Berry Blue Blueberry Cheesecake

>> Thursday, November 18, 2010

Crappy photo of a delicious blueberry cheesecake

I love blueberries, but Stuart LOVES blueberries... and cheesecake.  So for his birthday (I may just be a tad late on this post), we decided to try our hand at a Blueberry Cheesecake!  I had made a Toffee cheesecake once before, and didn't like how it turned out, so I was apprehensive about our mission.  But MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

Isn't graham cracker crust THE BEST?

We didn't stray much from the recipe.  Instead of measuring out 3 cups total blueberries, we used 2 packages of frozen blueberries and a handful of fresh blueberries in the sauce.  One interesting thing about this recipe is the use of sour cream for the topping, but honestly, I couldn't really notice it.  I think next time I would like to incorporate blueberries within the cheesecake.  I prefer whole blueberries as opposed to a sauce layer (that was baked).  But I guess that's just my preference. 

Anyway, adapted recipe from, originally a Cooking Light recipe.


  • Crust:
  • 2/3  cup  graham cracker crumbs (about 5 cookie sheets)
  • 2/3  cup  reduced-fat vanilla wafer crumbs (about 20 cookies)
  • 3  tablespoons  sugar
  • 3  tablespoons  butter, melted
  • Filling:
  • 1 package of frozen blueberries minus roughly a cup of blueberries
  • 1  tablespoon  cornstarch
  • 2 1/2  (8-ounce) blocks fat-free cream cheese, softened
  • 1  (8-ounce) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1  cup  sugar
  • 2  tablespoons  cornstarch
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 5  large eggs
  • Topping:
  • 1 1/2  cups  fat-free sour cream
  • 2  tablespoons  sugar
  • 1/2  teaspoon  vanilla extract
  • Sauce:
  • 1/4  cup  sugar
  • 1/4  cup  water
  • Roughly 1 cup of frozen blueberries + some fresh blueberries


1. Preheat oven to 325°.
2. To prepare crust, combine first 3 ingredients in a medium bowl. Drizzle with butter; toss with a fork until moist. Firmly press mixture into bottom of a 9-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 325° for 10 minutes; cool on a wire rack.
3. To prepare filling, combine 2 1/2 cups blueberries and 1 tablespoon cornstarch in a food processor, and process until smooth. Place puree in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 6 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Cool slightly. Reserve 1/2 cup blueberry puree for sauce; set remaining 1 cup blueberry puree aside.
4. Place cheeses in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed for 3 minutes or until smooth. Combine 1 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, and salt. Add sugar mixture to cheese mixture; beat well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Pour batter over prepared crust. Pour 1 cup blueberry puree over batter; gently swirl with a knife. Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until cheesecake center barely moves when pan is touched. Remove cheesecake from oven (do not turn oven off); place cheesecake on a wire rack.
5. To prepare topping, combine sour cream, 2 tablespoons sugar, and vanilla in a small bowl, stirring well. Spread sour cream mixture evenly over cheesecake. Bake at 325° for 10 minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven; run a knife around outside edge. Cool to room temperature. Cover and chill at least 8 hours. Remove sides of springform pan.
6. To prepare sauce, combine reserved 1/2 cup blueberry puree, 1/4 cup sugar, and water in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 8 minutes or until sauce is thick, stirring constantly. Gently fold in 1 cup blueberries. Remove from heat, and cool. Serve sauce with cheesecake.


The Great Pumpkin Cookie

>> Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The great pumpkin cookie is the dessert you’ve been waiting all year for.   Fresh out of the oven, the cookie’s exterior crust provides a crisp cover to a soft, moist cookie that crumbles like a cake.  Whether it’s the texture or the taste, this cookie is a delight to eat.  The mild cinnamon flavor is enhanced by a coating of sweet icing.  As usual, you can have some fun with the icing – striping cookies or dousing them with sugary goodness.  Of course, I left a few cookies plain for those who like less sugar.  I brought these to the last girl’s night, and they were a hit!

