Petits Gâteaux au Chocolat with Sugared Raspberries

I’ve been making these for nearly 13 years now. This is adapted from an old Martha Stewart recipe; so old, in fact, that you cannot even find it online. Shocking. It’s from a dessert cookbook from the late ’90s that I’ve used so much, the pages are falling out and it has chocolate splatters on it. Very cliché, I know, but that’s a sign of a good cookbook. And as much as one might like to poo-poo Martha, the woman has it dialed in. Her recipes are delicious, and they work. I’m pretty sure her army of staff would die if those criteria weren’t met.

The reason it’s taken me years to post the recipe is merely due to my stubbornness. I like to shoot the food I post in natural light, so late at night after a long dinner with family or friends doesn’t allow for natural light unless you live on the north pole in June. So, I give. And honestly, this is exactly how your cakes will look, in lamp light, because you’ll be eating them after a a fabulous dinner and wow-ing your guests with this show stopping dessert.

What’s nice about this dessert is that there is NO wheat flour in it. I’m all for gluten, but I know that many people are discovering that gluten is of the devil. Martha, who could care less about people’s digestive complications, created this recipe with ground almonds for the flavor, before almond “flour” even existed. Imagine my delight, when it finally dawned on me that I could stop pureeing almonds for the recipe and just grab that sack of almond flour I keep on hand. Felt like cheating, except it’s the same darn thing and a more consistent texture.

Also I should note that Martha named these “Warm Chocolate Cakes.” I wonder if her team stayed up all night trying to work that one out. When they say “no idea is a bad idea” while brain storming, we all know that’s a load of bull. These are too beautiful and too decadent to be called such a name, and so I prefer the Americanized French description of small chocolate cakes with molten ganache centers… “gâteaux” are just trés sexy. And for all the effort (yes, this one requires a bit more than the usual cake), you want a name that lives up to it’s dessert!

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Petits Gâteaux au Chocolat with Sugared Raspberries

recipe adapted from Martha Stewart’s Desserts cookbook (1998): “Warm Chocolate Cakes”

Note: You will need 8, 4-5 oz. ramekins for this recipe. I suggest making the ganache cubes a day or two before you make the cakes. One less step to rush later and it only takes 5-10 minutes to do. In fact, this recipe can be prepped several days in advance: all you need to do is bake the frozen cakes before serving them and just have your raspberries, mint and cream ready.

Ingredients:

  • 14 oz. best-quality bittersweet chocolate (I shoot for around 65% or on up to 72%)
  • 6 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 10 Tbsp. sugar (I use baker’s sugar…finer than regular sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c ground almonds (hello, almond flour)
  • confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar) for dusting
  • pint of raspberries
  • 1/3 c or so of white granulated sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 cups heavy cream, whipped
  • mint sprigs for garnish

Preparation:

  1. Chop 2 ounces of chocolate into small pieces and place in a small bowl. Pour the cream into a small saucepan, and set over medium heat. Cook until bubbles appear around the edges. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, and let stand 2-3 minutes; then whisk until smooth. Pour the ganache to fill (or almost fill) 8 squares of a plastic ice-cube tray. Freeze until solid.
  2. Butter 8 ramekins (that hold 4-5 oz) and place the ramekins on a baking sheet. Set aside.
  3. Melt the butter and the remaining 12 ounces of chocolate in a heat-proof bowl or the top of a double boiler over a pan of simmering water. Stir until smooth. Remove from heat, and let cool slightly.
  4. Combine the egg yolks, 6 Tbsp. sugar, and the vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat until thick and pale yellow, about 8 minutes. Add the warm chocolate-butter mixture, and combine thoroughly. Fold in the ground almonds. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.
  5. In a clean mixer bowl (that you just washed), beat the remaining 4 Tbsp. sugar with the egg whites until stiff…VERY stiff. Just turn that mixer on and go check your email for a few minutes because you want these egg whites as stiff as they will be. Then, with a rubber spatula, fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture.
  6. Spoon about 2 Tbsp. of batter into each ramekin. Remove the ganache cubes from the freezer (dip the bottom of the tray in hot water to release them, if necessary). Place a ganache cube in the center of each ramekin. Spoon 2-3 Tbsp. of remaining batter into the rings, covering the ganache cubes completely, using all the batter. Smooth the tops of each cake with a small knife. Freeze filled ramekins until solid, about an hour or so.
  7. Meanwhile, cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Beat the egg white with a fork in a small bowl or wide mouth cup. Using a pastry brush, dip the brush into the egg white and “paint” the outside of a raspberry, then immediately sprinkle all over with the white sugar. I inserted the end of a rounded tea spoon (a real tea spoon, used for tea or coffee, not the one you eat your cereal with…a tiny spoon) into the raspberry so it was on a sort of pole which made the painting and sprinkling easier because my fingers weren’t in the way. See what you have lying around that might work for a little raspberry stand. After you have painted and sprinkled, gently set the berry on the parchment paper. Repeat this with as many raspberries as you’d like to garnish your cakes with… I think 3 looks nice on each cake. After you have sugared your berries, you’ll need a cool place for them to set for an hour or two. The refrigerator works, if you have room, or just a cooler place (not near your hot oven) in the house.
  8. Heat oven to 375ºF. Remove the baking sheet from the freezer and transfer to the oven. Bake cakes until they have puffed slightly over the tops of the ramekins, 20 to 25 minutes (I bake for 25 at high altitude). Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack; let cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
  9. While cakes are baking, whip your cream so it’s soft and but not so soft it runs easily. Have your mint sprigs ready to go!
  10. Once cakes have cooled slightly, garnish with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar, a dollop (or quenelle) of whipped cream, a sprig of mint, and a few sugared raspberries and serve.

