Friday, February 5, 2010

Weekend Fare: Chocolate

We are concluding this week of recipes on chocolate with a day devoted entirely to some easy chocolate recipes that are perfect for entertaining, for ending a special meal, or just because. The lava cakes and creme brulee would make excellent Valentine's Day Desserts!

These double chocolate cookies are sure to please any chocolate lover. The beautiful texture and chocolatey goodness make it perfect for dipping in a glass of milk! When I want to make large cookies, I use my ice cream scoop and bake them for 12-13 minutes. Mmmm...



DOUBLE CHOCOLATE COOKIES
Print This Recipe
1 c. butter
1 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. white sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 package (11-12 oz.) milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In medium bowl cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat on medium speed until smooth. Add the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt and blend until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet or stone. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

The oozy, delicious center of molten lava cakes makes this a popular dessert. I love it paired with raspberries - a perfect combination! Honestly, these cakes are incredibly easy but yet, so impressive. Bake them right before serving. Fresh whipped cream, vanilla bean ice cream, and/or fresh or frozen fruit make excellent garnishes.



MOLTEN LAVA CAKE
(adapted from allrecipes.com)
Print This Recipe

1 c. butter
8 oz. semi-sweet or dark chocolate (a nice quality of chocolate will give a better cake!), chopped
5 eggs
1/2 c. sugar
pinch of salt
4 tsp. flour
fresh or frozen raspberries, opt.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grease 8 ramekins and set aside.

Melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. Beat eggs, sugar, and salt with a hand mixer in a medium bowl until sugar dissolves. Beat egg mixtures into chocolate until smooth.  Beat in flour until just combined. (Batter can be made a day ahead and refrigerated - bring to room temperature before baking).

Adjust oven rack to middle position. Divide batter between ramekins. Bake until batter puffs but center is not set, 9-12 minutes. Carefully loosen the sides of the cake and invert on a dessert plate. Serve with fresh or thawed raspberries if desired.

Although white chocolate isn't really chocolate, I wanted to make sure and include a recipe for something with white chocolate! This gluten free creme brulee is WONDERFUL! Seriously, go make it. It doesn't have a strong white chocolate flavor - just a hint and even my tasters who normally don't care for white chocolate loved this dessert! 

I desperately wished for a torch to make this dessert look prettier - the sugar just did not caramelize as well under the broiler. It did have that lovely crisp texture though which is so wonderful with the creamy custard. 

 WHITE CHOCOLATE CREME BRULEE
(adapted from allrecipes.com)
Print This Recipe

4 egg yolks
1/3 c. sugar
2 c. heavy cream
4 oz. quality white chocolate (I used Ghiradelli), chopped
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 tsp. sugar.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

In a medium bowl, whisk egg toiks with 1/3 c. sugar until smooth. In a medium saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and add the white chocolate. Whisk until chocolate is melted. Temper the eggs by adding 2 Tb. of the white chocolate mixture  to the eggs. Whisk. Add the rest of the white chocolate and whisk to combine. Add vanilla.

Divide between 4 -6 ramekins. Place the ramekins in a 9x13 pan filled with 1 1/2 inches hot water. Bake for 45-55 minutes of until set. Allow to cool, then refrigerate the custards until chilled. Before serving, sprinkle the tops of each ramekin with 1 tsp. of suagr and place under the broiler or use a torch to carmalize the sugar. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Finally, I wanted to give you a quick and easy hot chocolate recipe. It's not the very rich, homemade hot chocolate I often think of but it was light and delicious with a hint of cinnamon. It was made with ingredients that I almost always have on hand. You could top it with whipped cream or shaved chocolate.



HOT CHOCOLATE
(adapted from Ellie Krieger)
Print This Recipe

1 c. milk
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. water
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Heat the milk and the cinnamon until just simmering. In a mug, combine the cocoa powder, sugar, and water and stir. Pour the milk into the mug and stir to mix well. Add the vanilla and stir. Makes 1 serving.