Roasted Pears with Vanilla Ice Cream (and caramel)

The perfect Valentine’s day dessert! These treats are pretty easy to make as long as you plan ahead and are perfectly portioned.

Roasted vanilla pear, recipe courtesy of the every-wonderful and oh-so-reliable Smitten Kitchen.  I used vanilla bean paste instead of real beans because that’s just what I had on hand.

Cold homemade vanilla bean ice cream on top of a warm pear straight from the oven. 

It stated to melt before I could take good pictures, so I just dug in and enjoyed the beautiful mess. 

And yes, that would be homemade caramel sauce on top. Caramel is my baking nemesis, but Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond’s recipe made it so easy.  The roasted pears also made their own sauce of wonderful pear drippings. I drizzled some of that on too, because I couldn’t find a reason not to.

A candle for ambiance. The guests will just have to wait and drool – I’m busy taking artsy pictures over here!

This last picture was taken before I licked the plate clean. Judge all you’d like – it was absolutely delicious.

Yummy Mousse/Chocolate/Cheesecake/Raspberry Thing

I don’t really have a name for this fabulous dessert, so I’ll just explain what’s in it, layer by later.

At the bottom, I cut out a ring of flourless chocolate cake.

Above the chocolate cake layer is a tin but decadent layer of dark chocolate ganache.

The pink layer is a tart raspberry mousse, made with raspberry and whipped cream. That was my favorite and I used the leftovers to fill a cake. So tasty and it helped lighten up this super-rich dessert quite a bit.

The chocolate layer in the middle is a mixture of mini chocolate chips and chocolate ganache. This added some nice texture with a crunch from the chips.

The light layer almost at the top is vanilla bean cheesecake. Deliciously perfect.

It’s all drenched in gooey chocolate ganache.

And drizzled with homemade raspberry sauce.

I was happy with how all the elements went together nicely. Even though this was a very rich dessert, most of us completely polished off out plates! Next I have to try this with a layer of ice cream…

Lots and Lots of Green Cupcakes

So, I made cupcakes a few months ago.  Lots and lots of them. And they were delicious. I’ve baked for years, but, because I always gobble up everything I make,  I’ve never tackled the transportation problem. To change that, I made about 200 mini cupcakes to bring to work so I could see how well these treats handled the ride and the summer heat. 

In case you can’t tell, we had a color-wars type thing happening at camp that week. Can you guess which team my campers were on?

I’ll give you a hint. Here we have some green velvet cupcakes dipped in sprinkles with cream cheese frosting.

And some vanilla bean green (no, not vanilla green bean) cupcakes with chocolate frosting.

If you spent this post imagining what 150 cupcakes look like at my dining room table at midnight, today’s your lucky day.

They traveled beautifully and lasted all day in an air-conditioned room. I bought 1/2 sheet boxes and used a mini cupcake size insert so there were 48 babycakes in each box. Dumped them in my trunk, drove normally, and ta da! The only problem I had was preventing myself from taking that 5th cupcakes when there was only one left at the end of the day. After all, it really didn’t make sense to take just one home all by itself, did it?

A Truffle or Two

First, I should explain that I bake because I get this “I can do that” feeling whenever I eat something sweet. I get so much satisfaction from recreating treats I’ve tasted and that is how I ended up with dozens and dozens of truffles.

Unfortunately I didn’t get any in-progress shots, but I can show you the final product! Most of these pictures were taking by Stephanie, as usual. She rushed over to my house in the morning right before I delivered the treat.

 Oh yes, and I made the box out of chocolate, too (a graduation present for a good friend). It was easier than it looks and pretty sturdy, too!

Ready for each type of truffle?

Here’s the raspberry truffle.  I made a fresh raspberry filling – tart and just the right amount of sweet.

This one has a coffee buttercream center.

And a vanilla bean filling

This one was my favorite – cinnamon caramel filling with chopped pecans.

Mint chocolate ganache in the center

And creamy ganache dipped in chocolate, then rolled in toasted pecan crumbs.

Well, I guess I could have another…