Decadent Chocolate Tart

Photo of Decadent Chocolate Tart on a countertopChocolate Decadence
It’s no secret that I have a sweet tooth. I like desserts of all kinds—but I do have a bit of a preference for fruity desserts. Except when I don’t.

When handed a dessert menu at a restaurant I will scan the entire list of offerings. I look for the fruity one first, then the carb-y one. (I’m looking at you, bread pudding.) There is almost always something chocolatey. And, although I love chocolate, it’s usually my last choice. There are occasions however when nothing but chocolate will do.

When I am in the mood for a chocolate dessert, I need some serious chocolate. I don’t mean something with a little chocolate in it or a few chocolate chips. I mean I need some seriously deep, death-by-chocolate flavors. I want decadence. I want something that requires coffee or some other beverage to cut the richness. And, don’t even think about stealing a bite. There will be no sharing. You need to order your own.

This Decadent Chocolate Tart is the exact type of chocolate dessert I mean. It’s gorgeous in its simplicity. It’s dark and rich and the shiny ganache on top dares you to swipe your finger through it. You could also make it in smaller individual tarts if, like me, you don’t want to share.

Decadent Chocolate Tart Recipe
Adapted from Epicurious
Yields 8-10 Servings Read more…

Classic Chocolate Mousse

Image of classic chocolate mousse in a stemmed serving bowlIt Mousse Be Love
When I was a kid, I would order chocolate mousse whenever it was an option on the dinner menu. I thought it was the height of sophistication until my eight-year-old eyes were opened to the wonder that is a well-caramelized crème brûlée.

Strangely, chocolate mousse is not a dessert option you see all that often anymore, at least not as a standalone. It is out there in the wild. But, you have to look for it. Sure, there are chocolate mousse cakes—but a single dish of chocolate mousse? Not really. And a Pot de Crème is not the same thing.

Perhaps it is time chocolate mousse made a comeback?

The hot summer months are a great time to give Classic Chocolate Mousse a try because all that is needed is a microwave and a hand mixer. No hot oven (or even stoves) is required. What is required is good quality chocolate. Not the stuff you eat in the afternoon that I like to refer to as rescue chocolate. Good quality baking chocolate like Guittard or Valhrona is key.

While I do like my chocolate mousse straight up, I will from time to time add flavor, like a little espresso or something boozy. Just be careful not to add too much or your chocolate will seize and become grainy and/or greasy.

Real legit chocolate mousse is rich and decadent. Real chocolate mousse is not melted chocolate combined with whipped cream. If you make it the right way, Classic Chocolate Mousse contains butter and eggs which give the mousse its silky fluffiness. Don’t be afraid of the fact that the eggs are not cooked. It’s not too different than the runny yolks of a fried egg. If you are concerned, just make sure that the eggs you use are pasteurized and you should be just fine.

Classic Chocolate Mousse Recipe
Yields 4 servings

Classic Chocolate Mousse is both rich and creamy, yet light and fluffy.
This is a classic chocolate mousse made French-style. It has less cream, an intense chocolate flavor, and a beautiful, creamy mouth feel.

Note that this recipe needs at least 5 hours in the fridge to set before serving. Read more…

World Peace Cookies

World Peace CookiesCaught in the Cookie Jar
I had an email land in my inbox the other day that included a recipe for peanut butter cookies. And, I was intrigued by how unexpected it was. I haven’t made peanut butter cookies in forever—mainly because peanuts at school are a big no-go. So, that might explain some of the surprise. I also think I’ve been conditioned to think about cookies only really during the holidays…even though I eat cookies almost daily.

I am a frequent cookie maker. Sometimes they are for sporting event potlucks or some sort of school activity. But, mostly I make cookies because I like ‘em; because I can; and, depending on the variety of cookie, they can be a nice “grab n go on the way out the door” breakfast. (Hey, it could be worse…)

I am also one of those people who needs something sweet in the afternoon. Right around two or three o’clock, I get a cup of tea and something sweet and small to go with it. Nine times out of ten it’s a cookie. (Or three. Depends on the size.) Shortbread, oatmeal, chocolate chip, Oreos…any and all will do. These are what I consider everyday cookies. Not the fancy ones we hand out for Christmas. The cookie jar workhorses, if you will. They go in school lunches, soothe a sweet tooth, and welcome the kids home from practice.

I can’t say that I have an actual favorite cookie. There are just too many to narrow it down. A lot of the time it depends on my mood. Sometimes I want big butter flavor. Other times I am looking for big bites of chocolate or nuts. Over the weekend I was in the mood for the kind of cookie that will just melt in your mouth. The cookie the French call a sablé . But, I was making these particular cookies for a volleyball tournament so I went with a favorite from Dorie Greenspan. These World Peace Cookies are so good and once you get the hang of making the dough logs, making them is a snap…

World Peace Cookies
Adapted from Pierre Hermé & Dorie Greenspan on Food 52
Read more…

Turtle Swirl Cheesecake

Turtle Swirl CheesecakeThe Great Cream Cheese Shortage of 2021
So, apparently, there is a cream cheese shortage? Word on the street is that the shortage is so bad that Kraft, the makers of Philadelphia Cream Cheese, is offering a $20 digital reward for those who are willing to forgo their usual holiday cheesecakes or brownies for something else.

I haven’t noticed an issue myself. Every time I have been in the cream cheese section of any store there is no sign of a problem. But, I am not someone who normally will make cheesecake for Christmas. So, my cream cheese anxiety isn’t high.

I don’t make cheesecakes very often. Not sure why. That is except that cheesecakes are diva-like in their creation. They require more effort and attention than other desserts. And, then there is the fact that they are not easy on the waistline.

My husband loves cheesecake and laments the fact that I don’t make it very often. I did, however, make this Turtle Swirl Cheesecake for him years ago for his birthday dinner. I must admit this is probably my favorite cheesecake—which is surprising considering my real favorite is a well-made plain cheesecake. I like ‘em simple.

If you are a holiday cheesecake enthusiast, definitely give this version a try. It is a showstopper and would be at home on any holiday table. And, may we all get through this latest pandemic set back together…

Turtle Swirl Cheesecake Recipe
Adapted from Epicurious
Yields 12 servings

This cheesecake needs to be chilled overnight, so begin the recipe the day before. Read more…