Treatsie Tuesdays! (Chocolate Raspberry Pavlova)

That’s right.

I did it.

I made a treat called Pavlova.

Go ahead – you can say it out loud.

C’mon. Say it out loud.

Okay –  if you can’t say it right now without looking like a strange-o, just politely excuse yourself to the restroom and say it to yourself.

Or, try and work it into a sentence.

And … go.



It’s fun to say.

This thing is the strangest dessert I have made yet. Deliciously strange. I have never tried such a thing, let alone attempt to make it. But, I’m a brave girl. I strapped on my boots, hiked up my skirt and got to getting my hands dirty. (That’s not true. I wasn’t wearing a skirt. I was wearing stretchy yoga pants, like any bum, ahem, classy gal would on her day off.)

So – Pavlova. Ha! There it is again. I wan’t to shout it as a joyful exclamation. “Oh! You just got engaged? Pavlova!” (Pavlova, Sam and Adrienne! Pavlova!)

This dessert has a sweet chocolate meringue base, topped with fresh whipped cream and raspberries. It’s very simple to make but will impress the socks off of anyone. The crackly meringue gives it a rustic charm, but the taste is elegant. It’s a bit crunchy on the outside, then it’s chewy gooey on the inside.

It’s not too sweet, as the cream on top is just that – Cream. No sugar. (Also how I take most of my coffee, in case anyone was wondering.)

Want to know how to make it? Alright, alright. I’ll show you.

The victims: Superfine Sugar, Cocoa, 6 Eggs, Heavy Cream, Chopped Chocolate, Raspberries, Red Wine Vinegar.

First, you need to line a baking sheet with parchment – then trace a circle on it. Gosh, I wish I still had my math compass. That would have been a blast to make a circle with. I need to get me one of those.

I just grabbed a smallish plate (maybe 8 inches?) and used it to trace my circle.

Flip your parchment over so the batter doesn’t touch the pencil markings. You’ll still be able to see your circle through the paper. Don’t worry.

Then, you’ve got to separate your eggs and keep the whites. Keep the yolks, too, to make other things like ice cream or custard.

I don’t have a photograph of the separation, because I actually already had some whites leftover from mine and Andy’s date with our nephews, brother, and sister. We made ice cream and used all the yolks.

Once you have the yolks ready, pour them into a large bowl.

Beat with a hand-held blender until soft peaks form.

Now, grab your sugar and add it to the egg whites a spoonful at a time.

Now, take it out back and beat it up. Yea. Rough house it a little. Show it who’s boss.

I’m sorry. That was inappropriate. We don’t want to rough house anyone or anything. That wouldn’t be very kind.

But, we do want to beat the sugar into the egg whites. Just, maybe in a less aggressive way. Plus, you’ll save yourself from a huge mess if you refrain from violence. Just beat it with a blender. Eggs don’t mind that … because then they turn into Pavlova. And that makes them happy.

Beat just until stiff, shiny peaks form. If you over-beat, it will begin to separate. The true test to see if meringue is done is to hold your bowl upside down. If nothing falls out, you’re golden.

Grab your cocoa, and sift it over your meringue.

Add in your red wine vinegar.

Then, add in your chopped chocolate. I don’t have a photo of this. Probably because I’m sometimes a scatter brain.

Take a rubber spatula, and fold it all in until incorporated.

Now, dab a little of the batter under each corner of the parchment. This will help the parchment to stay put while you assemble your base.

Next, pile your batter onto the parchment, using your circle as a guide.

Pop that in the oven, reduce the heat, and let it hang out for an hour. Yep. An hour.

When it’s all done baking and cooling – you get this crazy looking thing!

While that is cooling, you can make your whipped cream.

Just pour the cream into a bowl, and whip!

At this point, I carefully put my meringue base on a cake stand. This is hard. This is so hard. Mine split and crumbled all over the place, but since it’s already crackly it didn’t offend me too much.

You should probably just leave yours put. Or, be adventurous and transfer it. But I warned you. Oh, I warned you.

Top the chocolate meringue with whipped cream.

Then, top it all off with fresh raspberries and shaved chocolate.

You are outstanding. Look at that! The people will love you.

So impressive.

