Chocolate Lava Cakes

dessert-chocolate-lava-cakes-iBusiness Class with Turkish Airlines is kinda sweet. And on our return flight from Istanbul back to the Great USofA this past weekend, one of the sweets served was a warm chocolate cake. I knew better than to be tempted by that offer…but i will share this authentic offering! Back in the winter of 2007, the don and I took a wee respite at the Ritz Carlton in Cancun. Whoa…that’s been a decade! They had just reopened after the devastation of Hurricane Wilma, and they were thrilled to have guests back in the hotel. As part of the major renovation, the Ritz added an all Viking Culinary Center. What a beautiful atmosphere in which to cook; added bonus, it overlooks the Caribbean Sea. That’s right. One of the courses I took with Chef Rory that week included this show stopper.  I was a bit afraid initially of my results, but it was perfection on a plate; and it has turned out perfectly in my home kitchen time and time again! Sharing the Love!

8 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped or broken into pieces
2 1/2 sticks butter
5 egg yolks
5 whole eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
6 Tbs all-purpose flour, sifted

Preheat oven to 425°.
In a small sauce pan, melt the chocolate and butter together over very low heat.
*Do not allow chocolate to get too hot.
Remove from heat and keep warm.
In a large bowl whisk together the egg yolks, whole eggs, and sugar.
Pour warm chocolate into egg mixture.
While stirring chocolate mixture add sifted flour slowly to avoid lumps.
Spray 6 soufflé cups with cooking spray.
Pour mixture into cups and place on a sheet pan and bake for 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to rest 3 minutes.

To serve:
Go around edges of soufflé cup with a knife to loosen the cake.
Invert on to a plate.
Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream on side of cake.

Makes 6 mid-size ramekins, or 8 small ramekins.

dessert-chocolate-lava-cakes-iii

Cinnamon Sugar Crisps (Mexican Toast)

A little sweetness for your morning or evening. Here’s the perfect little “pick me up” after a long day of errands that is inherent this time of year. And the bonus…your smallest children and grandchildren can participate in the creating. Spread the joy. Share the love.

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1/2 stick butter
6  7 inch tortillas
2 Tbs sugar
1/4 t cinnamon
Pinch of salt

Place oven rack in center position of oven.
Preheat oven to 500°.
Melt butter in shallow baking pan in oven, about 2 minutes.
Spread tortillas in baking pan, overlapping slightly and turning each to coat both sides with butter.
Stir together sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
Sprinkle evenly over tortillas.
Bake until golden and puffed in spots, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Watch carefully!dessert-mexican-cinnamon-toast-iv

Slice into wedges and watch them disappear.

Raspberry Brut Rosé Ice Cream Float

Well, bless Pat…whoever that is! That’s what my grandmother Smith used to say back in the day to express shock and awe. So, I give you a “back in the day” treat. Warning, this is an adults only float! Tomorrow is hump-day, so add this to your evening and celebrate making it through the first half of the work week. Just keeping it fresh for you.Dessert Raspberry Rose Ice Cream Float

Here’s the what and how to:

1/2 cup raspberries, plus more for garnish
2 Tbs sugar
4 large scoops vanilla ice cream, softened a few minutes
1/4 cup raspberry liqueur
Rosé brut champagne

In blender, purée raspberries and sugar.
Pour in glass.
Rinse blender.
Add ice cream to blender.
Purée until smooth.
Place ice cream in 2 short glasses.
Pour liqueur over ice cream.
Pour raspberry purée over ice cream.
Top with champagne.
Garnish with a few fresh raspberries.
Serve with a straw.

Makes 2 floats.

Strawberry Crumble

A word from the kitchen…As guaranteed…here tis the berry best thing you’ll pop in your mouth this weekend. Get your self out to a strawberry field, or just to your local grocery. It is prime berry season and here’s the scoop on a singularly delicious little dessert.

Berries...sliced sugared, and juiced.

Berries…Sliced, Sugared, and Juiced.

6 cups fresh strawberries, rinsed, dried, hulled, and quartered
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
2 t lemon juice
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 t kosher salt
1 cup quick cooking (not instant) oatmeal
1 1/2 sticks cold cutter, diced
Vanilla ice cream, for serving

Crumble Mixture...Crumbled, Mixed, and Ready to Top the Berries.

