Peanut Butter Chocolate Parfaits

I really hope that finding a fly at the bottom of my iced coffee this morning wasn’t an ominous beginning to the day. The morning started off so promising, too…… I was able to sleep in a little later than usual, and after downing my green probiotic juice, I headed straight for the big, perfectly chilled glass of coffee that I had safely stashed in the fridge. I added a few ice cubes, a splash of mocha almond milk, and took a nice, long draw through my hot pink straw.

Then it hit me….. strange, what’s this squishy thing in my drink? I don’t remember adding chia seeds or anything like that to it. I spit it out, looked closely, and that’s when I realized it was a fly.

** ugh **

Official cause of death? Overdose of caffeine. Sucks for him… Needless to say, that iced coffee went down the drain, and I headed back to the machine for a fresh one.

Thankfully, I have this dreamy concoction of peanut butter and chocolate to look forward to after dinner tonight.


Who am I kidding? It won’t make it past 11 a.m…….

Peanut Butter Chocolate Parfaits – adapted from Martha Stewart

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place a fine-mesh sieve over a medium bowl; set aside. In a medium saucepan, off heat, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and cocoa powder. Gradually  whisk in milk, taking care to dissolve cornstarch. Whisk in egg yolks.

Whisking constantly, cook over medium heat until the first large bubble forms and sputters. Reduce heat to low; still whisking, cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; immediately pour through sieve into bowl. Stir butter and vanilla into hot pudding.

Place plastic wrap directly on surface of pudding (to prevent skin from forming); chill at least 3 hours. Layer pudding and peanut butter cream between individual parfait jars, and cover until ready to serve.

Peanut Butter Cream:

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

In a medium bowl, whip cream to stiff peaks. Whisk in sugar. In a medium bowl, fold whipped cream into peanut butter.

Vanilla Pots de Creme

These darling little pots de cremes are Sabrina’s new favorite dessert. And, I must admit she has really impressed me with her inspired creativity on how to prepare them.

The first time she ate one, she had it topped with a little fruit. The next time, she sprinkled on a few mini chocolate chips, and declared it even better. Emboldened, she rummaged through the spice cabinet and topped the next one with what she thought was cinnamon sugar. The first spoonful quickly brought to light the fact that it was granulated garlic powder – not sugar. After becoming thoroughly disgusted with her error, she silently wept as she threw it away. I laughed so hard I almost fell off my chair.

She was not amused.

Fortunately, there was one jar left, so she topped it (correctly) with the cinnamon sugar mixture. And while that was good, the next day she decided to take it one step further, and used my nifty blow torch to burn the cinnamon sugar into a brulee-type crispy shell.


With or without a topping (and preferably not the savory kind..), these are super simple to make and a perfect little sweet to end the day.

Vanilla Pots de Creme – adapted from NY Times

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract
  • 4 egg yolks
  •  cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

In a medium saucepan, heat the milk and cream just to simmer. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, vigorously whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until light in color, about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the hot milk/cream mixture, whisking constantly until well blended. Stir in the vanilla extract. Strain the mixture into a large measuring cup, then pour the mixture into 4 6 ounce jars or ramekins. Place the jars into a large casserole or baking pan, and fill the pan halfway with hot tap water.

Place the pan in the oven, and bake the cremes for 45 minutes, or until the center is just a bit wobbly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Refrigerate for several hours before serving.

Dark Chocolate Yogurt Mousse

Lately, I’ve become a bit obsessed with making individual desserts. Let’s face the facts: they’re practical, portable, and perfectly proportioned.

Try saying that three times fast. 

Ok ok, the truth is that I was feeling exceptionally creative and dying to use the mini jar collection I seem to have acquired. Hey, one thing about me, I use everything in my kitchen. Sometimes too much, as inevitably I will have to send an appliance to the graveyard. Fortunately, though, that hasn’t happened in quite some time.

Great….. I probably just jinxed myself.


Edit: I wrote this post yesterday, and this morning our Keurig machine kicked it…….

Dark Chocolate Yogurt Mousse 

  • 9 oz extra dark chocolate, chopped
  • 18 oz nonfat Greek Yogurt
  • 2 tbs. vanilla extract

Melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds. Stir, then microwave for another 15 seconds. Stir again, and allow the residual heat to finish melted the chocolate. Set aside to cool to room temperature. If the chocolate is too warm, it will not blend smoothly with the yogurt, resulting in a chip-like texture. (It’s delicious nonetheless!)

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, whip together the yogurt and vanilla extract on medium high speed until thick and fluffy. Lower the speed and add the melted chocolate, and whip until thoroughly combined. Pipe into serving glasses. Makes 6.

Yogurt Panna Cotta

I have a huge weakness for panna cotta. Correction –  I have a huge weakness for almost all desserts – but custards, puddings, and souffles are very high on my list. And anything with chocolate. But that’s another story.

Traditional panna cotta is nothing more than cream, sugar, vanilla and gelatin – and although the name translates to “cooked cream”, it isn’t cooked at all – the gelatin provides the structure to hold it together. This version, made with milk and yogurt, instead of the usual heavy cream, is perfect for breakfast. It’s not very sweet at all, so feel free to increase the amount of sugar to your liking. I prefer mine on the tart side, as it makes me feel more virtuous.

And less guilty about the chocolate chip biscotti I have after it……

Yogurt Panna Cotta – adapted from myrecipes

2 cups milk (I used 2%)
2 tsp plain, unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups plain Greek yogurt
1 tbs vanilla extract

 Pour 1 cup milk into a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over top. Let soften for 5 minutes, then stir until dissolved.

