The Dessert Table

What’s a holiday without a bit of indulgence?

Here are easy-to-bake sweet treats guaranteed to make the grand finale to Christmas dinner jolly and bright, for you and your guests!

Gingerbread Spice Cupcakes

From CupCakeBite, Fuquay-Varina

Makes 12.

1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons molasses
3/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon and cloves into medium bowl.

In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter, brown sugar, eggs and molasses until blended.

Using a spoon, mix in flour in three additions and water in two additions. Begin and end with flour. Stir until flour is incorporated and batter is smooth.

Dispense batter evenly into lined muffin tins. Bake 18 minutes. Cool completely and top with vanilla cream cheese frosting, recipe below.

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat on medium speed until smooth. Add butter, and beat until fluffy.

Reduce speed to low; gradually add sugar and vanilla and continue beating until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes.

Chocolate Raspberry Tart

From Whisk, Cary

This 10-inch tart serves 8-10 people.

    1¼   cups flour
    ¼     cup cocoa powder
    ½     cup (1 stick) chilled butter
    ¼     cup sugar
    ¼     teaspoon salt
    1      tablespoon ice water
    1      egg yolk, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Dice chilled butter into small pieces.

Mix flour, cocoa powder, butter, sugar and salt in a food processor. Stir and add water until dough forms. Add in egg yolk and stir.

Tip: If you don’t have a food processor, your own two hands work just as well.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes. Once chilled, roll the dough out and place into 10-inch pie or tart pan.

Tip: Roll tart crust up onto your rolling pin to make it easier to lay out on the tart pan.

Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Chocolate Raspberry Filling

    ¾    cup heavy cream
    1     egg
    4     ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
    2     ounces dark chocolate chips
    Raspberry jam or preserves to taste

Add both kinds of chocolate chips into a large heat-proof mixing bowl. Heat the cream until it boils and pour over the chocolate chips. Stir until the chocolate is smooth.

Add the egg and desired amount of raspberry preserves. Pour the filling into the tart pan. Bake at 375 degrees F for 15-20 minutes.

Allow the tart to cool. Garnish with fresh raspberries.

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