Small indulgences

Click on the topmost title and scrollDessertforTwo.jpg

If you love to bake but are afraid you will eat all the cookies or the whole cake,Dessert for Two: Small Batch Cookies, Brownies, Pies, and Cakes hardcover by Christina Lane is for you! I loved this book.

Unlike many “cut down to size” dessert recipes, Lane doesn’t skimp on quality. Her recipes are the real deal for delicious brownies, cookie, cakes, and tart.

The book has recipes for 10 bakery-style chocolate chip cookies and really good brownies – as well as iced cakes and tarts.  Lane clearly explains techniques and how to keep leftover ingredients when making small-batch baked goods. This is a great book if, like me, you have warring desires for sweet treats and a small seat.

Here is a tempting recipe from the book for a Warm Brownie Sundae

Yield • 1 (6-inch) round cake

Cooking spray1 (1)

4 tablespoons (60 grams)

unsalted butter

½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar

¼ cup + 2 tablespoons (42 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg

¼ cup (30 grams) all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons (23 grams) semisweet chocolate chips

1 scoop of your favorite ice cream

Heavy whipped cream (optional)

1 Maraschino cherry (optional)

PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 325°F, and spray a 6-inch

cast-iron skillet (or other ovenproof small skillet) with cooking spray.

Dice the butter into eight pieces and place in a microwave-safe bowl. Sprinkle the sugar and cocoa powder on top. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stop, stir, and then microwave for another 30 seconds.

Carefully remove the bowl from the microwave, and stir in the salt and vanilla. Stir for about 30 seconds to cool the mixture. Then, add the egg and stir well.

Sprinkle the flour on top, and then stir vigorously

for fifty strokes, using a wooden spoon. The brownie batter will become thick and glossy. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips.

Scrape the mixture into the prepared skillet. Bake for 24 to 28 minutes. It’s okay for the brownie to stay a little gooey in the middle.

Top with the ice cream, whipped cream, and a cherry and serve immediately with two spoons.

Christina says: “I like to end a Friday date-night-at-home dinner with this easy dessert. But, really, it’s great for putting pep back in your step on

a lousy Monday, too. Use your favorite flavor of ice cream on top.

I’m partial to chocolate chip, but mint chip is frequently perched

on top of this brownie in my house, too”.

Reprinted with permission from, “Dessert for Two by Christina Lane”, The Countryman Press 2015.




Recessionista entertaining made easy

Easy Brownie treatsOur newest contributor Ailey Pacione has a sweet tooth and so do her friends. This week she shares her tips for recessionista entertaining and gift giving:

The ultimate chocolate lovers’ fix for a diva on a budget …
I admit that with Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter, I’m almost choco-ed out. However, as every DolceDolce diva knows, when a chocolate craving hits, we are at the mercy of the nearest chocolate fix. Two-bite brownies — while superbly delicious — can certainly run up your food bill. They are sold at high-end grocery stores, but are not as easy on the wallet as they are on the palate.
Here’s my advice: Duncan Hines Chocolate Fudge Brownies are just as good at more than half the price.
What makes them even more fantastic is that you can add to the basic recipe. Toss in nuts, chocolate chips, or Smarties — or get even more creative and add icing and decorate them! Then, buy a funky tin can or a cheap, vintage tray, and wrap them up as a gift for any occasion.
Ailey Pacione -" I'm no Betty Crocker..."Everybody loves brownies and baking them at home and is a perfect way to be thrifty and creative. Even if they were wrapped in plain tin foil, they would still be well-received — they are that good! The instructions are easy to follow — and I mean easy. I’m no Betty Crocker and my batch turned out great. That makes it fun for everyone to try. It’s so low stress!
P.S. The best part about baking brownies at home is you can lick the bowl!
Editor’s Note: Ailey added Smarties to her brownies. She shopped for the vintage tray, too. She also had to bake additional batches of brownies for the photos, as her first batch disappeared very quickly. Her friends and family are amazed her baking talent — and want more!