Sunday, March 8, 2009

Chocolate Sweets for Nicaragua

Yeah, finally some time to catch up on the things I love, quality time with my husband, baking, google reader, blogging, cooking, pilates, etc. So, gonna try and get my outstanding posts up today.

To start with, I am going to write about the yummy chocolate treats I made right before moving down to San Jose for the trial to send to the wonderful French volunteers of my husband's Nicaraguan non-profit blueEnergy. There are all these wonderful, talented and amazing French volunteers that give many months to even a few years living in Bluefields, Nicaragua to volunteer for blueEnergy. They love their chocolate and nutella, and these things are really hard to come by in Nicaragua. So, whenever my husband goes down there I send him with chocolate, and lately I have been sending him with homemade chocolate sweets.

This time I made Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Brandy-Soaked Dark Chocolate Mini-Bundt Cakes. Luckilly, both received rave reviews. I made these after pulling an almost all-nighter (time wise) at work. We had pre-trial filings due on Friday the 13th! And, my team needed to work around the clock to get it done. I couldn't work like normal because of my recovering eye, but I felt too bad leaving them and going home to sleep. So I stayed for moral support, and a little help and direction (and took cat naps on a partner's couch!). That Friday night was the only chance I had to bake before moving to San Jose, so I made the TWD Devil's Food White Out Cake, and these two chocolate treats. I was one tired chick when I went to bed around 1am! So, very thankful everything turned out well.

On to the food and recipes. So the Brandy-Soaked Dark Chocolate Mini-Bundt Cakes were an inspiration from Family Friendly Food blog. Not entirely sure how I stumbled upon her post for her Whisky-Soaked cakes, but I knew that it looked like a chocolate lover's dream and that the booze might help keep it moist during its journey from San Francisco to Bluefields, Nicaragua. I deciped that for transport I would make individual mini-bundt cakes and individually wrap them well. I also thought that adding a little chocolate ganache would up the chocolate and wow factor. You can find the cake recipe here. I followed it exactly except substituted the whisky for brandy. They ended up looking like doughnuts.

The ganache recipe was modified from Bakewise by Shirley O. Corriher. It tasted great (so I was told) and was nice and thick and shiny, and firmed up into nice hard coating - good for wrapping and packing. I highly recommend this book, it is great for anyone who wants to learn about the why things work and don't.

Shiny Ganache Glaze

16 oz semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup

In a large heavy saucepan, carefully bring the cream and sugar to a boil. Watch constantly. Let simmer for 1 minute. Pour the hot cream mixture into a medium mixing bowl that has a wide surface. Stir in the corn syrup. Let cool about 30 seconds. All at once, pour the chopped chocolate over the entire surface. Jar or barely shake the bowl to get the chocolate to settle. Allow to stand about 30 seconds before stirring. Then start stirring in the middle, blending the melted chocolate and creat together. Try not to incorporate air. Stir slowly until all the chocolate is melted and blended. Use immediately, or refrigerate and reheat to thin.

The Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies:

2 ½ cups flour
1/c cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup Nutella
2 cups chocolate chips or 2 Ghiradelli Luxe Milk Chocolate Hazelnut Bars (6 oz) chopped.
1 cup hazelnuts (if using chocolate chips); or ½ cup hazelnuts (if using hazelnut choc. Bar)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. In a bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.
3. In the bowl of a standing mixer (or using hand beater) combine the sugars and the
butter on medium speed and cream until smooth and light. Add the eggs one at a time.
Add the vanilla and then Nutella.
4. Add the flour mixture on low speed just until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips or
chunks and nuts.
5. On an ungreased baking sheet, place heaping tablespoons or small ice cream scoop of
batter about 3 inches apart. Bake for 12 minutes until set but soft. Remove and cool on a rack.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, this looks so good. I'm jealous that you made the mini cakes with ganache.
    But I’m glad everyone liked them. Good to know they travel well.
    Now, as for me, every time I see a photo of that cake, I want to make it again… so, this only means it’ll be ion the menu again soon.
    Thanks for visiting my blog and linking.