If you are craving home made Turkish (or Middle Eastern) desserts, and you don't feel like spending hours in the kitchen, this, my friends, is the recipe for you. It is as easy as can be. Sekerpare (sheckerparé) means "sugar bit". And they are sweet as sugar indeed. It is very similar to a cookie, but it is soaked in delicious syrup, like most of the Turkish sweets. Keep in mind though that you need to make this one day, or at least 10-12 hours before you want to serve them. 

Ingredients for 30-36 Sekerpare (one tray)

1 stick softened butter (100-110 g)

1 cup confectioner's sugar
4 egg yolks
4 cups flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract . I started using vanilla bean paste, it is still quite liquid,but the nice part is that you get the vanilla seeds as well, and I love that. It is also much cheaper than using whole vanilla beans. 
1 small pinch of salt
30-36 whole , raw, blanched nuts of your choice ( hazelnuts, macadamia, pine nuts, almonds, pistachio)

For the syrup

3 cups sugar
3 cups water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract


Start by making the syrup. In a medium sauce pan mix the sugar, water and lemon juice, bring to a boil, then let it simmer for 10-15 minutes. Turn the heat off, and add the vanilla extract, mix and set aside. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl beat the sugar and butter for 2-3 minutes, then add 3 of the egg yolks and vanilla extract and mix. You will need one egg yolk to brush the top of the cookies. 

Add the baking powder, salt and flour, mixing just until you get an oily soft dough, but hard enough not to stick to your hands, and to be able to make small balls out of it. Careful not to over work the dough. Adjust the flour quantity if needed. Even if it looks a little crumbly don't worry, it will get smooth when shaping it.

In order to have all the cookies same size, it is best to use a small ice cream scoop (25 mm or 20 mm), the one that you use for your regular cookies. Sekerpare must be the size of a walnut. Scoop some of the dough and using your hands and make balls out of it, placing them on a sheet pan, covered with parchment paper.

When done, using a pastry brush, gently brush the tops with egg yolk. 

Place a nut in the middle of each cookie, pressing gently in order to flatten it a bit. Even if it cracks a little it is fine, if not even better, as it will be easier for it to absorb the syrup. 
Bake the cookies for about 40 minutes.
Quickly move the cookies in a deeper, and smaller dish, so they fit snugly. 
The secret to great Sekerpare is that you pour the lukewarm syrup on top of the hot, straight out of the oven cookies, then cover the dish. The syrup must not be cold, nor hot. The cookies must be hot.
Let the Sekerpare soak up the syrup overnight, on the counter. They will be ready to serve the second day. 
I prefer most of my desserts with a dollop of vanilla ice cream on top, and I recommend you try Sekerpare this way as well, it goes really well. Or with fresh whipped cream. 

Ramazan Bayraminiz mubarek bolsun!


Another bread pudding

Yes indeed, I do love bread pudding a lot! And now that I discovered bourbon sauce, I like it even more! 

I made this bread pudding for breakfast the other day, and I was looking for something to make it even better, and stumbled upon this amazing sauce, so simple and fast to make and so delicious. I would put this on everything!

To make the bread pudding :

Ingredients for 4 servings
-2 cups brioche bread, cut in 1 inch cubes. 
Cut the bread and let it stand on the counter for few hours, or over night,  and if you have stale bread is even better. You can actually use any kind of bread, if it is not with olives, rosemary or any savory ingredient. Any regular bread will do. Or croissants, and various pastries that are getting old, you can use them in this recipe. Isn't this great? No more waist, and more yumminess in your life!
-4 whole eggs, beaten
-2/3 cups granulated sugar
-2 cups of milk
-1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick or 4 tablespoons) softened, and some more for greasing the pan
-2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (skip it if you want)
-1/2 cup slivered almonds (or any other nuts you like)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C)
In a big bowl beat together eggs and sugar, add the milk, vanilla and nutmeg, and mix well. Drop in the cubed bread, mix gently, and let sit in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. I actually prep everything the night before, and let it in the fridge over night. Pour everything in the pan you will bake it in. i like to use individual ramekins, but a deep dish or other deep pan should work just as fine. Mix the butter and nuts and sprinkle on top, then bake the pudding for 40-45 minutes (30-35 if you use ramekins).

While the pudding cools slightly, make the sauce

-1 cup granulated sugar
-1 stick butter (8 tablespoons) melted
-1 egg , beaten
-2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
-3 tablespoons bourbon or brandy , even rum (I don't have bourbon in the house and used some champagne instead, and it works great too)

In a sauce pan beat the egg and sugar, add the melted butter and vanilla and mix well. Put on medium heat and whisking continuously let it cook for 5-7 minutes, until the sugar melts, and it starts to thicken just a little. To be more precise use a thermometer, and wait for the sauce to get to 150 degrees F. Add the brandy and mix well, keeping on heat for 2-3 minutes, for the alcohol to evaporate a little. If you want a stronger alcohol taste you can skip this step. 

Pour the hot sauce over the bread pudding, and serve. I served it with a dollop of whipped cream on top, fresh mint and a cherry.  
Recipe adapted from Paula Deen. 


Apricot cupcakes

Our cousin E has an amazing "blondie" recipe that she was so kind and shared with me, and I plan sharing with you on this blog soon! But until then I used part of that delicious recipe and experimented with some cupcakes today. 

