No-bake peach and almond tartlets

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 3/4 cup 35% cream
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp orange-blossom water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 large ripe, firm peaches, peeled and diced
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted

METHOD:

  1. Stir crumbs with butter in a medium bowl, until mixture is moist. Line 8 cups in a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Scoop a scant 3 tbsp crumb mixture into each cup. Firmly press from centre of liner to edges and up the sides until crust is even with rim. Refrigerate until firm.
  2. Beat mascarpone with cream, honey, orange-blossom water and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high until fluffy, about 2 min. Remove muffin tin from refrigerator and fill prepared crusts with mascarpone mixture up to the rim. Smooth tops. Refrigerate for about 1 hour.
  3. Stir peaches with sugar in a small bowl. Let sit until peaches soften, about 15 to 20 min. Drain liquid and stir in almonds.
  4. Unmold tartlets onto individual dessert plates. Scoop mixture over each tartlet.

White Chocolate Cheesecake with Mixed Berries

White Chocolate Cheesecake with Mixed Berries from Bakers RoyaleWhite Chocolate Cheesecake with Mixed Berries via Bakers Royale

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup  crushed shortbread cookies (about 4 oz.)
  • 3 tablespoons  finely chopped slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup  butter, melted
  • 2 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 16 ounce  white chocolate baking squares with cocoa butter, melted and cooled
  • 2/3 cup  sugar
  • 2/3 cup  dairy sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon  vanilla
  • 3 eggs

Triple Raspberry Sauce

  • 10 -12 ounce jar seedless raspberry preserves
  • 1 cup  fresh red raspberries or frozen red raspberries
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons  raspberry liqueur

METHOD:

For crust:

  1. In a small bowl, combine crushed cookies and almonds. Stir in melted butter. Press crushed cookie mixture onto the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan. Set aside.

For filling:

  1. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and cooled white chocolate; beat with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until combined. Beat in sugar, sour cream, and vanilla until mixture is fluffy.
  2. Add the eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Pour into the crust-lined pan. Place in a shallow baking pan.
  3. Bake in a 180 degree C oven 45 to 50 minutes or until center is nearly set when you shake the cheesecake gently. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Loosen from side of pan. Cool for 30 minutes more; remove side of pan. Cool completely.* Cover and chill for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.
  4. To serve, cut into wedges and drizzle some of the Triple-Raspberry Sauce over each serving. Makes 12 servings.
  • This cheesecake puffs during baking, then settles as it cools.
Triple Raspberry Sauce
Yield: 1-3/4 cups
METHOD:
  1. In a small saucepan, melt raspberry preserves over low heat. Add fresh red raspberries or frozen red raspberries. Heat gently just until sauce simmers. Cool. If desired, stir in raspberry liqueur. Cover and chill until serving time. Makes 1-3/4 cups.

Ferrero Rocher Cheesecake

Ferrero Rocher Cheesecake

INGREDIENTS:

Crust:

  • 2 cups crushed Oreo
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter

Cheesecake:

  • 3 packs cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 cups thickened cream or whipped cream, chilled
  • 4 tsp unflavoured gelatine
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 6 pcs Ferrero Rocher, roughly chopped

Toppings:

  • 4 heaping tbsp Nutella
  • 2-3 tbsp milk
  • 2 tbsp confectioners sugar
  • 8 pcs Ferrero Rocher
  • Chocolate shavings

METHOD:

  1. Combine all ingredients and make sure it’s mixed well and butter is evenly spread throughout the crushed crackers, press it in a 9 in pie pan.
  2. Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 10 minutes (this makes the crust more firm, but you can omit this process if you wanted to)
  3. Chill in fridge for around 20 minutes.
  4. Place softened cream cheese and sugar in a bowl together; using an electric mixer beat the cheese until thoroughly mixed and creamy.
  5. Dissolve gelatine in hot water then let it cool for a while.  Once cooled down add into the cream cheese mixture, continue to beat until mixture becomes fluffy.
  6. Now add thickened cream and chopped Ferrero then fold until it’s evenly mixed.
  7. Pour over the prepared crust.
  8. Top it with the Ferrero Rocher and chocolate shavings. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours before serving.
  9. Before serving drizzle melted Nutella on top then serve.
  10. Place Nutella, confectioners sugar and milk in a double boiler, stir until sauce becomes runny add more milk if required.

