Here’s the story behind these adorable little morsels! I had dinner with my friends from PAWS (Pet Animal Welfare Society) last night. The conversation always turns to animals, and we all share our stories in one way or another. At dessert time, my friend Alexis presented a tray of adorable edible mice. They were actually quite simple in design: a chocolate-covered cherry (with stem) for the body and tail, a Hershey’s Hugs Kiss for the face, sliced almonds for the ears, and icing for the eyes and nose. Serve them over a triangle of cheese… genius! Or should I say “Micey” Nice!
When planning a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner for two, dessert is a must! An indulgent combination of mascarpone cheese, coffee liqueur, cocoa and ladyfingers, Tiramisu is perfect for special occasions. For an elegant presentation, I serve the Tiramisu in wine goblets. Ladyfingers (spongecake cookies) may be hard to find in grocery stores, so I substitute Walkers Shortbread Cookies. They have a uniquely rich texture and a melt-in-your-mouth buttery flavor, plus they do not get as mushy as ladyfingers in a Tiramisu recipe. Look for Walkers’ signature red plaid packaging in the cookie aisle.
Tiramisu for Two
Makes 2 servings
2 tablespoons coffee flavored liqueur
1 tablespoon brewed coffee
8 shortbread cookies, such as Walkers Pure Butter Vanilla Shortbread
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
1 container (8 oz.) mascarpone cheese
1 square (1 oz) semi sweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- In small bowl stir together coffee liqueur and coffee. Brush both sides of 6 of the shortbread cookies with coffee mixture. Cut each cookie in half.
- In medium bowl beat heavy cream and 2 tablespoons sugar until stiff peaks form.
- In separate medium bowl, beat mascarpone cheese and 1/4-cup sugar. Fold in whipped cream.
- In each of two wine goblets, place 3 cookie halves. Spoon 1/4 of cheese mixture over cookies. Repeat layers. Refrigerate at least 2 hours so that cookies soften slightly.
- Meanwhile, in small bowl, microwave chocolate on High 40 seconds, then stir until melted. Using a small spoon, drizzle the melted chocolate over remaining 2 cookies.
- Just before serving, use a fine sieve to lightly sprinkle each dessert with cocoa. Garnish each dessert with a chocolate-drizzled cookie.
Gimme a F-E-S-T! Football Fest. Beer Fest. Fan Fest. Media Fest. And last but not least, MAJOR Calorie Fest! Yep, it’s Super Bowl time. For me, the Super Bowl is all about two things: the Doritos commercials and, of course, the snacks. However, I am so over the predictable calorie-heavy buffalo wings and the cheese-laden nachos. Yet, a vegetable platter just doesn’t seem like football fare. Hmmm, there must be some middle ground! This afternoon, I remembered that ALC shot a yummy recipe recently for the Popcorn Board that fits the occasion perfectly.
Touchdown Popcorn Peanut Treat
makes about 4 quarts
4 quarts popped popcorn
1 cup unsalted cocktail peanuts
1 cup seedless raisins
1 cup honey
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 300F.
- In a large buttered bowl, combine popcorn, peanuts and raisins.
- In small saucepan stir together honey, water and lemon juice; bring to a boil. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture reaches 250 degrees Fahrenheit, or hard ball stage on a candy thermometer.
- Pour over popcorn; quickly toss to mix thoroughly.
- Turn onto a buttered jelly roll or large baking pan.
- Bake for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Use freshly squeezed lemon juice for the best flavor.
- The cold water test is a sure bet when testing for the hard ball stage of a candy mixture. Drop a small amount of the syrup into cold water. It will form a hard ball. If you take the ball out of the water, it won’t flatten. The ball will be hard, but you can still change its shape by squashing it.
- Add dried fruits such as cranberries, cherries, pineapple, blueberries, apricots to mix it up a bit.