baking soda

Chocolate Garlic Cheesecake Truffles

Now before you run away… let me just say that I wanted to start the year by challenging myself to come up with a new recipe using an ingredient you wouldn’t normally think of using to make a dessert.

Last summer I created a video for Paula Dean’s Real Women of Philadelphia in which I demonstrated how to make Espresso Hazelnut Cheesecake Ice Cream

Well, just a few weeks ago Real Women of Philadelphia announced a new video challenge using Philadelphia’s newest product, Philadelphia Cooking Cream.



Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

I can’t believe we are only a few days away from the start of a brand new year!

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookie Dough

Have you thought about making any New Year’s resolutions?



525,600 minutes measured in sweets

Well everyone, today my little blog is 525,600 minutes old +/- depending on what time you read this post. 😉

So, I thought it would be the perfect day to share with you how I measured this year:

“In daylights, in sunsets,
In midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife
In five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, a year in the life?

How about love?

How about love?

How about love?

Measure in love.”

OK, enough with the mushy stuff… let’s celebrate!

Devil's Food Chocolate Cake
What better way to celebrate than with a slice of cake right? This cake was inspired by the little “TLC Cake Crew” image I proudly began displaying on my blog as of April.

Devil’s Food Cake
adapted from Baking Illustrated by the Editors Of Cook’s Illustrated

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup dutch-processed cocoa
1 1/2 cup boiling water
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup plain cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
3 large eggs at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate covered cocoa nibs (optional garnish)
9 large strawberries (optional garnish)

Position racks in the bottom and top thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Butter three 9×2-inch round cake pans and line each with a parchment round. Butter the parchment, then dust with flour and knock out the excess or spray them with non-stick cooking spray.

Combine the chopped chocolate and cocoa in a medium bowl, pour the boiling water over it and whisk until smooth. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, and beat until combined for about 3 minutes.

Reduce the speed to medium; add the sour cream and vanilla and beat until combined, for about 10 seconds. On low speed start adding about 1/3 of the flour mixture then about 1/2 of the chocolate mixture, repeat and and with the flour mixture. Beat until just combined, about 15 seconds. Make sure you don’t over beat the batter.

Remove the bowl from the mixer; scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and stir gently to thoroughly combine.

Devils Food Cake Batter ready for the oven
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cake pans and smooth the batter to the edges of each pan with a rubber spatula. Place 2 pans on the lower middle rack and 1 on the upper-middle rack. bake the cakes until a toothpick or skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 18-21 minutes.

Devil's Food Cake right out of the oven
Cool the cakes on a wire rack 15-20 minutes. Run a knife around each pan perimeter to loosen. Make sure the cakes have cooled off completely before you assemble the cake.

Chocolate Hazelnut Frosting
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1-1/4 cups Nutella
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Cream together the butter and shortening. Whisk together the cocoa and sugar, and gradually add to the creamed mixture. Add one tablespoon of milk at a time until desired consistency is reached. Finally add the hazelnut spread and vanilla and blend until smooth and creamy.

Chocolate Hazelnut Crumb Coat
Devil's Food Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Ganache

1 cup heavy whipping cream
8 oz bittersweet chocolate chips

In a medium saucepan heat up the heavy cream, make sure it doesn’t come to a boil. Stir in the chocolate chips and whisk to combine. It’s ready to use once it has cooled down to room temperature.

Devil's Food Chocolate Cake

To Assemble
Place a thick layer of Chocolate Hazelnut Frosting between each layer of devil’s food cake. Then coat the entire cake with a thin layer of the frosting and place in the refrigerator to harden. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and finish frosting the cake with a thick layer of frosting.

Place a ring of chocolate covered cocoa nibs on the base of the cake. Drizzle the cake with ganache starting from the center. Dip the strawberries in the ganache and place on top of the cake.

Snippit “Seasons of Love” from the Broadway musical Rent, written and composed by Jonathan Larson


Brown Butter Waffles

This morning I couldn’t decide what to make for breakfast. I knew I wanted something sweet and not savory.

I spent five minutes looking around the pantry; this is after a good dose of coffee was already in my system. Then, I walked over to the fridge and took a peek, there on the top shelf between the coffee creamer and the OJ I saw a carton of buttermilk. Ah ha! Pancakes!

However, the more I thought about it the less enthused I was about the idea. Then I thought, hmmm why not make waffles?

I pulled out a cookbook from the shelf, flipped through the section titled “Muffins, Scones, Quick Breads & Other Breakfast Treats” once I got to recipe number 10 the deal was sealed. The rest is breakfast history my friends.

You are going to absolutely love this waffle recipe, the brown butter and dark brown sugar gives them such an amazing taste. In my opinion you don’t really need to add any syrup, whipped cream, fruit spread, etc.

Waffle Iron

Brown Butter Waffles

Brown Butter Waffles
from the The Craft of Baking
by Karen DeMasco & Mindy Fox

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs, separated
unsalted butter, for the waffle iron

Preheat your waffle iron.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat; continue cooking until the butter turns brown and has a nutty fragrance, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Brown Butter
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Dry Ingredients
Make a well in the center and pour in the buttermilk and the egg yolks. Whisk the wet ingredients together, gently working them into the dry ingredients until just combined.

Add the browned butter and whisk until fully absorbed. (At this point, the batter will keep for several hours or up to 2 days in the refrigerator.)

Egg Whites
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. Gently fold the whites into the batter in two additions.

Batter and Waffle Iron
Lightly brush a waffle iron with butter and cook the waffles according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Brown butter Waffle Batter
Note: The recipe said it was enough to make 8 Belgian style waffles or 12 round waffles. I was only able to make 5 Belgian style waffles. Not sure if it was because I needed to beat my egg whites a bit more, I had to pour about 3/4 cup worth of batter to cover the inner circle of the waffle iron.

Warm Maple Syrup
Since my opinion doesn’t mean much to my teenage boys they had theirs with syrup.


Reese's Peanut Butter Biscotti

I only have 8 days before I fly out to New York… and, as promised here are a few more details of the event:

As I mentioned before I’m one of 15 bloggers who was invited to participate in a culinary fundraising event with Kelly Ripa on behalf of the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund which is being organized by Foodbuzz and Electrolux.