Show-Stopping Sweets!

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jkath

Hospitality Queen
Joined
Sep 2, 2004
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11,447
Location
Southern California
A friend and I share hosting an annual cookie exchange each Christmas. What started as a group of 5, will now be possibly a group of 20+.
This year it's back at my house, and besides the cookies I'm "exchanging", I'll need to make other sweets for the actual party-goers.

I need something that's a real show-stopper, as far as presentation.

Also, I'll be serving coffee and mulled cider (W&S). Any other ideas?

Thanks so much!
 

choclatechef

Washing Up
Joined
Sep 1, 2004
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Location
USA
I think whether or not a dessert is show stopping is how you present it.

I like to make my orange cake recipe [which I shared on other threads] in a bundt cake pan, then either use a orange rum glaze or dust with powdered sugar. Then the cake is put on a lacy doily on a pedestal cake plate. I garnish lavishly with orange slices, sugared grapes, mint leaves, fresh strawberries, etc.

Since it is the holidays, I like to serve Toll House pies. They are wonderful with fresh whipped cream or luscious quality ice cream.

Toll House Pie


2 eggs
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. finely packed brown sugar
1 c. butter, melted and cooled
1 (6 oz.) pkg. (1 c.) Nestle's Toll House semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 c. chopped pecans or walnuts
1 (9-inch) unbaked pie shell
If using frozen pie shell, use only deep dish style and thaw completely. Place on cookie sheet; bake 10 minutes longer.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In large bowl, beat eggs until foamy. Add flour and both sugars. Beat until well blended, and blend in melted butter. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Pour into pie shell. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream. Makes 1 pie.
 

kyles

Head Chef
Joined
Dec 13, 2003
Messages
1,181
Location
UK
I don't have any suggestions, only to say Jkath that I am moving to your neighbourhood coz I want to be your friend. People don't do things like that here!!!! In fact, people don't bake, full stop end of story. :(
 

marmalady

Executive Chef
Joined
Sep 3, 2004
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2,642
Location
USA,SouthCarolina
What about a 'Yule Log'? I've been thinking of doing this for Christmas dessert - they always look WOW, especially with tlie little meringue mushrooms!
 

SierraCook

Master Chef
Joined
Sep 2, 2004
Messages
5,580
Location
Sierra Valley, Northern California, USA
I got this recipe off the Hershey's website. I got a couple of other recipes that I will post also.


CHOCOLATE MINT DESSERT

• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 cup sugar
• 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
• 4 eggs
• 1-1/2 cups (16-oz. can) HERSHEY'S Syrup
• MINT CREAM CENTER (recipe follows)
• CHOCOLATE GLAZE (recipe follows)


1. Heat oven to 350° F. Grease 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

2. Combine flour, sugar, butter, eggs and syrup in large bowl; beat until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan.

3. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until top springs back when touched lightly in center. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Spread MINT CREAM CENTER on cake. Cover; refrigerate. Pour CHOCOLATE GLAZE over chilled dessert. Cover; refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. Cover; refrigerate leftover dessert. About 12 servings.

MINT CREAM CENTER: Combine 2 cups powdered sugar, 1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter or margarine and 2 tablespoons green crème de menthe (OR 1 tablespoon water plus 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon mint extract and 3 drops green food color may be substituted for crème de menthe) in medium bowl; beat until smooth.

CHOCOLATE GLAZE: Melt 6 tablespoons butter or margarine and 1 cup HERSHEY'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips in small saucepan over very low heat. Remove from heat; stir until smooth. Cool slightly.
 

choclatechef

Washing Up
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Sep 1, 2004
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USA
You could bake it in any crust you want, if you make sure you have enough batter to fill it. Of course you will also have to adjust the baking time.

I am sure you can do it.

Yes, this is a delicious pie. I used to bake them by the dozens to sell for church fund raising activities. I remember one day baking 40 of them [summertime and no air conditioning]. I thought I would die, but we kept getting orders!
 

choclatechef

Washing Up
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Sep 1, 2004
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Location
USA
Oh. I forgot. This pie is best served warm!

If you make it ahead of time -- it is so easy you can make it at the last minute, microwave it a bit to heat it up before serving it with whipped cream or ice cream.

You will have your family begging for more, if they like rich desserts!
 

Audeo

Head Chef
Joined
Sep 1, 2004
Messages
1,871
Location
USA,Texas
I always make a Buche de Noel...with meringue mushrooms and well-stroked ganache bark. Tis beautiful and quite filling! And I make certain everyone has several bourbon-soaked cherries, then they're gullible for anything!

Jkath! You're going to have some fun!!! 20+ people? Wow!
 

jkath

Hospitality Queen
Joined
Sep 2, 2004
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Location
Southern California
Yule log...buche de noel... I'd forgotten about those! I've never made one, but have always thought they were so pretty! I did attempt a croquembouche (sp?) out of Martha's Christmas book about 15 years ago, and gave up! (I was still quite a novice)

I can't do a liquer-type goodie, as these ladies need to drive home, but I think I may put some in their goodie bags.
(I have them email me 2 weeks in advance with their recipes, and then I make a cookbook for each guest with cute clip art and fonts, and then tie it with a pretty french ribbon. I also put a couple of ornamets and homemade stuff in the bags)
 

jkath

Hospitality Queen
Joined
Sep 2, 2004
Messages
11,447
Location
Southern California
Oh - and Kyles,
I know there are plenty of gals out in your community that are waiting for a get together! It just seems that everyone waits for someone else.

You'd be right at home here - we've even got an English born friend here (we all just adore her accent!) who is hopefully bringing her special english tea for this party (her mum sends it from home)
 

Audeo

Head Chef
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What a lovely thing to do, jkath, in compiling a recipe book to remember the gathering! I bet it's lovely, too!

How thoughtful!!!
 

jkath

Hospitality Queen
Joined
Sep 2, 2004
Messages
11,447
Location
Southern California
Thank you -
btw, there was a thread that Kyles came up with about a month ago that was on "what 5 recipes would you pass on"...
my Chocolate Euphoria Cookies were from one of the cookie exchange parties.
(Even though we aren't allowed to repeat any of the previous years' treats, the originator of those will be begged to bring them anyway.)

I think some of you all should start this tradition this year!
 

runninduo

Senior Cook
Joined
Sep 2, 2004
Messages
197
Location
USA,California
There was recently a recipe on the cover of Women's Day magazine for a 3 layer Cheesecake (2 diff kinds of chocolate and pumpkin). It was very yummy............and very festive looking. The three layers create a great presentation on their own, but then some of the chocolate topping drizzles down and it looks even better.

Do you have access to a copy of the Magazine? If not, I can type it up for you.

Laur
 

jkath

Hospitality Queen
Joined
Sep 2, 2004
Messages
11,447
Location
Southern California
Thanks, Laur! I found it on the website - you are right -
it sure looks pretty!

For those of you who also want it....


Double Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake

Serves 12
Active: 45 min/Total: 2 1/2 hr (plus 1 hr cooling in oven and at least 4 1/2 hr chilling)

Planning Tip: Cake can be completed up to 1 week ahead. Cover and refrigerate.

Crust
1 1/2 cups purchased chocolate cookie crumbs
1/2 stick (4 Tbsp) butter, melted

Filling
3 bricks (8 oz each) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel), softened
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
3 large eggs
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup (6 oz) milk-chocolate chips, melted and cooled
1 cup canned 100% pure pumpkin
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 cup (6 oz) semisweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled

Chocolate Glaze
3 oz bittersweet baking chocolate
2 Tbsp stick butter
1 Tbsp light corn syrup

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8-in. springform pan with nonstick spray. Have ready a roasting pan larger than the springform pan.

2. Crust: Put crumbs in a small bowl; stir in butter until evenly moistened. Press firmly over bottom of pan. Bake 8 to 10 minutes until set. Cool on rack. Wrap outside of pan with heavy-duty foil. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.

3. Filling: Beat cream cheese, sugar and cornstarch in a large bowl with mixer on medium speed until smooth, scraping sides of bowl several times with a rubber spatula. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, just until blended. Beat in sour cream and vanilla to combine. Divide batter evenly between 3 medium bowls. Stir melted milk chocolate into 1 bowl; pour into crust in an even layer. Whisk pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice into another bowl. Carefully spoon over chocolate layer to cover, then gently smooth into an even layer with an offset spatula (take care batters don’t run together). Stir semisweet chocolate into remaining batter. Carefully spoon over pumpkin layer; spread carefully as above.

4. Set springform pan in center of roasting pan. Place roasting pan in oven rack and add boiling water to come halfway up sides of springform pan.

5. Bake 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours until set, but center still jiggles slightly when shaken.

6. Turn off oven (leave door closed); let cake cool in oven 1 hour (if cake hasn’t pulled away from sides of pan, carefully run a thin knife around edge of pan to release cake). Remove foil. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack. Cover; refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

7. Chocolate Glaze: Stir ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat; cool slightly.

8. Remove pan sides; place cake on serving plate. Spread glaze over top to edge (some may drip down side of cake). Refrigerate until glaze sets.
 

debthecook

Senior Cook
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
485
Location
Long Island, New York, USA
Anyone ever try making a gingerbread house? I buy the kit from BJs, every year ($9.99) and enjoy making this with my daughter the day after Thanksgiving. The gingerbread house already comes with the pieces, you just have to assemble the house with hard icing and then decorate with the candies they have or add your own. We put it on a foil covered try and it really looks lovely in the dining room table, people pick off the candies and break a piece of gingerbread if they can.
I also make gingerbread cookies, gingerbread is a stiff, hard dough to work with, I find the box mix just fine for me.
After Jan 1st, we throw it out, and just make another the next year.
 

Audeo

Head Chef
Joined
Sep 1, 2004
Messages
1,871
Location
USA,Texas
debthecook said:
Anyone ever try making a gingerbread house?

What fun memories I have of this! Ooey, gooey royal icing, tons of wee candies and sprinkles, and unbounded laughter and fun! What a wonderful tradition that has become so much simpler and easier to accomplish, thanks to those mixes!!!
 

crewsk

Master Chef
Joined
Aug 25, 2004
Messages
9,367
Location
Columbia, SouthCarolina
Deb the kids & I made our first gingerbread house last year from the kit from BJ's. Hubby bought it as a surprise for us. I had always wanted to make one. We had a lot of fun together getting all sticky & messy & the end result was darling!
 

jkath

Hospitality Queen
Joined
Sep 2, 2004
Messages
11,447
Location
Southern California
What a wonderful idea! I've only made one, and that was when I was around 18 or 20. It was quite intricate, and I put about a gazzilion coats of varnish on it, for preservation. Mom brought it out about 4 years in a row for decoration.

Thanks so much for all the input!!!

(PS - what's BJ's?)
 

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