The recipe was adapted from here


Cookie Recipe
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 4 teaspoons milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
  2. In another bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add pumpkin, egg, and vanilla to the mixture, and beat until creamy.  
  3. Mix in dry ingredients. Drop on cookie sheet by tablespoonfuls; flatten slightly.
  4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. To make the icing: Mix confectioners' sugar, milk, melted butter, and vanilla. Add milk as needed, to achieve desired icing consistency.  Once the cookies are cool, use a fork to ice the cookies.


Mini Caramel Apples!

>> Friday, October 29, 2010

With Fall comes Caramel Apples!  I saw mini caramel apples posts by every dessert/food/craft blogger, and they were so cute, we HAD to give it a go.  While I love anything and everything mini (or larger than life), and while I love that these were bite size, the caramel kept sliding off the fleshy part of the mini apple. We made the caramel from scratch (our first time) and I thought I was going to die from getting sugar burns or completely burn the sugar, but it turned out perfect.  Not sure I really recommend our two readers to make some at home, but it wasn't really difficult; you just need to keep an eye on it once all the water boils off.

Anyway, look at these babies:


Spooktacular Creations

Sprinkles! Lots of sprinkles - in every color, shape and size make cookie decorating lots of fun for friends and family.  It's exciting trying out some new cookie cutters, just in time for Halloween.  Which is your favorite treat?



>> Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I know it's September and summer is gone, but we recently had a heat wave.  We took this opportunity to have one more taste of summer and started with an Agua Fresca recipe, but ditched it last minute.  Instead we made Watermelonade!  In short, we cubed a ton of watermelon, stuck it in the blender, added some sugar, and chilled it.  We originally tried to strain it, but it wasn't straining very well.  All the better, I love when my fruit juice is pulpy/meaty!

Approximately 4-5 cups of watermelon (seeded and cubed)  We used a seedless watermelon to make this step easier
1-2 cups of water, as required to help the watermelon blend
Sugar to taste
Mint leaves for garnish

  1. Fill a blender with cubed watermelon.  Add a little water to help the watermelon blend.  We used less water so that we could get a stronger watermelon flavor.
  2. (Optional) Filter the watermelonade using a strainer.  The unfiltered drink has a thicker consistency.
  3. Add sugar.  We used 1 tablespoon of sugar for every cup of watermelonade.  The sweeter the watermelon, the less sugar you need to add!
  4. Serve chilled, with a sprig of mint to garnish


Bad A$$ Blueberry Muffins

>> Monday, September 27, 2010

Blueberry Muffins, originally uploaded by Dessert Night.

How do I capture that last taste of sweet, summer bliss? Store bought blueberries are a passable substitute for the pounds of pick your own blueberries I just enjoyed last month. This muffin batter is uncommonly thick and gooey. The batter is so thick, you have to wonder how the blueberries don't get crushed in the folding process. The result is delightful. No rock hard muffins posing as paper weights here! The first bite is that AH-HA moment you’ve been waiting for - a touch of a crunchy-cinnamon-sweet-crumble topping, followed by a burst of tart blueberries mixed with the delectable soft, moist cake. Where have you been my whole life?

The recipe has been adapted from here

Ingredients for 8 muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 cup fresh blueberries (plus a few for munching while you wait)
1/2 cup white sugar
dash of cinnamon

Crumble Topping
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons softened butter, cubed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. To make the batter, mix together flour, sugar, salt and baking powder with a dash of cinnamon. Add the vegetable oil, milk and egg to the dry ingredients and mix together. Fold in the blueberries.
  3. For the crumble, in a separate bowl, mix together sugar, flour, butter, and teaspoons cinnamon.
  4. Fill the muffin cups with the batter and top with the crumble topping.
  5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the oven.


Chocolate Cupcakes... with Beets?

>> Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Vegan cupcakes came to my attention, at least twice in the last week.  I'm intrigued by the idea of a vegan cupcake, although I am in no way a vegan.  Then today I came across spring around the bend's can't be beet chocolate cupcakes and I think DN may have to try that one out because I LOVE beets.  I'm not too keen on buying beet powder, but maybe, just maybe I will so I can try that cupcake.  Anyway, I'm in the market for a basic, moist, and very delicious white cake (for cupcakes) recipe.  I think I found some today that I will try, but that adventure will have to wait until next week perhaps.

