Posts Tagged ‘white chocolate’

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

After the ridiculously hot summer we had over here in the Northeast, the entrance of fall has been welcomed with open arms and mine are most definitely wide open.

I’m on Emergency Medicine right now which means shift work (good thing? bad thing?) and also means scrubs every time I go into work. I usually just throw the same sweatshirt over me as I rush out the door (the same one because it’s usually sitting on my floor from the last time I wore it and I really just wear it on the car ride to and from the hospital since I wear my white coat in the hospital – I’m not as dirty as I made myself out to be just there).

Today, however, I had the day off and I pulled out my first cute jacket of the season.

Ahh fall. It’s wonderful to be able to wear a seemingly new wardrobe now since it’s been many many months since I’ve looked over into the jacket area of my closet. I finally got to appreciate the cooling down weather.

And so after I came back from errands I did the most natural thing in the world when I’m happy.

I baked.

These cookies.

Perfectly fall and comforting with the flavors of cinnamon, pumpkin, a pop of chocolate, and little bursts of dried cherries. These cookies could not be more fall. They’re also perfect with a cup of tea while you sit and watch the leaves change (not that anyone really has time to do that kind of thing.. but in case you’re the exception).

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice
from Taste of Home


  • 4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves


Mix it all up in a bowl. Makes 2 1/2 tbsp which is more than enough for the cookies so save the rest for later. Yay!

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
adapted from My Baking Addiction

I halved the recipe for about 22 cookies.


  • 1 c all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 c light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 large egg (I realize this sounds crazy but it’s not difficult to do!)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c dried cherries, roughly chopped


Preheat oven to 350F and line several baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a separate bowl for a stand or hand mixer, beat butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add pumpkin, egg, and vanilla and mix until combined. Add flour mixture. When mixed, fold in chocolate chips and cherries.

Using two spoons, drop rounded tablespoons of batter onto baking sheets 2 inches apart. Bake 12-14 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for 2 minutes on baking sheets and then move to wire racks until completely cooled.

What’s your favorite fall cookie?

Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake

(Pardon the poor lighting and picture quality. This was at a very dimly lit restaurant.)

Part 2 of my birthday baking series was actually part 1 of my birthday celebration. But let’s not cry over spilled milk.

I’ve been eying (eyeing? WordPress puts a red squiggly under this latter spelling but.. it looks more right to me than eying. Opinions?) this recipe since I first saw it on Annie’s Eats many moons ago. I admire Annie a great deal. Besides her and Joanne (hi, Joanne!), I don’t know of any other medicine-inclined food bloggers out there. I’m relatively new at this blogging thing so maybe I just haven’t been around the block enough. Please enlighten me if you are or know a food blogger in medical school/residency/etc! I’d love to know!

Back to Annie.

She seems to juggle residency (I’m fairly certain of this fact but can no longer find the post/page where I learned this so I cannot confirm at the time. Correct me if I’m wrong! I love her regardless though so it doesn’t quite matter.) ..

I hate when I start sentences and then go into a multiple-sentence aside.

Back to Annie.

She seems to juggle residency, a marriage, a child, and still cooks and bakes gorgeous dishes after which she takes pictures of said gorgeous dishes! Have you SEEN the birthday parties she throws her little one? I’m not sure how she does it. I barely have time to do one of 10 loads of laundry I’m due for. (I’m not sure how either but I have THAT many clothes. Also, I never seem to NOT have time to buy butter. Strange, but true.)

Back to Annie.

She’s pretty fab. So when I saw this beauty back in May I knew it was something special and I’d have to make it for some day special and someone special.

And that someone special was ME!


I went out and bought the best chocolate I could find (Valrhona, Scharffen Berger, and Guittard) and out of my oven/fridge came this amazing cake of absolute decadence. If I hadn’t shared it with 15 of my nearest and dearest I’m not sure I could have eaten my whole slice! Each layer was richness upon richness upon richness. Essentially, a flourless chocolate cake, a dark chocolate mousse, topped with a white chocolate mousse = heaven in my mouth coating each singular tastebud with chocolate.

