Posted on

Chewy Chocolate Meringues

meringues

Crunchy on the outside and gooey on the inside, these gems not only are a cinch to make but also are completely addictive—you won’t be able to stop at one (or two or three). The cocoa nibs add a nice crunch and nutty flavor, but if you can’t find them, don’t worry; they can be left out.

 

Chewy Chocolate Meringues

 

1 cup egg whites (about 7)

2 cups sugar

5 Tbs. natural cocoa powder

4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

4 oz. cocoa nibs

 

Space 2 racks evenly in the middle of an oven and preheat to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

 

In a clean, dry, heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg whites and sugar. Set over but not touching simmering water in a saucepan. Whisk constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from the heat.

 

Using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg mixture on high speed until stiff and glossy. Sift the cocoa powder over the meringue. Sprinkle with the chocolate and cocoa nibs, then fold together gently with a rubber spatula until combined.

 

Drop the meringue by heaping tablespoons, spaced slightly apart, onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 9 minutes. Rotate the pans and bake until the cookies are fluffy, full of cracks and spring back when touched, about 9 minutes more. Carefully pick up the parchment sheets and transfer the cookies, still on the parchment, to wire racks to cool. Makes about 2 dozen meringues.

 

Posted on

Cookie of the day:Lime Curd Bars with Coconut Crust

bars

Limes have a distinctive sweetness that tempers their tartness — a flavor that holds up well in desserts and cocktails. Use a reamer to extract as much juice as possible; a rasp grater is essential for obtaining lime zest without any bitter pith, as their rind is very thin.

Lime Curd Bars with Coconut Crust

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/3 cup light brown sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

Grated zest of 1 lime, plus extra for garnish

1/2 cup shredded dried coconut

1/4 tsp. salt

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

1 Tbs. cornstarch

1 tsp. baking powder

4 large eggs

3/4 cup fresh lime juice

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

 

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with aluminum foil, overhanging the edges by 1 inch. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the flour, half of the lime zest, coconut and half of the salt and mix until the dough just holds together. Press into the pan and prick with a fork. Bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

In the mixer, combine the granulated sugar, cornstarch, baking powder and remaining lime zest and salt. Slowly beat in the eggs and lime juice. Pour into the crust. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool and then refrigerate until set, 1 to 2 hours. Cut into 24 bars and dust with confectioners’ sugar and lime zest. Makes 2 dozen bars.

Posted on

Warm Molten Chocolate Cakes

warm

What better way to say “I love you” this week than with chocolate? Plunge a spoon into one of these warm, gooey cakes, and you’ll find chocolate bliss. They are incredibly versatile, too. Dress these up with scoops of chocolate or vanilla ice cream, or top with sliced poached pears or blood orange segments and a dollop of crème fraîche.

Warm Molten Chocolate Cakes

8 oz. (250 g.) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g.) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Pinch of kosher salt

4 large egg yolks

6 Tbs. (3 oz./90 g.) sugar

2 Tbs. unsweetened natural cocoa powder, sifted

3 large egg whites

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Lightly butter six 3/4-cup (6-fl. oz./180-ml.) ramekins and dust with cocoa. Set the ramekins on a small baking sheet.

Place the chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler over (not touching) barely simmering water, and melt, whisking until the mixture is glossy and smooth.
Remove from over the water and stir in the vanilla and salt. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, using a mixer, beat together the egg yolks, 3 tablespoons of the sugar, and the cocoa on medium-high speed until thick. Add the chocolate mixture to the yolk mixture and beat until blended. The mixture will be very thick.

In a bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until very foamy and thick. Sprinkle in the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar and increase the speed to high. Continue beating until firm, glossy peaks form. Spoon half of the beaten whites onto the chocolate mixture and stir in just until blended. Gently fold in the remaining whites. Spoon into the prepared ramekins.

Bake the cakes until they are puffed and the tops are cracked, about 13 minutes. The inside of the cracks will look very wet. Remove from the oven and serve. Or, run a small knife around the inside of each ramekin and invert the cakes onto plates. Serves 6.

