Archive for the 'Chocolate' Category

Sanguinaccio (Bittersweet Chocolate Pudding)

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Chocolate pudding invariably brings back memories of childhood. I doubt that there have ever been children that dislike pudding. It’s got a cream texture and it comes in so many flavors that there has to be one that you enjoy.

During my childhood, I didn’t get the pudding in the now familiar pudding snack form (which my wife still likes). My mom would make pudding from the Jello box (and never the generic brand).

Every few months, I’d notice that there was a bowl of pudding chilling in the refrigerator and I knew it would appear on the table after dinner for dessert (which, despite the fact that he rarely made it, my dad insisted on presenting). Or better yet, I’d get to eat it for breakfast.

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This, however, is not the pudding of my childhood. It’s much richer and more chocolaty. The spices also make it a bit different. But, at it’s core, it’s still chocolate pudding.

I failed to properly melt all the chocolate in the pudding so there were small chunks floating around. Personally, I enjoyed having a bit more texture to the pudding but it isn’t the intended effect so, assuming you want smooth pudding, make sure to stir until all the chocolate has melted.

I liked the pudding, both for dessert and breakfast. It went particularly well with some whipped cream.

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Sanguinaccio (Bittersweet Chocolate Pudding)
Adapted from Molto Italiano: 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
4 1/2 cups whole milk
12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon

  1. In a bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, flour, and sugar. Slowly whisk in the milk until it forms a paste than whisk in the remaining milk.
  2. Transfer the milk mixture from the bowl into a sauce pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  3. Remove the milk mixture from the heat and return to the bowl. Stir in the chocolate, vanilla, and cinnamon and whisk until the chocolate is completed melted.
  4. Allow the pudding to cool to room temperature then chill in the refrigerator.
  5. Serve the chilled pudding topped with whipped cream.

Makes 10 servings.

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Chocolat Tarte de Rue Tatin

Chocolat Tarte de Rue Tatin

The first time that I saw this recipe I just knew that I had to make it some day. It combines two of my favorite things for desserts: tarts and chocolate.

I kept forgetting about the recipe and refinding it when I ended up flipping through the cookbook. The idea of making this has been floating through my head for over a year now. I had finally decided to make it with the extra tart dough from the Meyer Lemon Tart but the dough wasn’t really workable when I removed it from the freezer so I had to discard the tart dough. However, by that point, I had already committed to making it and decided to make a fresh tart dough fo rit.

I’d like to say that it was then a transcendental experience upon eating this after such a wait, but it was merely good. It managed to be chocolately but not overwhelmingly so. The chocolate was at a good intensity and it wasn’t at all sweet. What I really noticed was that the chocolate seemed a bit dry. This is probably because I’m mostly used to chocolate desserts being sweeter than this one.

I should probably confess that we didn’t finish eating the tart.  It wasn’t possible for me to really eat a lot of the tart at once and it was too much chocolate for Angela.  It didn’t help that shortly after I made it I had to travel to the east coast for work.

I would reserve this tart for only the true chocolate lovers.

Diced Chocolat

Chocolat Tarte de Rue Tatin
Adapted from The Great Book of Chocolate

1/3 cup heavy cream
16 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 large eggs, at room temperature
one 10″ prebaked tart shell

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. Warm the heavy cream in a large saucepan until the edges begin to bubble. Remove from the heat.
  3. Stir the chocolate into the heavy cream until the chocolate has completely melted. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  4. Whisk the eggs into the chocolate one at a time.
  5. Pour the chocolate mixture into the pie crust and smooth out as much as possible.
  6. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the filling is set but not too firm.
  7. Allow to cool to room temperature and serve with whipped cream.

Makes 10 to 12 servings.


Pâte Sucrée
Adapted from
The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion: The All-Purpose Baking Cookbook

1 1/4 cups (5 1/4 oz.) all-purpose flour
1 tsp nonfat dry milk (optional)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
8 tbsp butter, cold, cut into tablespoons
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp water

  1. Combine the flour, dry milk, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse several times to mix the dry ingredients.
  2. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Add the egg yolk, vanilla, and water and pulse until the mixture forms a ball.
  4. Remove the dough from the food processor and roll out into a round to fit the tart shell. Place the dough into the tart shell. Prick the bottom of the tart shell multiple times with a fork. Refrigerate the tart dough for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
  6. Place a layer of aluminum foil over the tart shell and place pie weights on top of the aluminum foil.
  7. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the crust is set. Remove the aluminum foil and pie weights.
  8. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until the crust is browned.

