Browsing articles in "Chocolate"
Feb 3, 2013

Chocolate-Covered Cherry Madeleines


So do you ever get sort of obsessed with a certain website, enchanted by how it just ‘gets you’? And you find yourself wholly relating to every post and wanting to invent a device that would allow you to sort of live inside said website? Well, that’s me and Camille Styles’ lovely online digs. Love the content–the interviews, the recipes, the decor ideas, the whole lot. It may sometimes make me feel like I’m living in the slums because it’s so fabulous, but hey, that’s the risk you take falling in love with a website, I guess.


I’ve shared a few recipes with Camille’s audience in the past, and the other day I helped her kick off her sure-to-be-swoon-worthy Valentine’s Day content with a sweet idea for an edible gift. Bounce on over to Camille’s site for more photos and the recipe, a modern, Frenchy twist on the kitschy Valentine’s Day combo of chocolate-covered cherries.

Get the recipe >>


Nov 30, 2012

Chewy, Chocolaty Pecan Pie Brownie Bars

Now that we’ve all got our holiday baking pantry essentials assembled (right? RIGHT?), it’s go time. I always kind of like to ease into the holiday baking season with what I like to the call The Gateway Cookie. Something simple, easy on ingredients and time, totally craveworthy and guaranteed to blow minds so you get the push you need to crank out the next recipe. It’s a life philosophy, friends.

Sometimes I start with Heirloom Sugar Cookies, because they’re the quintessential holiday cookie of my youth and get me thinking of the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer TV special and Bing Crosby and just give me a general fa-la-la-la-la! sensation. But I’m tired this year, folks. I’m at the point in my pregnancy where I need to make decisions like, do I shave my legs or vacuum the living room? Because seriously, you’re not getting me to do both. So this year, The Gateway Cookie needed to be simple, but totally delicious. And it doesn’t get much easier than a bar cookie. No scooping, no rotating baking sheets. Also, chewy plus sweet-salty plus chocolate AND pecans? Come at me, bro.

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Aug 10, 2012

Indoor S’mores

Oh my dear, darling readers. How have you been?! I hope you’ve all been having a wonderful summer doing very exciting things, while I’ve spent most of it being rather boring, and seemingly in hiding from an interwebs perspective (except for Twitter; I can’t seem to quit The Twitter). I wish I had a whole lovely list of things that I’ve been doing to share with you and an adorable Instagrammy collage to accompany it, but alas, I don’t. We’ve really just been lazy around here, people. Lazy, and not too interesting, and yes, there’s been some time spent in the kitchen, but not to produce anything of note. I mean, delicious things, thankfully, but mostly what have become go-to classics around here, like a certain banana bread, oatmeal cookies, and ice cream I’ve told you about before.

And isn’t that so nice sometimes, just to fall back on the things that work? To slow down for a while, stop the wheels from turning, turning, turning, and try to flip that dang switch off, the one that always makes us feel like we’ve got to be doing something new and different at all times in order for our days to count for something? (Who invented that, anyway, this constant need to be in motion? It’s kind of overrated. Trust me, I’ve been on the couch a lot over the past month and let me tell you, doing nothing has its benefits.)

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Feb 13, 2012

Chocolate Malt Madelines

Holy bananas, people, it’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow! How did this happen? I swear I’m totally one of those old people now that walks around proclaiming that it was just Christmas! and I don’t understand this iPhone! and what on Earth is a Nicki Minaj?!

Where’s my Sanka?

Anyway, it’s here–the holiday that’s not actually a holiday, but you’d really better observe it in some manner for the ones you love, lest you feel really guilty. I’m a fan of the little things on Valentine’s Day, myself. I like a little thing of flowers, chocolates, a nice card, sweet little tokens like that. Please don’t escort me to a heart-shaped hot tub with rose petals floating in it and Sade playing in the background, or give me a giant teddy bear holding a velvet heart that contains an ugly necklace that I have to wear all the time and pretend to like it. I may not physically drop kick you, but I will be doing just that, in my mind. Keep it sweet, keep it simple.

To me, edible gifts are the perfect kind for faux holidays like this one. And even though God has nothing to do with turning February 14th into an emotional carnival for so many people, I’m sure that the good Lord would insist that if you are going to participate in some Valentine’s Day gift giving, you best include chocolate. It’s the right thing to do.
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Jan 15, 2012

Chocolate-Slicked Toffee-Oat Tiles

This is it, people. I’m getting down and dirty and a little bit crazy. Starting tomorrow, I’m going all Gwyneth Paltrow-level insanity and starting a 3-day juice cleanse. The fancy kind that some glossy, lithe delivery person brings to your house. I KNOW. But for now, there are these freaking great Chocolate-Slicked Toffee-Oat Tiles, which were kind of my last hurrah before embarking on a week of living like a deranged Hollywood starlet wannabe. My enthusiasm is palable, yes?

