Posts tagged desserts
When I picked up the phone this afternoon at first I thought something was wrong. On the other end, my mother-in-law just didn’t sound like herself. When I asked what was up, I had to laugh at her response: “Kris, I finally tried Nutella today. It was a-m-a-zing.”
Even though she spent part of her childhood overseas, my mother-in-law had never tried Nutella. She’s hooked now. We talked about all of the ways she could use it, but one of my newly discovered favs has to be rocky road pizza. Bonus: these mini dessert pizzas are fun for kids or grandkids to make!
Prep time: 15 minutes + baking
Servings: 4 mini pizzas with 4 slices each
1 package pizza dough
1-1 1/2 cups Nutella
1-2 cups mini marshmallows
1 cup smoked almonds, chopped (optional)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking oil.
- Divide the dough into four equal pieces and roll each one out to a 6-8-inch circle.
- Spread Nutella on each pizza round using a kitchen knife.
- Place the mini pizzas onto the baking sheet.
- Sprinkle marshmallows, nuts and chocolate chips (if using) on top of the Nutella.
- Bake the pizzas for 20 minutes or until the marshmallows become golden.
- Cool before slicing.
Kids’ reactions: As you might expect, all of my crew, including Mr. Squid raved about these mini pizzas. We also tried mixing apple slices with Nutella on pizzas too. The pizzas were harder to slice than the rocky road version but at least I felt like they had some nutritional value. I’m thinking when raspberries are in season it would be tasty to spread the pizzas with Nutella and white chocolate chips and once they came out of the oven I’d pop on fresh berries.
You’ll need a tart pan for this recipe—a pie plate just won’t do. You could try using a 9-inch springform pan in a pinch, but once you’ve tried making tarts, my guess is you’ll want to have one on hand anyway. Tart pans aren’t expensive and you can find them at any large home goods store.
You pre-bake the piecrust to keep it from getting soggy once you add the berries. To pre-bake, the oven will need to be at a higher temperature and you’ll also want to add some weight on top of the crust so it doesn’t get air bubbles in the dough. Simply place some heavy-duty aluminum foil on top, along with either uncooked rice or beans and you’re set. (Once you’re done cooking, carefully remove the aluminum foil and pour the beans or rice back into its container once they’ve cooled. You can still use them.)
The berries are the easiest part of the tart: Wash and dry the berries, then mix in cornstarch, sugar, and lemon. I like my tarts, well, tart, so I don’t add in as much sugar as most recipes call for. If you want to increase the sweetness go ahead and double the sugar.
No fresh berries? Don’t worry, this recipe works well with frozen berries too (or do half and half). Thaw the frozen berries and follow the recipe according to the directions.
Tweaked from How to Cook Everything (Wiley, 1998)
Prep time: 15 minutes + baking
Servings: about 8
1 pre-made pie crust (Trader’s Joes is my fave)
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
zest from one lemon
3 cups raspberries (fresh or frozen, thawed)
- Lightly coat a tart pan with cooking spray. Lay the dough onto the pan and then press into the edges and up the sides. Trim any excess.
- Prick the dough with a fork and then place a piece of aluminum foil on top and weight it with either rice or beans.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Once heated, cook the crust for about 15 minutes of until barely golden.
- Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl stir together sugar and cornstarch. Toss in the raspberries (reserve ¼ cup) and lemon juice and zest.
- Mix the berries into the cornstarch/sugar combination. Press the berries with a fork so that some break apart.
- Pour the berries into the cooked tart crust. Add the reserved berries on top.
- Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees and cook the tart for another 20-30 minutes, or until the berries’ juices are bubbling.
I’ve been meaning to pass along this recipe for awhile now but it seemed like the right timing with Memorial Day this weekend (knockout picnic treat anyone?) and school coming to an end. Not only are these the BEST brownies, but my youngest daughter has a chocoholic teacher so I’m planning on making a batch of these just for her. And if you’re looking for more ideas to thank your child’s teacher check out these ideas courtesy of Motherboard.
So what makes these so good? Chocolate. I know, that’s obvious, but we’re not talking just cocoa powder here or gobs of flour, the main ingredient in these brownies is the good stuff. And there are layers of chocolate–with the butter, mixed with the flour, the eggs. As with the best desserts–in my sweet tooth opinion–they’re better on day two when they’ve had a chance to densify (that’s a word we’ve invented just for these brownies; they’re airy on day #1, dense with dark chocolate day #2).
I bake these in a parchment-lined pan so I can easily lift them out and make perfect cuts and shapes with the brownies.
1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate
1 ¼ cups sugar
12 Tablespoons butter
1 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
4 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons cocoa powder, Espresso powder, or black onyx powder
½ cup chocolate chips (optional, cuz there’s not enough chocolate already)
1 cup walnuts (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Melt the chocolate, sugar and butter together in a large glass bowl in the microwave, heating it at half power in 1-minute intervals. Cook just until you can stir to combine. Step aside to cool to room temperature.
- In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs together until frothy and all the Espresso powder.
