Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Divine Flourless Chocolate Cake- the easy way

If you've never had flourless chocolate cake, you don't know what you're missing.  Incredibly rich, moist, dense, it is a chocolate lover's dream.  I've loved it for years and have posted a recipe for it before.  But last weekend I tried out a new recipe I came across.  It's pretty similar to the first recipe, same ingredients with slightly different measurements.  But what sets this recipe apart, is the method.  It's really much simpler and I promise- anyone can make this!  Use your kitchenaid for this and it's a snap. This one has now officially became my favorite.  Be sure to serve it with a healthy dose of fresh whipped cream to cut the richness of the cake.

18 ounces bittersweet chocolate pieces
3/4 C unsalted butter
1 T vanilla
5 eggs
1 C sugar
6 T whipping cream
6 T corn syrup
1 C sliced or chopped almonds
fresh whipped cream for garnish

Preheat oven to 350.  Line the bottom of a 9 in springform pan with parchment, then grease.
In a saucepan over low heat, melt 10 ounces of the chocolate and the butter, stirring frequently until smooth.  Watch closely so the chocolate doesn't burn.  Stir in the vanilla.  Set aside to cool slightly.
In your kitchenaid beat the eggs and sugar until triple in volume, about 5-6 minutes.  Set to low stir setting, and slowly add the chocolate until combined.  Using a rubber spatula, carefully stir to be sure you get everything off the bottom incorporated well.  There may be streaks in the batter, that's okay.  Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 40-45 minutes.  The crust will start to crack a little.
Place on a wire rack and remove the side of the pan.  The top will be uneven, you can leave it alone for a rustic look (which I like) or you can carefully press it down to create and even layer.  Let cool. When you are ready for the glaze, you can either leave it top up like this, or you can invert it onto a plate if you want a really even, flat top.
For the glaze, in a saucepan on low heat, melt the remaining 8 ounces of chocolate with the whipping cream and corn syrup stirring until smooth.  Cool for ten minutes, then pour over cake.  Top with almonds.  I like to cover the top with almonds so I get some of that salty crunch in each bite, but if you prefer you can press the almonds into just the sides of the cake for another nice look.
It is best if refrigerated before serving.  Enjoy with whipped cream!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Chocolate Pastries

Ever since Jared and I went to Paris about 8 years ago, we've loved Pan Au Chocolat.  It's like a croissant with chocolate rolled up in it, but it has a more tubular shape (like the picture above).  I never thought I could do anything like that at home, but once again I have been happily disproven.  I got an idea for these from a recipe I saw on TV, but I've tweaked it and changed the shape making it look more like a classic Pan Au Chocolat that you would find in Paris. The creamy filling is really wonderful, it doesn't taste cream-cheesy, it just tastes like a great creamy chocolate filling.  These would be awesome served with hot chocolate for the cold fall and winter months ahead. 

 Chocolate Pastries
1/2 C cream cheese at room temp
1 egg yolk
1 T flour
1/4 C sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 C mini chocolate chips
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
In a small bowl, mix together the cheese, yolk, flour, sugar, vanilla and salt until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips and set aside.
Cut each sheet of pastry into 6 even pieces. Place pieces of pastry onto the parchment lined pans. Spoon 1-2 tablespoons of filling into the middle of each piece of pastry. Fold one side down onto the filling, then using a pastry brush, brush it lightly with the beaten egg. Then fold the other side of pastry down onto the egg wash and pinch a little to be sure it stays down during baking. Brush top of entire pastry with a little egg wash. Leave the ends open. It will somewhat resemble an egg roll at this point.
Bake until puffed and golden, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven to cooling rack and let cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Vote for my recipe so I can win!

I recently joined and entered my apple tart (see below) recipe in a contest.  If you haven't joined you should!  It's a cool place for recipes and cooking groups and seems different from some of the other cooking websites out there.  They also have contests.  So go vote for my recipe here-  Mine is the Individual Apple Tarts by StephsBakin.  You can vote once a day.  Thanks!!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls and overcoming my fear of yeast

I think I only made cinnamon rolls a couple of times with my mom growing up, not because I didn't like them, but because I hate working with yeast.  Making cinnamon rolls always seemed messy and fussy and I just could not get past the fact that during the whole process there is an actual growing organism sitting on my counter, smelling up the kitchen.
So have I gotten you in the mood for cinnamon rolls?  Well I think I've found my solution to a much simpler process that eliminates the whole bowl of yeast of the counter thing.  This type of recipe may not be new to you, but it had never occurred to me that it could be made with a bread machine (probably because I don't own one).  I borrowed the breadmaker from my friend down the street and dove in.  They turned out absolutely wonderful.  I can't stand dry cinnamon rolls, but these were moist and delicious.  Besides using a bread machine, there is one other trick that sets this recipe apart- pouring a little caramel in the bottom of the pan before placing the rolls in to rise.  It just seems to take them to a whole new level.
For the icing I made up my own with a combination of a little cream cheese (only a little, I don't like a total cream cheese frosting) butter, whipping cream, vanilla, and powdered sugar.  Turned out great.  They were devoured my the class I teach each morning.  So if you're looking for a simpler, absolutely awesome cinnamon roll- give these a try!

