While all desserts are comforting, this may be the closest I come to making a comfort dessert. As the semester is coming to a close, and we finish our thesis and term papers, and gear up for finals, I can’t dream of a better dessert to snack on. Today, we are making pull-apart-cinnamon-balls (aka my version of monkey bread). I only warn you, this can get messy fast, so be careful, be cautious, and get ready for a caramel gooey cinnamon doughy treat.
1 package of pre-made biscuit dough (Grand or Pillsbury)
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ cup butter (½ of a stick)
½ cup of brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a square 9X9 inch pan, grease with butter or Pam
Using the biscuit dough, separate and roll into 16 small balls of dough, roughly 1 inch in diameter.
In a plastic gallon size bag, combine white sugar and cinnamon.
Place balls of dough in the plastic bag with sugar and coat dough until completely covered in sugar.
Line balls of dough in pan.
In a microwave safe bowl, melt butter and brown sugar in microwave for about 45 seconds.
Drizzle brown sugar over the bough balls.
Pop these bad boys into the oven for about 25 minutes or until they’re bubbling golden brown dough balls.
Take out the final product, and let them sit for 10 minutes.
On a plate or flat cookie sheet, flip over the dough balls.
Best consumed warm out of the oven! They keep up to 2-3 days but microwave them if they begin to get hard. Enjoy.
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
You will be making 3 different layers for this dessert. Begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees.
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.
In a 9X9 pan, place parchment paper or grease with butter or Pam.
Using your hands, squish the dough into the pan, compacting the dough into the corners and crevices of the pan.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
While waiting for the shortbread to bake, place the remaining butter, brown sugar, and sweetened condensed milk into a pot on the stove.
Let the mixture come to a boil for 4-5 minutes, then immediately take it off the heat.
Using a spoon, preferably wooden, stir the caramel for 3 minutes until it solidifies.
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.
In a separate bowl, melt chocolate in the microwave—30 seconds at a time. Do NOT burn the chocolate.
Once the chocolate is melted, pour it over the caramel and shortbread layers.
Place your creation into the refrigerator for about an hour. Cut into small squares, and enjoy!
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.
If you’re a foodie in New York, you’ve probably heard about the Mille Crepes Cake from Lady M. It was once ranked as one of top ten best cakes in America back in 2012. The hype around it never ceased since then.
Joining several other fancy sweets such as La Maison du Chocolat, Lady M has a location on 59th street in the basement of the Plaza Hotel. Both times I had Lady M, I was at the 59th street location, as it is easier to get to from campus compared to the original store, which is on Madison avenue and 78th. However, if you get a chance, I would suggest going to the original store as it has a seating area whereas the store at 59th street has more of an “express” feel.
That said, the food hall located in the basement of the Plaza is a hidden gem in the city and definitely worth checking out. The space is not small but feels extremely compact since there are at least 20 different eateries packed in it. Somehow, the space remains classy despite how busy it gets. The food hall has mostly dessert stores (chocolate, macarons, cakes, you name it) in the center, and quick bite lunch/dinner places (such as a crepe place, a pasta restaurant, and a ramen shop) on the side. The sheer number of choices offered here is overwhelming, especially since every store here competes with each other, trying to be the trendiest and most appealing. With the number of options available, the food hall could easily be a one-stop destination for someone looking for lunch, afternoon tea, and even a light dinner.
Lady M is the first thing you will see when you go down the escalator. It is a circular stand, and it will most likely be surrounded by a long line of customers. As you wait in line, you will get a chance to look at the choices – since the boutique make its cakes fresh everyday, what is in the counter is what you can order. The only exception is if you place orders for whole cakes ahead of time.
The food hall does not have seating area allocated for Lady M specifically, which can also be annoying. Many people here take the cake to go, and the server will wrap the cake up in a nice little white box. If you really want to sit down, you can keep going farther into the food hall, after you pass Luke’s Lobster, you will see escalators on the left. There are around 20 round tables in this area. But beware – since everyone in the food hall are snatching these seats, you may have to look around and wait a bit depending on the time of the day you are going.
