This  Sunday is Mother’s Day and what better way to say “Mom, I love you” than baking up a batch of treats?  Every woman loves her sweets :) .

I will be featuring 3 easy to make treats for today — Pecan Bars, Coconut Macarons and Brownies.  You may choose to be fierce and make all 3 or simply pick your favorite one for your mommy dearest.

Ingredients for Coconut Macaroons:

  • 14 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Combine the coconut, condensed milk, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whip the egg whites and salt on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until they make medium-firm peaks. Carefully fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture.

Drop the batter onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper using either a 1 3/4-inch diameter ice cream scoop, or 2 teaspoons. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and serve.

Ingredients for Chewy Pecan Bars:


  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces


  • 1 1/4 cups (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 4 cups coarsely chopped pecans (about 14 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 13x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, leaving 1-inch overhang on all sides. Butter foil. Blend flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch and salt in processor. Add butter and process until mixture begins to clump together. Press dough evenly onto bottom of foil-lined pan. Bake crust until set and light golden, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven. Let stand while preparing topping. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.

Ingredients for Espresso Brownies:
  • 8oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 12 oz butter
  • 12 oz eggs
  • 24 oz sugar
  • 0.12 oz salt
  • 1/2 oz vanilla
  • 1/2 oz instant espresso powder/coffee
  • 16 oz all purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 325F.  Grease and flour two 9″x13″ sheetpans or 3 9″ square pans.  Set aside.
Melt the chocolate and butter together in a double boiler.  Let the mixture cool to room temperature.  Mix the eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla together until well blended, but do not whip.  Whipping to a foam reates more leaveningm resulting in a more crumbly, less fudgy brownie.
Gently fold in with the chocolate mixture.  Sift in the flour and gradually fold in the wet batter and mix thoroughly.  Pour equal amounts into your baking pans and bake for 45-60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when poked in the center.
Ingredients for Ganache Filling:
  • 12 oz of dark chocolate discs or bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder/coffee

Place the chocolate into a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil, watching very carefully because if it boils for a few seconds, it will boil out of the pot. When the cream has come to a boil, pour over the chopped chocolate, and whisk until smooth. Stir in espresso powder.  Allow the ganache to cool slightly before pouring over a cake. Start at the center of the cake and work outward.

To assemble brownies, pour the ganache filling evenly onto one sheet pan.  Very carefully take the second sheet pan and place on top of the first, sandwiching both brownies together.
***Helpful til: By freezing/refrigerating the brownie beforehand will make assembly easier.
To make brownie bites, simply cut your brownies with a 2-4″ round cookie cutter.  Dip the tops of the brownies in ganache (see recipe above) and set aside on wax paper.  To finish, drizzle the tops with more ganache and garnish with whipped cream and edible flowers.  You can use different toppings like sprinkles, fruit etc — be creative!
This recipe makes about 16-20 brownie bites.
I hope everyone enjoys their Mother’s Day this weekend.  I am very fortunate to have a wonderful mother who is not only caring and loving but funny as all hell.  I find that the older I become, the more I appreciate my mother — the things that she does, the things that she’s done and I’m sure the many things she will do as I grow up.  It’s hard enough to be a good parent, but a good mother?  Those women deserve more than just a day out of the year.  But in the spirit of Mother’s day don’t forget to tell her all the ways you love her, appreciate her and how lucky you really are to have the best mother in the world.

Also today will be your last chance to enter my giveaway which will end at 7PM. (CT)

The lovely folks of Challenge Butter sent me a loooovely Zoo Animals Pancake Griddle from Nordic Ware($35 value), it is the most ADORABLE thing I’ve ever seen.

And you will win your choice of a 5″x7″ framed and matted color photo from my Spring Flower collection listed below ($50 value).

I will select one winner on Friday, May 7th at 7:00 PM using a random number generator service.  In order to be eligible for this giveaway please:

1. Leave a comment about your favorite Zoo animal and why.

2. Become a fan of Joylicious on Facebook.

3. Follow me on Twitter.

Good Luck!




  1. Regan says: 7 May ’10 • 07:50:20

    Wow. Your photos are gorgeous. What kind of camera & lens do you use for your images?

    And I guess since I’m already commenting ;-) , I might as well enter for a chance to win!

    Fave animal: elephant – just from simple size alone they’re amazing to me

    I’ll head to FB to become a fan. If you’d like to do the same, find me under The Professional Palate & on twitter @profpalate


    • Joy Zhang says: 12 May ’10 • 00:49:50

      Will do Regan — thank you for the kind words. I shoot with a sony alpha 550 and usually use my macro 50 mm f 2.8 lens.

  2. Isabelle says: 7 May ’10 • 09:15:00

    Those treats look positively decadent, Joy!
    I won’t get to see my Mumsy this weekend, unfortunately, because she lives quite far away. :( She’s coming for a visit later this month, though, and I think those brownies would be a wonderful treat to celebrate a belated Mother’s Day.


    • Joy Zhang says: 12 May ’10 • 00:47:44

      Ah thank you Isabelle for the kind words — How wonderful that your mom is coming to visit soon! I hope you two have a wonderful time together, what better way to connect again than through a plate of treats and a few glasses of something nice :)

  3. citronetvanille says: 7 May ’10 • 10:02:15

    Oh What a beautiful treat selection for your mom, She will be delighted for such a treatment! Lucky you to have a wonderful mom living close by. Mine is in France and I miss her a lot! Enjoy!


    • Joy Zhang says: 12 May ’10 • 00:46:45

      Ah France! How I long to visit that place some day — my mother actually is not a fan of treats, I made my mother in law a fruit tart for Mother’s Day :) I will feel your pain once my mom moves away this year, I am dreading the departure! Any tips on how you deal with the distance?

  4. Joy says: 7 May ’10 • 10:07:23

    I love the expresso brownies. They are so pretty.


    • Joy Zhang says: 12 May ’10 • 00:45:24

      I’ve got to say you have a pretty cool name :) Thanks for the kind words, those brownies definitely will give you a nice buzz!

  5. Cristina says: 7 May ’10 • 10:53:59

    Delicious assortment of homemade baked treats for Mom! My Mom would especially like those chewy pecan bars!


    • Joy Zhang says: 12 May ’10 • 00:44:54

      Ah thank you Cristina :) The pecan bars are my favorite too!!! (hopefully your mother will agree)

  6. Roti n Rice says: 7 May ’10 • 11:09:53

    What delicious treats for mom! I have to say I love the chewy pecan bars :)


    • Joy Zhang says: 12 May ’10 • 00:43:33

      :) Those are my favorite too, to be honest I dont think my mom would eat any of these treats, she is very very picky.

  7. TripleScoop says: 7 May ’10 • 11:16:55

    Wow. I’m on a sugar high looking at those wonderful recipes and photos. All good stuff!


    • Joy Zhang says: 12 May ’10 • 00:43:06

      Hahaha Thank you Bao! I got a sugar high from having to “taste” them all :)

  8. Memoria says: 7 May ’10 • 11:57:43

    everything looks fantastic even the macaroons, and I don’t even like them! My favorite one would have to be the brownies. I’m bookmarking this post! Thanks!


    • Joy Zhang says: 12 May ’10 • 00:42:41

      Ah :) Thank you Memoria!! I hope you enjoy them ^_^

  9. The Chocolate Priestess says: 7 May ’10 • 16:24:51

    Ah, my mother would love chocolate but her doctor says “no way” though she can’t give me a clear reason why he says “no way”. Frankly I think her diet has become so limited that it hardly makes life worth living some days.

    So I sent her a book.


    • Joy Zhang says: 12 May ’10 • 00:42:04

      What a good option, as delicious as chocolate can be, sometimes a book is even better. You can reread a book a million times and learn it page for page, but you can only eat a chocolate bar once. :) Your mom is in my thoughts.

  10. Angie says: 7 May ’10 • 17:43:51

    Confession: We don’t celebrate anything, maybe birthdays, but really my family is pretty quiet on the holidays.

    However, if I wanted to make the ganache brownies, could I change it without the espresso powder?


    • Joy Zhang says: 12 May ’10 • 00:41:12

      Confession noted because guess what? My family didn’t celebrate CRAP, the only birthday we’d celebrate would be mine and that was on an occasional basis. For many years I tried buying my mom presents during mother’s day only to have her return them the next day — her exact words are ” I don’t want present. Only thing mommy want is for you to get straight A. Oh that and maybe a card.” So that’s all I’ve done for the past 8 years — no more presents, just cards.

      Asian moms are so funny.

      The original recipe actually called for no espresso powder, I added them in so please feel free to leave out!

  11. The Duo Dishes says: 7 May ’10 • 21:31:36

    Chewy pecan bars please!


    • Joy Zhang says: 12 May ’10 • 00:39:21

      Amen to that!

  12. Reiko says: 8 May ’10 • 00:40:57

    Joy, They all look sooooo good!! I’d love to try them all!! Probably the pecan bars first :)


    • Joy Zhang says: 12 May ’10 • 00:39:10

      Thank you Reiko!! The pecan bars are my favorite :) !!!!! I use to sneak a bite every morning — it’s so hard to resist…

  13. Jackie at says: 8 May ’10 • 01:57:06

    My, oh my… Luscious-looking desserts. I made coconut macaroons as well and use the crust to make a cheesecake :)


    • Joy Zhang says: 12 May ’10 • 00:38:31

      OOO JACKIE you bad girl — that sounds DIVINE, I am imagining the flavor possibilities with that combination and I am sold. Please tell me the recipe is on your website!

