Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Ina Knows Chocolate

Once again, it didn't post. Sorry. I haven't been online much this week. We've been up to our ears in Valentine crafts! Pictures of those coming soon!


And we're back to Ina. (Can y'all tell I've been cooking from my Barefoot collection lately?) Ina says she doesn't much care for chocolate, but she sure does know what to do to make it taste especially good! Lately, I have been making her brownies instead of boxes. Oddly, I always swore boxes were better than any recipe I had ever tried, but these are the first that seem to beat boxes in my book. I know I am losing credibility here. My sister was shocked when I said that I always prefer boxes. But seriously, there are some good box mixes that have a moist, dark flavor that you can't get with most recipes which have cloyingly sweet flavor and are either too goopy (like Hershey's syrup! Bleh!) or way too cakey. Yuck! I will say, my frugal friends, that boxes are definitely the way to go if you are pinching pennies for your family, but if you need something to make special for Valentine's Day or want to bake a special gift batch for friends or teachers, this is a five star recipe, worth the hefty expense. I have already been asked to share it several times. So, (not that you couldn't just click on over to foodnetwork.com) here it is:

Outrageous Brownies

1 lb. unsalted butter
1 lb. plus 12oz. semisweet chocolate chips
6 oz. unsweetened chocolate
6 eggs
3T instant coffee granules
2T vanilla
2 1/4 c. sugar
1 1/4 c. flour, divided
1T baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3 c. chopped walnuts (pecans for me OR chocolate chunks! eh?)

- melt butter, 1 pound chocolate chips, and unsweetened chocolate in a medium bowl over simmering water. allow to cool slightly. in a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together eggs, coffee granules, vanilla, and sugar. stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.
- in another bowl, combine 1c. flour, baking powder, and salt and add to chocolate mixture. toss the nuts in the last 1/4c. flour and then stir them into the batter. pour into a buttered and floured 12 x 18 x 1 baking sheet.
- bake for 20 minutes at 350 then rap the sheet against the oven rack to force any air bubbles out and bake 15 more minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. do not overbake. allow to cool thoroughly, refrigerate, and cut into squares.

Now, I can't say that I like cake box mixes, but I used to be somewhat partial to grocery store cakes. It was a weird phase I went through to compensate for not having them as a kid- guess my mom figured no one would want one like I do now. Anyway, I got over that whole thing and have tried a LOT of chocolate cake recipes since then. For a while, I settled on a divine dark chocolate cupcake recipe until I realized that no one else liked it. Bummer. This is my problem. I like dark chocolate. I don't like a lot of super sweet in a hot chocolate or a mocha or a brownie or a chocolate cake. But some people do. So when I settle on a recipe, it's usually because it's dark enough for me and still sweet enough for kids and mothers-in-law. This cake fits that description. I made it for August's birthday and everyone liked it so much, I made it again for Elspeth's birthday the next week. She actually requested it- changed her order from "pink cake" to "August's cake."

Don't be too hasty with your judgement. When I first made it, I wasn't that impressed with either the cake or the frosting, but something about the marriage of the two is perfection. So, if you are a taster, like me, stay the course, assemble the cake, ice the cake, cut the cake, taste the cake. You won't be disappointed.

Beatty's Chocolate Cake

1 3/4 c. all purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 c. sugar
3/4 c. good cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 c. buttermilk, shaken
1/2 c. vegetable oil
2 eggs at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. freshly brewed coffee

- preheat oven to 350. butter 2 8" cake pans and line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the lined cake pans.
- sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together into the bowl of an electric mixture fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low to combine.
- in another bowl, combine buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. with the mixer on low, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. with the mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
- pour the batter into the prepared pans and baked 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
- place one layer, flat side up, on a cake pedestal and spread a layer of frosting over the top. then place the second layer, rounded side up, on top of the frosted bottom layer and spread frosting over the top and sides.

Beatty's Chocolate Frosting

6oz. good, semisweet chocolate
1/2 lb. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 egg yolk at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4c. powdered sugar
1T instant coffee powder

- chop chocolate and place in a heat-proof bowl over simmering water. stir just until melted, then set aside to cool to room temperature.
- in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter at medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about three minutes. add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for three minutes. turn the mixer to low, gradually add the powdered sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. dissolve the coffee powder in 2tsp. of the hottest tap water. add chocolate and coffee to mixing bowl and mix until blended. don't whip. spread immediately on cooled cake.

2 comments:

Renee said...

Abby,
I pop over here from time to time to check in. I almost always grab a recipe and try it. And your recipes are always BIG hits. Thanks for taking the time to post them! Harris and Laura Beth told us you were in Alabama. Maybe they told you that we will be joining Knollwood when we move to AL? When they first told us you were visiting I wondered if maybe you all were moving there. I freaked out for a second until I realized it was just a visit. We are VERY much looking forward to getting to know Harris and family. We can't believe we are moving to rural AL and God has given us such an amazing pastor just 20 minutes away. I think it will be one of our greatest blessings. I hope you all are well. Love to you and family!!

The Rays said...

these sound delicious! i will definitely have to try them. been thinking about you lately and am in need of a phone date!!

joseph mentioned that he and rick were going to have lunch a couple of weeks ago. i forgot to ask how it went... i think they ran into each other at a rotary club meeting. funny!

let's catch up soon!

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