Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Baking

A holiday for me is pretty much an excuse to bake something special. So in addition to making easter cookies with the girls, I decided to make a few other things. We started off the day with French Toast Kabobs. They girls loved them. You just have to cube the bread before dipping it in the batter. I have a great recipe that is pretty sweet, so you don't even need to use syrup.

2 eggs
3/4 C sugar
1 C 1/2 and 1/2 or whipping cream
1 t vanilla
It's best with sourdough bread. Yum!

Now on to the Easter Baskets. I love to dip my own chocolates. So I thought it would be fun to make all of the chocolates for the girls' Easter baskets myself instead of buying it. I made praline eggs, rice crisp bunnies, whole hollow bunnies, and white chocolate pretzel rods with sprinkles. These were all really easy and the girls thought they were really fun.

When I was trying to decide what to bake, the first thing that came to mind was my favorite flourless chocolate cake. Sometimes I think I should try something new, but I always come back to this recipe. I think one of my favorite things about this is how imperfect it looks. I think it makes a striking presentation. But best of all it is sooo rich and moist. I've tried several flourless chocolate cake recipes but this is my favorite by far.
Flourless Chocolate Cake
12 ounces Ghiradelli 60% Cacao bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 C (1 stick) unsalted butter
8 large eggs, separated
1/2 C white sugar
1 t vanilla

4 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
3 T unsalted butter
1 T whole milk
1 T light corn syrup
1/4 t vanilla
1/3 C chopped almonds

Preheat oven to 350. Butter 9 in springform pan, and line with parchment paper, then butter the paper(I also love Pam with flour).
For the cake, melt the chocolate and butter (I usually use a pan on the stove on very low, use a double boiler if you have it). Stir until smooth, remove from heat.
In a medium bowl, combine egg yolks, 2 T of the sugar, and the vanilla. Beat lightly until well combined. Add egg mixture to chocolate, whisking together until well combined.
In a separte bowl, beat the egg whites and remaining 6 tablespoons of sugar with an electric mixture until soft peaks form. Pour in the chocolate mixture and fold to combine. Pour batter into pan.
Bake on lower shelf for 30-35 minutes. Watch towards the end and when it just begins to crack on top, then it's done. Don't overbake or it will be dry. Cool on rack, once cooled, then remove sides of pan.
For the glaze, melt the chocolate and butter (again, I usually just do this on the stove on very low heat). Stir until smooth, then remove from heat and add the milk, syrup, and vanilla. Pour over cake and let it run down the sides (for this I leave the cake on the rack and put the rack over some foil to catch what drips off). Then sprinkel the top with the chopped almonds. (I use salted almonds because I'm allergic to other nuts, but just use your favorite nuts). Put in refrigerator for about 10 minutes to set the glaze.

I also thought I should add something more springish, so I made an old favorite of my mom's, a lemon pound cake. This was a first for me since I I've never made a pound cake at all. First we hunted around for a recipe similar to one my mom used to make. It was really pretty easy and I could tell just from the batter how good it was going to be. It was a big hit! Here's a link to the recipe I used: