Tiramisu Pudding Cakes

Okay, to be truthful these are more like Espresso Pudding Cakes. I only say that because you don’t get the traditional flavor of tiramisu from them. Yes, you have the cocoa powder and the espresso, but, you don’t have the mascarpone. It’s all good though, they are delicious nonetheless.

I began by making the batter for the cake portion. In a microwave safe bowl I combined a stick of unsalted butter (which I cut into small pieces) with whole milk. I microwaved it in 30-second intervals until the butter had melted. I then added in sugar, vanilla extract and salt and whisked until the batter was smooth. I then added in flour and baking powder and continued whisking until the batter was smooth once again. Next, I divided the batter among 6 ramekins that I lightly sprayed with cooking spray and placed on a baking sheet. It came out to about 1/2 cup of batter for each ramekin.

I then topped the cake batter with a mixture of sugar, brown sugar, cocoa powder and espresso powder. It seems like a lot, but trust me you want to use all of the mixture up.

And finally, I poured about 3 tablespoons of hot water (I used boiled water as opposed to hot tap water) into each ramekin.

I baked the cakes in a 350 F preheated oven for about 25 minutes; until a cake tester inserted in the middle came out clean. Once out of the oven I brushed each cake with Kahlua and then sprinkled them with confectioners’ sugar and cocoa power.

After letting them rest for about 30 minutes it was time to try one. As you will see the “pudding” settles to the bottom while baking and you get a nice amount of it with each spoonful.

Tiramisu Pudding Cakes

Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup whole milk

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 cup light brown sugar

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting

1 tablespoons instant espresso powder

1 1/4 cups hot water

2 tablespoons coffee liqueur or dark rum (optional)

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly butter each ramekin and place on a baking sheet.

Put the butter and milk in medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals until the butter has melted. Add 1/2 cup sugar, the vanilla and salt and whisk until smooth. Add the flour and baking powder and continue whisking until smooth. Divide among the ramekins.

Combine the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, along with the brown sugar, cocoa powder and espresso powder in small bowl and sprinkle over the batter. Pour the hot water – about 3 tablespoons per ramekin – over the batter. Do not stir.

Bake until a cake tester comes out clean from the center – about 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush the tops with the liqueur or rum and then lightly dust with cocoa powder and confectioners’ sugar. Let stand 30 minutes before serving.

If you would prefer, you can also make one large pudding cake by using a 2-quart baking dish. The directions and cooking time would be the same.

Recipe from Food Network

Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake

The unofficial end of the summer is upon us! A bittersweet time… the lazy days of summer are coming to an end, kids go back to school (yay for crazy morning traffic – that being said in my most unenthusiastic and sarcastic voice) and temperatures begin to drop. Granted, that last fact is a welcome change to me. Fall is upon us! If you didn’t know, it’s my favorite season! There’s pumpkin everything (I’m actually eating a Chobani Flip Pumpkin yogurt as I write this), apple picking, the crisp air in the morning, the leaves changing color and so many other wonderful things. It also leads us to my other favorite time of the year… The Holiday Season! You know, that time between Thanksgiving and Three Kings Day. Well, that’s what I personally consider the Holiday Season to be, I know for some it ends with the New Year. But, before we get to all that and our ovens working overtime baking wonderful holiday treats, I have a dessert for you that’s perfect for any BBQ’s you’ll be heading to this holiday weekend and for any of those random 90+days that are sure to come… An icebox cake, more specifically a Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake.

 I first saw this recipe on Food Network’s Instagram feed. It’s from Ina Garten aka “The Barefoot Contessa” and I knew I had to make it. And then a few weeks later it was featured in their magazine. Its super simple, only requires 1 bowl for mixing and you have don’t have to bake it. You assemble it and let it set overnight in your fridge – hence icebox cake.

 In a large bowl combine heavy cream, mascarpone, sugar, Kahlua, cocoa powder, espresso powder & vanilla extract. Using a hand mixer, mix on low speed until combined and slowly raise the speed until stiff peaks form. Before using this mocha cream of course I had to try it and it tasted similar to the cream used in Tiramisu… Delish!