Unsurprisingly, the Mille Crepes Cake is a top option for first-timers as well as returning customers. It is a cake stacked with 20 layers of thin crepes, in between which is whipped cream. You just can’t really go wrong with this combination, can you?
The crepes are paper-thin, making the whole cake light despite the fact that it has 20 layers stacked up. It seems like the closer to the center, the more proportion of whipped cream you get. I personally like the texture of crepe better than that of creme, so I enjoyed the outside edge of the slice the most, as I could get more the taste of the crepe.
What is extremely unique about the Mille Crepes cake is how much it resembles a creme-brulee, since the top layer has a caramelized sugar taste. If you like creme-brulee, you will definitely like this original cake from Lady M.
Another type I tried is their Green Tea crepe cake. Which has the exact same form as the traditional crepe cake, but just with green tea powder. And this option is recommended for any Matcha/Green tea lover, as the green tea taste is quite strong.
Lady M is famous for its crepe cake, but it is also innovative and offers a few other types of cakes. Another signature cake that they almost always have available is Checkers cake, which is a combination of chocolate and vanilla sponge cake, arranged in checkers pattern. Depending on the day, they offer other options such as Mocha mousse cake, flourless chocolate cake, and creative cakes such as one called “Mimosa” – which is stacked with plump vanilla cake sponges, giving it an interesting appearance, but it apparently has nothing to do with the drink Mimosa. (bummer.)
For one piece (which is not very big and can easily be finished), a Mille Crepes costs 8 dollars. Even though it is a little more expensive than I hope, it is still in the affordable price range and definitely something worth checking off your to-do-list in New York.
Lady M Cake Boutique
1 W 58th St, New York, NY
For more posts from the Worth the Hype? series by Shirley,
Spring break came and went and while everyone was waiting for Spring to spring, I decided to go to Brazil, and what a trip it was! I was in Rio de Janeiro for about a week, and spent a night in Buzios, a beautiful seaside town three hours from Rio.
One of the great things about Rio was the incredibly diverse and inexpensive variety of street food that was offered. From churros to popcorn (yes, popcorn) to other stuff with unknown names, Rio was a gastronomic delight.
On my first night in Rio, I saw many small pushcarts that were set up around a town square. I had just indulged in a rather heavy dinner of the carnivorous variety and was looking for something sweet to balance out the intense saltiness of the meal. Unlike the churros in the U.S. that come with a cup of chocolate sauce, the churros in Rio had the sauce inside the churro. You could get either chocolate or caramel, and obviously I chose to get both. Upon ordering, the man would stick the churro into a contraption and pull on a lever, dispensing oodles of chocolate and caramel sauce into the churro, so that when you bite into it, the sauce oozes out into your mouth.
Later we decided to pop into a bakery in Lapa, the nightlife district of Rio. People go to Lapa for the clubs, the samba, and the dubious roadside stalls serving up caiparinha, the national cocktail of Brazil. I thought I needed something sweet (again) and got myself these cakes that were sitting in a display in the bakery. Few people I met in Rio spoke English well enough for me to ask them to describe the food to me, and I had absolutely no ability to converse in Portuguese myself. What transpired was a rather intense session of pointing and gesticulating – and I eventually got three desserts to share with my travel companions. The first I guess was an egg custard tart, similar to the Portuguese egg tarts that I get back home in Singapore. The other was similar to a creme caramel that are a staple in mid-price French eateries, which I felt was just a little too sweet even for my sweet tooth. My favorite was a yellow cake with a crunchy brown bottom. I have no idea what it actually was; but I guessed it was a sort of tapioca cake with lots of brown sugar at the bottom. It was extremely tasty, although it was impossible to gorge on because it is quite heavy.
One of my favorite dishes was from a stall at a market near Ipanema Beach. The market is there every Sunday and is a place for local artists to showcase and sell their unique creations. What I got was an amazing sandwich of doughy fried bread, some sort of lentil mash, okra stew and shrimp with its shell on. It was a wonderful combination of some pretty funky flavors with crispy bread and fresh shrimp. The best part was that it was less than 3 US dollars!
