eat in my kitchen

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Tag: bittersweet chocolate

Perfectly Fudgy Ginger Chili Double Chocolate Cookies

Ginger Chili Double Chocolate Cookies

Over the past few days, I’ve been working on last year’s tax declaration, a rather frustrating task that is only bearable with lots of sweets on the side. Or a glass of wine, which I don’t recommend to avoid serious problems with your tax office due to illogical inconsistencies caused by a tipsy mind. This highly responsible – but absolutely boring work – needs lots of concentration and sugar to keep the brain cells awake. I think any kind of cookie would have worked in my case – I’m always happy when I have these sweet, chunky bites in my mouth – but I was after a powerful treat, packed with spice and bittersweetness.

And here’s what I came up with: Ginger Chili Double Chocolate Cookies. I would call it a proper man’s cookie, at least our male friends who passed through our flat recently were absolutely hooked on them and praised the perfect balance of softness and crunch. They are very dark, with chocolaty depth, I used melted bittersweet chocolate plus roughly chopped chunks and only a little bit of flour, which had an amazing effect on the texture. These cookies are soft inside, a bit fudgy, and wrapped in a thin, shiny crust – perfect. I stirred in plenty of freshly grated ginger and finely chopped fresh red chili pepper. The result was hot, citrusy and fresh – don’t expect a slight hint of the spices, they are present.

You have to take these cookies out of the oven at the right point, when the dough is just done. I made 11 cookies, 10 were perfect, and only 1 of them (for whatever reason) was still too gooey inside for my taste. The chocolate flavour is intense, I wouldn’t use chocolate much darker than 55% for this recipe, the bitter note can become too overpowering and disturb the spices – even for men.

Ginger Chili Double Chocolate Cookies

 

Ginger Chili Double Chocolate Cookies

Ginger Chili Double Chocolate Cookies

Makes 10-12 cookies

bittersweet chocolate (about 55%) 300g /10 1/2 ounces
unsalted butter 45g / 3 tablespoons
freshly grated ginger 1 heaping tablespoon
ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon
plain flour 65g / 1/2 cup
baking powder 1/2 teaspoon
organic eggs 2
granulated sugar 100g / 1/2 cup
fine sea salt 1/4 teaspoon
medium hot fresh red chili, finely chopped, 2 teaspoons

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F. Line 1 baking sheet with parchment paper.

Roughly chop 1/3 of the chocolate  (100g / 3 1/2 ounces) and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt the remaining chocolate, the butter, ginger, and cinnamon over low heat, stirring occasionally. Let it cool for 2 minutes.

Combine the flour and baking powder and set aside.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the eggs, sugar, and salt for 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Whisk in the melted chocolate until well combined. Using a wooden spoon, fold in the flour and chopped chocolate until just combined. Stir in the chili and scoop 1 heaping tablespoon for each cookie onto the lined baking sheet, leaving a bit of space between the cookies. Don’t flatten the cookies. Bake for about 11-12 minutes or until the cookies are a little crunchy outside and slightly soft in the middle. Take the baking sheet out of the oven and let the cookies cool for 10-15 minutes before you transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely, the chocolate will need a little while to become hard again.

Ginger Chili Double Chocolate Cookies

 

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Ginger Chili Double Chocolate Cookies

 

Ginger Chili Double Chocolate Cookies

 

Ginger Chili Double Chocolate Cookies

 

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gingerchilichocolatecookies10

Bittersweet Chocolate Muffins filled with Peanut Butter

Chocolate Muffins filled with Peanut Butter

I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions, I’d rather be happy and feel good with myself and change what needs to be changed when I’m ready to give it a go – which is not necessarily at the beginning of a new year, especially if it involves changes to my (sweet) diet. During winter, my body loves to keep a few more pounds on my hips, it’s cold out there so it does so for a good reason. And anyway, I wear large wool sweaters most of the time, it’s not summer yet and there’s no bikini or walks on long beaches in sight. So I accept my pounds, I’ll even feed them well, and enjoy what makes this time of the year so special: getting cozy on the sofa, sipping tea or hot chocolate and nibbling on some cake or dark, chocolaty muffins. The cookie cutters get a break and my cake tins and muffin trays are back on the counter tops. Happy New Year!

To add even more richness to my spongy muffins made with melted bittersweet chocolate and butter – no vegetable oil and cocoa powder for me – I fill them with dollops of creamy peanut butter. The nutty golden filling is almost liquid when the muffins are fresh out of the oven and still warm inside. I got hooked on the combination of dark chocolate and peanut butter when I made my Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies in autumn, I knew it would come back sooner or later.