In a medium saucepan, mix remaining milk and sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring. Remove from heat; stir in gelatin mixture, then whisk in yogurt and vanilla. Divide among 8 6-ounce ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap; chill until firm, at least 2 hours.

Serve with fresh fruit.

Chocolate Mousse

Tomorrow is July 1.

Say what??!

We are halfway though 2015, and it doesn’t seem possible. Yet it is, and it’s happening. Crazy. Isn’t it funny that when you’re a kid, time moves painfully slow. Once you’re an adult, however, time moves at light speed.

Or ridiculous speed.

Or ludicrous speed.

Classic – just like a good chocolate mousse.


Chocolate Mousse – adapted from epicurious

I put crushed Oreo cookie crumbs into the bottom of the glasses to make them a bit more festive, as I served these at J’s birthday party a few weeks ago. The mousse is outstanding – perfectly textured and not cloyingly sweet.

  • 2 cups chilled heavy cream
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3 tbs. sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 7 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped

Heat 3/4 cup cream in a 1-quart heavy saucepan until hot. Whisk together yolks and sugar in a metal bowl until combined well, then add hot cream in a slow stream, whisking until combined. Transfer mixture to saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until it registers 160°F on thermometer. Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and stir in vanilla.Melt chocolate in a double boiler or a metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water (or in a glass bowl in a microwave at 50 percent power 3 to 5 minutes), stirring frequently. Whisk custard into chocolate until smooth, then cool.

Beat remaining 1 1/4 cups cream in a bowl with an electric mixer until it just holds stiff peaks. Whisk one fourth of cream into chocolate custard to lighten, then fold in remaining cream gently but thoroughly.

Spoon mousse into 8 (6-ounce) stemmed glasses or ramekins and chill, covered, at least 6 hours. Let stand at room temperature about 20 minutes before serving.

Cooks’ notes: • Mousse can be chilled up to 1 day.

• To vary the flavor, you can replace the 1 teaspoon vanilla with 2 teaspoons instant-espresso powder (dissolve it in the hot cream) or 3 tablespoons Grand Marnier or 2 tablespoons Cognac (either one whisked into strained custard).


Tiramisu Trifle

Yesterday was one of those days where it seemed that everywhere I went, there was an enormous amount of traffic, congestion, and rude people. My day started off with a 60 minute drive to go the 5 miles for the kids’ school.


Granted, there was an accident that caused the massive delay, but that was the second major shut-down in a week. I am about ready to put a portable coffee maker in the car so I can refill my cup while sitting in traffic. I’m not even kidding. I have learned to always keep the gas level in the car at half-full or above, so I don’t run out if I get stuck somewhere. Yes, it’s that bad.

Anyway, after school, Sabrina and I went to the Starbucks right down the street from campus to grab a drink while we waited for Alexander to re-take his biology test. We only had 45 minutes, and it was pointless to drive the 5 miles home, only to turn around and go back – traffic is a nightmare at that time of day, it would have taken me another hour to get through it.

And I was in NO mood for that.

So we get to the coffee shop, place our order, and wait. And wait. 5 minutes passes….then 10…….then 15……. now 20 minutes has passed and still no coffee for me. We (along with the other mob of people crowded in the shop) are getting quite cranky waiting so long for the drinks, and I’m about ready to ask them if they are growing the coffee beans in the back parking lot. Finally (finally!) we get our drinks and head back to school.

And promptly get stuck in traffic. 


Tiramisu Trifle – adapted from My Baking Addiction

This dessert was a pleasant surprise…. meaning, I didn’t think I’d like it as much as I did, since traditional tiramisu is made with mascarpone, not ricotta. Although the texture is a bit more grainy (from the ricotta), it’s absolutely delicious and I appreciated the fact that it took so little time to make.

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tbs. Kahlua
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp instant espresso granules
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup Oreo cookie crumbs

Combine whipping cream and sugar in a large bowl.Using a hand held mixer, whip to medium peaks. In another bowl, using the same mixing blades, whip together the cheese, cocoa powder, Kahlua, vanilla, and instant espresso granules. Fold the whipped cream into the cheese mixture using a rubber spatula.

Alternate layers of cookie crumbs and tiramisu filling in trifle or parfait glasses, and top each with a heavy dusting of cocoa powder.


Spoon Bread

Can I be honest here? The name of this recipe confused me. A lot.

At first, I thought it meant you mixed it with a  spoon. Except you use a whisk for the preparation.

Then, I thought it meant you ate it with a spoon. Except you cut it into squares. 

 What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;

Thank you, Shakespeare, for identifying the fact that the name of this bread doesn’t reflect what it really is.


Spoon Bread – adapted from Rebecca Rather

More pudding-like than bread-like, it reminds me of a very soft cornbread. We all loved it though,  and leftovers are wonderful warmed up and served with a side of jam.

3 1/2 cups milk
2 tbs. unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
3 large eggs

Preheat the over to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 x 8-inch square baking dish. Heat the milk and butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until the mixture begins to boil. Decrease the heat to medium-low and slowly sprinkle in the cornmeal, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Whisk in the baking powder, then the eggs, one at a time, beating until the batter is smooth and the eggs are thoroughly incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for about 30 minutes, until golden and puffy. Cut into squares, and serve warm or at room temperature.