Sticky Cranberry Gingerbread

I’m on the cranberry train this holiday season.  Here’s another recipe that does a great job of contrasting tart cranberries with spicy, sweet gingerbread.  The addition of molasses and maple syrup make this cake a little sticky and give the cake a shiny top.  Because this cake is a bit sweet,  a little goes a long way, and if you need to cut the sweetness a bit, it’s delicious served with whipped cream.   img_72481

Sticky Cranberry Gingerbread

Makes one 9 inch cake
(from New York Times Cooking)
My notes are in [  ] below.

Ingredients

2 cups (8 ounces; 266 grams) fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
1 stick (4 ounces; 113 grams) unsalted butter
cup (133 grams) dark brown sugar
½ cup (120 milliliters) whole milk
½ cup (120 milliliters) maple syrup
¼ cup (60 milliliters) molasses
1 ½ cups (185 grams) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon (5 grams) ground ginger
½ teaspoon (1 gram) ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon (3 grams) baking powder
½ teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt
¼ teaspoon (1 gram) baking soda
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon (14 grams) grated fresh ginger (from 1-inch piece) [I didn’t have fresh ginger so I left it out]

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350° degrees.
  2. Line a 9-inch square or round baking pan with parchment.  [Don’t skip this step as the cake is really sticky and will stick to the bottom of the pan after it’s baked.]
  3. In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir together cranberries, granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon water. Stir the cranberries over medium heat until the sugar is completely dissolved and cranberries form a sauce that is syrupy and bubbling thickly, about 10 minutes. Aim to have about half the cranberries broken down, with the remainder more or less whole.
  4. In a separate saucepan, stir together the butter, brown sugar, milk, maple syrup and molasses over medium heat. Bring it to just barely a simmer and then remove it from the heat. Do not let it come to a boil, or the mixture may curdle.
  5. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, baking soda and black pepper. Beat in the butter-maple syrup mixture and then beat in the eggs. Stir in the ginger.
  6. Scrape the batter into the pan. Drop fat dollops of cranberry sauce onto the surface of the cake batter. Drag a long, slender knife through the batter in a swirly design, as if you are marbling a cake.
  7. Transfer the cake to the oven and bake it until the top is firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. [I baked mine for 45 minutes and it was almost overbaked, so keep an eye on it while it’s in the oven.]
  8. Transfer the pan to a wire baking rack, and let the cake cool completely before eating it.

Southwestern Squash and Black Bean Quiche with Cornbread Crust

The amount of time that it takes to make this Southwestern Squash and Black Bean Quiche with Cornbread Crust is about equivalent to how long the name of this dish is.  Between making the cornbread, roasting the squash and garlic, assembling the quiche, baking it, and the one hour recommended cooling time, it’s a beast to make (we’re talking several hours).  You have to be persistent, optimistic, and patient and have no where to be with several hours to spare; otherwise this recipe will kick your butt.  But the payoff from all that time and effort is pretty spectacular.  The quiche is incredibly flavorful and hearty and tastes a bit like the perfect marriage between chili and cornbread with a little extra je ne sais quois magic thrown in.  I really can’t rave enough about how totally delicious it is.  That said, I will most likely never make this again.

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Southwestern Squash and Black Bean Quiche with Cornbread Crust

Makes about 8 servings
(from Fine Cooking)
My notes are in [  ] below.

Ingredients

1 teaspoon olive oil; more for the pie plate
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
1 teaspoon packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
Kosher salt
8 ounce butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 1-1/2 cups)
4 medium cloves garlic
1/2 recipe Sour Cream Cornbread, crumbled (about 3 cups; save the remaining cornbread for another use)
1-3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
3/4 cup canned low-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
4 large eggs
6 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (about 2 cups)
2 medium scallions, thinly sliced (about 1/4 cup)

Directions

[Before you even start with the directions below, it’s assumed that you’ve already baked and cooled your cornbread.]

