Includes 3 full-length dessert cookbooks and more than 50 recipes.
Learn how to make many different desserts, no matter what your level of baking experience.
It’s easier than ever to bake decadent chocolate cupcakes and brownies. Get helpful tips about decorating and coloring cupcakes, recommended equipment, and loads of resources. Original and tested step-by-step recipes include Blueberry Brownies, Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes, Blue Velvet Cupcakes, Peppermint Swirl Cupcakes, and many more tantalizing treats.
The book was written by someone who went from baking box mix brownies and cupcakes to discovering the joy of baking from scratch. With a photograph of each finished treat, the reader will be inspired to try baking these delicious recipes.
Baking Chocolate Cupcakes and Brownies: A Beginner’s Guide contains 50+ color photos.
Bake beautiful and delicious French macarons in your own kitchen. This collection of tried-and-tested recipes allows bakers to create these tasty and colorful confections.
The author details what equipment and ingredients you need, offers numerous helpful tips, resources, and shares more than 30 recipes for you to whip up an array of elegant French delicacies.
Full of inspiring color photos, Baking French Macarons: A Beginner’s Guide, offers everything you need to bake stunning macarons that will impress anyone who tastes them.
Some of the flavors include Cinnamon Caramel, Tangy Orange, Key Lime, and Acai macarons.
Ruby Chocolate: A Beginner’s Guide includes ten original and tested recipes using authentic ruby chocolate. From healthy granola bars to tasty ruby chocolate chip cookies to decadent fudge, chocolate lovers will be inspired to create their own desserts. The reader also receives gift packaging ideas, and many resources.
There’s no such thing as foolproof macarons! However, there are ways to ensure that you bake the best batches you can by keeping this handy baking checklist nearby. Feel free to share this with other macaron bakers. And revise it to your needs. It’s all about getting the tastiest and prettiest batches of macarons!
♥ Note outside and inside temperature and humidity just before you begin baking.
♥ Have a notepad and pen handy so you can take notes.
♥ In addition to taking notes, photograph/film the process. Or have someone photograph/film you so you can concentrate on baking.
♥ Is your almond flour sifted [at least 3 times] or ground in the food processor?
♥ Have you premixed your almond flour and confectioners’ sugar? Have you sifted it together once?
♥ Are your egg whites weighed?
♥ Is your confectioners’ [icing] sugar sifted and measured?
♥ Are your mixing bowls clean and dry?
♥ Are your parchment paper or silicone mats clean, dry and ready for piping?
♥ Have you added your tip to the piping bag?
♥ Are the oven racks in the correct position?
♥ Will you make your filling after your macaron shells or is it already made?
♥ Is your cooling rack set out?
♥ Are your drying/filling trays lined with wax paper?
Use this as a guide to help monitor the baking process:
First batch # shells sat for # minutes. Baked for # minutes.
Second batch # shells baked for # minutes.
Third batch # shells baked for # minutes.
With each batch, note the type of cookie sheet, whether you use only one or if you double them. Also, note the position of the oven rack
Indicate if you’re using parchment or silicone mats.
Observe the temperature of your oven periodically.
Note when you rotated the baking sheet.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lisa Maliga is an American author of contemporary fiction and cozy mysteries. Her nonfiction titles consist of how to make bath and body products with an emphasis on melt and pour soap crafting. When researching her cozy mystery, she discovered the art of baking French macarons. She has written three dessert cookbooks, including two on macarons. When not writing, Lisa reads an assortment of books, takes photos, and is working on a series of baking and soaping video tutorials. Visit her website at https://www.LisaMaliga.com
There’s one similarity between macarons [which contain almond flour], and oatmeal raisin cookies made with einkorn flour – einkorn flour should be sifted twice. Other than that, these tasty and nutritious cookies are easy to make and can be eaten only a few minutes after they’re out of the oven.
In this recipe, I used both walnuts and pecans. Of course, you can opt for nut-free, use different nuts, or change the raisins to sultanas or even dried cherries/other types of fruit. The cookies shown here are very soft and chewy — and will remain that way for a few days. If they last that long! Einkorn flour is different from the usual all-purpose wheat flour found in grocery stores, because it’s an ancient grain that has NOT been hybridized. It comes from Italy and is high in the antioxidant lutein.
