Chocolate Baked Goods Ideas
Wednesday is Administrative Professionals' Day, and my assistant has given me an edict that I am not to give her any gifts. However, she makes an exception for food items and she loves dark chocolate, so I have determined that I will present her with something delicious to thank her for all she does to keep me in line.
I'm a pretty accomplished baker, but I can't seem to settle on a recipe. The parameters are: (1) something chocolate, (2) that is sturdy enough to stand up to transportation from home to office, and (3) comes in individual servings (i.e., cookies or brownies rather than a cake).
I appreciate any ideas or inspiration you can provide.
Chocolate Bark might work. This past weekend, I tried the Matzah Bark at Two Little Red Hens bakery in Brooklyn and it was sooo good. Matzah crackers topped with white, milk or dark chocolate with pistachio's and macadamias. I think the bottom of the cracker had caramel. I was looking for a recipe on line and the closest one I found was Paula Deens "Pine Bark" on foodtv.com Seems pretty easy to make and definitely portable.
I just bought a bar of Scharffenberger chocolate. Inside were recipes, including one for Fudgy Brownies, which they say are so moist and intensely chocolate, that they have developed a cult-like following. Chocolatier Robert Steinberg adapted the recipe from one of Maida Heatter's offerings in "Great American Desserts." I've not tried making them yet, but they look promising.
Tiny, super-rich brownies were a big hit at a party I gave. I saved the email I sent to my friend who requested the recipe. Here it is:
6 oz bittersweet chocolate
2 oz unsweet chocolate
1 1/2 sticks butter
1 ½ cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
1 cup chocolate chips or chopped semisweet chocolate (optional)
Melt the chocolate with the butter, then cool to lukewarm. Stir in the sugar and vanilla, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the salt and flour, finally the chocolate chips.
Pour in a well buttered and floured 13X9 pan. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. A tester in the middle should come out w/ some wet crumbs still attached, but it should be reasonably set up.
4 oz semi sweet choc, chopped
2/3 cup cream
Heat cream just until it simmers, pour over chocolate and stir until its smooth. Let it cool to lukewarm (but not cold!) before you spread it.
What I did for the party:
If I remember correctly, I made 1 ½ times the brownie recipe, then poured about 2/3 in a 13X9 pan and swirled in the peanut butter goo (cant remember exactly, I think it was pb, powdered sugar, and some milk). Then with the remaining 1/3 I lined a 9X9 pan w/ tinfoil before butter and flouring. Only poured brownie about ¾ inch deep. Watched carefully to shorten bake time. After cooing for 30-45 min, I lifted them out of the pan by the tinfoil (necessary in order to cut the tiny pieces neatly) Pour the ganache over the brownie and smooth (excellent chance to use your offset spatula here). Chill completely, Then run a large knife under hot water, wipe the blade, and cut in tiny squares. Keep running the blade under hot water whenever goo sticks to it and it stops cutting cleanly.
Decorate w/ small curls of orange zest (you need one of those hand-held zesters w/ holes).