All posts tagged: chocolate

Red Eye Chocolate Cake

Coffee and chocolate. Two things that I love brought together in one cake, the red eye chocolate cake. For those unaccustomed to hearing “red eye” associated with anything other than an overnight flight, this red eye refers to regular coffee with a shot of espresso added to it. As you might expect, espresso boosts the coffee’s flavor. It also increases the amount of caffeine in the drink. It’s a perfect pick-me-up after a late night flight or simply a late night. In keeping with its namesake’s bold reputation, Red Eye Chocolate Cake boasts of four layers of cocoa- and coffee-infused cake slathered with thick, rich chocolate ganache. This is a dessert that is both decadent and delicious. I can’t think of a more fitting way to celebrate a holiday known for an arrow-slinging god, a sainted martyr, love and chocolate than with a slice of this lavish sweet. Because people often balk at the thought of icing a cake, particularly a layer cake, I’ve made a short, instructional video on how to frost a cake. …

Double Chocolate S’mores Cookies

On the whole I don’t find supermarket baked goods all that enticing. The breads usually seem too airy, the cookies too bland, the cakes too slathered with artificially flavored frosting. However, last week, before the most recent, and hopefully last, snow of the season, I grabbed a cookie from my local market’s bakery section. Rather than satisfy my ever-present craving for sweets, it drove me to dig out my measuring cups, electric mixer, pen and notebook and create my own take on a s’more cookie. What made this particular cookie so special, so inspiring? Sweet without being cloying, chocolaty without being too rich, it struck the perfect flavor balance. Dotted with chunks of graham cracker, chocolate and marshmallow, the cocoa-enriched dough was far more complex and appealing than the usual double chocolate chip cookie. As with its campfire namesake, this cookie was so good that it left me hankering for “some more.” (Yep, that’s how s’mores got their name. You can’t just eat one graham cracker-chocolate bar-toasted marshmallow combo. You always want “s’more.”) As the …

Sailing away in Raspberry Meringue Boats

Sometimes my timing is off. During the last days of summer I collected and baked a rare autumn treat, ground cherries. On the first day of fall I took a field trip to a community supported agricultural garden and picked a quart of a beloved summer delicacy, raspberries. That they had not already been scavenged by birds, bees and other berry fiends amazed me. That they retained their brilliant ruby color and sweet, juicy flavor at the end of a long growing season was even more shocking. How lucky could I get? Although I’d spent much of the summer simmering, pureeing and swirling fruits into desserts, I didn’t want to toss these fresh-from-the-vine beauties into a blender or pot. Such gorgeousness should be showcased and not transformed into a lumpy, red mass. Rather than just serve them whole with a dollop of homemade whipped cream, I turned to an old family favorite, the meringue. A simple sweet, it would be the perfect foundation for these exquisite berries. If your ancestors are French as a smattering …

Flourless & Fabulous White Chocolate Almond Torte

When baking, I often think of my late mother from whom I inherited a raging sweet tooth. I suspect that she received hers from her own mother with whom she spent countless Friday nights making candy, cakes and other confections. They had baked for fun from recipes passed down through my French grandmother’s family and plied all whom they knew with these goodies. Yeah, I inherited that latter trait, too. Among the wonderful treats that they made were tortes. Although it may sound quite sophisticated, a torte is simply a single layer cake made with flour and/or ground nuts. German in origin, it’s occasionally filled jam or buttercream. In my kitchen it’s adorned with fresh, seasonal fruit and confectioner’s sugar. I have made the following flourless White Chocolate Almond Torte so many times that I could do it blindfolded or in my sleep. Take your pick. As time passes, I’ve learned that, if you bake the cake a day in advance, sprinkle the sugar over top and then cover the cake for 24 hours, it …

My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie

If you’ve dropped by Kitchen Kat more than once, you’re probably aware of my insatiable sweet tooth. Pies, cakes, candies and tarts. I love and make them all. What you might not know is that I am perpetually on the lookout for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. From Amy’s Bread, Birdbath, Levain and Jaques Torres to the less pricey offerings at Jack’s and Insomnia and the vegan version at Joe I’ve tried them all. You name the bakery or recipe. I’ve eaten the cookie. Last summer, while in the thick of promoting Fish Market, I came across what may be the best chocolate chip cookie that I’ve ever had. Crisp, sweet, aromatic and with just a hint of spiciness, it was the cookie that I’d been craving. This divine treat came not from a professional bakery or The Joy of Cooking but from my friend Elizabeth’s sunny kitchen. I took a bite of one, devoured it and then reached for another and another and another. Before I knew it, I was covered in cookie crumbs …

