Dessert Recipes & Ideas
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Bittersweet Baking Judge: Sarah Phillips of Baking 911
Baking 911 is a web resource we find ourselves turning to over and over again. It’s a website with community boards, extensive tips, and comprehensive answers to any baking question you can think of. Sarah Phillips is the founder and baking genius behind the site, and she has graciously agreed to be one of the three judges in our Bittersweet Baking contest.
Feb 4, 2008
Bittersweet Baking Finalist #3: Brownie Cookies
The third finalist in our Bittersweet Baking contest is Shelly with her Brownie Cookies.Shelly came out as a strong finalist because of the work she put into this recipe. Shelly had a specific result in mind and she took three other recipes and tweaked and melded to create this recipe. We were impressed by her process – it’s inspiring to all of us who like to make things up in the kitchen. It satisfied her chocolate craving and made us hungry!
Jan 31, 2008
Recipe: Chocolate Coffee Tart
This recipe and and review come from AT:SF editor Shayna – welcome Shayna! With all of the chocolate talk during bittersweet baking week, we couldn’t hold out any longer and had to jump in on the fun.We’ve made this several times since it first debuted in Gourmet last year, this time we tweaked it a wee bit.
Jan 28, 2008
Recipe: Cranberry and Dark Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream
Ice cream in January? Are we crazy? Yes, we know that it’s in the low teens outside and although the sun is shining here, it’s still very, very cold outside. So ice cream may seem utterly unseasonal of us – it’s just that this ice cream is one of our favorites and it’s made from still seasonal cranberries.We love the tart pop of scarlet cranberries in this rich custard ice cream, side-by-side with shiny chunks of dark chocolate that melt on the tongue.
Jan 23, 2008
Reader Review: Darlene Bakes from Jessica Seinfeld’s New Book
Remember the big to-do over Jessica Seinfeld’s new cookbook, Deceptively Delicious? She sneaks pureed carrots, spinach and broccoli into foods that kids will eat, like mac and cheese and meatballs. The approach was wildly controversial, judging from the comments on our original post.We asked if anyone had actually tried it, and Darlene from my burning kitchen wrote us to say that she had. What did she think of Seinfeld’s vegetable concoctions?
Jan 15, 2008
Recipe: Cocoa Molasses Toffee
Old-fashioned candies, sweet and strong, are our favorites. Toffee, caramels, divinity – they all show up in our Christmas packages. Here’s a new favorite with an old flavor: molasses. These are strong little candies with a heady molasses kick that tastes of burnt-sweet and sour dark sugar syrup. We added a pinch of salt and a dash of cocoa to round out the flavor.We love how these appear hard at first – teeth crackers! – but soften into taffy as they warm in the mouth.
Dec 14, 2007
Recipe: Lemon Melting Moments
They are called Melting Moments because one of their key ingredients is cornstarch and they literally melt in your mouth!These cookies are also somewhat similar to a shortbread; they’re chock-full of butter, with a tart lemon glaze that melts in your mouth first.We topped each one of the cookies for the wedding with candied flowers – lilac, violets, and yellow mimosa.
Oct 4, 2007
Recipe: Spiced Cream and Plum Verrines
The idea behind a verrine is quite simple: layers in a glass. The execution, however, can be beautifully elaborate, like in the verrines that Pierre Hermé offers in his Paris confectionery. These little glasses of sweet or savory layers have become wildly popular, showing up on blogs in and in newspaper food sections quite frequently. Here’s a savory verrine with goat cheese, carrots and beans, and another sweet one with strawberries and cream.
Oct 2, 2007
Recipe: D.I.Y. Pudding
Instant pudding brags that only five minutes will get you the “homemade” pudding you crave. Ignore the marketing and make real homemade pudding in nearly as short an amount of time. This basic, old-fashioned pudding has the benefit of being entirely natural, with no artificial thickeners or flavorings, and you can make it as sweet or warm as you like. And you can even eat it with skin on top, if that’s the way you like it! All you need is a little milk, cornstarch, and sugar.