Before I head to bed, I do want to say I love the idea behind spring around the bend's blog: cooking with home grown ingredients... in DC!  Right around the area from DN!  I like when I come across local blogs of local people.


Congrats to Tina and Joel!

>> Friday, September 10, 2010

DessertNight would like to congratulate our friends Tina and Joel who got married last weekend! They are one of the coolest couples and they are so cute together! They had a beautiful wedding reception at the Hyatt overlooking Baltimore Inner Harbor, and their cake was delicious! I had a slice of the white cake with raspberry filling, which was heaven.  In fact a couple of people had to get seconds.  Many blessings to the happy couple!


Really-Red Red Velvet

>> Thursday, September 2, 2010

I wonder if Red Velvet wasn't red and was perhaps just velvet, would it be as popular and delicious and loved as it is?  I honestly don't understand why a red cake is so popular and loved.  I just don't see someone creating the exact same cake but with orange food coloring, calling it Orange Delight, and it being as popular as Red Velvet (although Orange Delight does sound like Chinese food because it probably IS a Chinese dish somewhere).

Anyway, it was recently Travis' (AKA Jen's husband, DN's flickr uploader and sometimes ingredient picker upper) birthday and we wanted to surprise him with a birthday cake.  Red Velvet (which I will from here on refer to as RV) seemed like a good idea because good RV is really good.
We did our research and picked a recipe for the cake.  We had SUCH high hopes for this cake, at least I did.  It was supposed to be better than any RV I could buy. 

I'll admit, I DID over whip the frosting just a bit.  I think next time I over whip cream (Yeah yeah, I have done it before), I am just going to keep going and make butter.  BUT still, our RV was a FAIL.  So much... unrealized potential.  The cake was off -- next time we'll double or triple the amount of cocoa powder as we couldn't taste anything cocoa in it.  The frosting was WEIRD -- the taste and texture was grainy gross.  I really recommend against using Mascarpone cheese for the frosting.  Next time we will stick to the traditional cream cheese frosting.  *Sigh*.  And worst of all?  No one wanted seconds!

While it was a fail, I will say the cake tasted better on the subsequent days.  And hey, I think it was Jen's first time cutting layers!  Anyway, Travis seemed to think it was good and I hope appreciated our efforts (he honestly thought it was good).  I feel a need for redemption, however!

The recipe we used from Joy of Baking:


Red Velvet Cake:
2 1/2 cups (250 grams) sifted cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons (15 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk
2 tablespoons liquid red food coloring
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda
Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 1/2 (360 ml) cups heavy whipping cream
1 - 8 ounce (227 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
1 - 8 ounce (227 grams) tub of Mascarpone cheese, room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (115 grams) confectioners' (icing or powdered) sugar, sifted


Red Velvet Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Butter two - 9 inch (23 cm) round cake pans and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl sift together the flour, salt, and cocoa powder. Set aside.
In bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until soft (about 1-2 minutes). Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.
In a measuring cup whisk the buttermilk with the red food coloring. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.
In a small cup combine the vinegar and baking soda. Allow the mixture to fizz and then quickly fold into the cake batter. 
Working quickly, divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans and smooth the tops with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 25 - 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Place a wire rack on top of the cake pan and invert, lifting off the pan. Once the cakes have completely cooled, wrap in plastic and place the cake layers in the freezer for at least an hour. (This is done to make filling and frosting the cakes easier.)
Cream Cheese Frosting: In your food processor, or with a hand mixer, process the cream cheese and mascarpone cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla and confectioners sugar and process until smooth. Transfer this mixture to a large mixing bowl.
Then, in the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. With a large spatula, gently but quickly fold a little of the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture to lighten it. Then fold in the remaining whipped cream, in two stages. If the frosting is not thick enough to spread, cover and place in the refrigerator for an hour, or until it is firm enough to spread.
Assemble: With a serrated knife, cut each cake layer in half, horizontally. You will now have four cake layers. Place one of the cake layers, top of the cake facing down, onto your serving platter. Spread the cake layer with a layer of frosting.  Place another layer of cake on top of the frosting and continue to frost and stack the cake layers. Frost the top and sides of the cake. Can garnish the cake with sweetened or unsweetened coconut
Makes one - 9 inch (23 cm) four layer cake.

