Make mom a decadent treat this Sunday

Whether using white, milk or dark chocolate, go beyond candy to make a luscious Mother’s Day dessert

Rosemary Olive Oil Cake

 

There are few women —or men, for that matter —who can resist chocolate, so make a delicious treat for your mom on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 13.

If mom’s watching her waistline or isn’t fond of desserts, try a chocolate beverage or chocolate chip waffles or pancakes. Add a Mexican flair to an entree with a mole sauce or a rub made with chocolate or cocoa nibs.

While cooking and baking can seem daunting, not every recipe is difficult.

Chocolate is a tasty treat when eaten by itself, and it’s yummy in traditional desserts such as tortes, tarts and cakes. 

To make them extra special for Mother’s Day, use small baking pans to create individual servings, then place them on a dusting of cocoa or powdered sugar on a plate. Garnish with fresh fruit slices, whipped cream or ice cream.

Chocolate can be used in cookies that are eaten out of hand or dipped in a fondue to create a decadent treat. You could also dip biscotti, fresh and dried fruits, small pieces of cake, pretzels or marshmallows in a chocolate fondue.

Garnish a dessert with chocolate shavings or curls. Use a vegetable peeler with a long narrow blade and a chunk or bar of chocolate to make curls. 

Milk chocolate is a perennial favorite, but dark chocolate has come into its own — especially since it has been proven beneficial to health in moderate quantities. 

When selecting a chocolate, remember this simple rule — the better tasting the chocolate you elect to use the better the chocolate dessert.

Chocolate is best stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. If kept in a refrigerator, it should be tightly wrapped and allowed to come to room temperature before using.

Following are recipes from 101cookbooks.com and smittenkitchen.com.

Rosemary Olive Oil Cake

Olive oil for the pan

3/4 cup spelt flour or whole wheat pastry flour

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3 eggs

1 cup olive oil

3/4 cup whole milk

1-1/2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped

5 ounces bittersweet chocolate (70% cacao), chopped into 1/2-inch pieces

2 tablespoons sugar

 

Sift flours, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder and kosher salt into a large bowl. Set aside.

In another large bowl, whisk eggs thoroughly. Add olive oil, milk and rosemary and whisk again. Using a spatula, fold the wet ingredients into the dry ones, gently mixing just until combined. Stir in two-thirds of the chocolate. 

Pour batter into a 9-1/2-inch fluted tart pan that’s coated with olive oil or lined with parchment paper, spreading it evenly and smoothing the top. Sprinkle with remaining chocolate, then run a fork along the length of the chocolate so the batter envelops it just a bit. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar.

Bake in a 350-degree oven about 40 minutes, until the top is domed, golden brown, and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. If desired, finish it under the broiler for a minute to caramelize the sugar on top as well and give it a bit of crunch. The cake can be eaten warm or cooled. It can be cooled, wrapped tightly in plastic and kept for two days.

Makes eight to 12 servings.

 

Chocolate Puddle Cookies

3 cups walnut halves, darkly toasted and cooled

4 cups confectioner’s (powdered) sugar

1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

4 large egg whites, room temperature

1 tablespoon real vanilla extract

 

Preheat oven to 320F / 160C degrees and position racks in the top and bottom third. Line three (preferably rimmed) baking sheets with parchment paper. Or you can bake in batches with fewer pans.

After walnuts have cooled a bit, chop coarsely and set aside. 

Sift together confectioner’s sugar, cocoa powder and sea salt. Stir in the walnuts, then add the egg whites and vanilla. Stir until well combined.

Spoon batter in mounds of about two tablespoons onto three rimmed baking sheets lined with parchment paper, leaving plenty of room between cookies. 

Bake in a 320-degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until cookies puff up, the tops are glossy and they crack a bit. 

Slide the cookies, still on the parchment paper, onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
Makes 18 large cookies.

 

Chocolate Soufflé Cupcakes With White Chocolate Mint Cream

For cupcakes:

6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Heaping 1/4 teaspoon espresso or instant coffee powder

3 large eggs, separated

6 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For white chocolate mint cream:

2 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped

3 ounces heavy whipping cream

1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract

 

Prepare cream by placing the white chocolate in a small bowl. Bring cream to a simmer, then pour it over the chocolate and let it sit for a minute to melt the chocolate. Whisk well. Add peppermint extract and whisk again. Lay a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the cream and chill until very cold, about two hours.

For cupcakes, stir chocolate, butter and espresso powder together in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until mostly melted, then remove from the heat and whisk until fully melted and smooth. Cool to lukewarm, stirring occasionally.

Using electric hand mixer, beat egg yolks and 3 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl about two minutes, until mixture is very thick and pales. Briefly beat lukewarm chocolate mixture, then vanilla extract, into yolk mixture. 

Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites in another medium bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining sugar and the salt, beating until medium-firm peaks form. Fold whites into chocolate mixture in three additions. 

Divide batter among nine muffin cups with paper liners, filling each three-fourths of the way.

Bake in a 350-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until tops are puffed and dry to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out with some moist crumbs attached. Cool in pan on a cooling rack, where the cupcakes will almost immediately start to fall. 

Beat mint white chocolate cream with electric beaters until soft peaks form. Remove cupcakes from pan, then fill each sunken top with a healthy dollop of white chocolate mint cream. Top with shaved dark chocolate, if desired.