In truth, it may have been a bit too rich for some of my friends. But for those who love chocolate, it was fantastic. For me and my birthday, I couldn’t have asked for more.

I know the recipe looks long but it really doesn’t take that long and it’s just wordy descriptions for the most part. Don’t be afraid.

Embrace the chocolate.

Clearly, I did!

Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake
from Annie’s Eats, adapted from Cook’s Illustrated November/December 2009

Makes 1 9″ round cake.

For bottom layer (flourless chocolate cake):

  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces, plus extra to grease the pan
  • 7 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3/4 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/3 c light brown sugar, packed

For middle layer (dark chocolate mousse):

  • 2 tbsp Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 5 tbsp hot water
  • 7 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 c heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt

For top layer (white chocolate mousse):

  • 3/4 tsp powdered gelatin
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 6 oz white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 c heavy cream

  • Cocoa powder or chocolate curls for garnish


For bottom layer, butter the bottom and sides of a 9″ springform pan. (I took a note from Annie and lined the pan with parchment. Also, per the comments, if you don’t grease the pan, this layer won’t shrink away from the sides as it did for me and for Annie. This is more of an aesthetic thing so if you don’t care, no worries.) Preheat the oven to 325F and center a rack in the oven.

Combine butter, chocolate, and espresso in a double boiler (large bowl over simmering water). Stir occasionally until smooth then remove from heat to cool a bit, 5 minutes or so. Whisk in the vanilla and egg yolks and set aside.

In a separate bowl with a stand or hand mixer, beat egg whites on medium speed until foamy, about 30 seconds. Crumble half of the brown sugar into the bowl, trying to remove all lumps, and beat about 15 seconds or until incorporated. Crumble remaining brown sugar and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. Whisk 1/3 of this egg white/sugar mixture with the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Then fold the remaining egg whites in with a rubber spatula until no streaks remain.

Pour into springform pan, smooth top with a spatula, and bake 14-18 minutes. The cake should be firm around the edges and the center should be set but still soft. Allow to cool on a wire rack completely. At this point, you can refrigerate the cake, covered in plastic wrap, until ready to continue.

For middle layer, whisk cocoa powder and hot water in a small bowl and set aside.

Again, in a double boiler, melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally until smooth and then remove from heat and allow to cool 2-5 minutes.

With a hand or stand mixer, whip the cream, sugar, and salt on medium speed until it begins to thicken. Then increase the speed to high until soft peaks form. Whisk in 1/3 of this whipped cream into the chocolate mixture to lighten. Then fold remaining cream with a rubber spatula until no streaks remain.

Pour mousse over the cooled cake. Tap gently on the counter a few times to remove air bubbles and smooth top with a spatula. Clean up any drips or dribbles on the side of the pan. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes while making the top layer.

For top layer, place white chocolate in a medium bowl and set aside.

Sprinkle gelatin over water in a small bowl and allow to soften for at least 5 minutes. Bring 1/2 cup of the cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and add the gelatin, stirring until dissolved. Pour this mixture over the white chocolate and let stand for about 1 minute. Then whisk until smooth. Cool to room temperature, about 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Using a hand or stand mixer, whip the remaining cream on medium speed until it begins to thicken. Then increase the speed to high and whip to soft peaks. Whisk 1/3 of the whipped cream into the white chocolate mixture to lighten (are you seeing a pattern yet?). Fold in the remaining cream with a rubber spatula until no streak remain. Spoon mousse over the middle layer, smooth the top, and refrigerate at least 2 1/2 hours until set. Don’t cover the pan unless you plan on getting stressed out later by having to fix it.

Garnish with curls or cocoa powder before serving.

My attractive self about to indulge.

Why do I have such scary witch-like fingers?!

White Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

REMINDER: CUPCAKE HERO JULY [COCONUT] ENTRIES DUE JULY 17TH!! Email me at smalltownoven[at]gmail[dot]com!

JULY 17TH!!!!!!


The weather has been absolutely disgusting this week.





For the better half of the week, it was just terrible. You’d march out the door, walk five steps, and immediately want to go back inside where it’s air-conditioned and your anti-perspirant isn’t 500% necessary.

Today, however, it was beautiful out.

The sun shone, the air was clear, and life was good.

I delivered 4 babies today. That may have helped. Two of those were twins. That may have helped too.

I sutured, I stapled, I came, I saw, I conquered.

Today was a bright spot in a dreary week (well, a dreary week that included meeting Alec Baldwin).

The only thing that kept me going this week in the grossness that was NYC?

These strawberries.

I kid you not.

I’d run home after work and go straight for the refrigerator. Right to these here strawberries.

My only regret is that I only made a pint.

Next time, there will be more.


White Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
adapted from epicurious

2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp orange zest
1/2 tsp lemon zest
6 oz white chocolate, chopped
1 pint ripe strawberries

Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Rub the sugar and zest together with fingertips until moist and fragrant. Set aside. Melt white chocolate either over a saucepan of barely simmering water or in the microwave. If melting in the microwave, make sure to heat in small increments to prevent freezing up of the chocolate.

Dip strawberries into chocolate to coat 2/3 of the berry. Shake excess into bowl. Sprinkle citrus sugar on top of the chocolate. Place on prepared sheet. Once all the berries are dipped, chill in the refrigerator until chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.

Hope you’re surviving the heat/cold or whatever you have where you are 🙂

– Sharlene

Mint Blueberry Cupcakes with White Chocolate Whipped Cream

Sometime in the midst of all my stress and end-of-the-year nervous breakdowns I gave thought to doing away with this blog altogether. It’s still a baby, a little blip on the internet map, and could have very easily fallen away without much of a fuss.

When I suggested this to Boy, he was not in agreement.

I started this with the sole intention of pushing myself to be a better baker, to create recipes instead of always following someone else’s lead, and to try new things.

So, with that in mind, I joined Daring Bakers last month and completed my first challenge earlier this month (the reveal is on the 27th). This past weekend, I decided to try something else too.

I’m going for Cupcake Hero.


I decided this on Saturday. On Sunday I woke up with a few ideas of how to use blueberries in a cupcake and took my sweet time getting to the grocery store etc. Then, last night around 8 pm I realized that the deadline for Cupcake Hero is midnight tonight.


I scrambled. But I’m actually quite happy with the result! Maybe I work well under pressure? I even had the chance to have Boy and two other friends try a few! The overwhelming opinion was that they taste “fresh” and that’s exactly what I was going for. Not too sweet, not too heavy, and perfectly summery.

Let’s hope I win but if not this is definitely a recipe I’ll keep in my arsenal when I’m looking for something different to bring to a party. They’re delicious.

Mint Blueberry Cupcakes with White Chocolate Whipped Cream
a smalltownoven original

Makes 12.

For cake:
2 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp mint extract
3/4 c milk
1 1/4- 1 1/2 c blueberries (I used fresh)

For topping:
1 c heavy cream
10-15 mint leaves
3 oz white chocolate, chopped

For garnish:
fresh blueberries

Do ahead: Heat heavy cream and mint leaves in a saucepan until boiling. Take off heat, cover, and steep for 1 hour. Strain mint leaves out of cream and refrigerate until chilled for several hours or overnight (freezer if you’re in a rush).

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 12-cake muffin/cupcake pan with appropriate liners.

Toss blueberries with 1 tbsp flour. In a large bowl, sift together rest of flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, cream sugar and butter together until well blended using a hand or stand mixer. Add eggs one at a time and mix well. Add extracts and mix completely. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions alternating with the milk in 2 additions, mixing well in between each addition. Fold in blueberries.

