On our last visit to the Scharffen Berger factory, we picked up a cookbook by the founders of Scharffen Berger, The Essence of Chocolate - Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate. The recipes in the book are arranged by chocolate intensity and are contributed by the founders and chefs including Michael Chiarello, Elizabeth Falkner, Thomas Keller and Jacques Pepin.
In addition to sweet and savory recipes, there's also a brief history of Scharffen Berger and the chocolate making process. A few recipes that immediately caught my eye were chocolate pudding cakes, chocolate chocolate cupcakes, cakey brownies, chocolate chunk cheesecake and chili-marinated flank steak (with cocoa powder).
The first dessert I made from the cookbook was baked hot chocolate contributed by Heidi Friedlander, which she developed for Moxie, a popular Cleveland restaurant. I chose this recipe because it was simple to make with only four ingredients and the description in the book made me crave it.
"Baked hot chocolate is almost like having three desserts in one -- the top layer has just a hint of crispness, the center has the texture of warm chocolate pudding, and the bottom layer is just a shade thicker than the thickest hot chocolate you can imagine."
If this description doesn't get you excited, I don't know what will. My attempt at baked hot chocolate was delicious! I only achieved two distinct layers, the crispy top and the warm chocolate pudding. I believe the missing bottom layer of thick hot chocolate was due to my 6-ounce ramekins, which is smaller than the 8-ounce ramekins used in the recipe.
I also modified the recipe by substituting 72% bittersweet chocolate for semisweet, because I believe the darker the chocolate, the better. And I skipped the double broiler method and melted the chocolate and butter in the microwave, which is faster and easier. Despite only achieving two layers of chocolate goodness on my first attempt, the baked hot chocolate was very rich and a dark chocolate lover's delight!
Baked Hot Chocolate Recipe
Ingredients (serves 4):
9 ounces 62% semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter cut into cubes
4 large eggs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
- Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange four 1-cup ovenproof coffee cups or mugs or 8-ounce ramekins in a baking or roasting pan.
- Place the chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler set over gently simmering water, and whisk occasionally until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Stir the eggs and sugar together in the bowl of stand mixer then set over the simmering water and stir until warm to the touch.
- Place the bowl on the stand mixer and using the whisk attachment, beat for 3 to 5 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Remove from the mixer, and fold the eggs into the chocolate mixture until it is light and smooth.
- Spoon the batter into the cups. Add enough very hot water to the baking pan to come halfway up the side of the cups. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. The baked hot chocolate will be done when the tops lose their glossy finish. A wooden skewer inserted in the top will emerge clean, but batter toward the bottom of the cup will still be very moist.
- Carefully remove the cups from the pan. The cakes can be served warm, at room temperature or covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day. To reheat, bring to room temperature and place in a preheated 350 degrees F oven for 5 minutes, or until warm.
- Serve topped with a dollop of cocoa whipped cream.
[Recipe via The Essence of Chocolate cookbook]
[tags]scharffen berger, chocolate, bittersweet, baked, dessert, semisweet, hot chocolate[/tags]