chocolate lava cake

chocolate lava cake

The recipe yields four small, though very rich, chocolate lava cakes.  The simple ingredients stir together in minutes.

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12 minutes in the oven

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1 minute to cool

flip – dust with powdered sugar – enjoy

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(A special thanks to K, the birthday girl, for mixing, stirring, baking, and flipping the cakes.)

CHOCOLATE LAVA CAKES

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 4 T butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted to remove lumps
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 T all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Mixing:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Melt chocolate chips and butter together slowly in microwave; remove bowl from microwave
  3. Stir in the sifted powdered sugar
  4. Stir in the eggs
  5. Add flour and stir to remove any lumps
  6. Add vanilla
  7. Divide batter evenly between 4 small oven safe dishes that have been generously buttered along sides and bottom to prevent sticking
  8. Place on baking tray.
  9. Bake 12 minutes; the chocolate lava cakes will appear wet in the center when removed from the oven
  10. Allow to cool 1-2 minutes, then flip onto serving plate
  11. Garnish with fruit, sifted powdered sugar, and / or chocolate syrup

(Thanks for inspiration from bloggers who have posted similar recipes.)

one serving chocolate chip dessert

..when you just Need a few bites of something sweet…

single serving chocolate chip dessert

One Serving Baked Chocolate Chip Dessert

(adapted from chocolatemoosey.com)

Ingredients:

  • 2T butter, melted
  • 1T granulated sugar
  • 1T dark brown sugar
  • splash of vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 4T all purpose flour
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 2T chocolate chips

Mixing:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Melt butter in microwave safe dish
  3. Remove from microwave and stir in granulated sugar and dark brown sugar
  4. Add vanilla and salt
  5. Stir in flour and soda; the mixture will be thick
  6. Stir in chocolate chips
  7. Spoon into an oven safe, single serving dish; it’s not necessary to grease the dish
  8. Bake for 14-15 minutes
  9. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes

You could drizzle with chocolate syrup or caramel sauce or top with a scoop of ice cream….

Enjoy!

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(Hipstamatic photos)

adult Hot Chocolate

or…the Baked boy’s version of  Carette’s le chocolat chaud. I speak from experience and from my table at Carette Paris.

This hot chocolate is for the chocolate lover.  The red-brown color confirms that this is not the water-thin, pre-packaged powder we Americans know as hot chocolate. The velvet smooth texture, and the slow, molten flow of the liquid across the thin china cup and onto the taste buds assures one that this cup of hot chocolate was made with premium ingredients resulting in premium satisfaction.
The original recipe yield states two servings.  I divided the recipe in half, expecting to make one serving.  I suggest that half the original recipe is a ‘three-moderate serving portion’ or a ‘two extravagant serving portion.’  After storing the left-over hot chocolate in a glass jar in the refrigerator overnight,  I reheated it in the microwave stirring after 20 seconds; three 20 second cycles heated the hot chocolate nicely. 
Do not skimp on quality ingredients.  You will be rewarded.  Do not shy away after reading the ingredient list and amaretto.  Though not prominent in flavor, the amaretto seems to bind the overall flavor combination. 
Adult Hot Chocolate
(adapted from the Baked cookbook)
Ingredients:
  • 1 oz milk chocolate (I used 34% cacao)
  • 2 1/2 oz dark chocolate (I used 70% cacao)
  • 2 fl oz boiling water
  • 3 1/8 fl oz whole milk
  • 1 1/8 fl oz heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 T Amaretto liqueur
  • whipped cream and crushed amaretti cookies if desired
Mixing:
  1. Chop both chocolates and place in shallow bowl
  2. Pour boiling water over chocolate and let sit for 1 minute
  3. Gently stir chocolate/water until chocolate melts; sit aside
  4. Combine milk, cream, and syrup in pan and heat to simmer on top of stove.
  5. Add melted chocolate and whisk constantly until the mixture is almost ready to boil.  ( I didn’t allow my mixture to boil.)
  6. Remove from heat;  add amaretto and stir lightly to combine
  7. Pour into mugs or dainty tea cups or short mason jars
  8. Top with whipped cream and crushed amaretti cookies if desired
  9. ENJOY!!!!  Savor each sip…
…and don’t leave any chocolate in the cup!

Olive Oil Brownies

I tried to tell myself that I did not like these brownies.  They seemed to be missing the ‘richness’ one tastes when eating a brownie baked with butter.

