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Lemon Raspberry Tiramisu

30 Apr

I was dusting the other day.  I hate dusting.  It is mundane and disheartening, after all, the  dust returns immediately.  Anyway, as I was doing the aforementioned task, my mind went to its happy place……the kitchen.  I was thinking of desserts.  I often think of desserts.  Sometimes dessert is the highlight of my day.  I love dessert.  I could eat sweets every day, several times a day if I didn’t have to worry about my butt.  And a little thing called my health.  Typically I gravitate towards chocolate.  But a dessert doesn’t have to be made with chocolate to be tasty.

I found myself ranking desserts in my head.  Here are my preferences in order:  One, would be cake, with frosting.  Cannot be carrot or spiced.  Cookies and brownies and bars are tied for second.  Probably because they can be cake like in texture.  Coming in just behind in third place are homemade candies like buckeye balls (without rice krispies-I’m a purist), coconut balls and fudge.  In fourth place is pie with key lime and cherry topping that list.  Lastly is cheesecake.  I rarely eat cheesecake.  Just not something I go crazy over.  Then there is a gray area that I don’t know where to place.  This includes ice cream, tiramisu, and creme brûlée.  Love them all, just not sure how much.   Now there is a little condiment known as lemon curd that I adore.  To me this is a dessert all on its own and it’s a winner.  It is tart and sweet, not really creamy, but……simply delicious.  You could tie my hands behind my back and I’d stick my face in a bowl of lemon curd and lick it clean it’s that good.  It is wonderful atop scones or cupcakes.  You could dollop it on waffles, fill cakes with it, or just eat it plain.  That was my inspiration for this dessert.  Since raspberry’s have been especially wonderful, I added them for color, texture and to contrast the tartness of the lemon curd.  It worked beautifully.  I used Ameretto Liquor because that’s what I had at home, but it adds an unexpected almond surprise. The layers compliment one another so that each bite leaves you wanting more!  I highly recommend making this the night before you serve it.  It tasted even better the next day!

Raspberry Lemon Curd Tiramisu

Lemon Raspberry Tiramisu

Lemon Curd

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

1 cup lemon juice

3 lemons, zested

½ cup unsalted butter, melted

In a microwave safe bowl, combine sugar and eggs.  Whisk until well blended.  Stir in lemon juice, lemon zest and melted butter.  Stir until smooth and combined.  Cook in microwave in 1 minute intervals.  Stirring well after each minute.  You’ll know the lemon curd is done when it coats the back of a metal spoon.  For me, this took 4 minutes.  Cover and chill in the refrigerator.

For the filling

16 oz room temp mascarpone

1 cup whipping cream

¼ cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

½ tsp almond extract

2 cups raspberries

2 packages (3 oz) lady fingers

½ cup Amoretto Liquor

Raspberry’s for garnish

In a chilled bowl, beat the whipping cream and two tbls of the sugar until soft peaks form.  In another bowl, beat the remaining sugar, the mascarpone and the extracts until smooth.  Fold in 1/3 of the whipping cream into the mascarpone until incorporated.  Fold in remaining cream.

To assemble:

Dip lady fingers quickly into the Amoretto and layer in a 9×13 baking dish.  You may have to cut or overlap lady fingers to fit.  Spread  half of the lemon curd over your lady fingers, sprinkle 1 cup of raspberry over lemon curd.  Layer a half of your cheese mixture over the raspberry’s.  Repeat layers  starting with lady fingers and ending with cream layer.  Garnish with more raspberry’s if you like.  Cover and chill at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.

Root Beer Cupcakes with Bourbon Cream Frosting

19 Apr

My husband’s birthday was yesterday.  We won’t talk age.  I told my kids my husband and I are counting backwards now.  They didn’t buy it.

I wanted to make cupcakes for my sweetie.    Originally I wanted to make Guinness cupcakes.  I’ve made them before and they are moist and delicious especially topped with an Irish Cream frosting.  But an idea came to me at the last-minute.  We love drinking bourbon cream and root beer.  Tastes just like a creamy, dreamy root beer float.  Totally delicious, totally dangerous!  You can keep drinking them and before you know it, your mind is “floating”!!!!  So I say to myself “why not turn this into a cupcake?” Thus Root beer cupcakes with Bourbon Cream Frosting is born!!!  The problem was, I was out of the bourbon cream.  This isn’t something sold at the grocery store, I had to make  a special trip to the liquor store.   Can I tell you how embarrassing it is going to get bourbon at noon on a Wednesday with your 3-year-old??  I felt like a made for TV movie.  It just felt so wrong.  When I went to the register to pay, I felt compelled to explain that this was for baking purposes only!  The woman behind the counter didn’t care.  She put my bourbon in a tell-tale brown paper bag and my daughter and I walked off.   But not before I threw in a “let’s go make cupcakes” for good measure!

Root Beer Cupcakes with Bourbon Cream Frosting

1 1/2 cups root beer

1/4 cup butter

3/4 cups cocoa

2 cups brown sugar

3/4 cup sour cream

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups all purpose flour

2 1/2 tsp baking soda

Bourbon Cream Buttercream

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup shortening

4 cups powdered sugar

1/2 tsp salt

4 tbsp Bourbon Cream liquor *

Pre heat oven to 325

Combine root beer and butter in a saucepan, once butter has melted, remove from heat.  In a separate bowl, whisk together sour cream, eggs and vanilla.  Add to cooled root beer and whisk until combined.  Add in the cocoa and the sugar, mixing well.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and the baking soda.  Add this to your root beer mixture, whisking until flour is incorporated.  Batter will be very runny, but will bake up nicely.  Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 full.  I poured my batter into a large Pyrex measuring cup.  This made pouring into my cupcake liners much easier.  Bake in preheated oven for 15-17 minutes or until your cupcakes spring back when touched.  Remove from oven and let cool completely before frosting.