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Double Chocolate Waffles

For the most part, I’m a purist, except in the case of thick strips of bacon on top of my hamburger with blue cheese. I otherwise believe in choosing a theme and sticking with it. At least, this is all I can come up with to explain why I never cared for “chocolate chip waffles” that get the little people in my house all jumpy and breathless on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Even Dave, if given the option, goes for the chocolate chips when they are offered. I tried to like chocolate chip waffles, I did try. But the chips felt like interruptions to my waffle happiness. So when the request came up on a lazy weekend morning last week, it suddenly occurred to me that IF the whole waffle was chocolate, then little melted dark chocolate chips scattered inside would make total sense. Go big or go home, right? And do it without a sugar coma, I say. I still think sugar should not be the flavor of anything, and in most cases should be decreased or left out completely. A sprinkling of chocolate and a drizzle of maple syrup, and you’re happy. And so the double chocolate waffle was born — delicious, floats all chocolate-lovers’ boats, and you can walk away from the breakfast table without needing to detox.

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Double Chocolate Waffles

recipe by Stephanie Kunstle, adapted from my mom’s regular waffle recipe

Note: makes 14-16 waffles in a 4-grid Belgian waffle maker… Easily serves 6. I like to serve these with freshly whipped cream, more chocolate and some maple syrup, but berries would be delicious too.

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/4 c unbleached flour
  • 1/2 c whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp. flax meal
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 and 1/2 c buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 c chocolate chips (I used 72% cacao, but choose what you like)

Preparation:

  1. Preheat waffle maker to desired heat for desired crispness (on a scale of 1 to 10… I head to 5).
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients and whisk together.
  3. Add the buttermilk, eggs and olive oil and whisk together very well, making sure there are no lumps.
  4. Fold in the chocolate chips with a rubber spatula until incorporated.
  5. Let the batter rest for 5 to 10 minutes, which allows the rising agents to do their thing.
  6. Ladle batter into your hot waffle maker, and cook according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  7. Top with freshly whipped cream, more chocolate chips and pure maple syrup (or throw some raspberries on top, skip the maple syrup and go for a dusting of powdered sugar… the world is your oyster…or…er…waffle).

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Wild Blueberry Granola

Let me be clear. I eat this for breakfast because it tastes good. And yes, it is good for you. So in case you’ve been pounding doughnuts for the last month, and now you’re turning over a new leaf in 2016, you’ll be happy too. Delicious food cannot be sacrificed.

I love giving homemade gifts, and though there was no shortage of sweets being created in my kitchen during the Christmas season, it’s also nice to give a gift that will be enjoyed guilt-free and might even make someone’s morning easier. So I gifted granola, and breakfast is served. The first batch was so yummy that I decided to make another to give to my friend Marion as part of her birthday gift. She’s an avid skier and I knew she’d probably enjoy starting her day with this before hitting the slopes.

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So here we are in early January, and I’ve heard from friends this week that their granola jars are running low. And just this morning I got a text from Marion that said: “Please help!!! This awesome granola is totally empty. I definitely need your recipe. At least before the 23rd (insert ski emoji).” Instead of attacking another pile of neglected mail from the summer of 2015, I grabbed my granola jar from the pantry, did a quick photo shoot, and bring to you the latest granola recipe from my kitchen. May your weekend be filled with granola and fun in the snow if you live in the northern hemisphere, or gorgeous sunny days if you don’t. Either way, it’s granola for breakfast.

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Wild Blueberry Granola

Note: This can, of course, be made with other dried fruit if you don’t have wild blueberries (I got mine at Trader Joe’s): cranberries, chopped apricots, cherries, or raisins if you’d like. Feel free to halve the recipe as it makes a LOT, but it goes fast, so don’t underestimate the other granola-eaters around you. For a GF and nut free variation, substitute flax meal for the wheat germ, skip the nuts, and add an extra cup of pumpkin seeds.

And if this hooks you on making homemade granola, you can mix it up and make my Cherry & Vanilla Bean Granola next time!

Ingredients:

  • 8 c oats (I like regular thick rolled oats, not quick cooking rolled oats)
  • 2 c pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1 c wheat germ
  • 1 c pumpkin seeds (I used sprouted, raw, lightly salted)
  • 2 c flaked coconut
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla
  • 1 c extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 c honey (use local honey if you can!)
  • 2 c dried wild blueberries (or other fruit)

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Combine all ingredients EXCEPT the honey and dried fruit into a very large pyrex roasting dish (I used a 4 qt. dish which is 15 x 10 x 2 inches). I like to pour in the dry ingredients, then add the vanilla to the olive oil and whisk together before pouring over the oats to best distribute the vanilla. Stir well to incorporate the ingredients for even roasting.
  2. Roast, stirring every few minutes for about 30 to 40 minutes, until oats begin to look nice and golden. Take your granola out of the oven, add the honey and mix really well, then return to the oven and roast another 15 to 20 minutes, stirring a couple times during that period.
  3. Remove granola from the oven, and add your dried fruit and stir well. Let the granola cool for an hour, making sure you give it a good stir whenever you pass by. If you don’t, it will “set” with all that honey and you’ll have a tough time breaking it up. Once it’s cool, transfer to an airtight container and enjoy a delicious AND healthy breakfast!

 

Posted in anytime, winter | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments