Bourbon Layered Brownie with Chocolate Mousse, Crème Fraîche Whipped Cream, & Candied Pecans

Bourbon Layered Brownie with Chocolate Mousse, Crème Fraîche Whipped Cream, & Candied Pecans

Choose your dessert straight up in a bourbon glass. Ditch that famous pie this Kentucky Derby and offer your guests a layered dessert in a bourbon rocks glass. We fitted bourbon infused brownies in the bottom of bourbon rocks glasses then added bourbon chocolate mousse, crème fraîche whipped cream and topped them with candied pecans. It’s a whole new twist on a“neat” bourbon.

Bourbon Brownie
INGREDIENTS
⅓ cup butter, plus extra softened to grease the pan
Ground unsweetened cocoa to flour the pan
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup granulated sugar
3-1/2 ounces chopped high-quality bittersweet chocolate, preferably Scharffen-Berger chocolate
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons bourbon

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. With softened butter, grease an 8 x 8” baking pan. Line the bottom and up two sides with one piece of parchment; grease the parchment. Flour the pan and parchment liner with unsweetened ground cocoa; set aside.

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan combine sugar, butter, and 2 tablespoons of water. Cook and stir over medium heat just until boiling. Remove from heat.

Stir in the chopped chocolate pieces until melted. In a large bowl combine the eggs and vanilla. Slowly temper in the warm chocolate mixture into the eggs beating with a whisk until just combined. Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan, spreading evenly.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean and edges start to pull away from sides of pan. Place pan on a wire rack and brush the top of the hot brownies with the bourbon. The brownies can be made a day ahead of time. Wrap airtight after completely cooled and store at room temperature.

Candied Pecans
INGREDIENTS
1 egg white
¼ cup sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
1 cup whole pecans
2 teaspoons turbinado sugar

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat oven to 325° F. Line a quarter baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk the egg whites until frothy. Add the sugar, salt, and whisk to incorporate. Toss in the pecans and mix until coated. Pour the nuts on the prepared baking sheet. Separate and place the nuts flat side down and sprinkle the tops with the turbinado sugar. Bake for 15 minutes or until browned. Let cool completely. Can be made a day ahead of time. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Bourbon Chocolate Mousse
INGREDIENTS
½ cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoons kosher salt
4 ounces high quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped, preferably Scharffen-Berger chocolate
4 large egg whites, at room temperature

INSTRUCTIONS
Bring the heavy cream and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan and immediately remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the bourbon, vanilla and salt. Add the chocolate and let it sit for 5 minutes without stirring. Whisk the chocolate and cream until smooth and transfer to a large bowl.

In another bowl, beat the egg whites with a mixer on high speed until they form stiff peaks. With a rubber spatula, fold about one-third of the beaten whites into the chocolate to lighten it. Then gently fold in the remaining whites, in two batches, just until the white streaks disappear, being careful not to deflate the whites. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Vanilla Whipped Cream With Crème Fraîche
INGREDIENTS
1 ½ tablespoons confectioners sugar
1 cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoons crème fraîche

INSTRUCTIONS
Chill the mixing bowl and whisk for 30 minutes in the freezer. Add the sugar and cream to the chilled bowl and fit an electric mixer fitted with the chilled whisk. Beat to medium peaks. Add the vanilla and crème fraîche then beat until incorporated and mixture is forming stiff peaks.

Assembly On The Day Of Your Event
Using a small knife or cookie cutter, cut a piece of brownie to fit inside the bottom of each of the six bourbon rocks glasses. Top with ⅙ of the chocolate mousse, then ⅙ of the vanilla whipped cream. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve. Right before serving, top each with the candied pecans.

Trail Mix Cookies With Brown Butter Drizzle

Trail Mix Cookies With Brown Butter Drizzle

These delicious morsels not only taste great and travel well but also sustain travelers well. So if you are headed out for a spring day or down to the waterfront to celebrate the seasonal events, bring some Trail Mix Cookies packed full of nuts, dried fruit, oats, coconut, chocolate chips and peanut butter chips to keep your energy going. The brown butter drizzle icing isn’t necessary, but we just loved the extra flavor.

INGREDIENTS
Cookies
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
½ teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1 tablespoon warm water
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted and cooled
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup peanut butter chips
½ cup roasted and salted peanuts
½ cup roasted and salted cashew pieces
½ cup raisins

Brown Butter Icing
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons milk

INSTRUCTIONS
Cookies
In a small bowl combine the flour, salt, and oats. In the work bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and with the sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, the baking soda mixture and the vanilla. Add the flour/oat mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in the coconut, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, peanuts, cashews, and raisins. Cover and chill the dough for one hour in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Drop rounds of two tablespoons of the dough about two inches apart onto parchment lined baking sheets. Flatten the tops then bake the cookies in batches in the middle of the oven for 12 to 14 minutes, or until they are golden. Cool slightly on the baking sheets then transfer them with a metal spatula to cooling racks, and let them cool completely.

Brown Butter Icing
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat until nut-brown in color, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat, and pour the melted butter into a bowl, leaving any dark brown sediment behind in the pan; discard the residue. Add the sugar, vanilla, and one tablespoon milk; whisk until smooth. If the icing is too thick to thin you can add the extra milk one tablespoon at a time whisking until you reach your desired consistency.   Drizzle over the cookies and allow the icing to set before packing and storing in air-tight containers.

Makes about 24 cookies.

Black Olive, Roasted Garlic, and Rosemary Flatbread

Black Olive, Roasted Garlic, and Rosemary Flatbread

A welcome start for any spring event, appetizer, or a light dinner, our flatbread is chewy on the inside, crispy and crunchy on the outside. Covered in roasted garlic, black olives, parmesan cheese and fresh rosemary, it’s perfect for dipping in a fresh tomato sauce. You can substitute green-pitted olives for the black or if you’re not an olive fan, the flatbread tastes great without the olives too. This recipe showcases the pizza dough, so use a high-quality brand of either thawed, frozen store purchased or fresh homemade.

INGREDIENTS
1 large garlic bulb
Olive oil
Kosher salt
½ pound fresh homemade or thawed, frozen store-bought pizza dough
12 pitted black olives, cut in half
15 small sprigs fresh rosemary, about 3-5 leaves per sprig
½ cup shredded Parmesan Cheese, plus 1 teaspoon, divided
½ cup canned or boxed fresh tomatoes, chopped
fresh ground pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
3-4 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat an oven to 375˚F. Cut the top off the garlic bulb exposing the cloves. Place on top of a piece of foil in a small baking pan. Sprinkle with olive oil and salt. Place on a sheet tray and bake for 20 minutes until the cloves are browned and softened. Remove from the oven but leave the oven on. Cool slightly so you can remove the roasted cloves from the garlic skins.

Lightly brush olive oil on a 9”x13” quarter sheet pan; sprinkle the pan lightly with salt. Roll out the dough on a floured board to 12 x 14” then press the pizza dough evenly to fit inside the pan. Set aside.

Preheat the oven temperature up to 450˚F.

Brush the top of the dough lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place the black olives, roasted garlic cloves, and rosemary evenly on the dough and pressing them slightly into the dough. Top with ½ cup shredded Parmesan Cheese. Place in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes until the edges and bottom are browned. Remove and cool slightly. Cut in half lengthwise then into 16 long pieces.

In a blender add the fresh tomatoes, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoons black pepper and the garlic powder; process until smooth. Pour in a serving bowl and top with the remaining cheese and basil leaves. Serve on a platter with the cut flatbread. Make 4-6 servings.

Vietnamese Summer Rolls

Vietnamese Summer Rolls

Summer rolls, also known as fresh spring rolls, are a refreshing light dish to make with rice paper wrappers rolled around fresh crunchy vegetables, chilled shrimp, fresh herbs, and rice noodles. Dip your summer rolls in an easy blender-made spicy peanut sauce to compliment the crunchy vegetables. Not dense like a fried Asian roll, these refreshingly delicious bites will have you thinking of the coming summer days.

Vietnamese summer roll is not at all difficult to make. If you’re careful not to overstuff, the rice paper rounds are very forgiving. The process might look intimidating but is quite simple. In fact, the more you make, the easier it gets. Be sure to use soft lettuce leaves, like Bibb or Boston, rather than crispy like an iceberg, so they wrap nicely around your vegetables.

INGREDIENTS
Summer Rolls
4 ounces rice vermicelli noodles
8 jumbo shrimp, peeled, deveined, and butterflied open
8 rice paper rounds, 8-9” in diameter
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves only
½ cup enoki mushrooms, available at Whole Foods and Asian Grocery Stores
24 matchstick cut pieces cucumber, cut as long as the shrimp
24 matchstick cut pieces carrot, cut, as long as the shrimp
8 green soft lettuce leaves

Peanut sauce
1″ piece ginger, peeled, chopped
1 small garlic clove, chopped
½ cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
¼ teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons chopped, salted peanuts

INSTRUCTIONS
Summer Rolls
Preheat the oven to 325˚ degrees. Skewer the shrimp to hold them flat and open. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 5-6 minutes until done. Cool and remove the skewers.

Bring a pot of water to 180˚F. Put noodles in a large bowl. Pour enough water over to cover; let stand until softened about 5 minutes. Drain and immediately transfer to a large bowl of ice water to cool; drain and set aside.

Fill a flat shallow dish, like a pie pan, with warm water. Working with 1 rice paper round at a time, soak rice paper in water, occasionally turning, until just pliable but not limp, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a work surface – preferably marble or a similar slick non-porous surface. Arrange a shrimp in the center of the rice paper round. Top with some cilantro, 3 matchstick-cut cucumbers, and 3 matchstick-cut carrots. Arrange a small handful of noodles and enoki mushrooms over the vegetables; place 1 lettuce leaf over the top of all the vegetables. Fold the bottom up and over filling, then fold in ends and roll like a burrito into a tight cylinder. Transfer roll, seam side down, to a platter. Repeat to make 7 more rolls. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and refrigerate.

Peanut Sauce
In a blender combine the ginger, garlic clove, peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, toasted sesame oil, red pepper flakes, and blend, adding tablespoons of water, if needed, to thin until smooth. Pour into a serving bowl and top with chopped peanuts.

To serve
Cut rolls in half on diagonal and serve with the peanut sauce. Makes 4 servings, 2 rolls each.