Oct 1, 2007
Recipe: Chocolate Orange Truffles
Chocolate Orange Trufflesabout 4-5 dozen 2 cups crushed vanilla wafer cookies2 cups powdered sugar1/2 cup cornstarch1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled1/2 cup orange juice concentrate, thawed1 teaspoon vanilla1 cup minced pecans1/4 cup candied ginger, minced as finely as possible 12 ounces chocolate chips1/4 bar cooking waxZest of 1 orange Mix all ingredients except for the chocolate chips and wax. Stir well and add more powdered sugar or cornstarch if it’s still too goopy to handle.
Sep 27, 2007
Recipe: Plum and Earl Grey Preserves
Plums are in season, and we have been busy thinking up more ways to use them. We were inspired by Heidi Swanson’s Rosewater Plum Compote a couple weeks ago, and we set out to make our own plum sauce. We love tea and plums together, so we played around with an Earl Grey concentrate and sweet-tart red plums until we found a combination we liked. The tea gives the sweet plums undertones of tannins and herbs, and these deep flavors ripen as it sits.
Sep 12, 2007
Recipe: Orange and Nutmeg Blueberry Cake
Blueberries are good hot, like when they’re baked into muffins or a cake and they pop just enough to let their juice ooze out in spatters of purple juice. We love them in this cake – it’s a dead easy butter cake, so soft and moist, with orange zest and nutmeg to bring out the flavor of the berries. Good for breakfast, with a crumble on top, or for dessert with homemade ice cream.
Jul 11, 2007
Recipe: Strawberry Ice Cream with Cacao Nibs
What says summer like fresh strawberry ice cream? We had the mix for this ice cream chilling in the fridge Tuesday night when we opened up the Times and saw that Melissa Clark agrees. She went on the hunt for a strawberry ice cream recipe that has swirls of fresh fruit but somehow avoids strawberries’ tendency to freeze into unpleasantly icy chunks.
Jul 5, 2007
Recipe: Almond Cream Cheese Apricots
We offered to bring some finger-food treats to a friend’s party this weekend. It needed to be something quick to make and preferably a recipe that wouldn’t heat up the oven in the 90º heat. This two-bite dessert is light, easy, and oh-so-quick. We just stuffed tiny fresh apricots with a creamy filling of lemon and almond cream cheese, lightly sweetened and dusted with cinnamon. They went over quite well, and we went looking for more fruit to dip into the leftover filling!
Jun 12, 2007
Recipe: Phyllo Napoleons with Blackberry Sauce and Vanilla Cream
We’ve used cardamom in the layered pastry – its spicy, smoky sweetness goes beautifully with the blackberries here! Any leftover blackberry sauce is heaven swirled into plain yogurt or over pancakes, too.
Jun 7, 2007
Recipe: D.I.Y. Pastry Cream
Eclairs, fruit pastries, napoleonsand other little treasures of the patisserie usually have one thing in common: pastry cream. Pastry cream, or creme patisserie, is an egg-enriched custard with flour or cornstarch for added thickening power, used to fill or layer pastries. It’s quite similar to vanilla pudding, and super easy to make. The recipe here only includes three egg yolks, considerably less than a traditional French recipe – which can include up to ten.
Jun 4, 2007
Recipe: Berry Cobbler with Cream Cheese Swirl
Summer berries are turning up and cobbler is one of our favorite ways to use them. Frozen berries are a great substitute, however, and we were impressed by Whole Foods’ bag of mixed organic berries. It included blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries, and the diversity gave this cobbler a wonderful freshness and flavor. The cream cheese filling swirled in is not too sweet, and it makes this a refreshing dessert that could easily double for a weekend breakfast.
May 8, 2007
Recipe: Pascha Cheese with Cherries
One enduring tradition in Orthodox churches is the Easter food basket, taken on Saturday or Sunday to the church to be blessed by the priest. A typical basket includes the foods given up during Lent, like ham or sausages, eggs, butter, cheese, and a sweet eggy bread. Pascha (pronounced paska) cheese is classic Easter basket food.
