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Archive for the ‘Desserts’ Category


Posted by Jeanne on January 1, 2013

It’s kind of cheesy, but I love the idea of a new year and a fresh start.  A chance to start over and exchange bad habits for new.

In 2013, I resolve to:

  • Blog at least once a week
  • Floss (ugh.  I hate flossing.)
  • Work out 4x a week
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables

That ought to do it.

I made these today – they are dead simple and actually not bad for you at all.  Plus, banana!  Winning at New Year’s Resolutions!

Two-ingredient Cookies, from The Burlap Bag


Happy 2013, everyone!


Posted in Baking, Desserts, Not about food | Leave a Comment »

Pistachio macarons

Posted by Jeanne on February 4, 2012

I may have mentioned before that our neighbor Julie is gluten-free.  She was in Italy and France in late summer 2011, and became addicted to/obsessed with macarons in Paris.  I didn’t help the obsession any by giving Julie a macaron cookbook for Christmas this year, so one day in mid-January we decided to have a macaron making afternoon!


Making pistachio flour (grinding shelled pistachios in the food processor and then sifting).

Piped and ready to go into the oven.

Baked and ready to be filled!

The finished products.

And now we get to enjoy the fruits of our labors!  Macaron toast!

It was really fun to make them, and really nice to have an extra set of hands (or two) while making macarons.

Today it is supposed to snow quite a bit in Omaha – snowmageddon jokes abound.  It would be a great day to make more macarons if I only had some almond flour laying around.

Happy Saturday!

Posted in Baking, Desserts, Pastry | 1 Comment »

“Clafoutis” is Fraunch for custard and fruit tart

Posted by Jeanne on June 29, 2011

Actually, a clafoutis is made by topping fresh fruit with batter and can sometimes be cakelike, or sometimes be more custardy.  Cherries are traditional – I read an article once that said you’re supposed to leave the pits in to give it an almond flavor.

This one was more custardy, and made with apricots and pears.  I used Julia Child’s recipe, with some modifications.

3 C fruit

1.25 C milk

1 C sugar

3 eggs

1 TB vanilla extract

0.25 tsp salt

0.5 C flour

Equipment:  an electric blender; a 1.5 or 2 inch deep pie plate

Preheat oven to 350F.  Prepare pie plate with oil or cooking spray.  Slice fruit, removing seeds and pits.

Combine milk, 0.66 C of sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt, and flour in the blender.  Blend at top speed for 1 minute.

Pour about a third of the batter in the pie plate.  Add fruit and sprinkle remaining sugar on top.

Carefully add the remaining batter.

Bake for about an hour, until a knife inserted in the center is clean.

Serve warm, or room temperature – you can sprinkle it with powdered sugar, or leave as it comes out of the pan.

Either way, it’s tasty.

Posted in Baking, Desserts, Garden/Seasonal | 1 Comment »

Talbot Trifle

Posted by Jeanne on June 26, 2011

He was the love of my life.

Tonight is the True Blood season 4 premiere, and I can’t wait.  In honor of the joyous event, I made a dessert that represents some of the best moments in season 3:  the demise of Talbot.  And the insanely hilarious lines prompted by Talbot’s demise.

Talbot Trifle

Raspberry Custard

1.5 C heavy cream

5 egg yolks

0.25 C sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

12 oz. fresh raspberries

Combine all ingredients except raspberries in a 2 to 3 quart saucepan.  Whisk to combine over medium heat.  Add raspberries, and crush fruit so it releases its juices.

Bring to a simmer, stirring often.  Simmer gently for 5 minutes until slightly thickened (do not boil).

Strain custard into a bowl, discarding raspberry seeds.  Place a layer of plastic wrap on top of the custard to prevent skin from forming, and chill completely – at least two hours or overnight.

Balsamic Strawberries, inspired by Eat The Love

2 lb. fresh strawberries, cleaned and quartered

0.33 C brown sugar

0.25 C balsamic vinegar

1 tsp vanilla extract

0.5 tsp garam masala

Preheat oven to 275F.  Combine all ingredients well, and pour into a baking dish with sides.