  14. kristy says: 8 May ’10 • 02:05:31

    Oh yes Joy, I love that expresso brownie too! They look so scrumptious! How could you do this to me! *soop* Three at a time! How dare you! =(
    Have a fabulous weekend, dear!
    Blessings, Kristy


    • Joy Zhang says: 12 May ’10 • 00:37:34

      *evil grin* Consider it payback Kristy for all the yum yums that always make my tummy growl!!! :) Thank you for the kind words as always, you are the best. ^_^

  15. anncoo says: 8 May ’10 • 05:22:30

    Of all the the three, I’ll go for expresso brownie. Looks so fabulous and nice clicks as usual.
    Have a great weekend!


    • Joy Zhang says: 12 May ’10 • 00:36:27

      Ah Thank you Anncoo!

  16. lululu says: 8 May ’10 • 12:23:33

    Oh, Joy, your mom is so lucky to have you, such a talented and sophisticated daughter!


    • Joy Zhang says: 12 May ’10 • 00:35:49

      :) Thank you lululu, I should make her read your comment maybe as a friendly reminder :) !!

  17. Sara says: 8 May ’10 • 22:45:47

    Joy, you are one precious daughter to your mom!!! Love all of the goodies!!! Enjoy Mother’s Day with your Mom!!! :)


    • Joy Zhang says: 12 May ’10 • 00:34:06

      Hahaha thanks Sara!! I think am growing increasingly nostalgic as the days inch closer and closer to her departure. I hope you had a wonderful mother’s day :)

  18. MaryMoh says: 9 May ’10 • 07:08:25

    Wow….everything is so amazing here! I love all of them. Now I think I want to celebrate Mother’s Day everyday!! I better show this to my girls….hint hint :P Awesome pictures as usual, Joy!


    • Joy Zhang says: 12 May ’10 • 00:33:19

      Hahaha! Thanks Mary Moh :) I completely 100% agree that everyday should be Mother’s Day (therefore I see no problem with your daughters making you a few extra treats).!

  19. lemonsandanchovies says: 9 May ’10 • 10:17:51

    These are beautiful!


    • Joy Zhang says: 12 May ’10 • 00:32:10

      :) Thanks a bunch!

  20. The Cilantropist says: 9 May ’10 • 14:44:10

    This post is almost too much for my senses! Those brownies with ganache are pastry-shop quality, I am extremely impressed and am adding them to my favorites. :)


    • Joy Zhang says: 12 May ’10 • 00:31:55

      Thank you so much Amanda! I actually made these desserts for a wedding tasting when I was a pastry chef for a catering company, they are addicting!

  21. Linn @ Swedish home cooking says: 9 May ’10 • 16:31:15

    That’s adorable. Specially the brownie bites. Mother’s day in Sweden does not happen the same time as in the US though, so I guess I’ll have to save your recipe for later.


    • Joy Zhang says: 12 May ’10 • 00:29:36

      When does Mother’s Day happen in Sweden? I think Mother’s Day should happen several times a year :)

  22. Mokita says: 9 May ’10 • 18:28:37

    beautiful layout…. and amazing recipes.


    • Joy Zhang says: 12 May ’10 • 00:28:45

      :) Thank you Mokita, so sweet of you to say!!

  23. skip to malou says: 9 May ’10 • 18:35:28

    joy, it would be hard for me which one to pick.. to be honest, i want them all. i don’t care how many calories i will gain if i eat them all… hahahah it’s absolutely food porn… you know it’s bad but you just want to have them!

    im sure you bring so much joy to y our mom…


    • Joy Zhang says: 12 May ’10 • 00:28:24

      Ah thank you Malou :) I definitely got quite the belly while making these, I think my favorite would have to be the Pecan Bars. I will have to lay off of these treats for the rest of summer if I have any intention of wearing cute dresses haha. I hope I bring much happiness to my mom, I gave her quite the hard time when I was a teenager haha hopefully I’ll make up for it (majorly) for the years to come.

  24. Nadia says: 10 May ’10 • 15:24:28

    wow, Joy. Gorgeoussssss, I loveee loveee loveeee the bright flowers you used to decorate your plates. The desserts look sinful. yum!


    • Joy Zhang says: 12 May ’10 • 00:23:38

      Thank you Nadia — they are actually edible flowers. I ate one and they were pretty tasteless haha I think next time I would sugar coat them :)

  25. betty says: 10 May ’10 • 19:31:08

    they all look great!!


    • Joy Zhang says: 12 May ’10 • 00:23:02

      Thank you Betty :)

  26. The Better Baker says: 22 Nov ’10 • 15:28:52

    A.MA.ZING pictures. I can’t wait to try the macaroons – they look divine! All these recipes do, and I’m sure I’ll make several of them. Thanks for the great job you do of inviting folks into the kitchen. MMM!!


  27. Beattie says: 14 Mar ’11 • 21:16:42

    Wow! Your photos are awe inspiring! I’ve never baked for my mum on Mothers Day before but I think this year might be a first after coming across your blog. Thankyou :)


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