Bake for 20-24 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before moving to cooling racks.

For topping, melt white chocolate with 2 tbsp of mint-infused heavy cream in a large bowl over a pot of simmering water. Be careful not to allow the white chocolate to burn! Once melted, take off heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes. In a separate large bowl, whip the rest of the heavy cream (~3/4 c) until the appropriate consistency. Fold in the cooled white chocolate.

To assemble, place a dollop of topping on each cupcake and garnish with fresh blueberries.

How cute!

– Sharlene

No-Bake White Chocolate Pie

My mood is much MUCH better today than it was a few days ago. I apologize for that quite uncharacteristic sob story. Honestly, one of the lowest moments I’ve ever had. Except for the time frame of lasting only a few days, I could have been clinically diagnosed with depression.

You can tell I feel much better when the nerd in me makes an appearance.

You know I was never really THAT bad since I kept a running tab of how many criteria for depression I filled at any given time.

Anyway, a big part of my stress and depress(ion) was this here weekend. While pulling my full load on my medicine clerkship (which is killing me by the way)  PLUS make a diaper cake for a friend’s baby shower (have you ever seen one of these? They’re adorable but quite time-consuming to make!), create some cupcakes for the same shower (settled on lychee mango.. will be sharing that recipe soon because they were a hit!), and coming up with something/making something for Boy’s BBQ tomorrow (going to do my first Daring Bakers challenge!! eeeeeeek!). And now that we’re halfway through the weekend and the shower’s over, I can rest a little easier.

And I am.

By parking myself in front of my parents’ humongo flat-screen with my laptop on which I’m doing questions. I am! So far.. I’ve done 22 in 2 hours. Clearly, my efficiency needs improvement. Or the Travel Channel needs to stop showing their Extreme series. Extreme Pig Outs and Extreme Fast Food? So interesting. Have you seen the monstrosities people actually eat? Like here. THE HEART ATTACK GRILL! Insanity.

This probably won’t give you a heart attack and at 350 calories per serving (the recipe makes 8), it’s really pretty healthy compared to  the 7,000 calorie burger I just saw on television (it looked delicious in case you’re wondering).

In honor of the BBQ tomorrow, I’m posting a pie I made for another recent outdoor event. It’s a bit like a cheesecake but much lighter, takes much less time, and is still heavenly. Now that I think about it, you don’t have to stop at bananas. Why not go for strawberries? Or kiwi fruit? Bacon? Freudian slip. Point is, it’s very easily adapted to whatever suits your taste.

No-Bake White Chocolate Pie
adapted from Dorie Greenspan

4 oz white chocolate, finely chopped
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 c sour cream
1/2 c heavy cream, chilled
1 banana, thinly sliced
One ready-made 9″ graham-cracker crust [You can make one and bake it up but I just bought one. My guilt was made up for by time saved.]

Warm the chocolate in a bowl set over a pot of lightly simmering water. Remove from heat when only partially melted; stir to melt completely.

Beat the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Beat in the chocolate, then the sour cream. In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream until firm; gently fold into chocolate mixture.

Arrangethe banana slices on the crust. [I’ve also made one with toffee chips. Sprinkle about 1-2 oz of toffee chips on top of the bananas. Not too many or it’ll take over the pie!] Top with the filling. Decorate with cocoa powder or chocolate shavings. Strawberries perhaps?  Chill at least 2 hours.

Yayyyyyyy PIE!

– Sharlene

Raspberry Meringue Bars

What’s my favorite fruit?

Funny you should ask because I have two. Peaches for fresh or stand-alone fruit. Raspberries for baked goods or to pair with chocolate.