Roast for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.  Set aside and cool completely.

Pound Cake, from Staff Meals From Chanterelle

1.5 C butter (3 4-oz. sticks), room temperature

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature

3 C sugar

6 eggs

1.5 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp salt

3 C flour

Preheat oven to 325F.  Line a large baking sheet (with edges) with parchment and set aside.

Beat together butter and cream cheese until combined.  Add sugar, and beat on high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Add eggs one at a time, beating until each is fully incorporated before adding the next.  Add vanilla, and then add salt and flour all at once.  Beat until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared baking sheet and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool completely before assembly.


Whipped cream

Large crystal bowl for presentation

Cut pound cake into approximately 1 inch cubes.

Layer cake, strawberries, and raspberry custard in the crystal bowl – I made three layers, you may get more or fewer depending on the size of your bowl.

Top with whipped cream and garnish as desired.

Refrigerate at 2 to 4 hours, and serve cold, proclaiming “Talbot!  He was the love of my life.”  At least that’s what we plan to do while we’re eating it, because we are horrible people.

Poor Talbot.  Happy True Blood premiere day!

Posted in Baking, Desserts | 1 Comment »

A delicious wedding

Posted by Jeanne on June 19, 2011

A couple of months ago, my friend Naomi’s friend Claire contacted me about possibly catering her wedding.   Naomi and Claire both live in Minneapolis, but the wedding was to take place on a ranch/retreat center near Watertown, South Dakota.  It’s still under construction, and the facilities are very limited – fridge, running water, electricity, coffee maker.  No stove, definitely no serious kitchen.

Thankfully, we knew this ahead of time and planned the menu accordingly. The bride and groom made arrangements for someone to haul in an enormous grill and make steaks for everyone, leaving us with the apps, sides, and dessert.  This is how Carla, who traveled to the wedding with me, felt about this:

The grill guys told us they were relieved not to have our job, and we felt the same about theirs – everyone did what they were good at, and I think we were able to pull it off.  The bride and groom were happy, and that is the most important part!


Dried apricots with chevre & pistachios

Marinated feta, olives, roasted peppers, roasted garlic, marinated artichokes + selection of flatbreads

Soup shooter duo – chilled corn chowder with chive oil & chilled zucchini soup with fresh basil

Smoked salmon, capers, creme fraiche, onions, tomatoes + baguette

The groom and flower girl peruse the appetizer selection.

(aside:  what is going on with my fonts here?  Why can’t I get a consistent font?  WordPress, sometimes you are a mystery to me.)


Potato gratin (this one was very stressful, as it had to be cold during transport for safety reasons, but was to be served hot.  We warmed it with sternos and prayers to the gods of cooking.  It worked!)

Couscous salad with grilled summer vegetables, olives, capers, and pistachios

Haricots verts salad with shallot & tarragon vinaigrette

Caprese panzanella

Assorted rolls


Brownie tarts, topped with either honey-candied pecans or dark-chocolate covered pomegranate

Pound cake with balsamic-roasted strawberry sauce

Cheesecake bites with fresh berries and honey

Thanks to Tom for the app/side pictures, and to Kate for the dessert pictures!  And thanks to Claire and Darren for letting Jeanne Cooks World be a part of your day.

Posted in Appetizers, Baking, Catering, Cooking, Desserts, Entrees | 4 Comments »


Posted by Jeanne on April 24, 2011

Peepshi is peep “sushi” made from fruit roll-ups, rice cereal treats, and peeps.  They are a cavity in the making.

But super cute.

What you need:

Rice cereal treats

3 TB butter

10 oz. marshmallows

6 C puffed rice cereal

Butter or otherwise prepare a 9″ x 13″ pan, or two 9″ square pans.

Microwave butter and marshmallows in 30-second increments on high, stirring after each time, until completely melted.  Add cereal and stir until combined.

Press into prepared pans and allow to set about 30 to 45 minutes.  Don’t prepare the day before, they will be too hard to mold.

Fruit roll ups


Cooking spray

And then… go to town.  Before handling the rice cereal treats I would highly recommend spraying your hands with cooking spray.

I would recommend using scissors to cut the peeps – also the scissors will help you open the fruit roll ups once your hands are covered in cooking spray (details, details).

The “rolls” can be sliced with a serrated knife.

The little “nigiri” are super easy – just form the rice, and then perform quick peep butchery.

The finished platter.

Happy Easter, blog peeps!

Posted in Desserts, Holiday | 2 Comments »

Cookie party

Posted by Jeanne on December 26, 2010

This was the scene at our house last weekend.

Gingerbread trees and people; sugar cookies topped with toffee; and sparkling lemon sandwich cookies.

Grinding pistachios for macarons (not the recipe I used but the one I’ll use next time, as I had a LOT of trouble with the recipe I actually did use).

Insanely green macaron dough.

Iced gingerbread cookies, cinnamon palmiers, and pistachio macarons.

Cinnamon palmiers.

And many tiny little men not wearing real clothes.

Happy holidays, everyone.

Posted in Baking, Desserts | 1 Comment »

Tastespotting at Random #1: Decorated Cupcakes

Posted by Jeanne on December 16, 2010

My lovely coworker Carla suggested that we try an experiment – hit random on Tastespotting and each make the first recipe that comes up.  I got these owl cupcakes from Ezra Pound Cake.

Which are adorable… but it’s December.  So I decided to take some (many) liberties and make something a bit more seasonally appropriate.

And given the fabulous weather we’ve been having this weekend, what better than snow?

Red Velvet Cupcakes, adapted from Martha’s recipe for red velvet cake

2 TB unsweetened cocoa powder
2.5 C cake flour, not self-rising
1 tsp salt
1.5 C sugar
1.5 C canola oil
2 large eggs
2 TB red food coloring
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 C buttermilk
1.5 tsp baking soda
2 tsp white vinegar 

Preheat oven to 350F.
Prepare cupcake tin for three dozen cupcakes by using cupcake liners, or buttering well and then dusting with cocoa powder (I use liners, I’m not that brave).
Mix sugar and oil on medium speed in the bowl of an electric mixer until combined. Add eggs one at a time; mix well after each addition. Mix in food coloring and vanilla. Add flour mixture in thirds, alternating with the buttermilk and beginning and ending with flour, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed.
Stir together baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl. Add baking-soda mixture to batter, and mix on medium speed 10 seconds. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until a cake tester inserted into centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely in pan before icing.

Stenciled Snowflakes

parchment paper

0.5 lb. white confectionery coating

piping bag or ziplock baggie

Trace snowflakes onto parchment paper.  Flip over and set inside a sheet pan.

Pipe snowflakes onto traced design; curse gratuitously that you suck at piping if you are me.  Let dry in a cool spot until completely firm.

Cream Cheese Icing

8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature

8 TB (1 stick) butter, at room temperature

2 C powdered sugar

1 TB vanilla extract

1 TB brandy

Beat all ingredients together until light and fluffy.


Ice cupcakes with cream cheese icing and place one snowflake on each cupcake.

Take very terrible picture.


Eat a cupcake and forget about what a crappy photographer you are.  Maybe two cupcakes.

Posted in Baking, Desserts | Leave a Comment »

Pumpkin gingerbread trifle

Posted by Jeanne on December 7, 2010

Holy dessert batman.

I saw Evil Shenanigans‘ (best blog name ever, btw) Gingerbread, Pumpkin, and Sticky Toffee Trifle on FoodGawker and had to try it.

Note:  This has to be made WELL in advance – don’t try to make this the same day you want to eat it unless you have a very open morning and don’t plan to eat it until very late at night.


For the chocolate gingerbread:
1 C lightly packed light brown sugar
1 C butter, at room temperature
0.5 C pumpkin puree
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
0.5 C molasses
0.5 C golden syrup
1 TB fresh grated ginger
2.25 C all-purpose flour
0.25 C Dutch-processed cocoa powder
0.5 tsp kosher salt
1.5 tsp baking soda
0.25 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp cinnamon
0.5 tsp cloves
1 C hot water

This is the mise just for the cake.  None of the recipes are particularly complicated, but be ready to be in the kitchen for awhile.

