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Oct 1, 2010 06:33 AM


Our cookbook for October 2010 is the BAREFOOT CONTESSA COOKBOOK.

Please use this thread to discuss recipes from the chapter Desserts. A list of each recipe contained in these chapters, along with a link to an online version if one exists, follows.

The Chowhound Team has asked me to remind you that verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.


= = = Desserts = = =

outrageous brownies pg 172

coconut cupcakes pg 175

shortbread hearts pg 177

"linzer" cookies pg 178

pecan shortbread pg 181

-- raspberry tart --

-- fresh fruit tart --

lime curd tart pg 187
*online recipe includes a pastry recipe

pecan squares pg 188

peach and raspberry crisp pg 190

croissant bread pudding pg 192

-- chocolate buttercream cake --
online version is substantially different

-- pastry cream --

honey vanilla crème fraîche pg 198

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  1. I think I've made most of the dessert recipes from this cookbook, and some of them have become real favorites.

    The outgrageous brownies are very good, but the recipe makes A LOT. I usually halve it and end up with one 9x13 pan of incredibly rich, dense chocolatey brownies. They use A LOT of chocolate. Not that I'm complaining. If you've seen the episode of her tv show about these brownies, you might note that the indiv. bars she cuts are huge--I tend to make mine a bit more moderate.

    The chocolate cake and buttercream are fabulous -- very rich and intensely chocolatey, but that's the point, no? I've used the cake recipe (sometimes with Greek/reg. yogurt instead of sour cream) for cupcakes and big and little layer cakes. The buttercream has converted people who didn't think they liked buttercream.

    I made the shortbread every year at Christmas. The pecan version is the same recipe but with the addition of the nuts. It's very good, though it can be a bit dry when mixing up sometimes, so sometimes I add a little milk (1 Tbs or so) just to help it along. These recipes make a lot of rolled out cookies, but they're good, not-to-sweet cookies that don't get stale quickly. Oh, and dipping the shortbread in melted chocolate (one of her suggestions) is a very nice, elegant way of presenting them. People think you've worked really hard (or even bought them, lol.)

    The raspberry tart is deceptively quick and easy. It's just a tart shell spread with raspberry preserves and then decorated with fresh raspberries--that's the part that takes the longest. It's a very light dessert, but also very impressive with the rows of berries. The buttery crust compliments it nicely. (The pic is of half a recipe, as we only had a small group)

    As with the brownies, the pecan squares are really really rich, and this recipe uses more than 2 lbs of butter and 2 lbs of pecans. The end result is delicious, but they're not everyday kinds of bars. I make these around the holidays now as part of my cookie collection. I've never dipped them in chocolate, as suggested, because that just seems like too much. (shrug)

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chocolatechipkt

      like the rest of the book (quantities focussed on entertaining) the dessert recipes produce very large quantities. The pecan squares are basically a slight tweak of the Pecan Squares Americana published by Maida Heatter with proper attribution to HER original source in "77. I recommend that recipe instead which is sized for a smaller pan and put the citrus flavor in the bar base (also a little less butter, I believe) I guess the recipe had become a catering staple by the time Ina went into the business, but none of the renditions I have eaten have been as good as the original.

    2. Not on this list, but I didn't have much success with her rum raisin rice pudding. I am sure it was my fault as I am not known for making dessert, but I would be eager to hear about any success with this recipe.

      Also not on this list (unless I overlooked something) is her lemon or orange pound cake, very good! Also her brownie pudding is very good.

      1. coconut cupcakes pg 175

        I haven't made these for COTM yet. But, these are showstopper cupcakes. The cupcake itself is delicious because of the flaked coconut that is incorporated into the batter. And, the frosting is forgiving - bc once you dip the frosting into the coconut, these look like a professional made them.

        I was on a cupcake baking phases a few years ago, and these were the most requested and repeated recipe.

        16 Replies
        1. re: beetlebug

          I have my eye on these. Thanks for the tip on the icing.

          1. re: beetlebug

            Made the coconut cupcakes with Lulu yesterday. Ours did not look very professional (probably due to the near fainting spell I had while Lulu was cracking the eggs for me), but my husband said "Ina Garten is my future ex-wife." (this meant as a compliment). He absolutely loves them. They are very tender, and the icing is pretty amazing too (although good lord it makes a lot - I must have tossed half of it, and I made 20 cupcakes). Myself, I could do without the almond flavoring, but I do like them very much. Below see Lulu in her very own apron with one of the fear-inducing eggs, and enjoying the final product.

            1. re: LulusMom

              Thanks for the report - I'm planning on making those this week & did wonder about the amount of icing - will start with a half recipe

              1. re: ctbrit

                I think you could easily cut the icing in half. There was soooo much, and I really over-iced them and still had tons left over. I guess it sort of depends on how much icing you like, but I still think you could cut this by a third even if you love lots of icing and still be fine.

                As for the almond extract (not that you asked), I might replace it next time with something like some cointreau. I make my carrot cake with a tiny bit of that in the icing, and it is wonderful. And I think coconut lends itself well to booze (think pina coladas - hey, maybe dark rum would be the way to go?).

