Category Archives: Dessert

Chocolate Banana Bread

Chocolate Banana Bread

I know that I am in deep trouble when I see my husband Bruce open a freezer door and something falls out.   Every time that happens I hear him say my name.  Not just Tessa but, a long drawn out Tesssaaa….!  Then I cringe.  I know what he is thinking and what he is going to say next.  I know that it is way past time to use up freezer inventory.

I opened the freezer this morning and out fell a frozen banana.  Fortunately Bruce was at work and didn’t see.  I picked my evidence off of the floor and snagged the remaining bananas from out of the freezer.  It was time for banana bread.

My Chocolate Banana Bread is easy to make and is the perfect use for bananas that need to be eaten up or have been stored in your freezer (like mine!).  It is moist, chocolatey, and has a wonderful banana flavor.  Makes 1 luscious loaf.  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 3 – 4 RIPE bananas (peeled and mashed well)
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 1 tsp chocolate extract
  • dash of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup extra dark cocoa powder

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Grab a 4 X 8 loaf pan and spray it with non stick cooking spray.  In a medium sized mixing bowl mix the bananas, butter, sugar, egg, and chocolate extract.  In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and extra dark cocoa powder.   Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well.  Spoon the mixture into the baking pan and bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool on a wire rack.  Slice and serve.

Lime Currant Cookies













Lime Currant Cookies

Nine times out of ten, whenever I shop at the grocery store I will have limes in my grocery basket.  I love limes.  If I lived in a warmer climate you could comfortably bet that I would have a lime tree in my yard.  No, wait, I would have two…oh… maybe three!  There is something about limes that draws me toward the bright green color and the sourness of the fruit.  My Lime Currant Cookies have a distinctive lime flavor, sprinkled with tart little dried zante currants and a have a wonderful hint of ginger.  These cookies are so good that you might be able to exchange these for currency! Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 stick of butter (softened)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbls lime zest
  • 1/2 cup dried zante currants
  • powder sugar for dusting

Begin by preheating oven to 350 degrees.  Using a stand mixer, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, ginger and salt to the mixing bowl.  Mix well.  Add butter, eggs, lime juice and zest and mix well.  Add currants until blended.  Using a small cookie scoop or by spoonfuls, drop on silicone lined cookie sheet.  Bake for about 20 minutes, rotating the cookie sheet halfway through.  Remove from heat, let cool on wire racks, and then dust with the powdered sugar.  Makes about 3 dozen cookies.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies













It’s been almost a month since my son moved back up to the university and I gotta tell you that I really miss him.  I hear about other parents enjoying the fact that they are finally empty nesters but not me.  I don’t like it one bit.  The house is eerily quiet and my husband and I  have to get used to cooking for two.  Fortunately, we stay in touch via cell phones, email, Facebook and Skype.

However, the one thing that helps me deal with this situation is the opportunity to send care packages up to my son.  It helps me feel like I  am still a mom by baking and mailing him some of his favorite cookies.  My Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies are deliciously chewy and are perfect for packing in a box to send up to a busy college student while at school.  Make these cookies for your college student and they just might miss you too!  Enjoy!  Tessa

(adapted from Everyday Food)


  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips (optional)
  • 6 Tbls. butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium sized bowl mix together the oatmeal, flour, baking soda, salt, dried cranberries and the optional white chocolate chips.  Set aside.  In another mixing bowl beat together the butter and sugars until creamy.  Add the egg and vanilla.  Mix well.

Add your dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and continue to mix until well incorporated.  Drop by spoonfuls onto a silpat or silicone lined cookie sheet (I like to use a cookie scoop for more precise portions).  Bake for 12-16 minutes until a light golden brown.  Place cookies on wire racks to cool.  Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies













A short while ago my family and I spent a week vacationing in a town a called Bandon on the Oregon Coast.  Bandon is a small touristy town with beautiful golf courses, gift shops, art galleries, fishing, boating, and cranberry bogs. Whenever we go to Bandon for a visit, I like to pick up a pound or two of the their locally grown Oregon cranberries and a couple of bottles of Sea Mist cranberry wine.












It is not unusual to stroll along the beach in Bandon and not see other people.  While on a walk early one morning I fortunate enough to see deer tracks heading back from the ocean.  How cool is that?










