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Entries in chocolate (10)

Friday
Nov042016

Chocolate Pavlova Cake with Strawberries and Cream 

 

 

   This was a fun cake to make. It looks harder than it actually was. There are a few different parts to it, but they’re all basic and easy.

     The Hershey’s back of the box chocolate cake recipe is tried and true. It’s my go to recipe when I want a chocolate fix.

      Merengue is an easy thing to master as long as you’re patient with adding the sugar, get the egg whites really stiff, and let it cool slowly in the oven so it holds its shape and doesn’t crack.

     Ganache? Melted chocolate and cream – not hard at all. Strawberries and cream classics with chocolate and meringue.

     Simple, singularly delicious pieces all put together for a #GBBO inspired showstopper. Next time I’ll make it three tiers!

  

For the meringue “crown” 

5 large egg whites

11 oz granulated sugar

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon white vinegar


For the chocolate cake 

1 cup sugar  

1 ½ cups self rising flour or  

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder 

1 egg

½ cup buttermilk

¼ cup canola oil

2 teaspoons vanilla

½ cup boiling water

 

For the chocolate ganache

4 oz bittersweet chocolate pieces

¼ cup heavy cream

 

For the topping

½ cup heavy cream, whipped

1-1 ½ cups sliced strawberries

 

Make the chocolate cake

     Heat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch cake pan and dust with cocoa powder. Combine sugar, flour, and cocoa in a large bowl. Add egg, buttermilk and vanilla. Beat on medium speed with an electric mixer for 2 minutes. reduce speed to low, add water (batter will be thin) and pour into pan.

      Bake 25-30 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on wire wrack, remove then cool completely. Can be made 1 day ahead.

Make the meringue “crown”

     Preheat oven to 350°F. Draw a 10-inch circle on one piece of parchment paper. Draw a 6-inch circle on another piece of parchment paper. Place on un-rimmed baking sheets.

     Whisk egg whites and salt in the bowl of a stand-mixer until they form soft peaks with the whisk is lifted. Slowly whisk in sugar, a tablespoons at a time until the egg whites become stiff and glossy. Whisk in cornstarch and vinegar.

     Spoon or pipe ½-¾ of the mixture onto the 10-inch circle to form a base. Continue spooning or piping a “wall” of meringue around the edge of the circle up to 2 ½ inches high. Do the same on the 6-inch disk with remaining meringue.

     Reduce oven to 275°F. Bake 1-1 ¼ hours until the shells are crisp on the outside, but still soft inside. Turn oven off and let cool completely in the oven.


Make the ganache

     Pour the cream over the chocolate pieces, stir over low heat until the pieces are melted and the mixture is smooth. Cool until lukewarm, and still spreadable.  

Assemble cake

     Trim the top and sides of chocolate cake so that it will lie flat and fit inside large meringue base. Place cake, upside down in base, cover top and sides with ganache. Top with smaller meringue “crown” fill with whipped cream and strawberry slices. Garnish with additional whole strawberries and meringue decorations.

 


Note: recipes adapted from Hershey’s Classic Recipes and BBC Food’s Crown Layered Pavlova

    

 

Sunday
Sep182016

Reversed Impossible (it's possible) Chocolate Flan

  

 

I’ve been threatening to make the Reversed Impossible Chocolate Flan featured in  “Sweet & Southern” by Ben Mims and on NYTimes cooking for weeks. I’d been looking for a recipe like this after I made the Lemon Pudding Cake a few weeks ago (if you haven’t tried it do so. It’s amazingly delicious). I secretly tried to come up with a recipe for a one batter magic cake myself, hoping I could achieve the same separation with one chocolate batter. Well, I didn’t have much luck, but I did have a really nice chocolate mousse cake in my fridge.

     This cake has two batters (they’re both dead easy) so twice as much magic happens. Before your eyes, the pudding sinks, the cake rises and a dessert worthy of a banquet at Hogwarts appears. No charm or wand waving needed. Helga Hufflepuff would be proud.

 

For the cake

½ cup butter, room temperature (1 stick)

¾ cup sugar

1 large egg, room temperature

1-½ cups flour

¼ teaspoon salt

1-teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¾ cup buttermilk

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

Cooking spray

For the chocolate custard

12 oz. can evaporated milk

14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

½ cup cocoa powder

1-teaspoon vanilla extract

4 large eggs

 

     Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a Bundt pan with cooking spray. Place it in a large roasting pan, fill roasting pan half way up with water. Remove Bundt pan, and place roasting pan on rack in middle of oven.

