Archive for the ‘Chocolate’ Category
Chocolate pound cake is not quite as common as vanilla pound cake. Vanilla pound cake has a delicate flavor, balancing the floral flavor of vanilla with the richness of butter. The taste is addicting, but it is subtle compared to other types of cake. Chocolate flavor, on the other hand, is not subtle and most of the time we want chocolate desserts to be very rich and dramatic. This Chocolate Pound Cake takes its cue from the classic vanilla cake. It has a very good chocolate flavor, but the texture of the cake is just as much the star of this dessert as the chocolate is.
The cake is very simple to make and gets its chocolate flavor from cocoa powder. I recommend using Dutch process cocoa powder in this recipe, which gives the cake a slightly deeper chocolate flavor. If you only have natural cocoa powder, there is no need to worry because the recipe will still work out, it will just have a very slightly different chocolate flavor to it. If you happen to have some chocolate extract in your pantry, this recipe is the perfect place to use it and you can add 1 tsp of chocolate extract in with the vanilla. My Vanilla Bean Pound Cake recipe is a classic pound cake recipe that doesn’t use any leavening agents, but since cocoa powder is much denser than flour is, the Chocolate Pound Cake needs a little bit of leavening to ensure that it is light and not too heavy feeling.
Once you’ve baked your cake, there is a lot you can do with it. It is good when sliced thick and served plain, with a cup of coffee on the side. You could top it with a scoop of whipped cream and some fresh fruit to dress it up a little bit. Strawberries and raspberries go very well with this cake. If you decide you want to boost the chocolate flavor up a few notches, make a quick ganache with dark chocolate and heavy cream and pour it over the top of the loaf before serving it.
Bourbon is an American whiskey distilled from corn mash, malt, and rye and aged in oak barrels, which give it a distinctive flavor. It’s a bit strong on its own for my tastes, but it actually goes extremely well with other flavors. For instance, it goes very well with toasted nuts, which work well with the oak flavors in the whiskey, and it makes a very nice pairing with both dark and milk chocolate, where it cuts some of the intensity and brings out some of the more subtle flavors in the chocolate.
I used a little bourbon in this recipe for Bourbon Brownies with Sea Salt to give a good chocolate recipe a more grown-up spin. The bourbon doesn’t dominate, but it does give them a hint of oakiness that you definitely wouldn’t get without it. There isn’t enough in the brownies to require a designated driver after eating them, although they do pair very well with bourbon drinks if you are so inclined. The brownies have a great chocolate flavor and a nice chewiness to them, without being too “wet” or overly rich. They use both dark chocolate and cocoa powder to get a balanced chocolate flavor. I topped them off with a sprinkle of salt as a finishing touch.
You don’t need to top these brownies with a sprinkling of sea salt (or other coarse salt) if you don’t want to or don’t have any coarse salt on hand, but it adds a nice bit of contrast to the chocolate in the brownies and helps to highlight the flavor of the bourbon just a bit. You can use any kind of bourbon – by which I mean whiskey and not bourbon vanilla, which is just a type of vanilla – in this recipe. I used Maker’s Mark, but just about anything will be good. If you don’t want to use the bourbon then you’re just making plain fudgy brownies, and I recommend checking out this recipe and maybe adding some chocolate chips to up the chocolate flavor and make up for the lack of booze.
You never know what you’ll see posted on Facebook or Twitter, but once in a while you find something that really inspires you. The other day I found a recipe that I knew I wanted to try immediately. Rick Bayless posted a recipe for Rustic Chocolate Cake that looked easy and sounded delicious, so I got together the ingredients to give it a try.
The cake is a gluten free cake that is similar to many flourless chocolate cake recipes that I’ve tried. The bulk of the cake is made with chocolate, butter, sugar and eggs – but it also included amaranth flour. Amaranth is a gluten-free grain that is commonly used in Mexican and South American cuisines. Amaranth is high in protein, calcium and fiber, as well as many other vitamins and minerals, and with the growing popularity of gluten free grains, it is easier to find than ever these days. When ground into a flour, amaranth is often included in gluten free flour mixes. It absorbs water easily and can help baked goods to stay nice and moist, although it can lead to dense baked goods if not used in the right recipe.
