Chef Michael Bennett featured in the Sun-Sentinel newspaper

Spiked sweets:

Desserts that get cheers and booze
Here’s proof that a little alcohol in treats can lift everyone’s spirits

Bimini Boatyard’s chocolate cake is made with Jack Daniel’s, Myer’s Rum, Kahlua, Frangelico and Grand Marnier. (Ginny Dixon, Sun Sentinel / October 6, 2011)

Recipe: Jack Black and friends’ death by chocolate from Bimini Boatyard

by: Jan Norris, Correspondent

October 6, 2011

At Bimini Boatyard Bar & Grill in Fort Lauderdale, chef Michael Bennett sometimes takes inspiration from the bar.

It was the Death by chocolate martini — vodka, half-and-half, chocolate liqueur and dark creme de cacao — that led him to create a dessert he calls Jack Black and friends’ death by chocolate.

Bennett starts with mini-cakes in muffin tins from a boxed mix. He soaks them in a buttery-liquor concoction and then coats them in a smooth chocolate ganache spiked with the same liquors.

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They may be mini, but their kick is mighty.

“It explodes with flavor,” says Bennett. “Even a little piece will send you to chocolate heaven.”

death by chocolate by chef michael bennett
Death by Chocolate, a five liquor ganache cake

Created three years ago, they’re so popular that he doesn’t dare take them off the menu.

Chefs across South Florida are taking their cues from bartenders. That’s because mixologists are the latest culinary geniuses. They create sweet, and sometimes savory, concoctions that elevate even the simplest bar experience. Think Cucumber-basil-mint juleps and Smoky maple bacon old-fashioneds.

Pickled fruits, infusions of herbs and vegetables, mad scientist-like foams are spun behind the bar and squirted into drinks. Inside kitchens, those concoctions get translated into some heady send-offs that pack plenty of punch.

At Spin Ultra Lounge in Boca Raton, chef Jason Feinberg riffs on popular melon martinis with frozen melon martini balls. He uses a vacuum bag to speed the infusion process, frozen with a spike of vodka. They make a fun and cool end to a patio party, especially when presented in an oversized martini glass.

At Prime, a Delray Beach steakhouse, chef Peter Masiello turns cookies and milk into an over-21 experience. Adult chocolate milk — nothing like the Hershey’s and milk of your childhood — is paired with a white chocolate chip cookie spiked with white chocolate liqueur. If you can’t make it to Prime, make them at home. Just keep the kids out of the cookie jar.

The Breakers has a different take on old stand-by tiramisu. Executive pastry chef Elmar Wolf tips in Kahlua along with Marsala wine to create a Spirited cappuccino tiramisu for the resort’s The Italian Restaurant.

Several restaurants, including Hyatt Regency’s Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale, serve Mojito cheesecakes. We have a version of this mint-lime-rum cheesecake concoction that makes individual servings. Since these freeze well, you can pop a few in the freezer for impromptu desserts.

When serving these booze-filled desserts, consider serving a cordial glass of the liqueur used in the recipe for an elegant finish to your meal. Not that you’ll necessarily need any more booze.

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