UPDATED – Baked Alaska – An elegant dessert for a celebration

New Year’s eve is coming soon and to celebrate the day, I thought it would be fun to make something special like Baked Alaska. This is a family favorite that I have been eating since childhood and making for almost 30 years.

Who invented Baked Alaska?

Alaska was purchased in 1867 from Russia for $7.2 million (a little over $100 million in 2016 dollars).  To celebrate the acquisition of the new territory, Chef Charles Ranhofer at Delmonico’s steakhouse in New York City created this dessert.  (March 30 1867)

When did I first eat this amazing dessert?

One of my first memories of eating Baked Alaska was at summer camp when I must have been about 10 years old.   I still vividly remember the waitresses (counselors) parading through the mess hall with Baked Alaska for all of us to celebrate some special occasion I can no longer recall. What an introduction to this wonderful dessert!

My mother started a new tradition of making Baked Alaska at home as a special birthday treat soon after I regaled her with tales of what had happened at camp.   This was certainly a tradition I endorsed.  Back then she made it with regular meringue with unpasteurized eggs, not the Italian meringue I now use in my recipe.  We didn’t worry as much about food safety in those days.   I guess we didn’t know as much about the potential perils of eating raw unpasteurized eggs as we do today.

Start a day or two in advance so the cake and ice cream are fully frozen

To make this dish you need to start a day in advance (or more), and before you start make sure you have adequate space in your freezer for the individual desserts.  Be forewarned, once you make this one time for your friends or family, they’ll never let you off the hook again.  In fact, you’ll probably find yourself making it over and over again for birthdays, holidays and the occasional family treat.

Do I personally eat Baked Alaska?

In case you are wondering, yes, I eat Baked Alaska on special occasions, despite being a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN).   Some things in life are just too good to miss…savor every moment and I hope you always enjoy good food, good health, and good friends.

 

Happy New Year!!

Have a wonderful 2020!!

 

Print Recipe
Baked Alaska - An elegant dessert for a celebration
A festive dessert for nearly any celebration. To cut down on the preparation time, use slices from a commercially prepared pound cake.
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Course Dessert, Holidays
Cuisine American
Prep Time 55 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Passive Time 15 hours
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Cake Bases
Italian Meringue
Course Dessert, Holidays
Cuisine American
Prep Time 55 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Passive Time 15 hours
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Cake Bases
Italian Meringue
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
prepare cake bases
  1. check your freezer to make sure you have enough space for three trays (4 to a tray) desserts.
  2. cut 6 parchment paper squares approximately 6" x 6"
  3. In the meantime, sift the cake flour and set it aside.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. When soft peaks begin to form, slowly add 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
  5. Add 1/4 of the beaten egg whites to the yolk and stir gently. Carefully fold the remaining egg whites, flour and salt into the yolks. Do not over mix.
  6. Place batter in parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes until done.
  7. Set cake aside to cool. While the cake is cooling, cut a new parchment sheet into twelve 4″ squares.
  8. When the cake is completely cool, cut into 2 3/4″ rounds. Place one cake round on each parchment square.
  9. Working quickly, place one scoop of ice cream (approximately 1.5 oz. size scoop) in the center of each cake round. I often use coffee flavor, but you can use any flavor you prefer.
  10. Place tray of cake bases with ice cream in freezer for several hours to re-freeze the ice cream.
Italian Meringue
  1. Place sugar, corn syrup and water in a small pot on the stove and heat until boiling.
  2. Continue to heat. When temperature of the sugar syrup gets close to 220 degrees F (use the candy thermometer) begin beating egg whites in mixer until soft peaks are formed.
  3. Slowly add 1/2 cup of confectioner’s sugar and continue to beat for 2-3 minutes. Set aside.
  4. When temperature of sugar syrup reaches approximately 240 degrees F, pour the hot sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the egg whites while the mixer is on high.
Recipe Notes

Nutrition Information (per serving): 189 calories; 17 grams fat; 9 grams saturated fat; 107 mg cholesterol; 173 mg sodium; 67 grams carbohydrates; 0 grams dietary fiber; 10 grams protein (values are approximate).

Coconut Pecan Double Chocolate Brownie Bars

coconut pecan double chocolate brownie barsSometimes you just want something chocolate like these coconut pecan double chocolate brownie bars.  I believe that to have a sustainable healthy eating plan and lifestyle we all need balance in our diet, and balance includes the occasional treat.  Note the word occasional, and watch your portions to keep things from getting out of hand.

Adjustments for better nutrition content

I’m not about to suggest that these are the healthiest food choice you will make this week, but I have also made a few adjustments to the recipe to make the nutritional profile slightly better than what you would find in  a traditional double chocolate brownie bar. Olive oil is used in place of most of the butter and white whole wheat flour is used instead of traditional white flour.

Heart healthy eating and cholesterol

I could have also used 6 egg whites instead of 3 eggs to get the cholesterol content down a bit more, but most of the research on heart healthy eating for lowering your cholesterol suggests that it is the saturated and transfat content in the diet that is more of the issue than having a small amount of cholesterol coming into your diet from foods.  After all, the body naturally makes a lot of the cholesterol we find in our system… but I digress, and will save that discussion for another day.

Try cutting the bars in half

One more thing…if you are trying to lose weight, try cutting the bars in half before serving – that way you can still enjoy having a bit of chocolate for dessert without completely wrecking your day calorie-wise, and you end up with twice as many bars.

 

Print Recipe
Coconut Pecan Double Chocolate Brownie Bars
Coconut Pecan Double Chocolate Brownie Bars
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
servings
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
servings
Coconut Pecan Double Chocolate Brownie Bars
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Recipe Notes

Nutrition information per serving:  320 calories;  24 grams fat; 9 grams saturated fat; 0 grams transfat;  40 mg cholesterol;  25 mg sodium;  27 grams carbohydrate;   4 grams dietary fiber;  5 grams protein (values are approximate).