Chocolate Intensity

february-1202

Wow, if the title of this dessert is not enough to tell you to make this then let me assure you that you must make this dessert. Do so now. It is so simple, so rich, so chocolatey, so perfect that you can not afford not to make this. My pictures do not do this dessert justice so I will send you to pictures that will knock the sweet bajeezes out of ya.  This is no ordinary ‘cake’, because there is no flour in this recipe its texture falls closer to that of a cheesecake but more dense.

This is the perfect dessert for any chocolate lover or lover of a damn good dessert. It has a gorgeous presentation without being pretentious, you can dress it up with some berries or white chocolate drizzle or keep it simple and plain (I use this term loosely). This exceeded my expectations (and I had pretty high expectations) and impressed everyone who tried it.  I would describe the experience of eating this cake as nothing short of bringing your tastebuds and tounge orgasmic pleasure.  So rich, so creamy with the perfect balance of sweetness, creaminess and richness. The chocolate ganache was the perfect way to top off this dessert and I would not skip it! 

I thought the amount of coffee called for in the recipe would over power the flavor, but I trusted the recipe and followed it to the letter. I would not change a thing. I think the coffee enhanced the chocolate flavor without overpowering it, infact, no one who ate a piece of this perfection noticed any coffee flavor at all.  Of course they wouldn’t have been able to tell me if they had because their eyes were rolling back in their heads while their tounges licked every last chocolate morsel off of their spoons. I ate a peice (a little goes a long way) at room temperature as well as chilled and prefer it cold from the fridge!

I rate this recipe a 10
 
Chocolate Intensity
Trish Boyle’s The Cake Book

Makes one 9-inch cake

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (preferably 62% cocoa), finely chopped
12 ounces (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brewed coffee
6 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350º F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom with a parchment round and butter the parchment. (If you’re using a pan with a removable bottom like a springform, make sure to wrap the pan with 2 or 3 layers of foil.)

Place chopped chocolate in a large bowl.

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, stir butter, sugar and coffee until the butter is melted and february-111mixture is boiling. Pour the hot mixture over your chopped chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute then gently stir until chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs vigorously until blended. Whisk in the vanilla and salt. Slowly add about 3/4 cup hot chocolate mixture to the eggs, whisking constantly. (Tempering the eggs with a little bit of the hot chocolate mixture will prevent “scrambled eggs” when combining the two mixtures.) Add the egg mixture to the hot chocolate mixture and whisk to combine well.

Strain the batter through a sieve (to catch any cooked egg bits) and then pour batter into prepared pan. Set cake pan in a large roasting pan and fill the pan with enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the center is shiny and set but still a bit jiggly. Transfer cake pan to a cooling rack and cool for 20 minutes.

Run a thin knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Place a cardboard round on top of the pan and invert the cake onto it. Remove pan and carefully remove the parchment paper. Refrigerate the cake for at least 2 hours before glazing with chocolate glaze.
*I chilled overnight before glazing and then chilled for 2 hours more before serving. It was PERFECT!

Bittersweet Ganache
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

Place chopped chocolate in a medium bowl.

In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. Remove pan from heat and add the chopped chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute then gently stir until chocolate is melted and the glaze is smooth. Gently stir in the vanilla. Transfer glaze to a small bowl and cover the surface of the glaze with plastic wrap and let cool for 5 minutes at room temperature before using.

To glaze the cake:

Place the chilled cake, still on the cake round, on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Slowly pour the hot glaze onto the center of the cake. Smooth the glaze over the top and sides, letting the excess drip onto the baking sheet.

Scrape the extra glaze from the baking sheet and put it in a small ziploc bag. Seal the bag and cut a tiny hole in one of the bottom corners. Gently squeeze the bag over the top of the cake to drizzle the glaze in a decorative pattern. Refrigerate the cake at least one hour before serving.

*I chilled the cake overnight and LOVED the texture and flavor of it. I actually prefer to eat it straight from the fridge, nice and chilled! The texture is smooth, rich and creamy and holds up well while eating.

Outrageous Brownies

january-086

These were outrageous indeed! I have had this recipe saved on my computer for over a year. The past few times when I have been craving brownies I fall into my comfort zone and use a recipe that has yet to fail me. However, this time I decided to pull out Ina’s recipe as it has been calling my name, begging to be made since Christmas. When I needed a dessert to bring to work last week I jumped at the opportunity to whip these up.

These came together so easily and quickly. I was actually suprised that they only took me about 15 minutes to prepare.  I cut the recipe amount in half (reflected below with my changes in parenthesis) and baked in a 9×13 pan.  I did adapt the recipe a bit, I subbed some milk chocoalte chips for semi sweet chips to stir into the batter. I only sprinkled nuts on top and did not mix them into the batter because I did half the pan with nuts and half without. I much prefer them with the nuts! I baked mine for about 23-24 minutes and they came out perfectly. Watch carefully not to overbake. You should remove when there are a few crumbs stuck to the tester when inserted in the center of the brownies.

