Krispy Kreme Copycat Doughnuts

Krispy Kreme Copycat Doughnuts
OMG! Krispy Kreme Copycat Doughnuts! So good…

Krispy Kreme Copycat Doughnuts

These Krispy Kreme Copycat Doughnuts are BETTER than those at Krispy Kreme because you can taste all the necessary components of a doughnut – the sugar, the soft, melt-in-your-mouth texture, and the yeasty, fried dough. Amazing.

I’ve never been a fan of Krispy Kreme doughnuts because their doughnuts are too sweet for my taste. Albeit soft, warm, and delicious, these sugar “pillows” are so sweet that they overpower the bready, fried dough underneath. When I lived in Texas, my favorite doughnut shop was Shipley’s Donuts, where you could get your sugar fix as well as taste the soft, fried, yeasty layer, which made them more substantial and fulfilling. Continue reading “Krispy Kreme Copycat Doughnuts”

Nutella Cheesecake

I’m Back!

An indulgent slice of Nutella Cheesecake with a side serving of homemade, vanilla bean ice cream!

In March 2009, I started a food blog at After a few months of surprised popularity, I purchased my own domain name only to lose it in 2014. I then changed my site back to Losing my domain name really affected my zeal for writing and publishing photos and recipes. Of course I continued to cook and take photos of some meals. However, I could never muster the energy to write or even face my blog again. Continue reading “Nutella Cheesecake”

Mariangela’s Pizza Dough/Mushroom and Turkey “Pepperoni” Pizza

Mariangela’s Pizza Dough

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
Freshly kneaded dough comprised of all-purpose and white-wheat flours, yeast, milk, oil, and salt

Reggio Calabria, Italy – Source of Pizza Dough Recipe

This is my go-to recipe for an authentic pizza dough. While living in Reggio Calabria, Italy, I met my now boyfriend and later his family. Every time I went to their house for lunch and/or dinner, his mother would spoil me with so many yummy dishes. In fact, to this day, one of the reasons my boyfriend wants me to return is so that he can eat that well again :).

Freshly kneaded pizza dough

His mother and I share a love for making different types of bread dough and cakes. So, I remember fondly the first time I saw her make pizza dough. I watched her intently and took photos. After eating my first unforgettable slice, I asked her for the recipe. Fortunately, she happily wrote it down for me, and I made this dough for my mom as soon as I returned to the States. My mother liked it so much that she asked me for the recipe and made it herself.

Second Batch of pizza dough: Turkey “Pepperoni” and Mushroom Pizza (I added spinach and arugula later but was too hungry to take another photo! :D)

La ricetta – The recipe

When I lost the pizza dough recipe, my boyfriend’s mom wrote it down for me again, my boyfriend took a photo of it, and sent it to me on my phone.

A photo of Mariangela’s pizza dough recipe and her handwriting 🙂

Peperoni vs. Pepperoni

I’ve made this pizza dough so many times now that I’ve almost memorized it. It is such a simple recipe, which mirrors most, authentic, Italian recipes and dishes. They are so simple yet so delicious! However, I made U.S.-style pizze with salami or what we call “pepperoni” *with 2 “p’s”) (“peperoni” (with 1 “p”) means “little peppers” in Italian), mushrooms, and spinach/arugula, which are blasphemous toppings in my boyfriend’s Italian eyes :). He prefers a wholesome Pizza Margherita or the pizza his mom makes (which I was forced to make later :D).

First batch of dough: Salami or “Pepperoni” and Spring Mix Pizza with mozzarella and provolone.

Pizza Dough Serving Size and Freezer Storage

So, now I share this lovely, pizza dough recipe with you all. It makes enough for 4 personal pizze. With this dough, I put half of it in the freezer and made the other half a few days ago (the pizze from both portions of dough are shown). For the dough shown here, I used 50% all-purpose flour and 50% white-wheat flour.

I used non-traditional cheeses: extra-sharp cheddar and monterey jack!

Vegan Option – No Milk

My boyfriend’s mother made this pizza dough with milk every time I visited but originally made it with water. I’ve never tasted the water-version of her dough, so I make it with skim milk or half skim milk/half water. It’s up to you! I highly suggest weighing your ingredients, but I have provided conversions in parentheses. Enjoy!

