Thank goodness for friends. I was searching for a boozy dessert and one of my many boozy friends came to the rescue! Zuccotto is a brandy-brushed pound cake shingled in a bowl and filled with dark chocolate mousse and sweet almond cream. It’s beyond words. Photo: Becca Henry
During my formative years in Central New York, the “Lunch Ladies” had one treat that would create a full-on frenzy. “There’s scotch bars for lunch!” would spread through school like wildfire. Imagine a bar cookie so dense with peanut butter and chocolate chips that you needed two cartons of milk. If you have a peanut butter fanatic in your life, make this and they will worship you, albeit with peanut butter breath. Photo: Danie Woodward.
SCOTCH BARS (non-greased 9×13 dish, oven at 350)
Beat together with a mixer, until uniform:
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) room temp butter
1 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter (don’t use natural here, good old store brand holds together)
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Stir in, in 3 batches:
2 1/2 cups flour mixed with 2 tsp baking powder
1 bag (2 cups) chocolate chips
This mixture will be quite dry. like wet sand. Press into a 9×13 oblong pan. Bake 350 degrees 20 minutes until the top is light brown. Let cool and cut into squares.
After tasting one of these little cakes, I spent the rest of the weekend trying NOT to devour the remaining three. It was extremely difficult. This resulted in me constantly jabbering about them to my niece, “Oh Danie, those nut cakes are SO good!” and “Holy crap, I can’t believe how delicious those nut cakes are.” Her reply was spot on…”You are what you eat.”
Regardless of your obsessive behaviors, with just a few ingredients, (nuts, eggs, butter, breadcrumbs, sugar and Irish cream liqueur) you can have lovely nut cakes. There are some techniques involved; it’s like a souffle (but SO WORTH IT). I used cashews instead of walnuts. Next, I’m going to try almonds. Photo: Danie Woodward.
This is an easy bark with four ingredients, plus salt. Yum has never been so easy. She’s like a Kardashian in a room full of pro basketball players. I altered this recipe by swapping smoked, salted almonds for the pricey Marcona almonds, but both are delicious. Photo: Danie Woodward.
Is there a easier and faster dessert than this? I doubt it. Take fruit and sear on grill or stovetop until warm and tender. Top with créme fraiche or greek yogurt. Drizzle with honey, agave syrup or chocolate sauce. Done in 8 minutes and delicious. Endless combinations and great for large parties. Set up a drizzle bar! Photo: Becca Henry.