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Celebratory Chocolate Challenge - chocolate desserts for the holiday table?

We're having an early Christmas dinner with friends this Saturday (chestnut soup, roast goose, red cabbage, potato soufflé, green peas, applesauce, cranberry sauce, rolls...) and they are chocolate maniacs. For me chocolate is just not a Christmas thing. Fruit or nut desserts, yes, chocolate no. Not in the mood to think about chocolate (with my arms up to the elbows in very late fruitcake prep). What kind of blow their socks off dessert could I serve them? Any new finds this year? Any old favorites?

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  1. An old favorite. This is my go-to dessert for chocoholics, triple celebration chocolate cake. Sometimes I make a nutella mousse instead of the chocolate. I use regular acetate from the florist dept at a grocery store for the chocolate on the outside, since I don't want to mail order special paper. And, I've also just covered the whole thing in ganache frosting.

    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

    1. Buttertart,

      I have three old favourites to suggest, all of which will knock their socks off:

      1) My favourite cake, recipe posted on CH (search Sinclair's). Dried figs simmered in XO Cognac, hazelnuts, chocolate, butter etc. Glazed with cream, chocolate, and Gianduja. Cynsa made it recently,and it's now her favourite too. I cannot recommend it highly enough. I have a picture in the thread.

      2) The chocolate chestnut cake you are supposed to make. I will most likely make it for dessert Christmas Day. If ido, I will use some chestnut flour in the génoise, and some déchets of marrons glacés between the layers. One warning is that it takes a lot of time, but is well worth it.

      3) RLB"s Chocolate Oblivion Truffle Torte, from TCB. it is ridiculously rich as all it contains is chocolate, butter, and eggs. I sometimes also add raspberrypuree (strained). Serve with raspberry purée and whipped cream on the side.

      Let us know what you make.

      1. Black Satin Fudge Cake (easy recipe from Marlene Sorosky) on a pool of Creme Anglaise garnished with fresh raspberries. The recipe first appeared in the May 1987 Chocolatier magazine. I liked it so much I kept the issue just for that recipe.

        3 Replies
        1. re: TrishUntrapped

          I don't know the name of this but melt very good bittersweet chocolate and pour it over mixed nuts and dried cranberries.

        2. A wrinkle: the dessert isn't supposed to be "too" chocolatey, the guy prefers milk. But his wife loves the good stuff so he may just have to put up with it.

          5 Replies
          1. re: buttertart

            I have your wrinkle ironed out in two of my three suggestions; my third suggestion (RLB's cake) is too chocolatey, if that is at all possible.

            The hazelnut cake is very chocolatey, but the glaze does contain gianduja, which is made up from milk chocolate.

            The chestnut cake has meringue and butter in the chocolate filling, such that it looks like milk chocolate.

            Please don't come up with another wrinkle - that it can't be too nutty! If you do, you're on your own, Buttertart dearest.

            1. re: souschef

              Nothing is ever too nutty for nutty me. Thanks my dear souschef!

            2. re: buttertart

              I made this molten chocolate cake recipe from Epicurious for the family one Christmas - as a dark chocolate lover I found it overwhelmingly sweet but my family (milk chocolate lovers all) ADORED it. If I were to make it again I'd replace half the powdered sugar with cocoa powder and serve it with a raspberry or other tangy sauce, but it might please your friend's husband!

              1. re: biondanonima

                Which one was it? Molten is a nice idea.

                1. re: buttertart

                  Oops, forgot to insert the link: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                  The cakes had great texture and were super easy to make, just way too sweet for me. People were licking their plates, though.

            3. What about a chocolate pecan pie? Chocolatey, nutty, and totally festive for this time of year.

              1. Why not do the best of both worlds, go with a fruit+chocolate dessert like Chocolate Pumpkin Pie?

                A sample recipe here: http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/t...

                1 Reply
                1. re: ipsedixit

                  My kitchen is a pumpkin-free zone, I'm afraid!

                2. Chocolate hazelnut linzertorte?

                  http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                  I've made this before and while the chocolate is apparent, it's not overwhelmingly so. It's not really the traditional linzertorte though because of the chocolate and the use of hazelnuts instead of almonds.

