Labor Day

What are your plans for the holiday weekend? Check your local city’s website and calendar for Food Festivals and other fun events. Want to escape the parties and crowds? Go for a hike with the family!

Whatever your plans, you’re going to want a sweet treat to help celebrate all of your hard work! Here are a couple crowd-pleasing dessert recipes you’ve gotta try!

Brownies with Coconut Frosting

Picture of Brownies with Coconut Frosting Recipe

Ingredients

Cooking spray
2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
1/3 cup solid vegetable shortening, such as Crisco
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Coconut Frosting, recipe follows

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray or grease the bottom of an 8-by-8-by-2-inch pan.

Melt the chocolate with the shortening in the microwave or over a double boiler. Cool slightly. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs well. Add the sugar and combine thoroughly, then stir the chocolate mixture.

Sift the flour together with the baking powder and salt, and stir into the flour mixture. Stir in the pecans and vanilla extract.

Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes and cut into squares. These are delicious warm or cold. Spread with Coconut Frosting.

Coconut Frosting:

1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
10 ounces fresh or frozen grated coconut, thawed
1 1/2 cups nuts (pecans, walnuts or almonds), finely chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the evaporated milk, sugar and egg yolks in a saucepan. Stir with a wire whisk until the yolks are fully incorporated. Add the butter, melt, and bring to a simmer. Cook until the mixture thickens, 12 to 15 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the coconut, nuts and vanilla extract and let cool. Yield: 4 cups.

Red, White and Blueberry Trifle

Picture of Red, White and Blueberry Trifle Recipe

Ingredients

Two 16-ounce containers strawberries
Two 6-ounce containers blueberries
One 6-ounce container blackberries
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Pinch kosher salt
One 8-ounce package cream cheese
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 prepared angel food cake (about 12 ounces)
Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish, optional
1 1/2 tablespoons apple jelly or apricot preserves, for garnish, optional

Directions

Trim and quarter the strawberries and set aside. Combine the blueberries, blackberries, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/3 cup water, lemon zest, juice and salt in a medium saucepot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the berries break down and the sauce thickens, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool.

Place the cream cheese, 1/4 cup cream, the remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar and the vanilla extract in a large bowl and beat on medium speed until smooth and fluffy. In a second large bowl, whip the remaining cream until stiff peaks form. Fold about one-quarter of the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture until lightened, and then fold in the remaining whipped cream.

To assemble the trifle, rip or cut the angel food cake into 2-inch pieces. Place half the cake pieces in the bottom of a 12-to-14-cup trifle dish or large bowl. Top with about half the blueberry sauce, half the cream and half the quartered strawberries. Repeat the layers with the remaining cake, berry sauce, cream and strawberries. Cover with plastic wrap and chill 8 hours or overnight. Before serving either dust with confectioners’ sugar or heat the apple jelly in the microwave for 25 seconds to loosen, and then brush over the strawberries.