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Grand Marnier

marnier

A venerable French dessert, this dramatic souffle is always a showstopper. Rubbing a little sugar into the orange zest brings out its oils and enhances the deep citrus flavor of the finished souffle. Serve it at the end of a special dinner for an elegant finale.

Grand Marnier Souffle

1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) whole milk

1 1/2 Tbs. all-purpose flour

5 Tbs. (3 oz./90 g.) sugar

4 large eggs, separated

1 Tbs. unsalted butter

2 tsp. grated orange zest

1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml.) Grand Marnier

1/8 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

 

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 400°F (200°C) for individual souffles or 375°F (190°C) for a large souffle. Butter four 1-cup (8-fl. oz./250-ml.) ramekins or a 1-qt. (1-l.) souffle dish and dust the bottom and sides with sugar.

In a saucepan, warm the milk over medium heat until bubbles appear along the edge of the pan. Remove from the heat. In a bowl, stir together the flour and 3 tablespoons of the sugar. Slowly pour in the hot milk while whisking constantly. Pour the mixture back into the pan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil for 1-2 minutes.

In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks until pale in color and thick. Slowly pour the hot milk mixture into the yolks while whisking constantly. Pour the mixture back into the pan and cook over low heat, stirring, until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. In a small bowl, using the back of a spoon, mash the orange zest with a pinch of the sugar, then whisk into the egg yolk mixture along with the Grand Marnier.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Slowly add the remaining sugar and beat until the whites hold stiff, glossy peaks.

Using a rubber spatula, fold one-fourth of the beaten egg whites in the egg yolk mixture to lighten it. Then, gently fold in the remaining whites just until no white streaks remain. Spoon into the prepared dish(es). Run your thumb around the rim of the dish(es) to form a shallow groove along the edge.

Bake until set and puffed, and the center still jiggles slightly when the dish is gently shaken, 8-10 minutes for the individual souffles, 25-30 minutes for the large souffle. Serve at once. Serves 4.

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Tiramisu

tiramisu

This Italian classic is made up of delicate ladyfingers soaked in espresso and rum, layered with mascarpone custard and dusted with rich cocoa. Individual portions make a beautiful presentation; to make them, layer the soaked ladyfingers and custard in cups or bowls, cutting the ladyfingers as needed to fit the cups.

Depending on the size of the cups, you may not need as many ladyfingers as this recipe calls for.

Tiramisu

1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g.) sugar

1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz./375 ml.) freshly brewed espresso

1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml.) dark rum

For the filling:

1/3 cup (3 oz./90 g.) sugar

6 large egg yolks

1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml.) heavy cream

1 1/2 cups (12 oz./375 g.) mascarpone cheese

1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

45 ladyfingers or savoiardi

Unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting

In a small saucepan, bring the sugar and 1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml.) water to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the espresso, and let cool to room temperature. Stir in the rum. Pour the espresso mixture into a wide, shallow bowl and set aside.

To make the filling, select a heatproof bowl that fits snugly in the rim of a saucepan. Pour water to a depth of about 2 inches (5 cm.) into the saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. In the bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is pale yellow and creamy, about 2 minutes.

Place the bowl over (not touching) the simmering water in the pan. Using an electric mixer, beat the yolk mixture on medium speed until thick and tripled in volume, about 6 minutes. Remove the bowl from over the heat and set the yolk mixture aside to cool completely, stirring often as it cools.

In another bowl, beat the cream on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form.

Add the mascarpone and vanilla to the cooled yolk mixture. Beat with the mixer on medium speed just until smooth and well blended. Using a large rubber spatula, fold in the whipped cream just until combined.

Working in batches, immerse 15 ladyfingers in the espresso mixture, then arrange the ladyfingers in a single layer in the bottom of a 9-inch (23-cm.) square cake pan. Using the rubber spatula, evenly spread one-third of the filling over the ladyfingers. Soak another 15 ladyfingers in the espresso mixture, and place them over the filling and evenly spread with half of the remaining filling.

Soak the remaining ladyfingers, place them in the pan, and top with the remaining filling, again spreading evenly. Gently tap the pan against the counter to settle the ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to overnight.

Run a small knife around the inside edge of the pan to loosen the sides. Dust the top with cocoa powder and serve. Serves 8-10.

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Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

cupcakes

A real southern classic, red velvet cake has just a hint of cocoa and a lovely red crumb. True to tradition, these party-worthy cupcakes are topped with rich cream cheese frosting.

If you want to amp up the red hue, replace 1 Tbs. of the cocoa with flour and add an extra 1 tsp. of red food coloring.

 

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

For the cupcakes:

2 Tbs. natural cocoa powder

1⁄3 cup (3 fl. oz.⁄80 ml) boiling water

1 cup (8 fl. oz.⁄250 ml) buttermilk

3⁄4 cup (6 oz.⁄185 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1⁄2 cups (12 oz.⁄375 g) granulated sugar

3 large eggs

1 tsp. red gel food coloring

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt

2 1⁄2 cups (12 1⁄2 oz.⁄390 g) all-purpose flour

1 1⁄2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. white distilled vinegar

 

For the frosting:

1⁄2 lb. (250 g) cream cheese, at room temperature

4 Tbs. (2 oz.⁄60 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup (4 oz.⁄125 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted

 

Candied nuts for garnish (optional)

 

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F (180°C). Line 18 standard muffin cups with paper liners or grease with butter and dust with flour.

 

In a bowl, whisk the cocoa into the boiling water. Let cool to lukewarm, then whisk in the buttermilk. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until combined.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the food coloring, vanilla and salt. Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the flour in 3 additions alternately with the buttermilk mixture in 2 additions, starting and ending with the flour. Beat just until combined. In a small bowl, stir together the baking soda and vinegar, then quickly stir into the batter.

 

Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups, filling them about three-fourths full. Bake until puffed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Let cool slightly, then remove the cupcakes from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

 

Meanwhile, make the frosting: In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla on medium-high speed until smooth, light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until thoroughly combined. If the frosting is too soft,
refrigerate it until it is spreadable, about 15 minutes.

 

Spread the cupcakes with the frosting. Sprinkle with candied nuts, if desired. The frosted cupcakes can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days; bring to room temperature before serving. Makes 18 cupcakes.

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Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

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Here we take advantage of the fresh rhubarb that is arriving in the farmers’ markets in many parts of the country. Technically a vegetable, rhubarb is treated like a fruit and is traditionally paired with strawberries, which complement its tart flavor. Slice the rhubarb no wider than 1/2 inch (12 mm) thick to avoid a stringy texture, and make sure to discard the mildly toxic leaves.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

For the crust:

2 cups (10 oz./315 g) all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 Tbs. sugar

3/4 cup (6 oz./185 g) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) ice water, plus more if needed

 

For the filling:

1 1/2 cups (12 oz./375 g) sugar

2 Tbs. cornstarch

2 Tbs. quick-cooking tapioca

Pinch of kosher salt

4 cups (1 lb./500 g) strawberries, hulled and quartered lengthwise

8 rhubarb stalks, cut into 1⁄2-inch (12-mm) pieces (about 4 1/2 cups/22 oz./690 g)

1 Tbs. cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

 

To make the crust, in the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, salt and sugar. Sprinkle the butter over the top and pulse for a few seconds, or just until the butter is slightly broken up into the flour but still in visible pieces. Evenly sprinkle the water over the flour mixture, then process just until the mixture starts to come together. Dump the dough into a large resealable plastic bag and press into a flat disk. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day before using, or freeze for up to 1 month.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and cut in half. Roll each half into a round at least 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter and about 1⁄8 inch (3 mm) thick. Transfer one round to a 9-inch (23-cm) pie pan and ease into the pan. Trim the edge, leaving a 3⁄4-inch (2-cm) overhang. Set the second dough round in a cool place until ready to use.

 

In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch, tapioca, and salt. Place the strawberries and rhubarb in a large bowl, sprinkle with the sugar mixture, and toss to distribute evenly. Transfer to the dough-lined pan. Dot with the butter.

 

Position the reserved dough round over the filled pie. Trim the edge, leaving a 1-inch (2.5-cm) overhang. Fold under the edge of the bottom round and crimp to seal. Using a knife, cut a hole or slits in the top. Refrigerate until the dough is firm, 20 to 30 minutes.

 

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Bake the pie until the crust is golden and the filling is thick and bubbling, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Serve with scoops of vanilla ice cream, if you like. Serves 6 to 8.