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Apr 5, 2011

Chocolate Truffle Pound Cake

Actual conversation that recently took place in my household:

Me, to Little C: What did you just say?
Little C: I said–I’m a hot mess, Mama. You know, like you!
True story. And such a terrific example of how children of a certain age can make you want to suffocate them with kisses, laugh until you cry and yet simultaneously horrify you. Now, in all fairness, I do often proclaim loudly that I am a hot mess, and everybody knows that toddlers are parrots (and pudgy-knuckled crumb carriers). But that doesn’t give my barely two-and-half-year-old offspring reason to rub it in, right? Also, let it be known that my disorganized shanty of a brain managed to actually pull something genius out the madness in recent days–Chocolate Truffle Pound Cake. Little C shoved half of it in her face almost immediately. Kids, I tell ya. They never give you any credit.

Way back when I shared an heirloom recipe for a much-loved, buttery, golden-crusted pound cake with you, I thought I’d reached the Pound Cake Apex. And in a way, I had. But that was before I thought to make a soft bittersweet chocolate ganache, scoop it into gumball-sized truffles, and then bake them into the pound cake. I know, right?! Next level stuff.

So grab yourself a big, thick slice and a tall glass of milk and enjoy. Marvel at the combination of buttery, fragrant vanilla cake tunneled with melty chocolate truffles. And try to ignore any nearby toddlers who are probably just criticizing you behind your back.

Chocolate Truffle Pound Cake

This is a perfect cake for gifting–it actually gets better in the few days following baking.

Don’t fret about making perfectly round truffles. Some of them will melt in the batter and make their own little chocolate tunnels throughout the cake.
Makes 1 9×5-inch loaf

For the chocolate truffles:

5 ounces bittersweet chocolate (at least 60% cacao), chopped

3 tablespoons heavy cream

For the cake:

1 1/2 cups cake flour, spooned and leveled
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream (not lowfat)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Begin by making the chocolate truffles. Combine the chocolate and the cream in a medium heatproof bowl. Microwave on high for 30-second intervals, stirring well after each, until the mixture is smooth. Place the bowl in the refrigerator to set until firm, several hours or overnight. If you’re impatient like me, you can speed things up by throwing the bowl in the freezer until set.

When the ganache is firm, use a small scoop (I like a melon baller) to scoop truffles about 1 inch in diameter. Place the truffles on a small parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze again until firm, about 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan and line it with parchment paper.

Sift the flour with the salt and baking soda into a medium bowl.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy. Add the sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed to medium-low, and beat in the eggs one and a time. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and stir in the sour cream and vanilla on low speed. Add the flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time on low speed until the batter is smooth.

Pour the half the batter into the prepared pan. Drop half the truffles willy-nilly about the surface of the batter, pressing them lightly into the batter, but not submerging them completely. Repeat with the second half of the batter and truffles. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (melty chocolate notwithstanding), about 70-80 minutes. Cool for 20 minutes in the pan on a wire rack before using the parchment sleeve to remove the cake from the pan and allowing it to cool completely.

Mar 8, 2011

Milky Way Tart

Cookies are nice. Brownies are perfectly lovely. Simple joys in your run-of-the-mill long week. But then there are Those Weeks. The kind that start innocently enough, full of work and house stuff and errands and lots of c’mon! I just washed this!–same old thing. And then, without fair warning, the universe throws you a curveball the size of Charlie Sheen’s list of issues. Before you know it, your normal cookie-and-brownie week has morphed into meetings and frantic phone calls and packing and airports (all for good–don’t panic) on top of mothering a tiny person who constantly seems to be one step away from setting the place on fire and–kicker–a frenetic family trip to see Disney on Ice. I-yi-yi. Do they even make Calgon anymore?

When your saving grace is a dear friend inviting your crazy family over for pizza and wine on a Friday night and you’ve said you’re bringing dessert, cookies and/or brownies aren’t going to cut it. You need a flippin’ Milky Way Tart in your life. This is one of Those Weeks, people. It’s the only thing you can do to survive.

Last week, this creamy, dreamy, caramelly specimen shone like a beacon through the madness. This tart is basically a stone cold fox. I mean, we all know a little salted caramel never hurt anyone, but this sexy beast of a dessert has it drizzled over a pillowy milk chocolate mousse and in a generous slick atop the crust. Oh, my. My, my, my.

