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Chewy Chocolate Meringues

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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.

 

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Cookie of the day:Lime Curd Bars with Coconut Crust

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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.

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Dark Chocolate Ganache Tart

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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.

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Best of the Web: Halloween Treats

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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