If you’re up for another kind of muffin treat, try one of these:

Chocolate and Orange Muffins

Fig, Ricotta, and Olive Oil Muffins (if you can’t find fresh figs you can replace them with chopped dried dates)

Banana Muffins with White and Dark Chocolate

Cherry Chocolate Muffins

Blueberry Muffins

Irish Coffee Muffins

Blood Orange Marmelade and Cinnamon Muffins

Chocolate Muffins filled with Peanut Butter

 

Chocolate Muffins filled with Peanut Butter

Bittersweet Chocolate Muffins filled with Peanut Butter

Makes 12 muffins

plain flour 200 g / 1 1/2 cups
baking powder 2 1/2 teaspoons
baking soda 1/2 teaspoon
a pinch of salt
butter 150 g / 2/3 cup
bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces, 100 g / 3 1/2 ounces
granulated sugar 150 g / 3/4 cup
organic eggs 3
peanut butter, about 135 g / 1/2 cup
icing sugar, to dust the muffins (optional)

Preheat the oven to 190°C / 375°F (preferably convection setting) and line the 12 molds of a muffin tray with paper baking cups.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Take the pan off the heat and whisk the chocolate into the melted butter until combined. Add the granulated sugar and eggs and whisk until well combined.

Pour the chocolate mixture into the bowl with the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until you have a lumpy dough, with a bit of flour left here and there. Keep in mind, the more you mix it, the more it will lose its light texture. Drop 1 heaped tablespoon of the dough into each muffin cup and add 1 heaped teaspoon of the peanut butter on top. Cover each dollop of peanut butter with the remaining dough, then flatten it lightly with a tablespoon. Bake for about 20-22 minutes (slightly longer using conventional) or until the muffins are firm and spongy on top. Let them cool for 1 minute before you take the muffins out of the tray, sprinkle the tops with icing sugar (optional) and enjoy, preferably warm.

You can keep the muffins in an airtight container for a few days but I find them best on the first day.

Chocolate Muffins filled with Peanut Butter

 

Chocolate Muffins filled with Peanut Butter

 

Chocolate Muffins filled with Peanut Butter

 

Chocolate Muffins filled with Peanut Butter

 

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Chocolate Muffins filled with Peanut Butter

Bittersweet Chocolate & Orange Muffins

Orange Chocolate Muffins

One of eat in my kitchen‘s hungry followers asked me if it’s possible to turn my Maltese granny Edith’s bittersweet chocolate and orange sponge cake into muffins without loosing any of its scrumptious qualities – and the answer is: yes, it is possible and they taste as amazing as my Mediterranean granny’s cake! The muffin loving lady called Edith’s cake the best orange cake she’s ever baked – which I still have to tell Edith as I’m sure it will make her a little proud – and I call these miniature versions one of the best muffins our coffee table has every seen. They are so soft, buttery-juicy and aromatic, the warm chocolate lusciously melting into the yellow sponge. It’s the kind of sweet you want to enjoy snuggled into a blanket on the sofa on a cozy Sunday afternoon with a hot amber-coloured cup of Darjeeling tea or a thick, dark hot chocolate.

I had an interesting hot chocolate experience a few days ago. It was a typical autumn day, not too cold yet, the leaves vigorously flying in front of our living room window. I felt like a walk through Berlin’s West and took the afternoon off. We live in the eastern part of the city and at the moment I tend to spend a lot of time in the area where we live, so it felt a bit like a holiday to go to a different Kiez (the Berlin word for district). The restaurants, shops and houses look a little different and we even needed a map at one point as we lost our way – we felt and looked like tourists. Whenever I discover a new area I have to go to at least one café or restaurant. We went to Winterfeldt Schokoladen, a chocolate shop and café in Schöneberg, located in a stunningly beautiful old pharmacy  from 1892. Tiny drawers and ornate cabinets filled with the best chocolates and pralines, cupcakes and caramel candy displayed on scratched up, old marble. Luckily, we found a free table – there are only a few in the tiny shop – so we placed our order: scones with clotted cream and thick Italian hot chocolate. When our dark beverage was served in fragile antique cups, we looked at each other and smiled. The hot drink was as thick as custard, the purest taste of chocolate mixed with steaming water – no milk and just a little sugar. It’s not the kind of hot chocolate I could drink every day but it was delish. And it felt so good to just sit there at the window and watch the people passing by that we didn’t want to get up and step out into the cold again.

Orange Chocolate Muffins

 

Orange Chocolate Muffins

Bittersweet Chocolate & Orange Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

plain flour 200g / 1 1/2 cups
baking powder 2 1/2 teaspoons
baking soda 1/2 teaspoon
a pinch of salt
sugar 180g / 3/4 cups and 2 tablespoons
butter 150g / 5 1/2 ounces, melted and cooled for a few minutes
organic eggs 3
freshly squeezed orange juice 6 tablespoons
orange zest 1 1/2 tablespoons
bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped, 100g / 3 1/2 ounces plus 1 tablespoon finely grated for the topping (optional)

Set your oven to 200°C / 390°F (fan-assisted oven) and put paper baking cups into the 12 molds of a muffin tray.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar.

