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I never plan ahead; I’ve tried but I just can’t. I’m a spontaneous cook and baker.

I couldn’t sleep last night so while watching Chopped at 2 a.m. I had a culinary creative moment. I tend to bake at a more respectable hour — like 5 a.m., but I needed to follow my whim [quietly]. Just because I was awake didn’t mean that everyone else shouldn’t sleep.

I had amaretti cookies leftover from a sweet potato gnocchi recipe that I wanted to turn into a tart crust. The crust failed; it didn’t hold together in the mini-tart pans. I turned it into a crumble. Layering shot glasses with whipped mascarpone, blueberries, strawberries and the amaretti crumble turned a fail into a success. There was a nice balance of crunch and soft and sweet and tart.

It’s nearly 3:00 p.m. and there are none left for the holiday. I’m not yet sure what will end up on tomorrow’s menu but here are a few possibilities, some I’ve made before and some are eagerly waiting their turn.

red white and blue trifleRed, White and Blue Amaretti Trifle

What you need:


  • about sm 12 amaretti cookies, crushed, to yield about 1/4 c
  • 8 sm amaretti cookies, whole, for garnish
  • 2 full graham crackers, crushed, to yield about 1/4 c
  • 2 tbs coconut spread (or butter), melted



  • 1/2 c whipping cream, whipped
  • 1 c mascarpone cheese
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1/2 lemon, zested
  • 1 tbs local honey

What you do:

  • Heat oven to 350.
  • Prepare baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Mix crushed cookies and crackers with melted coconut spread.
  • Press onto baking sheet and cook for 8-10 min., being careful not to burn.
  • Allow to cool completely.
  • In med bowl add fruit, balsamic, sugar and lemon juice.
  • Toss to coat.
  • In lg bowl whisk mascarpone, sugar, honey and zest.
  • Slowly fold in whipped cream.
  • Ready 8 mini-shot glasses (or other individual serving dishes)
  • Crumble crust.
  • Eyeball crumble, mascarpone mixture and fruit mixture into 16 portions.
  • Layer 1/16th crumble in each glass.
  • Top with 1/16th mascarpone, then 1/16th fruit.
  • Repeat.
  • Garnish with whole cookie.
  • Devour.

Need other inspiration? Here are some additional red, white and/or blue dessert ideas:

Red Velvet Layer Cake – imagine this with a white chocolate ganache instead of chocolate and covered in blueberries.

No Bake Blueberry Cheesecake Jars – going to a cookout? Grab some cute little Mason jars and make these.

White Cherry Salsa – any cherry will do. Get creative.

Strawberry Basil Gazpacho – a chilled soup for the hot summer.

Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake with Blueberry – light and refreshing.

Strawberry Mint Sorbet – double scoop with mojito ice cream for an adult treat.

Waiting its turn is a bruschetta made with fromage frais, topped with grilled berries and drizzled with honey. Easy to make and anything with drizzle always looks good. Cheese, berries and honey from the farmers market, of course.