Category Archives: Desserts

Chocolate Pumpkin Truffles…Happy Thanksgiving!

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Since I moved to the United States, Thanksgiving has become one of my favorite Holiday because I love the idea to take a moment to say thank you and to count my blessings. Today I want to say thank you to you all by sharing my uber-delicious chocolate pumpkin truffles recipe. I made these truffles with Pan Di Stelle, the chocolate and hazelnut Italian cookies topped with iced sugar stars. You can easily find them on Amazon or at any Italian markets. You can definitely substitute the canned pumpkin puree for fresh pureed pumpkin with the ratio 1:1. I used ground cinnamon but you can use pumpkin spice blend instead.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones from A Queen In The Kitchen!

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Photo by Ale Gambini – A Queen In The Kitchen

 

INGREDIENTS

40 Pan Di Stelle cookies

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1/3 cup pumpkin puree, fresh or canned

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

unsweetened cocoa powder, to coat

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

 

DIRECTIONS

Pulverize the cookies in a blender or place them in a sturdy plastic bag and roll into fine crumbs.

In a medium bowl, place pulverized cookies, cream cheese, pumpkin puree, cinnamon and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon until well blended.

Shape into 1-inch balls and place them over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Refrigerate 10 minutes.

Roll them in cocoa powder or dip them in melted chocolate chips.

Keep refrigerated until serving.

Spider Web Chocolate Cake…Happy Halloween!!!

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Time to put the costume on and celebrate the most colorful and playful time of the year…HALLOWEEN! Since I’ll dress up as a spider web, I will match my costume with a decadent spider web chocolate cake. I’ve decorated my favorite Italian chocolate cake, TENERINA CAKE, with melted chocolate to create the spider web and M & M’s candies to make spiders. A very simple and delicious idea for your Halloween party, heaven for chocolate lovers. For a gluten-free version, just omit the flour.

Happy Halloween from your Queen In The Kitchen and family!

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Photo by Ale Gambini – Maurizio “OttO”De Togni – A Queen In The Kitchen

 

INGREDIENTS

7 ounces dark chocolate

8 tbsp unsalted butter, diced

2 eggs, separated

1 pinch of salt

6 tbsp granulated sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

4 tablespoons whole milk

powdered sugar, to sprinkle

melted dark chocolate and M & M’s candy peanut, to decorate

 

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven at 325 F degrees. Grease a 9 inch cake pan with baking spray, than cover bottom and sides of the cake with parchment paper and grease the parchment paper too, set aside. Melt completely the dark chocolate at bain-marie or in a microwave. Allow to cool slightly. Place the diced butter into the melted chocolate and stir with a wooden spoon until well incorporated. With a hand or stand mixer, beat the sugar and the egg yolks until yellow and foamy. Add the chocolate mixture, the flour and the milk and continue to beat until creamy and smooth. Whip the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff. Fold gently the whipped egg whites into the cake batter. Place the cake batter into the cake pan and bake for 25/30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in its pan. Unmold carefully the cake on a serving plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving. Melt couple of ounces of dark chocolate in a double boiler or microwave, fill a disposable piping bag with melted chocolate, cut the the tip and pipe out over the cake to create a spiderweb, For the spiders, place M & M’s on the spider web as you prefer and pipe out chocolate as spider legs.

How To Make Frittelle Di Zucca (Pumpkin Fritters)

Follow this episode of my cooking web series Baking Bread Plus and learn how to prepare a delicious and healthy dessert : Frittelle di Zucca (Pumpkin Fritters).

Did you know that pumpkin flesh is full of Vitamin A, the vitamin that promote sight, heart and lungs? In Italy, pumpkin is the symbol of the city of Mantua (Lombardy region) and the main ingredient  for preparing traditional Mantuan dishes such as pumpkin ravioli and pumpkin gnocchi.

Welcome Fall!

#aqueeninthekitchen #bakingbreadplus #italianfood

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Photo by Ale Gambini – A Queen In The Kitchen

 

INGREDIENTS

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 pinch of salt

7gr active dry yeast

1/4 cup lukewarm water

2 cups pumpkin puree

5.3 ounces (1 container) plain greek yogurt

1 orange juice, freshly squeezed

1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest

1 egg

1 egg yolk

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/3 cup whole milk

canola oil, for frying

1 cup granulated sugar + 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder blended together, for dusting

 

DIRECTIONS

In a mixing bowl combine together flour and salt.

