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Just Desserts!

4 Sweet Summer Treats

Zucchini Cupcakes with Lemon Mascarpone Icing

Line two muffin tins with paper liners and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine 1½ cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, and ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 large eggs, ¾ cups brown sugar, and ½ cup vegetable oil. Mix until well combined. Add 2 cups firmly packed, shredded zucchini (squeeze out extra liquid with paper towels or clean kitchen cloth) and mix well. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Use a large cookie scoop or big spoon to fill the paper liners about three-fourths full. Bake 25 minutes or until done. Let cool, then frost with icing.

Icing: In a medium bowl, blend 1 cup (8 oz) mascarpone cheese with 2 tablespoons softened, unsalted butter and add ½ cup confectioner’s sugar. Add 2 tablespoons lemon juice, along with 2 tablespoons lemon zest. Mix until well incorporated. Using a small spatula or butter knife, spread icing onto the cupcakes. Top with extra lemon zest.

Peach Cobbler with Buttermilk Crust

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and butter a 2-quart baking dish. In a large bowl, combine 4 cups fresh peaches (about 8, peeled, cored, and sliced) with 1 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon nutmeg. Mix and set aside while making the topping. In a medium, bowl whisk together 2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda, 1 tablespoon sugar, and ½ teaspoon salt. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, blend in ½ cup (1 stick, cut into cubes) chilled, unsalted butter. Blend until the butter is in small pea-sized clumps and dispersed evenly. Add ¾ cups cold buttermilk and mix with a spatula until evenly moist. Pour peaches into prepared baking dish and use an ice cream scoop or large spoon so the buttermilk topping will be in clumps on top of the peaches. In a small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon sugar and ½ teaspoon cinnamon. Sprinkle this on top of the buttermilk topping. Bake 40 to 50 minutes, or until the peaches are bubbling around the crust. Serve with ice cream.

Chocolate Mousse with Raspberry Coulis

In a medium saucepan, whisk together 4 large egg yolks, 2 tablespoons sugar, and ¾ cup heavy cream. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring, until mixture coats back of spoon, 3 to 4 minutes (do not boil). Remove from heat; whisk in 8 ounces melted dark chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Strain into a bowl; chill until cool. With an electric mixer or by hand, beat 1¼ cups heavy cream with 2 tablespoons sugar until stiff peaks form. Stir 1/3 of whipped cream into cooled custard mixture, then gently fold in the rest with a rubber spatula. Spoon into serving dishes; chill, covered, at least 30 minutes and up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving with raspberry coulis and fresh whipped cream.

Raspberry Coulis (sauce): In a small saucepan, heat ½ cup sugar and 3 tablespoons water, and stir until sugar has dissolved. In a blender or food processor, add 2 cups fresh or frozen (but thawed) raspberries and the sugar syrup, and pureé. Strain through a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds.

No-Bake Sunflower Balls

In a medium bowl, combine ½ cup sunflower butter, 2 cups fine shredded sweetened or unsweetened coconut, ¼ cup chopped cashews (optional), 1 tablespoon orange juice, ½ cup chopped dates, ½ cup unsalted sunflower seeds, and ¼ cup honey. Roll into balls and place on a baking sheet and refrigerate until firm. Store in the refrigerator in a closed container.

Jenny Tremblay West began her career as a pastry chef and currently teaches cooking in Richmond. Jenny, her husband, and their two young boys live in Church Hill. She has worked in food for more than twenty years and is a kitchen coach and personal chef with Caper.
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