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    Red Velvet Trifles

    Indulge in the southern tradition of red velvet cake with a twist – Red Velvet Trifles! Assemble them ahead of time for hassle-free hosting during the busy holiday season.

    The holiday season can be a whirlwind of activities, and having make-ahead desserts in your repertoire is a real time-saver. After many years of hosting during the Christmas season, I’ve learned to depend upon prep-ahead recipes, such as these Red Velvet Trifles. They are so pretty! And they’ll add a splash of Christmas color to your special holiday feast. Prepare them a couple of days ahead and store them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve. Simply add the garnishes a few hours before serving, and you’ll have a show-stopping dessert without the last-minute stress.

    Plan ahead.
    Before you get started mixing up the cake batter, here’s a couple of initial things to get in order to make the entire process smooth sailing.

    Choose your serving glasses. These Red Velvet Trifles are assembled in 8 clear 12 oz. rocks glasses (or other dessert glasses). I’m usually all about breaking out the finest tableware for Christmas, but I made these in plastic recyclable Tossware glasses. Each glass is made from 1 recycled plastic bottle. I’ve reused them loads of times, and have yet to toss them!
    Make room in your fridge. I don’t know about you, but my refrigerator during the holidays – oof! Space gets maxed out pretty quickly. Make sure you have enough space to store the trifles before you begin the recipe. It may help to put the serving glasses on a baking sheet so it’s easy to transfer to the fridge once all the glasses are assembled.

    Make the Red Velvet Cake.
    Now – the cake! Start by mixing up the wet ingredients in a large mixing bowl. It’s not a big job, so this can easily be done using a hand mixer. Add 2 tablespoons of liquid red food color at this stage. If you only have red gel food color, add much less – 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons should do it.

    Sift in the dry ingredients: flour, unsweet cocoa powder, and leavening. Mix together on low speed. Again, a hand mixer is fine. It’s a quick bowl of batter that stirs up easily. I appreciate that!

    Bake the Red Velvet Cake.
    Spread the batter into a greased 13×9 inch pan, and bake for about 20 minutes at 350°F. Be careful not to over bake this cake, as the edges can get a little dry. If this happens, go ahead and trim off the crusty edges.

    When the cake cools cut it into bite-size pieces with a large chef’s knife. You’ll notice the texture is dense like pound cake. This is by design, as the cake needs to be sturdy enough to absorb the raspberry rum drizzling syrup without falling apart. Yes – I said raspberry-rum drizzling syrup! More on that in a bit.

    Make the Cream Cheese Filling.
    This filling is so easy! It’s a simple mixture of cream cheese, whipped cream, sugar, and vanilla extract. However, it does require careful folding. Use a large rubber spatula to fold whipped cream into the sweet cream cheese mixture. It’s so delicious, and a nod to the classic red velvet layer cake with cream cheese frosting.

    Assemble the Trifles.
    Begin assembling the cake trifles in your 12 oz. rocks or dessert glasses. Place a layer of red velvet cake cubes at the bottom of each glass.

    Rum-Raspberry Drizzle.
    Something that pastry chefs know, that not all home bakers know, is that sweet, rich desserts like this one can benefit from a tart foil. The acid, or tartness form berries and fruit creates balance to an otherwise too sweet dessert. In this recipe, it’s the rum-raspberry drizzle. It’s a pleasant surprise flavor when you taste it in this dessert. And just the thing to give it balance. Stir together your favorite brand of prepared seedless raspberry jam, rum, and a little orange juice in a small bowl. Spoon a tablespoon of this mixture over the red velvet cake cubes.

    Pipe or dollop the cream filling evenly over the cubes. The mixture pipes beautifully, so I like using a large closed star piping tip (Ateco #849) for a ruffled appearance through the glass.. Although, just dolloping it in looks fine too.

    Repeat the entire process using more of the cake cubes and raspberry-rum mixture. Finish with a big swirl (or dollop) of the cream cheese mixture on top.

    You’ll have some red velvet cake cubes left over, so crumble them with your fingers into a bowl. Then sprinkle them over each trifle for an easy topping.

    Tips for Success.

