Mini Babkas: get ready for Rosh Hashanah!

September 21, 2014 § Leave a comment

SWEETTABLESCAPES specializes in small, bite-size and guilt-free desserts, so when we found these adorable Mini babkas in The Holiday Kosher Baker by Paula Shoyer, we were smitten. They are perfect for your holiday gathering!


You’ll need:


1/4 cup warm water

1/2 oz (2 envelopes) dry yeast

1/4 cup plus 1 tsp sugar, divided

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

dash salt

4 TBsp margarine, at room temperature for at least 15 minutes

1/4 cup canola oil

1 large egg plus 1 egg white


1/2 cup margarine at room temp

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

To make dough: Place warm water, yeast and 1 tsp sugar into a bowl of a stand mixer and let sit for 10 minutes, until mixture bubbles and thickens.IMG_8067IMG_8068

Add 1/4 cup sugar, flour, salt, margarine, oil, egg and egg white.IMG_8069

Combine with a dough hook until all ingredients are mixed in.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise 1 1/2 hours.IMG_8070IMG_8071

To make filling:

Place margarine into a medium bowl and beat until creamy. IMG_8072

Add the cocoa and sugar and beat until combined.IMG_8073IMG_8074

Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature while the dough is rising.

Preheat oven to 325F. Place mini muffin paper cups into mini-muffin pan.

To assemble and bake:

After dough has risen, divide in half.IMG_8075

On a large piece of parchement paper sprinkled with flour, roll each piece of dough into a 9X12-inch rectangle so that the 12-inch side is facing you.

Sprinkle a little flour on the rolling pin if dough starts to stick to it.IMG_8076

Use a silicone spatula to spread half the chocolate filling all the way to the edges.IMG_8077

Sprinkle half the chocolate chips all over the chocolate and roll up tightly the long way.IMG_8078IMG_8079

Cut into 1/2 inch slices and place into each of the muffin cups, cut side up. You will have about 24 slices.IMG_8080

Repeat with rest of the dough.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly golden.IMG_8081 Serve warm or at room temperature. Store, covered at room temp for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months.







Nectarine Tart: one last bit of summer!

September 16, 2014 § Leave a comment

Fruit is summer’s ultimate pleasure and SWEETTABLESCAPES always takes full advantage of the season’s bounty. This recipe (from the French magazine Elle a Table – July/August 2014) is a delicious addition to your summer repertoire and very easy to make.



You’ll need:

6 nectarines

150 g sugar

200 g flour

1 bag vanilla sugar

150 g unsalted butter, room temperature

1 egg

40g heavy cream

1 TBsp honey


Preheat oven to 350 F and line a springform pan with parchment paper.IMG_8009

Put flour, sugar, vanilla sugar, butter, egg and heavy cream into the bowl of a food processor and mix until you have a sticky batter.IMG_8010 IMG_8011Wash the nectarines, dry them and cut them into quarters. Put dough into prepared pan,IMG_8012 cover with nectarines, spread honey over the fruit and bake for 30 to 40 minutes.IMG_8013 IMG_8014For more of the same, check out this Peach Cobbler here.



SCOFA, strange name for a cake…

September 13, 2014 § Leave a comment

This rich and elegant cake has an unusual and cryptic name: the first letter of each ingredient reveals the secret of its name. S for Sugar, C for Caramel, O for Eggs (Oeufs in French), F for Flour and A for Almonds. The SCOFA cake’s secret recipe was created in a French monastery, half a century ago. Its name is trademarked and the exact list of ingredients circulates discreetly amongst the quiet world of abbeys.

This recipe from Cuisine et Vins de France is a bit challenging and produces a very rich (oh, that buttercream center!) but elegant cake.

IMG_8016You’ll need:

6 large eggs

125 g almond meal

200 g butter at room temperature

80 g powdered sugar (+ 1 TBsp for decoration)

320 g granulated sugar

70 f flour

7 TBsp milk (80 g)


Cover cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a small, heavy saucepan, prepare caramel with 100 g granulated sugar and 1 TBsp water. As soon as it is a nice golden color, pour it onto prepared  cookie sheet and let it harden. IMG_7976IMG_7977IMG_7979IMG_7980

Preheat oven to 300 F.

Cover another large cookie sheet with parchment paper,

Separate egg yolks and whites. You will only need 5 whites.