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Grease a deep 9- or 10-inch pie plate (with a capacity of at least 6 cups) with olive oil. [Make sure you pie plate is deep enough.  Otherwise your quiche will spill out and all your hard work will be wasted.]
  3. In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, lime zest, brown sugar, coriander, cumin, chipotle powder, and 1/4 tsp. salt.
  4. In a medium bowl, coat the squash with the olive oil. Add the spice mixture and toss to coat. Spread in a single layer in a small roasting pan or on a rimmed baking sheet. Wrap the garlic cloves in aluminum foil. Roast until just tender, about 20 minutes for the squash and 40 minutes for the garlic. Squeeze the garlic out of the skins into a small bowl and mash with a fork.
  5. Lower the oven temperature to 350°F.
  6. Put the crumbled cornbread in a medium bowl. Add 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk, and stir to combine. Press into the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate. Pierce the bottom several times with a fork. Bake until the crust is deep golden, about 15 minutes.
  7. In a small bowl, mash the beans and 1 tablespoon of water with a fork. Season to taste with salt, and spread in the bottom of the crust, using wet fingers to press down evenly. Place the pie plate on a baking sheet.
  8. Whisk the remaining 1-1/2 cups milk and the eggs in a large bowl. Fold in the roasted garlic, squash, cheese, scallions, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Pour into the crust.
  9. Bake until the top is browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cover the crust with aluminum foil or a pie shield if it starts getting dark.
  10. Cool on a rack for at least 1 hour before slicing. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Buttermilk Biscones (Biscuit crossed with a Scone)

I think my fellow biscuit lovers will agree that a good biscuit can be hard to come by.  All too often, I’ve been lured in by a restaurant’s promise of “world’s best biscuit” only to be disappointed when the biscuit shows up as a dense, dry, flavorless mound of bread.  But I’m here to tell you that there’s hope for biscuit bliss, and you can find it with these Buttermilk Biscones.  The recipe combines the best parts of a scone and a biscuit into a tender, flaky, light, and flavorful buttermilk biscuit.  And if you thought things couldn’t get any better, the recipe is also easy to make (no rolling and cutting the dough, and no mixer needed).

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Buttermilk Biscones

Make about 12-14 biscuits
(from The Back in the Day Cookbook)
My notes are in [   ] below.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising) [it’s worth it to use cake flour so your biscones will be light and airy]
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon herb mix (optional) [I had an Italian herb mix that I added for some additional flavor]
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, or as needed
1 egg, beaten with a pinch of fine seal salt, for egg wash
Sea salt/kosher salt for sprinkling

Directions

  1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat the over to 375°F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, and herb mix (if using), and whisk until completely incorporated.
  3. Add the  butter, and working quickly, cut it with a pastry lender.  You should have various-sized pieces of butter, from sandy patches to pea-sized chunks, and some larger bits as well.
  4. Gradually pour in the buttermilk and gently fold the ingredients until you have a soft dough and there are no bits of flour in the bottom of the bowl.  You should still see lumps of butter in the dough; these will give you lift and flaky biscones.  If the dough seems dry, you may need to add a little more buttermilk.  The dough should be moist and slightly sticky.
  5. Gently pat down the dough with your hands right in the bowl until it resembles a loaf of bread. Dust the top of the dough lightly with flour.
  6. Using a large ice cream scoop, scoop mounds of dough onto the prepared baking sheet, arranging them about 1 1/2 inches apart so that the biscones have room to rise and puff up.  Lightly tap down on the tops of the biscones. [I didn’t tap down on my biscones because I like they a bit puffier.]
  7. Brush the tops and sides of the biscones liberally with the egg wash.  Sprinkle with kosher salt.
  8. Bake for 18 to 24 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through for even baking, until the biscones are lightly golden and fully baked.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

[Note:  These are best eaten the day they are made.  They’ll lose their light, airy texture as time passes.]

