Lemon Cheesecake Birds’ Nests

Lemon Cheesecake Birds’ Nests

These cute individual trifles are perfect for your upcoming holiday dessert. We used cinnamon and sugar phyllo dough strips for the “nest” and Williams-Sonoma seasonal candy eggs over a lemon cheesecake filling with a shortbread cookie base. Need to cut some time? Simply use high-quality store-purchased shortbread cookies instead of baking your own.

Phyllo Dough Nest
6 sheets of phyllo dough
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet tray. Cut 6 sheets of phyllo dough in half to make 12 shorter sheets. Roll together tightly and very thinly slice into long thin pieces then transfer to a baking sheet carefully separating the layers.
Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle with butter, then with cinnamon sugar. Bake until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove and cool completely. Best used on the day they are made, but you can store in an air-tight container overnight. Re-crisp if needed in the oven for on 300˚F for 10 minutes, cool to room temp before using.

Shortbread Crumbs
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature, plus more for the pan
½ cup plus two tablespoons granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon vanilla
6 glass serving cups

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Butter an 8×8” pan. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed for 3-4 minutes. Fold in flour and vanilla and blend until a soft dough forms. Press into the 8” x 8” pan and bake until light brown, about 40 minutes; remove and cool completely. Crumble then divide equally among the cups and press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the cups. Or store in an air tight container over night and add the cups when ready to use.

Lemon Cream Cheese Layers
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
¾ cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
2½ cups cold heavy cream
1 cup homemade or store-bought lemon curd

Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat mascarpone, powdered sugar, and lemon zest in a large bowl until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Reduce speed to low and gradually add the cream. When combined, increase the speed to medium and beat until medium peaks form.
Transfer half of mascarpone mixture to another bowl. Add the lemon curd to the remaining half and beat in until combined.
Dividing the mixtures evenly, layer the lemon curd mixture over the shortbread crumbs in each cup followed by the plain mascarpone /cream mixture. Smooth the top, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least two hours and up until 24.

When ready to serve
Candy bird eggs

Form a nest in the top of each cup using the shorter pieces of cinnamon phyllo in the center and longer on the outside. Add the candy eggs into the center of the nest and serve immediately.

Banana Bread With Caramelized Banana Topping

Banana Bread With Caramelized Banana Topping

With its moist texture and super-soft crumb, our Banana Bread is dripping with a deliciously
dark caramel sauce and topped with whole bananas sliced in half. Definitely a bread worth
going bananas over that you’ll make again and again.

For the caramel

1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup dark moscovado sugar
4 small bananas, peeled, sliced lengthwise

For the banana bread
¼ cup unsalted butter at room temperature, plus more for the pan
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup dark moscovado sugar
⅓ sour cream
2 large eggs
4 large very ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup chopped toasted* walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly coat the sides of a 9” springform pan with butter and line
the bottom with a parchment paper round. Lightly butter the parchment.

Make the caramel:
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the moscovado sugar and cook
until the sugar has melted, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and pour into
the parchment lined springform pan. Press the bananas, flat side down with the
rounded side up into the caramel. Set aside while you make the bread.

Make the banana bread:
In a medium size bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
Using a mixer on medium-high speed, beat the softened butter, muscovado sugar, and
sour cream, in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a
time, beating to blend after each addition and scraping down sides and bottom of the
bowl as needed. Add mashed bananas and mix just until combined.

Reduce speed to low, and slowly add flour mixture, then mix until just combined. Stir
the walnuts into the batter. Gently, and carefully, spoon the batter over the bananas
and caramel, smoothing the top. Place on parchment lined baking sheet and then in the
oven.Bake for 65 minutes until a cake tester comes out with a moist crumb or two.
Let cool on a cooling rack for 30 minutes to set the caramel, then remove the ring and
carefully invert the bread onto another cooling rack. Carefully remove the parchment

Let cool to room temperature. Makes 12 wedge servings.

*Place the nuts on a sheet tray in a preheated 325˚F oven and bake for 10 minutes or
until toasted slightly brown.

Bourbon Chocolate Mousse Cups With Candied Fresh Mint Leaves

Bourbon Chocolate Mousse Cups With Candied Fresh Mint Leaves

February is the month of chocolate love and we are all in with these tasty little Bourbon bites – Dark Chocolate Bourbon Mousse in a crunchy delicious dark chocolate cup topped with Candied Fresh Mint Leaves.

Bourbon Chocolate Mousse
½ cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
4 ounces high quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped, preferably Scharffen-Berger chocolate
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
24 chocolate dessert cups, 64% dark Belgian Chocolate such as ChocoMaker
24 candied mint leaves, recipe below

Put the heavy cream and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. As soon as the mixture starts to boil, 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 until the white streaks just disappear, being careful to not deflate the egg whites. Place the mousse in the refrigerator for at 30 minutes. When cooled, in small amounts add the mousse to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe the mousse into the chocolate cups and refrigerate in one layer in an airtight container until ready to serve. Top each with a candied mint leaf right before serving.

Candied Mint Leaves
¼ cup sugar
24 fresh mint leaves, washed, patted dry
1 large egg white, at room temperature, beaten until foamy

Place the sugar in small shallow bowl. Take one mint leaf at a time and using a pastry brush,
apply lightly with egg white to each side, then dredge in the sugar. Transfer the mint leaf to a parchment lined sheet tray. Repeat with remaining mint leaves. Let stand at room temperature until dry, about 3 hours. Can be made one day ahead and store in airtight container at room temperature.

Chocolate Whipped Cream & Strawberry Cups

Chocolate Whipped Cream & Strawberry Cups

Celebrate the season with this easy no-bake holiday dessert. Using only five ingredients, it
comes together quickly and taste delicious.

1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for sprinkling
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup Strawberry jam, homemade or high quality
24 Chocolate cups

Sift the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa together. With an electric hand mixer, start whipping
the cream. Slowly add the sugar-cocoa mixture. Whip to the consistency of soft whipped
cream, about 4 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of strawberry jam teaspoon to the chocolate cups,
top with the whipped cream and sprinkle with chocolate. Serve immediately.

Ginger Raisin Cookies

Ginger Raisin Cookies

Nothing smells better during the holidays then ginger cookies baking in the oven. So, get your
holiday baking going with these delicious rum raisin and candied ginger favorites.

½ cup raisins
½ cup dark rum
2 ¼ cups White Lily flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 ½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp kosher salt
1 cup Dark Muscovado sugar
¼ cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup molasses
1 large egg
1-1/2 cups chopped crystallized ginger
turbinado sugar for rolling

Place the raisins and rumin a sauce pan on the stove top and over medium heat to a simmer.
Remove from the heat and set aside so the raisins can soak up the rum for about 15 minutes.
Drain off any remaining rum.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger and salt
together. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the dark muscovado sugar, oil and molasses on
medium for about 5 minutes. Add the egg and beat for another minute. Scrape the bowl, beat
again for another minute and turn the mixer to low. Add the dry ingredients slowly, then
increase the speed to medium and mix until everything is well combined about 2 minutes. Stir
in the crystallized ginger and the rum soaked raisins. Place in the refrigerator and chill for 24-36

Heat the oven to 350˚F. Scoop the dough into a 1-1/2 inch balls and roll in turbinado sugar. Place on the parchment covered baking sheet about 3 inches apart and bake for 13-15 minutes.

Cool on the cookie sheet for a couple of minutes and then cool completely on a rack. Store in
an air tight container.

Mini Chocolate Peppermint Cookie Cups

Mini Chocolate Peppermint Cookie Cups

Our deep dark chocolate two-bite Peppermint Bark Cookie Cups – Mini-muffin size dark
chocolate & black chocolate crisp cookie cups are filled with melted white chocolate and
topped with a sprinkle of crushed peppermint.

2 cups flour
1/4 cup dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/4 cup black cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup room temperature butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces white chocolate, chopped
¼ cup crushed candy cane

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray two mini cupcake pans with cooking spray.
Whisk together flour, cocoa powders, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. Beat the butter and sugars on med-high until light and fluffy. Reduce speed and add eggs one at a time and vanilla.
Beat until combined. Add flour mixture and mix until just combined. Scoop about a tablespoon of dough into muffin cups in the pan. Bake for 10-13mins or until set, but still soft in the middle.
Remove from oven and immediately use a small spoon to press firmly down in the center to create a well. Evenly sprinkle the white chocolate into the well in each cup. Place back in the oven for 3 minutes to melt the chocolate. Immediately top with a sprinkle of the crushed candy cane. Cool completely until the chocolate is set.