Mushroom and Pepperoni Pizza

L’impasto per la pizza di Mariangela

2 cucchiaini di zucchero
1 bustina di lievito di birra
500 grammi di farina (Ho usato 250 gr farina 00 e 250 gr farina integrale)
1 cucchiaio di olio
350 ml di acqua o latte
1 cucchiaino di sale

Mariangela’s Pizza Dough

2 tsp of granulated sugar
1 packet of yeast or 2 1/4 tsp of yeast
500 grams (4 cups) all-purpose or bread flour (I used half white-wheat and half AP)
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
350 ml (1 1/2 cups) warm water or milk
1 tsp of salt

First, stir the yeast, sugar, and warm water/milk together in a large, mixing bowl. Allow the yeast mixture to bubble up and wake up for 5-10 minutes. Add oil, flour, and salt until the dough comes together. Knead the dough for 10-15 minutes by hand or 5-7 minutes if using a stand mixer. Once the dough is well-kneaded, place the dough ball in an oil-lined bowl. Cover the dough and allow it to rise until doubled in size (1-2 hours). Once doubled in size, knead the dough again, cover it, and allow to rise a second time (I always did this step once, but I recently discovered she does it twice.). Once risen twice, section off the dough into four parts. Roll out the dough you’ll be using, and freeze the rest in a zip-loc bag or two.

Pizza Sauce and Toppings

One small can of tomato sauce (or tomato paste with some water) or whole tomatoes, crushed
Italian seasoning
sugar (optional, to cut down on the acidity)
red chili peppers
capers (optional, did not use)
turkey pepperoni
Spinach/arugula mix (not pictured)

First, mix the first six ingredients together. For the toppings, I used turkey pepperoni, mushrooms and added a spinach/arugula mix afterwards.
Bake at the hottest temperature for your oven on a pizza stone, pizza pan (Mariangela’s uses this), cast-iron skillet, or the back of a jelly-roll pan. I prefer to dock or poke holes with a fork in the dough and then cook it for about 3 minutes. Then I take it out, add the sauce and toppings, and cook it until the crust is to my liking.

Copyright – Memoria James –

Mexican Chocolate Cheesecake

Mexican Chocolate Cheesecake

Doesn’t this Mexican Chocolate Cheesecake look tempting? For the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences of my university hosted a celebratory luncheon where each department within the college was required to bring a certain type of dish. The languages department was in charge of desserts. I eagerly signed up and scribbled simply “cheesecake” below a scanty list promising a batch of chocolate chip cookies, a gluten-free dessert, and a plate of brownies all on behalf of my fellow colleagues.
For days I pondered over what type of cheesecake I would deliver. It would have to be unique, department-related, and more complicated than necessary, because that’s how I prefer to make display desserts in the midst of this processed-food culture in which I reside. Then I finally opted to allow the less-popular Mexican chocolate cookies I had stowed away in the freezer to guide my choice – a cheesecake with the cookies as a base, cinnamon and ancho chile-infused cheesecake and Chantilly/whipped cream, and a Mexican-chocolate ganache. Cinnamon and ancho chile were in every single layer. I was going to add a mousse layer, but because I was in the middle of grading exams and other assignments, I thought it’d be wise to provide a “simpler” cheesecake for the masses.
I had ignored the inner voice that told me to cut and freeze the cheesecake the night before delivery. Unfortunately, I didn’t follow my conscience in hopes that the people at the dean’s office would take good care of it. After reluctantly relinquishing my cheesecake to the secretary and kindly instructing her to store it in the refrigerator, in the back of my mind I knew something unfavorable was going to happen to my little labor of love. . .
Mexican Chocolate Cheesecake: Before the piping

The event started at 11am; I finished teaching by 12:15 noon. Throughout my class I wondered how the cheesecake had turned out and if there would be any left upon my arrival *hah!*. I rushed to the Thanksgiving luncheon and scanned the large auditorium for the dessert table. Since I did not immediately locate said table, I made my way to the savory items provided from other departments within the college, which were comprised of casseroles in crockpots and 9×13 baking dishes and turkey in foiled, roasting pans. As I meandered toward a table to relax and eat, I spotted the dessert table in the back of the auditorium. Not wanting to appear overly anxious, I decided to enjoy the main course meals before checking on my cheesecake and the other sugar-laden creations supplied by my colleagues.

Piping done!

Upon completion of the main course (which was pretty good by the way!), I nervously headed toward the back of the room. After passing over mostly store-bought desserts in their plastic containers and bakery price tags, a mushy-looking, unappetizing cake, and overly spread cookies, I resolved that my cheesecake was not there. I looked over the desserts again desperately looking for anything that resembled my cheesecake and finally found it. It was the mushy looking, unappetizing cake I had passed over the first time around.

