Warm Winter Drinks Call for Delicious Desserts: Which will you choose?
When serving dessert, you don’t want to overwhelm the beverages you’ll be serving, you want to complement them. For an orange-flavored hot cocoa, treat your guests to a chewy orange or lemon drop cookie or bar cookie, which picks up the citrusy flavor of the drink. For a warm cider drink, pair the apple flavor with a nice apple nut cake or a moist applesauce nut bread. Last but not least, pair rich, decadent, even melty chocolate with our delicious spiced cabernet. Your guests will be very pleased!
Chewy Orange Cookies
Makes 24 cookies
- 2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 10 Tbsp butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp orange zest
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 3/4 tsp orange extract
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- Sugar, for rolling dough balls
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
3. In a larger bowl, mix together sugar and orange zest. Using fingers, massage the zest into the sugar to release the essential oils. Add butter and beat with hand mixer till light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
4. Reduce mixer speed and mix in eggs and extracts. Scrape down sides of bowl, then slowly mix in flour mixture just till combined.
5. Scoop out dough by teaspoonfuls and roll into balls. Roll dough balls in sugar and place on baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.
6. Bake for 10-13 minutes or until cookies look crackled and bottoms slightly browned. Cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before removing to cooling rack to finish cooling.
Bittersweet Chocolate TartMakes 8 to 12 servings
- ½ cup butter, melted
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch slat
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 7 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 egg
- Whipped cream
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
For the pastry dough, in a medium bowl stir together melted butter, the 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla paste, and salt. Stir in flour. (The dough will seem a bit oily.) Press the pastry mixture evenly into a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. (Pat the mixture into the sides first. Don't skimp—they need to be sturdy; then fill in the bottom crust.) Place the tart pan on a baking sheet. Bake 14 to 16 minutes or until golden, covering edges with foil if needed to prevent over-browning. Transfer to a cooling rack while still on the baking sheet; leave oven on.
Meanwhile, for the filling, in a medium saucepan bring half-and-half and sugar to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Simmer, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Add chopped chocolate, stirring constantly, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. (It will look curdled at first but should become smooth and glossy as the chocolate melts; if flecks remain after stirring, return pan to low heat for a moment to finish melting.)
In a medium bowl, whisk egg until foamy. Whisk 2 tablespoons of the warm (not hot) chocolate mixture into the egg. Drizzling slowly, whisk in the remaining chocolate mixture.
Immediately pour filling into the warm crust. Return baking sheet with tart to the oven, then turn the oven off. Let the tart sit in the hot oven until filling sets around edges but center 4 inches jiggle when gently shaken, 12 to 13 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour, before removing from the pan to slice. If desired, serve with sweetened whipped cream or fruit, such as berries. Or, cover and refrigerate tart for up to 2 days. (Bring tart to room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving, so that it's not too firm.)
Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes
Makes 6 servings
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 8 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 3/4 cup butter
- 3 eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- Powdered sugar
Using the 2 tablespoons butter, grease six 8- to 10-ounce ramekins, souffle dishes, or custard cups. Place ramekins in a 15x10x1-inch baking pan; set aside.
In a heavy small saucepan, combine chocolate and the 3/4 cup butter. Cook and stir over low heat until chocolate melts. Remove pan from heat; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, egg yolks, granulated sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer on high speed for 8 to 10 minutes or until thick and lemon colored. Fold one-third of the chocolate mixture into egg mixture. Fold remaining chocolate mixture and flour into egg mixture. Spoon about 2/3 cup batter into each prepared ramekin, dividing evenly.
Bake at 425 degrees F about 12 minutes or until cake edges feel firm. Cool in ramekins on a wire rack for 2 to 3 minutes. Using a knife, loosen cake from sides of ramekins. Invert onto dessert plates. Sift with powdered sugar. Garnish with fresh raspberries and mint leaves if desired. Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.
Gooey Chocolate Mocha Cake
Makes 24 bars
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
- 1 package chocolate cake mix
- 1 8-oz package cream cheese, softened
- 2 eggs
- 1 16-oz package powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
- 1/4 cup chocolate fudge topping
- 2 Tbsp very strong brewed coffee
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Powdered sugar (optional)
In a medium bowl, stir together 1 egg and 1/2 cup melted butter. Stir in dry cake mix until combined (You may need to work the mixture together by hand, as it will be thick). Press evenly into the bottom of a greased 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add 2 eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Gradually powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating on low speed until smooth. Slowly add 1/2 cup melted butter, the chocolate topping, coffee, and vanilla, continuing to beat on low speed until just combined. Pour batter over baked cake crust.
Bake for 35 minutes more (center will not appear to be set). Cool completely in pan on a wire rack before cutting into bars. If you like, sprinkle with additional powdered sugar. Cut into bars.