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 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.
This Spicy Cinnamon + Chile Brownies recipe is suitable for any occasion. For those of you who love sweet and spicy desserts, this is the recipe for you.
5 ounces dark chocolate with chili, finely chopped
4.5 ounces butter, room temperature
1 – 2 teaspoons chile powder
1 – 2 teaspoons cayenne powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
Oven temperature: 350 Fahrenheit/177 Celsius
Grease your pan with either cooking spray or butter. Melt butter and chocolate in a glass or stainless steel bowl over a pan. Temperature should be medium low heat. When melted, add the chile, cinnamon, and salt. Remove from heat and allow to cool down for several minutes. In a large bowl, whisk butter and sugar until combined. Add the first egg, mix in well, then add the second egg and mix well, and add the third egg, mixing well. Stir in the melted chocolate mixture. Add vanilla. With a spatula, gently fold in the premixed and sifted cocoa powder and flour. Pour mixture into pan and bake for 35-40 minutes. Rotate midway through baking. 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 comes out with some wet crumbs. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Let the brownies cool completely. Cut into squares. You can serve as is or sprinkle brownies with powdered sugar.
TIP: Sift the flour and cocoa powder together first. Presifted flour also makes your brownies a bit smoother and easier to mix.
This recipe is from the book BAKING CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES AND BROWNIES: A BEGINNER’S GUIDE. Available in eBook and paperback formats.
Before I decided on the title of my macaron baking book, I posted a couple of working titles on a writers’ group to get some input. In both examples, I used the word macaron. An English romance author informed me that the word was misspelled. Other authors came to my defense and said that the topic I was writing about was indeed spelled with one o, not two.
Macaron is spelled correctly. Also, as it’s French, it’s pronounced mah-kah-ron. Whenever I see it with a double o, I think of the coconut cookies. I like coconut macaroons, but they’re a completely different cookie.
How? Here are some differences:
Coconut macaroons contain shredded coconut as a main ingredient.
Macarons are usually made with finely ground nuts, almond being the most commonly used.
Coconut macaroons can be plopped, scooped, or shaped with one’s hands.
Macarons require piping so they’re nice and round and the same size.
Egg whites for coconut macarons are only required to be room temperature.
Egg whites should be “aged” for about two days for French macarons as this helps get rid of moisture and makes them easier to whip.
Coconut macaroons don’t require almond flour or any type of sifting.
Almond flour should be sifted at least 3 times for smooth, shiny macaron shells.
Egg whites for coconut macaroons are only whipped to soft peak—this takes about 3 or 4 minutes.
Macarons require egg whites to reach stiff peaks—a process that takes about 10 minutes.
Coconut macaroons can go right into the oven as soon as they’re put on a cookie sheet.
Macarons need to rest after being piped. This takes anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours.
Coconut macaroons can be eaten right out of the oven.
Macarons taste better the next day after the filling has melded with the shells.
Coconut macaroons cost about $3 per dozen.
Macarons can cost up to $3 each.
Coconut macaroons come in only a few flavors and colors.
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
The macaron baking saga continues as I want to test the King Arthur “super finely ground” almond flour I’d found for a dollar less at Walmart. I also wanted to try a strawberry buttercream filling because I love strawberries and the idea of a buttercream filling seemed decadent to me. I’d written about them in my books but in fact had never made buttercream frosting/filling from scratch. I’ve used containers of Duncan Hines and Betty Crocker frosting. Well, they weren’t actually buttercream, they were called frosting, had a long shelf life, were always at room temperature, and were spread with a knife. At least in my experience they were. While all frostings or buttercreams contain high amounts of sugar, the store-bought variety had vegetable shortening instead of butter so they didn’t contain butter or cream.
At first, I thought the super finely ground almond flour only needed to be sifted with the powdered sugar. Wrong! I ended up sifting it twice. I left the two eggs out overnight, thinking I’d separate them before I made the macarons. When separating the whites from the yolks, some of the yolk dropped into the egg white bowl. Macaron baking experts declared that a NO as fat wasn’t good for macs. So I scrounged around online until I found a website where the author claimed an egg could be aged in the microwave for ten seconds.
