500th Post, a Book Review, and a cooking play date

Marsha came over last week to try out a couple recipes from a new cookbook, Desserts in Jars, by Shaina Olmanson of Food for My Family.

We had originally conceived of this visit as a chance to work together, but I was a little bit behind getting ready for a dinner party, so Marsha really did most of the cooking. And, because she was short on time, and it was my idea and we were working in my kitchen, we took loads of short cuts. But, we did use this book for plenty of inspiration.

White Peach and Blueberry Pie in Jars
Ice Cream Cakes in a Jar

The book is great – thumbing through it, I found no less that 5 recipes I would like to try, including Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes, Flourless Chocolate Cakes, Rustic Rhubarb Custard Pies, and Peach Granita Bellinis. Baking something directly in the jar sounds so clever and easy. My kids were also inspired and a few days after Marsha and I had a go at the book, the Big Guy put together Coconut Cream Pies, also with a slight (step-saving) variation.

Our peach blueberry pies were created based off the Classic Apple Pie and Peach Bourbon Pie. I had frozen white peach halves, and frozen blueberries, and thought the two would go nicely together. Next time, I will use a whole peach and more blueberries, as the fruit really cooked down quite a bit.

For the ice cream cakes, we used our favorite brownie recipe (rather than the recipe in the book), along with really great ice cream and the chocolate sauce from the book, which was very easy to put together. Both desserts were quite well received by our guests.

This is very enjoyable book, one worth having and using this summer. My one complaint – all the recipes use 1/2 pint or 4 ounce jars, which was no good to me with a garage full of pint and quart jars. Although, I guess I could have made the ice cream cakes in the pint jars, I am sure no one would have complained!


Easy Chocolate Sauce

Excerpted from Desserts in Jars by Shaina Olmanson. Reprinted with permission from The Harvard Common Press.


  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 TBS water
  • 2 TBS unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 TBS granulated sugar
  • 2 TBS light corn syrup
  • Pinch of salt
  • 7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 TBS unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

In a small saucepan, heat the cream, water, cocoa powder, sugar, corn syrup, and salt over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture just begins to boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate, butter and vanilla until smooth. Allow to cool slightly. The sauce can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator; reheat slightly before pouring over your dessert.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 10 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 1

5 :  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

P.S. This is my 500th post on Kitchen Gadget Girl since the blog started in 2008. Thanks for continuing to visit, read and comment!