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Monday, February 13, 2012

Happy (almost) Valentine's Day!

Greetings lovely readers! Happy pre-Valentine's Day! Do you have plans yet? I am currently working towards my goal wedding weight, so baking for me can sometimes be tricky (because I loooove desserts!). My Valentine's Day plans are going to be postponed until this weekend, so I'll have plenty of time to run, run, run before I eat, eat, eat! I am still in the process of deciding what I really want to make for my sweetheart...apparently a little of everything is not an option. If you've read my blog, you know I'm more of a vanilla girl over chocolate, but Valentine's Day is a time for chocolate to shine, so I'm going to have to make an exception. There are so many things you can do with chocolate these days, the options are limitless.

If you're feeling overwhelmed with what to make, the first step I'd take is to go to one of the websites I mentioned last week...they're ready for the holiday! Otherwise here are some ideas:

Always a winner!

Molten Chocolate Cake with Caramel Filling


  1. 1 stick unsalted butter, plus melted butter for brushing
  2. 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  3. 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  4. 6 ounces dark chocolate (70 percent cacao), chopped
  5. 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  6. 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  7. Pinch of salt
  8. 4 heaping teaspoons of cold, store-bought caramel sauce
  9. Flaky Maldon sea salt for sprinkling
  10. Confectioners' sugar for sprinkling
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°. Brush four 6-ounce ramekins with melted butter. In a small bowl, whisk the cocoa powder with 1 tablespoon of the flour; dust the ramekins with the cocoa mixture, tapping out the excess. Transfer the ramekins to a sturdy baking sheet.
  2. In a medium saucepan, melt 1 stick of butter with the chocolate over very low heat, stirring occasionally. Let cool slightly.
  3. In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the granulated sugar with the eggs and salt at medium-high speed until thick and pale yellow, 3 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the melted chocolate until no streaks remain. Fold in the 1/4 cup of flour.
  4. Spoon two-thirds of the batter into the prepared ramekins, then spoon 1 heaping teaspoon of caramel into each ramekin. Sprinkle with sea salt and cover with the remaining chocolate batter. Bake in the center of the oven for 16 minutes, until the tops are cracked but the centers are still slightly jiggly. Transfer the ramekins to a rack and let cool for 5 to 8 minutes.
  5. Run the tip of a small knife around each cake to loosen. Invert a small plate over each cake and, using pot holders, invert again. Carefully lift off the ramekins. Dust the warm cakes with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately.
(Food and Wine)

Looks harder than it is...

Chocolate Souffle


  • 1/3 cup sugar plus additional for sprinkling
  • 5 oz bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped
  • 3 large egg yolks at room temperature
  • 6 large egg whites
  • Accompaniment: lightly sweetened whipped cream
  • Special equipment: a 5 1/2- to 6-cup glass or ceramic soufflé dish


Preheat oven to 375°F. Generously butter soufflé dish and sprinkle with sugar, knocking out excess.
Melt chocolate in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove bowl from heat and stir in yolks (mixture will stiffen).
Beat whites with a pinch of salt in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until they just hold soft peaks. Add 1/3 cup sugar, a little at a time, continuing to beat at medium speed, then beat at high speed until whites just hold stiff peaks. Stir about 1 cup whites into chocolate mixture to lighten, then add mixture to remaining whites, folding gently but thoroughly.
Spoon into soufflé dish and run the end of your thumb around inside edge of soufflé dish (this will help soufflé rise evenly). Bake in middle of oven until puffed and crusted on top but still jiggly in center, 24 to 26 minutes. Serve immediately.
Cooks'note:•Soufflé can be assembled up to 30 minutes before baking. Keep, covered with an inverted large bowl (do not let bowl touch soufflé), at room temperature.

Looking for a challenge?

