Chocolate crinkle cookies

Humans are resilient. I’m no exception. I decided to give baking yet another try. And what better way to do so than making cookies. Not any cookies. Crinkle cookies. Not any crinkle cookies. Chewy chocolate crinkle cookies!

I’ve been seeing crinkle cookies everywhere lately. They seem to be the holiday cookie of choice this year. There are so many recipes out there for these cookies but the one from What’s Gaby Cooking seemed simple, straight forward and fairly safe for my baking-challenged self.

I’m not sure if the baking stars were perfectly aligned over my kitchen or this recipe is just on point. Whatever it was, it worked and I want you to know that it can happen to you, too!

Here is the link to Gaby’s recipe and I also included one below.

I’m so full of baking hope and positivity I can barely contain myself– I may even bake my way into Christmas!

Tis the baking season!

Chocolate crinkle cookies


  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used canola oil)
  • 4 eggs at room temperature
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup powder sugar to roll/coat the cookies


  1. In a mixing bowl combine the cocoa powder, white sugar and vegetable oil-- you can mix by hand or in a stand mixer. Once combined, add the eggs and vanilla extract and mix until evenly combined.
  2. In another bowl combine the all purpose flour, salt, and baking powder.
  3. Spoon in the flour into the wet mix until fully combined. Whatever you are using (hand or stand mixer) don't over mix it.
  4. Cover the bowl with the cookie dough and refrigerate for at least 5 hours (I left it overnight and baked in the morning.)
  5. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Measure out small ball of dough, 1.5 t-2 inches balls. Roll the dough into balls with lightly oiled hands. Roll each ball in powdered sugar before placing onto baking sheets.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool slightly before transferring the cookies to a cooling rack to finish cooling.


Lemon Brownies with Crusty Glaze

Quick take; too many lemons in the fridge. Searched recipes on my favorite blogs. Came across this Lemon Brownies recipe from Wicked Good Kitchen. Faced my baking insecurities. Worked really hard on being precise with measurements and directions. Ended up with the truly most amazing “Best Ever” lemon brownies and a token of baking confidence in my pocket.

If you have been here before you already know I’m not a good baker. No matter how hard I try, the baking stars seem not to align for me. So I was ecstatic when this recipe turned out as one of the best things I’ve ever baked!

Well, maybe not all stars were aligned. My glaze for the brownies looked great but tasted horrible. I blame the confectioned sugar that, although not expired, tasted like plastic. It has happened to me before and, according to Google, it happened to many other people too. So I dumped the glaze and the confectioned sugar, dust off my apron and got creative.

I made this simple Brazilian “calda” (syrup):

  • All tablespoons (5 sugar/2 lemon juice/2 water)
  • Combine in a small saucer/pan and cook until transparent and thick (about 6 minutes)
  • Spread over the baked brownies and let it sit until hard (We didn’t wait but if you do know that these brownies were even better the next morning)

Once the syrup dried it formed a beautiful sugary crust with a moist layer underneath that complemented the lemon brownies so perfectly.

Big shout out to Stacy from Wicked Good Kitchen. Thank you! I love this recipe and your blog!

Not feeling kneady

No Kneading Bread

There’s a lot that happened in my kitchen & table between the last post and this recipe, but I’m running short of time these days. But I had to stop and write this down because it’s too good to keep it to myself. I tried NO knead bread and it worked…it works!!!!!! I’m in absolute bread nirvana and I hope  you will be too. Here is my ‘NO knead bread’ story:

  • 3 cups all purpose flour (I used Gold)
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1½ cups room temperature water

No Kneading Bread

I combined flour, yeast, and salt in a bowl. Added water and stir gently. Allowed to sit overnight (over 12 hours) in a airtight container. This is how it looked like after sitting in my counter for 13 hours…sticky and bubbly.

No Kneading Bread

Shaped/folded into a loaf gently. I had to remind myself it’s a NO knead bread because I was still skeptical!

