Chocolate Pudding Cake

Lyon Pudding Cake1

This chocolate pudding cake is magic! Follow the instructions and feast on this multi-layered delight: fudgey/ganache on the bottom, pudding in the middle and souffle-like airiness on top. W.O.W.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

8-ounces TCHO Mokaccino (This is a coffee + chocolate bar (from my favorite chocolate makers) that is out of this world! If you can’t find it, use your favorite milk chocolate, somewhere around 40% cacao.)
½ cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for prepping the pan
½ cup granulated sugar, divided
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
4 egg yolks
¾ cup whole milk
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon Frangelico Liquor
4 large egg whites

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Lightly butter an 8 x 2-inch round cake pan. Place a folded dish towel in bottom (middle) of a roasting pan (large enough to accommodate the cake pan).  Place buttered cake pan inside roasting pan on top of the folded towel. Bring several quarts of water to boil for a water bath.

Melt the chocolate with the whipping cream and butter in a bain marie, stirring occasionally as it melts.  Once melted, remove chocolate bowl from heat and set aside. (Be careful not to stir excessively as chocolate melts; the fat could separate.)

Place ¼ cup sugar, flour and salt in a large bowl. Whisk to combine.

Place egg yolks and milk in a small bowl. Whisk to combine.

Add the yolk/milk mixture to the large bowl with the sugar/flour mixture and whisk to combine.

Slowly stream the melted chocolate mixture into the large bowl, whisking continuously, until fully combined. Add vanilla and Frangelico and whisk to combine again. Set bowl aside.

Whip the egg whites until just foamy. Add the remaining ¼ cup sugar to the whites and whip until stiff, glossy peaks form.

Add a third of the egg whites to the chocolate mixture and gently whisk until uniform in color. Repeat this process in two more batches.

Pour batter into prepared cake pan. Carefully add the boiling water (making sure none splashes into the cake pan) to the roasting pan until it reaches (at least) halfway up the sides of the cake pan.

Carefully transfer roasting pan to the oven and bake for 45 minutes.

Remove roasting pan from the oven and let cake cool for 10 minutes in the water bath. Remove cake pan from roasting pan water bath and let cool completely before serving.

To serve, using a large spoon, spoon out the pudding cake onto plates, making sure you get all the layers – the bottom mouse-like layer, the middle pudding layer, and the top sponge –  in each serving. Serve at room temperature or chilled with whipped cream and chopped hazelnuts.

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Chewy Good Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s National Chocolate Day! So, I have to give a shout out to my favorite chocolate maker, TCHO, which I used for this Chewy Good Chocolate Chip Cookies. I mean, just LOOK at these beauties! I think National Chocolate Day calls for a celebratory cookie, don’t you think?

Chewy Good Chocolate Chip Cookies Raw

Chewy Good Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chewy Good Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: 16 cookies

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) room temperature unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon sized pieces

1 cup granulated sugar

½ cup packed light brown sugar

½ cup bread flour

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon baking powder

1 ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 whole large eggs

8-ounces good quality dark chocolate, 60- to 70% cocoa solids, chopped into medium chunks

4-ounces good quality dark chocolate wafers or discs, 60- to 70% solids, kept whole

A few pinches Maldon sea salt

Add butter and sugars to a stand mixer and mix on medium using the paddle attachment for 10 minutes. Scrape the sides down on the inside of the bowl using a rubber spatula once or twice throughout the process.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

After mixing the butter and sugars for 10 minutes, add the vanilla extract and 1 egg. Mix until the egg fully incorporates into the mixture. Add the second egg and mix until it fully incorporates. Turn off the mixer and scrape the sides down once again.

Turn the mixer to low and slowly add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. You may need to scrape the sides down again. Once the flour is just incorporated, turn off the mixer. Stir the chocolate chunks and wafers/disks in with a spatula or large spoon.

Refrigerate cookie dough for 30 minutes.

Place an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Using a ¼ cup measuring cup, gather a generous ¼ cup of the batter and form a puck like shape with your hands, about 2 inches in diameter and 1 inch think. Evenly space 6 cookies on a parchment-lined sheet tray.

Add a sprinkling of Maldon sea salt flakes on top of each cookie.

Bake, one sheet tray at a time, in the oven for 18 minutes.

Remove from oven. Let cool on the rack for 1-2 minutes until cookies have firmed up a bit and you can transfer to a wire cooling rack.

Fresh Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Don’t say I didn’t warn you. This ice cream is dangerously good. Equally refreshing (the fresh mint does the trick) and delicious at the same time. And when you put it between two of my chocolate chocolate chip cookies?! Game over, my friend. Yes, you’ve been warned.

