Archive for December, 2012
I needed some chocolate therapy this weekend so when a friend of mine passed along a recipe for chocolate cake with the subject line “OMG best cake ever” I had to give it a try. Thanks Jessie!
This recipe for Double-Deep-Chocolate Hanukkah Layer Cake from Gourmet makes for tasty cupcakes. The batter came together fast and filled 28+ cupcakes. (I did 20 then a small-sized loaf for a neighbor.) These are the moistest chocolate cupcakes you’ll ever eat! Even if you’re not a coconut fan, don’t worry, the flavor is slight.
I upped the flavor of the coconut in the frosting with coconut extract.
Prep time: 30 minutes + baking
Servings: 28 cupcakes
3/4 cup vegetable oil plus more for greasing pans
3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process) plus more for dusting pans + 2 tsps. dark cocoa powder (you can also use Espresso powder or my favorite, Black onyx powder)
1 cup water
3/4 cup well-stirred canned unsweetened coconut milk (I use the 14-oz. Light Coconut Milk can from Trader Joe’s)
3 large eggs, warmed in shell in warm water 5 minutes
1 1/2 tsps. pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 tsps. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
Remaining canned coconut milk (about 1 cup)
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. coconut extract (opt.)
4 tbsps. butter
Pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl, whisk the oil, water, eggs, coconut milk, and vanilla.
- In another bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Blend the wet ingredients into the dry until smooth.
- Fill cupcake holders 2/3 of the way full.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through.
- Microwave all of the frosting ingredients except the vanilla in a glass measuring cup for 1 minute on high.
- Stir and continue microwaving at 30-second intervals until the chocolate is smooth; stir in the vanilla.
- The frosting will be thin; cool it in the refrigerator until it gets thick enough to spread on the cupcakes.
There’s nothing more heart-warming then joining my kids around the kitchen to make a holiday dessert. And then as you’re whipping Nutella into heavy cream discussing what you’d do in the event of a zombie apocalypse. At least that’s where the conversation turned as my teen was helping me put together this yule log (there’s a Norman Rockwell painting in there somewhere, I think). Meanwhile, I was doing extensive testing to make sure the whip cream tasted just right. It’s a tough job, but it’s not one that can be left for the undead.
Prep time: 30 minutes + lots of time for assembly
4 eggs (room temperature)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1/4 cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. dark cocoa powder (opt. I use black onyx powder, you can use Espresso)
2 cups heavy cream (oh yeah!)
1/2 cup Nutella
touch of salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper and spray lightly with cooking oil.
- Beat together the eggs, oil, and sugar until its a pale yellow color.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the dry cake ingredients.
- Carefully fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture just until combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 11 minutes or until the cake springs back from the edges of the pan.
- Let the cake cool in the pan for 2 minutes.
- Meanwhile liberally dust a clean kitchen cloth with powdered sugar and prepare for flipping.
- In my experience, this is a two person job: Flip the cake batter onto the powdered sugar cloth. Roll the cake in the cloth short end to short end.
- Leave the cake rolled while you prepare the filling.
- Making the filling (and get ready for your kids to fight over who gets to lick the spatula)
- On high speed, whip the cream until it just begins to thicken.
- Add the Nutella and continue whipping just until stiff. (I add a pinch of salt).
- Assembling the yule log:
- Slowly unfold the cake in the cloth and gently remove the parchment paper. (I couldn’t find anything in the original recipe about when to take off the parchment paper so I just kept it on.)
- Use the spatula to smear the whipped Nutella cream on the unrolled cake being careful not to go all the way to one of the short ends.
- Start rolling the cake from short end to short end working toward the non-filled end. The cream will squish toward the non-filled end. (I also find this is a two person job.)
- Wrap the roll in parchment and then aluminum foil.
- Freeze for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
- Slice and serve.
Inspired by the King Arthur Flour recipe for chocolate and peppermint yule log.
A few weeks ago I was able to visit with Jenny Harper, the Chief Cookie Officer for Nestle Kitchens for a story I was working on. Does that sound like a dream job or what? Jenny is the one who comes up with the recipes on the back of Nestle Toll House morsels and other Nestle baking products.
So when I needed to make a quick treat for an event I was going to I thought of Jenny and turned to the back of a bag of Nestle’s Dark Chocolate & Mint Morsels for inspiration. The recipe for “Magic Mint Chocolate Bark” was simple and fun to make with my kids. I doubled the recipe to make sure we had extras. (Use a 11 x 9″ brownie pan and half of the morsels to make the standard batch.)
Mint Chocolate Bark
Prep time: 5 minutes
2 10-ounce bags Dark Chocolate & Mint Morsels (I did one bag of the mint morsels and another bag of dark chocolate)
3/4 cup chopped roasted almonds
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Line a 9×13″ cookie sheet with foil or parchment paper.
- Dump the chocolate chips onto the lined pan. Spread out the chips so they fill the pan.
- Bake the chips for 4 minutes; they’ll be shiny when you remove them from the oven and won’t appear to be melted.
- Use a kitchen knife to swirl the chocolate together (you won’t see any more of the green color).
- Top with chopped almonds, or pretzels, potato chip pieces, or dried fruit.
- Here’s the fun part: to help the toppings sink into the chocolate hold that pan about 3 inches above the counter (I put a large cutting board down for this) and then drop the pan.
- Place the pan in the refrigerator for an hour and then break apart the pieces.