Tag Archives: Dessert

Serendipity – Washington, DC (Georgetown)

Erin has been wanting to go to Serendipity since it came to DC last summer and we finally had the chance to over the weekend. Brought to DC after it’s New York City fame, Serendipity is a restaurant that specializes in dessert and is known for their famous Frozen Hot Chocolate. We were in Georgetown over the weekend during the late afternoon and I thought this would be the perfect time to try out the new addition to the Georgetown restaurant scene.

Normally, you can only get in with reservations that are made well in advance, but the chilly Sunday afternoon must have helped us since we got in right at 7:00p. Walking into the restaurant feels like you’re entering Alice’s Wonderland – the light fixtures are all different, some small and some large, some high and some low, the clock is extremely oversized, there are extreme colors on the walls and the menu is cartoonishly large. We were seated in the front area of the restaurant – the bar area with a couple of tables that reminded me of an old school diner. The wait staff were professionally dressed wearing shirts with ties and were very cordial.

After looking at the menu, we decided that we were definitely going to save room for a dessert (at a place like this, you have to make your meal decision based on what comes afterward, right??). The menu was very vast; everything from salads, to burgers and sandwiches, to chili and matzo ball soup, to pasta and filet mignon, and even foot-long hot dogs. While variety can be a good thing, it can also be hard to make a decision and typically leans towards no real specialty in the restaurant. Well, I already said the specialty was dessert so I think you know where I’m going with this… We ordered sandwiches (something we hardly ever do but we’d already has brunch so anything healthy about the day was already out the window!) and they were just ok. The cheese on Erin’s wasn’t melted all the way and mine was pretty bland with cold sweet potato fries.

After dinner, we took a long look at the big, literally and figuratively, dessert menu. Since I had never been to the NYC location, I thought it would only be appropriate to start out my Serendipity dessert-trying with a Frozen Hot Chocolate. Yes, it was confusing to me at first too but it all made sense as soon as I tasted it. The dish that resembles an ice cream sundae with straws coming out of it was most similar to the texture of a milkshake and a slupree put together. It tasted great – like a hot chocolate that was in an icy dessert form. We ordered the “for one” size and split it; it was plenty big enough for the two of us. Other than this traditional flavor, they had many others along with a wide variety of other ice cream desserts and sundaes that all came in both a small and a large size.

All-in-all, the food here was not that great; there are definitely some different things on the menu that you’re not likely to find at other places around DC but the focus is really on the chocolate. Will we be back? Yes, and we’ll probably come back to try a different kind of entrée next time, but we’ll definitely be back for dessert. My suggestion to you would be to make a late reservation and head there after a nice dinner in the city for a Frozen Hot Chocolate and a cup of coffee or espresso.


Chocolate Covered Matzo

4-6 whole matzos
8 oz butter
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 bag (2 cups) chocolate chips, good quality

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover a large baking pan with aluminum foil, including the edges and line with wax paper on top. This will ease the pain of clean-up from the caramel spill-overs. Place the matzo in the pan in a single layer. If necessary, break to cover the entire surface.

In a medium pot melt the butter and sugar and bring to a boil. Keep pot boiling for an additional 3 minutes while stirring. Remove from heat and add the pinch of salt. Pour the mixture over the matzos and spread evenly. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes. The mixture will bubble and spread evenly over the matzos. Keep an eye on the matzos to make sure they do not burn.

Remove the matzos from the oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Wait for 1-2 minutes, until chocolate chips soften, and spread over matzos. Place matzos in the freezer for 10-15 minutes in order for the chocolate to harden. Remove from the freezer and break into pieces.

This sweet snack is a great alternative to cookies or cake and will always have people asking for the recipe. We recently had a Hanukkah Party at my place and someone brought over what everyone thought was toffee – well, to our surprise, it was chocolate covered matzo (thanks Adriane and Andrew for bringing it). With upcoming work and family holiday parties filling up the calendar, I decided that this would be something I’d try for a change – what a hit it was! If you didn’t know anything about what you were eating, you’d think this was toffee; it has a great caramel and chocolate flavor with the perfect crunch. The more sugar/butter mixture and chocolate you add, the richer it will be so you can adjust accordingly.

If you don’t have matzo around the house, you can do this with saltine crackers as well, just leave out the salt in the recipe. Also, the reason for “good quality” chocolate chips is that these normally stay firm and not melt after the matzo has been in the freezer. Many times, store brand or cheaper chocolate chips will re-soften and create a big mess.

I know my recipes are normally low-fat, but there’s not really a way to cut the fat, calories or carbs in this one so save this for a real treat. I’ve received several requests for this recipe so I hope it’s a hit at your gatherings. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Cupcakes

8 ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
2 large eggs
5 large egg whites
1 ½ cups flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoons salt
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
1 cup light brown sugar
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter

Place a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with baking liners. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar for 3 minutes. Beat in 1 egg white and ½ teaspoon vanilla.

