Chocolate

Baking Through Fika: Chocolate Jitterbugs

I’m continuing my Baking Through Fika project!  My mom and I sat together, looked through the cookbook and marked a few recipes that she and I plan to bake together.  Tackling a daunting project seems less daunting when someone is going to do it with you (the Prinsesstårta is the one I am fearing the most!) so I am looking forward to making some of these recipes with my sweet mom!

When deciding which recipe to make next I looked through Fika and chose the recipe that I had all of the ingredients for and one with a short list of instructions!  I know I’m going to get myself into trouble if I continue on this path, saving all the tougher recipes for the end, so next time I’ll try something a little more complicated.  But this time I went with an easy one.  Chocolate jitterbug cookies!

Chocolate Jitterbugs

I’d never heard of these before seeing them in this cookbook.  Jitterbugs are made by taking a shortbread cookie dough which is rolled out, spread with meringue, rolled up jelly roll style, then sliced and baked.  I’m not sure if these chocolate ones are typical, but in doing a little searching I found them made more often with a plain shortbread cookie dough.  I will have to try them that way sometime…

These aren’t too chocolate-y, and are not terribly sweet.  They are light in texture and pair well with a cup of afternoon coffee or a glass of cold milk.  The cookie is soft and the meringue is slightly crunchy, a great combination.  I brought them to a family weekend and they were finished off quickly.

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Here are a few tips not included in the recipe if you decide to make these!

  • When mixing up the chocolate dough you will probably need to use your hands to bring the dough together, it is pretty crumbly.
  • When rolling everything up the chocolate dough might crack, so be as careful as you can be!
  • When rolling the meringue might ooze out, and that’s just fine.
  • When slicing use a serrated knife, and work quickly, but don’t stress about making things perfect.  There will be mess, and that is fine.  After the cookies bake it won’t matter that they looked messy.
  • The ends of the roll (unless you perfectly rolled your dough!) might be uneven and not make the prettiest cookies.  I tossed the ends into the trash, but you can bake them if you’d like!

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Chocolate Jitterbugs

From Fika

Ingredients

Cookie Dough

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 1/2 ounces (100 grams) butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk

Filling

  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Directions

  1. Sift together the flour and cocoa powder.  Whisk in a pinch of salt.
  2. With a hand mixer combine butter, sugar and egg yolk and beat together.  Add in the flour mixture and beat until it comes together.  Bring together with your hands, then wrap in plastic wrap and refigerate for an hour.
  3. Right before you remove the dough from the fridge, beat the egg white until it is foamy.  Stream in the sugar and continue to beat until very creamy and thick, 3-4 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with a non-stick mat or parchment paper.
  5. Roll out the dough between parchment to roughly 8×12 inches.  Spread the meringue onto the dough, then carefully roll up, starting at a long side.  Place on a cutting board and chill for 15 minutes.
  6. Use a serrated knife to slice the log into pieces 1/3-1/2 inch thick.  Place on the baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes.

Daring Bakers: Lamingtons

The last post on Hottie Biscotti was the April Daring Bakers challlenge.  A full month of no posts!  I know you’ve been wondering just what has happened to me.  Well, I have just been doing a poor job of keeping up with the blog.  Honestly I don’t know when I would’ve posted next if I didn’t have a commitment to keep up with The Daring Bakers.  Blogging has taken a back seat lately.  Being a mom is a lot of work and sometimes (or a lot of the time this past month) sitting down and watching TV during nap time is more valuable and enjoyable to me than taking photos or writing a blog post.  Anyone else have dry spells in blogging?

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Anyway, I was glad to have this fun challenge to get me back here. I’d never seen or heard of Lamingtons before.  I’d never even made a sponge cake!  So, thanks for the great challenge, for having me try something new, and for getting me to blog, Marcellina!

For the May challenge Marcellina from Marcellina in Cucina dared us to make Lamingtons. An Australian delicacy that is as tasty as it is elegant.

