This is probably the craziest yet happiest batch of little things I've baked in a while. My not-so-secret obsession with all things chocolate and Sriracha hit it's peak this week when I decided to travel down the path of mixing them together. Maybe they might get married someday and make a happy couple, one could only hope!
Until now, I had never baked a lava cake, so I scrounged around for several recipes in my stack of baking cookbooks (that are unpacked yet literally piled against the wall of the living room like the entrance to a some ancient monument.....I'll eventually deal with this soon, hopefully), unfortunately I didn't have a recipe in any of my books (could also be an excuse to get more cookbooks)! I went online and found one that looked pretty easy to prepare and decided to take the plunge down the hole that looked dark and messy yet held a promise of sweet peppery goodness.
Buckwheat is by far one of my favorite whole grain flours to work with because it has such a lovely color and flavor. Indian cooking uses a lot of whole grain flours but buckwheat is a flour that I came across after I moved to the US and I love, love it! I've adapted the original lava cake recipe from one of my trusted cooking magazines,
and substituted the flour with buckwheat among a few other ingredients.
Here are a few notes that I made during baking and I wanted to share with you;
- I had no heavy cream at home but I did have full fat coconut milk and that worked just fine in preparing the truffles.You can make the truffles ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator, just stick them into the cake batter they day you are ready to bake the cakes.
- The cakes will rise during baking and you should remove them while they are still hot after the initial 2 minute cooling process. I removed them from the ramekins even though we didn't eat all of them the same day. The cakes might sink slightly once they are too cool which is why I really like serving them as soon as they are baked straight out of the oven.
- To store, I ended up wrapping the rest of the cakes (after removing them from the ramekins) with cling film and freezing them for long term storage in an an airtight ziploc bag. Before eating the cakes, instead of thawing, I unwrapped the cling film and microwaved them covered with a microwave-safe lid. It worked great and now I have Sriracha lava cakes on demand.
Also, if you don't like Sriracha you can leave it out from the cakes and make yourself a whole grain buckwheat lava cake.
sriracha buckwheat molten lava cakes
2 oz semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons full fat coconut milk or heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon sriracha sauce
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, chopped + additional butter for greasing
1 1/4 ounces buckwheat flour + additional for dusting
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup (2 ounces) raw brown sugar
1 teaspoon madgascar bourbon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt
3 large eggs
confectioners sugar for dusting (optional, I did not do this)
1. Heat the coconut milk (or heavy cream) in a medium sized saucepan over medium high heat until it just begins to simmer. Remove from the stove and pour it into a heat proof bowl containing the chocolate chips. Whisk until the chocolate melts into a smooth paste. If the chocolate doesn't melt completely, microwave carefully for 10 seconds, just be careful not to burn the chocolate. Once the chocolate forms a smooth silky sauce, whisk in the sriracha. Over the bowl with cling film and allow it to chill completely for at least 30 minutes.
2. Remove the bowl from the refrigerator once the chocolate is chilled. Divide into 6 equal parts and mold into small truffles/balls. Place each truffle onto a sheet of parchment paper and refrigerate until ready to use.
3. Place a wire rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 450F. Take 6, six ounce ramekin bowls and grease them with butter and then dust them generously with flour. Place the bowls on a baking sheet/tray and refrigerate until ready to use.
4. Melt the butter and chocolate in a medium sized saucepan, stir until combined. The mixture will resemble a smooth silky sauce. Remove from stove, once completely combined and then cool for about 10 minutes. While the chocolate is cooling, whisk the sugar, vanilla, salt and eggs in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until the batter turns pale yellow and fluffy. This will take about 4-5 minutes. Finally, beat in the melted chocolate mixture followed by the flour. Divide half of the batter between the ramekin bowls, then place a truffle in each bowl and cover each bowl with the rest of the remainder batter. Even out the surfaces of each bowl with an offset spatula and bake them for 15 minutes until the cakes are just set (they will rise a little). Remove from oven and allow to cool for 2 minutes.
