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Worship at Five Dessert Competition

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Last week after Worship at Five, we hosted our very first Dessert Competition! There were 23 delicious entries in three categories: Chocolate, Non-Chocolate, and “Free” (gluten free, dairy free, etc.). People of all generations enjoyed sampling the desserts and voting for their favorites, and in the end, there were three winners: Sophia Braskamp, Lizzie Lett, and Eric Hart. Thanks to all who participated for a very sweet evening of fun and fellowship!

Best “Free” Dessert: Gluten Free Chocolate Crinkle Cookies – Sophia Braskamp
1 cup gluten free flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
4 teaspoons instant espresso powder (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup confectioners’ sugar

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in bowl.
  2. Whisk brown sugar; eggs; espresso powder, if using; and vanilla together in large bowl. Combine chocolate and butter in bowl and microwave, stirring occasionally, until melted, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Whisk chocolate mixture into egg mixture until combined. Fold in flour mixture until no dry streaks remain. Let dough sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
  4. Place granulated sugar and confectioners’ sugar in separate shallow dishes. Working with 2 tablespoons dough at a time, roll into balls. Drop dough balls directly into granulated sugar and roll to coat. Transfer dough balls to confectioners’ sugar and roll to coat evenly. Evenly space dough balls on prepared sheets, 11 per sheet.
  5. Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until puffed and cracked and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft (cookies will look raw between cracks and seem underdone), about 12 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking. Let cool completely on sheet before serving.

 

Best Non-Chocolate Dessert: Strawberry Shortcake – Lizzie Lett
Our family created this dessert one evening by happenstance.  We were supposed to bring cake to a dinner party but got started much too late.  Since we didn't have time for the cake to cool and then frost, we decided just to crumble up the cake and layer it with whipped cream and strawberries.  Everyone loved it, and "strawberry shortcake" became a family favorite!  

 1 box cake mix (yellow or white)
Eggs
Oil
Water
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 lbs of strawberries 

Prepare either white or yellow box cake mix according to the package instructions.  Set aside cake to cool.  If you are in a hurry, put the cake in the freezer to cool it off.  

Clean, core and slice two pounds of fresh strawberries.   

Pour whipping cream in medium sized bowl and beat until partially firm, but before peaks have formed.  Add sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. [Note:  if you like your whipping cream less sweet, it is ok to back off on the sugar a bit.] 

In a clear serving dish (a trifle bowl works great), add a layer of crumbled cake (bite sized crumbles).  On top of the cake, add a generous layer of sliced strawberries.  On top of the strawberries, add a layer of whipped cream.  Repeat the layering, ending with a generous layer of whipped cream.  If you have additional strawberries, add several as decoration on top of the whipped cream.  [Note: you will likely have cake left over.] 

Keep the shortcake chilled until ready to serve.

We often add fresh blueberries to this recipe, particularly when we want to serve a "patriotic" dessert.  

 

Best Chocolate Dessert: Nanaimo Bars- Eric Hart
½ cup butter, softened
¼ cup white sugar
5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 egg beaten
1 ¾ cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup flaked coconut
½ finely chopped walnuts
½ cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons custard powder
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
4 (1 ounce) squares semisweet baking chocolate
2 teaspoons butter

 In the top of a double boiler, combine 1/2 cup butter, white sugar and cocoa powder. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Beat in the egg, stirring until thick, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in the graham cracker crumbs, coconut and almonds (if you like). Press into the bottom of an ungreased 8x8 inch pan.

For the middle layer, cream together 1/2 cup butter, heavy cream and custard powder until light and fluffy. Mix in the confectioners' sugar until smooth. Spread over the bottom layer in the pan. Chill to set.

While the second layer is chilling, melt the semisweet chocolate and 2 teaspoons butter together in the microwave or over low heat. Spread over the chilled bars. Let the chocolate set before cutting into squares.