Tag Archives: chocolate cake

Relax and Indulge in Chocolate

Tax day / week can really take a toll on a body and when it comes to stress, I know that my ultimate relief is chocolate.  The need to create something decadent and delicious  is only outdone by the complete indulgence in it’s decadence.  Here are a few of my favs.

Chocolate Double Feature Cupcakes with Mexican Hot Chocolate Frosting

Chocolate Double Feature Cupcakes with Mexican Hot Chocolate Frosting

Double Feature Cupcakes with Mexican Hot Chocolate Frosting by Food Network

This first recipe is one of my favorites because it takes a basic and delicious, chocolate cupcake, kicks that up a notch with a peanut butter cup added to each one and then tops it with a bit of jazz, the Mexican Hot Chocolate Frosting.  With the exception of the peanut butter cups, unless you live in my house where they are a staple, you probably already have all of these items in your pantry or larder.  Full recipe here

Cupcake ingredients list; Chocolate chips, butter, vanilla, sugar, eggs, flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, salt and peanut butter cups.   Frosting Ingredients list; Cream cheese, butter, chili powder, cinnamon, salt, vanilla, confectioners sugar, unsweetened chocolate.

Chocolate Blackout Cake

Chocolate Blackout Cake

Chocolate Blackout Cake by Food and Wine

Now for sheer indulgence.  This cake is filled with a chocolaty custard, then it is rubbed down with it as well. ( Okay, not exactly rubbed down, let’s say coated ) then covered with crumbs from the chocolate cake.  Intrigued?  Take a look at the full recipe here.  

Cake ingredients list; Butter, cake flour, vegetable shortening, sugar, eggs, vanilla, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and milk  Filling ingredients list; Water sugar, light corn syrup, unsweetened cocoa powder, butter, vanilla and salt.

Salted Chocolate Tart

Salted Chocolate Tart

Salted Chocolate Tart by Sunset Magazine

Are you ready for a serious chocolate fix? A chocolate crust cradles the decadent chocolate filling and is topped with a dazzling chocolate glaze.  This recipe is a bit more involved than the two above, you may need to step away from your pantry and head to the market for the ingredients.  It will be well worth your time.  Full recipe here

Chocolate Crust Ingredients; Butter, sugar, flour, unsweetened cocoa powder ( not dutch processed ) and egg yolks.  Chocolate Filling Ingredients; extra-bittersweet chocolate, butter, sugar, brewed coffee, eggs.  Chocolate Glaze Ingredients; Extra-bittersweet chocolate, light corn syrup, heavy whipping cream, butter and Maldon seat salt for sprinkling.

Sexy, Romantic Dinner Ideas for Two

Valentine's DayCupid is drawing back his bow and love is in the air. How are you celebrating Valentine’s Day this year? An intimate candle-lit dinner at a table for two, dancing the night away at the trendiest club or perhaps creating a culinary masterpiece of your own to share with your love in the glow of a warm fire?

If the passing of January is at all indicative of how quickly 2013 will be moving, Valentine’s Day will likely be upon us before we know it and I intend on being as prepared as possible.

If you are considering a simple meal at home, here are a couple of recipes to jump start the brain. Please keep in mind this is not a “menu” so to speak. Each item is separate from the other and each one is designed to “plant a seed” or to start the creative processes bubbling and brewing while preparing the menu.

Mussels in White WineSteamed Mussels in White Wine

  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/4 onion, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 4 1/2 pounds mussels, scrubbed, debearded
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  1. Place shallot, onion, wine, butter, and vinegar in a large heavy pot. Add mussels, cover, and bring to a boil. Cook, gently shaking pot once or twice, until mussels open, 3–5 minutes ~ Be sure to be your seafood as fresh as fresh as possible, any mussels that do not open need to be discarded.
  2. Line a strainer with a double layer of cheesecloth and place over a bowl, set aside.
  3. Transfer mussels to a large bowl, using a slotted spoon. Pour mixture in pot through prepared strainer. Season broth with pepper and pour over mussels. Sprinkle with parsley.

Asparagus in Bearnaise SauceAsparagus and Bearnaise Sauce

Although asparagus is a spring vegetable, it is available in the market throughout the entire year. As you can see, it is a beautiful addition to any dinner table.

When choosing asparagus choose straight, firm spears, uniform in size with closed tips and that are refrigerated or on ice. They should be used within two or three days of purchase to maintain freshness. The best way to store them is to place spears upright in a small bowl or vase in about an inch of cold water.

