Most days, I look forward to baking. I love seeing a slow, leisurely morning stretched out ahead of me and filling it with a recipe. I cream butter and sugar meditatively, sift my flour with utmost precision, and clean the kitchen as I go.
Other days (ahem, holidays, I'm looking at you here) are not so chill. When I'm cooking for a party, I am rarely calm, cool, and collected. There is batter on my shirt, flour swiped across my forehead, and a pile of dishes in the sink. The clock ticks down, and I never feel like I have enough time.
So I'm taking a stand. This year, I've found the solution: one-bite chocolate peppermint phyllo tarts. These sophisticated little desserts are exceptionally simple, and they marry two of my favorite holiday flavors.
Starting with pre-shaped phyllo shells is the big timesaver here. You can find these in most grocery store freezer aisles. If you can't find pre-shaped shells, or if you prefer to shape them yourself, it's easy: Just buy frozen phyllo dough, defrost, press small squares of it into a miniature muffin pan to form the shells, and bake for about 10 minutes at 375° F. (The pre-shaped shells don't need to be baked—they're baked already and will thaw as you prep.)
Into the shells goes a quick ganache made of bittersweet chocolate melted with heavy cream. Then, you make a whipped cream flavored with peppermint extract and sweetened with sugar and fold in some softened cream cheese to give it tang and body. A dollop of the minty cream finishes off each tart.
And that's it! You've barely dirtied any dishes, and you won't even have broken a sweat. The tarts are ideal party food: Easy to pick up and eat in one bite.
With all that time you've saved, you can make an extra batch of holiday punch. Win-win!
Adapted from McCormick
Makes fifteen 2-inch tarts
15 miniature phyllo shells
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream, divided into 1/4 cup and 3/4 cup
4 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
Fresh mint, grated, chocolate, or sparkling sugar, for garnish (optional)
Photos by Posie Harwood