A Sweet Indulgence

As of late, one thing I have decided is there are just some things in the kitchen that should not be skimped on and my grocery bills have reflected it. Not that I’ve gone out and bought the most expensive everything and anything, but each trip to the supermarket, or maybe more like every other trip or every third trip, I pull out a list of what I consider “sweet indulgence” ingredients and buy something from the list — especially if I happen upon a sale.

Not everything on the list is expensive. Some items are just ingredients that I would not use very often, making it hard to justify purchasing them. Others are a bit on the pricey side but there are some ingredients you should NEVER buy imitation or knockoff’s of, it’s worth spending the extra money.

The other day while picking up a few items at a specialty fruit market (someplace I don’t usually go unless there is a sale of some sort), Hubby and I found a sale on mascarpone cheese. This cheese is best known for its use in tiramisu, but is a wonderful addition to many other rich desserts. A container that would normally be anywhere from $6.50 to $8.00, was marked $3.50 and the expiration date was not until the end of May. What a find! I picked up two containers knowing I would find a use for them.

Some nights I go all out on dessert for the family and spend half the day working on something special. Other nights they are lucky if they can find packaged cookies buried in the freezer. A day or so after finding the deal on the mascarpone cheese in between putting the finishing touches on dinner and serving it, I whipped up a mascarpone cream and soaked some fresh fruit in sweetened Marsala wine. Talk about a rich, decadent dessert!

Although this particular dessert was not something Grace could enjoy with her sensitivity to dairy, Hubby and Zeb devoured the custard bowls filled with the fruit and cream combo. If you’d like to see how I made it, check out my post on Simply Grateful Cooking for Mascarpone Cream with Sweetened Marsala Berries.

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This dessert could probably be made with a less expensive cheese such as ricotta, but the rich, smooth mascarpone, albeit typically pricey, made this dessert “company worthy,” and for this sweet indulgence I am — Simply Grateful.

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Ice Cream, Cake & Hot Fudge — What More Can You Ask For?

I love ice cream with cake and yet probably the only time I think to scoop an ice-cold spoon of vanilla ice cream onto a slice of cake is at a birthday party. Making an ice cream cake and then topping it off with some steaming hot fudge is like having a birthday celebration on steroids.

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This Hot Fudge Ice Cream Cake isn’t my invention. I first had this dessert at a Big Boy restaurant here in Michigan and enjoyed it for years growing up. Not frequenting restaurants now that I’m older, the memory of this dessert made me long for just one more taste, thus I had to come up with a homemade version.

At first I thought this would be time-consuming and labor-intensive, but because it uses a boxed cake, the recipe is super easy. Perhaps in the future I might use a homemade cake in the recipe, but for now, with time being short most of the time, this recipe worked out perfect for me.

Check out Simply Grateful Cooking, Hot Fudge Ice Cream Cake, for the recipe.

As busy as each day tends to be, it’s nice to have recipes that can still be completed with minimal effort and just a little time, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

Mixes-In-Jars #2 – Fruit Crumble

According to Grace, “Crumble makes everything better!”  So, when I came across a recipe called Fruit “Crumble,” how could I possibly resist.

I made this dessert a few weeks ago using Concord Grape Pie Filling and then again tonight using Plum Pie Filling.  Both were excellent and definitely a quick and easy dessert for a busy day. Putting the main ingredients in a jar and sealing it makes the prep time a mere five minutes.  Who doesn’t have five minutes to make a hot and hearty dessert?

Fruit Crumble

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  • 1 1/2 Cups Quick Cooking Oats
  • 1 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Flour
  • 1/3 Cup Cold Butter, shredded
  • 1 Quart (4 cups) Pie Filling

Dump contents of jar into large bowl.  With a cheese shredder, shred the cold butter into the bowl. The cheese shredder is a great way to turn a cold stick of butter into tiny pieces.  I like this method far more than using a pastry blender to cut the butter into the dry ingredients.

Combine the butter and dry ingredients with fingers.  Press half the mixture into a 8×8 greased pan. Add pie filling and top with remaining crumble.  Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes.

When I went to put the jars of the crumble mix together, I found I only had “old-fashioned” oats to work with, not “quick-cooking.”  This is an easy fix.  I just dumped the canister of old-fashioned oats into my food processor and pulsed it six or seven times.  This broke up more than 50% of the oats and quickly turned them into “quick-cooking” oats.

