Archive for the ‘Desserts’ Category

Thank you for a great year!  M.A. Eats had a fantastic first year.  Thank you for reading and commenting.  My most popular post was Vegan Chocolate Cake, followed by Macaroni and Cheese, then Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars.  I’m reposting the Chocolate Cake recipe below with instructions for making wonderful cupcakes.  I hope you all had a wonderful 2010 and best wishes for the New Year!

Simple and Delicious Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1  teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup olive oil (or canola or vegetable oil work too)
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Place cupcake papers in two standard muffin pans.  Spray the surface of the pan with cooking spray so that the cupcake tops do not stick to pan.  In a large bowl stir together dry ingredients, sugar, flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa.  Add water, olive oil, vinegar and vanilla.  Beat by hand with a fork until combined.  Batter should have a uniform appearance with no lumps.  Fill each cupcake paper 3/4 full.  Bake in middle rack of oven for 20 – 22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.  Makes 24 cupcakes.


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My kids recently had a play date with some fellow preschoolers, so I took the opportunity to test a whole wheat version of chocolate chip cookies on them.  Of the 4 preschoolers and the third grade older sibling all but one asked for more, the other when begged.  So I don’ t think they noticed the whole wheat difference, and if they did they didn’t mind.  Now I understand that they still have butter and sugar and a lot of chocolate, but at least the whole wheat makes them slightly more healthy.  The recipe is from the back of the bag of Gold Medal Whole Wheat Flour.  More of their recipes can be found at www.goldmedalwholewheat.com.

I prefer making bars over cookies because I think it is much easier.  There is one dish instead of multiple cookie sheets to wash and I always end up over baking at least one sheet of cookies when I forget to set the timer or some other distraction arises.  Bars also seem to stay moist longer.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 bag (12 ounce) semisweet chocolate chips (2 cups)

Heat oven to 350°F.  In large bowl beat sugars, butter, vanilla, and egg until well blended.  Using mixer, stir in flour, baking soda, and salt (dough will be stiff).  Stir in chocolate chips.

Press dough evenly into a lightly greased (I use the paper from one stick of butter) 9×13 pan.

Bake about 30 minutes on center rack of oven.  The cookie bars will be naturally darker because the dough starts off brown.  Be careful not to over bake. 

Makes about 40 1” bars.

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If you ever want to impress with  dessert this is the dessert to make.   My Grandma Marjorie cut this recipe out of the Columbus Dispatch for me sometime in the late 90’s and I really haven’t found a need to try any other cheesecake recipes (other than pumpkin) since.  Its really rich, really high calorie, and really, really yummy.  It’s best if you chill it overnight before serving, and be sure to let it cool to room temp before putting in the fridge to avoid unsightly crackage.  At the very end be careful when you reset your oven to 500 degrees, this always sets my smoke alarm off.  So either have a designated fanner (like a husband), or set your oven to 450 degrees and bake for 1o minutes instead of 5.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Amaretto Cheesecake

Graham Cracker Crust

  • 1 2/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4  cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter

Mix together and press into the bottom and up sides of 10-inch springform pan.  Set aside.

Cheesecake Filling

  • 4 8-oz. packages of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/3 cup amaretto liqueur
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/3 cups semi sweet chocolate chips (mini or regular)

Beat cream cheese on high speed until fluffy.  Add sugar and beat well.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add vanilla, cornstarch, and amaretto.  Beat well.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Pour into crust.  Bake at 375° for 40 – 50 minutes, or until set, (usually 50 minutes).  Remove from oven.  Reset oven to 500°.


  • 1 16-oz. container of sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons amaretto liqueur

Mix and spread over cheesecake and return to oven for five minutes.  Garnish with almonds, chocolate chips, or grated chocolate.

Serves 10 -12

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I’ve never made a dish described as a “buckle” before.  I have made cobblers, (I like the kind with pastry crust not biscuit topping), and crisps, but never a buckle.  I’m reading a great book, A Northern Light, by Jennifer Donnelly and the narrator Mattie describes the Blueberry Buckle her mother used to make in happier times.  The description of the dessert and the cheerfulness of the characters made me want to know all about foods know as buckles.  The book takes place in rural upstate New York in the early 1900’s, but I got out my Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook and sure enough there was a recipe for Blueberry Buckle and even a description of all kinds of rustic fruit desserts.  There are of course cobblers and crisps and even more old timey things called bettys and crumbles.  The cookbook also listed something called a slump which is sometimes known as a grunt because of the sound it makes when its cooking.  I won’t be trying either of the last two, ever.   

 Southern Living describes a buckle as, “tender cake generally baked with fresh berries inside or on the bottom of the cake.”  This buckle has the fruit right on the top and it is outstanding!  The cake is delicate and moist, not very sweet, the fruit juicy and fresh, and the crumb topping is browned and crunchy.  I used up some almost overripe strawberries and blueberries, and I’m fairly certain any berry would be delicious. I think we waited a whole 7 or 8 minutes after it came out of the oven to eat it.  The warm fruit and cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream was divine.  Also it’s a great way to use up fruit if you overbought on your last trip to the grocery store.

