Posts tagged ‘Chocolate’

September 1, 2014

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Happy Labor Day! I have been on a healthy kick of late, but everyone needs a treat now and again, especially on a holiday! If you have a cheat day coming up (or just want an amazing treat!), put these on your list. (BF and I actually ended up just splitting one cookie and sharing the rest with our co-workers just to satisfy the craving). I think it is hard to beat the original Nestle Tollhouse recipe but these take chocolate chip cookies to a whole new level! Start with disks of Valrhona Dark Chocolate, add it to perfect dough, then use a unique technique to get a cookie soft in the middle and crunchy on the edges…can you say YUM?! These cookies are generous in size, so you may only get a dozen or so out of a batch. We have been searching for this recipe for over a year. The idea came from a mix that has now been discontinued. Be prepared to be patient and prep the dough ahead to allow to cool. These really are worth the wait!



Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups minus 2 Tablespoons of cake flour

1 2/3 cups bread flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon coarse salt (we used kosher)

2 ½ sticks softened butter

2 eggs

1 ¼ cups packed brown sugar

1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

2 Tablespoons heavy cream or milk

2 Tablespoons pure vanilla extract

Pinch of pink salt

~2 cups dark chocolate disks (we found ours at Whole Foods and used 60% dark and 64% Valrhona disks)


  1. Sift together both kinds of flour, baking soda, and baking powder into a small bowl. Stir in coarse salt.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and both kinds of sugar until fluffy.
  3. Blend in eggs, cream and vanilla. Fold in dry ingredients.
  4. Break up some of the chips in a food processor. You will end up with a variety of sizes with lots of whole disks. Think about what you like, but those disks will give you pockets of chocolate and some pretty decoration on the top! It will look like A LOT of chocolate, but ends up being just right.

  5. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let chill in the refrigerator for 1-24 hours. Yes, 24 hours! We actually rushed it by putting this in the freezer for half an hour, but I think it is worth waiting the full 24.
  6. Preheat oven to 375°. Line two cookie sheets with a silpat or parchment paper.

  7. Scoop dough and form into disks (about 2-3″ in diameter). Stack a smaller disk on top of the bottom disk like you are building a snowman…the yummiest snowman ever! This is what really gives you the soft, gooey center with a crispy edge.
  8. Sprinkle each cookie lightly with pink salt. Chill another 10 minutes on the pan before baking.

  9. Bake one sheet at a time on the lowest rack for 13 minutes rotate 180° after 6 minutes.

  10. Look for a light blonde center with brown edges. (See the salt? That might be the biggest key to these!)

Grab a cold glass of milk and enjoy!

May 5, 2013

Chocolate Lavender Pie

Pie is a birthday tradition to celebrate my dad’s birthday. He loves pie and quite honestly, I only actually make it a handful of times in a year. I have worked long and hard on my crust recipe and have finally found just the right thing. It is flaky and flavorful. When I started looking for something to make for this year’s birthday celebration, I stumbled upon the Chocolate Lavender Pie from Sunday Suppers. They are really one of my favorite food blogs and I hope to get to one of their classes in NY one day. As you know, I am incapable of following a recipe exactly, so this is my variation. It turned out great! Pie with a great crust, rich dark chocolate, a whipped cream topping and just a hint of lavender. I chose a 72% dark chocolate which over powered the lavender, but it was a pretty touch! If you love chocolate, this is one to try. Happy birthday dad!!!


Chocolate Lavender Pie

Chocolate Lavender Pie
inspired by this recipe from Sunday Suppers

For the crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp coarse salt
4 T cold butter, cubed
3 T cold lard, cubed
1/4 cup ice water

For the crystallized lavender:
2 tablespoons dried lavender
1/4 cup granulated sugar

For the filling:
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons dried lavender (make sure it’s intended for culinary use)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar (or up to 1/4 cup if your chocolate is very bitter)
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Pinch of coarse salt

For the whipped cream:
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla

To make the crust:
Combine the flour, butter, lard and salt in the bowl of a food process and pulse until it’s cut into the dry ingredients and the mixture has the texture of coarse crumbs. Add the ice water and pulse in 5-second bursts, just until the dough starts to come together. Don’t overwork it!