These are fluffy and light as air, filled with fresh apricots, as they are in full season, and frosted with a velvety meringue. The apricots bake inside the cupcake and transform in this creamy delicious filling. I believe it is a perfect combination between the sweetness of the cake, tartness of the apricots and creaminess of the meringue. 
Ingredients (for 12 cupcakes):

3 eggs, separated
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons vegetable oil (sunflower or canola)
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 small pinch of salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract ( you can use one teaspoon, I love vanilla and tend to exaggerate )
6 ripe fresh apricots, pitted, cut in half. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C)
Line your cupcake pan with your favorite cupcake liners.


1. Separate the eggs, putting the egg whites in the clean (wipe the bowl with a paper towel and lemon juice or vinegar to remove any fat traces) bowl of your electric mixer (don't use plastic bowls, use glass, stainless steel, copper or ceramic ones) and the egg yolks in another bowl.
2. Start beating the egg whites, on low for 30 seconds, then on medium-high for about 3-4 minutes, or until soft peaks form.
3. Gradually add the sugar, and beat another 2 minutes or so, until it gets stiff and glossy.
4. Whisk the egg yolks with the vegetable oil well, then add to this the vanilla extract and mix.
5. Add the egg yolk mixture over the beaten egg whites, and using a spatula or wooden spoon fold in, slowly.
6. Sift over the eggs the flour, salt and baking powder. Fold in carefully, just until combined.
The batter should be fluffy but not runny, should keep it's shape, like in the photo bellow.

7. With the help of an ice cream scoop or spoon, fill the cupcake liners with the batter, up to half of the height.
8. Place over the batter half of apricot

9. Cover the apricot with another spoon of batter. In the end the cupcakes should be filled up to two thirds.
10. Bake cupcakes on the middle rack of the oven for 17-20 minutes, depending on your oven, until puffed up and golden on top.
11. Carefully take the pan out of the oven, and let the cupcakes cool on a cooling rack.

Make the meringue frosting:

1 cup egg whites (egg whites from 4-5 eggs)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I use Tahitian vanilla extract for this)
1 teaspoon lemon juice or almond extract (you can also skip this all together)
Gel food coloring of your choice (I used Americolor soft gel food coloring in color Peach, 3 tiny drops)


1. Put a medium sauce pan with some water on heat to get to a simmer.
2. In the clean bowl of your mixer add the egg whites and sugar, and place the bowl over the simmering pot, taking care that it does not touch the water and fits snugly. 
3. With a clean hand whisk beat slowly but constantly, until the sugar is completely dissolved, and the mixture is hot to the touch. It should take 5-7 minutes. To be more precise use a candy thermometer, and take them off the heat when they reach 140 degrees F.
4. Place the bowl on the mixer,after wiping the bottom dry and using the whisk attachment beat them on medium speed until soft peaks form, and the bowl cools down. You can also do this by hand, it does not take too long.
5. Add the lemon juice (or almond extract if you wish), vanilla extract and food coloring. Careful to add the food coloring drop by drop, not too much at once, to make sure you get the desired hue. If you want a deeper color you can always add more later. The food coloring is pretty strong, and very little is needed. Beat everything on medium high for couple more minutes, until glossy and stiff peaks form. It is important not to over beat it, as it will start to look grainy, and will be hard to pipe and of course not look as good. 
6. Fill a piping bag fitted with a tip of your choice, with the meringue, making sure there are no air bubble left. This is kind of tricky, but it is worth taking care of if you want the frosting to look as perfect as possible. I used a big simple round piping tip to achieve this classic look. 
This meringue frosting is best used immediately, so be sure to start making it right before you will use it. Also it is best eaten the same day, as it does not keep well. (maybe one night in the fridge won't ruin it though, but it won't be as good). The best part of this frosting is that it is pure white, and it makes so much easier coloring it in pale pastel hues, and the colors stay true. It is also very easy to handle and frost/pipe it on your desserts. 

To make my cupcakes fabulous I decorated them with edible golden stars. 
So, what do you think?



Chocolate on chocolate mascarpone bundt cake

Because a day without chocolate is a day lost, I give you with no further introduction the chocolate on chocolate mascarpone bundt cake

Chocolate bundt cake 

2+1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup mascarpone
1/2 cup heavy cream
7 ounces chocolate, chopped
8 ounces butter, plus more for pan
1 + 1/4 cups sugar
5 eggs 
1 tbs pure vanilla extract

  1. Preheat your oven to 325F (170C).
  2. Butter a 14-cup Bundt cake pan and set aside. If your pan has a lot of corners and complicated shapes, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and use a pastry brush to spread the butter all over the pan, getting in all the corners, so that your cake comes out easily. 
  3. Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl. Whisk and set aside.
  4. In a small saucepan, bring cream to a boil. Place chopped chocolate in a small bowl and pour hot cream, through a sieve, over the chopped chocolate. Stir until smooth and creamy in texture.
  5. Add mascarpone and mix. Let aside to cool.
  6. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until fluffy.
  7. Add the eggs and beat until combined.
  8. Stir in vanilla extract.
  9. On low speed, add the flour mixture in three equal amounts alternating with the chocolate batter, ending with flour.
  10. Pour the batter into the Bundt pan and bake for 55-60 minutes (or until a wooden toothpick insterted in center comes out clean). If the toothpick is wet, bake 5 more minutes and check again.
  11. Let cool in pan, invert onto a serving plate and start preparing the chocolate ganache glaze.

Chocolate glaze

4.5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup almond slivers


  1. In a small saucepan, bring cream to a boil.
  2. Add chopped chocolate and butter and let stand without mixing for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Stir until smooth and creamy in texture.
  4. Let stand, stirring occasionally until slightly thickened.
  5. Pour over the cooled cake
  6. Sprinkle some almond slivers on top for some crunch