No Kneading Bread

I think the most important part of this process is how you bake the bread. It has to be baked in a covered dutch oven type of pot AND it has to be preheated at a high temperature for at least 20 minutes. I drizzled a bit of olive oil on the bottom after I preheated at 500F. Dusted the loaf with some whole wheat flour and dropped in the pot. Baked covered for 30 minutes, uncovered for 12 minutes (still 500F) and this is how it came out.

Outside…Crisp, crackly, bread with a crust that pops as it cools. Inside… tender, moist and chewy texture. I’ll be definitely making this again, and again, and again.

Cranberry Sauce Crumble Cake a thanksgiving leftover recipe

Cranberry Crumble Cake

Thanksgiving came and went fast…really fast. For the first time in years, I cooked the right amount of food. Not too much. Not too little. Enough to make a couple of sandwiches the day after. Not enough to make us sick of turkey.

One thing we didn’t manage to finish was the canned cranberry sauce. Yes…CANNED! I’ll whip salad dressings, avoid jar tomato sauce, but when it comes to cranberry sauce the can gets a pass.

And because we had nothing left to go with the it we baked this ‘oh so good’ Cranberry Sauce Crumble Cake. The recipe came from a holiday baking class I took at The Gourmandise School in Santa Monica many years ago. It never fails, no matter what the choice of jam is. I’ve even used Nutella instead of jam. Good every time!

The plan is to eat it with some hot cocoa as we decorate the Christmas tree tonight.

Cheers to a ‘dealicious’ Thanksgiving…onto Christmas countdown!

Cranberry Sauce Crumble Cake

Butter the sides of an 8″ cake pan and preheat the oven to 375F.

In medium bowl, whisk together in this order:

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 6 tablespoons of melted butter

Add the following dry ingredients to the wet mix in this order:

  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder

Pour cake mix into the pan and spread evenly. Top the mix with dots of cranberry sauce (I used approximately 1 cup of cranberry sauce. May substitute with any jam or Nutella.) Reserve.

Cranberry Sauce Crumble Cake

Mix the following ingredients for the crumble topping:

  • 6 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 1cup of flour
  • 1/4 brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt

Rub the ingredients until crumbles form and top the cake and sauce/jam with it.

Cranberry Sauce Crumble Cake

Bake for 30 minutes or until crumble top is lightly browned.

Cranberry Sauce Crumble CakeCranberry Crumble Cakeimg_4954


Fresh Peach Crumb Cake

Fresh Peach Crumb Cake for

Every summer, we get a good amount of peaches from our peach tree in the backyard. Peach size, sweetness and juiciness are unpredictable. Last year, we had sweet and perfectly plump peaches through summer so we enjoyed them as they came. This year, however, we got most of our peaches at once. So…I made my way through the load of peaches! I grilled and added them to salads. I roasted them with brown sugar, butter and cinnamon and ate them with vanilla yogurt. But the real winner of all things peach was this scrumptious crumb cake. What you see here in the picture is exactly what you get. Light and fluffy cake in the bottom, slightly sweet peach pure in the middle, and crunchy crumbs on top.  Perfection!

The Deal: Peach season is almost over and our peach tree is bare. Luckily, Vons-Pavillions has local California peaches on sale this week for $1.99 lb.

Fresh Peach Crumb Cake
  • For the peach filling:
  • 4 large peaches (if small use one or 2 more)
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • 1tbsp water
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • For the cake:
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp melted butter (1/2 stick)
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • For the crumbs:
  • 4 tbsp melted butter (the other half of the stick)
  • ¼ up brown sugar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup of flour (I used whole wheat flour for the crumbles but reg flour can be used too)
  1. For the filling:Peal and slice the peaches. Place peaches and filling ingredients on a small pan. Cook it for about 10 minutes or until liquid is reduced. Puree the peach with a hand mixer directly in the pan OR in a blender.
  2. Butter or spray an 8'' cake pan and preheat the oven to 380.
  3. For the cake: Whisk dry ingredients over the wet until JUST combined (don't over mix.) Pour into cake pan and dot with the peach puree.
  4. Mix crumb ingredients and crumble over the cake.
  5. Bake 25-30 minutes.
The peach puree can be replaced for any kind of jam and even Nutella.


100% Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins from

You should know by now that I have serious baking issues. I won’t bother to repeat again everything I find so challenging about baking. Simply put, baking is a pain and I can only get it right occasionally. One of the rarest occasions happened over the weekend.  I made the most delicious, moist, and fluffy 100% whole wheat blueberry muffins. Now, 100 % whole wheat does not always go with adjectives like these, but this recipe is PERFECT and I’m so happy that I haven’t gave up baking just yet!

Here is one handy baking tip for muffins I’ve learned from a pastry chef; do NOT over mix the ingredients or you end up with rubbery and chewy muffins. The wet ingredients for this recipe should look like this after being mixed:

Secret for the perfect muffin

And it’s totally fine to have a few streaks of flour after adding the dry ingredients.

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

100% Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins with Kefir
  • In a large bow, whisk together:
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 2.5oz butter, cut into pieces at room temperature
  • ½ cup of milk (1 or 2%)
  • ½ of blueberry or vanilla kefir
  • 2 eggs
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together"
  • 1-1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup blueberries
  1. Whisk the wet ingredients until the butter just form tiny pebbles.
  2. Pour the dry ingredients over the wet and mix JUST until combined. Do NOT overmix.
  3. Spoon into muffin tins (half way) or paper pannetone cups.
  4. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.
  5. Bake at 375F for 20 minutes or until golden all over.
It makes 12 small muffins.


Apple Honey Cake

Whole Wheat Honey Olive Oil Apple Cake

I just love this recipe so much. For somebody that hates baking, this is a very easy to make cake and it never fails. I’ve made it about a dozen times, and it’s one of my favorite cakes.  It’s easy to bake, super moist, semi-chunky and perfect with a cup of coffee.

I found the recipe at one of my favorite food blogs Pinch of Yum. Their recipe includes a frosting that I never bother to make because the cake is so delicious as it is and we usually start devouring it before it even has a chance to cool off. I know, we are monster!

I’m still taking baby steps on the whole blogging thing, and I may suck at blogging as much as I suck at baking. But I’m trying. I love having my recipes documented and trying other bloggers recipes.

So many recipes to create, to try and to share…So little time.

The Deal: This week @Sprouts Gala, Granny Smith or Red Delicious Apples are 98cents lb. I’ve used Granny Smith and Gala apples for this recipe before and they are both great.

Whole Wheat Apple Cake from

Apple Honey Cake
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 minced apples (I julienne it in the food processor)
  1. Start by preheating the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a bundt pan or classic 9" tube cake pan. Core the apples and mince or julienne them in a food processor.
  2. Whisk the sugar and oil together until smooth. Whisk in the eggs, honey, and vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Gently stir the dry mixture into the wet mixture until just combined.
  4. Fold the apples into the batter. Pour into bundt pan (I used a 1Classic 9" tube cake pan.)
  5. Bake for about 45 minutes, let stand for 10 minutes, and invert onto a plate.



Gluten Free Banana Peanut Butter Muffins

Gluten Free Banana Peanut Butter Muffins

Although I don’t seem to need a gluten free diet, I love to explore the paleo/gluten-free/primal/against all grains world. As I mentioned before here, I do believe that eliminating SOME gluten makes SOME difference on my energy, mood and craving levels. Also, my belly seems to be happier and flatter when I stay away from bread and all things deliciously glutinous.

These muffins turned out delicious. They were moist and not overly sweet. I decided to obey to my 7-year-old daughter’s wisdom and I topped the muffins with peanut butter chips from Trader Joe’s (probably NOT a gluten free food.) Perfect addition!

I don’t like baking (remember?) I suck at it. Interestingly, most of the gluten free baking recipes I’ve tried have worked so far…hum…except for the minute microwave mug cake that I ate anyway. So I’m going to listen to the coconut and almond flour universe more often and keep trying new gluten-free recipes. Happy chef and happy belly!

