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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 04/20/15

Monday, April 20, 2015

SWEETS FOR COFFEE LOVERS, PART 2!!!


Espresso, marsala, and mascarpone cheese whipped into an airy dessert dip.






Difficulty: Easy | Total Time: 10 mins | Active Time:Makes:3 1/2 cups (8 to 10 servings)
By turning tiramisu into a dip, you skip all the hassle of making the traditional trifle without losing any of the flavor. We liked strawberries and various cookies as dipping instruments, but the dip could also be spooned into individual cups with a few ladyfingers for a quick, elegant dessert.
Game plan: The dip can be made up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated in a covered container.
This recipe was featured as part of our story on summer dips.
INGREDIENTS
  • 12 ounces mascarpone cheese (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 8 ounces ricotta cheese (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brewed espresso
  • 2 tablespoons Marsala or Kahlúa
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped bittersweet chocolate

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Place mascarpone in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whip on low speed until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add ricotta, sugar, espresso, and Marsala or Kahlúa. Increase speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes.
  2. Transfer to a shallow 1-quart serving dish and dust with cocoa powder, then sprinkle chopped chocolate over cocoa. Serve with strawberries or assorted cookies.



A thick, frosty shake made with coffee ice cream and lots of chocolate.
Crusty, cakey, and gooey all at once, this pudding cake is simple enough for the kids to make.







Difficulty: Easy | Total Time: 45 mins | Active Time:Makes:6 to 8 servings
The ultimate dump-and-stir cake, this dessert requires no skill to make yet bakes up into an impressive three-layered treat with a crusty top, a cakey middle, and a chocolaty pudding bottom.
Game plan: If you want a strong coffee flavor use a darker, more heavily roasted coffee. But keep in mind that the stronger the coffee, the weaker the chocolate flavor will be.
This recipe was featured as part of our Cold-Weather Comfort Food Menu.
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick), melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup strong brewed coffee, at room temperature

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat an 8-by-8-inch square baking dish with butter and set aside.
  2. Combine flour, 3/4 cup of the cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to break up any lumps. In a large bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar, milk, butter, egg, and vanilla until evenly combined and smooth. Add flour mixture to milk mixture and whisk until just combined (some lumps will remain).
  3. Transfer batter to the prepared baking dish and spread evenly. Combine remaining 1/4 cup cocoa, remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a small bowl until well mixed, then sprinkle over batter. Pour coffee over batter, do not stir, and place in the oven.
  4. Bake until cake is bubbling, puffed, and set at the edges but still a bit loose in the middle, about 25 minutes. Remove to a rack and let cool 5 minutes before serving.



Toasted vanilla bean pound cake served with gooey coffee-caramel dipping sauce that’s great for a party.






Difficulty: Easy | Total Time: 10 mins | Active Time:Makes:20 servings
Coffee breath can be a deal-breaker, but if you’re single or have someone who loves you blindly then you can indulge in this dessert, which combines toasty, buttery bites of Vanilla Bean Pound Cake with a sweet Coffee Sauce. It’s so good you’ll be willing to risk coffee-breath exile.
Game plan: For a slacker solution, substitute high-quality store-bought pound cake and caramel sauce, and whisk some coffee-flavored liqueur or strong espresso into the latter.
This recipe was featured as part of our Valentine’s Day Menu.
INGREDIENTS

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Heat the broiler to low and arrange the rack in the upper third. Scatter pound cake cubes on a baking sheet and place under the broiler until golden brown, turning cubes occasionally so they brown evenly, about 7 minutes.
  2. Serve with toothpicks to dip cake into coffee sauce.




An easy dessert made by freezing sweetened condensed milk with very strong coffee.







Difficulty: Easy | Total Time: Under 5 mins, plus freezing time | Active Time:Makes:30 shots
Made from nothing more than sweetened condensed milk and very strong coffee, Southeast Asian coffee is a force to be reckoned with. Spike it with some coffee liqueur and freeze it, and you’ve got an adult take on frozen pops that are a great late-night treat at a cocktail party or any other time you want to get down.
What to buy: Silicone ice cube trays are key to easily unmolding the shots.
This recipe was featured as part of our Wii Gaming Menu, as well as our Drinks Around the World story.
INGREDIENTS
  • 16 double espresso shots (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup coffee-flavored liqueur, such as Kahlúa
  • Toothpicks

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Combine espresso, milk, and liqueur in a large bowl and whisk until milk is evenly incorporated.
  2. Pour mixture into silicone ice cube trays and freeze 3 to 4 hours. Place toothpicks in the partially set shots and let freeze completely, at least 8 hours.
  3. When ready to serve, unmold the shots and consume immediately.



Kind of like a tarte Tatin made with bananas and coffee.