Delta Caramel Cake

Sigh… it’s been one of those baking days when nothing seems to turn out how I’d like it too.  I  took advantage of the extra hour from Daylight Savings by baking a super rich, delicious, chocolate stout cake, and the cake was out of the oven and cooling, all before 10am.  But disaster struck when I discovered that the cake was glued to my Bundt cake pan, and in my attempt to turned it out of the pan, it became a pile of crumbled chocolate cake rubble.  Unwilling to submit to cake failure, I turned to my second choice recipe to try, Delta Caramel Cake.  It’s basically a rich, tender yellow cake slathered with a thick caramel icing.  The cake was quick and easy to bake, but the caramel icing was another story.  I like to think of myself as a bit of a caramel making expert so I didn’t hesitate when I read in the recipe introduction that “it’s a labor of love to make”.  Sigh… I think it all started going downhill when I added the caramelized sugar to the evaporated milk mixture and everything got lumpy, no matter how much I stirred and coaxed it to meld together.  Still I forged ahead, unwilling to submit to two cake disasters in one day.  I picked out the especially big chunks of sugar from the icing and half heartedly frosted the cake.  I held my breath as I cut a small slice of cake to test it out (at this point, I wouldn’t have been surprised if this cake tasted terrible given the day’s baking mishaps), but to my relief and delight, this cake is so delicious that it has helped soothe my bruised baking ego.  I’m not posting the caramel icing recipe because I don’t trust it.  BUT this cake recipe makes one of the tastiest yellow cakes I’ve had, so it makes a great base for any of your favorite toppings, icings, frostings, etc.

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Delta Caramel Cake 

Makes one 2-layer 9-inch round cake, serves 12
(from Anne Byrn’s American Cake)

Ingredients

Shortening/butter and flour, or non stick baking spray for prepping the cake pans
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup whole milk, warmed

Directions

  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Lightly grease and flour the bottom of two 9-inch round or square pans.  I like using a non stick baking spray with flour.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until the mixtures is combined and lightens in color, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, and scraping down the bowl as needed.
  5. Mix in the vanilla extract, and set aside.
  6. In a medium size bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  7. Alternately add the flour mixture and the milk to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Blend on low speed until just incorporated, about 1 minute more.
  8. Divide the batter between the two prepared pans.  Smooth out the top of the batter with a spatula.
  9. Bake the cake until it’s golden brown and the top springs back when lightly pressed with a finger, about 25-30 minutes.
  10. Remove the pans from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.  Run a knife around the edges of the pans, and turn out the cakes.  Then flip the cakes one more time so they can cool right side up.
  11. Since I’m not recommending the caramel icing recipe that I used, feel free to frost the cake however you want when the layers have cooled.

Rocky Road Bars

If you’re craving something rich and decadent but don’t want to exert too much effort, these Rocky Road Bars are made for you. A buttery shortbread cookie is slathered with dark chocolate ganache, and toasted pecans and marshmallows are piled high on top.

Even with just the shortbread and chocolate ganache, this is looking pretty delicious.
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Toasted pecans and mini marshmallows leave no surface uncovered.IMG_6519[1]

A close up of a Rocky Road Bar because it tastes as good as it looks. IMG_6521[1]

Rocky Road Bars

Makes 2 dozen bars
(from King Arthur Flour)

Ingredients

Crust

1 cup (16 tablespoons; 8 ounces; 2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/3 cups (9 3/4 ounces) All-Purpose Flour

Topping

3 cups (18 ounces) chopped semisweet or dark chocolate or chocolate chips
3/4 cup (6 ounces) heavy cream
1 cup (3 3/4 ounces) toasted diced pecans
3 cups (5 1/4 ounces; half a 10.5-ounce package) mini marshmallows

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F.
  2. Lightly grease a 9″ x 13″ pan, or line with parchment and grease the parchment.

Crust

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the butter, salt, sugar, and vanilla.
  2. Mix in the flour. The dough will seem very dry, and won’t seem to want to become cohesive at first. Just keep mixing it, and it’ll eventually come together.
  3. Press the dough into the prepared pan, smoothing the surface with your fingers or a mini rolling pin (pastry roller). The dough will feel stiff, but just keep pressing on it until you’ve covered the bottom of the pan.
  4. Prick the dough all over with a fork; this will keep it from bubbling up as it bakes.
  5. Bake the crust for 30 to 40 minutes, until it’s golden brown around the edges and beginning to brown on the top. Remove it from the oven, and loosen the edges with a heat-resistant plastic knife or a table knife.