“A Good Gluten?: The gluten in einkorn lacks the high molecular weight proteins that many people can’t digest. If you are sensitive to modern wheat, einkorn can provide a delicious alternative. Please note that einkorn does contain gluten and is therefore not ok for those with Celiac Disease” from the jovial website.
1/2 cup [1 stick] organic unsalted butter, room temperature 1/4 cup organic virgin coconut oil 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar ½ cup raw cane sugar 2 large eggs, room temperature 1 teaspoon vanilla extract OR vanilla bean paste 1½ cups organic einkorn all-purpose, sifted twice 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice OR apple pie spice ½ teaspoon salt 3 cups rolled oats 1 cup raisins 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans [optional]
Oven temperature: 350 Fahrenheit
Preheat oven to 350°Fahrenheit.
Line 2 – 3 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
In a large bowl or a stand mixer, cream together butter, coconut oil, and sugars.
Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.
Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Mix well.
Using a spatula or a spoon, stir in oats, raisins and nuts.
Drop rounded tablespoonfuls onto parchment paper or silicone mat-covered baking sheets.
Bake for approximately 12 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.
Cool on a wire rack, or enjoy some of them right away while they’re very soft, chewy and hot!
For lovers of chocolate and coconut! The virgin coconut oil and organic coconut palm sugar make these cupcakes healthier and more delicious. This recipe is from the book Baking Chocolate Cupcakes and Brownies: A Beginner’s Guide by Lisa Maliga.
CHOCOLATE COCONUT CUPCAKE INGREDIENTS: 1/3 cup dark chocolate, finely chopped [3 oz.] 1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder 3/4 cup hot water 3/4 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1/4 cup organic coconut palm sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 6 tablespoons virgin coconut oil [3 oz] 2 eggs, room temperature 2 teaspoons [fresh] lemon juice 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract 1 teaspoon vanilla
Makes 12 cupcakes
Oven temperature: 350 Fahrenheit/177 Celsius
Place the chopped chocolate and sifted cocoa powder in a medium bowl. Pour the hot water over the mixture and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate mixture for 20 minutes.
Add hot water to chocolate chunks and cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. The rack should be in the center. Line a standard-size muffin pan with liners.
Sift the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl; set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs thoroughly.
Whisk the virgin coconut oil, eggs, lemon juice and vanilla extract into the cooled chocolate. Add the flour mixture and mix until smooth. DON’T OVERMIX!
Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full. Bake until the cupcakes are set and just firm to the touch, 17 – 19 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, and then remove the cupcakes from the pan and place on the wire rack to cool completely.
FROSTING INGREDIENTS: 3 1/4 cups powdered sugar
8 ounces butter at room temperature
2 teaspoons coconut extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 Tablespoons heavy cream
Shredded coconut for sprinkling [optional]
FROSTING DIRECTIONS: With an electric mixer, beat together sugar and butter. Add coconut extract, vanilla and cream.
Mix on low until well blended, and then on medium for another two minutes.
Pipe onto cupcakes and top with a sprinkling of shredded coconut.
Get ready for any holiday or happy event with these delectable blue cupcakes topped with yummy cream cheese frosting. This recipe is from the book Baking Chocolate Cupcakes and Brownies: A Beginner’s Guide by Lisa Maliga.
This recipe has a slightly different color than the one featured in my book as I used another brand of gel food color. If using AmeriColor food gel, you’ll only need to add several drops rather than an entire bottle of conventional gel coloring. The color of these cupcakes turned out to be turquoise rather than sky blue.
BLUE VELVET CUPCAKE INGREDIENTS: 2 cups granulated sugar 8 ounces unsalted room temperature butter 2 Eggs [room temperature] 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder [sifted] 1.5 Tablespoons blue gel food coloring 2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature 1 Tablespoon vanilla 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Makes 24 cupcakes
Oven temperature: 350 Fahrenheit/177 Celsius
In a large bowl cream together the room temperature butter and granulated sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time.
in a small bowl mix 1 tablespoon cocoa powder and blue food coloring. when thoroughly mixed add to the large bowl and mix well.
Add the flour, salt and buttermilk alternating between the two ingredients so you don’t get any lumps.
In the small bowl, add the baking soda and vinegar. They’ll react together by fizzing up. Add to the large bowl, mixing well.
Scoop into cupcake liners.