For the buttercream

Combine softened butter and shortening in a large mixing bowl.  Beat until very fluffy, about 10 minutes.  Add in powdered sugar one cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Add in the salt.  Add in your bourbon cream.  This is something you may have to taste as you go along (darn huh?).  4 tbsp to half of  my buttercream added a subtle flavor.  You may want to add more if you want the bourbon to be more pronounced.  To make this kid friendly, I added about 4 tbsp of root beer to the other half of my buttercream.  Root beer extract would be better, but the soda was just fine.  Mix buttercream until creamy.   Try to save some for the cupcakes!

* Irish Cream could be used instead of Bourbon Cream.  Kahlua would be tasty too!

cupcake portion adapted from Food Network

Brownie Cookies with Peanut Butter Chips and Marshmallows Bits

12 Apr

Have you ever seen the show Hoarders?  I haven’t seen too many episodes, because at some point it gets difficult to watch.  In most areas of my life, I’m the exact opposite of a hoarder, I’m a chucker.  I can’t get rid of things fast enough.  Just ask my family.  My kids know that if they want anything they’ve created at home or at school to be saved, they must tell me ASAP because I will file it under TRASH as quickly as possible.  Now before you judge me for not being sentimental about my mini Monet’s creations, let me say that I do keep all the truly magnificent pieces of art or school work.  I’m not completely heartless.  I just have a low threshold for crap.  And paper turns into piles of crap very quickly.  Don’t get me started on the newspaper!  My husband barely finishes the newspaper and I’m grabbing it out of his hand and cart-wheeling it to the recycling bin!  This stuff breeds if left untouched.   I like order.  It calms me.  That’s not a sign of a disorder is it?

There is one area of my home, however that is in utter and complete chaos.  My baking pantry.  It is so bad, yesterday I opened the door and two bags of chocolate chips smacked me on the forehead!  I have cake mix boxes galore.  Flour and sugar bags are vying for space.  Brown sugar bags are smooshed in the back.  I have 4 lonely cupcake liners crumpled up in a corner.  There are at least 5 frosting containers, 4 boxes of vanilla pudding ( I don’t even like pudding), several bags of caramels, Halloween, Christmas, Valentine and Easter M & M’s, plus an assortment of holiday candies that  were intended for my kids, but at the last minute I figured they’d be better baking ingredients,  a 7 lb bag of confectioners sugar that is leaking sweet, powdery dust over my countertops every time I get it out, which I have to do often to reach my cocoa powder ( 1 of two containers in my pantry) and finally I have a variety of spreads, and bottles of syrups that have crusted caps and are stuck to the shelves.   So the thought hit me (literally).  I am a baking hoarder.  Gasp!!  Could it be?  I won’t even mention the two dozen boxes of butter in my freezer!!!!  AAAHHH!!  The one consolation is that  if we experience a natural disaster, we could survive for a few days on a version of the Buddy the Elf diet.  If truly necessary, we COULD eat butter sticks.   Yes, my friends, there is only one way for me to dig out of this disorder:  bake, bake and bake some more!!!   I decided to make Brownie Cookies.  Great way to use up some chocolate.  Found a bag of Reese’s peanut butter chips, thought I may as well add those for variety.  Then I found a container of marshmallows bits (which I purchased simply because they were cute) hidden behind my flour.  I thought, what the heck, lets polk- a- dot the cookies with these!  I am supremely happy with the end result.  These are not only tasty, but they carved out a little more room in my pantry.  Which I will promptly fill with more stuff on my next trip to the store.  Once a hoarder, always a hoarder.  Besides, you never know what will be on sale.   And if heaven forbid, a natural disaster should occur in this part of Ohio, like a hurricane or volcano eruption, I will be ready!!

I baked these in whoopie pie pans I had purchased ages ago.  They still had the paper cover on them!  You would still get excellent results making cookies on a sheet pan.

Brownie Cookies with Peanut Butter Chips and Marshmallow Bits

1/2 cup butter

4 oz.(1 oz )  unsweetened chocolate baking squares, chopped

1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups peanut butter chips

1 cup marshmallow bits (or more if you prefer)

Preheat oven to 350

Combine butter, unsweetened chocolate and chocolate chips in a saucepan.  Melt over low heat stirring often until smooth.  Remove from heat and cool.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt.  In a separate bowl beat eggs and sugar.  Add vanilla.  Slowly add flour mixture. Beat well.  Add in your cooled chocolate and beat until chocolate is well incorporated.  Once it is all combined, stir in the peanut butter chips.

If using a whoopie pie pan, add two scoops (I used two large spoons)of batter into each cavity.  Top each cookie with marshmallow bits.  Feel free to polka dot as you see fit here.  You can also add in the marshmallow bits along with your peanut butter chips if your prefer.  I wanted them sprinkled on top to add contrast.  Complete personal preference.  If you are using a sheet pan, drop dough by 2 tablespoon fulls onto a cookie sheet.  Leave room, these will spread.  Bake in whoopee pie pan for 11-12 minutes.  On a sheet pan, bake for 10 minutes.  Let cool in pan or on baking sheet for a minute or two.  Then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe Adapted From My Recipes

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