    Don’t overbake: I mentioned this earlier, but it warrants repeating. This cake is like the pound cake version of red velvet, designed to stand up (and absorb) the rum drizzle. Baking it too long can yield a dry cake with crusty edges.
    Trim any tough cake edges: After testing this cake a couple of times, I found using a light aluminum pan helped to avoid tough edges. However, use whatever pan you have. And if you get some crust edges, just trim them away. These trifles should contain only the soft cubes of cake for the optimal eating pleasure.
    Fold the filling carefully: Whipped cream is folded into sweet, whipped cream cheese for a cloud-like filling. So, take your time when folding the two together. Otherwise you could knock too much air out of it and it could become runny.
    Variation: If you have more than 8 people to serve, consider assembling the components in smaller glasses. The 12 oz. rocks glasses called for make a hearty serving indeed. You could easily use 6 oz. glasses and double your yield!

    Red Velvet Cake – A Southern Tradition.
    Red Velvet cake, with its deep crimson hue and rich, velvety texture, is rooted in Southern tradition but is loved the world over. As a born and bred southern girl, I’ve tried almost every iteration. From red velvet cupcakes to Oreo-stuffed red velvet crinkle cookies and everything in between. I’ve always thought the vibrant color makes it ideal for the Christmas holidays. Now I especially love it as an elegant little dessert trifle that will stand out on your dessert buffet.

    These individual Red Velvet Rum Trifles are not just pretty to look at, they’re rich, creamy and a little punchy with tart rum-raspberry syrup. I think they actually improve after a day in the refrigerator, because the flavors have a chance to marry, and the syrup absorbs into the cake cubes making them moist and flavorful.
    Happy hosting!
    Related recipe: Red Velvet Cream Cheese Swirl Bundt Cake

    Red Velvet Trifles

    Heather Baird

    Serve up the holiday season in a glass! Whether you’re hosting a feast of friends or having a more intimate gathering, these trifles are sure to leave a lasting impression on your guests. Raspberry-rum drizzle keeps the cake moist with a tongue-tingling boozy note, while the cream cheese contrasts the tart raspberry flavor. Make these trifles up to 3 days ahead for fuss-free hosting.For an alcohol-free version, replace the rum with apple juice.

    #wprm-recipe-user-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-full svg * { fill: #5A822B; }#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-33 svg * { fill: url(#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-33); }#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-50 svg * { fill: url(#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-50); }#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-66 svg * { fill: url(#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-66); }linearGradient#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-33 stop { stop-color: #5A822B; }linearGradient#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-50 stop { stop-color: #5A822B; }linearGradient#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-66 stop { stop-color: #5A822B; }No ratings yet