Bake on center rack. Rotate pan midway through baking.
Bake for about 25 minutes.
Cream Cheese Frosting
FROSTING INGREDIENTS: 1/2 cup butter at room temperature 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature 2 teaspoons vanilla 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ or powdered sugar Dash of fresh lemon juice Sprinkles for decorating [optional]
FROSTING DIRECTIONS: Beat softened butter and cream cheese on medium speed for about 3-4 minutes until completely smooth and creamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla with the mixer running. Increase to high speed and beat for 1 minute. Add the lemon juice and beat until thick and creamy.
Get ready for St. Patrick’s Day with these delectable green cupcakes topped with yummy cream cheese frosting.
2 large eggs [room temperature] 1 cup sunflower oil OR vegetable oil 1 cup buttermilk 1 Tablespoon white vinegar 1 teaspoon pure vanilla 1.5 Tablespoons green gel food coloring 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour 2 cups sugar 1 1/2 Tablespoons cocoa powder 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon baking soda
Makes 24 cupcakes
Oven temperature: 350 Fahrenheit/177 Celsius
Preheat oven. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, buttermilk, vinegar, and vanilla. Then stir in food coloring. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda. Slowly whisk in the dry ingredients to the egg mixture until completely combined. Pour batter evenly into cupcake liners. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. After about 10 minutes, remove from pans and cool completely on a wire rack.
Cream Cheese Frosting
This cream cheese frosting is easy to make and tastes different from vanilla buttercream. As cream cheese is softer than butter, you might want to take it out of the refrigerator a few minutes before making the frosting – especially if the weather and/or your kitchen is quite warm.
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature 2 teaspoons vanilla 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar Dash of fresh lemon juice
Beat softened butter and cream cheese on medium speed for about 3-4 minutes until completely smooth and creamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar, cream, and vanilla with the mixer running. Increase to high speed and beat for 1 minute. Add the lemon juice and beat until thick and creamy.
Baking Chocolate Cupcakes and Brownies: A Beginner’s Guide
by Lisa Maliga, copyright 2017=2019
My second cookbook has just been released after months of testing various chocolate cupcake and brownie recipes. It was so much fun baking these sweet treats and learning more cupcake decorating techniques. For example, I tried the swirl method and was able to come up with this:
I’ve also learned how to make my own sparkling sugar and the various ways to core cupcakes. So, if you love chocolate goodness, keep on reading!
Chapter 1 ~ About the Ingredients
Your cupcakes and brownies can look and taste better than any found in a bakery. What you put into your batch of cupcakes is up to you and your budget. Are fresh eggs and butter available to you? I’ve been able to use farm fresh eggs in many of my batches of cupcakes and brownies. Those hens are free ranging and while kept in a coop at night, during the day they amble around several acres of pasture and eat natural food from the ground as well as organic chicken feed.
Use whatever ingredients you have in your pantry, cupboards and refrigerator for your first batches of brownies and/or cupcakes. Don’t invest a lot of money in ingredients or equipment if you only plan to make the occasional dessert. But once you make brownies and cupcakes from scratch, get creative and try new brands of chocolate, butter, or any of the other ingredients to learn if you can taste a difference. Oftentimes you’ll find some sweet [I couldn’t resist that pun] deals on the ingredients at your grocery store so you’ll spend less money on finding out what you like to add to your chocolaty desserts. Baking isn’t just science–it’s also art.
As the recipes in this book are all about using the most natural ingredients, as well as the best tasting, virgin coconut oil is recommended. This tropical oil is easier to use in oil form rather than solid. Coconut oil is coconut butter at temperatures below 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on the weather, I can let it sit in the sun to melt or if it’s hot enough then measuring it is always easier. Virgin coconut oil gives cupcakes natural moisture and you won’t taste the extra coconut.
Here it is, a scrumptious fudgy brownie recipe that’s loaded with minty flavor and LOADS of walnuts. It’s easy to make, you don’t need a mixer, and it’s a wonderful dessert.
1/2 cup [113 grams] unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 ounces [120 grams] mint chocolate, coarsely chopped
11/4 cups [250 grams] granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract OR vanilla bean paste
2 large eggs, room temperature
½ cup cocoa powder [sift into flour]
1/2 cup [65 grams] all purpose flour [sift]
1/2 cup [65 grams] chopped raw walnuts
1 teaspoon peppermint extract OR approx. 20 drops of peppermint Essential Oil
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit [165 degrees Celsius] and place the rack in the center of the oven. The 8 or 9 inch square baking pan can be buttered [use the butter wrapper] or sprayed with a non stick cooking spray.
