Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Dessert Shooters

Last night we hosted a small Christmas party at our house for one of my husband's business groups.  I made an awesome machaca with fresh tortillas and all the fixings.  Machaca is a spicy shredded beef that is popular at nearly every Mexican restaurant here in Arizona.  It is by far one of my favorite foods!  One of these days I will share my recipe, but today, I am here to talk dessert.

Last summer I was wasting time perusing Pinterest and came across a number of photos of dessert shooters - decadent desserts, served in shot glasses.  These mini dessert delights give you a small taste of a yummy dessert.  Generally, you would serve several different varieties which would give your guests a small taste of several yummy treats.  Think about it, how often are you at a party or event and feel you have to choose between the cheesecake, pie, cake, etc. because there is no way you could eat an entire piece of more than one?

I spotted some nice, clear plastic disposable shot glasses at The Dollar Tree and new immediately that we would be serving dessert shooters sometime soon.  Well, last night was the night.  Since this was going to be a small group, I decided on doing two simple mousse desserts!  Mmmmmmm!

A dessert shooter is really just a method of serving a dessert.  Feasibly, most any dessert can be presented in a small cup.  You can layer pie, shortcake, pudding, fillings, etc. for a fun and unique presentation.  I decided to keep my first attempt somewhat simple with a couple of mousse desserts.  Besides, the dark chocolate mousse recipe has got to be one of my favorites - amazingly delicious and simple.  I partnered it with another classic holiday flavor - a pumpkin cheesecake mousse.

A friend of mine shared this delicious dark chocolate mousse recipe with me last Christmas when I was looking for a light, but decadent dessert to pare with our holiday feast! These small bites were perfect - although, I will admit, I ate several.  Two bites is just not enough!

Dark Chocolate Mousse

5 1/4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
14 ounces heavy cream
3 large egg whites
1 ounce sugar
sweetened whipped cream, for garnish (optional)
shaved bittersweet chocolate, for garnish (optional)

Place chocolate in a large bowl set over a Bain-marie or in a double boiler at a low simmer.  Stir chocolate until melted.  Turn off the heat and let stand.

Beat the cream until it forms soft peaks.  Set aside.  With a clean mixer, whip egg whites to soft peaks.  Gradually add the sugar and continued whipping until firm.

Remove the chocolate from the Bain-marie and using a whisk, fold in the egg whites all at once.  When the whites are almost completely incorporated, fold in the whipped cream.  Cover the mousse and refrigerate for approximately 1 hour or until set.**  Serve in goblets topped with more whipped cream and shaved chocolate if desired.

** I skipped this step of letting the mousse set up.  Using a piping bag, I filled my individual shot glasses with the mousse and then refrigerated.  Just prior to serving, I piped on some sweetened whipped cream and shaved a little chocolate on top.

I was serving a variety of chocolate candies and treats so I knew I wanted a non-chocolate dessert to provide some variety.  Since pumpkin pie is a classic holiday dessert I offered a twist using these flavors with a pumpkin cheesecake mousse.  I did a Google search and came across a few different recipes but ended up modifying this no-bake pumpkin cheesecake recipe from Kraft Foods and Philadelphia cream cheese.  Here is my version:

Pumpkin Cheesecake Mousse

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 can (14 ounces) pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
14 ounces heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
Sweetened whipped cream, for garnish (optional)
Fresh grated nutmeg, for garnish (optional)

Beat cream cheese, pumpkin, sugar and pumpkin pie spice with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended.  Gently fold in the whipped cream.  Refrigerate until set, 2-3 hours.  Serve in goblets topped with whipped cream and nutmeg, if desired.**

** Like the chocolate mousse, I skipped this step and placed the mousse in a piping bag to fill my shot glasses and then refrigerated until set.  Just prior to serving, I topped them with whipped cream and grated nutmeg.

*** While this recipe was good, I will try blending the pumpkin, spice and an egg or two over low heat to help develop the pumpkin flavor and offer a richer texture.  The pumpkin tasted "raw", unlike the pumpkin pie flavor I was hoping to achieve.  Let me know if you try this and what you think.

 The dessert shooters where a huge hit and will most definitely be served again.  While I used disposable shot glasses, I did try to salvage as many as I could and washed them up to use again.  I may have to keep my eye open for a bunch of shot or cordial glasses in the future.  I know I have seen a variety of sets of cordial glasses at the thrift store.

If you are looking to serve these at a party, I would plan for your guests to have 3-4 desserts (or one of each kind, depending on how many varieties you are serving) each.  

Also, depending on the glasses you are using, you may need to find some small demitasse spoons so that you can get all of the dessert out of the cup.  My cups were wide enough that I was able to use a teaspoon for my desserts (I used plastic).  If regular spoons would not have worked, I was planning to hit the party store or restaurant supply to find a small sample spoon much like you find at ice cream shops.

This was such a fun dessert for a fun event.  I look forward to trying other dessert shooters in the future.  Truly, the options are endless.

1 comment:

  1. yes! machaca recipe please! :) the desserts look fantastic too!


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