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Once the cream is made it was time to assemble the cake. I arranged a layer of thin & crispy chocolate chip cookies flat in an 8-inch springform pan. I used Tate’s cookies, which are famous for their thin & crispy texture. If you can’t find Tate’s or you just don’t feel like ordering them, you can try Chips Ahoy’s new Thins Chocolate Chip Cookie. So, after arranging the first layer of cookies, I spread about a fifth of the cream evenly over the cookies. Next, another layer of cookies and then the cream. I continued this layering pattern until I had 5 layers of each, ending with the cream. I then smoothed the top, covered it with plastic wrap and refrigerated it overnight.

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The following day to unmold the cake I ran a sharp knife along the sides and then removed the ring and topped the cake with some shave chocolate.  

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Delicious is an understatement for how good this cake is! The cookies soften due to the cream, but, are left enough with enough texture that you don’t feel like you’re eating mushy cookies… Gross! And the combination of the mocha cream and chocolate chip cookies is just perfect!

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Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake

Ingredients:

2 cups heavy cream, cold

12 ounces mascarpone cheese

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup Kahlua liqueur

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

24 ounces thin & crispy chocolate chip cookies, about 35

Shaved semi-sweet chocolate, for garnish

Directions:

In a large bowl combine the heavy cream, mascarpone, sugar, Kahlua, cocoa powder, espresso powder & vanilla extract. Using a hand mixer mix on low speed until all ingredients are combined, gradually increase the speed until firm peaks form.

To assemble to the cake, arrange the chocolate chip cookies flat in an 8-inch springform pan, breaking the cookies as necessary to completely cover the bottom of the pan. Spread a fifth of the mocha cream evenly over the cookies. Place another layer of cookies lying flat and then another fifth of mocha cream. Continue this layer pattern until there are 5 layers of each, ending with the mocha cream. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

To unmold, run a sharp knife along the edges and remover the ring. Sprinkle with shaved chocolate and serve cold.

Recipe from Food Network

 

 

Tiramisu

Tiramisu is one of my favorite desserts and I have tried making it quite a few times in the past and have always been unsuccessful. I think it was partly because I hadn’t honed in on my baking skills and whenever I would go to buy ladyfingers I could never find them. In case you were wondering, ladyfingers are an egg-based biscuit roughly shaped like a large finger. Well, this time I had the ladyfingers on hand after coming across them at the supermarket on sale and buying them in anticipation of making this dessert. I was determined to master this favorite dessert of time and not to toot my horn, but, I think it’s one of the best desserts I have ever made.

Before assembling the tiramisu I had some prep work to do. I began by whisking egg yolks and sugar in a saucepan until they were well blended. I then added in whole milk and cooked the mixture over medium heat until it began to boil. After removing it from the heat I let the mixture cool slightly and then covered and refrigerated it for an hour. After removing it from the refrigerator I blended in mascarpone cheese until it was smooth. In another bowl I beat whipped cream and vanilla extract until stiff peaks formed. And in a third bowl I combined room temperature coffee with Kahlua.

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Using an 8 x 11 inch dish I made the first layer of the tiramisu and then topped it with another. After arranging ladyfingers that I soaked in the coffee and Kahlua mixture I topped it with the mascarpone mixture…

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Then the whipped cream mixture…

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And finally dusted the top with unsweetened cocoa powder. I then covered it and refrigerated it overnight.

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And then the next day it was time to enjoy it and enjoy it I did! It was incredibly light and the ladyfingers while crisp beforehand absorbed the coffee/Kahlua perfectly as well as the mascarpone mixture that was directly spread on top of them. I have finally mastered one of my favorite desserts and will definitely be making it again sooner rather than later.

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Tiramisu

Ingredients:

6 egg yolks

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup whole milk

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 pound mascarpone cheese

1 cup strong brewed coffee, at room temperature

1/4 cup Kahlua

2 (3 ounce) packages ladyfinger cookies (24 cookies)

unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting

 

Directions:

In a medium saucepan whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until well combined. Whisk in the milk and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture begins to boil. Boil for one minute then remove from the heat and cool slightly. Cover tightly and chill in the refrigerator for one hour. For best results transfer to a Tupperware with a tight fitted lid.

