Dark Ale Chocolate Cake with Dark Ale Ganache

Deep rich chocolate cake with the subtle bitterness of a dark beer, hints of coffee and caramel, and covered in a thick dark ale ganache.

GO TO RECIPE

I am in awe of – and look for – anyone who can take a dream, combine it with hard work, a lot of sweat and tears (hoping no blood) and turn it into a thriving business.  This is how we found New District Brewing.  It’s within walking (a stretch) and biking distance of our house.  It was born of a home-brewing business (I have a soft spot given BD’s foray into esophogeal-charring jalapeno beer which turned into our Christmas Eve traditional beer cheddar soup) and is now a brick-and-mortar business putting out some fine beers.  We’ve been going there since they opened in 2017 and are thoroughly enjoying the evolution of their beers. Altruistically, we support local.  Selfishly, we like good beers! Read More


Berry Crumble Bar Cookies

A buttery short crust with hints of cinnamon and the hearty flavor of toasted oats cradling an ooey tart-sweet center of jam.  Perfect for picnics, lunchboxes or a random Monday afternoon.

The first time I made these cookies was for a winery tour of Virginia that was a gift for my mother.  Since she’s not a huge chocolate fan (yes, please read my last post re: her world-famous chocolate cake … go figure … I digress) and needed to be portable (read sturdy), I went hunting for a bar cookie recipe.  This is an amalgamation of several I came across so apologies for not sharing the lineage.  I proudly dub this’n a mutt cookie.  And we all know mutts are the best…. no pomp or pretense… just good stuff.

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Choco-Colada Cheesecake

I’ve been baking since I was a kid.  For a long time my repertoire was limited to cookies, brownies and sheet cakes. Nothing to sneeze at but I felt the need to expand my horizons.  My mother is queen of the layer cake so a phone call in that direction could always get her world-famous (or at least anyone-who’s-ever-tried-it famous) chocolate cake whipped up if’n you were in her good graces; so why bake when you could get delivery?!  It’s like DiGiorno only better.  And chocolate.  I decided my foray in a new direction would be “fancy” cakes and I would start with cheesecake.  Et viola!  The choco-colada cheesecake came to be in my life.

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Cranberry Bliss Bars

I can’t remember exactly when I had my first Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bar but I do remember thinking (in no particular order): it could become a very expensive habit, sitting out in the air too long would make them go stale quickly, and only having them available during Christmas holidays was not an option…. I mean, what’s a girl to have as a treat with her coffee mid-March? A cake pop?! Pfft! That’s so last fad.  Never to be outfoxed by a baked good, I went searching into the ether and came back with a promising knock-off recipe … which I further knocked off.  Peace and sanity were restored and mah belly was happy.

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Mintywiches – Andes Candies Sandwich Cookies

A crisp, intensely chocolatey cookie sandwiching a creamy minty Andes candy, Mintywiches are the perfect addition to your cookie table … or a cold glass of milk for no occasion except your need for joy.  They are also sturdy enough to include in a cookie care package.

These cookies are the absolute favorites of both Gladys of the Suburbs and Mahatma Sissypants (according to my recipe notes from 1999).  I’ve given their nicknames here because right now they’re stepping out on old Minty … looking for greener (literally in one cookie’s case) pastures in the chocolate-mint cookie combo… but I know they’ll be back and I don’t want to out their infidelity to the world for this minor blip.

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Peanut Butter Blossoms

Peanut butter and chocolate are a match made in taste bud heaven.  The crisp-chewy texture of the peanut butter cookie topped by a creamy Hershey’s kiss results in the perfect cookie.

There is a love-hate relationship in our house with Peanut Butter Blossoms.  BD and the locusts love them.   I … do not.  Oddly, these are one of those cookies that I always make for Christmas.  They are a nice addition to the cookie tray and most people who try them seem to love them.  Mazel tov and to each his own! I say.

Now that the possibility of the wrath of Bunny being visited upon my head is (almost) non-existent, I gleefully will admit to more than once  in my youth taking Peanut Blossoms from the cookie tray, popping the Hershey Kisses off to eat, and tossing the cookies.   I really should be ashamed of myself for that.   And yet …

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Grandma Zemke’s Gingerbread Cookies

This delicious ginger-spiced, molassas-darkened cookie can be rolled thick and chewy or thin and crisp.  It can be adorned with frosting and sprinkles or left in it’s bare-baked splendor.  It can be enjoyed with a cold glass of milk or a dram of your favorite whiskey.  It is this family’s favorite Christmas cookie.

The universally agreed upon greatest Christmas cookie in our house isn’t even one of my family recipes. It’s BD’s maternal grandmother Helen Molnar Zemke’s gingerbread cookies.  Up until two years ago, I had never attempted the cookies. I didn’t need to.  I’d just wait until Pat (BD’s mother, Helen’s daughter, my mother-in-law … you following?) would go into her baking frenzy and suddenly boxes of gingerbread cookies would appear in our house. Read More