…but the more I sampled a bite now and again, and the longer the brownie bites aged (overnight)…

…I decided that these very moist brownies are chocolate goodness, gooey, and satisfying. Yes, consuming the last brownie, I decided that the olive oil brownies are very, very good.

Cacao nibs top the olive oil brownies rather than nuts.  The nibs add a pure chocolate crunch that compliments the soft, smooth olive oil brownie base.

Olive Oil Brownies
(thank you, http://familystylefood.com/2011/04/olive-oil-cocoa-brownies/
for sharing the recipe)


Ingredients:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 c raw sugar
  • 1/2 c. EVOO (olive oil)
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 1/2 c cocoa powder (  I use an Italian cocoa powder; it is sooo rich)
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 c cacao nibs

Mixing

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees; I preheat my oven an hour before most baking.
  2. Line 8″ square pan with parchment for easy removal of the baked brownies.
  3. Beat eggs in mixer for one minute
  4. Gradually add sugar; continue beating until eggs/sugar mixture is thick
  5. (note-raw sugar did not completely dissolve)
  6. Decrease mixer speed and s l o w l y add olive oil
  7. Add vanilla
  8. Sift flour, cocoa, and salt into bowl.  Stir into egg mixture.
  9. Pour into prepared pan.
  10. Bake 25 minutes
  11. Let cool completely in pan; remove and cut into small pieces

These olive oil brownies freeze well.
I think I’ll add espresso powder when I bake these again.

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‘theo’ artisan chocolate tasting and factory tour

With a little help from my GPS friend, and two trips around the block searching for a parking lot (which I finally found directly across the street from theo, hidden behind the trees!), I arrived at 3400 Phinney Ave N. – the home of an artisan chocolate marketed as ‘theo.’

The cool July morning was on the edge of brisk.  I stood on the sidewalk with a growing multitude of eager men, women, and children, waiting for the door to be unlocked at 10AM.  After a last minute decision to visit the chocolate factory, I knew I did not have a tour reservation.  I entered the store along with all the excited chocoholics, added my name to the wait list, and hoped for the best.  Just before the chocolate tour began, my name was called, I was given the blue hair net, (paid my $6) and off I went, saying a little prayer of thanks for my good fortune.

We were guided through the door, down the hall to the right, under the brick arch, and into a room lined with chairs, yellow tape lines on the floor, and a lively tour guide welcoming us into her arena.  She entertained us with her enthusiasm for the chocolate production process and educated us via her tantalizing voice, pictures of chocolate production, and….are you ready….chocolate samples to taste!

As an aside, theo is not a person.  Theo is the partial name of a tree.  Education…

Always taste chocolate from darkest to lightest, our guide stated; following this method, the sugar content of the lighter will not interfere with the tasting of the darker chocolate.  Education…
(I have read conflicting information related to tasting.  Other sources state that chocolate should be tasted from the least % cacao to the highest % cacao.) [comment from theo: It is true that there is some debate about whether to go from dark to milk or vice versa. We find that for Theo chocolate, going from dark to light works best because sugar, as well as strong flavors (like curry) can muddy the palate.]

We began tasting with a 91% cacao content chocolate / single origin, meaning all the beans came from one place – in this instance a co-op in Costa Rica.  We were encouraged to hold the morsel of chocolate in our mouth, and let it melt slowly.  The tour guide explained that the longer we held the chocolate on our tongue, the  more flavor we would experience.  I must confess that I didn’t hold my morsel long enough to sense all the nuances of the sample.  Maybe next time…

Next we sampled a 74% cacao content chocolate, made from Madagascar, single origin beans grown in the red soil of the land.  We were encouraged to sense the tartness of this chocolate.  (I’m beginning to think I’m on a wine tasting tour.) [comment from theo:  We generally share that the flavor is influenced by 'terroir', which includes soil, weather patterns, production  methods, etc. Flavor is not influenced by surrounding crops necessarily, but environmental and human cultivation techniques.]

The next tasting was a 70% cacao, flavored with mint and marketed in a green wrapper.  Image the very best Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies on overload.  This was delicious, imparting its cooling, cleansing freshness.

There are 20-40 cocoa beans in one pod, which is approximately the size of an American football.
One bar of chocolate is comprised of 2 to 4 pods, or up to 160 beans.  Education…

The cocoa beans are removed from the pod, and allowed to dry.  Fermentation takes place, just as in wine, cheese, and bread.  Dried beans are bagged in burlap and readied for shipment.  Education…

Next sampling was a 45% milk chocolate flavored with Chai Tea.

