Flourless Chocolate Cake recipe makes go-to holiday cake

Simple yet sensationalThis is my go-to holiday and special occasion cake - Flourless Chocolate Cake made with a recipe first introduced by Gourmet magazine in November 1997.

The recipe is simple enough for a novice cook, yet special enough, with all its gooey, chocolate-y goodness, for experienced cooks to bake it again and again.

This chocolate all-star is a fixture of my son's birthday parties as well as Thanksgiving and Christmas dessert menus. If I want to make the chocolate lovers in my life delirious with bliss, this is the cake I bake to up their serotonin levels dramatically.

There is nothing not to love about a cake that looks this good, tastes this good and is done, ready to serve in under an hour - including clean up.

I prefer to serve it with vanilla ice cream or freshly whipped cream or seasonal fruits.

Flourless Chocolate Cake Gourmet | November 1997

Can be prepared in 45 minutes or less.

Yield: Makes one 8-inch cake


4 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened)
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder plus additional for sprinkling

Accompaniment if desired: Coconut Lime Sorbet


Preheat oven to 375°F and butter an 8-inch round baking pan. Line bottom with a round of wax paper and butter paper.

Chop chocolate into small pieces. In a double boiler or metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water melt chocolate with butter, stirring, until smooth.

Remove top of double boiler or bowl from heat and whisk sugar into chocolate mixture. Add eggs and whisk well. Sift 1/2 cup cocoa powder over chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined.

Pour batter into pan and bake in middle of oven 25 minutes, or until top has formed a thin crust. Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes and invert onto a serving plate.

Dust cake with additional cocoa powder and serve with sorbet if desired. (Cake keeps, after being cooled completely, in an airtight container, 1 week.)

Host a holiday cookie exchange party

Find more cookie recipes at Allrecipes Secret Santa is so over-rated.

I'd much rather go to a party where cookies are the main event and everyone goes home with great goodies to enjoy.

Hosting a cookie exchange is as easy as whipping up a batch of your very best cookie bars. 

The rules are easy. Invite a dozen or more friends over. Provide some simple snacks - nuts, fruit and cheese, a crusty French bread with an olive tapenade and some wine. Or serve some egg nog (spiked if you like).

Ask each guest to bring 4 dozen homemade cookies to swap with other guests. Since most cookie recipes make 4 to 5 dozen cookies, this is easier than it sounds. If you like, you can allow busy guests to bring bakery bought cookies.

Some cookie exchanges factor in some sort of contest or ornament exchange as well. This adds to the fun and really isn't very complicated.

If participants are exchanging ornaments, every guest brings one special ornament to swap with another guest. (Note: The host might consider having a few extra ornaments on hand so no one gets left out if someone forgets to bring an ornament.)

Prizes can be given for Best Cookie Overall, based on taste, texture, presentation, Most Creative, Outstanding Presentation, or Most Original Recipe, etc. 

Be sure to have guests bring a container or plastic Ziploc bags to take home their cookies. The host may want to have extra takeaway bozes on hand in case someone forgets theirs.

Possibilities are endless

Not a big fan of cookies? Have a cupcake exchange instead. Instead of 4 dozen cookies, bring 2 dozen cupcakes to swap. Don't like cupcakes?  Have guests make two cakes to exchange. Cakes to heavy? Guests can bring homemade candies.

Magic Cookie Bars

(recipe from Eagle Brand)

Makes 3 dozen


  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 (14 ounce) can EAGLE BRAND® Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chopped nuts


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F (325 degrees for glass dish). Coat 13x9-inch baking pan with no-stick cooking spray.
  2. Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter. Press into bottom of prepared pan. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumb mixture. Layer evenly with chocolate chips, coconut and nuts. Press down firmly with a fork.
  3. Bake 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool. Cut into bars or diamonds. Store covered at room temperature.

Creepy crawl: floating Halloween dinner party

Entertaining can be a ghastly chore.

We recommend enlisting a few good-natured ghouls to transform the typical Halloween party  into a frightfully fun floating costume and dinner party.

Plot each stop on your creepy crawl to cover the evening's menu from cocktails to dessert.  Everyone is happy because the grim work is distributed so all have a chance to enjoy treats minus the tricks.

Allow at least an hour at each location.

Creepy Cocktails and Horrific hors d'oeuvres

Swallow this if you dareJump start the evening with Jello Jigglers laced with gummy body parts and vodka.  Hostess with the Mostess shows you how and even shares a recipe for the teetotalers and the kids.

Like your refreshments liquid? Try this tart and tangy Italian Halloween Punch made with orange juice, limoncello and maraschino cherry liqueur.  The traditional Italian liqueurs make this punch perfectly bewitching.