I ate one of these with my afternoon coffee today and loved every bite of it.  The delicate cake with the thin layer of chocolate and slightly crunchy coconut made for a really special treat.  It’s basically a Mounds bar in cake form, so if you like those you should have no problem liking Lamingtons.

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Making the sponge cake is fairly simple when it comes to ingredients and baking, but it is tedious.  Having a stand mixer is super helpful since you beat the eggs and sugar on high speed for 15 minutes.  I was thankful to be able to turn on the timer and tend to other things while my mixer did all the work!  When you fold in the flour mixture it’s important not to deflate the eggs, but you also want to get all the flour incorporated, so there’s a delicate balance.  I don’t think that I achieved a perfect sponge, there were a few little pockets of unmixed cornstarch and baking powder in one part of the cake, but overall the flavor was incredible and the texture was light and airy.  And I don’t know what truly proper sponge cake should be like, so maybe mine was nowhere near acceptable.  But it worked!  So I’m going to call it good.

Here is my set up for dipping and coating the cake.  Doesn’t it look neat and clean?

Lamingtons

The chocolate glaze is delicious, a breeze to mix up, and easy to work with, at least at first.  The only problem I ran in to glazing and coating the pieces in coconut was that the delicate cake lost little pieces in the chocolate which, after about a dozen pieces of cake, made for a yucky mess that was no longer easy to work with.  So I ended up not even bothering to coat all the pieces.  My kids gladly ate the extra cake for dessert and felt very fancy.  If I really needed to coat them all I’d make a second batch of glaze that I could switch to once the first batch became not so wonderful.

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Here is the mess I made.

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But here is what came out of all that mess.  Totally worth it.

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Lamingtons

Makes 24

Ingredients

Cake

  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup castor sugar (I used regular granulated with no issues)
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cups cornflour (cornstarch)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 2¾ cups unsweetened desiccated coconut, to assemble

Chocolate Glaze

  • 3 ¼ cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • ½ to ¾ cup milk

Directions

Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Prepare a 4 ½ cm (1¾ inch) deep 9”x 13” baking pan by lining with non-stick paper and greasing the paper.
  3. In a stand mixer bowl place eggs, sugar and salt. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high for 15 minutes.
  4. While the eggs and sugar are beating sift the cornflour and baking powder at least 3 times.
  5. After 15 minutes add vanilla and beat on high for another 5 minutes. The mixture should have at least tripled in size, be light in color and very foamy.
  6. Sift flour mixture over the egg mixture. I like to use a whisk but you can also use a large metal spoon to lightly fold the flour in. Some people like to use a wooden spoon but I find it too heavy. Heavy handling now will result in a flat tough sponge. If you are using butter, thoroughly fold it in now but lightly.
  7. Spread mixture into your prepared pan and smooth out evenly. Some cooks at this stage drop the pan onto the bench top to even out the air bubbles.  I did this, but just once and not from very high 🙂
  8. Bake in preheated moderate oven for 22-25 minutes. The sponge will rise quite a lot but then settle back down. Don’t be tempted to open the oven to peak.  When baked the sponge will have shrunk very slightly from the sides and should feel springy when pressed gently.
  9. Turn the sponge out immediately onto a wire rack to cool and reverse sponge so as not to mark the top. Allow to cool. It is best to keep the cake for a day before making the Lamingtons as the cake will be easier to handle.

Chocolate Glaze

  1. Sift the icing sugar and cocoa into a heatproof bowl.
  2. Stir in the butter and ½ cup milk.
  3. Set the bowl over a pan of hot water.
  4. Stir until icing is smooth adding more milk to thin the icing if needed. I find I need more than ½ cup but not quite ¾ cup of milk.

Assemble

  1. Dip each piece into the chocolate icing, let the excess drip off.  Keep the bowl over the pan of warm water to keep the chocolate smooth.
  2. Roll in coconut.
  3. Place on a wire rack and let sit for 2 hours.  Refrigerate or freeze.

