Tag Archives: chocolate

Heading West: Underwest Donuts

A brave dessert aficionado’s pursuit of all things fried, glazed, and sugary.

Located at 47th Street and 12th Ave, Underwest Donuts is an unassuming doughnut shop. It’s actually inside a carwash, and the shop itself is just a counter where a few friendly employees dole out freshly fried doughnuts to anyone who wanders through.


For such a small shop, there was a fairly extensive choice of doughnuts, and I bought an array to bring back to campus. I ordered three of the “special doughnuts” (pictured below), and one of the regular sugared doughnuts upon recommendation from guy behind the counter. He actually fried the dough and rolled it in sugar in front of me, to emphasize the freshness.

Maple Waffle

The Maple Waffle is one of the newer flavors, and it has a very strong maple flavor, but in a good way that seems to transport you to the Vermont wilderness.

Pumpkin Ginger

The Pumpkin Ginger doughnut was a little strong for my taste; it tasted strongly of ginger.

Dark Chocolate

The Dark Chocolate was my favorite – it had a rich chocolate flavor without being overly sweet.


(Pictured, clockwise from the top: Pumpkin Ginger, Maple Waffle, Dark Chocolate, and Sugared)

Final thoughts: Were these doughnuts amazing? Absolutely. Would I go back? Not a chance. Getting to Underwest Donuts was such a pain – it’s too far West, and to get there you have to navigate the Hell that is Times Square. However, if you’re looking for genuinely good, fresh doughnuts that aren’t downtown, you’ve found your haven.



Underwest Donuts: 47th Street and 12th Ave


Sweet Tooth Recipes: Rethink Twix

When we peel back the layers of a Twix candy bar, we find a delicious crumbly shortbread cookie, a layer of gooey caramel, and a chocolate coating. Twix is, hands down, the best candy bar in the world—and I will argue until the end of days with anyone who disagrees with this statement.

 I hadn’t realized that this dessert is basically a Twix bar until a friend told me she felt as if she were eating a homemade *better version* of a Twix bar. It’s better because it isn’t made in a factory with chemicals, corn syrup and artificial flavor. This stuff is the real deal.

Just like every other recipe, the better the ingredients you put in, the better the outcome will be. In this recipe for example, you can use premade Kraft caramels or you can make homemade caramel. The results wont be drastically different, but taste will vary.


  • 1 1/3 cups of Butter (just over 2 sticks)
  • ¼ cup White Sugar
  • 1 ¼ cup Flour
  • ½ cup Brown Sugar
  • ½ cup Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 ¼ cups Chocolate


  1. You will be making 3 different layers for this dessert. Begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine 2/3 cup butter, white sugar, and flour in a medium size bowl. Mix together with an electric mixer or simply use your hands.
  3. In a 9X9 pan, place parchment paper or grease with butter or Pam.
  4. Using your hands, squish the dough into the pan, compacting the dough into the corners and crevices of the pan.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
  6. While waiting for the shortbread to bake, place the remaining butter, brown sugar, and sweetened condensed milk into a pot on the stove.
  7. Let the mixture come to a boil for 4-5 minutes, then immediately take it off the heat.
  8. Using a spoon, preferably wooden, stir the caramel for 3 minutes until it solidifies.
  9. Pour the caramel over the shortbread. Do this right away. Do NOT allow time for the caramel to cool and get hard because it will become tough to spread over the shortbread.
  10. In a separate bowl, melt chocolate in the microwave—30 seconds at a time. Do NOT burn the chocolate.
  11. Once the chocolate is melted, pour it over the caramel and shortbread layers.
  12. Place your creation into the refrigerator for about an hour. Cut into small squares, and enjoy!

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Sweet Tooth Recipes: Oreo Truffles

I think it’s safe to say that chocolate and cookies always pair well together. In fact, it may not even be worth eating cookies without chocolate in the mix. But cream cheese too? I was hesitant when I heard that these Oreo truffles combined cheese with chocolate – however, I was very pleasantly surprised by the result. This combo cheesecake/cookie is a deliciously rich dessert that is easy to make and great to share with friends.

This is one of those desserts that’s just better made at home…and I’m not sure of any bakery in the city that makes them quite like this. If you are yearning for a chocolate dessert, but don’t have a ton of kitchen skills then try out this simple Oreo truffle recipe.



1 Box of Oreo Cookies

1 8oz package of Cream Cheese

1 package of Semisweet Chocolate Chips

2 tbsp. of Butter



1. In a food processor, or let’s be honest, in a plastic bag using your hands or a rolling pin, crush the Oreos until they form crumbs.

