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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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Best of the Web: Halloween Treats

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No matter how you’re celebrating Halloween this year, you’ll need a bite of something sweet — and scary! Here are some of the cutest, spookiest and party-worthy treats we’ve seen around the web. Trick or treat!

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Spider CookiesChocolate Peanut Butter Spider Cookies by A Spicy Perspective
These creepy crawly cookies combine chewy peanut butter cookies and chocolate truffles into one delectable bite.
Halloween BarkHalloween Bark by Sweet C’s Designs
It only takes five minutes to make this sweet-salty mix of chocolate, pretzels and colorful candy corn. It’s perfect for party snacks!
Frankenstein Rice Krispie TreatsFrankenstein Rice Krispie Treats by Clean & Scentsible
Here’s a creative treat kids will love: green-tinted Rice Krispie treats decorated to look like everyone’s favorite monster.
Brownie Brittle Peanut Butter Cookie Ghost CupsBrownie Brittle Peanut Butter Cookie Ghost Cups by Food Faith Fitness
These little cookie cups are filled with cream cheese frosting piped into a spooky ghost shape, then topped off with chocolate chip faces.
Devil's Food Cake with Pumpkin Butterscotch FrostingDevil’s Food Cake with Pumpkin Butterscotch Frosting by Sugar Hero
Halloween treats can be glamorous, too! This rich chocolate cake has layers of pumpkin-butterscotch frosting for a contrast of black and orange hues, plus plenty of sparkly decorations.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Truffle MummiesPumpkin Cheesecake Truffle Mummies by Creme de la Crumb
These no-bake truffles are super simple to make. Just mix and chill the filling, then dip in melted white chocolate and drizzle on a festive final layer for the mummy effect.
Bittersweet Chocolate Skeleton CookiesBittersweet Chocolate Skeleton Cookies by Mom Foodie
Put those holiday cookie cutters to good use in October! When used to bake chocolate cookies and piped with a skeleton design, they make adorable Halloween treats.
Vampire FloatsVampire Floats by Shaken Together
A classic ice cream float gets a creepy makeover in this crimson concoction. Don’t forget glow-in-the-dark vampire teeth for garnish!
Graveyard CupcakesGraveyard Cupcakes by Cupcake Diaries
Cookies in the shape of graveyard headstones add the finishing touch to these cupcakes, sprinkled with a layer of cookie “dirt.”
Candy Corn Chocolate Chip Cookie CakeCandy Corn Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake by Life, Love & Sugar
Everyone loves a moist, chewy chocolate cookie — and this one’s a giant! It’s filled with chocolate chunks and candy corn and made fo