5. Run a sharp knife around the edges of the ramekin bowl and immediately invert onto an individual serving plate. Tap gently to release the cake. Dust with confectioner's sugar. Repeat with the rest of the cakes. Serve immediately.
I have a not-so-secret love for the delicious fragrance of hazelnuts. My obsession with hazelnuts starts early in the morning when I need to have a cup of freshly ground hazelnut scented coffee beans brewing away, otherwise my coffee just doesn't taste or smell as good. I once tried searching for hazelnut wood furniture in the hope that purchasing such furniture would make my house smell perfect, needless to say that didn't work out. So clearly, why wouldn't I make a hazelnut cookie to go with my hazelnut flavored coffee, it just made perfect sense (in my world).
Everything about these cookies says dark, dark, dark! I used a very dark cocoa (if you want to go lighter in color then use the same amount of a regular unsweetened cocoa) with dark chocolate chips and a hint of browned butter all come together with the hazelnut flour to form a delicious crispy cookie. These cookies are also gluten-free so those of you with related allergies will enjoy them. I added a little hint of browned butter to bring out the nutty flavors of the hazelnuts, it gives them that extra little edge of flavor.
Baking with nut flours is very different from using recipes that use grain flours as nuts are rich in fats, so you need to adjust the amounts of fats depending on the type of cookie you want. Since, I wanted a crispy cookie, I refrigerated the dough overnight. Here's another tip, when it comes to storing nut flours and keep it fresh, keep them in an airtight bag refrigerated or frozen, bring it to room temperature before use so it won't be clumpy.
The wonderful folks at
were extremely kind to send me some of their hazelnut meal to use in this recipe and they are also sponsoring a giveaway. I'm a huge fan of their products and use a lot of their grain and nut flours in my baking, their quality is fantastic and this hazelnut flour is no exception to their product line. You can smell the delicious fragrance of hazelnuts as soon as you open the bag, needless to say, I fell in love with it immediately! Now you can try it out too,
is giving away a bag of their delicious Hazelnut Meal and a $20 gift card to their store. To enter the contest, all you need to do is follow the instructions on the widget at the end of this post. This contest will run from March 5th through March 12, 2014. Good luck!
I did not receive any financial compensation from Bob's Red Mill for this post and all opinions are my own unless stated otherwise.
dark chocolate chip hazelnut cookies
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups (4 3/4 ounces) hazelnut meal(Bob's Red Mill), at room temperature
1 cup (7 5/8 ounces) brown sugar
1/4 cup (3 ounces) unsweetened dark cocoa (I used the extra dark cocoa from Hershey's)
1/2 teaspoon dark roast instant coffee (optional)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon madagascar vanilla bourbon extract
1/2 cup (3 ounces) semisweet dark chocolate chips
1. Place the unsalted butter in a small saucepan and heat on a medium-high flame for about 2-3 minutes or until the milk solids begin to turn reddish brown. Remove from stove and keep aside.
2. Whisk the hazelnut flour, sugar, cocoa, coffee, baking soda, baking powder and sea salt together in a large mixing bowl and keep aside.
3. In a small bowl, whisk the egg, vanilla extract and browned butter. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients in the large mixing bowl and stir the whisked liquid into the whisked dry ingredients with a silicone spatula. Bring the ingredients together to form a ball of dough, wrap with cling film and refrigerate overnight.
4. Preheat the oven to 350F and place a wire rack in the center of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the dough into 12 equal parts and roll each of them into balls. Flatten each ball with the palms of your hands into approximately 2 inch discs. Space 6 cookies on each sheet about 1-2 inches apart from each other. Place the baking sheets in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. Bake one sheet at a time in the oven for about 8-10 minutes until the edges of the cookies start to get crisp, the center will be slightly soft to touch. Rotate the cookie sheet halfway through baking. Do not over bake the cookies as the chocolate will burn. Repeat with second sheet of cookies. Allow the baked cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve the cookies warm.
