16 Feb Sweet and Petite: Good eats in small packages
Brand new babies, dazzling diamond rings, sea-salted caramels … there’s no denying it, good things do come in small packages.
And how many times have you finished a perfectly pleasing dinner only to wish you had a little something sweet? Not a whole piece of cake or an entire slice of pie, but just a bite or two?
Sweet things can come in small packages, too.
If you’re looking for an excuse to have a party now that the holidays are over, you’re in luck. One fun trend in entertaining is presenting palate-pleasing desserts in special smaller-sized serve ware.
Advantages of mini desserts include calorie and cost savings, and there are plenty of darling dishes specifically designed for these wee treats including mini martini glasses, Asian tasting spoons, decorative shot glasses and single-serving bowls. Pier One is a great place to start.
The great thing about these dessert recipes is that they can be made ahead and refrigerated or frozen, leaving you free to mix and mingle with your guests during the dessert party. No lastminute prep to hinder your hostessing happiness.
I give you my “Good Things Come in Small Packages, Sweet Things Can, Too” Mini Dessert menu with recipes to whip up for a fun and festive dessert party.
*Make the mousse mixture a day before. It has to chill.
Make the espresso mousse:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
4 ounces white chocolate baking bar, chopped
2 tbsp. hot water
1 tbsp. espresso powder
In a medium heavy saucepan over medium heat, heat cream to a simmer.
Remove from heat and add chocolate.
Let sit for a few minutes, allowing chocolate to melt.
Using a wire whisk, whisk cream and chocolate until thoroughly combined. Transfer to medium bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight.
Add espresso powder to hot water and stir to dissolve. Let cool.
Transfer chilled mousse mixture to mixing bowl.
Beat mousse mixture until stiff peaks form.
Beat in cooled espresso.
1 French vanilla Supermoist cake mix
¼ cup hot water
1 tsp. espresso powder
1/3 cup oil
1 cup water
Preheat oven to 350°.
Spray a 16-by-12-by-1-inch jelly roll pan with nonstick baking spray.
Using electric mixer, beat cake ingredients until thoroughly combined and fluffy.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until it springs back when touched in the middle.
Let cool for 10 minutes and remove from pan to large cutting board.
Cut into 2 inch squares.
½ cup heavy cream
¾ cup bittersweet chocolate chips
Heat cream in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until simmering.
Remove from heat and add chocolate chips.
Let sit briefly to allow chocolate chips to melt and then whisk until smooth.
¼ cup hot water
1 tsp. espresso powder
1 tbsp. Kahlua
Combine soaking liquid ingredients and stir until mixed.
Set out mini martini glasses.
Place one cake square in the bottom of each glass. Brush soaking liquid over the top of each cake square. Drizzle with ganache. Top with a dollop of espresso mousse.
Repeat assembly instructions ending with espresso mousse on the top.
Sift cocoa powder over top of each tiramisu-tini to garnish.
Makes 24 mini desserts.
TOASTED ALMOND ICE CREAM BONBONS
4 packages (three to a package) Ferrero Fine Hazelnut Chocolates
¾ cup sliced almonds
1 quart French vanilla ice cream
Preheat oven to 325°. Spread almonds out on baking sheet in single layer.
Toast in preheated oven for five to seven minutes, until lightly browned.
Transfer toasted almonds to shallow dish.
Remove ice cream from freezer to soften slightly.
Set Hazelnut Chocolates out on large cutting board, leaving space between each chocolate.
Gently scoop one scoop of ice cream on top of each chocolate, being careful not to crush the chocolate.
Roll bonbons in toasted almonds and freeze on wax paper-covered baking sheet until firm.
Transfer to large plastic baggie or airtight plastic storage container and keep in the freezer until ready to serve.
KAHLUA MOUSSE IN TASTING SPOONS WITH BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE CURLS
*Make the Kahlua mousse mixture the day before. It has to chill overnight.
1 cup heavy cream
4 ounces white chocolate, chopped
¼ cup Kahlua
4-ounce Bittersweet chocolate bar, shaved into curls with vegetable peeler
Heat cream in medium saucepan over medium heat until simmering.
Add chocolate. Let sit briefly. Whisk until smooth. Transfer to medium bowl, cover and refrigerate.
Using electric mixer, beat mousse mixture until stiff peaks form. Add Kahlua and mix thoroughly.
Pipe into tasting spoons and decorate with chocolate curls.
Makes 24 servings in tasting spoons
Sydne George is a food journalist specializing in recipe development, food writing and food photography.