This will be brief. I know you're probably just as busy as I am with Christmas a mere week away. I can hardly believe how fast time has flown by this year!
While the weather outside has been truly frightful, (check out our ice-encased trees!) my kitchen has been cozy and delightful. Here are a couple of easy Christmas treats that have warmed my home.
Edit: I nearly forgot! I'm blogging for Pixiq now! I'll be doing future postings of food photography 101 and food styling tutorials. You can find my first article here.
The truffles are a variation of the super easy chocolate & cream cheese truffles. They are made a little more fancy with mascarpone cheese. The texture is so very smooth and it packs a big coffee punch! These would be a great gift for the coffee lover in your life.
I decided to create my own version of gingerbread pie since I could only find one or two recipes available on the web. I adapted my favorite custard pie with molasses, brown sugar, ginger and cinnamon. It has a beautiful moist texture and can be served with or without the mile-high marshmallow meringue.
Gingerbread Pie [Click for Printable]
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup molasses (not black strap)
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 1/2 tbsp flour
pinch of salt
2 tsp ground ginger (or more to taste)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 9" ready-made pie shell
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Using a hand mixer, combine butter, brown sugar and molasses until creamy. Add flour, salt and spices; mix again until combined. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add buttermilk and vanilla and mix until a consistent batter forms. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake for 50-55 minutes until custard has set and is not jiggly in the middle when moved.
3 egg whites
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 -7oz. jar of marshmallow creme
Beat egg whites, vanilla and salt at high speed until foamy. Gradually add sugar 1 tbsp at a time, beating until stiff peaks form.
Beat in 1/4 of the marshmallow creme. Repeat with remaining creme until meringue is well mixed and fluffy.
Heap meringue in the middle of the cooled pie and swirl with the back of a spoon or spatula. (I used a pastry comb for stripes.) Bake at 400 until browned. A kitchen torch may also be used.
*Note: Meringue should be made the same day you plan to serve it on the pie. After a couple of days it will begin to lose volume.
Coffee Mascarpone Truffles
Yield about 40-50 truffles [Click for Printable]
2-12 oz packages semisweet chocolate chips (I love using mini chips, they melt evenly)
1 - 8 oz package mascarpone cheese, softened
2-3 tbsp instant coffee granules dissolved in 1 tsp hot water
Unsweetened cocoa powder for rolling truffles
*or 1 lb chocolate bark for dipping
Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler. Add mascarpone cheese and coffee mixture; fold together with a spatula. Pour into an 8x8 pan and allow to chill until firm enough to scoop into balls. Roll into 1" balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Chill for 1-2 hours. Roll in cocoa or dip in melted chocolate bark. Store in parchment lined tins.