Chocolate-dipped Coconut Macaroons!

October 12, 2016 § Leave a comment

Of the many traditional “Jewish” desserts that can make it to the table for Passover, when no flour or leavening agent is allowed in the recipe, the Coconut Macaroon is really a standard and should by no means be restricted to that holiday. SWEETTABLESCAPES was happy to get them as a request for a selection of Yom Kippur desserts. They are easy to make and made really special when dipped in bittersweet chocolate. They keep well too, so you can enjoy them for a few days… This recipe is from Once Upon a Chef


You’ll need:

  • 5-1/3 cups (one 14-ounce bag) sweetened shredded coconut (such as Baker’s Angel Flake)
  • 7/8 cup sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk; see note below on measurement)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, best quality such as Ghirardelli, chopped (optional) [we used double that amount of 60% cocoa Ghirardelli chocolate chips)


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Set two oven racks near the center of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the shredded coconut, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract. Set aside.img_0027img_0028img_0029img_0030
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and salt until stiff peaks form. img_0031img_0038img_0039
    Use a large rubber spatula to fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture.img_0035img_0036
  4. Using two spoons, form heaping tablespoons of the mixture into mounds on the prepared baking sheets, spacing about 1 inch apart. img_0036img_0037Bake for about 25 minutes, until the tops are lightly golden and the bottoms and edges are deeply golden.img_0045
  5. If dipping the macaroons in chocolate, melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl at medium power, stopping and stirring at 30 second intervals, until just smooth and creamy. (Alternatively, melt the chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water.) Dip the bottoms of the macaroons in the chocolate, letting any excess drip back into the bowl, and return to the lined baking sheets. Place the macaroons in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to allow the chocolate to set. img_0046img_0047The cookies keep well in an airtight container at room temperature for about a week.
  6. Note: 7/8 cup = 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons

We served these with some cute Star of David Sugar cookies:



Savory Baking: Zucchini and Feta Loaf

October 7, 2016 § Leave a comment

The end of zucchini-season is here, or at least in a utopian world where there were still seasons for all of Nature’s bounty…if you grow them in your garden, you know what I mean; if you buy them at the supermarket, then you can make this delicious loaf all year round!! Ha!

We’re big “loaf” fans here at SWEETTABLESCAPES, so these make repeated appearances at our summer table and are really great with a salad and since they’re easy to make, just go for it!! This recipe is from Cuisine et Vins de France magazine.img_0019

You’ll need: 

  • 180 g flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 100 ml milk
  • 100 ml olive oil
  • 100 g grated parmesan
  • 100 g feta
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 small bunch mint
  • 20 g pignoli nuts
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 20 g butter for the pan or cooking spray
  • salt
  • pepper


1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line your pan with buttered parchment paper, unless you’re using a silicone one.

2. Rince, dry and cut mint. Cut feta into small cubes. Wash and dry zucchini, cut the news and cut into small cubes.img_0006

3. Heat 2 TBsp olive oil in a skillet and saute zucchini over high heat for about 5 minutes.

4. Break eggs into a small bowl, whisk them with remaining oil and milk. img_0007Add flour, baking powder, feta, parmesan, zucchini cubes, mint and 3/4 of the pignoli nuts, while string. img_0008


img_0010Add salt and pepper to taste and mix until smooth.

5. Pour batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle remaining pignoli nuts on top. img_0011Bake for about 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

6. Let the loaf cool a bit before removing it from the pan. Then unmold , slice and serve. img_0019

Chessboard Cookie: Winner eats all!!

October 5, 2016 § Leave a comment

When a recent request for a special birthday cookie came in, the original themes were squash racket, drums and chess….Well, well..We thankfully narrowed it down to 2 ideas and thus was this giant cookie chessboard born…img_0009

SWEETTABLESCAPES simply integrated the drums as makeshift “pawns” and presto, the Birthday boy was very happy!!

We made small 1-inch squares for the pieces and doubled them up for the “main” row. They were decorated with each shape: King, Queen, Rook, Bishop and Knight and 8 mini drums represented the pawns.

We then proceeded to bake a very large (about 11 x 11 inches wide) square cookieimg_0002and decorated it with the black and white chessboard, That was a time-consuming task with drawing some lines first with an edible markerimg_0003and then icing each square.img_0004


We finally added a decorative border and voila…ready to play!!




Check Mate!!

Chocolate Loaf: dark and rich!

