Sunday, April 24, 2011

Flourless Espresso Chocolate Cake

This cake was intense! In a good way. (Can chocolate and intense ever be bad?) I made this around Christmas time when my nephew was in town from Minnesota. (I know, I've been really slacking on my blogging!) I think he liked it. :) The texture was almost like chocolate mousse, but dense enough to be called a cake. Fabulous. Definitely making this for something else....

Adapted from: Crave by Maureen McKeon

2 1/2 cups chopped dark chocolate
3 Tbsp strong freshly brewed espresso coffee
3 Tbsp coffee liquor or brandy (I used Kahlua)
4 large eggs
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup superfine sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8 inch cake pan, line with parchment paper, then butter the paper.
Melt the chocolate with coffee and liquor in a heatproof bowl over hot water. Stir until smooth.
Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and white sugar in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water for about 10 minutes, or until thickened and almost tripled in volume.
Whip the cream, superfine sugar and vanilla extract until soft peaks form.
Gently fold in the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture, then fold in the whipped cream.
Pour the mixture into the prepared plan and immediately put the pan in a roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to reach halfway up the side of the cake pan.
Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until skewer inserted into the center of the pan comes out almost clean (the skewer will be slightly moist, the cake will continue to cook as it cools).
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan in the water bath. When cool, do not remove from the pan; cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
To serve, immerse the cake pan in a little hot water to loosen. Invert into a wire rack, remove the paper, then invert again onto a serving plate. Optional: Serve with fresh raspberries and heavy cream.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Jensen Ackles Bars would describe these bars since the name gives nothing away?! They are kind of like a sugar cookie butterscotch bar with a kick of espresso. Sound good? They are! I actually think the espresso was a little much, I could've gone with adding a little less (even though the original baker thought she could've added more). I didn't make the butterscotch sauce to go along with these bars and they tasted just fine all by themselves. I made these just because I was in a baking mood (and therefore had them laying around the house...not good!). Now I know for the future that these are definitely a dessert I would want to serve!

Adapted from:

1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) of unsalted butter, cut into about 6 pieces for easier melting
2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
2 teaspoons of salt
1 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon of espresso powder
2 1/4 cups of firmly packed light brown sugar
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of almond extract

1/4 cup (half a stick) of butter
1/2 cup of packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt (use more or less to suit your taste)

Bars: Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter/spray a 9x13 inch baking pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper and butter/flour the parchment. Or line the entire pan with tin foil (have the foil go over the edges for easy removal) grease and flour the foil.
In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt all the butter over low heat. Once the butter is melted, turn the heat up to medium and cook the butter until it turns golden brown and takes on a nutty fragrance. Depending on how high the heat is, this may take several minutes. Stir the butter occasionally and keep an eye on the colour. It will get a little bit 'foamy' but keep cooking until it starts to clarify and then change to a golden brown. Once it has browned, remove it from the heat and let it rest for about 5 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and espresso powder. Set it aside.
In a separate, larger bowl mix the butter and sugar together with a large wooden spoon or spatula (the mixture will be grainy). Add the eggs, vanilla, and almond. Mix well. Be sure the eggs have been well incorporated. Add the flour mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. Scraping down the sides of the bowl as you stir. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. It might be thick so you may have to spread it out with the spatula.
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out slightly moist but with no crumbs. If the edges start to brown too much, remove the pan and cover just the edges with some tin foil. Once they are done, place the pan on a cooling rack and let it come to room temperature. You can serve these alone or with the butterscotch sauce.
In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the sugar, cream, and salt. Whisk until blended. Bring the mixture to a slow, easy boil. Cook for about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. *It will eventually begin to thicken. Once it does, cook for about 2 more minutes.*
Remove from heat. As it cools, the butterscotch will thicken. You can pour it over the bars just before serving them or pour it on ahead of time (this will result in a thicker, almost frosting-like sauce.)

Overnight Monkey Bread

Well, this turned out much better than expected! I have never made any bread besides a quick bread. When I got to kneading the dough....well, I don't think I "kneaded" it correctly. The dough is supposed to become shiny after 6-7 minutes of kneading and mine didn't change texture or appearance at all. I almost threw it out. However, I thought I made it this far, so what was the difference if I finished the recipe and it turned out awful? THEN I could throw it out. This tasted like any other monkey bread I've had - delicious!

Adapted from: (originally from Cook's Illustrated



2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted1

1/3 cup milk, warm (about 120 degrees)

1/3 cup water, warm (about 120 degrees)

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons table salt

1 package rapid-rise yeast (or instant)

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour , plus extra for work surface


1 cup packed light brown sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted


1 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons milk


Butter a 12-cup Bundt pan generously with softened butter. Set aside.
In large measuring cup, mix together melted butter, milk, water, sugar, and salt. Stir to dissolve.
Mix 2 1/2 cups flour and yeast in stand mixer fitted with a beater blade. Turn machine to low and slowly add the milk mixture. After the liquids are incorporated, switch to the dough hook, increase the speed to medium and gradually add the remaining flour (add more or less as necessary) until dough clings to the hook and almost cleans the sides. Knead until the dough is shiny and smooth, 6 to 7 minutes. Turn dough onto lightly floured counter and knead briefly to form smooth, round ball. Coat large bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Place dough in bowl and coat surface of dough with cooking spray. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm, draft free place until dough doubles in size, 50 to 60 minutes. While dough is rising, mix brown sugar and cinnamon together in bowl. Place melted butter in second bowl. Set aside for the sugar coating. Remove dough from bowl, and pat into rough 8-inch square. Using bench scraper or knife, cut dough into 64 pieces. Roll each dough piece into a ball. Working one at a time, dip balls in melted butter, allowing excess butter to drip back into bowl. Roll in brown sugar mixture, then layer balls in Bundt pan, staggering seams where dough balls meet as you build layers. Cover Bundt pan tightly with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator overnight.
Approximately one hour before you want to bake your Monkey Bread, remove it from the refrigerator and let the dough come to room temperature and the dough will begin to rise. (It should have risen some in the refrigerator overnight.)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap pan and bake until top is deep brown and caramel begins to bubble around edges, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out on platter and allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes.
FOR THE GLAZE: While bread cools, whisk confectioners’ sugar and milk in small bowl until lumps are gone. Using whisk, drizzle glaze over warm monkey bread, letting it run over top and sides of bread. Serve warm.