Finger foods (and eerie eyeballs) make for some mighty interesting munchies.  The hauntingly healthy and deliciously decadent Halloween snacks at FamilyFun.com are scary and satisfying.

These may be a little kitschy, but Betty Crocker's Cheese Pumpkins make the classic cheeseball cute as can be.

Eyeball Caprese

Awfully eerie appetizers

Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories throws a new twist on an old fav with Eyeball Caprese.   Taste of Home has tons of appetizer recipes but what grabbed us were the Cajun inspired Crunchy Monsters' Claws.

A monstrous main course

Epicurious makes your meal monstrous with a saucy Yummy Mummy Meatloaf. For more ghoulish grub, try these Baked Bones chocked full of ricotta cheese and tomato sauce. For something savory and very unscary, try Pumpkin Stew with a recipe from Taste of Home.

Devilish dessert and after dinner drinks

The great pumpkin wouldn't mind winding up in this rich dessert, Pumpkin Sour Cream Cheesecake, garnished with crystallized ginger strips. Bubble, bubble toil and trouble no more with these Witches Hats in the guise of old fashioned brownie a la mode.

Finish the evening with a sweet and silky Garish Ghostini from Celebrations.com or toast the Headless Horseman with an Apocalypse, a warm and toasty hot  chocolate laced with Southern Comfort.

Halloween beverages punch up the party

You can borrow the witches' chant from Shakespeare's MacBeth—"Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble!"—as you stir these special Halloween punches from The Culinary Institute of America (CIA).

Young boys and ghouls will love to add the candied worms and other sweet creepies to the Ghoulish Gummy Punch below, a tasty concoction filled with healthy fruit juices.

For a special trick, add candy that fizzes to their glasses before you fill them up.

Treat those of drinking age to delicious Tea Punch. Made with Green Tea or any other type of tea you prefer, the combination of rums and simple syrup will surely please your guests.

Click here for more CIA recipes

 Ghoulish Gummy Punch

Yield: 1/2 gallon

  • 2 cups pineapple juice
  • 2 cups pomegranate juice
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 2 cups sparkling cider
  • 1 cup of your favorite gummy candies
  • Ice or dry ice as needed
  • 16 Fizzies candies (optional)
  1. Combine pineapple juice, pomegranate juice, apple cider, sparkling cider, and gummy candies in a punch bowl.
Add ice or dry ice to cool. Be sure to include some gummy candy in each glass served. If using Fizzies candies, place one candy in the bottom of the glass and add punch.

Nutritional analysis without candy per cup: 130 calories, 0 grams protein, 32 grams carbohydrate, 0 grams fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 20 milligrams sodium.

Tea Punch

Yield: 1/2 Gallon

  • 1 cup dark rum
  • 1 cup white rum
  • Juice from 2 lemons
  • 5 cups Green Tea (or your favorite tea)
  • 1/2 cup simple syrup (recipe below)
  • Ice or dry ice as needed

Combine the rums, lemon juice, Green Tea, and simple syrup in a punch bowl. Adjust sweetness to taste by adding more simple syrup. Add ice or dry ice to cool.

Simple syrup: Combine 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Remove pan from heat and cool to room temperature.

Nutritional analysis per cup: 160 calories, 0 grams protein, 7 grams carbohydrate, 0 grams fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 0 milligrams sodium.


Makes 24 Knackerli

  • 1 cup dark, milk, or white chocolate morsels
  • 24 pistachios, peeled
  • 24 dried cherries or cranberries
  • 6 dried apricots, quartered
  • 24 slivered almonds, toasted

Melt the chocolate over a double boiler.

Spoon the chocolate or fill a parchment cone with the chocolate and pipe 1-in disks (1 teaspoon per disk) onto a parchment-lined sheet pan.

Arrange 1 pistachio, 1 dried cherry or cranberry, 1 piece of dried apricot, and 1 piece of slivered almond onto each disk of chocolate.

Let the chocolate fully set before removing the disks from the parchment paper.

Notes: The chocolate can be piped in larger or smaller disks, if desired. Any type of nuts or dried fruit can be substituted for the pistachios, dried cranberries, and apricots.

When making Knackerli, it is important to remember that the size of the nuts and dried fruits corresponds to the size of the chocolate disk and that the colors and flavors complement each other.

Chef's Note: When preparing Knackerli, work in small batches so that the chocolate disks don't set before you've had a chance to garnish them. For Halloween, you can add candy corn kernels or make ghosts using white chocolate and dark chocolate chips.