Let’s (suggestively) touch on the subject of the milk chocolate mousse that fills this tart, shall we? In short, I could have happily disappeared into the recesses of my closet with the mixing bowl and a spoon. I would also like to develop a sort of moisturizer inspired by this mousse, so that I might completely enrobe myself with it. It’s nothing more than melted chocolate and cream, whipped together, but the result is otherworldly.

This is the first recipe I’ve tried from Joanne Chang’s totally perfect Flour cookbook, but I’ve gotta say, girlfriend is in serious contention for one of the seats at the loud, long lunch daydream that has become my happy place. I think I’d seat her between Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Shirley Corriher.
Lynne would have us all drooling with a very vivid LRK-esque description of Joanne’s legendary Sticky Buns and Shirley could enlighten us all with the science behind their perfection. The table would be set by Ina, entirely in whiteware and vintage silver. Christopher Kimball would raise an eyebrow at our girlish giggles from across the table. There would be lots of Prosecco. I might wear something from Anthropologie. I dunno, I’m just throwing it out there, just saying. It could happen.
Milky Way Tart
Adapted from Joanne Chang’s Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe
Makes 1 9-inch tart
For the tart shell, use your favorite pie or tart dough recipe, baked off in a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. I totally recommended my foolproof Favorite Pie Crust, made with 1 tablespoon of sugar. Or heck, use a good store-bought one and make it taste better.

There are few things as dreamy as a homemade caramel sauce like the one in this recipe for the filling and drizzling the tart, but there’s no reason you couldn’t use a nice, thick, high-quality store-bought caramel sauce. You’ll need about 1 1/2 cups of it, and if it’s very sweet, add salt to taste until you can taste a nice hint of salt.

If you are anti-corn syrup, you can leave it out of the caramel altogether, just be extremely careful not to let any sugar crystals cling to the side of pan while the sugar is caramelizing by washing down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush. I like to throw in a dab of corn syrup for the anti-crystallization insurance.

There are a lot of instructions and notes here, but the process is actually really simple, and all the elements can be made several days ahead of assembly. Just read through the recipe a few times so you can time out the steps the way that will work best for you.
For the milk chocolate mousse:

5 ounces milk chocolate, chopped (I used Ghiradelli chips and it was fine)
2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

For the caramel filling:

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water

1 tablespoon corn syrup (optional–see note)
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the tart assembly:

One baked and cooled 9-inch tart shell (like My Favorite Pie Crust)
3-to 4-inch slab milk chocolate, at warm room temperature, for decorating

Place the chopped chocolate (or chocolate chips) in a medium heatproof bowl.
Gently heat the cream with the espresso powder and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. As soon as you see bubbles beginning to form around the edges of the pan, remove it from the heat–don’t let the cream come to a boil. Pour over the chocolate and let sit for 1 minute. Whisk until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl (I prefer a metal bowl for faster cooling, and poured it straight into the bowl of my standing mixer). Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until very cold, at least 8 hours and up to 3 days ahead. The mixture needs to be extremely cold in order for it to whip properly, so don’t skimp on the chilling time. If you are short on time or generally impatient like me, throw the metal bowl into the freezer and give it a good whisking every 5-10 minutes or so–you can complete the chilling this way in about an hour.
To make the caramel, place the sugar, water and corn syrup in a medium saucepan and stir well to combine. Bring the syrup to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until the syrup becomes a deep amber color. Pull the pan from the heat when you see it reaching a deep golden color–it takes only a moment for caramel to go from golden to amber to straight up burnt, so pull it early if in doubt. Stirring constantly with a whisk or heatproof spoon, stir in the cream all at once. Be careful–it will bubble up violently, but keep stirring until the lumps of caramel smooth out once again. Stir in the butter, salt and vanilla. When the caramel is smooth and well-blended, pour it into a small heatproof container and set in the refrigerator to cool and thicken, at least 4 hours or up to 1 week. Again, using a metal container (I use a loaf pan) will cut this time down significantly.
When the cream mixture and caramel have both cooled sufficiently, assemble the tart. Place the tart shell on a serving platter. Spread about three-fourths of the caramel evenly over the bottom of the tart shell. Fit the bowl with the cream mixture onto a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form (or beat with a handheld mixer). Mound the chocolate mousse on top of the caramel and smooth evenly.
Using a vegetable peeler, make chocolate curls from the bar of milk chocolate: warm the bar slightly in the palm of your hand before pulling the peeler across it to get curls instead of just grating the chocolate. Drizzle the tart with the remaining caramel and follow it with a generous sprinkling of chocolate curls. Refrigerate the tart for 30 minutes before serving (or airtight for up to 8 hours).

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