Thursday, May 27, 2010

Flourless Chocolate Cake

The other day something unprecedented happened: I ran out of flour. I may not always have all the random ingredients required for my recipes, but I always have flour. And sugar. And butter. I have an entire box full of basic baking supplies that I always keep stocked so that I can whip up something tasty at a moment's notice. Somehow I had let my flour supply dwindle into nothingness. Disaster! 

Rather than going to Safeway to restock, I decided to Google recipes that didn't require flour. (It's a million degrees outside, I refuse to go out if I can avoid it.) The first recipe that popped up: flourless chocolate cake. How could I have forgotten about flourless chocolate cake?

This was probably the easiest, least fussy cake I've ever made. Melt some butter and chocolate, throw in some sugar and eggs and cocoa, and bake. 20 minutes later, a rich, sinfully chocolate-y dessert pops out of the oven. Mmm, chocolate.

I considered throwing in some ice cream, since I had vowed to always use ice cream in my cakes from now on. But, I figured that the cake would be plenty moist and rich as is, so I changed my mind. If it ain't broke...

The cake was a success! Dense, rich, and intensely chocolate-y. Delicious by itself, but even better with a little caramel drizzled on top.

Recipe from Epicurious.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Dan (on the phone): "What are you up to?" 
Me: "I'm making eggs in a hole." 
Dan: "...why are you in a hole?" 
Me: "No, I'm making eggs in a hole. eggs inside a piece of bread."
Dan: "Weird."

Actually, eggs-in-a-hole aren't weird at all! Super delicious, maybe, but not weird. And it's really easy to make. Just take a small drinking glass, cut a hole in the middle of a slice of bread, crack an egg into the hole, and boom -- instant delicious meal.

I had a little bit of trouble with flipping today. Usually the egg cooks right into the bread and it's easy to turn the whole thing over at once. But I had the pan on lower heat than usual, to avoid frying the egg, and forgot to take into account the fact that lower heat = slower cooking. So when I went in for the flip, the egg hadn't adhered to the bread yet, and the whole thing almost fell apart. Luckily, after I let the egg cook on the same side for another minute, the problem was solved.

Once the bread + egg were properly flipped and toasted, I just threw on a handful of shredded cheese, sauteed up some spinach, tossed on some over-ripe avocados, and dug in. Delicious! 


- 1 slice of bread (I used 9-grain)
- 1 egg
- Pinch of salt

(1) Take a shot glass or small drinking glass, and cut a hole in the center of the bread. Set aside the bread circle.
(2) Toast bread in pan on medium heat. Crack the egg into the hole. Cook for about a minute, or until the egg moves with the bread when you lift a corner with a spatula.
(3) Gently flip the bread over to cook the other side of the egg. Cook for a minute. The yolk should still be runny when you cut into it.
(4) Sprinkle with salt.
(5) Serve with sides of your choice.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Lemon Rum Madeleines

I always thought madeleines were cookies. Am I alone in this? They look like little shell-shaped cookies. But when I gave them to my friends today, one of them took a bite and immediately said "Whoa, is this like, the tiniest cake ever?" Turns out...yes...yes they are. According to wikipedia, madeleines are actually very small sponge cakes

Madelines are made with genoise cake batter, which means that instead of using chemical leavening, air is added during the mixing process to give the cake volume. Translation: lots and lots of beating make the batter light and airy. I had to bust out my electric mixer for this one.

The recipe I was using called for orange extract and orange zest. I had neither orange flavoring nor oranges. I did, however, have rum-flavored extract and lemon juice. Since madeleines are traditionally lemon-flavored anyway, I figured adding the two ingredients wouldn't be too much of a stretch. Emily, who was helping me make these, just rolled her eyes and muttered something about "the missing ingredient."

I've never actually eaten a madeleine until today, but these were really fantastic. Light and fluffy yet chewy, sweet, buttery, and just slightly lemony. Couldn't really taste the rum, but I didn't really miss it. The cakes were delicious by themselves, but I imagine they'd go great with tea.

Lemon Rum Madeleines


- 2/3 cup flour
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon rum extract
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 cup powdered sugar

(1) Preheat oven to 350.
(2) Spray madeleine pan with Pam or other non-stick spray.
(3) Mix together flour and baking powder in small bowl. Set aside.
(4) In a large bowl, beat together eggs, extract, and lemon juice with an electric mixer on high speed for 5 minutes.
(5) Gradually add in powdered sugar. Beat another 5 minutes until thick.
(6) Gently fold the flour mixture into the batter.
(7) Add melted butter. Mix until smooth.
(8) Spoon one tablespoon of batter into the center of each shell indentation. (It will smooth out by itself, and pouring the batter into the center will give the cakes that signature "hump" in the middle.)
(9) Bake for about 8 minutes, or until edges are light brown.
(10) When cool, sprinkle tops with powdered sugar. (Optional!)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Chocolate Fudge

I was in Boston the last two weeks, visiting Dan. Unfortunately, while I'm done with school already, he's still got weeks and weeks of classes and final labs left, and a thesis project to work on. Which meant, of course, that I was left to my own devises at home all day while he did complicated engineering stuff at school. I was bored. A lot. Like, really really bored. So I made fudge.

As it turns out, fudge is not exactly a complicated thing to make, but it's also not easy to make good fudge. The ingredients are simple, and the steps are straightforward, but a lot of monitoring and stirring and temperature-measuring are required. 

I don't have a candy thermometer. Dan definitely doesn't have a candy thermometer. But you need one to make fudge. I was supposed to let the chocolate boil to 234 degrees, and then let it cool down to 130 degrees before adding the last bit of butter. Obviously I had no way of measuring that so I just stuck my hand above the saucepan and said "Yup, that feels pretty hot," then turned the heat down for 10 minutes and called it day. Sometimes I think I should have called this blog "Just Winging It In the Kitchen."

The fudge turned out to be rich and intensely chocolate-y, but...grainy. That's the only way to describe it. It's like the sugar didn't quite dissolve, and you could still feel all the individual grains of that undissolved sugar. Not exactly unpleasant, but definitely not what you'd expect in fudge. After talking to Dan's mother (who is my baking idol), I've come to the conclusion that this graininess is probably the result of not having cooked the ingredients to the right temperature. Apparently my super scientific hand-over-pan method was inadequate. This can only mean one thing: time to buy a candy thermometer. 

Recipe can be found at the Food Network's website, courtesy of Alton Brown.