homemade chocolate truffles

I realize sharing a recipe for homemade chocolate truffles the day after Valentine’s Day is like putting up your Christmas tree on December 26th. Here they are on display, for all the world to see, except you’ve already had your fill of chocolate (I hear that happens to some people; I am not one of them).

Well, I had a good reason for not sharing them sooner. These were a gift for my guy, so I had to keep them a secret, of sorts. I spilled the beans on snapchat, but figured that was a safe place since he’s not tuned into that yet (I think!). Speaking of snapchat, I finally jumped in there last week. I’m enjoying it more than I ever imagined, so join me there (look for jenniferperillo) for some behind the scenes. It’s more “day in the life” stuff, and feels good to share real moments, and not the beautifully staged ones like on Instagram (though I do love IG very much). Continue reading »

gingerbread hot cocoa

I know. Another gingerbready kind of recipe (and I’m sure that’s not even a real word, so forgive me, Ilina). It’s okay if you’re rolling your eyes; everyone else in my house is fed up with my obsession, too. The good news is that this recipe for gingerbread hot cocoa is the last of its kind that I’ll be sharing for 2015. Don’t worry—I already have a few gingerbread recipes in the bank for 2016!

It’s hard to believe today is December 21st. There was this quiet moment, just after Thanksgiving, where I felt like there would be time to savor this holiday season. I remember letting out a huge exhale (much as I just did while writing that sentence), and pressing the mental slow motion button. In hindsight, I’m especially thankful for that relaxing Thanksgiving weekend. Slowing down for those few days helped shore up energies for what has been a very busy December. We’ve clocked more than 1,500 miles this month to visit friends in Woodstock, Brooklyn, and North Carolina. And this weekend, we shall make one last visit to our house in upstate NY to unwind for a few days before welcoming a new year, and new possibilities. Continue reading »

Peppermint Fudge Brownies

One thing I never had to worry about back in Brooklyn, or even Woodstock for that matter, was too many sweets. I used to show up in the school yard to pick up the kids, armed with containers or baggies full of goodies. No one ever argued when I asked if they’d like to help me out by taking the day’s recipe testing treats home to sample. Things are quite different now, here in Maryland. I spend my days, hermit-like in my apartment cooking, baking, and writing. The only neighbor I know is my guy who lives next door, and a sweet gal who lives below me, and babysits the girls from time to time. I bring treats to the doormen, but that’s not nearly enough to help purge all the brownies that flowed from my kitchen this week. Continue reading »

grain-free peppermint fudge brownies

Consider these minty grain-free fudge brownies second cousins to my Peppermint Fudge Brownies, and third cousins to my Milk Chocolate Brownies. If you’d like to make them dairy-free, swap in 1/4 cup of oil (grapeseed or canola) for the butter. Next up on my testing list is to give these a try substituting granulated maple sugar for the cane sugar. If you want to give it a try, keep in mind that maple sugar is sweeter, so I would try 2/3 cup in my first round of testing. Let me know if you give it a go, and leave a note in the comments. Oh, one last note. If you’re not a fan of mint, just use all milk or dark chocolate chips (for a total of 9 ounces / 252 grams).

xo-Jennie Continue reading »

peanut butter & chocolate cinnamon buns

My relationship with peanut butter and chocolate desserts needs no explanation for long-time readers. One day I’ll tell the story of how the little peanut butter pie that could came to be. Today, though, I want to share a new peanut butter and chocolate recipe with all of you. It’s only recently that I could even fathom that flavor combination again. Cooking has the power to heal, but some recipes, some flavors, well, they’re too reminiscent of moments that I’ll never experience again.

Continue reading »

chewy, bittersweet brownies

I found myself craving brownies the other night, which rarely happens. I must confess that while I love baking chocolate desserts (they generally make everyone happy!), they are not my first choice for eating. I reached for my copy of Homemade with Love to make the walnut fudge brownies on page 185. Honestly, it still blows my mind, and humbles me, every time I pull my own cookbook off the shelf.  A quick scan of the ingredients, and I realized I didn’t have any espresso granules in the house. I decided to brew up a small pot of very strong coffee in its place. While I was at it, I swapped in whole wheat pastry flour for the all-purpose, and used less, too. You can use regular all-purpose flour if that’s all you have on hand, and it’ll be fine. I just figured I’d fool myself into believing the whole wheat would make them healthier.

Continue reading »

chocolate pistachio madeleines {day 182}

My first attempt at making madeleines was only recently, just before Mikey passed away actually. I relied on a trusted source to guide me, and while the batter tasted amazing, and the finished product was quite good too, my madeleines looked like they’d been through a war. I broke a sweat trying to pry them from the pans with my offset spatula. Figuring I didn’t use enough butter or flour to coat the pans, I immediately started a second batch. Mikey looked at me like I was nuts, but he knew my drive for perfection was ceaseless and I wouldn’t give up that easily.

Then my second batch came out of the oven.

They seemed to stick to the pan, again.

So I did what anyone insane baker would do, and moved onto batch three immediately. This is where you’d add the explicatives because, yes, those little bastards still stuck to the pan. I went to bed tired, annoyed and feeling defeated.

Continue reading »

whole wheat chocolate chip cookies {day 169}

My mind feels about as soft as the cookie dough I’ve been obsessed with the last two days. It is a swirl of activity, and some days focusing feels so out of reach.

January 25th, this Wednesday, marks 14 years since my father died. 1998—what an intense year it turned out to be. I hadn’t even thought of my real dreams until that fateful year. Nothing like your dad dying rather suddenly at the age of 49 to rock your core.

He was a Michael too, and all these years later the image of him taking his very last breath is still engraved in my memory.

Continue reading »

chocolate buttermilk doughnuts

On my way home from the market today I realized I've been an adult most of my life. Sure, there was a fleeting few minutes when I felt like a kid, but as you've likely guessed most of my childhood was not spent carefree.

What makes today's moment significant is that as the thought occurred to me, somewhere between pondering making mussels or fried rice for dinner, I finally felt a sense of relief. It was as though someone had opened the window to my soul and let the hurt and heartache fly away with a burst of wind.

The memories will always be there—what matters is what I do with them. Do I let the past pull me me away from enjoying the here and now?

Continue reading »

chocolate snaps

We sipped cappucinos at a little cafe in the Villlage. It may have been my first, now that I think about it. The rain thundered down, and we decided to make a run for the Mr.'s office to wait it out before making our way home. Lightening lit up the room as it flooded through the large picture windows. Butterflies took flight and my heart raced. As the thunder roared, we had our first kiss.

I remember that evening as if it was yesterday, and while 16 years have passed, two little girls have blossomed and for better or worse has been tested, I am lucky enough to still feel that tingle that took over my tummy all those years ago.

Our life is quite busy now, weekends filled with chores, most evenings I collapse once the kids are tucked in. But the moment I hear the front gate open, or his key turn the lock, my heart still skips a beat, sending me back to that moment we had when I was just 21. That is the most special gift not sold in stores. That tells you this one is a keeper, the one with whom you are meant to spend the rest of your life.

Continue reading »