Oh, and get the good chocolate for this recipe. It’s gonna make all the difference. 

Mint Choc TCHO

TCHO 70% Chocolate

Mint Choc Chip Mixing

Mixing in the chocolatey goodness

mint choc chip4

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. The real stuff.

Chocolate Cookie Ice Cream Sammy

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwich with Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies. Oh. My. Latte.

 

Fresh Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Yield: Approximately 2 pints

 

¾ cup sugar, divided

1 tablespoon organic corn syrup

3 cups half-and-half

2 very packed cups fresh mint leaves

6 egg yolks

8-ounces good quality dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids, chopped roughly

 

Place ½ cup sugar, corn syrup, half-and-half and mint leaves in a medium saucepan over medium heat and heat, stirring occasionally, until temperature reaches 170 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from heat and let mint continue to steep for 5 minutes. Pour contents of saucepan into a blender and blend on low for 10 to 15 seconds. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, pressing the mint leaves with the back of a spatula to strain as much liquid as possible. Discard mint leaves.

Pour liquid back into the medium saucepan over medium heat. Using a rubber spatula, making sure to scrape the bottom of the saucepan, stir continuously until the liquid reaches 170 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, whip the egg yolks and remaining ¼ cup sugar on medium speed until the mixture is canary yellow in color, thick, and doubled in volume.

Reduce the speed to medium-low and very slowly stream in 1 cup of the hot, sweetened half-and-half mixture to the whisked egg yolks.

Pour the mixture into the original medium saucepan with the rest of the warm sweetened half-and-half. Pressing a spatula gently against the bottom of the pan, stir slowly and continuously and cook over medium-low heat until the custard thickens slightly and just reaches 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Take your time.

Immediately remove from the heat and pour liquid into a wide medium bowl.

Place this bowl into a slightly larger bowl that is filled ⅓ of the way up with ice and water. Slowly stir until it is cool to the touch. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, then refrigerate for 8 hours. Cooling the mix before churning will give a smoother texture.

Pour the chilled mixture into the ice cream machine and churn until a soft-serve consistency is achieved.

Transfer to a large container and stir in the chopped chocolate.

Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap to the surface of the ice cream, and freeze until very firm, at least 5 hours.

Scoop and serve or sandwich between 2 chocolate chocolate chip cookies and savor each bite!

Cooking For Solutions at the Monterey Bay Aquarium 2013

If you have ever wondered what the best food event of the year is, the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Cooking for Solutions annual event ranks pretty darn high – if not right at the top of the list.

This year will be my third year as one of the guest chef’s at what they call their “grand culinary celebration,” an awesome 3 day event, focused on sustainability and raising awareness about the health of the oceans.

I’ll be cooking, speaking and signing my cookbook over the weekend on the Aquarium deck (with the ocean as a backdrop) and I’ll also be teaming up with one of my favorite chocolate companies, TCHO, and their head chocolatier, Brad, to do a seminar on how their chocolate goes from pod to my delicious pot de creme and other tasty desserts (tastings included)!

There are so many wonderful events to choose from throughout the weekend: from galas, to trips to vineyards, to special breakfasts, to food and wine adventures.

Super-sous, Latte and I will be there and I hope you will consider coming too. Whether you’re an adventurous foodie traveling on your own or with your family, Monterey + the Aquarium + this event = perfection.

Screen shot 2013-01-14 at 9.20.00 PM

 

My Love Affair With Latte and TCHO Chocolate

As if TCHO, the artisanal chocolate company out of San Francisco, wasn’t delicious enough, they have recently come out with their Mokaccino – a blend of their chocolate and Blue Bottle Coffee in a single bar.

Be still my Latte! It’s a dream come true.

If you follow my Facebook postings and blog, you know about my love affair with Latte and especially with the Blue Bottle / TCHO combo – the TCHO mocha – which is served at Blue Bottle Coffee shops in San Francisco.

The coolest part? It was all done through a series of beta taste testings where they sent different samples of the bar in the works out to serious chocolate lovers and chefs to give their feedback so they could refine their creation. (Yours truly jumped up and down for joy when I was invited to be part of the Beta Testers team.)

Now, I am not advertising TCHO on anyone’s behalf. I simply enjoy their chocolate and have grown to know and respect the people behind the bars and beckels. So much so, that I give them a shout out in my cookbook have contributed one of my recipes from Great Food Starts Fresh to their website. It’s from the “Chocolate” season of my book (yes, chocolate – the 5th season of my seasonal cookbook!) and it’s a breeze make. Really.

Go ahead. See for yourself…. and enjoy, my chocolate loving friends!