Crumble Mixture…Crumbled, Mixed, and Ready to Top the Berries.

Preheat oven to 350°.
Place berries in baking dish.
Sprinkle with 3/4 cup sugar and the lemon.
Toss to combine.

In bowl of electric mixer (fitted with paddle attachment) combine flour, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, brown sugar, salt, and oatmeal.
Add diced butter to mixing bowl.
Mix on low speed until mixture is in crumbles.
Sprinkle topping over berries, covering berries completely.
Bake uncovered 1 hour, until topping is golden brown, and fruit is bubbling.

Out of the Oven, Waiting to be Consumed.

Out of the Oven, Waiting to be Consumed.

Topped with Ice Cream, Yummy!

Topped with Ice Cream, Yummy!

Stove Top Cinnamon Apples

Fruit Stove Top ApplesSimple old fashioned goodness here! The fresh fall apples are abundant and we need a little fruit with our turkey, right?! This recipe is ages old, but some things are just worth passing down. I added fresh Beelicious honey, nod to Judy and Matt, and loved the difference it made. Top it with vanilla bean ice cream and call it dessert. Gobble Gobble good people of the world wide web!

8 apples, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup honey
1 t cinnamon
1 t vanilla extract

Place apple chunks in soup pot.
Separately heat sugars, butter, honey, and cinnamon over medium heat 4 minutes until everything is dissolved.
Remove from heat and add vanilla extract.
Pour over apples.
Simmer on medium low 30 minutes, until apples are tender.

Granita di Caffè

Desserts Granita di Cafe IIt’s hot out there folks. Here’s a little something to bring on the chill. If this may cause you to dance on the walls, feel free to use decaf! Perhaps they serve a frozen treat at Fenway; just saying ’cause that’s where I’ll be Sunday afternoon. My first ever Red Sox game. Can I hear a WHOOP!!

Here’s what you’ll need:
4 cups freshly brewed coffee
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup Frangelico (optional)
8 oz container of fat free Cool Whip
Dash of vanilla extract
Chocolate shavings, if desired for topping

Desserts Granita di Cafe IIBrew 4 cups of coffee.
Add sugar to coffee while hot.
Stir to dissolve, and let cool to room temperature.
Pour cooled coffee into a freezer proof glass pan and place in freezer.
When edges begin to freeze, after about 30 minutes, stir with a fork and replace in freezer.
Stir again about every half hour until large crystals begin to form.
Then stir more frequently, about every 15 minutes.
The total freezing time is from 2 to 6 hours.

Finished granita should resemble shaved ice, with no liquid visible on the bottom.
*Finished granita to this point can be frozen overnight if desired.
If so, take out of freezer 2 hours prior to serving.

Place Cool Whip in a small bowl.
Gently stir in dash of vanilla.

In parfait glass or coffee mug, layer granita then cool whip and serve immediately.

Serves 8.

Baked Pears with Blue Cheese

©PEGhardee

©PEGhardee

Call it dessert, call it first course, call it whatever, just make it! I never really liked pears growing up. Mother tried her darn best to push them on me and I refused, often tossing them out of the breakfast room window. Well, that was actually Will who did that for both of us. His chair was conveniently in front of the screenless window. Often exasperated, Mom and Dad would retire from the table to enjoy a cocktail and we were left to “clean our plates!” That’s when Will tossed LOTS of food out of that window. Just ask him! He’ll laugh and proudly admit it! Well…I have matured in to this; I know mature is a questionable word for me! But this is DELICIOUSNESS!

2 ripe but firm pears
3 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1 cup apple cider
1/2 cup Port wine
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 generous handfuls baby arugula

For dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup basting liquid

Preheat oven to 400°.
Peel pears and slice lengthwise into halves.
Remove core and seeds, leaving small well in center of each half.
Toss pears with lemon juice to prevent browning.
Arrange center side up in baking dish.
Combine blue cheese, cranberries, and walnuts in small bowl.
Toss to combine.
Divide mixture among pear halves, mounding in center.
In same bowl, combine cider, port, and sugar.
Pour mixture over and around pears.
Bake pears 30 minutes, basting occasionally with juices.
Remove from oven and set aside a few minutes.

Combine dressing ingredients.
Toss in arugula.

Spread arugula among 4 plates.
Top with pear.
Serve with a smile!

Thank you, Ina Garten!