Strawberries & Chocolate – It Don’t Get Much Better

Trying to keep my head above water with all the summer harvesting and the overwhelming amount of canning that goes with it, has been especially challenging this year.

To break up the monotony of canning practically every waking moment, I took a day to have a barbecue with some family. Barbecues take little planning, so most of my effort went into the dessert. The Strawberry Truffle Cake I made (recipe can be found on the link to Simply Grateful Cooking that was posted today) was the perfect ending for a summer barbecue.

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The fact that this dessert has chocolate cake, strawberries, and a chocolate topping, well that just made it even better. When isn’t chocolate appropriate for dessert — or breakfast, or dinner, or lunch, or snacking? Is there really anytime that chocolate isn’t appropriate? If there is, don’t tell me, I don’t want to know.

Getting back into more cooking than just the day-in day-out making dinner, getting it over with, was really a treat. Making a dessert that was “TO DIE FOR” didn’t hurt either, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

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Mini Desserts #5 – Creamy Frozen Mini Fruit Cups

Serving frozen desserts to a crowd can be cumbersome and inconvenient.  When I found a set of square mini dessert/appetizer bowls, I knew these would definitely make serving these creamy frozen fruit cups easy.

Creamy Frozen Mini Fruit Cups

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  • 1 pkg. 8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 10 oz. Maraschino Cherries
  • 11 oz. Can Mandarin Oranges, drained
  • 1 Pint Jar Crushed Pineapple, drained
  • 1 8 oz. Tub Frozen Whipped Topping, thawed

Combine cream cheese and sugar in mixer and beat until fluffy.  Chop maraschino cherries.  Add cherries and pineapple to cream cheese mixture.  Fold in mandarin oranges and whipped topping.

Spoon fruit mixture into cups and freeze until firm.  Remove from freezer 10 minutes before serving.

I love this recipe, especially because it was one I was able to use my home-canned Maraschino Cherries and crushed pineapple in.  Whenever I can use something from the pantry that I made during the past year, I find the dessert even more tasty, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

Mini Desserts #4 – Single Serving Tiramisu

One of the most decadent desserts I enjoy is tiramisu.  Along with being decadent, it is also quite expensive.  The mascarpone cheese costs about $5 per 8 oz. container and a typical 13×9 dish of tiramisu contains two of these.  I have even found it necessary to use three, when having a larger dinner party.  Not cheap by any means.

Making tiramisu in mini glasses is a great way to serve a decadent dessert to guests without going broke.  I cut my original recipe in half and made 10 mini desserts.  This was perfect when you take into consideration I had several other mini desserts to choose from.

Single Serving Mini Tiramisu

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  • 3 Large Egg Yolks
  • 4 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup Milk
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 8 oz. Mascarpone Cheese
  • 10 Lady Fingers
  • 1/2 Cup Very Strong Coffee
  • 2 Tbsp. Kahlua

In saucepan, whisk the eggs and sugar until smooth.  Add milk and vanilla.  Turn on heat and cook until thick, stirring constantly. Let cool.

When cool whisk cheese into custard.  Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

To assemble, combine coffee and kahlua.  Dip each lady finger into coffee mixture and place in dessert cup.

Fill pastry bag with custard filling.  Pipe into dessert cups around and on top of lady finger.  Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with coco.

As much as I enjoy making one special dessert, I enjoy making a variety of desserts for my guests to enjoy even more, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

Mini Desserts #3 – Nutella Cheesecake Trifles

One of Grace’s and Hubby’s favorite spreads for bread is Nutella.  Pairing this with brownies and cheesecake made this mini dessert their favorite of all the ones I’ve made so far.

Nutella Cheesecake Trifle

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  • 1 – 2 Cups Crumbled Brownie
  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese
  • 2/3 Cup Nutella
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 8 oz. Tub Cool Whip Topping
  • Chocolate Sprinkles

Combine cream cheese and Nutella in mixing bowl and beat until smooth.

Add vanilla and mix to combine.

With a wooden spoon, fold Cool Whip into mixture until no white streaks remain.

