In the final installment of recipes from the recent New Year's Day party, I'm offering the desserts I served. For a buffet-style party, I always like to offer a selection of desserts. This time, guests enjoyed three: My Mother's Raisin Bars, a simple, pleasing sheet-cake style cookie bar rich with spices, butter, plump raisins and a vanilla icing. The second dessert was Pumpkin Squares with Chocolate Chips and Crystallized Ginger, little moist cakes adorned with dark chocolate buttons and a generous amount chopped crystallized ginger. And the most spectacular of desserts? Brownie Tower, made of deep, rich brownie squares stacked in a pyramid, covered in strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries, drizzled with both white and dark chocolate and constructed while guests watched.
Technically, these are easy desserts. You should have no trouble replicating them at home. Plan to make a Brownie Tower next time you are having an important dinner or party. It never fails to impress. I love to watch the faces of my guests as I present a large platter of chocolate and fruit. It's truly beautiful and jaw-dropping.
My Mother's Raisin Bars
Find this recipe in a previous post, here.
Pumpkin Squares with Chocolate Chips and Crystallized Ginger
You can also make this into loaves (enough for two 9 x 5 or four 6 x 31/2) or 24 muffins. Larger loaves will take about 45-55 minutes to bake, smaller loaves about 35 minutes, muffins about 18 minutes. Delicious in any form.
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 16 oz. can pumpkin
3 cups sifted flour
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. salt
2 cups chocolate chips or chunks (use semi-sweet or look for "65% cocoa" or higher on the label)
1 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine sugar and oil in a large bowl and blend well with electric mixer.
3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat until light.
4. Beat in pumpkin, blending well.
5. Sift flour together with baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt, then add to pumpkin mixture.
6. Mix batter well at low speed until blended.
7. Pour batter into a greased sheet cake pan or sided cookie sheet (or into loaf pans or muffin cups).
8. Sprinkle evenly with chocolate chips, then with crystallized ginger.
9. Bake for approximately 20 to 22 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
10. Mark into small square while chocolate is still soft, then cut squares when cakes is completely cool. Makes 2 to 3 dozen cake squares.
1 1/2 recipes of My Gal Pal's Brownies, cut into 1" squares
2 cups whole strawberries, washed and dried well
1 cup each blueberries, blackberries and raspberries, washed and dried well
2 Tbs. shortening, divided
8 oz. white chocolate
8 oz. dark chocolate
1. Stack brownie squares in a pyramid on a serving platter.
2. Arrange strawberries on top of and around the brownies, securing with toothpicks if necessary,
3. Scatter remaining berries on top of and around the brownies.
4. Melt white chocolate with 1 Tbs. shortening for about 30 seconds in microwave until liquified.
5. Drizzle white chocolate over brownies and berries.
6. Melt dark chocolate with 1 Tbs. shortening for about 30 seconds in microwave until liquified.
7. Drizzle dark chocolate over brownies and berries.
8. Serve your awe-struck guests. Serves about 24 people generously.