S’mores Pudding Cups

First off, how much fun is this animated GIF?!  And it’s so easy to make.  I use Photoshop Elements and this took me maybe 15 minutes start to finish, including photo editing.  Gotta love those people who post YouTube tutorials!  You can rest assured that if something I make has layers you’ll be seeing one of these again.

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This sweet dessert is inspired by the s’mores pot de creme at Sweet Houston.  Their version is a little different.  They have a layer of chocolate cake crumbles (I think) along with the graham layer, chocolate mousse (or maybe it’s pudding) and marshmallow cream.  They come in darling little glass jars, but I found that these Beechnut baby food jars work just as well!

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Fudge Brownie Pie with Graham Crust

I’m working my way through some recipes in the Milk Bar cookbook and really enjoying it so far!  If you missed this post, then check it out now.  Those cookies will blow your socks off.  This is another one that is on the simple side, not at all daunting.  It wasn’t what I expected when I saw “brownie pie”, but was quite delicious and something I’d definitely make again.

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Chocolate Peppermint Squares

There are a lot of foods that hold great memories for me.  I am sure I’ve talked about that before, and maybe that is the case for many of you.  Of course during this time of year, where food is so important, I have the desire to make and eat a lot of those foods.  These peppermint bars are one of my favorite Christmas sweets that my mom makes and I’m happy to share them with you!

Chocolate Peppermint Squares | Hottie Biscotti

These layered brownies pack a punch and are best enjoyed cut into small squares.  The bottom chocolate brownie layer is dense and decadent.  The peppermint layer is sweet and smooth.  The chocolate on top is bittersweet and a perfect contrast to the sweetness.

Chocolate Peppermint Squares | Hottie Biscotti Chocolate Peppermint Squares | Hottie Biscotti

I used to sneak these from the freezer, they are delicious after warming up just enough to be chew-able.  They are also quite good at room temperature, just a little messy.  But licking chocolate off of your fingers isn’t all bad.

There are a few tips that make baking and serving these easier.

  • Line the pan with foil and butter it well.
  • Use an offset spatula to spread the mint and the chocolate layers.
  • Chill the bars well after the mint and chocolate layers.
  • Remove from the freezer and let the bars warm up for about 30 minutes before cutting, if you cut them frozen the chocolate will crack.
  • Use the foil to lift the bars out of the pan and place on a cutting board.  Use a warm knife to cut into squares, wiping it clean after each cut.  At that point either serve or carefully repackage the squares and chill or freeze to serve later.

These are a perfect dessert buffet addition, and they would also make a great addition to a cookie plate along with other cookies.  I hope you try these and enjoy them as much as I do.

Chocolate Peppermint Squares | Hottie Biscotti

Chocolate Peppermint Squares

Ingredients

Brownie Layer

  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Peppermint Layer

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2-2 tablespoons milk or cream
  • 3 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract

Top Chocolate Layer

  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 3 tablespoons butter

Directions

Brownie Layer

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare an 8-inch pan by lining it with foil and buttering the foil.
  2. Melt chocolate and butter over low heat, then set aside.
  3. Combine eggs and sugar in a large bowl and beat until light in color and fluffy.
  4. Stir in flour, chocolate mixture and nuts.
  5. Spread into the pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.  Allow to cool for room temperature.

Peppermint Layer

  1. Beat together powdered sugar, butter and milk until smooth.
  2. Mix in peppermint extract and a couple drops of food coloring to achieve the color and shade that you’d like.  My mom always did green or pink.
  3. Spread evenly over the cooled brownies and place in the freezer until set, at least 30 minutes.

Chocolate Layer

  1. Melt chocolate and butter together.  I do this in the microwave.  Chop the chocolate roughly and cut the butter into chunks.  Combine in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 15 second increments, stirring well in between until melted and smooth.
  2. Remove chilled bars and pour the chocolate on top and tilt the pan to spread the chocolate around.  Use an offset spatula to even out the chocolate if needed.
  3. Freeze for at least an hour.

