Cognac Raspberry Chocolate Lava Cakes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 large eggs
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons Cognac
It’s been a busy couple of months around the Kitchen, with the holidays and wedding planning taking up much of our time. This past week was my birthday, and Mr. Kitchen got me an awesome present — a gift certificate for a workshop with DessertTruck here in NYC, where I will be learning to make macaroons!
Since it’s Super Bowl Sunday, I wanted to pass along a new recipe for these fantastic brownies — with three types of chocolate (baker’s unsweetened, dark, and semi-sweet) and a generous heaping of peanut butter, they’re not too sweet but incredibly rich.
They don’t take long to make, so if you’re planning to head to a party for this evening’s 6:30 kick off, you’ve still got time!
Adapted from a Martha Stewart Recipe
1 stick butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for buttering baking pan
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate (Baker’s provides 1 oz squares, if you’re using a bar, chop the chocolate into chunks)
1 ounce dark chocolate
4 ounces semisweet chocolate morsels, plus an extra 2 ounces for chocolate chunks in the brownies
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Peanut Butter Mixture
1/2 stick of butter (melted)
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan.
Put butter in a double-boiler (set a heatproof over a pan of simmering water). Stir until melted and add chocolate (unsweetened, dark and 4 ounces of the semi sweet morsels), mixing until the chocolate is fully melted and incorporated into the butter. Let cool slightly.
Whisk granulated sugar into chocolate mixture. Add eggs, and whisk until mixture is smooth. Stir in vanilla.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder and add flour mixture to chocolate mixture. Stir until well incorporated (about 3-4 minutes). Stir in the remaining chocolate morsels.
To make the peanut butter swirl mixture, stir together butter, confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, and vanilla in a bowl until smooth. I’ve found that melting the butter in a double boiler, adding the sugar and then the peanut butter and whisking together works well. Just be sure to let the butter cool slightly before adding everything else.
When pouring the batter and peanut butter filling, you’ll have to work quickly. Pour one-half the batter into the buttered pan and spread it evenly with a rubber spatula. Drop heaps of peanut butter filling (about 2 tablespoons each) on the batter, spacing about 1 inch apart. This should amount to about half the peanut butter filling. Pour the remaining batter on top, and gently spread to fill pan. Drop heaps of remaining peanut butter filling on top. Gently swirl peanut butter filling into batter with a butter knife, running the knife lengthwise and crosswise, with the tip of the knife hitting the bottom of the pan.
Bake about 45-50 minutes in center rack of oven, until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into brownies comes out with a few crumbs but is not wet, about 45 minutes. Let cool in pan, slice and remove and let cool completely on a rack.
A trick for cutting brownies: Use a plastic knife! I don’t know why, but it stops the brownies from crumbling/cracking/falling apart while cutting.
I admit, I have been totally delinquent in my blogging, BUT! there has been good reason. Mama Kitchen had surgery this week — everything went smoothly, but I wanted to be here to help take care of her and to help out during the recuperation. So yes, delinquent blogger, but, also, good daughter. I think these things even out. Apparently, the universe has seen fit to reward me today and I couldn’t be happier. You see, I just won a gift certificate to Williams Sonoma. (Did anyone else just hear a choir of angels? Cause I sure did.) And who, you might ask, is the fairy godmother who hath bestowed this unbelievably good fortune? It’s Merci New York, this fantastic resource for chic, sophisticated stylish brides. And while Merci can plan any sort of event, their blog (Merci New York Blog) is an absolute must-read for brides.
Now – on to the recipes! Mama Kitchen chose this next one, but it’s really a perfect fit with our recent focus on fall produce. It’s getting chilly down here in South Carolina and the perfect cure for that? Chowder. Specifically — Chicken and corn chowder.