My friends? Enjoy!

Chocolate Raspberry Pavlova

(From Nigella Lawson)

For the Meringue Base:

6 large egg whites

2 cups superfine sugar

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

1 teaspoon balsamic or red wine vinegar

2 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped

For the Toppings:

2 cups heavy cream

4 cups fresh raspberries

1 to 2 ounces dark chocolate, shaved or chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment. Draw a circle on the paper with a pencil, tracing a plate about 8 to 9 inches in diameter. Flip the paper over so your meringue doesn’t touch the pencil marks – you’ll still be able to see the circle.

Beat the egg whites with a mixer until satiny peaks form, then beat in the sugar a spoonful at a time until the meringue is stiff and shiny.

Sprinkle the cocoa, vinegar and then the chopped chocolate over the egg whites. Gently fold everything with a rubber spatula until the cocoa is thoroughly mixed in.

Secure the parchment to the baking sheet with a dab of meringue under each corner. Mound the meringue onto the parchment within the circle, smoothing the top with a spatula.

Place in the oven, then immediately turn the temperature down to 300 degrees and cook for one hour. When it’s ready, it should look crisp and dry on top, but when you prod the center you should feel the promise of squidginess beneath your fingers.

Turn off the oven and open the door slightly; let the chocolate meringue disk cool completely in the oven. When you’reready to serve, invert onto a big flatbottomed plate and peel off the parchment.

Make your whipped topping: Beat the cream till thick but still soft and pile it on top of the meringue. Scatter the raspberries on top. Coarsely grate the chocolate haphazardly over the top so that you get curls of chocolate rather than rubble, as you don’t want the raspberries’ luscious color and form to be obscured. You want the Pavlova to look like a frosted cake.


Treatsie Tuesdays! (Chocolate Banana Ice Cream)

Holy. Stinkin’. Smokes.

I’m almost speechless. I mean, really. I just sat here for about 10 minutes with my curser blinking, longing for me to type out a description of this magical concoction, but I’m too busy trying to pick my jaw up from the floor.

This ice cream is knock-your-skirt-off fabulous. (Was that a little brash? I apologize. I can get that way when I’m stunned from delicious desserts. Please excuse my misdemeanor.)

Here’s the deal. The title sounds simple, right? Chocolate Banana Ice Cream. What could be the big deal? Most of us have experienced a chocolate and banana combo once in our lives. And it’s … good. But, I’m telling you. This ice cream is not just good. It’s explosively delectable – and I have no idea why. Maybe it was just what my taste buds demanded in that moment. Or maybe it was the fact that it was a pretty grueling day on the emotions, and this ice cream was just the thing to pick me up. Emotional eating, anyone? Yikes. Maybe it’s that it was blazing hot out and all I wanted was to not be sweating profusely from my armpits. (Ice cream is a top runner in my anti-sweat campaign. Oh – you didn’t know I have an anti-sweat campaign? Well, I do. It’s … a work in progress. We’ll get there.)

Regardless of why this tasted so amazing, it has changed our life a little bit. Andy, who is loyal to the bones about his Orange Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, said it was the best ice cream he’s ever had. Say what?! (I really need to stop doing that. Trying to be all ghetto. Jeesh.) This boy dreams in orange-infused chocolate. He’s a sucker for it. So the news of his adoration for this frozen cream left me at a loss. Wow. This stuff has power.

Let’s talk about the ice cream, shall we? It’s super smooth and very creamy. It’s the real deal, made from homemade custard. No cutting corners with this guy. He’s all calorie-laden and completely worth it. It has a deep chocolate flavor with a subtle banana undertone. There are no chunks. There are no bells, whistles, or harmonicas involved. There are just the simplest of ingredients that meld together to form a paradox of simply complex flavors. It is the kind of cream that is good all on it’s own. It doesn’t cry out for toppings or whips or drizzles. It is so beautifully independent. And it deserves every second of spotlight.

Remember when Andy and I went to Vermont a few months back for a wedding? I wrote about our trip to The Special Place and our ice cream cone treats. I had Chocolate Banana, and it was unreal. I wanted to try and recreate it. So, Andy and I did our research, then went out and got an ice cream maker (best investment ever).

I have a special guest photographing with me today. He’s tall and handsome and has kissable lips. (Not for you. Just for me. He’s all mine.) It’s the one and only … Andy!

*Special Note: Some photographs have man hands, and some have lady hands. Andy wanted me to ensure you that his hands are indeed manly and the lady hands are not his. They are mine. We traded cooking and photographing every once in a while. Cuz we’re a team like that.

Alright, let’s dig in. First up! The victims… mwah, ha, ha, ha, ha. (So creepy.) You’ll need: Half and half, sugar, eggs (you’ll only want the yolks from these bad boys), unsweetened cocoa powder, a banana, and a pinch of salt.

Now, you want to add your half and half to a medium sized pot. Slowly heat it over low – you do not want it to boil. Check on it periodically while your working on assembling the other ingredients.

While that is heating, work on separating your eggs. And yes, I do mean work on it. Poor Andy had some troubles trying to separate the yolk from the white. Want to see?

Yep, that yolk is on its way to the whites bowl. After multiple attempts, we decided to switch spots. He’d photograph. I’d separate.

Do you know how to separate the yolk from the white? All you do is crack the egg, gently pull the shell apart in half, and slowly rock the yolk back and forth between both sides, allowing the white to fall into a bowl underneath. Please put a bowl underneath. Your counters don’t desire to be covered in egg whites. You can even keep the whites and make a meringue! Or mousse! Or an omelette!

Once you’ve got your egg yolks in the bowl, add in some sugar, a pinch of salt, and cocoa powder.

Grab your banana, peel it, and mash it all up. Feed it to your baby, if you have one. Then grab another banana, peel it, and mash it all up – this time adding it to your cocoa mixture.

Whisk it all up, my friends.

Now – you’re going to need to add the hot cream to this mixture, but listen up. That cream is hot – and your eggs are cold. When cold eggs interface with hotness, they cook. We don’t want scrambled egg ice cream. Blech. What we need to do is temper it.

Dunk your 1/2 c. measuring cup into the hot cream. (Please don’t scald yourself. Be careful.) Now, while whisking your cocoa egg mixture, slowly drizzle the hot cream into the batter, whisking constantly. This is going to slowly heat up the yolks, but not flash-cook them. Soon your batter will be warm and your eggs will turn custardy and not scrambly.

Repeat this until you have a half cup of cream left in the pot. Return the pot to the stove over lowish heat.

Grab a strainer and put it on top of your pot. Slowly pour your batter through the strainer and into the pot. This will remove any clumpage from the bananas or over-heated cream. It’s not a necessary step, but it allows the ice cream to be super velvety.

Heat that up over medium-low heat and stir constantly until custard-like and can coat the back of a spoon. (About  7 minutes for me.)

Now, here’s the hardest part. You’ve gotta pop that sucker in the fridge and let it chill for a few hours. I know, I know. I wanted ice cream right away, too! But it really won’t freeze right if goes into the maker all hot. It’s got to cool down. Be patient, dear friend. Go watch a movie, or clean the bathtub, or go on a bike ride, or snuggle with your children, or scrub permanent marker off your walls (Marissa!), or call a friend. These things will help you in your waiting.

Once your few hours is up, you get to churn your ice cream!

Umm … well … you see … the thing is … I don’t have photos of the ice cream churning process. 😦

I know. I’ve let you down. But, you see, I was hanging out with Andy and sometimes we have too much fun together and I forget to do important things like photograph steps to Treatsie Tuesday. Please don’t be mad. Just make this ice cream, eat it, and you’ll forget that you were even upset with me.

I’ll tell you that I used a Cuisinart ICE-21 model ice cream maker. It works magically. And is one of the best rated on Cook’s Product Reviews. They know their stuff.

Churn your ice cream and enjoy! Straight out of the maker, it was so creamy. It set up real nice, and when you gave it a taste, it would melt perfectly on your palette – sort of similar to a frosty. After a few hours in the freezer, it will harden more like ice cream.

Also – this could be really great with agave nectar instead of sugar. I tossed around using agave, but decided I would use sugar since it was my first time. If you’d like to substitute agave nectar, use 2/3 cup agave for every 1 cup of sugar.