In a bowl, whisk the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and ½ teaspoon salt. In another bowl, mix the pumpkin puree, 2 eggs, granulated sugar, oil and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Whisk in the flour mixture.

Layer each muffin cup with some of the pumpkin batter, then the cream cheese mixture, then more of the pumpkin batter. Bake until springy to the touch, 25 minutes. Let cool.

Prepare frosting while cupcakes are cooling. Using an electric mixture, beat the brown sugar, remaining 4 egg whites and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Fill a medium saucepan with enough simmering water to reach a depth of 1 inch; place the mixing bowl on top. Whisk the mixture until it registers 160 degrees Fahrenheit on an instant-read thermometer.

Transfer the bowl back to the mixer and beat at high speed until fluffy; lower the speed and beat to room temperature, about 5 minutes. Add the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, then beat at high speed for 5 minutes. Beat in the remaining ½ teaspoon vanilla. Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag and pipe large rosettes on top of the cooled cupcakes.

These cupcakes were out of this world! If you like pumpkin and cheesecake, then these are a must! The actual cupcakes are so moist and the cheesecake in the middle is so delicious and such a treat. The only thing that could be better than the cupcakes is the frosting – it is light and fluffy and is probably the best frosting I’ve ever tasted (and I don’t even eat frosting half the time). Erin said the frosting was a bit labor intensive, but it was worth it in the end; it’s the perfect topping to a great cupcake. Neither is too sweet, but just perfect! Erin used a piping bag for the frosting and it worked perfectly.

If you want to experiment with something a little out of the ordinary, then try these cupcakes and let me know what you think (I don’t think you’re going to be let down)!

Apple Cupcakes with Caramel Glaze Frosting

The deliciousness and credit of this post is goes to Erin, I had very little to do with it except for some tasting… Mmmmm

Cupcake Ingredients:
1 ¼ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 egg, room temperature
½ cup lightly packed brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 Rome apples (about 1 pound), peeled and shredded

Frosting Ingredients:
¼ cup butter, melted
1/3 cup half-and-half cream
¾ cup packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ¾ cups confectioners’ sugar

Arrange a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cupcake pan with baking liners. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until smooth. Whisk in the oil and vanilla. Stir mixture into the flour mixture until just combined; stir in the apples. Spoon the batter into the prepared cupcake can until almost full. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out dry, 25 – 30 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

While cupcakes are cooling, begin making the frosting. Combine the butter, half-and-half, and brown sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and stir in the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Set pan over a bowl of ice water and whisk or beat with an electric mixer until fluffy. Frost cupcakes when they are completely cool.

These cupcakes are great if you’re looking for something a little bit different than the normal cupcake with whipped frosting. The actual cupcakes are moist and dense, a lot like a muffin, and a little bit sweet. The apples really blend into the mixture and cook down so you’re really not biting into apple chunks but rather little pieces of apple here and there. When baking, the cupcakes do not rise too much so be sure to fill up the baking liners almost full (and don’t be expecting the fluffy cake-like cupcakes).

The frosting is very good but a little hard to work with. When making these, Erin tried to frost the cupcakes as soon as the frosting was complete but we found that waiting for about 5 minutes or so, until the frosting can set up a little bit, it was much easier to work with. The frosting is more of a glaze than a frosting that you would pipe on, but it is really good.

If you’re looking for a fall treat or just something a little different than your everyday cupcake, then these are a good alternative. Check back in the next day or so for an unbelievable cupcake recipe that you MUST try!

Pumpkin Pie (Easiest Recipe Ever)

• 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
• 1 (14 ounce) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
• 2 large eggs
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
• 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Whisk pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, spices and salt in medium bowl until smooth. Pour into crust. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and continue baking 35 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted 1 inch from crust comes out clean. Cool. Store leftovers covered in refrigerator.

This is one of the easiest recipes I’ve ever done and it makes the most delicious pumpkin pie I’ve ever had… honestly! A couple friends who don’t normally eat pumpkin pie love this one! One change I always make to the recipe is that I use 3 teaspoons on pumpkin pie spice (pre-mixed, that you buy in the spice isle at the grocery store) instead of the separate spices that the recipe calls for; it’s up to you, try it both ways and see which you like better.

I know it’s a little late to be posting this with Thanksgiving being tomorrow (I can’t believe it’s already here!!), but pumpkin pie is something you can make all season long; just wait until you’re over the Thanksgiving hub-bub and pumpkin pie overload that comes with it and try this out later in the autumn. Enjoy!