Whisk the melted butter, eggs, orange juice and zest and pour into the bowl with the dry mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until you have a lumpy dough, with a bit of flour left here and there. Keep in mind, the more you mix it, the more it will lose its light texture. Quickly stir in the chocolate and scrape the dough into the muffin cups. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden and firm and spongy on top. Let them cool for a few minutes before you take the muffins out of the tray, sprinkle the warm tops with a little more chocolate.

Orange Chocolate Muffins

 

Orange Chocolate Muffins

 

Orange Chocolate Muffins

 

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orangechocolatemuffin11

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I am impressed! I did not expect Doris’ peanut butter cookies could possibly be turned into something even more delicious than the original recipe – once I called these cookies the best ever and for good reason. For years I didn’t even feel the need to modify anything of the sweet formula created by our granny in Florida. Her cookies are perfect! But – I felt tempted, I couldn’t let go of the idea of rough chunks of bittersweet chocolate melting into the nutty richness of these crunchy bites once it got stuck in my head.

It was a very quick project – another quality of these cookies, they can be done in 20 minutes. I chopped the chocolate first, moved on to unsalted peanuts lightly broken for the topping and waited impatiently in front of my oven to see how my kitchen experiment would turn out. My boyfriend was skeptical – we’re talking about an old recipe from his beloved grandmother – but he approved in the end, they were just too good.

A short note: This recipe makes 40 cookies and if you manage to stop yourself from eating them right from the baking sheet, they stay fresh for days in an airtight container.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Makes about 40 cookies

plain flour 280g / 2 cups and 2 tablespoons
baking soda 2 teaspoons
salt 1/4 teaspoon
butter, at room temperature, 250g / 9 ounces
light brown sugar 280g / 1 1/3 cups
organic eggs 2
peanut butter (smooth not crunchy) 350g / 1 1/3 cups
bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chunks, 160g / 5 1/2 ounces
peanuts (unsalted), roughly chopped, 70g / 2 1/2 ounces

Set the oven to 180°C / 355°F (fan assisted oven) and line a baking sheet with baking paper.

Combine the flour, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl, beat the butter until fluffy, add the sugar and continue mixing for a minute. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, add the peanut butter and beat until combined. Add the dry ingredients gradually and mix well. Stir in the chopped chocolate and shape the dough into large walnut sized balls. Lay them out spaciously on the lined baking sheet, they will rise! Flatten lightly with a fork, sprinkle with peanuts and push the nuts lightly into the dough. Bake for 10-11 minutes until golden. Leave them to cool on the baking sheet for a couple minutes before you cool them completely on a wire rack.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

 

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peanubutterchocolatecookies13

The darkest Gâteau au Chocolat

Chocolate Gateau

99% dark chocolate – I went for the darkest Swiss chocolate I could find for my petit gâteau! For months I’ve had this cake on my mind, dark, moist and rich, an adult cake that combines the best of a luscious mousse au chocolat and a tender cake. So often I’ve enjoyed this bitter sweet at French patisseries or as a dessert with whipped cream melting on top in one of Paris’ pretty bistros in the hidden side roads.

This treat doesn’t need many ingredients but the few should be of exquisite quality, especially the chocolate. Sometimes this gâteau is dusted with icing sugar but I don’t like to hide its honest dark beauty under a layer of blank white. I also don’t see the sense of using one of the best chocolates to blur down its complex taste by using cheap sugar. So my gâteau stays naked! Spiced with a little cinnamon and cardamom, its a rich composition perfect for desserts or for Sunday afternoon tea time, my favourite! I had a few slices with a cup of Darjeeling and it was heavenly!

Chocolate Gateau

 

Chocolate Gateau

 Gâteau au Chocolat

For a 20cm / 8″ springform pan you need

dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa, preferably 99%) 150g / 5.5 ounces
butter 150g / 5.5 ounces
organic eggs 4
sugar 180g / 6.5 ounces plus 1-2 tablespoons for the whipped cream
plain flour 120g / 4.5 ounces
cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon plus a pinch for the whipped cream
cardamom 1/8 teaspoon plus a pinch for the whipped cream
a pinch of salt
heavy cream 200g / 7 ounces, for the topping

Set the oven to 180°C / 360°F (fan assisted oven) and line the springform pan with parchment paper.

In a sauce pan (or a bain-marie), melt the chocolate and butter and let it cool off for a few minutes.

Whisk the egg whites with the salt until stiff.