     In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, beat in egg and mix until incorporated. Whisk flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda together in a bowl. Whisk buttermilk and vanilla together in another bowl.

     Beginning and ending with the flour mixture alternating with the buttermilk, add to butter and sugar in three stages, beating just until incorporated. Spread evenly in Bundt pan, smooth top.


     Using a hand mixture, beat evaporated milk, condensed milk, cocoa, eggs and vanilla together until smooth (the mixture will be thin). Ladle custard gently on top of cake batter.

 

     Transfer to roasting pan, and bake for 35-40 minutes until a tester comes out clean.


     Cool completely on a wire rack before even attempting to turn out (I put it in the fridge towards the end to make sure the custard set). Invert pan onto a plate, cake should slide right out. Grab a fork.


Some notes if you make this: A few of the reviews mentioned that the custard portion was rubbery. I didn’t find that at all. The custard was silky with a rich chocolate flavor. Also, some thought the cake was bland; so with that in mind I decided to triple the vanilla, used buttermilk rather than coconut milk and skipped the vinegar.

 

 

Sunday
Nov162014

Buche de Noel - The #1 It's not Christmas Without recipe...

 

 

     This sponge cake is from Betty Crocker circa 1986. It’s the only recipe I’ve used and it’s never, ever failed me. This is really basic, so it’s easy to tweak it any way you like to suit your own tastes. For instance, instead of Chantilly cream you could make a peppermint whipped cream, or add Chambord instead of vanilla to the cake. The variations are endless, just not in this house.

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE SPONGE CAKE

4 eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

1/3-cup water

1-teaspoon vanilla extract

¾ cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa

1-teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

Confectioner’s sugar

     Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 15x10x1 baking pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl, set aside.

     Beat eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high until thick and lemony in color (this could take up to 5 minutes). Gradually beat in sugar on low speed. Then beat in water and vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture and beat until smooth. Do not over beat. Pour batter into prepared pan, spread to corners using a spatula.

     Bake 12-15 minutes until center springs back when pressed with finger. Sprinkle a clean tea towel with confectioner’s sugar. Loosen edges of cake from sides of parchment paper and turn upside down onto a tea towel. Peel away paper; trim any stiff edges from rectangle. While hot, roll cake and towel up from the narrow end. Let cool on a rack for 30 minutes.

FOR THE CHANTILLY CREAM FILLING

½ cup heavy cream

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1-tablespoon confectioner’s sugar

Beat cream, vanilla and sugar in a medium bowl with an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat until stiff peaks form, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

FOR THE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

½ cup butter, softened

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

4-4-½ cups confectioner’s sugar

1-tablespoon vanilla

¼ cup milk

     Whisk flour and cocoa together in a medium bowl. Beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Gradually beat in sugar mixture on low speed until blended. Gradually beat in vanilla and enough milk until the frosting is smooth. If the frosting becomes too thin, add more confectioner’s sugar, if it too thick, add milk by the teaspoon.

 

Saturday
Feb112012

The Flavor Of Love At Michael Anthony's - Hilton Head Monthly

 

 

Ostriche con Prosecco

Oysters with Prosecco Mignonette

Light a few candles, pour some champagne and celebrate the day of hearts with a seductive dinner…Italian style

 

When I think romance I think Italian, and when I think Italian on the Island, I think Michael Anthony’s.

 

 Obviously I’m not alone.  Michael Anthony’s Cucina Italiana has achieved “Hall of Fame” status with six wins in our Readers’ Choice Awards. What better place to go then straight to Executive Chef Michael Cirafesi?  I asked him to create an intimate dinner for two. 

 

He selected ingredients deemed “foods of love” through the ages – oysters, truffles and chocolate.  So for those who prefer to skip the rigmarole of dining out on Valentines Day or just want to make an evening a little special…pop that champagne cork and settle in for a lovely romantic meal oozing with Italian influence and laced with amore.

 

Just click on the titles for the recipes

Risotto ai due Tartufi con Taleggio

Black and White Truffle Risotto with Taleggio


Sformata di Cioccolata

Chocolate Soufflé Cake

Photographs by Rob Kaufman

Monday
Oct102011

Pecan Praline Cake from the Charleston Cake Lady

 

I do believe I have found one of the best cake recipes – EVER!  I came across an out of print book called Special Recipes From The Charleston Cake Lady by Teresa Pregnall.  Sadly Mrs. Pregnall passed away in 2008 but her recipes live on.  They’re old-fashioned and remind me of my Great Grandmother Florence’s original (typed on a Royal typewriter) recipe book I treasure.  Anyway, the Pecan Praline Cake is not only dead easy to make, it received high marks from all the household critics here.  Make it once, and you’ll make it again, and again.  It will be one of your “go to” cakes and will now be included in our list of favorite family recipes – it’s that good!

