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Posts Tagged ‘chocolate’

I mean, seriously…can you resist?  No, don’t resist.  You’ll be missing out!  These cookies are really intensely chocolatey.  They are slightly crisp on the outside and soft-chewy on the inside, with the coffee flavor coming through, especially at the end.  They are perfectly paired with a tall glass of milk and frankly, I dare you to just eat one.  And a little birdie told me that if you want to get really down and dirty, you’d smear a dollop of peanut butter over the top and eat them like an ooey-gooey open-faced sandwich!

Be sure to buy chocolate that you really love.  Stay away from the Hershey’s.  I use Guittard for most of my chocolate baking projects.  The chocolate is tasty, and it’s not too hard to find these days in well-stocked grocery stores.

Double chocolate and coffee cookies barely adapted from Rick Katz’ recipe in Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan
yields about 24 cookies

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into larger-than-chip-sized chunks; divided in half
  • 4 ounces (one stick) unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons very finely ground coffee or instant coffee powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a medium bowl mix the flour, baking powder, and salt and whisk to combine .

Separately, combine the butter with unsweetened chocolate and half of the bittersweet chocolate in a medium bowl.  Set the bowl over a medium pan of simmering water (be sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl) and stir every-so-often with a rubber spatula until completely melted.  Remove from the heat and set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the eggs, sugar, coffee, and vanilla.  Whisk on high speed for about 10 minutes, until the mixture becomes light-yellow in color, and leaves a ribbon on the surface when drizzled with a spoon.

Turn the mixer down to the lowest setting and add the melted chocolate.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and use a rubber spatula to be sure that all the nooks of the bowl have been evenly mixed.  Add the flour mixture and remaining chocolate chunks and mix only until just combined.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl, cover with plastic, and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Place the oven racks in the center-most position and preheat the oven to 350º. Line 2 baking sheets with silpats or parchment paper.  Drop the cookies by the heaping-Tablespoonful onto the trays, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie.

Bake 10-12 minutes.  They are ready when they look slightly underdone in the center.  Immediately transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.

You will probably eat at least one when they are still warm.  I don’t blame you.  They are delicious!

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Chocolate sorbet.  Yes, chocolate sorbet.  Indeed it is, chocolate sorbet.  And it is divine.

For your information, Scott is a crafty gift- giver.  He knows what he’s doin’.  He’s thought it through.  And he knows that giving me things like this for my birthday will prove to be fruitful for all parties involved.  Yes, he is a wise one indeed.  But back to the sorbet…

Dare I call it healthy?  It’s only ingredients are chocolate, cocoa powder,  sugar, water, vanilla, and salt.  It really couldn’t be easier to throw together.  I do believe I even mumbled something about it’s being tastier than chocolate ice cream- if you’re a chocolate-lover, that is.  Because in this sorbet, the chocolate is, well, intense!.  There’s no cream or egg yolk to mask the flavor of that delicious chocolate!

Chocolate Sorbet from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz
yields about 1 quart

The recipe calls for Dutch-process cocoa powder, which is different than regular cocoa powder because it contains an alkali which neutralizes the acidity.  It should say “dutch-process” or “cocoa rouge” on the label, and can be found at most well-stocked high-end groceries or here.

Be sure to use a large saucepan for this recipe, as the mixture bubbles up significantly as it’s heated.

  • 2-1/4 cups water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large sauce pan set over medium heat, whisk together 1-1/2 cups water, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt.  Bring to a boil and whisk constantly for 45 seconds.

Remove from the heat.  Pour in the chocolate and stir constantly until it is completely melted.  Then add the remaining 3/4 cup water and vanilla extract.  Allow the mixture to cool so that it is warm, not hot.  Transfer to a blender and blend on high for 15 seconds.  Chill the mixture completely (4 hours, or overnight).  You may need to give the mixture a little whisking to thin it out slightly before freezing it. Freeze in an ice cream maker.

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I highly recommend being young at heart.  I’m pretty sure it’s good for the soul.  Kind of like singing.  Loud.  Anywhere.  Like in the shower.  Using the shampoo bottle as the microphone.  I’m just offering suggestions.  Really, you can sing into whatever you want.  Like the bar of soap, for instance.  Personally, I’m partial to Simon and Garfunkel in the shower.  Cecilia, you’re breakin’ my heart, you’re shakin’ my confidence daily… But, you know- to each his own…

Anyway, back to the young at heart thing.  I’ve noticed something about Scott.  He’s become a milk drinker.  I can usually tell what he’s had for dinner based on the dishes next to the sink.  Now I’d hate to give you the impression that his meals are un-square but… when all I see are a few crumbs and an empty glass of milk, well, I can make a fairly accurate assessment.

