Chocolate-Hazelnut Raspberry Shortcakes

July 29, 2014 § 1 Comment

One last post before we head to France for our annual visit: a delicious summer dessert where the classic combo of chocolate and raspberries comes to life. The recipe from Better Homes and Gardens (june 2014) is a bit time-consuming but if you bake the shortcakes in advance, you can easily assemble your treats afterwards when it’s time for dessert. SWEETTABLESCAPES did just that very recently at a friend’s house.


You’ll need:

1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

1/4 cup cold shortening, cut into cubes

1 1/4 cups cake flour

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 TBsp baking powder

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup plus 1 TBsp whipping cream

1 egg separated

1/4 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread

1 tsp vanilla

6 oz dark chocolate (at least 60% cacao) melted

1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries

1 TBsp seedless raspberry preserves

1 tsp turbinado sugar

Raspberry Whipped Cream (recipe below)


 Place a quarter cup cold butter cut into small cubes and a quarter cup of chilled shortening in a bowl. IMG_7321                     

Cover and freeze for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together one and a quarter cup cake flour, one and a quarter cup all- purpose flour, one half cup brown sugar, a quarter cup cocoa powder, one tablespoon baking powder, a half teaspoon of baking soda, and a half teaspoon of kosher salt. IMG_7319

 Add the chilled butter mixture to the flour mixture. Using your fingers, rub the butter mixture into the flour until it becomes coarse and pebbly. IMG_7320IMG_7324IMG_7325

To 1 / 2 cup cream, add one egg yolk, 1 / 4 cup chocolate hazelnut spread, and one teaspoon vanilla in a one cup glass measure. IMG_7326

Stir to combine.

Add cream mixture to the flour mixture. Stir with a fork until just combined. IMG_7327IMG_7328

Next, add six ounces of melted dark chocolate and continue to stir. IMG_7329IMG_7330

Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and gently knead until the dough is smooth, about one minute. IMG_7331IMG_7332

Next. Roll the dough about one inch thick. Using two and one half inch round cutter. Cut eight rounds, re- rolling scraps as necessary.

 Transfer rounds to a parchment lined baking sheet and  freeze for 15 minutes. IMG_7334

Meanwhile in a medium bowl, combine 3 / 4 cups of raspberries and mash with a fork. Then stir in one tablespoon raspberry preserves and 3 / 4 cups of raspberries and set aside.

Remove the shortcakes from the freezer.

In another bowl, combine one egg white and one tablespoon cream. Brush tops of shortcakes with egg white mixture. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar. IMG_7333IMG_7336

Bake the shortcakes in a 400 degree oven 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. IMG_7337

For the raspberry whipped cream.: In a large chilled bowl, beat together one and a half cups whipping cream, two tablespoons of powdered sugar, one tablespoon of raspberry liquor, and one teaspoon of vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Then, fold in two tablespoons of the raspberry mixture. Serve the shortcakes with a dollop of raspberry whipped cream and the raspberry mixture. IMG_7338IMG_7339IMG_7340 


Enjoy this at the end of your summer dinner!!



Salted -Butter Apple Clafoutis with Praline Powder

July 14, 2014 § Leave a comment

Nothing very original in a clafoutis, this time of year; but this recipe caught our eyes and was the perfect use of a few apples stranded in our fruit basket. Usually made with cherries, this ultra-traditional French summer dessert (see more versions here, here and here) is made interesting by the use of apples and a sprinkle of “Pralin”. SWEETTABLESCAPES was lucky enough to have store-bought pralin that we brought back from France but you can make your own (see here). This recipe is from Marie-Claire /Cuisine et Vins de France Magazine.

IMG_7160 You’ll need:

- 3 lbs apples

- 3 oz salted butter

3 TBsp cornmeal

4 oz sugar

4 oz praline powder

3 eggs and 2 yolks

1 3/4 cups milk

2/3 cup heavy cream


-Peel and cube apples. Melt half of butter in a pan. Add apples and 2 TBsp sugar.IMG_7150Cook while stirring on high heat for about 10 minutes until apples soften and start browning a bit.

-Preheat oven to 350 F

-In a bowl, mix cornmeal, rest of sugar, eggs and yolks. IMG_7151Slowly add milk and cream to make a liquid batter.


-Butter your baking pan IMG_7154and fill with apples. Sprinkle apples with “pralin” (praline powder).   IMG_7153IMG_7155  Pour batter on top of apples and add remaining butter, cut into small pieces, on top of apple and custard mixture.


-Bake for about 25 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.IMG_7161ENJOY!!!




Pan-baked Lemon-Almond Tart: last minute dessert!

July 11, 2014 § Leave a comment

Even if you find out friends are stopping by in half an hour for coffee, you can still present them with a sweet little something by the time they arrive. This pan-baked tart can be whipped in less time than it takes to read this post and the fresh lemony flavor, combined with a bit of almond crunchiness is very pleasing. So, just in time for the week-end here is the “minimalist” recipe from the New-York Times.  Perfect for the no-fuss baker! and for SWEETTABLESCAPES too!!