1/2 cup (1 5/8 ounces) unsweetened dark cocoa
1/2 cup (2 7/8 ounces) oat bran
2 cups ( 8 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups (12 1/4 ounces) sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used a madagascar bourbon extract)
1 teaspoon raspberry extract (optional)
1 1/2 cups plain low-fat greek yogurt
1/2 cup semisweet dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup semisweet white chocolate chips
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
1. Preheat the oven to 375F and place a wire rack in the center of the oven. Place and line the paper muffin cups in a muffin pan. If you don't have paper muffins cups spray the cups in the pan with a neutral vegetable cooking oil.
2. Sift the cocoa, oat bran, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt twice in a large mixing bowl and keep aside.
3. Place the butter and sugar in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer and using the paddle attachment cream for 4 minutes on medium high speed until light and fluffy.
4. Add one egg at a time to creamed butter and sugar mixture and beat each egg into the mixture at medium high speed for one minute. Mix in the vanilla and raspberry extracts for 30 seconds.
5. At medium-high speed, mix in the sifted dry ingredients in three installments, adding half of the yogurt between each installment. You may need to occasionally scrape down the bowl from the sides with a silicone spatula to ensure even mixing. Once the batter is completely mixed, remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the chocolate chips and the raspberries.
6. Using an ice cream scooper, scoop out the dough into the lined muffin pan and bake them for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted through the center of the muffin. Allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool for another 5 minutes. Serve warm.
Note: Muffins are best when eaten the day they are prepared but if you want to store them, I recommend freezing the muffins in an airtight ziploc bag.
I did a bunch of crazy things last weekend that included attending a "Winter Tops and Summer Shorts" theme party. That's right sweaters and shorts during the season of the polar vortex, it was an absolutely insane idea by my friend Alex but also one of the funnest parties, I've been to in a while.
I figured if that can happen, frozen sweet foods can happen too and should. So here I am with a delicious rich and creamy chocolate yogurt recipe that has chili in it to keep you warm. I used a dried ancho chili powder which is basically a dried up poblano pepper. The dash of chili adds a hint of smoky sweetness to the dark chocolate which really enhanced the flavors.
I adapted and modified the basic frozen yogurt recipe from my all time favorite frozen dessert cookbook,
chocolate and chili frozen yogurt
1 generous quart
1 quart (32 ounces) plain low-fat greek yogurt
2 tablespoons + 1 1/2 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch (cornflour)
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/4 cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons unsweetened dark cocoa
1/4 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1/4 cup light corn syrup (I use fructose free light corn syrup which is a glucose solution and does not contain fructose but you could use glucose as well)
2/3 cup (5 1/4 ounces) raw brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Place the yogurt in a sieve lined with two layers of clean cheese cloth or muslin. Allow the yogurt to drain for 2 hours in the refrigerator. You will get about 3/4 cup of liquid. Discard the liquid and keep the yogurt aside (or you can add to baked goods for a little extra nutrition).
2. Whisk the two tablespoons of milk with the cornstarch to form a slurry and keep aside.
3. Place the cream cheese in a large glass mixing bowl.
4. In a thick bottomed saucepan, whisk the 1 1/2 cups of milk, heavy cream, cocoa, chili, corn syrup and sugar. Bring the contents to a boil over medium-high heat and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and quickly whisk in the cornstarch-milk slurry.
5. Place the saucepan on the stove and bring it back to a boil on medium-high heat and cook for 1 minute until slightly thickened.
6. Gradually add a little bit of the hot liquid from the saucepan into the glass mixing bowl containing the cream cheese. Whisk until completely smooth. Add the rest of the hot liquid and vanilla and whisk until the contents are completely blended. Mix in the strained yogurt from step 1. (You can also pass this liquid through a sieve to make sure any clumps or lumps are removed).
7. Transfer the yogurt mixture to a gallon ziploc freezer bag. Seal the bag and place in an ice water bath and cool for 30 minutes or until the internal temperature is 40F.
