It has been a bit quiet over here, hasn’t it? August was a tough month, but it ended brilliantly, and now we’re back!
When I first read this recipe, I thought I’d make just a tiny change, using honey instead of corn syrup. I went to the grocery store to buy pecans, but I forgot that the recipe called for three cups, so I only bought a small packet! So that was another thing I had to adapt – I used only two cups of nuts (pecans and walnuts). Then, when I was sorting the ingredients for the picture, I realized I was out of chocolate chips and did not have enough coconut flakes – so I used a chocolate bar, chopped, and some shredded coconut! 😀 Even with all these adaptations, the bars turned out great! 🙂
For a 9 x 13 inch pan, you’ll need:
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup confectioner’s sugar
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ cup (170 g) unsalted butter, chopped into cubes
Tasty chocolate layer
1 ½ cup chocolate chips – I chopped a 70% cacao chocolate bar
3 large eggs
¾ cup packed brown sugar
¾ cup honey
¼ cup (60 g) melted butter – yes, we’re using butter again in this recipe! 😀
1 cup of sweetened coconut flakes – I used a mix of unsweetened coconut flakes and shredded coconut
2 cups pecans – I mixed pecans and walnuts, but I think it’d be pretty tasty using hazelnuts!
As most bar recipes, start by preparing the pan: butter a 9 x 13 inch pan and cover it with aluminum foil, leaving a “handle” to help remove the bars from the pan. Butter the aluminum foil WELL, being careful not to tear it. I feel I need to stress the concept of buttering the foil WELL: I didn’t do it (I’m starting to believe August is really a messed-up month), and a big piece of the bar STUCK to the pan in a way that I had never seen! 😦
Spread the nuts evenly over another baking sheet. Toast the nuts for 10 minutes, stirring every now and then. Set aside
In a bowl, whisk the flour, confectioners’ sugar, and cocoa powder. Add the cold butter, and use your fingertips to crush it until the mix resembles coarse meal – or you can be traditional and use a pastry blender! I just don’t care much for pastry blenders 😀 Press this mixture on the bottom of the prepared baking sheet, and bake in a preheated oven for 15 minutes.
Immediately after removing the base from the oven, spread the chocolate chips evenly over the entire surface – the chocolate will melt quickly, creating a very tasty layer 😀
Let it cool over a wire rack for at least 30 minutes.
In a bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add the brown sugar, the honey, and the melted butter. Mix well until all the ingredients are combined. Add the coconut and the nuts.
Pour this mixture over the cooled base and bake on a pre-heated oven for about 35 minutes, or until the filling has set and the edges are golden-brown. Let it cool over a wire rack for about 1 hour, and then place it in the fridge for another hour.
Use the foil “handles” to remove the bars from the baking sheet. Place them over a cutting board, cut them with a sharp knife and serve!
You know, sometimes all we need is something that is simple, but looks complicated, complex, sophisticated. Or something that has a fancy name!
This recipe, from Technicolor Kitchen, fulfilled an old desire of mine: I always wanted to make Lamingtons, but was too lazy to make the traditional ones!
125 g unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ¼ cup flour
1 ¼ rsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
½ cup whole milk, lukewarm
1 cup of sweetened coconut flakes – I must confess I didn’t really measure! As I can’t find sweetened coconut flakes in Uruguay, I used shredded coconut.
For the icing, you’ll need:
¾ confectioner’s sugar, passed through a fine mesh sieve – can I use regular sugar? Probably NOT.
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, passed through a fine mesh sieve
1/3 cup boiling water
1 ½ Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
As in brownie recipes, start by preparing the baking sheet (i used a 9 x 13 inch one): line it with aluminum foil and butter the foil – do so CAREFULLY, to prevent tears. I ran out of aluminum foil that day (the horror!), so I used parchment paper – make sure you butter it as well!
In the stand mixer, cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla until the mixture is light and fluffy. This will take about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition – remember to use the silicone spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl!
Turn off the mixer. With your silicone spatula, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt, until it’s all well incorporated. Mix in the milk. You’ll get a reasonably thick batter. Spread it over the baking sheet, making sure to smooth the surface with your spatula.
Bake in a pre-heated oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. This cake doesn’t raise or color much, don’t worry. Let it cool COMPLETELY in the pan over a cooling rack.
When the cake has cooled, cut it into bars – cutting before pouring the icing makes the bars look pretty on the sides! 🙂
It’s time for the ridiculously complicated icing. Ready? Mix all icing ingredients in a bowl. There. With a spoon and a little bit of patience, spread the icing over the bars. Top them with coconut and serve!