AsparagusRinse asparagus, especially the tips, in cold water and snap off the woody base of each spear where it breaks easily. You will find this around the bottom third of the spear and where the woody part begins to turn tender. For aesthetics, scrape off the scales on the spears with a vegetable peeler. This gives it a clean look.

There are several ways to cook asparagus ~ Since this recipe calls for them to be gently covered in delicious Bearnaise, I will show just two.

Simmer: Lay the asparagus spears in a large skillet and top with 1 inch of water. Lightly salt the water and bring to a simmer. Cook, covered, for 3 to 5 minutes or until crisp-tender.

Steam: Place a steamer basket in a saucepan. Add water to just below the bottom of the basket. Bring water to boiling. Add asparagus to steamer basket. Cover and reduce heat. Steam for 3 to 5 minutes or until crisp-tender.

Bearnaise Sauce

2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1/4 cup very finely chopped shallot
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon leaf
3 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon water
1/2-3/4 cup unsalted butter, very soft
coarse salt
lemon juice, if desired

  1. Combine vinegar, wine, shallots, black pepper, and 1 1/2 teaspoons tarragon in a small saucepan.
  2. Cook over medium heat until reduced to 1 tablespoon, 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Add egg yolks and 1 tablespoon of water to reduced vinegar mixture.
  4. Whisk until thick and pale, about 2 minutes.
  5. Set pan over moderately low heat and continue to whisk at reasonable speed reaching bottom and insides of pan, where eggs tend to overcook.
  6. Moderate the heat by frequently move pan off burner for a few seconds, then back on.
  7. As they cook, the eggs will become frothy and increase in volume, then thicken.
  8. When the bottom of the pan is visible in the streaks left by the whisk and the eggs are thick and smooth, remove from heat.
  9. By spoonfuls, add soft butter, whisking constantly to incorporate each addition.
  10. As the emulsion forms, add butter in slightly larger amounts, always whisking until fully absorbed.
  11. Continue incorporating butter until sauce has thickened to consistency desired.
  12. Season with salt, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped tarragon and, if desired, pepper.
  13. Add a few droplets of lemon juice.
Photo Credit:  Chefs Little Helper

Photo Credit: Chefs Little Helper

Rosemary Roast Pork

This is a delicious dish that is delightfully simple and has a very basic shopping list. You may already have these items in your pantry; butter, scallions, salt, ground cumin, dried oregano, black peppercorns, pepperoni, (yes, pepperoni ), rosemary leaves, garlic, pork shoulder roast, black pepper, sweet potatoes, russet potatoes, mushrooms, broccoli, olive oil and red wine vinegar. Follow the link to 2Chow and Chefslittlehelper.com While you are there, browse the site and check out some of the recipes.

Ally’s Kitchen’s Chocolate Cake Vodka Balls

Photo Credit:  Ally's Kitchen

Photo Credit: Ally’s Kitchen

One of my dear friends, Alice D’Antoni Phillips, of Ally’s Kitchen has created a tempting treat that caught my eye. Well, actually it was the name that caught my eye, these little gems are full of flavor. The ingredients list is simple, chocolate cake, chocolate icing, cream cheese and vodka. For garnish, the sky’s the limit as creativity knows no bounds. Follow the link to Ally’s site for the full recipe, poke around while you are there, and print out more of her amazing recipes!

Decadent & Delicious Chocolate Delights

A cup of hot coffee or a glass of cold milk and a slice of decadent, rich, dark chocolate cake.  I was conversing with friends an evening or two ago and one of them mentioned his love for chocolate cake and a recipe he uses to whip up the perfect piece of heaven.  My mouth began to water and my brain began to bubble.  It has been ages since a really good, made from scratch chocolate cake hit my dessert table.

I have chosen three recipes, three because I could not decide on just one.  To save my waistline from expanding too quickly, I will fight my urge to bake and taste them all at the same time and make one each week for the next three weeks.

The first one is the recipe my friend uses when he bakes up a storm in his kitchen.  it is from Hershey’s Kitchen, and I can’t wait to try it.