Summer Berry Buckle

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups fresh berries (whatever you like), washed and patted dry.  Slice strawberries if using.
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cold butter

Ready for the oven

In a medium bowl beat ½ cup softened butter at medium speed with electric mixer until creamy.  Add ½ cup sugar, mix well.

In a small bowl combine 1 ¼ cups flour, baking powder and salt; add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, mixing well after each addition.*  Stir in vanilla.

post oven

Pour batter into a greased 8-inch square baking dish.  Top with berries.

In the same bowl used for the flour, combine remaining ½ cup sugar, remaining ¼ cup flour and cinnamon.  Cut in the ¼ cup cold butter with a pastry blender, or use your fingers, until mixture is crumbly; sprinkle evenly over blueberries.

Bake at 375° for 40 – 45 minutes.  Makes about 8 servings.

*To alternate, first add about ½ cup of the flour, then half of the milk, then another half a cup of flour then rest of the milk then the remaining ¼ cup of flour.  Don’t forget to mix well after each addition.  My mom (the professional baker, and retired chemistry teacher) explained the chemistry of this process to me once and why it makes a difference.  There were big words and things I can’t remember but it does make a difference in the final product, and it only takes an extra minute.

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As you have probably noticed I am not a vegan, but I needed to make a cake for a dear friend whose son has a severe egg allergy. I found this recipe that just happens to be vegan and tweaked it slightly.  The cake is really moist and chocolatey and we never missed the butter and milk.  My whole family loved it. I took one to my in-laws house and my husband’s grandmothers almost got in a fight over it.  It’s great as a snack cake with no frosting or to layer and decorate for a special occasion.  It is a bit more crumbly than a typical cake, so if you plan on making multiple layers and applying frosting be very careful.  

I prefer it with no icing straight out of the 9×13 pan.  A dusting of powdered sugar makes for a pretty presentation.  I have made this cake 3 times now and I can get it mixed up and in the pan before the oven is heated.  It’s super easy, simple and delicious.  It might also be healthy (as healthy as chocolate cake can be).

Vegan Chocolate Cake

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1  teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup olive oil (or canola or vegetable oil work too)
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Spray a 9”x13” pan with cooking spray.  In a large bowl stir together dry ingredients, sugar, flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa.  Add water, olive oil, vinegar and vanilla.  Beat by hand with a fork until combined.  Batter should have a uniform appearance with no lumps.  Pour into the prepared  9’’x13” pan.  Bake in middle rack of oven for 45 – 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.  You can also bake this in two 8”x”8 pans for 35 – 40 minutes.

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Chocolate, I Love You

There are times when chocolate is necessary.  If I don’t happen to have a bar of chocolate lying around I usually have the ingredients to make one of my two favorite chocolate recipes.  My mother always made everything from scratch when I was young.  When I was 9 and a neighbor came over and asked if we had a brownie mix she could “borrow” I had no idea what she meant.  It’s so much yummier when you make it yourself, and really not that much more difficult.  And even if all the ingredients aren’t necessarily healthy or good for us, at least we can pronounce them all.

Dark Chocolate Shortbread is easy, rich, and not too sweet.  The Fudgy Brownies are an adaptation of a Gourmet Magazine recipe that I really wanted to make but only had Dutch-process cocoa and not the unsweetened baking chocolate the recipe called for.  The result was great so I’ve made them the same way ever since.  Enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Shortbread (makes 16 wedge-shaped cookies)

1 stick (8 tbl.) unsalted butter, at room temperature

¼ cup sugar

½ tsp. vanilla extract

1/8  tsp. salt

¾ cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

Blend butter, sugar, vanilla, and  salt in a bowl with a fork until well combined.  Add flour and cocoa and blend with a fork just until a soft dough forms.

Divide dough in half .  With floured fingertips, pat dough into two  6 inch rounds on an ungreased large baking sheet.  Refrigerate, uncovered, until firm, about 30 minutes.

Put rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 375°F.

Prick dough all over with fork.  Bake until centers are dry to the touch and edges are slightly darker, about 15 minutes.  Cool on baking sheet on a rack for 10 minutes, then cut each shortbread into 8 wedges (while still warm) with a large heavy knife.  Transfer to rack to cool completely (or just start eating them at this point).

Fudgy Brownies 

1 stick butter, cut up

6 tbl. unsweetened dutch-process cocoa

2 tbl. canola oil

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

½ tsp. vanilla extract

1/3 cup flour

¼ tsp. salt

Place rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 325°F.  Butter and flour an 8-inch square baking pan, knocking off excess flour.

Melt the butter in the microwave in a medium size (microwave safe) mixing bowl.  Add the cocoa and canola oil and stir with a fork or small whisk until well combined.  Add the  sugar, eggs and vanilla, then beat until well combined.  Stir in flour and salt until just combined.

Pour batter into baking pan.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.

Cool completely in pan, then cut into 16 bars.

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