Read more:


Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

>> Thursday, July 22, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup, originally uploaded by Dessert Night.

Every Halloween as a kid, I looked forward to getting some peanut butter cups, a perfect blend of chocolate and creamy peanut butter. The gooey, sweet combination was enough to make me a happy camper. Fast forward to today. For girl’s night, I promised the host I would make something with one of my favorite ingredients, chocolate! As I looked through some recipes I wanted to try: cookies, brownies, and petit fours, I could not imagine leaving the oven on for an hour and making my kitchen as hot as the weather outside.

And then I found the perfect recipe. It’s simple, although the preparation is a bit messy, easy to serve, and since it’s homemade, there are no additional chemical additives or preservatives. For the health conscious, that makes this dessert almost guilt free! Ok, so I will admit spreading the chocolate wasn’t just a little messy, it got all over the place. At times, I felt like melted chocolate was everywhere except on the sides of paper liner. Well, at least at the end I could lick my fingers!

With this recipe, a lot of time is spent waiting for the chocolate to harden in the fridge. If you are in a hurry, the freezer will harden the chocolate faster. As expected, the end result is fabulous, tastier than the store bought version.

Our recipe is adapted from here.

Makes 12 peanut butter cups

  • 1 (12 ounce) package milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (if desired)

  1. Cut 12 paper cupcake cup liners to half of their height. Place in cupcake pan.
  2. Divide the chocolate chips in half. Using a double boiler, melt one half of the chocolate chips, stirring until smooth.
  3. Scoop about 1 heaping teaspoon of melted chocolate into each cupcake liner. Spread the chocolate evenly around the cupcake cup until evenly coated. This part will get the cupcake pan, and your fingers, messy! It helps to make the chocolate bottom thicker, and to cover the sides of the liner completely with chocolate. I used a chopstick to hold the liner in place, and a spoon to do the spreading.
  4. Cool in the refrigerator until firm (about 1 hour)
  5. In a bowl, mix the peanut butter, powdered sugar and salt.
  6. Divide the peanut butter mixture into the chocolate cups. Melt the remaining chocolate, and spoon over peanut butter. Spread chocolate to the edges of the cups. Cool in the refrigerator until firm (about 1 hour)
  7. Enjoy!


Souffle Goes Green - No Waste

>> Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Cheese Souffle, originally uploaded by Dessert Night.
After we made the Tiramisu, I was left with 6 perfectly good egg whites, and no idea of what to do with them. While some sites pointed out that eggs are an inexpensive ingredient; ever since I was a child, wasting food was a no-no, so I couldn't throw them out! We also had more than enough Tiramisu to last a week, so making Chocolate Souffle again was really not an option.

I could have frozen the egg whites, but decided to whip up something savory and delicious: Cheese Souffle. This is off topic, but it turned out so well that I imagine it is the perfect complement to your dessert.  The recipe below was adapted from here.

Cheese souffle with Egg Whites

Grated Parmesan cheese and butter for prepping souffle dish

2.5 TB butter
3 TB flour
3/4 c. simmering light cream
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
Big pinch nutmeg

6-7 egg white
Big pinch salt
3/4 c. (3 oz.) coarsely grated Swiss cheese, + 1 Tablespoon for topping the souffle
3/4 c. (3 oz.) Swiss cheese cut into 1/4 inch cubes

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F. 
  2. Generously butter 6-cup souffle dish and coat evenly with grated Parmesan cheese. 
  3. In a saucepan over low-med heat, melt butter and then stir in flour. Cook for about 2 min. making sure it doesn't brown. Off heat, add simmering cream and seasonings. Bring to boil and stir for 1 min. Take off heat.
  4. Beat egg whites and salt until stiff peaks form. Stir one fourth into cream base. Stir in the grated cheese. Then add diced cheese. Gently fold in remaining whites.
  5. Pour mixture into prepared souffle dish, sprinkle w/ remaining grated cheese. Set in middle of oven and immediately reduce heat to 375F. Bake for 25-30 min. til souffle has puffed and browned. 
  6. Serve Immediately.


