Archive for the ‘desserts’ Category

Tara-misu

September 23, 2017

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Everyone knows I love anything Italian. One of my favorite desserts to order at an Italian restaurant is Tiramisu. If you have never had it, it is a delicious combination of sponge cake soaked with coffee liqueur and a creamy custard like filling, sprinkled with shaved chocolate. It has bitter notes of coffee with sweet notes of chocolate and sugar and it is the perfect marriage of flavors that tingles your tastebuds. It represents Italy in dessert form and there are many versions of it, not all of which succeed. I have always wanted to make it but I was intimidated by it. My mom makes an amazing version and I have her recipe but I decided to use Gabriele Corcos’ version. I have been enjoying lots of his recipes for their simple and authentic Italian flavor. I have a great post about his eggplant incaciata I am going to post soon. So if you are a tiramisu lover and have never attempted it at home I recommend you try his version. It is simple and with impress your guests with its sophistication.

TIPS: I found the lady fingers in the refrigerated section of my grocery store bakery, but you can also use the ones in the cookie aisle. Also I used Marsala wine as he suggested for the liqueur, which surprisingly tasted great, I assumed you had to use something like Kahlua. I used one part Marsala and one part licor 43, a new liquor i found that has over 43 different flavors blended into it, like vanilla and citrus, among other things. Don’t be afraid to mix it up and choose something you like since it is such a small amount, it won’t hurt the flavor. I think even rum would be tasty, like a rum cake.

Tiramisu

Ingredients

  • 3 cups brewed coffee, cooled
  • 2 (8-ounce) containers mascarpone
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 14 ounces savoiardi cookies (firm ladyfingers)
  • 4 ounces sugar, plus 2 tablespoons or more, for the coffee
  • 2 shots rum or Italian Marsala, optional
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup shaved dark chocolate, to garnish’

Directions

First brew about 3 cups of coffee and pour it in a bowl and allow to cool off, add 2 tablespoons sugar or sweeten to taste. (I used espresso and watered it down a bit to make it three cups).

Mix the egg yolks with 2 ounces sugar, and mix until you obtain a creamy light mixture. Work the mascarpone in a bowl using a wooden spoon, making sure you eliminate any lumps, then add the mascarpone to the sugar-egg mixture and continue to mix well.

In a separate bowl, mix the egg whites, pinch of salt, and the remaining 2 ounces sugar, until they reach a somewhat firm, but fluffy consistency, then add them to the mascarpone mixture. Stir in the rum, if using.

Dip the savoiardi cookies (firm ladyfingers) in the coffee, and one by one lay them flat into a 7 by 11 pyrex tray (I used 9×13), making sure you do not soak the cookies, as you want to make sure they maintain their firmness (refrigerated ones from bakery got soggy fast, so I might not use those again). Once the first layer of cookies has been laid out, spread a layer of the mascarpone cream on top, and dust with 1 tablespoon cocoa powder.

Now, again, prepare another layer of coffee-dipped cookies, cream and cocoa powder. Garnish the top of the cake with the shaved dark chocolate.

Cover the tray with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 3 hours so the flavors can marry and the tiramisu can settle.

then Manga!

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My Quest for Nutella Brownies

March 5, 2017

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Everyone who knows me, knows my love of Nutella Brownies. I have posted recipes before but I was not 100% satisfied with the results. The last one I posted had too much sugar and too much cocoa as well as chocolate chips – which were unnecessary. First of all, Nutella contains sugar and cocoa, so I wanted that to be the ingredient that provided those. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t discriminate when it comes to brownies and I happily eat any result, but the last batch was too rich for me.

So I tried another recipe on my quest. I think this is a valiant and noble quest for a woman of my generation. On my journey I looked for a recipe with less sugar, less or no cocoa, and mainly Nutella to satisfy the chocolate/sugar ingredient. I am thinking maybe in the future I will just experiment and make up my own. But for now, I made the following recipe for a pizza night for friends about a month ago. I was very pleased with the results, the brownies were moist and Nutella-rific, not too much sugar or chocolate tasting and the salt was an extra treat. I think that having less flour made them like a rich piece of fudge. I also liked the salt, as I did in my chocolate chip blondie recipe, it adds a nice mix f sweet and salty. So if you are a Nutella junky like me, check out this recipe for a special treat!