In a medium bowl combine the heavy cream and vanilla extract and beat until stiff peaks form.

After one hour remove the egg mixture from the refrigerator and beat in the mascarpone until the mixture is smooth.

In a small bowl, one large enough to lay the ladyfingers in, combine the coffee and Kahlua. Dip the ladyfingers in the mixture for a few seconds and then arrange them in an 8 x 11 inch dish. Spread half of the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers and then half of the whipped cream over that. Repeat the layers with the remaining lady fingers, mascarpone mixture and whipped cream. Dust the top of the cocoa powder then cover with a sheet of parchment paper and then aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight.

 

Recipe slightly modified from Allrecipes

Homemade Pumpkin Puree

While at the supermarket a few weeks ago I came across sugar pumpkins on sale, I thought for a second or two of buying them and making my own pumpkin puree but it was just a fleeting thought at the moment and I stuck with the list of items I had in hand. Once I got home though I was curious as to how difficult it would be to turn those small pumpkins into puree and I was pleasantly surprised at how simple it would be, well, minus the elbow grease and patience. So, a few days later I picked up two pumpkins and got to work.

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I began by slicing the top of the pumpkin off. I should say I sawed it off as I did mention it required some elbow grease.

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Next, I sliced the pumpkin in half. This was by far the most difficult part. Since my knives were sharpened I probably just need some refresher tips on knife skills.

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And then scooped out all of the seeds and pulp.

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Following that I sliced the halves into halves – or simply put I cut the pumpkin into quarters. I then repeated these steps with the second pumpkin and placed all of the quarters on a baking sheet.

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I roasted the pumpkin in a 350 F preheated oven for just shy of an hour until the pieces were fork tender. And I must say the smell of pumpkin in my house was heaven during that hour.

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After letting the pieces cool for a few minutes I was easily able to remove the skin from the pumpkin.

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And then it was time for the simplest part – well besides roasting the pumpkin – to making the puree, the blending.  I put a few pieces at a time in the bowl of my food processor and added a few tablespoons of water to help the process along.

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All in all I ended up with about 8 cups of fresh pumpkin puree.

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I refrigerated half of it and froze the other half in sandwich bags – putting a cup of puree in each of the bags.

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And since I didn’t want that refrigerated puree to go bad I was quick to whip up some delicious treats with it.

There was pumpkin pie, which I must say definitely had a much richer taste with the fresh puree.

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Pumpkin Ravioli using wonton wrappers…

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And my favorite, a homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte. I usually get one or two of these during the Fall at Starbucks but the coffee flavor is such a turn off for me since I am not a coffee drinker that being able to make this at home and control the coffee amount was perfect!

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Pumpkin Ravioli – Adapted from here and here

Ingredients:

1 cup fresh (or canned) pumpkin puree

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 shallot minced

3 tablespoons heavy cream

1/3 cup parmesan cheese grated

pinch of nutmeg

salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Melt butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté for 1 minute.

2. Add the pumpkin and cook until the pumpkin has absorbed the butter.

3. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the cream.

4. Remove from the heat and add in the cheese and nutmeg and stir until both are incorporated.

 

Pumpkin Spice Latte – Recipe from October 2014 Food Network Magazine

Ingredients:

3 tbsp. sugar

2 1/2 tablespoons pumpkin puree

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

heaping 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

heaping 1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

2 1/4 cup milk (I used whole milk)

1/4 cup espresso (or strong brewed coffee)

whipped cream, for topping

Directions:

1. Combine the sugar, pumpkin puree, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg in a small saucepan.

2. Whisk in milk and espresso and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.

3. Pour into 2 mugs and top with whipped cream and more nutmeg.

 

If you would like a more detailed description of how to make you own pumpkin puree check-out the directions I followed here from the Pioneer Woman’s (Ree Drummond) website.