Cook.Bake.Eat.Write.

Posts Tagged ‘chocolate

Life is really quiet right now. Simple. This is what I wanted—or thought so anyhow.

At the same time, I feel like I am on the brink of something big. Life is about to change, and I wish that I could see how or wish that it would just happen already!

In the meantime, life continues on and I just go with the flow. And wait for this strangeness to pass.

I haven’t really been in the mood to do much cooking or baking. Yesterday, for example, I got home, and didn’t feel like cooking or eating! This NEVER happens.

This is a phase. I’m not even going to try to pretend to be inspired today. So I’ll leave you with a recipe for a cake I’ve made a few times in the past but never got around to blogging about.

For the life of me, I can’t remember where I got this recipe from. I have a feeling it’s another one I adapted from TipTopf, but I could be wrong. (If anyone recognizes the base recipe, please let me know!)

The times I’ve made this, I’ve always halved the recipe and kept the original bake time, which in the end worked out well. This might have to do with the fact that I only have an 8-inch cake pan rather than a 10-inch as the recipe calls for.

The cake is dense, banana-rich and super spongey. You can experiment with nut types—I’ve used almond, walnut and hazelnut, which resulted in a slightly different sponge character each time. Thinking about it, I wonder how banana and salted pistachios would work together.

Chocolate Banana Nut Cake (adapted from a recipe in TipTopf?)

INGREDIENTS

6 oz unsalted butter, diced

6 oz bittersweet chocolate

1 1/2 cups plain flour

1 cup  extra-fine sugar

1/2 cup ground walnuts

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

2/3 cup buttermilk

1 tbsp vanilla extract

2 cup lightly mashed bananas

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1/4 cup chopped walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds or pecans

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Grease and line a 10-inch cake pan. Melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler till it is smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

2. Sift together flour and baking powder and baking soda. Add sugar, ground hazelnuts, and salt. Blend thoroughly.

3. Stir in buttermilk, vanilla extract and banana just until combined. Set aside.

4. Add the eggs to the cooled chocolate mixture. Stir until well combined and thick. Stir into the banana mixture until well combined.

5. Pour batter into pan and bake for 20 min. Remove and sprinkle chopped pecan nuts over the top and continue to bake for another 25 to 30 min. until skewer comes out clean.

6. Cool cake on rack. Serve either plain or a dollop of spiked whipped cream.

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This cake is really easy to put together. I ended up halving the recipe and keeping the original bake time, which in the end worked out very well. This might have to do with the fact that I used an 8 inch cake pan rather than a 10 inch as the recipe called for. Actually, I would recommend making only half if you are just making it for your family. 

The cake is dense, banana-rich and spongey. I also only had ground almonds and whole almonds on hand, so that is what I used in place of the hazelnuts or walnuts.

(I made this cake a few months back and for the life of me, can’t remember where I got the recipe from!!! I did a googlesearch but was unable to find any one similar to this one. I have feeling, however, that I adapted it from a “Hauscake” recipe out of TipTopf, a Swiss cookbook.)

Chocolate Banana Nut Cake

Ingredients

6 oz unsalted butter, diced

6 oz bittersweet chocolate (I used good-quality dark 70%)

1 1/2 cups plain flour

190 g fine sugar

1/2 cup ground walnuts (I used almonds)

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

2/3 cup buttermilk

1 tbsp vanilla extract

2 cups (450 g) very ripe bananas, lightly mashed

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1/4 cup chopped walnuts, hazelnuts or pecans (I used almonds)

 

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Greased and lined a 10 inch cake pan. Melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler till it is smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

2. Sift together flour and baking powder and baking soda. Add sugar, ground hazelnuts, and salt. Blend thoroughly.

3. Stir in buttermilk, vanilla extract and banana just until combined. Set aside.

4. Add the eggs to the cooled chocolate mixture. Stir until well combined and thick. Stir into the banana mixture until well combined.

5. Pour batter into pan and bake for 20 mins. Remove and sprinkle chopped pecan nuts over the top and continue to bake for another 25 to 30 mins until skewer comes out clean. 

6. Cool cake on rack. Serve either plain or a dollop of whipped cream.

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What makes a good brownie? Though everyone seems to have a particular preference when it comes to these little squares, I think all would agree that a fudgy moist base and a flaky top are key. I’ve tried more than a few recipes and have definitely eaten more than my fair share of these little fudgy darlings–so I would say I recognize a good brownie when I see and eat it! The recipe below is everything a brownie should be–rich, dark chocolatey, fudgy in the middle with that wafer-thin layer of flakiness on top. Doesn’t get better than that. 

In my experience, I have found a few elements crucial to brownie baking success.

1) USE GOOD 70% DARK CHOCOLATE.

2) USE BUTTER. People, please be reasonable. If you’re on a diet, don’t eat brownies.

3) Let the brownies cool overnight at room temperature. They’ll cut better that way.

Anyway, I’m not really sure anymore where I got this recipe from (Update: I looked–it’s from Martha). I’ve made them several times now–passing them out at work, giving them to hubby to take to work–and have heard no complaints! As for the nuts and chocolate, I usually play around with different varieties and companies. In terms of nuts, I’ve used pistachios, almonds, walnuts, pecans and hazelnuts (walnuts are still my favorite–though pecans taste mighty fine too!). In terms of chocolate, I’ve tried 70 and even 90% dark from Cadbury, Lindt and Valhrona. My advice is if it tastes good by itself, it’ll taste good baked too.

Enjoy!

Double Chocolate Brownies with Nuts (Martha Stewart)

6 tbsp (113g) unsalted butter

6 0z (170g) good quality 70% dark chocolate

1/4 cup good quality cocoa

3/4-1 cup plain flour (I use 3/4 for a fudgier brownie)

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup-3/4 cup fine sugar (I use 1/2 c.)

2 eggs

2 tsp pure vanilla

1 handful nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts, pistachio, pecans, almond), chopped

Directions

1) Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare an 8 inch square pan with butter and parchment, for easy removal.

2) Melt in a bain marie butter, chocolate and cocoa powder. Set aside and allow to cool.

3) Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl combine the sugar, eggs and vanilla and beat until pale and has doubled in volume – roughly 3 to 4 minutes. Quickly, but thoroughly, fold the chocolate mixture into the egg and sugar foam. Once combined, add the flour mixture and stir just until combined.

4) Pour batter into prepared baking pan, making sure to even out the top. Bake for 30 minutes if you want that super fudgy brownie, or otherwise 35 minutes. To test the brownie, insert and remove a toothpick into the brownie. It should have moist crumbs clinging to its sides.

5) Once the brownie is adequately baked, let it cool in the pan overnight before cutting.

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  • Mama Leah: Well, my darling, I am extremely impressed and inspired. I, of course, don't have one iota of the culinary skills that you have (except for baking, b
  • saffronandbasil: Thanks for the recipe. By the way, LOVE LOVE your site.