Chocolate Truffle Layer Cake

  1. 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  2. 1 stick unsalted butter
  3. 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  4. 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  5. 1 cup water
  6. 2/3 cup crème fraîche (6 ounces)
  7. 3 large eggs
  8. 3 large egg yolks
  9. 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  10. 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  11. 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  12. 1 tablespoon baking soda
  13. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  14. 1 teaspoon salt

White Chocolate Ganache

  1. 1 pound white chocolate, chopped
  2. 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  3. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Dark Chocolate Ganache

  1. 1 1/3 cups plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  2. 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Chocolate Frosting

  1. 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  2. 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  3. 1/4 cup corn syrup
  4. 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  5. 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
  6. 1 tablespoon brandy
  7. 1 pound unsalted butter, softened
  8. 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
  9. Bittersweet and white chocolate shavings, for garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter two 15-by-12-inch jelly roll pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. In a medium saucepan, melt 6 ounces of the chopped chocolate with the butter and vanilla over very low heat, stirring gently. Remove the chocolate mixture from the heat and let cool slightly.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the cocoa with the water and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Let cool slightly, then whisk the mixture into the melted chocolate. Whisk in the crème fraîche.
  3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the whole eggs, egg yolks and both sugars at medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the chocolate mixture. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking soda, baking powder and salt and transfer to a sifter or a sieve. Sift the dry ingredients and fold into the cake batter with a large spatula until fully incorporated.
  4. Spread the batter evenly between the prepared pans and sprinkle with the remaining 4 ounces of chopped chocolate. Bake the cakes in the lower and middle third of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the centers spring back when lightly pressed; shift the pans halfway through baking. Let the cakes cool completely in the pans.
  5. In a medium bowl set over a medium saucepan of simmering water, melt the white chocolate. Remove from the heat. Pour off the water in the saucepan and wipe it out. Add the heavy cream and butter to the saucepan and heat until the butter is melted and small bubbles appear around the edges. Whisk the hot cream mixture into the white chocolate. Set the bowl in a cool place until the ganache is firm enough to hold its shape, at least 1 hour.
  6. In a medium saucepan, heat the cream until small bubbles appear around the edges. Put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and pour the hot cream on top. Let stand for 2 to 3 minutes, until the chocolate has melted, then whisk until smooth. Set the bowl in a cool place until the ganache is firm enough to hold its shape, at least 1 hour.
  7. In a medium saucepan, melt the chocolate over very low heat, stirring frequently. In a small saucepan, whisk together the granulated sugar, corn syrup, cocoa and water and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat and whisk in the brandy and melted chocolate. Let cool completely, about 30 minutes.
  8. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with a wire whisk, beat the butter at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the cooled chocolate mixture. At low speed, beat in the confectioners' sugar.
  9. Cut out a 5-by-11-inch cardboard rectangle. Place a sheet of parchment or wax paper over each cake and top with a flat cookie sheet or cutting board. Invert the cakes and remove the pans. Keeping the paper attached, trim each cake to an even 15-by-11-inch rectangle, then cut each cake into three 5-by-11-inch rectangles; you will have 6 rectangles.
  10. Spoon a small dollop of the chocolate frosting onto the cardboard rectangle and transfer one cake rectangle to it; peel off the paper. This will be the base. Spread half of the white chocolate ganache on the base and top with another cake rectangle; peel off the paper. Spread half of the dark chocolate ganache on the cake and top with another cake layer, peeling off the parchment. Spread with 1 1/4 cups of the chocolate frosting. Repeat with 2 more layers, peeling the parchment off the cake rectangles and spreading them with the remaining white chocolate ganache and dark chocolate ganache. Keep the sides even as you build the cake by smoothing them out with a metal cake spatula. Top with the final cake rectangle and peel off the parchment. Coat the sides and top of the cake with a smooth layer of chocolate frosting; refrigerate briefly to set the frosting. Spread the remaining frosting over the cake and garnish with the chocolate shavings. Carefully transfer the cake (on its cardboard base) to a platter and refrigerate until firm. Using a hot knife, cut the cake into slices while cold and let come to room temperature before serving.
Make Ahead:The cake can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for up to 2 weeks.
(Food & Wine)

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