2. Pour crushed Oreos in a bowl and add the Cream Cheese. Using a spoon or fork, combine the cheese and Oreos until they form a dough-like solid texture.

3. Form the Oreo mixture into the small balls and place on a cookie sheet covered in wax or parchment paper. Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes to firm.


4. In a separate bowl, combine butter and chocolate chips. Heat in microwave in 30-second intervals until fully melted. Be careful not to burn the chocolate.

5. Take Oreo balls out of refrigerator. Dip each Oreo ball into the melted chocolate and place back onto parchment paper. Place in freezer for 1 hour.

6. If you wish, you can decorate the Oreo truffles with Oreo crumbs, white chocolate drizzle or anything else your creative mind can think up.

Here’s to the chocohalics. Eat & Enjoy.


Sweet Tooth Recipes: The best brownies you will EVER have!

You may be in the thick of midterms, or in the middle of the nail-biting cold, but you need to drop everything that you’re doing and try these brownies. If you don’t bake, then forward this to someone who does and enjoy these delightful brownies. From Palm Beach to New York City, this recipe is an undeniable slice of heaven. But there’s a catch.

These brownies will test your patience. They aren’t for the weak. Because once you finishing mixing the brownie batter and baking this dessert in the oven, you have to leave them in the freezer overnight. If you are craving instant satisfaction, this is not the brownie recipe for you. But if you can endure the wait, let the anticipation build—like waiting for Missy Elliot’s album to drop—I promise it will be well worth it.


  1. 2 sticks of Butter
  2. 8 ounces of Unsweetened Chocolate, chopped
  3. 5 Eggs
  4. 1 tbsp. Vanilla extract
  5. ½ tsp. Almond Extract (optional)
  6. ¼ tsp. salt
  7. 1 tbsp. dry Instant Espresso Powder
  8. 3 ¾ cups Sugar
  9. 1 2/3 cup Flour


  1. Grab a 9×13 in. pan, line it with tin foil, and brush it with some melted butter so the brownies don’t stick. We don’t want to mess up before we begin.
  2. Turn the oven to 400 degrees.
  3. In a double boiler, or microwave if you plan on being extremely cautious, melt the 2 sticks of butter with the 8 ounces of chocolate, then remove from heat and set aside.
  4. In an electric mixer, combine eggs, vanilla extract, almond extract, salt, espresso powder, and sugar and beat for about 8-10 minutes.
  5. Reduce speed and add the butter and chocolate mixture.
  6. Slowly begin to add the flour to this mix.
  7. Scrape all of the batter into the tinfoil-covered pan and place into the oven for about 15 minutes.
  8. Flip the pan around, lightly place tinfoil on top of the brownies and bake for another 15 minutes. Take the brownies out when the top begins to crack. DO NOT OVERBAKE!!
  9. Remove the brownies from the oven and let them cool. Then place them into the freezer for at least 8 hours. Be patient.
  10. A few hours before you’re ready to serve the brownies, remove them from the freezer and let them defrost.
  11. With a serrated knife, cut the brownies into small bites. They are extremely rich and fudgy. Everyone will want a taste. Enjoy!
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Peanut Butter Cups

I’ve always been a bit of a schizophrenic baker. I seem always to burn pre-made cookie dough to a crisp and yet, largely by failing to follow instructions, I’ve produced some unbelievable banana bread. I’ll make a perfect chocolate souffle one time and then the next, even though I’d swear I hadn’t done anything differently, the top will be nearly burnt off and the inside barely cooked at all. I have a friend who marvels at my incapability to achieve the simplest of baking endeavours when I’ve apparently made the best cookie she’s ever had (burnt butter oatmeal with peanut butter and caramel).

Out of frustration, I tend not to bake that often, which is a pity, really; I love sweets more than is socially acceptable and even though I crave them absolutely all the time, I still end up eating more than is strictly necessary to quash my appetite. So you can imagine how excitable I am at the idea of no-bake desserts. The best by far of the confections I’ve attempted are peanut butter cups. They are so simple, require less than a half hour of active time, and most importantly, turn out unbelievably delicious each and every time.

