Sunday, January 24, 2016

Love-Struck Chocolate Cake with White Chocolate Coconut Filling

Valentine’s Day is almost upon us and, as we know, one can never start planning too early for these Hallmark holidays! So I decided to mark this particular holiday’s impending arrival with one of my favorite cakes: Love-Struck Chocolate Cake with White Chocolate Coconut Filling. The recipe is from my latest book, Flavorful 

(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015), and it’s the best Valentine’s Day dessert I can think of – two layers of moist, fudgy chocolate cake filled with a white chocolate coconut whipped ganache and covered in a dark chocolate glaze. (Make sure to prep the pan as directed, or you might just end up with a broken heart, which would be 

terribly sad.) If you’re not a coconut fan (as my own true love is not, though he did somehow manage to choke down a slice of this particular cake in record time), simply leave it out. You can substitute shaved chocolate or finely chopped nuts for the coconut as garnish on the outside of the cake. Finally, please do use a good 

quality white chocolate for the filling—nothing worse than a cheap white chocolate, I say. Green & Black’s, Lindt, Valrhona or Guittard are excellent brands, in my book. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Brown Sugar Buttermilk Pound Cake with Salted Caramel Nut Topping

I haven’t posted in a while (holiday frenzy and all), so I thought I’d start the new year off with a simple recipe that’s one of my new favorites. I’m a sucker for anything caramel, particularly salted caramel, as long as it’s the real deal. Can’t stand 

fake-tasting caramel, and there’s no reason for it, as caramel is pretty darned easy to make, as long as you’re paying attention to it as it cooks. So here it is, my brown sugar pound cake, flavored with a splash of dark rum and baked in the Nordic Ware 

Heritage Bundt pan (which is perfect for capturing pools of the delicious caramel-nut topping). If you prefer, you can serve the caramel topping as a sauce on the side with some nuts on top and a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Possibly not in line with any of your New Year’s resolutions, but, hey, you’re likely to break them as some point anyway, right? Now’s as good a time as ever!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Pumpkin Cake with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

I always have some canned pumpkin puree on hand, partially because I have an irrational fear of not being able to get hold of any around Thanksgiving. Visions of empty supermarket shelves plague me. Well, this year my fears have been justified: the press has announced the Great Pumpkin Shortage of 2015, with pumpkin crops 

down by about half and making the supply of canned pumpkin for Thanksgiving tight. So, make sure you buy a few cans next time you’re at the store – Thanksgiving is just not the same without pumpkin pie, after all. And there are other great uses for it, as in this moist pumpkin cake. It’s a casual sort of cake, great for lunch, brunch, 

snacking or bringing to a friend’s house. I top it with a creamy White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting, and a sprinkling of candied walnuts. Serve the cake right from the pan, at room temperature.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Theo Chocolate's Gooey Double-Chocolate Mocha Cookies

I’ve been a fan of Theo, the Seattle bean-to-bar chocolate maker, since they opened their doors in 2006. Theo is one of the only companies in the country making chocolate from organic, fair-trade cocoa that it sources itself.  Naturally, I was excited when I heard they had a new cookbook out. Theo Chocolate: Recipes & 

Sweet Secrets from Seattle’s Favorite Chocolate Maker by Debra Music and Joe Whinney, co-founders of Theo (Sasquatch Books, 2015; $24.95), includes sweet and savory recipes for cooking with chocolate at home, along with the fascinating story of how Theo came to be (you’ll have to get the book to find out – no spoilers here!). 

Theo has also just launched a new line of organic, soy-free baking bars, so you can experience the recipes in this book with the correct chocolate. I chose an ooey-gooey chocolate cookie to try out from the book, and it’s a keeper that may just be added to my holiday cookie tray (hey, the competition is stiff!). I used a 70% 

chocolate, as directed, but it’s not Theo brand chocolate. The cookies still turned out wonderfully, all melty and ultra-chocolatey, but I am eager to try the new Theo baking bars.  It’s certainly worth checking out the Theo website to see the amazing line of chocolates from this smart and responsible company.

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