Posted on

Dark Chocolate Ganache Tart

darkchocolateganachetart-652x652 (1)

This dramatic dessert can be assembled a day ahead of serving, making it the perfect choice to prepare for a dinner party. Just remember to remove it from the refrigerator 15 to 30 minutes before serving to allow it come to the ideal temperature. Since this dessert is all about the chocolate, use a high-quality brand such as Scharffen Berger or Valrhona.

 

Dark Chocolate Ganache Tart

1 egg yolk

2 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. ice water

3 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1⁄4 cups (6 1/2 oz./200 g) all-purpose flour

1⁄3 cup (3 oz./90 g) sugar

1/4 cup (3/4 oz./20 g) cocoa powder

1⁄4 tsp. salt

10 Tbs. (5 oz./150 g) cold unsalted butter

10 oz. (315 g) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) heavy cream

Fleur de sel to taste

In a small bowl, stir together the egg yolk, water and 2 tsp. of the vanilla; set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder and salt on low speed. Add the butter, increase the speed to medium-low and mix until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter pieces no larger than small peas. Add the egg mixture and beat just until the dough pulls together.

Transfer the dough to a work surface and flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 1 hour.

Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C).

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 20-by-8-inch (50-by-20-cm) rectangle. Transfer to a 13-by-4-inch (33-by-10-cm) tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Cut off any overhanging dough and prick the dough in several places with a fork.

Line the dough with parchment paper and fill with pie weights. Bake until the sides are cooked through and the bottom is almost cooked through and slightly flaky, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the pie weights and parchment and continue to cook until the bottom is dry and set, about 8 minutes more. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool.

Cut the remaining 2 Tbs. butter into small pieces and put in a heatproof bowl along with the chocolate. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the cream to a boil. As soon as it comes to a boil, remove the cream from the heat and pour it over the chocolate and butter. Let stand for 2 minutes, add the remaining 1 tsp. vanilla extract and whisk until smooth.

Carefully pour the chocolate ganache into the prepared tart shell. Sprinkle with fleur de sel to taste and refrigerate the tart until the filling is set, about 1 hour. Remove the tart from the refrigerator about 15 minutes before serving. Serves 8 to 10.

Posted on

Chocolate-Cherry Biscotti with Almonds

biscotti

Biscotti are one of those treats you see in a glass jar on the counter in a café or in the display case in a
bakery but may not consider making at home. They’re actually quite easy to make, and they store well.
Biscotti are forgiving, too, since they are meant to be hard, inviting dips into coffee, tea, milk or dessert wine.

 

Chocolate-Cherry Biscotti with Almonds

1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g) slivered blanched almonds

3/4 cup (4 1/2 oz./140 g) unsweetened dried cherries

3 Tbs. kirsch

2 3/4 cups (14 oz./440 g) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1/4 cup (3/4 oz./20 g) unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp. baking powder

1/8 tsp. salt

3 large eggs

1 cup (8 oz./250 g) sugar

1 tsp. pure almond extract

6 oz. (185 g) semisweet chocolate, very finely chopped

 

Preheat an oven to 325°F (165°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

 

In a small, dry frying pan, toast the almonds over medium heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Pour onto a plate to cool. Set aside.

 

In a small bowl, combine the cherries and kirsch and toss to coat the cherries. Set aside.

 

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar and almond extract until well blended and lightened in color. Add the flour
mixture and chocolate and beat until a dough forms. Drain the cherries. Scatter the cherries and almonds on top of the dough and fold in until evenly distributed.

 

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide in half. Shape each portion into a
flattish log about 3 inches (7.5 cm) wide, 8 inches (20 cm) long, and 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. Arrange the 2 dough logs on 1 of the prepared baking sheets, leaving at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) of space around them on all sides.

 

Bake until firm to the touch, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool on the pan on a wire rack until cool enough to handle, then transfer to a large cutting board. Using a large serrated knife, using a gentle sawing motion, cut the logs crosswise on a slight diagonal into slices about 1/2 inch (12 mm) wide.