8. Pour the liquid into the frozen canister of your ice cream maker and churn until the liquid becomes thick and creamy. (Alternatively, follow the instructions written in the manual of your ice cream maker for brand specific instructions).
9. Pack the frozen yogurt into a freezer-safe storage container with an airtight lid. Cover with a sheet of parchment paper and press gently to remove any trapped air. Seal the container with the lid and freeze the yogurt for 4 hours or until firm before serving.
Polar vortex and snow, that is what we came back to from warm and sunny, Charleston! In my opinion, snow has two sides to it a good side and a dark side, just like THE FORCE in Star Wars, seriously! Here, let me explain,
- The landscape becomes one big white gigantic frosted cake.
- You get a day off from work, if the snowfall is crazy heavy. At least a "delayed arrival" if traveling is bad.
- You can make flavored ices with fresh snow, though I don't recommend picking up snow from the side walk due to hygienic reasons.
- Most dogs love snow! Snoopy for one, loves to run and play in it and eat it.
- I learned that suede/leather etc. get destroyed by the salt.
- You tend to feel like your enacting a scene from Swan Lake due to a lack of form and balance and you fall on your back more often than necessary when things are slippery or if your dog is pulling you across the street to catch a squirrel.
- The day after a heavy snow day is like a hangover, everything on the roads is messy.
- Cleaning the salt out of the dog's paws and off the floor of your house.
To balance all the snow related events that happened this week, I baked a pound cake that was full of warm flavors. This simple cake has everything I've been craving for, especially on on a cold and wintry snow day. There's dark roast coffee that's interspersed with swirls of a sweet dark chocolate and hazelnut paste. This pound cake goes great with tea or coffee and at any time of the day. I adapted and modified the basic pound cake recipe from
. By the way, this is a fantastic cookbook and a big thank you to Sarah of
for the great recommendation. (I do need to work on my swirling technique here in this cake).
Note: I prefer to use raw hazelnuts with their skins for a fresher taste. However, if you have skinned pre-toasted hazelnuts, by all means use them, just skip the toasting part in Step 1 below and proceed directly to the food processor stage to prepare the chocolate-hazelnut paste.
pound cake with coffee, chocolate and hazelnuts
1/2 cup (2 3/4 ounces) raw hazelnuts with skin
1 cup (6 3/4 ounces) semi sweet dark chocolate chips
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon madagascar bourbon vanilla extract
3 large eggs + 3 large yolks, whisked lightly
1 1/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) raw brown sugar
2 tablespoons instant coffee (the dark roast variety is good here)
1 3/4 cups (7 ounces) cake flour
1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Spread the hazelnuts on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in an oven for 15 minutes or until the nuts begin to brown. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and immediately transfer the hot nuts into a clean kitchen towel. Massage the nuts while they are still in the cloth to peel the skin off the hazelnuts. You can remove the skin off the hazelnuts that did not fall off. Place the warm nuts and chocolate chips in a food processor and pulse till you get a smooth paste. The heat of the hazelnuts will melt the chocolate. Keep this aside.
2. Grease and flour a 8 1/2 X 4 1/2 inch loaf pan.
3. In the mixing bowl of a food processor, add the butter and salt. Using the paddle attachment at medium high speed beat the butter and salt until soft and creamy. Reduce this speed to medium low and add the sugar in two additions. Once all the sugar is added, increase the speed to medium high and beat the ingredients for 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. You might need to scrape the bowl down occasionally with a silicone/rubber spatula. Reduce the speed to medium and add the vanilla and the whisked eggs and yolks. Beat the ingredients for another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the bowl from the mixer.
4. Sift the coffee and flour twice and then sift half of the dry ingredients over the butter-egg mixture. in the mixing bowl. Fold gently using a silicone/rubber spatula until combined. Sift the rest of the flour mix over the batter, repeat the folding process and scrape along the bottom of the container. There should be no visible flecks of flour at this point.
