Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Desserts Designed to Impress - Not Stress!

     Providing a special dessert that is not only delicious, but also looks fabulous is the ultimate compliment to guests.  It makes them feel they are important enough for the host to go to the trouble to prepare something exceptional.  Unfortunately, our busy lives leave little time to slave away in the kitchen – especially with the hectic holiday season approaching!  The desserts included here still look and taste wonderful, but they are super easy to make - thanks to some short cuts that can be taken!  Instead of whipping the cream up from scratch, Cool Whip can be used.  Likewise, store bought raspberry jam and lemon curd shave off lots of precious time that would be used making homemade sauces. Each of these desserts has a "history" in our family.  The tiramisu is a company dinner party dessert;  in the summer I use fresh raspberries in place of the wintertime toffee bits.  The ice cream bombe has been the finish to several wedding showers and the torte is a holiday favorite the girls would put together while the rest of the dinner cooked.

Toffee-White Chocolate Tiramisu



2 (6 oz.) white chocolate baking bars

¼ cup heavy cream

1 (16 oz.) container of Cool Whip

1 (3 oz.) package of cream cheese

3 (3 oz.) packages of ladyfingers

¼ cup strong coffee

¾ cup toffee pieces (divided into ¼ cups)



Put the white chocolate and heavy cream in a bowl and microwave it for 30 seconds.  It will keep its shape until it is stirred smooth. If necessary, microwave it again for about 15 more seconds.


 In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until fluffy.  Then beat the melted white chocolate mixture into the cream cheese. 


Take ½ of the Cool Whip out of the container and gently fold it into the white chocolate mixture. 

Next, line the sides and bottom of a springform pan (or glass bowl) with ladyfinger halves.  Brush the ladyfinger with the coffee (save some coffee for the next layer of ladyfingers).  Spread half of the white chocolate mixture over the ladyfingers and sprinkle the top with ¼ cup toffee bits. 


 Repeat with the remaining ladyfingers, coffee, white chocolate mixture, and toffee bits.  Cover with enough remaining Cool Whip to reach the top of the pan.  Sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup toffee bits and refrigerate 4 hours. Remove side of springform pan before serving.

Ice Cream Bombe




3 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs

1 cup butter

2/3 cup sugar

1 cup peanuts (or 1 cup butter)

3 pints ice cream, each a different flavor

Bottled chocolate sauce





Put graham cracker crumbs, butter, sugar, and peanuts in food processor and process to mix.  Press mixture along the bottom and sides of a well-greased Bundt pan.

Slightly soften the ice cream.  Layer one flavor at a time on top of the crumb mixture.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Freeze at least 8 hours.  To serve, submerge the bottom half of the pan into a bowl of hot water for 30 seconds.  Invert onto a serving plate, slice, and serve with chocolate sauce.


So Easy Raspberry Lemon Torte




2 (8 inch) layers yellow cake

1 jar raspberry jam

1 jar lemon curd

1 (8 oz.) container Cool Whip




With a serrated knife, slice each cake layer in half through the middle.  Place first split layer on serving plate and spread with jam.  Top with a split layer and spread lemon curd over it. Top with the third split layer and spread jam over it. Place the last layer on top and frost the whole cake with cool whip.  Garnish with lemon slices and fresh or frozen raspberries.




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