Most eggs contain a high percentage of water in the whites. When aged, extra water evaporates. Separate the white from the yolk and cover with cling wrap with a small slit to allow for evaporation, then place in the refrigerator for 24-36 hours. You can also leave it out overnight or for about 12 hours if the bowl is covered with a paper towel. The eggs must be room temperature if you want them to whip into a fluffy meringue.
This was my worst batch yet, due to the egg problem. The egg didn’t age or do anything other than maybe warm up a bit. Unlike the sunny day where I made my first batch, the weather had gone from early morning sunshine to mid-afternoon humidity and rain. It was a challenging four hours due to:
* Waiting 90 minutes for the shells to dry
* Undermixing the batter
* Clumsy piping of the batter
* Forgetting to remove the paper templates from the baking sheet [see 2 photos below]
* NO feet
On the bright side:
* 1 more drop of coloring made the magenta even brighter
* Remembering to make a cuff with the pastry bag
* Lowering the temperature of the oven
* Making the best strawberry buttercream filling I’d ever tasted
* Able to pipe the buttercream filling onto the macarons
Strawberry Buttercream Filling Recipe
¼ cup room temperature Unsalted butter [use a high-quality brand like President or Kerry Gold]
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
4 Tablespoons high quality strawberry jam
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract OR vanilla bean paste
I want to emphasize the importance of using the best and highest quality ingredients in your buttercream filling as you will taste them! If you can use fresh strawberries or strawberry jam/spread that you’ve made, that would be excellent. I used a fruit spread that was sweetened with natural fruit juice and fruit pectin. There are many high quality types available in your grocery store, health food store, farmers market, etc. that DON’T contain high fructose corn syrup.
Here’s a list of preferred ingredients: strawberries, sugar, cane sugar, concentrated lemon juice, and fruit pectin.
INSTRUCTIONS: If using a stand mixer, add the butter to the bowl and mix for about 30 seconds, and then add half the powdered sugar.
If using a hand mixer, make sure you have a LARGE bowl and mix the butter first, then add half the sugar.
When the mixture is smooth, add your wet ingredients: cream, jam and vanilla. Once mixed, it’s time to add the remaining powdered sugar.
The mixture should be smooth and firm but not too firm that it would crush the delicate macaron shells.
If you pipe onto the shells, it’s recommended that you use a large, plain tip, Wilton size 10.
Start by piping in the center and 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 adding the top shell and giving it a twist of about a quarter turn is an easy way to make sure the shells are nicely lined up.
NEXT WEEK: More adventures in macaron baking! I test my first batch of chocolatemacarons with chocolate ganache filling!
Making a pound cake from scratch is the most advanced baking I’ve ever done. This dessert contains the most basic ingredients found in your pantry and fridge: eggs, butter, flour, sugar, vanilla extract and baking powder. As long as you have a hand or stand mixer and measure your ingredients correctly, it’s not difficult to mix and bake.
Macarons also require few ingredients: two types of sugar, egg whites, almond flour, and color. That’s it as far as the cookies, a/k/a shells go. The fillings can be diverse: readymade jams or jellies, caramel, Nutella, butterscotch, lemon or lime curd, etc. You can make your own whether it’s buttercream, chocolate ganache, or a jam/fruit spread.
I’d tasted macarons a few times and loved them. They were decadently sweet and rich. From an Etsy store, I ordered an array of pastel colored macarons that were photographed for the cover of my novella, Sweet Dreams.
I needed a picture for the cover of my forthcoming sweet romance/cozy mystery, Macarons of Love, #4 in the Yolanda’s Yummery series. So I bought macarons in various colors and flavors. Average price: $2.25 each. I took 300+ pictures and they were good, not great. I cherished each macaron and decided that having these delicacies handy whenever I wanted them was a very appealing idea. Even if they didn’t turn out looking great, I’d get a better education about the art of baking macarons and would understand my characters even more. I had most of the ingredients and equipment, I reasoned. Well, not almond flour, but sugar was in the cupboard and fresh eggs in the fridge. I’d watched more than a dozen how-to videos on YouTube. I read numerous blogs, many of them showing step-by-step directions. Some bakers claimed they were easy to make; other bloggers despaired of ever being able to create them. One confessed that several batches never even made it to the oven.