                  How about pithivier doctored with chocolate?

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: amy_wong

                    The Linzertorte is appealing (sans cinnamon, not fond of it, especially with chocolate. Thanks for pointing it out!

                    1. re: buttertart

                      Hey Buttertart, you're the only other person I know (besides myself) who is not fond of cinnamon.

                      1. re: souschef

                        London, Ont. 1972. Summer job, first day. McCormick's. Breaking cinnamon sticks by hand to cram them into the little boxes. No gloves (see date). Next morning wake up welts everywhere I touched and eyes swollen shut. Makes you think!
                        (Actually I do use it in very small amounts in some things - apple desserts etc - but really don't care for it with chocolate).

                  2. Oops, forgot to include this bread pudding:

                    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                    I didn't like cranberries as dessert, so I made mine with raspberries. It was great and simple to make.

                    1. Toblerone Mousse. Recipe is on their website. The great thing is that you can choose which Toblerone you want to use. If he want's it not too chocolatey, you could throw in a couple of white ones. It's an incredibly rich dessert, but people always snarf it down.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: linguafood

                        Nice idea, but I moussed them last time! Noted for future.

                        1. re: linguafood

                          Ye gods, Toblerone Mousse exists? Thank you linguafood!
                          I'm not a fan of dark chocolate either, I figure bitterness defeats the purpose of chocolate.
                          So, if dark chocolate isn't a must, consider chocolate malt-- malted milk ball inspired cake/frosting
                          or ice cream.

                          1. re: blue room

                            Toblerone is the food of the gods but I'm not sure of the picky one's (a man of strong convictions) Position on Honey.

                        2. Nigella's Chhocolate Cloud Cake, double yum. This is a family favorite.
                          You have to use really dark/bittersweet chocolate on this one. Can't say
                          enough about this dessert, heavely.

                          1. This is delicious and very forgivable. It is sort of a cross between fudge and cake.

                            http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: wekick

                              The Dorie Greenspan 15 minute miracle made w/amaretti is also v good.

                              1. re: wekick

                                That recipe is very similar to the Black Satin Fudge Cake I mentioned above. (Edit: I am referring to Wekick's post.)

                              2. The Racine cake in Ready for Dessert by David Lebovitz. It has cacao nibs on the top to give it a bit of crunch, and is divine.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: greedygirl

                                  No nibs on hand, must get, that does sound wonderful.

                                2. Did I miss it? Not one person has mentioned a Bûche de Noël?!!?

                                  If you don't want the work then truffles. If they weren't easy, I couldn't do them.

                                  1. how about pots de crème? you could do both milk & dark ones...everyone gets what they like!

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                      This chocolate truffle tart with hazelnut brittle is just fabulous. It's some trouble to make, but not that much and totally worth it.

                                      http://www.sfgate.com/food/recipes/de...

                                      1. re: oakjoan

                                        Gorgeous recipe, thanks for pointing it out.

                                    2. Thanks everybody for your many excellent suggestions - all of which are very interesting in a festive or just regular context. I was a bit more pressed for time than I thought I would be, so I made the Dorie Greenspan 15-minute chocolate amaretti torte from "Baking From My Home to Yours": 6 large or 18 small amaretti (I used the mini mini ones so used a cupful) buzzed to a powder in the FP with 3/4 c almonds (I had slivered ones, you can use any) and removed to a sheet of waxed paper; 1 stick softened butter, 1/2 c sugar and 3 room-temp eggs into the FP and beaten for 4 mins, scraping occasionally (I added 1/2 tsp salt), 4 oz dark chocolate melted and cooled and the amaretti mixture returned and buzzed to combine (I added a bar of Green & Black white chocolate chopped up with the dry ingredients, just for the heck of it). Baked in greased 8" pan (at least 2 in tall, I have Wilton 3-inch ones I use for everything) with parchment on the bottom 25-30 mins at 325. I should have taken it out at the 25-deg mark, it got a bit crusty. Glazed it with 3 oz dark chocolate melted and 3 oz softened butter stirred in and allowed to set to spreading consistency.
                                      Mr. No Dark Chocolate took half of what was left home.