Archive for: Chocolate
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.
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.
Cheesecakes are a delicious dessert, but they seem to become even more irresistible when they are scaled down into small, single serving sizes. I attribute this to the fact that cheesecakes are not only decadent, but rather filling, and it is easier to resist a large slice of a full sized cheesecake than a small and snackable version. They also take much less time to bake from start to finish, so you can get your cheesecake fix much more quickly.
These Chocolate Mini Cheesecakes with Chocolate Crumb Crust are for those who love chocolate as much as they love cheesecake. The cheesecake filling is flavored with cocoa powder and melted chocolate, and it sits on top of a chocolate crumb crust. The crust adds a nice crispy texture to the cheesecake and, since the chocolate wafer cookies used to make the crust actually have a very intense bittersweet flavor to them, they boost the chocolate flavor very well. The filling isn’t as rich as a chocolate truffle would be, but it has a nice chocolate flavor and you can still taste the tang of the cream cheese in every bite. Speaking of bites, you will probably get 2-4 bites from each mini cheesecake.
I decorated the tops of my cheesecakes with a little bit of cheesecake batter that I tinted with a bit of the melted chocolate. If you want to do the same thing, simply mix about a tablespoon of chocolate cheesecake batter into a tiny bowl with whatever melted chocolate didn’t make it into your batter when you poured it in (in other words, save a very small amount of it, just enough to change the color of the reserved cheesecake batter). Pour this into a piping bag, pastry cone or a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off and pipe stripes of dark batter onto the top of each mini cheesecake before baking. Drag a toothpick through the stripes to create the zig-zag design ( and be sure to watch a how-to video here).
There are mini cheesecake pans on the market, but I made these in regular muffin cups lined with paper liners. To get the cheesecakes out of the muffin wrappers, be sure to chill them thoroughly in the fridge before serving – once they’re cold, the wrappers should peel off easily and you’ll be able to dig in.
Fudge is a rich, easy to make candy that will always satisfy the sweet tooth of a chocoholic. I like to make it around the because it makes a good gift and is very easy to ship, since you don’t have to worry about anything going stale between the time you make it and the time that your recipient gets the package.
This is a plain dark chocolate fudge that uses sweetened condensed milk. The sweetened condensed milk is very sweet and creamy, and it makes for a fudge that is quite smooth and has none of that grainy texture that you will find in some fudge recipes. It is also a neat ingredient because it allows you to streamline the process of making fudge and eliminates the need for using a candy thermometer. I add a little vanilla and a pinch of salt to the fudge to smooth out the darker notes of the dark chocolate. The finished fudge has a great dark chocolate flavor, a very rich texture and a hint of vanilla in the finish.
The easiest chocolates to use for making a fudge recipe like this one are semisweet chocolate chips, which are a type of dark chocolate. Since you really taste the chocolate flavor in the finished fudge, however, I recommend taking a little time to make sure you are using a dark chocolate that you really like the flavor of (I used Callebaut, but have also used Guittard chocolate for this). You will notice a difference in the finished fudge when you start with a higher quality chocolate at the beginning.
This fudge keeps very well when stored in an airtight container. I prefer to stack the pieces with sheets of parchment paper in between the squares to keep them from sticking together until they can all be eaten. I recommend cutting the fudge into small squares, as it is quite rich and large, brownie-sized pieces might be a little too much.
It is hard to resist stopping into a chocolate shop when you can see one of their chocolatiers working right in the window, mixing up delicious looking batches of ganache for truffles and bon bons. This very scene is what made me poke my head into Kollar Chocolates, in Yountville, after a friend of mine pointed me in their direction and said I should check them out. The beautiful chocolate shop is relatively new to the area, but already seems to be becoming a favorite with local chocoholics.
The shop is located in the V Marketplace, right on the main street in Yountville. It’s a beautifully appointed shop, with a warm, but modern aesthetic – and the chocolate bar wall at the back of the store is definitely eye catching. Of course, the real draw is the case at the front of the store that is loaded up with beautiful chocolates. They have a mix of molded (shaped) bon bons and enrobed (square) bon bons, with a mixture of milk and dark chocolate options. There was a lot of variety to choose from, from munchable chocolate barks to truffles with locally-sourced herbs, wine and liqueurs as flavoring. It also looked like this shop primarily used Valrhona chocolate in their candies.