2 chicken breast cutlets (I’m sorry, I forgot to weigh them), cut into cubes
6 cups chicken stock
2 15.25 oz cans of corn, strained
3 celery stalks, diced
6 small russet potatoes, chopped into chunks
1/2 medium onion or 1 small onion, diced
2 green bell peppers, roughly chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp dill
1 1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp olive oil
2 tbsp flour
In a large soup pot, heat the oil and saute the diced onions until soft (about 3-4 minutes). Then add chicken and cook together with onions over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes. Add celery, green peppers and spices. Cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add chicken stock and bring soup to a boil. Let cook over medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Ladle out 1 cup of the boiling broth into a bowl (or measuring cup). Slowly stir in the 2 tbsp of flour. This will help to thicken your soup. After the flour has been completely incorporated into the broth, return the mixture to the soup pot and stir in and mix completely. Add potatoes and corn. Let cook for another 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Add heavy cream, and mix into broth. Let soup simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes. (Note, you can also use corn starch in place of flour to thicken the soup.)
I won a cookbook giveaway! Since Mr. Kitchen and I have started planning our wedding, I’ve become a devoted wedding blog reader. I recently entered a giveaway hosted by OneWed for the Dam Good Sweet Cookbook by Beard nominee David Guas, and I won! The cookbook features New Orleans-style desserts and I can’t wait to give it a try. (How I’m going to fit into a wedding dress, I have no idea.) Mr. Kitchen is in for a yummy fall! Speaking of yummy, Mr. Kitchen and I have been working tons and tons over the past few weeks, and we are plum tired. So tired, that I forgot to buy tickets for today’s Vendy Awards. So instead of spending the afternoon tasting the delicious fare of some of the city’s best food trucks, we’re heading over to Eataly. Something tells me my bank account is going to be very angry with me later… Hey, some girls shop for shoes — I shop for food!
Anyway, on to fall produce! Next up: Carrots. Definitely one of the most versatile of the fall vegetables, carrots can go in, well almost any dish, and one of the easiest fall dishes to prepare is a hearty, stick to your ribs beef stew. Seriously all you need is the ability to chop, brown and boil to make stew. I’ve used lots of different cuts of beef for stews but I recently tried giving short ribs a try. I really liked the way it turned out — the marbled meat was definitely falling off the bone by the time the stew was done and it was absolutely tender. I’m also a firm believer (and perhaps this is my Irish heritage talking), that you can put in almost any vegetables you’ve got lying around.
7-8 hearty-sized short ribs
3 celery stalk (roughly chopped)
3 shallots (roughly chopped)
2 medium sized carrots (roughly chopped)
2 Yukon Gold potatoes (cut into bite size chunks)
1 sweet potato (or just use 3 Yukons) (cut into bite sized chunks)
1 turnip (roughly chopped)
2 cups beef stock
1 small bottle red wine (I think it’s 375 ml?) (I prefer a cabernet sauvignon for beef stews)
1 tsp salt (to taste)
2 tbsp thyme
1 tbsp tarragon
Flour (for dusting short ribs)
2 tbsp olive oil (for browning ribs)
In a bowl, toss the short ribs with flour, salt and pepper. In a large pot, heat oil and brown the short ribs on all sides. Remove short ribs from pot. In the remaining oil, saute shallots. Once they are soft, add the meat back in and add the wine. Cook over medium heat until the wine is halfway reduced, about 10 minutes. Add beef stock, thyme, tarragon, carrots, turnips and celery and reduce heat, cooking meat until it is very tender (about 1.5 hours). Add chopped potatoes and cook for an additional 45 minutes to an hour, until all vegetables and meat are completely tender. Season with additional salt and pepper as desired.
I’m on vacation this week, and we’re headed out to Michigan to visit Mr. Kitchen’s family. We haven’t seen them since we’ve become engaged so we’re excited to go visit! Also, I am very excited to not get up and schlep on crowded smelly super hot subways for a week. I need to escape from the city, or at least work commuting, fairly regularly or else I get twitchy. Does anyone else living in the city get that? I’m generally a pretty happy person but every once in a while — generally after weeks of working overtime with no end in sight — I start getting irrationally angry at my commute. Once I even kicked a subway car. Guess what? When you do that? The subway car always wins. I had a bruise on my foot for a few days.
Anyway, back to my vacation and visiting my soon-to-be in-laws. I’ve never really cooked for my in-laws, but if I were hosting a meal, I would imagine I would serve something like this. Really, this might be the perfect in-laws over for dinner recipe. 1) It looks impressive 2) It involves crowd-pleaser ingredients (unless your in-laws have nut allergies) 3) It’s pretty easy to make and 4) It’s fairly healthy!
