Tag Archives: whipped cream

Black Forest Brownie Trifles

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Another oldie but goodie. Do try to find fresh cherries if you can. If you can’t, frozen ones will suffice.

In planning a recent dinner party I had visions of serving a rich and perfectly smooth creme brulee.  But then I realized that good quality heavy cream is hard, if not impossible, to come by in Tirana.  Switching gears I started pouring over my favorite food websites in search of an alternative recipe.  I stuck gold when I found a recipe for individual black forest brownie trifles on From Away.  (I encourage those of you who aren’t familiar with this Maine based couple’s writing to check it out.  Not only are their recipes and food insight great but reading their postings helps temporarily fulfill my longing for Maine).  Cherries are at the peak of their season now so this was the perfect dessert.

I love the combination of chocolate and cherries tempered with a bit of whipped cream. The cleaver way of serving these trifles, in individual jelly jars, made me realize they would add the perfect amount of whimsy to my dinner.  I’ve added my own twist onto this recipe.  I prefer my own brownie recipewhich is moist and has a touch of almond flavor.  I also adapted my the original cherry recipe by substituting orange liqueur for some of the liquid.

The results?  A simple yet visually pleasing dessert that pleased the entire table.  Try it for yourself.

BLACK FOREST BROWNIE TRIFLES

For the brownies:

5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

3 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder

1 1/4 cups sugar

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons extract of your choice, I prefer almond

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

  • Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line an 8-inch square pan with foil then coat lightly with vegetable spray.
  • Melt the chocolates, butter, and cocoa in the microwave, stirring often, 1 to 3 minutes.  Let the mixture cool slightly.
  • Whisk the sugar, eggs, extract, and salt together in a large bowl until well combined.
  • Whisk in the melted chocolate mixture until smooth.  Stir in the flour until no streaks remain.
  • Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.  Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes.
  • Let cool completely on a wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours, before removing the brownies from the pan using the foil and cutting into squares.

For the cherries:

4 cups fresh cherries, pitted

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup fresh orange juice

1/2 cup Grand Marnier liqueur, or other orange flavored liqueur

4 teaspoons corn starch

  • Place the cherries in a large sauce pan.  Add the sugar, juice, and liqueur and stir to combine.
  • Bring to a simmer a cook for 5 minutes or until the cherries start to break down.
  • Stir in the cornstarch and whisk to combine.  Cook an additional 5 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and set aside.  Allow to cool for at least 1 hour before assembling the trifles.

For the cream:

16 ounces mascarpone cheese, at room temperature

2 – 2/3 cups whipping cream

1/4 cup powdered sugar

  • Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat until all of the ingredients are combined and the cream forms stiff peaks.

Assembly:

  • Crumble the brownies into small, bite-sized pieces.
  • Alternate layers of brownies, cherries, and cream in each of the 8 serving dishes starting with a layer of brownies and ending with a layer of cream.  Depending upon the depth of your dishes you should have 3 or 4 layers.
  • Top with a fresh cherry if desired.
  • Allow to sit in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving.

Serves 8

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Boozy Hot Chocolate (Three Ways)

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This very adult hot cocoa doesn’t even resemble the watery version made with powder and adorned with dehydrated marshmallows that I drank as a child. This is rich and creamy with a little kick of your choice. A little goes a long way; especially if you make it with whole milk. So sit back, relax, and enjoy your cup on a cold winter afternoon.

You can add whichever liqueur strikes your fancy. I experimented with Grand Marnier, Frangelico, and a Lilly coffee liqueur. Each was different but all three were good and we couldn’t decided which one we preferred.

BOOZY HOT CHOCOLATE (THREE WAYS)

2 cups 2 percent milk (or whole if your feeling indulgent)

3 1/2 ounces good quality dark chocolate

4 teaspoons dark brown sugar

3 tablespoons liqueur of your choice

Whipped cream

Garnishes as desired (orange zest, whole coffee beans, cocoa powder, etc)

  • Chop the chocolate into small pieces. Add to a medium sized saucepan with the brown sugar and milk.
  • Stirring frequently, warm over medium low heat.
  • Place 1 1/2 tablespoons of the liqueur of your choice in the bottom of each mug. Ladle in the cocoa and stir to combine.
  • Top with a dollop of whipped cream and garnish, if desired. I used orange zest for the Grand Marnier version, a coffee bean for the coffee version, and a dusting of Dutch processed cocoa for the Frangelico version.
  • Drink and enjoy!

Serves 2

Strawberry Shortcake

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Strawberry shortcake is the ultimate summer dessert. The concept is so simple: sweet strawberries and lightly sweetened whipped cream on top of a buttermilk biscuit ensures a dessert that is not too sweet but totally satisfying. The biscuit recipe is my old standby from America’s Test Kitchen. It is a no-fail recipe, always baking up light and fluffy. I like to add a small amount of orange liqueur to both the berries and the whipped cream but if you prefer you can omit entirely or substitute vanilla extract for the liqueur in the cream.

So go ahead and make this class summer treat. Wouldn’t it make a perfect addition to your upcoming Independence Day celebrations?