 

Valerie’s French Chocolate Cake

9 tablespoons unsalted butter

7 ounces bittersweet (70 to 72 percent) chocolate, chopped

3 tablespoons water

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/3 cup flour

1/3 cup dark cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy 

4 large eggs, separated

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional

Two pinches sea salt

 

Melt butter in a large saucepan. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate until melted. Stir in 2 tablespoons water, then baking powder, flour and cocoa until just combined.

In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks with sugar, 1 tablespoon water and vanilla, if desired, until mixture is pale and no longer lumpy. Stir into chocolate mixture until just combined.

In a large, very clean bowl, beat egg whites and salt until stiff. Gently fold into chocolate mixture until most of the white streaks disappear. Be careful not to deflate  batter.

Place batter in a buttered 9-inch baking pan with parchment paper lining the bottom.     Bake in a 350-degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out batter-free. 

Remove from oven and rest on rack for five minutes. Run knife along the outside edge of the cake to make sure it isn’t sticking anywhere, then invert onto another rack, then back onto a cake plate. Eat warm or cold.

Cake keeps for several days at room temperature, lightly wrapped.

 

Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake

For crumb crust:

1-1/2 cups finely ground cookies such as chocolate wafers

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/3 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

For cheesecake:

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup heavy cream

8 ounces fine-quality bittersweet (not unsweetened) chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup sour cream

3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

 

To make crust, stir together ingredients and press onto bottom and 1 inch up the side of a buttered 9-inch springform pan. Fill immediately or chill for as long as two hours.

Cook sugar in a dry, heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring slowly with a fork, until melted and pale golden. Cook caramel without stirring but instead swirling the pan until deep golden in color. Remove from heat and carefully add heavy cream — the mixture will vigorously steam and caramel will harden. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until caramel is dissolved. Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate until smooth. Stir in sour cream.

Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy, then beat in chocolate mixture on low speed. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then vanilla, beating on low speed until each ingredient is incorporated, scraping down bowl between additions.

Put springform pan with crust in a shallow baking pan. Pour filling into crust, then bake in the middle of a 350-degree oven for 55 minutes, or until cake is set three inches from edge but when center is still slightly wobbly when pan is gently shaken.

Run a knife around top edge of cake to loosen and cool completely in springform pan on a rack. Chill cake, loosely covered, at least six hours. 

Remove side of pan and transfer cake to a plate. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Cheesecake keeps, covered and chilled, for one week.

 

Belgian Brownie Cakelets

7 ounces bittersweet chocolate (70 or 72 percent), roughly chopped

14 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks

1 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

4 large eggs

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon flour

 

Place chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl. Melt over a saucepan of simmering water or in the microwave in 15 to 30-second bursts, stirring frequently. 

Remove from heat and whisk in sugar. Whisk in salt, then eggs, one at a time. Stir in flour.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. The batter will thicken a bit as it stands.

Either coat a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick spray or line with cupcake papers. Spoon batter into each cup, filling them halfway, then bake in a 325-degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out batter-free. Fudgy crumbs are to be expected.

Let cool on a rack for five to 10 minutes before unmolding. Puffed tops will fall a little as they cool.

Makes 12 cakelets.

 

Robert Linxe’s Chocolate Truffles

11 ounces quality chocolate (56% cacao)

2/3 cup heavy cream

Cocoa powder for dusting

 

Finely chop 8 ounces of chocolate and put in a bowl. Bring heavy cream to a boil in a small, heavy saucepan. Pour cream over the chocolate, mashing any big pieces with a wooden spoon.

Stir with a whisk in concentric circles, taking care not to beat mixture, starting in the center and working your way to the edge, until ganache is smooth.

Let stand at room temperature about an hour, until thick enough to hold a shape. Using a pastry bag with a 3/8-inch opening or tip, pipe into mounds about 3/4 inch high and 1 inch wide on parchment-lined baking sheets. Finish off each mound with a flick of the wrist to soften and angle the point tip. Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.

Melt remaining chocolate and smear some on a gloved hand. Gently rub each chilled truffle to coat lightly with chocolate. Toss truffles in unsweetened cocoa powder A fork is the best tool for tossing truffles in cacao. Shake truffles in a sieve to eliminate excess cacao.

Store truffles in the refrigerator.

 

Silky, Decadent Old-School Chocolate Mousse

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (no more than 60% cacao), chopped

3 ounces unsalted butter, cut into six pieces

3 large eggs, separated

1 tablespoon Cognac, brandy or liqueur of choice

1 cup very cold heavy or whipping cream

1/8 teaspoon salt

 

Set a large bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water and melt chocolate and butter in it, gently stirring until smooth. Remove from heat. You can also melt chocolate and butter in microwave, stirring thoroughly after first 30 seconds and every 15 seconds thereafter until the mixture is smooth.

In a small bowl, beat yolks with an electric mixer for two to four minutes, until thick enough to form a ribbon that takes a few seconds to dissolve. Whisk yolks into chocolate mixture along with Cognac, then cool until warm.

In a medium bowl, beat the cream with clean beaters until it just holds stiff peaks.

In another medium bowl, beat egg whites and salt with clean beaters until they just hold soft peaks.

Fold the whipped cream and beaten whites into the chocolate mixture, gently but thoroughly. Transfer to eight four-ounce  ramekins or one large serving bowl. Top with chocolate shavings, if desired, and serve.

Mousse can be chilled, its surface covered with parchment paper, as long as two days. Let stand at room temperature at least 30 minutes before serving.

 

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