It’s amazing, as is. But you can get jazzy and give it a good drizzle of salted caramel sauce and a sprinkling of chocolate confetti.

My friends? Enjoy.

Chocolate Banana Ice Cream

(from All Recipes)

I halved the recipe to serve just Andy and myself, with a good cup of leftovers. This recipe should yield about 8 servings.

Also, the first four ingredients make up your ice cream base. Play around with other ingredients to make various flavors. Omit the cocoa, add a splash of vanilla and substitute fresh mashed strawberries to get strawberry ice cream. Take out the banana and add in chopped peanut butter cups and pretzels near the end of the churning process to get a fun spin on chocolate peanut butter cup ice cream. The sky is the limit.

4 cups half-and-half cream
8 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup mashed banana (about 2 bananas)


Pour the half-and-half cream into a heavy saucepan, place over medium-low heat, and heat until barely simmering, stirring frequently. Turn the heat down to low.

Whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, salt, cocoa, and banana in a large bowl until thoroughly combined.

Slowly pour about 1/2 cup of hot cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Repeat three times more, whisking thoroughly before adding each additional 1/2 cup of hot cream to the egg yolk mixture. Pour the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining hot cream, and whisk constantly over medium-low heat until the mixture thickens and will coat the back of a spoon, 5 to 8 minutes. Do not let mixture boil.

Pour the ice cream base into a bowl and allow to cool in the refrigerator for a few hours. Once chilled, pour into an ice cream maker, and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Remove the ice cream and enjoy! Pack the leftovers into a freezer safe container. Freeze for up to 2 months.

Treatsie Tuesdays! (No Bake Chocolate Cake)

Treatsie Tuesday… on a Wednesday?! What is happening to the world?

I’ll tell you what is happening…

This girl is quite taken by a boy who asked her on a date yesterday. And naturally, she had to go out and find a perfect new top for her fancy date – completely forgetting about her blog readers. Selfish. Selfish, selfish girl.

But, I’m not going to lie – it was a little bit worth it. Dinner on the rooftop at a curiously delicious Italian restaurant with the man of my dreams? It was exactly what I needed. What we both needed. Time well spent.

Anyway – on to that teasing photograph you saw up top…

I mean, really? Can you see that decadence? It’s unreal, this scrumptious cake. No, wait – it’s not even cake. That is so incredibly misleading. It’s a truffle. In the shape of a rectangle. It has no flour, no sugar, no butter (don’t be scared). It’s purely chocolate and cream. That’s it, folks. A generous slab of ganache. Wowza!

Good Lord, this stuff is magic. I originally got the recipe from one of my favorite bloggers in the entire universe… Heidi Swanson from 101 Cookbooks. I always love her recipes because they’re earthy and rustic and full of vegetation. And her desserts always sway towards the whole food approach. Her recipes are typically full of nutrition – but of course, I’ve gotta be me and choose the most decadent dessert she has on her site. You can thank me later, after you’ve sunk your teeth into these bad boys.

Now, what you can’t really see here is that these slices are not exactly large. They’re more like the size of a pack of gum. The Extra kind. Or that fruity striped one with the zebra on the package we used to beg our parents for as kids. Even a slice that size is a bit much. This dessert is rich.

I stepped the “cake” up a notch by adding my own flavor infused whipped creams. I have mint, espresso, and orange. Never had orange and chocolate? Oh, you are so missing out! We need to remedy this.

First off – you’ve got to gather up those victims of yours: Chocolate (I used Baker’s Semisweet), Heavy Cream, Vanilla, Salt, and Cocoa Powder.

Before you do anything else, you need to get your pan ready. Now, let’s talk about the pan. This recipe only yields 2 cups. That’s not a lot. And if you want a deep slice like mine, you’ll have to use a mini loaf pan or something quite small. Here… I’ll show you.

You’ll need a pan about the size of two lemons. Or a tube of toothpaste. Or a cute owl trivet. Or a pair of shades.

However, you will need a pan that’s smaller than a dinosaur. But just by a smidge.

Okay. Take your mini loaf pan and grease it up with some butta. Then add a strip of parchment and seal it on the butter real good. Cut off the ends of your parchment.

