Posts Tagged ‘chocolate’

I haven’t been a big fan of Bon Appetit since it took over my subscription from the now-defunct Gourmet last year. But they get props for this incredible brownie recipe, featured on the cover of February’s edition.

What puts these over the top is the brown butter, which is new to me but not hard to prepare. You melt unsalted butter over medium heat and allow the milk solids to separate and sink to the bottom of the pan and brown.  It adds a rich, nutty flavor to the mix that complements the walnuts and earthy unsweetened cocoa powder.  And the texture is perfect: rich and chewy on the inside, slightly crispy on top.


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¡Este pastel es increíble! Chalk it up to Mexican magic: this two-layer bundt cake by Marcela Valladolid requires you to suspend disbelief of both its incredible decadence and how it’s made.

First you prepare a rich chocolate cake batter and fill the bottom half of a buttered bundt cake pan. Then, you pour the liquid, eggy flan mixture — which includes 4 ounces of cream cheese — on top of the batter.

But while you bake it covered for an hour, the layers magically invert:  the chocolate cake rises to the top and the custardy flan sinks to the bottom. When you flip the creation onto a serving platter, the result is a beautiful creamy, vanilla-caramel flan layer atop a rich, moist chocolate cake.  Drizzle with a salty caramel sauce.  It wowed everyone’s socks off.

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No trip to the great Northwest wilderness is complete without a classic dessert prepared artfully over the open flame:  the s’more.  Gooey toasted marshmallow sandwiched between crunchy honey grahams and rich sweet chocolate. Heaven in the woods — and totally worth every mosquito swat while toasting the ‘mallows over the fire.   This year we decided to shake it up and use Nutella — the European hazelnut spread — in place of the standard Hershey’s milk chocolate bar. I was won over my the creaminess and the nutty flavor.  Try it out next time!

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This cake — itself a take on the Oreo cookie — is so much fun to make and utterly amazing to eat. Layers of rich, moist chocolate cake sandwich creamy vanilla filling that’s blended with crumbles of Oreo cookies. A thick and decadent dark chocolate frosting made of butter, confectioners sugar and ghirardelli cocoa podwer coats the entire cake. Kudos to fellow food blog Annie’s Eats for the recipe!

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This cake was my baptism into the world of Bon Appetit magazine. And as I’m sure any of its devourers can attest, the surviving sister of Gourmet Magazine offers up some pretty sweet stuff (no pun intended). The January issue names this recipe among its “top desserts of the year,” and while I might not go that far, it is indeed wonderfully decadent and delicious. The cake is moist, fluffy and coconutty, laden with scattered, irregular fragments of Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate.  The top of the cake is an amazing minefield of toasted coconut, gooey chocolate and a creamy coconut glaze. I served it as a coffeecake for a brunch but it could easily have been a dessert course for a fancy dinner party.

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The revered judges of the annual Washington bureau holiday bake-off have spoken…. and they’ve crowned these almond florentines as king in 2009!  Sources tell me it was the “ooooh” factor that tipped the scale vis a vis some of the formidable competition.  And that reaction is not all that surprising, since these are indeed surprisingly tasty (read: addictive) cookie-candies.

The florentine is not quite a “brittle” or a “bark”:  it’s a thin, carmel-sugary crisp with a hint of chewiness and a light layer of bittersweet chocolate on the outside. It’s virtually all sliced almonds held together by a honey-butter-sugar mixture that gets golden brown when baked for 10 minutes.

Almond Florentines

1 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup honey

1/3 cup whipping cream

4 cups sliced almonds

1 cup semisweet chocolate

6 foil pans

(1) Preheat the oven to 375. Grease the aluminum pans.

(2) Over medium heat, combine the butter, sugar, honey and cream. Cook until boiling — stirring constantly for 1 1/2 mins at boiling.

(3) Remove from heat and add almonds.  Then, divide the mixture between the 6 pans. The layer should be very, very thin.

(4) Bake at 10-14 minutes until bubbling around the edges and a rich golden brown. Watch closely so as not to burn!

(5) Cool the florentines completely in the pans, even refrigerating or freezing if needed. After 5-10 minutes, pop them out onto wax paper.

(6) Melt the chocolate over low heat and then spread a thin layer atop the florentine discs. Allow chocolate to cool and harden completely.

(7) Slice using a sharp, long knife and serve!

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What do you get when you give a bunch of professional journalists sharp knives, a couple bottles of champagne, and instructions to work together to prepare a gourmet meal?  An incredibly lively — and dangerously unpredictable! — dinner party that you’ll never forget. Some of the best times among friends are spent in the kitchen, and this night proved that once again.  Check out this rockin’ menu we compiled and prepared with help from our friends at the DC-based cooking school “Company’s Coming:”

Appetizers: Portuguese Tuna and Beans; Goat Cheese Spread; Sizzling Lemon Shrimp with Garlic; Selection of Grilled Gourmet Sausages

Entree: Flat Iron Steak with Shallot Confit; Rissotto with Red Wine, Pancetta, and Parmesan; Boston Lettuce Salad with Pine Nuts

Dessert: Molten Chocolate Cake with Raspberries

Wines: Montelliana, Prosecco, ‘Montello e Colli Asolani’; 2007 La Carraia, ‘Orvieto,’ Classico; 2007 Banfi, ‘Chianti Classico’

And now the winning take-away recipe from the evening….Molten Chocolate Cake!  ( This is not, repeat not, a healthy dessert, but it’s a divine re-creation of a classic steakhouse favorite that I love to order when I’m out.)

Molten Chocolate Cake from Ed and Jinny Fleischman

1 cup butter

8 oz bittersweet chocolate

4 eggs

4 egg yolks (in addition to the 4 whole eggs!)

1/2 cup white sugar

4 teaspoons of flour

(1) Prepare ceramic ramekins or other small baking cups by buttering the inside and dusting with flour.  Repeat twice for each cup – this is key so the cake will pop out.

(2) Melt butter over low heat in saucepan. Add chocolate and stir until just melted.

(3) Beat eggs, yolks and sugar until light and thick. Stir the butter and chocolate together and add in the egg mixture. Quickly beat in the flour.

(4) Divide mixture evenly between ramekins. Either refrigerate for later baking or continue by baking.

(5) Place ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 6-7 minutes at 450 degrees. (Note: the center will not be firm but the sides will be set.)

(6) Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 seconds before flipping out of the mold.

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