Makes enough for two breasts — Double for your in-laws!
2 tbsp butter
1/4 onion, diced
1/8 cup almonds, chopped or pulsed in food processor
1 tsp parsley flakes
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp Parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup Panko
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese (shredded)
1 tsp butter (melted)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
A bit of olive oil, for drizzling.
Preheat oven to 350º
To form pockets in the chicken: With a very sharp knife, cut from the top (thickest part) of the breast from right to left and top to bottom at approximately a 30 degree angle, so that you’re forming an angled slit throughout the entire length of the chicken. Make sure that you do not cut all the way through the chicken breast (otherwise you’ll have chicken breast halves). Start out easy, making a slow, shallow cut. You can always go back and cut deeper.
The stuffing: Melt butter in sauce pan and saute onions and peppers. Add salt and pepper to taste. Allow mixture to cool. After it has cooled, mix cooked peppers and onions with almonds, egg and Parmesan. Spoon mixture into chicken pockets.
The topping: In a bowl, mix together Dijon and melted butter. Brush some of this over the chicken breasts. Mix remaining butter/Dijon with panko and Parmesan, and spoon on top of breasts, pressing the topping on gently to set it. Drizzle tops of chicken breasts with a bit of olive oil. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until chicken is thoroughly cooked.
As the size of my butt can attest, I love food. Some of my fondest memories of when I first began dating Mr. Kitchen, my almost-husband, involve cooking for him. He swears the first thing I made for him was Empanadas, but I think it was sausage and peppers. In either case, I do remember he always asked for seconds. He still does. I think I did, in some way, cook my way into his heart. He says that my cooking showed him I cared for him — that I wanted to take care of him. I think that’s likely true for a lot of people, but let’s face it — the cliche “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” exists for a reason. I know lots of women who agonize over cooking for their would-be boyfriend for the first-time. They want to bring their A-game, to somehow make their guy all weak-kneed in their domestic goddess presence. For any of you who might be searching for that perfect, but not terribly hard “wow” recipe, I present “You’re Gonna Remember Me Berry Brown Bettys.”
This recipe is great for two reasons: you can prep much of this beforehand; and it’s super fast to make. I can’t imagine any man who would turn this down, when served warm with fresh whipped cream. It’s got a magical mixture of Challah bread, berries, butter, sugar…. really could anything be better? Plus, that leftover Challah? Well I’ve got another recipe for you in case the date goes really well and he’s there for breakfast.
Adapted from Gourmet and Smitten Kitchen
Makes six individual desserts
3/4 stick salted butter
1/8 cup light brown sugar
4 tbsp All-purpose flour
1/2 cup Japanese bread crumbs (Panko)
1/2 cup blueberries, rinsed
1 cup strawberries, rinsed, stemmed and sliced
1 teaspoon lemon juice or 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
Whipped cream (this can be refrigerated for a couple of hours beforehand if you’re making it fresh)
A muffin tin (preferably holding six muffins, but 12 will do)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a small sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat until golden. Remove from heat. Use a brush to coat the muffin tin. (Note: If you’re using a 12-muffin tin, only coat six of the spaces unless you are doubling this recipe.) Slice six pieces off Challah loaf and gently cut crusts off. Roll the bread with a rolling pin until flattened. Brush both sides of the bread with butter and gently press slices into muffin tin (one slice in each space). Stir together brown sugar, flour and Panko. If using zest, incorporate into dry ingredients, otherwise, incorporate lemon juice into strawberries and blueberries. Add remaining butter to mixture. Toss ingredients gently to coat berries in flour/Panko/sugar mixture. Spoon heaping spoonfuls into muffin tin, pressing down gently to pack mixture in.
Note: If you are using a 12 muffin tin and are only making six Brown Bettys, be sure to fill the empty spaces about halfway full with water. This will prevent scorching in the pan and burning your Bettys!
Cover the pan with foil and bake for 15 minutes, then remove foil and cook for another 10-15 minutes, until strawberries are tender. (Some of the blueberries may burst — don’t worry, they taste better that way!) Let stand for 5-7 minutes and top with whipped cream. These are best when served warm.