Okay. So, I can be a tad stubborn in my dessert likes and dislikes. The BF can attest.
[Ed. note: Want to answer this honestly, but I've been falling asleep before her and value my own life.]
My existence has revolved around the dictum: if it is not chocolate, it is not dessert. Would think to myself, "What's the point?" It was never a problem to pass up fruit pies, tarts, parfaits, jams, jellies, or other such confections.
Then several years ago this tart changed my mind. Discovered it from Donna Hay's Seasons and it became a real show stopper for clients. Tart, tangy, colorful, not too sweet, and light. It's also one of the easiest desserts I have ever made.
It's not chocolate, but it works as a terrific distinctive summer dessert to end the meal with.
Adapted from: Donna Hay, Seasons
Number of servings: 4-6
Tart and Topping
Tart and Topping
On this Valentine's Day, are you aiming for someone's heart through their stomach? Don't let the ingredients and directions of this recipe scare you, this is actually way less daunting than it appears. [Ed. Note: But you don't have to disclose that information if you're truly looking to impress.]
The key to the torte's simplicity is that it's made from just three ingredients: chocolate, butter, and eggs—and it only bakes for 15 minutes. I made this for the BF, myself and a few friends in a 6-inch springform pan, but am giving the recipe as originally presented (in an 8-inch springform pan) from the brilliant Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Cake Bible. I happen to love flourless tortes and have made so many different kinds, and this is certainly one of my favorites. Not to mention gluten free!
Beranbaum says this is her favorite way to eat chocolate, "It's the purest form of chocolate—when you just have a chocolate bar, you can't taste the chocolate until it starts melting in your mouth. But this is just the right texture so that the minute you put it in your mouth, the flavors start exploding. It's like the creamiest truffle wedded to the purest chocolate mousse. It's the right consistency and there's nothing to interfere. There's no flour. Egg gives it texture, but it also enriches it further—it gives it a fuller flavor. And then of course butter doesn't do any harm either!"
It's creamy. moussey, and sinfully decadent. And seriously, who cares about clichés, nothing's beating chocolate on Valentine's Day.
NOTES: It's very important to have the eggs and butter at room temperature. Since there are only three ingredients, use the best chocolate and butter that you can (Scharffen Berger chocolate and Plugra European butter were used here). Finally, be sure to serve the torte at room temperature, not chilled. Read through the entire recipe before starting; while it is deceptively easy to make, there are lots of side notes that are important to its success.
Adapted from: Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Cake Bible and Food 52
Number of servings: makes one 8-inch torte, serves approx 16 (depending on slice size)
Patience is not my virtue. [Ed. note: I want to comment, but appreciate my life.] Rolling out cookie dough and cutting out cookies with cookie cutters? No patience for it. Hell-o slice-and-bake simplicity!
These cookies are tender, lightly sweetened with honey, and swirled with cinnamon and spice–a perfect holiday cookie that travels and keeps well, perfect for gracing your Hanukkah dessert table, a cookie exchange, or to leave as a nice treat for Santa and his helpers. I have been known to have them for breakfast with coffee, or late afternoon pick-me-up with tea.
Winter is coming: let the holiday cookie season begin!
NOTE: Although the glaze is delicious, I opted not to use it as I prefer it much better plain (plenty sweet for this household), and if you are going to ship it as a gift it's probably more practical to go glazeless. That said, if you're serving at a party or leaving for Santa, by all means glaze it up.
Adapted from: Marbled, Swirled, and Layered, by Irvin Lin
Number of servings: 48 cookies
Cinnamon Filling and Baking
Make sure the butter for cinnamon filling is truly at room temperature or even slightly warmer than that. It makes spreading the filling easier.
You can make and freeze this cookie dough for future baking. Once frozen for an hour, place the log in a labeled zip-top plastic bag. Slice and bake cookies at your convenience. Frozen dough should keep for up to 2 months.
I'm Jacquie, personal chef & recipe developer in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Lover of books, bourbon, chocolate and movies.