Combine the flour with the cinnamon and cardamom.

Mix the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy and stir in the chocolate/ butter mixture. Stir in the flour/ spice mixture with a spoon before you gently fold in the stiff egg whites. Put the dough into the lined springform pan and bake for about 30 minutes or until the cake is done. Check with a skewer, it should come out clean. Let the cake cool for a few minutes before you take it out of the springform pan and serve with with the spiced whipped cream.

Whip the cream with sugar, cinnamon and cardamom and season to taste.

Chocolate Gateau

 

Chocolate Gateau

 

Chocolate Gateau

 

Chocolate Gateau

Espresso Ricotta Mousse with Ouzo and Bittersweet Chocolate

Coffee Ricotta Mousse

The past few weeks felt like living in ricotta heaven! If some places are called the land of milk and honey, Malta would be the land of ricotta and honey! Sweet and savory, you taste it in pies like Qassatat or Pastizzi, tarts, cakes like Cassata Siciliana or with pasta, there is an endless variety in the use of this delicious dairy product on the island. One might think that after a month of savoring all these delicacies I might need a break, but that’s not the case at all. Now that I’m back home, I miss it already!

So, to ease my culinary longings, I came up with a dessert that satisfies my needs when I’m in the mood for ricotta, a coffee ricotta mousse with Ouzo, or Spuma di Ricotta al Caffè! It lifts you up like a Tiramisu, the espresso, sugar and anisette are the right kick after a long dinner. The ricotta makes it smooth and velvety and gives it a milky touch. I sprinkled some bittersweet chocolate on top, the perfect finish, visually and in flavours!

This dessert is perfect for a dinner with friends, it only takes a few minutes to whip the ingredients together. You can prepare the mousse either in advance and keep it in the fridge or eat it straight away if the ricotta is chilled enough like I did.

Coffee Ricotta Mousse

 

Coffee Ricotta Mousse

 Espresso Ricotta Mousse with Ouzo and Bittersweet Chocolate

For 4 portions you need

chilled ricotta, drained, 250g / 9 ounces
instant espresso powder 1 1/2 teaspoons
grainy espresso powder (for the espresso maker) 1 teaspoon
sugar 3 tablespoons
Ouzo 2 tablespoons
bittersweet chocolate, grated, 4 teaspoons, for topping

Whip the ingredients until well combined, add sugar to taste and fill the mousse in whiskey glasses. Serve immediately sprinkled with chocolate or keep in the fridge and add the chocolate just before serving.

Coffee Ricotta Mousse

 

Coffee Ricotta Mousse

 

Coffee Ricotta Mousse

Grown up Chocolate Cookies

Chocolate Spice Cookies

This is already the beginning of my last cookie baking weekend before Christmas! I can’t believe it, time flew – as always during Christmas season. I baked and ate so many cookies this year! Whenever friends came over we sat under our Christmas tree, enjoyed the festive mood and emptied the cookie boxes. But I can definitely take another round before closing the 2013 cookie season, so let’s start!

If you don’t really have a sweet tooth these will be your cookies! Bittersweet chocolate and lots of spices: cinnamon, coriander, cloves, aniseed and allspice. The texture is light and crumbly with a thin layer of melted dark chocolate on top. They taste grown up – dark, bittersweet and rich in flavours. I thought some foresty animal shapes would do them good.

Chocolate Spice Cookies

Chocolate Spice Cookies

For around 80 cookies you need

plain flour 250g / 9 ounces
cocoa powder 50g / 2 ounces
icing sugar, 90g / 3 ounces
baking powder 1/4 teaspoon
butter, soft, 130g / 4.5 ounces
organic egg 1
cinnamon, ground, 1/2 teaspoon
cloves, ground, 8
coriander seeds, ground, 1 heaping teaspoon
aniseed, ground, 1/4 teaspoon
allspice, ground, 2
a pinch of salt

bittersweet chocolate, melted, to brush the cookies, 100g / 3.5 ounces
mixed with cinnamon (1/4 teaspoon) and Chinese 5 Spice (1/4 teaspoon) or some of your cookie spice mixture

Combine the dry ingredients (except the sugar). In a separate bowl, beat the butter till fluffy, add the sugar and continue mixing till combined. Add the egg and mix for another 2-3 minutes. Put the dry mixture into the bowl with the butter mixture and continue mixing with the hook of your mixer until you have a crumbly mixture. Form a disc, wrap in cling film and put in the freezer for 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 160°C / 320°F and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Roll the dough out thinly (about 3mm) between cling film and cut out your cookies in whatever shape you like. Place your cookies on a baking sheet and bake them for 6 minutes. Let them cool and brush with the melted chocolate.

Chocolate Spice Cookies

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