Wow with these dessert recipes

In one of my family’s favorite “Seinfeld” episodes, Elaine complains about co-workers bringing cakes to the office to celebrate everything from birthdays to sick days. I’m kind of like that when it comes to desserts: I’ve been known to whip up a fancy treat to commemorate a series of “events,” from an adult child coming home for the weekend to a COVID test. -19 negative. .

While family and friends regularly roll their eyes at my offerings, they still devour the desserts.

My method is to make elaborate indulgences with little effort. Sometimes that just involves planning ahead and stocking up on a few essential ingredients. I’m also looking for ways my recipes can overlap. I can make a tough dessert for Sunday night and use the ingredients to make sweeter dishes later in the week.

An example of this is Death by Chocolate, a recipe that friends and I have been making for years, combining chocolate brownies, pudding and candy in an elegant version of a British trifle. It can be served in a large dish or in individual portions. Having brownies, puddings and cake mixes on hand is always a good idea. Plus, I’m never without whipped topping in my fridge and freezer.

A few other pantry staples include graham crackers, cocoa powder (a good Dutch brand like Guittard is my favorite), and a variety of chocolate bars, including dark, milk, and baking chocolate.

Aside from the chocolate trifle, a few of my favorite desserts are individual chocolate soufflés and lime tart cheesecakes. I make the souffles just before dinner and put them in the oven while we eat so they can be served warm. They are rich and smooth and the perfect amount of sweetness. The recipe is for two individual servings, so I double or triple the ingredients depending on how many meals I’ll be feeding.

Fresh limes are available during the summer months and are worth using for their zest and juice in mini cheesecakes. But a good bottled lime juice would also work.

The best part about both treats is that they’re lighter Weight Watchers recipes (each serving is 7 points), but family and friends would never know about their deliciousness.

death by chocolate

1 package (19.8 ounces) brownie mix

2 packages (3.9 ounces) instant chocolate pudding mix

1 container (16 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed

3 bars (1.4 ounces) chocolate-covered toffee or other chocolate-covered candy

Prepare brownies as directed. Let cool.

Mix pudding as directed and add 1 cup to 1 ½ cups whipped topping.

In a glass bowl or in individual dishes, arrange in the following order: half of the crumbled brownies; half the pudding; 1 caramel or other crushed chocolate bar; half the whipped topping.

Repeat the layers in the same order. Save the last piece of candy bar to crumble and sprinkle before serving.

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You can also garnish the trifle with anything you like, including maraschino cherries or other fruit, nuts, or chocolate shavings.

Mini Key lime cheesecakes

⅓ cup graham cracker crumbs (buy packaged crumbs or process 2½ graham cracker sheets)

1 teaspoon unsalted butter, melted

1 pinch of salt

4 ounces low-fat cream cheese, at room temperature

6 tablespoons non-fat plain Greek yogurt, at room temperature

⅓ cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

2 teaspoons lime zest from Key limes (can use Persian limes)

2½ teaspoons fresh lime juice

6 tablespoons “light” whipped topping

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a regular sized muffin pan with six paper cupcake liners.

In a small bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and salt. Spoon crumb mixture evenly into bottom of cupcake pans (about 1 tbsp in each); press lightly with back of spoon to flatten. Cook 5 minutes.

While the crusts bake, beat together the cream cheese, yogurt, sugar, egg, lime juice and lime zest until smooth. Pour mixture evenly into prepared pan (about 1/4 rounded cup in each); bake until top is set, about 20 minutes.

Let cool completely (about 1 hour); top each cake with 1 tablespoon whipped topping and lime zest.

Individual chocolate soufflés

Cooking spray

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided

3 tablespoons low-fat chocolate milk

1 large egg

½ teaspoon powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 6-ounce ramekins with nonstick spray.

In a small saucepan, whisk together cocoa powder, flour and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar; put on medium heat. Add milk; cook, stirring constantly, until smooth and slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat egg white until just frothy. Slowly add 1 tablespoon of the remaining granulated sugar and continue beating until soft peaks form. Fold the cooled chocolate mixture into the egg whites a little at a time, folding until there are no more white streaks.

Divide the batter evenly between the ramekins. Bake until the soufflés have risen and the top is slightly dry, 14 to 16 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve hot.

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