Saturday, January 25, 2014

Warm Chocolate Pudding Cakes with Whipped Cream & Cacao Nibs

Okay, warm chocolate pudding cakes are seriously one of the best things I have ever tasted in my life. For real. If you are a diehard chocolate lover, you really need to make these.

Maryland was hit with a snowstorm on Tuesday, and even though we only got about 5 - 6 inches, my county school system was shut down for 2 days. And, since I work for the school system, I was off for 2 days. Yippee! It was way too cold to even go outside (single digits during most of those two days and the high was a balmy 14 degrees), so I stayed in and was as lazy as humanly possible. I hung out in sweats, played Scrabble with Greg, updated my Facebook status several times, and went through cookbooks. One of the cookbooks I went through was the Scharrfen Berger "The Essence of Chocolate" cookbook. I came across the recipe for warm chocolate pudding cakes and thought "I NEED to make these!" I ended up making them last night while Greg was out shooting an event. The warm chocolate pudding cakes are rich and chocolatey but not too sweet - and they are the ultimate comfort dessert. So much for my plan of eating healthy! It is really hard to eat healthy when it is so cold outside. Seriously - resolutions to eat healthy should be made in the Spring, not in January. Starting tomorrow though I am challenging myself to not eat sugar for five days (yes, only five days, I set realistic goals for myself). If I don't do this I'm sure my baby will be born addicted to sugar! Healthier posts on the blog will be coming soon. But for now, here is the recipe for these amazingly scrumdiddlyumptious warm chocolate pudding cakes. Enjoy!

Recipe for Warm Chocolate Pudding Cakes with Whipped Cream & Cacao Nibs

For preparing the ramekins/oven safe bowls
Unsalted butter
Cocoa powder (about 2 tablespoons)
For the pudding cakes
3.5 ounces of 99% unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
4 Tbsp. of unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
2/3 cup of granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. of cornstarch
1/4 tsp. of salt
2 eggs
For topping
1/2 cup - 2/3 cup of heavy whipping cream
Cacao nibs

Adjust oven so that a rack is in the middle position and then preheat to 325 degrees.

Butter 4 - 5 ramekins or oven safe bowls that hold at least 6 ounces. Dust the bottoms and sides of each one generously with cocoa powder, making sure to tap out the loose excess powder.

Put the heavy whipping cream and cubed butter into a medium-sized pan. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Once it simmers, immediately add in the finely chopped chocolate. Remove from heat and allow it to sit for one minute. Then whisk the mixture until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is nice and smooth.

In a large bowl, sift the sugar, cornstarch, and salt together. Add in the eggs and whisk. While whisking, add in the melted chocolate and mix until well incorporated. Place a fine mesh strainer over top a 4-cup liquid measuring cup. Pour the mixture through the strainer. You will get about 3 cups of batter in the measuring cup. Pour the batter into the prepared ramekins/oven safe bowls. Place them onto a baking sheet and put into the oven. Cook for 30 - 35 minutes, or until the tops are puffed up and slightly cracked. Allow to cool for 10 - 15 minutes.

While the pudding cakes are cooling, make the whipped cream. Place 1/2 - 2/3 cup of heavy whipping cream into a metal bowl and use an electric hand mixer set on high speed to mix until stiff peaks form. Top each pudding cake with a couple tablespoons of whipped cream and some cacao nibs.

*These are best when warm. If you save them, cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in fridge. Place in microwave for about 25 - 30 seconds before eating.

-This recipe is EASY to make-

Recipe Source: The Essence of Chocolate, by John Scharrfenberger and Robert Steinberg