Browse Category

Desserts

Fall is upon us, so it’s time to do some baking: the cookies of my childhood

Something has troubled me these past few days: the fall approaching. Lately, the weather has been unusually mild here in Chicago, with low overnight temperatures and highs in the ’70s. There’s something in the air, something that tells me fall is just around the corner. Too soon. Too fast. It’s the middle of August and I can already see the birds migrating, and I can hear their desperate cries as they fly to a warmer climate. Why does summer have to go away so quickly? I don’t know.

I tried to stay positive and to think happy thoughts as I faced this early arrival of the fall. My mom, who’s been here for about a month now, came up with the idea of doing some baking to cheer me up. She took out her recipe binder and we went over several recipes until we came across the one for jam cookies – the cookies of my childhood, as I like to call them. Keep Reading

A Wimbledon dessert: When Eton mess meets banana cream pie

The Wimbledon tennis tournament is on now, and I am so excited! I used to watch the tennis matches regularly when we lived in England, and I vividly remember the competitive spirit and effervescent anticipation which always surround this event. To Brits, Wimbledon is more than just tennis: it’s a unique and exciting competition, a long-standing tradition, and a symbol of the great British summer. Now is the time for Brits to celebrate this season and its finest produce, from tender asparagus to rosy rhubarb, from delicate peas to crunchy cucumber and zucchini (“courgettes,” as they are called in England). Now, references to strawberries and cream (Wimbledon’s famous snack) can be found in all cooking shows and magazines – and for good reason. After all, strawberries are at their best during this period, so why not celebrate their majestic perfection and exquisite flavor?

I wanted to make a dessert to pay homage to the great British summer, but also to the American culinary traditions I have been exposed to since coming to Chicago. Keep Reading

Spring baking in full swing: I used Hamilton Beach mixers to make our favorite fruit sponge cake

There’s nothing that says spring like a cake. A vibrant cake, liberated from all the heavy toppings of the winter season, bursting with fresh fruit flavors, and lightly dressed in layers of whipped cream. There’s nothing overwhelming, nothing forced, nothing artificial with this cake. Spring shines through it and lets us know that warm weather is here – thankfully, to stay.

I don’t bake a lot during spring, but whenever I do, I like to make a light cake. It’s sort of an unspoken tradition in our house: my husband has never been a fan of heavy, buttery cake fillings, and whenever he gets a craving for something sweet, he asks me to make a fruit cake, and then pairs it with light whipped cream. Earlier this week, he wanted me to bake a cake. Thankfully, his request coincided with a great offer I had received from Hamilton Beach. As a Hamilton Beach Ambassador, I was asked to review two of their most popular products and to let my readers know what I thought of them. Hamilton Beach sent me a 6 speed stand mixer and a SoftScrape 6 speed hand mixer free of charge for me to review. All opinions expressed here are my own. Keep Reading

A night of chocolate and crêpes at Beijo de Chocolat: the sweetest chocolate kiss

Update: This location has closed and the owners have moved to Michigan.

I drove to Beijo de Chocolat on a cold and rainy evening, after a busy day at work and very little sleep the previous few nights. I was upset with the weather which had long been testing my patience, and secretly wanted to be home, under a warm cosy blanket and cuddling a hot cup of cocoa. The allure of unique and well crafted chocolate flavors was hard to resist though, so I decided to honor Beijo de Chocolat’s invitation to “a night of chocolate and crêpes.” I wanted to experience their renowned chocolate craftsmanship first-hand – and I’m glad I made this decision. Keep Reading

I played with apples and went back in time: The story of my beloved “Méro” cake

It all started last week, when I bought some Granny Smith apples from the local grocery store. Initially I wanted to use them in a salad, but then I got very busy with work and school, and time flew by like in a dream. On the plus side, those extra few days gave me the chance to reflect more on my options, and in the end I changed my mind completely – for the better, I think. I decided that I should try to make a special cake – a cake that meant the world to me when I was a child: Méro. Keep Reading

An update to mom’s spice cake: I used raisins, and the cake turned out great!

1

Right before Christmas when I made mom’s spice cake I promised myself that I was going to make it again soon and add raisins to the ingredients list. I was curious and worried at the same time: curious to see if raisins worked well with all the spices in this cake, and worried that the quantity I’d estimated I needed to use (1 cup raisins) would be too much and would make the cake overly sweet.

Thankfully, my worries were unfounded, and the cake turned out great. Keep Reading

More baking, more fun: My favorite brownies

1

I just love the taste of this brownie! I made brownies the other day, following a recipe which was shared with me by my mother-in-law. I took the pictures for this recipe with my phone. The photos are not top notch – yet, the flavor is there, and it’s fantastic.

I am a big fan of chocolate, and this brownie is everything I could ever want: moist and chocolatey, it satisfies my sweet tooth while also being big on flavor. The inclusion of the jam on the ingredients list is ingenious and adds extra moisture, and the bittersweet chocolate sauce is a personal favorite of mine. Keep Reading