1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee (I use the Starbucks Via packs)
1/4 cup hot water
1 cup heavy whipping cream, cold (see note)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (see note)
8 ounces marscarpone cheese or Challenge cream cheese (low fat cream cheese is fine)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ounce semi-sweet baking chocolate
Place the instant coffee in the hot water and stir. Let cool for 5 minutes.
Beat heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Chill until ready to use. (Alternately: you can use an 8 ounce carton of whipped topping. See note.)
Mix powdered sugar and marscarpone/cream cheese with a hand mixer until smooth. Mix in vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon of the coffee. Add up to the entire amount of coffee, depending on how strong you want your tiramisu. (I added all of it because that’s how I roll.) Mix in vanilla.
Fold whipped cream into coffee mixture gently. Place the tiramisu in a gallon size ziploc bag that is fitted with a large round or 1M tip.
Pipe a small amount the bottom of each of 4 serving glasses (my glasses were 6 ounce size). Top the layer with a dusting of cocoa powder. Continue layering the tiramisu and cocoa powder. Once you get to the top layer, grate the 1 ounce of semi-sweet baking chocolate over the tops of the serving dishes (instead of the dusting of cocoa powder). This gives a sweet first taste instead of being bitter from the unsweetened cocoa. Chill, covered, in the fridge until ready to serve.
Whipped cream note: you can substitute whipped topping for the 1 cup of heavy whipping cream. Use about 8 ounces, no whipping needed. Just skip step 2.
I used cream cheese because I can’t always find marscarpone at my store. It’s often in the specialty cheese section and is basically an Italian cream cheese. Use whichever you can find!
Coffee note: mine was strong instant coffee and I added a lot. Taste as you go and make this as strong as you like it. The color will vary depending on the amount of coffee used.
Powdered sugar note: if you use whipped topping and/or less coffee you may need less powdered sugar. Start at 1 cup and increase as needed.