A  deserted beach.  The perfect place to walk and clear a busy mind…

Oregon grown cranberries are sweet, tart and perfect for my White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies.  These cookies are similar to a traditional chocolate chip but with white chocolate chips and bright little red cranberries.  Next time you see a bag of dried sweet Oregon grown cranberries, snag some and make these cookies.  Oh, and by the way, the dried cranberries and the cookies freeze well.  Enjoy!  – Tessa


  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar (lightly packed)
  • 2 sticks or 1 cup  butter (softened)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (use the real not imitation)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 12 oz. white chocolate chips
  • 8 oz. dried cranberries

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Grease your cookie sheets or use a silicone liner on the sheets.  In a large mixing bowl with a mixer, blend together all the ingredients except for the white chocolate chips and dried cranberries.  Mix well.  Fold in the white chocolate chips and dried cranberries.  Drop the dough using a teaspoon or a small cookie scoop onto the cookie sheets.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden.  Remove from oven and cool on wire racks.  Store in a tightly covered container.  Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

Fried Bananas with Blackberry Sauce













One of my favorite desserts is a Fried Banana with Blackberry Sauce.  Fried Bananas are amazingly simple to make, look elegant on a plate, and they taste wonderful.  The blackberry sauce is made with fresh picked Oregon blackberries and has a splash of Grand Marnier.  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • One small banana per person
  • One lumpia or egg roll wrapper per banana
  • canola oil for frying
  • One scoop vanilla ice cream per person
  • garnish with blackberry sauce, powdered sugar and a sprig of mint.

Let’s begin.  Put enough canola oil in a pan to cover the bananas.  Heat oil until hot.  Wrap each banana in the egg roll wrapper (roll like you would a burrito) using water to seal.  Make sure the banana is completely covered. Place the banana in the hot oil and fry until golden.  Place cooked bananas on paper towels to drain.  Meanwhile, make your blackberry sauce.  See recipe below.  Slice banana in half, arrange on plate, serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, drizzle with blackberry sauce and garnish with powdered sugar and mint leaf.   Serves as many people as you have bananas…  Enjoy!  Tessa

Blackberry Sauce:  Heat together 1 cup sugar, 3/4 cup water, 1 1/2 cups blackberries in a saucier on the stove for about 20 minutes.  Add 1 Tbls. Grand Marnier.  Remove from stove and let cool.  Drizzle on fried bananas, pancakes, ice cream or whatever.  The possibilities with this blackberry sauce are endless.

Chocolate Black Rice Pudding

In all the years that my family or myself have prepared Indonesian food, we never once had black sticky rice pudding for breakfast or dessert.  I don’t remember my grandmother or my mother making it or even talking about it.  I don’t know if it was because they did not have access to the black sticky rice where we lived in the United States at the time or they simply just weren’t dessert people.  Well, I gotta tell you… our family missed out.  Missed out big time.  Once I discovered that black sticky rice existed I am now lead to believe that I grew up a deprived child…

It all started with my love for chocolate and a five pound bag of Thai black glutinous rice that I found at a local Asian market.  My Chocolate Black Rice Pudding is a twist on the traditional dish, black sticky rice in sweet coconut milk,  a common dessert found in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.  I began making it with the basic ingredients and then decided to shake it up with the addition of Dutch cocoa and a splash of orange liquor (Grand Marnier).  Of course, I had to finish it with a dollop of fresh whipped cream, a sprinkling of Dutch cocoa and an orange peel spiral for garnish.

Black Sticky Rice + Dutch Cocoa+ Orange Liquor = Absolutely Delightful

Be sure to try my non traditional black sticky rice pudding.  It’s fairly easy to make and it tastes fabulous!  Enjoy! – Tessa


  • 1 cup Thai black glutinous rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbls. Dutch cocoa
  • 2 Tbls orange liquor (Grand Marnier)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • garnish with whip cream, a sprinkle of cocoa and orange peel

Let’s begin.  Grab a sauce pan with a tight fitting lid.  Add your rice and water.  Bring to a boil, turn heat down to a simmer, cover and cook for about an hour.  Stir occasionally.   When rice has absorbed the liquid, add the remaining ingredients and cook for about a half an hour.  Stir the rice  to make sure that it does not burn.  Remove from burner and let cool.  Serve chilled with whipped cream or a splash of coconut milk.  Garnish with orange peel if desired.  Serves about 6.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Note:  I tried this by soaking the rice first and I was not happy with the outcome.  The pudding was too mushy and did not have the flavor that I was looking for.  Also, if you want traditional rice pudding, just omit the cocoa and the orange liquor and drizzle with coconut milk.