These are deep, rich, flavorfull and definatly live up to their “Outrageous” title. They have a light and crisp exterior. The interior of the brownies is dense, with their texture teatering on the border between brownie and fudge. Usually I don’t care for brownies that are too fudge-like but these really did it for me. Oh, Ina, how you have captured my heart.
While good warm, I do prefer them cool from the fridge rather than room temperature. I think chilling them definatly compliments and enhances the texture and flavor of the brownie.  While I think kids would like these brownies,  I feel the target audience for these brownies is the adult palate.

If you are looking for a brownie that eats more like a dessert then look no further. These will be great with a scoop of icecream, cool whip or with some fudge sauce  served as dessert.

I rate these brownies a 9

Ina’s Outrageous Brownies
Ina Garten 
2 sticks  unsalted butter (I used salted)
2 1/3 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I subbed 1/2 cup Milk Chocolate to stir into batter)
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3 extra-large eggs (I used large)
1 1/2 tablespoons instant coffee powder  (I used 1 TBS)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup +2 TBS cups sugar
1/2 cup + 2TBS  all-purpose flour (1/2 cup for the batter and 2 TBS for the chips and nuts) (I did not toss the nuts with flour because I sprinkled them on top)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups diced walnut pieces (I used 1 cup and just sprinkled on top before baking)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease and flour a 9×13-inch pan.
Melt together the butter, 1 1/3 cups chocolate chips, and unsweetened chocolate on top of a double boiler.
Cool slightly.

In a large bowl, stir together the eggs, instant coffee, vanilla and sugar. Mix in the warm chocolate mixture and cool to room temperature.

Stir together 1/2 cup of the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to cooled chocolate mixture.
Toss 1 cup chocolate chips with 2 TBS flour to coat. Then add to the chocolate batter. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle top with chopped walnuts.

Bake for about 30 minutes (mine were finished in 24), or until tester just comes out clean.

Halfway through the baking, rap the pan against the oven shelf to allow air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough (I did not do this). Do not over-bake! Cool thoroughly, refrigerate well and cut into bars.

Top 10 Recipes

cork

I hope that 2008 was a good year for you and that 2009 brings with it the  joy and happiness we all strive for in our lives. Here is a list of some of my favorite sweet recipes I think you need to make this year and why.  I can’t wait to begin baking in 2009!

I am interested in hearing from you! Which recipes from my site have you tried and what have you thought about them?

10. Frosted Marshmallow Bars
WHY: A family favorite for years that is sure to please. I love the subtle chocolate flavor the brownie has, making it the perfect base for marshmallow and chocolate frosting layers.  Trust me, if you like chocolate, these bars will be sure to please.

9. Blondies
WHY: So simple, so easy, so quick, so good. With endless varieties (check out my ‘blondie’ category) these are the perfect dessert. You can really take the base recipe and make them your own, I can’t wait to try more combinations of add-ins this year!

8. Intense Chocolate Shock Cookies
WHY: Usually I am not a fan of chocolate cookies but these grabbed my tastebuds and my heart. So rich and full of possibilities. I have added chopped PB cups, white chocolate, nuts etc. to them and they have turned out rich and fabulous every time.  Don’t trust me? How about Anna?

7. Oatmeal Carmelitas
WHY? These bars are so gooey with layers of chocolate and caramel sandwiched between an oatmeal base and topping. I have been making this recipe for years and years. It has always been one of my favorite dessert recipes.

6. The Best Peanut Butter Cookies
WHY: These are the best PB cookies I have had. They are soft, chewy, peanut buttery and I love that they have PB and Chocolate chips in them. The roll in sugar before baking really takes them over the top.

5. Chewy Ginger Cookies with Cinnamon Chips
WHY: These are perfect for the holiday season with their flavor combination of ginger and cinnamon.  I absolutely loved these cookies, they remained chewy for days and the little bursts of cinnamon chips through out the cookie made these stand out from the ordinary ginger cookie.

4. Chocolate and Peanut Butter Oat Bars
WHY? These don’t require baking, making them perfect for days when you don’t want to use the oven. Their combination of peanut butter, chocolate and oatmeal is one of my all time favorites, a sure winner!

3. Oreo Fudge Bars
WHY: If the title alone doesn’t tell you, I am not sure what else to say.  These have been requested by my friends and co-workers alike. The best part is they are so simple to make, require few ingredients yet can be ‘dressed’ up to look like a fancy dessert if needed.

2. Double Butterscotch Cookies
WHY: These have turned out to be one of my all time favorite cookies ever. I am in LOVE the flavor of these cookies. The dough can either be dropped and baked or formed into logs and frozen for slice and bake cookies later.  I prefer the drop method but either way these did not last long. 