This particular cake was easy to make and turned out beautifully, although I did find it needed a little extra time in the oven to set up completely. There are only a few ingredients, so the only unusual ingredient you might need to pick up is the amaranth flour (which I just happened to have on hand, by random luck, when I read his post ). It was dense, but not heavy, and had a tender texture that just kind of melted in your mouth. It is very, very moist and that just makes it seem even more decadent than it is. The chocolate flavor was great and the cake wasn’t too sweet – and it was a huge hit with the crowd I served it to.
The crisp crust on the cake will crack a bit as you slice it, so I dusted mine with cocoa powder before serving. It would also be great served with a little whipped cream. If you don’t have amaranth flour, you can bake this cake using other gluten free flour mixes (I tried it with Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Mix and it turned out beautifully) as well, so it is a great choice for any kind of gluten free baking. It is so good and so decadent, that people will never know that they are eating gluten free when you serve this to them.
Flourless chocolate cakes are one of the most indulgent types of cakes that there is, since they usually deliver a generous dose of chocolate in every single bite and there aren’t a lot of other ingredients to get in the way of that chocolate flavor. I tend to bake them when I’m really in the mood for indulgence (or for the birthday of a chocolate-loving friend or relative), but these cakes also happen to be gluten free and that makes them a fantastic choice when you have to bake for someone with dietary restrictions. While I enjoy larger flourless cakes that can be sliced to serve a crowd, I slightly prefer smaller portions like these Flourless Chocolate Cakelets. They take less time to bake and everyone gets their very own little cake when you go to serve them.
The finished cakes will look like brownies, although they will have a smoother top than most brownies do. But when you bite into one, you’ll find that they don’t taste much like a brownie. The cakes are very tender, with an almost melt-in-your-mouth consistency, and they have a strong, satisfying dark chocolate flavor. They’re not too sweet, which makes them seem even richer. I like to top mine off with a little bit of whipped cream to break up the chocolate intensity and add a few fresh berries for garnish. You can also eat them as-is or pair them with a little bit of ice cream and a few toasted nuts if you want to add a little texture to the finished dish.
I baked these in muffin-top liners, which gave me really elegant finished cakes. If you don’t have muffin-top papers, you can use regular muffin cups and you will get the same number of cakes, though they will have a slightly different shape to them. The cakes keep very well when stored in an airtight container and that means that they are an excellent choice for entertaining because you can do all your baking a day or two ahead of time.
I made a lot of Rice Krispy Treats as a kid. They were quick, easy and always satisfied my sweet tooth. I still make them once in a while these days, but I see a lot more potential in that basic cereal+marshmallow+butter recipe than I did when I was a kid. In other words, I now like to make my cereal treats a lot more exciting – and these Chocolate, Almond and Sea Salt Rice Krispy Treats are the perfect illustration of that.
These krispy treats are essentially easy to make chocolate candy bars that you can put together in less than 10 minutes at home. They start off with a basic Rice Krispy treat recipe, to which I added melted chocolate, toasted almonds and sea salt. The chocolate is easy to incorporate into the marshamallow mixture and gives the bars a rich chocolate flavor. The toasted almonds add some crunch – in addition to the crispiness of the cereal – and sea salt gives the bars the perfect balance of sweet and savory. They’re simple, addictive and well worth making, even if you thought that you outgrew Rice Krispy treatsa few years back.
I used semisweet chocolate chips to make these bars, but you can easily use any kind of chocolate you like. The chocolate should be melted along with the butter before the marshmallows are added to ensure that it melts completely. The recipe makes a fairly big batch, so you can easily serve a crowd or just enjoy the bars slowly on your own time. They keep very well when stored in an airtight container and will keep for over a week.