Now you’re going to start in on the good stuff. Add the cream to a medium sized pot and heat over very gentle heat. You want the cream to just barely be hot when you touch it.

Then you’ve gotta get a double boiler heating. Chop up that chocolate and add it to a double boiler.

You want to melt the chocolate so it drizzles off a spoon in ribbons.

Once that’s melted and your cream is hot to the touch, add the chocolate into the cream, stirring constantly until they become one collective unit – a happy little marriage of deliciousness.

Pour your chocolatey batter into the prepared pan.

Cover it with a little plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge, preferably on top of your leftover beer-drenched chili. (I’ll post about this recipe someday. Mmm.)

Let that chill out in the fridge for at least four hours – but more is preferable. You don’t want to try and cut into it and have liquid chocolate everywhere.

Once it’s chilled enough to cut into slices, dust the top with cocoa powder and slice it into pretty rectangles.

Do you see how fudgy it is? It’s marvelous. It’s completely creamy and cool. Super chocolatey. It’s all things wonderful in this world.

You could totally eat it straight up like this. Maybe throw some fruit or nuts on top. I tried it with some fresh-picked blueberries and it was divine. However, I like to step things up a bit and challenge myself – so I tried making variations of whipped cream. I’ll show you the base instructions for the espresso whipped, then give you the substitutions to make the others.

Before you get started in on the ingredients, grab a bowl and stick in the fridge. This will chill your bowl to help the whipped cream set up real nice.

While the bowl is chilling, grab your victims: Whipping cream, brown sugar, vanilla, and instant espresso powder.

Pour the cream into your chilled bowl. Add in the vanilla, brown sugar, and espresso powder.

Now – you know what to do.

Whip it.

Whip it good.

(Sorry. I had to.)

You’re cream should be nice and thick, but light and fluffy. You know what I’m sayin’?

Like this:

Be careful around this stuff. It will steal you away. It will bring you to new dimensions in the universe. It will keep you up all night if you have a lick after 7pm.

It will certainly captivate you. It has powers.

Now top that gorgeous slice of “cake” with a dollop of this magic and you’ve got yourself a gourmet dessert. So easy.

Say, what! (I try way too hard to be ghetto. Like 1990’s ghetto. Jeesh. Please help me.)

But seriously, though. Look at that. Mmm. With the hazelnuts? Yikes. I’m smitten.

Also, try it with mint whip.

Or orange whip.

Or, heck. Why not try all three?

Whatever you do, enjoy these beauties. Preferably with a friend. Because sharing is caring.


(You can find the recipes below)

No Bake Chocolate Cake

(Adapted from 101 Cookbooks)

butter, to grease pan
8 ounces / 225 g 70% chocolate, well chopped
8 ounces / 225 g heavy cream
splash of vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fine grain salt
cocoa powder, to serve

Lightly butter a mini loaf pan.

Barely melt the chocolate in a double boiler over gentle heat.

In a separate medium pan heat the cream over gentle heat. When the cream is very warm / hot to the touch, remove from heat and splash in a bit of vanilla. Just a little. Stir in the salt.

Pour the chocolate into the cream, and very slowly and steadily stir until everything comes together smoothly. Make sure the components aren’t at all separate. Pour into the prepared pan, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled throughout, a few hours, or overnight.

When ready to serve, remove from the pan, let set at room temperature for ten minutes or so, dust with a bit of cocoa powder, and slice. Alternately, you can slice and serve from the pan.

Serves 12.

Prep time: 10 min

Espresso Whipped Cream

(From Epicurious)

1 cup chilled whipping cream
3 tablespoons golden brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

Beat all ingredients in chilled medium bowl to soft peaks. (Can be made 4 hours ahead; cover and chill.)

Whipped Cream Variations

(Using Espresso Whipped Cream recipe as a guide)

For the Mint Whip: Follow instructions exactly, substituting white sugar for the brown, mint extract for the vanilla, and omitting the espresso. I added shaved chocolate pieces to my whip and fresh mint leaves.

For the Orange Whip: Follow instructions exactly, substituting white sugar for the brown, orange extract for the vanilla, and omitting the espresso. I added a good amount of orange zest to the whip as well.