1. Double Peanut Butter Cheesecake Swirled Brownies
WHY: My all time favorite and most requested brownie recipe. If you are a fan of PB and chocolate, look no further than this recipe. Make them soon and make them often. These are worth cheating on your New Years resolution to diet. Trust me.

Peppermint Brownie Cups

december-056

I am at it again! I can’t seem to get enough of chocolate and peppermint this time of year! This time I used one of my favorite recipes and adpat it a bit. I based this recipe off of this recipe and this one.  I wanted to mix it up a bit and this time decided bake them in muffin cups instead of in a cake pan. Even if you don’t use my recipe, feel free to try your own brownie recipe as the base for these yummy treats!

These have become one of my favorites this holiday season. Aside from being delicious, they are cute and festive. The perfect combination of chocolate and peppermint with a dense brownie texture. I love that they are individually portioned making them perfect for any Holiday party, treat tray or to pack in a lunch!

The best part is unlike baking a pan of brownies, these are a snap to portion for later. If you are anything like me, you rarely bake brownies unless you know others will be consuming them as well. If not you have two options, eat a few and allow the rest of the pan to stale or eat the entire pan yourself in a day or two (I usually do the latter of the two options.)  The solution my friends?? Bake your brownies in a muffin pan!
I baked these on Wednesday night and took a few to work. I froze the rest of these after they baked and cooled. I sealed them individually in heavy duty freezer bags and placed them carefully in the freezer (you don’t want anything to crush them so you may need a good deal of freezer room). To enjoy, I just took one out of the freezer and allowed to come back to room temp. So yummy! I microwaved it for 7 seconds to warm up and enjoyed with a mug of hot chocolate!

If you are looking for a treat that is sure to please now and later, you have to give these a try!

 I rate this recipe a 9

Peppermint Brownie Cups
6 TBS butter
6 oz  semisweet chocolate (chopped
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate (chopped)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
1/4 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Milk Chocolate Chips
2 cups Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a muffin tin with paper liners. Lightly spray liners with cooking spray.

In a heat-proof bowl, melt together butter and chcolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals stirring after each interval until smooth. Allow to cool for 5 mintues.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

Whisk or beat the sugar into the chocolate mixture. Add eggdecember-057s and peppermint extract mixing until combined and smooth. Add flour mixture and mix until combined. Gently fold in the 1/2 cup chocolate chips and 1/2 cup Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips.

Carefully pour batter to prepared each muffin liner filling about 2/3 full. Sprinkle a few Andes Peppermint chips over the top of each individual brownie. . Bake for 18-23 mintues or until a cake tester comes out with a few crumbs.

*Baking time will depend on your oven, watch carefully so you don’t overbake! Mine were done in 20 minutes.

Allow to cool before removing from muffin pan.
Keep brownies in cupcake liners until ready to serve  to help prevent them from drying out.

*I got 14 brownies, it will depend on how you fill the muffin cups on how many you get.

Chocolate Mint Fudge Brownies

december-011

With the Holidays around the corner I have been trying out recipes to put on my goodie trays. I love the flavor of mint around the holidays, especially when paired with chocolate. With those two flavors in my mind I decided to bake up some goodies. What better Holiday treat than Mint Brownies?  I made up this recipe as I went along but based it off of these.
 
These brownies are wonderful and exactly what I was trying to create. The texture of these fall somewhere between a ‘cakey’ and ‘fudgy’ but lean a little  more toward the fudgy side. In my opinion they have the perfect texture. The brownies themselves have a wonderful minty flavor that is is not too overpowering but rather enhanced by the peices of Andes mints spekled through out each bite. The light green color of the mints will make these perfect for the holidays. I love how festive they look and will round out my holiday goody tray perfectly! If you are looking for a rich chocolatey brownie that will compliment a cup of hot cocoa on a chily night, these are for you.
 
Next time I think I will  bake in mini muffin tins drizzle with melted white chocolate tinted with green food coloring for a little more pizzaz. I can’t wait to try these again!. 
 
I rate this recipe a 9
Mint Fudge Brownies

6 TBS butter
6 oz  semisweet chocolate (chopped
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate (chopped)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 tsp mint extract
1/4 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup Andes chips (or mints, chopped)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paperdecember-015

In a heat-proof bowl, melt together butter and chcolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals stirring after each interval until smooth. Allow to cool for 5 mintues.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

Whisk or beat the sugar into the chocolate mixture. Add eggs and mint extract mixing until combined and smooth. Add flour mixture and mix until combined. Gently fold in the 3/4 cup Andes chips.

