he shares with people about our trip to Washington, D.C, however, is not the thrill of piloting the simulator, but his dinner at the recently shuttered Citronelle. Michel Richard was cooking that evening and immediately noticed Brady--probably because their twinkling eyes and dimples are so similar. Chef Richard invited us down to the kitchen to watch his team cook while our meal was being prepared. Before we left he asked Brady what he liked to cook most in the world. Brady thought for a nano second and blurted out, "Heavenly Angel Cake with Little Devil Frosting." Mr. Richard asked Brady to email him the recipe. We did.

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