Instead of being cut with a sharp knife, it was mutilated by a dull, butter knife that was not wiped between slices. Upon consumption of my first bite, I quickly realized my cheesecake had not been refrigerated, so it was very warm as if it had never spent the night in my fridge. Quiet tears yearned to leak out of my eyes with each bite I took of my little, mushy cheesecake. I reflected on how much effort I had put into the cheesecake and was thankful I had not added a mousse layer. I then reminded myself to be better prepared for such things to happen by cutting and freezing cheesecakes before delivering them to people who may not be accustomed to homemade, culinary creations.

The Aftermath

On the positive side, my colleagues said they enjoyed the cheesecake. Also, when I finally remembered to pick up my (unwashed) springform pan and cake carrier from the dean’s office (almost 2 weeks later!), the secretary paused her phone conversation to tell me “your cake was REALLY good.” 🙂 Just that one sentence erased all the anxiety and dismay I had felt upon seeing and eating my mutilated cheesecake haha. I’m already looking forward and am prepared for the next luncheon :).


First layer: Mexican-Chocolate Cookies for the Crust layer

 2 1/4 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons cream of tartar*
1 teaspoon baking soda* (I used 3 tsp of baking powder in place of the cream of tarter AND baking soda)
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature 
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon chile powder (I used ancho chile powder. Make sure there is no salt or garlic in it!)
If not refrigerating the dough, preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, cream of tartar, baking soda (or just baking powder in place of the cream of tartar and baking soda), and salt. In a large bowl, beat butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Next, add eggs and beat to combine. With mixer on low or with a spoon, gradually add flour mixture and beat until combined. Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour for better cookies.
In a small bowl or a sealable bag, combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar, cinnamon, and chile powder. Using heaping tablespoons (or 25-26 grams of dough), form balls of dough and roll in cinnamon/chile/sugar mixture. Place, about 3 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until cookies are set in center and begin to crack, about 10 minutes (for a soft cookie, bake for 7-8 minutes), rotating sheets halfway through. Let cookies cool on sheets on wire racks 5 minutes, then transfer cookies to racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week or freeze the dough for months. I crushed about 15 cookies in the food processor to create crumbs. Next melt one Tablespoon of butter, mix it with the cookies, press the mixture in the springform pan, and store in the freezer while preparing the cheesecake filling.


 Second layer: Tall and Creamy Cheesecake (my go-to recipe forever and ever amen!)

HALVED & adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours

1 pound (two 8-ounce boxes) cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt (I always use kosher salt)
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup heavy cream (or sour cream or combination)

Put a kettle or pot of water on to boil. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Working in a stand mixer (or large bowl with hand mixer), preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese at medium speed until it is soft for about 4 minutes. With the mixer running, add the sugar and salt, and continue to beat another 4 minutes or so, until the cream cheese is light. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the eggs one by one, beating for a full minute after each addition to yield a well-aerated batter. Reduce the mixer speed to low, and stir in the heavy cream or sour cream.

Give the batter a few stirs with a rubber spatula, just to make sure that nothing has been left unmixed at the bottom of the bowl, and scrape the batter into the springform pan. The batter should fill only half of the pan. Put the roasting pan in the oven and pour the the boiling water into the roaster to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan. (I pour half of the boiling water before putting in the pan to reduce my chances of dripping water in the cheesecake.)

Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes, at which point the top will be lightly browned and may have risen just a little above the rim of the pan. Turn off the oven’s heat, and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Allow the cheesecake to luxuriate in its water bath for another hour.
After 1 hour, carefully pull the roast pan/springform pan setup out of the oven, lift the springform pan out of the roaster—be careful, there WILL be some hot water in the aluminum foil—remove the foil. Let the cheesecake come to room temperature on a cooling rack.
When the cake is cool, cover the top lightly and chill the cake for at least 4 hours or overnight. 


Third layer: Mexican-Chocolate Ganache

 QUARTERED and adapted from

1/4 cup heavy cream

2.25 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used Callebaut semi-sweet chocolate)
1-2 tsp cinnamon powder

1/2 tsp ancho chile powder
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Heat the cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat (or microwave it for 30-60 seconds). For stove option, heat cream just BEFORE it boils. Place the chocolate in the cream, and remove from heat. Stir the mixture until smooth. Stir in the cinnamon and ancho chile powders and vanilla extract. Allow the ganache to cool for about 15 minutes before pouring the mixture on top of the CHILLED cheesecake.

Release the springform pan. With an offset spatula, smooth the ganache while starting at the center of the cake and working outward. Keep in mind that the cold temperature of the cake will cause the ganache to firm up quickly, and you may have to pour more on top to make it spread evenly.