DSCF7189Note that at the top of the jar there are some mini marshmallows.  I read somewhere that these are supposed to stop the brown sugar from getting hard.  I’ve never tried this before and with the jar being sealed by my Foodsaver it might not be necessary, but I figured it couldn’t hurt.  I’ll just take the marshmallows out before dumping the mix in the bowl.

Crumble is definitely a crowd pleaser around our house, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

Dessert Crepes #2 – Tiramisu Crepes

A favorite dessert at the holidays around our house is Tiramisu.  The only trouble with this dessert is that it tends to be heavy and filling.  Almost too filling after a big meal.  So, making this into a lighter crepe version works out perfectly when having a holiday dinner party.

Tiramisu Crepes

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Crepes:

  • 4 Eggs
  • 3/4 Cup Milk
  • 1/4 Cup Club Soda
  • 3 Tbsp. Melted Butter
  • 4 Tbsp. Strong Coffee
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 3 Tbsp. Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Salt.

Filling:

  • 8 oz. Mascarpone Cheese
  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Kahlua
  • 2 Tbsp. Vanilla
  • Baking Cocoa and Whipped Cream for Garnish

First, make the crepes.  In a blender, combine eggs, milk, soda, butter, coffee and vanilla.  Beat until well combined. Add flour and sugar and mix well.  Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Heat a small skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray.  Pour just enough batter into heated pan to cover bottom.  Cook until top of crepe has a dull finish.  Flip and cook an additional 10 seconds.  Remove from pan. When cool, stack on plate with waxed paper in between.

Next, make filling.  In large mixing bowl beat cheeses until smooth.  Add sugar and beat till fluffy.  Stir in Kahlua and vanilla until well combined.  Chill until ready to use.

To assemble, place crepe on plate, spoon two tablespoons of cream filling down center, roll up.  Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with cocoa.

This crepe is much lighter than the traditional tiramisu making it possible to enjoy maybe more than one after dinner, if you are so inclined, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

Dessert Crepes #1 – Black Forest Cherries Jubilee Crepes

I love to serve dessert crepes to guests. They are super impressive and super easy. Two of my favorite characteristics when making any dessert. Recently I decided to try combining three of my favorite tastes into one crepe: tart cherries, red velvet, and cream cheese. Thus emerged my Black Forest Cherries Jubilee Crepe.

The base for the Black Forest Cherries Jubilee Crepe is a red velvet crepe. On top of this is spread a fluffy cream cheese filling, then topped with cherries jubilee, folded, and garnished with a dab of whipped cream. Decadent in every way.

Black Forest Cherries Jubilee Crepe

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Crepe:

  • 2 eggs
    1 1/4 Cups Milk
    1 tsp. Sugar
    1/8 tsp. Vanilla
    3/4 Cup Flour
    1 1/2 Tbsp. Cocoa Powder
    2 tsp. Red Food Coloring
    Cooking Spray

Cream Cheese Filling:

  • 1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
    1 8 oz. Package Cream Cheese
    1 1/4 Cups Powdered Sugar
    1/2 tsp. Vanilla

Cherries Jubilee Topping:

  • 1 Quart Canned Tart Cherry Pie Filling
    1/2 Cup Brandy
    Whipped Cream

The first step to making these crepes is to prepare the crepe batter. In a blender, beat eggs until light. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Let stand 5 minutes.

Heat small fry pan over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Pour just enough batter in pan to cover the bottom of the pan. Cook until the top of the crepe has a dull finish. Flip and cook for 10 seconds more.

Place a sheet of wax paper between each crepe. These can be refrigerated until used or frozen if not using right away.

Next, prepare the cream filling. In a small bowl, beat the whipping cream until stiff peaks form; set aside. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until smooth; fold in whipped cream. Chill until ready to serve.

Finally, it’s time to make the cherries jubilee. For this, in a fry pan, heat the cherry pie filling. In a separate small pan, heat the brandy. When ready to serve, bring the cherries and brandy to the table, slowly pour the brandy over the warm cherries, light with a long match and watch the blue flames.

To assemble the crepes. Start with a red velvet crepe, spread 2 heaping tablespoons of cream down the center of crepe, top with 2 tablespoons of cherries jubilee, roll up. Top with a dab of whipped cream and garnish with a single cherry.

This is one of the most decadent crepes I make and one of the best received. Anytime you serve something that is flaming, it is sure to be a hit.

This recipe might sound like a lot of work, but it really isn’t. It is well worth giving a try. I did, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.