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The Last Decadent Dessert

Gianduja Mousse and World Peach Cookies

What did you do for New Year’s Eve? We spent the evening with dear friends. We enjoyed a delicious dinner and libations and good company. We brought oysters and dessert. Laury made an amazing Vietnamese caramel fish with rice and Asian vegetables.

As a decadent finale to the past month of indulgent eating, I made Gianduja Mousse from Food & Wine. That’s Chocolate Hazelnut in Italian.

This super-simple dessert was both light and rich at the same time. First, Nutella and crème fraiche are mixed together with some Frangelico. Next, you whip cream until firm. Finally, the whipped cream is folded into the chocolate mixture until fully blended. The mousse is spooned into individual serving dishes, and it’s dessert! I doubled the recipe, which is supposed to serve 4, which made a total of 6 bowls of mousse.

The recipe suggested serving the mousse with chocolate wafer cookies, which inspired me to make a batch of World Peace Cookies. While I’m not a huge chocolate fan, this recipe is so good that these are, hands down, one of my favorite cookie recipes. Another slice-and-bake recipe, so they are easy too.

The gianduja mousse was a hit! It’s a company-worthy dessert that I’m adding to my repertoire. Trader Joe’s has their own spin on a chocolate spread. Theirs is cocoa-almond. I plan to try a version of this with TJ’s cocoa-almond spread with Amaretto to see how that turns out.

The mousse having been enjoyed, now it’s time for some lighter eating for a while…

tuesdays with dorie / baking with julia: best-ever brownies

Homemade brownies… I’ve tried many different recipes over many years. Though this might be sacrilege to say, at my house, the boxed version typically wins. The brand varies over time. The current favorite is Ghirardelli Triple Chocolate Brownies from Costco. When I saw that this week’s recipe for Tuesdays with Dorie was “Best-Ever Brownies”, I knew I’d have to try them out and see how they matched up.

I love how the recipe starts out by stating if your brownie preference is cakey (vs. fudgy) to just move onto a different recipe. Fortunately, we are firmly in the fudgy camp.

This recipe starts by melting bittersweet and unsweetened chocolate with butter. Then, an egg and sugar mixture is slowly mixed into the chocolate. More of the egg and sugar mixture is whipped until it turns a lovely pale yellow shade which gets gently folded into the chocolate. Finally, the flour is gently folded in as well.

The brownies bake until they are just set. I checked them after the recommended 23 minutes, but let them go for 25 minutes. Then, we had to wait for them to cool (torture!). When it was time to cut into them, the brownies were moist and fudgy. There was the slightest of crust of top. There would have been even less if I’d taken them out on initial checking at 23 minutes.

The judges at my house are tough. How did this recipe match up against the box mix? Howard said they were pretty good, better than most from scratch recipes we’ve tried, though maybe not “best-ever”. Were they better than Ghirardelli? It was a close matchup. While both fudgy, they were different kinds of brownies. These brownies were all about the fudgy center, without much regard for the edges. Personally, I’m an edge eater. I love the chewy (not cakey) edges and especially the corners of brownies. Ghirardelli has more edges to balance the fudgy interior. But, even if these weren’t best-ever, they were still damn good.

If you want to try for yourself, visit this week’s host Monica’s site A Beautiful Mess where she shares the recipe. The recipe can also be found in Dorie Greenspan’s book, written with Julia Child, Baking with Julia. You can also visit the Tuesdays with Dorie LYL post for this recipe to find links to other baker’s brownie experiences.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!