Molten Chocolate Lava Cake

lava cake

 

Here’s an easy dessert you can serve at your next dinner party and really impress your guests! This recipe is adapted from Paula Dean’s recipe.

  • 6 1oz squares bittersweet baking chocolate
  • 2 1oz squares semisweet baking chocolate
  • 1 1/4 sticks sweet cream unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 whole large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp strong brewed coffee or espresso

Preheat the oven to 425F. Lightly grease 6 custard cups or ramekins.

In a Pyrex bowl (or any other microwave safe bowl), melt the butter and chocolate in the microwave on high for 30 seconds at a time, until melted and well blended. Add the flour and powdered sugar, then stir in the eggs and egg yolks and mix until smooth. Add the vanilla extract and the coffee.

Divide the batter evenly between the custard cups. Arrange custard cups on a baking sheet and bake for 14 minutes. The edges should be firm but the center still slightly jiggly.

Run a knife around the edges of the custard cups and invert the cakes onto dessert plates. Let sit for 3-4 minutes, then dust with powdered sugar and garnish. Serve warm.

Makes 6 servings.

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German Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Bars

german-chocolate-pecan-bars-sl-l

 

Even after making numerous pecan pies for Thanksgiving, I’ve still got plenty of pecans left from this year’s crop produced by the big tree out back. With that in mind, I ran across a recipe in a recent Southern Living magazine for pecan pie bars and decided to give it a try. Like most every recipe I find, my end result varies a little because I’ll add a little of this or a dash of that; anything I think will improve the end result.

These are delicious! If you’re looking for something different to take to a party or give as a gift this year, give these tasty bars a try!

  • 3 cups pecan halves and pieces
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup cold unsalted sweet cream butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup good quality bourbon (I used Knob Creek)
  • 3 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 cup sweetened, flaked coconut

First, preheat your oven to 350F. Arrange the pecans in a single layer on a sheet pan and cook for 8-10 minutes, until lightly toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.

Line the bottom and sides of a 9″x13″ pyrex dish with heavy-duty aluminum foil, leaving 2-3 inches on each side to extend over the sides of the pan. Lightly grease the foil (I just spray with Pam).

In a food processor, pulse the flour, powdered sugar, cold cubed butter and cocoa 5-6 times, until the mixture resembles coarse meal. If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a pastry blender tool or even your hands. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of your glass dish.

Bake at 350F for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the crust with the chocolate morsels. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack (about 30 minutes).

While the crust is cooling, whisk together the brown sugar, corn syrup, melted butter, bourbon and the eggs until smooth. Stir in the coconut and toasted pecans and spoon mixture into the cooled crust.

Bake at 325F for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and set. Cool completely on a wire rack (about 1 hour), then chill for 1 hour in the refrigerator. Lift the baked bars from the pan using the aluminum foil sides as a handle. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into bars. Peel off the foil and enjoy!

Chocolate Roulage

Every so often my 40yo sweet tooth with kick in and I’ll start craving a decadent treat. Growing up in Alabama, it was always a treat to eat at Cobb Lane and get chocolate roulage for dessert. The whole “jelly roll” concept always appealed to me; even the Little Debbie Swiss roll was a childhood favorite.

Chocolate roulage looks hard to make; most people see this dessert and think there’s no way they can pull this off, but it’s really quite simple. The cake is basically a sponge cake. It’s baked on a “jelly roll” pan but I’ve never owned one personally. I simply use a sheet pan. The trick is to cover the baked cake with a cold, wet towel until the cake is completely cool. This keeps the cake moist and allows you to roll it up without it breaking, but I’ve eaten “broken” roulage in some of Birmingham’s finest restaurants, so if yours breaks, don’t worry about it. Some sifted powered sugar will cover any mistakes!

  • 5 large eggs at room temperature, separated
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 6oz dark, semi sweet chocolate melted with 3 tbsp water
  • Dark cocoa
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Beat the egg yolks thoroughly; add 3/4 cup of sugar to the yolks and continue to beat until thick. Blend the cooled melted chocolate with the egg yolks, then fold in stiffly beaten egg whites.

Butter a sheet pan or jelly roll pan. Line pan with wax or parchment paper and butter the paper. Spread cake mixture evenly on the buttered paper and bake at 325F for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 300F and bake 5 minutes more. Remove from the oven, cover the cake with a cold, wet towel and let cool completely.

When ready to serve, carefully remove the towel and loosen the cake from the paper. Sift cocoa all over the cake, then turn the cake onto a fresh sheet of waxed or parchment paper. Peel off the old paper. Whip the cream with the vanilla and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and spread liberally over the cake. Roll the cake lengthwise. Dust the top with more cocoa or with powered sugar. Slice to serve.

Cake can also be frozen once the whipped cream is added and the cake is rolled up. This will make the cake easier to slice with a more “set” filling.

Ghirardelli Chocolate Cream Pie

I just love a simple dessert… one you can whip up on a moments notice, one that requires a minimal of ingredients, and even better, one that doesn’t require turning on the oven! This pie is extremely easy yet wonderfully rich. It’s great served with a cup of strong brewed coffee and it’s the perfectly rich chocolaty dessert for a dinner party. It can be made “fat full”, light or fat free depending on the ingredients you buy and the taste never wavers.

  • 3 oz Ghirardelli semi-sweet baker’s chocolate
  • 1 tbsp half & half (or milk will work just fine)
  • 1 8oz cream cheese, softened (use regular, light or fat free, your choice)
  • 1 16oz container of Cool Whip (regular, light or fat free)
  • 1 graham cracker crust (regular or chocolate)

In a glass measuring cup, break up the chocolate pieces and add the milk/cream. Microwave on high for 30-45 seconds, or until chocolate melts. Stir to combine.

In a large bowl, put the softened cream cheese, add the melted chocolate and blend until smooth and well combined with electric mixer. Fold in the Cool Whip and combine well. Pour into graham cracker crust, top with chocolate shavings or pieces, and put in the freezer for at least 1 hour.

To serve, let soften just enough to slice. Serve with fresh brewed coffee for a perfect, chocolaty, rich dessert.

Italian Chocolate Spice Cookies

These cookies are my favorite! I don’t have a “recently prepared” photo to show them off but I found this stock photo that’s pretty close to the finished cookie. These cookies almost remind me of gingerbread but they are better. As soon as I make a batch, I’ll post a better picture. This recipe was written in my great grandmother’s (Fortunata Vizzina Schilleci) hand.

  • 2 pounds all purpose flour (4 cups)
  • 1 pound of sugar (2 cups)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp each, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, allspice
  • 6 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3/4 pound Shortening (1 1/2 cups + 3 tbsp)
  • 1 pint milk, heated
  • 1 cup raisins (no color specified)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • juice from 2 fresh squeezed oranges

Melt the shortening; add the warm milk, then the sugar. Sift all remaining dry ingredients together and then add the pecans and raisins. Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and stir well. Let dough rest for 10 minutes. Pinch off in a small ball the size of large marbles, place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Combine the powdered sugar and orange juice in a bowl. Once cookies have cooled, dip each cookie into the sugar glaze so that it covers the top 1/2 of the cookie. Let cookies dry completely. Icing will set like glaze on a cooled doughnut.

Makes 60-75 cookies.