new sweet-lab site on

Hello Dear Friends,

I’m just dropping by to let you know that the sweet-lab site has moved from to Unfortunately, if you are a subscriber to the blog you will not be able to receive anymore email notifications unless you go to the new site and click the “subscribe” button on the right-hand side of the page.

If you want to continue following sweet-lab (and I really hope that you do!) you can visit and subscribe to start following all the new stories and recipes I want to to share with you.

Thank you so much for your support and I hope to see you around!

sweetlab logo

new sweet-lab site

Hello Dear Friends,

I’m just dropping by to let you know that the sweet-lab site has moved from to Unfortunately, if you are a subscriber to the blog you will not be able to receive anymore email notifications unless you go to the new site and click the “subscribe” button on the right-hand side of the page.

If you want to continue following sweet-lab (and I really hope that you do!) you can visit and subscribe to start following all the new stories and recipes I want to to share with you.

Thank you so much for your support and I hope to see you around!

sweetlab logo


blood orange rosemary pâte de fruit

blood orange rosemary pate de fruit

I was set on these. I mean set.

And when I’m set on something, it is pretty difficult to pull me back. I guess the correct term for that would be “stubborn”.

blood orange rosemary pate de fruit

Although I’ve been politely corrected and told, “Nah, you just know what you want. That’s not being stubborn.” Oh, do I really know what I want? Okay, that’s a whole other issue that I won’t even get into right now.

blood orange rosemary pate de fruit

I will admit it though. Yes, I am stubborn. You know, sometimes you just have to act and become completely and unreasonably obstinate about things or else life wouldn’t be quite as fun….or stressful.

blood orange rosemary pate de fruit

For instance, if you have the urge to bake a pineapple upside down cake on your day off, then go for it…No, baking a lemon pound cake it’s just not going to do it. Because you’re stubborn…and know what you want. That pineapple upside down cake is what you want.

And if you want to have your nails painted deep purple, the color called “heart throb” probably won’t do it. The color “I think in pink” may not work either. Because you’re stubborn…and you know what you want. Deep purple is what you want.

blood orange rosemary pate de fruit

And if you want to write a recipe for fruity treats that possess a harmonious balance of fruity tartness and sweetness and a texture that when you bite into them is initial resistance followed by a delicate bite, then writing a recipe for something that resembles gummy bears clearly won’t cut it. Although, I will revise that first attempt and bring it to you in recipe form soon because ummm…hello!!!! Gummy bears!! Kind of awesome, really.

blood orange rosemary pate de fruit

So I knew that writing a recipe for these little pastry jewels would be a true test, but I was out to conquer the “Pâte de Fruit Recipe-Writing Challenge” (…a serious challenge that I had formed in my mind and that nobody else around me was hopefully aware of..).

It took three attempts to get the desirable taste, texture, and consistency right on point. Stubborn much? Nah, I just know what I want. Right…

blood orange rosemary pate de fruit

Yield:  Approximately 100 small pieces, depending on the size you cut them. Store for one month at room temperature fully enrobed. Keep well-wrapped in fridge for about one week.

Equipement: scale, candied thermometer, food processor, baking dish or tupperware that’s approximately 8″ x 8″, whisk, strainer.


1 blood orange

4 oz blood orange juice

6 small sprigs of rosemary

4 oz water

11 oz sugar

5 oz certo liquid pectin

4 oz sugar for coating


1. Spray 8″ x 8″ baking dish with vegetable oil. Line baking dish with a piece of parchment paper that extends about 2 inches beyond the rim of the baking dish. Set aside for later use. (Note: The dimensions of the baking dish do not have to be exactly 8″ x 8″, as long as it’s close enough. I mean, let’s keep it real…I used a tupperware that was about 9″ x 5″ and that worked wonderfully. The size of the baking dish will only affect the height of your pâte de fruit.  The more area the baking dish has, the shorter your pâte de fruit will be. The less area the baking dish has, the taller it will be).

2. Cook the blood orange in boiling water for about 30 seconds in a sauce pan, until the peel has softened a bit.

3. Cut the ends off and discard them. Cut the blood orange into segments.

4. Place blood orange segments into food processor and pulse until blood orange is finely chopped. Add blood orange juice to food processor and pulse until mixture is well pureed.

