Archive for Dessert

Blueberry Tarts

Sunday, July 30th, 2017

Blueberry tart made with puff pastry makes an easy summer dessert.

Makes 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 puff pastry sheet, thawed
  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons corn starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 Tablespoon of water

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a bowl, stir together the blueberries, sugar, cinnamon, corn starch and lemon juice & salt.

Cut puff pastry sheets into 4-6 squares. Spoon the blueberry mixture in the center of the dough, leaving a 1- inch border. Gently fold the dough border over the filling pleating it to make a circle or square.

Place puff pastry on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Brush the crust with egg mixture and sprinkle top with sugar if desired.

Bake until the crust is golden. Serve with ice cream or whip cream.

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Chocolate Stout Cupcakes

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes – the perfect dessert for your St Patrick’s Day party.

If you prefer to make a cake: butter or spray a springform or bundt pan and bake for about 35 minutes.

Yields 24 cupcakes 

Ingredients 

Ganache Frosting

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups (12oz) semisweet  or bittersweet chocolate

Chocolate Cake

  • 1 cup stout (such as Guinness)
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • sea salt (optional)

Directions 

The ganache frosting will need some time in the refrigerator so it’s best to prepare first before making the cupcakes.

For ganache: bring heavy cream to simmer in a saucepan. Remove from heat. Add  chocolate and let sit for a couple of minutes for chocolate to melt. Whisk until chocolate is melted and smooth. Refrigerate until icing is spreadable stirring frequently, about 2 hours.

For cupcakes:  Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large saucepan, combine Guinness and butter. Place over medium-low heat until butter melts. Remove from heat, add cocoa powder and whisk to blend. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat eggs, sour cream and vanilla with an electric mixer until combined. Add the Guinness mixture and beat just to combine. Add the flour mixture and beat just to combine. Using a rubber spatula, fold batter until mixed.

Pour into muffin tins lined with cupcake liners.  Bake until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.  Cool completely.

When ready to frost: stir ganache and transfer to a piping bag fitted with a tip and pipe on each cupcake (or use an offset spatula and spread on top of cupcakes). Top with sea salt, if desired.

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Categories : Chocolate, Dessert, Holiday

Molten Chocolate Cake

Monday, February 13th, 2017

Surprise your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day with this chocolate lovers delight.

To make ahead:  Place  prepared ramekins in the refrigerator covered with a plastic wrap. Bring to room temperature and bake just before serving.

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 4 Tablespoons butter,  cubed
  • 2 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped into pieces
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar or sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • Cocoa powder or flour for dusting

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a microwave, melt butter and chocolate together in 20 second increments, stirring after each, until melted and smooth.  (Can also use a double boiler method for this step)

In a bowl, add egg, egg yolk and sugar and whisk until combined. Add eggs and flour to the melted chocolate and whisk until combined.

Butter or spray 2 ramekins with  cooking spray  and dust with cocoa/flour. Tap out any excess. Divide batter into ramekins.

Bake for 11-13 minutes or until the sides are baked but the top looks soft or has slight jiggle. Let cool for 1 minute.

Cover with an inverted plate and turn over to release cake.  Serve with ice cream, berries or whip cream.

 

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

What’s better than pumpkin cheesecake pie?  Eating the pie without a fork in one bite! (ok..maybe two bites)

I took a short cut and  used the ready to roll refrigerated pie crust as I had some in the fridge. I also had some pumpkin caramel sauce from Trader Joe’s so I just drizzled that on top. Yum!

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Makes 12-14 mini pies

Ingredients

  • 1 refrigerated pie crust
  • 1 (8oz) package cream cheese, softened
  •  ½ cup sugar ( brown or granulated)
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Whip Cream:

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar

Optional toppings: caramel sauce, sea salt, melted chocolate, cinnamon, etc

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350  degrees.

Unroll pie crust and cut into 2 inch circles.  Press one circle into each mini muffin cup sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar, pumpkin puree, egg, heavy cream, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice and salt and beat until smooth. Fill each muffin cup with the filling and bake for 18-20 minutes or until set.

Cool completely on a wire rack. Use a knife to loosen the sides, if needed.

To make the whip cream: In a large bowl, beat heavy cream and sugar with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.

Top with whip cream and any other toppings desired!

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Place leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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Strawberry Mascarpone Cheese Bites

Sunday, June 12th, 2016

This strawberry dessert recipe is easy, yummy, and has less calories than most desserts!  Adding blueberries on top creates the red, white and blue theme for your 4th of July get together.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. strawberries, rinsed and pat dry
  • 6 oz mascarpone cheese, softened  ( or cream cheese)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2  teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt (optional)
  • Optional garnish: Blueberries 

Directions

In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together mascarpone cheese, powered sugar, vanilla and salt until fluffy. 

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Place mixture in a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip or into a zip log bag. Refrigerate.

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Cut the tops off the strawberries. Using a pairing knife, core strawberries removing the white interior.  Cut off a small portion of the pointy tip so it stands flat.