 

Daring Bakers: Sachertorte Fail

The making of this month’s Daring Bakers challenge was a comedy of errors.  I can truthfully say that I laughed more than I cried through this process and I couldn’t wait to share my Sachertorte tale.  So here’s how it all went down.

The October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Korena of Korena in the Kitchen. She took us to Austria and introduced us to the wonders of the Sachertorte.

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It sure is nice that to kids cake is cake no matter how it looks!  Mine enjoyed having some chocolate cake in the middle of the afternoon for no reason.

I’ve never wanted to make or eat Sachertorte.  Sorry.  But I typically don’t like fruit with my chocolate.  I do like raspberry, maybe strawberry, but other fruit and chocolate pairings are not hard for me to turn down.  A Sachertorte is chocolate cake glazed with apricot and then dark chocolate.  I wasn’t thrilled at this month’s challenge, but I’m only 3 challenges away from completing a full year of The Daring Bakers, so I couldn’t turn it down.  Also, this was an opportunity to broaden my baking horizons, and that’s always a good thing.

I had everything I needed and planned to whip this up on a Friday.  Since the cake can be made ahead I had what I thought was a good plan of getting that done in the morning, letting it cool, and then tackling both the apricot and chocolate glazes and the assembly during afternoon naps.  My kids typically have about an hour of nap time that overlaps.  And it’s not like I’m not used to juggling kitchen and kid duties.  I thought I had this thing under control.  That’s when you know you don’t.

My youngest had a couple of vaccines given at his 4 month well check the day before and while I’m not confident that his fussiness was due to the shots I am confident that something was not right with him.  He is a happy baby who can deal with being put in the bouncer in the kitchen and being content while I cook.  Typically.  Today was not typical.  He hardly napped all day.  I’d just get him to sleep, get back downstairs to try to bake and he’d start crying again.  Did I mention we also had a Halloween event that night?  I needed to get the kids fed early and in their costumes by the time my husband got home.  I felt like a crazy person going from the kitchen to the crying baby upstairs, to the kids, to the kitchen, to the crying baby in the bouncer, to the sink full of dirty dishes, to the pirate costumes, to the crying baby on his exercise mat to the Sachertorte.

You don’t need me to tell you that the opportunities for disaster were countless.  While whipping egg whites with my hand mixer (something that seemed to take forever) my two boys were crying because they didn’t like the noise.  Take a moment now and try to imagine a 4 year old crying and tugging at you, a 4 month old screaming, and the metal beaters hitting the sides of your glass bowl as the little motor on your mixer whirs.  I should’ve given up right then.  But I soldiered on.  And amazingly the cake itself was fine.

Cake got baked, cooled and sliced ready for glaze.

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Glaze got made and right when I got ready to use it my sweet baby woke up from his 30 minute nap and I had to feed him.  But the apricot glazing went well.  (Note: put parchment or wax paper under your rack when glazing.)  Right about then my older son woke up.

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The baby seemed ok after eating and I really needed to get this cake done.  I’d read the directions for the glaze, knowing it to be both temperature and time sensitive.  I decided I’d go for it.  Curious George Halloween special on the TV and kids on the couch with snacks and drinks.  Baby on the mat playing with toys.  This would be fine…

Once you start the glaze you have to finish.  No stopping points.  You have to cook the sugar to 234°F, mix in the chocolate, pour it on the cake and smooth it all without taking a second to neglect your duties.  My sugar was at about 215°F when sweet baby boy started to scream.  I tried putting him in the bouncer in the kitchen and making silly faces and noises at him while I tended to the boiling sugar.  He wasn’t fooled.  He knew he wasn’t number 1 in my book at that moment.  But I had to keep going.  He screamed for about 5 minutes, then discovered one of the toys in front of him and settled down.  I whisked in the chocolate and my glaze was thick and clumpy.  The recipe says that you can return the pan to the heat and add “a few drops” of water to get it to a pour-able consistency.  I did that and then proceeded to glaze the cake.  I went on nice at first.  I had my offset spatula at the ready and was spreading as I poured.  I got to the other side of the cake and it basically hardened up and became not only not spreadable but clumpy and when I tried to fix it it started pulling up cake with it.  So this is what I had on my hands.