Another great thing about these bars is that they freeze PERFECTLY! Wrap individual portions in plastic wrap. When you really need something sweet, just remove from the freezer and let it thaw a little bit – they’re pretty tasty cold! 🙂
Better late than never! May is over, but this is such a different recipe that I didn’t want to save it for later! (Blame the Abrates conference for my delay in posting this! Hahahahah!)
To end the Chocolate Tertulias (and celebrate my birthday, which was on the 19th), I decided to make a cake I had seen at A Cozinha Coletiva, a blog I’ve been following for years, but had never tried a recipe from.
I must confess: halfway through the recipe, I was “man, this is not going to work…” But I persisted, and it was worth it! The texture is very unusual: it resembles a cake, but also a pudding, or maybe something else… and it’s delicious!
For an 8 x 8 inch cake, you’ll need
110 g (1 cup) unsalted butter
600 ml (2 and 1/2 cups) whole milk, lukewarm
115 g (1 cup) all-purpose flour
45 g (1/2 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
4 egg whites
4 drops white vinegar
4 egg yolks
210 g (1 and 3/4 cup) confectioner’s sugar
30 ml (2 Tbsp) prepared – and strong – coffee – you can also use espresso
1 tsp vanilla extract
For garnish (optional, but go ahead and do it):
Berries – I looked all over town for raspberries, as it was my birthday! 😀
Attention: Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius – yes, the lowest temperature!
Start by melting the butter and warming up the milk. Set them aside.
In a small bowl, whisk the flour and cocoa powder. I managed to BREAK my whisk while doing that! I still can’t figure out how I did that, but you’re (probably) a more normal person, so you won’t do that… 😀
Using the stand mixer, whisk the egg whites with the vinegar, which is there to help you reach hard peaks – have you seen that trick of turning the bowl upside-down and seeing if the egg whites will fall on your head? That’s it. If it doesn’t move, it’s ready.
In the third bowl, which should be large enough to fit all the ingredients, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until you get a light and pale cream – I had to use a FORK to whisk, can you imagine? In this bowl, add the melted (and cooled) butter, the coffee, and the vanilla. Whisk for two minutes, until combined.
Add the milk and mix well. This is when it looks as if it’s ruined, because it’s too liquid. Don’t worry, that’s how it’s supposed to be! 🙂
Add the whisked egg whites, one-third at a time, in a delicate folding motion.
Once again: don’t freak out, it is pretty liquid indeed, but it works! Pour the mix over a well-greased 8 x 8 baking pan, and bake for 50 to 60 minutes.
Ritchie’s description for how to know when the cake is ready was perfect: “bake until you notice that, when you wiggle the pan, the cake wiggles too, but more like jell-o than a liquid. It sounds like a weird description, but you’ll understand.” And you really will! 😀
Let it cool completely. When the cake is fully cooled, cut in squares, dust some confectioner’s sugar, decorate with some berries for extra frou-frou, and serve!
When my mom bought a bread machine, in 2000 something, we were curious about one of the recipes in the booklet that came with it: chocolate bread. We made it, but it was only ok, so we never repeated it. Last month, when I found this recipe by David Lebovitz, I decided it was time to give the idea of chocolate bread a second chance.
Don’t fool yourself: this is not a cake. It’s not a fluffy bread with a hint of chocolate, either. This dense bread has a deep chocolate flavor, and it is wonderful when toasted, with a little bit of butter! It’s perfect for a special breakfast, say… a birthday breakfast! 😀
55 g (4 Tbsp) butter
85 g dark chocolate – I used a 71% one
¾ cup whole milk, lukewarm
2 ¼ tsp instant dry yeast
75 g (6 Tbsp) sugar
1 ½ tsp instant coffee – optional, but highly recommended
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp salt
280 g (2 cups) all-purpose flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
90 g (3/4 cup) dark chocolate chips, or dark chocolate, chopped – I used chocolate chips, 50%
70 g (½ cup) walnuts, almonds, or hazelnuts, chopped – also optional, also highly recommended! I used walnuts.
Start by melting the dark chocolate with the butter in a double boiler, or on very low heat. When it melts, remove from the heat and let it cool down.
In a big bowl, place the lukewarm milk, yeast, and one Tbsp of the sugar. Mix and set aside for 10 to 15 minutes. When the mixture has bubbled, with a layer that looks like beer foam, it’s time to add the rest of the sugar, instant coffee (if you’re using it), egg, vanilla, and salt.