Nutella Brownies

Ingredients:

1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 and 1/4 cups Nutella, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
optional: sea salt
Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch or 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment, leaving an overhang on all sides to easily lift the brownies out of the pan when cool. (If using a 9-inch pan, the bake time will be a few minutes less.) Set aside.
With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed in a large bowl until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar and beat on high speed for 1-2 minutes until creamed. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer running on low speed, add the eggs and vanilla extract. Beat on medium-high speed until combined, then beat in 1 cup Nutella and salt. Mix until smooth and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer running on low speed, add the flour, mixing just until combined. Do not over mix.
Pour the batter into prepared baking pan. Drop teaspoonfuls of the remaining 1/4 cup Nutella on top. Using a knife, swirl the Nutella into the batter. Top with a sprinkle of sea salt.
Bake the brownies for 30-36 minutes. Keep your eye on them and test with a toothpick to determine doneness. If the toothpick comes out with only a couple moist crumbs, the brownies are done. The brownies may take a few minutes longer; all ovens vary. Mine took 28-30 minutes, I always cook brownies less because I like them a bit less done, plus I used a 9-inch pan.
Allow the brownies to cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack. Once cool, lift the foil out of the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into squares.

The best dessert I ever made

January 29, 2017

 

img_0300I have had this blog for a while so I should comb back through my posts to see if this title is worthy. But I really don’t think I need to, as I think it was the best dessert I have ever made. It was simple to make and it combined my two favorite things, chocolate and marshmallows. My mom and I try to make each other amazing desserts on our birthdays. So yesterday I made her this wonderful treat in honor of her birthday. I started off with one word in mind – chocolate, as this is my mom’s favorite type of treat. I looked for decadent chocolate desserts, but did not come up with anything that seemed just right. So I went to my favorite website for desserts – King Arthur Flour, and I hit a home run when I typed in “chocolate desserts” and found triple treat hot chocolate cake. I know my mom likes chocolate and marshmallow just as much as me, so I knew this would hit the spot.

Triple treat hot chocolate cake was incredibly easy to make, which is rare for a decadent chocolate dessert, and it had ingredients I had in my kitchen. The bottom layer is a melted chocolate sauce – I used 60% cacao Ghirardelli chocolate chips (the only ones I like to buy), which you melt in the microwave with half and half. The middle layer seems to be a very liquid cake batter, but trust me it sets and makes the perfect fluffy cake. The top is made of big marshmallows you add on for the last few minutes, just to soften, and it is the perfect topping. If you like hot chocolate with marshmallows, this dessert embodies that in a bowl. The rich chocolate sauce, moist cake and melted marshmallows sang a happy song in my mouth and my belly. My daughter and husband said it was too rich but for me it had all the elements of a perfect dessert. I think my mom was pretty pleased too as I saw her sneak a few more spoonfuls when she went back through the kitchen. Please excuse the messy picture but I didn’t snap one before we all dug in. It says with the leftovers to nuke them a bit before enjoying, to warm up all the melty layers. So if you have liked the sweat treats I have posted before you have to try this!

Triple Treat Hot Chocolate Cake

Ingredients
BOTTOM
2/3 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup half & half or cream
MIDDLE
1 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa or other Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons espresso powder (I used instant coffee powder)
2 1/4 cups water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter, melted
TOP
24 full-size marshmallows (I might not have counted these, lol)
Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9″ round or 8″ square pan (I used a 9.5 inch pie dish). Make sure whichever you use is full-sized — at least 2″ deep.
To make the bottom: Combine the chocolate chips and half & half or cream in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat until the chips are soft and the cream is very hot.
Remove from the microwave, and stir until you’ve made a smooth, dark sauce; just keep stirring, you’ll get there. If any unmelted chips remain, reheat briefly.
Spread the sauce in the bottom of the prepared pan.
To make the middle: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cocoa, sugar, and espresso powder. If the mixture is lumpy, sift it.
Stir in the water, vanilla, and melted butter.
Gently stir until everything is just combined.
Pour the batter over the sauce in the pan.
Bake the cake for 40 minutes, until the top appears set and the bottom is bubbling (and making the top jiggle).
Remove the cake from the oven, arrange the marshmallows evenly over the surface, and return to the oven for 3 minutes, just to soften the marshmallows.
Remove from the oven, wait 2 minutes, and serve immediately.
This cake is best enjoyed within 30 minutes of baking. For any leftovers, reheat briefly in the microwave.