Sweets Recipes

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Semolina Cake Recipe Recipe

Semolina Cake Recipe

04.16.10 by Jackie

Gâteau de semoule (semolina cake) is a French dessert packed with Oriental spices. I think semolina dessert was influenced by North African ingredients such as citrus, raisins, date, almonds, cardamom and cinnamon. The creamy dessert itself isn't very sweet so the the richness of the caramel sauce compliments it very well. As French desserts go, it is fairly "healthy" because very little butter is required.

I make this dessert in the winter and early spring because very few fresh fruits are available at the market. It is typically served warm, which also makes it perfect for the cooler months of the year.

Tasting semolina cakes instantly sends me back to my childhood. I have to admit that we would buy them at the market back then. After dinner, I would take a serving, put it in the microwave for 30 seconds, and then savor every single bite. Semolina cakes may not be part of your childhood, but if you give this recipe a try, I'm sure it will make you feel like a kid again!


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Lavender Creme Brulee Recipe Recipe

Lavender Creme Brulee Recipe

04.09.10 by Jackie

I've been waiting for the lavender in my garden to blossom to be able to make my own Herbes de Provence mix. I had so much extra lavender that I thought I'd make our family's favorite dessert. Yes, crème brulée strikes again! Lavender has a strong floral taste, so a little bit goes a long way. To enhance the lavender aroma, I added lavender extract that I bought at Sur La Table store in Palo Alto. I really thought that the unusual flavor would turn off the kids but my little munchkin loved the lavender dessert the most and kept saying "It tastes like a flower, I love it!"

It's the third season we're planting lavender in our garden and I've learned that the variety most commonly used for cooking is English lavender, not French! So be on the look-out English lavender the next time you stop at the nursery.

If you're searching for a fancy French dessert for your next dinner party, try this recipe! On the practical side, you can make the cup dessert 'way in advance and create the sugar crust at the last minute. That way you can focus on your guests instead of dessert while still serving something fabulous. Your guests will be in awe.

Fresh Lavender Picture


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Gulab Jamun (Indian Sweets) Recipe

Gulab Jamun (Indian Sweets)

03.26.10 by Jackie

Gulab jamun is my husband Lulu's favorite Indian dessert. The sweets are deep-fried balls of dough, bathed in rose (gulab) and cardamom syrup. The texture resembles the liquor syrup-saturated French cake Baba au Rhum.

I've just experienced making my own for the first time and it tasted pretty similar to the ones I've had in the past. I added a few saffron threads to impart a brighter yellow color to the syrup and I didn't add finely crushed pistachios as Lulu's great-aunt does, because of my little sister-in-law's nut allergy.

You can eat them cold, but our favorite way to enjoy gulab jamun is to warm them a bit before serving. It adds another dimension to the dish. Gulab jamun is a bit too rich to eat on a regular basis, but it's perfect for special occasions when you want something more exotic than cake.


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Banana Almond Butterscotch Cookies Recipe

Butterscotch, freeze-dried banana chips and sliced almonds may not be the first ingredients to come to mind when making cookies, but they work incredibly well together. The crunch of the almonds and bananas is a great foil to the soft and creamy butterscotch chips. To reinforce the flavors, I added banana extract to the brown sugar cookie dough. The cookies taste fantastic, right out of the oven.

If you have a little extra time on your hands, make an extra batch so you can freeze the cookie dough for later use. We had some surprise company for tea this weekend, so I needed to whip up a plate of cookies. I just pulled out a log from the freezer, cut it into discs and popped them in the oven. They taste so much better than store-bought cookies, and when you pull them out of the oven, ooey gooey and piping hot, you'll look like an absolute rockstar!


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Banana Coconut Creme Brulee Recipe

Banana Coconut Creme Brulee

03.19.10 by Jackie

A journalist contacted me this week and asked if she could use my crème brulée photos. Not that I need much prompting, but it got me thinking of crèmes brulées and I thought I could try out some new flavors.

I happened to have baby bananas in the house, along with some leftover shredded coconut from making lima bean curry. The mini bananas come from Guatemala. They are very sweet and flavorful. I caramelized them in sugar and used them as garnish. I flavored the custard with the shredded coconut, rum and banana extract. The result is a very pleasant dessert using ingredients that are available this season. Can't wait for spring to experiment with more flavors!


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