    Prep Time 20 minutes minsCook Time 25 minutes minsTotal Time 45 minutes mins

    Course DessertCuisine Southern United States

    Servings 8 servings

    Equipment8 rocks glasses, 12 oz. capacityPiping bagLarge star decorator piping tipPiping bag
    Ingredients US CustomaryMetric Red velvet cake3/4 cup granulated sugar3 whole large eggs2 egg yolks from large eggs1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract3/4 cup unsalted butter melted2 tablespoons red food color liquid1 1/3 cups cake flour2 tablespoons unsweet cocoa powder1/2 teaspoon baking powder1/4 teaspoon fine grain saltRaspberry-Rum Drizzle1 cup seedless raspberry jam1/4 cup golden rum or spiced rum1/4 cup orange juiceCream cheese filling16 oz. cream cheese at room temperature2 cups heavy cream1/3 cup granulated sugar1 teaspoon vanilla extractRosemary sprigs for garnish
    Instructions Red velvet cakePreheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 13×9-inch baking pan with flour based baking spray, or grease and flour the pan.In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the sugar, eggs, yoks, and vanilla extract. Mix on medium speed until thick and pale, about 5 minutes. Add the melted butter and food color. Mix again.In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Sift the dry mixture over the wet mixture. Mix on low speed until just combined. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the bowl and fold in any streaks of flour.Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until well risen and a toothpick tester inserted near the center comes out clean. Turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.When the cake is cool, use a large chef’s knife to cut the cake slab into 1” cubes. Remove 8 cubes to a small bowl and crumble them with your fingers. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.Rum-raspberry drizzleIn a small mixing bowl, combine the raspberry jam, rum, and orange juice.Whisk together until well combined. Cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel and set aside.Cream cheese fillingPlace the cream cheese in a large bowl and beat with a hand mixer until fluffy. In a separate bowl, beat the heavy cream while gradually adding the sugar. Mix in the vanilla and beat until soft peaks form.Add in 1/4 of the whipped cream to the cream cheese mixture and fold to combine. Add in the remaining whipped cream and fold in gently.Transfer the cream cheese filling to a piping bag fitted with a large open star tip.Assemble the triflesPlace red velvet cake pieces into the 12 oz. glasses about 1/3 of the way up the glass. Drizzle half of the raspberry-rum mixture over the cake pieces in the glasses (a little more than 1 tablespoon per glass).Pipe a swirl of cream cheese filling over the cake cubes in each glass. Top the cream cheese filling with more cake cubes and spoon over the remaining raspberry drizzle into each glass.Pipe a swirl of cream cheese filling over the cake cubes and immediately garnish the tops the reserved bowl of cake crumbles.Cover trifles and refrigerate until ready to serve.Up to 4 hours before serving, add rosemary sprigs standing upright to one side of each trifle.
    NotesVariation: If you have more than 8 people to serve, consider assembling the components in smaller glasses. The 12 oz. rocks glasses called for make a hearty serving indeed. You could easily use 6 oz. glasses and double your yield!

    Keyword christmas dessert, cream cheese, cream cheese filling, holiday desserts, individual Christmas desserts, make ahead deserts, red food color, red velvet cake, red velvet trifles, rum raspberry drizzle

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    Crisp Gingerbread Cookies

    These Crisp Gingerbread Cookies are not just delicious – they double as a sweet Advent calendar to make your holiday countdown extra magical! The high yield dough makes a whole bunch of buttery, spiced cookies with a snappable baked texture.

    With Thanksgiving now in the rearview, there’s no better way to kick off the Christmas festivities than by baking a big batch of gingerbread cookies. (It’s cookie season, after all!) Buttery, spiced, and with a snappy texture, these Crisp Gingerbread Cookies can be fashioned into any shape you like! I decided to stamp the dough with number cookie cutters, for a fun edible advent calendar.
    We all know that classic royal icing is the usual decoration for gingerbread cookies (it’s a favorite of mine!). But this time, I used green modeling chocolate instead (also called covering chocolate). It has the texture of fondant, but it tastes totally different. Think white chocolate flavor meets candy melts color. I used the same cookie cutters that stamped the gingerbread dough to make same-sized green numbers. This makes for some very simple decorating! However, if you’re not into buying a specialty ingredient, I’m including my standard royal icing formula in the recipe notes.

    Make the gingerbread dough.
    To start, mix up the dough in the bowl of an electric mixer – preferably a standing mixer – this makes a lot of thick dough. It shouldn’t be very sticky. There’s a small amount of ground black pepper mixed in, which is nearly undetectable. I think it adds a little more zing to the ginger flavor. Once well blended, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

    Roll the gingerbread dough thin.
    There are two ways to go here. The first option is the old fashioned way: dust your rolling pin and a work surface with flour, and roll the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. The second option, and my favorite technique: roll the dough between sheets of parchment paper to 1/8 inch thickness. The second technique creates less mess and doesn’t leave flour marks on your dough.

    Transfer the cut-outs to baking sheets.
    Now comes the fun part – cutting out the cookies! Use number-shaped cookie cutters to create your Christmas countdown shapes. You can find the ones I used for purchase right here. (I bought the set in 2017, and they come in SO handy for birthdays in particular.) Transfer the cut cookies to baking sheets lined with parchment paper, leaving some space between each one. Bake them until crisp and fragrant.

    As I mentioned earlier, royal icing works just fine, but I had some leftover covering chocolate that I needed to use up. It’s a really easy way to decorate these number cookies – you use the same cookie cutters that you used to stamp the number with to cut the covering chocolate. You can find the covering chocolate I used for purchase right here.