In a glass or stainless steel bowl, placed over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the butter and chocolate. Remove from heat and whisk in the bowl containing the sugar. Pour in the vanilla extract. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. The batter will be smooth. Stir in the premixed and sifted cocoa powder and flour. Add the peppermint extract or essential oil. Lastly, add half the chopped walnuts. Pour the brownie batter evenly into the prepared pan. Add the rest of the walnuts on top.
Bake for about 35-40 minutes. Rotate pan midway through baking. The brownies will be done when they start to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center of the brownies will come out with a few wet crumbs. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
I suggest sifting the flour and cocoa powder together first. Presifted flour also makes your brownies a bit smoother and easier to mix.
If using pure peppermint essential oil, make sure it only contains mentha piperita. That’s the Latin name for the plant. Genuine peppermint essential oil is very concentrated that’s why you measure by drops, not grams or teaspoons. The brand I used in this video is the real deal and I bought it on Amazon.https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00V5C97LK
From the book THE GREAT BROWNIE TASTE-OFF (THE YOLANDA’S YUMMERY SERIES, BOOK 1).
I haven’t made these brownies in a couple of years, so when I followed the recipe, I rediscovered the joy of a very rich and decadent buttery brownie. I took a lot of photos of the process and have turned them into a cool video that shows you the various steps.
Even if you’ve only made brownies from a mix, this is an easy recipe to make.
Here are some tips to make your buttery brownies taste even better!
♥ Your butter should be a good quality and unsalted is recommended. For the record, I used Plugra.
♥ Use eggs from chickens that are free to roam around, as they taste better.
♥ I used an 8″ x 8″ glass baking dish. You can use a 9″ x 9″ glass or metal baking dish if you prefer but the brownies will be slightly flatter. Instead of using cooking spray, just use the butter wrapper to grease your baking dish.
1/2 cup [1 stick] butter, melted and cooled
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs [room temperature]
1/4 cup [2 ounces] dark chocolate, melted, cooled slightly
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Grease your pan with either cooking spray or butter.
In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until combined.
Add an egg, mix in well, then add the second egg and mix well.
Stir in melted chocolate and vanilla.
Gently fold in flour, until combined.
Pour mixture into pan and bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the brownies cool completely. Cut into squares. Enjoy.
You can get a copy of THE GREAT BROWNIE TASTE-OFF (THE YOLANDA’S YUMMERY SERIES, BOOK 1). Best of all, the eBook version is FREE!
Before baking the macarons, I sifted the almond flour three times and poured it into an airtight container. Now, every time I make macarons, I only have to sift the flour and powdered sugar together once, and whisk the two ingredients in a bowl and set it aside. So much sifting is done to ensure that your shells are smooth and shiny.
When I whipped the [room temperature] egg whites, I added the pinch of salt with the granulated sugar at the foamy midway point. Four minutes later, I had that satiny texture of egg whites that had reached their peak. Then I added two drops of pink gel for a baby pink color.
The flour/sugar mixture was added in two stages and this time I counted how many times it was folded: 63. The texture was just right and I was cautiously optimistic, as I poured the batter into the piping bag. My first few macarons were round and all was going well until I felt something wet on my hand. Ooops, I’d been holding the bag wrong and it was leaking out the top. But I kept at it and wound up with a grand total of 52 shells.
30 minutes later, the macarons went into a 300-degree oven. Instead of using the center rack, I opted to use the one just below it. This time I turned the tray eight minutes into the baking. There they were: FEET!
They baked for 19 minutes and when I pulled the tray out I saw 26 macarons shells with feet. I did a happy dance, and added the second tray. Meanwhile, I began making the “lemonade” buttercream filling. Actually, it was flavored with Trader Joe’s lemon curd. I used the strawberry buttercream recipe and substituted lemon curd for the strawberry jam.
All was going well until I added the powdered sugar. It flew out of the bowl, on the counter, stove, floor, me…the bowl was too small! Next time I’d mix the softened butter first until creamy and then very slowly add the powdered sugar. More time consuming but no cloudbursts of sugar that way.