The peach story is actually a nice one. I studied abroad for a summer in college once. Madrid, Spain. I lived with a host familia who were awesome. The mom was stay-at-home and made the best Tortilla de Espana (how do I get the tilda over the n?) I will ever eat. If you’re not sure aforementioned dish is, read on! It’s a potato omelet which sounds plain but somehow it’s this buttery melt-in-your-mouth bite and you’d swear there was cheese or some other form of fatty goodness but no such thing. One of these days I’ll work up the nerve to try and make one but for now, even years later, I’d rather cherish the memories of that Tortilla. (I’ve had others in restaurants and tapas bars both stateside and in Spain — Not the same. Not by a longshot.) Anyway, she was awesome also because every day I’d come home from school at 2 or 3 in the afternoon and she’d say (in Spanish obviously), “Will you be taking a nap? When do you want me to wake you?” BLESS YOU, WOMAN! Yes! I think I will take a nap! Thank you for asking! She also did my laundry and didn’t bat an eye if I told her I was going out to dinner. Can you tell I adored her?

Moving on.. The dad was a musician and had a little music studio in the apartment with all this electric stuff, knobs, dials, and sliding things included. The two daughters were grown and one had moved out. The other was studying to become an English teacher (go figure) but she wasn’t around much either.

Back to the peach thing. Every morning I was left to my own devices on what to do about breakfast and lunch. The fridge was always stocked with cheeses, meats, and breads for lunch so I just made myself a little sandwich while I made breakfast: toast and peach jam. Every day. Toast and peach jam. I was in love! Why hadn’t I ever had peach jam before? And for a long time after returning from Spain I couldn’t stand the idea of any other kind of jam besides peach on my toast. This led to a lot of toast-less meals at the diner. I’ve since moved on but still buy peach jam every once in awhile and I’m taken back to that little apartment off the Estrecho metro stop on the yellow line in Madrid.

Unfortunately, this story isn’t really relevant since this recipe called for raspberries. (Wasn’t it a nice story though?) But really, raspberries are my favorite fruit to bake with because they always lend a bit of tartness that perfectly complements the sweetness of chocolate. I instantly knew I needed to bake these the moment I laid eyes on them. They’re actually called “White Chocolate Brownies” but the white chocolate flavor is barely, if at all, noticeable and they’re not brown in the least so I’ve renamed them appropriately. Despite the lack of a pronounced white chocolate flavor, however, these bars are delicious. Scrumptious. Finger-lickin’ good.

Boy agreed.

Dorie’s Raspberry Meringue Bars
adapted from Baking: From My Home To Yours, Dorie Greenspan

For the brownies:
2/3 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c almond flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
4 oz white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 c sugar
2 tsp grated orange zest
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 c fresh raspberries

For the meringue:
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
1/2 c sugar


Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 325F.

Butter a 9×13-inch pan and line the bottom with parchment or foil. Put the pan on a baking sheet.

Whisk together the flour, almond flour, and salt.

Melt the butter and chopped chocolate in a bowl over simmering water, stirring frequently until the ingredients are just melted. Be very careful as white chocolate quickly separates when it gets too hot! Remove the bowl from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl, rub the sugar and orange zest together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and aromatic. Add the eggs and beat with a hand or stand mixer on medium-high for about 3 minutes or until pale and foamy. Add vanilla. On low, mix in the dry ingredients just until they disappear. Pour into pan and add a layer of raspberries (they’ll likely sink). Set aside to make the meringue.

In a clean mixer bowl with clean whisk attachments for a hand or stand mixer, beat the egg whites and salt on medium until foamy and just opaque. Increase the speed to medium-high and add the sugar in a slow, steady stream. Whip the whites until firm but glossy peaks. Spread over top of the batter.

Bake 30-35 minutes according to Dorie but this took much longer for me to set, more like 45-50 minutes in my opinion. The meringue should be browned and crackly. Cool to room temperature in the pan.

For serving, Dorie suggests you cover a cooling rack with a piece of parchment or wax paper, dust with confectioners’ sugar and gently turn the pan out. Take care not to squish the meringue! Peel away the lining and invert onto a cutting board. She suggests 32 bars.

Love it!

– Sharlene