I spent $12 for one pound of almond flour! This is one of the reasons why macarons aren’t cheap. I also learned that almond meal, almond powder, and almond flour are the same thing. Only when making macarons, you needed to sift or sieve it. The more you sift, the finer it gets, the better lookin’ those macarons.
Macarons weren’t spooned onto a baking sheet—they were piped on. Piped with one of those piping or pastry bags? I thought that was for decorating cakes or cupcakes. My experience with a piping bag? Zip. I couldn’t just neatly spoon them on? Nope.
Separating eggs and whipping the whites into a meringue didn’t seem too difficult to someone who’s whipped thousands of gallons of shea butter. But there’s a difference between the two ingredients: shea butter can’t be overwhipped, egg whites can. I also had a major oopsie that first day after picking up the egg and instead of separating it the entire egg splatted into the bowl. Great, I’d have to wait another 24 hours so the egg would be aged enough for high quality macarons. At least that’s what many of the bakers suggested.
Since I knew my piping skills were nonexistent, I had some foresight: I made a template the size of the baking sheet and had 1.5” circles neatly spaced on the back of the paper that was adhered to the baking sheets.
I put the required amount of almond flour [Bob’s Red Mill] through a small sieve. Correction: I attempted to sieve the flour. Thirty minutes later, I’d managed to get about 1/8 of a cup from sieve to mixing bowl. I grumbled about how time consuming it was, recalling people on videos doing it in seconds. I tried smacking the sieve and just spilled more flour. The spatula didn’t work. My fist, wanting to punch it through… nope, that sieve was too small.
I interrupted my macaron making “festivities” and drove to the store to buy a larger sieve. Finally, the almond flour was able to make it through the larger size mesh, as did the powdered sugar.
Meanwhile, I had no difficulty whipping the egg whites, granulated sugar, and adding the magenta gel color.
Folding the flour and sugar meant the dry ingredients had to be sifted again. Good thing I didn’t have to use that mini sieve. The egg whites would’ve deflated or whatever happens to old egg whites. Macaronnage is the term for gently folding the dry ingredients into the egg whites which results in a batter that’s not too stiff and not too runny. There are ways of determining when it’s done such as counting the number of strokes to testing the batter to see how it falls from the spatula—the term molten lava is frequently used. Well, I guessed it was like molten lava because my arm was starting to feel like it with all that mixing, um, folding.
Before I encountered my first run-in with the pastry bag with the plastic nozzle that I’d hopefully inserted correctly, I had to get the pink batter from bowl to bag. Those baking experts showed how easy it was—the same people who could probably pipe blindfolded—insert piping bag in a glass, fold the top over like a cuff, and make sure the nozzle was pointing up rather than down. Also, twist the bottom of the bag a few times so the batter won’t escape. Okay…
Theoretically, easy. I plopped the pastry bag into the glass and added the first scoop of batter with my spatula…but I’d forgotten to make the cuff so the batter got stuck on top and some of it fell on the counter. Way to go, wasting batter and making a mess. Eventually, I got most of it into the bag and the batter started escaping from the bottom, too. I’d be lucky if I managed to make one macaron shell!
I won’t describe the horror of piping except that part of my face was pink from batter oozing out the top as I tensely gripped it. Some dropped onto my hand. Good thing it wasn’t red! Each of the discs was a different size with only a few of them being round. Getting the batter onto the parchment paper was a messy feat but in the end I managed to get 24 various sized discs onto each tray.
I baked each tray separately and used the bottom oven rack after reading and watching the tales of staying away from the middle rack.
The result can be seen to your left.
Itsy bitsy feet on some, a single mega cracked shell, but the taste of the shell was sweet. I added jam rather than attempt to do a buttercream filling which would need to be piped—I really didn’t fancy that word!