Deliciously Sweet:Pastry Chef MaryEllen Shares a Valentine's Day Recipe


It all started in an elementary school classroom, 6th grade to be exact. One of the Sisters at St. Luke’s Evangelist school had asked the class to write a letter describing what they would each like to do when they grew up. Thankfully, for MaryEllen, she had met a Pastry Chef the year prior, who had won her over with his tales of eating desserts and playing with food for his job. It was safe to say that it left quite the impression on her. So much so, that after many years of hard work and dedication, MaryEllen now runs her own pastry business, Pastries by MaryEllen, delighting the locals of Glenside, Pennsylvania, and beyond with her yummy sweet treats.

That’s why, with Valentine’s Day approaching, odds are you will need a last minute gift. Luckily, MaryEllen has it covered. She took some time out of her busy schedule of baking and concocting mouthwatering gifts to share with you a simple recipe. This way, if you want to go the DIY route for your gift, you can in the most delicious of ways.

“With Valentines day coming up, a way to anyone's heart, is through their stomach! Make them this easy but sinfully delicious cookie. Best served warm, enjoy with your love!”- MaryEllen

Triple Chocolate Chunk Cookies: 350 degrees makes about 4 dozen cookies

Unsalted Butter                          1 Cup

Instant Coffee granules              2 Tablespoons

All Purpose flour                         2 Cups + 2 Tablespoons

Cocoa                                         3/4 Cup

Baking Soda                               1/2 teaspoon

Salt                                             1/2 teaspoon

Brown Sugar                               1 Cup

Sugar                                          1/2 Cup

Eggs (room temperature)            2

Vanilla Extract                             1 teaspoon

Semi sweet Chocolate                 7 ounces


White Chocolate Chips                 7 ounces

- Melt butter and Coffee granules together and set aside to cool

-Once butter has cooled, add brown sugar and sugar together with paddle attachment, mix until incorporated.

-Scrape sides of bowl

- Add eggs, one at a time, add vanilla extract

-Scrape sides of bowl

-Sift together, All purpose flour, Cocoa, baking soda and salt, add in two parts, scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition.

-Add semi sweet chips and white chocolate chips only till incorporated

Tip 1:

Use an ice cream scoop to scoop your cookie dough and then put into the refrigerator and let the dough rest for at least 2 hours or overnight while covered. Place onto a parchment lined sheet pan and bake for 10-12 minutes. Then, allow it to cool before removing from sheet pan.

Tip 2:

After mixing all the ingredients together, take an ice cream scoop and scoop out the dough onto a parchment lined sheet pan, but line the scooped dough right next to each other and then put the filled tray into the refrigerator for two hours or until they are set up. Once the dough has firmed up, place the scooped cookie dough into a plastic container with lid and then place into the freezer and at a moment’s notice have fresh baked cookies. (take a few cookies out of the freezer and let them sit out while the oven comes up to temperature, then bake according to directions)

To order some of MaryEllen's desserts please call 215-450-3165 or stop by Sweet Magnolia Friday February 13th from 4pm-6pm or Saturday the 14th from 12pm - 2pm!  

Also, check her out on Facebook

Pastries by MaryEllen


Sweet Girl MaryEllen

How Santa Came to Glenside


Every year, early in December, Glenside kids gather in Wesley Plaza to greet Santa Claus and to share with him their Christmas wishes..


He usually rides into the plaza on a fire truck.


However, several years ago, just as Santa was to hop aboard the fire truck, the firemen were called to a fire.


The kids in the plaza waited and waited and waited (and it was a very cold night!).


Maureen Haff of Sweet Magnolia came to the rescue! She borrowed her son's little white Cabrio convertible.


Well, that's pretty much what really happened and I should know because I was there that night helping at the cookie and hot chocolate table. However, being a bit of a writer and a story-teller, I knew there could be more to this scenario. After I got home that night, I scribbled some notes in a notebook and then promptly mislaid it among a jumble of other notebooks in which I had scribbled the beginnings of stories.
After that, at every Glenside Winterfest I would think about that night in Wesley Plaza when Santa almost didn't come, but I still hadn't found my notes and besides December was too late to write a Christmas story anyway.
Then one spring as I was organizing my notebooks, I came across that little snippet of a story. Suddenly I knew this would be the year. It was only May. I had nearly eight months to finish the story and no good excuses not to. I got to work.
I added the mayor and gave him the Cabrio. Since Glenside has no mayor, I could poke a little fun at him with impunity.
I needed a protagonist among the kids and Little Molly McReady came into being. She needed a tormentor and that was Billy Oglesby, the first to lose faith, and coincidentally, the character whose family's apartment burned that night.
All ends happily when ---well, you'll just have to read the book yourself if you don't know the ending! It's available at the Glenside Library and for sale at Sweet Magnolia and other Glenside shops. A portion of the sales will go to the children's summer reading program at the Glenside Library.