Makes one 9 to 10″ tart shell

Devil’s Food Cake

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When I was younger, there was a period of time where I was convinced I didn’t like cake. Sure, on my birthday, I’d have a birthday cake. I’d eat a piece because that’s what you do and it’s polite. But it never was particularly good.

I blame box cake mixes for this. Box cakes are always too dry and the canned icing is always too sweet. But my real problem with cake mixes is that they really don’t save that much effort. So I don’t have to mix together the dry ingredients? That takes me all of 30 seconds. And I need to use oil instead of butter? And this makes it better?

Maybe I’m unusual in that I usually have all the proper ingredients for a cake at home (although I did have to delay making this by one day because we were out of eggs). Maybe a modicum of effort is too much for the average person.

I read that one possible explanation for the poor initial sales of cake mixes was that powdered eggs were included and that a house wife wanted to contribute to the cake by adding the eggs herself. I’m not sure if I buy that explanation (if you look at the time when sales of cake mixes increased it corresponds particularly well with an increase in women working).

Usually, when I want to make a dessert, I either want something a bit more sophisticated than cake (excepting chocolate chip cookies because they’re just good). But every once-in-awhile, I really get a craving cake. Not something extraordinarily chocolatey. Nor an ornate texture. Just something simple and good.

Enter Devil’s Food Cake. This cake was exactly what I wanted (and even the chocolate hater liked it). It wasn’t chocolate overload. It was sweet overload. It was just a simple chocolate cake with a simple chocolate icing. And it was just about perfect at what it was.

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Devil’s Food Cake
Adapted from The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion: The All-Purpose Baking Cookbook

12 tbsp butter
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. In a stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, salt, baking soda, and vanilla until fluffy, several minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and cocoa powder.
  4. With the mixer running on low, add the eggs one at a time. Make sure each egg is well incorporated before adding the next egg.
  5. With the mixer running on low, add 1/3 of the flour mixture, then half of the milk. Add another 1/3 of the flour mixture, the remaining milk, and then the remaining flour.
  6. Grease two 9-inch cake pans and pour half of the batter into each one. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
  7. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool. Remove the cakes from the cake pans and add the icing.

Chocolate Buttercream
Adapted from The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion: The All-Purpose Baking Cookbook

3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 tbsp butter
1/8 tsp salt
5 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
6 tbsp milk

  1. Using the medium power on the microwave, melt the chocolate in a heat proof bowl about 3/4 of the way.
  2. In an electric mixer, beat together the butter and salt until the butter is fluffy.
  3. Add half of the confectioners’ sugar and beat slowly until it is well blended.
  4. Add the vanilla and half of the milk and beat until fluffy.
  5. Add the melted chocolate and beat until well mixed.
  6. Add the remaining sugar and milk and beat until fluffy.
  7. Ice the cake immediately.

Sea Urchin Chocolate Cookies

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David Lebovitz calls these Black & White Cookies. Now, I think he’s wrong. I’m pretty sure what’s pictured on Wikipedia is not what I made (and how could Wikipedia be anything but completely correct?). He also says that they could be called earthquake cookies or chocolate tremors (because apparently the cracks look like those caused by earthquakes). Again, I’m going to have to disagree.

What do these cookies really look like? Like a sea urchin. True, it may not be the most appetizing comparison ever (all I can think of is the original Iron Chef and their usage of sea urchin roe) but, hey, it’s what they look like.

It took me awhile to figure out what they really looked like to me. I started by thinking it looked like some kind of mineral but I couldn’t find an appropriate one (trust me, there are a lot of minerals out there). Then I thought maybe it looked like a sea sponge. And then I finally settled on sea urchin.

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I’m a bit restricted when I make desserts as I have a certain significant other who doesn’t like nuts (or so she claims). This means that I have to adapt the desserts to remove the nuts. For things like chocolate chip cookies, that means that I just leave them out. In this case, the original recipe called for them to be ground in a food processor which made it a bit more complicated. So I just added a little bit more flour and it seemed to work out.

