Decadent Desserts

At our house we cook healthy meals 99% of the time.  I love Cooking Light and Eating Well, and I’ll be posting many of my favorite healthy delicious tasting recipes in the near future.  However, there are times to indulge.  And when you indulge, you don’t want to waste calories on something less than exceptional.  These recipes are indulgent and exceptional… worth every calorie… and posted just in time for Valentine’s Day. 

Each recipe is from Epicurious.com.  I have tried many recipes from this web site over the last 10 years.  I have found that it contains the best most accurate review system on the internet for recipes… and so many recipes!  The web site contains every published recipe from Gourmet Magazine and Bon Appétit Magazine (among others).  Enjoy!

FOR CHOCOLATE LOVERS

Chocolate Mousse Pie, Bon Appétit, November 1992 – I have made this “pie” at least 15 times – for dinner parties, for charity auctions, as a gift, for Valentine’s Day, for Birthdays and for the holidays. It is melt in your mouth chocolate mousse in a chocolate cookie crust.

For the 12 ounces of chocolate, buy the best you can afford.  I use Lindt bittersweet chocolate (instead of semisweet), which you can find at major grocery stores.  This makes the taste a little more rich, but then you can slice more (albeit smaller) pieces.  Semisweet works fine if you want to slice regular sized pieces of pie (as directed) or serve it to children.  Ghirardelli brand chocolate works okay also, but I prefer Lindt.  I buy the chocolate in bar form.  For very special occasions I have also used chocolate from specialty chocolate shops (e.g., in Whole Foods, etc.).   Chocolate shops are always willing to help someone for these occasions – just let them know you’re making mousse. 

When you spread the crust out in the pan, put plastic baggies over your hands to make the spreading easier and less messy.  Also, related to the crust I’ve tried Newman O’s (instead of Oreos that it calls for), which work great. 

Note that you will need a Springform Pan and a Food Processor for this recipe.  The recipe is surprisingly forgiving.  The ingredients are so good and pure, that I honestly don’t think anyone can screw this up.  Not that you would.  J

FOR CAKE LOVERS

Triple Layer Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, Bon Appétit, October 1994 – I will start by saying that carrot cake in general is difficult to make. If you have never made a cake from scratch before, only try this if you’re feeling brave. The difficulty lies in the fact that carrot cake is heavy. If the cake layers are not cooked properly (i.e. to a cakey consistency), you may end up having sinkage and slippage problems as you ice the cake. Add to this the fact that this recipe calls for 3 layers, and I won’t lie – you’ve got a complicated situation on your hands.

However, who doesn’t love a challenge?  I wouldn’t call myself an expert cook by any means, and I’ve always been able to correct any carrot cake unevenness with extra icing here and there.  So, I say if you love cake, go for it! 

I will leave you with my advice for this recipe.  Measure accurately… and do not undercook the cake layers.  Always err on the side of overcooking.  I’ve never felt that this carrot cake was overdone.  The icing is so rich and delicious – it will make you forget about the cake component anyway.

FOR PIE LOVERS

Pumpkin Pie with Toffee Walnut Topping, Bon Appétit November 2000 – My husband calls this “The Best Pie Ever”. My mother-in-law said this is the best pumpkin pie she has ever had in her life. It is so easy to make. I make this every Thanksgiving and Christmas. I use store bought pastry pie crust from the freezer section – and I make the pie right in the disposable pie tin that it comes with. That’s really all I have to say about it! Oh one thing – if you want you can use Heath Bar instead of Skor – you can’t tell the difference. Enjoy!

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