Here are some super sweets to prepare the next time you have company. They’re decadent and definitely not low in calories, so these recipes are best saved for special occasions!
The first recipe comes from cookbook author and caterer Susan Mendelson of Vancouver. Her recipes have been favourites in kitchens around the globe for nearly 30 years. I often receive requests on how to make Molten Lava Cakes so this recipe will be a luscious addition to your culinary repertoire. The recipe was given to Susan Mendelson by Hawaiian friends who promised that it would be a memorable dessert. I’m sure you’ll agree!
LAZY GOURMET’S LAVA CAKES
Source: Mama Now Cooks Like This by Susan Mendelson (Whitecap)
3/4 cup butter
1/2 pound semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
4 whole eggs
4 egg yolks
Melt butter and chocolate in a saucepan over low heat.
Mix sugar and cornstarch together in a bowl. Crack eggs into another bowl and whisk yolks into whole eggs.
When chocolate has melted, remove from heat. Whisk in sugar-cornstarch mixture until blended. Add eggs and stir until smooth. Chill in the fridge overnight.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Line 8 metal rings (you can use 1 1/2-inch deep tin cans with both ends opened) with a strip of parchment paper, or grease 1/2 cup ramekins. Set the rings on the baking sheet and brush generously with butter. Scoop chocolate filling into each one, filling them two-thirds full.
Bake in preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Slice a metal spatula under cakes and transfer to serving plates. Gently slide the rings off cakes and remove the parchment. Dust with icing sugar and serve immediately.
Makes 8 servings.
These squares are quick to make when I don’t have much time to spend in the kitchen. I can mix them up in about 2 minutes in my food processor, so they’re ideal when asked to bring a delicious dessert for a pot luck event. I often bake them in advance and freeze them. When I did catering in Montreal, these were a staple in my repertoire. They’re very rich and luscious, so cut them in small squares.
NORENE’S LEMON SQUARES
Source: The NEW Food Processor Bible by Norene Gilletz (Whitecap)
1 cup butter or margarine, cut in chunks
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 to 1/3 cup lemon juice (preferably fresh, but bottled is also fine)
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
Preheat oven to 350 F.
For base: Process base ingredients on the Steel Blade of a food processor until crumbly, about 20 seconds. Press into sprayed 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until golden.
For topping: Process topping ingredients until blended, about 10 seconds. Pour over base. Bake 25 to 30 minutes longer, until golden. Cut into squares when cool.
Yield: about 48 squares. Freezes well.
The recipe for these addictive cookies comes from my “pan-pal” Cori Freedman. A few months ago I was visiting my daughter and her family in Richmond, BC. We were having dinner in a Chinese restaurant with a mutual friend. Cori, her daughter and her grandchildren stopped by our table to chat for a few minutes. After the meal, they stopped by once again and Cori reached into her purse and gave each of us one of these yummy cookies from her “Bubbie-Bag.”
Cori told me “These are the cookies that my grandchildren adore, so I always bring them along with me to give to them as a special treat when we go out for dinner together.” I asked her to share the recipe with me and received the following email from her:
“I am sorry that it took some time to email to you. My daughter Alexis has been nagging me to send it to you. The recipe came from a magazine advertisement and I’ve adapted it to make in my food processor. I hope your family (and your readers) enjoy these cookies as much as mine does!”
CORI’S TOFFEE CHOCOLATE ALMOND CRUNCHIES
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1 pkg (200g) Skor toffee bits
1 cup chocolate chips (milk or dark chocolate)
3/4 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup dried cranberries, if desired
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a food processor, process butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and egg together until smooth. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and process until blended. Blend in vanilla. Remove mixture from the processor bowl and transfer it to a large mixing bowl. Stir in the oats, toffee bits, chocolate chips, almonds (and dried cranberries, if using), until well combined. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets.
3. Bake on the middle rack in a 375 degree F oven for 8 to 12 minutes, or until light golden. Cool for 5 minutes on sheet, then transfer to rack and cool completely.
Makes about 4 dozen. Freezes well.