Decked out desserts for dummies

Can’t impress your parents with great marks? Postscript shows you how to blow them away with your skills in the kitchen

Rum Raisin Apple Pie
Rum Raisin Apple Pie
Photo: 
Chocolate-And Almond-Dipped Cookied
Chocolate-And Almond-Dipped Cookied
Photo: 
Vanilla Pudding Chocolate Chip Cookies
Vanilla Pudding Chocolate Chip Cookies
Photo: 
Peppermint Cosmo
Peppermint Cosmo
Photo: 

Rum Raisin Apple Pie
Ingredients:
• 1.5 tablespoons dark rum
• 1/6 cup raisins
• 2/6 cup packed light brown sugar
• 1.5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 3 medium apples, ranging from sweet to tart (2 1/2 lb)
• Pastry dough for a double-crust > pie
• 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
• 1 teaspoons milk
• 1/2 tablespoon sanding sugar

Bring rum with raisins to a boil in a 1-quart heavy saucepan, then remove from heat and let stand, covered, 1 hour. Put oven rack in middle position with a large heavy baking sheet on rack and preheat oven to 425°F.

Rub together brown sugar, flour, zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt with your fingers in a large bowl until no lumps remain. Peel and core apples, then cut into 1/2-inch-wide wedges and add to sugar mixture, tossing gently to coat. Add raisins with any liquid and toss until combined.

Roll out larger piece of dough into a 13-inch round (keep remaining piece chilled) on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate (4-cup capacity) and trim edge, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Chill shell while rolling out top crust.

Roll out smaller piece of dough on a lightly floured surface with lightly floured rolling pin into an 11-inch round.

Spoon filling evenly into shell, then dot top with butter. Brush pastry overhang with some of milk, then cover pie with pastry round. Trim pastry flush with edge of pie plate using kitchen shears, then press edges together and
crimp decoratively.

Lightly brush top of pie with some of remaining milk and sprinkle all over with sanding sugar. Cut 3 steam vents in top crust with a small sharp knife.

Bake pie on hot baking sheet 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F and continue to bake until crust is golden and filling is bubbling, 45 to 50 minutes more. Cool pie on a rack to warm or room temperature, about
11/2 hours.

—Source: Epicurious.com

Chocolate-And Almond-Dipped Cookied
Ingredients:
• 1/4 cup slivered almonds
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
• 1 large egg yolk
• 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Place slivered almonds in processor and add 1/4 cup sugar. Grind almonds finely. Using electric mixer, beat butter and remaining 3/4 cup sugar in large bowl until well blended. Beat in egg yolk, vanilla extract, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add ground-nut mixture and flour and beat until moist clumps form. Gather dough into 2 balls; flatten each ball into disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to
2 days.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out half of dough between sheets of waxed paper or parchment paper to scant 1/4-inch thickness, sprinkling dough lightly with flour as needed to keep from sticking and occasionally peeling off top paper to remove wrinkles. Peel off top sheet. Using 2 1/2x1 1/2-inch oval cookie cutter (or cardboard template), cut out cookies. If dough is soft, slide rimless baking sheet under paper and chill 10 minutes to firm. Transfer cookies to prepared sheets, spacing 1/2 inch apart. Gather scraps and reroll dough, cutting out more cookies. Chill cookies on sheets 15 minutes before baking.

Position racks in top third and bottom third of oven; preheat to 325°F. Bake cookies 5 minutes. Reverse sheets and bake until cookies begin to color, about 6 minutes. Cool cookies on sheets 5 minutes.

Stir chocolate in top of double boiler over simmering water until smooth. Place almonds in small bowl. Dip end of 1 cookie in chocolate, then in almonds. Transfer to sheet of foil. Repeat with remaining cookies. Let stand until garnish is set. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight in refrigerator in single layers between sheets of waxed paper).
—Source: Epicurious.com

Vanilla Pudding Chocolate Chip Cookies
Ingredients:
• 1 cup unsalted butter, melted, cooled
• 1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• 102 g box instant vanilla pudding mix
• 2 tbsp milk
• 2 large eggs
• 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 tsp each: baking powder, baking soda
• 2 cups milk chocolate chips
Makes about 36.

In large mixing bowl, using wooden spoon, mix butter and sugars until creamy. Stir in pudding mix and milk, then eggs and vanilla. Add flour, baking powder and baking soda; stir until batter is smooth. Stir in chocolate chips.
Drop batter by heaping tablespoonsful on
non-stick cookie sheets. Bake, in batches, in preheated 350F oven 12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool 10 minutes on cookie sheet. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely. Store in
airtight container.
— Source: Canadianbaker.blogspot.com

Peppermint Cosmo
Ingredients:
• 1 cup pomegranate juice
• Juice of 1 lime
• 4 ounces vodka
• 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
• 8 ice cubes
• 8 mini candy canes
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Combine juices, vodka, peppermint and 1/2 cup water in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into 8 shot glasses. Garnish with candy canes and mint.
—Source: Epicurious.com

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