 

For the cake:

2 cups flour

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup buttermilk

½  cup butter

2 cups light brown sugar, packed

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla

Cooking spray

 

For the frosting:

¾  cup butter, melted

1 ½  cup dark brown sugar, packed

½ cup whipping cream

2 cups pecans, finely chopped

 

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease a 13x9 inch pan with cooking spray.

Whisk flour, cocoa, and baking soda in a medium bowl.  Melt butter into buttermilk in the microwave or on very low heat in a small saucepan.  Let cool slightly.  Beat eggs, sugar and buttermilk in a large bowl on low speed until combined, about 2 minutes.  Add flour mixture and vanilla, beat until batter is smooth.  Pour into prepared pan and spread batter to corners using a spatula.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until a tester comes out clean.  Let cool about 10 minutes.

 

To frost the cake:

 

Preheat broiler.  Lower the oven rack.  Stir melted butter, dark brown sugar, whipping cream and pecans together in a medium bowl.  Spread frosting over warm cake and broil.  “Cook” no more than 5 minutes just enough to allow the frosting to bubble – check often to prevent burning!

Frosting before sticking it under the broiler 

It’s All Delicious Notes:  sorry the pictures aren’t better – but the cake was gone before I could get an individual shot!

Sunday
Sep112011

Chocolate and Vanilla Tiramisu

 

 

I love tiramisu!  It’s one of my most favorite desserts.  I always order it when I see it on a menu and you know something?  Eight out of ten times I’m disappointed!  Yup, that’s right.  I take my first bite and wonder…where’s the mascarpone?  It’s easy to tell when “they” substitute a bunch of whipped cream for mascarpone cheese.  The texture isn’t the same.  I’m not saying it tastes awful; it’s just not tiramisu.  It’s coffee soaked ladyfingers layered in whipped cream.  That’s NOT tiramisu, but this recipe is with a little chocolate twist. 

 

6 egg yolks

16oz mascarpone cheese

7 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon, plus 1-teaspoon vanilla

¼ coco powder

¼ heavy cream

1 cup espresso or strong coffee, cooled

2 teaspoons dark rum

1 24-package Italian ladyfingers (savoiardi biscuits)

 

Mix coffee and rum together in a small shallow bowl or dish.  Set aside.  Beat 3 yolks with 2 tablespoons of sugar until thick and pale using an electric mixer in a medium bowl.  Add 8 ounces of mascarpone and 1 tablespoon of vanilla, continue beating until smooth. Set aside.  Clean beaters.  Beat the remaining 3 yolks with 5 tablespoons of sugar until thick and pale.  Add remaining 8 ounces of mascarpone, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, coco powder, and cream, beating until smooth.  Set aside.

Assemble tiramisu in a 9x12 (approx) baking dish by dipping each biscuit quickly into the coffee (no more then a few seconds or the biscuit will fall apart).  Lay 12 biscuits on the bottom the dish side by side (it’s okay to break them if they don’t fit).  Spread the chocolate mixture over the biscuits.  Arrange another layer of soaked biscuits on top of the mixture, then spread the vanilla mascarpone over.  Cover with plastic wrap and stick in the fridge for a couple of hours.  Before serving dust top of tiramisu with coco powder.

 

It’s All Delicious Note:  When I made this and snapped the picture, I reversed the chocolate and vanilla layers then soon decided the vanilla would look better on top!  

 

 

 

Monday
Aug292011

Coconut Banana Cupcakes with Chocolate Mascarpone Cream Cheese Frosting

 

I know right?  More bananas hanging out on the kitchen counter. 

I started talking and threatening myself the other day “No more bananas for ‘these people’ around here.  No one ever eats them, all they do is turn brown.” 

And then I realized the banana conspiracy that’s been transpiring.  ‘Those people’ are doing this on purpose.  I buy bananas at the beginning of the week.  There’s usually about three left towards the end of the week (that magic mashed cup) that have started to turn brown, so come Saturday morning I’m having my banana stare down wondering what to make. 

Then Sunday arrives, the house is full for “Sunday lunch” which usually is “Sunday early dinner” and the banana-whatever-I’d-made has been devoured.  Ha, I’m on to all of you now!  So there!!