5. Pour blood orange puree and 3 sprigs of rosemary into a medium sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Turn heat off. Put a lid on the pan and infuse for about 30 minutes, until the blood orang puree tastes like a hint of rosemary.

6. Place water and remaining 3 sprigs of rosemary into a separate small sauce pan. Bring water to a gentle simmer. Turn heat off. Cover pan with a lid and infuse for about 30 minutes, until water tastes like rosemary. Set aside for later use.

7. Strain blood orange puree into a bowl to remove the pulp, peel, rosemary, and fruit chunks. Pour liquid into the same sauce pan along with sugar.

8. Remove rosemary from water. Add water to sauce pan. Stir blood orange, sugar, and water to combine.

9. Cook over low heat until it forms a very thick syrup that coats the back of the spoon and the temperature is of 180 F.  Be sure to whisk constantly. Mixture should never come to a boil, but rather maintain a gentle and very low simmer. You may have to adjust the temperature as you cook it.

10. Once the mixture has reached 180 F and the mixture has become thick and syrupy, turn off the heat and add the Certo. Whisk until well combined.

11. Pour into prepared baking dish and allow it to sit at room temperature for up to 5 hours.

12. Unmold onto a work surface. Peel off and discard parchment paper. Using a sharp knife, cut into small squares or rectangles.

13. Spread remaining 4 ounce of sugar in a shallow bowl. Roll the pieces in the sugar to coat. Arrange on a platter and serve.

blood orange rosemary pate de fruit

blood orange rosemary pate de fruit


hazelnut cheesecake

hazelnut cheesecake

I have to think about this one for a second. Should I do this?

Yes, I think I should.

hazelnut cheesecake

Okay here it goes. I recently read an article somewhere which stated that food bloggers are multitalented…Not only do they possess knowledge about baking/cooking, but they are also adequate writers and photographers, at least that’s what is expected from them and those are the qualities they should possess in order to be successful in the field.

hazelnut cheesecake

Well, to me writing is the trickiest of the three qualities, and I’m not talking about proper grammar usage or correct verb conjugation. I’m talking about trying to transmit my thoughts fully and properly with words. I have never been a person of many words, especially spoken words. An introvert like me, would rather express herself in other ways. But as I read over some of my posts, I have to admit that I have frequently and conveniently mistaken this blog for a diary, where I’m permitted to ramble on and on and then shyly hit the “publish” button. That doesn’t mean I’m a great writer. That just means that I happened to find the correct words in that specific time and place to express a certain feeling or thought. And thank God I did.

hazelnut cheesecake

Well, today, as I think about these cheesecakes I made, a bundle of emotion is stirred up inside of me and I might have to “let it all come out” and come clean once again…through words.

hazelnut cheesecake

hazelnut cheesecake

Here is the story. I made hazelnut cheesecakes today. I made one set for Periphery and one for me. Incase you didn’t know, Periphery is a progressive metal band that is doing really wonderful things in music.They just left for an Australian tour and I made them these treats before they left on their journey.

hazelnut cheesecake

About a year and half ago my other half, Mark, was offered the position of becoming one of Periphery’s full-time guitarists. He was offered the opportunity of a life time…of his life time. At the time, I was almost convinced that this opportunity, as rewarding as it may have been for him, did not match with what I had in mind for us. To keep things brief, after having been with Mark for many many years, I deeply believed that this sudden change of pace and life style in our lives would be a problem. I was stuck in the notion that the idea of the two (the band/touring and me) could not coexist. I was stubborn and pushed away. This would either make us or break us.

hazelnut cheesecake

Luckily we are still one, stronger than ever. It took some adjusting and getting used to, but after some compromise and care from both sides, we got over the unexpected bump on the road and swerved back to our path. After testing the waters and giving it a try, I realized that this situation is not that bad. I won’t bother listing the pros and cons. He is doing what he loves and that is very important.