Topping

  1. Make the topping while the shortbread begins to cool.
  2. Place the chocolate and cream in a microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan. Heat in the microwave, or over low heat on a burner, until the cream is steaming and barely beginning to form bubbles.  Remove from the heat, and stir. The chocolate will gradually form a lump in the center of the bowl, then will start to expand as it absorbs the cream. Eventually the chocolate and cream will become one; keep stirring until it’s very smooth. If all the chocolate doesn’t seem melted, reheat very briefly, and keep stirring.
  3. Using and offset spatula, spread the warm chocolate on top of the cookie crust.
  4. Sprinkle the marshmallows and then the pecans over the chocolate. Lightly press down so that they stick to the chocolate.
  5. Cover the pan, and place the bars in the refrigerator for about 15 to 20 minutes, to set the chocolate a bit.
  6. Using a sharp knife or baker’s bench knife, cut 2″ bars.

Note: Leftovers can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to a week. Freeze for longer storage; but these bars are tastier fresh than frozen and thawed.

Brownie Cookies

Craving a brownie but also want a cookie?  Don’t despair!  Brownie cookies are the latest trend uniting the cookie and brownie communities.  In less than an hour, you too can solve your brownie-cookie dilemma with this easy recipe for Brownie Cookies.  Crispy edges, a soft and chewy center, slightly gooey right out of the oven, and ultra chocolately, these cookies are irrefutable evidence that you CAN have your cake (or in this case, brownie and cookie) and eat it too.    

In case you needed a closeup…

Brownie Cookies

Makes about 5 dozen cookies
(from All the Good Cookies)

Ingredients

1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (6 ounces) bittersweet chocolate chips (using bittersweet chocolate chips instead of semi sweet chocolate chips keeps these cookies ultra rich and not too sweet)

Directions

  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar on high for about 60 seconds, stirring once or twice halfway though.
  2. Stir until smooth and the butter is completely melted.
  3. Cook the butter-sugar mixture for an additional 20 seconds, until just hot (110°F to 120°F).  Stir the mixture until it’s slightly shiny looking (This heating dissolves more of the sugar which creates a shiny top crush on your cookies).  Cool for 5 minutes (you don’t want your butter-sugar mixture to be too warm because when you add it to the eggs, it might scramble the eggs a little).
  4. Place the eggs in a large mixer bowl, and beat until light yellow and creamy, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add the butter-sugar mixture and vanilla to the eggs, beating well to combine.
  6. In a separate medium size bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder until well combined.
  7. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, and beat until just combined.
  8. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and stir in the chocolate chips.
  9. Cover and chill the dough in the refrigerator for 1 hour or up to 2 days.  This will make it easier to scoop the dough.
  10. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  11. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  12. Using a level, small (2-teaspoon size) cookie scoop, drop the dough about 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets.
  13. Bake until the cookies begin to firm around the edges, about 10-13 minutes.  Rotate the cookie sheets on the oven racks halfway through the baking time.
  14. Cool on cookies sheets for 3 minutes, and then transfer the cookies to wire racks and cool completely.

Note: Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

Apple Muffins

I love apple pie, but unless it’s an extra special occasion, I’m adverse to chilling and rolling out dough for a pie crust.  Apple Muffins are a quick and easy way to satisfy your apple pie craving with less effort and all of the benefits.  These tender muffins are stuffed with baked apples, cinnamon, and other apple pie spices, and the muffin top is slightly crunchy due to the caramelized brown sugar.  If you split a muffin in half and top it with vanilla bean ice cream (Häagen-Dazs makes a good one), you have your own delicious version of apple pie a la mode.

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A cross section view of the muffin with baked apple chunks bursting out.
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Apple Muffins

Makes 12 muffins
(from King Arthur Flour)
My notes are in [  ] below.

Ingredients

1/2 cup (8 tablespoons; 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (5 5/8 ounces)brown sugar, divided
1 large egg
1 cup (8 ounces) buttermilk; or 1 cup plain (not Greek-style) yogurt; or 3/4 cup (6 ounces) Greek-style yogurt + 1/4 cup (2 ounces) milk [I used King Arthur Flour Dried Buttermilk Powder]
2 cup (8 1/2 ounces) All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon [I used Penzey’s Baking Spice which is a combination of cinnamon, anise, allspice, mace and cardamom]
2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) peeled, cored, and chopped apples; about 2 large apples, about 3/4 pound whole apples

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Grease and flour a 12-cup muffin pan, or line with papers and lightly grease the insides of the papers.
  3. Mix together the butter, granulated sugar, and 1/4 cup of the brown sugar, beating until fluffy.
  4. Add the egg and mix well, stopping once to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  5. Gently mix in the buttermilk or yogurt.
  6. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Then mix into the wet ingredients until just combined.  Do not overmix to keep the muffins tender.
  7. Fold in the chopped apples.
  8. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, sprinkling the remaining 1/2 cup of brown sugar on top.
  9. Bake the muffins for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  10. Remove the muffins from the oven, cool them for 5 minutes in the pan, then turn them out onto a rack to finish cooling completely.

Chocolate Oatmeal Crunch Bars

I have a 528 page cookbook devoted solely to cookies (and their derivatives).  So, when it comes to choosing one recipe to make on busy a weeknight, the recipe has to meet a few strict criteria including having high impact (i.e., being extremely tasty and looking especially fetching) and being easy to make (no fancy equipment or ingredients needed).  These Chocolate Oatmeal Crunch Bars fit the bill perfectly with their chewy, brown sugary oatmeal bottom topped with semi-sweet chocolate and a sprinkle of pecans.  They taste a little like a candy bar version of a granola bar.

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Chocolate Oatmeal Crunch Bars

Makes about 48 one-and-a-half-inch squares
(from The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion- The Essential Cookie Cookbook)
My notes are in [  ] below.

Ingredients

Crust

4 1/2 cups (15 3/4 ounces) rolled oats
1 cup (8 ounces) brown sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks, 6 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup (8 1/4 ounces) light corn syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt

Topping

2 cups (12 ounces) chocolate chips
2 tablespoons (3/4 ounces) vegetable shortening
2/3 cup (about 3 ounces) chopped nuts [I like pecans]

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Lightly grease or line with parchment paper a 10×15 inch jelly roll pan or a 14-inch round deep-dish pizza pan. [I didn’t have a pan this size, so I used an 11×17 inch pan, BUT I didn’t spread the crust all the way to the edges of the pan because it would have been too thin.  Instead, I lined the pan with parchment paper (making sure the parchment went up the sides of the pan), spread the crust to approximately 10×15 inches, and used dried beans (that I usually use for pie weights) to fill in the empty space in the pan so that the crust would not spread too much.]

Crust

  1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir together the oats, sugar, butter, corn syrup, vanilla, and salt.
  2. Press the mixture into the prepared pan, using lightly greased hands (or the greased bottom of a loaf pan).
  3. Bake the crust for 10 to 14 minutes, or until it’s a light golden brown.  The crust will bubble up as it bakes.
  4. Remove from the oven, and cool completely on a rack.

Topping

  1. In a medium-sized saucepan set over low heat, or in a microwave, melt the chocolate chips and shortening together, stirring until smooth.
  2. Spread the chocolate mixture evenly over the cooled crust, and sprinkle on the nuts.
  3. Cover and loosely chill the bars in the refrigerator, and cut into squares.

Meringue Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Imagine a chocolate chip cookie sitting under a rich layer of chocolate with a light, crunchy meringue topping it all off and you have Meringue Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars.  It’s a multi-textured (and taste) extravaganza.  It’s also a multi step prep process as you need to make a batch of cookie dough and make the meringue.  So, if you’re not ready to work hard, then don’t attempt this recipe.  But if you’re feeling a little ambitious, this may be just the weekend project you’re looking for.     Meringue Chocolate Chip Bars-kitchn1

Meringue Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

(from the kitchn)
Makes 25 Bars

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, separated
2 large eggs, separated
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks
1 large egg white, optional if you’d like a thicker meringue layer

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Cut 2 pieces of aluminum foil, and fold them to match the width of the pan. Press one piece into the pan lengthwise and the other into the pan crosswise with the ends hanging over the sides of the pan, like this. This makes it easy to lift the bars out of the pan once they’re cooled. Spray the foil with nonstick coating.
  3. Whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a small bowl and set aside.
  4. Using a stand mixer, a hand mixer, or by hand, cream together the butter,  granulated sugar, and 1/2 cup of the brown sugar until it looks like smooth frosting.
  5. Separate the eggs, reserving the whites.
  6. Mix the egg yolks into the butter-sugar mixture one at a time until they are completely absorbed.
  7. Stir in the water and vanilla.
  8. With the mixer at a low speed, add the flour mixture and beat gently until all the flour has been absorbed and the dough looks crumbly.
  9. Press the cookie dough gently into the pan with your hands, making sure the surface is even.
  10. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top of the cookie dough and use your palms to press them slightly into the dough. This will help keep them from moving when you add the meringue.
  11. Using a stand or hand mixer with a clean bowl and a clean whisk attachment, start whisking the egg whites. (Use 3 egg whites if you’d like a thicker meringue layer.)
  12. Gradually increase your speed to medium-high. When the egg whites are very frothy and look like loose foam, start adding the remaining cup of brown sugar a little at a time. Continue increasing your speed to the highest setting. When all the sugar has been added, continue whipping the meringue until it holds a soft peak. It should look like glossy, soft-serve ice cream.
  13. Scoop the meringue down the middle of the pan. It will be very sticky! Use a spatula to gently spread the meringue from the middle to the edges. It’s helpful to skim meringue from the top and gradually push it outward.
  14. Lightly press a piece of parchment or wax paper on the top of the meringue (this makes an even layer and protects the meringue from scorching). Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the parchment. Continue baking for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until the edges look toasted and are pulling away from the sides of the pan.
  15. Wait until the pan is completely cool before lifting out the bars and cutting them into pieces.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

This Flourless Chocolate Cake is the overlord of all chocolate cakes.  With a chocolate trifecta of chocolate chips, cocoa powder, and espresso powder in the cake plus a hearty slathering of chocolate ganache on top, this is the richest, most decadent chocolate cake you will ever eat.  There’s no flour in this cake to take up any space from the chocolate, so gluten-free people rejoice!

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Makes one 8 inch cake, 8 to 12 servings
(from King Arthur Flour)

Ingredients

Cake

1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons, 4 ounces) unsalted butter
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 to 2 teaspoons espresso powder, optional
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
3 large eggs
1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder, Dutch-process cocoa preferred

Glaze

1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup (4 ounces) heavy cream

Directions

Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Lightly grease an 8″ round cake pan; cut a piece of parchment or waxed paper to fit, grease it, and lay it in the bottom of the pan.
  3. Put the chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat until the butter is melted and the chips are soft. Stir until the chips melt, reheating briefly if necessary. You can also do this over a burner set at very low heat. Transfer the melted chocolate/butter to a mixing bowl.
  4. Stir in the sugar, salt, espresso powder, and vanilla. Espresso enhances chocolate’s flavor much as vanilla does; using 1 teaspoon will simply enhance the flavor, while 2 teaspoons will lend a hint of mocha to the cake.
  5. Add the eggs, beating briefly until smooth.
  6. Add the cocoa powder, and mix just to combine.
  7. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.
  8. Bake the cake for 25 minutes; the top will have formed a thin crust, and it should register at least 200°F on an instant-read thermometer inserted into its center.  Note: The original recipe recommends inserting a thermometer, but I didn’t do that.  Remove it from the oven, and cool it in the pan for 5 minutes.
  9. Loosen the edges of the pan with a table knife or nylon spreader, and turn it out onto a serving plate. The top will now be on the bottom; that’s fine. Also, the edges will crumble a bit, which is also fine. Allow the cake to cool completely before glazing.

Glaze

  1. Combine the chocolate and cream in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat until the cream is very hot, but not simmering. Remove from the microwave, and stir until the chocolate melts and the mixture is completely smooth.  Or you can melt the chocolate and cream over a double boiler. 
  2. Spoon the glaze over the cake, spreading it to drip over the sides a bit. Allow the glaze to set for several hours before serving the cake.