Photo:  Hershey's Kitchen

Photo: Hershey’s Kitchen

Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Cake ~ Hershey’s Kitchen This is an excellent and very easy recipe.  The shopping list very basic and you probably already have all the ingredients in you pantry to just whip this little gem right up.  Vegetable oil, water, baking soda, all-purpose flour, baking powder, vanilla extract, milk, salt, Hershey’s cocoa and sugar.  Get the recipe here

Photo: Todd Coleman for Saveur Magazine

Photo: Todd Coleman for Saveur Magazine

Moist Chocolate Cake ~ Saveur Magazine  This second recipe is a bit more involved than the first and is incredibly tempting.  The shopping list, as above, is fairly basic and again, you probably already have all these items in your pantry.  Milk, unsweetened chocolate, flour, salt, baking soda, dark brown sugar, sugar, vegetable shortening, eggs and vanilla extract.  Ingredients for the icing are nearly the same ( I love that by the way, chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. )  Unsweetened chocolate, sugar, milk, light corn syrup, butter, salt and vanilla.  Full recipe here

Photo:  Angie Norwood Browne for Bon Appetit Magazine

Photo: Angie Norwood Browne for Bon Appetit Magazine

Molten Chocolate Cakes with Cherries ~ Bon Appetit  These luscious beauties are for that sweet, romantic after dinner delight for two.  These cakes are fairly involved in their creation and the saving grace is that the sauce and cake batter can be made 1 day ahead, covered separately and chilled.    You may have to venture outside your pantry for your shopping list;   frozen pitted dark sweet cherries, kirsch or regular brandy, cinnamon, unsweetened cocoa powder, bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, butter, eggs, all-purpose flour, sugar and fresh mint.  Full recipe here

Remember my motto;  Eat in moderation so you can indulge in Chocolate Moments, guilt free



Seared Scallop Salad and Chocolate Cake

Over the holidays the rich foods and decadent dessert tables are difficult to resist and by the time January rolls around, New Year Resolutions often include fad diets and self-promises to hit the gym.  Those pesky few pounds that were added during the cocktail party season simply need to come off.

VeggiesWhile I am certainly on board with shedding extra weight, eating healthy doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to try and subsist on fruits and vegetables.  Eating lighter, doesn’t mean you stop eating altogether, it simply means make smarter choices and cut down on your portions.

I have found that the “give and take” method works for me, I generally walk along the following guidelines;  If a larger breakfast that includes bacon and eggs or breads such as cinnamon rolls were on the table, then lunch and dinner will be as low fat as possible.   If  plans have been made to dine out with friends for the evening, a very light breakfast, smoothie or yogurt is on the docket, and then perhaps salad with fat free dressing or something comparable, for lunch.

When it comes to food I confess I have several weaknesses, baking is not only a hobby of mine, but a deep rooted obsession.  While baked goods are available here in my home for the fam,  I do not indulge in breads and desserts every day.  If I have a craving for chocolate cake or that piece of amazing ricotta cheesecake, I will lighten up my dinner portions so that an “extra” item can be eaten without a shred of guilt.  When I have that day of sheer indulgence, and I do, I watch my menu items for the next couple of days to ensure that does not become habit.

VeggiesEating in moderation is step one, step two is getting physical. Hitting the gym is always my ultimate goal, however with three children and a busy schedule it isn’t always feasible.  I am fortunate, I have a treadmill right off the kitchen and a minimum of 30 minutes per day on that torture device is required.  If that is not an option for you a brisk walk in the outdoor air is a great idea.

If you are looking for recipes that a bit lighter on the bod, Cooking Light Magazine is a great publication.  As you browse their recipes, take note of changes you might make in each one to enhance flavors or perhaps even to cut the fat and / or calorie level further. Give it a tweak and a twist and make that recipe yours.  You will find with time as you browse other recipes that are not on their site, you will find ways to substitute ingredients to reduce your waistline without sacrificing flavor.  Moderating what goes inside of you will ensure that on those days that indulgence is a must, you will enjoy it, guilt free.

Photo:  Cooking Light Magazine

Photo: Cooking Light Magazine

Seared Scallop Salad ~ Cooking Light Magazine

This is a great idea for lunch.  Not only is it beautiful, but full of flavor.  The time involved is minimal and the shopping list is a breeze; ground fresh ginger, minced garlic, olive oil, salt, black pepper, sea scallops, salad greens, cherry tomatoes, shredded  carrot, cucumber, red onion and red wine vinaigrette.

This delectable salad and a glass of Chablis is on the lunch menu.  Since it is fairly light, more than likely a bit of venison and potatoes will be on the table for dinner and dessert will call for a piece of chocolate cake.