Hotteok (호떡) - A Delectable Korean Treat!

>> Friday, June 4, 2010

Hotteok, originally uploaded by Dessert Night.

Hotteok (호떡) is one of those treats you buy from the street vendors (포장마차) in Korea that you not only never regret getting, but wish the street vendors would come to America to sell them as well.  It's basically a pancake filled with brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts if desired. It's cooked so that the brown sugar oooooooozes out of the pancake, and it's just... so good.  Hotteok memories are happy memories. :)  I remember eating hotteok in Surak San (one of the mountains in Korea): it was big, thin, crisp, oozy, and... just make sure you pick up some when you go to Korea. 

I've made it a couple times.  There are mixes you can buy from the grocery store that have the dough mix and filling mix for you.  Tried it, didn't like it.  I also tried it from a recipe online.  One of the difficulties with making hotteok is that the dough is EXTREMELY sticky.  Then you have to put oil all over your hands so it doesn't stick to your hands... but that got old really quick.  I also found that they were really doughy, and not as thin as I'd like.  After doing some research, it was apparent I needed to try adding some rice flour as it would help with the thickness and the texture.  So then I stumbled upon a recipe from I love butter and sugar that I thought turned out really well.

Here is our adapted recipe:


* 3 teaspoons lukewarm water
* 1/4 teaspoon white sugar
* 1/4 teaspoon dry-active yeast
* 6 tablespoons milk (7 if it's too dry)
* 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/2 cup sweet rice flour (We used a Japanese brand found at the local asian grocery store)
* Pinch of salt
* Canola oil


* Scant 1/4 cup brown sugar
* 2-3 tablespoons peanuts, toasted and finely chopped
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

To give it a go:

1.  Combine water, sugar, and yeast in a medium sized bowl.  Then turn on the oven light and let it sit for 10 minutes inside your oven.  The heat from the light will get the yeast to bubble. 
2. Add in milk, all-purpose flour, glutinous rice flour, and salt, then mix until it's all incorporated.
3. Cover bowl with cloth (or plastic wrap or a paper towel, but trying to be green here), put it back in the oven with the oven light on, and let it rise for 3 hours. (Tip: If you really can't wait to eat your hotteok, we did do it for an hour and half, it was fine.)
4. After the dough has doubled in size, knead the dough for a minute.  Also mix the filling together in a separate bowl.
5. Put some canola oil to coat the bottom of your pan, and set the heat to medium to medium.
6. Portion out the dough into golf-sized balls. (Tip: If the dough is VERY sticky, put some oil onto your hands for the remainder of the recipe.  This helps a LOT, although I found I didn't need to do that with this particular recipe)
7. For each ball of dough, flatten it in your hand and lay a generous spoonful of the filling.  Then gather the dough around the filling so as to encase the filling with the dough.
8. Place a ball with the gathered side down onto the pan.  Let it sit for 10 seconds.  Then flatten with a spatula (Tip: Again, if the dough is very sticky, make sure your spatula is oiled).  Flatten it several times, switching your angle.  The thickness should be about or smaller than the thickness of a pancake.  Fill your pan this way with 2 or 3 pancakes at a time.
9.  Once a golden brown is reached, flip the hotteok over.  Cook both sides to a golden brown.
10. Eat!  But be careful, the inside will be very hot!

Jen and I made this for our end of the year Korean project, and it turned out to be a hit!  I give ourselves an A+.

If you try out the recipe, be sure to leave a comment to let us know how it went! It also lets us know we have readers!



