Thursday, May 10, 2007

Tasty Tiramisu

Love tiramisu? I do! I can hardly resist the stuff, but until the other day I've never made any myself. I found an easy and tempting recipe in Everyday Food's gorgeous new cookbook Great Food Fast. It only took me about 20 minutes to make the tiramisu, add to that an hour to chill and it couldn't have been much easier. Not to mention this version required very few ingredients so if you're looking for an easy, inexpensive dessert to wow guests with at your next dinner party this might just be it.

Easy Tiramisu

Easy Tiramisu

3 Tbsp. instant espresso powder
3 Tbsp. boiling water
1 package (8 oz) reduced-fat cream cheese
3/4 c. heavy cream
1/3 c. sugar
2 packages (3oz each) soft ladyfingers
Unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting

1. In a medium heat-proof bowl, mix the espresso powder with the boiling water until dissolved. Add 1 1/2 c. cold water;set aside.

2. With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese with the heavy cream and sugar until light and fluffy.

3. Spread a few Tbsp. of the cream-cheese mixture in the bottom of a 2-quart serving dish. Seperate the ladyfingers. One by one, dip a third of the ladyfingers in the espresso, then arrange in the bottom of the serving dish. Spread with a third of the cream-cheese mixture. Repeat twice with the remaining ladyfingers, espresso and cream-cheese mixture. The tiramisu can be refrigerated, covered for up to 1 day.

4. Dust with cocoa just before serving.

Try it out and let me know what you think!

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

How cute..

How cute are these?? I've been having shopping withdrawls lately. I've been out and about, stopping by Target (my favorite store!) several times, and I can't tell you how many times I've been to Home Depot - A LOT! But I haven't really bought anything other than necessities and I think we all know, sometimes a girl just needs to feel spoiled by purchasing something just because.

So recently I was browsing on and spotted two things for the kitchen I just couldn't resist. First I spotted the Tovolo Farm Animal Ice Cream Sandwich Molds, which I spotted for the first time late last summer and thought they were totally adorable!

Next I came across this adorable apron, and it was on could I pass it up right?

Nothing else to mention right now, but stay tuned for new recipes. And count on seeing some yummy and adorable ice cream sanwiches in the future! Happy eating!

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Friday, May 04, 2007

Back In Action

Hey y'all! As I sit here writing this it really sinks in to me how long it has actually been since I blogged - since I've been able to blog. I haven't abandoned my blog out of sheer laziness or even lack of desire to share recipes. I've been ill - I'm not talking a bad case of the flu ill. I spent months in the hospital, sometimes not knowing if I would make it home, and as I finally turned the corner on the road to recovery, I spent weeks aching to be home, wondering when the day would finally come. I don't want to go into further details, but believe me when I say I thank the Lord for each new day - now more than I ever have. And I'm so glad to be back on my feet able and wanting to be in the kitchen.

Last Friday night was the most fun I've had in the kitchen in a very long time. A friend came over so I could help her bake cupcakes for her boyfriend's birthday party. I can proudly say I'm often the person my baking-challenged loved ones turn to for help when they want to show lovin' with something from the oven. The verdict from the party-goers was that our Cream Cheese-Stuffed Chocolate Cupcakes from "Chocolate & Vanilla" by Gale Gand, were a hit. We certainly enjoyed them during our tastetest! The cupcakes were incredibly moist and rich with chocolatey goodness. My only complaint was the tiny amount of cream cheese filling in each cupcake. I would definitely repeat this recipe, but next time I would double the cream cheese filling recipe. The frosting recipe made a HUGE and I do mean huge batch. We had a ton leftover.

Cream-Cheese Stuffed Chocolate Cupcakes - batterCream-Cheese Stuffed Chocolate Cupcakes - fresh from the oven

Try these out and let me know what you think!

Cream-Cheese Stuffed Chocolate Cupcakes - iced and ready to eat!

Cream Cheese-Stuffed Chocolate Cupcakes

for the filling
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 c. sugar
2/3 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

for the cupcakes
3 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. sugar
1/2 c. cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-processed
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 c. hot water
3/4 c. vegetable oil
2 tsp. white vinegar
1 Tbsp. instant cofee crystals (optional)
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

for the chocolate frosting
8 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 1/2 c. superfine sugar
1 1/2 c. cocoa powder, preferabley Dutch-processed
Pinch of salt
1 c. heavy cream
1 tsp. instant coffee crystals (optional)
1/2 c. sour cream
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

To make the filling, in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until fluffy, about 5 minutes, scraping the bowl often, and then blend in the egg yolk and vanilla. Add the sugar and chips and mix for a few seconds on low to fold them in.

Preheat the oven to 350. Line 2 (12 cup) muffin tins with cupcake paper liners.

To make the cupcakes, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. In a large measuring cup, combine the water, oil, vinegar, instant coffee, and vanilla. Pour the mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined (don't worry if there are a few lumps).

Fill each cupcake liner two-thirds full of batter. Drop a heaping tsp. of the cream cheese filling into the center of each.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cupcakes have puffed on top and are firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and let cool completely in the tins.

To make the frosting, melt the butter in a large saucepan. Stir in the sugar, cocoa, and salt. The mixture might look grainy or sandy and this is fine. Whisk the cream and instant coffee into the cocoa mixture and cook over low heat, while stirring to dissolve the sugar grains. The mixture should get hot to the touch but never simmer or boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream and vanilla. Let cool until the frosting thickens an becomes spreadable, about 1 hour. If it seems too thin, stir in some powdered sugar.

Remove the cupcakes from the tins. Spread the frosting on the tops of the cupcakes.

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