You’ll need:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, more for garnish
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Powdered sugar, for garnish


Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, combine eggs, sugar, salt, ground almonds, cream, sliced almonds, lemon zest and juice.      IMG_7163IMG_7164
Melt butter in an 8-inch ovenproof skillet over low heat; IMG_7162when foam has subsided, add almond mixture to pan, tilting pan to distribute batter evenly. IMG_7165Continue to cook tart on stovetop until edges just begin to set, then put pan in oven and finish cooking, about 10 to 15 minutes more.IMG_7166IMG_7167
When tart is done, put it in broiler for about a minute or until just golden on top. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and sliced almonds. Serve.
4 servings

Raspberry Yogurt Bundt Cake

July 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

In need of a large cake but not willing to slave in the kitchen for hours ? This delicious bundt cake was the star of a recent dinner-by-the-pool. SWEETTABLESCAPES has officially put this recipe from “Bon Appetit” magazine (July 2008) in the “Favorites” file. And you will too. With a subtle almond flavor infusing a firm cake, with the sweet burst of raspberries sprinkled into the batter, this is truly a crowd-pleasing and easy-to-make dessert.


For this perfect Raspberry-Yogurt Cake,

You’ll need:

  • 3 cups unbleached all purpose flour, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract, divided
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange peel
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh raspberries (two 6-ounce containers)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) water


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 12-cup Bundt pan. Whisk 2 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in medium bowl.
  • Using electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in large bowl until creamy. IMG_7109IMG_7110Beat in orange juice, 1 teaspoon almond extract, and orange peel. IMG_7112IMG_7113IMG_7114Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. IMG_7115Mix in yogurt.IMG_7111IMG_7116
  • Add dry ingredients to batter and beat just until blended. IMG_7117Toss 1/2 cup flour and raspberries in large bowl. IMG_7118Fold berry mixture into batter. IMG_7120Spoon batter into prepared pan; smooth top.
  • Bake cake until wooden skewer inserted near center comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Cool 30 minutes. IMG_7124Invert cake onto plate and cool. IMG_7125DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature.
  • Whisk powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon water, and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract in medium bowl. Add more water by 1/2 teaspoonfuls as needed for thick glaze. IMG_7127 IMG_7128Drizzle over cake. Let stand until glaze sets.IMG_7129IMG_7131


4th of July dessert : Plum and Raspberry Crumb Tart

July 7, 2014 § Leave a comment

We’ll never tire of saying it: summer is a fruit-dessert lover’s dream! With all the al-fresco dinners, BBQs and other get-togethers, SWEETTABLESCAPES needs a wide variety of crowd-pleasing desserts. Fruit is a welcome ingredient when we are all celebrating nature, the outdoors and yummy food shared with friends!

This delicious recipe from Martha Stewart (June 1999 issue) is perfect this time of year! The juicy plums and raspberries combined with the custard and the hazelnut-flavored crust and crumb-topping create a mix of pleasant textures and flavors. This delivered FIREWORKS!!!!

DO NOT be deterred by the bit of labor, it is all well worth it!



You’ll need:

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), chilled, cut into small pieces, plus more for pan
  • 1/3 cup hazelnuts
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 medium-size, ripe but firm plums (about 12 ounces)
  • 1 half-pint raspberries
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Grated nutmeg, optional


  1. Step 1

    Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan; set aside. IMG_7134Spread hazelnuts on a baking sheet. Bake until fragrant, about 10 minutes. Rub warm nuts in a clean kitchen towel to remove skins. Let cool. Place nuts in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until medium fine, about 30 pulses.IMG_7135

  2. Step 2

    Transfer nuts to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, light-brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; mix until just combined. IMG_7136Add butter, and mix on low speed until crumb begins to stick together, 2 to 3 minutes. IMG_7137 IMG_7138Press 3 cups of crumb into the bottom of the prepared pan and about 1 1/2 inches up the sides of the pan to form crust. IMG_7139 IMG_7140Set remaining crumb mixture aside.

  3. Step 3

    Transfer crust to the oven; bake until it appears to be set, 18 to 20 minutes. Set aside.IMG_7141

  4. Step 4

    Slice plums in half, and remove pits. Slice into eighths. Scatter 3/4 cup raspberries and sliced plums onto cooled crust; set aside.IMG_7144

  5. Step 5

    In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon flour and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Whisk in egg, egg yolk, heavy cream, milk, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and nutmeg (optional). IMG_7142 IMG_7143 Pour custard over fruit; IMG_7145sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture.IMG_7146 Transfer tart to the oven; bake until custard has set and is slightly golden, 45 to 50 minutes. IMG_7147  Garnish with remaining raspberries. IMG_7149Let rest at least 25 minutes before cutting. Serve warm or at room temperature.

  6. IMG_7159

Are you a soccer fan? Look at these FIFA cookies!

June 26, 2014 § 2 Comments

If the month between June 12 and July 13 will see you glued to your TV and cheering for your favorite soccer teams, then these cookies will tickle your fancy!

Here at SWEETTABLESCAPES, we took one look at this World Cup 2014 logo and jumped into the cookie dough. We had to make these in honor of all the soccer fans out there who are watching all the games with devotion and will surely have a few viewing parties. How about serving these to your famished and enthusiastic fan-friends??

May the best team win!!

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Northern Valley Dance Academy: sweet treats for little dancers

June 25, 2014 § 1 Comment

June is the month of End-of-Year celebrations , shows, recitals and other summer sendoffs. SWEETTABLESCAPES was delighted to provide this great local dance school (check them out here) with some sweet treats at their recital.


We created our popular Minis in their palette of red, black, grey and white, as well as some vanilla and chocolate cupcakes. Here’s to a beautiful, musical and movement-inspired summer!!


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