Lo and behold.  Someone has been eating cookies and milk for dinner.  But to be truly young at heart, you really must be a dunker.  You must hold that cookie in your glass of milk sooooo long that it becomes fully saturated and nearly falls to the bottom of the glass.  This is simply how it’s done.   So if you find that you’re striving to be young at heart, I suggest that you give this cookie-milk-dunker-dinner thing a try.  I’ve been taking lessons from Scott and I think I may have a knack for it!

Almond-chocolate sandwich cookies barely adapted from The Baker’s Dozen Cookbook
yields 40 individual cookies, 20 sandwiches

  • 1 cup whole raw almonds, toasted and cooled
  • 3/4 cup plus 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • scant 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • 5 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

Place the fully cooled almonds and 3 Tablespoons of the sugar in the bowl of a food processor, and grind to the consistency of fine cornmeal.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and remaining sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Scrape down the bowl and add the egg, extract, and almond mixture, beating to combine.  Scrape down the bowl, and add the flour mixture on low speed, mixing just until combined.  Cover tightly and refrigerate the dough for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

Place an oven rack in the center position, and preheat the oven to 350°.  Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Measure the dough in to 1-teaspoon sized portions.  Place 2 portions at a time on the palm of your hand and roll them to make 2 individual balls.  (This is simply faster than rolling one ball at a time!)  Place the balls 1-1/2 inches apart on the baking sheets, and bake, one tray at a time, until the cookies are lightly golden all over, about 10-12 minutes.

Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for about 3 minutes, then remove them to a cooling rack.

Prepare a double boiler by placing a heat-proof bowl over a pot of shallow, simmering water- do not allow the water to touch the base of the bowl.  Place the chocolate in the bowl and stir every-so often until it is completely melted.  Using a small knife or spoon, spread about 1/2 teaspoon of chocolate on the bottom of one cookie, then sandwich with another cookie.  Repeat until all the sandwiches have been made.  Allow to cool for at least 2 hours to allow the chocolate to harden (or give them a brief stint in the refrigerator).  Once cooled, store in an air-tight container.

Don’t forget the tall glass of milk!

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For a first-birthday celebration, I found myself making 48 cupcakes.  I made 24 chocolate, and 24 vanilla.  For the chocolate, I used this recipe, doubling it.  And for the vanilla, I used this recipe, doubling it, and baking for about 5 minutes less.  Ever searching for new and fun frostings, I came across two wildly successful ones in Smitten Kitchen’s recipe list.  Here they are:

Fudge Frosting barely adapted from Smitten Kitchen
yeilds 4 cups

This frosting is fairly sweet, even though it calls for unsweetened chocolate.  Next time I may try using a little less sugar.  Also, Deb uses 3 sticks of butter (12 ounces) and no creme fraiche…a good alternative!

  • 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 4-1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 4 ounces creme fraiche or sour cream at room temperature
  • 6 Tablespoons whole milk at room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

Melt the chocolate in a bowl placed over a pot of barely simmering water.  Allow to cool slightly.  Place everything in the bowl of a food processor, and process until smooth.  Frost away!

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting from Smitten Kitchen
yields about 4 cups

I used Grade A Maple Syrup, which has a more “pure” flavor.  But I tend to think that a Grade B syrup might be better, as the flavor is a little stronger and won’t be so overpowered by the cream cheese. Also, I’ve tried using an artisinal cream cheese and it was an utter failure!! The resulting frosting was too thin, and curdy.  I think good ol’ Philadelphia is the way to go.

update 11/2010: I tried using Grade B syrup and the flavor of the icing was great, however it was a little looser because Grade B maple syrup is a little thinner… so really, the choice is yours!

  • 2 packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter until perfectly smooth.  Scrape down the bowl and add the sugar and maple syrup.  Mix until smooth.  Depending upon how thin your resulting frosting is, you may find that chilling it for about an hour helps it to thicken for easier frostibility.