 

Divide the biscotti between the 2 baking sheets, arranging them on a cut side. Return to the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Turn over the biscotti and continue to bake until dry to the touch, about 10 minutes longer. Let cool on the pans on wire racks. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month. Makes about 2 1/2 dozen.

Posted on

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

WS_NewBasic2_ChocChipCookie-015-2-652x876

For a last-minute treat leading up to the holidays, bake a batch of soft, gooey chocolate chip cookies, just like Mom used to make. Our classic, perfect chocolate chip cookies have a tinge of caramel flavor and are studded with chocolate goodness. Tip: Use a small ice cream scoop to form balls of dough, and they’ll bake into gorgeous, perfectly round cookies every time.

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 1/4 cups (6 1/2 oz./200 g) unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup (1 stick/4 oz./125 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz./105 g) firmly packed light brown sugar

6 Tbs. (3 oz./90 g) granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups (15 oz./470 g) semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and mix on low speed until blended. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix just until incorporated. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir in the chocolate chips.

Using a small ice cream scoop or heaping tablespoon, drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the dough mounds 2 inches (5 cm) apart.

Bake the cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until the bottoms and edges are lightly browned and the tops feel firm when lightly touched, 10-13 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking

Posted on

Best of the Web: Halloween Treats

Fotor01014160040-652x652

No matter how you’re celebrating Halloween this year, you’ll need a bite of something sweet — and scary! Here are some of the cutest, spookiest and party-worthy treats we’ve seen around the web. Trick or treat!

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Spider CookiesChocolate Peanut Butter Spider Cookies by A Spicy Perspective
These creepy crawly cookies combine chewy peanut butter cookies and chocolate truffles into one delectable bite.
Halloween BarkHalloween Bark by Sweet C’s Designs
It only takes five minutes to make this sweet-salty mix of chocolate, pretzels and colorful candy corn. It’s perfect for party snacks!
Frankenstein Rice Krispie TreatsFrankenstein Rice Krispie Treats by Clean & Scentsible
Here’s a creative treat kids will love: green-tinted Rice Krispie treats decorated to look like everyone’s favorite monster.
Brownie Brittle Peanut Butter Cookie Ghost CupsBrownie Brittle Peanut Butter Cookie Ghost Cups by Food Faith Fitness
These little cookie cups are filled with cream cheese frosting piped into a spooky ghost shape, then topped off with chocolate chip faces.
Devil's Food Cake with Pumpkin Butterscotch FrostingDevil’s Food Cake with Pumpkin Butterscotch Frosting by Sugar Hero
Halloween treats can be glamorous, too! This rich chocolate cake has layers of pumpkin-butterscotch frosting for a contrast of black and orange hues, plus plenty of sparkly decorations.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Truffle MummiesPumpkin Cheesecake Truffle Mummies by Creme de la Crumb
These no-bake truffles are super simple to make. Just mix and chill the filling, then dip in melted white chocolate and drizzle on a festive final layer for the mummy effect.
Bittersweet Chocolate Skeleton CookiesBittersweet Chocolate Skeleton Cookies by Mom Foodie
Put those holiday cookie cutters to good use in October! When used to bake chocolate cookies and piped with a skeleton design, they make adorable Halloween treats.
Vampire FloatsVampire Floats by Shaken Together
A classic ice cream float gets a creepy makeover in this crimson concoction. Don’t forget glow-in-the-dark vampire teeth for garnish!
Graveyard CupcakesGraveyard Cupcakes by Cupcake Diaries
Cookies in the shape of graveyard headstones add the finishing touch to these cupcakes, sprinkled with a layer of cookie “dirt.”
Candy Corn Chocolate Chip Cookie CakeCandy Corn Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake by Life, Love & Sugar
Everyone loves a moist, chewy chocolate cookie — and this one’s a giant! It’s filled with chocolate chunks and candy corn and made fo