I have been told the best way to learn how to cook and bake is to “just go for it.” So, in an effort to become more confident and familiar in the kitchen, I bought myself a cookbook and did just that.
Recently I made a close-friend a tiramisu dessert for her birthday. After finishing the dessert, I realized I had gone a little overboard shopping for the ingredients. I had two options for the left over ingredients. The first option was to find a recipe and make something with the left over ingredients. The second was to pack everything up and hope to use the food before it went bad. Since I was in a ‘dessert-making’ mood I went with the first.
I started by looking online for desserts that included ladyfingers, heavy whipping cream, marsala, and/or dark rum. I didn’t find much of anything that had those ingredients except for tiramisu. So, I decided to be creative in the kitchen.
I chose to make something with peanut butter and bananas and basically followed the tiramisu recipe by taking the core ingredient and recreated the textures with new components and flavors. I whipped the heavy whipping cream until it was light and fluffy, and then I threw in a little of the dark rum and some vanilla extract to bump up the flavor of the whipped mixture. Yummy!
When making tiramisu the mascarpone mixture is crucial to the texture of the dessert. Since I had already used all of my mascarpone I had to improvise… so instead I used cream cheese and peanut butter. Mascarpone is an Italian sweet cream cheese that is softer, sweeter, and smoother than traditional cream cheese. After a few taste tests, I realized my mixture wasn’t quite sweet or smooth enough. I wasn’t sure the best way to handle this dilemma, so I called my friend Susan – my go-to girl for baking advice. She quickly prescribed powdered sugar to my dessert. I was on my way!
I folded the whipping cream mixture into the peanut butter cream cheese mixture. The two combined to make a light, rich, smooth and creamy mixture. Now it was time to assemble my dessert. I covered the bottom of the dish with ladyfingers, followed by a layer of sliced bananas, scooped and spread half of my peanut butter cream mixture, and topped it off with ground semi-sweet chocolate. I repeated the layers again and topped it off with a few banana slices I had left and a good layer of the ground chocolate.
It turned out delightful! I did have some things I would do different the next time around, such as using more bananas, but all in all it was a great success. I don’t have a name for it yet, but feel free to comment if you have any suggestions.
Good luck on your next in-the-kitchen adventure! Here is a “kid-friendly” tiramisu perfect for little hands. Follow this delicious tiramisu cupcake recipe! It makes for 18 – perfect for a party!
- 1 1/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
- 3 large whole eggs plus 3 egg yolks, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- Coffee-Marsala Syrup
- Mascarpone Frosting
- Unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting
Coffee-Marsala Syrup Recipe
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon freshly brewed very strong coffee (or espresso)
- 1 ounce marsala
- 1/4 cup sugar
Stir together coffee, marsala, and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Let cool.
Mascarpone Frosting Recipe
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk heavy cream until stiff peaks form (be careful not to overbeat, or cream will be grainy). In another bowl, whisk together mascarpone and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Gently fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture until completely incorporated. Use immediately.
Tiramisu Cupcake Recipe
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Heat milk and vanilla-bean pod and seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat just until bubbles appear around the edge. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter until melted, and let stand 15 minutes. Strain milk mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, and discard vanilla-bean pod.
- With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk together whole eggs, yolks, and sugar. Set mixing bowl over a pan of simmering water, and whisk by hand until sugar is dissolved and mixture is warm, about 6 minutes. Remove bowl from heat. With an electric mixer on high speed, whisk until mixture is fluffy, pale yellow, and thick enough to hold a ribbon on the surface for several seconds when whisk is lifted.
- Gently but thoroughly fold flour mixture into the egg mixture in three batches; stir 1/2 cup batter into the strained milk mixture to thicken, then fold milk mixture into the remaining batter until just combined.
- Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until centers are completely set and edges are light golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes.
- To finish, brush tops of cupcakes evenly with coffee-marsala syrup; repeat until all syrup has been used. Allow cupcakes to absorb liquid 30 minutes. Dollop frosting onto cupcakes; refrigerate up to overnight in airtight containers. Dust generously with cocoa powder just before serving.
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