September 30, 2016 § Leave a comment

“Baking chez moi” is an endless source of recipes and at Sweettablescapes, we never tire to flip through the pages, looking for some inspiration and mostly sweet temptation.

I also like having a loaf or two in my freezer when dessert is needed unexpectedly. Loaves are unpretentious and yet very satisfying cakes that can be easily stored. If I have some time on my hands and all of the usually-very-basic ingredients, I love making them in advance and having the reassuring feeling that something sweet is available any time! This dark and “Carrement Chocolat” version (as Dorie Greenspan calls it) just seemed like the perfect “back-up” dessert to have in the freezer. And when time came to enjoy it…how enjoyable it was!!! “Carrement” chocolate it was indeed, moist and rich, a perfect cake for any chocolate lover!

img_2932You’ll need:

For the salted chocolate:

6 oz or 170 g bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1/2 tsp fleur de sel (or 1/4 tsp fine sea salt)

For the cake:

1 cup (136 g) all-purpose flour

1/3 cup (28 g) unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

Pinch of fine sea alt

13 Tbsp (6 1/2 oz or 184 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup (200 g) sugar

4 large eggs, at room temperature

For the syrup:

1/2 cup (120ml) water

2 1/2 Tbsp sugar



To make the salted chocolate: Line an 8X8 square pan with plastic film. Melt chocolate until perfectly smooth (in microwave or double boiler) and stir in fleur de sel. img_0027


Pour the chocolate into the prepared pan – you want a layer that is between a 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick- Freeze for at least one hour. For this recipe to succeed, chocolate must be very cold and very firm.img_0030

To make the cake: Preheat oven to 350F and stack two baking sheets on top of one another. Butter a 8 1/2 X 4 1/2-inch loaf pan, dust with flour and tap out excess. Set the pan on the baking sheets.

Put the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a food processor and pulse several times to blend thoroughly. Turn the dry ingredients out onto a sheet of parchment paper.img_0031



Cut the butter into pieces and toss it into the food processor, along with the sugar and eggs. img_0034Pulse a few times to get things going, then process for 6 full minutes, scraping down the bowl a couple of times, until the mixture is light, liquefied and full of bubbles. Gently scrape the mixture into a large bowl.img_0036

Meanwhile, remove the salted chocolate from the freezer, peel away the plastic, and using a heavy chef’s knife, cut it into cubes that are about 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide. img_0035The chocolate melts quickly, so work fast and immediately return the cubes to the freezer.

Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and, using a large flexible spatula, fold them in gently but thoroughly.img_0037

img_0038 Drop the chocolate cubes into the bowl, stir to distribute them evenly and then scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan.img_0039


Bake the cake for about one hour, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out dry. Transfer the cake to a rack and let it rest for 5 minutes, then unmold it onto the rack. You can soak the cake with syrup to enhance its tender texture. Bring 1/2 cup water and 2 1/2 Tbsp sugar to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat. Brush the syrup over the top and sides of the hot cake, working slowly and allowing it to soak into the cake. Cool completely on the rack.

We skipped the syrup because we tend to avoid too much added sweetness, and the cake was still really tender and delicious. Feel free to freeze it so you have a terrific chocolate dessert on hand. Just remember to take it out of the freezer the night before your guests arrive!!




Gluten-free Baking: Double-Chocolate Cookies

September 28, 2016 § Leave a comment

As SWEETTABLESCAPES ventures into the uncharted territory of gluten-free baking, we discover new ingredients and some tricks of the trade. The territory is in fact quite well mapped-out with many, many bakeries and books specializing in this type of baking, but since we are novices, we started small with fairly simple recipes.img_0021
We got this one for Double-Chocolate Cookies from: img_2939You’ll need:

1.3 ounces white rice flour (about 1/4 cup)

1.15 ounces brown rice flour (about 1/4 cup) Note: Since we only had white rice flour in our pantry, we used only that instead of a mixture of both white and brown. The cookies seemed quite delicious that way..

1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa

1 tsp xanthan gum

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp salt

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate mini chips, divided

1/4 cup non-dairy buttery spread (such as Earth Balance) Note: As non-dairy was not a necessity for us, we used butter.