hazelnut cheesecake

hazelnut cheesecake

So today, I made two sets of cheesecakes: one for me and one for Periphery to take on their trip. Mine has chopped and toasted hazelnuts along with striped dark chocolate on the top. Theirs has the band’s logo on the surface of each individual piece. Mine is a larger and thicker piece (I know, I know), while theirs are smaller and thinner mini cheesecakes, to the point where they almost resemble cheesecake cookies…Cheesecake and cookies united as one?! Simply delicious.

hazelnut cheesecake

hazelnut cheesecake

They are both different, but still alike, since the same batter, method, and care, were taken to elaborate both. After all, we can all coexist peacefully.

hazelnut cheesecakes

And even better? The guys enjoyed their treats quite a bit and as you probably figure, few things in the world gratify me more than to bring happiness to others through sweets. I hope you find them to be just as tasty.

hazelnut cheesecake

• Yield: Six mini cheesecakes and one 6″ x 2″ medium-sized cheesecakes. However, the yield varies depending on what size pan you prefer to use. I’m sure you can probably get two 8″ cheesecakes out of this. Freeze for 3-4 weeks well wrapped. Keep in fridge for about 2 days.

• Note: I used tart pans for the mini cheesecakes. I know you may be thinking, “Tart pans are meant to be used to bake tarts, not cheesecakes! Duuuh!” And you are so right. However, that’s what I had in hand and I made it work just fine. Since the material of the cake pans is so thin, the baking time decreases significantly because the heat reaches the batter sooner and with more force. If using a spring form pan, be sure to wrap the bottom and sides of cake pan with aluminum foil to prevent leakage. 

ingredients for hazelnut cookie crust:

4 oz butter

2 oz sugar

3.5 oz AP flour

1/4 tsp salt

2.5 oz hazelnuts

recipe for hazelnut cookie crust:

1. Place hazelnuts into a food processor and grind until hazelnuts are finely crushed. Set aside.

2. Cream butter and sugar until butter is light and fluffy.

3. Mix AP flour, ground hazelnuts, and salt together.

4. Slowly add all dry ingredients to butter/sugar mixture and mix on low speed until dough comes together.

5. Drop spoonfuls of dough two inches apart onto a sheet tray that is covered with parchment paper. You will most likely need two baking sheets to bake off all the cookies. Bake at 350 F for about 12 minutes, until cookies become golden brown. Allow cookies to cool off.

ingredients for cheesecake:

hazelnut cookies

8 oz cream cheese

4 oz sugar

6 oz Nutella

1/2 tsp vanilla

3 oz mascarpone cheese

2 eggs

1 yolk

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 C hazelnuts, toasted and finely chopped

2 oz of dark chocolate

recipe for cheesecake:

1. Grind hazelnut cookies in a food processor until cookies are finely ground. The natural oils in the hazelnut will come out when this happens, so adding melted butter is not necessary to keep the crumbs together. 

2. Grease six 3″ x 1″ tart pans and one 6″ x 2″ round cake pan
 with vegetable spray. Cut out circles that have the same circumference as the base of the pans and place each circular piece of parchment paper on the base of each pan.

3. Press grounded hazelnut cookies into prepared pans. Bake at 350 F for about 10-12, until crust becomes golden brown. Allow crust to cool off completely.

4.  Preheat oven to 275 F. Cream cream cheese and sugar on medium speed for a couple of minutes until cream cheese is light, fluffly, and smooth. There should be no solid chunks of cream cheese at this point. Add Nutella and vanilla.


5. Add mascarpone cheese and continue to mix just until mixture is creamy and well combined. Scrape the sides and bottom of bowl and be sure that all ingredients are well integrated.

6.  Add yolks and eggs one at a time on low speed until batter is very smooth.

7. Strain batter into a large bowl. Ladle batter into prepared mini tart pans, until batter reaches almost to the top of each pan. Ladle remaining batter into 6″ x 2″ cake pan.


8. Place mini tart pans onto a baking sheet tray. Place sheet tray into preheated oven and pour water into sheet tray, until water reaches about halfway the sides of each pan. Place 6″ x 2″ cake pan onto a separate baking pan with sides. Pour water into baking pan so that water reaches about halfway the sides of cake pan. Bake mini cheesecakes for about 20-30 minutes and larger cake for about 1 hr 20 min, until cakes jiggle in the center when tapped.