Carefully pour batter to prepared pan, and smooth top with an offset spatula. Evenly sprinkle remaining Andes chips over top of the brownies. Bake for 25-20 mintues or until a cake tester comes out with a few crumbs.
Allow to cool before cutting and serving.

The Best Brownies (again)

Sometimes you are just in the mood for a really good brownie.

You know, the no ‘special’ ingredients or fancy names. You just want a brownie that combines great taste and texture. While what defines a “great” brownie is highly subjective and varies greatly from person to person, for me these are very very good.

I love brownies with a light crumb, crossing ever so-slightly over the line towards fudgey and away from cakey. I prefer to not frost my brownies (just an unneeded sugar blanket if your brownies themselves are up to par). I prefer a crackly top, you know the kind you get from a boxed (gasp) mix. Well, these are lacking that but deliver in flavor and texture in every other way and more than satisfied my craving for great plain brownie.  I had made this recipe before but felt they were almost too fudgey and bordering on underbaked (which I feel I may have done).
While you don’t want to overbake brownies (a tester SHOULD have a few crumbs when testing the center of brownies for doneness) or they will be dry and crumbly; you don’t want to underbake them too much unless you are looking for them to sink in the middle and have a dense fudgey texture.

I am glad I gave this recipe another shot. I did change up the recipe ever so slighlty and have highlighted my changes in italics. I watched these brownies like a hawk the last ten minutes of baking to ensure that I did not under or overbake them in my oven.

I allowed to cool on the counter for 5 minutes, then I placed them in the fridge on a trivet for 30 minutes to cool before cutting. I read this cooling method in a baking book I thumbed through at a used bookstore. According to the book, cooling brownies more rapidly  produces an intesified chocolate flavor and fudgey light texture. I am not sure if this cooling method is to thank for wonderful flavor and texture or if this recipe just needed a longer bake time than I used in my previous attempt to really shine. Either way it produced a brownie that was phenomenal in texture and flavor. Now if it only had that crackly top……….even without it, these are a winner in my book.

I rate these brownies an 8.5

Hershey’s (Or in this case Ghiridelli’s) Best Brownie
Hershey’s
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 TBS Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup
2 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa (I used Ghiridelli Unsweetened Cocoa Powder)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mini Semisweet Chocolate Chips
1/4 cup mini Milk Chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line an 8×8 pan with foil and lighlty spray with PAM.
In large bowl sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl stir together butter and sugar. Add and stir in vanilla and syrup.  Add eggs, one at a time and mix well. Gently fold in flour mixture until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan.
Cool brownies on counter for 5 minutes. Place brownies, still in pan, into the fridge for 30 minutes to cool. Remove from fridge and finish cooling on counter.
Once completely set and cooled, lift foil and brownies from pan. Peel back the foil and using a sharp plastic knife cut brownies.
Store coverd at room temperature.

Frosted Marshmallow Brownies

It has been a while since I have posted. That is what happens when work and life gets in the way of my time in the kitchen. I was lucky enough to spend some time with my family this past weekend and got some time back in the kitchen!!

This recipe is from my very own mother. It is one that she has been making for years as they are my sister’s favorite brownie. Who wouldn’t love a brownie with a layer of gooey marshmallows topped off with a layer of fudgey frosting? I have to say that these are very very good. The brownie layer is thin (relative to most brownie recipes) but sturdy and is not overly-chocolatey or sweet. It provides a great base for the marshmallows and sweet chocolate-fudge-like frosting.

The frosting measurements are estimates as my mom has made these so many times, she just “eye-balls” everything, ha ha. Well, in order to  blog about the recipe, I had her provide ‘estimates’ as she made the frosting. I have to say that I really love this frosting, it is rich and chocolatey, almost like a thin fudge layer. I hope you enjoy these as much as my sister and our family does!

I rate these an 8.5

Frosted Marshmallow Bars
3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 TBS baking cocoa
3-4 cups mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350.
Lightly grease a 9×13 pan with PAM
In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla beat until fluffy.
In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa. Stir to combine. Add the flour mixture to creamed mixture. spread in greased 9×13 pan.
Bake for 17-20 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with marshmallows, return to oven 2-3 mintues, or just until marshmallows are soft.
Remove from oven. Using a knife dipped in water spread the metled marshmallows evenly over bars.

Frosting
3/4 stick butter
6 TBS Milk
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup mini marshmallows or 4-6 large marshmallows
1/2 cup Chocolate chips (maybe upto 3/4 cup depending how chocolatey you want it)

Combine ingredients (except marshmallows and chocolate chips) in medium saucepan and melt over medium low heat. Stir constantly until combined. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute.
Add marshmallows and chocolate chips
Stir until marshmallows and chips are melted.
Remove from heat. Allow to cool and thicken slightly (can set in sink of cold water to speed up process). Pour and spread over marshmallows on bars.
Allow to cool before cutting and serving.