I had many other interesting dishes in Rio and I wish I could feature them all. What I can say about Rio is, go there and try whatever you can find on the streets. There are fantastic flavors and intriguing dishes and nothing is really too strange or too out there. Brazilian food is not the most elegant and can be a little heavy, but it is an absolute delight. Brazilians, and Cariocas (people from Rio) especially, love to have a good time without too much fuss, and that is reflected in the food of this city.
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.
2 sticks of Butter
8 ounces of Unsweetened Chocolate, chopped
1 tbsp. Vanilla extract
½ tsp. Almond Extract (optional)
¼ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. dry Instant Espresso Powder
3 ¾ cups Sugar
1 2/3 cup Flour
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.
Turn the oven to 400 degrees.
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.
In an electric mixer, combine eggs, vanilla extract, almond extract, salt, espresso powder, and sugar and beat for about 8-10 minutes.
Reduce speed and add the butter and chocolate mixture.
Slowly begin to add the flour to this mix.
Scrape all of the batter into the tinfoil-covered pan and place into the oven for about 15 minutes.
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!!
Remove the brownies from the oven and let them cool. Then place them into the freezer for at least 8 hours. Be patient.
A few hours before you’re ready to serve the brownies, remove them from the freezer and let them defrost.
With a serrated knife, cut the brownies into small bites. They are extremely rich and fudgy. Everyone will want a taste. Enjoy!
Happy Valentines Day! The month of February always has me dreaming of chocolates and roses. While the stores are shelved with heart-shaped candy and cards professing love, no bake chocolate mousse may be the only way to celebrate a month filled with so much love. You can make this fairly easy and delicious dessert for someone special in your life, or just devour it yourself because, well, let’s be honest, you deserve it.
The trickiest part of the chocolate mousse dessert is folding together the ingredients. Make sure that as you fold the whipped egg whites and cream, you do not mix—just fold one layer into the other. Think airy, fluffy thoughts.
Begin with a double boiler in order to melt the chocolate. If you don’t have one, grab a pot and a stainless steel or glass bowl that can sit in the pot without touching the bottom. Add water to the pot but make sure the bowl stays dry. Place on low-medium heat.
Chop up the chocolate into bite-sized pieces and throw it into the double boiler bowl. *Make sure to keep an eye on the chocolate so it doesn’t burn.
In a large bowl, whisk the heavy whipping cream until small peaks form (about 3 minutes of whisking with a machine) and set aside.
In a separate bowl, crack 3 eggs and separate them, keeping only the whites. It is crucial that no amount of yolk is incorporated in the egg white mixture.
Whisk the egg whites until they become foamy. While continuing to whisk, gradually add the sugar to the egg whites, making them firmer and thicker.
When the chocolate is completely melted, take it off of the heat and let it cool for 10-20 minutes.
These next steps are the most important. Folding: add one spoonful of the fluffy egg whites into the chocolate. Once incorporated, fold the entire chocolate mixture back into the rest of the egg whites.
Now take about a third of the heavy whipping cream and fold it into the chocolate and egg white mixture. Once this is fully combined, pour this mixture back into the rest of the whipping cream and fold until fully incorporated.
Crushing only a few at a time, put 3-4 Oreos in a plastic bag and use your hands to crush them into small crumbles.
Layering—in whichever glass or bowl you wish to serve this dessert, begin with a layer of Oreo cookies as a base. Next, add the chocolate mousse. You can create alternating layers as you see fit. Finish with a some fruit or a sprig of mint.
We’ve all gone through it. One of the most difficult decisions we will make all weekend long: sweet or savory. Do we decide to have the eggs, toast and bacon for brunch or the french toast with berries and whipped cream? Honestly, you can’t go wrong here, so for this sweet tooth recipe, we are going sweet, naturally.
One of my favorite dessert for breakfast recipes is chocolate chip banana pancakes. These fluffy pancakes are perfect for any morning when the wait at Community or Kitchenette is too long or the thought of leaving your apartment is shattered when you see that the temperature has dropped below freezing. With a hearty glass of milk, whip up some delicious pancakes and enjoy this dessert for breakfast.