Gluten Free Banana Peanut Butter Muffins

Gluten Free Banana Peanut Butter Muffins
  • 4 bananas (the riper, the better)
  • 4 small eggs
  • 2 tbsp of unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ cup peanut butter (I used Trader Joe's creamy salted PB)
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tbsp agave syrup (can substitute for honey)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a muffin tin with Pam or vegetable oil. In a large bowl, using a hand blender, blend the bananas, eggs, almond butter, almond milk, agave/honey, coconut oil, and vanilla.
  2. Add in the coconut flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Blend into the wet mixture. Place the batter evenly into the muffin tins, filling each about two-thirds of the way full.
  3. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean (I overcooked mines a bit but they still came out moist and delicious.)
Top with chocolate and/or peanut butter chips before baking for extra sweetness.


Lemon Almond Olive Oil Cake

LemonAlmond Olive Oil Cake

Since there is no baking talent or skills to be found in the cook in me, I try to pick baking recipes that are there rather simple. I’m baking ignorant…I really am. I used to believe that baking was like cooking- a little dash of this, a pinch of that and ordinary becomes extraordinary. Many baking atrocities later, I have tamed the cook in me when it’s time to bake.

The first time I came across this Lemon Cake recipe on Food 52 , I knew it was a winner. I couldn’t resist tweaking it in a risky way. The original recipe is GLUTEN FREE and calls for millet flour which I replaced with whole-wheat flour and coconut flour. The result is a cake rich in protein and low in bad carbohydrates. It tastes delicious and it’s absolutely perfect for a baking-challenged person like me.

I was very excited to have little helping hands today! For some magical reason every time my baby girl helps in the baking department things turn out good for the most part…and if they don’t we at least can lick the bowl together.

Before we started whipping it up, here is what we did:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Trace the bottom of an 8-inch (20cm) pan onto parchment paper and cut out the circle. Sharpie was the only pen that worked in the wax/parchment paper so make sure you cut inside the circle and no sharpie marks are left in the paper circle.  Grease the pan, then lay the paper circle back into the pan again.

Little Helping Hands/Lemon CakeLittle Helping Hands/Lemon Cake

Little Helping Hands/Lemon CakeLittle Helping Hands/Lemon Cake

These were the most complicated steps in the whole process. I’m glad my 7-year-old took it over. The actual cake baking process was super easy and quick. Here is the recipe. Happy baking!


Lemon Almond Olive Oil Cake
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ cup sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • ½ cup of whole wheat flour (can substitute for millet flour for gluten free version)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut flour
  1. Using an electric mixer beat the eggs and sugar until they are light and fluffy. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil and vanilla extract. Beat well...really well!!!!
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add dry ingredients little by little in low speed just until combined and pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the top no longer feels jiggly to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with crumbs attached.
  3. Let it cool of a bit. Remove cake from pan (turn it upside down) and peel parchment paper off. Place cake on a plate/platter and drizzle with the glaze (see notes for recipe.)
Top the cake while hot with this simple lemon confectioners' sugar glaze (1 cup of confectioners' sugar+juice of 1 lemon+1 tsp vanilla extract or a pinch of vanilla beans.)


Irish Soda Bread with Whiskey Butter

Irish Soda BreadIrish Soda Bread Bob's Red Mill

Irish or not this Bob Red Mills Soda Bread turned out ‘dealicious’ (The Deal: only $3.00 at Big Lots). This bread tastes so nutty, rustic and somewhat sweet. It was even tastier the next day.

Inspired by A Cozy Kitchen recipe, I made some whiskey butter and it went perfect with the still warm bread. I simply whipped/mixed by hand the following ingredients:

  • 8 tbsp (1 stick) of room temperature (soft…very soft) unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp of  Whisky
  • 1 tsp of sea salt
  • 1 tsp of confectioners sugar

The best part of these bread it’s the crust. Love it! It’s the perfect texture. Not too crispy. Not chewy. So good that even my ‘non crust eater’ kids ate it.

Bob's Red Mills Irish Soda Bread