Steaming, White, Hot Chocolate

The latest East Coast snowstorm has left me craving a mug of good, steaming hot chocolate. It will come as no surprise that, as a person who grew up eating ‘Stove Top stuffing instead of potatoes,’ I have a long history with  those white, paper packets of instant hot cocoa. Whether in my parents’ kitchen, on camping trips or at sporting events, on cold winter days I imbibed that thin, not-quite-chocolate-flavored and often lukewarm drink. In my early 20’s I learned a valuable lesson from a fellow grad student and friend. If you want rich, toasty hot chocolate, make it from scratch. It doesn’t take much time to do. Plus, the end result tastes so heavenly you’ll never be tempted to rip open a sleeve of instant again.   I often tinker with my hot chocolate recipe, alternating between cocoa powder, semi-sweet morsels or bittersweet chocolate as my flavor base. When I’m in the mood for a wildly sweet, hot treat, I whisk together the following recipe. I think of it as liquid dessert. I …

Swedish Chokladbollar

Six years ago, while visiting a friend in Stockholm, Sweden I tried my first chokladbollar. Rich, chocolatey and with the pleasing chewiness of oats and coconut, this unusual sweet lingered on my mind for months. The next time that I went to Sweden, I tracked down not only the confection but also — and more importantly — a recipe for it. Just what is chokladbollar? Translated, it means “chocolate balls.” Think of them as very hearty truffles or no-bake cookies. Taking mere minutes to make, they feature cocoa, sugar, oats, butter and a smidgen of coffee. Mix the ingredients together, roll a tablespoon or so into balls, blanket them with coconut and refrigerate until you’re ready to nosh. Served alongside coffee or tea, they’re a delicious afternoon pick-me-up or after-dinner treat. Two weeks ago I turned up in Southern Sweden where one of the first things that I looked for, besides a hotel room, was a coconut-dusted chocolate ball. Turns out that I was in the right place, at least when it came to chokladbollar. …

Dreamy Triple Chocolate Coconut Bars

I’m married to a guy who adores coconut. Me? Not so much. Hand me a Mounds or Bounty bar and I’ll nibble off the smooth, rich chocolate, leaving behind a sticky blob of sinewy coconut for my husband to eat. Gross but true. Because of my apathy toward coconut, I rarely bake desserts featuring it. However, when I do, I make Dreamy Triple Chocolate Coconut Bars. Inspired by Amy’s Bread’s coconut dream bars, these luxurious treats feature plenty of coconut for my husband and an ample amount of chocolate for me. They’re the perfect compromise for two only children who love radically different sweets. Dreamy Triple Chocolate Coconut Bars will keep for several days. If you aren’t going to serve them right away, cover them with plastic wrap and store in a cool place. DREAMY TRIPLE CHOCOLATE COCONUT BARS Makes 20 bars 3 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted 1/2 cup white chocolate chips 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips 3 1/4 cups sweetened coconut flakes 1 3/4 cups sweetened condensed milk …

Toast St. Patrick’s Day with Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes

Since St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner, I thought it fitting to share a recipe inspired by some Irish favorites. No, I’m not talking about fish and chips or Irish stew and soda bread. I mean Guinness, Bailey’s and chocolate. (As an aside, if you don’t think of chocolate as being especially Irish, take a peek at Butlers. And, if you find yourself in Dublin, Cork or Galway, try Butlers hot cocoa and truffles. So, so good.) Considering my enormous sweet tooth, I’ll surprise no one with my choice of dessert over a savory, Irish specialty. Yet, thanks to one of their namesakes, Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes aren’t overwhelmingly sweet. The smokiness of the stout evens out the chocolatey, sugary batter. In turn, the vanilla-infused, cream cheese frosting tempers the tang of the Guinness-enriched cake. It’s the perfect balance of flavors. Along with possessing that ideal taste, these boozy, little cupcakes have an added bonus; they are quite simple to make. Put all the ingredients in a saucepan and stir together. Pour the batter …

Truffles for Valentine’s Day and Beyond!

Although I am one of the least craftsy people alive, I love making Valentine’s Day gifts. Specifically, I adore homemade, chocolate truffles. Shaped like the plump, lopsided mushrooms for which they’re named, hand-rolled truffles are a snap to prepare. If you can melt chocolate and don’t mind getting the palms of your hands a little gooey, you can create these sweets in no time. Dating back to 19th century France, truffles consist primarily of ganache, a blend of chopped white, milk or dark chocolate, heavy cream and optional smidgen of butter. To make ganache, cream is heated until scalding and then poured over the chocolate bits. Stirred together until smooth and creamy, the mixture is set aside to cool. Depending upon the ratio of cream to chocolate and the amount of time cooled, ganache can be used as a filling, icing or, as in the case of truffles, candy. As much as I like chocolate, I do think that truffles benefit from a dash of flavoring. Liqueurs, extracts, fruit purees or spices lend these bite-sized …