For the biscuits:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup cake flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes and well chilled

3/4 cup cold buttermilk

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  • Pulse the flours sugar, baking powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.
  • Scatter the butter pieces evenly over the top of the flour mixture and pulse to combine, about 12 pulses.
  • Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add the buttermilk.  Use a rubber spatula to fold the liquid into the flour until a soft and sticky dough forms.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and quickly roll in into a rough ball.  Do not over mix.
  • Use a sharp knife to divide the dough into 12 even pieces.  Using your hands, quickly form each piece into a ball and place on a large baking sheet.
  • Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the biscuits are browned and flaky.

For the strawberries:

1 quart strawberries, sliced

1/4 cup sugar, more to taste

1/8 cup Grand Marnier, or other orange liqueur

  • Place the strawberries in a medium sized sauce pan set over low heat.
  • Sprinkle with the sugar and the liqueur. Stir gently taking care not to break up the berries.
  • Heat slowly, stirring occasionally until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Remove from the heat and transfer to a non-reactive bowl.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled.

For the whipped cream:

1 pint whipping cream

2 tablespoons super fine sugar

1 tablespoon Grand Marnier, or other orange liqueur

  • Place the cream in a large chilled bowl.
  • Using an electric mixer beat the cream on high speed until slightly thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add the sugar and liqueur and continue beating until stiff peaks form.
  • Cover tightly and chill until ready to serve.

To assemble the shortcakes:

  • Split each biscuit in half and place on a plate.
  • Place a tablespoon or two of berries on top of the bottom biscuit and top with a small dollop of whipped cream.
  • Place the remaining biscuit half on top, add a drizzle of the strawberries and another dollop of whipped cream.

 

Yields: 12 shortcakes

Coconut Tres Leches Cake

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Tres leches cake is one of my favorite desserts.  The tres leches, or three milks, make this sponge cake moist and slightly sweet without being overpowering.  This recipe is courtesy of Pati’s Mexican Table.   I substituted coconut milk for the evaporated milk called for in the recipe and I like this version of the cake even more than the original one.  A bit of toasted coconut on top of the cake dresses it up and makes it dinner party worthy.

As an added bonus the cake keeps well.  You can make the cake one day then store, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator for up to three more.  The longer the cake sits the more of the milk it absorbs making it taste even better.  You can add the whipped cream before storing it but be sure to add the coconut right before serving.  Enjoy.

COCONUT TRES LECHES CAKE

For the cake:

9 large eggs, separated

1 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

For the sauce:

1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1 12-ounce can coconut milk

1 cup whole milk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the topping:

2 cups heavy cream

1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar

1/2 cup toasted flaked coconut

To make the cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer on medium-high speed for 4-5 minutes or until they hold soft peaks.  Reduce the speed to medium and slowly add the sugar, beating until the whites hold stiff, shiny peaks.  Set aside and wash the beaters.
  • Place the egg yolks in a separate large bowl and beat on medium-high speed until fluffy and pale yellow, about 5 minutes.  Add the vanilla and continue beating for another minute.
  • Gently and slowly fold the egg yolk mixture into the egg white mixture, taking care not to deflate the egg whites.  Fold in the flour, 1/4 cup at a time, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl with the spatula to mix well.  The batter will look a bit streaky.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 22-25 minutes.  Place the pan on a wire rack to cool.
  • Invert the cake onto a rack and remove the pan.  Inverting the cake again, move the cake to a rimmed platter that is large enough to hold the cake and the sauce.  Using a fork, poke holes in the top of the cake so that it will absorb the sauce.

For the sauce:

  • In a large bowl, combine the three milks and the vanilla extract, stirring until well blended.
  • Pour all of the milk over the top of the cake.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

For the topping:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Spread the coconut flakes onto a rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven.
  • Watching carefully, toast until browned 5-7 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and cool completely.
  • Place the heavy cream in a medium-sized bowl and using an electric mixer beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes.
  • Sprinkle the confectioners sugar over the cream and continue to beat until soft peaks form.
  • Spread the whipped cream over the top of the cake and sprinkle with the toasted coconut.
  • Serve immediately or wrap tightly and return to the refrigerator for up to three days.

Serves 10-12

Gingerbread Trifle

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In preparation for Thanksgiving, I’m showcasing some of my favorite holiday recipes this month.  Some of them are family recipes while others are my own creations but each of them always has a place on my dining room table.  This fall I had the opportunity to be profiled by Albanian Living magazine as a part of their “traditional American Thanksgiving” article.  All of the recipes I’m sharing were a part of that Thanksgiving table.
Trifles only look complicated because in reality, they are ridiculously easy to make.  All you need to do is create layers of cake and cream and you have a dessert that will impress.  Any type of cake, brownie, or cookie will work so choose a flavor combination that excites you.  Fresh fruit or preserves can also be added to the layers for even more flavor.  I’ve also discovered that trifles are the perfect way to use that cake that wouldn’t come out of the pan in one piece.  This trifle, made with a spicy ginger cake that is adapted from Fine Cooking, combines ginger with a rich cream to form a decadent dessert.  As with all trifles, this one tastes better if it is made a day ahead of time.
GINGER CAKE TRIFLE
For the cake:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup buttermilk
  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and pre-heat the oven to 350.  Lightly grease an 8×8 inch square cake pan.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the flour, ground spices, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.
  • Place the butter in a medium sized bowl.  Using a hand mixer, set on medium speed, beat the butter until light and fluffy, approximatley 1 minute.
  • Add the fresh ginger and mix until just combined.
  • Add both of the sugars and beat on medium speed until well combined.
  • Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and mix until well combined.
  • Turn the mixer on low and add the molasses.
  • Add one third of the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix until combined.  Add one of the buttermilk and beat until combined.  Repeat alternating ingredients until everything is incorporated.
  • Scrape the batter in the prepared pan and smooth the top.
  • Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • Let the cake cool completely in the pan before assembling the trifle.
For the ginger syrup:
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Add the water and sugar to a small saucepan set over medium heat.  Stirring ocassionally, heat until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Add the ginger to the sugar water and stir to combine.  Bring to a gentle simmer being careful that the sugar doesn’t scorch.
  • Remove from the heat and allow to cool.  Strain the syrup through a fine mesh sieve to remove the ginger.  Set aside.
For the cream filling:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon Kirsch
  • Place all of the ingredients in a medium-sized chilled bowl.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat the cream until it is light and fluffy.
To assemble the trifle:
1 ginger cake
1 cup ginger syrup
4 cups whipped cream
1/4 cup candied ginger
  • Cut the ginger cake into bite sized cubes.  Place a single layer of the cake on the bottom of the  medium-sized trifle dish.
  • Brush the cake with the reserved ginger syrup.
  • Place a layer of the whipped cream on top of the cake.
  • Repeat this layering pattern until your trifle dish is filled ending with a layero f whipped cream.  You may have some cream left over.
  • Evenly sprinkle the candied ginger pieces over the top of the whipped cream.
  • Cover the trifle dish tightly with plastic wrap and allow to sit for at least 4 hours or preferrably overnight before serving.
Serves: 12

Black Forest Brownie Trifles

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In planning a recent dinner party I had visions of serving a rich and perfectly smooth creme brulee.  But then I realized that good quality heavy cream is hard, if not impossible, to come by in Tirana.  Switching gears I started pouring over my favorite food websites in search of an alternative recipe.  I stuck gold when I found a recipe for individual black forest brownie trifles on From Away.  (I encourage those of you who aren’t familiar with this Maine based couple’s writing to check it out.  Not only are their recipes and food insight great but reading their postings helps temporarily fulfill my longing for Maine).  Cherries are at the peak of their season now so this was the perfect dessert.

I love the combination of chocolate and cherries tempered with a bit of whipped cream. The cleaver way of serving these trifles, in individual jelly jars, made me realize they would add the perfect amount of whimsy to my dinner.  I’ve added my own twist onto this recipe.  I prefer my own brownie recipe which is moist and has a touch of almond flavor.  I also adapted my the original cherry recipe by substituting orange liqueur for some of the liquid.

The results?  A simple yet visually pleasing dessert that pleased the entire table.  Try it for yourself.

BLACK FOREST BROWNIE TRIFLES

For the brownies:

5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

3 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder

1 1/4 cups sugar

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons extract of your choice, I prefer almond

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

  • Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line an 8-inch square pan with foil then coat lightly with vegetable spray.
  • Melt the chocolates, butter, and cocoa in the microwave, stirring often, 1 to 3 minutes.  Let the mixture cool slightly.
  • Whisk the sugar, eggs, extract, and salt together in a large bowl until well combined.
  • Whisk in the melted chocolate mixture until smooth.  Stir in the flour until no streaks remain.
  • Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.  Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes.
  • Let cool completely on a wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours, before removing the brownies from the pan using the foil and cutting into squares.

For the cherries:

4 cups fresh cherries, pitted

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup fresh orange juice

1/2 cup Grand Marnier liqueur, or other orange flavored liqueur

4 teaspoons corn starch

  • Place the cherries in a large sauce pan.  Add the sugar, juice, and liqueur and stir to combine.
  • Bring to a simmer a cook for 5 minutes or until the cherries start to break down.
  • Stir in the cornstarch and whisk to combine.  Cook an additional 5 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and set aside.  Allow to cool for at least 1 hour before assembling the trifles.

For the cream:

16 ounces mascarpone cheese, at room temperature

2 – 2/3 cups whipping cream

1/4 cup powdered sugar

  • Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat until all of the ingredients are combined and the cream forms stiff peaks.

Assembly:

  • Crumble the brownies into small, bite-sized pieces.
  • Alternate layers of brownies, cherries, and cream in each of the 8 serving dishes starting with a layer of brownies and ending with a layer of cream.  Depending upon the depth of your dishes you should have 3 or 4 layers.
  • Top with a fresh cherry if desired.
  • Allow to sit in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving.

Serves 8

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