1 ½ cups Flour
3 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
1 tbsp Sugar
1 ¼ cup Milk
Butter for pan
½ cup Chocolate Chips
In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, milk and egg.
Place pan over medium heat. Place butter in pan for non-stick effect.
Using an ice cream scooper or spoon, pour batter onto heated pan to create pancakes approximately 3 inches in diameter.
When bubbles in batter have formed, place banana slices and chocolate chips on batter.
Flip pancake. Wait until both sides are golden brown.
Pro Tip: The first batch of pancakes usually looks funny. Wait for the second batch of pancakes when serving them to friends and family.
I have a problem, I thought as I started eating my third dessert of the day. I began at Jacques Torres Chocolate with a luscious, rich hot chocolate, to warm the coldest day I have experienced in a while. Then my friend and I crossed the street to Levain Bakery, my personal heaven (though it is not only mine – the bags from Levain actually say “Your Little Piece of Cookie Heaven” on them) (also whoever said that the Upper West Side is boring was deeply wrong). We split a cookie – oatmeal raisin, doughy in the middle, with a crispy, buttery top – and a luscious slice of banana chocolate bread. Honestly, these treats made me feel more serene and satisfied than I have felt in awhile. Of course, it helped that I was with an old friend who always makes me feel like home is near.
Afterwards, I walked around the flatiron and found Dough, one of the doughnut places that I have been dying to try (the other being Doughnut Plant). It was no coincidence that this shop, where I sat at as I wrote this, played gentle piano music, for this calmness that both the sweets and sounds provided made me feel so whole.
I think that sugar is my drug; I don’t ever really want to get drunk or high. I just want to feel satisfied. Sugar sure does it (and it apparently makes your brain react in the same way as it does to cocaine, so I guess it is more than a drug than I would like to think).
It’s like the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, that requires all things sweet: raisin-filled challah, apples and honey, all that goodness. These sweet things are supposed to hail a sweet, good New Year. They have a power to replicate their greatest qualities in your world.
The food we eat – it all taps into something. If meat evokes our carnal, then sugar evokes our comfort; so many carbs come with those little kernels of sweetness, that comfort and internal peace are almost sure to come. Indulgences also allow us to say “yes” to our desires, which is no small thing. I prefer to sit at a bakery, café or doughnutery, and join others as they enjoy themselves, be they strangers or friends. I like to feel like a free agent – I just want to want what I want, and to have a desire satisfied. We all have holes in ourselves, and as I start to find my own, I realize more and more that they are not worth leaving empty. If something like a cookie really makes me feel better, then cookies I shall have. Why shouldn’t I have what I want?
Here’s the sour, bitter, anything-but-sweet truth: sugar makes me feel like shit after too much of it. As I write, I feel my brain whirring, my stomach growing heavy. I don’t feel like I have slept 8 hours all week, which I have. I wonder if my skin will begin to break out even more than it has been. While all of these worries bubble up, I can’t help but think that whatever I just ate did something to me. I guess Julia Child said it best: everything in moderation, including sweetness.
When fall hit New York City, with it came apples, pumpkins, squash and all things cinnamon spiced. However, I’ve decided to disregard all of the in-season fruits and vegetables and make lemon bars instead. Lemon squares are strong, filling, and tangy, but they are also a crowd pleaser. Pair them with tea for an afternoon fall snack with friends—in Denmark, we call this “Hygge”: Cozy time with friends!
¼ pound of butter (1 stick)
¼ cup sugar
1 ½ cup flour
1 ½ cup of sugar
½ lemon juice
½ cup flour
Begin by taking a sliver of butter to the pan, or grease it with Pam and flour.
Knead together butter, ¼ cup of sugar and 1 ½ cups of flour into dough.
Pat down the dough into the greased pan to make a crust.
Place into an oven at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
During this time, mix together eggs, the rest of sugar, the rest of flour, and lemon juice.
Take the crust out of the oven, let cool for 20 minutes.
Pour the lemon mixture over the crust and place in 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes. You will know it is done when the mixture does not jiggle when moved around.
Take out, let cool for 30 minutes, and top with powder sugar. Enjoy.