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One thing I’ve learned about being pregnant…

Everybody likes to give their opinion…

…about labor…

…about eating right…

…about gaining weight…

…about what I should and shouldn’t lift…

And I find it a little funny.  For the most part, I don’t really mind.  But the other day, one of my co-workers was having a conversation with Scott about the diet and cravings of a pregnant woman.  And he adamantly told Scott that a pregnant woman should just eat what she craves, not worrying about “proper nutrition” since “the body knows best”.  And to that I’d like to point out that one of my most common (unresolved) cravings is for a gin martini.  Dirty.  Extra olives… sooo, umm, what d’ya say to that- huh?!

In other news, it seems that I have a hankerin’ for cake and frosting.  Now don’t worry.  I realize that it likely appears that I’ve been eating nothing but sugary sweets and gin martinis.  But fear no more.  This facade of a blog through which you see me doesn’t paint the whole picture!  My days have been filled with hummus, avocados, kiwis, salmon and whole grains.  But you see, those things just don’t look very cute with piped-frosting hearts and squiggles.  Alas…

I present to you my new standard in chocolate cuppy-cakes (as I like to call them).  I still can’t get over just how tender the crumb is.  And how moist.  And really, I think you’ll find yourself filled with glee to eat them.  Especially if you happen to be eating them while watching the scene in Mama Mia where all the women dance through the village singing Dancing Queen.…(just a suggestion).

Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing barely adapted from A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg
yields 12 cupcakes

Molly uses plain, whole milk yogurt instead of buttermilk, which I’ve used with great success in many cake recipes.  I simply didn’t have any on hand!  Also, Molly states that this recipe can be baked into an 8″ or 9″ cake pan, greased and lined with parchment.  Bake for 50-60 minutes.

Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 1 ounce semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup hot brewed coffee
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • rounded 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place an oven rack in the center-most position and preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Line a standard-sized muffin pan with muffin papers and set aside.

Pour the semisweet chocolate into the hot coffee and let it sit, stirring every once in a while until dissolved.

In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Whisk to combine.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment,  beat the egg until frothy.  Add the canola oil, buttermilk and vanilla extract.  With the mixer running, add the coffee/chocolate mixture.  Add the dry ingredients all at once and mix until just combined.  Turn off the mixer and use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom to be sure that there aren’t any unmixed parts left.

Pour the batter into the lined muffin pan, taking care to distribute the batter evenly.  Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack for 20 minutes to cool.  Gently remove the cooled cupcakes from the pan (you may want to use a palette knife or butter knife to assist you), and place on the cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • tiny pinch of salt

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until completely smooth.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and add the butter and salt.  Beat again for about 30 seconds.  Scrape down the bowl again, and add the sugar.  Again, beat until smooth, scraping down the bowl as necessary.  Load into a pastry bag fitted with a fluted pastry tip and decorate!*

*Did you know that you can use a zip-top bag as a substitute pastry bag?  Simply load up the bag with the frosting, then cut one of the corners of the bag off.  A small cut will give you a small “pastry tip” and a larger cut will give you a larger “pastry tip”-ta da!

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I would like to take this moment to say “yum”.  YUM!

…and this is why…

I made this cake this morning.  And yes, I had a piece for lunch.  Well pre-lunch, really.  But it was after noon.  Not that cake before noon and alcohol before noon have the same connotation.  Because they don’t.  Unless you’re referring to the addictive tendencies of those who partake in such substances before noon.  And in that case, I’ll plead guilty.  Without will-power.  But for the next 5 months, I’ll just go ahead and plead pregnant. That works, right? Umm…

Anyhoo.  I just felt like making a cake.  I don’t know why.  There’s no rhyme or reason to it.  I have nothing more to say on the subject.  Except that I highly recommend that if you ever find yourself wanting to make a fabulously moist, extra-super delicious butter cake, this here is the one to try.  The recipe has been dog-eared in one of my favorite cookbooks for ages.  And on a whim, I just decided to take the plunge (into heaven).

Butter Cake with Milk-Chocolate Ganache Frosting barely adapted from The Baker’s Dozen Cookbook
This recipe yields one 9-inch layer cake.  You may double it to make two layers.

As with all recipes with few ingredients, it’s especially important to use the best ingredients you can find…so shell out the money for some really great butter- after all this is a butter cake!