9. Cool cheesecakes completely at room temperature. Place cakes in freezer for about 1-2 hours. 

10. Turn frozen cheesecakes upside down over a flat surface that is covered with parchment paper. Torch the sides and bottom of each cake and tap firmly until cheesecakes are released. Turn cheesecakes over.


11. Time decorate your cakes…sprinkle a handful of toasted/chopped hazelnuts over the surface of each cheese cake. Place dark chocolate in a small bowl and melt over a bain-marie. Place melted dark chocolate into a pre-made paper cone. Cut the paper cone’s tip and and move swiftly and quickly back and forth over the cake to create thin lines of chocolate on its surface. If you don’t have a paper cone and don’t feel comfortable making one, you could try dipping the tip of a fork or a spoon in the melted chocolate and moving it back and forth over the cake so that chocolate drizzles over it.

hazelnut cheesecake

You can then play around some more with the chocolate…It’s fun to do so and you may have trouble containing yourself.


You can also draw the logo of a progressive metal band with the chocolate, that’s just one idea for instance…

hazelnut cheesecake

Now comes the best part. Move the cheesecake onto a serving dish or platter with an offset spatula. Cut yourself a small piece or various pieces and enjoyyyyy! Be ware though, this dessert is super decadent and rich. A small piece goes a long way.

hazelnut cheesecake

dark chocolate bon-bons with rosemary ganache filling

rosemary bon-bons

Hey there! Just wanted to wish everyone a very sweet and happy Valentine’s Day with this chocolate treat. I hope you enjoy these dark chocolate bon-bons with rosemary ganache filling.

May you find yourself surrounded with lots of sweet and kind love–not just today, but every day.


1. This recipe requires a technique called tempering. To make things short, the temperature of the chocolate increases and then decreases so that the end result is a glossy, shiny, and streak-less chocolate that possesses a nice snap. I don’t explain the methods ( which are seeding, cool water, and tabling) in this recipe, but there is a lot of information out there of how to do so. I can also provide explanations if anyone would like me to.

2. This recipe requires a bon-bon plaque. The best quality plaques are made from heavy polycarbonate plastic and they will give chocolate its best shine and are nearly indestructible. However, I’ll tell let you in in a little secret and say that I bought mine in Sur La Table for $ 2.95. They are plastic and not quite as durable, but they did the trick just fine.


about 10 oz 70% dark couveture chocolate (this chocolate is used for tempering, so be sure that it’s couverture)

3 sprigs of fresh rosemary (about 2 grams each)

4 oz heavy cream

2 oz white chocolate, finely chopped

1/4 vanilla pod (or 1 gram)


1. Place one sprig of rosemary on a sheet tray and bake at 450 F for about 10-15 minutes, until fresh rosemary becomes dry and crunchy.

2. Remove rosemary leaves from stem. Grind leaves in a mortar and pestle until leaves resemble powder. Set aside for later use.

3. Temper chocolate using whichever tempering technique you prefer and fill bon-bon plaques with tempered chocolate. Fill cavities with tempered chocolate. Grab plaque from two corners and vibrate it to release air bubbles from the chocolate. Be sure to hold end of tray and tap multiple times. Hold opposite end of tray and tap multiple times. Knock out chocolate into bowl, tapping and scrapping with bench scraper or spatula so that chocolate comes out. Place plaque upside down over parchment and drain for less than 60 seconds. Pick up plaque and give it a last scrape. Put plaque in the fridge so that chocolate sets completely.

4. Bring heavy cream to a simmer in a small pot and place two rosemary sprigs and vanilla pod in heavy cream. Cover pot and allow heavy cream to infuse with the rosemary and vanilla for about 30 minutes. Remove rosemary and vanilla pod from heavy cream and scrape vanilla seeds into cream. Uncover pot and bring cream to a simmer again.