    The covering chocolate has a firm texture and should be kneaded and rolled like fondant, but it adds a candy coated flavor to the mix. Use the same number-shaped cookie cutters to cut out pieces of the covering chocolate. Brush the cookies with a little water, then carefully place the chocolate numbers on top of your gingerbread cookies. The moisture works to ‘glue’ the chocolate to the cookie.

    Add some sprinkles.
    Add dots of piping gel or clear corn syrup to the cookies and then sprinkle on some holiday cheer! The cookies will need to stand overnight for the sprinkles to set completely. As usual, I made my own sprinkle mix from what I had on hand, but this mix is fairly close to my own.

    Aren’t these bags cute? Right after I purchased them, they sold out! (Boo!) If you’re crafty, and you’d like to make your own, you can buy some cotton drawstring bags, this stencil, some fabric paint, and then stencil the image onto the bags. Tie on a red felt tip marker so the recipient can cross off the dates as the cookies are enjoyed.
    All that’s left is to fill the bags! A whole month of cookies will fill each bag to the top. This advent treat is a fun way to (literally) savor each day up to December 25th. And besides, who could say no to cookies every day? ‘Tis the season!

    Crisp Gingerbread Cookies

    Heather Baird

    Whether you’re counting down the days to Christmas or simply indulging in a festive treat, these crisp, buttery gingerbread cookies are a fun way to celebrate cookie season. The high-yield dough is perfectly spiced, buttery, and easy to work with. Roll them thin to 1/8″ thickness for a crisp texture.As I mentioned in the blog post, this dough as a little black pepper mixed in. It’s subtle, and doesn’t stand out. Rather, it underscores the zingy flavor of the ground ginger.Use your favorite cookie cutters for this recipe, such as gingerbread folk or Christmas tree motif cutters. Or use number cookies for an edible Advent calendar.

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    Prep Time 20 minutes minsCook Time 10 minutes mins5 hours chilling and setting time 5 hours hrsTotal Time 5 hours hrs 30 minutes mins

    Course DessertCuisine American

    Servings 4 dozen

    Ingredients US CustomaryMetric Gingerbread cookies6 cups all-purpose flour sifted1 teaspoon baking soda1/2 teaspoon baking powder1 cup unsalted butter 2 sticks 1 cup dark brown sugar packed4 teaspoons ground ginger4 teaspoons ground cinnamon1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves1 1/2 teaspoons salt1/2 teaspoon finely ground pepper2 large eggs1 cup unsulfured molassesDecors1 lb. green covering chocolate such as Choco Pan by Satin IcePiping gel or clear corn syrup1 cup mixed holiday themed sprinkles
    Instructions Gingerbread cookiesIn a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set this mixture aside.In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar until the mixture is fluffy. Add the spices, salt, and pepper, followed by the eggs and molasses. Mix until well combined.Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients on low speed until a cohesive dough forms. Divide the dough into thirds, and wrap each portion in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.Preheat the oven to 350F.On a floured work surface, roll out the chilled dough to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Or, you may choose to roll the dough between sheets of parchment paper. Use number cookie cutter for Advent cookies, or use your favorite cookie cutters to cut out the desired shapes. Re-roll dough and repeat process for more cookies.Transfer the cut-outs to parchment-lined baking sheets, and place them in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to firm up.Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are crisp but not overly browned. Keep a close eye on them as baking times may vary slightly depending on the size of your cookies.Allow the cookies to cool on wire racks before decorating.DecorsKnead the modeling chocolate well and roll out on a work surface or a large piece of parchment paper using a rolling pin. If the chocolate is sticky, dust your surface and rolling pin with a little powdered sugar.Use the same cookie cutters you used to stamp dough shapes to stamp out shapes from the chocolate.Brush a little water on a cooled cookie and top with a matching chocolate cut out. Repeat with remaining cookies.Using a small kitchen-dedicated art brush, apply small beads of piping gel or corn syrup to the chocolate covering on the cookies. Top with holiday sprinkles. Allow cookies to stand until the sprinkles are well set, about 4 hours or overnight.Package the cookies for gifting or for your own enjoyment each day up to December 25th.
    NotesIf you’d rather go classic with royal icing, here’s my favorite recipe made with meringue powder. 
    Royal Icing
    4 cups confectioners’ sugar sifted
    3 tablespoons meringue powder
    1/4 cup warm water plus more for thinning
    1/2 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
    green gel food color

    In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, stir the confectioner’s sugar and meringue powder on low speed until combined. Add the water and beat on medium high speed until very stiff peaks form, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add water drops at a time if too thick. Add flavoring and beat on low until combined; tint with the green gel food color.

    Flood Consistency: Stir drops of water into the icing until it is thinned but still has the consistency of a thick milkshake, this is called flood consistency. To make sure the consistency is correct, drag a spoon through the center of the icing in a straight line, creating an indentation. When the icing is of perfect flood consistency, the indentation should completely disappear in 10 seconds. If it disappears too quickly, then the icing is too thin and will not dry properly. The indentation should disappear as close to the 10 second mark as possible. It is much harder to thicken the icing after it has been thinned than to make thick icing thinner, so take your time and add water drops a few at a time.

    Place a #2 round decorator piping tip into the bottom of a small piping bag; snip off plastic on the end of the piping bag. Fill piping bag with green icing and seal the open end with a rubber band. 

    Pipe an outline of icing around a cookie and then flood the inside of the outline. Use a toothpick to push royal icing into blank areas and gaps. Repeat with remaining cookies. Let stand until set, overnight.
    Continue to decorate with piping gel and sprinkles as directed.

    This recipe was adapted from a Martha Stewart Living Magazine recipe, circa 1997.

    Keyword advent cookie recipe, Chrismas cookie recipe, coarse black pepper, covering chocolate, crisp gingerbread cookies, gingerbread cookie recipe, ground cloves, holiday sprinkles, molasses

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    Three-Cheese Fantails

    In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together 1 cup (125 grams) flour, sugar, salt, yeast, and baking soda by hand.In a small saucepan, heat 3⁄4 cup(180 grams) water and 3 tablespoons (42 grams) butter over medium-low heat until butter is melted and an instant-read thermometer registers 120°F (49°C) to130°F (54°C). Add warm butter mixture and ricotta to flour mixture; using the paddle attachment, beat at medium-low speed until combined, about 1 minute, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. With mixer on low speed, gradually add 2 1⁄4 cups (281 grams) flour, beating just until combined and stopping to scrape sides of bowl.Switch to the dough hook attachment. Beat at medium-low speed until a soft, somewhat sticky dough forms, 12 to 15 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl and dough hook; add up to remaining 1⁄4 cup (31 grams) flour, 1 tablespoon (8 grams) at a time, if dough is too sticky. (Dough will mostly pull away from sides of bowl.) Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and shape into a ball.Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 30 to 45 minutes.Punch down dough; cover and let stand for 10 minutes.In a small microwave-safe bowl, heat remaining 5 tablespoons (71 grams) butter on high in 10-second intervals until melted. In another small bowl, stir together provolone and Parmesan.Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with baking spray with flour.On a lightly floured surface, divide dough in half. Roll half of dough into a 12-inch square. (Keep remaining dough covered with plastic wrap.) Brush 1 tablespoon (14 grams) melted butter onto dough. Cut dough into 12 (6×2-inch) strips. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon (8 grams) cheese mixture onto each of 10 strips. Stack 5 strips, cheese side up, on top of each other; place 1 plain strip, butter side down, on top. Repeat with remaining 6 strips of dough. Using a floured serrated knife, cut each dough stack crosswise into 3 (2-inch) squares. Place dough squares, cut side up, in prepared muffin cups. Repeat procedure with remaining dough, 1 tablespoon (14 grams) melted butter, and cheese mixture. Sprinkle any remaining cheese mixture onto dough in cups. Loosely cover dough with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until dough fills cups, 15 to 25 minutes.Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).In a small bowl, whisk together egg and remaining 1 tablespoon (15 grams) water; brush onto dough.Bake until lightly browned,12 to 15 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Stir parsley into remaining melted butter; brush onto rolls. Serve warm. LEGGI TUTTO

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