Apr 11, 2007
Recipe: Braised Bananas in Brandied Caramel
We admit that this recipe started out as a bit of a stunt – what kind of fruit could we braise? But it turned out so well – better than any of our other attempts at caramelized bananas or Bananas Foster – that we’re putting it in regular rotation. Braising the bananas directly in brown sugar and brandy infuses the delicate banana flavor throughout the entire sauce, which, if you like bananas, is a treat.
Mar 29, 2007
Recipe: Dried Fruit Warmed With Red Wine and Spices
Here’s the hot water bottle of desserts, warming and weirdly pink. While dried fruit simmered in wine may seem old-fashioned or unsexy, we think this is a rich luxury for an icy night. The warm wine, cloves, cinnamon, and pepper wake up summer’s stone fruits and turn them in to something more than we were expecting. Serve the fruit with a scoop of ice cream, sour cream, Greek yogurt, or fresh ricotta. Try leftovers on your oatmeal the next morning.
Mar 8, 2007
Recipe: Brandied Prune and Chocolate Chunk Cookies
This isn’t a bake sale cookie, or a three-at-a-sitting treat. It’s a dressed up version of a classic, nearly underbaked so it’s still chewy, with sticky mouthfuls of gooey, boozy prune and dense chocolate. Do not attempt these without a tall glass of cold milk!
Mar 1, 2007
Recipe: Meringue Cookie Bites, Three Ways
Meringues have become ubiquituously associated with the “Fat Free!” “Almost ZERO calories!” crowd of diet desserts at the grocery store, crowded into plastic tubs that cheerily advertise their low-calorie benefits. They are certainly not what we would reach for when looking for an indulgent dessert.
Feb 27, 2007
Technique: Making Phyllo Cups
One of our favorite dessert party tricks is phyllo cups. You can buy those little phyllo cups, pre-shaped and crimped, out of the freezer at the grocery store. But you can get far more out of a regular package of phyllo, and it doesn’t take long to make cups in the size you want. Once baked these can be filled easily and creatively with all sorts of good things – raspberries and cream, chocolate mousse, whipped blue cheese with bacon crumbles.
Feb 21, 2007
Recipe: Sweet and Spicy Squash
Acorn squash is tremendously good for you, and when roasted it has a velvety, luxurious texture that lends itself to both spicy and sweet flavors. Fortunately, there are two halves to a squash, so I dust one with curry powder for a spicy dinner and the other with small mounds of brown sugar for a sweet dessert.I am giving measurements here, but obviously this is the most flexible sort of recipe. Adjust to your taste.
Jan 16, 2007
Recipe: D.I.Y. Fruity Gumdrops
These are not difficult at all. Fruit juice is boiled with pectin and a sugar syrup is stirred in. Then it firms up overnight into a solid yet sticky bar that can be cut into individual pieces, which are rolled in sugar to give them that charming gumdrop exterior.Again, these are really sweet, so be sure to use juice that has no added sugar at all.
Dec 18, 2006
Recipe: D.I.Y. Divinity
In fact, it never fails to amaze me that this recipe was invented by someone who did not have an electric mixer. How did they do it? How would they even think to whip egg whites this long? I wouldn’t even do this with a hand mixer – a stand mixer is what makes divinity easy.The almonds are highly recommended; this candy is so teeth-achingly sweet that it’s nice to cut it with some salt and smokiness.
Dec 11, 2006
Recipe: D.I.Y. Buckeyes
These freeze well. I, regrettably, prefer them straight from the freezer. They are also the first of several Christmas candies, suitable for food gifts or the holiday buffet table, that we’ll look at in the next several weeks.Chocolate and Peanut Butter Buckeyesmakes about 13 dozen 2 lbs. powdered sugar3 cups peanut butter (smooth and not the all-natural kind)1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)1 1/2 lb. chocolate chips, semi-sweet (24 oz.