According to the recipe (I doubled it), this should make 80 cookies. It made much closer to 50 (I believe it was exactly 52; I don’t count, I just lay them out in orderly rows). I’m not entirely sure how one would get 80 cookies out of this batter (I really don’t think the almonds made enough of a difference but who knows). I was confused enough by it that I actually measured the size of my pre-baked cookies to make sure that they were actually an inch in diameter. I think I may need more things to do with my time.

My final comment on the cookies is that the batter really really firms up when you refrigerate it. It was almost too firm to work with (the heat in my hands did help with that). I’d also recommend that you form the cookies in an assembly line fashion. Form all the cookies first, then coat them with each sugar. I’ve actually had to take training classes in Lean+ that tell you things such as that.

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Sea Urchin Chocolate Cookies
Adapted from Room for Dessert

1 lb bittersweet chocolate
6 tbsp butter
3 tbsp dark rum
4 eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for rolling cookies
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
powdered sugar for rolling cookies

  1. In a double broiler, melt the chocolate, butter, and rum.
  2. Combine the eggs and granulated sugar in an electric mixer on medium speed fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk for 5 to 7 minutes or until they form a ribbon.
  3. Switch to the paddle attachment and add the flour and baking powder. Mix on low speed to combine.
  4. Refrigerate the batter until it is firm, at least 1 hour and up to several days.
  5. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  6. Take 1 1/2 tbsp of batter and roll it between your palms to form a ball. Repeat with the remaining batter.
  7. Place the granulated sugar in one bowl and the powdered sugar in another. Roll each ball in the granulated sugar and then in the powdered sugar. Place them on a baking sheet spaced about 1″.
  8. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before removing from the baking sheet. Store in a airtight container.

Makes about 50 cookies.

Whoopie Pies

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Angela had planned to go to a yarn swap yesterday (I know as much about these as you do, trust me) and had apparently volunteered me to make some sort of edible goodie. This isn’t that big of a deal but it’s helpful when she, you know, has some idea of what she’d like me to make.

So I ran (well, slowly walked) to my cookbook shelf (scratch that, it fills up the entire bookcase now) and started to look through my collection. We started off with the idea that I’d make something savory (as apparently there’d be other sweet items) but that quickly fell by the wayside when we realized it’d be difficult to take something that was warm.

Eventually I thought of whoopie pies. I reached for the Mennonite Community Cookbook, certain that the recipe would be in its spiral bound interior. Alas, I was mistaken. Despite the fact that my mom used to make them growing up and that I’ve always associated them with Mennonites (and by extension Pennsylvania-Dutch), it was not to be found in one of the foremost Mennonite culinary tomes. I did have a recipe for pumpkin whoopie pies that my aunt sent me but the sugar pumpkin I have is reserved for pumpkin pie (both of which will be feature on here later).

So I resorted to the internet. And I ended up at Bella Online: The Voice of Women. Er, right. Voice of women. Okay. I’m just here for the recipe, thanks (this reminds me of the time I had to stop by Angela’s gynecologist to pick up a prescription for her; I’ve never gotten such looks of hatred in my life).

The recipe itself was pretty close to what I remember (Epicurious uses marshmallow fluff which is simply wrong). My only problem was that the cookie part didn’t puff up to the height I’m used to. They are, however, quite good. Do be aware that the filling has raw egg whites in it (sadly, I had to tell my pregnant cousin not to eat any). And scooping the batter onto the cookie sheets makes quite a mess.

And there would’ve been more pictures but individual whoopie pies look a bit sad (or at least the ones I make do).

Whoopie Pies
Adapted from Bella Online

Cookie Ingredients:
4 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 cup dutch-process cocoa powder
pinch of salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable shortening
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup warm water
2 tsp vanilla

Filling Ingredients:
2 tsp vanilla
4 tbsp flour
4 tbsp milk
4 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable shortening
2 egg whites

  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt.
  3. In an electric mixer, beat the sugar, vegetable shortening, and eggs for about 2 minutes on medium speed. Slowly add the flour mixture. Add the milk, water, and vanilla and mix for 3 minutes.
  4. On an ungreased, nonstick baking sheet, place tablespoon full drops of batter. The batter will be very liquid and spread easily. Leave ample room between the drops.
  5. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the baking sheet and allow to cool on a wire rack.
  6. Beat together all the filling ingredients except for the egg whites in an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined.
  7. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  8. Fold the egg whites into the filling.
  9. Spread the filling on the bottom of a cooled cookie. Top with another cooled cookie. Wrap individually in plastic wrap.