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate

1/2 tsp instant coffee granules

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup sugar

2 large eggs

Cooking Spray


  • Combine flours, cocoa, xanthan gum, baking powder and slat in a small bowl, stir well with a whisk.img_0028
  • Combine 1/2 cup chocolate mini chips, buttery spread, unsweetened chocolate, and coffee granules in a microwave-safe bowl. img_0029Melt chocolate gradually, staring until smooth and creamy. img_0030Let cool 10 minutes and add vanilla.
  • Place sugar and eggs in a medium bowl, beat with a mixer at medium speed 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. img_0031img_0032Add chocolate mixture; beat until blended. img_0033img_0034Add flour mixture; beat until just blended. img_0035Fold in 1/4 mini chips. img_0036Cover and chill 2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • Lightly coat hands with cooking spray; shape dough into 30 1-inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on baking sheets, lined with parchment paper. img_0045Flatten cookies slightly with palm of your hand. Bake at 350F for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges look cooked. Cool 2 minutes on sheets. Remove and cool on wire racks. Enjoy!!



Cinnamon Roulade with Roasted Apple-Cream Cheese Filling: does that say Fall is here or what??!!

September 23, 2016 § Leave a comment

Once you feel the first chill in the air, after the last hot and humid days of summer, you know there is no going back. Fall is officially here even if we are still enjoying an Indian Summer. To celebrate this meteorological blessing, SWEETTABLESCAPES had to join the apple-fest and try this recipe from Southern Living (Sept. 2016 issue). It looks too good to pass up!


You’ll need: 

2 large Fuji apples, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 lb.)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons salted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2 cups (about 6 oz.) powdered sugar
4 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup (about 2 7/8 oz.) bleached cake flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
6 tablespoons powdered sugar, divided

1. Prepare the Apple-Cream Cheese Filling: Preheat oven to 400°F. Place apples and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar in a bowl;


toss well to coat. Spread apples in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. img_0003

Bake in preheated oven until tender and well browned, about 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes. Remove apples from pan, and cool completely.img_0012

2. Meanwhile, beat cream cheese, butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1/8 teaspoon salt with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. img_0021

Add 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar; img_0023beat until smooth, about 1 minute. img_0024Fold in roasted apples. img_0025

img_0026Refrigerate until ready to use.

3. Prepare the Cake: Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a 17- x 12-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray; line with parchment paper. Coat parchment with cooking spray.img_0004

4. Beat egg yolks and 1/2 cup granulated sugar at high speed until thick and pale, about 5 minutes. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla. img_0005


Using clean, dry beaters, beat egg whites in a separate bowl at medium speed until foamy. img_0008Increase speed to high, and beat until soft peaks form. Add remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating at high speed until medium peaks form. img_0009

img_0010 img_0011Stir one-fourth of egg white mixture into egg yolk mixture;img_0010 gently fold in remaining three-fourths egg white mixture.


5. Sift together cake flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Sift cake flour mixture over egg mixture, 1/4 cup at a time, folding in until blended after each addition. Spread batter in prepared baking sheet.img_0013
6. Bake at 400°F until puffed and lightly browned on top, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Sprinkle 4 tablespoons powdered sugar over top of cake. img_0018Invert cake onto a parchment paper-lined surface. img_0019
Peel off top layer of parchment paper from cake. Starting at 1 short side, roll cake and bottom parchment together. Transfer to a wire rack, and cool completely, about 30 minutesimg_0020

7. Unroll cake onto a flat surface.
Spread Apple-Cream Cheese Filling over top, leaving a 1-inch border on all sides. img_0027

Starting at 1 short side and using parchment paper as a guide, roll up cake in jelly-roll fashion. Place cake on a platter, seam side down. Sprinkle top and sides with remaining 2 tablespoons powdered sugar. Serve immediately.



Roquefort Shortbreads or as we say in French: Sables au Roquefort

September 20, 2016 § Leave a comment

If you love cheese as much as we do here at SWEETTABLESCAPES, then you’ll love this 5-ingredient recipe. It ‘s quick and easy and packs a punch in the flavor department, so serve it at a grown-up aperitif and enjoy! The recipe is from Cuisine et Vins de France.


You’ll need:

100 g  roquefort ( a very flavorful French blue cheese), at room temperature
80 g salted butter, at room temperature
100 g all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp polenta
1 pinch Piment d’Espelette (or Cayenne pepper)


In a large bowl with a fork (or in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment), mix Roquefort and salted butter until smooth.img_0001

Add flour, polenta and pepper and mix until smooth.img_0002

Shape dough into a tight 1 1/2 inch-round cylinder and wrap in plastic.img_0003

img_0004Refrigerate or freeze. When ready to bake, just slice in 1/4 inch-thick slices. Cover baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes at 350F.

img_0018Let cool and enjoy!!

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