Pastry chef Wayne Harley Brachman, co-host of the Food Network’s Melting Pot, dropped by with these sweet recipes.
Chocolate Coconut Bars (adapted from American Desserts)
Makes 12 squares
Nonstick vegetable-oil spray
• Chocolate Crust
1/1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 large egg
• Coconut Macaroon
4 cups (12 ounces) unsweetened shredded coconut
8 large egg whites
2 cups (1/2 pound) confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup coconut cream (such as Coco Lopez brand)
• Chocolate Truffle Drizzle
2 ounces HERSHEY®'S SPECIAL DARK® Chips
1/4 cup heavy or whipping cream
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)
1/2 cup whole almonds, lightly toasted, coarsely chopped
Preheat the oven to 375°F., arranging a rack in the middle position. Lightly coat a 13 X 9-inch baking pan with non-stick vegetable-oil spray.
Make the Chocolate Crust: Put the flour, sugar and cocoa into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. While pulsing, add the butter, bit by bit. Process until the dough is thoroughly blended and masses together.
Between two sheets of wax paper or parchment, roll the dough into a 9 X 13 inch rectangle. Peel off one sheet of the wax paper and flip the dough so it fits into the bottom of the prepared pan. Peel off the other sheet. With a fork, prick little holes in the dough and set aside.
Make the Coconut Macaroon: Mix together the 4 cups coconut, the egg whites, confectioners' sugar and coconut cream. Lightly pat the coconut macaroon over the chocolate crust. Bake for 20 minutes until just golden brown and barely set. Set on a rack to cool.
When cool, make the Chocolate Truffle Drizzle: Put the chocolate in a small bowl. In a small saucepan, stir together the cream, instant espresso and bourbon, if using. Set over medium heat to the point where it is just barely starting to boil, then pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate. Working from the center out, gently stir with a whisk to melt and blend. Continue stirring until smooth and let sit for 15 minutes to thicken, then drizzle over the macaroon layer.
Sprinkle with the almonds. Let rest for 30 minutes to set, and then cut into 3-inch square bars.
Three Layer Chocolate Cheesecake
• Chocolate Crumb Crust
Stir together 1-1/2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs (about 45 wafers), 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa; stir in 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter or margarine. Press mixture onto bottom and 1-1/2 inches up sides of 9-inch springform pan.
3 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) HERSHEY'S SPECIAL DARK Chocolate Chips, divided
1/2 teaspoon shortening (do not use butter, margarine, spreads or oil)
Prepare CHOCOLATE CRUMB CRUST. Heat oven to 350°F.
Beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until smooth. Gradually beat in eggs, heavy cream, vanilla and salt, beating until well blended.
Set aside 2 tablespoons chocolate chips. Place remaining chips in large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH (100%) 1-1/2 minutes; stir. If necessary, microwave at HIGH an additional 15 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, until chocolate is melted when stirred.
Gradually blend 1-1/2 cups cheesecake batter into melted chocolate. Remove 2 cups chocolate mixture; spread in bottom of prepared crust.
Blend additional 2 cups cheesecake batter into remaining chocolate mixture; spread 2 cups mixture over first layer in springform pan. Stir remaining cheesecake batter into remaining chocolate mixture; spread over second layer.
Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until center is almost set. Remove from oven to wire rack. With knife, immediately loosen cake from side of pan. Cool to room temperature.
Place reserved chocolate chips and shortening in small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH 30 seconds; stir. If necessary, microwave at HIGH an additional 10 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, until chocolate is melted and smooth when stirred. Drizzle over top of cheesecake. Cover; refrigerate several hours until cold. Cover; refrigerate leftover cheesecake. 10 to 12 servings.