Saturday, January 23, 2010

Saturday Splurge: Easy Molten Lava Cakes

Well, I have decide that as part of posting more, I'll allow myself one really non-healthy recipe per week. Because we all want something just amazing and non-healthy now and then, and in small quantities, why not? I won't put the nutrition info for you in the spirit of needing to give in now and then.

Some of you may not believe me for the "easy" on this recipe, but I swear it is. One of my kitchen helpers saw me make it and was just stunned at how fast it went together. In France, I got a recipe book called "Moelleux et coeurs coulants" - which means little super moist cakes and cakes with a runny center. Like many French desserts, these are made serving-size, so it's easy to portion them. I had half of one and was content. (And if anyone tells you I ate part of the batter while waiting for them to cook, they're lying!) I tried one recipe on Tuesday, but it was not very impressive. My friends still ate it, and thought it tasted good, but it just wasn't what I was hoping for. So I insisted on trying again on Thursday (with a different recipe from the same book) and had real success! The result, instead of being called "good" was instead named a "mouthgasm." That's as much of a compliment as I need.

This recipe is really two things: milk chocolate ganache and the dark chocolate individual cake. Yes, I repeat, both are easy. I'll list the ganache recipe second because it is way more than you need for the four cakes the cake recipe makes. If you want to go an easier route, buy some truffles that are rolled in cocoa (not with a hard shell) and drop those in the middle instead. It does take a little bit of thinking ahead, but this is something decadent enough that you'll want to plan a reason for it anyway. I may play around with this more to see if I can decrease the butter a little because it left a greasy spot on the plate and that's not attractive. But the taste is worth it, even as-is.

Easy Dark Chocolate Molten Lava Cakes
Serves: 4 Time to make: less than 30 minutes, plus chill time for the ganache

To make the cakes:
5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (I used 5 squares of Baker's semi-sweet)
7 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons heavy cream
1 Tablespoon flour
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs

- Preheat oven to 400 (Yes, really preheat it, this is important!)
- Butter and flour (or sugar, I think it's prettier) 4 ramekins (mine are 3 3/4 inch, or 7cm)
- In a medium bowl, beat the heck out of the eggs and sugar. Sift the flour and cornstarch over the egg mixture and beat until fully blended.
- Melt the chocolate with the butter and cream in a double-boiler, stir til all smooth.
- Add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and stir until the batter is smooth
- Fill the ramekins 2/3 of the way, add a tablespoon of ganache, and fill the ramekins the rest of the way.
- Bake for 6-7 minutes, until they look done on top. They will be VERY soft. Run a butter knife around the edge of the ramekin to be sure it won't stick, flip over, and serve immediately.

To make the Milk chocolate ganache:
2 1/2 oz GOOD milk chocolate or GOOD milk chocolate chips (for a 12 oz bag, this is just over a quarter of the bag. For Guittard milk chocolate chips, it was 1/2 cup, but they are pretty large.)
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons butter

- Put the cream in a microwaveable bowl. Microwave on high for 20 seconds.
- When the cream dings, immediately add chocolate and butter. Stir until both melt and the mixture is completely smooth.
- Cover and chill (in fridge) at least 2 hours, or until you are ready to make the cakes.

Since this is a microwave recipe, you may need to adjust the time. If you mix in the chips and butter and after a minute or two they won't melt any further, microwave for 5 seconds and stir again, continuing (just 5 seconds each time, you don't want to burn it!) until the chocolate and butter are fully incorporated.

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Try this and want to share how it went? Have questions before you try it? Let me know!