What is your inspiration?

Yes, this is a new adventure for me and I am at the point where I am truly inspired. It’s a project that has been on my mind for months, letting any excuse repeatedly get in the way of moving forward. There’s risk when starting something new. There is a trade off toward the other ways I was spending my time, and there is always the unknown. After attending Rachel Hollis’ documentary last week, Made for More I simply decided…. NOW IS THE TIME to let my inspiration become a reality.

If you have read the About page,  you know fullsizeoutput_42efthat I recently hosted a housewarming party in our new house.  I LOVE to bake, so of course no party is complete without something sweet. The good news is my husband has a very gracious team of colleagues who are happy to enjoy any leftovers, regardless of the purpose or event.  My waistline appreciates their support!

This gorgeous sterling silver tray was my grandmother’s. When she moved into an assisted living cottage so my grandfather could receive memory care, I was blessed to receive several of her beautiful serving dishes. Thanks to The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond’s cookbook Year of Holidays, I found the perfect finale for the party! The Lemon Creme Pie, Cherry Cheesecake & Chocolate Caramel shooters were a hit and pretty darn easy to make.  Since I don’t have 50+ shot glasses in my china cabinet, I hit the digital waves to purchase some clear plastic mini dessert cups with demitasse spoons. This option made clean up easier too – what’s not to love about that?!

As usual, there are ways I tweak a recipe to either fit my pantry or my personal tastes. For instance, it’s not that I dislike mint, in fact I LOVE mint chocolate chip ice cream, but a jar of French caramel sauce from the local chocolatier was calling my name. I also felt the Chocolate & Caramel might be better received by a diverse audience than the Chocolate Mint Ree includes in her cookbook. It must have been a good decision because the guests raved about them.

Another tweak for the chocolate cream was to use a mixture of milk and semisweet chips. I am not a huge fan of bitter chocolate, or even semisweet. Therefore, my pantry always has larger quantities of milk than semisweet chocolate chips. So, half milk and half semisweet was the pairing, and I am so glad that I did. Strong coffee helps melt these chips and as a tea drinker, the coffee and darker chocolate would have been more bitter than I desire.

My revised Chocolate Caramel Shooters recipe:

6 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
6 oz. milk chocolate chips
4 eggs, room temperature
1 cup instant espresso coffee made with boiling water (unless you have a pot of coffee on while you’re baking)

Place the chocolate chips in a blender, add the eggs, and blend for 20 seconds until the chocolate chips are pulverized. With the blender on medium speed, slowly pour in the hot coffee until it is mixed.  Use a mini cookie scoop or a squirt bottle to fill the shot glasses 2/3 full.  Chill for at least two hours, or until firm.  Before serving, top with whipped cream and drizzle a slightly warm caramel sauce over the top.

Whipped Cream*
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Whip the heavy cream with the sugar until stiff. Then place in a pastry bag or a decorator pump with a large star tip.  Pipe the dollops on top of each glass. *Double the recipe if you are also making the Lemon Creme Pie shooters.  2 cups of heavy cream is sufficient for both recipes.

The Cherry Cheesecake Shooters are so smooth and traditional, a perfect compliment to the trio. For some odd reason, I struggled with only 1 tsp. of cornstarch. After chilling the cherry compote overnight thinking it would continue to set up, I still found the butter content too high and the mixture too thin, so I put it back on the stove with a tbls. of cornstarch mixed with cold water and set it to boil. I included the whiskey but omitted the almond extract and was so pleased with the final result. It ismkejke7fqhav2z0qetltya so yummy and not crazy sweet like the canned jars of cherry pie filling.

And finally, the Lemon Creme Pie

1/2 c. fresh lemon juice

1 cup sugar
5 eggs
1/2 c. butter, cut into pieces
6 lemon cookies, crushed
Lemon wedges, for garnish

Into a medium saucepan, add the lemon juice, sugar and whisk to combine. Add the eggs, butter, and whisk gently over medium-low heat until butter is melted. Continue cooking slowly, stirring constantly until very thick. Pour into a bowl and chill for at least 2 hours. While it is chilling, make the whipped cream (recipe above).  You are now ready to assemble!

Using a pastry bag, decorator pump, or mini cookie scoop, place a small amount of lemon curd into the shot glasses (mini dessert cups).  Pipe in a small amount of whipped cream. Sprinkle a small amount of cookie crumbs. Repeat with another layer of curd, whipped cream and final sprinkling of crumbs.  A tiny wedge of lemon tops it off! Chill at least 2 hours before serving.

Since I made all three flavors and two of them needed the whipped cream, I followed the recipes in the book and had far too much. Ree uses 2 cups cream for the lemon and 1 cup for chocolate. Two cups of heavy cream is sufficient if you don’t want leftover whipped cream in the fridge. The added powdered sugar is just sweet enough for a beautiful topping and so much better than the chemical version of whipped topping found in your freezer section.

The best part about these little shooters? You don’t have to eat just one! Because I used the 3 oz. dessert cups and each was only about 2/3 full, you could try one of each and not go over the top for your sweet tooth.

I hope you enjoy these as much as our guests (and me)!

Copyright © 2019 Montana Mountain Maven / Tina R. Cusker. All rights reserved.

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