Topmost layer: Cinnamon and Ancho-Chile Chantilly or Whipped Cream

1 cup COLD whipping, heavy, or double cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar (or fine or granulated sugar if you don’t have powdered)
1-2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ancho chile powder
1/2 – 1 tsp of vanilla extract (clear vanilla extract is best in this case, but I didn’t have it on hand)
For decoration: piping bag with tips, chocolate shards, cinnamon, ancho chile powder
Chill bowl and beaters in the freezer at least 5-10 minutes before making the Chantilly. Pour the cream in the chilled bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients when the cream becomes more voluminous. Continue whipping until the cream forms firm peaks. Do not create butter by over-mixing!
Final Preparation: Scoop the Chantilly/whipped cream into a piping bag with a 1M star tip or any other tip you have. Sprinkle shards of chocolate and more cinnamon and ancho chile powder on top to showcase what type of cheesecake you are serving :). Enjoy!
Copyright – Memoria James –

Southern Skim Milk/Fat-Free-Yogurt Biscuits


Due to my sudden craving for buttermilk biscuits and conflicting unwillingness to go to the store and spend money on buttermilk, I conjured up these Fat-Free Yogurt Biscuits. I am not a fan of the so-called “buttermilk substitute” of milk and lemon/vinegar (too “liquidy” compared to the real deal and not as flavorful) nor did I have lemon, so I decided to combine skim milk with fat-free, Greek yogurt and use that as a substitute.

I was a bit wary about the result of these Fat-Free Yogurt Biscuits until I took them out of the oven, broke them open, and took my first bite…They were AMAZING! I surprisingly didn’t miss the buttermilk at all, even though my buttermilk biscuits are amazing in their own right.

OMG! I want another one right now.

When I usually make biscuits, I make cheese or sausage and cheese biscuits. However, these Fat-Free Yogurt biscuits were so good on their own that I forgot the cheese! I then decided to make sausage gravy using skim milk again. I was nervous about the end result of this gravy, too, but it turned out very well.

Look at that chunky gravy! Yum!
After eating this delicious brunch and appeasing my craving, I didn’t feel as greasy and heavy as I usually feel aftefr eating buttermilk biscuits with whole-milk gravy. I was full, but I felt satisfied and ready to tackle the rest of the day! I paired this dish with scrambled eggs and low-calorie orange juice. I think from now on I’ll be making my biscuits with fat-free yogurt and skim milk (I know you’re shocked, mom!) in place of buttermilk.
I used my go-to recipe for buttermilk biscuits. The only change was the buttermilk substitute and the amount of yogurt/milk mixture. I add a bit more than suggested.

  Southern Skim Milk / Fat-Free-Yogurt Biscuits 

I always halve this recipe; full recipe below
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (or half wheat flour!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder (without aluminum)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, very cold
  • 1/2 cup skim, fat-free milk
  • 1/2 -3/4 cup fat-free Greek yogurt (I used 0% Fage)

PREPARE COLD BUTTER AND YOGURT/MILK MIXTURE: Cut the butter into small cubes or grate the butter with a cheese grater. Place the butter in the freezer. Measure out the milk/yogurt mixture (or buttermilk, if using), and place it in the refrigerator as you prepare the dry ingredients.

DRY INGREDIENTS/BUTTER INTEGRATION: Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl or in the bowl of a food processor. Add the cubed/grated butter into the dry ingredients and mix into the dry mixture until the butter bits resemble small pebbles. If using a food processor, just pulse a few times until this consistency is achieved.

ADDITION OF LIQUIDS: Next, add the cold yogurt/milk mixture and stir until just combined. DO NOT OVERMIX! Make sure the mixture is not too dry or too wet. Adjust accordingly. The biscuit dough should be wet.

PAT IT OUT!: Turn the dough out onto a floured board or clear wrap/cling wrap. Gently, gently PAT (do NOT roll with a rolling pin) the dough out until it’s about 1/2″ thick (I fold the dough using the cling/clear wrap so that my warm hands do not directly touch the dough or warm the butter). Fold the dough about 5 times, gently press the dough down to a 1 inch thick.

BISCUIT FORMATION: Use a round cutter to cut into rounds OR with a sharp knife, cut the dough into squares, like I did!

COOKIE SHEET PREPARATION: Lightly brush the cookie sheet with butter, and place the biscuits on a cookie sheet. If you desire the sides of the biscuits to be soft, put them on the sheet touching each other. If you like”crusty” sides, put them about 1 inch apart.

