When Judy Rosenberg left her Manhattan home for college, she walked away from the daily family ritual of climbing on the scale each morning and into her own world of chocoholic behavior.
Uninterrupted chocoholism without guilt.Rosenberg's working mother baked brownies as an occasional treat or bribe, but the rest of the family meals were prepared by an unerring housekeeper who ignored chocolate and desserts.
"Rosie" describes the infrequent brownies as the "stuff of my childhood dreams. I still get a heightened physical reaction, a buzz, when I bite into a spectacular dessert, but lust is probably the only word that accurately describes my relationship to chocolate."
That passion for chocolate eventually pushed Rosie into a brownie recipe of her own and then a batch of chocolate delicacies.
The brownies collected a number of "Best of Boston" awards, so many, in fact, that they are now entered in the Boston Magazine Hall of Fame.
While attending graduate school in Boston, the New Yorker changed her major to desserts and began baking for friends. For a Valentine's adventure, Rosenberg baked and delicately decorated batches of heart-shaped cookies.
She peddled the cookies to a local bakery, a bakery besieged with demands for additional baked goods.
" `What else can you bake?' they asked me," Rosie recalled.
"I was on my way. I had a chocolate layer cake, a friend's carrot cake recipe and my own brownies, which I had perfected when I realized that I didn't want to go through life without a really good brownie recipe."
Rosenberg emerged as a baker-in-demand in Boston and finally graduated to three bakeries of her own.
A collection of her chocolate and other dessert recipes was recently compiled and published under Rosenberg's "go-for-it, no guilt, skip-the-scales" philosophy. The book is titled "Rosie's Bakery All-Butter, Fresh Cream, Sugar-Packed, No-Holds-Barred Baking Book."
A paperback volume, the recipe book contains step-by-step instructions on the baking process, passing on detailed information about ingredients, pan sizes and preparation and baking techniques.
Rosenberg includes sections on specialty cakes, drop and bar cookies, pies and tarts and memory-evoking desserts tagged "The Old Smoothies."
One sour cream chocolate cake recipe can be adapted to create seven variations.
Some recipes include references to other recipes in the book, requiring the cook to refer to other pages to complete a single recipe - an inconvenience to the busy cook.
But Rosie adopts a cheerleading role for the home baker, advising readers to trust the recipes as well as themselves.
"After all," she suggests, "the worst that can happen is that you make a mistake - and one of the joys of baking is that the majority of our mistakes are edible."
The biggest mistake would be to ignore Rosie's prize-winning recipe collection.
ROSIE'S BAKERY ALL-BUTTER, FRESH CREAM, SUGAR-PACKED, NO-HOLDS-BARRED BAKING BOOK: Judy Rosenberg; Workman Publishing; 1991; paperback; 244 pages; $12.95.
Rosie's Award-Winning Brownies
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
11/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons walnuts, chopped Preheat oven to 350 degrees; lightly grease a 7-by-11-inch pan.
Melt chocolate and butter in heavy saucepan; cool 5 minutes.
Combine cooled chocolate mixture with sugar; beat 25 seconds. Add vanilla, then eggs, one at a time. Add flour on low speed and mix for 20 seconds; finish mixing by hand. Fold in nuts, reserving 2 tablespoons to sprinkle over the top.
Bake the brownies about 25 to 30 minutes until a thin crust forms and a tester inserted in center comes out with a moist crumb. Remove from oven and cool one hour before cutting. Makes 9-12 brownies.
- One brownie contains 313.7 calories; 17.2 gm fat; 23.2 mg sodium; 80.7 mg cholesterol.
Lemon-Strawberry Sponge Roll
3 eggs at room temperature
3 eggs, separated
15 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons flour
1 rounded tablespoon powdered sugar
4 large egg yolks
1/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon unflavored gelatin powder
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
8-10 fresh strawberries, sliced
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
6 whole fresh strawberries Preheat oven to 350 degrees; line a 10-by-15-inch jelly roll pan with lightly greased wax paper.
Mix whole eggs and egg yolks until blended; add 11 tablespoons sugar and lemon zest; beat until pale and thick. Beat in lemon juice and vanilla. Fold in flour. Beat egg whites until frothy; add remaining sugar and beat until soft peaks form. Fold egg whites into batter. Pour into prepared pan and bake about 16 minutes; cool 10 minutes. Sprinkle powdered sugar over dish towel. Flip the cake upside down onto prepared towel. Roll loosely and cool completely; chill 3 hours.
For filling, mix egg yolks and sugar with a whisk until blended. Warm lemon juice; add gelatin and blend. Add gelatin mixture to the egg yolk mixture and cook, stirring constantly until mixture thickens. Remove the lemon curd from the stove and strain into a small bowl; add butter and blend. Cool for 20 minutes or until mixture thickens to spreading consistency. Spread over cooled cake, garnish with strawberries; wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate until serving.
Before serving, whip cream with sugar and spread on lemon log. Makes 16 servings.
- One serving contains 193 calories; 8.8 gm fat; 21 mg sodium; 116.3 mg cholesterol.
Cherry Cheesecake Bars
Base: 1 cup flour 3 tablespoon powdered sugar 7 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature, and cut into 7 pieces 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 1 egg white Topping: 1/2 cup drained canned pitted sour cherries 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese 1 cup sour cream, at room temperature 7 tablespoons sugar 2 large egg yolks 1 teaspoon vanilla 2 teaspoons flour
Preheat oven to 325 degrees; lightly grease 8-inch square baking pan.
For base, process the flour and powdered sugar several seconds. Add butter and vanilla and process until dough comes together, 20-30 seconds.
Press dough into bottom of prepared pan and about 11/2 inches up sides; glaze with egg white and pour off excess white. Bake about 20 minutes, then chill 15 minutes.
For topping, wrap cherries in paper towels to absorb any liquid. Combine remaining topping ingredients in food processor and process until blended, about 15 seconds. Pour topping evenly over the base, then arrange cherries evenly on the topping. Bake about 1 hour, cool completely, then refrigerate overnight. Cut bars with a sharp knife that is dipped in hot water and wiped dry before each cut. Allow bars to warm to room temperature before serving. Makes 12 servings.- Each serving contains 214 calories; 11.6 gm fat; 77 mg sodium; 71.4 mg cholesterol.
Chocolate Mousse Pie in a Toasted Pecan Crust
2 cups pecans, chopped
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
4 oz. semisweet chocolate
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 teaspoon instant coffee powder, optional
4 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
11/2 cups heavy whipping cream, chilled
1/2 ounce unsweetened chocolate for shaving Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Toast the pecans on a cookie sheet until they are golden in color, about 5 minutes.
Place nuts, sugar and butter in a bowl and toss; press into bottom and side of 9-inch pie plate.
Bake until butter and sugar begin to carmelize, about 8 minutes.
Spread chocolate chips evenly over crust and return to oven until chips are softened, about 1 minute. Spread over crust and chill.
For filling, melt both chocolates with coffee in heavy saucepan. Vigorously whisk eggs and vanilla into chocolate until mixture is smooth; cool 5 minutes.
Beat cream until it peaks; fold two-thirds of the cream into the chocolate mixture and spread the mousse in the crust. Chill until serving time. Store remaining whipped cream in covered container in refrigerator. Before serving, spoon the cream onto the center of the pie and spread, leaving 11/2-inch border free. Cover the cream with chocolate shavings.
- One serving contains 603 calories; 46.3 gm fat; 66.4 mg sodium; 140.2 mg cholesterol.