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In Italian Tiramisu means pick-me-up; this makes sense with one of the main ingredients being espresso, coffee packed full of caffeine.

The origin of Tiramisu’ is said to have been born in a town called Treviso located in Italy at a restaurant called Le Beccherie. This dessert instantaneously along with its name became extremely popular throughout Italy. In 1981, Giuseppe Maffioli stated in an article, “Tiramisu’ was born recently, just 10 years ago in the town of Treviso. It was proposed for the first time in the restaurant Le Beccherie. The dessert, and its name, became immediately extremely popular, and this cake and the name where copied by many restaurants first in Treviso then all around Italy”. Ado and Alba Campeol, owners of the restaurant Le Beccherie, still makes this dessert with its original recipe:

Le Beccherie Tiramisu
Ladyfingers soaked in strong bitter espresso coffee
Mascarpone-Zabaglione Cream
Bitter Cocoa Powder

Eventually this recipe made its way outside of Italy and over to the United States. Tiramisu is a dessert that has become a favorite among Americans.

Basic components of the dessert consist of:

Mascarpone Cheese is a triple cream cheese generally made from low fat cream taken from cows whose diet has been special grasses made up of flowers and fresh herbs. This special diet produces a cream that is described as a unique and fresh delicious taste.

Ladyfinger cookies are known as savoiardi in Italy. They are little, sweet, dry, and finger-shaped sponge cake cookies.

Tiramisu - Classic Recipe

The Coffee Dip

1 Cups Espresso Coffee
2 Teaspoons Sugar

Prepare a strong espresso coffee, about 1 cups. Dissolve 2 teaspoons sugar in the hot coffee. Cool to room temperature. Set aside.

Zabaglione Filling

4 Egg Yolks
Cup Sugar
Cup Marsala Wine
1 lb Mascarpone Cheese, at room temperature
1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream

Beat the 4 egg yolks in a double boiler until they are fluffy. Beat in the cup of sugar. Add the Marsala wine. Whisk until the cream thickens. The zabaglione filling will thicken just before it reaches the boiling point, when small bubbles appear. Set aside.

The Base

10 oz Savoiardi (ladyfinger cookies)
2 Tablespoons Bitter Cocoa Powder

In a medium size bowl, using a rubber spatula mash the mascarpone cheese until creamy. Add in the zabaglione and beat to mix well. Whip the heavy cream until thick. Fold the whipped cream into the zabaglione cheese filling until smooth.

Assemble the Cake

One at a time, lightly soak ladyfingers in the coffee. Line a 12 x 8 dish in a single layer with the soaked ladyfinger cookies. Evenly spread half of the zabaglione cheese filling over the ladyfingers. Repeat with a second layer of coffee soaked ladyfingers and spread the remaining zabaglione filling. Finish off by dusting the top with the cocoa powder. Refrigerate about 3 to 4 hours.


There are many different ways Tiramisu is made and many different things that can be added to it. Strawberries, chocolate, peanut butter, peach brandy, and mixed berries are all ingredients that add a twist to this favorite dessert. Tiramisu with a tasty sugar cookie recipe to replace ladyfingers would be a good replacement to try. Tiramisu cheesecake and a Tiramisu dessert pizza are two other takes on this cake.

There are many resources to find a favorite Tiramisu recipe or to find many favorites. The RecipeZaar has the Barefoot Contessa’s Tiramisu recipe and d Joy of Baking has a large number of Ladyfinger recipes.

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