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I was watching the temp of the sugar carefully and turned it off right at 234°F, but I guess that could’ve been the problem.  Or maybe I didn’t add enough water, although it did seem pourable enough.  Regardless of what went wrong, this chocolate glaze was a bust.

My baby had started to cry again and my oldest son was now in the kitchen asking for more snacks and milk because he’d spilled his on the rug.  At this point everything just had to be funny.  No point in getting upset about it.  Thankfully I wasn’t planning to serve this at a dinner party.  I had told a friend I’d bring dessert to a casual lunch on Saturday, but thankfully she’s the kind of friend who doesn’t love you any less for bringing ugly cake!

I completed the cake with the required “Sacher” but didn’t spend too much time worrying about how well that turned out.  Obviously.  I’m pretty sure I was snickering about this whole debacle when I took this picture.

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Now, the cake itself wasn’t bad.  I liked it, actually.  The chocolate glaze also tasted fine, but I will never make it again.  I’ll look for a different chocolate glaze or ganache recipe the next time I want to try to glaze a cake.  Now the apricot.  I just can’t get on board with the apricot and chocolate together.  If I am ever in Austria I will definitely order myself a slice of Sachertorte, but I won’t be making it again.  I might try the cake with a caramel glaze and chocolate ganache.  Or maybe just keep it all chocolate.  But there will be no traditional Sachertortes coming out of this kitchen.  The end.

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 Sachertorte

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup (4 1/2 ounces) good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • pinch fine grain salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375˚F with a rack in the center of the oven. Butter and flower the sides of a 9-inch springform pan, then line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper.
  2. Place the bittersweet chocolate in a heat-proof bowl and heat over a small saucepan of barely simmering water or you can melt it in the microwave, heating in 30 second increments, stirring in between each, until just melted. Set aside to cool completely, stirring often.
  3. Place the butter in a large mixing bowl and beat with the paddle attachment of a stand mixer or electric mixer on medium speed until very light and creamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar on low speed, then increase to medium speed and beat again until light and creamy.
  4. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
  5. Add the cooled chocolate and vanilla and beat until well-mixed and very light and creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
  6. In a clean bowl using the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites with about one tablespoon of the granulated sugar on high speed until foamy. Gradually add in the rest of the granulated sugar and continue beating the whites until they form soft, shiny peaks – they should hold their shape but flop over on themselves.
  7. Vigorously stir about 1/3 of the whipped egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, then gently fold the remaining egg whites into the chocolate mixture with a spatula until just a few wisps of egg white remain. Do this carefully so as not to deflate the egg whites.
  8. Stir together the flour and salt and sift half of it over the chocolate mixture. Fold in with a spatula until almost incorporated. Sift over the remaining flour and fold to combine completely.
  9. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared springform pan.  Bake in the preheated oven for 35-45 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. The cake will crack and dome in the middle as it bakes but will flatten out as it cools.
  10. Cool completely, then slice in half.  Glaze middle, top and sides with warm apricot glaze (recipe below).  Let glaze set, then finish with your favorite chocolate ganache.

Apricot Glaze

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups apricot jam or preserves
  • 2 tablespoons water

Directions

  1. Boil the jam and water in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Cook, stirring often, until the mixture thickens and drips slowly from the spoon, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Strain through a wire mesh sieve, pressing firmly on the solids. You should have about 1 cup of glaze. Use warm.

Here are some recipes for chocolate ganache that you could use.