Mixed Berries Cheesecake

INGREDIENTS:

Crust:

  • 1 cup crushed graham crackers or malt crackers
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

Toppings:

  • 1 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 3 punnets strawberries
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch

for the cheesecake:

  • 3 packs cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups thickened cream or whipped cream, chilled
  • 4 tsp unflavoured gelatine
  • 1/4 cup hot water

METHOD:

  1. Combine all ingredients and make sure it’s mixed well and butter is evenly spread throughout the crushed crackers, press it in a 9 in pie pan.
  2. Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 10 minutes (this makes the crust more firm, but you can omit this process if you wanted to)
  3. Chill in fridge for around 20 minutes.
  4. Topping: Place 1/2 cup of blueberry, 1/2 cup of raspberries, 2 punnets of strawberries and all other ingredients in a saucepan and cook in medium heat until all berries have broken down. Using a hand blender blend the berry sauce until smooth in texture, cook for 5 more minutes.
  5. Set aside and let it cool down before using.
  6. Place softened cream cheese in a bowl together with sugar and vanilla extract, now using an electric mixer beat the cheese until thoroughly mixed.
  7. Dissolve gelatine in hot water then let it cool for a while.  Once cooled down add into the cream cheese mixture, continue to beat until mixture becomes fluffy.
  8. Now add thickened cream and fold until it’s evenly mixed.
  9. Pour over the prepared crust.
  10. Then top it with the berry sauce and mixed berries. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours before serving.

Rum & Raisin Dark Chocolate Truffles

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INGREDIENTS:

Makes about 20 truffles

  • 200g of good quality dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) – broken into pieces
  • 1/4 cup raisins – chopped
  • 1/4 cup rum
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste (or 1 tsp of vanilla extract)
  • 1 tsp of strong espresso or instant coffee granules (optional)
  • 2 tbsp of cocoa powder

Coatings:

  • Cocoa powder
  • Finely chopped nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans or almonds)
  • Shredded coconut
  • Spices like cinnamoncayenne pepper, orange zest, etc

METHOD:

  1. In a bowl, soak the raisins in rum for one hour (at room temperature).
  2. In a saucepan, over low heat, bring the cream to a simmer. Then add the butter and stir with a plastic spatula until melted.
  3. Next, add the chopped chocolate, and when it begins to melt, turn the fire off and continue to stir until the chocolate is completely melted (be careful not to burn the chocolate).
  4. Then mix in the cocoa powder, vanilla paste, and espresso, and stir until smooth. Finally, stir in the raisin rum mixture, and transfer to a bowl.
  5. Once the chocolate ganache has cooled on the counter, cover the bowl and place it in the fridge. Chill for an hour until the ganache is firm.
  6. Lay out a sheet of non-stick baking paper. Prepare coatings in separate bowls. With your palms or a small spoon, form the chocolate into balls, then roll each one in the coating and place them on the baking paper. Transfer the truffles, along with the baking paper, to an airtight container and refrigerate.
  7. Truffles can be refrigerated for a couple of weeks or for a few months in the freezer. Before serving, let the truffles sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Tips on making truffles: 
– It’s important to keep the ganache mixture cool after it is removed from the refrigerator, so it doesn’t melt too much when you are forming the balls and coating them. Try placing the small bowl of ganache on top of a bigger bowl layered with ice. (Also, coat your hands with some cocoa powder to prevent your warm fingers from melting the chocolate)
– If the ganache gets too soft for shaping, just pop the ganache back in the freezer for five minutes. If you are making a bigger batch, divide the ganache into separate containers.