- In another mixing bowl, mix all of the remaining dry ingredients (baking powder, salt, flour, cocoa) together.
- Add the cooled chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and beat to combine.
- Stir the flour mixture into the chocolate just until combined. Pour into prepared pan.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes in a 9×13” baking pan sprayed with cooking oil. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick; when it comes out clean the brownies are done baking.
Optional directions for the perfectly cut brownie:
- Spray the 9×13” baking pan with spray and then add a sheet of either parchment or wax paper to the bottom of the pan, spray again. Pour the brownie batter onto the paper.
- Bake as directed above.
- Let the brownies cool and then place then in the refrigerator for at least an hour, preferably overnight.
- Lift the brownies out of the pan and then remove the pan underneath before placing on a cutting board.
- Use a sharp knife to remove the outside edges, then cut the brownies into 11/2 to 2” squares.
- Keep in the fridge for best, most intensely chocolatey results.
If you’re looking for the chocolate dessert to serve on Valentine’s Day—here you go. Velvety and smooth on the inside, moist on the outside, saturated with rich chocolate throughout, this recipe defines decadent. But it’s not hard to make. And it doesn’t take forever either (not to mention you can make it a day or two ahead).
There are a few tricks to getting this recipe right. See molten cakes are almost like a cross between a custard and a cheesecake (uh, both chocolate). So they don’t cook quite like a cake would where you need to make sure that it’s done all the way through. But I need to take a step back before we get to the baking.
Prepping your ramekins (custard cups). You’ll need to coat the inside of the ramekins with baking spray (or you could brush with melted butter) and then add about 1 teaspoon of flour. Move the flour around the inside until its coated. This is exactly like flouring a bread pan but it gets trickier when it’s a 4-ounce cup! Now you can do this with muffin tins, I’m told. I haven’t tried it that way, but if you don’t have ramekins, that’s an option. This is the hardest part of the whole recipe.
Here’s the second hardest: figuring out when the cakes are done. Like a cheesecake, when you check for doneness you want the center to just jiggle. If the batter appears completely solid you won’t have the gooey chocolate center that makes molten cakes, well, molten.
Okay, I take that back, there’s one more hard part (promise, once you get the hang of this the recipe isn’t nearly as complicated as it sounds). You have a few options with taking the cake out of the ramekin. Here’s what I do. I run a kitchen knife around the outside of the ramekin and then place the serving plate on top of it. Jiggle, then lift the ramekin. If the cake doesn’t seem to be releasing or it’s not releasing altogether, I try to put everything back into the ramekin, top it with whip cream and call it good. Or you can put the ramekin in the fridge for a while and then try inverting again. You can keep the dessert cold or put it in the microwave for 9 seconds.
Ready to start melting some chocolate? This recipe won’t disappoint.
Prep time: 20 minutes + 10 minutes baking
8 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons flour
4 ounces chocolate (bittersweet is best but semi-sweet works too)
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
½ teaspoon espresso powder (opt.)
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Lightly coat four, four-ounce ramekins with baking spray. Then place a small amount of flour in each one and make sure that the flour then coats the inside of the ramekin completely. Alternatively, you can use a muffin tin, but follow the same process.
- In a glass measuring cup or bowl, melt the butter and chocolate together in the microwave (I usually set it for 60 seconds and then stir vigorously).
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl beat the eggs and egg yolks on high for around three minutes or until they start to become thick.
- Add the sugar into the eggs and continue beating about three more minutes (the mixture will lighten slightly in color).
- Blend the eggs into the cooled chocolate mixture. Beat for about two more minutes.
- Place the ramekins on a cookie sheet.
- Pour equal parts of the chocolate mixture into each of the ramekins.
- Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the chocolate barely jiggles on the center portion of each ramekin.
- Remove from the oven. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.
- At this point, you can either serve the chocolate cakes in the ramekins, or you can run a kitchen knife around the outside and invert onto a plate. You can also place the ramekins in the refrigerator and serve later cold or reheat for 10 seconds and then serve topped with whipped cream and dusted with cocoa powder.
Warning: These are rich!
Rice cooked in milk and peppered with raisins and cinnamon just didn’t sound like the right combination of flavors somehow. But every time we went to a Mexican restaurant, their dessert of choice would be ‘rice pudding.’ At first, I wasn’t impressed.
Then later when sneaking bites, I began to be intrigued. The flavors of the smooth rice and sweetened milk were comforting, soothing after a spicy meal. Unlike a chocolate treat that felt indulgent, this dessert tasted homey. I was hooked. Making rice pudding at home was another story. I tried a recipe that was done in the crockpot—that sounded promising (it tasted awful).
Another recipe called for cooked rice to be added to the milk instead of cooking the rice in the milk. I liked the idea of being able to use my leftover rice for the recipe, but in the end, the dish tasted nothing like what I’d come to love at restaurants. I finally stumbled on the recipe I was craving when a mother in one of my daughter’s school classes, who happened to be from Mexcio, brought in a snack for a room party. Rice pudding. I sampled it and sure enough, the rice was just the right texture with a hint of creaminess. She graciously passed along her recipe, which I’m now passing along to you.