Make a well in the center then add the yeast previously proofed with 1/4 cup of lukewarm. Blend briefly.

Add pumpkin puree, greek yogurt, orange juice, lemon and orange zest, one egg, one egg yolk, sugar. Mix together slowly incorporating the milk.

Mix thoroughly until very smooth.

Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rest for 2 hours.

In a large fraying pan, pour abundant canola oil and heat until it reaches the right temperature for frying.

Dip a stainless steel teaspoon into a glass of cold water than spoon a teaspoon of batter and drop it into the frying pan.

Repeat until all the batter is gone. (Remember to NOT overcrowd the pan while frying).

Let the fritters float into the oil until puff and golden.

Drain with a slotted spoon and place over a plate covered with paper towel.

Enjoy warm, copiously dusted with sugar and cinnamon mixture.

Credits:
Ale Gambini (Host Chef – Founder – Video Maker)
Maurizio OTTO De Togni (Music)
Produced by: BreadLoveAndDreams.com

Torta Zucca E Cioccolato (Chocolate Pumpkin Cake)

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Welcome Fall 2017! I’m celebrating this beautiful and colorful season by baking a Torta Zucca & Cioccolato (Chocolate Pumpkin Cake). This cake has a super moist texture and a sweet, chocolatey and nutty flavor. It can be prepared by using fresh or canned pumpkin and any kind of nuts. Enjoy the first day of Fall with a hot tea and a slice of chocolate pumpkin cake.

Buon Autunno!

Photo by Ale Gambini – A Queen In The Kitchen

Servings : 6-8

Difficulty : easy

Prep Time : 45 min.

Cook Time : 35 min.

 

INGREDIENTS

15 oz. pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)

3 eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup + 3 tbsp all purpose flour

4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

10 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

1/3 cup milk

1 sachet vanilla baking powder (1/2 oz or 16g)

1/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup chocolate chips

powdered sugar, to dust

 

DIRECTIONS

If using a fresh 2 pound pumpkin : halve the pumpkin. Remove seeds and stringy pulp. Peel, cut into chunks and boil in lightly salted water for 25 minutes or until tender. Purée in a blender or food mill.

Preheat oven at 350 F degrees.

Grease with baking spray or butter and breadcrumbs a 9 inch cake pan. Set aside.

In a big bowl, beat eggs and sugar, then add pumpkin puree and flour and mix thoroughly.

Add cocoa powder, butter, milk and blend together.

Gently fold in the vanilla baking powder until well incorporated.

Stir in chocolate chips and chopped walnuts.

Pour the cake batter into the greased pan and bake for 35 minutes.

Allow to cool in its pan.

Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Ciambellone Mandorle & Vaniglia (Almonds & Vanilla Ring Cake)…Buon Ferragosto!

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Today in Italy is FERRAGOSTO (from the Latin Feriae Augusti – Augustus’ rest), the most important summer holiday. Businesses and government offices are closed for celebrating the Catholic feast of the Assumption of Mary (Mother of Jesus). In many cities, towns and villages Ferragosto is celebrated with a PROCESSIONE, a procession of people carrying the statue of Mary and FIREWORKS. The Italians will spend the day out of town, heading to the beach or mountains, setting up picnics or  BBQs.

Let’s celebrate Ferragosto by baking a super soft, nutty Ciambella (the Italian ring cake).

Buon Ferragosto!

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Photo by Ale Gambini – A Queen In The Kitchen

Servings : 12

Difficulty : easy

Prep Time : 20 min.

Cook Time : 50 min.

 

INGREDIENTS

2 cups flour type 00

3/4 cup potato starch

1 sachet vanilla baking powder (I highly recommend Bertolini brand)

10 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature

1.5 cups granulated sugar

4 eggs, separated and room temperature

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1 cup whole milk, room temperature

1/2 cup raw almonds

pearl sugar, to garnish

 

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven at 350 F degrees.

Grease a 10 inch bundt cake pan with baking spray or butter and flour.

In a large bowl, sift the flour, the potato starch, the baking powder and set aside.

With a hand or stand mixer, cream butter and sugar.

Add the egg yolks (one at the time), vanilla extract and mix thoroughly.

Add half of the flour mixture, the milk and mix, then add the rest of the flour mixture and mix until well blended.

Whip the eggs whites at stiff peaks.

Fold gently the whipped egg whites into the cake batter.

Pour into the cake pan.

Sprinkle with pearl sugar and almonds.

Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Allow to cool completely in its pan before serving.

How To Make Brioche Col Tuppo

Follow my step-by-step video recipe and learn how to make another staple of the Italian cuisine : Brioche col Tuppo! The Brioche col Tuppo is a Sicilian sweet bread, oval-shaped and topped with a hemispherical ball (tuppo). The name comes from its shape that resemble a tuppo, the traditional low bun worn by the Sicilian women in the past centuries. This brioche is amazingly soft and fragrant and is traditionally served along with Sicilian granita or gelato.

Enjoy the summer at the fullest!

#aqueeninthekitchen #italianfood #breadbaking

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Photo by Ale Gambini – A Queen In The Kitchen

Yields : 6 regular brioche or 8 small

Difficulty : intermediate

Prep Time : 45 mins + 3 hours leavening

Bake Time : 30 mins.

 

INGREDIENTS

4 cups all-purpose flour

7 gr active dry yeast

1 tsp honey

1/4 cup lukewarm milk

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 tbs salt

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup milk

1/4 cup lard

1 egg yolk with milk for the egg wash

powdered sugar to sprinkle

 

DIRECTIONS

Proof the yeast with lukewarm milk and honey.

In a large bowl, place the flour, make a well in the center then add the yeast and combine briefly.

Add the sugar, the salt, the eggs, the vanilla extract and the milk (added little by little) and knead.

Add the lard and knead until all the ingredients are well blended.

Flour a work surface, move the dough over it and knead until an elastic dough forms.

Place the dough onto a bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rise for two hours.

Flour again the work surface, place the dough over it and knead briefly.

Cut 1/4 of dough and reserve it for later.

Cut the remaining dough into six equal pieces then shape into balls and place over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Cut the reserved dough into six small pieces then shape into tiny balls and place over the  baking sheet as well.

Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rise for 1 hour.

Press every big balls in the center with the thumb then place the little balls over the big balls.

Brush each brioche with the egg wash.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 F degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

 

Credits:
Ale Gambini (Host Chef – Founder – Video Maker)
Maurizio OTTO De Togni (music)
Produced by: BreadLoveAndDreams.com

Copyright © 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Torta Caprese (Flourless Chocolate Cake)

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Torta Caprese is a traditional Italian cake from the beautiful Island of Capri.
This is a very tasty and special cake because made with almond meal and chocolate, so it could be enjoyed by gluten intolerant people.
The texture is amazingly moist and rich with a delicate twist of Sorrento’s Limoncello.
This cake is also known as one of history’s most fortunate mistakes. In the 1920 an Italian baker was preparing an almond cake for three American gangsters in the Island of Capri, he forgot to put the flour into the dough, but the result was a delicious cake.

Buon Appetito!!!

 

INGREDIENTS

11 oz almond meal
10 oz dark chocolate
7 oz granulated sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
5 eggs, separated
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 shot of Limoncello
powdered sugar, for dusting

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven at 350 F degrees.
Grease with butter and flour or baking spray a 9 inch cake pan, set aside.
With a hand or stand mixer, beat the butter and half of the sugar until creamy.
Add the egg yolks (one at the time) and mix until well incorporated.
Melt the chocolate at Bain Marie or in the microwave, allow to cool then fold it into the butter mixture.
Add the vanilla extract, the Limoncello and then the almond meal.
In a different bowl, whip the egg whites with the remain sugar at stiff peaks.
Fold little by little the whipped white eggs into the mixture.
Pour the cake batter into the pan and bake for 45 minutes.                                                Allow the cake cool completely in its pan. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.