Tag Archives: dessert recipe

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A Dreamy Frozen Dessert—No Ice Cream Maker Required!

An ice cream maker is a fun gadget, though most people find the novelty wears off after the first year or so. We still love ours, but have to admit it does not make the trip upstairs from the storage shelf in the basement very often.

Besides, you don’t need an ice cream maker to enjoy homemade frozen desserts. To make an icy granita, all you need is a freezer—this Italian treat is nothing more than a sweet flavored base that’s stirred around with a fork every 30 minutes or so during the freezing process to break ice crystals into smaller pieces (think snow cone).

For something a little more refined, try this fantastic frozen hot chocolate. It couldn’t be simpler, and it starts out exactly as it sounds: make hot cocoa, let it cool, freeze it. To serve, puree chunks of it in a blender or food processor. What you wind up with is the most mind-blowing upgrade to soft serve imaginable. And you won’t even have to pull your ice cream maker out of the basement!

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Entertaining? These frozen hot chocolates are a deliciously refreshing summer treat.

Frozen Hot Chocolate
Adapted from Alice Medrich’s Chocolate and the Art of Low-fat Desserts
Serves 6 to 7

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 2/3 to ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2-3/4 cups milk (we prefer whole, but 1% or 2% will work), divided
  1. Combine the cocoa and 2/3 cup sugar in a small saucepan. Whisk in enough milk to form a smooth paste. Whisk in all but 2 tablespoons of the remaining milk and cook over low heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is steaming. Taste, adding a little more sugar if necessary.
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Freeze your hot chocolate mixture until it’s solid.

  1. Cool (preferably in an ice bath), then pour the cocoa mixture into a shallow metal pan or ice cube tray and freeze until solid, preferably overnight.
  1. Break the frozen mixture into chunks and place in a sturdy blender or a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons milk and process until no lumps remain. Serve immediately in small glasses.
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Scrumptious!

Any leftovers not eaten after pureeing can be refrozen and then scooped—they’ll be more solid, like a cross between sorbet and gelato. You can also pour leftovers into molds to make amazing fudge pops. Enjoy!

by Sara Bir

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baked chocolate scones

Surprise Mom (or Yourself) With Delicious Scones for Mother’s Day

We’re accustomed to gobbling fist-sized scones out of small brown paper sleeves at coffee shops, and it’s a fun way to start the day on the go. But few items in the baking sphere are as easy to master—and as rewarding to enjoy at home—than scones.

Our scone recipe is a chameleon—we’re giving you options for making it sweet and studded with chocolate, or savory with chives and aged white cheddar. You can even get crafty and flavor each half of the dough separately, so you can have a savory scone to kick things off and nibble a sweet one for seconds.

scones for mom

Scones are a sweet treat for Mother’s Day or anytime!

We prefer not to add sugar to our scones, because that way there’s leeway for piling on a big dollop of fruity jam or a golden-yellow smear of lemon curd. With savory scones, a poached or fried egg on the side is a nice touch—a boon you can’t enjoy with coffee shop scones.

Homemade scones are perfect for special weekend mornings, because it’s easy to prep them in advance, and they’re certainly not taxing to make on the fly. Instead of dragging mom to a crowded, mediocre brunch buffet this Mother’s Day, why not bake her some delectable scones and share relaxed time together at home? If you’re the mom, you’ll be treating yourself to a job well done. 

baked cheddar chive scones

These versatile scones are simply delicious!

Flaky Scones Two Ways
Adapted from Nancy Silverton
Makes 12 Scones

Some scone recipes call for lots of butter and no eggs; some call for eggs; some call for just cream and neither eggs nor butter; some call for all three. Though the results in texture and flavor will differ, the main key to scone success is not over-handling the dough. Scone dough that’s mixed just enough will bake up high and pillowy.

You can make and shape the scone dough the night before and refrigerate it, covered, to bake in the morning. You may also cover and freeze prepared, unbaked scone dough wedges for up to three months. Simply put them straight onto the baking sheet in their frozen state and extend the baking time about five minutes or so.

grating butter for scones

Be sure you prep your butter by grating it or cutting it into small pieces!

For the basic dough:

  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • ¼ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (optional)
  • 11 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, grated on the large holes of a box grater or cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1-2 tablespoons heavy cream, for brushing

For the chocolate-lemon scones:

  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips or chocolate chunks
  • 1 teaspoon coarse or granulated sugar, for sprinkling

For the cheddar-chive scones:

  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese, plus about 2 tablespoons for sprinkling
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced chives or the green tops of scallions

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

looks like coarse meal

Your dough will start out looking like cornmeal.

