Candid Reflections

February 11, 2010

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Filed under: Gluten-Free, In the Kitchen — Tags: , , , — candid reflections @ 11:35 am

Dear Andrea L., or anyone who may be trying to avoid that white, fluffy gluten containing stuff,  AKA: wheat flour,

Here is the chocolate cake recipe I promised… a little later than I’d hoped to get it posted, but I think you’ll find it was well worth the wait!  Prepare your taste buds for a velvety, chocolately scrumptious experience.

This fudge-like cake is so easy, my two fifth graders prepared it during school – Cooking Class.  Later (in between coaching math problems), I enjoyed my helping of the chocolate cake (half), in the teacher’s lounge (anywhere where there is no kids!)

Flourless Chocolate Cake

16 oz. good quality semi-sweet or dark chocolate (ie. Scharffen Berger, Dagoba, etc.)
5 large eggs, separated
1/3  cup powdered sugar
1 TBSP vanilla
1/2  cup unsalted butter
Powdered cocoa (to dust pan)

Preheat the oven to 250.  Use butter or margarine to grease a nine-inch spring form pan, then dust it with the powdered cocoa.

Melt the chocolate (the kids used inexpensive chips by Ambrosia) with the butter completely in a double boiler, or the microwave.

Separate the eggs.

Beat the egg yolks with the vanilla in a large bowl, then very gradually add the warm chocolate-butter mixture, stirring constantly. 

In a clean, large bowl, whip the egg whites with an electric mixer until they are stiff and form soft peaks.

Slowly add the powdered sugar to them, still beating until it is well blended.  The egg whites should appear a little shiny and stiff.  Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture a little at a time.

Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and bake for approximately an hour.  The top of the cake should appear dry and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake should have crumbs stuck to it, but not appear gooey.  Serve when it is completely cooled.  You may dust it with cocoa, powdered sugar, or serve with whipped cream. 

.. if you’re feeling really naughty, prepare a yummy ganache frosting for your flourless chocolate cake, a dangerously delicious combination indeed!

Ganache :

8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoons cognac or brandy (optional)

Place the chocolate in a medium sized stainless steel bowl.  Set aside.  Heat the cream and butter in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat.  Bring just to a boil.  Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes.  Stir with a whisk until smooth.  If desired, add the liquer. 

To cover cake:  First brush any loose crumbs from the cake and place cake on a wire rack.  Put rack on a baking sheet, so that ganach has a place to drip, making cleanup easier.  Using a cake spatula, cover the sides and top of the cake with a thin layer of ganache.  This is called a crumb coat.  Refrigerate for 5 min.  To cover cake, pour the remaining ganache onto the center of the cake.  Working quickly, spread with a spatula using big strokes to push the ganache over the sides of the cake, creating an even coating.

June 23, 2009

Sweet-Tooth Consoling Dessert

Filed under: In the Kitchen — Tags: , , — candid reflections @ 8:15 am

I dare you to make this for dessert … you’ll never be the same.  and neither will your thighs!


I discovered this recipe last night on a box of puff pastry in my freezer, my sweet tooth was screaming out for some satisfaction.  I made the recipe, and then adapted it for you(see below) to build individual desserts, rather than a big one that you have to slice (like the one in this picture.)  Better for presentation… and much less messy.

Strawberry Napoleon

1 package of puff pastry sheets
1 pkg. (3 ½ oz) vanilla instant pudding and pie filling mix
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tsp. milk
1 ½ cups fresh or frozen sliced strawberries
1 square (1 oz) semi-sweet chocolate

Thaw pastry sheets at room temperature 40 min.  Heat oven to
400 degrees.  Lightly grease baking sheet.
unfold pastry sheets on lightly floured surface.  Cut into 3 strips
along fold marks.  Then cut each strip into three squares. 
Place on baking sheets.  Bake 15 min or till golden brown. 
Remove from baking sheets and cool on wire racks.

Prepare pudding mix according to package directions with 1 cup of
milk in large bowl.  Fold in whipped cream (after you’ve whipped it.)  Cover and refrigerate. 
Stir confectioners’ sugar and 2 tsp. milk in small bowl.  Spread
confectioners’ sugar mixture on six pastry squares. 

Spread a large spoonful of pudding mixture on 1 pastry square. 
Top with a handful of strawberry slices.  Repeat layers.  Top with
iced pastry square.  Repeat to make six desserts.  Drizzle desserts
with melted chocolate.  Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate up to 4 hr.

So…. what are you waiting for???

July 27, 2008

Coconut Macaroons

Filed under: In the Kitchen — Tags: , , — candid reflections @ 10:17 pm

These yummy little cookies are golden and crispy on the outside, tender and chewy on the inside.  Yum!

Coconut Macaroons

7 extra large egg whites, room temp.
1 cup sugar
1/8 cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla
Pinch of salt
3 cups unsweetened coconut
1 Tbsp. flour

Preheat oven to 325º.  Line baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper.









In a double boiler combine eggwhites, sugar, honey, vanilla, and salt.


Whisk over medium heat til frothy and warm (120-130ºF)








Using a spatula, fold in coconut and flour until just incorporated.  Careful not to overmix.








Place rounded tablespoons onto prepared pans.

Bake on middle shelf until golden brown, about 20 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

June 29, 2008

Finger Lickin’ Good Pecan Pie Bars

Filed under: In the Kitchen — Tags: , , — candid reflections @ 9:41 pm

If you like pecan pie but don’t want to hassel with pie crust, AND if you don’t mind gaining five pounds, then you ought to try this recipe for pecan bars.  My husband gave them a 10 out of 10.  For chocolate-pecan pie bars, see note below.













Pecan Pie Bars

1 ½ cups butter (softened)
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
4 cups all purpose flour

8 eggs
6 cups firmly packed brown sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons vanilla
1 cup all purpose flour
2 cups sweetened coconut
2 cups pecan halves

To prepare crust:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 12×17 baking pan.  Beat butter and sugar in large bowl on medium speed for about a minute.  Add the flour, mix on low until evenly incorporated but still crumbly.  Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Bake the crust for 20 minutes, until a deep golden brown.  Remove, but leave oven at 350.

To prepare filling:  Whisk the eggs and sugar in a large bowl until blended.  Stir in the butter, vanilla, and flour.  Then stir in the coconut and pecans.  Pour the filling over the crust, spreading evenly.  Bake until set, about 30 minutes.  Cool thoroughly, at least an hour, before cutting into 3” squares.

*note:  to make Chocolate-Pecan Pie Bars, melt 2 Tbs. unsalted butter with 4 ounces of bittersweet chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat.  Add the cooled chocolate-butter mixture to the filling’s egg and brown sugar mixture and follow the recipe as directed.

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