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Caramel Crepe Cake

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Popular in France, a gâteau mille crêpes (thousand-crepe cake) is traditionally made with a thin layer of pastry cream separating each crepe layer. Here, however, this stunning dessert gets a modern update by substituting homemade whipped caramel cream for the pastry cream. Garnished with edible flowers, it would make a charming centerpiece for an Easter dessert buffet.

Caramel Crepe Cake

For the caramel:

1 cup (8 oz./250 g) granulated sugar

1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) water

Pinch of salt

4 cups (32 fl. oz./1 l) heavy cream

 

For the crepe batter:

4 eggs

4 cups (32 fl. oz./1 l) milk

2 1/4 cups (11 1/2 oz./360 g) all-purpose flour

2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) confectioners’ sugar

 

For finishing:

1 tsp. unsalted butter

Lightly sweetened whipped cream for garnish (optional)

Fresh berries for garnish (optional)

 

To make the caramel, in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the sugar, water and salt. Cook until the mixture bubbles vigorously and turns a golden amber color, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir the sugar with a wooden spoon during the first 2 minutes of cooking; do not stir after this point, instead swirling the pan to ensure even cooking. Watch the caramel very carefully, as it will go from amber-colored to burned in a few seconds.

Remove the pan from the heat and immediately add the cream very carefully; the mixture will bubble and splatter, so protect your hands and arms with heavy oven mitts and use a long-handled wooden spoon. Stir until the caramel is smooth and well blended. Let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until cold.

 

To make the crepe batter, combine the eggs, milk, flour, melted butter, salt, vanilla and confectioners’ sugar in a blender. Blend on high speed until the mixture is well combined, about 30 seconds. Transfer the batter to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

In a crepe pan or 10-inch (25-cm) nonstick fry pan over medium heat, melt the butter and swirl to coat the pan evenly. Lift the pan at a slight angle and pour 1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml) of the batter into the center of the pan, quickly tilting the pan to spread the batter to the edges. Return the pan to the heat and cook until the crepe is golden underneath, 1 to 2 minutes. Using a spatula, flip the crepe over and cook until golden on the second side, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Transfer the crepe to a plate and cover with a piece of parchment paper. Repeat with the remaining batter, stacking the crepes on the plate with parchment between each layer. Let the crepes cool to room temperature.

 

To assemble the cake, transfer the cooled caramel mixture to a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on high until the mixture becomes turns lighter in color and texture and holds stiff peaks, about 5 minutes.

Center a crepe on a serving platter and spread with 3 to 4 Tbs. of the caramel cream. Center another crepe on top of the first and spread with another 3 to 4 Tbs. of the caramel cream. Repeat with the remaining crepes and caramel cream, finishing with a crepe. Wrap the crepe cake on the platter and chill for at least 4 hours and up to 1 day.

 

Let the cake sit at room temperature for 1 hour before serving. Top with whipped cream and berries, cut into slices and serve immediately. Serves 8 to 10.

 

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Halloween Spider Web

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Happy Halloween! Devil’s food cupcakes are a fitting choice for these Halloween treats with a spider web design. For a fun, festive touch, the vanilla glaze used to make the spider webs can be tinted light orange with food coloring. For an even spookier touch, garnish the cupcakes or the serving platter with a gummy spider, or make your own spiders out of licorice candies. Cut thirty-six 1-inch (2.5-cm) lengths of black licorice laces, then halve each piece lengthwise. Using a wooden skewer, poke 3 holes on each side of 12 licorice drops, then insert a licorice lace piece into each hole.

 

Creepy Crawler Halloween Cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

1 cup (5 oz./155 g) all-purpose flour

1/4 cup (3/4 oz./20 g) unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g) granulated sugar

1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz./105 g) firmly packed light brown sugar

4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) (2 oz./60 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 egg, at room temperature

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) lukewarm water

1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) buttermilk

For the chocolate glaze:

1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) heavy cream

1 Tbs. light corn syrup

Pinch of salt

8 oz. (250 g) milk chocolate, chopped

For the vanilla glaze:

1 cup (4 oz./125 g) confectioners’ sugar, plus more as needed

2 Tbs. milk, plus more as needed

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F (180°C). Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper or foil liners.

