Whenever I host a dinner party, I get caught up in the dinner menu, appetizers, and drinks. Dessert is usually the last thing on my mind. And after a full day of prepping, cooking, and hosting, I want to serve something easy. A scoop of ice cream is the easiest of desserts, but it’s also kinda boring. Solution: affogatos. An affogato is just a scoop of vanilla ice cream with a shot of hot espresso poured over. As the espresso melts the ice cream, it basically becomes a sweet and creamy latte. I topped mine with a sprinkle of cacao nibs for a little crunch. Yummm!
You guys. Cookies dripping with dulce de leche and covered with powdered sugar? These are alfajores and in this moment they are my favorite type of cookie. I followed CHOW’s recipe for the cookies and Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for the dulce de leche. The dulce de leche took over an hour to make, so while the cookie dough was chilling in the fridge, I put on some fun music and went to work. It’s not a hard recipe to follow – it just takes time and patience. But oh man was it worth it. With this recipe, you’ll have more than enough leftover after making the cookies. Perfect as an ice cream topping or you know, just eating it straight out of the jar.
Last week I visited the Mast Brothers Chocolate store in Williamsburg for a tour and tasting. Like most others, I fell in love with this brand at first sight. The packaging is absolutely beautiful – they have a full time designer on staff who designs the paper and helps create the look and feel of the factory and store. What a dream job!
Behind the pretty packaging is delicious chocolate. The ingredients are simple, but the flavors are anything but. All you need is cacao and sugar to make chocolate, but the wonderful and complex flavors come from the beans. Everything from bean type, weather, and soil, to the roasting process define how the chocolate will taste. So when you taste notes of citrus, stone fruit, or slate, that all comes from the beans. Cool, huh?
After a little 101 on cacao beans, we got a behind the scenes look at how the chocolate is made. And each step of the way, we got to taste the chocolate.
And here they are! All packaged up and ready to go. Did you know that all the Mast Brothers Chocolate you see in your local Whole Foods and specialty stores come from this very factory?
If you’re in New York, stop by the store for the tour or even just to browse. You can taste chocolate either way!
I love hosting dinner parties, but the prep and cleanup that comes with it can be a total drag. For a simpler night with guests, I like the idea of having a small group of close friends over for a tasting party to try some drink/snack pairings. Wine and cheese is the standard, but chocolate pairings would be a fun and unexpected activity. And as the host, the best part might be that the prep and cleanup is minimal.
I’ve paired 3 Ghirardelli Intense Dark flavors with complimentary drinks and snacks. Sipping and nibbling on these while watching the latest episode of Game of Thrones sounds like the perfect Sunday night.
Ghirardelli Intense Dark Hazelnut Heaven / Blue Bottle New Orleans Iced Coffee / Ginger Snaps
I’m not a morning person, so I usually never wake up in time to eat breakfast before work. I usually have yogurt when I get into the office, but that gets pretty boring after a while. I wanted to make something simple over the weekend that would be easy to grab and go in the morning and replace my usual bowl of yogurt. I made a loaf of cranberry orange bread using this recipe, but substituted dried cranberries for fresh so I could use what I had on hand. The bread stayed fresh while kept in an airtight container and I had an easy (and maybe not exactly healthy) breakfast ready for the entire week.
Before I head home to celebrate (and eat!) with my family, I wanted to say Happy Thanksgiving to you all, and thanks for visiting our little corner of the internet. We are always excited to see who is reading and to get your comments– hopefully with some upcoming vacation time over the holidays, we will have several new projects, recipes, and photos to share with you all!
If you woke up this morning with a need to make a last-minute pie, here is an easy-to-follow and pretty quick recipe for Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Crust and Cinnamon Whipped Cream. Um, wow! If it tastes anything like my apartment smells right now, this is a winner. Food52 hasn’t led me wrong so far, so fingers crossed this doesn’t disappoint!
You can find the recipe here.
Photo by Grace for Dressed in Orange.
Holidays are usually all about tradition and that mentality carries through to the seasonal sugary treats. Making peppermint bark and decorating sugar cookies will always have a place in my holiday baking, but this year, I wanted to kick things off with something non-traditional. These Mexican hot chocolate cookies were easy to make and delicious. The outside was crisp, the inside was chewy, and the flavor was delightfully unexpected. Next time, I’ll probably use a little more chile powder than the recipe calls for — a bit of extra heat will brighten the dark cocoa I used.
With fresh berries on hand, I obviously needed to make a pie. I followed a recipe that I’ve successfully used many times before, but I managed to make several errors. Pies always look deceptively simple, but it’s a tough dessert to master. My first batch of pie dough turned out sticky and unusable so I had to throw it out and start over. Then just when I thought the final product turned out beautifully, the filling ended up being too runny. I suppose they can’t all be winners, but at least it still tasted good – especially with a big scoop of ice cream on top.
I recently bought a popsicle mold and made these greek yogurt treats. I mixed fresh, very ripe raspberries and strawberries with honey and plain greek yogurt. Keep adding honey, jam, or even agave syrup until sweetened to taste. Spoon the mixture into the mold, add popsicle sticks, and freeze. Easy peasy!
A vanilla milkshake is classic, but sometimes it’s nice to mix things up. I added a big spoonful of Biscoff cookie spread and the result was fantastically rich and delicious. Definitely too much to be a staple, but it’s nice to indulge every once in a while!
Yields: 2 milkshakes
- 2 large scoops of vanilla ice cream
- 1/4 cup Biscoff spread (or any other cookie or nut butter)
- 3/4 cup milk
- 3 crushed Biscoff cookies (optional)
Just add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth and thoroughly mixed. Measurements don’t need to be exact – play with the proportions of the ingredients to suit your preferred taste and texture. I like mine with more texture, so I used the crunchy version of the spread and added a handful of cookie crumbs. Once blended, pour into chilled glasses and top with homemade whipped cream.