2.  Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and lemon peel (if using) in a large bowl. Add the butter and, using your fingertips or a pastry cutter, work until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal (you may also do this step in a food processor, pulsing to combine, and then transferring to a large bowl to finish by hand).

finished dough will be rough but not dry

Once you’ve prepped the dough, it should have a rough texture but not be dry.

3. Make a well in the center and pour in 3/4 cup of the milk. Using a fork or your hand, stir until just moist but still rough and shaggy. Gently knead in the add-ins; if the dough seems dry, add 1-2 more tablespoons milk. Divide the dough in half and pat each portion into a 3/4-inch-thick round. Cut each round into 6 wedges and transfer them to the prepared baking sheet, spacing 1 inch apart. Brush the tops with remaining 2 tablespoons cream. For the chocolate scones, sprinkle the tops with sugar; for the cheddar scones, sprinkle with a little bit of the reserved grated cheese.

shaped scones with decorating sugar on top

These dough wedges are sprinkled with sugar and ready for baking!

4.  Bake until light brown, about 18-20 minutes. The scones are best enjoyed within a few hours of baking. To refresh day-old scones, warm them in a 350 degree F oven for a few minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

by Sara Bir

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Marsala: Discover the Wine Behind the Color

When Pantone announced that the plummy-brown shade of Marsala would be their 2015 Color of the Year, everyone pounced. It’s made its mark on runways and the red carpet, from Beyoncé to Tilda Swinton, and we here at Heirloom Finds fell under its spell, too.

Marsala is way more than just a color. This robust and storied Sicilian wine has a history centuries old, and is making a comeback in restaurants and forward-thinking wine shops across America and beyond. Bloomberg Business reported early this year that “higher-grade vintages are displacing cooking-quality wine in stores and on shelves. Cocktail maestros such as Death & Co’s David Kaplan are experimenting with it as a new ingredient to add to their menus, and it’s slowly surfacing on high-end wine lists.”

Such fortified, often sweet sipping wines have fallen out of favor in recent decades, and they’ve never truly taken hold in America (they’re all but an institution in the U.K.), but they’re slowly making a comeback, and for good reason. They’re a wonderful final act for a multi-course dinner, either at home or at a restaurant. A small, chilled glass of the dryer styles also makes a wonderful aperitif and awakens the palate when served with nibbles like nuts or hard cheeses.

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This fabulous wine inspired 2015′s color of the year!

Marsalas are classified according to their color and sweetness; unlike its Pantone namesake, marsala the wine varies in palate from gold to amber to ruby. Just stay away from the stuff sold with the cooking wines at the grocery store. And even if you don’t have access to a wide selection of marsalas, you can get a fairly decent bottle for all of seven to ten dollars.

Since marsala is a fortified wine, it keeps fairly well at room temperature once it’s opened. You can store it in your liquor cabinet (or, as I do, refrigerator, just so I remember it’s there) for three to four months with only a little flavor deterioration. That’s quite a few aperitifs and batches of zabaglione and chicken marsala.

But there are other ways to polish off a bottle. This splendid pound cake, made with olive oil and an entire cup of marsala, offers a complexity of flavor that easily trumps its buttery cousin, and only gets better as it ages a day or two.

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Celebrate Marsala by baking an especially delicious pound cake.

Olive Oil and Marsala Pound Cake
Adapted from Alice Medrich’s Pure Dessert

Makes one standard tube pan or Bundt, or two 8 x 4-inch loaves.

I used marsala instead of medium-sweet sherry in baking doyenne Alice Medrich’s ingenious recipe (rush out and buy any one of her many excellent cookbooks – you can’t go wrong). Don’t balk at the olive oil, which adds a fruity element to this dense, fine-grained pound cake. You’ll need an electric mixer to make it. It freezes well, and keeps at room temperature for about four days. I like it with a dab of creme fraiche and a little fresh fruit.

Ingredients:
3 cups (13.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon table salt
1-¾ cups granulated sugar
1 cup fruity, good-quality extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
5 large eggs, cold
1 cup marsala (we used Taylor, which is medium-sweet)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and position a rack in the center. Grease and flour one tube or Bundt pan, or two 8 x 4-inch loaf (4 cup) pans.

2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the sugar, olive oil, and orange zest until blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula and continue to beat at high speed for 3-5 minutes, until the mixture is thick and pale. Stop the mixer and add a third of the flour mixture; mix on low speed until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl, add half of the marsala, and mix just until blended. Repeat with another third of the flour, followed by the remaining marsala, and then the remaining flour, stopping to scrape the bowl down each time.

4. Scrape the batter into the pan(s). Bake until a wooden skewer or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Set the cake(s) in their pans on wire racks to cool for 15 minutes, then unmold and set upright to cool completely. Well wrapped, the cake will keep for four days, or frozen for up to three months.

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Delicious pound cake and tasty wine: what more could you ask for?

Enjoy!

by Sara Bir

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