Turn it out onto a lightly floured board and roll out the dough to slightly larger than a 9-inch pie pan (you can wrap it well in plastic wrap and refrigerate it an hour to let it rest). Prick the bottom with fork tines, and put the pie in the freezer to chill for 15 minutes while you preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Once the oven’s ready and the dough is chilled, spray a piece of foil with nonstick spray and press it, sprayed side down, on top of the pie dough. Fill the pie shell with beans or a pie chain, then bake it for 15 minutes until you see a little color on the sides of the crust. Carefully remove the foil and beans, then continue to bake the crust for an additional 15-20 minutes, until it is fully baked and golden brown. Cover the sides with foil if necessary to ensure the edges don’t burn. Let the crust cool completely before filling it.

For the crystallized lavender:
Boil the lavender in water for 30 seconds, then strain. Pat the lavender mostly dry between layers of paper towel, then roll the slightly damp lavender in the granulated sugar. Separate into individual pieces and let them dry completely.

To make the filling:
Combine the heavy cream, the lavender and gently heat. Allow to steep 5 minutes. Place the chocolate, sugar and salt in the bowl of a double boiler. Pour the cream through a mesh strainer into the bowl of chocolate, straining out the lavender pieces.

Whisk everything together until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is shiny and smooth. Add the room temperature butter and whisk it into ganache.

Cool the mixture to room temperature, whisking occasionally to prevent a skin from forming on top. Once slightly thickened and at room temperature, pour it into the baked crust and refrigerate it until it’s firmly set, at least 4 hours.

Chill your mixing bowl and whisk attachment for 15 minutes before you’re ready to use them. Pour the cream, sugar and vanilla into the chilled bowl into the bowl. Whip on medium speed until firm peaks form, then use immediately.

Garnish chilled pie with whipped cream, sliced strawberries (optional) and crystallized lavender. Slice and enjoy!!

May 19, 2012

Another May Day, Another Birthday!

May is a busy month for us: we kick off the month with Dad’s birthday, then Ali’s birthday, and Mother’s Day not to mention the end of high school golf season (which I coach). Trying to come up with something new to make each day feel special is always a challenge. This year I found some inspiration on Pinterest for some adorable golf inspired cupcakes. Perfect for my sister (and my golf team)! If you have a golfer in your life, these are a great novelty. There wasn’t a recipe for these so I found recipes from some of my favorite places and Mary and I winged the decorations. The cake ended up more like a muffin which was a nice balance for the rich frosting. You could use any of your favorite components as the backdrop for these cupcakes. They are a bit labor intensive, but definitely worth the impact. Have fun with these!



Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

Sprinkles Famous Dark Chocolate Frosting


After preparing the cupcakes and letting them cool, prepare the frosting according to directions. Frost the cupcakes generously. Finely crush 3 graham crackers and set aside. Use a small spoon to make a depression for the “sand trap.” Cover the frosting with green sugar sprinkles. Carefully fill the depression with the crushed graham crackers. Use a dragée as a golf ball and add the flags for the final touch! I ended up making flags with some toothpicks and file labels folded in half and trimmed. J

December 4, 2011

Chocolate Pumpkin Roulade

Now is probably the time to share with you that I am on strike. Pumpkin Pie making strike. Why? I tried for years to create a pumpkin pie that could beat Costco – we even had taste tests – with my crust usually faring well but Costco winning overall. My guess is it is kind of like trying to beat Campbell’s tomato soup, it will never be the same as people’s memory food. I personally think that I accomplished that at least once, but I am not a gelatin in pie fan, so I just can’t create that same texture that people seem to love in store bought pie. I have pretty much perfected my pie crust recipe and would put it up against anyone’s, however I am not going to waste the work on something I don’t really care about. See, I got all caught up in this beating Costco at Thanksgiving challenge that I completely overlooked the fact I don’t actually like pumpkin pie. Since it is a must have for many people at Thanksgiving, that gets delegated for someone to pick up from Costco. Chocolate pumpkin roulade on the other hand is right up my alley. It combines chocolate with a light, creamy, spice filled mousse. This is something you can make ahead and freeze to be pulled out and defrosted during your party (as we did.) You could use it at any holiday party for an instant hit. This is absolutely worth the effort!


