It's hard to believe the New Year will begin this weekend - and this is my final blog post of 2022. I definitely feel like celebrating the next holiday, but I also feel like 'the easier the better' in the kitchen, at this point.
A word of caution: if you don't like the idea of eating raw eggs, this recipe is definitely not for you. A second word of caution: you'll have plenty of dishes to wash.
But the results are worth it. I always use bittersweet chocolate in recipes; however, feel free to use semisweet chips if you prefer a slightly sweeter result. Either way, this dessert is easy, delicious, and a great way to celebrate. Happy New Year to all!
4-6 servings (depending on the dishes you use)
6 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
6 egg yolks
6 egg whites
2 tablespoons vanilla
Sprinkled cocoa powder and/or cinnamon
1. In a double boiler, melt chocolate and set aside.
2. Beat yolks until thick and lemon colored. Gradually add melted chocolate and vanilla and stir together thoroughly. Set aside.
3. Beat egg whites until stiff and fluffy. Gradually fold into chocolate and egg yolk combination.
4. Spoon into individual dishes. Refrigerate for 12-24 hours. Serve with whipped cream. Top with lightly chocolate powder and/or cinnamon.
The recipe that you find here is a riff on this recipe: https://www.womenshealthmag.com/food/a20128728/black-bean-sweet-potato-brownies/. That's because a family member isn't fond of sweet potato flavor and, after doing a little research, I learned that pumpkin is a suitable 'stand-in' for this ingredient. It also helped that I had one lonely can of pumpkin in my cupboard. With the shift to pumpkin I added cinnamon and nutmeg too, because, well, pumpkin! :)
We liked the results and served some of these brownies to dinner guests. But instead of adding thick chocolate sauce to the top (as above), we sprinkled the whipped cream with additional cinnamon. Either way, this dessert is a pleasant surprise.
Want to have a little fun? Share these brownies with friends and family first, and then tell them what ingredients you used!
Black Bean Pumpkin Fudge Brownies
Makes 9-12 servings
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 c. unsalted butter
1 can black beans (15 oz), drained and rinsed
3/4 c. canned pumpkin
1/3 c. maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 tsp. baking powder
Pinch of kosher or sea salt
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with parchment paper, with ends overhanging the sides. Spray lightly with cooking spray. (V.O.E. – I don’t use cooking spray so I lightly greased the parchment with olive oil and a paper towel.)
2. In a double boiler over barely simmering water, melt chocolate and butter until smooth. Meanwhile, in a food processor, puree black beans, pumpkin, egg, syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt. Add chocolate mixture and process until smooth.
3. Pour batter into pan and bake until brownies set in the center and pull away from the edges, about 40 to 45 minutes. Cool completely before using the parchment paper to remove brownies from the pan. The top may 'crack' slightly.
What makes a cake, a cake? With so little flour, and so many eggs, this is nowhere near a traditional cake. And, although this week's recipe has dense, creamy texture, it is definitely not a cheesecake. What you'll get is a pudding-like interior, which is especially appealing after letting your slice reach room temperature or - if you have trouble waiting to indulge - taking the chill off for less than 20 seconds in the microwave.
I found this recipe during my annual chocolate recipes search for this blog. The original provided a great starting point but, as always, I've made a few modifications. Follow the original, or my version, according to your individual tastes. Enjoy!
Chocolate Truffle Cake
adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook
Makes 16 servings
1 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely ground
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 quarter cup butter melted
2 tablespoons sugar, optional
(V.O.E. – I substituted walnuts here, as that’s what I keep on-hand. And the next time I make this recipe I will cut these ingredients in half, because I prefer a bottom crust, only)
16 ounces semisweet chocolate, cut up (V.O.E. – As always, I used bittersweet)
1 cup whipping cream
6 beaten eggs
¾ cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
Whipped cream or ice cream
Cocoa powder, optional
1. For crust, combine pecans, cracker crumbs and melted butter. Press onto bottom and about 1 ½ inches up the sides of a greased 9-inch springform pan (V.O.E. - if using ½ crust recipe, press to just above the bottom inside edge). Set aside.
2. In a large saucepan cook and stir chocolate and whipping cream over low heat till the chocolate melts. Transfer the mixture to a medium mixing bowl. Set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl combine beaten eggs, the ¾ cup sugar and flour. Beat for 10 minutes or until thick and lemon colored (V.O.E. - My batter never became lemon colored, although it did thicken). Fold ¼ of egg mixture into the chocolate mixture and then fold chocolate mixture into remaining egg mixture. Pour into crust-lined pan.
4. Bake the cake in a 325 degree oven, for about 45 minutes or until puffed around the edge and halfway to center, which will be slightly soft. (V.O.E.-Watch the top cake texture from about 40 minutes and remove earlier as needed; my cake became slightly dry and crumbly around the upper edge, at 45 minutes).
5. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Using a table knife, gently release cake from sides of pan before removing the sides. Cool for four hours. Top with whipped cream or ice cream. Dust with cocoa powder, if desired. Cover any leftovers and store in the refrigerator.
My husband, Mark, and I both grew up with moms who crafted confectioners sugar-dusted Almond Crescent Cookies, during each holiday season. Following their lead, I made those same cookies for many years as Christmas approached, with one small tweak-because we always have walnuts on hand and rarely purchase almonds, I used walnuts, instead.
Then came the day when I stumbled upon a recipe for Chocolate Mexican Wedding Cookies. With the addition of cocoa powder and cinnamon, this recipe provided a pleasant 'riff' on the classic recipe. These cookies are still full of butter, but include a little olive oil to reduce the saturated fat a bit. And they have become a new holiday favorite in our house. See if you don't agree!
V.O.E. - Be sure you allow plenty of time to complete this recipe, from start to finish. I had already had a long day when I decided to make the cookies and was then reminded of the need for dough set time in the refrigerator. I ended up going to bed an hour later than usual and grateful for a rerun of 'Titanic' to keep me company. :)
Chocolate Mexican Wedding Cookies
Makes 2-2 1/2 dozen
1/2 cup pecan or walnut halves, toasted (toast in a 300-degree oven for about 20 minutes, turning once)
1 cup confectioner’s sugar, divided
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour)
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1. Place nuts and 1/4 cup of confectioner’s sugar in the work bowl of a food processor. Process, until nuts are powder-fine.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, salt and nut mixture.
3. In a large bowl, cream butter, oil, and remaining 3/4 cup of confectioners sugar, until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla.
4. On low speed, gradually beat in flour mixture just until mixed. Refrigerate dough, tightly covered, for at least one hour and preferably no longer than three hours.
5. Measure dough by 1 1/4-inch scoop or scant measuring tablespoons and roll it between the well-floured palms of your hands to form one inch balls. Place balls 1 1/2 inches apart on unbuttered cookie sheets. Bake in 350-degree oven 16-18 minutes or until set (the tops will dull slightly).
6. Cool cookies on sheets two to three minutes. Combine powdered sugar and cinnamon for coating, at a ratio of 1 cup sugar to 2 teaspoons cinnamon; make more as needed to thoroughly coat all cookies. Roll cookies in confectioners sugar mixture while still hot, coating heavily. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.
7. Store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator, for up to one week, or freeze up to 3 months.
V.O.E. - If your cookies seem a little dry, place 1/2 slice of fresh bread in the cookie container. The bread contributes some moisture that causes the cookies to soften slightly.
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