Treatsie Tuesdays! (Peanut Butter Cups)

Oh, man. The Fourth of July around my house is a mad zone. I mean, insane! Here’s the thing – Andy and I live pretty much in the backyard of where fireworks go off in my town. You walk outside and BAM! You’re under the ‘works. I love the sense of community that it brings out – people everywhere… on foot, in cars, on blankets. It’s a blast – that is, when you’re already home before the ‘works go off.

You see, we spent the evening with some family a couple towns away. Upon our travels home, we realized we’d be entering our town just as the fireworks were being set off. This is not a good idea. I don’t know how we end up getting ourselves into these messes. There are about 5 different ways to get to my home (some of which are one-ways streets). Two ways were blocked off by the police. Two were crammed with people sitting on top of their cars (in the middle of the road). But there was one left. One last hope to get home before the rush of firework-happy people came flooding through our neighborhood. We came within 20 feet of our house. I could throw my chapstick out the window and hit our driveway. But, we couldn’t get through. Cars were everywhere! It was like that little board game where you have to get the red car out of the traffic jam. We were that car.

Luckily, Andy had some pretty sweet maneuvering skills and got us out of the mess. But we weren’t home. We ended up having to park a mile away and just decided to walk home. 20 feet from our house and we couldn’t get in. It was wild.

We had a great Fourth. Our niece, Ella, came for a sleep-over. We did sparklers.

We made pancakes.

And we spent the afternoon lounging like fish in the pool (big thanks to Mom, Pop, Lisa and Jen for letting us crash your pad and splash in your pool).

It was good spending time with family and seeing everyone relax. Mimi’s garden is bursting with life and she is teaching me how to help mine along. FaFa grilled up ribs. Nathan made us laugh. Ryan tried to kill us with fireworks. It was great.

Alright, alright. Now on to what you really want to see.

Chocolate. Peanut Butter. Mini Cups. Yum.

These things are originally a vegan recipe, but since I’m not a vegan and don’t mind using dairy products, I switched things out a bit. First things first, you need supplies. The victims: Peanut butter, chocolate chips, milk of some sort (I used coconut), graham crackers, sugar (I used turbinado), butter, and toppings (like peanuts and banana chips).

Before you get started, line a mini muffin tin with some liners. Use a mini muffin tin because these things are rich, baby!

Next, dump a stick of butter in a pan. Melt over medium-low heat.

While that is melting, smash the heck out of your graham crackers. Crumbs will probably fly out onto the counter. Don’t worry about it. Baking is messy. I used my meat tenderizer to whack at my crackers. A hammer will do, too. Or a food processor if you’d like to get fancy.

Once the butter is melted, toss in your sugar, graham cracker crumbs, and peanut butter. Channel Bob Marley and “stir it up.”

Now – the peanut butter mixture was a little thin. I figured it woud be hard to spoon the batter into the muffin liners, so I poured the mixture into a ziploc bag and snipped a corner off to form a pastry bag. I piped the batter into the muffin liners – this made it much easier to work with. And probably saved me from a wicked mess. However you want to do it, get those cups filled with delicious peanut butter batter.

Once you have those filled, melt your chocolate and milk in a double boiler. (*I had to double the chocolate topping, using 2 cups of chocolate and 1/2 cup of coconut milk. I like my chocolate to peanut butter ratio to be a little more aggressive.)

When the chocolate and milk are one melty cohesive substance, start spooning the chocolate topping over your peanut butter. You’ll need to use the back of the spoon to spread it out a bit.

Now comes the fun part – decorating! Grab whatever you think would be fantastic, and sprinkle it on top of your cups. I used banana chips and peanuts. I also left some plain. But even the plain ones are oh-so-not-plain. They are oh-so-scrumptious.

Pop them in the freezer (I lucked out that I had room!) for about an hour.

This is going to set the cups so they’re solid. You’ll want to keep them in the freezer (especially if you use natural peanut butter which is quite runny) and just pull them out 15 minutes before you serve. This will make them smooth enough to bite into.

These things are magical. They are very rich. And very cute. And very easy. A crowd pleaser, for sure.

Big thanks to Angela from  Oh She Glows for featuring these delicious bites on her blog. You can follow the original recipe here.