Asian Pear Ginger Froyo & Lemon Ginger Macarons

INGREDIENTS:
Asian pear-Ginger Frozen Yogurt

  • 1 lb. Asian pear, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 oz. fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 lb. Greek yogurt, or strained yogurt
  • 1/2 cup sugar

METHOD:

  1. In a food processor, puree the Asian pear and fresh ginger until smooth and no chunks are left.
  2. Fold the pear and ginger puree into the Greek yogurt and add the sugar.  Mix thoroughly.
  3. Chill the mixture thoroughly, and freeze according to your ice cream maker’s directions.

Lemon Ginger Macarons
makes ~60-70 shells

  • 30 grams sugar
  • 200 grams powdered sugar
  • 110 grams slivered almonds
  • 4 Tbspn dried lemon zest*
  • 5 grams ground ginger
  • 1/2 tspn yellow powder food coloring, optional
  • 90 grams egg whites, at least two days old (separate eggs in advance, put the whites in an air tight container for at least two days–I usually keep them for five days before use)
  • freshly grated lemon zest

METHOD:

  1. Have ready: pastry bag fitted with a round tip with about 1/2″ opening and two baking sheets lined with silpats or parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor, process the regular sugar for a few seconds.  Remove and set aside.
  3. Combine the powdered sugar, almonds, dried lemon zest, ground ginger, and food coloring in the food processor and process until the almonds are finely ground. Set aside.
  4. Place the egg whites in a mixer bowl with the whisk attachment.  Begin whisking on low, until the egg whites start to foam.
  5. Increase the speed of the mixer to medium high and beat the egg whites while gradually adding the regular sugar. Beat on medium high until you reach a glossy, soft-peak meringue.
  6. At this point, remove the mixer bowl from the mixer and continue the rest of the way by hand, using a large balloon whisk.  Pour (lightly!) the processed powdered sugar and almond mixture into the meringue.  Fold to combine, quickly at first, and then slowly after the first few strokes.  Make sure to always use deliberate strokes when folding.  Mix only until combined, no more than fifty strokes.  Usually, it only takes me fewer than thirty, if that.  The batter is ready when the peaks will collapse on their own.
  7. Immediately transfer the batter to the prepared pastry bag. On the silpat baking sheets, squeeze about 1 to 1.5″ rounds.  Top each shell with freshly grated lemon zest.  Let the sheets sit for at least 30 minutes.
  8. While the macarons rest, preheat the oven to 150 degrees C.  Bake the macarons for 15-20 minutes, rotating after about 10.  Macarons are done when the shells do not give when gently touched.  Remove from the oven and let cool.

*To make dried lemon zest, zest lemons and leave the zest out on a piece of paper towel for 24 hours.

Everything but the kitchen sink cookies

INGREDIENTS:

makes nine 6-inch cookies 

  • 2 1/4 cups (320 gr) AP flour
  • 1 tspn baking powder
  • 1 tspn baking soda
  • 1 tspn salt
  • 2 tspn finely ground Turkish coffee
  • 1 cup (8 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (120 gr) dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup (200 gr) white sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbspn dark molasses
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbspn cream or milk
  • 1 Tbspn vanilla extract
  • 4 cups of mix-ins: 1 cup each of pretzels (chopped), Butterfingers (chopped), marshmallows, dark chocolate chips

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Prepare baking sheets lined with silpats or parchment paper.
  2. Whisk to combine the AP flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and finely ground Turkish coffee. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, cream the butter until light, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the sugars and mix until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the molasses to the butter and beat until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the milk and vanilla extract. In two stages, beat in the flour mixture on low until thoroughly combined. Fold in the mix-ins.
  4. Scoop the dough into large rounds onto the prepared cookie sheets, about two cookies per half-sheet baking pan. Leave ample room between each cookie. Dip your fingers in water and lightly spread out and press the dough into a circle.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.

Note: If you don’t have Turkish coffee, substitute with finely ground regular coffee and a pinch or two of ground cardamom.
Note: This recipe can support up to four cups of mix-ins. Feel free to mix in anything you can think of or have in your cabinets: potato chips, nuts, dried fruits, chopped candy bars, cereal, last year’s Halloween candy, next year’s Halloween candy…. The sky’s the limit!