Pourable Ganache

Sachertorte Chocolate Glaze

 

Daring Bakers: Surprise Inside Checkerboard Cake

This challenge couldn’t have come at a better time!  July is my birthday month.  Having to bake a special cake for the Daring Bakers was the perfect excuse to bake myself a birthday cake. cake29 cake30 For the July Daring Baker’s Challenge, Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to bake a cake. But not just any cake; she asked us to add in a special surprise for our eyes as well as our taste buds! cake19 When I saw this challenge I immediately got on Amazon and bought the Surprise Inside Cakes cookbook, which is amazing.  But after looking through it I decided I couldn’t commit to one of her cakes right now.  I figured I’d fail at the first attempt and have to try again (or a dozen times) to get it right.  And I just couldn’t justify taking the time and energy to make multiple cakes when most of my time and energy has to go toward my kids.  So I opted to make something a little simpler, and something I’d seen before and been anxious to try. cake22 cake23   cake26 This checkerboard cake is impressive without being quite as involved as something like this.  Amazing, right?!  And something I’d like to try someday, just not today.  A lot of these kinds of cakes involve baking cake, crumbling it up and mixing it with icing, carving into other baked cake layers and then filling to space with the cake-frosting mixture.  I wasn’t even going to pretend I was brave enough to try that.  This cake just involves some cutting and layering.  I could handle that. I used cake mix for this challenge because if it didn’t turn out I did not want to throw a scratch cake away, and, let’s face it, scratch cake is easier and always reliable.  Start by baking two boxes of cake mix into 8-inch rounds.  I used a dark chocolate and funfetti cause it’s my birthday!  Wrap them in plastic and chill them in the fridge for at least a couple hours or overnight. cake1Now you want to level them to all the same height.  I used one of these.  It’s a favorite cake tool of mine.  You can also use a serrated knife. cake2 Now cut each layer using a 5-inch circle and a 3-inch circle.  I tried to center them perfectly but they weren’t quite perfect.  It turned out fine.  Also, as you can see below, I had my knife at a slight angle when I cut the first circle.  Try to keep it straight, but know that if you have the same problem as I did, it will still work out.cake3 cake4 cake5 cake6 Then do the same with the chocolate layers.  Be very careful when moving the rings!  They become very fragile. cake7 Now would be a good time to chill or freeze the layers.  I didn’t and wish I had.  They would’ve been easier to move if they were cold.  Whip up a batch of frosting, I used this one.  Place one large vanilla ring on a cake plate.  Spread some frosting around the inside of the ring. cake8 Place a chocolate ring inside of this one. cake9 Frost the inside of this ring and then place a small vanilla circle in the center.  NOTE: Your icing is going to get full of chocolate crumbs.  Try to keep the big bowl of frosting relatively crumb free.  I scooped frosting into a smaller bowl as I needed it. cake10 Top this layer with frosting.  Then repeat with the rest of the cake layers, alternating chocolate, vanilla, chocolate.  Frost the entire cake with a crumb coat and put in the fridge to set, at least a couple hours. cake11 cake12 cake15 Now you may need to make another batch of frosting, depending on how much you made the first time around.  Finish off the cake with the final coat of frosting. cake16 Place the cake in the fridge until you’re ready to cut in to it.  These kinds of cakes cut more cleanly when cold. Stick some candles in and celebrate! cake18 cake25

Perfect Chocolate Cake & Frosting

As with much of my spur of the moment baking, this was the result of perusing Pinterest right after my kids went down for naps.  I saw this amazing looking chocolate cake and had to have it.  Now.