Difficulty: Hard | Total Time: 1 hr | Active Time:Makes:12 servings
We got the inspiration for this recipe from the French apple upside-down tart known as tarte Tatin. For our version, we’ve replaced the apples with bananas and infused the caramel with coffee.
What to buy: Look for firm-ripe bananas that are still tinged with a bit of green—if they are too ripe, they’ll turn to mush in the oven.
Special equipment: A 12-inch cast iron skillet is perfect for this recipe; however, if you don’t have one, any heavy-bottomed, oven-safe frying pan will work.
Be sure to have a platter or plate slightly larger than your skillet handy for turning out the tart once it’s cooled. One with a slight lip or rim is preferable, as the caramel tends to spread a little once the tart is unmolded.
Game plan: For a slacker solution, use high-quality store-bought pie dough in place of making your own.
This recipe was featured in our Cast Iron Cooking story.
INGREDIENTS
  • Basic Pie Dough
  • 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup strong brewed coffee
  • 1 (4-inch) cinnamon stick
  • 3 (3-inch) strips lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 firm-ripe bananas
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Coffee, cinnamon, or vanilla ice cream for serving

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Make dough and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Heat the oven to 425°F and arrange the rack in the center.
  2. Melt butter over medium-high heat in a 12-inch cast iron skillet or other large, heavy oven-safe pan. Add brown sugar, coffee, cinnamon stick, and lemon zest, stirring continuously until mixture boils. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, stirring frequently, until sugar is completely melted and mixture is thick and syrupy, about 5 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick and lemon zest and discard. Stir in vanilla extract and remove the skillet from heat.
  3. Peel bananas and cut on the bias into 1/2- to 3/4-inch-thick slices. Add banana slices and lemon juice to syrup mixture and stir gently to coat thoroughly. If desired, arrange banana slices in a decorative pattern.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll dough into a round that is just larger than the skillet. Lay it over the banana filling, tucking overhanging dough around the sides. Prick dough with a fork in several places.
  5. Bake until crust is puffed and golden and filling is bubbling around the edges, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit on a wire cooling rack for 15 minutes. Run a spatula around the perimeter of the tart and place a rimmed platter that is slightly larger than the cast iron skillet upside down over the pan. Flip the skillet and plate over to invert the tart. Slice the warm tart into wedges and serve with ice cream.




An Alaskan original created more than 20 years ago in Anchorage, this layered cocktail is said to be named for the sound you’ll make after drinking one.






An Alaskan original created more than 20 years ago at the Peanut Farm in Anchorage, this layered cocktail is said to be named for the sound you’ll make after drinking one.
This recipe was featured as part of our New Year’s Eve Drinks Around the World story.
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 ounce Kahlúa
  • 1 ounce Baileys Irish Cream
  • 1/2 ounce Crown Royal Whisky

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Pour Kahlúa into a 3-ounce shot glass.
  2. Using the convex side of a bar spoon, slowly pour Baileys over the Kahlúa, making sure not to disturb it, to create a layered effect.
  3. Using the same technique, layer the Crown Royal over the Baileys.

COCULLO SNAKE FESTIVAL FROM ITALY!



    The attraction of snakes seems to be a huge pull factor, and seemingly the whole world's major ophidiophillaccs (snake lovers) often accompanied by their snakes, alongside keen photographers, descend on the small medieval town of Cocullo, in the Abruzzo Majella Mountains, ready to take part in this festival which has been re-enacted in its current Christian format each year, apart from 2009.






    There are three supposed origins to the Cocullo Snake Festival....In the 11th century, apparently Saint Dominic cleared the local fields which were being overrun by snakes, and as a sign of thanks, since 1392, the locals parade his statue and snakes around the streets. The second version dates to 700 B.C., locals experienced the same problems in tending to their field and Apollo ordered the village to entwine the snakes around his statue so that they would become tame and be able to farm once more. The first origin dates back some 2000 years to the Marsi who were the original inhabitants of the area who worshipped the Goddess Angizia. The goddess's official symbol was a snake and thus offering of snakes were presented to her to fend off attacks from local wolves, bears and malaria.





    The festival officially begins on March 19th, when local snake catchers/charmers around Cocullo begin to catch 4 types of local harmless snakes: (Elaphe quatuorlineata) and the Aesculapian snake (Elaphe longissma) and grass snakes (Natrix natrix) and its dark green sister snake (Coluber vindfiavus). Once caught they remove the snakes fangs. (not a good idea when it comes to return them back to the wild).





    Following an early morning Mass in the town's small church, local inhabitants ring a small bell using their own teeth to protect them against toothache for the following year. Local soil is blessed which afterwards is spread over the local fields to act as a form of natural pesticide. The wooden statue of Saint Domenico is then taken out of the small church and the snakes are draped around and over the statue and the statue is then paraded around the narrow lanes of ancient Cocullo.







    Leading from the front are the brass bands, that ironically seem to be mostly composed of those most snake charmer-esque of instruments, the oboe and clarinets. Another mass is broadcast over loudspeakers, which, women traditionally dressed, recite and sing, followed by priests. They are followed by girls in traditional laced costumes carrying ciambelli, which are local cakes that have a texture like doughnuts and are decorated with pastel colored, by the hundreds and thousands. Saint Domenic is carried up from behind, with the snakes and their charmers following closely behind. The procession winds back down to the church where it all started, and on their arrival home, a huge fireworks display, which sounds more like cannon shots, begins its 10 minute overture.







    If you like something out of the ordinary , visit Cocullo's snake festival; your next door neighbor may be stroking their snake next to you, but it gives you something to talk about as you gasp and think of a reason to decline their generous offer of holding one of their snakes, while jostling to get that ultimate photo.






Tips

    Get there early, the procession begins at 12 noon and the parade lasts for an hour and a half (the problem is parking...you can end up, if you arrive late, parking your car up to a couple miles away and have to hike uphill from the depths of the Sagitarrio Valley to get back to the small town of Cocullo, severely out of breath, if you are unfit.
You may hate the huge numbers of porchetta vans and mini market stalls up to the town itself and wonder why the police don't allow people to par there, but due to the huge number of people that attend the Cocullo Snake Festival, food must be had by attendees. Local restaurants get booked out with celebrating locals, used the porchetta Panini rout.