Thursday, February 11, 2016

Two Creamy Layered Desserts

At one point in high school, it seemed that my friends, mother, and sisters were all suddenly enamored with tiramisu. I think Sleepless in Seattle may have sparked a cultural awakening to a previously lesser known dessert. Or maybe it was just one of those things where we had all taken its existence for granted and Tom Hanks' asking about it reminded us what a treat it was! Anyway, I am sorry to say, I did not like tiramisu. I have never cared for coffee ice-cream and I drink my coffee black- something about sweet and coffee flavors together is not appealing to me. Furthermore, I am not a fan of cheese in desserts- cheesecake and cream cheese brownies are easy for me to pass up. So tiramisu, with its coffee dipped lady fingers layered with mascarpone cheese was never going to be a favorite with me.

About a year and a half ago though, we were invited to dinner at my friend Sunny's house down in Alabama. She always had the loveliest spread with the most delicious food. And at the end of this particular meal, she brought out a tray of sherbet glasses of tiramisu. It was a charming presentation, and I always make a point of at least trying what is set before me. And what a surprise! The tiramisu was delightful! It was so good that I wrote to Sunny after we got home and requested the recipe. And Sunny, being the sweet lady that she is, obliged.

In December, I had a little party for some of the people from the church we have spent the last year at who have really blessed our family. We had a total of five couples and eight children and I made way too much food! I made a spinach artichoke dip for an appetizer, three lasagnas (the recipe to which, I am realizing only now as I try to find a link, I have never posted), a very large Caesar salad with homemade croutons, two of Sunny's tiramisus (? can you make tiramisu plural? I just did!), and one alternative dessert for the kids or anyone who isn't a fan of tiramisu. The reviews came back positive- people really enjoyed the tiramisu! And the other dessert is so simple that I am pretty sure Elspeth Peace actually did most, if not all, of the work. It is the recipe I mentioned in my last post as being the one funny little exception to us purchasing national brand store-bought cookies. My mom, who doesn't like cooking at all, uses it as a fallback all the time and it always gets rave reviews. My sister and I even won a dessert contest with it at a Christmas party when we were kids! It's the kind of thing that is so easy it's embarrassing, but then it isn't embarrassing after all because everyone wants the recipe and loves the genius of a three ingredient, no bake, 15 minute prep recipe that their kids or grandkids can make! Without further ado:

Cookie Casserole (sorry, that's just what we always called it)

2 bags of Chips Ahoy cookies (store brand Chips Ahoy works just as well- just whatever's cheapest)
16oz. tub of Cool Whip (again, my apologies)
coffee mug full of milk

- One by one, dip the cookies in milk and lay across the bottom of a 9x13 glass dish
- After the dish is covered in a first layer of cookies, spread half the Cool Whip in a layer over the top
- Make another layer of dipped cookies
- Make another layer of Cool Whip
- Refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight, and serve

*A few notes-- Oreos can be used instead of chocolate chip cookies. The longer the cookie is dunked in the milk, the more milk it absorbs, and the less refrigeration time is required (this is good to know if you are making it for potluck right before church or throwing it together ten minutes before guests arrive for supper). And finally, my mother always thought it was a nice touch to drizzle the top with Hershey's syrup but I, personally, don't like doing it that way- but to each his own.

Sunny's Tiramisu

6 egg yolks
1c. sugar
1 3/4 c. mascarpone cheese
1 3/4 c. heavy whipping cream
2 7oz. packages of lady fingers**
1c. cold espresso
1/2 c. coffee liqueur
1T cocoa for dusting

- Combine egg yolks and sugar in the top of a double boiler, over boiling water. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and whip yolks until thick and lemon colored.
- Add mascarpone cheese to whipped yolks and beat until combined.
- In a separate bowl, whip cream to stiff peaks, then gently fold whipped cream into egg and cheese mixture.
- In a small bowl, mix the cold espresso with coffee liqueur and dip each lady finger into this mixture just long enough to get wet (don't soak!)
- Arrange the lady fingers in the bottom of a 9" square baking dish.
- Spread half of the whipped cream mixture over the layer of lady fingers
- Make another layer of dipped lady fingers and then spread the last layer of whipped cream over top
- Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight
- Dust the top with cocoa before serving.

**A note about the lady fingers- I purchased Trader Joe's Soft Lady Fingers in a 4.75 ounce package. 2 packages were more than enough for this recipe. I certainly did not need the equivalent of 14 ounces of these. I do think the Trader Joe's lady fingers, a "product of France,"  are a little lighter and airier than what one might normally find and therefore weigh less. It does look like most other lady fingers imported from Italy come in a 7 ounce package.


Fittsy said...

Libby remembered the chips ahoy recipe just yesterday, and as I was reading, I thought, I bet that's the store bought cookie recipe that she mentioned before. Ding-ding, I win!!

I don't care for liqueur in my desserts (with the great exception of bourbon laced eggnog), but that tiramisu does look promising. I think stephen would really like it!

Libby and I made smitten kitchen's peanut butter cookies last week and LOVED them! I can't wait to make another on this list soon!

love you-

Abby said...

Ooh! You do win! I forgot I had told you about that recipe!

Let me know if you try the tiramisu and what you think.


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