Perfect Chocolate Cake | Hottie Biscotti

Perfect Chocolate Cake | Hottie Biscotti

As luck would have it I had all the ingredients (and you probably do, too!) which makes this a terrific cake to make at the last minute.  I decided to make it around 2 in the afternoon and it was cooled and frosted and ready to consume by 5.  Both the cake and the frosting come together so quickly.  Making this cake was a great use of nap time.  It was also a great way to take my mind off of the fact that my due date was going to come and go without meeting our new babe!  If only chocolate cake induced labor…

Perfect Chocolate Cake | Hottie Biscotti

I’ve had this cake before and remember asking who made it and if I could get the recipe.  For some reason I was surprised to find out it was a Hershey’s recipe.  I shouldn’t have been, I guess.  The best oatmeal cookie recipe is found on the top of the Quaker oats container, after all!  I didn’t use Hershey’s cocoa, though.  I had just enough Guittard cocoa left, so that is what I used.  The cake is moist and chocolatey and comforting, as chocolate cake should be.  The frosting is sweet and rich yet light and not dense.  I added a layer of crushed Oreos in between the layers of cake and also pressed some into the sides of the frosted cake and sprinkled some on top.  It adds some nice texture both in appearance and in your mouth, but it also helps to disguise a sloppy frosting job…which mine definitely was.

Perfect Chocolate Cake | Hottie Biscotti

You can make this in 9-inch cake pans, like I did, or in a 9×13 pan, 3 8-inch pans, a bundt pan, or you can make cupcakes.  I can easily see this becoming my new go-to chocolate cake recipe.

ONE-PAN CAKE: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.

THREE LAYER CAKE: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost.

BUNDT CAKE: Grease and flour 12-cup fluted tube pan. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Frost.

CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.

Perfect Chocolate Cake | Hottie Biscotti

The next time I post I hope it’s to announce the birth of our baby, but I might just find myself doing some more baking if this baby decides he or she is just not ready!  Happy weekend!Perfect Chocolate Cake | Hottie Biscotti

Perfect Chocolate Cake

From Hershey’s

Ingredients

Cake

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Frosting

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Optional: Crushed Oreos for topping (about a sleeve and a half)

Directions

Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Grease and flour 2 9-inch cake pans.  Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl, mix together sugar, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  4. Add in oil, milk, eggs and vanilla and beat for 2 minutes.
  5. Add in the boiling water and mix to combine.  The batter will be very thin, and that’s ok!
  6. Pour batter into prepared pans, dividing evenly, and bake for 30-35 minutes.  A toothpick inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean or with a few moist crumbs attached.
  7. Let cool in the pans on wire racks for 15 minutes, then turn out onto the racks to let cool completely before frosting.

Frosting

  1. Measure cocoa into a medium sized bowl.  Melt butter and pour into the cocoa and whisk to combine.
  2. Using a mixer, beat in powdered sugar and milk alternately in 5 batches (sugar, milk, sugar, milk, sugar).  Add in more sugar if you want the frosting to be a little thicker.  Stir in the vanilla.
  3. Frost the cake, layering some of the Oreos in between the layers and press some onto the edges.  Serve immediately or let chill in the fridge for an hour if your house is especially warm (like mine was!).

 

Frozen S’mores Mousse

The name of this retro dessert in the cookbook I found it in is chocolate marlow, but I figured that while that might intrigue some people, it would be better to describe it more…descriptively.  It’s a chocolate and marshmallow mousse that’s frozen then topped with whipped cream, sugar coated graham crackers and some chopped chocolate.  In other words,  amazing.

Frozen S'mores Mousse | Hottie Biscotti

If you like the flavors of a s’more but want something a little different and dressed up, then you’ll love this.  The marshmallow flavor is there but is not overwhelming or cloying.  The graham crackers are baked with egg white and a sprinkling of sugar that transforms them into something really incredible.  There’s a terrific crunch from the sugar and a kind of toasted-ness that makes these a perfect garnish.  I’d definitely make more graham crackers next time since they’re also a good alternative to a spoon or fork!

After making a chocolate base of marshmallow, chocolate and milk it is chilled then folded in with whipped cream.  After a 1 hour chill in the freezer it is perfectly scoop-able.  If you allow it to harden completely in the freezer you need to let it sit out for 20-30 minutes before scooping.