 

Makes 18 large cupcakes

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:

½ cup butter

1 ½ cups sugar

2 eggs

2 ¼ cups flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1-teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

3 ripe bananas, mashed about 1 cup

1 ¼ cup flaked sweetened coconut

2 teaspoons vanilla

¾ cup sour cream

For the Icing:

1 stick butter, room temperature

6 oz Mascarpone cheese (or cream cheese)

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1-cup confectioner’s sugar

1-teaspoon vanilla

 

For the cupcakes:

Pre heat oven to 350°F.  Let eggs and butter stand at room temperature for ½ hour.  Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners.

Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium bowl, set aside.  Mix bananas and coconut together in a small bowl, set aside. 

 

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a flat paddle beat butter on high speed for one minute.  Reduce speed to medium, add sugar ½ cup at a time.  Beat for 5-8 minutes until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Scrape side of bowl frequently.  Reduce speed to low, add vanilla.  Keeping the speed on low, alternate adding the bananas in two batches, then flour, then sour cream.   Mix until just combined and smooth.  Fill lined pan with a scant ½ cup of batter.  Bake for 18-20 minutes.  Let cupcakes cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

To make the icing:

Whisk the confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder together in a small bowl

Beat mascarpone, butter and vanilla together in a medium bowl on medium speed until smooth using a hand mixer. Reduce speed to low and add sugar mixture in stages (so you don’t have a sugar cloud in the kitchen).  Continue beating until combined and fluffy.

 

Monday
Dec062010

Devil's Food Cupcakes with White Chocolate Filling and Peppermint Marshmallow Frosting

  

These cupcakes are a “must do” for the holidays.  Chocolate, peppermint, and marshmallow...I mean come on!  I took inspiration for these little babies from the December 2008 Bon Appetit magazine cover.  But, this time, rather than wrestling with a cake that, when done, looked like something from Dr. Seuss’s “How The Grinch Stole Christmas!” – which was not a bad thing, I just worried that it might end up in Whoville overnight – so, this time I decided to make cupcakes.  And it worked great since I didn’t have to worry about the cake toppling over in the fridge (even with cake-dowels stuck in it) and the individual cakes are so much easier to handle.  When I made this, I used James Peterson’s Devil’s Food Cake recipe from his book “Cooking” – it’s just so easy and delicious –  I kept with the peppermint marshmallow frosting and white chocolate cream recipe from BA.  These little cupcakes are now a new holiday tradition.  If you don’t like peppermint you can substitute orange – that would be yummy as well!

 

Devil’s Food Cake – from “Cooking” –

Makes 12-14 cupcakes

Ingredients - Cupcakes

1 cup flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup butter, cut into eight pieces

8oz bittersweet chocolate pieces

1 cup sour cream (only Daisy here)

¾ cup sugar

3 eggs beaten

Ingredients – White Chocolate Cream Center

6 oz white chocolate pieces like Lindt or Ghirardelli

1 ½ cups chilled heavy whipping cream

¾ teaspoon peppermint extract

Ingredients – Peppermint Marshmallow Frosting

1 1/8 cups sugar

¼ cup water

2 large egg whites

½ tablespoon light corn syrup

¼ teaspoon peppermint extract

 

Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line a standard sized muffing tin with paper liners.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium sized bowl and set aside.  Heat butter, sour cream and chocolate in a heatproof bowl and melt over a sauce pan of simmering water.  Stir with a rubber spatula until melted and smooth.  Remove from heat. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, attachment beat sugar and eggs until well blended. On low speed, add the chocolate mixture then the four.  Scrap down the sides and bottom of bowl making sure everything is mixed evenly together – do not over mix.  Fill each liner with a scant ½ cup of batter.  Bake for 15-18 minutes until the tester inserted comes out clean and the tops spring back when pressed.  Cool completely. Using an apple corer or small paring knife, cut a small plug from the top of each cupcake. Can be made one day ahead.  Store at room temperature in a cake domes or covered in foil.

White Chocolate Cream

Heat 1 ½ cups cream in a small sauce pan until simmering.  Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl and pour hot cream over pieces.  Let stand 1 minute then whisk until smooth.  Whisk in extract.  Cover and chill until mixture thickens – about 4 hours.  Can be made one day ahead.  When ready to assemble cupcakes. Beat ½ cup of heavy cream in to chocolate mixture until smooth and peaks form.  Pipe filling into cupcake centers, chill while making the frosting.

Peppermint Marshmallow Frosting

Combine sugar, water, egg whites, and corn syrup in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Whisk to combine well.  Place over a pan of simmering water and whisk, pretty much constantly, by hand until mixture resembles marshmallow and ribbons form when whisk is lifted – this could take as long as 20 minutes!  Whisk in peppermint extract.  Remove bowl from sauce pan and attach to stand-mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Whisk on high speed until barely warm to touch and very thick – about 10 minutes.  Pipe frosting on the filled cupcakes and chill.  Let cupcakes come to room temperature before serving.

  Note:  you must use the frosting immediately, so do not make until you are ready to ice the cupcakes

 

 

Friday
Apr022010

Chocolate Coconut Crème Pie


 

Well, there’s absolutely nothing low-calorie about this pie...AT ALL! But there’s everything delicious and creamy about it. The subtle coconut flavor from using coconut milk really comes through after day two – yes, you can make this two days ahead, just don’t put the sour cream topping on it until ready to serve! If you don’t feel like making your own crust, just use a good quality pre-made crust. I wouldn’t recommend a graham cracker crust simply because you need something on the savory side that can stand up to the rich sweet filling and a crumbled graham cracker just doesn’t have what it takes. I advise making this with caution. It’s easy enough to become a bad habit! 

For the pie crust (9 inch pie)

2 cups all purpose flour

2 eggs

½ cup butter – cut into cubes

Pinch of salt

Ice water

For the filling

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tablespoons cornstarch

Pinch of salt

1 16oz coconut milk, whisked until smooth and creamy

1/8-1/4 cup whole milk

¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate pieces

3 tablespoons coconut rum

For the topping

1 cup Daisy Brand sour cream

1 cup heavy whipping cream

¼ cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons coconut rum

½ cup toasted coconut flakes

 

Make the Pie Crust

Process flour, eggs, butter, and salt together in the bowl of a food processor for 30 seconds.  If the dough does not form a rough shape, add a little ice water by tablespoon.  Turn dough out onto a floured board, shape in a disk, and roll out.  Place dough into a 9-inch pie plate, pressing against sides.  Let dough rest in freezer for 20 minutes.  Pre-heat oven to 425°F.  Line crust loosely with parchment paper, fill with pie weights.  Blind bake crust until edge is light golden and beginning to dry.  Remove weights after about 10 minutes, reduce oven temperature to 350°F, continue baking to dry bottom another 5 minutes.  Let cool completely.

Make the filling

Whisk sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt together in a heavy saucepan.  Whisk in enough whole milk until a smooth paste forms.  Whisk in the coconut milk.  Using a heat proof spatula, cook pudding over medium heat stirring constantly to prevent sticking and burning.  Cook for 7-10 minutes until pudding thickens and begins to bubble around edges.  Add chocolate pieces and stir until smooth.  Remove from heat and stir in coconut rum.  Pour hot pudding into crust, cover with cling film, and chill for at least 6 hours up to two days.

Make the topping

Beat sour cream, whipping cream, sugar, and rum together until soft peaks form (do not over beat!).  Dollop topping over pie.  Sprinkle toasted coconut on top. 

Inspired by the chocolate pudding pie featured in the January, 2008 issue of Bon Appetit

 

Monday
Jun082009

Baked Chocolate Cream a.k.a. Baked Chocolate Dreams

 

There is nothing low cal or healthy about this dessert…at all!  Heavy cream and rich chocolate are the main and almost only ingredients.  This is creamer than a mousse, thicker than a pudding and has a slightly crunchy chocolate crust on top.  It’s more like a French Pot au Chcolat but without a lot of faffing around.  This is dead easy and takes about 15 minutes tops to prepare.  It’s a huge family favorite around here.

Serves 8

Ingredients

12 oz bag good quality bittersweet chocolate pieces (like Ghirardelli)

1 ½ cup heavy cream

1-teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

½ cup sugar

Pinch of salt

8 ramekins

 

Preheat oven to 300°F.  Place rack in the middle of the oven.

Heat cream and chocolate in a medium non-stick saucepan over low heat just until the chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Stir occasionally.  Let cool for 5 minutes

Whisk eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla in a medium bowl until thick and creamy.  Add cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until combined

Ladle chocolate into ramekins. Bake in a Bain Marie (water bath) for 40 minutes until set.  The surface will puff up in the oven and make a delicious crunchy top to the smooth thick chocolate underneath.  Let cool, and refrigerate at least 2 hours.  Serve slightly chilled.

 

It’s All Delicious Notes:  This recipe can easily be cut in half.  Also, you could add Frambroise, Grand Marnier or another liqueur of your choice if desired