Nutritional analysis per 16-ounce candy: 80 calories, 1 gram protein, 12 grams carbohydrate, 3.5 grams fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 0 milligrams sodium.

Halloween costumes a click away at Buy.com

 A comely wench outfitted at Buy.com for under $30

No time to make a costume for the Halloween parade or party? 

Need inspiration?

Buy.com has a huge range of costumes, masks, make-up and accessories ready to wear.

With a quick click of your mouse, Halloween tricks and treats will be on their way to you.

Whether a superhero, a celebrity, a monarch or an old-fashioned ghoul, there is a costume to fit every budget.

Triple chocolate-cookie trifle cake easy to make

This no-bake cake is so-good and so-easy

There is nothing I like better than a delicious dessert which looks fabulous and makes me look like a kitchen genie. 

I don't know about you, but I love looking like I slaved over a dessert when really I barely spent an hour mixing and stirring and molding. 

This is that cake.  It's gorgeous. Anyone - no matter your expertise in the kitchen - can make this creamy, dreamy dessert.

The Triple Chocolate-Cookie Trifle Cake is a keeper.

Key ingredients

Adapted from a recipe in Southern Living.

Yield Makes 10 to 12 servings

Triple Chocolate-Cookie Trifle Cake


* 4 cups heavy cream, divided

* 1 1/2 (4-oz) bittersweet chocolate baking bars, chopped

* 1 (4-oz) white chocolate baking bar, chopped

* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

* 1 (12.5-oz) package assorted Pepperidge Farm cookies

* 1 (18-oz) package Oreo cookies

Crushed Oreo cookie crust

* 2 tablespoons Kahlua  (optional)

* 1 (6-oz) container fresh raspberries


Let cream come to room temperature before preparing the cake's filling.

Microwave 1/2 cup cream at HIGH 30 seconds to 1 minute or until hot (do not boil). Place bittersweet chocolate in a large bowl. Pour hot cream over chocolate, and stir until smooth.

Repeat procedure with 1/4 cup cream and white chocolate.

If chocolate does not melt completely after stirring, microwave at HIGH for 10-second intervals until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

Melting white chocolate for the cake filling

Stir 1/2 tsp. vanilla into each chocolate mixture until well blended. 

Beat remaining cream at medium-high speed with an electric mixer until medium peaks form. Gently fold one-half of whipped cream into cool bittersweet chocolate mixture. Fold remaining whipped cream into cool white chocolate mixture.

In food processor, crush half the package of Oreos. Sprinkle crushed cookies on the bottom of a lightly greased 9-inch springform pan, then spread half of bittersweet chocolate mixture over the crushed cookies. Arrange Pepperidge Farm cookies around sides of pan (about 19 cookies). Note: You might wish to buy an extra package of cookies in case of damage or breakage. 

Process the remaining Oreos and spread over the bittersweet chocolate, then spread the white chocolate

Mixing up the chocolate cream filling

mixture over this layer. Drizzle with liqueur, if desired.

Spread the remaining bittersweet chocolate mixture over the crushed cookies.Cover and chill 8 to 24 hours.

Remove sides from pan. Mound raspberries in center of trifle. Raspberries may be brushed with a glaze.

Raspberry Glaze: Combine 3 Tbsp. seedless raspberry jam and 2 tsp. water in a small glass bowl. Microwave at HIGH 10 to 15 seconds or until smooth.

Creating the cookie crust

Layering the chocolate cream filling.


Ready to chill for 8-24 hours.

Unmolding the finished product

Finished Triple Chocolate Cookie Trifle Cake

Spiegelau decanters dress up any event

Decanter Make  any outdoor fete stylish with Spiegelau’s beautiful Siena and Riva decanters.

These visually stunning decanters from Spiegelau, whose strong tradition of craftsmanship and quality dates back to their start in a Bavarian forest factory in 1521, will lend a touch of class to any celebration.

And in this economy, it’s important to spend money wisely not only on products that will stand the test of time, but also will prove versatile.

At just under $100 each, these decanters might be designed with wine in mind, but their shapes also lend them to serving carafes of your favorite cocktail.

Perfect for summer sangria too!

Summer Sangria

4 oranges: 2 juiced, 2 halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brandy
1 bottle dry red wine, chilled
2 lemons, thinly sliced
2 cups seltzer or club soda
Chilled ice cubes, for serving

In a large pitcher, combine orange juice, sugar, and brandy; stir well to dissolve sugar. Add wine, orange slices, lemon slices, and seltzer; stir to combine. Fill glasses with ice before serving. Serves 8. (Martha Stewart)