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6 tablespoons Kahlua or other coffee liqueur, divided
6 generous scoops chocolate ice cream
3 (12-ounce) or 2 (1-pint) bottles stout, chilled
Unsweetened whipped cream, optional
Pour 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup and 1 tablespoon coffee liqueur into each of 6 tall 10- to 12-ounce glasses. Add a scoop of ice cream to each.
Add 5 to 6 ounces of stout to each glass, tilting the glass and pouring gently down the side to prevent too much head from forming. Garnish with whipped cream, if desired, and drizzle each serving with 1 teaspoon chocolate syrup. Yield: 6 servings
Source: Adapted from “Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts,” by Alice Medrich (Artisan, 2012)
Per serving: 370 calories, 8 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 20 g cholesterol, 5 g protein, 52 g carbohydrate, 37 g sugar, 1.5 g fiber, 60 mg sodium, 85 mg calcium.
3/4 cup crumbled Roquefort or other good blue cheese
1/2 cup mascarpone or cream cheese, softened
Juice of 1 lemon
4 large pears
1 cup pecans or walnuts, finely chopped
4 leaves fresh mint, for garnish
Using the back of a spoon or fork, mix blue cheese and cream cheese together in a small bowl until smooth.
Combine lemon juice with 1/2 cup water in a small bowl.
Peel pears if desired, leaving the stems attached, and trim a 1/4-inch slice off the bottom of the pears so that they will stand upright. Cut each pear lengthwise in half, remove the core and scoop out a cavity inside each pear half. Dip both sides of each half into the lemon water immediately after preparing to prevent discoloring.
Divide the cheese into eight portions. Place the nuts on a piece of waxed paper. Fill the cavities of the pears with the cheese mixture, then press the two halves of each pear together so that they are whole again.
Smooth or remove any cheese that shows between the two halves. Roll the pears in the nuts. Stand pears upright on a plate or tray. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
Just before serving, sprinkle pears with nuts and garnish each pear by inserting a mint leaf near the stem. Serve pears upright on dessert plates, providing forks and knives. Yield: 4 servings.
Source: Adapted from “The Cheese Lover’s Cookbook,” by Paula Lambert (Simon & Schuster, 2000)
Per serving: 515 calories, 41 g fat (14 g saturated fat), 55 g cholesterol, 11 g protein, 32 g carbohydrate, 18 g sugar, 8 g fiber, 370 mg sodium, 210 mg calcium.
Process cookies in a food processor or blender until ground; add butter and process until blended.
Reserve 1/2 cup of the cookie mixture. Firmly press the remaining mixture into an ungreased 13-by-9 inch pan. Chill for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, soften ice cream at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes.
Spoon ice cream over chilled crust. Cover and freeze for 1 hour.
Stir together whipped topping, powdered sugar and vanilla; spread over ice cream. Sprinkle with the reserved 1/2 cup crumbs. Cover and freeze at least 8 hours. Yield: 8 servings
Source: Adapted from “Classic Southern Desserts,” by the editors of Southern Living (Oxmoor House, 2010)
Per serving: 680 calories, 42 g fat (25 g saturated fat), 69 g cholesterol, 5 g protein, 70 g carbohydrate, 55 g sugar, 1 g fiber, 310 mg sodium, 160 mg calcium.
Chocolate Mousse Fix
2 cups fat-free ricotta cheese
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon milk, plus more if needed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, creme de cacao, Kahlua or Grand Marnier
Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process for several minutes or until smooth. Add another tablespoon of milk if the mousse is too thick.
Divide evenly among four small dishes or pour into a single serving bowl. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate until needed. Yield: 4 servings
Source: Adapted from “Chocolate on the Brain,” by Kevin Mills and Nancy Mills (Houghton Mifflin, 2000)
Per serving: 290 calories, 2 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 10 g cholesterol, 19 g protein, 53 g carbohydrate, 42 g sugar, 5 g fiber, 165 mg sodium, 425 mg calcium.
Spiced Sesame Oranges
2 large navel oranges
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
1 teaspoon white sesame seeds
1/2 cup soft goat cheese, crumbled, or 1/2 cup plain yogurt
Using a sharp knife, slice off the orange skins, removing all the white pith and catching any juices on a plate or in a bowl. Slice each orange crosswise into 5 or 6 slices and place in a shallow bowl.
In a small bowl, stir together honey, vanilla, cinnamon, sesame seeds and collected juice; mix until combined. Drizzle over the orange slices and chill for up to 45 minutes.
Divide the slices among 4 plates. Top each with 2 tablespoons goat cheese, drizzling the sauce on top. Yield: 4 servings
Source: Adapted from “The Sweet Life,” by Sam Talbot (Rodale, 2011)
Per serving: 197 calories, 13 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 41 mg cholesterol, 2 g protein, 20 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 14 mg sodium.
By Joe Bonwich
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Fire up the oven? Seriously? Searing temperatures make summer the high season for no-bake desserts.
We’ve compiled five easy recipes that don’t require you to turn on the stove, let alone the oven. In addition to the recipes, here are some simple ideas for improvising your own quick, easy and pleasing no-bake desserts:
Terrific trifles: Pick up seasonal fruit along with a large container of plain or vanilla yogurt. Peel the fruit if necessary, cut into bite-size pieces and puree some of it in a blender. Stir the pureed fruit into the yogurt. Taste; if it’s too tart, add a bit of honey, maple syrup or another sweetener. Alternate the rest of the fruit with the flavored yogurt in a glass bowl or individual glasses.
Or for a more sophisticated trifle, grab some gingerbread or another hearty sweet bread from a bakery. Cut it into cubes, drizzle it with rum, liqueur or fruit syrup, and layer it with whipped cream and store-bought lemon curd.
Cheese and honey: Put a scoop of ricotta or another soft, mild cheese on a plate, drizzle with honey and garnish with nuts and pieces of fresh or dried fruit.
Custom ice-cream sandwiches: Start with a favorite ice cream — perhaps chocolate chip. Pick complementary large cookies from the baked-goods — maybe chocolate chip — along with small, crispy ones like chocolate wafers. Let the ice cream soften a little, then crush a few of the wafers and stir them in. Now assemble the sandwiches with the large cookies and stick them in the freezer in sandwich bags for about an hour or until they firm up.
What you want on Christmas morning: a house that effortlessly fills itself with joyous sounds and delicious aromas. What you usually get on Christmas morning: towers of wrapping paper and a kitchen that demands way too much of your attention.
Cheesecake by definition is rich and decadent. So we knew that if we were going to make a special cheesecake for Christmas, it would need to be even more so.
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