Cinnamon Rolls
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
1 egg
3 cups bread flour
1/4 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons instant powdered milk
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
5 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup vanilla ice cream
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened (for spreading)
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
Place water, egg, bread flour, white sugar, powdered milk, salt, 5 tablespoons butter and yeast in bread machine in the order suggested by the manufacturer. Select DOUGH setting, and turn machine on.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt 1/3 C butter.  Add 1/2 C brown sugar and ice cream; bring to a boil, and cook for 2 minutes.  Pour caramel into the borrom of a lightly greased 9x13 pan.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
When machine has finished cycling, remove dough from pan and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.  Pat dough into a rectangle.  Spread with softened butter and sprinkle lightly with cinnamon.  Crumble 1/2 C brown sugar over the top.  Roll up lengthwise and seal edge.  Cut into 12 rolls, and place in prepared pan of caramel.  Allow to rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Use your favorite frosting!

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Jared and I went to Spain for a week at the beginning of the month and had a wonderful time.  It seems like when I travel my experience can be influenced a great deal by the food I enjoy while I'm there.  I had been very excited to eat tortilla espanola, and paella because of my childhood memories of making them with my mom.  But I was pleasantly surprised by the pastries we got to enjoy every morning.  I generally associate pastries with France, and for some reason had not expected all the wonderful pastries that would be tempting me in all the shop windows.  Most mornings we would get a chocolate croissant and an apply pastry and devour them with fresh squeezed orange juice or hot chocolate.  If only we Americans ate breakfast like that on a regular basis! So much for cereal.
So the other night we had a few visitors, Jared's aunt and a couple of her friends.  I decided to make a big paella and follow it up with some wonderful dessert.  When I think of dessert, my mind automatically goes to chocolate.  So I made my favorite flourless chocolate cake.  But after some consideration I decided that not everyone likes to inject chocolate directly into their bloodstream.  So I decided to make the apply pastries as a nice second choice.
I have to say, not only were these very easy to make (the hardest part was peeling the apples) but they were received with way more enthusiasm than I expected.  I kind of felt sorry for the cake sitting there being overlooked, because no one could get enough of the apple pastries.  So, here is a really simple recipe that everyone will be absolutely amazed you actually made it yourself!

Apple Tarte Fine
2 medium size firm sweet apples (golden delicious)
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
2 T butter, cut into small pieces
2 T sugar
3 T melted butter
3 T sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  ThawPeel and core the apples, cut into four quarters.  Slice into about 7 slices per quarter.  On a sheet of parchment paper, roll out the puff pastry slightly.  Cut with a sharp knife into 6 even pieces.  Place the pastry onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper leaving an inch or so between pieces.  Dot the pastry with the small cut up pieces of butter, then sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of sugar evenly over all the dough.  Then layer the slices of apple, overlapping slightly .  About 6 slices per piece of puff pastry is right.  Using a pastry brush, brush the tops with the melted butter.  Then finally sprinkle with the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar.
Bake for about 15 minutes, depending on how brown you like the edges.
While they are baking, boil on the stove- 1/3 C apricot jam and a couple tablespoons of water until it is nice and runny and smooth.
After they have been removed from the oven, using the pastry brush, brush the apricot jam over each individual pastry.
These are delicious both warm and cool.

These are so perfect for the fall season which is finally here!  So enjoy!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Buckeye: Ohio State mascot, delicious dessert

It's that time of year.  Back to school?'re thinking.  Fall maybe?  No, it's the time of year for those of us in central Ohio where we start seeing scarlet and gray everywhere we go along with OSU's mascot- the buckeye.  On the radio today I heard the Ohio State fight song, in the grocery store throughout football season they play the fight song all day on Saturdays.   Yesterday at the grocery store bakery the free cookies they were giving out to kids were...scarlet and gray sugar cookies.  Yes, Ohio State football season is in the air. 
But I have a confession to make:  I never even knew what a buckeye was until we moved to the Columbus area  a couple of years ago.  Now I know that although the plant is actually poisonous, this die hard Ohio State area has created a variety of foods involving the name 'buckeye'.  Out here if something has the word 'buckeye' in it, you can assume that means a combination of peanut butter and chocolate.  The most popular is of course a chocolate created to resemble an actual buckeye.  It's a delicious ball of sweet peanut butter yumminess, dipped in chocolate.  Who can say no to that?  It's like a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup in a different shape.  They are incredibly easy and everyone loves them. 

 Chocolate Buckeyes
1/2 C butter, room temp (I prefer sweet cream unsalted, and don't you dare use margarine)
1 lb powdered sugar
1/2 C Peanut butter (I prefer chunky)
1 t vanilla- please, I'm begging you, use the real stuff!
2 C ghirardelli chocolate chips
1 T white shortening (optional, only do this if you aren't up for tempering your chocolate)

Combine the butter, confectioners' sugar, peanut butter and the vanilla together and mix well. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Roll into 1 inch balls and place on waxed paper. 
Melt the chocolate chips and shortening, stirring constantly. You can do this in a double boiler, or if you're lazy like me, I use a heavy bottomed sauce pan over low heat on the stove and keep a vigilant eye on it stirring constantly. Use a toothpick to dip balls into the melted chocolate, leaving a small uncovered area so balls resemble buckeyes. Place balls on waxed paper. Use fingers to blend in toothpick holes. Refrigerate until chocolate is firm. Enjoy! 

The Cooking Book Club

I just wanted to let everyone know about another blog I've started called The Cooking Book Club.  It's for those who love to read as well as cook.  I enjoy book clubs and when I go to our monthly meeting I often try to bake or cook something to bring along that I was inspired to make from the book.  So check it out if you're interested.