Tag Archives: dessert

Southern Style Bakery in the Big Apple

After spending a week at my home in South Carolina, returning to New York City made me nostalgic for warmer weather and the ability to wear flip flops every day.  Because I have recently been focusing on the French patisseries, I let my desire for some homemade Southern baked goods determine my next bakery adventure.

Completely different from anything I have reviewed before, Donna Bell’s Bake Shop is a cozy space tucked into a busy Midtown area, blocks away from Times Square.  Yet once I stepped inside, the noise and commotion of the area dropped away as I was greeted by a welcoming environment very similar to a Southern kitchen.  I could watch the baking process of the goods in the tiny kitchen, as they were carefully handmade.  And in front of me, stacks of cookies, cheesecakes, and desserts beckoned me to come further into the store.  Started by Pauley Perrette from the show NCIS and her two best friends, the shop is named for Perrette’s late mother, Donna Bell, and the small staff constantly works to represent her memory through their baking and attention to customer service.



After it was pointed out to me that the blueberry cheesecake squares were especially thick that day, I could not resist picking one up to carry back to school with me.  Donna Bell’s does not have seating for its customers, but in my mind, that just adds to the cozy ambiance and size of the space.  To brighten up my walk back to the subway stop, I also purchased an Arnold Palmer (a blend of sweet tea and lemonade) to really get the full Southern experience for my day.  Stepping back outside, the temperature seemed a little bit warmer and the sun a little brighter, and with my cold drink in hand, I could almost pretend that it was summer again.

Blueberry Cheesecake Square and Arnold Palmer

The blueberry cheesecake that I promptly devoured upon reaching my dorm had thick shell topped with a creamy filling, without being overwhelmingly sweet.  I often find that I cannot even finish slices of cheesecakes when I go out due to their heaviness and sweetness, but this square hit a perfect balance.  A thick layer of blueberry swept through the middle of the cheesecake, the fresh taste of fruit reminded me of homemade baked goods. Donna Bell’s gave me the taste of Southern cooking that I needed, without neglecting the accessibility and options of the city.


Address: 301 W 49th St, New York, NY 10019

Frozen Banana Pops

If you’re like me, the warm weather could not come any sooner. The days are growing a little longer, the slush has disappeared from the streets, and that Spring Break count down is ticking by FAST. Yes!

I know what you’re thinking: the only thing that would make this situation better is a beautiful, yet confusing treat. One that looks like fruit, but tastes like ice cream. One that satisfies your chocolate craving, yet provides a variety of key nutrients. But could such a thing exist?


Introducing the Frozen Banana Pop! A chocolate-dipped banana, covered in sundae toppings, and frozen to perfection.


Here’s what you need to make these gems:

-1 bar of semi-sweet Ghiradelli’s chocolate (or milk chocolate if you prefer)

-2 over-ripe bananas

-A pinch of instant coffee or espresso (Because the Barefoot Contessa says so)

-Your favorite sundae toppings (I chose crushed pecans and sprinkles)

-4 sticks

-1 old cardboard box you won’t miss (I used the box from my Sleepytime tea)


Step 1: Break down the chocolate into a bowl with the instant coffee/espresso and microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until chocolate is melted.

Step 2: While microwaving, poke holes in the cardboard box for your skewers.

Step 3: Peel the bananas and cut them in half. Then skewer them lengthwise.

Step 4: Dunk your bananas one at a time in the chocolate, using a spoon to help cover all the spots.

Step 5: Sprinkle on the goods.

Step 6: Freeze for at least 2 hours or until chocolate is hard. Longer is better though :)



That is all! Then invite your favorite friends over and pretend you’re indulging on something naughty.



Raspberry Peach Olive Oil Cake


Hey everyone!

So, I think it’s time we made something sweet, right? It’s a complete myth that gluten-free baking can only be done well by a professional. There are some things you can make with no flour at all like cookies, fudge brownies, and oatmeal bars. But what happens when all you want to do is have a nice fork-full of cake? All you need is to get a really good gluten-free flour blend. (A little tip: the more unknown the brand, the higher the likelihood that the flour blend will be better. Try to steer clear of the big brands trying to embrace the gluten-free craze.)

This recipe is not entirely mine. I was on a farm in Spain when I first tried it. One of my hosts made it to have with coffee, and I could not stop eating it. So, I obviously begged her for the recipe. The best part is, it’s incredibly simple! My addition to the recipe is the flavors, which can be altered to your liking as long as you stick to the basic recipe proportions. 

The secret to making this cake is one thing: a personal-sized yogurt. Not only is the yogurt used in the recipe, but the container is your measurement tool for everything! Amazing, right?