1 cup rice
4 cups water
1 cinnamon stick (or ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon)
Peel of one lime or lemon (alternatively use 1Tablespoon of zest)
1, 14-ounce can sweetened, condensed milk
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup raisins
- Rinse the rice in a colander under cold water until the rinsing water comes out clear on the other side. (This helps remove extra starch on the outside of the rice pieces.)
- Boil the water with the cinnamon stick and the fruit rind for about 2 to 3 minutes in a medium-sized cooking pan on the stovetop over medium-high heat.
- Add the rice to the water and cook over medium-high heat.
- In a separate bowl, mix the condensed milk and egg yolks with a fork.
- When the rice is cooked through but still firm, reduce the heat to low. Slowly add in the milk-egg mixture and raisins, stirring frequently for 3 to 4 minutes or until the rice is soft.
- Turn off the heat and cover the pan. Let the rice continue cooking and steaming for about 10 minutes or so.
- Remove the cinnamon stick and the fruit rind and serve. Rice pudding can be served warm or cold and sprinkled with a little cinnamon.
2-½ cup pastry flour
1-teaspoon sea salt
½ cup all natural palm fruit oil
½ cup cold butter
Mix oil and butter into flour mixture with fingers until crumbly.
½ cup chilled water.
Do not over mix at this point. Dough will be sticky. Cover with plastic wrap or wax paper and allow to rest in refrigerator for 1 hour.
Divide dough in half. Roll out onto a lightly floured surface into an 11” circle to fit pie pan.
7 cups thinly sliced Northern Spy apples
½ c. sugar
¼ c. brown sugar
¼ c. flour
½-1 t. cinnamon
3 T. butter
Toss until apples are well coated; pour into bottom crust and dot with butter.
Roll out top dough disk, cover pie and crimp edges. Flute top crust for steam to escape while baking.
Brush top crust with water or egg and sprinkle with 2 T. sugar.
Bake at 375 degrees for 1-¼ hours or until golden brown and apple are tender.
If apples are not tender yet crust is becoming too dark, lower over temperature to 350 and continue to bake until apples are tender. Insert a fork into the middle of pie to test the tenderness of apple slices.
*Note that Wendy Achatz suggests using Northern Spy apples. I couldn’t find any at the grocery store so you might need to substitute another variety.
Special thanks for Wendy Achatz for sharing her recipe with MKES!
Sure, glorified Chex mix studded with chocolate and powdered sugar pops up (affectionately known as puppy chow at our house). But brownies seem relegated into the last-minute-I-just-remembered-I-had-to-make-something category. It’s too bad.
Here’s my theory–most brownies just aren’t pretty enough. I thought about that the other day as I was flipping through a flyer for holiday gifts and the Perfect Brownie Pan Set was right on page one. Really? A whole pan dedicated to baking neatly cut brownies. Again, my thought is that folks really want to make brownies good enough for the cookie tray. But forget about an extra pan!
If you really want to spruce up your brownie, try a few of these tweaks. And hey, if it doesn’t work for you, you can still buy the brownie pan later…
•Wax paper to the rescue!
Brownies get crumbly when you cut them in the pan. Try coating your regular brownie pan–mine is a 9×13″ casserole dish–with cooking spray. Then press in a piece of wax paper onto the bottom and sides of the pan (parchment paper works even better–but I always have wax paper on hand, not so for pricier parchment). Once the brownies have cooked and cooled you can lift them out of the pan on the waxed paper and then cut.
•Chill, then cut
Using a paper lining–either waxed or parchment–is the first step, the next is to wait to cut your brownies. If I’m not in a rush, I’ll put the whole brownie pan in the fridge overnight and cut on day #2. If I need the brownies that day, it’s into the freezer for an hour or so. Once the brownies are chilled, then lift them out of the pan, using the paper, and then onto a cutting board.
Resist the urge to just start cutting. Look at your rectangle’s worth of brownie and make your cuts from corner to corner instead of just across. Diamond-cut brownies are so much prettier! (And you’ll have to eat all the extra ends:)
Now that you have a perfectly cut brownie (no extra pan insert required), it’s time to add pizzazz. My standby is to melt about 1/4 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips along with a tablespoon of butter in the microwave until smooth. Then, using a fork I drizzle chocolate across the cut brownies. Another trick: fill a Ziploc baggie with 1/2 cup of smooth peanut butter. Place the sealed bag (make sure there’s no extra air) into a cup of warm water. Let it sit for a couple minutes and then trim a small hole in one corner of the bag. Make peanut butter patterns on your brownies then add chopped peanuts to complete the look. Refrigerate for about 1/2 hour more to set.
•Top it again
Along with drizzling chocolate or peanut butter over your brownies, what about adding crushed Oreos, candy canes, mini chocolate chips…I could go on, but you get the idea.
Do you have any tricks for making your brownies, well, more presentable?