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl. In another bowl, with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the granulated sugar, brown sugar and butter together until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the water and buttermilk, beating on low speed until just combined; scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat on medium-high speed just until no traces of flour remain, about 30 seconds; do not overbeat.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling each about three-fourths full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Transfer the cupcakes to the wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour.

To make the chocolate glaze, in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the cream, corn syrup, and salt and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and add the chocolate; let stand for 3 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Transfer the chocolate glaze to a small bowl and let cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes.

To make the vanilla glaze, in a bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, the 2 Tbs. milk and the
vanilla until smooth; the glaze should be spreadable. If it seems too thick, whisk in additional milk a few drops at a time; if it seems too thin, whisk in additional confectioners’ sugar 1 tsp. at a time. Use
immediately. Place the glaze in a parchment paper cone or small pastry bag fitted with a fine writing tip.

Spoon the chocolate glaze over the cupcakes. Using the vanilla glaze, create spider web designs: Pipe
concentric circles onto the top of a cupcake. Lightly draw the tip of a wooden skewer, toothpick or paring knife from the center of the cupcake outward to the edge, occasionally alternating the direction, if you wish. For the cleanest look, wipe the tip of the skewer after each draw.

The glazed cupcakes can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days; bring to room
temperature before serving. Makes 12 cupcakes.

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Best of the Web: Chocolate Treats

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What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than with rich, dark, decadent chocolate? For creative ways to savor the holiday’s signature flavor, we turned to some of our favorite bloggers, where we found mouthwatering inspiration for truffles, cakes, cookies, brownies and more. Here are a handful that made us swoon.

 

Chocolate Hazelnut Linzer HeartsChocolate Hazelnut Linzer Hearts by Smitten Kitchen
These nutty cookie sandwiches are cut into hearts and spread with Nutella — perfect for a Valentine’s Day party.
Dark Chocolate Whipped CreamDark Chocolate Whipped Cream by Food52
No matter what you’re baking for Valentine’s Day, a dollop of this will take it over the top.
Dried Cherry and Cacao Nib BrowniesDried Cherry and Cacao Nib Brownies by Brooklyn Supper
These brownies are filled with festive (and colorful!) surprises: tart dried cherries and crunchy cocoa nibs.
Nibby Chocolate Rye MuffinsNibby Chocolate Rye Muffins by A Sweet Spoonful
These chocolatey muffins rely on whole-grain rye flour for an extra dose of hearty flavor.
Chocolate Shortbread Heart CookiesChocolate Shortbread Heart Cookies by Two Peas & Their Pod
A smattering of red, pink and white sprinkles gives these crispy shortbread cookies a touch of charm.
Chocolate Chocolate DonutChocolate Chocolate Donut by Table for Two
Surprise your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day with a breakfast of one of these cakey, creamy doughnuts, and you’ll earn big brownie points.
Red Velvet Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes with Chocolate Ganache Center.Red Velvet Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes with Chocolate Ganache Center by Half Baked Harvest
Filled with gooey chocolate ganache, these crimson cakes would make a gorgeous finale to a special dinner.
Chocolate Covered Strawberry CupcakesChocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes by Heather Christo
Moist chocolate cupcakes, a layer of strawberry-cream cheese frosting, and a fresh chocolate-dipped strawberry — these cupcakes were meant for a V-day celebration.
Dark Chocolate BrowniesDark Chocolate Brownies by The Pioneer Woman
No need to mess with a classic — these rich and decadent brownies will delight any chocoholic.
Flourless Chocolate Almond CakesFlourless Chocolate Almond Cakes by A Couple Cooks
These gluten-free treats are filled with ground almonds instead of flour, and they get an extra kick from a pinch of cinnamon and cayenne.
Raspberry Cheesecake Brownie BitesRaspberry Cheesecake Brownie Bites by Just a Taste
A swirl of raspberry-laced cream cheese gives brownie bites a pop of color. These would make great gifts!
Raw Chamomile + Lavender + Bee Pollen Chocolate TrufflesRaw Chamomile + Lavender + Bee Pollen Chocolate Truffles by Local Milk
The mild, natural flavors of chamomile, lavender and bee pollen are unexpected pairings for rich chocolate truffles. (P.S.: T