Make a special treat for mom this weekend

From simple to complex, make a Mother’s Day dessert to honor the woman who does it all for you

    Even if the coronavirus is going to keep your family apart this Mother’s Day, make mom a special treat to let her know you appreciate all she does.
    After all, she’s always been there for you, bandaging skinned knees and being your biggest cheerleader.
    Pick her a bouquet of her favorite flowers, serve her breakfast in bed or make a meal with the foods she loves best. But don’t forget a delicious dessert.
    It doesn’t have to be elaborate. No matter what your skill set, there’s a treat to match, everything from a tray of fresh fruit to a skillfully decorated cake.
    If you’re not sure what to make, something chocolate is always good.
    Chocolate can be used in cookies that are eaten out of hand or dipped in a fondue to create a decadent treat. You could also dip biscotti, fresh and dried fruits, small pieces of cake, pretzels or marshmallows in a chocolate fondue.
    Or try a simple truffle. Although truffles sound fancy, they are really quite simple to make.
    If all else fails, pick up a cake from the store and decorate it to celebrate your mom. Use flowers or a tiny toy to personalize the dessert. Try piping a design or message with frosting. Garnish with sprinkles, sanding sugar, candies or other treats.
    Or serve it as is, perhaps with a scoop of mom’s favorite ice cream.
    After all, it is a day to celebrate, not to count calories.
    Following are some dessert recipes from and

Death by Chocolate Brownies

1-1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt and cocoa powder.
    Set a large heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water to create a double-boiler. Add butter and 1-1/2 cups chocolate chips to bowl. Heat, stirring occasionally until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Remove bowl from heat, then whisk in sugars and stir until combined.
    Add eggs, one at a time, stirring well between each addition, then stir in vanilla. Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture and fold in dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until just combined. Fold in remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips.
    Pour batter into a buttered 9-by-13-inch pan lined with parchment paper. Bake in a 350-degree oven about 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs. Let cool completely in pan.


Margarita Cupcakes

For cupcakes:
1 cup butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
Juice of 3 limes, plus zest of 1 lime
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup milk, preferably whole or 2%
For frosting:
1 cup butter, softened
5 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup tequila
Coarse salt, for garnish
Lime zest, for garnish
Small lime wedges, for garnish

    In a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add lime juice, zest and vanilla and mix until combined.
    In another large bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Add half the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, beating until just combined. Pour in milk and mix until fully incorporated. Add remaining dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
    Line two cupcake tins with 18 liners, then fill liners three-quarters full with batter.
    Bake in a 350-degree oven about 25 minutes, until slightly golden and a toothpick inserted into center of each cupcake comes out clean.
    Let cupcakes cool in pans five to 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
    In a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat butter, half the powdered sugar, lime juice and tequila until light and fluffy. Add remaining powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
    Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes. Garnish with coarse salt, lime zest and lime wedges and a decorative straw before serving.


Strawberry Shortcake Cheesecake

Vanilla cake mix, plus ingredients called for on box
2 8-ounce blocks cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 cup cold heavy cream
3 cups strawberries, 2 cups sliced and the rest whole

    In a large bowl, mix the ingredients for the vanilla cake. Pour 1/2 cup batter in an eight-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray, covering the bottom of your pan. Save the rest of the batter for a separate cake. Bake as directed until golden and a toothpick comes out dry.
    In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese about two minutes, until light and fluffy. Add sugar to combine, then gradually add cream and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form.
    Press the slices of strawberry along the edge of the springform pan, so the bottoms of the strawberries touch the cake. Place whole strawberries on the surface of the cake leaving about one-half inch between each. Cover with the cheesecake mixture and refrigerate five to six hours.
    Garnish with more chopped strawberries. Serve.

Chocolate Lava Cakes

For cakes:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 egg
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon flour
For serving:
2 scoops vanilla ice cream
Fresh raspberries
Fresh mint sprigs

    In a microwave-safe bowl, combine butter and chocolate chips. Heat on high for 45 seconds. Remove and stir vigorously to completely melt chips. Return to microwave for a few seconds if they aren’t melted.
    In a medium mixing bowl, combine egg, sugar and a pinch of salt. Whisk about two minutes, until sugar is dissolved.
    Add egg mixture to the melted chocolate mixture and stir to combine. Stir in flour until just blended.
    Carefully spoon the mixture into two cupcake liners set in a cupcake tin and coated with cooking spray. The cups will be filled to the top. Bake in a 450-degree oven for 10 minutes, until the edges are firm but the middle is still soft.
    Remove from oven and place on wire rack. Cool the cakes in the pan for 10 minutes.
    After 10 minutes, lift cakes out of muffin tin, being careful not to squeeze the cakes. Gently flip cakes onto small serving dishes and slowly peel away the liner.
    Top each cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Garnish with fresh raspberries and mint. Serve warm.