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To Assemble:  Pipe mascarpone cheese mixture into each strawberry and top with blueberry. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Tip: the filling can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator  but it’s best when eaten within a couple hours of assembling as it will become soggy.

Chocolate Strawberry Pizza

Monday, April 18th, 2016

Enjoy strawberries in a variety of ways while they’re at their peak from April until June.  This easy, elegant dessert will be a crowd pleaser at your next gathering or perfect to sip with Champagne for Mother’s Day.

Since I wanted to add chocolate, I decided to make this with just strawberries, but you can add other fruits to your liking or omit the chocolate..

Serves 8-10

Ingredients:

  • 1 package refrigerated sugar cookies
  • 3-4 cups strawberries (washed, dried, hulled and sliced)
  • 8 oz mascarpone  or cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup powered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate ( chopped) or chips
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Lightly spray 12- 14-inch pizza pan or baking sheet with  cooking spray. Cut cookie dough into 1/4-inch slices and arrange in a single layer on the pan. Press down evenly with your fingers to cover the pan. Bake approximately 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely.

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In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, combine mascarpone cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Spread over cookie crust.

Arrange fruit over cream cheese in circles or be creative and come up with different designs!

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 To melt chocolate, add chocolate and heavy cream in bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments until chocolate is melted.

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Once cooled, add some of the chocolate in a ziplog or piping bag. If using a ziplog, cut a slit in one side of the corner.  If you don’t want to take this extra step, just use a spoon to drizzle  chocolate on top.

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Drizzle chocolate over fruit.  Cut into wedges if using a pizza pan or in squares if using a baking sheet.

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Use the rest of the chocolate in the bowl to dip your whole strawberries. Enjoy!

 

Cookies and Cream

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

Rich, creamy and decadent  is today’s Cookies and Cocktails theme.  And the best part? No baking involved  ( yeah! ) and both require only 3 ingredients!

 

Oreo Cookie Truffles 

Oreo Truffles

 

Makes 32-36

Ingredients

  • 1 (15 oz.) package Oreo cookies (36 cookies)
  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

Using a rolling pin, crush cookies in a ziplog bag ( or use a food processor).

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Reserve about ¼ cup and place the rest in a large bowl. Add cream cheese and mix together until combined.

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Using a small cookie scoop (2 teaspoons) scoop / shape into balls and  place on a baking sheet lined with wax or parchment paper. Refrigerate 30-60 minutes to help them firm up.

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Melt chocolate over a double boiler until smooth. Remove truffles from the refrigerator, reshaping into balls if needed.  Drop truffles in the melted chocolate, coating evenly using 2 forks.

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Place truffles back on the baking sheet and sprinkle reserved crushed cookies on top. Place in the refrigerator until ready to serve. (Optional garnish: sprinkles or melted white chocolate)

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Can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container up to 2 weeks.

 

 

Cookies and Cream Martini

Cookies and Cream Martini

Ingredients 

  • 1 ½ oz vanilla vodka
  • 1 ½ oz creme de cacao
  • ¾ oz heavy cream (or milk)

Optional glass rim: crushed Oreos from truffle recipe

Directions

If desired, rim martini glass with creme de cacao and then with the crushed Oreos.

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In a cocktail shaker, combine vodka, creme de cacao and heavy cream into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into martini glass.

Salted Caramel Apples

Monday, October 13th, 2014

Looking for a fun project for your kids this holiday season? These salted caramel apples will be  perfect  for your holiday gatherings or gift giving. What I love about making caramel apples is that the possibilities are endless!

When choosing apples. it’s best to pair the sweetness of the candy with a tart apple like granny smith, but if you’re not fond of tart apples choose the same type of apples that make good choices for apple pie such as gala, fuji, etc.

I saw this  bag of tiny apples when I went to store and thought these would be perfect for caramel apples as it’s much easier to hold and eat, especially for kids.

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If you prefer not to make the caramel sauce from scratch, you can also melt some caramel candy with a couple Tablespoons of milk in a microwave or use a double boiler method over a stove top.

Makes 6-8 apples  (depending on size)

Ingredients

  • 6-8 apples
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter ( 1 cup)
  • 1 cup corn syrup
  • 2 cups  brown sugar
  • 1 (14 oz) can of sweetened condensed milk  (you can substitute with heavy cream)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Sea or fleur de sel salt (optional)
  • Toppings desired such as nuts, chocolate, candy, oreos, coconut, etc

Equipment needed:

  • Wooden skewers, chopsticks or craft sticks
  • Candy thermometer

Directions: 

Wash apples to remove any wax coating and dry them thoroughly.

Set apples stem side up and push sticks into each apple.  Place apples in a baking sheet lined with parchment /wax paper or silicone baking mat and set aside in the fridge while you make the caramel (cold apples work better for dipping).

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Combine butter, corn syrup, sugar, condensed milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cook until mixture reaches 234-240° F on a candy thermometer, which is the soft ball stage. This can take up to 25-30 minutes. Stir as needed. While the caramel is cooking, prepare toppings in individual bowls.

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When the caramel is done, remove from heat, add vanilla and stir well.  Next, place saucepan in an ice water bath to cool OR transfer caramel to small bowl that will fit all your caramel and make dipping easier.