5. Place white chocolate into a bowl and pour simmered heavy cream over white chocolate. Allow cream and chocolate to rest for about a minute so that chocolate softens and melts. Stir mixture gently from the center until everything is well combined. Add 1/2 tsp rosemary powder to ganache and stir. Allow ganache to cool completely at room temperature.

6. Place rosemary ganache into a paper cone or a piping bag with a small piping tip. Fill each cavity with rosemary ganache just below surface.

7. Re-temper chocolate and pour it on top of plaque to fill all cavities.

8. Smooth with scraper or spackle knife, removing excess chocolate. Allow chocolate to set completely.

9. Turn plaque over and bang firmly to release chocolate bon-bons.

10. Place a small pinch of rosemary powder over the upper right corner of each bon-bon for décor.


fried baklava with honey cinnamon cream

DSC_0381 copy

Two words for you: Fried Baklava. I’ll let the pictures say the rest.

But really, this recipe is simple to execute and super gratifying to taste. It’s magnificently light and crispy on the outside while being decadently rich on the inside. The blend of honey, cinnamon, dates, and nut flavors will keep you coming back for more. More good news? Once the baklava are assembled, you are bound to enjoy them in a matter of seconds, as this baklava is…fried.


On another note, today is February 3, 2013. For me it’s just another regular Sunday, but for  a multitude of other people, today is the Super Bowl, an event that in my opinion holds just as much power as a holiday.


Over the years, I have never watched the Super Bowl. I know nothing about the sport of football. Like really….. nothing. Oh wait, I guess I do know that people tend to enjoy chips and salsa, chili, various types of dips, an assortment of precut veggies, and of course….lots and lots of booze. And then there’s the other stuff. This year for example, Beyoncé will perform during half time. And those commercials…aren’t they good? See? I know a thing or two.


I have zero emotional connection to this sport, so instead of watching the Ravens and the 49ers fight over the Super Bowl trophy, I am keeping myself busy by reviewing this recipe I wrote a few days ago and bringing it to you. I hope you enjoy this as much as you may or may not enjoy the Super Bowl!

Yield: About 24 pieces. Serve immediately.

DSC_0345 copy

Ingredients for Baklava Filling:

3/4 C dates, roughly chopped

1/2 C walnuts

1/4 C pecans

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp honey

small pinch of salt

Recipe for Baklava Filling:

1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until mixture is finely grounded and comes together to form a paste. Set aside for later use.


Ingredients for Honey Cinnamon Cream:

1 C heavy cream

1/4 C honey

2 tsp cinnamon

Recipe for Honey Cinnamon Cream:

1. Combine heavy cream, honey, and cinnamon in bowl. Whisk until cream thickens and stiff peaks form. Refrigerate and set aside for later use.

Ingredients for Fried Baklava:

phyllo dough

baklava filling

egg wash

vegetable oil for deep frying

honey cinnamon cream


walnuts, toasted and finely chopped

Recipe for Fried Baklava:

1. Stack three sheets of phyllo dough over a cutting board. Make 2″ marks along the bottom edge of stack. Cut vertically along each mark to create 2″ strips.


2. Scoop 1/2 tsp of baklava filling. Form the filling into a ball with your hands and form the ball into a cylinder.

3. Place the cylinder at the bottom of each strip of phyllo dough.


4. Lightly apply eggwash along the strip of phyllo dough with a pastry brush.

5. Roll phyllo dough over the filling and keep rolling until the dough has gone around the filling four times. Cut across the phyllo dough to separate the roll. Place roll on a dish with seam side down. Repeat steps 1-5 until all of the filling has been used.


6. Heat up vegetable oil in a small sauce pan over low-medium heat and fry until golden brown. This happens fairly quickly, about 8-10 seconds.

7. Place fried baklava over a napkin to soak up excess oil.

8. Meanwhile, place honey cinnamon cream in a piping bag that has a #3 plain tip. Pipe spirals of cream on a serving plate. Place baklava over cream. Finish with a drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of finely chopped toasted walnuts.


honey date bread



“I need to write a sweet-lab thing…”. Those are the exact words I just shared with Mark as I was clicking away and making my way to the sweet-lab wordpress site. Well, that certain “thing” is actually called a post. Although it has been such a long time since the last time I wrote one that I think I had momentarily forgotten its correct term.



Yes, it’s been a while since the last post.

But let’s be real for a minute. This whole process called “blogging” can be a pain in the ass sometimes. You know it as well as I do. I love it, don’t get me wrong. In fact, I don’t think that I would enjoy life near as much without it and it has been my joy for many months. I miss it when I’m not baking or writing for it, but man oh man.





Sometimes, just thinking of all the different steps involved in sharing a post makes me want to pull my warm silky blanket over my head and pretend I haven’t even heard of And if my apartment doesn’t have an adequate amount of natural lighting, am I really supposed to go out in this 20 degree weather to capture better quality pictures?!! Yes. The answer is always yes.



But thankfully that motivation eventually returns. Eventually I start getting antsy when I haven’t created any new recipes for the site. I get the sudden urge to get myself together. I need to get myself in the kitchen and create something tasty, because when I’m in there doing that, I swear that that’s what I was born to do and it is all worth it.





So here it is. This recipe for this honey date bread was the little bit of inspiration I needed to get off my butt on a free day and into the kitchen, take some pictures, and type this up in order to share this with you.

Because you know, it’s what I love to do.






15 oz unbleached bread flour

2 tsp salt

9 oz warm water

1 T active dry yeast (equivalent to 1 small package of 5/16 oz or 8.75 g)

3 oz honey

1/2 C dates, pitted and roughly chopped

1/4 C fine oat bran

1 egg and additional salt for finish


Note: This recipe is done in stand mixer but it can also be done by hand. The mixing time will just be longer.

1. Combine bread flour and salt in mixer with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until flour and salt are well combined, about 15-20 seconds.

2. Mix warm water and honey in a small bowl. Sprinkle yeast over water and honey mixture and allow yeast to dissolve.

3. Drizzle water/honey/yeast mixture into mixing bowl while mixing on low speed. Change to hook attachment and increase to low-medium speed on the mixer. Continue mixing until dough becomes smooth and elastic in appearance, about 10-20 minutes. Test the dough by cutting a small piece of dough and stretching it out gently. If it tears, continue mixing. If the dough becomes translucent before it tears, the gluten in the dough has developed correctly and the dough can stop mixing. This test is known as the windowpane test.

4. Turn mixing speed to low and gradually and gently add the dates, followed by the oat bran. Continue mixing on low until all solid ingridients are fully incorporated into dough.

5. Remove mixing bowl from machine and cover with plastic. Allow dough to rest in a warm place until it doubles in size, about 1 hour. Press a finger into dough. If dough springs back, it needs to rest longer. If it doesn’t spring back, it has rested and fermented long enough.

6. Return dough to a floured surface and knead to expel gas. Cover dough with kitchen towel and rest briefly for 10-15 minutes.

7. Knead and shape dough into a boule by pushing it back and forth in a circular motion over a floured surface until it reaches the shape of a smooth round ball.

8. Cover the with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to a day. Remove dough from refrigerator and allow to rest at room temperature for at least 1 hour before baking.

9. Remove dough from bowl and place it over a baking sheet that has been covered with parchment paper, being careful to keep the shape of the boule and tightening it if necessary by moving it in a circular motion over a floured surface before placing it on baking sheet. Score the surface of the dough with four lines to create the shape of a diamond. This will help the dough expand and create precise paths for carbon dioxide to escape when the pressure becomes too great inside the dough during oven spring. It also improves the overall aesthetic of the bread.

10. Egg wash the surface of dough with a pastry brush and sprinkle it with with kosher salt.

11. Place a cast iron pan on the bottom rack of the oven and fill with one cup of water when ready to bake. Place bread on the top rack and bake at 450 F for 10 minutes. Keep pouring water into the cast iron pan throughout baking time to create more steam inside the oven. If you don’t have a cast iron pan, you can use an old baking sheet she as well. Reduce oven temperature to 375 F and continue baking until done, about 45-50 minutes. Bread should make a hollow sound when it’s done and should have an internal temperature of 180 F – 210 F.

Cut yourself a slice, spread butter and drizzle honey over it…or simply enjoy it by itself!