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For two weeks, my husband and I have known we will be attending our friends dinner gathering tonight, Friday night. Early in making plans, I had asked my hubbie to ask our friends if they wanted me to make dessert, since I do have some pastry background. First mistake. I never did hear about dessert and kind of forgot about it.

A few days ago, I asked my hubbie to let them know, early enough, that I could only eat fish on Fridays (Lent is in full swing), but I figured they’d know since they are Catholic too. I mentioned something about bringing dessert, but didn’t really focus on it. Second mistake.

Last night, Thursday night, at 10pm, right before bed, Jason asked me what I was going to be making for dessert, to bring to the dinner party. What? What dessert? “Oh,” he says, “I guess I forgot to tell you we were bringing dessert.”

I laughed, a little nervously, said thanks for the notice, and went right to Pinterest. One of the recipes came from one of my favorite Paleo blogs, Nom Nom Paleo (remember the Orange Sriracha Chicken?) and the second came from Pinterest.

I needed desserts that were fairly quick to make, but different and delicious, as well as Paleo, so that I could enjoy them too! I always try to pick one chocolate and one non-chocolate dessert, just to account for differing tastes.

DESSERT #1: MEXICAN CHOCOLATE POTS DE CREME (DAIRY-FREE)

The recipe can be found at Nom Nom Paleo.

I made this dessert on Valentine’s Day and it was such a hit that I wanted to make it again. It’s simple, quick, and pretty darn delicious. It does take time to set so you do need a few hours afterwards, at least, but assuming a refrigerator will be available before and during dinner wherever you are going, there should be plenty of time.

First, you whisk together the coconut milk, egg yolks, ancho chili powder, and salt in a saucepan and heat it up. Add in the cinnamon stick while you are waiting for it to cook.

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Once done, place in a mesh sieve/strainer over the chocolate. Then gently mix the chocolate and cream.

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Now add the vanilla! Mix it in and you are ready to pour. A pancake mix dispenser would work very well here, especially to avoid getting anything on the sides of the cups, but I don’t have one, so I used a glass measuring cup instead. It worked well, but I had to be very careful when moving from cup to cup.

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NOTE: USE ESPRESSO CUPS, not coffee cups or anything larger.

My only mistake on Valentine’s Day was putting the mixture in coffee cups, thinking that there were only a few of us and that more was better. More is better, but you really can’t eat much more than an espresso cup in one sitting. I think my dessert lasted 3 days for me! Jason shared his with family that came over a couple days later.

Six of us will be at this dinner party and this recipe made 8 espresso cups. Perfect if someone wants a little bit more or for leftovers.

DESSERT #2: GRAIN-FREE ITALIAN LEMON ALMOND CAKE (TORTA CAPRESE BIANCA)

I found this on Pinterest, but it is from a blog called Texanerin Baking.

I figured that we will be having dinner with a bunch of Italians (including myself), so who could go wrong with an Italian lemon almond cake? Not me.

The cake needs to be baked and cooled before serving so keep that in mind. This recipe, I knew, was going to take a little longer than I might have, but I was willing to give it a try.

I started by mixing the butter and coconut sugar.

NOTE:

1. I used coconut sugar because it’s Paleo. You are free to use regular, granulated sugar, and I almost did, but since I had the coconut sugar, I figured I better use it if I have it.

2. When using the coconut sugar, it is not as fine as regular sugar, so it’s suggested that you grind it up. Jason has a coffee grinder so I cleaned it and put the sugar in it. It worked pretty darn well, but reminded me that I need my own spice grinder. Maybe one day…but you definitely want to get it as smooth as possible.

You cream the butter and sugar well then add in the lemon zest, egg yolks, and lemon extract. I DID NOT USE LEMON EXTRACT BECAUSE I DON’T HAVE ANY. I just added extra lemon juice and zest. I like natural flavors anyway, so I wasn’t sad about it.

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Then I added in the melted white chocolate and lemon juice (from freshly zested and squeezed lemons from our lemon tree).

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I finally get to show my husband that the Christmas present he got me is being put to good use. He got me an extra bowl because I always have to use one, wash it, and clean it before using it again. This recipe just happened to call for a batter and beaten egg whites (made separately), so this was the perfect time to use both bowls!

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Once the egg whites are beaten to soft peaks, you fold them into the cake batter and bake.

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So, I have found that our new ovens are much hotter than “normal” ones. I wasn’t sure how this cake bakes, since I’ve never made it before, and after today, I would have baked it at 325 degrees for a little bit longer. I think it would have kept the cake a little more golden yellow. Another problem was my timer didn’t work somehow and so I’m not sure how long the cake was in before I smelled it slightly burning. The cake, itself, is okay, but the edges and the top and bottom are darker than I would like or even prefer. Oh well! That’s what powdered sugar is for.

Here are the end results and the desserts I will be surprising our dinner hosts with:

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