My friend Lisa’s mom used to make pumpkin roulade and she made it once. That is what got me thinking about making this. Then we came across Jacques Pepin’s chocolate roulade in Cooking at Home. It is more like flourless chocolate cake in a roll. Since I had many years of experience cutting wedding cakes and having butter cream up to my elbows I really don’t like cake, so this sounded like a perfect compromise, plus we already had our pureed pumpkin and needed to use it. We have made pumpkin mousse in the past several times that came out great and is a LOT lighter than pumpkin pie. I am ok with pumpkin pie – just not after Thanksgiving dinner. I would rather have it for breakfast afterwards. So thank Jacques for the chocolate roulade and the pumpkin cream is our own in place of his crème-Chantilly. He also uses this as the base for bûche de Noel, so you can use this for any upcoming Christmas parties. One more note – this is WAY easier than it looks. I was pleasantly surprised at how easily this came together.


Chocolate Pumpkin Roulade

Chocolate Roulade Ingredients

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, for pan

1 cup heavy cream

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, in small pieces

7 egg whites, room temperature

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon cocoa powder, plus more for garnish

Pumpkin Cream Ingredients

1 pint whipped cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon sugar

1 cup pumpkin puree

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon fresh nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger



Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in center. Butter an 11-by-17-inch jelly-roll pan or a 12-by-17 1/2-inch sheet pan, and line with parchment paper. If you butter half of the parchment and fold it in half then cut a one inch slit in the non-fold corners, you will have a perfect pan liner every time!

In a small saucepan, heat 1 cup cream to a simmer. Add chocolate, reduce heat, and whisk until chocolate is melted. As soon as mixture is a uniform dark color, remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.

In a large bowl and using a hand mixer, whip egg whites and 2 tablespoons sugar to stiff, glossy peaks, about 1 1/2 minutes.

Whisk one-quarter of the egg-white mixture into the chocolate mixture.

Gently fold chocolate mixture back into the original egg-white mixture, and mix until smooth and well combined.

Pour batter into the prepared pan, and spread it in an even layer with a rubber spatula.

Bake until cake is set and puffy, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and cool to room temperature. Lift parchment paper to remove cake from pan, and set it on work surface with long side facing edge of table. Using a fine-mesh sieve, lightly dust cake with cocoa powder.

Make the pumpkin cream. Whip the cream with vanilla and sugar until soft peaks form. Fold in pumpkin puree and remaining spices until just combined. Spread a layer over the cake leaving at least an inch boarder.

Roll the cake lengthwise, starting at a point 2 to 3 inches over the pumpkin cream. Roll cake another few inches, pressing against parchment paper to make a tight spiral. Gently peel parchment paper off as cake layer rolls away.

Complete the roll, stopping at the far edge of the parchment paper.

Tuck the loose parchment paper around and underneath the cylinder so it is well wrapped and can be moved easily.

Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to 4 hours. (You can also freeze the roulade wrapped in the parchment and a layer of plastic wrap.)

When ready to serve, transfer roulade to serving platter. Remove parchment paper, gently rolling cake into center of platter, with seam on bottom. (If roll has slumped or twisted, lay a piece of plastic over top and sides, and reshape with hands.) With a sharp knife, trim both ends of roll crosswise or on a diagonal. Dust top with confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder, and garnish with seasonal fruit. To serve, cut the roll into 1-inch-thick slices, and lay flat on dessert plates.

Please excuse the last photo, I forgot to take a final picture, so this is after being frozen, cut and refrozen and picked at. It was much prettier the day of, especially with a dollop of whipped cream! One of our guests said “I think Jacques would approve of the pumpkin cream.” I think I would have proudly served it to him if I was fortunate enough to host him!

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