We saw the roaster and the winnower (the machine that removes the husk from the bean).  At this point, we tasted cocoa nibs, which are 100% cacao.  I enjoy baking with cocoa nibs, including them in shortbread, granola, and cookies to name a few items. Next we tasted 70% cacao nib brittle.

The nibs are placed in the auger to be stone ground.  The dispensed product resembles chunky peanut butter and is called cacao liquor.  Steel balls are added; they spin and pulverize the cacao liquor to yield a silky smooth molten textured chocolate.  This process establishes the ‘melt in your mouth’ feel.

Next comes the mixer and then the refiner and then the conche where the spray releases acidity.  In this holding tank, the chocolate awaits formation into bars.

Theo’s production process does not remove the cocoa butter; thus, yielding a smoother chocolate.  Education…

70% cacao chocolate with toasted bread crumbs was next on the tasting list.  Theo incorporates the Essential Baking Company’s toasted bread crumbs into chocolate, and they produce a chocolate bar with a texture that was delicious.  We were told this is the perfect chocolate bar to pair with wine.

We next sampled a tray of assorted chocolates flavored with such additions as caramel, or salt, or figs, or basil,  just to name a few.  There was also a a lemon-white chocolate treat on the tray, and for the vegan taster, there was a blueberry almond ganache.

The final chocolate we tasted on the tour was a 45% cacao, packaged as a tribute to Jane Goodall.

Back in our original meeting room, we removed our hair nets, asked a few final questions, and were directed back into the showroom.  Placed on easily accessible tables, samples of many, many Theo chocolate bars were steeply piled and waiting for eager tasters.  I tasted a spicy chili chocolate that had a kick on the tongue, and a lingering effect in the throat.

Disclaimer:
As you can see, we tasted many chocolate varieties.  If I have misstated facts above, please forgive me, or let me know and I will correct the post.  I was taking notes and eating chocolate during the tour.  At that particular moment, the tasting was more important than the note taking.

This was an excellent opportunity to sample a huge variety of chocolates.

thanks, Audrey at theo, for helping me keep the facts correct

Click HERE to see pictures from the tour.

chocolate, chocolate cookies

“Twin Chocolate Cookies” to be more correct.  This is another Cookie Jar – Hannah Swensen – Joanne Fluke recipe (“Blueberry Muffin Murder” page 136).

The outside of this cookie does not crunch, but holds within it’s walls a rich, decedent center.  Though I toasted the pecans, there is so much chocolate that the pecans are included mainly for texture and not flavor.  I would add a touch of espresso powder; however, they are delicious just as the recipe is written.

The cookies puff a bit in the oven, then fall and crack when removed from the oven.

I froze some of the cookie dough in #50 scoop ball size.  I believe, if possible, the cookies taste better and bake better out of the freezer.

These will be a win-win with all your chocolate lover friends and family.

tunnel of fudge

A warm, dark, delicious tunnel anyone (who loves chocolate) would want to indulge in. This is Ashely’s new apartment cake. I was concerned there was too much chocolate in the cake…what was I thinking?!

Look at the picture. You can see the tunnel of fudge, and that’s just what it is. Dense, chocolate, moist, better than a brownie, tunnel of fudge. Surrounded with chocolate cake, and topped with ganache.
Calories? I have no idea, and I don’t want to know.

The recipe is in “Cook’s Country – Best Country Recipes” It’s on sale in the bookstores now. www.cookscountry.com
This cake is delicious. I knew I had found a ‘keeper’ recipe when I tasted the raw cake batter; it was the absolute best cake batter I have ever tasted. Good quality chocolate really makes a difference.
There is no chemical leavening in this cake, yet it rose and baked to chocolate goodness. A small piece goes a long way, so, share with your family and friends.

smooth and creamy chocolate fudge

I walked into the store and purchased this chocolate at La Maison du Chocolat in Paris, France.
The fudge made with this chocolate was rich, creamy, melt in your mouth wonderful!

Here’s the link to the recipe. The recipe instructed to beat the fudge with a stand mixer. It did produce the smoothest fudge I have ever tasted, and there was not one grain of sugar. But it just didn’t have that ‘fudge’ feel in the mouth. It was very good, and all who tasted complimented highly. But, beating with the mixer changed something.