Heat the oven to 350F and spray a 11″ x 17″ pan with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl cream together them sugar, butter, and pumpkin until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. 

Half molasses, half golden syrup.  A sweet, sticky mess – I wish I had been able to get a picture of the two combining.  It was beautiful. 

Add the molasses, golden syrup, vanilla, and fresh ginger and whisk to combine.

In a medium bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and spices.  Add the dry ingredients into the butter mixture in three batches, alternating with the hot water and starting and ending with the flour.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed in the center, and the edges are starting to come away from the sides of the pan.  Cool completely in the pan then cut into 1″ cubes.


1 C milk (I used 1%)
1 C heavy cream
0.5 C pumpkin puree
0.5 C  sugar
3 egg yolks
2 TB cornstarch

0.5 tsp cinnamon
0.25 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 TB dark rum
1 TB butter

While the cake cools, prepare the custard.  In a medium pot whisk together the milk, cream, pumpkin, egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt.  Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture just comes to the boil.  Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the vanilla, butter, and rum.  Pour the custard through a fine strainer into a bowl and press cling film directly on the surface of the custard.  Chill for at least one hour.

Custard.  Chillaxing.


For the sticky toffee sauce:
1 cup packed light brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon golden syrup, or corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup cream

In a 2-quart sauce pan over medium heat combine the brown sugar, butter, and golden syrup.  Cook until it comes to a boil, about 5 minutes.  Carefully add the vanilla and cook for one minute more.  Remove the pot from the heat and carefully whisk in the cream.  Cool the sauce until it is just warm.

Whipped cream

For the whipped cream:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup powdered sugar

In a large bowl combine the cream, vanilla, and powdered sugar.  Whip until the mixture forms firm peaks. 


Clockwise from left:  toffee sauce, bowl with first layer of cake, whipped cream, and custard.  Also, half the dishes in my house.

In a very large bowl, or in smaller individual bowls, add a layer of cake, drizzle over a third of the toffee sauce, and spread over half the pumpkin custard and a third of the whipped cream.  Make another layer the same way (this will use up the last of the custard).  The final layer will have just cake, tofee sauce, and whipped cream. 

Chill the assembled trifle for at least four hours, or overnight.

And then there was eating!  Actually then it rested in the fridge overnight on Sunday and we ate it on Monday evening.

It was RIDICULOUSLY good.  My pumpkin custard wasn’t as bright as the original, and I think the toffee was a bit thin because it all soaked into the cake.  But have I mentioned that it was ridiculously good?

Posted in Baking, Desserts, Pastry | 2 Comments »

Gluten-free baking failure!

Posted by Jeanne on September 18, 2010

I think I should stick to foods that are naturally gluten-free.  Especially desserts.  Like macarons.  Or these awesome cookies.

But no, we had to go bigger and attempt gluten-free flours.

Megan carefully measures flour, not realizing that the double-boiler on the stove contains twice the amount of butter called for in the brownie recipe.  D’oh.

Concave brownies!  I think the gluten-free flour plus the excess of butter together doomed us to overrising, overflowing, and then some burnage.

Also Curt has the camera in some wacky custom manual mode that I can’t figure out so I ended up using the flash.  He was very busy grilling halloumi outside while we were abusing chocolate inside the house.

S’mores cake and cupcakes met a similar fate – but without the excess of butter.  Part of the problem is that there was only supposed to be s’more cupcakes.  The recipe said it would make two dozen.

We had enough batter left over to make a fairly substantial cake when we were done.  What the heck?

Fail.  At least the cake could be “fixed” by topping with homemade whipped cream, honey, and some smoked sea salt.

And the s’more cupcakes.  D’oh.  These are in the freezer – I think we’ll just do a large amount of icing to hide the weird collapsed-ness.

So.  Gluten-free baking:   we need more practice.  They did taste good though – at least there is that.

Posted in Baking, Desserts | 1 Comment »