Category Archives: Desserts

Bountiful South Bay Bakeries

Divine breads, cakes, cookies pastries and more can be found at the terrific bakeries in the South Bay.

(To be published by South Bay Accent magazine.)

In our heart of hearts, scrumptious baked goods usually outrank self control, which has been good news for a slew of talented local bakers feeding our jones for all manner of treats, from naturally leavened breads, Paris-perfect pastries and gasp-inducing custom cakes to many enticing specialties. But let’s be clear: baked goods of all descriptions are in abundance in our region, reflecting our diverse population and tendency to celebrate with something sweet at the drop of a hat — or sombrero or turban or beret. Continue reading


(Recipe) Irresistible Cookie Recipe for the New Year

chocolate butterscotch shortbreadThese two-bite-sized butterscotch shortbreads dipped in bittersweet chocolate are unbelievably tasty and make a standout addition to a cookie platter.

I whipped up a cookie assortment for holiday gifts this year and this particular not-super-sweet was the runaway favorite.   Easy to make, this shortbread can be cut tiny or larger, as you please.  Go with tiny because it’s definitely rich. Continue reading

High-End Carbs Are Enchanting Local Eaters

carbsBreads and pastries are rising to new levels in Bay Area bakeries.

(Published by South Bay Accent magazine in October 2015.)

An airy cake crowned by thick swirls of silky, intensely chocolatey icing. Right-out-of-the-oven bread with a crunchy exterior that contrasts with a warm, soft crumb as delicate as baby skin. Since we eat with our senses, carbs have an absolutely unfair advantage. They entice us away from stringent diets and are so often the centerpiece of major events. Just inhale the voluptuous aromas inside a bakery and your body will instantly respond regardless of your intentions. Continue reading

(Recipe) Classic Almond Tart, Updated

chez panisse almond tart-2The almond tart from Chez Panisse is one of their original signature dishes, featuring caramelized nuts in a cookie crust.  It’s quite wonderful but I think it’s in need of some updates.

When the now-famous Chez Panisse restaurant opened in Berkeley in 1971, pastry chef Lindsey Shere had an almond tart on the menu that has, in various forms, been offered ever since and has appeared in countless articles and blogs.  The original version was quite simple but the recipe has become more complicated over the years (as seen in the updated versions in various CP cookbooks) and, I think, still needs some modifications. Continue reading

Recipes from Former Cubicle Dwellers

Former office drones are finding their bliss in the cooking world.

(Recipes published with the preceding article in the San Jose Mercury News and its affiliates on March 1, 2012.)

Former corporate workers have created some delicious recipes in their new culinary careers including: Southern Cornbread Muffins, Golden Almond Cake and Polpettini (cheese-stuffed meatballs). Continue reading

(Recipe) “Lite” Chocolate Turtle Cookies

Like a cross between a chocolate turtle and a salted caramel truffle, these cookies are intense but have very little butter.

These cookies were inspired by a tasty bittersweet chocolate/almond/sea salt bar along with chocolate turtles, but I like hazelnuts so I used those instead. Since they have hardly any butter, they’re less guilt producing than they could be.  At least, that’s what I tell myself! They’re deeply chocolatey because they’re made with bar chocolate rather than cocoa. With fudgy chocolate, crunchy hazelnuts and melted caramel pieces, they’re like the best chocolate turtle candy turned into a cookie, with salt flakes on top to increase the intense flavors. Consider making a double recipe because these cookies don’t last long. This recipe makes about 40-50 smallish cookies. Continue reading

Recipe: Bittersweet Chocolate Tart with Raspberry Dust

This tart recipe is based on one made by renowned French chef Joël Robuchon. It’s simple to make, deeply bittersweet and quite rich.  The berry “dust” is an optional addition and gives the tart a modern edge — “dust” is popular in molecular gastronomy dishes and is made from dehydrated ingredients, pulverized. Garnishing dishes with “dust” is a simple way to zip up your cooking and surprise your guests.  The tart shell includes almonds, but skinned hazelnuts could be substituted. Continue reading