For the Butter Cake

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • rounded 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 pound (one stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place an oven rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.  Line the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan with a circle of parchment.  There is no need to butter and flour the pan.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  Stir to mix well and aerate.

Place the room-temperature butter in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat on medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until the butter is lighter in color- about 45 seconds.  With the mixer still on medium speed, add the sugar in a steady stream.  Once all the sugar has been incorporated, scrape down the sides of the bowl, then continue to mix on medium speed until the mixture is very light in color and texture- 4 to 5 minutes.

Slowly pour in the eggs, about 1 Tablespoon at a time,  allowing each addition to be fully incorporated before adding more.  The whole process should take at least 2 to 3 minutes.

Combine the vanilla and milk in a small bowl or measuring cup.

With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in four doses, alternating with the milk in three doses.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl in between additions.

Pour the batter into the cake pan and place in the oven to bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and set on a rack to cool for 10 minutes.  Invert onto a plate and remove the parchment paper.  then put the parchment back on the cake, with the sticky side up.  Re-invert the whole thing back on to a rack until fully cooled.

To use the next day, simply wrap tightly in plastic.  To be frozen, wrap tightly in plastic and then wrap again in foil- freeze for 2 weeks.  OR ice it and eat now!

Milk-Chocolate Ganache Frosting
Yields about 3 cups of icing.

You’ll get a little more frosting than you’ll need for this cake, however, it’s delicious dolloped into your morning coffee!  This icing turned out great and I loved it, but next time I’d like to try a different ratio using a little less cream and a little more chocolate for a slightly denser result.  Also, you’ll need to start this frosting at least 4-6 hours before you’re ready to use it.  I recommend melting the cream and chocolate together the day before so that’s it’s ready to whip when you are.

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 6-1/2 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped

Place the chocolate in a medium bowl and set aside.  Heat the cream in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan until bubbles begin to appear around the edges.  Pour the cream over the chocolate and let it sit for about 15 minutes.  Stir with a rubber spatula until the mixture is smooth and the chocolate is fully dissolved.  Cool completely and chill for at least 4 to 6 hours, or overnight.

Just before using, pour the mixture into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Whip on medium-high speed until the mixture holds stiff peaks and is spreadable.  Use immediately.

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Salty chocolate cookies

Like cookie dough?  Yeah, me too.

So here I am, pregnant (Yes-11 weeks!) and trying to avoid raw eggs.  And I find myself making cookies for Christmas Eve.  And you know what I realized?  I somehow, miraculously, chose two cookie recipes that don’t include raw eggs.  It was a gosh, darn, Christmas miracle!  And so I nibbled away, to my heart’s content, knowing that if anything was going to kill me, it would most certainly be the overload on chocolate!

These are Scott’s favorite Christmas cookies (not that he really has much experience in the whole realm of Christmas).  Oh, and on that note, you should have seen him attempting to put lights on our little 4-foot tree.  It was an ordeal to behold, bless his heart!  Better luck next year, perhaps?

But, back to business.  These cookies are crisp and chocolaty. And lovely.  And delicious.  And chocolaty.

Salty Chocolate Cookies from a generous co-worker who knew her stuff when it came to salty, chocolaty things!
yields about 36 cookies

  • 5-1/2 ounces unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1-1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fleur de sel (flaky sea salt)
  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine

In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar.

In a separate medium bowl mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, fleur de sel, and bittersweet chocolate.

Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and mix on low speed for about 1 minute.  It will remain crumbly.  Pour the crumbly dough out onto a cookie sheet and divide it into two piles.

Gather each pile together, molding it like clay, into logs about 1-inch thick.  They do not need to be perfectly uniform at this point.

Refrigerate the dough for about 30 minutes.

Remove the logs from the refrigerator and shape them into uniform logs.  (They will be easier to handle now that they are lightly chilled.)  Your logs can either be round, or square.  To make them square, I pat, rather than roll them, and pinch the edges to make crisper corners.

Refrigerate for at least another 30-60 minutes, or overnight.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

Using a serrated bread knife, use a gentle sawing motion to slice each log into cookies about 1/4-inch thick.  Place on cookie sheets about 2-inches apart, and if you’d like, sprinkle with a few more flakes of fleur de sel.

Bake for 12-15 minutes.  Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for about 1-minute, then remove to cooling rack.

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