Monday, January 19, 2009

Hot Chocolate Fudge Cakes

I am just finishing with reading my December magazines now. Every year it seems as though periodicals accumulate on the kitchen table from October through the end of the year and unless someone points me to a particularly good recipe/article in a current magazine, I will have to wait until after the craziness of the holidays' end before I start to go through them. I'll then make notes on recipes or projects to try later in the year.

The recipe featured on the cover of December's Cooking Light was especially tempting. Hot chocolate fudge cakes, baked in individual ramekins, sprinkled with powdered sugar. But there were so many goodies made from Thanksgiving through New Year's that I couldn't find the need to make these until a special dinner last week.

Several reviews on their website indicated that many people who tried this recipe received varied results. Gathering all of this information, I gleaned 2 very important things to remember. #1 use the very best quality chocolate, and
#2, do not overbake

Both seem quite obvious to me, but when my ramekins were done 4 minutes early, I realized just how important it was not to overbake these (because they will, as one reviewer stated, turn into a big brownie).

The result were little dishes of warm, gooey, chocolatey heaven. A lightly crisp top crust gave way to a soft, warm chocolate cake speckled with melting bits of chocolate. I'm drooling...

The original recipe called for using 10 4-ounce ramekins, but I cut the recipe in half and used 4 8-ounce ramekins. Sorry, but those little bitty 4-ouncers would have been a joke! Yes, I know that I then almost doubled the calories and fat but I won't be making these every day. For a once- or twice-a-year treat, it's darn worth the splurge.

And, check it out, these are made 4 hours in advance and up to four days! It took me 20 minutes to put them together. Two days later, having taken the roast chicken out of the oven, I kept the oven on, then just had to remember to slide these cakes in the oven when we were about halfway through eating the main course. Easy and delicious, what more could you ask for?

Hot Chocolate Fudge Cakes

These hot-from-the-oven desserts are ideal for a holiday celebration and can mostly be made up to two days ahead.

3.4 ounces all-purpose flour (about 3/4 cup)
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
5 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup egg substitute
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (2.6-ounce) bar dark (71% cocoa) chocolate (such as Valrhona Le Noir Amer), finely chopped
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Sift together flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking powder, and salt.

2. Place butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed 1 minute. Add granulated and brown sugars, beating until well blended (about 5 minutes). Add egg substitute and vanilla, beating until well blended. Fold flour mixture into sugar mixture; fold in chocolate. Divide batter evenly among 10 (4-ounce) ramekins; arrange ramekins on a jelly-roll pan. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours or up to 2 days.

3. Preheat oven to 350°.

4. Let ramekins stand at room temperature 10 minutes. Uncover and bake at 350° for 21 minutes or until cakes are puffy and slightly crusty on top. Sprinkle evenly with powdered sugar; serve immediately.

Yield: 10 servings (serving size: 1 cake)

CALORIES 260 (28% from fat); FAT 8.2g (sat 4.5g,mono 2.3g,poly 0.2g); IRON 2.3mg; CHOLESTEROL 12mg; CALCIUM 63mg; CARBOHYDRATE 43.9g; SODIUM 189mg; PROTEIN 5.1g; FIBER 1.8g

Cooking Light, DECEMBER 2008

My notes:
Did not use espresso powder because Jack hates the taste of coffee. Odd, but true.
Instead of chopping up a 71% cocoa dark chocolate bar, I used Ghiradelli's bittersweet chocolate chips
Mine were "done" after 17 minutes