You’ll need:

  • 1 Personal-Sized Yogurt (peach)
  • 3 Eggs
  • Sugar
  • Olive Oil
  • Gluten-Free Flour Blend (or regular flour for those who can tolerate wheat)
  • Baking Powder
  • Raspberry Preserves
  • 3 Peaches

Preheat the oven to 350.

First, dump the contents of the yogurt in a bowl. Rinse out the container and dry it.

In a separate bowl, mix together 3 room-temperature eggs and 2 containers-full of sugar. 

Then, add the yogurt and 1 container-full of olive oil. Mix together well.

Finally, stir in 3 containers-full of flour and 1 teaspoon of baking powder. 

Now that you have your mixture, line a 9-inch circular pan with parchment paper. Pour your mixture into the lined pan and cook in the pre-heated oven for about 25 minutes (but check on it after 20 and do the toothpick test to see if its done.)

While it’s cooking, slice your peaches in thin crescents.


When it is done, let it cool. Then, spread the raspberry preserves generously over the top of the cake. Finally, layer the peaches on top. When you’re ready to serve, take the parchment paper off the cake and enjoy! Goes best with tea or coffee, and good friends or family. 

Happy baking everyone!


Coconut Cream Pie Recipe

From the crunchy graham crust to the creamy custard filling, this coconut cream pie recipe is a classic that will keep you going back for another slice.



3 cups of flour
1 tbsp of vinegar
5 tbsp of water
1 egg
1 1/2 sticks of butter
1/2 tsp of salt
1 tbsp of sugar


Custard Filling:

1/3 cup of Sugar
1/4 cup of All Purpose Flour
2 1/4 cups of Half and Half
3 Egg Yolks
2 Tbsp of Butter
1 ½ cups of Sweetened Shredded Coconut
1 tsp of Vanilla


Whipped Cream:

1 ½ cups of Heavy Whipping Cream
¼ cup of Sugar
1/2 tsp of vanilla
1/2 cup of toasted coconut
3 tbsp of toasted sliced almonds

Continue reading Coconut Cream Pie Recipe

Your Neighborhood Bakery

With the cold winter months quickly approaching, now is the time to soak up the mild weather and take advantage of the spots that are easily accessible from campus.  After a long day full of classes and other commitments, I find myself in need of a way to unwind, without paying subway fares or venturing too far away from Barnard.  A walk to the local Silver Moon Bakery & Cafe, located on 105th and Broadway, provides an opportunity to explore the neighborhood (and the exercise to use as an excuse for buying many pastries).

The exterior of the bakery
The exterior of the bakery

The blue awning and outdoor seating of the bakery provides an inviting welcome to the space, and you feel right at home before you even step inside.  Once I walked in, the excitement of being in a new bakery hit me once again.  I immediately walked straight to the pastry display case, to drool over the wide variety of pies, cakes, and pastries, with everything from apple pie to chocolate mousse and blueberry ginger muffins.  I was so focused on choosing the perfect dessert that it took me a few minutes to see the shelves piled high with breads of every shape and size.

Pastries on display
Pastries on display

From baguettes to boules to rolls, Silver Moon Bakery handcrafts all of its breads, ensuring freshness and variety.  Though I knew an entire loaf of bread was a strange item to take back to my dorm room (Editor’s note: is it, though? ), the appeal of the sourdough boule convinced me that it was worthwhile.  A feeling of contentment spread over me as I left the bakery, now armed with a berry tart and my very own sliced loaf of bread.  Paired with a hazelnut spread I bought later, the bread was the perfect combination of a crunchy outer crust and a chewy inside and just what I needed to get through the rest of my homework.

My bread in all of its glory
My bread in all of its glory
My delicious fruit tart, reminiscent of summer days
My delicious fruit tart, reminiscent of summer days


Peacefood Cafe: Any Vegan or Non-Vegan’s Paradise

Everyone loves dessert, and luckily, Manhattan is home to numerous bakeries for all of us dessert lovers in the city. The problem is that it is almost impossible to find a good vegan bakery, even in Manhattan. I made it my mission to find a good vegan bakery and I found the Peacefood Cafe, which is both a vegan restaurant and vegan bakery.


The cafe is a nice, casual, and cozy spot to have a meal with a friend, while enjoying their many vegan options. It is definitely a stress-free atmosphere! It is located in the Upper West Side on Amsterdam and 82nd, so it isn’t too far from campus. They also have another location in the Village.


The bakery part of the restaurant had many vegan desserts, which all look like they must be made with diary products. Upon walking in, I even wondered if their desserts were actually vegan! In place of the dairy products normally found in these desserts, the Peacefood Cafe uses healthier options, such as avocados. Not only are these desserts vegan, but also many of them are even gluten free.

