It was an honor to make desserts for the East Central Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Fire & Ice formal fundraising event this year.
It was tough to make a final choice for this year’s dessert. For the 2011 event, I made Raspberry White Chocolate Truffle Baby Cheesecakes and they were a crowd favorite. This year, event organizers, Darilyn and Julie, narrowed it down to Italian Tuxedo Parfaits and Andes Mint Baby Cheesecakes. Since the night’s theme colors were an elegant black and red damask pattern, the parfaits made the cut, and we moved the Andes Mint cheesecake babies to the 2013 gala’s short list of possibilities.
It all starts with good-quality chocolate and my favorite amaretto liqueur, which appears not to have started the day as a full bottle. Sampling my friends, sampling.
A tower of butter is needed to bake enough brownies for 240 guests.
We served the light desserts in petite wine glasses.
The recipe in today’s post makes one large triffle bowl full of deliciousness. Of course, it’s always fun to serve them as individual trifles.
(A special thank you to Mike, the Brookings Hy-Vee Produce Manager, who spent part of the morning picking out some of the best strawberries with me! …and for making sure I had enough Ghirardelli white chocolate.)
Italian Tuxedo Trifle
- large trifle bowl
- 1½ cups unsalted butter, melted, 3 sticks
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 cups sugar
- 4 eggs, large
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon pure almond extract or bakery emulsion
- 4 tablespoons Italian amaretto liqueur, like Disaronno
- 1 cup 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Silky White Cream
- 4 oz white chocolate
- 4 tablespoons milk
- 16 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- ½ cup powdered confectioners sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure almond extract or bakery emulsion
- 2 cups whipped topping, thawed
- 2 lbs fresh strawberries
- Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 9×13 cake pan or line with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, stir together melted butter and cocoa. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat sugar and eggs on medium speed until fluffy, about five minutes.
- Slowly beat in the cocoa and butter mixture. Add flour, salt, almond extract and amaretto liqueur; beat just until combined.
- Spread half of the brownie mixture in the pan. Sprinkle with the finely chopped chocolate. Carefully spread the remaining brownie batter over the chocolate all the way to the edges.
- Bake for 35-37 minutes. Cool completely. Cut into bite-size pieces.
Silky White Cream
- In a small saucepan over low heat, melt white chocolate and milk. Stir until melted. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Beat in powdered sugar and almond extract.
- Slowly stir in melted white chocolate. Gently fold in whipped cream.
- Slice most of the strawberries into bite-size pieces. You'll want to save some whole strawberries for garnish on top.
- In a large trifle bowl, layer brownies, cream and strawberries. Repeat layers until all the ingredients are gone. Refrigerate 3 hours before serving. Can be made one day ahead.
All text and images © Staci Mergenthal • Random Sweets