Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Mixed Berry Chocolate Molten Cakes

Berries are at the Farmers Markets, the roadside stalls, and in your garden. Throughout the year, though, Driscoll's brings berries to my table. I can always depend on the quality of their organic berries. So, if you're at the market and you find their berries, you know they'll be good.

Driscoll's has a great website with terrific berry recipes. This was Recipe of the Month a few years ago, and I love it! I've made lava cake before (Molten cake is the same thing), and putting the berries inside the 'lava' is fabulous. It's that surprise bite of berries with oozing dark chocolate that makes this so good.

There are so many ways to combine Chocolate and Berries, and Driscoll's fabulous recipe for
Mixed Berry Chocolate Molten Cakes is a keeper! 

Another good thing about this recipe is that these Mixed Berry Chocolate Molten Cakes only take 15 minutes to prepare and 15 minutes to cook. As you know, I am all about easy, and this is both simple to make and delicious. I've made a few adaptations, but really the recipe is so good as is.

Mixed Berry Chocolate Molten Cakes

8 ounces dark chocolate, 65-85% cacao fair trade, chopped
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, plus butter for ramekins
3 large eggs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla
2 Tbsp unsweetened dark cocoa powder
6 ounces Driscoll’s Raspberries
6 ounces Driscoll’s Blackberries
6 ounces Driscoll’s Blueberries

Vanilla ice cream or Whipped Cream with just a dash of sugar

Preheat oven to 375°F.
Generously coat 6 ramekins or custard cups with butter (be generous because you'll be unmolding them)
Melt chocolate and 5 Tbsp butter in a medium-size microwave-safe bowl on medium power for 2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute -- or in a double boiler or saucepan on top of a saucepan of simmering water. I usually don't melt chocolate in the microwave.
Return to microwave if needed, stirring until completely melted. Do not overheat.
Beat eggs, sugar, and vanilla until lemon colored and about tripled in volume, 3-5 minutes with an electric mixer.
Stir cocoa powder and half the egg mixture into melted chocolate.
Gently fold chocolate-egg mixture into remaining eggs until thoroughly blended, but still fluffy.
Pour half the batter into prepared ramekins (about 3 tablespoons each).
Place 3-4 raspberries or blackberries in centers. Top berries with remaining batter. (Can cover at this point and refrigerate up to 24 hours before baking.)
Bake 13 -15 minutes (16-18 minutes if refrigerated) until puffed and slightly cracked on edges and centers are still moist.
Cool 2 minutes. Run a knife around edges.
Using hotpads, invert cakes onto dessert plates. Surround with remaining berries.
Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

Photo: Driscoll's Berries

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Grilled Peaches with Dark Chocolate: National Peach Month

Everything is just PEACHY today! It's both National Eat a Peach Day and National Peach Month! In honor of the day and month, throw some peaches on the grill and add dark chocolate in the cavities. Peaches and chocolate -- a great combination of flavors.

Want to experiment? Choose different varieties of peaches and chocolate from different chocolate makers and with different amounts of cacao.

Here's a simple recipe for Grilled Peaches with Dark Chocolate adapted from an Epicurious recipe for Grilled Brown-Sugar Peaches with White Chocolate. That's a great recipe, too, and I love it with the toasted pistachios and WHITE chocolate. I don't like pistachios with the dark chocolate and peaches, though, but let me know what you think if you add the pistachios. It's a matter of taste. I stocked up on peaches at the Farmers Market this past weekend. Love all the varieties.

Grilled Peaches with Dark Chocolate

3 Tbsp sweet butter, melted
2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
4 unpeeled peaches, halved, pitted
1/3 cup finely chopped dark chocolate (I like 70% cacao)

Get barbecue to medium-high heat. We use a Weber, so judge accordingly when you think it's hot. Make sure the grates are clean. Brush the grate with a tiny bit of oil right before the peaches go on.
Blend butter and sugar in large bowl. Add peach halves; toss to coat.
Place peaches, cut side down, on grill. Grill about a minute until slightly charred.
Turn peaches over (use tongs).
Divide chopped dark chocolate among peach cavities.
Drizzle remaining butter/sugar mixture from bowl over chocolate.
Grill until chocolate just begins to melt and peaches are charred, about 2 minutes.
Remove carefully from grill, plate, and serve.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Black and White Eclipse Cookies

Black and White Cookies are iconic in New York. They're so Retro! Lots of bakeries make them. These cookies are thick and more cake-like and covered with frosting that hardens. Usually half the cookie has white icing and half has chocolate (vanilla & chocolate).

To decorate them for today's Eclipse, frost them in different stages of the eclipse! Alternatively, you can make a double batch of the chocolate icing and decorate with different sized circles of chocolate (moon in front of the sun) Another possibility..and an easier way to celebrate. Grab a box of Pepperidge Farm Double Chocolate Cookies (or other big chocolate cookies) and Frost half or as much as you'd like, using the white icing recipe below.


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 egg
1/3 cup buttermilk

Black and White Icing: 
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 Tbsp plus 2 tsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp Dark cocoa powder

Heat oven to 350.
Cover 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.
In large bowl, beat together sugar and butter until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Beat in egg until well combined. On low speed, alternately beat in flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
Drop 1/4 cupfuls of dough onto prepared baking sheets, spacing 3 inches apart and spreading into large circles, about 4 inches across.
Bake for 13 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centers tests clean (they're like small cakes). Remove cookies to rack to cool.

Black and White Icing: 
In medium bowl, stir together confectioners’ sugar, 3 Tbsp milk, and vanilla until smooth but thick enough to coat cookie.
Set aside 1/2 cup icing in small bowl; stir cocoa powder and remaining 2 tsp milk into bowl until smooth.
Turn over cookies.
Spread white icing over half  (or as much as you'd like to frost to represent the eclipse) of each cookie, and chocolate icing over the rest.
Let stand at room temperature until set, about 1 hour.

Cartoon of the Day: Doughnuts