Prepare cake: in a bowl, mix almond meal, powdered sugar, flour and milk until you have a thick batter.IMG_7978

Whip egg whites until soft and then gradually addi150 g granulated sugar until stiff peaks form. Add egg whites to batter with a spatula; IMG_7981 IMG_7982 IMG_7983 IMG_7984 IMG_7985Pour mixture into a ziploc bag and cut 1/2 inch hole in corner to create pastry bag.IMG_7986

Create lines of batter side by side on parchment paper to make a large rectangle (about 12 x 16). IMG_7987 Bake for about 40 minutes until it springs back to the touch. Let cool.


Prepare buttercream: break caramel into pieces and powder it in a food processor. In a bowl, beat egg yolks with 20 g sugar until pale.IMG_7988 IMG_7989 IMG_7990

Boil 150 g remaining sugar with 2 TBsp water for 2 minutes and pour into egg yolk mixture. Beat for 5 minutes.

Add soft butter in pieces and caramel powder. Let cool.IMG_7991

Cut cake into two equal-size rectangles. Spread buttercream onto one side with spatula and cover with second cake half. IMG_7994 IMG_7995Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. (can be made 2 to 3 days in advance)

When ready to serve, cut edges neatly and sprinkle with remaining 1 TBsp powdered sugar. (Serve with Champagne or sparkling wine)IMG_8016


Coconut Financiers

September 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

As egg whites were accumulating in my fridge, I decided to make my favorite “egg-white-saving” recipe: financiers. They are an all-time favorite here at SWEETTABLESCAPES and the go-to recipe for egg white surplus. So imagine our surprise and joy when we opened the weekly “Dining” section of the New-York Times one day this past summer: Coconut Financiers!!! Perfect timing and perfect variation on the traditional almond-based recipe. The coconut flakes gave it a new welcome twist and we have now added the recipe to our repertoire.

You’ll need:

  • 16 tablespoons/226 grams butter (2 sticks), more for greasing muffin tins
  • 1 tablespoon/15 milliliters coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons/80 grams unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 2/3 cups/300 grams confectioners’ sugar
  • 3/4 cup/100 grams all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon/1 1/2 grams fine sea salt
  • 1 cup egg whites (about 6 to 8 large egg whites)
  • 1 tablespoon/15 milliliters dark rum
  • Sweetened shredded coconut, for topping


Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 30 mini muffin tins.
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat until the milk solids fall to bottom of pan and become a rich brown, about 5 minutes. Strain brown butter through a mesh sieve into bowl. Stir in coconut oil and reserve.    IMG_7094IMG_7102        IMG_7095
In a food processor, process unsweetened coconut until very fine. IMG_7096IMG_7097Transfer to a bowl. Sift in sugar, flour and salt. IMG_7098Using a spatula, fold in egg whites (no need to beat them first) and rum until batter is moistened. IMG_7103IMG_7104Slowly mix in brown butter mixture until well combined.IMG_7105
Spoon batter into tins and sprinkle tops with shredded sweetened coconut, separating any clumps with your fingers. IMG_7106Bake, rotating pans several times, until edges are dark brown and tops are golden, 20 to 24 minutes. Cool on rack for 5 minutes and pop out financiers onto rack.IMG_7107
30 small cakes

Apple Brownies: a fall must have!!

September 7, 2014 § 1 Comment

Here we go again…apple-picking season is upon us and we all need to make good use of the baskets of fresh apples we’ll soon be coming home with.

Here is an easy and refreshing take on “brownies”. Forget the chocolate and think “apples”. This recipe from Martha Stewart Magazine (Oct. 2012 issue) is quick and perfect for a fall week-end or a school bake sale.


You’ll need:

  • 1 stick salted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for dish
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 large firm-sweet apples (about 1 pound total), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (2 3/4 cups)
(Bars can be stored in an airtight container up to 5 days.)


  1. Step 1

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in center position. Generously butter an 8-by-11-inch baking dish.IMG_8021

  2. Step 2

    Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. IMG_8022 In a separate bowl, beat together butter, sugar, and egg with a mixer until pale, about 2 minutes. IMG_8023IMG_8024Add walnuts and apples, and stir by hand until combined. IMG_8025 IMG_8026IMG_8027Add flour mixture, and stir until combined, about 30 seconds more.IMG_8028

  3. Step 3

    Spread batter in pan, and bake until golden brown and slightly firm, about 40 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack 30 minutes, then cut into 12 bars.IMG_8029 IMG_8030 IMG_8031 IMG_8033Enjoy this first flavor of autumn!!