Due to using naturally yellow butter and lemon curd, I didn’t need to add color, but I did: 5 drops which didn’t significantly change the color. The taste was a sweet and tart blend that I adored. If you adore lemon, try the following recipe. Let me know how it turns out and feel free to ask any questions or make any comments!
Pink Lemonade Macaron Shells
1 cup powdered sugar [confectioners’ sugar or icing sugar]
¾ cup almond flour [sift 3 times]
4 Tablespoons granulated sugar
2 egg whites [room temperature]
2 drops pink gel colorant
Pinch of salt
Serving size: 52 shells or 26 macarons [approximately]
Stand or hand mixer with whisk attachment
2 – 4 large baking sheets
Parchment paper or silpat mat
Large sieve or flour sifter
Pastry/piping bag with large round tip
Measuring cups/spoons/stainless steel or glass bowls
Silicone or rubber spatula
Large cup or glass to hold piping bag
* Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat. If the sheets are thin, double them up. Macarons are sensitive to heat so they need to be baked on a durable tray that has lots of insulation. You’ll also need a pastry/piping bag with a large round tip ready before you begin.
* Sift powdered sugar with the almond flour. Large grains that don’t make it through can be thrown away or used as a skin exfoliator. I discovered this when I washed the equipment by hand the first time!
* Whisk the sugar and flour to make sure it’s fully blended.
* In a stainless steel or glass bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy like a bubble bath before adding the salt. Then add granulated sugar in 3 batches. Start at a low speed and gradually increase the speed. When finished, the mixture should have stiff peaks. Add color last, but only whip for the briefest amount of time to mix in the color.
* Add dry ingredients to the meringue in 2 batches using a spatula. Fold until the mixture comes together, scraping the sides and flip batter over. When the sugar/flour mixture is blended, the batter will be easier to mix and will look shiny. Lift the spatula and see how quickly batter falls in “ribbons” from the spatula. A ribbon of batter dropped into the bowl should merge with the rest of the batter in 20-30 seconds. Another test is to “write” the number 8 with the batter.
* Add tip to piping bag and then twist near the bottom to prevent any mixture from escaping. The tip should face upwards and that also helps keep the mixture in the piping bag as you place it in a cup and form a cuff over the rim so it’s easy to add the batter.
* Spoon batter into piping bag. Twist the top of the bag and untwist the bottom, gently pushing the just-poured batter toward the bottom. You’ll remove any excess air that way.
* Pipe the batter onto the parchment or silicone mat. With parchment, you can use a template. Stay inside the lines as the batter will spread and flatten a bit.
* Pipe batter on the parchment-lined baking sheets in 1.5-inch circles.Keep the batter inside circles if using a template.
* Rap baking sheet several times on the counter. This will further flatten the macarons, and remove air bubbles.
* Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
* Allow macarons to sit for 30-60 minutes until a film forms. Lightly touch a macaron and if no batter clings to your finger then it’s dry and ready to be baked.
* Bake for 16 -18 minutes. The tops should be firm and glossy and the bottoms of the shells should have formed “feet” or frills at the bottom. The risen macarons should be firm with the slightest amount of give. If it wobbles, they require another minute or so. When done, the cookies can easily be removed from the parchment.
* Remove from oven, place cookie sheet on a wire rack or flat surface and let cool completely.
Lemon Curd Buttercream Filling
1/4 cup softened butter [use a high quality butter like President or Kerrygold]
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar [confectioners’ sugar or icing sugar]
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
3 tablespoons lemon curd
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
5 or so drops yellow gel color [optional]
Whip butter for about 2 minutes before adding some of the powdered sugar. Add the cream, lemon curd and vanilla. Gradually add the remaining powdered sugar until the filling is the desired consistency. Add colorant last.
Pair the shells according to size. Spoon or pipe filling onto one side. Gently add the other side. If using a piping bag, start in the center by doing a swirl until you reach near the edges but not right at the edges. You don’t want to overfill them and make a mess with leaking buttercream filling. Gently add the top shell and give it a twist of about a quarter turn to make sure the shells are nicely lined up.
Store your macarons in an airtight container and put in the refrigerator. They should last about a week. Macarons taste best at room temperature, so remove from the fridge about an hour beforehand.