I am a retired Cheltenham teacher. I taught 5th and 6th grade at Elkins Park School for 22 years and especially enjoyed helping my students write stories and poems. I earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing at Rosemont College in 2005. I meet regularly with two writing groups and write as often as I can.

I looked briefly for someone to illustrate "Santa" but I had the ideas of how I wanted the illustrations to look in my mind. With the help of a drawing class at Cheltenham Adult School and a couple of drawing books, I did fairly well. I especially wanted to include a Glenside "flavor" to the book.
My husband David scanned my drawings into the computer so we could design each page. Jim Auch of Auch printing printed 100 copies for us and we bound them on our own comb binder. Nearly 50 copies of the book have sold and I am simply amazed at all of this!
David and I have lived in Glenside for 28 years. We have two grown children and two granddaughters.


Carol Coffin

How Santa Came to Glenside can be purchased at Sweet Magnolia. Proceeds will go to the Summer Reading Program.


Sweet Wreaths: Tips on Wreath Decor by One of the Sweet Girls

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I’ve been asked to write a little something about myself for our blog. I’ll try to keep it short and sweet. I’m the only guy at Sweet Magnolia and they have even nicknamed me Sweet Clif to make me feel more like part of their loving family. I adore working with the rest of the “Sweet Girls!”  I knew, the moment when I walked into Sweet Magnolia, for the first time, that being there was going to be a great fit! I guess the feeling was right because I have been working there for four years and have grown to really enjoy the people that I meet while there.
With a background in floral design and retail display, it’s no surprise as to why I enjoy Sweet Magnolia’s warming aura and even create wreaths for their shop.  Blame my creative flare on my mom, Nan Kirstein, who got me started on that kick early on. It makes sense since she owns her own pottery studio called Signature Door in Carversville Pennsylvania, an impressive feat at 83 years old! Shout out to you mom…love you!
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Now, enough about me---let’s talk wreaths!
If there is a time to use a wreath to give your home some seasonal cheer, it is the fall and winter seasons. Here, at Sweet Magnolia, we have recently started constructing wreaths and after much affection towards them, we have decided to share with you our tricks of the trade when designing one. 
Before you begin to make one, ask yourself, where will it look best? Any door, wall, or covered porch can work as the perfect spot to place your new stylish decorative piece.  They soften any area. Luckily, Sweet Magnolia offers an array of sizes and styles to choose from. This way, no matter where you place your master piece, it will accommodate to its surrounding. 
I like to add bows, ribbons, and even faux floral pieces to the wreaths I work on. It gives them a pop of color and you an opportunity to change things up, depending on the season. For instance, with one of the fall wreaths I created, I took faux leaves and fabric for a bow and created a collage of folliage and autumnal hues on the wreath that was once very basic. Now, it has color, goes well for the Thanksgiving season, and still looks well made.  
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Sweet Clif
PS: Stop by Sweet Magnolia anytime! I’d love to chat with you!
Sweet Magnolia is happy to do custom wreath orders. Just stop by or call and ask for Sweet Cliff. 

One Book Many Recipes: A Recipe from "Cooking with Italian Grandmothers"

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If you have been fortunate enough to, you have memories of standing in your grandmother’s kitchen as she whipped something up amazingly delicious for even the biggest of gatherings. For me, both of my grandmothers saw their kitchens, as their castles and anyone who tried to storm it would face repercussions that were short of French Revolution standards. However, being the grandchild, I got special treatment and was always welcome to stand beside either of them when they concocted their cuisine’s best. I can still smell peppers being fried in olive oil along with onions and garlic. The aroma always filled my grandparent's apartment in Portugal. Here, my other grandma had a love affair with olive oil and anything Goya branded so you could always tell you were entering a Cuban household the minute you laid foot inside. Both were excellent cooks and spending hours with them as they infused their creativity and love into their food is one of my most prized memories of both of them. 
That’s why, sharing a recipe from the cookbook Cooking with Italian Grandmothers, is a must. The holiday season is around the corner and there is no better time to start sharpening those cooking skills than now with some classic family recipes. Jessica Theroux fills this book with a variety of Italian recipes from a few grandmothers who know food and what it truly means to cook for others, all too well. 
Here’s a recipe that some of us Sweet Girls picked out for you all to try at home. For more of the yumminess, stop by Sweet Magnolia and pick up a copy of Cooking with Italian Grandmothers. Note that we have replaced the tomato puree they suggested for the sauce with one we have available in the shop by Christina Maser: “Garlic Red Sauce.”
Ivoltini di Milano (Slow Braised Meat Rolls From the Province of Milan)
Serves: 6-8 Prep-Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 90 minutes
Ingredients For Involtini Rolls
•4 ounces ground pork
•2 ounces ground chicken
•8 ounces ground beef
•¼ cup finely grated Parmesan
•6 tablespoons plain bread crumbs
•2 large eggs
•¼ cup minced parsley
•½ teaspoon salt
•½ teaspoon black pepper
•1-½ pounds raw slices beef top sirloin, roughly 12–15 slices, pounded to 1/8" thickness and at least 2-½ x 3" in size
Ingredients for Sauce
•3 tablespoons olive oil
•2 whole cloves garlic, peeled 
•1 onion, finely diced
•1 carrot, finely diced
•2 bay leaves
•¼ cup red or white wine
•2 cups Christina Maser’s Garlic Red Sauce 
•2 cups beef broth, home-made or packaged (not canned)
•½ teaspoon salt
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1.To make the filling for the meat rolls, knead together the ground pork, chicken, beef, Parmesan, bread crumbs, eggs, parsley, salt, and black pepper.
2.Lay a slice of the beef top sirloin on a cutting board, and place a couple of spoonfuls of the filling at one end. Roll the filling up into the beef, making sure to tuck in the sides as you go. Secure the roll with a toothpick skewered all the way through the middle of the roll. Repeat this procedure for the rest of the slices and filling.
3.For the sauce, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a wide pot until it starts to shimmer. Brown the involtini in batches, on all sides, and set them aside on a plate when nicely caramelized.
4.Turn down the heat to medium, and sauté the garlic cloves, onion, carrot, and bay leaves in the remaining oil. Add the wine, scraping loose any brown sticky bits from the bottom of the pan, and then the tomato puree, broth, and salt.
5.Return the involtini and their juices to the pot, bring to a simmer, and cover with a lid set slightly ajar. Simmer the meat rolls gently for about 1-1/2 hours, turning the involtini a few times during cooking. Serve with polenta.
Recipe by Mamma Maria featured in Jessica Theroux’s Cooking with Italian Grandmothers
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Why so Cheesy?: An Easy and Fun Recipe for a Pumpkin Cheese Ball


Photo Credit:Same Kaplan 


I must say before anything else, that I chose this recipe to feature on the blog because I am bias when it comes to one thing…CHEESE! Anything consisting something cheese-filled warms my heart like free samples at the local Whole Foods. That is what happened when I came across this recipe on

Perfect for your next spooky soiree during this Halloween season, the Pumpkin Cheese Ball gives you a festive and delicious snack for your guests to munch on. It’s easy, affordable, and takes less than 30 minutes to make! Yay to modern-day food miracles.



16 Ounces Room Temperature Cream Cheese

1 ½ Cups of Shredded Cheddar

3 Tablespoons Minced Onion

2 Tablespoons SalsaGround Cumin

1 Teaspoon Minced Jalapeno

2 Teaspoons Nacho Flavored Tortilla Chips

Purple Tortilla Chips

Bell Pepper Stem


Bring that mixer out ladies!

-Blend the 16 ounces of room-temperature cream cheese along with 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar, 3 tablespoons minced onion, 2 tablespoons salsa, 2 teaspoons ground cumin, and 1 teaspoon minced jalapeno.

-Get that always helpful yet frustrating plastic wrap out (I say frustrating because plastic wrap always bunches), and you are going to scoop all that you just mixed together on it. The wrap is being used to form the mixture into the fabulous 5-inch pumpkin shape you desire. You want to chill this for about 2 hours. You don’t want to serve it all hot and bothered. ;)

-When serving, unwrap it, and roll it onto a pile of crushed nacho-filled tortilla chips. Cut the stem off a bell pepper and place it on the top of your cheese ball to finish it off.

-One is the loneliest number. Therefore, give your pumpkin cheese ball some companions by adding some purple tortilla chips around it on its platter.


Sweet Girl-K


Photo Credit: