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Guys, make this for your sweethearts.  You can thank me later.  These molten chocolate cakes from Mark Bittman’s Bitten blog are amazing, and amazingly easy to make.  A couple of tips:

  • Salted or unsalted is not a big deal, but please use butter, not margarine
  • Use a bar of quality chocolate, the darker the better.  I’ve used Ghirardelli’s 60% Cocoa with good results.
  • Butter the ramekins well.  I’ve had some problems with them sticking (but you can hide it under whipped cream if they don’t come out perfectly)

Some whipped cream or cool whip is nice to balance the intense chocolate flavor, but if you really want to knock it out of the park, try serving these with some sliced macerated strawberries (raspberries would be nice, too) and this cream cheese whipped cream (below).  NOTE: you’ll want to eat these molten chocolate cakes straight out of the oven, so start macerating the strawberries and make the whipped cream before you bake the cakes.

Cream cheese whipped cream:  In bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whisk 4 oz. cream cheese, 1/3 c. confectioners’ sugar, and a pinch of salt at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Add1/2 tsp. vanilla and beat at medium speed until combined, about 30 seconds; scrape down bowl. With machine running at low speed, add 1 c. heavy cream in slow steady stream; when almost fully combined, increase speed to medium-high and beat until mixture holds soft peaks when whisk is lifted, another 1-2 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed.

Samoas Bars

Homemade Samoas Bars

It’s Girl Scout cookie season!  I think we can all agree that there are two varieties of Girl Scout cookies worth buying (though Tagalongs are okay if you’re into peanut butter).  While some of you may reasonably claim Thin Mints as your favorite, Somoas are the ones that do it for me.  Unfortunately, the availability of Girl Scout cookies is fleeting, the price is a bit steep for what you get, and they are made with some ingredients (like hydrogenated oils) that you might prefer to avoid.  So why not roll your own?  This recipe for homemade Samoas bars comes from Nicole Weston’s The Baking Bites Cookbook, which Kristin gave me for Christmas (thanks, Kristin!).  We tried them last night, and they were (to quote U2) “even better than the real thing.”

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