From left to right: chocolate chip cookie sandwich and raw chocolate mousse pie
From left to right: chocolate chip cookie sandwich and raw chocolate mousse pie

I had a chocolate chip cookie sandwich and a slice of the raw chocolate mousse pie. The chocolate chip cookie sandwich was two large cookies with chocolate inside, which made them stick together. Without the chocolate inside, the cookies were some of the best I have ever had. The chocolate inside was so rich in flavor that it made the cookies taste even  better. The mousse pie was made with avocado, which made me a little nervous to try it, but it was amazing! The taste of the avocado was undetectable and if anything, it made the chocolate taste even richer in flavor. I will definitely be going back to the cafe to get both of these desserts again!

Mango Lassi
Mango lassi

I also had a mango lassi while I was at the cafe, which I was a little nervous about because it is a yogurt-based drink. The mango lassi was pretty good considering it was vegan, but it wasn’t as good as the non-vegan ones I have had in the past. The yogurt used in the drink tasted like regular yogurt, but the lassi tasted too much like yogurt and did not have enough of a mango taste. Overall, it was good, but I think I will try a different drink next time.

I look forward to going back to the Peacefood Cafe to try more of their vegan options! I definitely would recommend this cafe to anyone looking for a nice to spot to eat and hang out with friends or anyone looking for a good take-out place. This cafe is great for both vegans and non-vegans, alike!

A Complete Guide to Getting A Cronut

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

When you first move to New York, your first thought isn’t usually about food. It’s about finding an (reasonably priced) apartment, taking advantage of the cultural meccas, or visiting the famous sights before it becomes socially unacceptable to act like a tourist, and you’re too jaded with the frantic sight-seeing. You scope out a sufficient local café where you can become a regular, and drink black coffee like a grumpy New Yorker.

When I moved to New York, my first thought was, “Where can I find the food?”, and more specifically, “Where are the doughnuts?” I love food in all forms, but I have a special place in my heart for desserts, especially doughnuts. They’re the queen of basic desserts: acceptably eaten at any time of day, easily manipulated to fit any palate or diet (think vegan, paleo, or gluten free), and perfectly portable.

Coming from Massachusetts, I am accustomed to two types of doughnuts.

  1. The slightly stale, typically flavored doughnuts from Dunkin’ Donuts, which you can buy at the chain on every corner (there were seven in my town alone, and several more in the near vicinity).
  2. The quintessential New England doughnut: the apple cider doughnut, best enjoyed hot out of the fryer and coated generously in sugar. This doughnut is a staple of apple picking and pumpkin patches; the constant companion of hayrides and cool fall mornings.

But I expected New York to be different, and I was right. This is the homeland for all foods ordinary and obscure. There’s representation from every culture and country, good, bad, and just plain ridiculous. And of course, in a city well known for it’s cozy cafes and excessive coffee consumption, I knew there would be a strong selection of coffee’s best friend, the doughnut.

I started my NYC doughnut journey with the pinnacle of doughnut bastardization, the cronut. For those of you who live under a rock, let me welcome you to the extreme of an already excessive dessert. French pastry chef Dominique Ansel developed his infamous cronut in 2013, and as the name suggests, it is the lovechild of a croissant and doughnut. But that’s barely scratching the surface.

What makes a cronut different than a simple fried croissant dough is the way the dough is handled. The dough is laminated, which is what causes the flaky croissant layers, and proofed, so the dough rises before it is fried. After the dough is fried in grapeseed oil, the cronut is rolled in flavored sugar, filled with ganache, and topped with a glaze and decoration. It is an extensive, laborious process, with high risk and low reward.

Continue reading A Complete Guide to Getting A Cronut

Sweet Tooth Recipes: Comfort Dessert

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



  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a square 9X9 inch pan, grease with butter or Pam
  3. Using the biscuit dough, separate and roll into 16 small balls of dough, roughly 1 inch in diameter.
  4. In a plastic gallon size bag, combine white sugar and cinnamon.
  5. Place balls of dough in the plastic bag with sugar and coat dough until completely covered in sugar.
  6. Line balls of dough in pan.FullSizeRender 2
  7. In a microwave safe bowl, melt butter and brown sugar in microwave for about 45 seconds.
  8. Drizzle brown sugar over the bough balls.IMG_6048
  9. Pop these bad boys into the oven for about 25 minutes or until they’re bubbling golden brown dough balls.
  10. Take out the final product, and let them sit for 10 minutes.
  11. On a plate or flat cookie sheet, flip over the dough balls.
  12. Best consumed warm out of the oven! They keep up to 2-3 days but microwave them if they begin to get hard. Enjoy.




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.