Farmer's Market Finds - Rhubarb

>> Sunday, May 23, 2010

Last week, I was at the farmer's market and picked up a bundle of fresh rhubarb stalks.  This was my first time buying rhubarb, and I admired the lovely, deep red color of the stalks.  Except for the color, Rhubarb stalks look a lot like celery.  Be careful though, the rhubarb leaves are toxic and should NOT be eaten.  I tried a bite of fresh stalk, and it was sour!

In bakeries and markets, I've seen rhubarb pies, or strawberry rhubarb pies, so I knew this rhubarb had a lot of potential.  Maria found this simple recipe which used a few ingredients that we had at home, so I was able to turn my rhubarb into a delectable crumble.  This rhubrb crumble has a tangy flavor that mixes perfectly with the sweet, crumble topping to create a melange of flavors on the tongue.  Here is our adaptation of the recipe.

Rhubarb Crumble

Rhubarb Crumble


  • 3/4 lb rhubarb, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of nutmeg (the original recipe used cardamon)
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of butter, softened to room temperature.  Cut into cubes.
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  2. In a bowl, mix the rhubarb, sugar, flour, vanilla and nutmeg.  Put this mixture into a 5 by 7 baking dish.  In my dish, the rhubarb mixture was about 1 inch thick.
  3. In another bowl, mix the flour, salt, brown sugar.  Mix in the butter until the mixture is crumbly.  
  4. Spread the crumble mixture in the baking dish
  5. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the top is brown and the filling looks bubbly.
Let cool, and enjoy!


Be Not Afraid... of Ginger... Ale!

>> Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ginger is one of those ingredients that I find intimidating. It's spicy kick and strong flavor is one to know and to respect. While I can't say I've done a lot of cooking with ginger (and hey, I guess I don't need to since this is a dessert blog and not a cooking blog), I can say that homemade ginger ale tops any ginger ale that you can buy. And I mean it. AND it's so simple, you should definitely give it a go.

All you do is make a simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar), add some slices of ginger, and let it simmer for at least 30 minutes (longer if you'd like) to let the ginger infuse the syrup. Then add some cold sparking water with ice and mix to taste, and tell me that's not good! For those of you that really must have a recipe to follow here:

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 piece of ginger (about the size of your thumb) sliced up

1. Put sugar and water over med-low heat to melt sugar.
2. Add pieces of ginger and bring to a simmer.
3. Simmer for 30+ min.
4. Mix with sparking water and ice.
5. Enjoy!

Tip on peeling ginger: use a spoon! If the ginger is good, the skin should come off easily using a spoon to scrape at it. Have fun!


Tiramisu - Two nights are Better Than One!

>> Thursday, May 13, 2010

One of my favorite desserts is the Tiramisu.  The luscious combination of flavor and texture results in a taste of absolute perfection.  The thought of the light, creamy, and fluffy marscapone, slightly bitter coffee, and soft cake mingled with a touch of chocolate is enough to make my day! 

From our research, we definitely wanted a recipe that involved making our own lady fingers - partly for freshness and to preserve the do-it-all spirit of DN (Dessert Night)!  In addition, we wanted to put our own twist on this adventure, by making the Tiramisu into individual cupcakes which would be perfect for sharing with friends.  Finally, we wanted to preserve the Tiramisu layers that we really felt were the heart of the dessert.  Many of the cupcake recipes involved making a cake bottom, and used the marscapone cheese only in the frosting.  While these sounded yummy, Maria and I knew that layers were a definite must!

And so a plan evolved:

DN 1:  Make lady fingers, but instead of piping the fingers individually, make a sheet, and use two sizes of circle cutters to cut circles for the cake layers
DN 2:  Whip the marscapone filling, and layer with the lady finger circles into the cupcake tin.  Refrigerate and Enjoy!