5. Pour half of the batter into the greased loaf pan. Add half of the chocolate-hazelnut paste prepared earlier. Then layer with the rest of the cake batter, followed by the rest of the chocolate-hazelnut spread. Take a skewer or knife and swirl it throughout the cake batter in the pan a couple of times to create a swirl/marble pattern. Place the pan on a cookie sheet and bake it on the middle rack for 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted through the center of the cake. Note, the skewer will be gooey from the chocolate-hazelnut mixture but it should have cake crumbs if the cake is done. Rotate the cake half way through the baking process. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes in the loaf pan and then run a knife through the edges of the cake. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and cool for about 1- 1 1/2 hours before serving. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
chocolate genoise cake
4. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and using the whisk attachment, whip the eggs for 5-6 minutes until tripled in volume and the mix becomes light and foamy. At this point, you should able to draw a ribbon that will hold its shape on the foam.
5. Add the vanilla from the side of the bowl and whip for another 2 minutes.
6. Remove the bowl from the mixer, sift 2-3 tablespoons of the pre-sifted flour mix over the whipped eggs and fold it in with a silicone spatula using a circular motion taking care to reach the bottom of the bowl. The foam will deflate a little and there is no need to try and incorporate all the flour at this stage, it will be mixed in completely at the end.
7. Just before the addition of the last bit of flour, drizzle the warm, melted butter over the batter and quickly sift the rest of the flour mix over the batter. Fold into the batter completely within 30 seconds.
8. Using the rubber spatula, transfer the batter into the prepared baking pan. Leave behind any residual flour or butter that might be stuck at the bottom of the bowl or this will prevent the cake from rising evenly.
9. Gently tap the pan to remove any trapped air bubbles and bake it in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. The cake is completely baked when the center of the cake when pressed springs back. Remove the pan from the oven and cool for 10 minutes. Spray a cooling wire rack with nonstick cooking spray oil, run a knife around the edges of the cake to loosen it and flip the cake over the wire rack. Allow to cool completely before icing.
yields: about 3 1/2 cups
4 drops red food coloring (optional, you can adjust the amount to get the desired level of pink color you desire)
6. Add the raspberry liqueur, the vanilla, and the food coloring and beat for 1 minute until thick and creamy. Cover the frosting with cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes before use.
yields: about 3/4 cup
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup raspberry liqueur
1. Mix all the ingredients together in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the mixture reduces to half its volume.
2. Cool and refrigerate completely before use.
Assembling the cake
1 cup dark chocolate shavings
1. Place the two cooled cakes over each other with the top side of each cake facing downwards on flat plate or cake board. This top crust creates a good support for the cake structure. With a sharp serrated knife trim the edges of the cakes. With the knife, make a small notch on one side of both cakes, this will help with aligning the cakes later.
2. Carefully remove the top cake layer and place aside.
3. Start working with the lower cake layer. With a brush, spread half of the raspberry syrup over the cake.
4. Layer the surface with a thin crumb coat of the frosting. Place the cake in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to harden the crumb coat.
5. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and spread 1 cup of frosting in an even layer using an offset spatula. Return the cake to the refrigerator and let it chill for 20 minutes.
6. Place and align the second cake layer on top of the chilled frosted layer of the bottom cake layer, using the notches created earlier to correctly align the cakes. The bottom of the second cake layer should face the frosting of the first cake layer.
7. Brush the rest of the raspberry syrup over the upper layer. Refrigerate the cake for 15 minutes. Spread a thin crumb coat of frosting on top of the cake and refrigerate for another 15 minutes. Carefully spread out the rest of the frosting in an even layer on the top surface of the chilled cake with the offset spatula.
8. Generously sprinkle the chocolate shavings over the cake and refrigerate the cake for at least 30 minutes before serving. To get clean even cake slices, place a sharp serrated knife under running hot tap water, wipe the blade with a clean towel and cut the slice. Repeat this for each cake slice, this will prevent any crumbs from sticking to the frosting and it will ensure a clean cut.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used the madagascar bourbon variety)
chocolate buckwheat almond tart
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
4. Please refer to step 4 above, listed under the tart crust instructions to finish off the tart.