unsweetened chocolate

Chocolate Garlic Cheesecake Truffles

Now before you run away… let me just say that I wanted to start the year by challenging myself to come up with a new recipe using an ingredient you wouldn’t normally think of using to make a dessert.

Last summer I created a video for Paula Dean’s Real Women of Philadelphia in which I demonstrated how to make Espresso Hazelnut Cheesecake Ice Cream

Well, just a few weeks ago Real Women of Philadelphia announced a new video challenge using Philadelphia’s newest product, Philadelphia Cooking Cream.

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525,600 minutes measured in sweets

Well everyone, today my little blog is 525,600 minutes old +/- depending on what time you read this post. 😉

So, I thought it would be the perfect day to share with you how I measured this year:

“In daylights, in sunsets,
In midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife
In five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, a year in the life?

How about love?

How about love?

How about love?

Measure in love.”

OK, enough with the mushy stuff… let’s celebrate!

Devil's Food Chocolate Cake
What better way to celebrate than with a slice of cake right? This cake was inspired by the little “TLC Cake Crew” image I proudly began displaying on my blog as of April.

Devil’s Food Cake
adapted from Baking Illustrated by the Editors Of Cook’s Illustrated

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup dutch-processed cocoa
1 1/2 cup boiling water
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup plain cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
3 large eggs at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate covered cocoa nibs (optional garnish)
9 large strawberries (optional garnish)

Position racks in the bottom and top thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Butter three 9×2-inch round cake pans and line each with a parchment round. Butter the parchment, then dust with flour and knock out the excess or spray them with non-stick cooking spray.

Combine the chopped chocolate and cocoa in a medium bowl, pour the boiling water over it and whisk until smooth. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, and beat until combined for about 3 minutes.

Reduce the speed to medium; add the sour cream and vanilla and beat until combined, for about 10 seconds. On low speed start adding about 1/3 of the flour mixture then about 1/2 of the chocolate mixture, repeat and and with the flour mixture. Beat until just combined, about 15 seconds. Make sure you don’t over beat the batter.

Remove the bowl from the mixer; scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and stir gently to thoroughly combine.

Devils Food Cake Batter ready for the oven
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cake pans and smooth the batter to the edges of each pan with a rubber spatula. Place 2 pans on the lower middle rack and 1 on the upper-middle rack. bake the cakes until a toothpick or skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 18-21 minutes.

Devil's Food Cake right out of the oven
Cool the cakes on a wire rack 15-20 minutes. Run a knife around each pan perimeter to loosen. Make sure the cakes have cooled off completely before you assemble the cake.

Chocolate Hazelnut Frosting
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1-1/4 cups Nutella
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
milk

Cream together the butter and shortening. Whisk together the cocoa and sugar, and gradually add to the creamed mixture. Add one tablespoon of milk at a time until desired consistency is reached. Finally add the hazelnut spread and vanilla and blend until smooth and creamy.

Chocolate Hazelnut Crumb Coat
Devil's Food Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Ganache

1 cup heavy whipping cream
8 oz bittersweet chocolate chips

In a medium saucepan heat up the heavy cream, make sure it doesn’t come to a boil. Stir in the chocolate chips and whisk to combine. It’s ready to use once it has cooled down to room temperature.

Devil's Food Chocolate Cake

To Assemble
Place a thick layer of Chocolate Hazelnut Frosting between each layer of devil’s food cake. Then coat the entire cake with a thin layer of the frosting and place in the refrigerator to harden. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and finish frosting the cake with a thick layer of frosting.

Place a ring of chocolate covered cocoa nibs on the base of the cake. Drizzle the cake with ganache starting from the center. Dip the strawberries in the ganache and place on top of the cake.

Snippit “Seasons of Love” from the Broadway musical Rent, written and composed by Jonathan Larson

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Chocolate Sour Cream Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

It was Thursday night, I was checking out Facebook looking for a good laugh, a cute picture, an interesting post, someone ranting over someone else’s meaningless post, you know some good stuff.

I was about to log out when I came across a post from one of my co-workers in which he was updating us on his status.

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S'mores Brownies

Graham Crackers

Mmmmm… graham crackers.

Marshmallows

We’ll throw in a couple of diced (cut up) marshmallows for good mesure.

S'mores Brownies

Ready for the oven.

S’mores Brownies

inspired from Joy The Baker
adapted from Bon Appetit, October 1991

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
5 large eggs
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup graham crackers, roughly crushed
12 large marshmallows, whole (To top brownie)
6 large marshmallows, diced (To add to the batter)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Butter 9×13-inch baking pan with 2-inch-high sides.

Combine first 3 ingredients in small bowl.

Stir butter and chocolate in a medium sized bowl over a heavy saucepan of simmering water. Stir chocolate and butter in this double boiler until melted and smooth.

Beat eggs, sugar and vanilla in large bowl to blend. Stir in warm chocolate mixture, then dry ingredients. Fold in graham crackers. Pour batter into prepared pan. Dot with 12 large marshmallows. Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 30- 40 minutes minutes.

Marshmallows will be browned and puffy but will deflate as the brownies cool. Cool for at least 20 minutes than slice with a sharp knife, cleaning the knife with hot water if it gets too messy and sticky.

S'mores Brownies

Best eaten warm, with a BIG scoop of vanilla ice cream

More s’mores… More s’mores!

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