As the cocoa powder tends to clump, sift half of it and half of the flour directly in the bowl. Mix with a silicone spatula. Add the melted chocolate, mix a little bit more, and sift the remainder cocoa powder and flour. Mix until it’s all incorporated.
If you have a stand mixer, use the hook attachment and knead for five minutes – the dough won’t stick to the side of the bowl for long, but keep kneading anyway! You can also knead by hand (the original recipe called for mixing vigorously with a spatula for five minutes), but resist the temptation to add more flour. The dough is a little wetter than that of normal bread!
Cover the bowl and let the dough rise for two hours in a warm place. After this, add the chocolate chips and the nuts. Place the dough in a buttered 9-inch loaf pan.
Cover the pan and let the dough rise for one hour. Bake in a pre-heated oven for approximately 40 minutes. The bread will be ready when the house smells of chocolate and you hear a hollow sound when you tap it.
Now comes the hard part: let the bread cool completely before slicing it!
I did some serious thinking before deciding on the theme for May: “I want to do chocolate, but then again, right after Easter, is it worth it?, etc…” until I realized: who gets sick of chocolate? 😀
To start off the Chocolate Tertulias, I decided to finally photograph my second favorite chocolate cake! My very favorite chocolate cake is the one my mom makes, but that is for another series 😛 Devil’s food loaf is similar to that cake, but the frosting is very different – and the best part of it!
45g unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ tsp baking soda
100 ml boiling water
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
3 medium eggs
233g brown sugar
½ cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
60 g dark chocolate, chopped
14g unsalted butter
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Tbsp whole milk
½ Tbsp honey
Start by preparing your loaf pan (mine was 8.5 x 9.5 inches): butter it, line it with parchment paper, making sure there’s an excess of paper so it’s easy to take the cake out of the pan, and then butter the parchment paper!
In a small bowl, whisk the cocoa with the boiling water. Mix in the baking soda and let it cool for 20 minutes.
In a medium bowl, thoroughly whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt. In the stand mixer, mix the eggs, sugar, and oil, until you get a smooth cream. Add the vanilla. Mix in the flour mixture – at this stage, I prefer to use a rubber spatula, but that’s just me. Add the cocoa/water mix and combine well.
Pour the batter into the pan. Now, something different: tap the pan on the counter a few times, to remove air bubbles from the batter. I don’t know what horrible thing happens if you skip this step; I never did! 😀
Bake in a pre-heated oven until it passes the toothpick test – here, it took about 50 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing it – you’ll see how the parchment paper trick makes the process easy! Let the cake cool completely.
When it’s completely cooled, it’s time to make the frosting. Melt the chocolate and butter in a small pan, over a water bath. While the chocolate melts, mix the cocoa powder, milk, and honey in another small pan, stirring constantly over high heat until it simmers. Pass the contents of this second pan through a sieve over the chocolate and butter mixture, stirring well (I must confess: I sometimes just mix the contents of both pans, without fussing with the sieve). Spread the frosting over the cake – do this immediately, as it dries quickly.
Test your willpower by letting the frost set for a couple hours before serving!
Before I went to Brasília, I made a list of the recipes I wanted to cook there for the blog – things with kale, yellow carrot, and other ingredients I can’t find in Uruguay. With everything I had to do there, I didn’t cook ANY of them! 😮 Then, we came up with the idea of a “Jota’s recipes” series, which would only feature recipes tested by my brother. We selected a few recipes and… we only cooked this one. 😦
But what a recipe! I always made the same cheesecake recipe, with ricotta, but this is a very different and tasty version – unlike what I had imagined, this is not too sweet! And you can still make it for Easter lunch! 😉
For the base:
240 g corn flakes
70 g unsalted butter, melted
4 Tbsp cocoa powder
For the filling:
200 g hazelnut
500 g cream cheese
200 g heavy cream
85 g sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
For the topping:
170 g dark chocolate
200 g heavy cream
Ferrero Rocher chocolates, to decorate
Start by making the base: in the food processor/blender, finely process the corn flakes. Add the melted butter and the cocoa powder and mix well. Cover the bottom of a 10-inch round springform pan with the crust, pressing well, and place it in the fridge to firm up. You don’t need to butter your pan, as the crust is buttery enough.