PREHEAT OVEN: Place the cookie tray of biscuits in the freezer while the oven preheats to 450F/230C. This step will allow the butter in the dough to remain cold and to create a flaky biscuits with light layers.

BAKE AND ENJOY!: Once the oven is at temperature, bake the biscuits for about 10-12 minutes.

Easy SAUSAGE GRAVY with skim milk

2 links of raw sausage, remove casing
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or butter
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 – 2 cups skim milk
1/2 – 1 tsp salt
1/2 – 1 tsp black pepper

Cook sausage in a thick skillet, like a cast-iron. Once the sausage is cooked thoroughly, add 1 Tbsp of oil to the sausage, if needed. Next add the flour directly to the meat. Stir until the meat is coated with the flour and oil. There should be a brown film on the bottom of the skillet. Next, add the milk 1/2 cup at a time until the gravy reaches the thickness you desire. Add salt and pepper to your liking.

Copyright – Memoria James –

Mexican Hot-Chocolate Cookies: A Comparison of Two Recipes

A comparison of Mexican Hot-Chocolate Cookies: adapted version of Everyday Food Magazine on the left/Cooking Channel on the right.

El día de los muertos

A Comparison of two Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies recipes. For El Día de Muertos (The Day of the Dead), I’ve made Pan de muerto (Bread of the Dead) in the past. This time, however, I decided to make Mexican Chocolate Cookies for my students because the cookies were portable and pleasant hybrids between Mexican and U.S. desserts. I tried out two recipes: 1) a heavily adapted version from Everyday Food Magazine on Martha Stewart’s website and 2) a recipe from the Cooking Channel website. While both recipes yielded delicious cookies, one was clearly better than the other. Before I reveal the winner, let’s talk about the pros and cons of each recipe and its end product.

Continue reading “Mexican Hot-Chocolate Cookies: A Comparison of Two Recipes”

Homemade Marshmallows

After three failed attempts, I finally made homemade marshmallows. I’m not crazy about marshmallows, but these are so good. I took these pictures at night, so they don’t look so great. They still taste yummy, though!

For the full version of the recipe, go here. Below you will find the halved version.

Springy, Fluffy Marshmallows
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen and Gourmet, December 1998

Makes about 40-48 1-inch cubed marshmallows

About 1/2 – 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 1/4 envelopes (1 tablespoons plus 1 1/4 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water, divided
1 cup granulated sugar (cane sugar worked just fine)
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/8 (or 2 Tbsps) teaspoon salt
1 large egg white or reconstituted powdered egg whites
1/2 tablespoon (or 1 1/2 teaspoons) vanilla (alternately: 1/4th of a scraped vanilla bean, 1 teaspoon almond or mint extract or maybe even some food coloring for tinting)

Oil (I used canola, but cooking spray could work) bottom and sides of a 8- by 8-inch square metal baking pan and dust bottom and sides with some confectioners’ sugar.

In bowl of a standing electric mixer or in a large bowl sprinkle gelatin over 1/4 cup cold cold water (I put cold water in the freezer for a few minutes), and let stand to soften.

In a 1.5-quart heavy saucepan cook granulated sugar, corn syrup, second 1/4 cup of cold water, and salt over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to moderate and boil mixture, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer registers 240°F, about 12-14 minutes. Remove pan from heat, and pour sugar mixture over gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin is dissolved (DON’T FORGET TO STIR FIRST!).

With standing or a hand-held electric mixer beat mixture on high speed until white, thick, and nearly tripled in volume, about six minutes if using standing mixer or about 10 minutes if using hand-held mixer.

In separate medium bowl with cleaned beaters beat the egg white (or reconstituted powdered white) until they just hold stiff peaks. Beat whites and vanilla (or your choice of flavoring) into sugar mixture until just combined. Pour mixture into baking pan and don’t fret if you don’t get it all out . Sift 1/8-1/4 cup confectioners sugar evenly over top. Chill marshmallow, uncovered, until firm, at least three hours, and up to one day.

Run a thin knife around edges of pan and invert pan onto a large cutting board. Lifting up one corner of inverted pan, with fingers loosen marshmallow and ease onto cutting board. With a large knife trim edges of marshmallow and cut marshmallow into roughly one-inch cubes. (An oiled pizza cutter works well here too.) (I used a pizza cutter) Sift remaining confectioners’ sugar back into your now-empty baking pan, and roll the marshmallows through it, on all six sides, before shaking off the excess and packing them away.

Do ahead: Marshmallows keep in an airtight container at cool room temperature 1 week.

Copyright – Memoria James –