And chocolate makes 3!

Have you ever tried those chocolate lava desserts? The ones served hot with chocolate oozing from the center? They are delicious and not terribly difficult to make. But in the spirit of an easy Valentine’s menu, I will help you cheat to achieve a similar result.

I used a Duncan Hines mix as the base, added chocolate chips and baked it in large muffins tins for individual servings. And, OOH! Was it good (for effect, you could imitate the Christopher Walken doing Lady Gaga voice). I served it with the Strawberry Coulis, but vanilla ice cream or whipped cream would be fantastic too.

It goes a little something like this:

Easy Molten Chocolate Cakes
1 Duncan Hines Super Moist Chocolate Fudge cake mix
3 eggs
2/3 cp whole milk
2/3 cp water
1/2 cp butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1 cp semisweet chocolate chips, approximately

Mix all the ingredients (except for chips) using a mixer, set aside. Preheat oven to 325° and prepare muffin pan.

To prepare muffin pan: Rub butter into each muffin section, then dust with cocoa powder instead of flour. This will ensure you don’t have any white spots on the muffins.

Drop about 2 tbsp of batter on the bottom of each muffin, then pile about 20-30 chocolate chips as close to the center of the muffin as possible.

Next create a damn around the chips by carefully dropping more of the batter. You want to make sure the chips stay in the center and don’t spread around the muffin. Then add more batter on top to cover the chips. Allow it to stand undisturbed while the oven comes to temperature, this will give the batter time to settle and even out without having to shake it.

Bake for 18-20 minutes (for large muffins). Remove from the oven and invert them right away, this will make them more compact if there was any overflow. Allow them to cool for about 5 minutes before serving.

To serve, trim any edges from batter overflow and serve while pretty warm with ice cream or this yummy strawberry coulis.

You will enjoy!

Cookingly yours,
Anamaris

Chocolate’s in the house!

I came to chocolate love later in life, sometime around my mid-30’s. I just didn’t get it. Never really craved it. That’s all changed. I still don’t go running for the mountains when I have a craving, it’s not that serious. I do think a bite of rich dark chocolate is a religious experience.

I haven’t given you many dessert recipes, something my mom may excommunicate me for given that’s her bread and butter. So here I bring you 1 of 2 chocolatey things I tried. I assure you. You will enjoy it.

This can be made ahead and frozen until time for its debut. You want to bake the pastry while it is still cold, so freezer time will add to it’s beauty.

Go forth and chocolate!

Puffy Chocolate Purses

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
about 1 cp semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 egg, beaten

Unfold the pastry and cut it into 4 squares. Separate each square so the edges aren’t touching and brush the edges with beaten egg. Don’t use too much, just enough to moisten the edges.

Drop about 1/4 cp of chips in the center of each square.

Grab one corner at a time and pull up towards the center, pressing each corner to the next. Make sure you crimp along the sides to seal any openings.

Once you have crimped together all sides you’ll end up with a little excess dough at the top. I gave it a little twist and pushed back down onto the puff.

Place the finished puffs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or lightly greased. Put them in the freezer until you’re ready to serve them.

Just before serving, preheat oven to 400. Brush the tops and sides of the pastry with egg and bake them for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. They’ll be puffy and beautiful and just dying with anticipation.

I served them with an awesome Strawberry Coulis. Yeah, baby.

Cookingly yours,
Anamaris

Get your fruit in.

I’m not a huge pear fan. I’m not especially fond of poached things and I’m not addicted to chocolate. What I CAN tell you about this little dessert is that it makes me a believer in all of the above. 

If you need a better reason: this helps keep the Surgeon General off your back. 1 fruit serving. Check. 1 Antioxidant serving. Check.

Poached Pear in Chocolate Sauce

This is a simple and delicious little treat I tried in Paris for the first time. It really would’ve have NEVER occurred to me to serve pears this way, but it works! The pictures you see are the trial run. I made them again for one of our ‘dinner parties’.

Poaching the pears:
4 Bosc or D’anjou pears
4 cps water
2 cps granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, split
1 cinnamon stick
4 cloves, whole
Zest from half a lemon

You’ll want to use a medium-sized saucepan, add the water, stir in the sugar and put it over high heat. Split the vanilla bean in half and scrape out the seeds, add to the saucepan together with the cinnamon and cloves.

While you wait for this to come to a boil, peel the pears. You’ll want to trim the bottoms to make sure they stand on the plate. Add them to the poaching liquid once it begins to boil, reduce the heat to medium-low. At this point it should barely simmer, don’t allow it to boil. Simmer the pears for about 15 minutes; this will vary depending on the ripeness of the fruit. Pierce it with a knife—be gentle—to determine if they’re done. Allow them to cool in the liquid.

Chocolate Sauce
1½ cp heavy cream
½ cp granulated sugar
8 oz unsweetened chocolate chips
2 tsp bourbon (optional)
1 tsp vanilla

Combine ½ of the heavy and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat; you want to heat it up, but not boil. Add the chips, stir to melt. Put the vanilla and bourbon into your blender, add in the chocolate mixture and blitz. Heat up the rest of the cream and add it to the contents of the blender, in a slow steady stream. You’re looking for the consistency of condensed milk.

To serve, pour the sauce onto the bottom of a salad/dessert plate, swirl it around to cover. Take the pear out of the poaching liquid, let it stand on a clean towel to soak the excess liquid, and place atop the sauce. Voila!

PS: I’ve reserved the poaching liquid. Don’t know what I’ll use it for yet, but I’ll let you know when I do!