Recipe For Peanut Butter Cups:


  • 1 ⅓ cups fresh roasted/salted peanuts

  • 2 tsp honey

  • 1 tsp neutral oil

  • 2 tbsp confectioners sugar

  • ½ tsp vanilla

  • ½ tsp kosher salt


  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate


  1. Blend all filling ingredients together using a food processor

  2. Using your  hands create disc shapes with the filling

  3. Line cupcake tin

  4. Melt chocolate

  5. Put a small coating of chocolate on the bottom of each liner

  6. Place peanut filling disc into each

  7. Cover disc completely with chocolate

  8. Let harden (approximately 5 hours)

Sweet Tooth Recipes: Chocolate Mint Souffle

From a distance, baking a soufflé can seem daunting and overwhelming, but I assure you, it is easier than you think.  While this recipe may take time, patience, and care, it’s well worth the wait when you bite into a warm mint chocolate cloud of happiness.  If you need to take a study break during the crazy final schedule, try out this delicious sweet tooth recipe.



Butter: a pat of butter (about 2 tbsp)

Dark Mint Flavored Chocolate: 90gram bar

Heavy Whipping Cream: 1 tbsp

Eggs: 3

Granulated Sugar: 2 tbsp


  1. Turn up that oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Prepare two soufflé cups by greasing them with butter. (Make sure that they are oven safe)
  3. In a glass bowl, microwave the chocolate and whipping cream at 30 second increments until fully melted. (Be careful here! Burning the chocolate will ruin the entire recipe!)
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg whites from the three eggs and the granulated sugar until they form soft peaks.
  5. After waiting for the melted chocolate to cool down, add the egg yolk remaining from the eggs and whisk away.
  6. Finally, slowly add the peaks of egg white to the chocolate mixture, folding instead of mixing in order to keep it light and fluffy.
  7. Divide the final product into 2 and pour into the greased cups.
  8. Stick the prebaked soufflés into the oven to bake for about 10 minutes or until they have risen.  Be very careful when opening the oven as not to collapse the dessert.
  9. Pair with coffee ice cream or a refreshing iced hot chocolate and enjoy!

Chocolate and the City

I, like many of us, had some false expectations about going to school in the big apple. From Gossip Girl to Sex and the City, New York has this cosmopolitan, sophisticated, and worldly reputation that grabs people from all over the world. Eventually I came to realize that college is not really those things. But New York still has its moments.

So when I told my friend from home, who currently goes to school in the middle of nowhere, that I really wanted to go to this chocolate place to try their black sesame truffle, her response was “Wow. That’s so New York.” College is one of those experiences that is what you make it. Everyone I know here is adventurous in some aspect, and goes out into the city (or just past Morningside Heights) for something. My something happens to be chocolate.

I may be adventurous in chocolate, but I am not the type who loves every flavor in the box. Weird fruit flavors, spicy, or just overpowering truffles are not for me. But at Kee’s Chocolate I have never had one I didn’t like. From the unexpected, like kaffir lime or blood orange, to the normal yet exceedingly delicious, like champagne or tiramisu, every single bonbon I had was one of the best ever. And I don’t know how to describe the black sesame other than the most unexpected combination of crunch and sweet. Kee’s is also well known for their French macaroons and bars of chocolate, but I think I’m going to stick to the truffles for now.

There’s no doubt that everything at Kee’s is delicious – but is it super practical? No. With a box of six chocolates for sixteen dollars, it’s not really an everyday kind of thing (although they do give you a free sample with every purchase). But every time I feel like I need a bit of New York sophistication, or feel like showing off my New York style to friends from out of town, this is the place. And you can bet, that I will be getting the black sesame truffle every single time.

Check out Kee’s Chocolates in Midtown, Midtown West and Soho

Hot and Steamy (Chocolate)

I am a firm believer in comfort food; mac and cheese for midterms, ice cream for the emotional break-up, and chocolate for, well, pretty much anything. But the only thing that’s been keeping me going through the freezing winds and painful cold these past couple days is hot chocolate. I don’t mean Swiss Miss, or the infamous frozen kind, but the kind that tastes like a pure, steamy, melted chocolate bar in a cup.

Jacques Torres seems much like a typical, overpriced chocolate store from the outside. Promising high-quality and handcrafted bonbons and truffles, it seems like the kind of place any college student would avoid. The chocolates are good enough, even if overpriced at $1.60 each. Cuties like the Lovebug (key-lime pie flavored) and a classic Hazelnut (my personal favorite) will do the trick if you’re looking to indulge. I’d suggest avoiding the overpriced bagged goodies around the store, especially since Trader Joe’s across the street has the same things for cheaper. But the real reason to give Jacques Torres a shot is the hot chocolate.

