[My] World’s Best Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting

An amazingly moist rich chocolate cake with light-as-air chocolate frosting.  This is the ultimate chocolate layer cake.

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I consider my birthday to be my personal New Year and celebrate accordingly.  No overcrowded soirees and schwanky duds for this chicken; I prefer good company, introspection, bubbles, and my du jour favorite foods.  This year, I had a hankering for Cuban sandwiches and chocolate cake.  Cubans are pretty straight-forward (except that I used chicken … I just cannot help myself with the experimenting… it was okay; pork’s better).  Cake, on the other hand … cake takes thought.  Given that I’ve grown up with the queens of chocolate cakedom (Nonnie and Mom), this couldn’t be any ordinary cake… it had to exceed expectations.  I was having a needs-expectations-exceeded birthday so the pressure was real.  Birthday drama is my jam. Even made up cake drama.

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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.

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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


Choco-Colada Cheesecake

Sitting atop an intensely chocolate cookie base is the creamiest coconut cheesecake swirled with dark chocolate throughout.  An indulgent crowd-pleaser of a dessert.

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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. Read More


Cranberry Bliss Bars

A homemade version of the very popular Christmas treat at Starbucks known as the Cranberry Bliss Bar.  A white chocolate and cranberry flecked citrus blondie with just the right schmear of cream cheese frosting.  Perfect any time of year with your cuppa … tea or coffee.

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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.

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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.

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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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Absolutely Marvelous Caramel Matzoh Crunch

Caramel-crisped matzoh topped with dark silky chocolate and slivers and crunchy almond.  Is it a cookie?  Is it candy?  Does it really matter … it’s delicious.

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And it is … absolutely marvelous.

Every year when I bake the matzoh crunch, I’m reminded of a fictional account of a near-death experience in a blinding snowstorm with four of five siblings and one Mario-Andretti-Wanna-Be sister-in-law behind the wheel of a rented minivan.  As the story goes, there was a tradition, some years back, when available siblings and MAWB would make a weekend road trip between Thanksgiving and Christmas to a place within driving distance of their homes to sample and pick up beers and other provisions for Christmas.  One of these trips was to Montreal. Read More