Frozen S'mores Mousse | Hottie Biscotti

After scooping I decided topping this with a little sweetened whipped cream couldn’t hurt anybody.  A couple of the graham crackers and a square of chocolate top this off perfectly.

Frozen S'mores Mousse | Hottie Biscotti

Crumble up the graham crackers over everything before enjoying!

Frozen S'mores Mousse | Hottie Biscotti

Frozen S’mores Mousse

From America’s Best Lost Recipes 

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

Mousse

  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate (I used 4 ounces semisweet and 2 ounces 60% cocoa) chopped
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/3 cups heavy cream

Sugared Crackers

  • 4 whole graham crackers (or more)
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • granulated sugar

Garnish

  • Sweetened whipped cream
  • chocolate squares

Directions

Mousse

  1. Combine the marshmallows, milk and chocolate in a saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly until marshmallows are melted completely and mixture is smooth.
  2. Pour the mixture into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill for an hour in the refrigerator.
  3. Whip cream to soft peaks and stir in vanilla.
  4. Fold whipped cream into chocolate mixture,
  5. Scoop into a 2 quart souffle dish and freeze for 1 hour.

Sugared Graham Crackers

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Lay crackers out on cookie sheet.  Brush each with the egg white, then sprinkle evenly with sugar.
  3. Bake for about 5 minutes, then let cool completely and break into pieces.

Assemble

  1. If mousse is still scoop-able, scoop into dessert bowls.  If it is too hard to scoop, let warm up a bit.
  2. Top with whipped cream, a couple of crackers and a chocolate square.

 

Chocolate & Pecan Brownie Cookies

I have loved (and hated) all of the chocolate goodies that have been at my house recently, but these might just be my favorite and a recipe I can see myself going back to the most often.  These would make a terrific Valentine’s treat, but really a wonderful cookie for anytime.

A new friend of mine made these as treats for after a morning TV segment that I was lucky to be a part of, and after practically inhaling my cookie I immediately asked her for the recipe.  Sometimes I forget how good a chocolate cookie can be and often opt for chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin when I’m going to make cookies.  But these cookies might become my new go-to. They are thick and brownie like in texture in the center, yet slightly crunchy on the top and edges.  The nuts add terrific flavor and using a mix of chocolate chips makes for a truly amazing cookie.

chocolatebrowniecookie2

I made a batch and boxed up a few for Carson’s teachers at school for Valentine’s Day.  When I went to pick him up his teacher said they were amazing and evil.  “Evil” is one of the best compliments when it comes to baked goods, at least in my opinion.

chocolatebrowniecookie3

The batter for these cookies is more involved than some, but is still not intense by any means.  After I scooped the first batch the batter began to really thicken up, which makes for a bit of a difficult and messy time getting it scooped out.  It was hard on my cookie scoop to the point that I worried it might break.  Thankfully it didn’t.  But even if it had it would’ve been a small price to pay!

chocolatebrowniecookie1

Chocolate and Pecan Brownie Cookies

From Natalie

Makes about 30 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 4 ounces of chocolate (70% cacoa or unsweetened squares) chopped
  • 3 cups chocolate chips (semi sweet or a combination of semi sweet, dark and milk chocolate) divided
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups chopped pecans, toasted

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside.
  2. Melt butter, chopped chocolate and 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips in a heavy saucepan set over low heat.  Stir until everything has melted together, then let cool to room temperature.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together four, powder and salt.  Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl beat eggs, sugar and vanilla until well combined.  Add in dry ingredients until just combined, then beat in melted chocolate until well combined.
  5. Mix in the rest of the chocolate chips and the pecans.
  6. Drop by large spoonfuls (about 2 tablespoons) onto prepared baking sheets, 9 cookies per sheet.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes, until tops are set and cracking.  Cool for a minute or two before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.