Sara Dhanani

Archive for the ‘Dessert’ Category

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

In Cookies, Dessert, Favorite Recipes on April 10, 2020 at 10:13 pm

The perfect chocolate chip cookie is chewy in the middle,  crispy at the ends and disappears by the next morning when you have a bunch of little ladies in the house.



  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup salted butter, softened (2 sticks)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips 



Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Place parchment paper on your baking pan. Cream the butter for a minute or so on medium speed in your stand mixer. Add in both the sugars and cream till light and fluffy (medium-high speed). Add in the egg and vanilla extract. Next add the flour, salt and baking soda and mix gently (I use the stand mixer for the whole recipe). Add 2 cups of chocolate chips and mix one last time. Place the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Using an ice cream scoop or spoon, scoop up 1.5 inches of dough, make a ball and flatten gently in your palms. Place the cookies 3 inches apart on your baking pan and bake till edges are brown and centers still pale. Gently transfer to a cooling rack.

Goes perfectly with a glass of milk!

Caramel Apple Pie

In Breakfast/Brunch, Dessert on November 30, 2014 at 10:03 am

A little bit of caramel makes anything taste better and in the case of this pie, it elevates it from a humble apple pie to a spectacular apple pie. The key is to restrain the sugar and let the caramel do it’s own sweet thing. Gobbled up by family and a little toddler who is just a touch sweeter than the caramel.



I decided to use a few varieties of apples which created a lovely blend of tart, sweet flavors mingled with nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. The warmth of the spices along with the buttery caramel.. hmmm.



Apples – approximately 7 of them, a few granny smith, 1-2 pink ladys, braeburn or any firm apple

a pink of ground nutmeg and cloves

One tsp of ground cinnamon

1/2 – 3/4 cup of white granulated sugar

Juice of 1 lemon

Prebaked pie crust – any kind you like, I use graham cracker crust and also use a boxed or homemade pie crust for the lattice on top

Caramel either home made or store brought


Put on some holiday music, and make yourself a cup of hot tea.

Preheat the oven to 400 degree’s.  Peel and core the apples and slice them. Place apples in a large bowl and add the sugar, spices,and lemon juice. Combine till all the apples are coated with sugar and spice. Pour over the pie crust. Drizzle a few teaspoons of caramel sauce (2 for less sweet, did I already say there is no such thing as too much caramel?). Make a lattice on top and bake for 30-40 minutes till its golden and bubbly.

Almond Pear Teacake

In Breakfast/Brunch, Cakes, Dessert on September 23, 2014 at 11:08 am

An entire tea party could be planned around this gorgeous cake which is gluten free with no added fats. I stumbled upon this recipe as we were out of butter in our home ( shame on me!) but my little laia wanted to bake.

And I am so glad I tried it out with a few modifications. It’s a truly glorious recipe and next time I will cut down the sugar even more as it was a rich sweet for me ( but oh so perfect with a hot, hot cup of chai!).




I halved the recipe and below are the measurements I used to make a 8x 2.5 inch cake.


2 ripe pears (such as bosc pears)
3/4 cup of granulated sugar + 2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 and 1/8 cups finely ground blanched almond meal
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons brown sugar or honey
½ cup sliced almonds


Pre-heat oven to 350. Prepare a 8 x 3 inch springform pan by lining with butter and parchment paper.

Peel and core both the pears, slicing one into thin slices as this will go on top of the cake, and chopping the other pear. On the stovestop, cook the chopped pear with lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of sugar until it is soft and mushy which may take 7-10 minutes. Coarsely mash it with a fork and put it aside to cool. Once cool, add the eggs and 1 tsp of vanilla extract and beat together.

Add the almond flour and sugar to a food processor and give it a few long pulses( 4 years olds love to help with this). Add the egg and pear mixture to the food processor and pulse again till well combined.

Heat sugar or honey in a saucepan till slightly bubbly and carefully fold in the thinly sliced pears.

Pour the batter in the prepared pan, decorate the top of the cake with the sliced pears and top with sliced almonds (or coarsely chopped). Bake for 30-40 minutes till a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Wait for all who taste to applaud!

Peanut butter Icebox cake

In Cakes, Dessert, Favorite Recipes on August 10, 2014 at 3:54 pm

It’s the end of summer in Phoenix, which means temps are well just cooling off.  This dessert is perfect for those days when turning on the oven is not an option. While I almost never bake with boxed mixes, this dessert is an exception. I used a box pudding mix for the very first time and am I the only one who thinks that instant pudding is creepy.. I mean stir and stir and stir and you have chocolate pudding. None the less the recipe called for it, and while the chocolate pudding has nothing over a from scratch stovetop chocolate pudding (recipe comin up!), it is great for this icebox cake.








For the Crust:
1 (14.3-ounce) package Oreo Cookies
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

For the Peanut Butter Layer:
8 ounces cream cheese
¾ cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 (8-ounce) tub Cool Whip
6 snack size peanut butter cups, coarsely chopped

For the Pudding Layer:
1 (5.9-ounce) box instant chocolate pudding
2 cups milk

For the Topping:
1 (8-ounce) tub Cool Whip
6 snack size peanut butter cups, coarsely chopped


Crust: Place the cookies in a food processor blender and process until they are broken down into fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse a few times to ensure that all of the crumbs are evenly moistened. Turn the crumbs out into a 9×13-inch pan and press into an even layer. Refrigerate while the peanut butter layer is prepared.

Peanut Butter Layer: Using an electric mixer cream together the cream cheese and peanut butter until smooth. Reduce the speed to medium-low and gradually add the powdered sugar until it is all incorporated. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 30 seconds. Fold in the Cool Whip. Spread in an even layer over the crust and sprinkle with the chopped peanut butter cups. Refrigerate while the pudding layer is prepared.

Pudding Layer: In a large bowl, whisk together the pudding mix and milk for 2 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes to allow it to set. Use an offset spatula to spread the pudding in an even layer over the cream cheese mixture.

Spread the remaining 8-ounce tub of Cool Whip on top and sprinkle with the rest of the chopped peanut butter cups. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

Stovetop Chocolate Pudding

In Dessert, Favorite Recipes on July 4, 2014 at 3:32 pm

A childhood favorite chocolate pudding, which is silky delicious comfort food. My 4 year old requested it and slurped it up with a straw after taking a few bites. It has a perfect consistency chilled, but so delicious warm as well.


1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup cocoa

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

1 egg

2-4 ounces of semi sweet chocolate


Whisk in aheavy bottomed pot, the cocoa, sugar and corn starch and slowly add in the cream and milk, whisking constantly so no lumps form. Cook till the mixture has a thick, pudding consistency. Beat the egg and using your whisk add a little of the pudding mixture to the egg, whisking furiously so that the egg is tempered, not cooked. Continue adding the pudding mixture to the egg till it is all combined. Transfer back to the pot and cook for a 1 minute, whisking well. Add the semisweet chocolate and let it melt and mix one more time. Serve chilled or warm in ramekins.