Wednesday, January 9, 2013

molten chocolate cake with mint ice cream


(With Valentine's day still a few weeks away, between now and then, I thought I would share a few recipes that I think would be a nice way to celebrate.)

I love mint and chocolate together. During high school summers, I worked in a restaurant that would give a couple Andes mints to dinner guests at the end of their meal. The chocolates were kept in a large box in the walk-in fridge and they practically screamed at me every time I walked in there - their shiny green wrappers flashing at me, faint chilled mint fragrance calling my name. I considered it to be a sign of great personal self-control that I did not eat them all day long.

For ice cream, I have faithfully selected mint chocolate chip all my days, but my husband is pretty "meh" about it. He doesn't actually like the chocolate blended into the ice cream. I recall him saying, 'Now, if someone could make like a plain mint ice cream, I might be into that." Challenge accepted.

If you do not share my obsession for mint ice cream, please substitute whatever ice cream flavor you prefer in it's place. But I do strongly believe in including ice cream with warm molten chocolate cake. It is such a nice contrast between the cool sweet ice cream and the warm bitter chocolate cake. I love how the ice cream melts at the edges and puddles up.

Nowadays whenever I see a recipe for molten chocolate cake, it is always accompanied by some apology about how 90's it is or so cliche because every restaurant serves it. I would only like to say the 90's were awesome and molten chocolate cake is everywhere because it is so stinkin' good. True, not all versions are good, but the recipe below is a very good recipe. It is dark chocolatey and not too sweet. Also, it can be mixed up and portioned out ahead of time and placed in the refrigerator until ready to bake. It feels like a 'ta-da' moment to bring these little darlings out to end a dinner.

One note: the recipe below instructs to bake the cakes in a muffin tin. I have followed those steps before and it works quite fine. However, if you are making this dessert for less than six (say two people for Valentine's day dessert *wink*), I would recommend using individual ramekins and only bake the number desired. Prep the ramekins just like the muffin tin. The remaining will keep for another day. I have refrigerated this cake batter up to a full 24 hours before serving and it still baked up lovely. Just increase the bake time by 2 minutes.

Both recipes are from Martha Stewart.

mint ice cream recipe here.

molten chocolate cake
(makes six small cakes)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for muffin tins
1/3 granulated sugar, plus more for muffin tins
3 large eggs
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Generously butter 6 cups of standard muffin tin. Dust with granulated sugar, and tap out excess. Set aside.

2) In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and granulated sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. With the mixer on low speed, beat in flour and salt until just combined. Beat in chocolate until just combined. Divide batter evenly amount prepared muffin cups.

3) Place muffin tin on a baking sheet; bake just until tops of the cakes no longer jiggle with the pan is lightly shaken, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes. (Resist the urge to rush the 10 minutes of standing time. This brief rest time helps ensure that the cake will actually turn out of the pan. I am writing from experience here.)

4) To serve, turn out the cakes, and place on serving plates, bottom sides up. Dust with confectioners' sugar, and serve with whipped cream, if desired. (or my recommendation- mint ice cream!)





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