Dip apples one at a time into the caramel, lift straight up, letting any excess drip back into the pan and sprinkle salt around  the apple. Next, dip into your toppings desired.  Be fun and creative!

Place apples, stem side up on the prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate until set about 15 minutes.

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If you want to give these as gifts, chill the apples for at least an hour, then place in cellphone bags and wrap with ribbons found in your local craft store. Leave the wrapped apples in the fridge, up to about 5 days until ready to give.

What are your favorite toppings? Please share on the comments! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

You know its pumpkin season as soon as you step into Trader Joe’s. Pumpkin bread, ice cream, coffee, cookies, cream cheese… and so on and so on. It was a little overwhelming but I did pick up the pumpkin butter and  caramel sauce as I was baking cookies with my grand daughter and wanted to try these products. If you don’t like pumpkin butter or can’t find it, you can substitute with pumpkin puree.

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Makes about 2 dozen cookies, depending on size

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2  teaspoons pumpkin pie spice ( can substitute with cinnamon and nutmeg)
  • ¾  teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼  teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (½ cup)  unsalted butter, softened
  • ½  cup brown sugar
  • ½  cup granulated sugar
  • ¼  cup pumpkin butter ( or pumpkin puree)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt. Set  aside.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream butter and both sugars together for a few minutes. Add pumpkin butter (or puree), vanilla and egg and continue to mix until smooth.

Slowly add in the flour mixture and mix until just combined. (Do not over mix). Stir in the chocolate chips.

Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. (This step makes it easier to roll)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll dough into large Tablespoon size balls.  Place dough on cookie sheets and bake for about 8-10 minutes. If your cookies didn’t spread much after baking, flatten them slightly with a spatula when you take them out of the oven, while still hot. Let cool for a few minutes on the baking sheets before transferring to a wire rack.

We also used a mini muffin pan as I thought it would be easier to eat. If you use  a muffin pan, you don’t need to chill the dough as you can add the Tablespoon size into the muffin pan greased with cooking spray.  (My grand daughter also added some of these caramel candy corn and the caramel sauce I bought ).

Enjoy these soft and chewy cookies!

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Monkey Bread Minis with Caramel Sauce

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

A twist on the classic monkey bread. Individual sized monkey bread with hidden surprises such as apple and chocolate drizzled with gooey caramel sauce! The perfect snack or dessert for your kids or your next gathering.

Everyone loves monkey bread but the traditional full size pull-apart method tends to be a little messy. These are baked in muffin pans so it makes it easier for individual servings and takes less time to bake.

You can make these with just the apples or chocolate or caramel sauce.  Or if you prefer the traditional monkey bread, omit the fillings and just coat biscuits with cinnamon and sugar. However you decide to make them, it will be a hit!

Serves 12

Ingredients

  • 1 stick ( ¼ cup) butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tart apple, peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces ( optional)
  • Chocolate chips or chocolate, chopped (optional)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 cans (7.5 oz each) refrigerated biscuits

Caramel Sauce

  • 2/3  cup brown sugar
  • 1 stick ( ¼ cup) butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease or spray 12 regular-size muffin pan.

In a small saucepan combine brown sugar and butter. Cook over low heat until sugar dissolves stirring often. Spoon 1 Tablespoon of butter into each muffin cup.

Place chopped apples in a small bowl. In a plastic bag, combine sugar and cinnamon. Take about 1 Tablespoon of the sugar/cinnamon mixture and toss into the bowl of apples and set aside.

Separate biscuits and cut into quarters. You will have a total of 64 pieces, with a minimum of 5 pieces in each muffin cup with some left over. This is where you will choose your fillings:

– If you are only making an apple filling: Press the biscuits pieces flat and place an apple in the center of each and fold the dough around the apple and pinch the edges to close. Repeat for all 64 pieces and set aside.

– If you are making a chocolate filling, use the same method above using chocolate. Or if you prefer to use both for each muffin cup, you will make 32 with apples and 32 with chocolate, etc.

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Place biscuit pieces in the  plastic bag with cinnamon and sugar and shake to coat evenly and divide between 12 muffin cups ( some will have more than 5).

If you are using more than one filling, do this step in batches. (Add apple filling first in plastic bag to coat and place in muffin cups, then add chocolate filling to coat and place with apple filling in the muffin cup, etc)

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To make caramel sauce:  heat sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once sugar is melted, add the butter.  Stir the butter into the caramel until completely melted. Slowly drizzle in heavy cream and boil for about 1 minute (be careful as it will rise in the pan as it boils).  Remove from heat and set aside.

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Once all the biscuits are in the muffin pan, spoon any remaining butter and spoon some caramel sauce on top of each muffin cup.

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Bake for about 15 minutes or until biscuits have browned. Let cool for a couple of minutes. Turn muffin tin upside down to remove monkey breads.

Place on a serving platter and drizzle with caramel sauce. Leave a bowl of caramel sauce next to monkey bread so guests can choose to drizzle more!

Monkey Bread