Chocolate Mousse Cake

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This past weekend, I made a birthday cake for one of my friends; and, since I know she loves chocolate mousse cake, I decided to try my hand at one again. (Last time I tried to make a mousse cake I followed the third recipe I found. It was a complete disaster.)

In an effort to avoid the same disaster as last year, I spent nearly a day looking for a satisfactory chocolate mousse cake. I’ve made chocolate mousse, and I’ve made cake, but finding a perfect blend of rich, moist cake topped with silky smooth mousse is impossible.

So I decided to create my own. This time, it was a success.

Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup chocolate, chopped (or semi-sweet chocolate chips)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Melt chocolate over a double boiler. Personally, I don’t have one—instead I use a medium-large metal bowl over a saucepan. Melting the chocolate properly can be a bit tricky. I set the heat quite low (you want the water to be simmering, but not boiling). Be careful not to get steam into the chocolate, otherwise it will be ruined. Oh, and wear heat protection. The bowl gets quite hot!

Once you have the chocolate melted, cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add eggs one at a time, then add vanilla and salt. Mix together flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Pour the dry mixture into the wet mixture—you can use a sieve. Slowly incorporate the ingredients until they are well mixed. Add the melted chocolate and sour cream. Put into a prepared 12-inch springform pan and bake at 350F for 50-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let cool completely before topping with mousse.

Mousse

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz chocolate (I like to use 70–85%)
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 6 oz unsalted butter
  • Icing sugar for dusting (optional)

Melt chocolate in a double boiler the same way you did for the cake. Add butter and stir until well combined. Set aside to cool. Beat cream until fluffy. Fold half of cream mixture into chocolate, then add chocolate to rest of cream. Fold until combined with no evidence of streaking. Pour on top of the cake in the springform pan and cover with plastic wrap. Let the mousse set in the fridge overnight. Top with icing sugar and enjoy!

Sexy Spicy Chocolate Cookies

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There is nothing sexier than the heady mixture of rich chocolate and cayenne pepper. I remember a scene in Chocolat where Juliette Binoche adds cayenne pepper to her hot chocolate. Ever since then, I have done the same with my hot chocolate. So when I discovered these cookies, I just about died in ecstasy.

These cookies are perfectly crunchy on the outside, and soft, melt-in-your-mouth chewy on the inside. The best part? They’re vegan! (My boyfriend refused to believe that they were vegan until I showed him the recipe. Score!)

Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, use a fork to vigorously mix together the oil and sugar.  Let stand a few minutes before whisking in the syrup, milk, and vanilla extract.

Sift in the remaining ingredients, stirring as you add them. Once all ingredients are added, mix until you’ve got pliable dough.

Roll the dough into walnut-sized balls. Transfer the dough balls to a baking sheet at least 2 inches apart (they do spread). Bake for 10-12 minutes; they should be a bit spread and crackly on top. Remove the cookies from the oven, let them cool 5 minutes, and then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely. And let the addiction begin.

Cinnamon Pastry Puffs

I may have nearly set the house on fire last night. Oops. (Sorry, Mum.)

But it was all worth it for these little beauties.

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I’ve found a few recipes for cinnamon pastry puffs, but none of them seem to work out in my favour. Either my kitchen becomes consumed by a blanket of smoke (like last night), or the pastry ends up soggy and undercooked. Nothing is worse than pastry that is undercooked. Or, you know, a burned-out shell of a house….

The trick to perfection in this case is setting the oven to a high temperature. I started at 425 degrees F, but should have started at 475. They also work really well (and I might say, better) in muffin tins. That way, the butter won’t seep onto the bottom of the oven and lead to the panicked waving of arms trying to get the smoke out (which almost never works, by the way).

Pastry

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter, chilled
  • 1/2–1 cup cold water

Mix flour, sugar, salt, and butter together until well combined. Some large chunks of butter are OK. Add the water 1 tbsp at a time until pastry holds together but is not sticky. Chill for half an hour before rolling.

Cinnamon Pastry Puffs

Ingredients:

  • Pastry (see above)
  • 2 tbsp melted butter, unsalted
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2–4 tbsp sugar, depending on preference

Dust a clean surface with flour. Place pastry in the middle and also dust with flour. Roll out to 1/4 of an inch thick in roughly a rectangular shape. You can always trim uneven bits if you like.

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Once pastry is rolled, brush the melted butter to the edge, making sure everything is covered. Dust with cinnamon and sugar (I like to mix them together first) and roll.

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Use a knife to cut the roll into 1-inch slices, place on a baking sheet (or muffin tin) and bake at 475 degrees F for 10–15 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.

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Let cool 5–10 minutes before serving.

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