While the crust is in the fridge, place the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and roast them in a pre-heated oven. The process takes about 15 minutes. Every now and then, shake the baking sheet so that the hazelnuts don’t burn. You’ll know they are ready when the kitchen is smelling of hazelnuts 😀
Place the hot hazelnuts straight on the blender and blend WELL, until it becomes a paste. This is a lengthy process: Jota and I weren’t willing to wait that long, so we just ground them up, it was good! #truestory
In a bowl, mix the hazelnuts with the cream cheese, 200 g of cream, vanilla, and sugar, until it is nicely mixed. I mixed the cream cheese with the cream first, with a spatula, and then added the remaining ingredients of the filling, but that was just because I didn’t want to get the mixer dirty! 😀 Pour this cream over the cold crust, then cover your pan with plastic wrap and put it back in the fridge to firm up.
Meanwhile, place the cream and dark chocolate in a small pan over low heat (or a bain-marie if you’re more patient than I am), stirring well until all the chocolate is melted. Let it cool down a bit and cover the cheesecake with the ganache. Decorate with the Ferrero Rocher chocolates, put it back on the fridge for at least 30 minutes, and serve!
To begin our Christmas Tertulias, also known as edible gifts, I decided to cook a recipe I’ve always been curious about. We don’t eat fudge in Brazil, but when I was a child a lot of books mentioned that somebody had made it for Christmas and, of course, Honeydukes sold Fudge Flies! (#Potterhead)
I’ve read several fudge recipes: some are more complicated, requiring a candy thermometer and a lot of patience, and some are more straightforward. Obviously, I chose the easiest one I could find, by Patricia Scarpin! While I was writing this post, I realized I had (involuntarily) adapted the recipe – I had read it wrong and only used ½ cup of sweetened condensed milk, instead of ½ can! 😀
This is a GREAT gift – it’s different (well, if you’re from Brazil), it will stay firm unrefrigerated, it’s delicious and… it’s so easy to make! A lot less stressful than trying to go to a shopping mall this late in the season!
To make the (adapted) fudge, you’ll need:
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk – do NOT swap for evaporated milk!
330 g of a good dark chocolate, chopped – as the recipe is basically chocolate, the quality matters quite a lot. I used a 64% cocoa chocolate.
1 Tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract – you’ll see that the picture looks like a lot more, and that’s right: my homemade extract wasn’t quite full-strength yet, so I added some.
Chopped walnuts, to taste − completely optional. You can use walnuts, hazelnuts… or nothing at all.
Start by lining a 20 x 20 cm (8 x 8 inch) baking pan with aluminum foil − leave extra foil on the sides to form handles, so that it is easy to remove the fudge from the pan.
Chop the chocolate into small chunks – as mine came in discs, I didn’t bother chopping. In a heavy-bottomed pan, place the chocolate, the sweetened condensed milk, and the water. Cook on low heat, stirring constantly, until the chocolate is completely melted.
When the chocolate is melted, you’ll notice that the fudge is in a thicker consistency. Turn off the stove and add the vanilla. Transfer the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the surface.
Spread the chopped nuts over the fudge, pressing lightly so that they stick – I once forgot to press and the nuts fell off as the fudge cooled #fail. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for about 2 hours.
Use the foil handles to remove the fudge and cut it into 2.5-cm (1 inch) cubes. In theory, they last approximately 1 week in the fridge. Here, they lasted about three hours…. #self-control 😀
To end our Muffin Tertulias, nothing better than a VERY CHOCOLATY chocolate muffin – there’s cocoa and chocolate in the recipe! In addition, as the recipe calls for yoghurt, these are very soft. In fact, they were tastier on the second day!
The only part that takes a little bit of work is chopping the chocolate! I use normal chocolate, because I can’t find decent chocolate chips (only those with hydrogenated fat, ewwww). If you find decent chocolate chips, your muffins will be even prettier!
This recipe yields A LOT: I got 12 normal muffins and 15 mini-muffins! I think it would yield 16-18 normal-sized muffins .
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 cups dark chocolate chips – I’ll add more next time!
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup whole-fat unsweetened yoghurt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup white chocolate chips, for decorating
This is the easiest of all the recipes in this series – we don’t even need to melt the butter! 🙂
In the first bowl (the smallest), mix the dry ingredients. In the second bowl (a bigger one that can fit all the ingredients), mix the wet ingredients. Combine the dry and wet mixtures with a rubber spatula. As always, don’t mix too much – muffin batter really is a little lumpier than cake batter, so just mix until you can’t see flour specks anymore!
Fill the muffin cups, always to only 3/4 full. Sprinkle a few white chocolate chips on the top and bake for 20 minutes, or until they pass the toothpick test! 🙂
Let them cool down on a rack and CHOW DOWN!