Once reserved for wine tastings, food flights – a series of three to five small portions that builds from the mildest flavor to the boldest – have taken a decidedly sweeter turn. “The very best restaurants have been offering a series of desserts,” says Dorie Greenspan, James Beard Award-winning baker and cookbook author. “The idea of bringing it home is new and perfect for parties.” Whether offering a dessert flight over late-afternoon tea or at an after-dinner gathering, “since you can have the desserts made ahead, it’s easy for the host to enjoy,” says Greenspan. And for all who attend, she says, “it manages the impossible: It’s indulgent and reasonable at the same time.”
Makes 24 to 28
Vegetable oil baking spray
2 tbsp. port (Bin 27 is recommended)
1 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed
10 oz. finely chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, divided
¾ cup sugar
2 large eggs, cold
½ tsp. fine sea salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1. Position oven racks to divide oven into thirds. Preheat oven to 325°. Spray 2 mini muffin pans lightly with baking spray.
2. Bring port and 2 tbsp. water to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat to low; stir in cherries. Cook, stirring often, 2 to 3 minutes or until liquid evaporates. Transfer cherries to a bowl; cool.
3. Combine butter and 6 oz. chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water; stir mixture often until melted and smooth. Remove bowl from heat; whisk in sugar. (Mixture will be grainy.) Whisk in eggs, one at a time, until blended. Whisk in salt and pepper. Gently stir in flour, cherries and remaining chocolate. Divide batter among muffin tins.
4. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until tops are uniformly dull and a wooden pick inserted into centers comes out clean. Cool in tins to room temperature before unmolding.
Adapted from Greenspan’s Broundie cookie recipe.
Baked Baby Apples • Makes 4
Stir together 1/3 cup dried cranberries, ¼ cup toasted pecans, chopped, 2 tbsp. sugar, ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon and 1/8 tsp. ground ginger; set aside. Slice ½ in. from the top of 4 small apples, leaving stems intact; remove cores. Fill center of apples evenly with cranberry mixture; top with pats of butter. Place apples in an 8-in. baking dish; pour ½ cup water or apple cider around apples. Bake at 350°, basting every 15 minutes, for about 45 minutes, or until apples are tender. Let stand 20 minutes; serve warm or at room temperature with Greek yogurt and a drizzle of maple syrup.
Milk & Cookies Shake • Makes 4
Process 2 cups milk, 4 large scoops coffee ice cream, 4 tsp. instant espresso powder and 4 crushed spice cookies in blender. Pour into 4 (5-oz.) glasses. Top with additional crushed cookie crumbs. Makes enough for seconds!