Dec 4, 2006
Recipe: D.I.Y. Candied Lemon Peel
5-6 organic lemons, about 1 1/2 pounds1 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 cup cold water2 cups sugar Superfine sugar (optional) Peel the lemons with vegetable peeler, taking off long, thin strips. Fill a medium sauce pan 3/4 full with water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add the lemon peels and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, then drain. Repeat, using the other 1/2 teaspoon of salt. This is softening the lemon peels and taking away the residual bitterness of the white pith.
Nov 27, 2006
Recipe: Sweet Potato Bread Pudding with Caramel Pecan Sauce
Here’s a fall flavored weekend dessert that can be assembled ahead of time and baked just before serving. It’s great for company as a finale to a homey fall meal. The earthy flavor of the sweet potatoes really comes through, pairing well with the spices and the caramely, nutty sauce. I made a batch and gave some to two sets of friends who heated it up in the microwave later. Everyone raved.
Oct 20, 2006
Recipe: Graham Cracker Crust
Dessert can be demanding. So much whipping, melting, baking and waiting. I’ve picked up some tips for putting together a decent “company dinner” on the double, but I can’t get the last course right . . . and I have this frustrating feeling that it’s the end of the night that everyone remembers.I’m learning that some home cooks have a stable of desserts that rely on pantry ingredients that don’t demand too much ambtion or make a mess at the last minute.
Oct 16, 2006
Recipe: Joan’s No Fail Bundt Cake
It’s the Jewish New Year so it’s time to celebrate and reflect. This weekend, since I didn’t have time to make my traditional, from scratch honey cake, I opted for a no-fail bundt cake recipe. I recently learned that the bundt pan was created by Nordic Ware here in the United States after a couple of ladies from the Minneapolis chapter of the Hadassah society asked Nordicware founders, Dave and Dotty, to make a pan similar to the ones their grandmothers used in back in Germany.
Sep 25, 2006
Recipe: Sugar Cones
With all the talk about ice cream lately, we wouldn’t want you going out and buying cones, which often have shortening, artificial flavourings and preservatives. Here’s a very simple way of making your own. This is a great accompaniment to your original ice cream recipe that you’re submitting to the contest, don’t you think?
Jul 28, 2006
Reader Recipe: Abby’s Blueberry Pie
“I think it looks a little sad because I used my glass pie plate which is a deeper than I remembered so it doesn’t have that nice plumped up effect. It’s based on a family recipe that both my mother and my grandmother made, which we all tend to play fast and loose with. This pie combines half cooked fruit with half fresh fruit, so you can sugar and spice up the cooked part but still get the freshness of the raw fruit. ” (Thanks, Abby!
Jul 5, 2006
Recipe: Bermudian Rum Cake
We celebrated the birthday of a Bermudian friend a few nights ago. On the menu were Dark & Stormies and Rum Cake, of course. Being with child, I did not gulp a D&S, but I did enjoy the cake. The recipe, in its original form, comes from the birthday boy’s mother in Bermuda, who gets it from Bacardi.
Apr 26, 2006
Mile High Lemon Meringue Cake
Hungry and thumbing through the Passover catering catalog from Eli Zabar’s that dropped out of my newspaper recently, I came across this gorgeous photo of their Mile High Lemon Meringue Cake and had an emergency drooling situation on my hands. Normally, I’m not a big meringue person, but this cake is so beautifully executed, it’s hard to recall those early childhood memories of meringue that didn’t do me right. And this is no pie, folks, this is a flourless cake.
Apr 7, 2006
How to Caramelize Sugar
here was a good bit of chatter on the weekend open thread about how to caramelize sugar. Readers really came through for one another with some great tips. Of course, the technique depends on what you’re using the caramel for, so care should be taken to note in your recipe what kind of caramel is called for. For example, the caramel needed for caramel candies is much less cooked than what’s needed for spun sugar.
Feb 6, 2006
The Celluloid Pantry: Beignets and Mon Oncle (France, 1958)
The subtitles call them crullers, but they’re known by many names: beavertails in Canada, churros in Mexico, zepoles in Italy, and malasadas in Hawaii. Every cuisine seems to have its own version of this classic street food of fried dough served hot, with a light dusting of sugar.
Feb 1, 2006