Souffle of Choice

>> Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Before we move on to our next dessert adventure, I wanted to post some notes about how we chose the "perfect" chocolate souffle!  We compared several chocolate souffle recipes and selected this one because it served several people, and had very clear, detailed instructions.  For the chocolate, we skipped some messy chopping and used bittersweet chocolate chips.  In addition, we read that a copper bowl is ideal for beating egg whites perfectly.  Since neither of us has a copper bowl, we were very careful to separate the egg yolks from the whites, leaving no trace of shells or yolk in the egg whites.  (To our chagrin, a copper bowl is quite a bit pricier than the stainless steel version.)  While the recipe makes six souffles, we ended up having to butter up some extra ramekins at the last minute - perhaps due to extreme luck in beating the egg whites?  Here is the recipe adapted from the Food Network, with some notes:

Chocolate Souffle Recipe


  • 7 ounces finely chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus for preparing the molds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons warm water
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 8 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Confectioners' sugar for garnish

  1. Brush 6 (6-ounce) ramekins with soft butter, then coat with sugar. Put the prepared ramekins in the freezer.
    We used the fridge, since the freezer was full!
  2. Preheat to 400 degrees F.
  3. Put the chocolate and butter in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with an inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl over, but not touching, the water. Stir the chocolate occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Set aside.
    Note: This is similar to using a double boiler to melt the chocolate and the butter.  Once the chocolate is smooth, take the bowl off the heat and stir in the vanilla. 
  4. Combine the egg yolks and warm water in the bowl of a standing mixer or large bowl and beat until frothy. Gradually add 2 tablespoons sugar, and continue beating until ribbons form, about 5 minutes. Very lightly fold the yolks into the chocolate mixture.
    Note: In the ribbon stage, the egg yolks turned a pale yellow.
  5. Put the egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer, or large non-reactive bowl, add the lemon juice. Beat on medium until frothy; then gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and increase speed to high. Beat until the whites hold a stiff but not dry peak.
    Note: If you don't have a rubber spatula, I definitely recommend using one to clean the sides of the bowl when beating!
  6. Working quickly, fold about a third of the egg whites into the chocolate to lighten; then fold in remaining whites until blended. Gently ladle or spoon the souffle mixture into the ramekins, and place on a baking sheet. (Level off the surface with a straight edge, scraping any excess mixture back into the bowl.)
  7. Immediately bake until the souffle rises about 1 1/2 inches from the ramekins, and the tops are touched with brown, about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven, dust with confectioners' sugar and serve immediately.


First Impressions

>> Tuesday, May 4, 2010

On Sunday, we stopped by Baked and Wired, a cupcake place in Georgetown.  They have some incredibly delicious cupcakes, and the first thing that I noticed about their cupcakes, was the beautiful parchment paper liner. This simple, elegant touch made my cupcake look and feel special.

Luckily, you can recreate this fabulous look at home:
Parchment paper cupcake liners
Martha Stewart's version

  1. Cut a 5 inch square piece of parchment paper
  2. Spray cooking spray into the muffin tin
  3. Use a cup to press the parchment paper into the hole of the muffin tin.  You may need to twist a few times to define the creases
  4. Fill the liners with batter and bake!
We're excited to try this method for the next DN!


Delightful Beginnings

>> Tuesday, April 27, 2010

On April 12, 2010 Jen and I kicked off dessert night (now known as Dessert Night) by making our first souffles.  We decided to go with chocolate since chocolate is quite delicious.  Jen did all the research on different souffle recipes, and it came down to epicurious v foodnetwork (which from now on I will refer to as FN) Alton Brown (whom from now on I will refer to as AB).  I am a HUGE fan of AB, but honestly, I can't remember which one we picked (although I think it was the FN/AB recipe).  While I can't remember which recipe we chose, I sure remember the results.  It was literally heavenly, like a cloud from heaven landed in my mouth.  So much delight!  And it was pretty simple to make as well.

And I must say, if you plan on garnishing your dessert with mint, get it from your garden.  Really.  WOW, home grown mint is delicious.  It's supposedly easy to grown (although I killed the ones Jen gave me -- water is important), but don't grow it in the ground, unless you want a lawn full of mint. 

Here is our chocolate souffle:

I'm sure at some point we'll fill in the "About" section about why we've started this and a disclaimer that we are not pastry chefs, but rather that we are software engineers passionate about everything dessert.  But blogging is tough work!  Time for bed!


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