Raspberry Spuma

September 4, 2014 § Leave a comment

We all hate to say it but summer is over. If not officially – after all, we still have until September 22 to reach the fall equinox – at least un-officially. Labor Day is behind us and the kids are back in school. BUT the weather is certainly still quite summery here int the Northeast; so there is time to enjoy another frozen dessert. Italian for ‘foam’ or ‘froth’, spuma is an airy type of sherbet made with egg whites beaten with boiling sugar syrup. This frozen specialty is also known as spoom.

This recipe from The New York Times is perfect for a summer’s last hurrah and to accompany some cookies after your BBQ.
You’ll need:

12 ounces (about 1 pint or 2 cups) raspberries, plus 6 ounces more (1/2 pint or 1 cup) for garnish
3/4 cup sugar
4 egg whites

Put raspberries in a small saucepan with 1/2 cup sugar over medium heat. IMG_7960Mash berries with a wooden spoon and simmer for 2 minutes. IMG_7961Strain through a fine-meshed wire sieve, pushing against berries to extract all juices. IMG_7963Discard seeds and solids. You should have 1 cup raspberry syrup. Set aside to cool slightly.IMG_7965
In a mixing bowl, combine egg whites with 1/4 cup sugar. Set bowl over a pan of boiling water and, using a wire whisk, beat egg whites and sugar just enough to dissolve sugar and until whites are warm to the touch, about 1 minute.IMG_7964 IMG_7966 IMG_7967
Remove bowl from heat. Beat egg whites vigorously until you have a fluffy meringue with shiny stiff peaks, about 3 minutes. (You may use electric beaters or stand mixer.)IMG_7968 IMG_7969
Using a rubber spatula, quickly fold raspberry syrup into meringue. IMG_7970Transfer to a serving dish, cover and freeze for at least 2 hours. (You may freeze mixture up to 3 days in advance.)IMG_7971 IMG_7973
To serve, garnish with berries and spoon raspberry spuma into small bowls.
YIELD 6 to 8 servings

French Quatre-Quarts: basic and delicious!

August 26, 2014 § Leave a comment

We just got back from our annual trip to France and it is time to open the recipe books we acquired there.IMG_7873

This one, “Quatre-Quarts forever” by Claire Tellier delivers some great recipes based on the classic “4-quarters” loaf cake. For this, you need a recipe with a quarter each butter, flour, sugar and eggs. The starting point is the well-proportioned batter, to which pretty much any additional ingredient and flavoring can be added.

Here we tried the Salted Caramel and Pralin Quatre-Quarts, IMG_7874We skipped the caramel making and used a jar of salted caramel and also used pre-made praline powder (pralin). All these are readily available at any supermarket in France but you can also make them from scratch without too much trouble. We’ve used pralin in another of our desserts here and the salted caramel is easy enough to make at homeIMG_7876

You’ll need:

2 eggs

120 g sugar

120 g salted butter

120 g whole wheat pastry flour

1 tsp baking powder

100 g salted caramel (see below)

3 TBsp pralin

1 pinch salt

If you make your own caramel, you’ll need:

300 cl heavy cream

300 g sugar

150 g salted butterIMG_7863



For the caramel:

In saucepan, heat cream. In a second saucepan, heat butter and sugar over high heat. Mix until caramel takes on a nice golden color. Remove from heat and add heated cream. Combine and heat again for another 5 minutes over medium heat. Pour your mixture into a jar and close it tightly. Let cool. (can be made in advance and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before use)

For the cake:

Preheat oven to 350F

Beat eggs, pinch of slat and sugar with electric mixer until mixture becomes light in color and creamy. IMG_7864 IMG_7865

Melt butter in microwave and add it to egg mixture. Continue to mix while adding flour, baking powder, pralin (see here for homemade recipe) and 100g caramel.IMG_7866IMG_7867IMG_7868IMG_7869IMG_7870IMG_7871

Spray cake pan with cooking spray and pour batter into it.IMG_7872

Bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.IMG_7874This has a distonctive and delicious caramel flavor.



  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 138 other followers


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 138 other followers