              2. re: LulusMom

                Forget the cupcakes... LuLu is as cute as one. As for the "fear-inducing" egg cracking, she has to learn some time... and what a treat you both made. Did she remember Ina's method of cracking into a prep bowl first?

                1. re: Gio

                  Thanks Gio! (sorry to force kid pics on everyone - being a parent means you CANNOT HELP YOURSELF). She cracked them on the counter tops (concrete) and then brought up to the mixer. At one point she was crushing one egg with her hand and wouldn't let go of it - I was just sure the cupcakes would be crunchy (so far, not a bit of shell ...). And you're absolutely right - she has to learn sometime. She's already a whiz at pasta with butter and parmesan (with me watching over).

                2. re: LulusMom

                  Glad you enjoyed the cupcakes and great pics of Lulu. I forgot though, I always halve frosting recipes and I forgot to mention it up thread. Half the frosting recipe is more than enough for the cupcakes.

                  1. re: LulusMom

                    What joy and happiness! Kids and baking. She is soooo adorable.

                    1. re: roxlet

                      Thanks to you both - we have so much fun together, and she loves cooking and eating. Helpful, given the things I like!

                      BB, glad it wasn't some aberration on my part about the icing. That is a HECK of a lot.

                      1. re: LulusMom

                        I'm not the biggest frosting person so I halve all my frosting recipes.

                    2. re: LulusMom

                      Thanks for this, I have a favorite coconut pie, now I might have a cake--
                      cakes--as well.
                      A question though--the book says 20 "large" cupcakes -- what does that mean? I have a tin that makes cupcakes 2 3/4" across and another that makes bigger cupcakes 3 1/4" across. Same depth for both. They make paper liners to fit both. The book says to fill the paper liners "to the top" with batter. We are usually advised to fill 2/3, right,? Or even 1/2? The picture in the book shows a cupcake that has obviously run over and spread out, hence could use some extra icing to cover its acreage!
                      Extra icing in my house is chilled in any smallish dish and called "vanilla fudge" or something.

                      Lulu's mom--this is from Life magazine 1951--
                      I thought of it because of your egg-fear. Scroll down to see whole article, it made me laugh.

                      1. re: blue room

                        I use regular size muffin tin. The recipe I use is printed off the internet and in my pile. I'll have to look it up and see what it says. But, I fill it up the standard way, 2/3 and I think I get a couple of dozen cupcakes out of the recipe. Once I find the printout, I'll repost.

                        1. re: blue room

                          Blue room, that is SO cute! And it reminds me of my first time cooking for my dad too - scrambled eggs! I burned the heck out of them, but he was so sweet and kind and ate them and said they were wonderful. Funnily enough, he doesn't remember this at all (the kindness of memory?). Thanks so much for that - it was great. Makes me think of how much I lucked out in the dad division.

                          About the cupcake size - I just used my usual (no idea what size) cupcake holders, and filled to the top. I got 20 cupcakes. And they ARE large.

                        2. re: LulusMom

                          I'm wondering when Lulu herself will start posting on here.

                          What will she want for a "handle"? (I regret now not thinking up a good one for myself but when I first signed up it was just to see what CH was all about -- did not know I'd love it so much -- merely picked my last name!!)

                          She's so lucky to have such a nice Mom to have fun with her cooking.

                          1. re: walker

                            Why thank you walker! I'm a little nervous about Lulu and the computer. Signed her up for a hotmail account, and now get very little time at my own computer. She's only 4, so the emails she sends are pretty simple, but they take for-ev-er to type. I keep telling myself it is helping her small motor skills and spelling.

                            She really does love helping out in the kitchen, and wants so much to make stuff on her own. I need to think of something she can do and call her very own creation.

                        3. re: beetlebug

                          coconut cupcakes pg 175'

                          I finally made these again and they were still a huge hit. I did a quick comparison from the book's version and the paper version that I had printed off the internet (and probably from CH) a few years ago. Basically, the recipe I've been using is half the amount in the book. It also uses large eggs v. extra large eggs.

                          But, in the interest of COTM, I followed the book's recipe for the cupcakes since I was bringing them to a party.

                          As for the cupcake size, my muffin tin is an regular size tin. It's probably significantly smaller than Ina Garten's tins. I got about 2 1/2 dozen cupcakes using her recipe (her yield is 18-20 cupcakes). My first batch, I filled my standard 2/3 of the cup. These only rose to the top of the paper liner so they weren't as attractive as the next batches, where I filled them almost to the top. The almost to the top fill did have the cupcake puff over the liner, making it look more like a cupcake.

                          Also, for the frosting, I made half the frosting and it was the exact amount I needed. As for adding the coconut on top, I usually (and still did so), pour some on a plate and then dip the cupcakes, head first, into the coconut. This results in a lovely presentation.

                        4. The tart shell and the curd are both delicious. I have made both numerous times with great success. The curd I typically make with lemons, and this summer put in the tart shell topped with fresh blueberries.

                          1. The coconut cupcakes were really special. I made the recipe a few days ahead of party and froze them. Perfect when defrosted. Both children and adults loved them.