Divide Nutella mixture in half.  Add brownie crumbs to one half of mixture and stir to combine.

Fill half of dessert glass with brownie/Nutella mixture and top with plain Nutella mixture.  Add chocolate sprinkles.

This mini dessert is on the light side because of the addition of Cool Whip and is the perfect finish after a heavy meal, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

Mini Desserts #2 – Peanut Butter Pie Shooters

I am not the biggest fan of cheesecake, but this particular recipe is one I can’t even resist.  Very rich, super creamy, and no bake — does it get much better than that?

Peanut Butter Pie Shooters

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  • 1 Cup Cream Peanut Butter
  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese
  • 14 oz. Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Whipping Cream
  • 16 Oreo Cookies
  • 5 Tbsp. Melted Butter

Beat cream cheese and peanut butter until smooth.

Add milk and vanilla and beat until creamy.

Add powdered sugar and beat until mixture thickens.

Add liquid heavy whipping cream and continue to beat until the mixture fluffs.

Stir melted butter in crushed Oreos and press 1 – 2 Tbsp. into bottom of each dessert cup.  Pipe peanut butter mixture into cup and sprinkle top with additional cookie crumb mixture.

Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

I’ve made this recipe using in an 8″ pie plate in the past, but using these mini dessert cups just makes this so much fun and the perfect size serving.

Peanut butter cup in a glass, does it get any better, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

Mini Desserts #1 – Layered Jello

This year I decided to jump on the band wagon and buy myself a set of mini dessert glasses.  For the past two weeks I have been experimenting with a bunch of different recipes using these glasses.  I really like serving desserts in this fashion because I can make five or more different desserts and being that the servings are so small, my guests can experiment with several of them without risk of over-eating.

Today I decided that I just didn’t have enough on my plate to do, so having a good 8 to 10 hours to kill, between making dinner, baking cookies, making candy, going on a day trip with Hubby and the kids, and doing a few loads of laundry, I made these wonderfully time-consuming layered jello desserts.

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It’s really not that difficult to make, just terribly time-consuming.  So if you’ve got time to kill, or just really want to serve something that looks really pretty, give this recipe a shot.

Layered Jello

  • Five different flavors 3 oz. pkgs. Jello
  • 2 Cups Boiling Milk
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Envelopes Knox Gelatin
  • 2 Cups Sour Cream
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla

Begin by dissolving first flavor of Jello in 1 cup boiling water.  Add 1/4 cup cold water.  Pour first layer into glass.  I marked one of the glasses with a marker to give me a guide.  The glass was 3″ and I had 10 layers that I planned on making.

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After I filled the amount of glasses I wanted to make, I poured the remaining jello in a rectangle corning ware dish. The original recipe called for only four different flavors of Jello and a 9 x 13 pan was used.

Put the glasses in the refrigerator to set.  The small glasses take about 30 minutes, whereas the corning ware dishes take 45 minutes to an hour.

Add sugar to boiling milk and mix till dissolved.

Dissolve Knox gelatin in 1/2 Cup cold water.  Let set 5 minutes.

Add gelatin mixture to milk and sugar.  Add sour cream and vanilla and mix until blended.  Let cool.  DO NOT REFRIGERATE CREAM MIXTURE AT ALL UNTIL YOU LAYER IT GLASSES.

When first layer of Jello is set, pour a layer of cream mixture on top and return to fridge.  Let this layer set for 20 to 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, prepare the next two flavors of Jello in the same manner as before and let stand OUT OF THE REFRIGERATOR TO COOL.

When cream layer is set, pour next flavor of Jello on top to make next layer and refrigerate.  After each layer of cream has been added from here on, immediately prepare another Jello flavor and let it stand OUT OF THE REFRIGERATOR TO COOL.  You do not want it to gel at all, but it must be cool.

I cannot wait to serve these to our guests tomorrow.  Even if they don’t like Jello, I think they’ll find them irresistible.

These little desserts took a long time to make, but they were well worth the effort.  Remember, there’s always room for Jello, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.