Blueberry Upside Down Cake

1-1/2 cups blueberries
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 tablespoons golden corn syrup
7 ounces butter, softened
7 ounces caster sugar or superfine granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2-1/2 cups self-rising flour, sifted
1 ounce almonds, ground
Greek yogurt or heavy cream, for serving

    Place blueberries, juice of half the lemon, lemon zest and corn syrup into a saucepan. Cook over medium heat about 10 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the berries begin to soften but before they break up or lose their shape. Remove from the heat and cool.
    Put butter and sugar in a stand mixer with a beater attachment. Beat until the mixture becomes light, airy, and pale in color.         Beat in one egg and one tablespoon flour, mixing until incorporated. Repeat, one at a time, with the remaining eggs and two more tablespoons flour.
    Mix the remaining flour with the ground almond in a bowl. Gently fold the flour mixture into the butter mixture.
    Pour cooled fruit and syrup mixture into an eight-inch springform pan lined with parchment paper. Pour cake batter over top and level with a spatula, taking care not to knock the air out of the cake mix.
    Bake in a 350-degree oven for 50 minutes, until risen and golden brown on top and a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
    Place cake on a cooling rack and leave for 15 minutes, then turn cake out onto a serving plate. Serve plain or with a little Greek yogurt or heavy cream.


Traditional French Dark Chocolate Truffles

2/3 cup heavy cream
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into very small pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup premium dark cocoa powder

    Heat heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until hot and starting to bubble but not boiling. Remove cream from the heat immediately.
    Add the finely chopped chocolate and vanilla extract and stir with a wooden spoon until completely smooth.
    Chill in the refrigerator until ganache is hard enough to roll into balls.
    Measure each truffle by the heaping teaspoonful, using your hands to quickly roll ganache into a ball. If the ganache gets too warm, put it back in the refrigerator for a few minutes to firm up. Work quickly so that your hands don’t melt the chocolate too much.
    Chill the balls, a few at a time, as you go.
    Place cocoa powder in a shallow dish, then quickly roll each truffle in the cocoa powder. Refrigerate in an airtight container as long as five days, until serving.
    One of the secrets to making truffles is to work quickly, keeping all the equipment cool. Keep your hands cool by rinsing under cold water then drying before rolling the truffles.


Raspberry Red Velvet Bundt Cake

For cake:
8 ounces soft butter plus 1 tablespoon for greasing
1-3/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 lemon, zest only
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon red food coloring
2-1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sour cream or buttermilk
1 cup frozen raspberries
For glaze:
4 ounces full-fat cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 to 3 tablespoons milk

    Cream butter and sugar in a stand mixer using a paddle beater until the butter and sugar turn pale in color and smooth in texture.
    With the mixer running, add the eggs, one at a time, and beat into the mixture until fully incorporated before adding the next. Add all but one teaspoon lemon zest, vanilla extract and food coloring. Mix again.
    In another bowl, lightly whisk together flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt. Mix one-third of the flour mixture and one-third of the sour cream into the butter mixture. Repeat twice more.
    Fill a buttered 10-cup bundt tin halfway with the batter, then carefully lay the raspberries on the surface in an even layer. Cover with the remaining batter and bake in a 350-degree oven for one hour, check from time to time that the cake is not browning too quickly. If it is, lower the heat slightly. The cake is ready when a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
    Let cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn it out onto a cooling rack, letting it fall and not forcing it. Remove the tin and let it cool.
    Whisk the cream cheese with either an electric or hand whisk to create a light cream. Add the powdered sugar and whisk, then whisk in the lemon juice and zest. Whisk in the milk a little at a time until you get a thick but pourable consistency. Slowly pour the glaze onto the center of the cake and allow it to trickle down the sides and center.
    The cake will keep for a two to three days in an airtight tin and also freezes well for up to a month if unglazed.


Strawberry Creme Parfaits

12 amaretti biscuits
2 tablespoons amaretto liqueur
2 cups fresh strawberries
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

    Place amaretti biscuits in a plastic bag and gently crush with a rolling pin until they resemble coarse sand. Remove a couple of tablespoons and set aside.
    Spoon an even amount of crumbs into two glass dessert dishes or wine glasses. Press the crumbs firmly with the back of a spatula, then spoon ameretto over the top. Refrigerate.
    Wash, hull and dry the strawberries. Choose three or four of the largest, well-shaped strawberries and slice as thinly as you can. Then finely chop the remaining strawberries.
    Once the biscuit base is chilled, lay strawberry slices evenly over the base and up the sides of the glasses in an even line. Repeat with a second row that’s behind and overlapping the previous fruit, reserving a few slices of strawberry for decoration.
    Fill the middle of the glass with half of the chopped strawberries, then refrigerate.
    Whip the cream, vanilla extract and powdered sugar using a stand or hand mixer to create stiff peaks. Take care not to overwhip the cream. Pipe the whipped cream into each glass using a piping bag fitted with a large plain nozzle or layer using a spoon. Top with another layer of chopped strawberries and finish with more cream. Decorate the top with a few slices of strawberries and some amaretti crumbs.
    If the parfaits are not going to be eaten immediately, cover each glass with plastic wrap and refrigerate. They are best eaten the same day as they are made.






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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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