Saturday, April 16, 2011

Chocolate Paradise

I had such a positive response to last week's strawberry shortcake article that I decided to try it again. I wanted to make molten chocolate cakes with peppermint ice cream, but that seemed hard and school is taking up a lot of my time right now with finals and all. My dad requested that I make these little cakes after seeing them on TV. If you watch the Food Network a lot like I do, you might see the commercial with this recipe on it. This is an Ina Garten one, one of my favorite chefs on there.
1/4 lb unsalted butter at room temp. (one stick, I left mine out overnight)
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs at room temp. (I left these out too)
16 fluid oz Hershey's Chocolate Syrup (it comes in cans, one can works)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup AP flour
1 teaspoon instant coffee

For the Ganache:
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee

This is a cupcake recipe. I don't like to make cupcakes because they're messy and it's hard to aim the batter at the little cups. I didn't do too terribly this time, but I certainly prefer full-size cakes. Preheat your oven to 325 F (160 C) and line your muffin pan with the little paper cups for making cupcakes and muffins. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until it gets light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each one. It sort of turns this yellow-ey color when you add the eggs in. Like a custard. Anyhow, now it's time for the chocolate! If you bought the 16 oz can like I did, you pour all of it in. If you didn't, then you'll have to measure it out with a liquid measuring cup. Using syrup instead of powder makes the cakes more moist. Adding Hershey's syrup to box brownies has the same effect. Mix in the chocolate and add the instant coffee. Now, you add the flour. Just like last week, don't mix the flour too much, or the cakes will be tough. Just mix it until it combines and turns a light brown color. Yum! Your batter is finished. But don't lick the spoon! There are raw eggs in there, so unless you used pasteurized ones, you could get sick. Now, you pour the batter
into the cups. Don't over-fill them, but about 3/4 of the way works well. Then put them in the oven for half an hour. Mine only took 25 minutes, so makesure you check them after a little while. To check if they're done, stick a clean toothpick or butter knife (or even a chopstick) into the center of the cakes. If it comes out clean, they are baked through. If not, put them back in for a few minutes until the stick does come out clean. Don't they look tasty?

While your cakes are baking, you can go ahead and make the ganache. It sounds fancy and hard to make, but it couldn't be easier. Grab yourself a double boiler and put some water in the bottom. In the top part, put the chocolate (8 oz, by weight!), the heavy cream, and the instant coffee. As the water below heats up, the pot on top will too, melting the chocolate. Stir this occasionally. It sort of looks like a chocolate hurricane here. The light part on the outside is the cream that has already mixed with some chocolate, while the dark part in the middle is pure melted chocolate. Stir it a little and it will all come together. This recipe made so much ganache! Enough for two batches of cupcakes at least. Don't put it in the fridge though, it will not end well. As long as it stays at room temperature, it's fine. This stuff is great on ice cream, in crepes, or on fruit. I don't think you could use it to make chocolate covered strawberries, since those set up in the fridge. But you could make chocolate fondue with it, as long as everything is going straight into your tummy~

Once your cakes are out of the oven, let them cool for about half an hour before dipping them. Since this is ganache and not icing, to coat the tops of the cakes, you should take the cake by the bottom (wrapper covered part) and just dip the tops straight into the ganache. Don't be stingy, make sure the tops get completely coated. Now, you can eat them! I paired them with Moroccan Mint tea. The mint tea is refreshing, and it's crisp taste balances the chewy chocolate cake. Of course, milk is also a viable option. I garnished these with a mint sprig, but there's no reason to other than to make them look a little prettier. The recipe made 16 full-size cupcakes.

The coordinate I made to go with this uses one of my favorite prints, Melty Chocolate.
I used the mint colorway to match with the mint tea. I went with the cardigan instead of a blouse. I wanted a sweet look, and all of the brown blouses I found were classic. I chose mint stockings instead of brown ones so I could use brown shoes. Brown shoes are easier to come by than mint ones. A brown bag to match the shoes, and then you can add your choice of jewelry. I found a myriad of chocolate and sweet-themed jewelry, you could go a completely different direction with this if you wanted. I want this dress in this colorway. It's sweet, but you could coordinate this with some classic pieces for a more classical look.

I'm planning to do this type of post again next week if I can. This week and next week are my finals weeks, and so I have a lot of school work due. If you have any questions for me, please let me know on my formspring.

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