There are too many adjectives I could use to describe this cup of chocolate goodness. Thick, rich and creamy are top of the list. Imagine drinking a melted chocolate bar – only better. Available in flavors ranging from caramel to peanut butter, there is something for every palate. And yes, they serve the typical coffee standards for your friends who are chocolate haters (and I might reconsider those friendships). The good thing is that all the flavors are so rich that a small cup is more than plenty.

So on those days when the cold and ice are getting you down, just remember that a cup of warm liquid happiness is waiting only a few subway stops away.

Visit Jacques Torres at 285 Amsterdam Avenue (right outside the 72nd street subway station)

Sweet Tooth Recipes: Mocha Hot Chocolate and Shortbread

Last semester, I studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark, where I had hoped to discover the best bakery with the most delicious pastries and desserts.  Realizing, after only two weeks, that Copenhagen was one of the most expensive cities in the world, I reverted to baking my own desserts.  Starting with simple recipes, I found out how easy it was to create the tastiest sweets with minimal ingredients.  So begins the sweet tooth recipe series, starting with a very British dessert: mocha hot chocolate and biscuits (or shortbread, for us Americans).

The recipe was inspired by the geniuses at Sorted Foods; four amazingly talented and hilarious Brits who share recipes through videos online at www.sortedfood.com.

Mocha Hot Chocolate

Serves 1-4

Cocoa Ingredients:

Whole Milk: 1 pint

Powdered Sugar: 1 tbsp

Cocoa Powder: 2 tbsp

Instant Coffee: 1 tbsp (note the INSTANT coffee.  The mistake has been made)

Dark Chocolate: 1 bar of 70% Dark Ghirardelli or equivalent


Shortbread Ingredients:

All-Purpose Flour: 2 cups

Confectioners’ Sugar: ¾ cup

Salt: 1 tsp

Butter: 1 cup = 2 sticks



  1. The shortbread will take longer than the hot chocolate, so start by preheating the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Throw together the flour, sugar and salt for the shortbread in a medium size bowl. Mix together.
  3. There are two ways to proceed from here, either the cleaner way or the messier way.  Cleaner: using an electric mixer, mix ingredients until dough-like and fluffy.  Messier: making sure that the butter is slightly softened and cut into pieces, use your hands to pinch together butter with dry mixture.  Kneed in hands until mixture is dough-like.
  4. Grab a pan, ideally a 10-inch pie/tart pan (an 8×8 square pan will also work).  Lightly grease pan with Pam, Canola oil, or butter, and fill with shortbread dough.
  5. Bake in oven for 40-55 minutes depending on size of pan.  The shortbread should be golden brown and firm. While shortbread is baking, continue with hot chocolate recipe.
  6. Pour milk into a pan and heat until very warm, but not boiling.  Milk can burn, be very careful.
  7. Meanwhile, mix together powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and instant coffee.  Add this mixture to the milk and stir until combined (two minutes).
  8. Remove from heat and add pieces of dark chocolate to the hot milk mixture.
  9. Pour Mocha Hot Chocolate into mugs (that are probably not part of a full set), cut shortbread into pieces, and dunk away.
  10. Put dishes in sink and wait for roommate to clean.

Voracious Vegan: Your Thanksgiving Dessert: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Skillet Cake

What can’t you do with a cast iron skillet? Instead of having to choose between cookies or cake, you can get the best of both worlds with this gooey dessert. With a sprinkling of salt and a hint of pumpkin, it’s sure to satisfy any of your fall flavor cravings.

Serves 6-8


2 1/4 cups flour

3/4 cups oat flour (oats put in a food processor until fine)

1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 cup pumpkin puree

2 flax eggs (2 tbsp flaxseed whisked with 6 tbsp water and set to sit for 5 minutes)

2 tsp vanilla

1 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup dried cranberries


nutmeg, for serving


Make flax egg and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil a small amount of water and pour over cranberries. Allow to soak for approximately 5 minutes. Combine flour, oat flour, baking soda and pumpkin spice. Add a dash or two of salt, depending on your taste.

In a separate bowl, mix together coconut oil, brown sugar, apple sauce, maple syrup, vanilla and pumpkin puree. Add flax eggs. Mix well. Add to dry mixture. Mix well and add cranberries and chocolate chips. Stir together. Lightly grease a seasoned cast iron skillet and pour in batter. Spread it around as needed, making sure it is even. Add another sprinkle of salt to the top. Pop in the oven and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Serve with maple syrup and a sprinkle of nutmeg. Enjoy!